Tags Posts tagged with "Timberwolves"


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Mark Madsen took new job
I just took a new job! Photo: shutterstock
I just signed a one year contract to be an assistant coach with the Utah Flash, located in Orem Utah…..and I’m excited to start coaching! One week ago I went to a Timberwolves game and it was surreal to be up in the stands watching my old teammates and friends, Al Jefferson, Kevin Love, Gomes, Cardinal and the entire crew! I had the chance to go to NBA training camp and a firm offer in Greece, but the NBA opportunity was a long shot to make the team, and as much as I would love to go to Greece, the timing wasn’t quite right.

I thought to myself: “Well, i can wait, stay in shape, and hope for a great NBA opportunity with a team where a big guy gets hurt, or I can jump on this opportunity.” Ultimately it was an easy decision because I’ve always thought that I would like to coach, and you never really know when NBA playing opportunities come. I also just kind of thought it would be too boring to workout on my own while waiting for the right NBA opportunity which might come and might not.

Then when I spoke to Brad Jones, head coach of the Utah Flash and he shared with me his philosophy and some of the responsibilities he would entrust me with, it seemed like a great fit. (Brad Jones is also the nephew of utah Jazz head coach, Jerry Sloan). And then on top of it, The Flash owner Brandt Andersen reminds me a little bit of Glen Taylor (Timberwolves owner) in his commitment and passion for the game. In fact, I had heard about the Michael Jordan vs. Bryon Russell challenge, and then I realized it was Brandt Andersen who came up with the idea.

Even though I am a native Californian, I do have some family ties in Utah and in the Provo/Orem area. So ultimately I do feel it will be a nice fit. I’m grateful to Brandt Andersen and Coach Brad Jones for the opportunity and promise to work very hard and try to make the team better. I will be keeping my home in Minnesota and look forward to getting back out to Eden Prairie this summer to enjoy all of what Minnesota has to offer. Thanks for all of the positive feedback on Twitter and FB and I hope to see some of you at some Utah Flash games this season!!

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Ricky Rubio, letter
Ricky Rubio is a Spanish professional basketball player who currently plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves of the NBA. Photo: shutterstock
Since the day that we selected Ricky Rubio with the 5th pick of the draft I think that we’ve all been very excited about the possibility of him coming over this season. Yesterday I read in the newspaper that there is a chance that he still might come over and play for the Timberwolves this season. So yesterday afternoon I sat down and wrote Ricky an open letter. I’m actually happy that we selected two guards in the top ten picks. Let’s be honest, good point guards are very difficult to find in this league and we have two guards that we are very excited about. And it’s probably accurate that both can play both guard positions. I lived in Spain for two years between high school and college and I figured, a letter to Ricky Rubio can’t hurt! So, Ricky, here is a letter written to you and your family and I would love to have the chance to talk to you soon.

In other news, I spoke to David Kahn today in fact by phone and I came away thinking to myself that here is a guy who is leaving no stone unturned in the coaching search as well as the free agency market. One thing that I can appreciate is honesty and after we talked for a while he mentioned that he would love to have me in the locker room this coming year, but at the same time, given my expiring contract he said that there is a chance that I might be moved. He said that if he did move me, that he would reach out and let me know beforehand. In some ways, when I talked to him, it reminded me of talking to Mitch Kupchak, back from the Laker days in that he was direct, to the point, and very professional. The life of professional sports is uncertainty in that you can be traded, our job is to be ready when called upon. We didn’t talk much about the incoming newly drafted players but we did talk about our style of play for the coming season and he told me that we’re going to be a running team.

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Kevin McHale, Coach, Head Coach, Glen Taylor, NBA, Go Green
Kevin McHale is a former American professional basketball player. Photo: shutterstock.com
Kevin McHale Returning to coach? I sure hope he comes back as the head coach next season! But this question has been the question of the past few weeks from media members, fans, and even amongst ourselves in the locker room. This is one case where it’s possible that even Mac doesn’t know what he’s going to do! Glen Taylor has publicly said that if Mac wants the job then he’ll be the coach next year. I’ve known Mac for the past 6 years and from what I’ve observed and the brief conversations we’ve had, I think that he truly is not sure yet what he’s going to do. I know it’s going to be a family decision because the Kevin McHale is a family man first. Here is one of the reasons why I want Kevin McHale to return as the head coach of the Timberwolves:

About a week ago, the NBA allowed all of us players to take part in a “Go Green” campaign to help promote great issues like environmental awareness, recycling, and other types of “green thinking” issues. Of course it’s a great opportunity and every team around the NBA wore warm-ups for one week with a big recycling logo on the front. Undoubtedly we have to take care of the environment in many many different ways.

