Posts Tagged ‘Grantland’

Is this the end of the Steve Nash era?

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com




VIDEO: Steve Nash on his career and overcoming injuries

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — You hate to see anyone who loves his job as much as Steve Nash does dealt the blows he has been in the twilight of his career.

But Father Time spares no one, not even a player as beloved by his teammates, coaches and fans as Nash. The two-time MVP point guard is facing what could be the final crossroads of his storied career. His 2013-14 season is over, and really never got started thanks to an assortment of injuries, aches and pains that simply did not allow him to perform up to his lofty career standards.

But just to be sure, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni closed that door this afternoon …

The news comes just hours after Kobe Bryant‘s season was officially sacked, the casualty of a knee fracture and recovery from a torn Achilles tendon that cost him all but six games. All this happens in Lakerland as legendary Lakers and Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson decides to take his talents to New York and run the Knicks.

Nash’s season included appearances in just 10 games. He just couldn’t overcome the avalanche of injuries that have plagued him throughout his two-season run with the Lakers. He’s already said that if the Lakers use the stretch provision (the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement gives the Lakers the option of waiving Nash and spreading the cap hold of $9.7 million salary over three seasons) and release him this summer that he’s all but calling it a career.

“If the Lakers release me this summer this is it,” Nash said during Episode 2 of the Finish Line, the documentary he’s doing with Grantland.com that chronicles his final season(s) in the league. “You know, I finally got my kids here in L.A., I’m not going to move them again, and I’m not going to be without them for another year. So, it’s either back with the Lakers next year or I’m done.”

Nash was a part of the core group the Lakers assembled before the start of the 2012-13 season — Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Bryant were the others — that was supposed to return the franchise to its previous championship glory.

It never happened. Nash suffered an early injury, never regained his form and wound up playing in just 50 games. Howard struggled with his recovery from back surgery and the adjustment from Orlando to Los Angeles and ultimately bolted for Houston in free agency last summer. Gasol struggled with injuries and his new role as a set piece on the periphery for Howard and Bryant and will be a free agent this summer. Kobe suffered that Achilles injury late in the season, as he was grinding away to make sure the Lakers made the playoffs, and ended up missing the postseason altogether.

Kobe and Nash were expected to lead the Lakers this season, but again, injuries derailed those plans.

The accumulation of that wear and tear on Nash’s body and mind could very well lead to the future Hall of Famer (I don’t think there is any doubt he’s headed there eventually) to indeed call it a career.

No one can blame Nash, 40, for hanging it up at this point. When it takes this much painstaking work just to get fit enough to take the floor, any player in his right mind would consider closing the door on that part of his career and moving on.

Nash has other endeavors that will surely keep him plugged into the game, including his post as head of the Canadian national program.

His playing days, however, could very well be over.

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VIDEO: Steve Nash talks about the stretch provision in The End Of The Line: Episode 2 on Grantland

Hang Time Podcast (136) Featuring Medora Producer/Director Davy Rothbart

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The New York Knicks will have to do without their defensive center of attention for at least the next four to six weeks now that Tyson Chandler is sidelined with a broken fibula.

Chandler’s situation is just the latest reminder of how quickly fortunes can change in the NBA when injuries are involved, the injury bug does not discriminate, never has and never will.

The same can’t be said of Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins, whose suspension for allegedly hazing and bullying a teammate (Jonathan Martin) sparked our conversation about locker room culture and the reform the NBA underwent in the aftermath of the Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittenton affair in Washington.

Rounding out the list of hot topics and other issues discussed on Episode 136 of the Hang Time Podcast is our early look and fantastic conversation with producer/director/Michigan Man/Grantland contributor and Sundance Film Festival sensation Davy Rothbart, who joined us to discuss what is being touted as the best sports documentary to hit the circuit in years.

Medora is the gut-wrenching and heartwarming story of a resilient high school basketball team in the small and struggling town of Medora, Indiana. Billed as an incredible “underdog story” with a “Hoosiers” feel, the film is produced by Hollywood heavyweights Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire) and Stanley Tucci (Hunger Games).

The film hits theaters in New York and Los Angeles Friday Nov. 8 and November 12th on VOD and iTunes, opening in select theaters across the country throughout November.

You get all of that in addition to Sounds of The Game and the first installment of Braggin’ Rights on Episode 136 of the Hang Time Podcast featuring Davy Rothbart:

LISTEN HERE:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Sekou Smith of NBA.com,  Lang Whitaker of NBA.com’s All-Ball Blog and renaissance man Rick Fox of NBA TV, as well as our new super producer Gregg (just like Popovich) Waigand and the best engineer in the business,  Jarell “I Heart Peyton Manning” Wall.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.



