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Tim Duncan Really Likes His Wendy’s

Free agency in the NBA is heating up with July 1st marking the beginning of the period. The biggest name in this year’s class is of course LeBron James. Rather than take a trip to each city he’s considering, The King will remain in Ohio and allow the jesters to come to him. That’s not normally how it works; generally the highly sought after free agents are recruited by interested teams. With that in mind, I read this great story by current Magic VP Pat Williams in the latest edition of Sporting News Magazine. Williams, who was the team’s president at the time, gave this hilarious account of his attempt to sign Tim Duncan and how they screwed up the food order:

With Tim … we had a good read on him, and we knew he would have been highly offended if we had a ticker-tape parade through town or put him on a float and rolled him through Disney World with Mickey and Minnie. We wanted to have a situation that was more low-key, more suited to his personality.

We tried to take care of every detail. Hotel room, car service, all first-class. We had cold cuts out, for lunch. We had a buffet, and Tim didn’t like what we had. He really wanted Wendy’s. So we hustled to get someone out there for some Wendy’s. All the studying we did, we did not know he liked Wendy’s. You really have to know your target, I guess.

Whether or not the Wendy’s snafu played a part in it we can’t be sure, but we do know that David Robinson hustled back from a Hawaiian vacation to convince Duncan to remain in San Antonio. Duncan of course re-signed with the Spurs and went on to win three more NBA titles. The Magic got Grant Hill, their second choice in free agency, and Tracy McGrady, their third choice, and never got out of the first-round of the playoffs. Who knew Dave Thomas’ favorite girl would have such an impact on the NBA?

LeBron Watch: The King, D-Wade, and Bosh Willing to Split Cash?

The talk of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh joining forces in 2011 is really starting to heat up — no pun intended.  Stephen A. Smith seems to have called it first on his radio show, so as fun as this would be to watch I’m almost hoping it doesn’t happen.  I’d hate for him to be able to say, “I told you so,” and I’m sure plenty of others are with me on that.

Sports by Brooks has drawn my attention to an Ira Winderman report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that claims the three superstars have gone so far as to discuss the financial shuffling that would need to take place in order for all three to be signed by the Miami Heat.  Winderman reports that a source has told him that the free agents are aware it may be impossible for the Heat to start them all out at the $16.6 million for their first season that the maximum contract would allow.  The source told Winderman that they have discussed a plan to “split the money up” if that’s what it takes to make it work.

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LeBron James and Chicago a Great Mix

Let me start out by saying yes, this is a little biased. I’m a Bulls fan from Chicago, but there are plenty of reasons why LeBron James would be happy here running with the Chicago Bulls. Free agency begins at midnight on Thursday and the biggest question is where The King will sign. I say it should be Chicago.

A few weeks ago I made the prediction that Tom Izzo would leave Michigan State and that LeBron would be staying in Cleveland. Well, I was wrong. With Izzo’s decision to stay, I think it’s obvious that King James isn’t staying with the Cleveland Cavaliers.  So here’s why I think that LeBron would be happy in the Windy City:

1. The talent is already here: Despite the Bulls’ mediocre season, they do have a very talented bench. Derrick Rose will be a superstar and I believe would compliment LeBron quite well. Unlike other “face of the franchise” players, Rose isn’t a ball hog. Although Rose won’t be directly in the spotlight with The King around, they would make an almost unstoppable combination on the floor.

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LeBron Watch: Stephen A. Smith Makes a Prediction, Jay-Z Says Very Little

If nothing else, Jay-Z has made it tough to get a read on what his approach will be in trying to land LeBron James.  Publicly, he’s come out and stated that he would not try to convince LeBron to sign with the Nets, although we all know that’s completely false.  With July 1 only days away, the LeBron James free agency rumors are in full swing.  It’s already been said that Chris Bosh and LeBron to the Chicago Bulls is a done deal.  Stephen A. Smith disagrees with that prediction and has made it clear that he believes LeBron and Bosh are both headed to Miami to team with Dwyane Wade.  If that’s true you can go ahead and cancel the season, but we’ll get into that after.  First, have a look at the video of Jay-Z talking about LeBron James with David Letterman, courtesy of Waiting For Next Year via Sports by Brooks Live:

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Gordon Hayward’s Barely Legal Girlfriend

The NBA Draft was pretty boring as a whole and about the only upside is at least we didn’t have cameras on the players showing they were selected prior to the announcement at the podium. If there was one notable aspect of the draft, aside from David Stern laughing at the Bulls’ pick, it was Gordon Hayward bringing his girlfriend along to NYC.

Hayward is 20 years old and he just completed his sophomore season at Butler. He’s a young looking guy, which means his young looking girlfriend, Kolbi Killingback suits him well. Oddly, though, Killingback just graduated from high school according to her Facebook page. The two went to high school together so it makes the situation whole lot less creepy but it’s still somewhat uncomfortable. It definitely reminds us how young most of these players are.

Blazers Fire GM on Draft Night. Huh?

The Portland Trail Blazers gave GM Kevin Pritchard the ultimate eff you on Thursday, firing him the night of the draft. According to The Oregonian, the draft night execution was more vicious than what Pritchard was expecting; he thought he would be let go two days after the draft. I guess owner Paul Allen is more ruthless than we thought. Pritchard engineered the 2006 draft day trades that brought Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge to Portland, making him chiefly responsible for the team’s turnaround. Sure he might have screwed up the Greg Oden pick, but Pritchard did a good job in Portland. So why was he fired? From Jason Rapid Quick:

Thursday’s firing appeared to come down to a personality conflict, a strife that became apparent to Pritchard late in the season when he was told he was no longer welcome to sit next to [owner Paul] Allen during games at the Rose Garden. Pritchard at times wondered if Allen had become jealous of his popularity and the credit he received, even though Pritchard insisted he never wanted the attention.

There you have Pritch’s side of the story which seems to make sense. As for Allen’s side, well he lets his firings do the talking. People are saying that Allen’s treatment of Pritchard will make it tough for Portland to hire a new, good GM, but I disagree. With that roster and the money Allen can offer, there should be plenty of takers. The question is whether someone else can do what Pritchard was able to with that roster. Now that’s the difficult question, and I say it will be tough to duplicate.

Sources:
Trail Blazers’ firing of Kevin Pritchard comes earlier than expected, but questions remain unanswered [The Oregonian]

Greivis Vasquez Has Bad History with Memphis

Greivis Vasquez had one of the most ecstatic reactions of any player who got drafted on Thursday. The former Maryland star was selected 28th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies who obtained the pick from the Lakers in the b.s. Pau Gasol trade. Although Vasquez was elated to be picked by the Grizzlies, one has to wonder if the sentiment will be shared by his new hometown.

Last year during March Madness, Vasquez’s Maryland squad had beaten Cal in the first round and was getting prepared to play second seeded Memphis in the second round. Vasquez infamously ripped the Tigers at the time, saying Memphis would have a losing record if they played in the ACC rather than Conference-USA.

Naturally, Vasquez’s comments set off a firestorm in Memphis where outraged fans were calling up my radio show all pissed off. Of course Memphis went on to wax Maryland before losing to Missouri in the Sweet 16, proving Vasquez’s comment had some partial accuracy.

I don’t know how Vasquez will be received in Memphis as the 28th overall pick by the Grizzlies, but I’m guessing it won’t be too warmly until he starts playing well for the team. I don’t know much about Memphis, but I do know that the city is passionate about their school and that they don’t forget. Good luck making friends, Greivis.