The picture of a Basketball Hall of Famer

Playground ball, lawsuits, continued talk of players going overseas during the lockout. There is some news going on, although most of it's not the funnest, happiest news for NBA fans to hear. It would be pretty cool if Kobe Bryant left the country though, wouldn't it? And, whose judgment do you trust between LeBron James and Andre Iguodala regarding the lockout? How will the lockout effect the 2012 USA Men's Basketball Team? Dennis Rodman even makes an appearance, and he swears he will be on his best behavior.

Rodman will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this Friday night in Springfield, MA, along with nine other inductees, including 1992 Dream Team member Chris Mullin, and Tex Winter, longtime NBA assistant coach and guru of the famed triangle offense. While it might not surprise hardcore basketball fans that Rodman's relentless defense and spectacular rebounding are worthy of induction, Rodman expressed surprise himself.

Via Sporting News

"The way I am, I thought I wouldn’t get in," Rodman told reporters. "Thought they’d say, ‘Dennis, you do too many things off the court that doesn’t represent us, the Hall.’ And I wouldn’t have taken offense. Whatever, OK. I had a great time, had a great career. I didn’t expect them to say, ‘OK, Dennis. We’ll actually consider you in the Hall of Fame.’ OK, cool."

Rodman's obviously an eccentric guy, and was constantly surrounded by controversy in the later years of his career, but his contributions to the game can't be denied. His presenter Friday night will be recently retired former Lakers and Bulls head coach Phil Jackson. Rodman was a player for Jackson on three of Jackson's eleven championship teams.

Jump it for more news from around the basketball world. Update: Earl Clark to play in China.

It's hard to question the passion for the game of NBA players who are taking their talents to city parks and minor leagues across the country. For example, Kevin Durant made quite an impression in New York City.

NBA Players Take Their Game to the Streets 

It seems summer is Durant's designated period for improvement, as just a year ago he was the leader behind Team USA's first gold medal at the FIBA World Championships in 16 years. Instead of squaring off with some of the best the world has to offer, this year he elected to face the best products on the pavement, expanding his game in ways few others would even dare.
 
LeBron James claims to be confident that the NBA lockout won't destroy the season, without giving much reason why he feels that way.
"I'm very passionate about the game of basketball and I've been working toward the upcoming season," he said. "I'm very optimistic about (union leader) Billy Hunter and the owners getting a deal done. I love the game that much, so that's my focus right now. My focus is having a training camp next month at the end of the month and getting ready to go."

The 76ers Andre Iguodala doesn't share LeBron's optimism.

Sixers Iguodala Pessimistic About NBA Lockout

"I didn’t think it would be this bad," Iguodala said, playing in an outing for Stars Within Reach, a foundation that encourages and helps children pursue their dreams. "I thought with the season we had and the TV ratings that we had and this being one of the largest grossing revenue season’s in the history of the game, you would think that we would be able to reach an agreement. But we are so far apart."

Whether you buy the idea of Kobe Bryant playing in Turkey or China during the lockout (I don't), he has made his intentions clear that he wants to play on the 2012 US Men's Olympic team. However, the lockout has thrown the Olympic team's plans into a bit of limbo.

Lockout Not Dimming Future for Team USA at 2012 Games

A year out from the 2012 Olympics, with the lockout in full swing, Jerry Colangelo nonetheless has no doubts that he will find 15 NBA players to put on the red, white and blue. "I haven't even really started reaching out, and I'm feeling calls," he said Friday. "They're calling me. They're calling me to say they're playing."

Truth is, no one -- not even Colangelo, the head of USA Basketball -- knows what the potential impact of the lockout will be on the Summer Games. If the lockout is still ongoing then, there would be any number of logistical and potentially legal nightmares for each.

Former Suns lottery pick Earl Clark has reached agreement to play in China this season. He doesn't have an out clause, so he's committed to playing the full season in China. Am I the only one who thinks he might face some culture shock and communications issues there?

