Pacers center Roy Hibbert goes ‘Gangnam Style’ at an Indianapolis mall’s food court (VIDEO)

22 Oct

Frankly, after a lockout-induced offseason spent chronicling the incessant planking of NBA types a year ago, we were hoping the "Gangnam Style"-fad would fade out by the time the NBA's regular season started up in late October. The odd offseason chronicle isn't the worst thing, but the last thing we want to do is take in an endless amount of post-dunk Gangnam celebrations in the way our mates at Shutdown Corner have had to do with the NFL's celebrations.

Then Indiana Pacer Roy Hibbert, as he always seems to do, goes and makes it fun for everyone.

Hibbert and some pals from the Pacers' cheering crew "Area 55" (so named for Roy's uniform number) put together a flash mob at a downtown Indianapolis mall on Sunday, spiraling out of nowhere to Gangnam it up; with Roy looking especially resplendent in a white suit that he told Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears he had especially designed for the performance. Watch:

The Pacers are fun, and they're going to win a ton of games this year. And now the next step is to turn all of those blue Indianapolis Colts t-shirts, as lined up outside Sbarro's, into gold and blue Roy Hibbert unis.

Tags: court, , , , , style,
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Dirk Nowitzki’s knee surgery will keep him out six weeks, and it was a long time coming

19 Oct

Larry Bird played 41,329 minutes in his career, combining playoff and postseason totals, and his body was an absolute wreck by the time it was over. Oscar Robertson managed 47,559 minutes in his legendary turn, and he was just sort of hanging on at the end. Michael Jordan put up 48,485, and you saw how he looked from 2001 to 2003, because every one of those bloody Washington Wizards games was on national TV.

Dirk Nowitzki, who just underwent arthroscopic surgery on his bothersome right knee that will keep him out for six weeks, is already at 43,595 career minutes; and he'll be asked to lead a hopefully reformed Dallas Mavericks right back into the championship hunt one last time during the 2013-14 season (this season, more or less, is an 82-game holding pattern with hopes for a surprise at the end). Kobe Bryant is at an astonishing 51,018 in his career, and he'll be the focal point late in games for championship contenders both next spring and over a year and a half from now. Kevin Garnett is at 50,600; and Celtics fans badly want another shot at the Finals before the wheels fall off, which is why KG is signed through 2014 with partial guarantees through 2015.

[More NBA: Will Lakers go after LeBron when Kobe retires?]

Teenagers that entered the NBA during the 1990s had a lot going for them. Garnett (as a high schooler), Kobe (as a high school guard, something that was dismissed in the wake of Garnett and Moses Malone's jump from preps to pros) and Nowitzki (as an international project) were all groundbreakers in significant ways; and on top of that noise, due to their brilliance, almost immediately they were playing big minutes with postseason participants. Toss in the ever-expanding NBA playoff format, and some good luck with health for the first decade or so, and the minutes piled up. Sure, they got their first big contract a few years earlier than Oscar, Larry and Michael; but they also had their knee first drained at ages that no athlete should have to consider.

Dirk has been the luckiest of the triptych, only counting an unfortunately timed knee sprain in the 2003 playoffs and a malaise-inspired trip through the 2011-12 campaign as his only injury or conditioning missteps. All the while, the Mavericks have taken an intelligent extended view of Nowitzki's progress — sticking with him after a tough rookie year, refusing to put him back on the court in 2003, and writing off that championship defense in 2011-12 while considering the possibilities of pairing Dirk with either Dwight Howard or Deron Williams as it worked back to the top of the heap in 2012-13.

Instead, Dirk got Darren Collison. And surgery, which will keep him out of the season's first month, and keep Nowitzki a little hesitant as he throws his 7-foot frame around for a few weeks after. It's his first time under the knife, and no amount of veteran know-how can prepare you for those first uneasy strides upon the return.

[Also: Lakers planning for Dwight Howard to play Sunday]

How it affects the Mavericks will be discussed next week in our Dallas season preview, but the quick and obvious take is the correct one — Dirk is the team's best player, by far, and the squad's spacing and movement come as a result of the attention paid to its best player from that high elbow. It's true that Chris Kaman's perimeter marksmanship will help, and we trust Rick Carlisle with coaching adjustments as much as any man in the NBA, but the Mavs will struggle. In spite of the team's 3-1 record (with victories over the middling Suns, Hornets, and similarly-successful Jazz; and a loss to the Timberwolves) without Nowitzki last season.

