During last Friday’s Washington Wizards win over New Jersey Nets, Comcast’s Chris Miller had an in-game interview with JaVale McGee’s mother, Pamela. The questions centered around her thoughts on JaVale being selected for the All-Star dunk contest. She talked about how proud she is to see his growth as a basketball player, his love of dunking, and shared a story where JaVale touched the top of backboard in street shoes at his pre-draft workout for Cleveland. Hilarity ensues at the 1:08 mark of video when Pam interrupts her backboard story to yell this to a passerby:
“Hey dude, we’re on TV … We’re on TV dude!”
There’s no video of the funny exchange, only audio while highlights of JaVale are shown, so the identity of the interview interrupter is unknown, but Gheorghe Muresan is sitting in the background. Miller later tries to prod Pam, a former WNBA player and Olympic champion, into revealing if she would be involved in any of McGee’s dunks. She coyly indicated that she would be on-hand for the festivities, but stopped short from officially announcing her participation.
Of course, this could mean drafting someone and selling them for cash (as the case with Billy Walker to the Celtics last season), or packaging it with Mike James’ expiring contract for some sort of help down low (please be the latter, please be the latter).
Mike Miller has a monkey … or at least he used to.
Back when he was with the Orlando Magic, Miller had a Java Macaque, which is one of those tiny lil’ monkeys that’s almost like having a kid. Miller would change its diapers, attempt to wean it off the bottle and onto people food, etc.. The monkey, Sonny, had his own mini-playground and would sleep in the bed with Miller every night. The story on the Orlando Magic website even says that Java Macaques can grow to have the intelligence level of a six year old human baby … strange.
But alas, don’t expect to see ‘Sonny’ at Ben’s Chili Bowl or sitting on Abe Lincoln’s lap any time soon. True Hoop’s Henry Abbott, who wrote about Miller’s monkey long ago for HOOP magazine, reported on TH in December of 2007 that Miller had to let Sonny go because he was trying to raise two real babies, his sons Mason and Mavrick.
If I know Ernie Grunfeld, he’s not done. Hell, he better not be done.
The drama is kind of exciting, knowing the President of Basketball Ops I’ve come to trust probably has more tricks up his sleeve. Judging by the roster after the trade, we might be calling Gruns “Mr. Wizard” if he pulls off something else nice to make the team complete (more on ‘complete’ in a second).
Ernie Grunfeld held a 2 pm presser this afternoon …. nothing ground-breaking. It can basically be summed up by:
“Hello press, we will be potentially drafting a player on Thursday and I’m not tipping my hat, but we’re going to do what’s best for the team.”
However, in the spirit of providing those who could not afford to listen to the WashingtonWizards.com streaming video-cast of the presser, I’m providing a bulleted account (before the video and sound cut off for me with about two minutes left).
Oh, and the ‘reporters’ asking questions didn’t have mics …. so that was kind of annoying. If only Dave Johnson were around to eloquently work the room like he did for Flip Saunders’ meet-n-greet night.
Some of these are quotes, and some are paraphrased thoughts/ideas/statements of Grunfeld. Evidently the Wizards website will have a complete video posted later today. Until then ….
On preparing for the draft: “You always have to assume you’re going to [keep the pick].”
The Wizards are still having conversations on what the pick can bring them in a trade.
5 or 6 players will be available the draft … they really like 3 or 4.
Grunfeld seen Rubio twice in person and has a “real good handle” on his ability, but doesn’t want to get into any specifics about him (or any other particular player in the draft).
On workouts: “Bringing players into your own building is just a process … if one doesn’t come in, it doesn’t meant you’re not going to take him, or you’re not familiar with him.” (Grunfeld cited that JaVale McGee did not work out last year.)
Grunfeld doesn’t put much stock in workouts (especially in terms of if a player works out against others or not). He sees them as an extra opportunity to see the players’ skills and meet them.
On the quality of the draft: “[This is] one of the strongest PG drafts in a long time … [they] could makeup half the lottery.”
Teams that are ready to complete now are in a different mode (as far as cutting salary via trades around draft time) … the Wizards are obviously in a ‘compete now’ mode.
Grunfeld likes his core, he’s trying to put a solid team around Gilbert, Caron, Antawn, and Brendan.
On the team he has: “We’re a pretty deep team and we feel like at the 5 spot, we can get a pretty solid player.”
On the salary cap: “We’ve been over the cap … the pick is slotted in, we’ve had it in our budget for years already.” (thought this was a curious statement – he could have misspoke, I could have misheard)
On if he and Flip are on the same page in terms of what they want to do: “Exactly on page 1.”
Antawn Jamison is out of his cast from ankle surgery and will begin running next week.
DeShawn Stevenson is still not full speed from back surgery but he’s been working with trainers on a daily basis.
On ‘The Plan’: “I’m going to do what’s best for this team short term and long term.”
Grunfeld doesn’t know why rumors that the Wizards looking to cut salary are out there, and says “that’s not the case.” He then referred to the opportunity the Wiz had to shed salary at the trade deadline.
On roster size: “When I played we had 11 players on the roster and we did okay.” Grunfeld doesn’t know how many players the Wizard will have on the roster.
On moving up in the draft: “We’ve had some conversations about the possibility of moving up in the draft.” (among every other scenario, of course).
On his mood this week: “Usually I’m in a pretty good mood [around draft time] because this is all about preparation.” Grunfeld went on to say that there won’t be any arguments on who to take in the waning minutes. They have their order pretty much figured out and will go with the best available.
When the San Antonio Spurs asked Ernie Grunfeld what it would take to get the 5th pick in June 25th’s draft, Grunfeld simply responded, “Manu Ginobili,” or so goes the purported story relayed by the Washington Post’s Michael Lee.
Despite Ginobili’s old age and injury issues, sounds like a pretty absurd counter request (assuming only expiring contracts/low value players would accompany the pick) for one of the top gamers in the NBA. Spurs brass certainly would not expect to give up one of their top three stars for a pick in what most are saying is a down draft.
Grunfeld is not ridiculous, nor is he stupid. He’s just playing hardball knowing the pick will only increase in value heading up to the draft. Case in point would be the hype surrounding Stephen Curry and interest from the Knicks to possibly trade up to get him (amongst Wizards’ threats to draft Curry themselves). Whether Grunfeld’s old team would deal with him might be another story.
Last Friday’s Presidential running-mate selection by John McCain took advantage of the morning news cycle (as opposed to a Saturday 3 am announcement, but at least Obama was up at that time, right?), and got people buzzing and studying the Wikipedia profile of Sarah Palin.
One thing which particularly caught my eye was her prowess as a high school point guard, among her affection for guns (this is, of course, a photoshop…it’s gotta be).
We are well aware of Barack Obama and his hoop exploits. And as True Hoop has pointed out, there will be a baller in the White House regardless……although, only one, to date, has made promises of a basketball court addition. Of course, this statement is a half-truth as the Vice-President lives, not in the White House, but at Number One Observatory Circle.
In any case who would win a game of one-on-one, (or the Mexican version) between Barack Obama and Sarah Palin?