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Oden Has The Goods To Be A Bonafide Star

Okay, so I'm not going out on a limb here, but Greg Oden is really going to be a star. I'm not saying that because he's been a winner his whole career, only losing just 16 games his entire life; Or because respected NBA personnel executives like Donnie Walsh are calling him "a once-in-every-25-years center."

Anyone who watched the NCAA championship game between Ohio State and Florida, knows that Oden is capable of someday dominating on the NBA level - but few have had the opportunity to sit down with him for a one-on-one discussion. That's when it becomes obvious that Oden is truly something special.

I had the privilege of chatting with likely No. 1 pick of the NBA Draft late last night for a story that ran in today's paper. The story focused on how BDA Sports Management plans on marketing Oden to the public. It won't be a tough sale. Oden is the real deal. My colleague, Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times, probably described Oden best, saying he "has the charisma of Shaquille O'Neal, the candor of David Robinson and the practicality of Tim Duncan. And his game has the substance, many say, of Bill Russell."

When I walked into Oden's suite, I greeted all of his handlers and Oden reached out his hand and said, "Hello, sir. Welcome to my humble abode." We sat down and talked for about 25 minutes, which really put me up against my deadline (sorry editors), and I felt terrible that I wasn't able to capture how incredibly hilarious Oden is in the story.

My questions were like setups for his next joke. He may look 39, but his answers gave every inclination that he is indeed 19. If I didn't have to rush out to write my story - and if Oden didn't have such an incredibly busy schedule this week - I would've tried to talk to him longer. It's rare that you can find a player who is thoughtful, respectful and funny. And from conversations that I've had with people who know him, this was no act. This really was him.

Oden grabbed a seat behind a couch. On the table in front of him, there was a half-eaten steak, and a barely sipped strawberry-banana milkshake. I asked Oden how the shake was and he shook his head and frowned. "I'm more of a strawberry guy," he said, "I didn't need the bananas."

Here are some of the highlights of the interview.

I asked Oden about the reception he got when he checked into his hotel on Monday. Oden said he had no trouble making it through the lobby, but the scene got crazy once he approached the check-in counter. "Oh my goodness, it was swarms of people. They came out of nowhere. About 20 people. They came down from the walls like this. . . (While explaining this, Oden actually slapped the wall, dragging his hands down like Spiderman)"

On what fame and fortune mean to him: "If I can help people with who I am and what I make, that's what I want to do. Like being a household name, it's not about me. It's about me being blessed and me being blessed to help someone less fortunate."

On whose NBA career he would like to emulate: "Bill Russell. Eleven championships, 10 fingers. He's a winner that's what everybody wants to do. If I can go into a room and say, I got 10 fingers and 11 rings, what you got to say about that? That's what it's all about."

On meeting Russell before Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Cleveland: "I learned so much in that day I was with him. He's a great person to get to know. He has my number. He didn't call, but to say Bill Russell has my number, that's crazy."

On all of the attention he has received since the NBA draft lottery on May 22: "It doesn't seem that different. Attention is all I know. I've been through this since I was a sophomore in high school. I don't know any better."

On his current ESPN magazine cover, in which he sports a fancy derby: "When I'm grown and I'm a grandpa and my kids go, 'Grandpa you wasn't cool.' I'm going to pull that out and be like, 'You see this.' Only me and Dwyane Wade can pull off that hat.' And, then walk out. My daughter is going to walk up to me and say, 'Daddy, why did you leave the kids by themselves.' I'll tell her, 'They tried to play me.' "

On whether he has any plans of following Shaquille O'Neal having a film career, which such classics "Kazaam": "No. no. I was actually a big fan of that movie. I like Shaq. I'm the type of dude, if I like you, whatever you do, I'm going to like it."

On whom he would select with the No. 1 pick if he were general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers - Oden or Kevin Durant: "The best player who fits on that team. They are going to get a good guy whoever they take - and he should get ready for a lot of rain."

