You ask, we (try to) answer:
Q: I thought the Spurs were too old. Now they're signing Parker to an extension?
— Art, Texas.
A: Good for San Antonio. And good for the NBA.
While everyone saw Eva guiding Tony to New York, and while many thought it was time for the Spurs to pack it in with this crew, three realities were being overlooked:
Tony will be playing well after Desperate Housewives is cast to a reruns-only cycle on Lifetime.
The Spurs very much remain a contender, or at least as much of a contender as anyone outside of the Lakers and Thunder in the West.
And while Tony is in his 10th season, he also is only 28, as remarkable as that sounds.
But getting beyond even those three factors, it is a move that makes tons of sense, at any price, for the Spurs because it protects an asset.
Free agents don’t flock to south Texas, but players can be forced to report in trades. With the extension, the Spurs protect an asset, avoid a Carmelo Anthony situation of their own, can dictate where Tony might eventually be relocated, need be.
Debate the money spent on such a high-mileage player, but don't doubt Popovich and Buford. Ever. This is a franchise that has precious few missteps on its resume.
Q: Why isn't anyone taking the Knicks seriously?
— Al, Brooklyn.
A: Because of their recent history, because of considerable concerns with Mike D'Antoni's ability to get something out of his defense, because of the limitations of Raymond Felton at point guard.
Look, with the presence of Amare Stoudemire, New York is better than it has been in years. But it is nowhere close to be a championship contender.
The Knicks should be in playoff contention, which would be a major step forward. But this is not a roster that in any way matches up favorably with the Heat, Celtics, Magic or even Bulls. That means, at best (and in this case, at very best), the Knicks will be fighting for a second-tier playoff berth and facing first-round elimination.
For all the gains made with Amare Stoudemire, remember, it did come at the cost of David Lee and his considerable stats.
Now, if the Knicks can make headway in the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes, then there will be plenty of buzz coming from the Garden.
Q: Is all you're going to be writing about is the Heat this season?
— Arlene, Chicago.
A: I am making a concerted effort to avoid that, but it seems like there essentially is a 50-50 split in interest in the NBA these days (and that is being generous) between the Heat and the other 29 teams.
Look, this has never happened before, such a collection of All-Star talent coming together in their prime. Last season, you certainly would have paid plenty of attention to LeBron's games, and Dwyane's games, and, if they were in the United States, Bosh's games.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
I do agree that several other stories will get buried, but it seems like whatever outside buzz there is, it’s almost as if it's all in relation to the Heat:
For years, the NBA was a two-team, Lakers-Celtics league. Then it was a one-man, Michael Jordan league.
The Heat will stop being the story when they fail, or when the success becomes monotonous.
For now, you can find them just about nightly on your television, even if you don't live in South Florida.
Q: Where's the love for the Hawks? Joe Johnson decided to stand by his team, Al Horford is a stud, and J-Smoove showed last year he is a team player?
— Lucas, Marietta, Ga.
A: But the Hawks are what they are, a team that will win 45-plus games, offer an entertaining first-round playoff matchup, and then fade from the postseason picture.
The Hawks needed to do something dynamic this offseason, something more than merely retaining Johnson, at what turned out to be the largest contract package extended this summer, something more than the lateral coaching shift from Mike Woodson to Larry Drew.
There simply is no buzz with the Hawks. Mike Bibby is a somewhat tired act at point guard and Marvin Williams inspires little enthusiasm at small forward, a position that seemingly requires a far more dynamic presence.
No, instead of offering the promise of continued growth, there is the concern Jamal Crawford leaves in the offseason as a free agent.
It's almost as if the Hawks' moment has passed.
Q: The Lakers aren't so tall without Bynum, are they?
— Phil, Torrance, Calif.
A: Your point being? I'm taking it as the consistent uncertainty with Andrew when it comes to injuries.
So, no, without Bynum in the lineup, some of that advantage is gone, although few teams have the type of lengthy versatility that the Lakers possess in Lamar Odom. But let's also not overstate Theo Ratliff, at least at this stage of his career.
Look, two years ago, without Bynum's length, the Lakers fell to the Celtics in the finals. With Bynum, they're two-time defending champions. Yet I hesitate to call him a game-changer.
The reality is this: With Bynum available, Gasol can play his best position, power forward, and it allows Odom to explore his versatility at small forward.
For as much as the Lakers accomplished this offseason with the signings of Steve Blake and Matt Barnes, I wonder if their next move down the road isn't for a center, a reliable presence who they can count on being there for the overwhelming majority of the season.
Q: Is that an act with Stan Van Gundy? Does everything make him so unhappy?
— Scott, Jacksonville.
A: Well, there are those who call him Van Grumpy. But I don't think it's an act.
Stan simply speaks his mind, something few coaches are as willing to openly do. His brother, during his coaching days, was similar in many respects.
It's funny, when Jeff Van Gundy cited what he considered to be inequities in the game while he was coaching, he was viewed as a whiner. When he does it as a broadcaster, he's considered insightful.
Look, at least Stan just comes out and says when he feels.
Try spending a pregame doing the sarcasm dance with Gregg Popovich. That might be one of the greatest challenges in all of sports.
Q: I was just watching the Lakers game and Matt Barnes got a technical foul for handing the ball to Joey Crawford. How is that a T?
— Si, Chula Vista, Calif.
A: That probably was more of a case of who Matt Barnes is than what he did.
Look, this whole respect-for-the-game thing is a bit much, and I'm pretty sure the league knows it by now, based on the recent comments from David Stern.
Fans come to see personalities. It would seem players would be allowed to offer some of that. Since when is passion a bad thing?
Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
PBT: The Pacers defeated the Heat 97-93 in Game 2 to even the series at 1-1, which now shifts to Indiana.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
DPS: Is it really all about the rings?
DPS: Dan Patrick talks about Phil Jackson's comments about starting a team with Bill Russell now because of his championships and brings up the great question of, if it's all about championships, how come we don't talk about guys like Sam Jones, Frank Ramsey or John Havlicek who all have multiple rings?
Latest from ProBasketballTalk
Pacers find their offense, find balance, find Heat’s respect2 hr 20 min ago
Pacers get big games from Roy Hibbert and Paul George, take Game 2 from Heat to even the series3 hr 25 min ago
Get your NBA cheer on
Check out some of the dancers from the NBA.