Well, the first game we wore these special warm-up tops was against the Utah Jazz in Utah. After we had our 1-2-3- “Win” chant which was an event in itself that night, McHale held everybody up for one more minute and said something along the lines of,

“Hey fellas….I just want you to know about this global warming thing…..25 years ago it was Global Cooling and they were telling us we were going to freeze to death….so when they tell you all about global warming don’t worry about it too much…….”

It’s just nice when the head coach can crack a joke to loosen guys up. The guys on the team loved it and everyone was laughing so hard and it kind of took away the tension of a tough part of the season. We went out that night and took it to the Utah Jazz and won the game with a shorthanded roster.

Then a week later I walked into a breakfast meeting before it got started in San Francisco when we were playing the warriors and the first thing I hear is Kevin McHale explaining to a couple of guys on the team, “Yeah…the ice cap off of Greenland is receding but the ice caps off Antarctica are actually expanding….” It was good natured and fun and sometimes you need some fun on a long road trip.

Of course Mac loves the environment, but he’s also not afraid to mess with players and other coaches and just get guys thinking about things in a new way. McHale speaks his mind and you have to respect that. In the same way he’s not worried about saying something politically uncorrect, he’s also not going to worry about hurting a players feelings if he has to get on that player. The player will get over it.

But it does help that he jokes around with us and makes guys laugh. So in practice and at games when he does get on us or really challenges a player, you know that he’s on your side. It’s just been a lot of fun playing for him, and before a rash of injuries our record spoke for itself especially in the month of January. I think the most important thing about McHale as a coach is that he knows the game like no other. Especially when we were rolling in January (before all the injuries), he just had a great feel for what our defensive schemes would be as well as how we would attack other teams.

The biggest issue is that Kevin McHale doesn’t need to coach….he could do a lot of different things within the world of sports, or in business or in public service. Rumor has it that he’s up at the family cabin in Hibbing for some time to reflect and rejuvenate a little bit. But even today at our exit physicals, one of my teammates and I were talking about it and both of us were not sure what would happen. I guess time will tell, but I hope he’s back next season as the head coach!

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Shaq, Flop, Fake, Floppers, Flopping, Los Angeles, NBA, Timberwolves
Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal, Ed.D., nicknamed Shaq, is an American basketball player of the NBA. Photo: shutterstock.com
There is a term in the National Basketball Association that some more casual fans do not know. The term is “flop” and some NBA players have perfected the skill into an art form. Some of the old battles between two great players (Shaq and Vlade Divac) included some pretty convincing flops by Vlade.

Now, the first time I ever heard this term, I was at an athletic club in Northern California called “ClubSport.” I was on the court and NBA player David Wood (experienced NBA veteran and very involved with ‘Athletes in Action’) was on the court too working out with his trainer. We struck up a friendship and he gave me a lot of advice on how to play the game as I was heading to Stanford as a freshman to begin playing basketball and going to school.

He told me I needed to learn how to ‘flop.’ I had never heard of the term ‘flop.’ He explained that “flopping” is when you basically fake getting hit really hard so that the referee calls a foul on the other player. Nobody does this too much in high school because ironically most high school refs don’t call it a lot. But a lot of players do it in college and in the NBA and refs in college and the NBA sometimes do call flops.

This past week, there was an incident when Stan Van Gundy (Orlando Magic Coach) called out Shaq for flopping. The incident was all over ESPN. Let’s take a look at the play first on Youtube.

Shaq and Dwight Howard (video)

So Shaq tries to take the charge/flop and he doesn’t get the call from the ref, and Dwight Howard gets the two points on the dunk.

Now in the next video Shaq comments on the play and gives more insight and basically says it might have been a flop but that he was trying to take a charge.


(Fast forward to 2:00 out of the 4:23 minute long youtube.com video.)