By Michael Lee  |  June 26, 2007; 10:20 AM ET
 
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Next: Time For Rhetoric To Be Replaced With Results

Comments

1st!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Okay, Oden's saying the right things, and I wish him well.

But I wonder what he'll be saying in February when 1) he's played the equivalent of a full college season and has 40 more games left in his rookie year; 2) he will have certainly seen more losses in that 40-plus game stretch of NBA season than in his entire career; 3) he is still grappling with the basics of NBA defense and 4) he's been posterized half-a-dozen times (hopefully at least once by Tough Juice)?

Not to mention, if he goes to Seattle, the questions surrounding their fight with the city over an arena and their possible departure for OKC or KC?

In other words, I wonder how his rookie year growing pains will affect his continued development as a player. Just hope he doesn't turn out like Kwame Brown did!

Posted by: iceberg | June 26, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I agree with your assessment of Oden. I had the opportunity to see him yesterday on the PTI 5 minute chat and I was quite impressed with him as well. He does indeed comes across as respectful, charming, funny and just plain out likeable. I really wish him well in his career and am just sorry he won't be in a Wizards uniform :-) Great article Ivan. I like the guy too.

And trust, Kwame Brown was never like Oden. No comparison. Taking the positive spin, I think this young man will be just fine despite rookie year growing pains. It appears he was raised very well and has a good head on his shoulders.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Great work ML...thanks for the info. Oden sounds like a good guy, the type that needs to be held up to the public and highlighted for who he is, not just what he does. Let's hope it sticks (Durant too).

Posted by: Glass Half Full? | June 26, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Mike Lee is back!! I can distinquish the writing. Thanks for a great article, Mike.

Hope you enjoyed your vacation - well deserved. Miss you when you're gone.
I think they will do well with Oden a bit better than some teams.

Note: I recall Emeka Okafor coming into the draft - bright eyed, charismatic, intelligent, team leader and mate. Only to go to Charlotte with articles later depicting his discomfort & sadness with the constant losing. Sadly, the NBA does that to great charisma at least for 2-3 yrs until they are able to "get traded"
to a team with better mgmt and direction.
From what I've read there appears to be pretty descent mgmt. Not sure.

Case in point: Andray Blatche bench warmer nonparticipant. The Wizards mgmt are poor @ developing talent. He showed when he studies a player intently - he can defend him well. Thus the KG matter. They could have assigned him specific players for each game & let him have a go but they didn't - they sat him. Had they tried to develop their players(besides Arenas) individually - they could have one heck of a team but sadly they don't.

Kudos to Oden.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

You know, that is a true point about Blatche. I have often wondered if he is truly happy being a Wizard and what are the chances that he decides he wants to play somewhere else regardless of what the Wiz offer him. Is it just me or has any other posters wondered about that.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

11:32, you're right on time. I especially liked that Oden looked to Bill Russell as an inspiration; he was a great player and has always been an excellent ambassador for humanity.

Posted by: iceberg | June 26, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Michael, I did not realize you wrote the article, I gave the credit to Ivan. But, anyway, great article and player assessment. Glad to see you writing about the Wiz again.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

You know, that is a true point about Blatche. I have often wondered if he is truly happy being a Wizard and what are the chances that he decides he wants to play somewhere else regardless of what the Wiz offer him. Is it just me or has any other posters wondered about that.

Posted by: | June 26, 2007 12:17 PM

Its not just you... i wonder about it too... and not just for blatche... i think EJs mysterious rotations have to be incredibly frustrating for every wizard outside of the starting five.
If you look at the great teams and coaches in all of sports its where all of the players know what their role is in the team and train and do it well.

Posted by: Dante | June 26, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

You can't help but be jealous of Portland. To get a player like Oden who is not only fantastic on the court, but fantastic off it as well. Portland will be Oden country very soon. That city will love him, you can bet every local business will be asking him to do commercials. Oden is going to bring back Rip City and don't be surprised if Portland is in the playoff hunt, they have some very good young talent around Oden there.

