I got your money Nellie!
[Editor’s Note: Around the Rim is a new daily NBA blog written by Clay Whittington.]
1. Cuban Millions Crisis
On Monday, Don Nelson returned to Dallas as coach of a different team, but he still had the same old relationship with his former boss Mark Cuban. And that is, none at all. The two no longer speak to one another and according to Nelson, Cuban still owes him $6.6 million. Apparently, the relationship turned sour after a bitter negotiation over Nelsons last contract, prompting the two to cease any personal association with one another. Nelson was named as a consultant but once personnel moves were being made without Nelsons involvement, he decided it was time to leave. Cuban has been quiet about the situation, I have nothing to say at all. He coaches the bad guys now. Has Cuban turned over a new leaf? Are we seeing a more reserved, more mature Mark Cuban? Unlikely.
2. Cuban Conspiracy Theory
Cuban raised eyebrows on opening night when he decided not to unveil the teams western conference championship banner against rivals San Antonio. Cuban played the move off as a gesture to the fans, allowing them to enjoy both an opening night and a championship celebration. Now, with the emergence of Nelson in Golden State, the picture is becoming clearer. Cuban, who is known for his brash behavior, simply passed up an opportunity to rub his success in the faces of the Spurs for an opportunity to rub his success in the face of his former coach. The ceremony was to serve as a reminder to Nelson of the achievement gained upon his departure. With David Stern cracking down on whining in the league, these types of nonverbal gestures could prove to be more advantageous for the calculating business guru. Cuban will always get the last word in whether its spoken or not. Dont mistake a quiet Cuban for a changed Cuban.
3. Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Its only the first week of the season but Allen Iverson is already having a great season. With 34.0 points a game, he is leading the NBA in scoring, but the points arent surprising. What is, however, is the accuracy with which he gets them. A career 42 percent shooter, hes currently shooting 49 percent from the field and an eye-popping 55 percent from behind the three point line. And dont try to call him selfish anymore. His assists are up to 9.7 per game, another career high. The injury prone Iverson continues to put his body on the line for his team, leading the NBA in minutes per game and free throws attempted. On the flip side, one of Iversons signatures has always been his turnovers and this year is no different as he dubiously leads the league in that category as well with 5.33 per game. Will any of these numbers hold over a full season? Time will tell, but with A.I. in MVP form and his team jumping out to a 3-0 start for the first time in six seasons things are definitely looking brighter for Philly fans.
4. Second Home Coming
The New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets will have their second home opener of the season tonight. The team brings a 3-0 record to their home away from home as they play Golden State in Oklahoma City. Chris Paul led the team to a victory over Houston in New Orleans on Sunday. David Stern emphasized over the weekend that the Hornets will return to The Big Easy full-time next season. Over the past two seasons, Oklahoma City has proven to be hungry for professional sports and their commitment to the Hornets franchise has created an opportunity for the NBA to set up shop in the Heartland. Coincidentally, the Seattle Sonics were recently purchased by an Oklahoma City-based ownership group; an acquisition that has Sonic fans sleepless in Seattle.
Mondays Player of the Day: Zach Randolph @ LA Clippers 38 min, 35 pts (FG: 11-17, FT: 13-15), 13 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl, 3 blk
Tuesdays Game to Watch: Minnesota (2-2) @ LA Lakers (3-1) The Lakers are perfect at home on the year as former MVP, Kevin Garnett, comes to town. Kobe Bryant has been quiet in the two games he has played this season, taking only 25 shots total, but he will look to explode against the T-Wolves after losing in Seattle. Lamar Odom has been sporadic since Bryants return and appeared more comfortable as the lead role in the opening game that Bryant missed.