» 2008 » October

  • Oct

    By Geoff Lepper

    OAKLAND — Which comes first, the production or the playing time?

    Warriors forward Al Harrington and coach Don Nelson are about to find out.

    Forced into continued coexistence after Harrington’s trade demand yielded no short-term results, both sides in the Warriors’ latest drama put the onus on the other Wednesday to solve the forward’s fervent desire for consistent playing time — either here or elsewhere.

    “He better play his ass off, don’t you think?” Nelson said at the Warriors’ morning shootaround prior to the season-opener against New Orleans. “For us to make a trade for him and get a good player in return, he’s going to have to play well. Otherwise, if he doesn’t play well, he doesn’t get his wish, and I don’t get mine by having a good player. . . .

    “I just told him, ‘You’re going to play all you want. You’re going to be begging to come out of the game.’”

    After seeing only 27.0 minutes per game last season — his lowest total since 2000-01 — Harrington remained skeptical.

    “I’ve heard that before,” Harrington said. “So I’m just at the point where I want it to be shown to me. . . . I’ve been the gunslinger before and the guy that could do whatever I wanted to on the floor. And that didn’t happen (here). That’s why, when he tells me that, I can’t jump for joy, because I’ve heard it before. We’ll start tonight and we’ll see if that’s the truth.”

    Harrington’s biting comments to beat writers late Tuesday night pushed the stirring story of Vallejo native-turned-undrafted-rookie-turned-starting-point-guard DeMarcus Nelson to the far recesses of the stage and focused the spotlight firmly on the 10-year veteran who seethed last season at his inconsistent usage by Nelson.

    “I’m ready for that,” Harrington said of the attention. “I feel like I’m at this point in my career, I’m ready for that type of pressure. I just want to do whatever it takes for this team to win. Obviously, without Monta and losing Baron, more responsibility is going to be on (the rest of) us. I’m ready for it.”

    He was not ready for another three seasons playing under Nelson, however, something that became an official possibility Wednesday when Nelson signed off on a two-year extension worth an eventual $12 million. The announcement of that deal over the weekend, combined with only 17 minutes of play in an exhibition contest against Lietuvos…

  • Oct

    I wish I would have placed some faux prop bets at the beginning of the season, because “Greg Oden gets hurt again, sparks debates over whether he’s more Sam Bowie or more Bill Walton” would have been high on that list for me.

    With the 76ers moving their game up to accommodate the World Series, let’s jump into the games (all times Pacific):

    Hornets (0-0) at Warriors (0-0), 7:35 p.m.
    Pick: Hornets -7

    This one should be over early, giving the Warriors plenty of time to field more third-rate trade offers for Al Harrington.

    Raptors (0-0) at 76ers (0-0), 3:05 p.m.
    Pick: Raptors +5.5

    Jermaine O’Neal vs. Elton Brand in the battle of two teams that are going to wind up playing each other in the 4-5 playoff matchup.

    Hawks (0-0) at Magic (0-0), 4:05 p.m.
    Pick: Magic -7.5

    The Hawks are tempting in this matchup, but realistically, it’s in a beer-goggling kind of way.

    Nets (0-0) at Wizards (0-0), 4:05 p.m.
    Pick: Nets +6

    Since the Nuggets are my de facto fantasy team (Caron Butler, Andre Blatche as a late pickup, Gilbert on reserve), this hurts me more than it’ll hurt them.

    Heat (0-0) at Knicks (0-0), 4:35 p.m.
    Pick: Heat +3

    Mike D’Antoni + Eddy Curry + Stephon Marbury = Maybe the only team that’s still crazier than the Warriors.

    Pacers (0-0) at Pistons (0-0), 5:05 p.m.
    Pick: Pistons -10

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but . . . without Mike Dunleavy, the Pacers have no shot.

    Bucks (0-1) at Thunder (0-0), 5:05 p.m.
    Pick: Thunder -2

    Bucks’ reward for a preseason trip to China is to open with a road-road back-to-back . . . did Herb Kohl run over David Stern’s puppy or something?

    Kings (0-0) at Timberwolves (0-0), 5:05 p.m.
    Pick: Kings +5.5

    Can’t see the young Wolf pups covering by that much.

    Suns (0-0) at Spurs (0-0), 5:05 p.m.
    Pick: Spurs -2

    Went back and forth three times on this one, but finally landed here. At some point, the Spurs are going to get old in a hurry. But I don’t think this is the year.

    Grizzlies (0-0) at Rockets (0-0), 5:35 p.m.
    Pick: Rockets -11.5

    The Ron Artest era doesn’t have much of a test, at least to start with.

    Nuggets (0-0) at Jazz (0-0), 7:05 p.m.
    Pick: Jazz -7.5

    No ‘Melo, no chance.

    Lakers (1-0) at Clippers (0-0), 7:35 p.m.
    Pick: Clippers +10

    Just too much action. The Clippers won’t win, but Baron will keep it closer than double digits.

    Season record: 1-2

    – Geoff

  • Oct

    Warriors forward Al Harrington is finally telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, apparently.

    After claiming early Tuesday afternoon that he “wasn’t at that point” of demanding a trade, Harrington hours later did in fact march into executive vice president Chris Mullin’s office to demand a trade, according to his own testimony in other outlets.

