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It's Certainly Distracting Me...

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Allen Iverson hasn't played a game since last Wednesday.  He has definitely played his last game in Philadelphia, even cleaning out his locker (when has that ever happened before the trade?).  Everyone keeps saying how a deal is going to happen any minute, yet we keep getting re-hashes of the same rumors, over and over.

Most of the Clippers rumors in print continue to revolve around a Maggette-Livingston package the Sixers wanted last year, and which the Clippers have never considered.  According to Peter Vecsey, Brand, Livingston and Kaman are untouchable.  (One only presumes that Kaman is untouchable in the sense that no other team would want to touch a player that signed for $50M+ and immediately went into the tank.)  This is consistent with the trade world according to ClipsNation.com, which says that any package not involving Brand and Livingston should be pursued.  

A quick aside about Vecsey.  For the second week in a row, he has devoted column space to the position that he has real sources, while everybody else is just spreading rumors.  He did it last week about the Maggette-Antoine Walker rumors, and he did it again today.  Doth this guy protest too much, or what?  

Meanwhile, Mark Stein, apparently shamed by Vecsey into eschewing the spreading of other baseless rumors, writes today instead about how AI can scuttle a Bobcats trade without a 'no trade' clause.  I'm not sure I understood his point.  OK, very few NBA players have no trade clauses.  So why are they so successful at manipulating where they will be traded?  

It actually makes me very angry to see a guy like Alonzo Mourning win a ring in Miami while being paid $15M by Toronto, where he refused to report.  If you're being paid MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO PLAY A GAME, the least you can do is honor your contract.  Apparently it's not enough to be paid to play the greatest sport in the world - Alonzo (and others) aren't happy unless they have a chance to win a ring, but of course the vast majority of NBA players never do win a title.  I know, Alonzo is a veteran and by most accounts a good guy, and he had the kidney thing... whatev.  It's unfair to the teams trying to get good, usually the small market teams, when the better teams are given yet another advantage.  

All I can say is, thank the FSM for Joe Johnson, who opted for the chance to be the MAN in Atlanta over the same money and a chance to win a title in Phoenix.  Most people thought he was being egotistical, but I say 'Way to go, Joe.'  Because he made that choice, Atlanta is a contender today, and Phoenix is still great without him, but not as great as they would have been with him.  It's good for the competitive balance of the league when JJ goes to Atlanta (or if AI went to Charlotte).