Eric Pincus, known on many Laker message boards as “emplay”, regularly covers the team over at Hoopsworld. We skewered him pretty badly almost two months ago when we accused him of making up Kevin Garnett-to-LA rumors.
As you surely remember seeing on CNN and reading about on hundreds of sites from across the world, that single post not only started the great “Mid/late 2005 Cavalier-Emplay Wars”, but also caused 14 separate third-world countries to simply disappear into thin air. Enough destruction. We interviewed Eric, settling old scores and learning new, more positive things, like in what ways the Clippers are a better franchise than the Lakers, why the KG-LA rumors aren’t rumors, and what’s going on with Cuttino Mobley’s lotion.
The full interview after what many sites call “the jump”.
How long have you been covering the Lakers and how did you come to do what you do?
I’ve been covering the Lakers since I believe 2001. I sort of just fell into it. I came up through the internet and found that people seemed to like what I wrote. Eventually developed that into a relationship with HOOPSWORLD.com and here we areÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
What sort of relationship do you have with the actual Laker organization?
I don’t think the Lakers are big fans of my work. I get an occasional credential, but I think the content of what I write is difficult for them. I write too many things they don’t want made public.
Like Kevin Garnett rumors?
Exactly. Of course now there are a number of writers speculating on Garnett trades and there’s a great interview on NBA.com where he blasts the Timberwolves, especially Kevin McHale.
We pretty much ripped you to shreds over the Kevin Garnett rumors late this summer. How does that make you feel when you read things like that about yourself online?
Well the truth is ultimately revealed over time. For example, I had been writing for months that the Lakers were pursuing Eddy Curry. I got a lot of “puzzled looks” and denials, but now it’s relatively common knowledge.
What were they offering – we missed that.
From what I heard, most of the negotiation was done through Curry’s agent, not directly between Chicago and LA. The Lakers were talking Chris Mihm, Vlade Divac and Jumaine Jones, but I had also heard Devean George was a posssibility in a deal.
Isn’t he a possibility in every deal?
Sure, though the Lakers preferred to keep him once Phil Jackson returned. The triangle is complex enough and a healthy Devean George can be an asset.
What’s the word from inside on the current Kobe-Phil relationship? It can’t be as harmonious as it sounds, right?
I’ve heard a few different takes on it, but do they brunch over at the Ivy? No. Bottom line, Kobe knows that Phil is a “real” coach and that for the Lakers to win, he needs a “real” coach. The only way for Kobe to return to the top is by winning . . . so call Phil Jackson a necessary evil for Kobe.
Did Kobe respect Rudy T?
That’s a tough one to answer, because I’m not in Kobe’s head. I can say that Bryant was known to overrule his coach on more than one occasion on the sidelines. That may be taken as an affront, but to be honest, I’m not sure Kobe wasn’t drawing up better plays than Rudy T. Rudy was just in over his head an in my opinion hadn’t adjusted to the modern era of zone defense and a lack of Hakeem Olajuwan.
We’ve always felt he was lucky in Houston. Jordan was gone & it was kind of like “well, someone has to win it”.
The Rockets had one of the best centers of his era – but you can argue that if Jordan didn’t go play baseball, it never would have happened.
We don’t even think you can argue it – they would’ve had eight in a row.
I can also argue that the first Bulls dynasty had run their course and it was time. They did pretty well now, didn’t they without Jordan so that says something about that team and their coachÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
People forget how good Pippen was those two years. Have you ever gotten a tip or overheard something that you just totally didn’t print because you didn’t feel right about it?
Now is a good time to let it out.
Well I can’t let out the juicy ones, but I can say that someone is consistently stealing Cuttino Mobley’s lotion. The other day it was replaced by “Secret”. I heard Wilcox was responsible, but I can’t verify that.
(We had all kinds of commentary here that is better left out, but you can imagine.)
Mobley is a leader in the clubhouse, he’s Cassell’s lieutenant. This was just the guys pranking on each other, that team has the best chemistry I’ve ever seen in a Clipper locker room.
What’s happened to Donald Sterling? Did he get senile and it made him good owner?
I have an article in SWISH Magazine, the second issue that was before the summer that spelled it out. It’s very simple economics. You make no money at the Sports Arena and have a terrible productÃ¢â‚¬Â¦You get a great deal at Staples Center, a built in audience, new luxury tax revenues, etc – it’s a different ballgame. Sterling wasn’t going to dip into his pockets back when, but now they have a more conducive economic environment to spend to make a winner.
Do they still feel like the Lakers ugly stepbrother though in many ways?
It’s funny, I have a much better relationship with the Clippers. They’re great to work with. They bend over backwards to accomodate you. The Lakers are like the hot girl who won’t give you the time of dayÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
The thing with the Clippers, they didn’t like what I was writing back when there were rumors of Baron Davis coming to LA for Wilcox, Kittles and Marko Jaric, so they brought me in, talked to me about it and made sure I had an ear to run things by to make sure I’m not off-base. The Lakers don’t employ the same tactic.
(We babble on for a bit about where he gets his info. Hint: it’s not Kobe.)
By the way, speaking of KG . . . it’s no coincidence that the day TNT runs his interview slamming the Wolves that he puts up 25, 13 and 9. (game has a minute left)
Are you making things up again? Does he want to come to LA?
I don’t make things upÃ¢â‚¬Â¦I was told that before the summer, Garnett had a short list of the Lakers, Pistons, Knicks and Pacers. He also had a clause in his contract that worked as a no-trade clause (though it’s technically a trade kicker that needs to be waived). The new CBA did away with that – so KG can no longer direct a trade, but this was part of what was going on over the summer with LA.
Okay last questions for you – What’s the inside word on the organization’s feelings about Kwame Brown so far?
The inside word is to give him time, of course. They’re not going to say the man can’t catch a basketball and has no idea what to do with it once he does. At this point, I don’t expect any Laker moves but if they’re stinking it up til Thanksgiving and beyond, perhaps that changes.
Um…Thanksgiving is next week. Kobe’s tights – are people making fun of them or what?
Well not in front of him, no . . . but you don’t think Smush Parker doesn’t giggle about it to Von Wafer?
You’re out and about on a lot of message boards. What’s “emplay” mean?
Good questionÃ¢â‚¬Â¦what kind of names are Von, Smush and Kobe anyway? And [Cavalier's name edited]?
It’s German – it means “cool dude”.
Well then emplay is Yiddish – it means “KG to LA”.
Well, that was the end of it. Pretty exhausting transcription all-around, but a big thanks to Eric for finally letting those KG rumors die. Don’t forget to check him out over at Hoopsworld!