Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  February 14, 2008

Time to clear out the inbox (and the inbox in my head) of thoughts and notes heading into All Star Weekend.

UPDATE: The reports are back on Kobe’s finger injury and you can’t like the sound of it:

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has been diagnosed with a complete tear of the radial collateral ligament, an avulsion fracture, and a volar plate injury at the MCP joint of the small finger of this right hand, it was announced today. The damage occurred when Bryant dislocated the finger in the Lakers’ game at New Jersey on February 5, and was aggravated in last night’s game at Minnesota.

“My current thinking is to give my finger some treatment and rest for a few days, and hope I can still continue to compete at a high level after that rest,” said Bryant. “I would prefer to delay any surgical procedure until after our Lakers season, and this summer’s Olympic Games. But, this is an injury that myself and the Lakers’ medical staff will just have to continue to monitor on a day-to-day basis.”

Knowing what we do about Kobe, he will play through this unless the pain is unbearable. My initial guess, seeing how he played through it already for a few games, is he plays out the season and playoffs, as well as the Olympics. Then, if he still wants surgery, he’d likely just miss a little of camp. But this is something to seriously monitor.

• From the LA Times, Phil Jackson’s words to the team going into the All Star break:

“Stay off the ski slopes,” he said wryly.

• 7-2. Frankly, if the Lakers had Pau Gasol on board before this nine game East Coast road trip, I would have thought 7-2 would have been a good record. As kwame a. pointed out in the comments, if Dallas beats Phoenix tonight, the game between the Lakers and the Suns next week will be for first place in the division. And it should be Shaq’s debut.

• The Lakers are going to show up in plenty of trade rumors for the next week — I would be very surprised if any of them are more than some agent’s fantasy (or some other GM trying to gain leverage in actual negotiations). The Lakers do not need to make a move, they are contenders for the title right now. Let this team gel.

• In fact, the Lakers biggest problem is how to fit their borderline All Star center back into the lineup, as well as their best perimeter defender. While those are concerns, those are the good kinds of concerns to have.

• I’m late to this party, but I love Kareem’s new blog. Very smart, well rounded man.

• Happiest man in the world the wrtiter’s strike was resolved — Jon Stewart. I think Rob. L may be second on that list.

• Going to finally see There Will Be Blood this Friday. Unless somebody can convince me something else is going to win best picture.

• Does Devean George dare step outside his home in Dallas for the rest of the season?

• Why would George nix a trade just a week after he asked to be traded. Well, aside from enjoying ratcheting up the blood pressure of a billionaire, there are other reasons. I’ll let agent-in-training JonesontheNBA explain:

For George it’s about leverage. By keeping his Birds rights he makes it so he could get paid more via a sign and trade if he wants to go to a team that is over the cap, but unable to use their mid-level. As well, he doesn’t want to nix the opportunity to be included in a sign and trade this summer with a 1 year sweet deal if Dallas tries to package him in a deal to get another player. Basically it’s just all about the options for him.

• By the way, I still think he may change his mind over the weekend.

• Can’t say it enough, the best part of all these Western Conference trades if you’re a Lakers fan — Phoenix and (if the trade goes through) Dallas get a lot older, pushing all their chips in for this season. Maybe next season, if all the key parts can stay incredibly healthy in their mid 30s. The Spurs are an old team and may be finally showing it. Meanwhile the Lakers key cogs are under 30 — Kobe, Pau, Bynum and Odom. The only guy over 30 is Fisher, who is basically splitting time with the rapidly-improving Farmar. The Lakers window is at least four years right now.

• Just like Jerry Seinfeld, things in my life tend to balance out. Since the Lakers are going great, it explains a lot about what is going on with Newcastle United.