Sunday, August 21, 2005

One man's trash...

As Terry Pluto describes today in his View from Pluto, there's a general bewilderment over the three-year, nearly $7 million contract DeSagana Diop got from the Mavericks last week.

I guess "Gana" had a good camp in Las Vegas and actually had teams bidding over his services. The whole "you can't teach size" idioms are all applicable here. Personally, I'm happy for Gana, who is continuing the long-standing tradition of redispersing Mark Cuban's wealth. Although after Cuban's heartfelt explanation of why he cut Michael Finley because his days of overspending are over on his blog, this deal still confuses me. But it's still just ridiculous.

Last season I read a book about Sebastian Telfair called "The Jump." In there were a few pages on Diop. It was about how when he was a senior at Oak Hill Academy, then UNC coach Matt Doherty was begging for him to come play with him for a year and brought him a listing of the rookie salary scale. He was trying to show him that if he played one year in college, he could double his money. Boy, did that backfire, once Diop saw that he could make $3 million even if he was the last pick in the first round, he decided there was no way he was going to school. This even though he couldn't make a left-handed layup.

When Gana was at Oak Hill I went down there for a few days to do a story because LeBron James and St. Vincent-St. Mary were playing his team at that time. I interviewed him and watched them play two games and decided he was a circus act because all he'd do was stay at the defensive end and block shots and I was no scout. I saw Shargari Alleyne play in high school and thought he was more skilled and he's now a bench warmer at UK. Still, the Cavs fell all over themselves to take him at No. 8.

I brought all this up to Diop before a game in Philadelphia last season. He smiled and admitted it was all true, he knew he was really raw but didn't care. Actually, he said he thought he should've been drafted higher. He also told me he didn't really care about the Cavs and not playing because he knew he'd be in the league somewhere next year and getting paid. He was right, after all.

I've been keeping my eye on the Cavaliers while vacationing in Maine and Boston last week. This week, I've been covering the NEC Invitational in Akron. The Cavs are waiting to hear on Damon Jones and considering I think Finley is going to Miami, there's a good chance they're going to get him.

Next week I'm completing a suspended journey. Many of you got a hardy chuckle out of my travel difficulties I talked about on this blog last season. But they don't compare to a failed trip I took in May of 2004.

Helping my friend move from Toledo to Denver, which constituted driving a 1998 Chevy Blazer while towing a Uhaul trailer. We had a grand tour planned, crossing there on I-70, dropping off his stuff, then returning to native Akron via I-90 though the Dakotas with a stop at Mt. Rushmore before dropping off the car, which belonged to his father.

Well, things went a little haywire to say the least. On day two, a Friday afternoon, we blew the engine in Manhattan, Kan. When we tried to get a hotel room, we learned it was Kansas State University graduation weekend. We ended up renting a car and driving 30 miles to get a room. The next day we learned we'd either wait a week for a new engine or buy a new car.

We tried to get a full size Uhaul, but in a small college town at the end of term the one-way rentals were taken, needless to say. Well, the car stayed in Kansas and we somehow got to Denver but were never able to finish the trip because we flew home. There are many more details, but I will spare them.

Anyway, I'm off this week to Denver and we're headed across the north to finish the job. Should be enjoyable...gulp...I think.

Take care,

Sunday, August 07, 2005

For an August diversion...

At long last, my World Series of Poker stories started in today's Beacon Journal. Today's is a general overview of the event, tomorrow there's a piece about some of the players.

I did the research while I was in Las Vegas for the Cavaliers summer league and wrote the stories several weeks ago. People kept asking how I did at the tables there, but between being at the WSOP, the summer league at UNLV, and covering the Larry Hughes and Zydrunas Ilgauskas deals that got done, I barely had time to eat.

Usually I detest long stories. I often say if a story is longer than 30 inches (about 1,300 words) it better make you laugh or make you cry. In this case, and tomorrow, too, I violated my rule because I found it just so damn interesting.

Hope you do too, if poker is your cup of tea.

Take care,