Scott Carefoot

scott carefoot

Scott Carefoot contributes to The Basketball Jones and edits RaptorBlog, which he launched in 2002. He's been a solider in the Score army since 2008 and is convinced that he enjoys coming to work every day more than almost anyone, ever. The majority of the movies in his personal Top 10 list were made by either Quentin Tarantino or the Coen brothers.

Recent Posts

There’s no point in wasting a lot of keystrokes introducing this wonderful artifact. If the headline alone didn’t get you excited, the fact that Naughty by Nature changed the lyrics to “Hip Hop Hooray” to help promote ticket sales for the Bullets’ 1993-94 season shouldn’t change anything. Nor should you be even more compelled to watch this video because Tom Gugliotta is just as awkward of a dancer as you’d expect him to be. If none of those teasers interest you, then maybe you’d be better off reading another blog that isn’t so much of a journalistic joke. For the rest of you… enjoy, and you’re welcome.

Brian Cardinal

With all the ridiculous contracts that get thrown around every NBA offseason, fans are perennially left scratching their heads at the logic behind the dollar amounts handed out to role players. As crazy as some of this offseason’s free agent signings have seemed, I would argue that none of them match up to the madness of the six-year, $34 million deal that Brian Cardinal (a.k.a. “Your Dad“) landed in July 2004.

In his fourth NBA season — after having played a grand total of 184 minutes over his previous three seasons — Cardinal “blew up” and averaged 9.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists over 21 minutes while shooting 47 percent from the field and 44 percent from long range. His previous track record probably led most GMs to believe that Cardinal’s season was a bit of a fluke. But when the Memphis Grizzlies gave him a six-year deal at the full mid-range level, it appeared that then-GM Jerry West must have thought your dad was the real deal.

Today, I stumbled upon this excerpt from a Mark Monteith article in the Indianapolis Star (the story doesn’t appear to be on the Star’s website anymore, but it’s quoted on at least two different sites) that, if true, might be the funniest story ever behind an absurd NBA contract.

An exceptionally well-connected league insider once told me the story of how Brian Cardinal got his mid-level. Seems Memphis owner Michael Heisley, frustrated by general manager Jerry West’s lack of activity, walked into West’s office one day and asked why he hadn’t signed anyone yet. So an exasperated West picked up his phone, called Cardinal’s agent and offered the mid-level on the spot. Then he turned to Heisley and said something along the lines of “There, you happy now?”

Jerry West, everyone! In the history of rash decisions made to appease nagging bosses, that one has to rank right up there. We may never know if this story is true, but I really hope it is. Regardless, that contract helped pay for that boat your dad loves so much, so let’s all be happy for him.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the Philadelphia 76ers will use the amnesty clause on Elton Brand to clear the remaining $18.2 million from his contract. This would have been the final year in the absurd five-year, $79.8 million contract they signed Brand to in July 2008.

The Brand signing was one of the league’s most shocking moves in recent years because it occurred after a season in which he had missed all but eight games because of a ruptured Achilles tendon. I’m not a doctor, but I thought that signing a player like that to a massive, long-term contract seemed like a really, really terrible idea. Sure enough, Brand in Philly was no longer the dominant low-post presence who gave you a guaranteed 20 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks per game. Last season, he made $17 million while averaging 11 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 28.9 minutes. Assuming Sixers ownership would go along with it, using the amnesty clause on Brand was a no-brainer.

With the cap room cleared by this move, Wojnarowski reports that Philly will sign Nick Young to a one-year, $6 million deal. This is a pretty good sign that the Sixers are going to let Lou Williams sign elsewhere, partially because he’ll almost certainly command a higher salary. As for Brand, he’ll be a useful third big man on another team next year — Marc Stein tweeted that the Mavericks might be in the hunt to claim him off the amnesty wire.

Steve Nash - traitor

According to multiple trusted sources on Twitter, the Phoenix Suns have traded Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers for future draft picks. This news surprised many of us at first since it seemed to come out of left field, but it actually makes sense from Nash’s perspective if he wants to win a championship before he retires. If his options were the Raptors, Knicks, Mavericks and Lakers, the latter team would understandably seem most appealing to Nash.

For Raptors fans like myself who sat trembling with anticipation in front of their Twitter accounts for days, the way Nash played the Raptors for leverage was a reminder that even the most beloved Canadian basketball player ever doesn’t want to play in Canada. OK, to be fair, it’s probably not about the “Canada” part for Nash, it’s more about the “Raptors are an unfunny joke” part. The only free agents that seem to want to sign with this franchise are mediocre ones like Landry Fields and Hedo Turkoglu — and even they need to be overpaid.

