On Carlisle, LeBron, Oden, Blazer radio deal and more
- Kerry Eggers
- Portland Tribune - Sports
On a variety of subjects as we swing into a little quieter sports week than usual:
• Rick Carlisle said Monday night he hadn't gotten a lot of sleep the previous night - but he wasn't complaining.
'We were up late last night, and we left (Miami) pretty early this morning,' said the Dallas coach, less than 24 hours after his Mavericks wrapped up the NBA championship with a Game 6 victory over the Heat. 'But it's been good. A lot of fans met us at the airport, which was awesome.'
Carlisle, the former Trail Blazer assistant in his third year as head coach of the Mavericks, said he was most happy for veterans Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Shawn Marion.
'Those four guys are long-time warriors in this league,' Carlisle said. 'That moment really distinguished them in their careers.
'We were optimistic we could pull it off. We maybe caught lightning in a bottle, but the guys sustained it.'
Carlisle and his wife, Donna, have often vacationed in Oregon in the summers since he left the Blazers in 1997. I asked him if he planned a visit this summer?
'I'm not too anxious to go back to Oregon after facing the Blazers in the playoffs,' he said with a laugh. 'They gave us all we could handle.'
• The Mavericks, who went out and won the title as opposed to the Heat losing it.
Carlisle made the right coaching moves - starting J.J. Barea, playing Brian Cardinal, employing a zone much of the time, shutting off the driving lanes with help defense on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade - and proved he is among the elite names in his profession.
Nowitzki was sensational until Game 6, then struggled through a 1-for-12 first-half shooting. In the end, he came up big, scoring 18 points in the second half to lead the Mavericks to their first-ever NBA title.
The 7-1 German, who turns 33 on Sunday, is a class act - a solid citizen, an excellent interview and, according to my son (who knows such things), is as willing a signer of autographs to kids as any player in the league.
• The most consistent NBA franchises over the last decade have not been the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston. They have been Dallas, which has won 50 or more games in 11 consecutive regular seasons, and San Antonio, which has run its streak of 50 or more to 12 campaigns.
The difference is, the Spurs have won four NBA titles over that period. Now, finally, the Mavericks have one.
• Classy, too, was the move by Dallas owner Mark Cuban, who asked that the club's original owner, 78-year-old Donald Carter, accept the Larry O'Brien Trophy from Commissioner David Stern.
Now, if Stern could just learn how to pronounce 'Nowitzki.'
• It's amazing how the championship series became a morality play, the showdown between Good and Evil.
It was easy to root against Miami and LeBron James, who made the bed he finally had to sleep in - beginning with 'The Decision' and his 'take my talents to South Beach' line that resonated in a very negative way with most fans.
The video that showed James and Wade mocking the cold that slowed Nowitzki in Game 4 was telling about the character of the two Heat stars.
The most indicting statistic for James was the 18 points he scored in six fourth quarters in the finals - shocking.
• The Heat don't have to, as writer Jason Whitlock of Foxsports.com suggests, 'blow up' their team.
James is 26, Wade 29, Chris Bosh 27. Once a new collective-bargaining agreement is in place, President Pat Riley will begin to put better pieces around the Big Three, who made it to the finals in their first season together.
I'd bet big money that James will win a title some day. Michael Jordan didn't win the first of his six titles until he was 28.
Of course, I'd have bet a couple of years ago that Tiger Woods would break Jack Nicklaus' record for majors. Now, that proposition is sketchy, to say the least.
• Had Miami won, it would have been interesting to see what suspensions for Game 7 would have been handed down for the second-quarter altercation between the Heat's Udonis Haslem and DeShawn Stevenson.
Players from both benches came onto the court during the resulting melee, which calls for an automatic one-game suspension - except during a timeout, which was the case here.
The player who escalated the melee was Miami guard Mario Chalmers, who rushed in to push Stevenson from behind. It may be that Chalmers draws a suspension to start next season - if there is a next season.
• Lousy job of ad-libbing, incidentally, by the ABC's production crew, which went to commercial right after the altercation instead of staying with the compelling scene on the court.
• Monday - the day after the NBA finals ended - is the first day the Trail Blazers can extend a qualifying offer of $8.8 million or a multi-year extension to center Greg Oden.
Owner Paul Allen will be in Portland for a series of workouts by draft prospects late this week.
'We're not ready to make an announcement at this point,' acting General Manager Chad Buchanan says. 'We've already had a lot of conversation about it, and once Paul is here, we'll have more discussions as a group.'
The Blazers have until June 30 to announce a decision on Oden, a day after the deadline to choose whether to exercise the option on the final year of Andre Miller's contract. June 30 is the deadline for a decision on whether to pick up the option on Patty Mills, who would come to training camp with a non-guaranteed contract.
All the decisions will likely come to a head about draft day - June 23.
• The Blazers will bring in from 25 to 30 prospects for a single workout Thursday and a pair of sessions both Friday and Saturday. Among the players scheduled to appear are Duke's Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith, Purdue's JaJuan Johnson and Kansas' Josh Selby.
• The Blazers are trying to get out of their contract with 'The Game' (KXL, 750 AM), which runs through 2022.
Blazer management believes the move of the sports talk station from FM to the AM side is a step back and would like to either re-do its contract for a better market deal or have the opportunity to look elsewhere.
Station officials, who have offered to simulcast games on FM (101.1) and AM, contend they have a legitimate contract in place and are reluctant to renegotiate.
The issue may not get resolved until the fall.
• Ex-Blazer Arvydas Sabonis will make a stop in Portland after his visit to Springfield, Mass., for his Aug. 12 induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame.
Sabonis, who played with Portland from 1995-2003, will be on hand for a ceremony adding him to a banner at the Rose Garden commemorating the Blazers who are members of the Hall of Fame.
• The latest winner on the Champions Tour, Mark Wiebe, has Oregon connections.
Wiebe, 53, was born in Seaside and lived in Portland from six months until he turned 3.
Wiebe's father, Mack, is a Portland resident who grew up in the city and was center on the 1952 Jefferson High team that won the PIL championship.
Mack, who played football at Lewis and Clark, moved his family to Chula Vista, Calif., when Mark was 3, beginning a 25-year career in coaching and athletic administration.
The senior Wiebe and his wife, Meredith, moved back to Portland in 1996, where Mack worked in the golf apparel business before retiring in 2002.
Mark Wiebe won last week's Greater Hickory Classic in Conover, N.C. A two-time winner on the PGA circuit, Wiebe won the first Champions tournament in which he participated, the SAS Championship in Cary, N.C., in 2008.