Late add: TMac done for the year. Go discuss in that fanpost.
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The big news first...
- Greg is out for tomorrow's game. He said the soreness and swelling wouldn't allow him to play tomorrow... it's not just a case where the team is holding him out and being over-cautious. Greg was at practice in gym shoes (don't think he went through any drills) and took questions very briefly at the end. He said the good news is that he feels a bit more rested after the time he spent at home with family and friends. Greg remains today and Nate and Greg both said check back on Thursday for an update regarding whether he will play Friday. Greg is meeting again with a doctor tomorrow.
- Blake practiced today and returns to the starting lineup tomorrow. Nate said Blake was "probable" but implied he was playing. Blake looked in good spirits and was shooting fine. Reportedly he took a shot at practice on the shoulder and didn't think anything of it. Obviously that's a good sign.
- Nate said that the team will return to its old rotation, meaning Blake starts, Sergio backs him up and Jerryd is squeezed out. Asked if leaving Bayless out of the rotation was "harsh," Nate admitted it was but said it would be harsh if Sergio was left out too. Commence your second-guessing and trade speculating... now.
- For the record Bayless was still shooting jumpers when I left the Practice Facility. Only Batum was still hanging around.
- KP and other management were not present to take any trade questions at practice. Nate did talk briefly about the value of expiring contracts.
9:30 PM Update:
- I clarified some points above so be sure to check those out.
- Trade speculation: most media members admit to not having a freaking clue what is going to happen. The consensus remains that KP will move RLEC; more and more speculation thinks it will be in a big move. The consensus take on the Chandler deal was that it sets a baseline of expectations for what expiring contracts are worth in this economy, meaning RLEC should bring a primo return. Multiple media members said they would be disappointed if RLEC was not dealt.
- Nate on expiring contracts and Raef's in particular: "That has been something that has been valuable for years: expiring contracts. For players that have 1 year left on their deal. It's not anything that is new to the league. We felt that it would be a contract that we can use but until somebody makes it valuable it's just a contract."
- Story time...
Alright, so I don't know if any of you saw the game on Sunday night: USC played Arizona State. As I wrote a few weeks ago, Coach Nate was looking forward to having the opportunity to watch this game, because his son plays for Arizona State.
I tuned in for the last few minutes of the game and what did I see? A monumental meltdown from USC's coach Tim Floyd, who absolutely lost it when USC guard Daniel Hackett was called for charging against, you guessed it, Nate's son Jamelle.
Here's the video of the meltdown. It's pretty funny.
Now, put yourself in Nate's shoes. Your son just took a huge (albeit questionable) charge at the end of a relatively important Pac-10 game.
For once in your life, you're just a spectator (and a father) rather than a coach. How do you react to the situation? Do you celebrate? Jump to your son's defense? What's your take as you watch another coach go completely ape? I had to ask him.
You were at the USC game. What'd you think of the ending?
It was a good game. It was a good game.
[smiles] Oh, you're talking about Tim?
Yeah, your son took a charge and then...
You're talking about with Tim Floyd. Questionable call. Tim... those college coaches say some words that I thought only adults should hear. He was frustratated. He was upset about some of the calls and he went out there to protect his players.
Is it kind of funny to watch that as a coach, to watch another coach react like that? Did you just sit back and smile?
No. You look at what he was arguing. [As a coach], you put yourself in his position. You look at the call and what was his argument. I thought he had a legitimate argument. But I mean, to go that far, I think he felt like the game was probably over. That was a big play because they scored on that basket, an and one.
[If the call had gone the other way], it certainly would have gotten them close. I thought he felt that was a big play.
The thing was to send a message to the officials. And [a message] to his team: "you worked hard, but we didn't get any breaks tonight."
It seemed like he genuinely lost it though, don't you think?
He lost it. [laughs]
Have you ever lost it like that?
I have but not quite like that. He did [lose it]. [Laughs]
I talked to Tim after the game. He [still] felt like it was a questionable call.
So after all that time, after talking to his team, he still stuck to his guns?
He did. He did. [laughs]
A brief but telling exchange. Notice what's completely missing from Nate's account? The fact that his son was in the middle of it. Nate left his Dad hat in the closet in favor of his Coach hat, even though he was on a rare vacation with his family (remember Nate was at Summer League and in Beijing last summer, so the all star break was his longest rest in a year).
On a day when Coach Nate was looking a little weary in the face of renewed questions about Greg's health, it was nice to see him chuckling over this situation in a "I'm just glad it wasn't me" kind of way.
But it is striking how differently he saw the end of the game compared to most fathers. Nate rationally broke the play down. He empathized with the losing Coach. He imagined a postgame rallying speech to the players on the losing team.
A total 180 from what usually plays out in the parents' section at all levels of play: proud dads 1) kissing their wives and jumping up and down at their son's great play and/or 2) peeved at the "poor sportsmanship" of the opposing team's coach.
For some reason, I can't help but imagine Nate giving his son a ride home after the big win, telling Jamelle that he needs to "stay connected" on defense and rotate more quickly so that his feet are properly set in the event that the ref in the next game doesn't blow the call.
-- Ben (firstname.lastname@example.org)