Posted by: George Templeton | June 26, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Every rookie goes through growing pains and hits the wall. The ability to push through it is what separates the real deals from the wannabes. You can never know beforehand how someone will react to a new situation. it's just wait and see. But Oden's attitude would seem likely to serve him well.

As for Blatche ... he's a restricted FA, so if the Wiz match whatever offers he gets, he'll be back.

"If you look at the great teams and coaches in all of sports its where all of the players know what their role is in the team and train and do it well."

And on some teams the role of young players is to wait and be ready when called upon. That's what Jordan has done with Blatche and, to his credit, he's show the ability to produce when his name is called.

Posted by: kalorama | June 26, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

The Blazers still have some work to do if they're really serious about turning things around with Oden as the centerpiece. They have to get rid of Darius Miles before he has a chance to infect Oden with his toxic attitude.

Posted by: kalorama | June 26, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if there is any talks of us trading Jamison, Haywood and our 16th for Jermaine O'Neal and Tinsley?

Posted by: AKM | June 26, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I sure hope there isn't.

Posted by: kalorama | June 26, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Why not? He is exactly what were missing, and we can get rid of a huge contract and a player that we need to move anyways.

It's being talked about on the Pacers board.

Posted by: AKM | June 26, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"If you look at the great teams and coaches in all of sports its where all of the players know what their role is in the team and train and do it well."

And on some teams the role of young players is to wait and be ready when called upon. That's what Jordan has done with Blatche and, to his credit, he's show the ability to produce when his name is called.

Posted by: kalorama | June 26, 2007 01:45 PM

Kalorama ,

My point was more that I don't think Jordan has done a good job defining roles for the bench players on this team. I am in total agreement with you that Blatche has produced when called upon. I just think that he and many others on the team would have produced even better and more often if there was some rhyme or reason to EJs use of them.

Posted by: Dante | June 26, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm actually the initial poster that wrote re: Blatche being under-developed.
I still stand by what I wrote. Especially after seeing him defend KG and KG's reaction and inability to respond to to this young upstart staying in his face being able to handle him. The Suns couldn't manage KG like our little rookie.

That game & his comments said - when properly prepared as he said he was for KG his idol - he's like a rot weiler after fresh meat. I once heard coach wooten say great players require a strong foundation, great training, discipline and practice.

Are they getting some muscle on him?
Look what sloan did w/Boozer?
Rem Boozer at Duke or Cleveland? Nothing like the Boozer at Utah.

Jerry Sloan - famed disciplinarian and trainer - also had Brown trained, practiced and ready to relieve Deron in playoffs

Sitting on the bench and suddenly getting "thrown in" without proper preparation and training gives just we got at the end of the year..a frustrated young player not interested in playing in our summer league. Listening to Brendan a frustrated, untrained, sour attitude, spoiled, goofball center.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

And that's where we disagree, Dante. In order for guys to have defined roles they have to produce defined results on the court. Aside from Antonio Daniels, I don't think anyone on the Wizards bench did that. They were either too young (Blatche), too inconsistent (Hayes) not playing at full strength (Songaila) or simply not good enough (everyone else) for Jordan to know and trust what he was going to get out of them on a given night. Sure, it would be nice for guys to know they're going to play a set number of minutes every game, no matter what. But the truth of the matter is that doesn't always happen in the NBA. Coaches go with guys they trust, they go with the hot hand, guys get hurt, guys get tired, whatever. The basketball nirvana of everyone playing the same minutes game in and game out like clockwork is a nice idea, but for guys as far down the pecking order as the ragtag Wiz bench, it's not a viable reality.

Jordan would play the bench more consistently if he had a bench with guys who played more consistently.

"Rem Boozer at Duke or Cleveland? Nothing like the Boozer at Utah."

Boozer was All-American and All-ACC at Duke and averaged 16 and 11 his second year in Cleveland, and was named to the All-Rookie second team.

Posted by: kalorama | June 26, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

It's great to see that Les BouleS' MVP and leader is busy busting his tail getting ready for the season, not taking a vacation or goofing off. His and Opech's work ethic gives Les BouleS' fans hope for the upcoming season.

