Wednesday , Apr , 18 , 2007 Oly Sandor

NBA Wrap-up for April 18

Breaking down the day’s top NBA stories…BREAKING NEWS: JOEY CRAWFORD MAY RETIRE after getting suspended. We’ve got exclusive analysis…Clippers and Warriors battle for final playoff spot…Where will The Logo land after bouncing from Memphis: New York, Minnesota, or somewhere else? Click here to find out …

Top 3 Stories

1) Breaking News: Crawford may be retiring
2) Clips and Warriors both win; 8th place still open
3) The Logo finished in Memphis

1) Breaking News: Crawford may eject himself by retiring

What Happened: Joey Crawford may be tossing himself from the NBA. On Tuesday evening reports surfaced that Crawford was contemplating retirement after getting suspended for the rest of the season.

Earlier in the day, Commissioner Stern announced that the controversial referee would be suspended indefinitely for tossing from Sunday’s game between the and . Duncan received his second technical for laughing. The star forward was sitting down on San Antonio’s bench.

The NBA immediately began to investigate the incident. Crawford was defiant when talking to the media and the league’s head office. Yesterday, following his suspension, he sent a confidential email that sounded a lot like a resignation notice.

Reaction of Commissioner Stern on the severity of Crawford’s suspension:
 “Especially in light of similar prior acts by this official, a significant suspension is warranted. Although Joey is consistently rated as one of our top referees, he must be held accountable for his actions on the floor, and we will have further discussions with him following the season to be sure he understands his responsibilities."  (CNNSI)

Reaction of referee Joey Crawford on his suspension (from his confidential email):
"If my employer does not think that was acceptable (ejecting Duncan), I have a problem.” (ESPN)

Reaction of referee Joey Crawford
on his future with the NBA (from his confidential email): “Please do not be sad for me [as] I have had a great run and a great career and NOBODY will ever take that from me."  (ESPN)

My Take: I think Crawford should retire from the NBA. He thinks he’s done nothing wrong. And he will continue to makes himself a part of the game if allowed to continue as an official. This time he went too far. Tossing Duncan, for laughing from the bench, was the final straw.

It’s time for Crawford to bounce. By retiring, he maintains whatever dignity he has left.

Below is more exclusive coverage on the incident between Crawford and Duncan:
  –Finally we can relate to Tim Duncan.

2) Warriors and Clippers still alive, final playoff spot decided tomorrow

What Happened: And then there were still two. The and L both won last night, so nothing has changed in the Western Conference playoff race.

The Warriors remain one game ahead of the Clippers. The final playoff spot will come down to tomorrow night, the last day of the regular season.

Golden State travels north to play Portland. Los Angeles will take on Oklahoma City at home. The Clippers hold the tie breaker in the season series with the Warriors.

Reaction of Golden State Coach Don Nelson on the game ahead:
"Like I said before, we have to win all our games and nothing has changed. We are doing no celebrating. We have one more game and I think it’s gonna be our toughest game of the year. It’s just a feeling that I have that it’s gonna be a tough game. We will prepare tonight and hopefully the force will be with us. I want us to be mentally prepared. They have a back-to-back game tomorrow and Avery chose not to play his guys in this game. That is his choice, he didn’t want to play his guys in a back-to-back game. He runs his team and I run mine. I think we are vulnerable, we have won so many games in a row and I just want us to have our guard up tomorrow."  (

Reaction of Los Angeles Clippers forward Elton Brand
on his team stumbling down the stretch:
"Just two weeks ago we were fighting for seventh. We still have to go out and handle our business tomorrow. All in all, it’s still disappointing that it had to come down to this.” (

Reaction of LA Times blogger Bob Baker on the Clippers no longer being the fan favorite:
“It kills me that what everybody loves about the Warriors is what they loved about the Clips last year: dignity. Redemption. Comeback. Last year was the Clips’ first in the playoffs in 13 years. This year will mark the Warriors first trip to the playoffs in 12.”  (

My Take: I want the Warriors to qualify. Yes, there’s a nostalgia factor because GoldenState hasn’t made the playoffs in 12 years.


But they’re also more deserving than the Clippers. Nelly’s crew has played well down the stretch. They’ve come together. The Clippers remind me of the Clippers.

I also think the Warriors up-tempo style will make for an entertaining series with the Mavericks. And don’t forget about the feud between Don Nelson and Dallas’ owner Mark Cuban. This adds intrigue.

3) Destination unknown for The Logo

What Happened: Michael Heisley is staying as owner of the Memphis Grizzlies. So, for a variety of reasons, Jerry West will leave the organization in July.

One day after Heisley publicly decided against selling the team, West, the club’s director of basketball operations, announced he’ll be moving on.

West, one of the game’s greatest players and front office executives, felt the ownership situation was too much for a 69-year old to handle.

West is under contract until July. He did not discuss the possibility of joining another team.

Reaction of Grizzles’ executive Jerry West on leaving:
“I’m not a youngster anymore. I think the wear and tear of the season, particularly like this (has been tough). There’s been a lot of turmoil here. The ownership thing have made it very difficult to concentrate on what we need to do here to improve our basketball team."  (

Reaction of Grizzlies’ executive Jerry West
on what Memphis needs:
"We need a big tough rebounder, and there’s a kid who’s a big tough rebounder in this draft who played on great teams. That’s one of the things we need. We need to upgrade our backcourt … You need a leader back there."   (                          

Reaction of Yahoo analyst Steve Kerr on Grizzlies’ executive Jerry West leaving Memphis:
“The news that Jerry West will resign from his position with the Memphis Grizzlies doesn’t come as a great shock. There have been plenty of rumors regarding his departure for the past year or so, and Memphis’ horrendous record this season couldn’t have helped.”   (

My Take: It’s no surprise that West is moving on from Memphis. The NBA Wrap-up reported this story last week.

I’m fascinated to know what’s next for the legendary player and front office executive. Right now, there seems to be two possibilities: New York and Minnesota.

Isiah Thomas is going to stay with the Knicks in a coach-only capacity. West, at 69 years old, probably doesn’t have the energy and patience to deal with the NYC’s media. The team is slightly dysfunctional and then there’s Thomas. This seems like too great a challenge.

Kevin McHale is probably finished as the Wolves’ GM. Would ‘The Logo’ have any interest in combining forces with-or trading-The Big Ticket? That’s the question. Unfortunately, Minnesota, like New York is a mess. The Garnett saga is looming over the franchise. They’ve got few prospects and very little cap room.

There’s no reason for West to join Minnesota. Personally, I see The Logo entering semi-retirement. He might sign on with a team as a part time consultant.

Come back tomorrow morning for another edition of the NBA Wrap-up, featuring Oly Sandor’s cutting-edge analysis. Got a comment or question? Use the comment box or email Oly at [email protected]