By Will Meadows
Sunday, July 14th, 2002
The NBA's offseason is always full of hope and promise. With new draft picks
and free agent signings, NBA teams can transform seemingly overnight from
conference doormats to NBA darlings. For some teams, the hopes of the future
can come crashing down before the first training camp. Without further delay,
let's begin our journey into the basketball abyss we call the NBA.
Last week, the NBA held its annual draft in New York. Apparently, the
Seattle Supersonics did not get the memo that says pick the best player
available. With the 49th pick in the second round they drafted 6'11" forward
Peter Fehse from Germany. This is not to say Peter will never become
a serviceable NBA player. I cannot pass judgment on him because I have not
seen him play, but guess what, neither have the Seattle Supersonics.
Seattle general manager Rick Sund admitted that his organization had
not seen the German big man play and admitted they made the pick based on
a tip. Whom are the Sonics getting their tips from, Mickey Mouse?
Good job, Seattle, your ship is sinking faster than the Titanic. Note to
perennial all-star Gary Payton and Sonic head coach Nate
McMillan, grab your life preserver while you can.
Meanwhile, down in New Orleans, the newly transplanted Hornets are
trying to come to an agreement with rising star Baron Davis. Baron
wants to leave the Hornets because he does not want to play in New Orleans.
The prolific point guard wants to be traded to a team in the Los Angeles
area where he played his collegiate ball at UCLA. Baron also is interested
in hanging his sneakers in Chicago and New York, which are
also on his short list for future employment. He has one year left before
his contract is up, and then he can take his services to the highest bidder.
Hornets personnel man Bob Bass has said he will not trade Baron under
any circumstances. To move things along, the Hornets have backed up the Brinks
truck and offered him a six-year contract extension worth the league maximum.
I can see Baron now looking out his window and saying to himself, "I hear
you knocking, but you can't come in."
The situation is only going to escalate if both sides cannot reach an amicable
agreement. By the time the situation is settled, the Hornets are going to
wish the Brinks truck had run Baron Davis over.
If you are a Los Angeles Clippers fan, you have my deepest condolences.
Clippers owner Donald Sterling had a deal worked out on draft night
with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Clippers would have sent the 8th
and 12th picks along with the multi-talented and often-suspended Lamar
Odom to Cleveland. In return, the Cavaliers would have shipped point
guard extraordinaire Andre Miller to the Clippers.
The Cavaliers told Clippers management to select Caron Butler with
their eighth pick. It appears the Clippers have selective hearing because
instead of taking Butler, they took Maryland power forward Chris
By this point in time, you know Cleveland had realized the Clippers had shafted
them and the deal was off. Here is what I gather from this whole situation.
Over the past two seasons, the Los Angeles Clippers have amassed the best
young talent in the NBA. By making a trade for future all-star Elton
Brand on draft day last year, the Clippers sent a message to the league
and its fans. The message conveyed was that they were building an organization
that would compete with the talent of their Staples Center roommates, the
Los Angeles Lakers.
The fairytale story will end if the Clippers do not do something to shore
up their current point guard situation and open the vaults to compensate
unrestricted free agent Michael Olowokandi. To add more headaches
for the Clippers, starters Corey Maggette, Odom, and Brand all are
eligible for contract extensions this summer. Not to mention, guard Jeff
McInnis wants a hefty pay raise for his services.
Donald Sterling is starting to revert to his old ways of throwing pennies
around instead of dollars. This is evident by not wanting to add payroll
by signing Andre Miller if the trade would have went down. The team of the
future will come to a screeching halt if money is not invested in the teams'
young stars, and improvements in depth and at the point guard position are
On a more serious note, Utah Jazz center Greg Ostertag did
something that is more courageous than any thing he could have done on a
basketball court. He donated one of his kidneys to his sister who had
complications due to diabetes.
This is just one example of a real life issue that athletes face in their
lives. Sometimes, we make the mistake of thinking our heroes are invincible,
and impervious to any real life problems because of their perceived fame
and fortune. In reality, athletes are just like you and me with the exception
that they have a gift to perform at a higher level when it comes to athletic
People rarely get to hear of the good deeds that happen outside of the arena.
Most athletes do not want the attention or they feel like people will view
it as self-promotion. Athletes like Ostertag should be put on a pedestal
for their generosity above their athletic achievements. Greg Ostertag has
often been criticized for not playing with heart on the court. While off
the court, he has a heart of gold.