Neven Spahija (above) was introduced as Maccabi Tel Aviv’s new coach yesterday. If you thought Jerry Krause had a tough time bringing free agents to the post-Jordan Bulls, consider Spahija’s predictament. From (link taken from Hoops Hype)

“It is almost impossible to bring players here under the current circumstances,” Spahija says. “But I hope that the fighting will end soon and then a lot of basketball players will want to come to Maccabi.”

Spahija said that one of the players he wanted to bring to Maccabi was his countryman, Zoran Planinic. “I want Planinic here, but he still has a contract with the New Jersey Nets; so to bring him, we will need to negotiate.”

When Spahija was questioned on the chances that Ron Mercer would be making his way to Yad Eliahu, the Croat replied: “Let’s stick with Zoran Planinic.”

For the moment, however, Planinic is not at Maccabi, and the same goes for NBA misfits such as Marcus Haislip and Jiri Welsch, who have refused to come to Israel.

“We have another three players to bring in, and it is also very important that we have Yotam Halperin on board,” the new coach says.

There’s a bill awaiting Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s signature that would make basketball the official state sport. Though this is obviously an affront to the Red Sox, Pittsfield’s Wahconah Park and the Gino Capelletti family, I say it makes no difference. Driving Without Insurance will always be the Unofficial State Sport Of Massachusetts.

Team USA was scary-good last night once they put their collective foot on the gas midway through the 2nd period against Puerto Rico, but much the way late June is far too early to be reading College Football preview magazines (in the case of Street & Smith, late November is also too early), August 3 was a hell of time to submit one’s self to Bill Walton.

With all due respect to the talented, though linking-to-other-blogs-phobic gents at Rebuilding Year, much as I appreciate the comparisons between Donald Rumsfeld and Isiah Thomas, the following should be stressed :

a) Rummy’s never seen “Love & Basketball”, either in the cinema or on DVD.  He is, supposedly, a big fan of Berry Gordy’s “The Last Dragon”, but then again, who isn’t?

b) Zeke might be full of shit for a living, but he’s not technically incorrect when he hailed Jerome James’ “ability to clog up the middle”, nor was he entirely wrong when he called the center “a space eater”.