Now, I played with Shaq for three years in Los Angeles and while I did see the big fella sacrifice his body and step in and take charges, I never once saw him flop in those three years. And the funny thing is that almost every team in the NBA tries to flop against Shaq. There are probably even coaches that teach their centers and forwards to try to flop on Shaq. So, this whole commotion about whether or not Shaq’s play against Dwight Howard was a flop is so funny because everyone in the league tries to flop on Shaq and Shaq never flops back.

The funny thing about this is the way the game is called on this type of play at the NBA and college level. Every year, an NBA official comes in and talks to every NBA team at the beginning of the season. One year, we were in this meeting and a Timberwolves player made the point that NBA players are strong and have good balance and that for an NBA player to fly backwards after getting hit is actually almost “impossible” without the player faking it. The referee disagreed, but hey, I can tell you it’s true.

In some ways, the art of the flop makes the game fun because fans get so riled up over it. In another way it takes away from the game because it’s purely acting and it takes away from the athletic skill of other players. Last summer the NBA was thinking about imposing a $10,000.00 fine for every flop attempt. (That would be hard to enforce).

Some of the great floppers around the NBA let out a scream when they get hit and then when they eventually get themselves up off the ground they squint their eyes a lot and rub their eyes and forehead and act like they’re dizzy.

To help illustrate this art, here are some examples of “successful” flops. (These videos below are *great!).

Carlos Boozer (video)
Pau Gasol (video)
Bonzi Wells (video)
Tribute to Vlade Divac’s flopping ability(and speculation that Del Harris taught Vlade how to flop. Del refutes this and says that Vlade brought the art over from Europe and taught the entire NBA how to flop.)

Lastly, and Shaquille touched on this, there is a dramatic difference between “taking a charge” and “flopping.” Taking a charge is when a player is coming at you full speed and out of control and you step outside of the charge cirlce and sacrifice your body and fall backwards. This hurts, it takes skill, and you might really get hit hard by the fast moving player. Most NBA players respect “taking a charge.” A “flop” is when you barely get touched and fall to the ground or flail uncontrollably. Comments from the readers?

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Timberwolves, Kevin Love, UCLA, stitches , tooth popped, Shaq, Shaq
The man who used to terrorize my Stanford Cardinal basketball team in his one year at UCLA. Photo: Werner Muenzker/shutterstock
This past monday we had a bunch of the Timberwolves players in town all together to finally play some pickup ball together with a lot of the new guys. Yes, this was the first time that I got to meet Kevin Love. The man who used to terrorize my Stanford Cardinal basketball team in his one year at UCLA. Well, on the last play of the day, Kevin Love went up for a dunk. I tried to block it and the next thing I knew I was making two unexpected trips after practice.

1) To team physician Sheldon Burns (he is also the USA Basketball head physician) to get 12 stitches in my chin,

2) To visit Matthew Alm of Brookside Dental (Minneapolis), to get my front tooth popped back into place.

Thanks Kev. 🙂

I’ve played with two big men in my career whose passing skill is off the charts: Shaq, and Shaq. People don’t realize it, but Shaq has a lot of games where he gets five or six assists. And I personally used to watch Oliver Miller whip behind the back passes FROM THE POST to our shooter on the three point line. I predict Kevin Love to be in this group in terms of making other people around him better. Despite being very close to giving me a new gold tooth in my smile, I saw some impressive things from K. Love in just our first day. He shoots, he’s very athletic, and he rebounds….and he’s unselfish. That’s a very nice combo for a big man in today’s game. He’s going to make a serious run at rookie of the year in my opinion. Kevin also gets something that he didn’t get in college playing here in MN. He gets to play alongside a budding all star in Al Jefferson who along wth Tim Duncan and Shaq are probably the 3 best pure post players in the league.

Just over one week until training camp, and I’m excited. My stitches are almost out, my tooth is almost in place, and I’m ready to get some wins this year. Maybe I will see some of you guys out around Lake Calhoun or something.

