Fridays Are For Me
I love transparency, mostly since it's totally state-sanctioned narcissism. That and, owing to the everyman-ish quality of blogging, I figure that my plight belongs to all you as well.
Today's concerns: Constant internet barrage. When I was with FanHouse, I checked every rumor page obsessively. Ballhype was my goddess, and anything with the slightest bit of bite to it was worth a short post. That was how the gig worked. Now, in my new capacity, I'm able to relax a little more. I post about once a day, and can afford to take is easy on loose ends and endless conjecture. I know that this puts me at odds with the trends in the sports journalism industry—and rest assured, new bosses, I'm still on top of the news. But I've begun to wonder what would happen if one followed the Association in a less gossip-y fashion.
I'm not exactly sure how this would work, or what it would look like. News now breaks 'round the clock, which means the morning paper model is gone forever. But I do know that the Gasol and Marion trades have emboldened me a little to, well, pay less attention. Before this week, I'd always assumed that most trades begin with rumors. Thousands of rumors don't pan out each year; plenty are the product of wishful thinking, or a need to fill up space. You've also got to figure that, when something real is leaked (or really is leaked), it's because someone on the inside wanted it out there. It's to generate interest or, as Barry Reeves suggested to me the other day, gauge public reaction.
With these gigantic trades this week, we heard nothing. No one heard nothing. Marion found out from the television, GM's around the league were miffed that they hadn't gotten to bid on Gasol. So Marion's trade demand at the beginning of the season was worth covering. Rad. But other than that, and the vague suggestion that Gasol's been on the block forever, what trail is there leading up to this epoch-altering transaction? It's like fine, there's another Jason Kidd scenario that someone worked out on the Trade Machine. A source alluded to a possible interest. LeBron said he'd like some help. I worry that all this "news" is forest-for-the-trees stuff, if not outright ghost chasing.
Yes, I'd like to know when something's imminent. But at this point, the line between likely and merely possible has been so blurred, I'm not sure if we can find it again. Is there any real anticipation left in our reading of these rumors? All that's left is our shared belief that we're all insiders, smarter than the mainstream media, in league with general managers, etc. We're not. And if a franchise is remotely competent, we should attach an ulterior motive to anything that's supposedly real. That's how politics work, right?
(Or, am I just too cynical to throw in a "that's how political blogs work"?)
One other thing I wanted to get out there: I had a piece up on Deadspin this week that earned me some death threats; some people, mostly from Boston, thought I'd praised Kobe's handling of his Los Angeles situation, and trashed KG for his stiff-lipped time in Minny and classy move to Beantown. That wasn't it at all. The point was that I missed the semi-insane Garnett, and couldn't wait to see some of that enter Kobe's micro-managed universe.
So when I watched Los Angeles/Atlanta, it was gratifying to see an (admittedly injured) Bryant barely shoot when his wasn't falling, toss crazy passes every which way, and make sure Lamar Odom got nice and loose. Gasol looks positively amped to be out of Memphis (no offense to the city, which I dig quite a bit), but Odom moving over to the three is akin to Diaw getting free. I haven't seen him that loose and creative since his Clippers days, and that effective since that All-Star year in Miami. Maybe that's a longtime Odom enthusiast foaming at the mouth, but anyone who's dreamt of what Lamar could be -- and that would be just about anyone who has heard of the guy -- should be very, very happy.
It comes down to this: Kobe forces things. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way. Even when he holds back, it's an act of clenched discipline. I have a hunch that, with this current team, he might learn how to a flow a little less deliberately, to realize that laying off the super-ego isn't the same as playing without conscience. Phil will be proud, and Kobe will make his enemies even more scared—and his supporters less nervous.
Finally, from the land of WTF:
"Our dad, Dr. Ernest Garlington is innocent of conspiracy to commit murder of Ray Allen's step-father."