In terms of experiments, the high school influx from 1995 to 2005 went quite well. Players like Tracy McGrady and Andrew Bynum have endured their fair share of career-defining ailments, but you get the sense those would have set in just as early had they worked through a year or two at North Carolina or Kansas. It truly is remarkable that, with over 145,000 career regular and postseason minutes between Kobe, Dirk and KG, we're still looking at these three as franchise players who would stand tallest amongst all the confetti come June.

Consider that, before fretting about orthopedic shoes.

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The Los Angeles Lakers will attempt to sign LeBron James as a Kobe Bryant-replacement in 2014, ‘several’ NBA team executives suggest

18 Oct

It seems like news intended for those who only know the names of four or five basketball players, and three NBA teams. LeBron James could become a Los Angeles Laker in 2014. Of course, he could become a member of the Memphis Grizzlies or Houston Rockets in 2014 should he decide to utilize the Early Termination Option in his contract and join one of the 29 other teams besides the Miami Heat that would want to employ his services, but it's the Lakers' potential to sign James that has some NBA executives talking.'s Brian Windhorst, who has followed James for years and knows him as well as any journo talking, discussed the options with a few high-rankers around the NBA, and they seem to be pretty convinced that Los Angeles is attempting to go after James when Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol's contracts run out following the 2013-14 season. From ESPN:

Several teams' executives have told they believe the Lakers are positioning themselves to make a run at LeBron James in 2014, when the Miami Heat star can choose to become a free agent.


"It's not a mistake that all those deals end the same year Kobe's does. They have probably been planning for their next phase for a while," said one general manager. "The Busses and [Lakers GM] Mitch [Kupchak] are always thinking about the next big deal."

It's true. The Lakers are always thinking a few years down the line, but just about any NBA GM with a scintilla of job security is always thinking one or two or three offseasons ahead.

And what is also true is the fact that, sure, the Lakers are leaving that option open. That doesn't mean James is using the Lakers as an option, or even a hoped-for destination; and it certainly wouldn't preclude Los Angeles from re-signing both Pau and Kobe for any number of years at any point between now and then. The Lakers are going to go after LeBron James in some capacity in 2014, much in the same way the Grizzlies and Rockets will when James opts out of his contract that season. Maximum cap space or not, you always have to send a feeler out.

[Related: Derek Fisher could be a Los Angeles Laker again ]

The reason for the opt-out from LBJ has nothing to do with any perceived animosity between the Heat and James, or LeBron worrying about his supporting cast (from Dwyane Wade's knee to the roster that will have to be completely overhauled when each — read that again, "each" — of the team's contracts could be knocked off the books in 2013-14 due to various player and team options.

It has to do with money, and flexibility. James can make more money from the Heat with a new contact in place of his current one -- recall that he took slightly less than the max to join the team in 2010 -- and he can wield a greater influence (either by turning down more money, again, or taking all he can, or signing for any number of years to retain free-agent flexibility) within the team's personnel structure. The Lakers, potentially free and clear from Kobe and Pau's salary, will be one of his options.

(See, editors? That is how you link to sites outside of your ESPN umbrella. Putting links inside of columns in order to further educate and entertain your readers won't cause massive public copulation in Bristol, Connecticut's High Street, we promise. You can link to CBS Sports and Yahoo! Sports, various ESPN EDs, and nothing will break.)

That's taking on the notion that LeBron James, after working for years to tone down the vitriol sent his way following the much-reviled Decision in 2010, would join the NBA's most-loathed team. It's fun to love the Lakers, we certainly do, but they're also the newest team that er'ryone loves to hate because of Bryant's haughty presence, and the way they were able to dupe lesser lights on their way towards fielding Kobe, Gasol, Dwight Howard, and Steve Nash.

Nash will still be under contract in 2014-15, and it seems close to certain that Dwight Howard will re-sign with what amounts to his hometown team (he grew up around Atlanta, but has called Los Angeles home for years) this summer when his contract expires. With several other Lakers besides Kobe and Gasol hitting the skids that summer, the team would have enough space to pair Howard (making over $20 million that season as a max player), a 40-year-old Nash, and James.

