Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Say, for a second, you’re a big-time star with a contract that you can get out of next summer. How do you handle all those pesky scribes always asking about it, without looking like you’re being coy or disingenuous or just plain cranky?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Short answer is, you can’t. Unless you make a complete jackass of yourself by engaging every question about every possible scenario, you’re going to look coy, disingenuous or cranky to somebody. Best best: Go half-sincere, half-Nuke LaLoosh. Talk about how important this season, these teammates and this opportunity all are. Make a reference to how badly such situations have been handled by unnamed others. Call it a “summertime decision.” Then repeat the same answer to every variation of the question from October through June. Oh, and do not schedule a prime-time TV announcement show.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Simple. You make a statement at the beginning of the season that you’re not going to answer any questions on the subject until next summer and then stick to it. Then go out and do all you can to lead the Heat to a third straight championship. The “Dwightmare” and “‘Melodrama” were only possible because a couple of divas allowed it to happen.
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: That’s easy, you repeat to those adorable, friendly and caring reporters this ultimate line: “I’m only concerned with the here and now of getting this team a championship. I’ll talk about next summer next summer.” Boom!
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: I start by not creating a lot of the problems myself – I don’t say things that make it look like I am window shopping. And then I stay with a simple, straightforward answer when the questions come: “I really like it here and hope things work out in the future, but my only focus right now is on the season, not the offseason.” That requires, of course, not having previously indicated I do not like it here. That’s when it looks disingenuous. All of which is a long way of saying to look at how Chris Paul handled the issue in 2012-13 and copy that.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: I think if all those pesky scribes can’t understand that there’s an NBA season to be played before free agency, that’s their problem, not mine.
Jacopo Gerna, NBA Italia: My mantra would be “I got an agent, talk to him. I’m just focused on basketball.” And not only because my agent gets a remarkable cut of my salary. Following trade rumors, thinking about your next contract and stuff like that can influence a player. So I’d say to my agent “Be kind to the press, say nothing specific and call me only if something important is going on. You know how much money I wanna get, I don’t wanna know about every single phone call you get.”
Adriano Albuquerque, NBA Brasil: I have no clue! Thank God I’m just one of those pesky scribes and all I have to do is figure ways to try to get any insight without being too inconvenient and nosy. To me, it’s just impossible to avoid being coy, disingenuous and sometimes cranky. At every stop, I’m gonna get asked about it, no matter how focused I am in other things — and not just by media, but by fans and friends. It’s a personal decision, but one which impacts my family, my coworkers, my staff (agents, personal trainers, assistants, etc), my sponsors, not to mention the whole competitive balance of an entire league. And if you get too frank about whatever you’re thinking, you might even get fined for saying something that is not allowed under the CBA. So, my best advice would be: Either be straight honest about everything and get it out of the way — hint: it won’t get it out of the way — or play coy, try to duck the subject as best as you can and occasionally get cranky when people insist on it. No problem with me.