View Full Version : NBA Insider Mar 2

03-02-2004, 02:02 PM
Who's opting out this summer?

Gary Payton is mad. He gave up a lot of money in an attempt to buy himself an NBA Championship in L.A. this season.

So far, he doesn't feel like he's getting his money's worth. With Kobe already half-way out the door, the Mailman not delivering, Phil Jackson eyeing Jackson Hole and Shaq campaigning to take over Mitch Kupchak's job, the Lakers are no longer the hot, championship producing factory Payton thought they were when he decided to take a big pay cut last July.

But that's not really Gary's issue. Winning is important. But it's not as important as playing time in the Glove's mind. Despite the fact that the Lakers have won nine out of their last 11, Payton's concern is ... well, Payton.

Reminded that both he and Karl Malone knew there would be sacrifice, Payton said, "Not this kind of sacrifice."

"Sacrifice in points, in touches. We wasn't sacrificing minutes and playing a role and try to do other things," he said. "I'm not playing the way I think I should be played. I can take not scoring as long as we're winning basketball games. But not me sitting on the bench and sitting there and don't know the reasons."

Just what the Lakers need.

Payton's not the only one with issues. Several other big-name NBA players are facing a big decision this summer. Should they take advantage of an opt out clause in their contract?

Some do it because they need a change of scenery. Others do it to renegotiate a new, more lucrative contract. Regardless of the motivation, the existence of so many opt-out-clauses among the NBA's elite has the potential to wreak havoc on this summer's free-agent process.

With the season dwindling down and potential free agents making their desires known, today Insider breaks down what the top 10 players with opt outs are thinking about their future ...

Gary Payton, G, Lakers
The skinny: Payton or Phil Jackson? That appeared to be the ultimatum this weekend when Payton acknowledged that he was unhappy with his role, playing time and the triangle offense. Payton knows he's standing on thin ice. Jackson has nine championships, all with the triangle offense, to Payton's zero with his coveted pick-and-roll. He knew when he signed up for this that the Lakers weren't changing their offense and that Shaq and Kobe were still looking at most of the touches every night.
This just confirms what Insider wrote last Thursday . . . Payton (and most likely Malone) are gone this summer barring an NBA championship. With as many as six teams with significant cap room this summer, don't be surprised to see Payton jump ship to a team like San Antonio that can offer him a legit shot at the title, more money and more offensive freedom.

Kobe Bryant, G, Lakers
The skinny: The great free-agent debate of the summer. In 2000 it centered on Grant Hill and Tim Duncan. In 2001 we suffered through the Chris Webber sweepstakes. Last year the Jason Kidd "will he or won't he" debate lasted almost a full year. This year everything depends on Kobe. We know he'll opt out, if for no other reason, so that he can sign a more lucrative contract in L.A. But with numerous sources close to Bryant claiming his eyes are wandering, several teams, including the Clippers, Suns and possibly the Spurs and Nuggets, will pull out all the stops to woo Kobe away. Will he bolt? Money isn't the issue. In every scenario he makes more money in L.A. What's the appeal? A chance to escape the limelight (Phoenix, Denver), a chance to win a championship without Shaq (Suns, Spurs) or just to thumb his nose at the organization for a perceived lack of support during his ongoing legal challenges this year (the Clippers).

Steve Nash, G, Mavs
The skinny: Nash will opt out, but chances are he will stay in Dallas. Nash is one of the few guys in the NBA who is actually underpaid at the moment. By opting out, he's looking at a huge raise with his next long-term contract. Surely, Mark Cuban will throw a lucrative long-term contract at him to keep him in Dallas. If that's not enough for Nash, the Suns and Clippers are in desperate need of a point guard, and both teams would be willing to throw the cash his way.