They'd also have to ensure that Kobe Bean Bryant, who has never met a bug he hasn't wanted to crush, would be A-mother[bleepin']-OK with willingly handing the reins to a team he would have called his own for 18 years over to his greatest rival. One that, if our projections are correct, he'll have faced in the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals.

[Related: Kobe Bryant's got A-Rod's back]

Because Kobe's cap hold is monstrous, and until a team either renounces or re-signs a player after their contract expires, teams are on the hook for a "cap hold" which prevents them from using the cap space established by the divorce between player and team. This would mean the Los Angeles Lakers would have to officially cut ties with Kobe Bryant, who may or may not want to retire by that point, in the eyes of the NBA's league office. To sign LeBron, bloody, James.

And because Kobe is Kobe, the dude might just go and sign with the Clippers or a 35-win Boston Celtics team just out of spite. If Michael Jordan can play for the Washington Wizards, Kobe Bryant can find a way to get back at the team that asked him to leave in favor of the Next Big Thing.

Or, Current Big Thing. Because the Lakers aren't doing anything wrong, here.

By the time 2013-14 comes around, they'll be paying Kobe a salary over $30 million, a price that will just about match half of the team's salary cap. And this isn't exactly the same $30 million handed two different times to Jordan in the 1990s — Kobe hasn't been able to lead his Lakers out of the second round (or, most damningly, take more than one game in nine tries) for two consecutive years despite a supporting cast featuring Gasol and Andrew Bynum. We respect the hell out of Kobe and think the Lakers top contenders for the Finals this year and next, but he's clearly been on the decline for a while now, and 2014 still seems like a long way away.

For James, 29 by the time that free agency hits, it probably feels like just as long an eternity. One perhaps filled with a pair of rings between then, and now. And though we were gobsmacked by his tactlessness as he made the move from Cleveland to Miami, that mess will have been four years old at that point. The Lakers both then and now feature the NBA's second-best player — Dwight Howard, for all his foolishness — but would LeBron make a similar move, again? Even if it meant another few titles?

The Lakers certainly hope so, according to the guesswork of a few NBA executives.

And the fallback plan? It's not all that bad. Re-sign Mssrs. Bryant and Gasol, pair them with Nash and Howard, and try it one more time. Either way, we'll have a big story on our hands, and some interesting basketball to watch.

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Tags: cap, , , , option, ,
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James Worthy, via Twitter, sends some ‘respect’ to Jeff Green after the Celtic earned Worthy comparisons

18 Oct

Last week, in a preseason loss to the New York Knicks, Jeff Green ably faked 22-year-old rookie John Shurna (clearly unaware of Green's sub-standard 33.7 career shooting percentage from behind the arc) out of his shoes on his way toward a crafty, loping, one-handed dunk. Watch:

To some Boston fans — including announcers Brian Scalabrine and Mike Gorman — it reminded of former Los Angeles Lakers legend James Worthy; which is somewhat forgivable because of the fact that Green has played just 29 career games as a Celtic (including three during this exhibition season), and the Lakers only seemed to play the Celtics (and no other team) from 1980 until 1988. As the unworthy Worthy comparisons grew, Green became a little rattled, telling ESPN Boston that he wasn't totally on board with the comparison:

"Put this Tweet out to James Worthy -- he has Twitter," said Green. "I'm not doing it. Who runs the Boston Celtics' Twitter? ... I cannot be called the great James Worthy without his permission. I'm dead serious. I want you to put that Tweet out. I do not want to be called James Worthy. Get video, I don't care.

"I've got a message for [Scalabrine]: You have to ask the great James Worthy if I'm able to have that nickname of James Worthy, because that's a top 50 [player], one of the greatest players to ever play this game, and for me to be called that, it's an honor, but you have to ask his permission," said Green. "So Tweet it, call him, email, whatever you need to do, because I don't want to be called that without his permission."

A sound response to the uneasiness that comes from being compared with one of the all-time greats, to say nothing of being given someone's actual name as a nickname. Worthy, though, came off as a total mensch in his cheery response. Via CelticsBlog, here is the initial shot of love from James' Twitter account:

And Jeff's apt @ reply:

All a strain of exhibition fun, as Green averages 11.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game on 40 percent shooting spread out over 26 minutes a game in three Celtic losses. Not exactly Hall of Fame numbers, but we should remind that it was that striking visual that put Scalabrine over the moon; not the actual production.