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Minnesota, Win, Rashad McCants, Al Jefferson, Turkey , training camp
We win our first game in front of our home fans in Minnesota. Photo: Brocreative
We finally won our first game and it happened to come in front of our home fans in Minnesota. We had a lot of guys step up in the win. Rashad McCants had 30 points, Al Jefferson had his normal dominant performance and Antoine Walker had a huge game in crunch time to put us over the top. Marko Jaric made a ton of hussle plays. I wanted to talk a little bit about the game.

We were in Turkey for training camp which was going long and hard. Late in one practice session, Rashad McCants stole the ball and then took off down court for a dunk. All of a sudden, he stopped dribbling and staggered off the court in obvious pain. He strained his hamstring and then was on the injured list for a few days. Even earlier this season, he tweaked his ankle and had to sit out. I watched Rashad work tirelessly in the training room to get healthy to come back ASAP to help the team. Rashad is mentally tough and has a huge heart and he showed that once again tonight. Rashad is a team player first whose intelligence about the game reminds me of my old Lakers teammate Robert Horry.

In all my years of playing basketball you’re always taught not to go for pump fakes of opposing players. Especially when an opponent is trying to post you up, you never want to jump in the air to block the shot. It just puts you too much at risk for a foul. I’ve only been on the same team with Al Jefferson for two months, but I have never seen a post player get so many of his defenders up in the air and then just drive past them. Each game, I know it’s going to happen that he gets his post defender jumping in the air like a pogo-stick. The other day in practice I told Al, that I’ve never seen a player get so many defenders to go for his fake as does. Al told me that he learned his fake from Paul Pierce and their years together in Boston. Tonight was no different as Al got people in the air and utilized his signature, go-to move of the soft jump hook that seemed to be unstoppable.

Another old Celtic really stole the show in tonight’s game. We got Antoine Walker in a trade from the Heat and he was huge for us. I’ve enjoyed practicing with and against Antoine in practice every day. Antoine Walker is a three time all-star in the NBA and he gives so much energy and attention in practice every day that it’s kind of revitalizing to everyone on the team. I knew Antoine Walker the three point shooter, rebounder, great post up player and ball-handler, but the Antoine Walker I didn’t know is the player who knows every defensive rotation like the back of his hand. In the fourth quarter tonight Antoine floated a difficult 10 foot floater over the Sacramento defense that brought the crowd to their feet in the Target Center. When he came to the bench a fan yelled out, “Antoine, let’s see the shimmie!” I looked over and I saw Antoine smile and then just chill. I think he’s saving the shimmie for bigger and better things for the Timberwolves this season. Having a true veteran like Antoine on our team helps everyone from 1 to 15.

For a little more background on Antoine, (and the origin of the shimmie), you can go to his official website at

Well, that’s all here. I should receive the medical clearance soon to play. When I get it, I hope to earn my way back onto the court to help my team in any way possible.

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Goodbye, Kevin Garnett, Traded to the Boston Celtics, Minnesota
Kevin Maurice Garnett is an American professional basketball power forward and center with the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Photo: shutterstock.com
Today I got the unimaginable news that Kevin Garnett was traded to the Boston Celtics. Being out here in Minnesota and hearing this news was interesting because it is the most talked about thing in almost every circle in which I move. Friends from out of state are emailing me about it. A non-sports radio station “wished Kevin safe travels to Boston” tonight at 10pm while I was driving home.

Here are a few memories of the Kevin Garnett that I know. This is the side that the public doesn’t see every day.

One Cardinal rule in our locker room is this: Never wear gear from another NBA team. So when our new assistant trainer from Oklahoma had a Dallas Mavericks screensaver on his cellphone, Kevin Garnett found it and enforced the penalty. When I say penalty, Kevin made him sprint two hundred yards from our team bus to a pickup truck parked in the distance and then yell out “I love the Timberwolves!” three times.

When Craig Smith came into practice wearing some Golden State Warriors practice shorts, Kevin brought out the entire team and had Craig go to center court and hold up the shorts and say “I will never wear these shorts again,” while he held the shorts up and walked around three times. Everyone was laughing. Craig was laughing too. KG loves Craig on and off the court. I’ve never seen a rookie big man like Craig come in and win over the trust and confidence of Kevin so quickly.

