NBA News & Rumors: Shaq quotes, Bogut, Jackson, Agent Zero and Lopez

Shaq says Cavs are the best team he’s ever been on…at least on paper. Shaq has never been one to shy away from a juicy quote, but in touting his team, he calls Anderson Varejao “one of the top forwards in the league” and mentioned rookie Darnell Jackson by his nickname (D-Block). Um, okay. If it’s all the same, we’ll wait to see how this team fares on the court, especially in the playoffs. Did Shaq meet with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department? Shaq refused to confirm the report: “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he told The News-Herald. “Undercover officers aren’t allowed to talk about what’s going on.” Classic.

Andrew Bogut is ready for more work. Bogut is coming off a back injury that kept him out for much of the last four months of the 2008-09 season. Given his career numbers — 11.9 ppg, 8.7 rpg — he’s not a bust, but he’s certainly not what the Bucks were expecting when they took him with the #1 pick back in 2005. Milwaukee passed on Chris Paul and Deron Williams, two franchise-caliber point guards, and even Marvin Williams might be looking better right now since he’s been able to stay healthy. Bogut played in 82 games his rookie season, but since then, he has missed 27% of his team’s games and the Bucks haven’t made the postseason. This is a big year for the Aussie, who needs to prove that his contract (worth $60 million) is justified.

Stephen Jackson to the Cavs? This rumor has Jackson heading to Cleveland for Zydrunas Ilgauskas and his expiring contract. The Cavs are already loaded at the wing with LeBron, Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker, but the saga of Delonte West, might have the Cavs looking to add to the arsenal. However, it’s going to be tough to find minutes for all of these players as it stands, and Jackson isn’t one to sit quietly if he’s not getting what he believes to be appropriate playing time.

Is Gilbert Arenas changing his game? Arenas has always been a shoot-first point guard, but he only took five shots and dished out 10 assists against the Grizzlies on Tuesday. HC Flip Saunders wants him to be more aggressive, so we’re more likely to see a watered-down version of 2006 Agent Zero than some new, pass-first variety.

Nets looking to run offense through Brook Lopez. HC Lawrence Frank redesigned his offense to feature Lopez at the top of the key and at the elbows. He wants Lopez to facilitate, so expect the second-year center’s numbers to rise with all the additional touches.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Correcting ESPN The Mag, Part 1

Regular readers might be familiar with my occasional posts — “Correcting Bill Simmons” and “Correcting Rick Reilly” — where I try to help out my better-paid, less-informed counterparts by pointing out when/where they’re wrong. This time, I’m going to tackle ESPN The Mag as a whole. I know I’m going to hear some guy at the sports bar regurgitate this “analysis” as his own opinion and I won’t have the wherewithal to call him on it.

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite blowhard — and I doubt he’d take that as an insult given his commentary stylings — Stephen A. Smith. In his “Up Front” column, he criticizes Oscar De La Hoya for not knowing when to give it up.

Help, someone! Pretty Please!

It would be really nice if someone could muster some plausible explanation as to why a fighter like Oscar De La Hoya, beyond his prime for quite a while before the Manny Pacquiao bout, still chose to step into the ring and get his brains beat out. The mismatch was so obvious that Oscar’s wife, Millie, was screaming for him to quit before he had the common sense to do it himself.

It’s really easy to knock De La Hoya after the match is over when it’s clear that he shouldn’t have fought the fight. But one quick look at the pre-fight odds (-165 Hoya / +135 Pacquiao) reveals that this fight fooled a LOT of people, not just the Golden Boy. According to the betting public, De La Hoya was the clear favorite in the fight, so why would Oscar think that he was about to step into a beatdown? The betting public clearly doesn’t know everything, but it’s a pretty good gauge of public opinion and if the public is fooled, why would De La Hoya — who has an ego of a big-time fighter — know any better?

If Smith writes this column before the fight, I’d give him props. But this is classic kick-’em-while-they’re-down writing.

Let’s move on to Mike & Mike (Golic & Greenberg) who answer “The Big Question” — if the best players in college sports don’t make any noise in the pros, what’s their legacy?

Read the rest after the jump...

Related Posts