Now, kindly go back to hating each other, Lakers and Celtics.

Tags: , Celtic, , , , percentage, tweet
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Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve fires her coat in frustration at an assistant coach during the WNBA Finals (VIDEO)

18 Oct

If you're not watching the WNBA Finals between the Indiana Fever and Minnesota Lynx, you're missing out on some good basketball. I've seen every second of the first two games of the series, and frankly the back and forth has been far more entertaining than any NBA exhibition action currently slogging in the upper reaches of your cable dial. Makes sense, once you consider what's at stake.

This is why Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve — in the heat of a close game and an 0-2 series deficit a strong possibility — went a little ape-shoot after the referees failed to call a clear shooting foul on a Minnesota fast break in the third quarter. Watch her reaction, and blazer toss sent toward assistant coach Shelley Patterson's rather colorful outfit:

I've watched a lot of NBA games, but I can't recall seeing a coach toss his coat in frustration. Hubie Brown discarded his midway through during the first game as Memphis Grizzlies coach, but he didn't exactly fire it at an assistant.

Perhaps the best part about the outburst was Reeve's interview with ESPN to start the fourth quarter, just after the toss and technical. We can't find a clip of it online, but rest assured it would put coach Gregg Popovich or Kevin Garnett to shame in terms of its intensity, and awkwardness. She was tiiicked, in ways that her steely postgame remarks barely alluded to.

The Lynx prevailed, pulling away almost directly after Reeve's meltdown; tying the series and preserving a tie as the Finals shift to Indiana.

Game 3 of the best of five is on Friday, in Indiana, and we suggest you give it a watch if you have time. Chortle all you want, but as a basketball nut this is some great stuff.

Tags: , , , , second, ,
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In a move nobody asked for, the NBA is ‘cracking down’ on taking too long to get to the opening tip after intros

17 Oct

The NBA hasn't decided to limit the amount of TV timeouts it adds to games. It hasn't curtailed the lengthy player introductions that take place before contests, and it's certainly not going to reduce those extended halftimes that take place during the nationally televised NBA Finals. Unclear about a possession? The NBA still is going to take what feels like an hour and a half to set up a jump ball, following a scrum.

But should you dare to take too long to get to the game-starting tip at center court after those 47-minute player introductions? Boy howdy, are you going to be in TROU-BLE.

Because the NBA has decided to start penalizing players who take longer than 90 seconds to get to their marks around center court following introductions, a completely necessary move instituted because these games were disintegrating to the point of lawlessness just because point guards were giving fist bumps to assistant coaches and scorekeepers, and taking too long to scrape the dust from their sneaker soles. ESPN's Brian Windhorst follows up:

The guideline will eliminate or severely cut down on the routines that players from most teams go through before games, which often include a series of handshakes with their own teammates before greeting opponents. It also could legislate out individual rituals like LeBron James' famous chalk toss, which he abandoned last season during the playoffs, though James said he'll try to get it done in the limited time.

"I won't change it, I'll be able to work it in," James said. "We'll figure it out."

There will be a clock that counts to 90, and a 30-second warning. A violation of that rule means that a team is assessed a delay of game penalty, and two delay of game penalties (an occurrence that happened in a game last year, I believe, negative 22 times. Then again, it was a shortened season) result in a lone technical free throw that could possibly be worth one point. This is a long way of saying that the penalties will have absolutely no impact, but the NBA did just earn itself a few articles on the subject, a discussion of the "rule" on "Pardon the Interruption," and more unearned exposure during the baseball postseason and NFL regular season.

In their sillier days, the Phoenix Suns (with Shaquille O'Neal) and Cleveland Cavaliers (with LeBron and Shaq) often put together small team-wide skits, performed while the announcers checked in with the sideline reporter, but overall those performances are pretty rare. Usually, the bulk of the movement comes from a head coach yelling out final orders, bench players bumping chests with the starters on their way to the center tip, and starters giving out fist bumps or slapped fives with various familiar faces on the team's press row — local announcers, team employees, et cetera.

In Chicago, the starters are asked to sign autographs for young fans at center court RIGHT BEFORE THE GAME STARTS (which is ridiculous of the Bulls to ask, right before these players are charged with going into athletic competition), a practice that will surely be outlawed because of this new rule.