"Caron told his family all the things still left on his list for the day; more running, more weights, a thousand made jump shots. "See you in New Orleans, 2008," he joked, when he saw me listening."

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2007/06/the_wizards_are_back.html

Posted by: DC Man88 | June 26, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

As much ability as Oden has shown, I predict he will be a bust. Not because he can't do the job, but because his body won't let him. He's already got a disc issue, one leg is shorter than the other, and I really think he's got a stamina issue which could point to his heart.

It's tough to say such a thing, but I'm surprised a lot of people aren't wondering the same thing. He was tired during his workouts, which he attributed to being out of shape, but he was also very tired against Florida during the Final 4.

Portland, if they are smart, will pull an Edgerrin James-Ricky Williams kind of draft. Shock the world by picking Durant instead of Oden, like how the Colts picked Edge instead of Ricky.

Posted by: DC Man88 | June 26, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

For a guy thats as good as gone, Deshawn sure likes to spend free time here.

Posted by: Johnny Boy | June 26, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Love Caron but he has vacation plans just like ANYONE else...and deservedly so....also from the Sportsbog:

"[If you want to know his vacation plans, Puerto Rico this month and the Bahamas in August.]"

Posted by: Lisa | June 26, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Coooool, but at least he didn't promise he was going to camp out at Verizon and focus on basketball and not do anything else.

Posted by: DC Man88 | June 26, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Durant.

I was thinking the same about Oden all last season as everyone else. But then I started watching all of the shows talking about busts who have been called big men coming into the league.

Durant will be the better player. You can just see it in his eyes.

Eye of the Tiger baby!

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | June 26, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I like Durant too.

Dwayne Wade snuck through to miami cause of carmello and lebron. As good as those two are, Wade has the only ring.

Posted by: greg | June 26, 2007 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Durant will probably be the better player, but you still pick Oden. Measure the difference between Oden and the center you would have if you didn't have Oden, then compare that difference to the difference between Durant and the forward you would have if you didn't have Durant. Scarcity, supply and demand, people. Didn't you take economics in college? If you need five particular things to make a particular item (in this case, 5 starters to make a championship team), and one of those things is very hard to get, you don't bust your budget on the other four.

Posted by: Sean | June 26, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

+ 1 Sean. It really is so simple. Its a question of winning games vs. selling tickets. And the crazy thing about it is that some people on this blog swear they're about winning games, then I hear foolishness like take Durant and I laugh.

Posted by: The Owl Wizard | June 26, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Oden might need to get a new agent. He's getting a 12 mil contract from Nike, while Durant is getting a 60 mil contract.

Posted by: DC Man88 | June 26, 2007 10:18 PM | Report abuse

As Kornheiser pointed out on PTI, big men don't sell shoes the way smaller, quicker, more athletic players do. Shoe companies sell the promise that their shoes will make you run as fast, jump as high, and be as athletic as their pitch men. It's a lie, but people are willing to believe it. There's no way to sell people on the idea that buying a certain brand of shoe will make them grow to 7 feet tall.

Posted by: kalorama | June 26, 2007 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Don't be modest Mr.Kalorama - Seeing as you're the only one with any brains - I'm sure you could convince them. Shocked you permitted Kornheiser an opinion. amazing

Posted by: hguone | June 27, 2007 2:48 AM | Report abuse

re. how prepared Andray and other bench warmers were to play, consistency in roles, etc.

Folks, it is Eddie Jordan's JOB to train and teach the younger players. If he doesn't train them in practice and give them minutes to make good or make mistakes, they will never learn. and Eddie Jordan will not have done his job. He will then keep playing the first five big minutes or even the whole game, thus fatiguing them and making them even more susceptible to injuries as the season progresses.

