Ah, the day after media day. This is kind of like Super Bowl Sunday for the Daily Roundup, I've got my pick of the litter of articles in the Seattle media, and just like a Leone flick, there's the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. You decide which is which.
Gary Washburn weighs in with 10 (TEN??) questions facing the team as camp opens. I was going to write a three-part series with three questions this year. Gary obviously has far more time on his hands than me. :D
As you might expect, the controversy du jour is over Luke Ridnour's contract and/or starting position. We discussed this a little yesterday and in detail several times over the summer, so I don't feel like rehashing it too much this morning, suffice to say you can search the site and find all you want on Watson vs. Ridnour.
Frank Hughes next. After his fantastic double outing yesterday, Frank pretty much wallows in craptastic speculation and stirring the pot on the Ridnour stories. The Gary Payton comparisons are disingenuous at best and disrespectful at worst. Even trying to draw comparisons to the language was a dumb idea Frank. Just thought you should know. Better luck next time.
Best stuff is the blurbs at the bottom:
Hill added intrigue to the situation Monday by indicating the starting point guard job is open even though Ridnour has started 159 games at the point the past two seasons.
â€œI canâ€™t go into training camp with a closed mind â€¦ having challenged them with our summer program and then act like I donâ€™t care if they got better or not,â€ Hill said. â€œThe summer program is done with a purpose. We will see who went to work and got better.â€
When Hill was asked how defense plays into the point guard role, he said: â€œIt all begins with him. Our frame of reference immediately would tell you that Earl is better at it than Luke. But Luke is capable and we have to get him doing that better than he did a year ago.â€
Rashard Lewis may get a contract extension once the ownership change goes through. Frank drops a hint about a 2 year $25 million extension ... I'm noncommittal about that. Show me this team can win a playoff series first before we start handing out extensions.
Oh, and in case you cared, Ron Mercer failed his physical with a bad back and is going to retire. I thought Mercer was a terrible fit for this club anyways, despite the fact he was done around the same time as Carl Everett. I take some satisfaction that the Sonics won't be running Mercer out there every day like they did with Crazy Carl.
Great Ray Allen quote at the bottom:
â€œWhat is going to decide the ultimate success of this team is how well we like each other,â€ Allen said. â€œWe didnâ€™t have that trust last year. You had guys looking over their shoulders last year because contractually you werenâ€™t sure if you were going to be here or not. So when you were out on the floor you were trying to get yours.â€
I don't remember any of the beat writers getting that kind of info in the exit interviews last season, so good little tidbit. Additionally it gives weight to the notion that having a bunch of guys with expiring deals together is a pretty bad idea.
Moving on ...
The Times takes the shotgun approach, look at all these articles.
I haven't had my coffee yet this morning, so dammit I'm allowed a rant. And here it goes:
I wish I could be a 7 foot tall worthless piece of crap and continue to get camp invites. Sh*t, I'll strap broomsticks to my arms and hold them up at practice if I can make vet minimum to suck.
Thanks, I feel better.
Plus, Shaq hates the new ball.
Kobe probably loves it.
NBA on ABC now has a subject they can talk into the ground for the entire 06-07 season.
I'll quit talking like Steve Kelley now.
New kid on the block Jerry Brewer writes that if the Sonics win, it could keep them in town. To an extent I agree with him. This may piss some people off, but it's true: Seattle fans as a group are complete & total bandwagoners. If the Sonics start strongly there'll inevitably be some sway of public opinion, although I think it'd take a playoff series win to really get people to the same mental place they were in in 1995.
Meanwhile good ol' Percy gives you seven things to mull over in his article.
I'll just boil it down to this:
Which of the nonguaranteed guys is going to make the team?
Teams must carry at least 13 players, so the Sonics will add at least one to the roster because they have 12 with guaranteed contracts. There's no apparent need, but Hill wants a third point guard, which is a higher priority than keeping a veteran scorer or another power forward.
Guard Mike Wilks and forward Noel Felix played sparingly in Seattle last season, but shooting guard Kareem Rush, who played last season in Charlotte, is the odds-on favorite even though he doesn't play the point. Point guard Milt Palacio would be the leading candidate, but he reported to camp heavy, and offseason knee surgery won't allow him to participate in the second practice of two-a-day drills.
While Ridnour fights for his starting spot, his agent, Lon Babby, is haggling with the Sonics over an extension. Negotiations will continue throughout training camp and the exhibition season.
A deal must be reached before Oct. 31 or Ridnour will become a restricted free agent next summer.
Meanwhile, Nick Collison, who is also eligible for an extension, said he and the Sonics agreed to suspend contract talks.
"There's always risks that you can get hurt. The deals that they wanted me to sign or put forth, there was no sense in doing that deal early," Collison said. "I understand it on their part. They can wait."