Saturday, December 18, 2010

Quick Thoughts - Tourney, Trades, Lakers Jerseys

Unfortunately, I have not had nearly enough time as of late to get the "Greatest of All-Time Tournament: 2010 Edition" finished nearly as quickly as I've hoped/wanted to. (It would go much quicker if WhatIfSports would allow me to save more than 3 "Dream Teams" so that I didn't have to input the rosters anew every time, but alas...) I'm hoping "doing it right" will trump "doing it fast" in everyone's eyes once its completed. I'm now targeting Dec 31 for the finals, since it would be unfortunate if the 2010 tourney finished in 2011, but we'll see what happens. Fingers crossed.

Other quick notes: I'm also working on a project I'm tentatively calling "Fixing the Hall of Fame" which I'm hoping to have enough research done to start on it in January once the tournament is done. I really think you guys will dig it.

Big trade news today as well. Vince Carter to the Suns, Rashard Lewis to the Wizards, Gilbert Arenas and Jason Richardson to the Magic. Or, at least it sounds like big trade news until you remember it's not 2005 anymore. Honestly, the most interesting part of this trade to me is what number Vince ends up wearing in Phoenix since #15 is currently worn by Robin Lopez. I'd put my money on Richardson's now available #23. (#1 is taken and #5 is retired, by Josh Childress and Dick Van Arsdale, respectively. #6 is also retired for Walter Davis, so he can't do  the add the numbers together trick, and he doesn't strike me as a guy to go for the flip the numbers maneuver and wear #51.)

On another trade/jersey number front (I'm a bit of a jersey/uniform number enthusiast/fanatic), Joe Smith just got traded to the Lakers and is now wearing the #1. I find this extremely interesting because this is a guy who has worn either #32, or if that's unavailable (because it's a fairly popular number - 12 guys are wearing it this year and 9 teams have retired it), he almost always goes with #8. And he has a very significant track record to prove this. The only two instances where he hasn't worn either of those numbers: the Sixers in 1998 - #32 is retired for Billy Cunningham and Aaron McKie wore #8 (Smith wore #9) and the Thunder in 2009 - #32 is retired for Sonics great Fred Brown and while nobody wore #8 that year, Luke Ridnour wore it the year before and I believe he was still with the team when Smith signed and had to pick #7.

Why do I find all this so interesting? Well, the Lakers of course have retired #32 for Magic Johnson. But #8 is available. Has been since Kobe switched to #24 in 2007. Why would the Lakers not issue it to Smith? He surely would've picked it if he could have. Is #8 "unofficially retired" a la Shaq's #34, which nobody has worn since he left town in 2004? Surely the Lakers are not going to retire both #8 and #24 for Bryant, are they? I simply can't imagine it. I have a feeling they're going to let him pick one jersey to hang from the rafters (he'll pick #24) but will anyone ever wear #8 for the purple and gold again? Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

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