Our offense calls for two “big men” to be on the court at the same time and it takes quite a while to learn all of the defensive rotations. Kevin Garnett expects nothing short of perfection on defense. Mark Blount is one of the smartest veteran centers in the NBA and he and Kevin read each other all the time. Where I have been impressed with Craig is that he’s beyond his years on defense. On offense, he’s been tearing up the other team’s interior and scoring in bunches. But in some ways he’s been even better on defense.

But getting back to the theme of this blog. I never thought Kevin Garnett would be apprehended by our own locker room fashion police. But it did happen a few months ago. It all started after practice one day when a few of us got into the locker room to shower and get ready to go home. KG was still down in the weight room lifting weights. Rashad McCants went over to Kevin’s locker and pulled out his shoes and put them out for everyone to see. “What the heck are these?” Rashad said as he pointed to Kevin’s shoes. As everyone looked down to Kevin’s locker we were shocked to see that his shoes had the words “Portland Trailblazers” alongside the Trailblazers logo! All of this was of course in Trailblazer red and black colors!

I’ve never seen so many guys so excited to bust Kevin’s chops. When Kevin finally got up to the locker room he walked in and saw his shoes out for everyone to see. Kevin busted out smiling and yelled out, “Who was in my locker! I don’t know who was in my locker!” Rashad stood up and called out, “I peeped it out when you walked in here this morning!” Trenton Hassell was having a field day. “Throw those shoes in the trash” he yelled out. It was my job to take the shoes and stomp on them and then take them to the garbage can. Kevin was laughing so hard. I guess Adidas had sent out a bunch of walking shoes to Kevin and the shoes all had logos of different NBA teams.

Kevin told us how he had gotten up that morning and tried on the Portland shoes and that they had looked good. So he asked his wife “What do you think? Can I wear these in to practice?”

“Well Kevin, I don’t think so. I mean, the Trailblazers are in your conference and you play against them, right?….” she said.

Kevin decided to wear the shoes in anyway and explained how he “had pushed his jeans down over the Trailblazers logo and walked into the locker room really quickly.” He even showed us how he had pushed his shoes way to the back of his locker area under his chair so that none of us would see the shoes. Well, nothing gets past Rashad fashion wise. We had a good laugh that day. But the story didn’t end there. Trenton Hassell called out:

“Man I’m going to use those shoes…..I’m getting them out of the garbage can. I’ve got my guy in Chattangooga Tennesse and he’s 6’10” and wears size fourteen too!”


Back to a serious note. Kevin Garnett is one of the mot loyal individuals I have ever met in my life. We’re all gong to miss him and we all wish him well.

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Jack Nicholson, Lakers, Impersonator, Timberwolves
John Joseph "Jack" Nicholson is an American actor, film director, producer, and writer. Photo: Everett Collection
Two of my friends said they got their picture taken with Jack Nicholson last night at the Lakers vs. Timberwolves game. Jack Nicholson is a regular at the Lakers home games and he travels on the road a lot to watch his team (The Lakers, of course) play. But my other friend said that he was a “Nicholson Impersonator” and that it really wasn’t him. Well, I wrote about all of this in yesterday’s blog right here on MarkMadsen.com/blog. Then tonight I go to my email inbox and my webmaster has forwarded me an email. Here is what the email said:


‘Jack’ was at the game last night. I know because that was me. In fact, since Jack shaved his head, I look more like Jack than Jack.

I am a Nicholson impersonator and will be attending the International Celebrity Impersonator Convention the end of May in Vegas.

It was a lot of fun last night being Jack but it hurt me to clap for the Lakers. Because of my role as the Lakers number one fan I needed to fulfill the role. You guys did an incredible job though. Congratulations.

Best Wishes

Now before all of you tell me that I’m dumb to believe a random email into my inbox here are the facts:

1) The email was sent from a verified email address of a major fortune 500 company: (i.e. johnsmith@target.com course it was not Target though) as opposed to an “anonymous email” like @yahoo.com or @hotmail.com.

2) John’s email included a link to his bio which is publicly accessible on his company’s website. (i.e. www.target.com/johnsmithbio/ )

3) John is a major executive at his fortune 500 company.

4) His photo showed up on the Fortune 500 company website and here it is. You tell me….does John have a chance at the Vegas convention? I think he’s the favorite!


