NEW YORK — President Rod Thorn’s “bold” admission last week that he tried to trade Jason Kidd to the Lakers right up until the deadline is a dead giveaway the Nets guard was intimately involved in New Jersey’s game plan.
In fact, Kidd, who compiled his 11th playoff triple-double (23 points, 13 rebounds, 14 assists to place him a mere 19 behind leader Magic Johnson) in Saturday’s 96-80 victory over the Cavaliers, was fully in favor of joining the Lakers, sources said at the time.
At the same time, he understood completely L.A.’s reluctance to surrender Andrew Bynum as the principal player in the package.
“If I were the Lakers I wouldn’t have given him up for me, either,” Kidd told confidants.
For whatever reason, management throughout the NBA is coming clean.
Lakers VP Jim Buss went on L.A. radio a few days ago and all but guaranteed major roster revisions after the draft lottery positions are set May 22.
If a major trade isn’t done by the end of June, Jerry Buss’ son said, fans should be upset, “because as a fan, I would be upset.”
Evidently, no one — including Bynum, contrary to widespread reports — is untouchable exempting Kobe.
The idea is to build a title contender now (so why wasn’t the Bynum-Kidd deal made?), not three or four years from now. I could have sworn he said the Lakers aren’t afraid to exceed the luxury cap.
Jim Buss also acknowledged he doesn’t like it when Phil Jackson puts down his players in the press (he plans to talk to him about it) and claimed the Zen Hen had a say with the team’s makeup in the last few years.
Last summer, in an organizational meeting, Jim Buss revealed Jackson signed off on the team and said he could go far with that roster.
“For Phil to make comments about being frustrated about the personnel is a copout.”
A couple hours after the Jazz had taken a 2-0 lead on the Warriors, a friend of mine had a brief phone conversation with Andrei Kirilenko (20 points, nine rebounds, six blocks and five assists) who was having a late night dinner with his wife and several guests.
“Great game. It’s a shame your amazing stats are going to be overshadowed by ‘divine intervention.’ “
Kirilenko laughed and thanked our friend who went on to tell him how glad he was the Jazz were playing the Warriors “because their free-flowing style plays into your free-roaming effectiveness.”
Was it the title-tested, misery-motivated Pistons’ pressure at both ends or purely playoff pressure that thoroughly unnerved the Babyback Bulls in the second half of Game 3?
How tight did their short arms get (five field goals) in the final 12 minutes?
They couldn’t even make shots that no longer mattered.
How much of a chance do the Bulls have when Tayshaun Prince, the Pistons defensive specialist, consistently outscores Luol Deng, Chicago’s leading point producer?
Prince, by far, is the NBA’s most under-publicized player.
Had Rick Carlisle remained Detroit’s coach, do you think Tayshaun would be starting him over Michael Curry by now?
Carlisle, by the way, appears infinitely more relaxed (and enlightening) in front of ESPN’s camera than he does on the sideline. I do believe he has found a new home.
I rarely find fault with Scott Skiles’ decision making, but excluding Chris Duhon from his shortened seven-man rotation in the second half of Game 3 was a grave injustice to the player and a solemn disservice to the team.
Duhon has been a vital, hardworking, multi-skilled component for three seasons.
Why kill his confidence now?
Especially when Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Andres Nocioni and Deng were spraying blanks?
Not that they need extra incentive to get up for the Bulls, but Rip Hamilton takes special pleasure in smothering Hinrich. I’m told Hamilton feels Hinrich has been given far too much unearned (World Championship spot/third team All-Defense) credit.
Could the habitually distracted Rasheed Wallace be any more disrespectful to Flip Saunders during team huddles?
Regal talent, boorish behavior.