Posted by: rgz | June 27, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Listening to Grunfeld's comments yesterday and looking at the latest mock drafts I'd say chances are increasing the the Wizards will sit tight at 16.
With Grunfeld seeming to discount that there's much of a chance of seeing Navarro this year, then you'd have to look at his trip to Spain this winter as more of a scouting trip than a face to face with Navarro and his agent. If Navarro's buyout is too large to get out of this year, Ernie could have figured that out from Washington.
Tiago Splitter's name had been linked to us months ago because there was some feeling that Ernie had targeted him at 16.
In recent weeks his stock had seemed to have fallen to the point where trading down and getting an extra pick and still getting Splitter seemed possible.
Now it appears that the Nets might take Splitter at 17 so the trade down scenarios would not involve an attempt to get Splitter along with another assest.
That combined with the slippage of Julian Wright and some others seem to make it most likely that we'll be holding fast and picking at 16. It really does appear that someone that is of lottery quality will slip that far and that will be the most likely option that we'll see tomorrow night. And if with the quality of some of the players that appear to be available at 16 I don't think Ernie will be inclined to wait a year for Splitter. Though there are not many years that a 7' center that can rebound and defend is available at 16.
The trade front really appears interesting, a hugh amount of talk is going on all around the league. Jamison's name keeps being floated in other cities, but not here. It appears that Ernie would like to make a move and hold onto the big three, not move one of them.
Apparently Thomas, Daniels and Haywood's names are all out there in the trade market. It will be interesting to see if Ernie can make a move or moves that involve any or all of them. I'd say that Grunfeld is trying to move the three of them to free up cap space for next summer.
I think the big news in recent days is that in many respects it looks like Ernie made a good pick in Pecherov. He's grown and gotten stronger in the last year and appears to be a good athelete and another gym rat.
At the very least we will gain the infusion of two very talented first rounders this year. Chad Ford had commented last year that Pecherov could have been a top 10 pick if he waited til this year to throw his name in the draft. If a guy like Julian Wright would drop to us we could be bringing in two very talented rookies to add to the big three.
If Ernie can swing something on the trade front we could see a very improved team next season.

Posted by: GM | June 27, 2007 8:08 AM | Report abuse

"Don't be modest Mr.Kalorama - Seeing as you're the only one with any brains - I'm sure you could convince them. Shocked you permitted Kornheiser an opinion. amazing"

I don't know who you are or what your problem is, but I don't especially care either. If you have something to say on the topic of basketball fine. But if all you can manage is to take cheap shots (and not even ones that are especially creative or make much sense) you need to find another playmate. I've got no time or interest in your juvenile nonsense. I'm here to discuss hoops. We've already got enough trolls around here. We aren't accepting any new applications.


rgz:

It's Jordan's job to win games. Every player under contract is a paid professional and it's their responsibility to be prepared to do their jobs. As coach it's his job to use the resources he's given to their fullest potential. Is getting the guys ready to play part of that? Sure. But the success or failure of that effort depends largely on the players themselves. It doesn't matter how many minutes you give a guy, if he's not prepared and ready to perform, he won't get the job done. In the case of Blatche, this isn't even an issue, because when he did play he proved he was capable of performing against NBA competition. So by your definition, Jordan did his job with Blatche. The issue with him now is consistency, but that'll come with time.

Posted by: kalorama | June 27, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Not sure about the Spanish trip angle. Its hard to convince a player and his agent that you really want them on your team but not enough to meet him in person. Afterall, you're not asking him to buy a ticket and come over. you're asking him to pay a few million to come over.

I also think that trip gave him the unique opportunity to gauge exactly how much La Bomba's team would be willing to decrease the buyout. (they were reportedly open to it, since Navarro has been so loyal to them) They aren't gonna text that kind of info to Ernie's CrackBerry.

Posted by: Johnny Boy | June 27, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Mike Lee is back - fantastic! Best articles from Mike. Draft day one day away..taking care of elderly parent - not much time to peak at the blog. But my daughter's going to Madison Sq to the draft so she'll keep me updated. Curious to see what Wizards do if anything w/their pick. Bit disturbed the Suns are even considering any changes but I'll see.