John, I would love to accept your invitation to go to lunch sometime. Maybe I will bring someone from the organization and we can have some fun with this in the media guide. I hope that you have a great day and I hope that you guys continue to keep the capital markets going strong! (I guess we all should have known something was up when our Jack Nicholson impersonator was sitting about 15 rows up…..the Real Jack is always courtside….even on the road games).

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Adam, Allen Iverson, ESPN.com, Kevin Garnett, Mark Blount, Timberwolves
I want to thank Photo: shutterstock.com
I wanted to thank Adam for his comment (see below). His input poses a great question about our locker room dynamics. Is anyone in the lockeroom hurt from ticket’s [Kevin Garnett’s] excitement over the chance to bring in [Allen iverson]?

10:16:01 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Yeah, I can see how you might wonder what it would be like for any timberwolves players to turn on the T.V. or read ESPN.com and hear KG saying that he wants A.I. in Minnesota. Because by deduction, that means that someone (or many players) from the Timberwolves has to get shipped out.

I really don’t think there was much of an upset feeling in the locker room over it. The main thing is that this is one of those rare moments when a superstar is being shopped around the league. Allen Iverson getting traded is right up there with Shaq being traded from the Lakers to the Heat. All of us know how good A.I. is so I don’t think any of us took it as anything more than the “business side of basketball.” The other thing is that KG is such a great teammate and stand-up guy that he always speaks from his heart. He’s just as likely to tell us the same thing behind closed doors that he tells the media. That’s one of the reasons why everyone respects him so much.

I sit next to Mark Blount on the plane trips. He and I were talking about the Allen Iverson thing and Blount basically said that Allen is such a special talent that our organization really has to look at the trade scenario.

I guess the good news for us is that it really looks like Denver is going to win out on the A.I. thing. They have two draft picks in 2007 and Philly really wants those picks. The other thing is that I don’t think there is any way that the Timberwolves organization is going to trade Randy Foye or Craig Smith. That’s who Philly really wanted from us anyway. I’d like to see these two young guys filling up the Target Center for many years to come.

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Fred Hoiberg, Assistant General Manager, Jason Collier, TimberWolves, NBA, NBA Players,
Fred Hoiberg gets promoted as Assistant General Manager. Photo: shutterstock.com
Fred Hoiberg is now assistant GM! It has been a tumultous past year for Fred Hoiberg. Ever since he had major heart surgery last summer he has been dying to return to his playing days as one of the best shooters ever to play in the NBA. A few days ago, the Timberwolves announced that they were formalizing his employment with the team as Assistant General Manager along with our old friend Rob Babcock.

I think because of Fred’s experience along with the tragic death of fellow NBA player and former teammate, Jason Collier, the NBA has made mandatory cardiovascular testing a requirement for all NBA players. I will have to get on a treadmill with all of the cables attached to my chest next Tuesday in order to determine if I have any heart irregularities along with the rest of the NBA. Trenton Hassell did his testing yesterday along with a few other of the guys.

Well, I promised I was going to write a little bit more about Randy Foye, but he has been off at “Rookie Transition Camp” so I’m going to wait until he gets back. Rookie Transition camp was a very interesting experience for me. Every single incoming rookie in the NBA has to attend or get fined $10,000.00. When I was there, they brought in accountants, image consultants, financial advisors, and conflict resolution people who try to teach us how to stay calm when things get heated. Overall it was good. I remember when David Stern came in to talk to us about the NBA. He was really cool to all of the guys and actually gave out his email address to all of us and said that if we ever had any concerns, complaints, or questions, to email him directly. The one area that I have communicated directly with the league on is rules for cheap shots. During a game, all of us can handle unintentional elbows to the head, throat, back, etc. What really gets most NBA players mad though is when they get hit with a cheap shot. I’m going to report back to all of you when they read us the new rules for the coming year, and if I don’t like what I hear I am going to protest to the league and through our liason, Billy Hunter.

Lastly, I wanted to let you all know that Daniel Santiago has been working out with us and he’s been looking pretty good. Daniel is a longtime friend of mine as we played a lot together in LA and we are the same age. Daniel is about 7’1″ and he can shoot. He is from Puerto Rico and has had huge games in international competition against guys like Tim Duncan, and the rest of the US team. I think Dan brings a very intelligent, and tough big guy to mix.