NEW YORK — Infamous for his demonic defense and alarming genuineness, Ron Artest recently evaluated the NBA’s two newest compulsive scorers after confronting the incoming rookies in Magic Johnson’s summer all-star game.
“Carmelo Anthony is way too smart and too good for someone so young,” praised the proactive Pacer. “He’s so quick and explosive. When I attacked him (three steals), it gave me the advantage. When he attacked me, he basically did what he wanted to do.”
On the other hand, there was no stopping LeBron James. Nor are there any thoughts about stopping him. According to Artest, he’s too strong, too fast and too versatile.
At 110 kg of uncontaminated mass, the Cavaliers’ celestial creature looks and plays like a 25-year-old, four-year veteran. A mirror image of his aggressive assessor, in other words.
“I couldn’t believe it,” obsessed Artest. “He’s only 18 and already he’s too strong for me. He’s not a normal guy. I’ve got to go home and try to figure out what to do with him.”
Angry about not being traded, as promised by outgoing Portland president Bob Whitsitt, Ruben Patterson continues to fume about being sucker-punched by Zach Randolph during a Blazer practice last season. A subsequent apology by Randolph was deemed insincere by Patterson.
The often-arrested small forward — whose baggage, four-year, $25 million obligation and suspect jumper makes him virtually untradable — made it clear he wants nothing to do with his teammate once they leave the court. For the sake of his children, contract and career, Patterson put Randolph at ease by stating he had no intention of beating him up or having someone else do it.
Most people think Randolph hit Patterson from behind because Ruben was bullying rookie Qyntel Woods, his best friend on the team. While that may very well have been partially provoked him, Blazer sources maintain Zach was really retaliating from an incident at a previous practice.
What began as an apparent good-natured wrestling match following a lot of crowing about each other’s strength and skill, things turned ugly moments after the 205-cm Randolph charitably released the 195-cm Patterson from a vise-like grip. Catching Randolph off guard, eyewitnesses say Patterson abruptly picked up his opponent and body-slammed him.
Naturally, teasing teammates relentlessly harped on whom really had won and the situation festered. Patterson’s attempted intimidation of Woods seemingly gave Randolph an excuse to get even.
Despite the rampant speculation in the Bay Area, Chris Mullin was not the force behind the Antawn Jamison trade. He had as much to do with it as GM Garry St. Jean.
From what I’m told, Chris Cohan made the multi-player deal all by his lonesome with Dallas’ Mark Cuban; the Warriors’ owner has been distressed about Jamison’s six-year, $79 million extension from the moment other owners advised him what a mortal mistake he’d made.
That’s one reason St. Jean is fundamentally powerless — any major personnel decisions must now be approved by a five-man committee — and why Mullin is being groomed as his successor.
As for Cuban, other than Knick management, there’s nobody better at marrying outlandishly overpaid players minus a pre-nuptial agreement.
Once Alonzo Mourning and Karl Malone were unwilling to accept more than they were worth — actually, they preferred to play in systems where offensive rebounds weren’t the only time they touched the ball — Cuban went even deeper into his pockets for Jamison and Danny (four years, $24 million) Fortson.
By the way, what ever happened to all those free agents Jermaine O’Neal alleged wanted to play with him in Indiana?
Maybe if he’d taken several millions less on the front end and not insisted on the max to re-sign, the Pacers would’ve had room to import someone of more import than Kenny Anderson at the $1 million veteran minimum.
Maybe they could’ve kept starter Brad Miller (though I certainly wouldn’t have endorsed investing remotely near the $67 million offered by the Nuggets and Kings) rather than being forced to trade him to Sacramento in a three-way deal for sub Scott Pollard.
Who knows, if O’Neal had consented to skimp for the next seven years on $100 million vs. $126 million and Donnie Walsh/Larry Bird hadn’t rewarded Reggie Miller with another $5 million or so this season and next, maybe the team would’ve had the flexibility to distinctly improve its roster.
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