See what you've done to the children, David Stern?

[Fantasy Basketball '12: Play the official game of]

A weeping nation focused its eyes on Oklahoma City on Tuesday night, that heartiest of heartlands, as the Thunder had to shorten its personal pepper.

From the Oklahoman:

"Before Tuesday night's preseason game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Thunder players noticeably rushed their routines before stepping onto the court in time for the tip. Three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant was in the middle of his on-court greetings with teammates when the ball was put in play.

"I personally don't like it," Durant said of the 90-second rule. "Every player in this league has routines they do with their teammates, rituals they do before the game and before they walk on the floor. The fans like it. The fans enjoy it. You see the fans mimicking the guys who do their stuff before the game. To cut that down really don't make no sense. Why would you do it? I really don't agree with it, but I don't make the rules."

Bad jokes aside, the fans love this stuff. They eat it up. Dwyane Wade goes and speaks with them for a few seconds before tip-off of every game. For a lot of spectators, it's the last interesting thing these fans will see all night. If they're even there, at that point, struggling to get to the arena for the 7 p.m. tip, locally, after finishing a day's work. There are so many things wrong and annoying about the NBA, and this is not one of them; but that didn't stop the league as the penalized away.

Or, to be specific, called a delay of game violation that could result in the other team earning a point should they hit a free throw, should you commit another relatively rare delay of game violation later in the contest.

Throw the book at 'em, Commish.

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Tags: , court, , , , , violation
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The New York Knicks’ season ticket-holder showcase was not well received by one notable attendee

16 Oct

Like the New York Knicks, Manhattan's Beacon Theatre in upper Broadway is a fabled and well-respected institution worth the sort of blessed treatment usually afforded to the Yankees, question about Ed Koch's personal relationships, or Woody when he's trying to film on your block. Sadly, James Dolan owns both the Knicks and the Beacon, though no great effort of his own, and per his wishes both were involved in an embarrassing and tawdry recent spectacle known as "The New York Knicks Tip-Off Event."

CBS New York columnist John Schmeelk doesn't just write about the Knicks for the website, he's also a season ticket holder. And even though the team, once again, retains one of the league's highest payrolls and has a solid shot at 50 wins and a goodly playoff run, the franchise decided to introduce its 2012-13 team to ardent fans and fellow season ticket holders in a typically, sadly, Rabelaisian Cablevision way.

[Fantasy Basketball '12: Play the official game of]

From Schmeelk's column:

"Once everyone was in their seats, [Host Tina] Cervasio reappeared and introduced the person that would help her question the Knicks on stage. I quote: "Once a Knick, always a Knick: Baron Davis!" I laughed so hard that people sitting around me looked at me the way Paul Ryan looked at Joe Biden during the Vice Presidential Debate.


"Finally, an hour into the "show", the Q & A began and I finally thought something worthwhile might happen. There was never any interactive fan forum. There's no doubt that the Knicks didn't want to risk a question being asked about Jeremy Lin, he who will not be named. They not only shield their players from the media, but also from the fans.

"Even being questioned by Cervasio and Baron Davis, it's possible that the Knicks players would saying something interesting. Unfortunately, more or less all of their wireless mics weren't working. The fans could barely hear a thing."

This is the tip of Schmeelk's particular, despondent, iceberg — stuck within a must-read column full of anecdotes not limited to the fact that the actual basketball portion of the proceedings didn't start until nearly an hour and a half of Knicks-brand entertainment (dancers, DJs, and all the other well-meaning nonsense that annoys people between timeouts of actual basketball games) had been executed to no great acclaim.

Rasheed Wallace's self-congratulatory note, though, was a big hit amongst his Knick teammates:

"Cervasio asked the older players how they are able to play at their age. Rasheed Wallace answered it was because 'they took care of their bodies.' Nearly all the players on stage started laughing out loud since Wallace is so out of shape that he can't even scrimmage. He was also just a tad overweight in his final year with the Celtics. Truly unintentional comedy."

Schmeelk goes on and on, and it really should be read by anyone either attempting to dive into a late afternoon tub full of schadenfreude, or genuine NBA fans that truly want the Dolans and Cablevision to give New York the team that city deserves. Transparent, in all the hoped-for ways, tough and talented; not unlike the city.