Everyone's a gambler - holding cards close to the chest.

Posted by: robin | June 27, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

How are they gonna move Etan? Isn't there a contract issue?

Posted by: john | June 27, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Robin, for a team that seemed so close the Suns seem to be in helter skelter trade mode. Not only have they been trying to engineer two different three ways for Garnett(one with Boston, One with Atlanta) they're supposed to be trying to engineer a deal with Charlotte for their lottery pick. They must have convinced some of the lottery bound guys' agents that it's for real because they got a batch of them to work out yesterday. And best of luck with things with your parent, hope all goes well.
Johnny Boy, the other thing about the whole Navarro thing that I can't quite figure out is offering up Daniels to trade if Ernie didn't think he could get Navarro to fill Daniels' role. It almost seems like by trading Daniels Grunfeld would be creating an ideal situation to use Navarro and Arenas together.
But that's Grunfeld, he's not going to let anyone know which direction he's going. He sure doesn't seem to have Chad Ford, Andy Katz, or Wilbon or any of the other media guys on speed dial like some of these other front office guys do. I don't think that one move that he's made since he's been here that has really gotten leaked out early, so we'll know what's going on when it has already happened.

Posted by: GM | June 27, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I think there will be a stud at 16. I think it can be one of these players

Julian Wright
Thad Young
Javaris Crittenton
Acie Law
Nick Young (even though i am not sold on him)

I think we have a shot at one of these players and they will all help soon. I also think, in the case of Thad and Crittenton, they have a chance to be bonafide stars in the league. It will be a huge steal if we can pick one of those players up (and I think Julian Wright can be a very good starter).

Posted by: Terpin It | June 27, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

If Julian Wright doesn't slip, is anyone else secretly hoping that we pick Thaddeus Young? That guy looks like he'll be sick in a couple of years.

Posted by: Glass Half Full? | June 27, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

John,

I think the only real issue with Etan's contract is that he's paid more than he's worth. But strictly speaking, his contract isn't huge. There's really no such thing as a untradeable NBA contract, as long as the team dealing is willing to take pennies on the dollar in value.

Posted by: kalorama | June 27, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

from personal knowledge and understanding -
NY is drawing up a deal to bring Monte Ellis from Portland. He was in DC & w/his agent working out basic particulars. Not sure why - talk about one crazy confusing team. Hope Ellis doesn't take the deal but money screams!

Thought Portland would add some pieces and defense perhaps and try again. dumb

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

correct me if i'm wrong, but i think ellis is with golden state

Posted by: hmmmmm | June 27, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

DCMAN88- DO NOT RESPOND TO HIM OR ACKNOWLEDGE HIM HE USES INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE ON THIS FORUM


Ellis IS w/ GS


DCMAN88- DO NOT RESPOND TO HIM OR ACKNOWLEDGE HIM HE USES INAPPROPIATE LANGUAGE ON THIS FORUM

Posted by: Wizzin' by Ya | June 27, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

DCMAN88- DO NOT RESPOND TO HIM OR ACKNOWLEDGE HIM HE USES INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE ON THIS FORUM


Monta Ellis IS w/ GS not Portland...


DCMAN88- DO NOT RESPOND TO HIM OR ACKNOWLEDGE HIM HE USES INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE ON THIS FORUM

Posted by: Wizzin' by Ya | June 27, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, don't know anonymous poster but Wilcox(my daughter's)friend and former UMD classmate - is in Seattle. Monte is at Golden State Warriors. From what I recall -Monte just left town.

Thanks GM. You're right - Amare wasn't being attentive & lost focus during games which disturbed Nash & Marion wanted more touches. I guess all that running will eventually wear you out.

Posted by: robin | June 27, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

my bad!!!!!!! meant Ellis of Golden State not portland.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

The funny thing is you'd think guys would be knocking themselves out to play in an uptempo system with a passer like Nash.
Everyone including their coach seemed a little uptight by the end of the year. The Spurs and their All-shucks laid back/ I'll put an elbow in your throat style really do seem to get in team' heads.
I just didn't expect that Kerr would come to town ready to overhaul the team. Some people are trying to say there's friction here between Grunfeld and Jordan over style of play, I wonder how things will play out in Phoenix.

