When you really want to know about China's economy, don't look at the economic data. Instead, count the coal. Don't be distracted by the Pussy Riot grrls in Moscow. Rather, turn your attention to Vladivostok and follow the natural gas.
And, for all that is holy and good, do not ask the Chicago Bulls organization what they're doing. Remember how draft night led to every first round pick being leaked 60 seconds before announcement except for the Bulls? It's like trying to get water from a stone if the stone also has a gun and nothing to lose.
If you know who contributed to what decisions over the last few years, you're more than connected: you're a Goddamned Jedi. (Except luxury tax decisions. No need for midi-chlorians there.)
So why did we know so much about Brian Scalabrine's month?
We sure seemed to hear a lot recently about Scalabrine leaked from the nuclear submarine of NBA organizations, from Sam Smith's squishy love letter a month ago to the "in line" coronation for an assistant coaching job two weeks ago to Scalabrine's acceptance of a trial broadcasting gig back in Boston and letting slip his NBA retirement announcement today.
Would the Bulls front office let anyone else spend two weeks weighing a high-profile job offer on a highly respected staff with an 11-game color analyst tryout? And would they let them do so while letting the news wave in the media wind?
Or did the Month of Scalabrine serve the Reinsdorf Politburo by:
- Distracting from a month of wailing and gnashing of teeth about the woeful prospects of the 2012-2013 Bulls
- Showing the Bulls didn't let Scalabrine head back for a well-paid talent role without a fight
- Allowing a certain crusty former Celtics assistant coach to lend Scalabrine bargaining power in his CSNE negotiations
And Scalabrine was no mark. He earned:
- The appearance he fought for his career before retiring and controlled his fate ("Saying no to Thibs was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make")
- Said negotiating leverage
- A month of headlines to remind the league he's still alive and available
None of it is illegal. Some of it is quite touching if true. But it doesn't mean we have to report it all as news because we get bored easily in August (and don't be surprised it didn't happen in September) or because we loved the first time around with Scalabrine. After all, that's how we ended up with pod racing and Jar Jar Binks.
Mark it now: if the Bulls are below .500 in January, Horace Grant gets a statue and Hayden Christensen signs a 10-day contract.