Clark Agrees to Deal to Play in China

Orlando Magic free agent Earl Clark(notes) has reached an agreement on a one-year contract with Zhejiang of the Chinese Basketball Association, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. The deal will pay Clark in the “high six figures,” one source said.


And part of me wants to send him over there.  I mean think about it, we are talking about a player that above almost any other play still in the league today deserves a ring.  He is a perennial all-star he has always represented the league in the best manner, and he continues to play well as an "old man".  

However, I also have a huge loyalty to him and to see a player let alone a person like him go to "The EVIL Empire" hurts. The decision to move Grant Hill falls in the hands of Lon Babby and the Suns front office and of course Hill, who is an unrestricted free agent. A front office who has only guaranteed the security of one aging superstar in Steve Nash.  So what does that mean for an aging small forward who's only dependable upside is his sheer determination to continue and compete.  

Without Grant Hill I truly believe that this Phoenix Suns team will lose their way, without another solid leadership voice on the team who is level headed and has a large basketball I.Q. I think we will have no chance of gelling or going any further than last year.  

With him we have the potential to become a respectable defensive team, add length to our line up, and above all else have a player that can lead the team when Steve Nash sits. I think we can all agree the backup point guard position is up in the air right now and that we don't have a solid bench PG that can keep the team on track when Nash is off the court.  

The Heat have expressed interest in a number of players recently targeting Hill as one of the possible recruiting possibilities along with Battier, Prince and Micheal Redd.

What is frightening is that they have a really good calling card in the BIG TWO Lebron James and Dwyane Wade.  With quality potential backup minutes to Lebron James and a good compliment to Dwyane Wade it will give the Heat much needed depth to their roster allowing them to throw more then just James and Wade at at team all game long.  

Remember Hill was once considered the next Michael Jordan and at times showcases that killer instinct he once had as well as some impressive bouts of physical dominance. 

So in all these fantasies of seeing Grant Hill win a championship I still want to be selfish and see him retire with us.  So Miami...you can't have him, he is ours and we will honor his decision to retire whenever that may be.  I only wish that we could have seen him play more in his prime.  

GRANT HILL AT HIS BEST (via razr33)

Grant Hill Jokes About Block On Bayless (HD) (via SunsDynastyXcom)

OLD MAN STILL HAS IT!

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Yesterday Paul Shirley broke down the Steve Nash situation, Amare Stoudemire’s political knowledge and the 2004-05 Seven Seconds or Less Suns. Now the benchwarmer turned outspoken writer...

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Special. That’s one word often used to describe the 2004-05 Phoenix Suns. Seven Seconds or Less made its debut and Steve Nash quickly became the face of the franchise that drafted him, while...

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Now this is thinking outside the box.

The league has filed a lawsuit against the player's association, and it's looking more and more like the season will be delayed if not cancelled entirely. The gut reaction is to think of this as entirely negative. I mean, no basketball equals bad, right?

According to Berry Tramel of NewsOK.com, the NBA could actually be better off starting later:

Why does the NBA season always start in late October/early November? Why do the NBA Finals have to be played in June?

 

Wouldn't the NBA be better served with a Dec. 1 tipoff and a July finals?

 

What Tramel suggests, thinking outside the box and turning a disadvantage into an opportunity, is that the NBA fill a sports-fan need in early July by starting and ending the season later. There's nothing big holding the NBA schedule back from starting later and ending later, and television ratings surely could be improved by taking July as it's own form of March Madness. 

In Phoenix, it could mean extended respite from the summer heat, while watching the Suns compete for a Western Conference Title and NBA Championship. 

Tramel keeps running with his idea:

Tip off the season in December, start the playoffs in late May. You could still play the All-Star Game in February, to avoid March Madness, but the trading deadline could move to late March, maybe a Tuesday, and the NBA could muscle in on some of the basketball jones that for decades the colleges have confiscated for March.

Anyone see any big issues with this? Even if this doesn't work, it's an excellent lemons-to-lemonade reminder that in every challenge is an opportunity for design and redesign: for increased revenue, efficiency, and improvement of the sport. 


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