Knicks fans are understandably upset about this development as well, but frankly I don’t want to hear it. Nash wasn’t going to get them past the Heat, anyway, and they never have to worry about whether or not big-name free agents will take them seriously. We’ve got one NBA team in Canada, and convincing Nash to join the Raptors would have been arguably the biggest moment in Canadian pro sports since August 1988 when the Edmonton Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky to the L.A. Kings. (I was 13. I cried. Note: After I posted this, an astute commenter pointed out that the Toronto Blue Jays’ World Series victories in ’92 and ’93 were also kind of a big deal.) Once more, the glitz and glamor of the City of Angels has seduced one of Canada’s most beloved sporting sons, and the sting of rejection is only a little easier to take now than it was then.

But enough of my wallowing, how about those Lakers! Nash, Kobe, Pau and Bynum aren’t exactly Payton, Kobe, Malone and Shaq, but they’re still extremely intriguing and imposing. Suddenly, a Heat vs. Thunder rematch in the 2013 Finals doesn’t seem like such a sure thing, and the Heat vs. Lakers championship clash so many NBA fans have been dying to see — including the ones who claim to hate both teams, trust me on this — appears to be a significant possibility.

Speaking of which… your move, Riles. This would be a good time to send another text to Ray Allen.

Deron Williams

Well, I’ll be damned. The Nets actually pulled it off. Sure, we all laughed at them when they traded this year’s first round pick (which turned into Damian Lillard) to the Blazers for Gerald Wallace because most of us probably assumed Deron Williams would leave and they’d have to convince Brooklyn fans to get excited about a team with no stars and MarShon Brooks in the starting lineup. But after they re-signed Wallace and traded a bunch of expiring contracts and a future draft pick to the Hawks for Joe Johnson, they convinced Williams to re-sign with them for the max — which works out to around five years and $98.75 million.

It’s impossible to know how the Dwight Howard saga is going to play out, but if they go into their first season in Brooklyn with a starting lineup of Williams, Johnson, Wallace, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez, that’s a pretty damn good starting five. Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted earlier tonight that the Nets will try to re-sign Humphries if they can’t make a Howard deal happen this off-season.

Let’s give full credit to Nets GM Billy King for rapidly turning what could have been an unmitigated disaster into the most compelling success story of the 2012 NBA off-season. The Nets certainly aren’t championship contenders now, but they’re probably a playoff team if they can have some luck in the health department and if King manages to fill out their roster with serviceable NBA players. Somewhere, Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov is laughing his butt off while he’s surrounded by supermodels and miniature giraffes.

Jason Terry

I guess we can write the postscript for The Ray Allen Era in Boston, now that Marc Spears has reported that the Celtics have signed  Jason Terry to a three-year contract at the mid-level exception of $5 million per season. The Jet is two years younger than Ray Allen and while he isn’t on Ray’s level as a shooter (who is?), he’ll likely be the more productive option as a sixth man going forward. Avery Bradley will probably inhabit the starting two-guard spot when he recovers from shoulder surgery, leaving Terry to provide scoring punch off the bench in the role in which he excelled for his last five seasons in Dallas.

I’m obviously joshing with the “youth movement” remark in the title, but what this does signal is that the Celtics intend on trying to keep that championship window jammed open for at least a couple more seasons. As for Ray Allen, most Celtics fans will surely be sad to see him go — although we can’t entirely rule out the possibility that he’ll return to the Celtics in a reduced role — but his services will be in demand among teams that consider themselves contenders next season. Cases in point: Ray is scheduled to meet with the Heat on Thursday and the Clippers on Friday. On the small chance that he decides to retire, he won’t be hurting for money since he’s also “The World Leader in Professional K-9 Equipment”. (Note: May be a different Ray Allen.)

LeBron James

LeBron James opened the scoring tonight with an emphatic dunk on a fast break. It set the tone for the Miami Heat’s dominance in a championship-clinching game that was the culmination of a tumultuous journey. That journey began on July 7, 2010, when LeBron announced he was joining forces with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Pat Riley to form an unstoppable juggernaut that would bring multiple NBA championships to South Beach.

As you’ll recall, the Heat hit a bump in the road in last year’s Finals when LeBron wilted under the pressure of backing up his boasts against a savvy Dallas Mavericks squad that played with the urgency of a team that knew they probably wouldn’t get another chance to win the ultimate prize. Combined with his failures in previous post-seasons, LeBron was stamped with the “choker” label and it began to seem like a real possibility that he could retire as the most talented ringless player in NBA history.

So what changed? Why did LeBron James soar towards greatness over the course of these playoffs instead of shrinking from it as he did in last year’s NBA Finals? Witnessing his recent pregame book-reading ritual and his moments of meditation throughout the playoffs, it seems as though he’s been trying — in his own way — to achieve the Bodhisattva ideal of an “awakened mind”. It’s not hard to see how many of the Zen virtues of Bodhisattva would be important to him — particularly patience, acceptance, endurance and tranquility. All of those virtues contributed to LeBron’s improved focus and the way he dealt with immense pressure this season.

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