Sadly, none of this will change until James Dolan and Cablevision sell the team, forcing the hopeless owner to merely beg for revisionist "Knick for life" plaudits following that transaction. Considering those sold out seats, and towering ratings, don't expect the most necessary of New York maneuvers to happen anytime soon.

Tags: Beacon, , Knick, , stage, ,
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See the glory of the best of ‘NBA Inside Stuff’ (VIDEO)

16 Oct

NBC's "NBA Inside Stuff' was designed and created in 1990 to appeal directly to someone exactly like me — a 10-year-old NBA freak that was too old for cartoons but not too jaded to take in the commissioner-approved, light re-tellings of the NBA week that was. The jaded part came later, but not before "main man" became a go-to joke amongst its ardent watchers, and Ahmad Rashad's pronunciation of "FRI-DAY!" became an immovable part of every NBA fan's lexicon, some two decades later.

This is why Oakley & Allen's two-part greatest hits package, featuring the best of the show, is necessary viewing. Even in an era when "SportsCenter" highlights and the introduction of numerous clip shows made it easier to follow a Sprewell or a McDyess off in some faraway climate, the weekly collection was a needed salve to NBA fans in the pre-Internet days. Even if, as teens, we were way over that, maaaan.

Via The Basketball Jones, here's the first installment:

And the second:

And you're now allowed to cry for joy in response to a youth well spent.

[Fantasy Basketball '12: Play the official game of]

Tags: freak, glory, lexicon, , Oakley, stuff,
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Derek Fisher could be a Los Angeles Laker again, thanks to a contract misunderstanding

16 Oct

He's flirted with the Chicago Bulls (who, legally, can't even sign any players until mid-December as it is) and the Oklahoma City Thunder, but veteran guard Derek Fisher has always seemed like a "Los Angeles or bust"-sorta guy. The roadblock between that eventual destination and the free-agent guard's current status, it was presumed, is the NBA bylaw that states that Fisher can't re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers until next March, while he technically is being paid for the final year of a 2012-13 he was bought out from last spring, following a deal that sent Fisher to Houston.

Now, ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting, it appears as if the final year of that deal was never able to be latched on to by Fisher and his reps, and as a result he could sign with the Lakers whenever they see fit. If they see fit. He fits, to be sure, but the Lakers aren't sure if he'll actually fit on an already-packed team bus, to say nothing of their monstrous payroll.

First, Stein's take on the machinations that made this all possible:

The NBA's new labor agreement stipulates that a player traded and then waived by the team that acquired him can't re-sign with his original team for one year or until the traded contract runs out -- whichever comes first. But in Fisher's case, confusion surrounding his player option for the 2012-13 season led to the belief in some league circles that he had picked up the option before the Houston Rockets bought him out. In reality, sources confirm, Fisher was bought out by Houston before he was eligible to invoke the 2012-13 option, which means that his contract was deemed to have ended June 30, sending Fisher to full-fledged free agency on July 1.

Fisher is a great guy, a hard worker, and an NBA success story to be admired. But ho-lee cow has this man turned in some sweetheart deals when it comes to working as a free agent. And, for the third time in his career, he could end up on a bench next to a player in Kobe Bryant that he debuted with as a rookie all the way back in 1996.

(Where are you, Travis Knight? Do you have a Twitter?)

The problem for Los Angeles, and potentially Fisher, is that the team is pretty well stacked at point guard. Not only do they boast the all-world talents of Steve Nash in Fisher's former starting spot, but career backups Steve Blake and Chris Duhon are also stuck to the bench. Both are on the trade market, but it's hard to see any team (no matter how desperate) dealing even that infamous conditional second-round pick for the last two years and $8 million on Blake's contract, and Duhon may have played the worst basketball of any player in the NBA last year. That's not us being cruel, Duhon is struggling that much.

[Fantasy Basketball '12: Play the official game of]

Fisher would be an improvement over Duhon, but in terms of actual on-court production he wouldn't be a massive, startling upgrade.

Derek hasn't turned in a double-digit Player Efficiency Rating (15 is average) since the 2008-09 season, and hasn't shot better than 40 percent from the field since that championship run. His defense, at age 38, is a step slow; though for the third season in a row he has upped his play during the postseason — a postseason that was spent with the Oklahoma City Thunder last spring.

