NBA Commissioner David Stern needs to have a press conference.
During that conference, he needs to grip the podium tightly and survey the media with the stoic and matter-of-fact nature with which he carries himself. And he needs to say, once and for all:
"Superstars get preferential treatment because they make more money for the league."
Today, without the press conference, he ended up saying it anyway. He said it through action, or rather through inaction, when he refused to upgrade Dwyane Wade's foul on Darren Collison last night from a Flagrant 1 to a Flagrant 2. By letting the call stand, Stern and the NBA proved that stars like Wade are safe from suspensions and ejections because of their ability to bring in ratings and money.
I have a friend who is a Lakers fan, "Larry," and as a result I've learned to ignore most of the things he says about his team.
When the Lakers faced the Mavericks last year in the playoffs, it took Larry until midway through the third game to admit that the Lakers might not win that playoff series. The Lakers were ultimately swept, and all he could say about it was that Andrew Bynum didn't deserve to get suspended for knocking J.J. Barea into next week.
In the offseason, Larry guaranteed that the Lakers would trade for both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul by the end of this current season. And though the Lakers certainly tried to make both of those situations a reality, they instead ended up with consolation prizes Ramon Sessions and Jordan Hill.
Tom Benson sat in front of an NBA logo on Friday as he announced his decision to purchase the New Orleans Hornets. He read a prepared statement, then opened it up to the press to ask questions.
The first question was about football.
Benson, who also owns the New Orleans Saints, was asked by Times Picayune writer Jimmy Smith on how close the Saints were to signing Drew Brees. Benson answered as deftly as an 85-year-old man can manage, then fielded other softball questions about his newest business acquisition.
But the questions about football remained.
On Monday morning, Steve Czaban of XL 950 Indianapolis reported the purchase only to point out, "the man just spent $340 million, and he can't sign Drew Brees to a contract?"
Never mind that's not how salary caps work. Never mind the Saints are waiting for more money to be available to work out a deal. Never mind that the Saints have plenty of time to sign Brees. The only spin Czaban could give the Hornets purchase was a negative one that had nothing to do with the NBA franchise at all.
Lamar Odom walked away from the Dallas Mavericks this weekend.
Though he is still a member of the team, the Mavs will list him as inactive for the rest of the year, and will either buy him out before his salary hurts the team's cap room or trade him on draft day. Odom finished the season with the worst stats of his career, notching 6.6 points per game and 4.2 rebounds per game in little over 20 minutes per.
When a former Sixth Man of the Year and integral part of two championship teams fades away in such a dramatic fashion, it's natural to wonder what, or who, is to blame.
In the case of Lamar Odom, the answer is easy.
It's everyone's fault.
If this was a divorce, the stated reason would almost certainly be "irreconcilable differences," but there isn't enough room on that line to explain a decline of this magnitude. There are several reasons for the Odom-Mavs trial separation, and no one is safe from blame.
Lets begin with the Lakers.