“Let them eat cake” links edition featuring free agency, the 2012 summer olympics, the upcoming draft, the Thunder’s big dilemma and more as the offseason begins, and my girlfriend gets to see me again.
—NCAA Champion Kentucky’s second best player, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, has had a stuttering problem, but he has gotten better reports Y! Sports’ Marc J. Spears.
—Tony Parker was involved in the Drake Chris Brown kerfuffle at NYC nightclub W.i.P. when a shard of glass flew into his cornea. Now Marc Stein is reporting that Parker, a Frenchman (if you didn’t know), might not be able to compete for the French national team, which also features Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum and Joakim Noah. Parker is actually suing the NYC nightclub for $20 million and the Spurs are understandably upset since Parker can’t even fly to San Antonio so their doctors can check him out.
—Sources—including Heat beat writer Brian Windhorst—are reporting the Celtics’ Ray Allen is interested in the Miami Heat as a possible destination as the NBA’s free agency period starts; it’s a mutual interest as I’m sure the Heat wouldn’t mind adding the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-point field goals to their championship team. Fans in the Sportsnation poll were understandably upset with the possibility of one of their stars going to a competitor.
—Augmenting those Boston fan concerns is Zach Lowe’s post about how well Allen would fit into the Heat’s newly found small-ball rotation. The mighty just getting mightier I suppose, but
—Sports Illustrated’s, Sam Amick, with on some key draft questions including: what executives are saying about this year’s crop of potential draftees (they feel only Kentucky’s Davis and Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal are the only potential all-stars in the mix), but it’s a draft high on depth with multiple players at most positions that could crack the starting lineups at some point in their careers. Also, he writes about what the Bobcats are expected to do for the worst team of all time. I do not envy Rich Cho’s job even as I sit jobless.
—Maybe you haven’t heard, but ESPN reported the Rockets are very serious about a possible trade for embattled Magic big man Dwight Howard. They’ve already dealt Chase Budinger to Minney for the 18th pick in the draft, and the plan is to move up into the top 10, then offer picks and others—Kyle Lowry—to acquire Howard for one season. A season they hope will convince him to stay. The excellent Jonathan Feigen at the Houston Chronicle mulls the inherent risk of the move since Howard could certainly bolt after the season.
—Sean Highkin of Hardwood Paroxysm on Daryl Morey’s big moment as the GM of the Rockets. Morey, if you didn’t know, is a bit of an OG when it comes to statistical analysis in basketball. He’s like the Bill James of basketball, using the tenets of James’ quantitative data for baseball (sabermetrics) to ascertain cost-effective players (like Kyle Lowry—an important piece in a possible Howard deal).
—James Harden, Serge Ibaka and Eric Maynor can all start to negotiate extensions to their rookie deals this summer. That puts OKC in a bit of a bind since both Ibaka (league leader in BPG) and Harden (the NBA’s 6th man of the year) could all find max deals next summer. So what are the Thunder to do? Harden, for his part, told the Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry last weekend:
“‘This is something special here,’ Harden said. ‘A dynasty is being built here. So we’re winning, we’re having fun and we’re brothers. The other stuff, you can’t buy it.’
Harden said his close friendships with his teammates is an extremely important factor in his decision as well.
‘This team is like a family,’ Harden said. ‘Like, we’re really brothers. We hang out most of the time every single day. You won’t find any other team like this. I love it here.’”
—Steve Nash is “completely open” to playing for the Knicks as he told the WSJ’s Jason Gay (h/t the Arizona Republic), but he also went on 98.7 ESPN New York (thanks to the fellas behind Pro Sports Interviews) and said money is a “very important” favor in free agency. Uh Oh Heat and Knicks fans because you’re going to be limited. There was also an interview he did over the weekend with Eric Smith of Sports Net 590 where he said his shortlist was Phoenix, Toronto (he’s from Canada) and Portland.
Who freakin’ knows because even Steven Nash doesn’t.
—Larry Bird is set to leave the Indiana Pacers despite their turnaround this regular season (earning the 3rd spot in the East), and their tough play against Miami in the Conference Semifinals this postseason.
—Erik Spoelstra reflects on the Heat’s championship season.
—The NBA 2K13 cover was revealed. It features Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin. Good choices, now stop playing video games and go play basketball for real. I kid.
[Championship cake images via Peninsula is Mightier]