BRYANT HOT FOR SUNS, SPURS
May 30, 2004 -- FOR those dream weavers who believe a fourth championship will entice Kobe Bryant to remain a Laker for at least the life of new seven-year contract, prepare to be disappointed.
"I know he wants out of L.A. in the worst way," swears one of the few people who would know something so serious.
By L.A., my informant means the Lakers, not the city; Kobe's thought process hasn't ruled out my Paper Clips.
"Yeah, but I don't think that's going to happen," the source added, playing a little dodge ball. "Of all the teams who own ample salary cap room, the Clippers are a long shot."
Meanwhile, Denver and Utah "have no shot," stressed the source.
"If he goes [oh, great, now it's an if] it wouldn't surprise me if Kobe chooses between the Suns and the Spurs."
Decision makers and swayers representin' both the Clips and Hawks disclose and confirm there's meaningful conversation regarding a swap of elite first round choices.
To nobody's shock or awe, Atlanta's primary objective is to place itself in position to draft local schoolboy sensation Dwight Howard. In order to accomplish that goal it must, at the minimum, advance to the second overall pick owned by L.A., since it appears Emeka Okafor will be selected first by the Magic.
Although the Clips might be able to find room in their lineup for a 6-10 power tool, their pressing need is for a point guard. The idea, which may soon be realized, is to swap No. 2 for Nos. 6 & 17 and harvest either Wisconsin's 6-3 Devin Harris or 6-7 teenager Shaun Livingston with the highest pick.
Byron Scott must feel like a prisoner of war the way Stephen A. Smith interrogated him Friday evening. His hardest question was his first: "Why the New Orleans Hornets?" Because it was the only team that offered Scott a head-coaching job or was going to offer him one, you fool.
Stephen A(nal) never has intersected with integrity. Greg Anthony, meanwhile, thoroughly impugned his impartiality regarding Scott with the following decree: "His hiring gives the franchise credibility and stability."
If true, how does the ESPN analyst explain the two-year insurgence by Jason & The Argonauts, who flat out quit on their coach earlier this season?
The least Anthony should've done was mention it and haul up the players on charges, if he believes them deserving of discredit. The least Anthony should've done was refer to that contaminated matter as well as Scott's portrayal by an assortment of anonymous members of New Jersey's organization as an unprepared sloth. Again, he couldn't brand it nonsense, if that's what he believes.
Instead Anthony shamelessly ignored Scott's heavy baggage and tainted reputation.
Naturally, no one in the studio called him out on it.
In the humble estimation of Stephen A(nal) and Anthony, Scott was the best candidate for the Hive Master out there.
Either that's an indictment on the coaching profession, a reflection of the person (owner George Shinn; picking the coach before the GM is butt backwards) responsible for the appointment, or we've heard quite enough from the Barrens of Basketball.
Scott, it says here, will be run out of New Orleans within two seasons. If the elderly and chronically injured Hornets could barely squeak into the Eastern Conference playoffs, how fast do you think it'll take Western competition to expose and exploit his flaws?
The way ESPN and TNT are conducting business these days, you can no longer be the worst commentator on the air; you can only be among the worst. Presenting Michele Tafoya. During Friday's telecast ESPN's sideline reporter ("If it's news, it's news to me") breathlessly offered listeners this update: "Hey, guys, Ben Wallace's six brothers are real proud of him now ... Back to you, guys."
How Clockwork has been able to play all these years while shaming his family is fodder for a future news flash.
If Jamaal Tinsley's ailing left hamstring deactivates him for Game 5 and beyond, look for the Pistons' backcourt, especially its second unit, to ratchet up the defensive pressure significantly on dribbling-impaired Anthony Johnson. Perhaps the Pacers might be able to get away with employing rusty Kenny Anderson against Lindsey Hunter and Mike James, but, as you saw in Game 4, Chauncey Billups wasted no time in using and abusing him.
The Hawks received permission from the Pacers to interview associate coach Mike Brown for their head job when Indy's season ends ... Twenty replays later and ESPN's analysts have yet to point out why Jermaine O'Neal, fighting for a rebound, landed so awkwardly on his left knee; Rip Hamilton planted his backside into J.O.'s back, thus he was bent rearward when his feet touched the floor ... Austin Croshere (14 points on 5-8 FG in his first start in two seasons) is the only player in NBA history who turns a whiter shade of pink when overly exerting himself.
Does anyone jump on passes 20 feet from the hoop more than Reggie Miller? Have you ever seen Al Harrington take more than two dribbles on a fast break after a rebound and not turn it over or commit a charge? When will the Pacers learn to stop the dribbler? That's the first thing you're taught in organized ball. Are we sure some of these guys didn't come into the pros straight out of grammar school?
I see where Michael Jackson's trial has been set for Sept. 13. Tough timing, since it effectively eliminates anyone from taking a chance on him in the free-agent market.
According to a source in the know, Kobe Bryant wants to leave the Lakers and would strongly consider both the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs.