Wow. What a Tuesday morning. Where should I begin? We could talk about Magic Johnson selling his stake in the Los Angeles Lakers and pretending they will always be best friends. We could talk about the NBA's Players Association taking legal action against the league for the change in the technical foul rule. But there's also Dwayne Wade and the issues surrounding his return to the Miami Heat line-up. Hmmm. Let's go with Gilbert Arenas, shall we? So, we all know our favourite locker room distraction faked an injury 7 days ago to get a teammate of his Nick Young, more playing time. Young subsequently scores 24 points against the Hawks and Gilbert's plan works. Really? Is this the real story? Gilbert Arenas showing such selflessness and risking being disciplined so his teammate could get more playing time? Or do we just want some attention? Trying to prove a point to Wizards' management? Not sure. But ironically enough, he didn't start last Thursday against Milwaukee but suffered a REAL injury to his groin just three minutes coming into the first quarter. I wonder what Gilbert Arenas' definition of a mentor is? By faking the injury and the drama that went a long with it, he took time away from John Wall - the Wizards number 1 draft pick. Where is this guy's head at? I hope he figures it out soon because his dramatic flair is not so endearing.
Complaining about complaining
So the players' association calls it "passion for the game" and the referees call it a distraction. This really shouldn't be up for debate but it is. There is nothing wrong with reacting to a call but there is something wrong with getting up in the referee's face to tell him about it. In the early days of the NBA, the league considered putting in makeshift penalty boxes and fining the players $25 for fighting or mouthing off. Now, the cost of a player outburst is at $2,000 for their first five. This is relative considering how much these players make today. But remember, the very first players in professional basketball came straight from the streets and from the battles of war so they were used to fighting to solve disputes. I know today is different but although I agree something needs to be done about the complaining, I am concerned about giving the referees more power. Right now the NBA has told players they will be given a technical foul what they call 'overt gestures', even if they are not directed at a referee, running up to a ref to contest a call, or other actions that don't show proper respect for the game. I think this is dangerous. Sure, be fined for getting a ref's face, another player's face or overreacting to a call. But this new rule gives the refs power to fine a player for frowning or shaking his head - a natural reaction - one that doesn't have to be directed at the referee. Depending on which referee you get, this could be interpreted many different ways and he can choose to let things go or call it. Whether it was a good or ball call, we have to live with it, true. But the referees control the tempo of the game and if they start calling every little thing, their goal of gaining more respect from players may be thrown out the window.
Magic Leaving the Lakers?
Magic Johnson used to own 4.5% of the Los Angeles Lakers. But he sold this on Monday to a Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a 25 year Lakers season ticket holder and a guy with a whole lot of money. When I think of the Los Angeles Lakers, Magic Johnson tops the list of images. He says his dedication and support for the Los Angeles Lakers will not be affected by this decision and he will "be a Laker for Life". If this is true, that he bleeds purple and gold, why sever your concrete attachment to it? Clearly, he has aspirations to own another team. He has been known to express interest in being a part of the team buying the Detroit Pistons but the group hasn't made any public connection with Magic Johnson. Let's pretend he does buy the Detroit Pistons. He can't be a die-hard Lakers fan anymore because his job would then be to cheer for the Pistons to make sure he gets a return on his investment. Right now, nothing is set in stone. As a businessman, he has every right to invest in whatever he wants. I just don't understand why it is not the purple and gold anymore.
Wading through the Drama
This is not the distraction the Miami Heat needs but I am glad the team is supporting him. Dwayne Wade, as you know, pulled a hamstring muscle to start the pre-season and has been off since but working out separate from the team. He is involved in a custody battle over his two sons, which continues this week, and no one knows for sure if he will be in the Heat line-up to open the regular season. LeBron James was quick to throw his support around Wade describing the Miami Heat as a family that will welcome back Wade "with open arms" when he is ready. LeBron is right. When it comes to matters involving family, especially children, it becomes bigger than basketball. I am glad the team is supportive in letting him have some time off to get things settled. But remember, this is still only the pre-season and I am not so sure Heat Management will be all smiles if he misses anymore time in the regular season. I can't imagine what Dwayne Wade is going through and I hope for the children's sake, this is all over soon.
Behind Enemy Lines
Remember to join me here on the DNB this Thursday when we will be looking at the Toronto Raptors' opponents for the coming week, talking strategy and anything else that comes across my radar. See you then.