Barak Obama. Now there's a name which commands attention. Not just because he is the President of the United States but because his actions are worthy of our attention. Instead of meeting at the White House this year, the 2010 NBA Championship Los Angeles Lakers met at a local Boys and Girls Club in Washington in casual attire. It is tradition for NBA Championship teams to be welcomed at the White House to receive formal congratulations from the President. Kobe Bryant and President Obama exchanged a few quips and good-natured ribbing since the President is a Chicago Bulls fan through and through. But this is how you garner respect and are taken seriously. Something Russian billionaire and New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov needs to understand. Let's discuss this, Bynum's return, Carmelo Anthony and his coy-boy routine and the Hornets staying in New Orleans...maybe.
He just doesn't get it
Get this. Mikhail Prokhorov, billionaire and owner of the New Jersey Nets is introducing a new line of hybrid cars called - wait for it - "Yo" which he hopes to begin selling in 2012. Why is he behind the manufacturing of these new vehicles? He wants to "overcome existing stereotypes..that Russia cannot make normal cars". Really? With a name like "Yo"? Jimmy Kimmel and comedians across the land just got an early Christmas gift. Apparently, the name is written in Russian by the letter E with two dots over it but it is still reads and sounds like "Yo". In case you are interested in being in the "Yo", the cars will be sold in three models: sedan sporty and small truck and will go for about $10,000. Cheap dough for a Yo.
Hornets in New Orleans? Maybe, Maybe not.
"A potential Louisiana-based ownership group for the New Orleans Hornets is taking shape". All this means is someone with money in Louisiana has their interest peaked in the Hornets. As we all know in the world of business and contracts, nothing is set in stone until you sign on the dotted line and hand over the cash. Governor Bobby Jondal and Mayor Mitch Landrieu have both said they are optimistic and confident Louisiana will be able to keep their NBA franchise and say they are not worried about other potential buyers who may move the team at this point. NBA Commissioner David Stern has maintained the goal is to secure a buyer who will keep the team in Louisiana but he remains open to the possibility of moving the team. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and a group of billionaire investors are rumoured to be interested in buying the Hornets and moving them to Seattle. A potential new owner Morris Bart, a locally based lawyer, says he is willing to front 10% of the asking price and claims outgoing minority owner Gary Chouest told him he is willing to throw in more than %50. So there are equally concerted efforts on both sides of the 'should I stay or should I go' debate in Louisiana. Even though I am not 100% confident the Hornets have a permanent home in New Orleans, the emotional argument for the team makes a strong case. James Carville a celebrity and political strategist based in Louisiana, discounts himself as a potential owner but says he didn't want the city's progress since Hurricane Katrina be over stepped by the loss of a major sports franchise. True. But it may not be enough.
Bynum chooses Soccer over Basketball
No matter how you slice it or how hard you try to put a positive spin on it, Andrew Bynum chose soccer over basketball this summer. Plain and simple. This summer, Andrew Bynum put off having knee surgery because he wanted to vacation first and watch some World Cup soccer. Everyone is entitled to some rest and relaxation but now his off-season decision is affecting his team. Pau Gasol, who took over for Bynum, has averaged 40 minutes in 11 of the 22 games Bynum has been out. Ron Artest has been taking on other roles on the court too, since along with Odum, they are picking up the void felt by Theo Ratliff and Derrick Caracter who are also out with injury. Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson has said in the past Bynum's decision to watch soccer over playing for the Lakers as soon as possible couldn't have any real impact on the team's quest for a three-peat. Now the evidence is in plain view and we know this is not true. When the Lakers were in Washington receiving their official White House congratulations for winning the 2010 NBA Championship, Bynum said he will most definitely being playing Tuesday against the Washington Wizards and making his season debue. Pau Gasol hugged him most probably as if to say 'finally'. Let's hope Bynum is up to the task.
Sitting on the fence in 'Melo'ville
Let me spell it out for you - in my opinion. Carmelo Anthony wants out of Denver but is contractually obligated to Denver until the end of this season. Carmelo Anthony also does not want the backlash LeBron James received for leaving Cleveland if he decides to leave. Carmelo Anthony claims he is only keeping his options open but when he is not definitive in his answers to the media and openly enjoyed the attention he got in New York over the weekend (his supposed destination of choice), what are Denver fans supposed to think? As you know, Carmelo Anthony has been the subject of trade speculation since turning down a three-year, 65 million dollar extension with the Nuggets to 'keep his options open'. When asked if he wants to stay in a Denver uniform, he says "This community has embraced me like I was one of their own. So, of course. I just really want to focus on basketball right now--let the business take care of business when that time comes". Even though he hasn't ruled out staying with Denver for the long term, this does not sound like someone who wants to commit to anything. Carmelo Anthony has made it clear how important the contract extension is considering the collective bargaining agreement is set to expire next summer and the NBA wants major salary cuts in the next deal. Realistically though, he can become a free agent next summer. Then Denver would be smart to trade him before the deadline in February so they don't loose him to another team and have nothing to show for it. Denver Nugget Head Coach George Karl says he stays away from all this Internet action/reaction "Melo, as long as he's a Nugget, I am going to coach him and be happy with him". Ok. Let's go with that - for now. We might be singing a different tune come February.
Thanks for joining me today. Be sure to see me here on the DNB this Thursday for more "Behind Enemy Lines".