Antoine Walker, F, Mavericks
The skinny: Walker may be the toughest to call. The talk in Dallas is that Don Nelson is frustrated and would be happy if Walker walked away this summer. If Walker opts out, he'll have to take a pay cut to move on. It's hard to imagine the Jazz, Nuggets, Clippers or Spurs throwing max money at him. Teams would be interested in the $8-9 million range, but not at the $14 million rate he's going for. Does he have a future in Dallas? It depends on how deep Cuban's pockets are. He already has Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finely and Antawn Jamison locked up to max-type contracts. With Nash also looking for a big deal, can Cuban afford both? The most likely outcome? Walker doesn't opt out and becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2005. No use throwing away $14.6 million next season.

Erick Dampier, C, Warriors
The skinny: Dampier opting out of his huge contract was inconceivable last summer, but he's having the type of season that has caused him to reconsider. There are plenty of teams that need a big man, and if the Jazz or Nuggets show some interest, it may be his best and only chance to get out of the bay while he's still hot. The question really comes down to finances.
Dampier makes a guaranteed $16.8 million over the next two seasons. If he can get a five-year, $40 million offer, he's going to bolt for the security. The fact that he's reportedly hired a new agent (Dan Fegan) probably means that Dampier is going to opt out. Does he already has a deal in place with another team?

Marcus Camby, C, Nuggets
The skinny: Camby's going to be a free agent one way or the other. Camby and the Nuggets tried to hammer out a contract extension, to no avail, last summer. Now he's faced with an unusual dilemma. If he doesn't exercise his opt-out, the last year of his contract ($7.75 million) becomes unguaranteed. That means that the Nuggets can waive him without owing him a penny. It sounds like the Nuggets want him back, but will Camby be lured back to the Garden by Isiah Thomas? That's the talk around the league at the moment.

Karl Malone, F, Jazz
The skinny: Any chance of Karl going back to the Jazz? They may have a better shot at the championship than the Lakers next season. The answer is probably no. A better fit may be Dallas, which would love to throw its mid-level exception his way if he's willing to play for that. The only concern with Malone in Dallas is playing time. With so many trees, Malone knows his minutes will be sparse there. Would a team like the Spurs, Timberwolves or Rockets be a better fit?

Latrell Sprewell, SG, T-Wolves
The skinny: Spree is having an amazing season, but the chances of him opting out are very slim. Spree's due to make $14.6 million next season. There's no way he gets that in the open market . . . nor is he going to be able to get an extension anywhere near those numbers. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Stephen Jackson, G/F, Hawks
The skinny: Jackson is one of the better bargains in the league. He turned down a offer from the Spurs this season to play for $1 million in Atlanta. That really worked out. Now Jackson is declaring that he's opting out again in search of a more lucrative deal. Don't expect the Hawks to pay his demands (which will probably be inflated by a strong showing at the end of the season now that the team's talent level has depleted). Who would?

Jerome James, C, Sonics
The skinny: Would James, who averages a measly 15.3 mpg and 5.2 ppg, really give up a guaranteed $5.5 million next year? As absurd as that sounds, James is frustrated with his lack of playing time on the Sonics and his agent feels that he'll have several serious suitors willing to come close to matching the money he already makes in Seattle. The Grizzlies are one of the teams that appears to be interested, but there will be others, regardless of his production, before too long.

Around the League

Thomas to ink extension? One player who looks like he won't have to opt out of his contract this summer is Knicks forward Kurt Thomas. The two sides are reportedly close to hammering out a four-year, $30 million contract extension that will lock up Thomas through the 2008-09 season.
Kurt Thomas
New York Knicks

59 11.9 8.6 1.8 .469 .838

If Isiah goes ahead and inks Thomas to the extension, he's basically painted himself into a corner -- ala Scott Layden -- without much hope of getting out of it.

Take a look at the Knicks' guaranteed contracts over the next few years.

Othella Harrington, Dikembe Mutombo and Cezary Trybanski come off the books in the summer of 2005 -- giving Thomas around $10 million in expiring contracts to play with during the season. He might as well try to turn those into one more expensive player. Having all three contracts coming off the payroll only drops the Knicks down to $92 million in payroll.

