May 15, 2007

Report: Spurs Agree to Trade Horry for Stoudemire & Diaw

Some simultaneously very exciting and rather raw bid’ness went down in the closing minutes of Monday night’s Suns-Spurs game, as the Suns evened the series – moving one step closer to saving Planet Basketball from the dreaded Spurs-Pistons Finals matchup – but also potentially lost Amare Stoudemire (and Boris Diaw) to suspensions.

We’ve all most likely seen what happened by now: Robert Horry got frustrated and decided to show to the world that his shoulder is capable of knocking Steve Nash to the ground when the latter is going at full speed. Very hard foul, but these things happen, Horry was ejected and might be suspended himself, and that’s fine.

But here’s the problem: In the process, Stoudemire and Diaw both technically left the bench, which is a no-no, and by the letter of the law will result in a one-game suspension.

If it wasn’t apparent before last night, somehow, someway, this rule needs to be modified. Sure, the NBA wants to curb full-scale melees on the court. That’s understandable. But what Stoudemire and Diaw did ultimately amounted to a reflexive action – they saw their teammate get leveled, and understandably they stepped forward to respond. That’s instinct. And a second later – with some assistance from coaches and teammates – they realized they couldn’t go out there and stepped back.

Now, we’ll never know whether or not Stoudemire and Diaw intended to run out on the court and tear off Robert Horry’s limbs, but they certainly didn’t have the look of men who were about to unsheath hidden machetes from underneath the scorer’s table and turn the whole thing into an Anchorman-style street brawl. It looked more like, “Hey, what the hell was that oh shit we can’t go out on the floor” than anything else.

As we said before, based on the rule, these two will face a suspension, but the rule clearly needs to be modified. How exactly it can be modified, we’re not sure, but as it stands, the Spurs will most likely end up trading Horry for Stoudemire and Diaw for Game 5, which is just flat-out unjust, especially since Horry was the one who instigated things in the first place.

Was it his intention to stir things up and ultimately get some Suns players suspended? No. But it sure worked out brilliantly for the Spurs if that’s how it ends up going down.

Meanwhile, there’s no truth to the rumor that the Suns are planning to dress Pat Burke up as The Undertaker and have him repeatedly attempt to barrel roll Tim Duncan’s legs every time he attempts a lay-up in Game 5.

And for the record, it was hilarious to see how TNT handled all of this, with Marv Albert and Steve Kerr initially reacting honestly to the images shown on camera of Stoudemire and Diaw leaving the bench, followed by a report from Craig Sager, who essentially took on the role of sleazy defense attorney with his claim that Stoudemire had not left the bench to join the fracas but was actually going to check into the game as part of an offense-defense substitution.

This harebrained defense, coupled with Sager’s always absurd wardrobe, gives us the great pleasure of thinking of him as something of a new millennium, sports-oriented version of Vincent Gambini, the delightfully irreverent defense attorney portrayed by Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny.

Can’t you just picture Sages putting together an improbable and completely goofy yet ultimately unassailable defense of Stoudemire and Diaw that somehow includes an elderly female eyewitness with very thick glasses and convinces David Stern to rule in the Suns’ favor?

Okay, neither can we.

Perhaps as a compromise, we can agree to have Craig Sager fly to an anonymous town in the deep South and eat a whole bunch of grits. Does this seem like a fair solution to everyone?


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