Did you hear the Magic brass isn’t too smart? That’s what it feels like. Since none of us are a part of Orlando’s organization, we can sit here and talk about “Well, they might as well trade Dwight Howard now and get the most for him. They can’t let him leave for nothing.” We can call for the GM, Otis Smith, to start reaching out to everyone, mainly the Nets and the Lakers, to figure something out. But if we were Smith, we definitely wouldn’t have said what he did yesterday. In an interview with Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, Smith said about the Howard trade rumors: “I think you have to look at everything. I don’t think you can take anything out of consideration.” We’re sure Orlando fans are happy to hear that. It’s not that we don’t believe it to be true. But when your franchise – the one guy holding it all together – is teetering on the edge of skipping town, you don’t go running around saying you’re going to have to look into everything. Not yet. Howard hasn’t given any inclination that he’s leaving. You have to try to keep him, or risk setting yourself back by a decade. If Howard feels at all disrespected or doesn’t see loyalty, he’s gone so the response Smith gave the world yesterday was extremely peculiar … There are a number of things holding back this Rajon Rondo/Chris Paul swap but none more important than Paul’s desire to be in Boston, which is about zero. He doesn’t want to be there at all. Sources close to the All-Star say he wouldn’t sign an extension with the Celtics if he were traded there. Yes, the Celtics present a great opportunity to win a title, but what happens two years from now? Some are suggesting Danny Ainge should go ahead and pull the trigger regardless, get a year out of CP3 and a shot at one last title, then let him, Ray Allen and KG walk next summer and immediately begin rebuilding. Of course, Rondo could end up in Indiana instead of New Orleans to head a young and exciting lineup in need of a general if the Pacers get their way. Yesterday we asked who would you rather have running your team, and while basically everyone responded one way, not everyone would take Paul. Shaquille O’Neal told SI.com that Rondo is the heart and soul of that team and that he wouldn’t make the trade, adding: “Chris Paul is not better than Rajon Rondo… Rajon Rondo is the true definition of a point guard, period. He gets everybody involved and he scores when he has to. Chris Paul scores a lot of points, but when was the last time they made it to the playoffs? Thank you very much.” O’Neal might have short-term memory loss in his old age with that playoffs comment, but he makes a few interesting points … Shaq is also getting back into the sneaker game, bringing his former brand manager Mary Gleason (O’Neal calls her the LeBron James of his shoe team) into the mix to help his kicks get back on their feet. You couldn’t pay us enough to get us to camp out for these … Reports are that Nate Robinson will be bought out by OKC so he can become a free agent … Hit page two to see why Tyson Chandler expects to leave Dallas and reactions to UNC’s big win over Wisconsin …
With the extended lockout, we weren’t sure whether Dallas would have the shot to defend their title at all. Now basketball is back, but still, they could be looking a lot different at the start of training camp. That’s because Tyson Chandler told ESPN yesterday that he really believes he’ll be with a different team very soon. Other squads are willing to throw the bank at him – which will probably be somewhere around $50-60 million – and he’s not sure how willing Dallas will be to counter. They didn’t offer an extension even after his role in the championship, and Chandler is frustrated at the lack of communication. We already know certain teams – Toronto, Houston and Golden State – are ready to offer huge deals. Can Chandler really turn them down to come back to Dallas? And off of that, perhaps we should’ve included the big man in our top five free agents most likely to be overpaid. What idiot GM is going to give a nearly 30-year-old center with a history of injuries an over-the-top lucrative long-term deal? … Blazers president Larry Miller discussed the status of Greg Oden (reports are positive and that he expects him to play in January) and Brandon Roy (they will hold a personal workout for him to see whether they would like to keep him) and said this: “If we have a healthy Brandon and a healthy Greg I think we have a great roster.” So basically, never? … It wasn’t pretty, but Wisconsin showed they can roll with anybody. They might’ve lost 60-57 to North Carolina in the Tar Heels’ house, but no one who watched that game will take them lightly. Coming into the night, Wisconsin was holding teams to 39 points a game. We figured North Carolina would double that, but at the half they had only 25. Jordan Taylor had his way early in the game with Kendall Marshall and Wisconsin slowed it down all night. Taylor controlled everything for the Badgers (18 points but shot only 6-20) and Jared Berggren (14 points) was solid. But when the Heels really needed it late in the second half, it was Harrison Barnes (20 points) doing what he does best: rising and dropping Js. They needed all of it to survive; John Henson was the only other player who did anything (16 rebounds, six blocks) … Kansas, Gonzaga and Pitt both won easily as well while Creighton won by a bucket over San Diego St., and UNLV survived 94-88 in double OT over UC Santa Barbara … This Syracuse stuff keeps getting stranger. There are reports that Bernie Fine‘s wife not only knew about the situation between her husband and a few young boys, but that she actually had an affair herself with Bobby Davis, one of the accusers. Now, a source told Deadspin that at least one media outlet has evidence that Laurie had sex with Syracuse basketball players, and that “It was a rite of passage for some to be with Bernie’s wife.” There’s a rumor of a sex tape as well, but which players hit it is still the unknown. What is going on in college sports? … Chris “Birdman” Andersen wants to save the birds … Spud Webb â€“ the man synonymous with the dunk contest â€“ is now the coach for Rick’s Cabaret/New York City, a team of strippers hailing from one of New York City’s most famous strip joints. We’re not joking. He was just introduced. The league, Rick’s Basketball Association â€“ has teams in Minneapolis and Miami. We can’t really complain because we’d watch it, although it does seems a little low for a former dunk champ to fall to … The NBA’s opening day rumor has been confirmed: We will be getting five games on Christmas Day … And in the most anticipated flag football game of the summer, Team LeBron beat Team Durant, 70-63. LeBron had an interception with 13 seconds left to clinch it. The clutch gene! … We’re out like planning for a healthy Oden.
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