Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan during Game 5 of the 1993 NBA Finals. (John Swart/AP)
By Ben Golliver
• In a radio interview, Charles Barkley calls Michael Jordan "as cheap as they come" and says his old friend "couldn't afford" to hire him to work for the Charlotte Bobcats.
• A definitive timeline of David Stern's 28-year run as NBA commissioner from Zach Harper at CBSSports.com's Eye On Basketball.
• An ankle injection sounds like a tough and painful way for Deron Williams to start his first season in Brooklyn.
• New Wizards center Emeka Okafor confesses to The Washington Post that he's a "big foodie."
• Ray Allen tells Jackie MacMullan of ESPNBoston.com that he's got a soft spot for former teammate Rajon Rondo, despite reported tension between the two players.
His friction with Rondo was apparent, but he appears prepared to move on from that as well.
"When you ask me about Rondo, the only thing I'm going to think of is the guy who came to the house asking for my mom's lobster pasta," Allen said. "Those are the memories I have."
• Dan Devine of Yahoo! Sports' Ball Don't Lie points out Oklahoma City's roster stability. BDL picks the Thunder to win 60 games.
Oklahoma City brings back nearly 91 percent of their total minutes from a season ago, including nine of their top 10 contributors on a squad that turned in the NBA's second-best offense and ninth-best defense in terms of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, took out the previous two champions in the first two rounds of the playoffs and swept four straight in the conference finals from a team that had just won 20 consecutive games before coming up three wins short of a title. It's easy to forget now, four-plus months after that Game 5 shellacking and Miami's subsequent coronation, but Oklahoma City was two possessions away from a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals, held a 10-point second-half lead in Game 3 and was one incredibly costly foul away from having a chance to tie the series in Game 4; things were way closer than the 4-1 margin looks in retrospect. Miami absolutely won the series and Oklahoma City absolutely lost it, but Scott Brooks' team was right there.
• John Hollinger approves (ESPN Insider required) of some of Phoenix's offseason moves even if he projects them to win only 24 games and finish last in the West.
Signed Goran Dragic for four years, $30 million: This was a reasonable gamble for Phoenix given that Dragic thrived in a similar system in Houston the season before and that he's quite familiar with the Suns from his previous tenure there. He's a different player from [Steve] Nash -- a scorer rather than a passer -- but he'll be the focal point of the offense until further notice. The fourth year to this deal is a player option, so it's possible the Suns will have him for only three.
Won the rights to Luis Scola in amnesty auction for three years, $13.5 million: You can argue the Suns' bid for Scola was on the high side given the team's rebuilding nature and the fact that Scola's play dropped off last season. You can't argue, however, that Scola doesn't give them a genuine low-post threat and a legit starting power forward, two things they didn't have last season.
• The Lakers went winless in eight preseason tries. Kurt Helin says take a Xanax.
• Via TrueHoop, The Wall Street Journal investigates the tenuous life of an NBA shooting coach.
• At Sheridan Hoops, Moke Hamilton praises 35-year-old NBA rookie Pablo Prigioni of Argentina for his solid preseason play for the New York Knicks.
• "I have a lot of issues in my life," Lakers forward Metta World Peace
admits. "I'm afraid of everything." In response, children offer him therapy
in this video.