    Not much I can add to that. Obviously, my earlier report — while accurate in terms of quoting Harrington — was proven inaccurate because of the underlying deceit. Mea culpa.

    One thing I will be asking Al later this morning is why he didn’t go public over the summer to try to force the Warriors’ hand. Doing it the day before the season makes him come off as the bad guy, his team-first claims notwithstanding; a concerted effort in June and July would have allowed him to hold the upper hand in the PR war at this point.

    Until then, here are some possible trade partners and targets for the Warriors:

    CHICAGO: Kirk Hinrich
    He’s a superfluous hybrid guard on a team that also has Larry Hughes, Ben Gordon and No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose. Of course, he’s also got $36.5 million remaining on a deal that runs through 2011-12, and a defensive pairing with Monta Ellis would be akin in some ways to laying a welcome mat to the hoop.

    MEMPHIS: Javaris Crittenton
    Long of arm but short on accomplishments, Crittendon is probably the biggest reach in this group, although there are other bonuses to be had: Because the Grizzlies have so much room under the salary cap, the cost-conscious Warriors don’t have to take any other contracts back, although Memphis will presumably try to foist a Marko Jaric or Greg Buckner on them.

    CHARLOTTE: Raymond Felton
    This might be the best fit of these choices. Not only is Felton available because of the presence of D.J. Augustin, but the Bobcats are desperate for frontcourt help because they chose Augustin over Brook Lopez, and don’t want to play Emeka Okafor out of position at power forward.

    OKLAHOMA CITY: Earl Watson
    Another situation where a highly touted rookie (Russell Westbrook) has been brought onboard, making Watson more sellable. With the addition of a second player to balance out the salaries, longtime potential Warrior Chris Wilcox could also be discussed.

    ATLANTA: Speedy Claxton
    When Josh Childress was still in the fold, there wasn’t that much need for Harrington in Atlanta. With Childress plying his trade in…

  • Oct

    Differentiation is the key to a successful Web site, or so I’m told. But when people have already hacked their way through the entire 1,230-game NBA schedule and predicted the outcome of each contest – damn you, freedarko, damn you! – there aren’t many original options left for a new NBA Web site to stake out.

    So 48minutes.net will fall back on the oldest vice in sports: Gambling.

    I’m calling this series of posts “How To Lose Fake Money and Real Credibility” because there’s a no-win situation when you write about a sports team as your profession. If you do well in an NBA fantasy league or at prognosticating the outcome of games, everyone assumes that it’s because you have inside information.

    If you do poorly, well that’s just a mountain of derision you’re piling up, right there.

    Nevertheless, this site will be predict the outcome of all 1,230 NBA games this season, betting against the spread using virtual ducats. It should go without saying that this is just for fun, but we’ll say it anyways: This is just for fun. 48minutes.net does not condone gambling on NBA games.

    Just simulated gambling.

    With that, on to the games (all times Pacific):

    Cavaliers (0-0) vs. Celtics (0-0), 5:05 p.m.
    Pick: Celtics -6

    Last season, I ripped Cleveland’s roster to anyone who would listen. Even after Mo Williams’ addition, I’m still doing it.

    Bucks (0-0) vs. Bulls (0-0), 5:35 p.m.
    Pick: Bulls -6.5

    Warriors fans know from watching two games in China just how bad the Bucks are.

    Trail Blazers (0-0) vs. Lakers (0-0), 10:35 p.m.
    Pick: Trail Blazers +7.5

    My head says the Lakers should cover this easily; the roster that’s currently assembled is arguably better than the group that closed out the regular season 28-8. My heart says this is the chance to get in on the ground floor for the next big thing, however. And that’s why I don’t bet real money.

    – Geoff

  • Oct

    By Geoff Lepper

    For a guy who wants to be traded, Warriors forward Al Harrington sure sounded surprised about wanting to be traded.

    Contacted by 48minutes.net Tuesday afternoon, Harrington and Don Nelson both denied the hours-old report from Tim Kawakami that the 10th-year forward has asked to be shipped to another destination, no longer willing to play for the NBA’s second-winningest coach.

    “I haven’t said that to anybody,” Harrington said. “I’m being honest with you.”

    “Not that I know of,” Nelson said. “I had a meeting with him yesterday, and it didn’t come up.”

    Such a story would have been singularly unsurprising last season, when Harrington openly chafed at his role in Nelson’s system and the coach did little to spare the veteran’s ego, saying he’d make a better sixth man than a starter despite having scored 17.0 points per game for Golden State the previous half-season.

    To have the report — attributed to NBA sources close to Harrington — come out now, after the two have gone to some lengths over the summer to patch up their relationship and come to an understanding, seems a little odd.

    That’s not to say that Harrington and Nelson are now the best of friends. It’s also not to say that Harrington might not make a trade request later on in the season, if he’s back to playing less than 30 minutes a game and forced to patrol the 3-point line on offense.

    But when the Warriors line up against the Hornets on Wednesday, expect Harrington to be in the starting lineup.

    “Everything starts tomorrow,” Harrington said. “Training camp went perfect. Coach told me I’m one of his guys, he’s gonna play me as much as I want.”