That numbers goes even higher if you figure in the fact that Thomas is sure to use his full mid-level exception ($5.5 million) next season.

Tim Thomas, Penny Hardaway, Nazr Mohammed, Moochie Norris and Frank Williams are done in the summer of 2006. Even with those three big deals coming off the books, the Knicks will likely be eight to 10 million over the cap -- meaning no significant free-agent signings.

The Knicks aren't looking at any real cap room until the summer of 2007, when Allan Houston and Shandon Anderson finally come off the books, assuming the Knicks don't re-sign guys like Thomas, Mohammed and Williams.

That type of roster security is great, but with the Knicks losing eight of their last nine, you have to wonder whether Isiah's extreme makeover of the Knicks is going to take. If it doesn't . . . Knicks fans are going to be forced to stare at an ugly team for a long, long time.

Waiver Wire Work: Teams had until March 1st to waive players in time for them to still be eligible for a playoff roster on another team. Only five significant players got the axe before the deadline. The Hawks let Dion Glover go and he quickly signed on with the Raptors. The other four players, the Celtics' Vin Baker, the Spurs' Ron Mercer, the Wizards' Brevin Knight and the Raptors' Lonny Baxter, are still looking for a home.
Baker has been talking to two teams seriously -- the Heat and the Knicks. The Raptors have also shown interest and Baker is expected to meet with them before making a final decision. Over the weekend ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported that Heat president Pat Riley was confident that the Heat would land Baker. However, the N.Y. Post is reporting today that the Knicks will sign Baker either Wednesday or Thursday.

Mercer's rep, which has been plummeting ever since he was shipped out of Boston when he asked for the max, took another major hit when the Spurs waived him. "If you can't fit into a class organization like that on a team that's winning," one GM said, "where do you fit? He has talent, but clearly his attitude is an issue."

The two teams with the most interest appear to be the Nets and Pistons. The Nets want some insurance in the backcourt with everyone ailing. The Pistons, who traded away their back-up two guard, Bob Sura, to get Rasheed Wallace, have been pursuing Mercer for some time.

Baxter is expected to be claimed off waivers by the Wizards, according to a report in the Washington Post.

No word yet on whether anyone will have an interest in Knight, who averaged 4.3 ppg and 3.2 apg in Washington.

Does Ainge want to tank? For those of you who wrote to Insider skeptical about the whole idea of a team actually tanking the season, I give you Celtics president Danny Ainge and head coach John Carroll.

When the Boston Globe asked Carroll whether the Celtics would be better off losing the last 20 games of the season, here was his response. "From Danny's perspective, that would be the best thing you could do, no question," Carroll said. "It'd be great to have the lowest pick to get the best player available. I understand his position. But he understands it's a two-sided coin."

The stakes are especially high for the Celtics. If they end up as an eighth seed in the East, they'll likely have the 14th pick in the draft. If they slip to the ninth position and barely miss the playoffs, they'll likely pick eighth. If they let the Cavs, Heat and Sixers pass them in the standings, even by one game, they'd be looking at the sixth pick in the draft.

"It's a huge difference," Ainge conceded. "You're not just talking one or two spots. It could be seven or more."

Asked if he was conflicted, Ainge said, "I'm not torn. If the guys win, they're happy and I'm happy for them. If they don't, there's hope also. But what's most important to me is to see the team improve in the way we play and the development of the young players. That's critical. I think if our young players are helping us to win, then that, to me, is great. We can't go out there and try to win at all costs and not develop the younger players and our running style as well."

