We’re nearly done with August, and the world of the NBA mas moved to an absolute crawl. When the only reports are based on off-the-court goings-on, basketball prowess and triumph aren’t rewarded by news stories. Sometimes, the old adage isn’t true at all. Sometimes no news is the only good news.
Two NBA figures, Lamar Odom and new Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer, have been charged with driving under the influence in the past two days. The news about Odom comes on the heels of a confusing bevy of unconfirmed allegations about his personal life, largely involving drug use. Whether those claims are true or not, these two arrests can only be bad for a league obsessively struggling with image.
In actual basketball news, two notable players of the last decade announced retirement. Cultural Icon Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady, still fondly remembered in Houston, have called it a career. Iverson’s departure from the league in 2010 and subsequent attempt to return were disappointing at best, and this only confirms the sad truth that we already knew: the Answer is done. McGrady, at a relatively young 34, chose to end his NBA tenure after four intensely dissatisfying seasons since his last major injury.
Even Kobe Bryant got on board the confusing and worrying news train, tweeting out a video of himself leaping forty feet into a swimming pool. It seemed to be done all in good fun from his end, but when there are no games to analyze, we pick apart the wisdom of leaping huge heights while still knees-deep in recovery from a total achilles tendon rupture.
Caron Butler presents perhaps the only heartwarming story of the past week, as the Phoenix Suns decide to trade him to a locale closer to his hometown of Racine, Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Bucks acquired him in exchange for Ish Smith and Kravstov, allowing Butler to avoid playing for a team that seems to have no chance of even sniffing the playoffs. The Bucks are a bit of an enigma themselves, but the Eastern Conference is muddy enough below the sixth seed that a solid season from Butler could help push them into the playoffs.
At this point, the only way to generate positive interest seems to be a trade, and there aren’t many of those left to make. There’s little that a player can do off the court to generate positive interest at this point. James Harden, for example, is in Alaska and will be visiting the students at a high school that won a contest. While far from the type of news Odom is generating, the traction on this is far lower.
It’s the last week in August, and training camp is right around the corner. If your team isn’t making waves, be thankful. No news is good news right now.