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NBA Daily Dribbles: No Boundaries Association?

Pat DeCola@Pat_DeColaCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2010

What I’m Reading

• Just how infected with side deals is the NBA? Apparently more than originally thought and right now, there isn’t much the league can do about it.

• Not only has Carlos Boozer said that he isn’t going to talk about his off-season free agent plans, but he is now even saying that wants to stay in Utah.  

• Darko might stay, Rudy might leave , and who knows what the heck Ricky Rubio intends on doing.

• Old school coaching example right here: if a player complains to the papers about their coach, they get benched. Clear as day. It’s just refreshing to see that Twitter was in no way involved with this. 

What I Think About It

Side Deals

• With Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ impending buyout likely to be finalized somewhere in the next 48 hours, an issue has arisen in the wake of Ilgauskas’ inclusion in the Antawn Jamison deal.

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It was damn near obvious that he’d be returning to Cleveland. And the NBA saw it coming from a mile away.

Granted, he has yet to be officially bought out and sign with a team, but it’s clear what is about to go down.

He’ll be bought out and sign with the Cavs before the March 1 playoff roster deadline and be back in Cleveland thirty days from then.

If an agreement between Cleveland, Washington, Ilgauskas, or all of the above had been in place before the initial trade had happened, those involved would be in a world of pain. Well, maybe not pain, exactly, but they’d be in trouble.

The only problem is, there is likely no tangible evidence of tampering.

And in an increasingly secretive technological world, it’s getting harder for the NBA to avoid such happenings.

Just look at the abundance of teams that have been clearing their cap space in anticipation of this summer’s free agent market.

Awfully risky if there wasn’t some form of guarantee in place to assure them that they wouldn’t be left out in the cold by player X, no?

The long and short of it is this: tampering and side deals are going to be a continuing trend among NBA executives.

It is going to be David Stern’s obligation to come down hard, and I mean hard, on the first case that he can prove.

Look back to the NFL and how Roger Goodell brought the axe down on Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots for Spy Gate. Have we heard any more cases of football teams spying on each other? Nope.

Boozer

•“This is a team that I’m proud to be a part of and I hope it’s an option for me to come back and stay,” Boozer said on "Jim Rome is Burning."

“I’ve made that very clear and I’m really happy that we have a great team, we’re a very deep team and we have a chance to stay good and hopefully get better as well. But this is a place I’d like to be and I hope the option is there for me this summer.”

Who are you and what have you done with my Carlos?

Slowly but surely, Carlos Boozer is rectifying my unpleasant assumptions of what kind of guy he actually is.

After he jilted Cleveland for Utah in the summer of 2004, I thought I had written him off for life as a less-than-stellar person only interested in where the money was.

While I still believe that 23-year old Carlos might have been that person, maybe 28-year old Carlos has matured considerably and knows when to do the right thing.

Thinking more about this, $70 MM is tough to turn down as a 23-year old. In fact, if I had been in the same situation, I probably would have done the same thing he did.

Now I’m the scumbag. Thanks, Carlos, I forgive you and now question my own ethics. This was productive.

Fernandez/Rubio

• Well first off, Ricky is enjoying success overseas.

I wonder how much Real Madrid’s courtship of Rudy Fernandez has to do with their recent Spanish Cup loss to Ricky Rubio and Regal FC Barcelona?

It has to be a pretty significant amount, no?

Imagine a Rudy and Ricky rivalry for Real and Regal. So many ‘r’ words. It just feels right. Sure, one’s a 6’6 shooting guard and one’s a Nash-ian 6’3 point guard, but there’s a disparity in size/position in that other, less important feud in Kobe and LeBron, too. And I guess we could say that one is potent.

If Rudy does end up heading to Spain, and right now he’s talking like a man that fully intends on leaving the NBA, it just might be the first handful of snow that escalates into a massive rolling ball of powder puff.

What if Rudy does jump ship and takes King Ricard’s crown? Wouldn’t he be more inclined to stay and settle the score with Fernandez?

All the while, the Timberwolves sit in Minnesota and twirls their thumbs in anticipation of their prized fifth overall pick from 2009 making up his mind.

This is just the beginning.

Hawes/Westphal

"All year we've kind of been dealing with that," Spencer Hawes said to the Sacramento Bee. "When you think you have kind of gotten over that hump, it comes back up again. That's the philosophy, so you've just got to deal with it.

"Everyone up and down the roster has had a taste of that, so everyone can relate. I think it's kind of tough, the not-knowing part on a game-to-game basis, to get in that rhythm. But that's the way it's going and there's not a whole lot you can do about it."

Not too scathing, right? And now for the repercussions:

"I saw where he's having a hard time understanding his role," said Kings coach Paul Westphal to the Bee. "He should understand it (after) tonight."

Hawes’ jersey wasn’t even available to him last night. He was stricken with the ‘inactive’ tag. Ouch.

In a league that focuses itself mainly on its players and the coaches generally take a back seat, I can’t lie, it was pleasant to see a player have to take his punishment in stride and still live up to the expectations that were set for him when he returns to the floor.

The Kings play again on Friday. Would it surprise me to see Hawes in the starting lineup? Not one bit.

In fact, he’ll probably be the hardest working player on the roster in the next two days as he tries to regain his good graces with the coach. He’ll earn that spot.

The days of players working hard in the face of adversity need to return. Too much is taken for granted by selfish athletes, and the league needs more hard-nosed coaches like Westphal, who is setting the bar for how things should be.

PD

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