PlayBook: Basketball Reasons

By Fraser Lockerbie

The day David Stern stopped caring and learned to love the owners. Plus week 14 NFL lines.

It is assumed most things in the NBA are done for “basketball reasons.”

Players play and are paid for “basketball reasons.” Teams and stadiums are built for “basketball reasons.” Fans attend games for “basketball reasons.” The ball is filled with air for “basketball reasons.”

“Basketball reasons” is a pretty vague umbrella term for why things happen the way they do in the NBA. Most major decisions, like say the unprecedented vetoing of a league-owned team’s trade, usually require further explanation to justify them. Usually.

Yet all we got from our esteemed commissioner to explain why Chris Paul won’t be playing for the Lakers this season was “basketball reasons.” Luckily, we keep our “Dictionary of Half-Assed Sports Answers” on hand at all times. Let’s have a look:

Basketball reasons [bah-skit bawl ree-zuh’ns] noun, sad excuse, pitiful waning

  1. A show of complete and utter cowardice. Ex. “Rather than stand firm against an already angry and agitated crowd of new money owners, David Stern, feeling his death grip on the league weakening, allowed them to veto the Chris Paul trade for basketball reasons.”

  2. A complete loss of control of something you have almost tyrannical authority over. Ex.  “Whereas in the past David Stern has treated most aspects of the NBA like his personal collection of action figures, for basketball reasons, he inexplicably rolled over on something he did not have to.“

  3. The very public castrating of what we know now to be a puppet general manger. Ex. “After stating on many occasions that Dell Demp had complete autonomy with the Hornets, David Stern, at the behest of tactless owners pulled the rug out from under him for basketball reasons.”


  1. Fair: Ex. “Trades in the NBA considered fair by all parties involved should not be vetoed by overtly jealous owners upset that they did not get Chris Paul.” See Mark Cuban.

  2. Reasonable: Ex. “The Hornets were on the winning end of a reasonable offer that would have sent seven months of Chris Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets and a whole new team to New Orleans: a good offensive center in Luis Scola, a high-percentage shooter in Kevin Martin, a role-playing, playoff-proven forward in Lamar Odom, another scoring guard in Goran Drogic AND a 2012 no.1 pick.”

Everyone involved with this trade was happy with it. Chris Paul was getting what he wanted (out of New Orleans), the Hornets were getting what they wanted (a huge pay-day from the malcontented Paul), the Lakers were getting the best point guard in NBA and the Rockets were getting a new face of the franchise in Gasol. The only people who were not getting what they wanted were the people not getting Chris Paul, Pau Gasol or whatever package landed in New Orleans. And for whatever reason, for “basketball reasons,” that was enough to make sure this deal did not get done

Welcome back to NBA everybody. The joke is far from over.

Let’s get to this week’s lines:

Indianapolis (+16.5) over Baltimore

Nothing Joe Flacco has done this season gives me confidence Baltimore can cover 16.5 points against anyone, even a team as hapless as the Colts.

New England (-8) over Washington

Even with the Patriots obvious defensive holes, Washington will be lucky to score eight points in this game let alone keep pace with a Uncle Tom’s torrid offense.

San Francisco (-4) over Arizona

Wait a minute. The Cardinals routinely play the Cowboys tough, they did it again last Sunday and suddenly they are only a 4 point underdog against the 10-2 Niners? Something is rotten in Vegas.

Denver (-3.5) over Chicago

No Forte, no Cutler, and up against God’s own quarterback?

New York (-10.5) over Kansas City

The Chiefs could have stood still on the field last week and beat the injury-riddled bears but that doesn’t change the fact that they have only managed 35 points of total offense in the past five weeks.

Seattle (-6.5) over St. Louis

In yet another spectacularly awful Monday night game the Seahawks and Rams will pretend to be interested in whatever might pass for football but deep down they know they don’t care what happens and neither do we.

Miami (-3) over Philadelphia/Carolina (+3) over Atlanta

We’re going to go ahead and lump these two lines together and say any and all overly-hyped, underperforming teams previously or currently associated with Michael Vick are going to lose in Week 14.

San Deigo (-7) over Buffalo

These two teams have managed 11 losses over their last six games. The difference is one of them is playing well-below expectations and potential(SD); the other is about where they should be (BUF).

New York (+3.5) over Dallas

A win for the Giants will muddy the water even further in the NFC East but a win by the ‘Boys should clear it up. With four weeks to play there is a big divisional difference between being tied at 7-6 and being ahead 8-5 to 6-7.

Minnesota (+10) over Detroit

There are holes to exploit in the Lions pass rush; if “All Day” is back on the field and the late season blooming of Percy Harvin continues to keep secondaries honest this could be a closer game than most think.

Quick Slants: Jacksonville (+2) over Tampa Bay, Green Bay (-11.5) over Oakland, New Orleans (-3.5) over Tennessee, Houston (+3) over Cincinnati

Last Week: 10-5

Overall: 39-30-2


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