6

Poor Greg

oden5.jpg

You never want to see anyone get hurt. I certainly was rooting for Greg Oden to do well. He seems like a nice guy with a good head on his shoulders. He’s got the underdog background and all that. Plus, I wanted to see how the Oden-Durant thing panned out. As many of you know, I said I would’ve drafted Durant. But I want to see the best of both players.
That said, this is a huge break for the Warriors. Without Greg Oden, who is reportedly out for the season after having microfracture surgery, Portland isn’t as much of a threat to the Warriors.
Per my estimation, the teams that had the best chance of taking the No. 8 seed away from the Warriors were New Orleans and Portland. The Clippers would have been in the mix, but losing Elton Brand for the first half of the year dooms them. Now, I think, the loss of Oden hampers the Blazers in the same fashion.
Assuredly, they’ll still be better. They have some nice talent, and Joel Przybilla is an OK center. Even LaMarcus Aldridge would be a decent option at center in a small, more skilled lineup. But Oden was the centerpiece, at the very least, Robin to Batman Brandon Roy. He gave them the defensive presence they sorely needed.
That leaves the Hornets as the biggest threat, and maybe the Lakers if the Hornets are good enough to earn that seventh spot (which would leave Kobe and Baron fighting for the No. 8). Either way, that’s one less team to tangle with.
I really do hope Oden comes back as good. It would be a real loss for the NBA if he’s some oft-injured bust who never reaches his potential. Microfracture surgery has been the demise of many good players (Kenyon Martin, Chris Webber, Anfernee Hardaway), but some have bounced back exceptionally well (Amare Stoudemire, Jason Kidd). Here’s hoping Greg falls in the latter group.

oden2.jpg

6

B. Diddy and Teri Hatcher?

teri-hatcher-picture-1.jpg

I never believe the tabloids. Not that I don’t believe them really, I just don’t invest the energy in caring whether they’re true or not. But I’ve been told it’s true and I believe it. Baron and the skinniest of the Desperate Housewives are an item.
They met at Tony Parker’s wedding. Supposedly, the Spurs point guard hooked them up. I didn’t know Tony and Baron were cool like that, but I’m not surprised.

alba-bd.jpg

Does it matter? Of course not. They might even be done with by now. I just think it’s kind of cool.
Will Teri be showing up at Warriors games now?
When the Warriors get nationally televised games, will there be a camera focused on Teri and not the game?
When the Spurs play the Warriors at the Oracle, will she sit next to Eva with six body guards surrounding them, causing a scene?

Just messin’ around. Either way, it’s a good deal for both parties. Teri Hatcher gets to feel young again. Baron gets linked with a genuine celebrity figure, which comes with tabloid time, red carpet interviews and maybe a segment on Oprah. You see what it’s done for Tony Parker. Who’s more marketable than him right now? Anyone who knows Baron knows that he’s setting up a post-hoop career in Hollywood, more than likely behind the scenes.
By the way, he made an appearance on the ABC show “Lincoln Heights” playing himself. Maybe he’s practicing for an appearance on “Desperate Housewives.” I’m sure B. Diddy wouldn’t mind having Susan and Edie fighting over him.

11

I’m Baaaaack!

My vacation time was waaaaaaay too short. Nonetheless, I’m back on the blog, ready to take on a new NBA season. I hope you all didn’t leave me. Feel free to drop some questions or say what’s up. Just to get things started, I will answer five questions that I know are coming, just to save you some time:

5. Now that Adonal’s gone, what are the chances Patrick O’Bryant will start?
There is actually a possibility. Of course, he’ll have to earn the spot. But, with his talent, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that when the season begins, O’Bryant will be the starting center for the Bakersfield Jam.

4. What’s going on with Mickael Pietrus?
He’ll be back. The Warriors have extended a $3.5 million qualifying offer to Mickael Pietrus. That’s much more than he’ll get from anyone else for next year. So unless the Warriors get a deal they like from Miami or Dallas, or Pietrus is willing to take a mil or two less and sign with another team, he’ll be accepting that qualifying offer and bolstering the Warriors bench.

3. Who will get their money first: Baron, Andris or Nellie?
I’m going to say Nellie first, then Biedrins, then Baron — if the Warriors extend Baron at all. Obviously, locking up Nelson is the top priority (which is perhaps the problem. Maybe if the Warriors start moving on without him, he’ll lose some leverage and stop holding the team hostage). After that, Biedrins will get done because his deal is easy. Andris’ agent, Bill Duffy, is one of the best in the business and he has a great relationship with Mullin. It will be amicable and smooth. About $50 million over six years. Then there’s Baron. I read somewhere that the Warriors put three years, $50 million on the table. But a source who hasn’t steered me wrong yet told me the two teams talked, but money wasn’t part of the conversation. I was told Baron knows the Warriors have to tie up some other loose ends, so he’s willing to be patient, especially since the Warriors showed they want to talk extension.

2. Will Sarunas Jasekevicius return?I highly doubt it after this shot he took at his teammates. He told my man Chris Sheridan from ESPN.com that he wanted to play for a team “that plays more European. You know my style of basketball is more team-oriented, and I hope to find a team that actually passes the ball and plays team ball.”
Ooooooh. Sarunas going hard after B. Diddy, Jax and Monta. Who else could he be talking about? They are the primary ball-handlers and shot takers.
One thing that’s not true are the reports coming out of Europe that Sarunas is playing for Olympiakos or FC Barcelona. No way. Jasikevicius picked up his $4 million player option already. The only way he gets off the Warriors roster is a trade or a buyout. A trade hasn’t happened yet, so it probably won’t until late February, as the more time passes, the worse the offer for Sarunas will get. Will he walk away from $4 million? I don’t bank on anyone giving up that kind of money. Especially not an aging point guard who will never make as much again. He’s better off riding this out and collecting his money, staying fresh for next season. He hinted to as much already. If he was taking a buyout, he would’ve done it. The Warriors would love to let him walk for $1.5 to $2 million. He’d get most of the rest back from one of the Eurobasket teams that desperately want to sign him. So why will Sarunas be in Hawaii for training camp? Because it’s hard to walk away from $4 million guaranteed.
“I’m really waiting for [Golden State] to trade me,” Jasikevicius told Sheridan. “It’s been going on since February, and nothing’s happening. I really don’t understand this franchise, to be honest with you. I know what kind of offers they got for me, and they’re not taking them. I know they’re not planning on using me, so I really don’t understand what they’re trying to do with me. In that league, absolutely nothing depends on me, so I’m sitting by the phone and waiting.”

1. Can’t the Warriors just trade Brandan Wright, Al Harrington and Monta Ellis to Boston for Kevin Garnett?
Oh sure. Rumor has it KG doesn’t just want to reach the Finals, he wants to do it by getting through the Western Conference. KG likes a challenge, and the Cleveland/Chicago/Detroit hurdle isn’t getting him motivated. I’m hearing he’s begging Danny Ainge to get him out of Beantown and into Golden State, so he can lead the Warriors past Dallas, Phoenix and San Antonio.