I'm convinced that playing basketball for the Lakers is the best job in the world. At one time in world history, it might've been more fun to be, say, the King of France or a Roman Emperor, but now we know those career paths typically end in decapitation or getting stabbed 23 times by your tightest bros, so being a Laker is now at the top of the list. You get to stack fat chips "working" nine months out of the year, win a championship every season and bask in the adulation of a city populated by the most sexually appealing creatures on earth (other than your mom). It's even more glamorous and lucrative than being an NBA blogger, hard as that might be to believe.
Yet, Raja Bell remains skeptical. The Lakers have invited him into the band, but they're not feeling the love in return. According to ESPN Los Angeles, Raja's got his heart set elsewhere:
Bell said his top three destinations are the state of Florida - either the Heat or the Magic - because "my parents and my sister would get a chance to see their nephews and their grandsons," the New York area - either the Knicks or the Nets - because he also has family in that area or the Mavericks because of how the organization treated him when he played there back in 2002-03.
That's actually five destinations, not three, but whatever. Does Raja realize that he's just Raja Bell? I understand that free-agency madness is in the air these days, and it's nice that circumstances have conspired to give a Raja a few options, but let's be serious. In no rational market should a massive bidding war erupt over Raja Bell. Besides, the NBA collective bargaining agreement clearly states: if the Lakers want you, you will become a Laker. Rules are rules, son.
A few more Wednesday newslets after the cut....
Derek Fisher - is holding firm in his standoff with the team over the size and duration of his next contract. Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, for one, is OK with the Lakers playing a little hardball with Fish:
I fully understand the club’s desire to limit payroll and make conservative projections as to what Fisher will be doing at ages 36 and 37 at the game’s fleetest position. Smart organizations offer contracts based on what they need to pay, not what they should or anything that has to do with things in the past. . . . [N]o club should lock itself into a future deal out of past loyalty or nostalgia.
Preach it, brother. Mitch Kupchak says only that "We've had an open dialogue now for several days with his representative and that's really far as I'll go in terms of sharing information." ESPN's Chad Ford speculated in his Daily Dime chat that Fish could end up in Miami or Cleveland. Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus suggests that Fish's departure could lead to the Lakers' re-signing Shannon Brown.
The Lakers' D League affiliation - is now with the Bakersfield Jam. So if you were worried that our D Leaguers wouldn't get adequate exposure to the dangers of meth addiction and teen pregnancy, rest easy. The 661 has got it covered.
Lakers' championship attire and memorabilia - apparently isn't quite selling like hotcakes. One theory is that everyone stocked up when they won the title last year, and they don't want to shell out again for nearly identical stuff. Another theory is that it's all being shoplifted and sold off the back of pickup trucks by dudes in FUBU gear in Bakersfield.
Josh Powell - can now say that one of his ex-girlfriends has been arrested on coke charges. Nice, Josh. Does she have a sister?
This might surprise you, but basketball play data is not that big a target. In the NBA almost everyone knows everything because all the scouts are a close-knit unit. There's really not much they can find on our computers about game strategy that they don't already have access to elsewhere. For me, it's the conventional business side of the house that's of most concern: the personal information [and] customer credit-card numbers from when they buy merchandise.
It's worth a read if you're at all a tech-head.
Speaking of the Celtics - they're meeting today with Kwame Brown. There's really only one reaction to news of this sort.
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