NBA Up Close: Moses Dies, Tristan Says No, Thabo Sefolosha On Trial

With media day around the corner, the last thing the NBA expected was a loss of a Hall of Famer. But, Moses Malone died in his sleep. At the age of 60, he was last seen Friday night at the Hall of Fame ceremonies. The three time MVP, world champion, seventh All-Time leading scorer, the best offensive rebounder in NBA history was a singular talent that had a 21 year career whose sudden death was a shock to two franchises, the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers.

Tristan Thompson declined to participate in LeBron James voluntary workout in Miami. Still in a contract dispute with the Cavaliers, Thompson prefers to let teammates like Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Anderson Varejao join LeBron in Miami while he waits for the Cavs to cave to his demands. Or, not.

Thabo Sefolosha will not take a plea in his case even if the plea deal was a cushy one. One day of community service, stay out of trouble and everything is erased. But Thabo Sefolosha believes he did nothing wrong, he is a victim of police brutality and more importantly, what happened to him when he was thrown to the ground, cuffed, dragged to the car on a broken leg was systemic to the institutional racist culture of the NYPD. He is fighting on principle. The trial begins Octover 5th.

Kobe Bryant is in month eight of his rehabilitation from rotator cuff shoulder. Mitch Kupchak told Sam Amick of USA Today:

“Knowing Kobe he will try to participate in every practice in camp. But myself and head coach Byron Scott are going to have something to say about that. So, I’m sure there will be a practice or two or three where we won’t let him practice but I do expect him to be full bore at camp.”

The NBA has finally done something about their unfair playoff seeding. Division leaders will no longer get preferential treatment. Last year the Clippers should have been the #2 seed but the Houston Rockets was a division winner. They had the same record as the Clippers but lost 3-1 in head to head matchups. It was the difference in a game 7 being in Houston rather than being in Los Angeles. Now it is all about the top 8 records in each conference. Divisions are irrelevant now but the memories remain intact: Jordan’s Bulls vs. Isiah’s Pistons, Kobe-Shaq vs. the Kings, Bird’s Celtics versus Dr. J and the Sixers.

Who knew you couldn’t publicly throw shade? The NBA fined Markieff Morris ten grand for his war of words against the Phoenix Suns. Morris sent out a tweet that said: My future will not be in Phoenix #thatsall. The league office wasn’t amused. Employees can’t publicly trash their employers even if Morris is not by any stretch of the imagination a mover and shaker in the NBA. It’s a bad look for the league that wants it players to be nice. It still remains to be seen if Phoenix will trade Morris, if they can get equal value. Betting money is on the Rockets who have young pieces to make the deal work.

In treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma, a cancer that begins in the white blood cells, Flip Saunders has suffered a complication which is going to temporarily take him away from coaching as he tries to regain his health. When the Minnestoa Timberwolves open the season in Los Angeles against the Lakers, they will be coached by Sam Mitchell, famous for allowing Kobe Bryant to score 81 points when he was coach of the Toronto Raptors. Mitchell hasn’t been a head coach in seven years.

Don’t look now but Metta World Peace may be coming to an arena near you. He’s been working out with the Lakers and although he doesn’t have a contract, one may be forthcoming. If it’s a decision between Carlos Boozer or Metta World Peace, I’m going with World Peace.


photo via llananba