Posted by: GM | June 27, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

This could be real hectic. According to the wires, this blockbuster *may* be going down soon:

1. KG from MIN to PHX
2. Amare Stoudemire from PHX to ATL
3. MIN gets ATL's #3 and #11 picks tomorrow night plus Zaza Pachulia and Anthony Johnson.

Apparently this would help the Hawks avoid an internal split over whether to get Al Horfort or Yi Jianlian.

IC, ML, where y'all at? Holla.

Posted by: iceberg | June 27, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

That's Al Horford, not Horfort. My bad!

Posted by: iceberg | June 27, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Agreed GM. Apparently - D'Antoni(suns coach) was quite serious about each player contributing & scoring. I read Amare was called in for low production - approx 19 pts in several games. Nash felt Amare amazing but "sometimes loses the focus" If that happened here? Each player expected to contribute and scoring requirements. oye ve!! mama mia!!

I do recall - KG saying he liked the Suns style of play a lot ..it'll be interesting.

Posted by: robin | June 27, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Trading Amare for KG would be a big gamble for the Suns. I still think that if it hadn't been for Stoudemire getting suspend they probably would have beaten the Spurs in the WCF and would have a serious shot at it next season if they stood pat (although escaping that series and winning the title may have given San Antonio a second wind going into next season). Making that deal would be trading the future for a shot at right now. Even if it works (no guarantees there) they may get a title out of it, possibly even two. But when age catches up to Nash and KG (to say nothing of their ballooning contracts) the slide down is going to be steep and fast.

It'll be interesting to see what happens.

Posted by: kalorama | June 27, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Kalorama, I actually think the age thing is why getting KG and shipping out Amare makes sense. The Suns aren't getting more than a few more seasons out of Nash. Might as well go for the ring now, because once Nash is gone, they go back to middle-of-the-pack. Garnett is better right now than Stoudemire, IMO. Plus, I hear lots of rumblings about Stoudemire's attitude, desire, work ethic, etc. Don't know if they're true, but you have to wonder why Phoenix would even consider trading one of the best young players in the league...

Posted by: keithinator | June 27, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Kobe has a grudge with the Suns to start with, can you imagine just how pissed he'll be if they swoope in and get Garnett after the Lakers failed to pull something off to get him. Look out for a few flying elbows next season, they'll probably start in practice if he shows.
Kalorama is right, it appears that the Suns would be giving up alot in terms of future potential giving up Amare for Garnett. But the one concern with Amare is doubts about the longterm health of his knee after microfracture surgery that young. It would be just the Hawks luck if the thing would blowout on him.
On the surface it would give the Hawks a one/two punch surrounded with alot of young peices, and the Timberwolves appear to want the two lottery picks more than Amare. The Suns would have a window to play for the title for a few years while Nash is still playing at a high level, so everybody could be happy...except Kobe...

Posted by: GM | June 27, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

GM,

Given how quick and near complete a recovery Amare seems to have made, I don't think there are any serious long-term concerns about his knee. Previously the issue had always been that guys who had the surgery (Webber, Houston, Kidd, KMart) never recovered their athleticism. Stoudemire hasn't had that problem. I don't think re-injury or long-term structural damage was ever a big concern. But your point about the Hawks' bad luck is a valid one. If the deal is done, Amare should be more worried about Atlanta's bad karma doing him in than any medical issue.

keithinator,

I certainly understand why the Suns would take the risk of going after Garnett. I'm just wondering, given how close they came and the fluke circumstances that derailed them, whether a title is within their grasp without making any changes. They could easily have the best of both worlds, win now and still be stocked for the future. On some level, it seems like an extreme reaction to losing to the Spurs.

