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Wilbits: U.S. Open Security, NBA $, A.I.

Random thoughts about this, that and the other.

-- What has to happen before security is tightened to the point where people can't just run onto a court? Isn't what happened to Monica Seles in 1993 in Hamburg, Germany, enough of a fright to prevent further slip-ups? In New York on Tuesday night, a fan ran onto the court and managed to kiss Rafael Nadal as he changed shirts at the U.S. Open -- all before security intervened. In early June, a fan ran onto the court at the French Open while Roger Federer was on the court. Nadal's reaction was casual nonchalance; he even seemed to speak to the fan. It was easy to come away with the initial reaction that Nadal, who treated the incident with humor, might even knew the person. Whether he did or not, how is security not scanning the area nearest the court looking for people trying to get to players?

-- A very smart NBA personnel man I know says that the mid-level exception is the new max salary in the NBA during this economically challenged summer of player discontent. Why else do you think Allen Iverson is still unsigned? Seems Iverson thinks he's somehow the exception and he's going to get big bucks, which he won't. The mid-level exception has been the rule all summer, except for Hedo Turkoglu (Orlando to Toronto) and Trevor Ariza (Lakers to Houston) who played for NBA finalists. Iverson, who made more than $20 million last season, Twittered this morning that he's joining the Memphis Grizzlies, which will be a terrible fit. A.I., Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo are supposed to share one basketball? That's a great nucleus if you're putting together an AND1 team ... There are games where those three alone would total 75 shots. None of the three is a distributor. And oh, don't let me forget that Zach Randolph is on the Memphis roster as well. What good could come of that situation, especially since the Grizzlies aren't trying to spend a dime more than they have to?

A.I. could actually have helped the Charlotte Bobcats ... not that they're trying to spend any money either as Bob Johnson is trying to sell the team. Still, Larry Brown would be better a better coach for Iverson than any other in the NBA. Iverson's most successful stint was with Brown in Philly. Not only that but the Bobcats roster features plenty of players who either would defer to A.I. (Boris Diaw), be dependent on him (Tyson Chandler), compliment what Iverson does (Gerald Wallace) or already know how to play with him (former teammate Raja Bell). The players on the Pistons began telling Iverson his $20 million days were over and reportedly Iverson thought they were nuts. They weren't. This isn't 2003. NBA teams aren't buying out even relatively cheap assistant coaches and they're not offering up big contracts, especially not to players who can no longer carry a team. With Brown and Iverson, Charlotte challenging for the final playoff spot would have been reasonable. In Memphis, not much of anything is possible except (ultimately) a lot of grumbling. (Updated 11:39 a.m.)


Michael Wilbon

 |  September 9, 2009; 12:28 AM ET  |  Category:  NBA , Tennis Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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