Billy Crystal & Bette Midler are wacky grandparents
9.10 The Cooler

Phoenix Believes In The Process; Ben Wallace Wants Back In

By 09.10.12

Big Ben could ring again in an NBA arena if a team wants the former Defensive Player of the Year. Wallace can’t kick the NBA bug after saying last season was his last. The Boston Globe reported that in July Wallace decided he wanted to make a comeback. He doesn’t see Detroit as a destination for himself, though. Some teams with young big men should think about bringing in the big guy to give the young forwards a dose of what it takes to make it in the NBA — and maybe give them a Big Ben staredown for good measure like it’s 2004 if they step out of line. … The same Globe piece caught up with Grant Hill after his speech at a Hall of Fame event last weekend. He talked about how he believes the Clips can contend for a title right now, and now the L.A. rivalry intrigued him because it felt like Carolina vs. Duke all over again. You know who else is sharing in that Clipper confidence? Blake Griffin. The pair were chilling in a barbershop in LA recently when Blake told Grant he was ready to go off this season, post-knee surgery. Let’s see: Surgery following a big contract, sound like anyone you know, Grant? He said he told Griffin right then to take it easy out of the gate and not cheat his full rehab. … What will Griffin “going easy” mean for defenders early on? Is that saying he’ll stuff it in their face with just one hand or two? … The Billy Gillispie saga at Texas Tech isn’t precedent-setting, because players and coaches hash out their differences all the time. We’ll give you that going to the athletic director is rarer but still, it happens. What makes the situation at Texas Tech odd is how publicly is being sorted out. Deron Williams and Bill Self, among others, have come out to say they’ve got his back and that his methods aren’t madness. Self’s take on Sunday was very interesting partially because he initiated a call to ESPN to talk about it, and man did he talk about it. To paraphrase, everyone wants to win badly, every coach toes the line of what’s appropriate sometimes, and Gillispie is prone to do it a lot. However, Self, wondered aloud, why is there such a disparity between the unhappy players and those who have his back, some even from last year’s Tech team? We don’t have a doubt that the polar-opposite feelings between the two camps are real in their loyalty or unhappiness with the situation. Gillispie has won a lot and wins a lot of friends because of it — and like Self said, going 1-17 in the Big 12 won’t exactly make things all kum-bah-ya in Lubbock. Self plays both cards in his comments, saying they’re good buddies off the court but have had “some of the quickest handshakes” after games because they’re upset at each other (the two worked together before). The truth’s in the middle, which is what Tech’s AD is going after. We said here before that he deserves another season, because one year is a really short rope. Gillispie-ball isn’t for everyone but if there’s one thing he excels at, it’s taking a bad situation and turning up roses. With about eight new players coming in we’ll see if he can do it again. Be cautious betting against his odds of a turnaround. … We’re out like Blake going easy on a dunk.

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TAGSBill Selfbilly gillispieDERON WILLIAMSERIC GORDONGORAN DRAGICJermaine O'NealKendall MarshallLon BabbyPHOENIX SUNSSmackSTEVE NASH

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