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Now the Nuggets have implemented a similar deal with Antonio McDyess, the only difference being that this latest buyout was for only $6 million.

What's going on here?

Both of these guys signed their contracts on their own free will, declaring their willingness to play basketball for certain compensation. Neither contract contained any no-trade restrictions, so Mourning and McDyess were legally bound to fulfill their end of their respective bargains.

If they decided not to honor their end of their deals, then why should the Raptors and the Nuggets feel at all compelled to uphold their end? Hey, if these guys refused to play, then they should have been suspended without pay — or at least had their contracts unilaterally voided before being waived.

Don't you wish that somebody would pay you for not working?

For sure, by buying out the contracts, both the Raps and the Nugs pared their payrolls, but there seems to be more at stake here.

Like personal responsibility. Like rewarding someone for petulant behavior. Like plain old justice.

Instead, NBA players continue to be pampered while both TV ratings and game-attendance continue to fall.

One is left to wonder if there's something of a cause-and-effect relationship here.

Vox Populi

If you could pick any player, past or present, to build a team around, whom would he be? For me, I would take Magic Johnson, because he could turn average players into superstars. This was demonstrated by what he did with the post-Kareem Lakers. — Nick Huffman; Ojai, Calif.

An interesting proposal.

I'd choose Bill Russell because speed, defense, rebounding and unselfishness are the cornerstones of successful teams — and because, by definition, centers are at the center of every meaningful play. Even though he measured only 6-foot-10, 220 pounds, Russell would be extremely effective against today's premier low- and high-post scorers, i.e., Tim Duncan, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Zydrunas Ilguaskas, Carlos Boozer and even Yao Ming. That's because Russell had a kind of tensile strength that rarely was forced to give ground against more massive opponents. Plus, his timing was impeccable, as were his instincts and his court awareness. Even more important than his skills, however, was Russell's indomitable competitive spirit.

In any case, I'd take Michael Jordan over Magic, simply because MJ could do things that Magic couldn't. Like shoot and play defense.

Travels with Charley

Here's the trickiest pass I ever saw.

As a certified sports scribe I had a courtside seat during a Knicks practice session back in the early '70s. This was before teams were obliged to bar the media from these events.

Anyway, the Knicks were running at half-speed through a three-man passing drill, the ball being moved from the middle to a wing, back to the middle and then to the other wing. While the middle-man ran straight ahead, both wings turned to face the ball and made their way downcourt with a quick sideways shuffle.

I don't recall who the other two players were, but Phil Jackson was on the right wing. As the trio approached the time-line and the ball was thrown to him, Jackson did a fast about-face so that his back was turned to the ball. Then he bent over, hunched up and used his butt to deflect the ball into the hands of the middle-man.

A perfect pass.

All of the players hooted with laughter, and even the ordinarily dour Red Holzman broke into a smile.

Perhaps a revival of the skills contests at the All-Star game could be expanded to include competition in bass-ackwards passing.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 18, 2008

News » Forced buyouts help players but hurt league

Forced buyouts help players but hurt league

Forced buyouts help players but hurt league

Straight Shooting

This is a subject that I've broached many times before, but I still think it's worth railing about: The routine practice of NBA teams buying out the contracts of players who have been traded but don't want to play for their new teams. This procedure began when Alonzo Mourning was dealt from New Jersey to Toronto in December 2004. After Mourning refused to report to the Raptors, he was eventually paid $9 million and waived. Three weeks later, he signed with the Heat.

Charley's NBA tour

Charley RosenDuring the first half of the season, FOXSports.com's Charley Rosen will analyze each NBA team and offer a scouting report.
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Houston Rockets
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • New Jersey Nets
  • Charlotte Bobcats
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Next: Clippers (Monday vs. Spurs)


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