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L.A. gets the band back together, takes the 2010 championship lead

By 07.31.09
Lamar & Kobe

Lamar & Kobe

All this waiting and debating over Lamar Odom‘s future, and he ends up getting about one Aston Martin more than Marvin Williams money? The biggest remaining free agent chip (again, all due respect to Allen Iverson) was taken off the table yesterday, as Odom agreed to a four-year, $33 million deal with the Lakers. That immediately puts L.A. back on top as the odds-on favorite to win the 2010 NBA championship, ahead of the Orlandos, San Antonios, Clevelands and Bostons who have spent the offseason making big moves specifically to topple Kobe‘s squad. (Wish we could say the same for Denver, but they’re apparently in chillin’ mode.) … And speaking of teams not doing anything, what does the Odom signing do to Dwyane Wade‘s psyche? The Heat were finally gonna make a move that might convince Wade to buy into the program and consider that contract extension, but they missed out. So unless Michael Beasley is an unfiltered beast next season and Jermaine O’Neal finds that bottle of 2003 juice in the back of his fridge, there’s a good chance Wade becomes disillusioned by carrying another weak team and sets his sights elsewhere in free agency … Two years after Kevin Garnett was sent out of town, the Wolves have a leadership crises that covers every level from the court to the bench to the front office. The point guard/Ricky Rubio situation is still uncertain, they still don’t have a coach as of July 31, and the GM may or may have any idea what he’s doing. The latest word out of Minnesota says Mark Jackson is the front-runner for the coaching job, which is a good hire IF management gives him time to develop the players and doesn’t cut Jackson’s process short when the losses keep coming … We’re almost done with the modified list of the Top 50 (and bottom 25) players of this past season. Yesterday we counted down the 10 best small forwards, including ‘Melo, Paul Pierce and Senor Buckets. And that guy in Cleveland might have ranked pretty high … Meanwhile, Dime’s Austin Burton decided to go all Steve Irwin and stick his head in the crocodile’s mouth that is the Toronto Raptors’ fan base, asking the good folks of T-Dot to accept that they’ve got a small-market franchise. Chaos ensued, best summed up by reader Otto: “Dang Austin. You just single handedly-assassinated the Archduke Ferdinand and ignited an all out international incident by posting this.” But in between the witty dick jokes and the “U R Stoopid” comments, there were actually a lot of well thought-out replies. Sad wrote: “The vast majority of Toronto Raptors fans do not have access to ESPN, and ABC games would be simultaneously broadcast with CTV or another Canadian network. It’s a part of Canada’s CRTC policies. Therefore the vast majority of people who would watch Raptors games would not be able to watch the advertisements that are broadcast on ABC and ESPN, which makes the whole idea useless.” And The Cynic added, “Media presence and small market are not related. Its only the preception created by the media that classifies them by your standard as a small market. If you don’t think that’s true then look at the amount of liberal media coverage in America; you would think the entire nation was liberal and only loud, old, dumb white dudes make up the entire conservative base.” … For what it’s worth, AB offered a (kinda?) mea culpa last night via e-mail: “Maybe I was wrong. It’s like 105 degrees in Seattle, literally the hottest it’s EVER been here, so there’s a good chance I’ve gone batty this week. Sounds like the big disagreement was over the term ‘market,’ when I probably should have used something speaking more to the media presence/coverage. OK, I’ll eat that. Instead of saying Toronto is a small-market franchise, I should have said Toronto is just a small-time franchise.” … Concerning the infamous Jordan Crawford/LeBron incident, we haven’t heard too many insights from the players who were actually on the court when it happened. got up with Indiana’s Marquis Teague (little bro of Jeff Teague), who was there and offers some hindsight advice for King James … We’re out like angry Canadians …


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