Hang Time Podcast (Ep.101) Featuring NBA TV’s Steve Smith and Grantland’s Zach Lowe

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The remaining names on the All-Star teams for the Eastern and Western conferences will be revealed in a matter of hours (Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET on TNT), a moment in time that is sure to give the basketball world a brief respite from the seemingly non-stop conversation about the Los Angeles Lakers.

We don’t have that luxury here at headquarters, where somehow every conversation we have these days takes a finds a way to take some sort of U-turn to the Lakers.

How else to explain the connection between NBA TV’s Steve Smith and his yoga classes, Grantland‘s brilliant Zach Lowe and his own All-Star team, our weekly game of “Where the heck is Rick Fox?” and the Lakers all being rolled into Episode 101 of the Hang Time Podcast?

Sure, it sounds crazy. But you have to listen to Episode 101 of the Hang Time Podcast to connect all the dots!

LISTEN HERE:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Sekou Smith of NBA.com,  Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Rick Fox of NBA TV, as well as our new super producer Gregg (just like Popovich) Waigand and the best engineer in the business, Jarell “I Heart Peyton Manning” Wall.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

Karma? The Man Responsible For Kobe Bryant’s 81-point Outburst … (Video)



HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – You can decide for yourself if Jalen Rose is working the microphone and camera (and us, his listeners and viewers) when he claims to have intentionally slid his foot under Kobe Bryant‘s foot in Game 2 of The Finals way back in 2000.

We should note that Rose, a noted member of the Fab Five and a man reared in a Detroit basketball tradition known for utilizing every craft tactic known to human kind when it comes to trying to gain a competitive advantage on the court, is universally regarded as a man of his word. So when he makes any claim on “The Jalen Rose Show” on the new Grantland channel, no matter how outrageous it seems on the surface, it should be taken seriously.

What’s not up for debate is whether or not Bryant’s memory of a slight years earlier, even one as seemingly innocent as a foot slid underneath his on the sly, would be cause for revenge on a wicked night in Los Angeles some five-plus years later (when the Black Mamba showed off his bite and destroyed Rose and the Toronto Raptors):

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 66)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – A healthy debate is good for the emotional and mental health of know-it-alls the likes of which you’ll find here at the hideout.

That theory extends to friends of the Hang Time Podcast as well, and is what makes Episode 66 so much fun. We’re debating all things — is Chauncey Billups still deserving of his Mr. Big Shot nickname, what’s the best way to do business in today’s NBA, Blake Griffin or Kevin Love, and who is more deserving a spot in the Slam Dunk contest, Josh McRoberts or Jeremy Evans?

You name the debate and we’re having it with special guests:

Grantland‘s Jonah Keri made his HTP debut, complete with, as he put it, some “Chauncey-bashing, Celtics fandom & roster-building talk”. We even talked a little baseball with Keri, the author of “The Extra 2%,” and proud Montreal native who now resides in (or at least remarkably close to) the same Denver neighborhood Billups grew up in.

Former Utah Jazz forward Matt Harpring, who tormented Georgia fans like Lang for years while starring at Georgia Tech, helped us see the light on Griffin-Love debate, and talks about what makes the Jazz so special right now — and why Evans needs to be in a dunk contest near you soon. An analyst on Jazz television broadcasts who also can be spotted on NBA TV‘s airwaves from time to time, Harpring provides an intriguing breakdown of one of the league’s surprise teams.

For all that and our reflections what’s going on in the NBA at the quarter pole …

LISTEN HERE: 

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of NBA.com, as well as our superproducer Micah Hart of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

Labor Talks: Step Back And Listen

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If we are indeed on the verge of yet more of the NBA regular season being chopped down by the stalled lockout negotiations, perhaps it’s time for the sides involved to take a breath.

Maybe we all need to take a step back and listen to what both the owners and players are trying to say about their positions. We tried our best Monday to provide the proper forum for you, the fans of the game, to speak your mind about where you stand. And we’ve heard in detail exactly where the league stands in regards to this latest impasse.

Listening to union executive director Billy Hunter on The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons of Grantland.com provided a drama- free opportunity to hear Hunter’s argument and try to grasp how we got here and where we might be headed. (You need to carve out an hour to listen. It’s an absolute must-listen, especially the part when Hunter reveals that he and NBA Commissioner David Stern are fraternity brothers.)

The finger-pointing that marked last week’s breakdown in talks was pleasantly absent from this conversation, which made it much easier to wrap your head around exactly why the players feel the way they do toward the owners, who have come under considerable fire themselves since last week.

And for those of you who enjoy a tidy list, our friends at the Los Angeles Times have compiled an easy-to-read roster of exactly where all 30 owners stand on the lockout.

ALLEN UNDER FIRE

Portland owner Paul Allen has been the most talked about member of the owner’s side since last week, both in Portland and beyond. Whatever his role was in last week’s breakdown of talks, he’s being fingered as the man whose presence led to a severe crack in the process.

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