"Once or twice a year, we empty the entire ball rack by throwing or punting each ball into the stands, then make the rookies climb the steps to get each ball. I'm not sure why, but I really like doing that." - Nick Collison
In this current economic climate, NBA franchises are imploring to us that they're losing too much money and need to redraft the entire collective bargaining agreement, while also continuing to throw the gross national product of Micronesia at a whole host of players that don't deserve it. (Memphis are as guilty of this as anyone, with their wildly excessive max contract to Rudy Gay.) While complaining with one arse that their expenditure outweighs their income, owners are using their second arse to wildly overpay the underdeserving, greatly increasing that expenditure level while under pressure from nothing but their own aspirations. We're looking at an impending lockout a mere 11 months after learning that Johan Petro got an 8 figure contract. Joe Johnson got the fifth highest contract in the history of the sport. Rudy Gay got the max. Chewbacca lives on Endor. It does not make sense.
Inevitably, we were treated to both the highs and lows of the NBA experience. The highs included musical interludes from both Michael Jackson and Prince, a strangely successful rendition of the Outhere Brothers's classic Boom Boom Boom, the always entertaining Slamball sections, the inflatable Raptor mascot that looks like an evil Barney, the inflatable Nets mascot accidentally deflating mid-routine, a discussion as to what Brook Lopez's ethnicity was (we settled on "Mexican jew"), the always exciting Kiss Cam (highlighted in this instance by a man who looked like fat Bono refusing to kiss a bluegrass Tina Turner), a three-play-long period of unstoppable play by Johan Petro that led to him thereafter being nicknamed "The Unstoppable Johan Petro", and the man to our immediate left, who booed all Nets free throws in a hilariously well-spoken fashion (imagine Noel Coward playing a particularly sardonic ghost in an episode of 60's Scooby Doo). The lows included a quickly irritating "ka-ching!" noise on every made and-one, the customary request to make it clap, Flex Cam, the man in our section who wouldn't sit down and who also wouldn't take a hint, no playing of the national anthem (the British one, not the American one), Travis Outlaw's performance, the no-show by the woman on the unicycle who flips crockery onto her head, and multiple instances of the Mexican Wave. If you sit more than 3,000 British people in a circle, they're going to do the wave. It's a rule; if nothing else, it represented an attempt at audience participation.
[T]he amnesty clause (that we're having to pretend will exist here, but which almost certainly will exist in some form) will further expand the range of available talents. A lot of decent players are going to become available, not because they can't play the game, but because they can't justify their contract. A lot of the candidates are obvious and inevitable, some perhaps less so. Here's a potential list:
- New Jersey: Travis Outlaw and Johan Petro - When they weren't able to spend their cap space on stars, New Jersey panicked and wasted it. These two backups received $45 million in guaranteed money, and yet the Nets got little for it. Petro fouled prolifically on his way to another third-string calibre season, while Outlaw was especially bad, putting up 37.5% shooting and an 8.8 PER in an amazingly generous 2,358 minutes.
Johan Petro - Petro started the season in China, averaged 13.5 points and 9.8 rebounds in four games for the Zheijiang Lions, then was released. He fouls too much and scores increasingly inefficiently, yet he has done enough to earn a spot as a third stringer.
Note: Non-US teams that the player
has played for are, unless stated otherwise, from the top division in
that nation. If a league or division name is expressly stated, it's not
the top division. The only exceptions to this are the rare occasions where
no one league is said to be above the other, such as with the JBL/BJ League
split in Japan.