From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Assuming we’re all translating his comments to primerahora.com in Puerto Rico, yes. His strong preference, expressed both by Barea in the story above and his agent Dan Fegan, is to remain with Dallas, which I suspect will happen no matter what rules are in place whenever the players and owners finally agree on a new CBA. Acquiring Rudy Fernandez on draft night hedges against, or perhaps guarantees, the loss of either or both Peja Stojakovic, DeShawn Stevenson, but does nothing to provide Dallas credible backup to Jason Kidd in the absence of Barea. Combined with the normal desire to keep the band together when defending a title, the fact Barea played well for the Mavs this season and crushed it in the playoffs, his high degree of popularity in Dallas, and that Mark Cuban would just as soon gnaw off his own arm before losing Barea to a team like the Lakers, and the likelihood he re-ups with Dallas rises even more.
From Wild Yams, Silver Screen and Roll: The next player up in our Player Report Card series is backup point guard Steve Blake. Steve was signed by the Lakers almost a year ago on July 8th, 2010 to a 4-year contract worth $16 million. Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers brought Blake to the team to fill the void left by the Lakers choosing to not re-sign Jordan Farmar, who went on to sign as a free agent with the New Jersey nets after spending his first five seasons with LA. Blake was brought to LA because he was supposed to provide some of what the talented but inconsistent Farmar could not. Blake was supposed to be a steady veteran who could hit spot up three-pointers, who could help run the triangle offense and distribute the ball, and who could play some defense. And mainly Blake was brought in to help take some of the minutes away from aging starting point guard, Derek Fisher. As we all know, things didn’t quite go as planned.
From Chris Shellcroft, Lake Show Life: Barring a miraculous occurrence it seems all but certain that disaster will strike this week. Unlike the NFL there is no billion dollar pie to argue over. The NBA pie is more like a burnt pizza that has small market owners fighting over charred crumbs. Thus a lockout is the only tool owners have at their disposal to reassert themselves as beneficiaries of the business of basketball. There is no way of knowing what kind of a summer we’re in for. Given the fact that there doesn’t appear to be much urgency to try and avoid a work stoppage I’m guessing we could see a big portion of the 2011-12 season canceled. But here at LSL we prefer to look at things from a positive perspective.
From Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: David Stern finally exhaled. The lights and cameras had clicked off. Another update on the NBA’s collective bargaining talks was done. Stern, the league’s commissioner, gazed at the table top where he sat and to no one in particular said, “I’m tired.” Moments earlier, he had joked about the rigorous turnaround in his work schedule: Traveling over to Newark to emcee a global telecast of the 2011 NBA Draft on Thursday, working the “room” of the Prudential Center through the first round amid catcalls from some beery fans, then skedaddling home to prep for Friday’s latest longish session of collective bargaining talks with the players association. It was the biggest meeting yet, with an estimated 40 additional players attending with the usual owners, lawyers and executives.
From Mike Trudell, Basket Blog: Growing up playing in the parks of Hawthorne, Inglewood, Compton and Long Beach, Darius Morris never imagined that one day he’d hear his name called at the NBA Draft with the words “Los Angeles Lakers select” in front of them. Morris joined us on Friday afternoon while still in New York with his family to detail his background, share his emotions on draft night and what it could be like guarding Kobe Bryant on the first day of training camp: Q: On when he had his first thought of making the NBA one day: Morris: Around the time I was 9 or 10 years old I started playing organized basketball with a team in Los Angeles called ABA hoops, and we went to nationals and played against the best team at the time. Team Maryland ended up winning, but we still performed, we were right there. My dad looked at me in the eye one day and told me, you can make it. He’s just always supported me whatever I wanted to do.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: The NBA owners have to be smarter than this. The NBA players have to be smarter than this. he NBA commissioner, most of all, has to be smarter than this. Hello, David Stern? You still awake? You are smarter than this, right? Stern graduated from Rutgers University and Columbia Law School, has been an attorney since 1966 and began a working relationship with the NBA 45 years ago. In other words, he has been attached to the league longer than the NBA’s famous logo has been attached to the league. When Stern did his first work for the NBA as a lawyer, there were 10 teams playing, Ronald Reagan had just been elected governor of California and gas was 32 cents a gallon. Somewhere along the way, Stern must have learned that, for everything the NBA has grown up to become today, it still very much isn’t one thing: The NFL.