Cuban (and Others) Got Beef
Mark Cuban v. JR Smith
Everyone’s favorite owner has found his way into the news again. Following an incident between the Nuggets’ JR Smith and the Mavericks’ Antoine Wright, Mavs owner Mark Cuban took it upon himself to have what he called a "cordial and levelheaded" conversation with Smith about an elbow that the player had thrown. This is where the plot thickens. Nuggets coach George Karl had some words for Cuban in regard to the situation:
"I have no problem with him judging that that was a play that should be sent to the league office. But stay away from my players, stay off the court. … In general, I think Mark is good for the game. He’s always trying to make the league better. … But don’t mess with my players."
You can read the links for the response from Cuban and the bit of back and forth that goes on between the owner, Karl and Smith (including Smith sending over a signed pair of kicks to Cuban. Cuban refused the shoes and sent word to Smith that he should try to sell them to help pay the fine that Cuban thinks he’ll receive for his actions.) but the NBA is now on the case and you can expect that they’ll come in and lay down the law. I’d expect that Cuban would get a pretty large fine (which he’ll have no problem paying) and for Smith to also receive a fine.
I like Cuban as much as the next guy. I agree with Karl that he’s good for the league overall, but someone has got to make him respect some of the traditional owner boundaries, even if he isn’t the traditional owner. I’m OK with him sitting in the stands and acting like the huge fan that he is, but stepping onto the floor and having words with players and referees has to stop. We’ve seen what kind of reaction a fan on the court can receive and Cuban has already been fined for becoming too involved in the action of a game before. For all the good things that he does, it seems like he lessens overall opinion of him with the questionable decisions he sometimes makes. Ease up a bit, Cuban.
Yao v. McGrady
The latest news out of Houston surrounding Tracy McGrady’s health involves allegations that Yao Ming wants T-Mac shipped out of town, presumably for a player that would spend more time contributing on the court than "conditioning," healing or rehabbing off of it. Granted, the quote comes from "an extremely plugged-in person," which is just a fancy way of saying "anonymous source." Yao hasn’t said anything publicly and I doubt that he ever would. But if he really is of the opinion that McGrady should be playing elsewhere, he’ll have to wait. With the size of Mac’s contract and his history of injury, there’s not going to be a deal out there that involves the Rockets getting any sort of fair value. The best bet is going to be next year, when McGrady’s contract will expire and teams wouldn’t mind putting up with a walking medical report for the $20+ million that they’ll save at the end of that season.
Paul v. Paul
Chris Paul does amazing things on the basketball court, like flirting with quadruple doubles. With this being the case, there are undoubtedly quite a few younger players modeling their games after his, pretending to be him while hooping with their friends. Pretending to be Chris Paul and pretending to be related to Chris Paul are two separate things, neither of which causes any real damage. Until someone goes to the source to find out if you’re telling the truth, anyway. Missouri point guard Miguel Paul has been claiming that Chris Paul is his first cousin. The claim even found its way onto the team’s website. One problem: Chris Paul has no idea who Miguel Paul is, answering, "Who? I never heard of him," when a student reporter from the university asked CP3 to talk about MP3. This could all turn out to be a funny story that the two will tell at a family reunion in the future. Of course, it could also just be fodder for the crowds in Big 12 arenas during Missouri’s away games, where the fans are known to be pretty cruel. I vote for the latter.
NCAA v. NBA Draft Early Entrants
It’s a pretty well known fact that the NCAA would rather keep its basketball players, the good ones anyway, around for the duration of their eligibility. You’ve heard in years past the growing complaints about the best players– and even some of the lesser talents– bolting campus so they could get paid for playing ball or forgoing college altogether. The NBA eventually helped the NCAA out by instituting a rule that draft entrants have to be one year removed from high school graduation, which led to a number of one-and-done players in the college ranks. The NCAA isn’t happy with that of course, and a proposed rule could mean that players ,ight have to stay in college even longer.
As early as 2010, the period where underclassmen are allowed to do research to find out what pro scouts think of them could be shortened from about two months to ten days. Apparently, the emphasis is no longer on these young men doing what is best for them and having the time to figure out what that is, but on the damage they are doing to their teams. So in 10 days, a player has to find the right guys to talk to (not the seedy types who will try to manipulate them) and work out for NBA teams while also keeping up with their classwork. Yeah, that seems to be a realistic accomplishment. How about these schools stop lying and saying that they’re around for the student-athlete when it’s becoming clearer by the day that they’re very much concerned mainly with themselves?