The other issue, frankly, is that the Lakers don't really need Derek right now.

In 2008-09? Sure, his defense was a huge upgrade over Smush Parker's, and he ably controlled the team's varying attempts at sticking to the triangle offense. The Lakers aren't running a strict triple-post in 2012-13, it's safe to say Steve Nash (drafted the same year as Fisher, Bryant, and Travis Knight) doesn't really need any help navigating the waters, and if Fisher and Bryant share a similar mindset, Derek's influence might be a bit superfluous.

Might be. It's always nice to have another big basketball brain hanging around. Especially one that has taken in as much as Fisher has over the last 16 years.

Of course, there's also the whole part about when Los Angeles traded Derek some seven months ago just before the playoffs in what was essentially a payroll-slashing move. Not a salary cap-enhancing move, a payroll-cut. Involving Derek Fisher, five-time champion.

The options, limited though they may be, are there. And with Fisher's declining play, working as an assistant coach of sorts in shorts with the Lakers might be the best and only available option. It seems fitting, if only to ensure Derek doesn't retire as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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Michael Jordan’s McDonald-brand barbecue sauce sold on eBay for nearly $10,000

15 Oct

Recently, CSN Chicago brought to our attention a rare and interesting Michael Jordan collectable that at the time was readily available for purchase on eBay. The item for sale was never worn by MJ, the product wasn't created for Michael to strap to his MVP feet, and his signature is nowhere to be found in the listing. Neither is his first name, unless it turns out that Jordan's is nicknamed "Mc" in some odd, Charles Oakley-type friendship circle we're unaware of.

It was a giant tub of "McJordan" barbecue sauce from McDonald's, over two decades old, once used on the short-lived McJordan burger. Jordan, who at one time endorsed McDonald's, was the namesake of a sandwich offered in the Chicagoland area and elsewhere that featured the brown goo on a cheeseburger that also featured bacon, onion, and pickles.

Someone, somehow, grabbed a gallon of the stuff before the promotion went under. And now, 20 years on, it was sold for around the same after-bargain price as a brand new Nissan Versa.

From the eBay listing:

Extremely Rare McJordan Barbeque Sauce from McDonald's

A once in a lifetime chance to own the rarest of rare Michael Jordan and McDonald's collectible!  The only one left on Earth??  This gallon of McJordan BBQ sauce is from 1992 when McDonald's sold McJordan Burgers as a promotional menu item.

The McJordan is a quarter-pound hamburger with smoked bacon, cheese, McJordan barbeque sauce, onions, mustard and pickles.  All of Michael Jordan's "favorite ingredients".  The burger was sold only in limited markets in the United States.

Michael Jordan was the first person to have a McDonald's sandwich as a namesake.  Jordan appeared in television spots to promote the burger.

It is in new condition and has never been opened.

Don't miss this opportunity to own this incredibly rare piece of memorabilia!

It's worth pointing out that the label and circumstances surrounding the product are unique, but that anything beyond that is a bit of a reach, novelty-wise.

The ingredients on the label listed on eBay are the same ingredients that go into the McDonald's barbecue sauce currently available at millions of locations, worldwide. The only difference is that this sauce comes in a gallon-sized bottle with Michael Jordan's last name on it — whereas the versions currently offered only come in mini tubs with your chicken nugget orders. With the McRib out of season, that piggy paste still has some ripenin' to do, the only barbecue sauce McDonald's currently offers on its sandwiches is a chipotle-flavored barbecue concoction.

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In this particular regard, then, this item is rare. One of a kind, even. Completely pointless and easily able to be duplicated, of absolutely no value as a food product even considering the endless amounts of chemicals pumped into that goo in order to help it hold up in terms of lip-smackin' fanciness, with the only novelty part of the package coming in the "McJordan" that is listed on the top of the label.

For nearly $10,000? We'll kindly pass — unlike the 10 bidders that have already been declined access to the item, according to CSN Chicago.

Or, given the choice, take nearly 10,000 McChickens instead. We're sure our local McDonald's has that amount already in stock.

If you'd like to watch Larry Bird eat Michael Jordan's burger, literally, check out this ad for the "Big 33;" which was basically the same as a "McJordan," save for the fact that it's in Larry Bird's hands and being sold in Boston:

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Tags: bacon, burger, gallon, label, McDonald, McJordan,
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