Working the Refs in the Court of Public Opinion
Which is why the naked in-season message-sending, politicking, positioning and score-settling bothers me so much. I'm not Andrew Bynum's biggest admirer. As a Celtics fan, it's practically genetic. But it is absurd, bordering on ridiculous that he's now subjected to a slew of articles (no links) discussing his supposed lack of passion for basketball. Similarly, Pau Gasol is "letting the Lakers down" by not playing through illness These pieces are so obviously spoonfed to "friendly sources" by the Mikes Brown and D'antoni and respective team management as a way of "getting our side out," we might as well be told that both Bynum and Pau reached for the gun
This isn't to say that off-court events are not or cannot be newsworthy. Injury news, trade rumors and player, coach and team reaction to actual in game happenings add a great deal of contextual value to following the NBA. Even today's meltdown over the Knicks cutting their fifteenth man us newsworthy, not because it tells us J.R. Smith is a headcase (dog bites man), but because it more or less confirmed what we long suspected, that Chris Smith's employment with the Knicks was part of some bizarre quid pro quo greasing the skids for JR re-signing this offseason.
But as far as the anonymous shot-taking, this doesn't happen in functional organizations. Maybe it's a function of successful teams being happier, but it also reflects leadership from the top down. If Bulls ownership was as concerned with winning titles as with making profits by avoiding the luxury tax, we wouldn't be hearing a word about what Derrick Rose thinks about the roster construction going forward. The only exception to this rule is the soap opera that was the Shaq/Kobe Lakers, and that situation didn't exactly resolve in the Lakers' favor until they were gifted Pau Gasol a few years later.
In any event, I like to subscribe to the "Proposition" Joe Steward ethos: buy for a dollar, sell for two. Later for the rest of the BS. Make good deals; win some games. Don't tell us about how smart you are, show us. Don't pass the buck for things not working out, do your job and get your team out of it. It insults our intelligence as fans that you think we think this shit matters as much as the product on the floor.