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The Daily Blast – February 22, 2013

Veiled Gloating – Daryl Morey talks about the Thomas Robinson trade:

What I found very interesting about his statements was that he was very reluctant to define what Robinson’s immediate role would be (starter versus sub versus end-of-bench) this season, and he repeatedly deferred to the coaches on the subject.

Why is that interesting?

Because at practice–either a few minutes before or later–when a reporter asked McHale about what led the coach to being on board with the trade, he said, “Who says I was on board with anything? I just coach them.”  McHale said he really knew very little about Robinson’s strengths and weaknesses because the team’s draft pick was too low for him to scout Robinson before the draft, and T-Rob didn’t play enough for him to be high on the scouting report for Kings games. He also expressed a lot of affection for the players who left, and for Marcus Morris in particular. Bottom line: anytime a GM makes a move that can’t be classified as a “win now” move, your coach isn’t going to be thrilled, especially when you’re sitting in the 8th seed in the West.

Feelings – Lin still seemed pretty bummed out about the trade (he and Toney Douglas used to sit together on the plane) after practice, but also delivered one of the days zingers:

Welcome to our new power forward, Carlos Delfino. We’ll see what he has on the block.

Also, Donatas Motiejunas is very out of breath, very sweaty and very ambivalent about what happened. On the one hand, he says Patterson was being a great mentor and teammate. On the other, this is exactly the opportunity he needed to jump start his career, and he knows it.

“First Lesson: Don’t Trade With Dork Elvis” – That’s the sub-headline on this email exchange column from Bill Simmons and Zach Lowe about the trade deadline. Below is one of the most enjoyable things I’ve read as a Rockets fan since I saw the headline about James Harden coming to town:

Lowe: I heard from people from at least a half-dozen teams within an hour of this trade breaking, and the universal reaction was: WHAT!!??? I mean, everyone understands the Kings did this to save money, though they may eventually try to conjure up some vague basketball-related justification — that Patterson fits better next to DeMarcus Cousins because he can space the floor, or perhaps because they are friends from Kentucky. Neither comes close to justifying the raw asset exchange they made here.

In any case, my best educated guess for how this went down: Houston has been peddling a bunch of its young guys in hopes of exchanging one for a first-round pick. They were calling around the league. They eventually got to Sacramento, at which point Petrie — still at least using the telephone, I’m told, assuming the Kings have paid the phone bill — probably mentioned Robinson’s availability in a package with Francisco Garcia. Morey probably dropped the phone.

Simmons: I agree. I think he definitely dropped the phone. And there’s no question that he called his guys into an electrical closet and said, “Look, give me all your cell phones. It’s not that I don’t trust you. I do. I 99.9 percent trust you. But I can’t even leave open the 0.1 percent chance that one of you will screw me over by leaking this deal to Stein or Woj. If we get the fifth pick in last year’s draft for a bunch of crap, this will be the greatest moment of my career, and possibly my life. So please, give me your cell phones.”

Getting To Know You – You don’t know about Thomas Robinson unless you know about his very special relationship with his sister, Jayla.

He had no father. He was incredibly close to his much-younger sister, Jayla, as well as his grandparents and mom.

And within a few weeks at the start of 2011, his grandfather, grandmother and 43-year-old mother all died of various health issues.

Devastating. He still doesn’t like to talk about it.

But suffice it to say that it left Thomas (then halfway through his sophomore season at Kansas) and Jayla (then just 7 years old) feeling alone in the world, and with every reason to quit, whatever form quitting might have taken.

Of course, that’s not what happened.

Also, you might want to take a look at this video about his on-court struggles this year. It reveals that midway through this season, Keith Smart gave Robinson game tape of Kenneth “Manimal” Faried to watch and learn from. Faried might be the best example of what a successful Robinson would look like, although T-Rob already has a better jump shot.

Got any sweet links or suggestions? Send them to jeby901@gmail.com or message John Eby on Twitter @EbyNews.

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About the author: John Eby got on the Rockets bandwagon in 1994 and never got off. He is a public relations guy and recovering TV journalist living in South Carolina.

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