Fast Break

Kurt —  September 13, 2005

Sorry again for anyone who tried to log on during the “down period” Sunday night/Monday morning. This site was in the process of switching hosts and blog software and it took 24 hours for it all to come together. Things are back to normal, sort of — the archives are up and the links are back here, so the core of the site is up and running again. One of the downsides of the changeover is old comments were lost. New comments may take a little longer to post the first time you do so because of an anti-spam feature, but it will be faster after that (especially for regulars). A new, more Laker-like site design will be coming in a few weeks.

But while I’m working on that, I’m still talking Lakers and NBA here. A few thoughts:

• Kenny Smith’s charity game was great for what it did and the people in Houston it was able to reach (certainly not the level of play). I enjoyed watching the game, seeing and hearing from the displaced and the overall atmosphere. I also thought that Kobe came off as thoughtful and showed something different than his cold media shell persona so many people associate him with. The only thing that I didn’t enjoy was listening to a lot of Charles Barkley, but since he wrote a big check I’ll let it slide.

• Luke Walton is going to do his part for Katrina relief by going on Wheel of Fortune. You can’t make stuff like that up.

• Everyone is now hearing the same thing, that Vlade is retiring. He had an underrated career.

• Thinking a little about the Pacific Division, the two biggest question marks are defensive: 1) How much better will Phoenix’s defense be with their off-season additions, and how much offense did they give up to get that improvement? 2) How good will the Laker defense be with Phil as coach and two 7 footers along the baseline?

• Speaking of Phoenix, talked with a friend yesterday who lives in that sweltering town and says the city’s NBA fans are buzzing about a Sports Illustrated article where Amare Stoudemire does not rule out going to another team in 2007. Don’t hold your breath, Laker fans. First, he’d be an idiot to limit his options almost two years from making the decision. Second, he’s getting plenty of exposure in Phoenix and on the national stage, and the endorsements will come wherever he plays. Finally, the Suns can offer more money, and that usually is the bottom line on these things.

• The best player I saw the first weekend of the NFL — that Burger King guy. He was everywhere.