Sacramento Kings Overpaid for J.J. Hickson by Giving up Omri Casspi, Pick

The Kings and Cavaliers snuck a trade in before the NBA lockout was announced Thursday, exchanging Omri Casspi and a lottery-protected 2012 first-round pick for J.J. Hickson.

Other than losing the support of Jewish fans everywhere, I thought it was a pretty good trade for the Kings. My initial reaction was sweet, Geoff Petrie finally managed to pull off a trade without getting reamed.

Considering he got killed in the Beno Udrih-John Salmons trade and has a track record of being on the losing end of one-sided deals, getting Hickson seemed like a major coup. Remember, Petrie is the guy who essentially traded Kevin Martin for 27 games of Marcus Thornton.

Looking more closely at Hickson’s numbers last season, though, I’m not so convinced. I’m beginning to think the Kings overpaid for him.

[Read more...]

No One Took Advantage of LeBron James with The Decision, Exec Says

LeBron James would have received a lot of grief from the media and fans just for leaving Cleveland, but making his announcement in the fashion he did turned him into a villain. The problems were that LeBron did not notify the Cavs of his choice prior to going on national TV, and that he seemingly danced on the dead bodies of Cleveland fans before spiking the football down their throats in a victory dance. Oh yeah, not to mention that he hijacked an hour out of everyone’s life that we won’t get back. Yeah, that part wasn’t cool either.

But all the talk that LeBron James was duped, or taken by some agents or execs? We’re told that’s not at all the case. LeBron somewhat apologized for The Decision during the playoffs, but we have more insight into what went into it.

SI’s Point Forward has behind-the-scenes look at The Decision where we learn the idea came from Ari Emanuel, the co-CEO of the William Morris Agency. One of the interesting nuggets was pointed out by Pro Basketball Talk, and that is that LeBron knew full well what he was doing, though everyone was surprised by the backlash.

Mark Dowley, a former partner at William Morris, explains.

[Read more...]

Tony Parker’s New Girlfriend is French Beauty Queen Barbara Morel

The French press says Spurs point guard Tony Parker has a new girlfriend, and it’s beauty queen Barbara Morel. The first reports about Parker’s new girl emerged three weeks ago, but I didn’t see it until Spurs Nation reported it (via IamaGM.com).

According to their information, Morel is a 20-year-old girl who won Miss Nationale in France. She is also a trade and commerce student in Saint-Lambesc, Bouches du Rhône. The youth of Morel should be a nice change from Parker’s previous wife, Eva Longoria.

If you recall, Parker and ex-wife Eva Longoria divorced in November. Eva was suspicious about Tony’s relationship with Brent Barry’s ex, and Tony was suspicious of Eva and Lance Armstrong.

Given that Tony’s play seemed to improve after he broke up with Longoria, we can only imagine what sort of wonders Morel can work on his game. Check out some pics of Morel to see what we mean.

[Read more...]

Dwight Howard Mocks LeBron James, Vince Carter on Twitter

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard has been spending his time this offseason traveling around the world and more recently, goofing around on twitter. When he’s not busy dancing the Haka with the New Zealand rugby team or entering planking competitions with Gilbert Arenas, he’s cracking on LeBron James and Vince Carter on twitter.

As NBA Offseason pointed out, Howard replied to a person on twitter by ripping LeBron’s hairline:

As if ripping on LeBron’s hairline (something not uncommon around NBA circles) wasn’t enough, he then mocked Vince Carter by posting this picture along with the accompanying message “Vince carte planking lol”

[Read more...]

Sean Rooks Is Reffing a Local Rec League

If the NBPA and League owners can’t figure out a labor settlement by the end of June, there will be a lockout. Because of this inevitability, the NBPA has urged players to save their money and plan for the worst. They’ve even suggested players consider getting a second job.

Some players may be making plans to play overseas, like Ron Artest.  FIBA rules aside, most players won’t land themselves a cash-rich Euro contract.  So if these players are really desperate for work, maybe they should call up former NBA player Sean Rooks to see if he’s got any job openings.

What’s Sean doing for a living these days? Reffing my local rec league. Yes, you read that correctly. I was just as shocked when my friend sent me this picture of Rooks working a rec league game at Birmingham High School in Los Angeles, CA. For the record, he was a pretty good ref, besides, no one was going to argue with his calls; aside from playing in the NBA, the man stands 6’10” tall.

Sean Rooks has played 12 NBA seasons and has collected over $17 million dollars in salaries. Yet here he is, the tallest man on the court, reffing a few games a day over the summer. Not sure if he needs the extra cash, the extra exercise, or if he just misses being around the game. Either way, get ready to see a lot more of this from current NBA players who don’t have the financial ability to just vacation during the lockout.

Foreign Reports Suggest Ron Artest May Try to Play in Finland

Ron Artest is known for his crazy behavior and spontaneous actions, so reading reports that he may be making plans to play basketball in Finland should not be taken lightly. Still, it’s extremely difficult to put much stock into these reports. BallinEurope.com via Eye on Basketball explains what’s going on. Someone named Hippo Taatila says:

“Finland’s top league Korisliiga will witness some serious NBA talent in September 2011, when Los Angeles Lakers forward/multipersonality Ron Artest will join league newcomer LoKoKo Loimaa.”

And in an Ilta-Sanomat newspaper, the LoKoKo sports directer says:

We have sorted things out and I can happily confirm that Artest will arrive in Finland.”

Alright, even for a guy who changes his name to Metta World Peace, reading a report suggesting he is planning to play in Finland is difficult to believe.

I’m guessing one of two things is going on here: one, maybe Artest is planning to go to Finland for some sort of goodwill tour. Two, maybe this is a backup plan in case there is a lockout. It just doesn’t make sense that a guy who has three years left on his Lakers contract would leave it for Finland. Seriously, think about how ridiculous that sounds. Can you really picture the reigning sportsmanship award winner playing ball in Finland while he still has good years left in the NBA? Neither can I.

UPDATE: Ron Artest’s agent denies the report

NBA.com Working to Eliminate Pictures and Videos of Players from Team Websites

The NBA just had one of its most successful seasons of the new millennium. Ratings were sky-high, fan interest spiked, and everyone seemed to take enjoyment in bashing the big villains of the basketball world — the Miami Heat. So what do you do to follow up such a great season? You cue up a lockout as your encore if you’re David Stern.

Though the NBA has many wage and salary cap issues to address in its CBA discussions, there is another problem on its hands. According to a story by Kevin Arnovitz at True Hoop, NBA.com and all the team websites affiliated with it are scrambling to prepare for the lockout. These details are enough to make any programmer go mad:

[Read more...]