Most shortlists for NBA Most Valuable Player Award from the season nearly concluded tend to start with reigning MVP Steve Nash and move on to Kobe, Chauncey Billups, Flash, His Dirkness or some 4th quarter disappearances aside, LeBron James. How often Gilbert Arenas’ name will come up, should be interesting. The Wizards’ PG has done more than his share of the heavy lifting in Washington’s ’05-06 campaign, and last night’s 43 point outburst against Milwaukee was the 11th time this year he’s tallied 40 points or more in a game.

Speculation continues to swirl around Larry Brown’s health and whether or not the Knicks coach might leverage his recent acid reflux scare into pushing for a buyout of the remaining 4 years on his deal with MSG. Though we have no reason to believe Brown’s condition is anything less than serious, this whole mess is sadly reminiscent of his final months in Detroit, ie. the coach being too ill to fully meet his Pistons responsibilities, but in strong enough timbre to consider other jobs, Cleveland’s amongst them. In yesterday’s Post, Peter Vescey raised the possibility of Brown taking over the Knicks’ basketball operations from Isiah Thomas.

Considering the consequences of his coaching contortion, the only real shock is it took Brown so long to dive on a loose gurney.

Live, die or withdraw, the man with the cosmic know-how simply could have done a better job by allowing his consortium of assistants to coach in their home cities/state. If I had to guess, I’d bank on Brown being cleared by doctors just in time to take over for Thomas. Not that Brown has done anything worthwhile to warrant a promotion or a second gateway to subvert another season. Nobody more deserves to be dumped than Brown. I mean, other than Thomas, as evidenced by his rotting roster of jarring talent.

The Philly Inquirer’s Joe Juliano has more details on Allen Iverson and Chris Webber’s very late arrrival to Tuesday’s Fan Appreciation Night against the Nets, along with Sixers president Billy King’s reaction.

The following missive is culled from the mailbag at Dave D’Alessandro’s Nets Blast.

Q: There is all this talk about the Nets getting ignored by TNT and the national media but I actually don™t mind. Short of the nationally televised games thing. Only 4 nationally televised games. I rationalize this like I do all the other “slights. Basically, projected ratings provided by people getting paid way too much for guessing supercede the actual quality of the game or matchup. I ask myself: Which team would I rather be a fan of? Minnesota (10 games on ESPN, TNT, and ABC)? Maybe if I was Garnett’s golfing buddy. Houston (19)? Too many fruit baskets and get-well cards to the McGrady family in a last-ditch effort to save the season. And did you know that there were 58 ESPN-TNT-ABC games played by Texas teams this season? How does that slap in the face feel, New Jersey? Seattle (12)? Ok, I™ll stop. You get my point. I’ll take, Kidd, Carter, Jefferson, and YES-HD over a lottery bound team and national hype hands down. Why do I need Barkley, ESPN, and the rest regurgitating the same stuff I already know and hear a few more people refer to RJ as Jason Richardson?


A: I like the way you think, Christopher. Just goes to show you: Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. I personally don™t know how the minds of TV people work “ I always assumed it was something like a Rube Goldberg machine “ because I really don™t have any interest in a largely idle-headed industry, or the stomach to keep up with its grubby pursuit of ratings. But having said that, let™s not lose sight of two things. First, you and I are among the lucky few who can afford NBA-TV; otherwise we™d probably think the word of some beslubbering jolthead on ESPN was gospel instead of the same old twaddle. And secondly, the Nets are seriously pissed by the media myopia you cite, because national exposure earns you things like MVP trophies (yes, they™re still bitter over ™02), All-NBA honors (they could get shut out this year), and increased jersey sales.