And I've heard lots of vague musings (both from fans and media types) about friction and locker room issues among the Suns, but I've yet to see/hear anyone with actual access and insight spill any real details. it makes me wonder if perhaps a bit of minor, everyday workplace friction might be getting blown into something bigger than it really is, just because the Suns chemistry has been so solid, even a small crack seems like a huge deal.

Posted by: kalorama | June 27, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

i mean, are there no updates?????????the draft is....hello!!!! TOMORROW! would somebody please get to work. there has to be some "inside info" floating around. geeze.

Posted by: willieD | June 27, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

It is tough to do updates when getting info from Ernie Grunfeld is like getting blood from a stone.
The only thing the Suns need is an heir apparent at PG. That's what makes selling their draft choices at the end of the first round the last couple of years so hard to understand. Think Rajon Rondo wouldn't have helped the Suns.

Posted by: George Templeton | June 27, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

hear, hear!

Posted by: mikem | June 27, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone expect Grunfeld to be forthcoming about whom they are going to pick? C'mon....

Posted by: DC Man88 | June 27, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

then friggin guess, but nothin?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2007 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Up late w/ elderly parent health issues. great NBA/Suns discussion. There's an article on ESPN about the NON-KG/Amare trade. Apparently not going to happen and yes, Keithinator and Kalorama you're both right.(see article) Its age and Amare's lack of discipline(stepping on court)that apparently has caused them to discuss the trade.

Also,Kerr has told the players that no one on the team is untouchable."

The last time I heard a GM say that was Kupschak regarding Kobe & Shaq.

As I wrote earlier - Amare was called to D'Antoni's ofc for lack of enthusiasm & points.

It sounds as tho Kerr & D"Antoni have conflicting views on the structure of the team but according to this morning's espn the deal won't happen.

IMO from the peanut galley - I agree with you guys assessment - Phoenix sounds pissed about those suspensions -They have a aging pg & owner that want rings & trophy. It sounds like it may be Amare's last yr in Phoenix.

Posted by: Robin | June 28, 2007 2:41 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, last week everything was: Who will they get to help Kobe? Now, the thought of Garnett being traded and for Amare is creating great discussions. Is this the year the Suns reorganize? It will be interestingt.

Posted by: robin | June 28, 2007 2:47 AM | Report abuse

Ivan - Do you have any "new" stuff for us? Draft day is today????? No disrespect Mike Lee, if the posts are not about the Wizards I could care less.

I know you do the national stuff (great articles), so that is what your posts are going to be about, but as one guy said earlier, this is draft day mannnnnnn!!!!!

Where is the Wizards stuff?????? We are not getting Oden or Durant so why are we talking about them? Do either one of you have anything "new" for us hardcore Wizards fans? thanks...............

Posted by: mikie | June 28, 2007 8:02 AM | Report abuse

I have a date tonight, someone please tell me what happens. :P

Expect the Wiz to stand pat and draft some 6'7" kid to sit the bench next year.

That's my prediction anyway.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | June 28, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Just read article: Grunfeld states: "Were looking at the best available player at 16 and no, not going to go Big." We have some young big guys that can play."(No discussion of trading BH)Both Blatche & Pecherov are considred "rotation players"
by the Wiz Organization. As a result they will likely settle on a player with perimeter skills - a) Jason Smith; b) Nick Young and; c) Thaddeous Young. That said though -they have already stated the "new person" won't see any playing time til...NEXT YEAR. Supposedly not been involved in serious trade discussions(per team scout)Although, Tapscott stated there were 2 teams discussing Haywood - but I guess not serious. Who knows...

Stevenson states he will opt out.

What was clear - they like the set core of guys they have and aren't interested in shaking things up til next year when they deal with Arenas. Blatche & Pech will remain "bench players"

Regardless of Grunfeld's words - I'm taking a "wait & see attitude"
These guys act like they used to work in the CIA..

I think its prob easier for Lee & Carter to write about other teams because they're more open to the press. Wiz Org. - a bit bizarre in their dealings, are not.

It flows from the top.

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