• Jason Kidd plans on using the plot of Elysium and The Matrix to motivate the Nets next season. Naturally. From Jagpal Khahera of The Source:
Q: Growing up did you have any futuristic movies or books that made you think the future would look something like the world of “Elysium?”
Jason Kidd: I’m a big fan of the “Matrix.” I thought that was a classic, it kind of gave us something of what the future could be. But also some of the plot of this movie! He’s fighting for what he believes in and so it’s something that hopefully when I see them, now that I’m a coach, I can use this as one of my tools.
• Andrew Tobolowsky of Mavs Moneyball fondly recalls the best Mavericks team to never get its shot: The fully-healthy 2010-11 Dallas squad that steamrolled opponents prior to Caron Butler's season-ending injury and Dirk Nowitzki's subsequent 10-game absence from the lineup. The Mavs went on to win the 2011 title all the same, but with Butler's ruptured patellar tendon came the early demise of what could have been a juggernaut, if only for that season.
• The internet already has its abundant share of snap takes on the Pelicans' new look, but Steve McPherson's missive on the subject for Grantland is so much more, and strikes at the eternal clash between sterilized, wide-appealing design and the hot-blooded drive of the sports fan:
What concerns me more is people calling the designs “awful” or “terrible,” words with their roots in awe and terror. The uniforms by themselves inspire neither of these things. What should inspire them is the type of design process that likely created them: a committee-driven averaging-out that is antithetical to what’s at the pulpy, bloody heart of our love for sports.
Without being party to the entire process that led to the final version of the Pelicans’ unis it’s difficult to say, but everything about what was presented yesterday screams "test-marketed" and "watered down for mass consumption." Much like the Oklahoma City Thunder’s home and road jerseys, these seem created to move without leaving a wake, to recede from our sight even as they pass before us. But they can’t achieve the timelessness of a design like the Celtics’ or Spurs’ or Bulls’ because of the little nods to being different: the weird lesions that most, but strangely not all, of the numerals feature; the odd decision to not feature the name “PELICANS” on one of the designs; the way “NEW ORLEANS” is smaller than the player’s name on the back of the jersey.
• According to a report from Marc Berman of the New York Post, Amar'e Stoudemire will skip out on his planned training sessions with Hakeem Olajuwon in order to more fully rest his knee. In unrelated news, Stoudemire has formally applied for Israeli citizenship.
• Per a team release, Newly signed Pacer forward Chris Copeland underwent an arthroscopic procedure to clear out his left knee, and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with recovery. That timetable should have him ready for training camp, and the arrival of Luis Scola will hedge against the costs of a prolonged rehabilitation.
• As comprehensive a review of the Bucks' cap sheet and current state as you could hope for.
• Over at Hardwood Paroxysm, Noam Schiller reflects on draft picks as inflating currency:
Perhaps the most oft-mentioned market fluctuation of the post-lockout NBA is the rise in value of future first round picks. As the new CBA restricts spending among owners who are not Russian oligarchs, teams are doing everything they can for some cheap labor, and no labor comes cheaper than an incoming youngster on a set salary scale. One could say this isn’t a market fluctuation as much as an overdue correction, but in a world where no first round picks switched hands at last year’s trade deadline (unless you count the Memphis-Cleveland Marreese Speights dump, from January), it’s possible that the pendulum had swung too far in the other direction.
So far, in fact, that the rush for first rounders is distorting the entire market. Because teams are putting such a premium on acquiring picks, the sort of deals they’re willing to accept to take on those picks are vastly different than the past.
• Al Harrington reports that he's been released by the Magic, just in time to make for an interesting addition to the late stages of free agency. It's hard to know what he has left after spending most of the season recovering from a torn meniscus, but Harrington also isn't very far removed from being a legit Sixth Man of the Year candidate with the Nuggets in 2011-12. • Don't look now, but newly signed Piston -- and reigning Italian League MVP -- Luigi Datome could be breaking the dam.