Wade or Hinrich? I got a lot of angry e-mails on Monday because of my assertion that Kirk Hinrich was turning into the best player not named LeBron or Carmelo in the draft class of 2003. What about the Heat's Dwyane Wade, who's having a stellar season in Miami this year?
Dwyane Wade
Point Guard
Miami Heat

42 16.7 4.4 4.4 .468 .732

It's true that Wade has been phenomenal and his numbers post all-star break (19.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.3 apg on 44 percent shooting) are great. But Hinrich's post all-star numbers (17.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 7.4 apg on 46 percent shooting from 3) are better in every category but points scored. Considering that Hinrich is much more of a true point guard than Wade, you'd expect his numbers to be better.

What really stands out about Hinrich is the great rebounding numbers and 3-point shooting as of late. Readers were right to bring Wade's name into the mix . . . both players have had enormously successful rookie seasons. The fact that Wade has already missed 18 games this season and looks to be out another week during the Heat's playoff run hurts Wade just a bit. I just think Hinrich has been a tiny bit better since the break.

The Good, the Bad, the Kitchen Sink

Who knew that on March 1, the Return Of The King would have just as many Oscars as the Chicago Bulls would have home wins?

The Good

Andrei Kirilenko, Utah Jazz
Week's work: 3-0 record, 25 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.6 spg, 3 bpg, 53.2% shooting
Is he a center? Is he a power forward? If all you ever saw were his statistics, you'd have no idea that this guy is a paper-thin small forward who has led his $28 million team to within two games of the Western Conference playoffs while the Blazers, at $84 million, are three games out. Or maybe you missed him tipping in the game-winning shot in overtime against the Sonics last week as Ray Allen, $13.5 million in salary, and Rashard Lewis, $7 million in salary, watched. For the record, Kirilenko will make $955,000 this season. Thank you very much.

Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns
Week's work: 2-1 record, 27 ppg, 12.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 0.3 spg, 1.3 bpg, 57.7% shooting
On Sunday night, outscored Peja Stojakovic 33 to 32 while outrebounding Brad Miller 17 to 10 before fouling out with 28 second left and really getting mad.

Richard Hamilton, Detroit Pistons
Week's work: 4-0 record, 19.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.7 bpg, 53.7% shooting
Has now scored 1,115 points this season as a shooting guard of which only 24 have come from 3-point range. Believe me, this should be required reading.

Michael Finley, Dallas Mavericks
Week's work: 3-0, 20.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.6 spg, 2 bpg, 9 triples, 50% shooting
This is all you need to know about Michael Finley's importance to the offensive-minded Mavericks. Prior to the midweek clash between Dallas and San Antonio, Manu Ginobili had rung up double-digits in the scoring column in eight of nine February games. Against the Mavs that night, he had seven points on 3-for-10 shooting as Dallas rolled. Believe me, this game was well in Finley's hand long before Duncan went down. The Mavs have won five in a row and are within half a game of the Spurs.

The Bad

Morris Peterson, Toronto Raptors
Weak work: 0-4 record, 6.5 ppg, 3 rpg, 0.7 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.7 bpg, 26.4% shooting
Last year, he was a starter. This year, it took injuries to Vince Carter, Jalen Rose and Alvin Williams to get this guy onto the floor for opening tip off. And, by the looks of it, the Raptors should have, instead, started with four. In 125 minutes this week, he made a total of nine baskets. That's a hoop about every 14 minutes with a miss every 5 minutes as Toronto falls to 0-9 since February 12.

Brian Grant, Miami Heat
Weak work: 0-3 record, 5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.2 spg, 0 bpg, 36.8% shooting
They used to try an justify his salary by saying he plays solid defense. Well, last week he had a grand total of one steal and no blocks. Then they tried to justify his salary by pointing at his rebounding numbers. Well, last week he played one 30-minute game in which he grabbed a single board. Then, they tried to justify his salary by saying he was such a good citizen within the community. Well, the winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded 10 million Swedish crowns. In U.S. dollars, that's about $1.35 million. Grant made $12.23 million this year alone.

Penny Hardaway, New York Knicks
Weak work: 0-4 record, 9.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.2 spg, 0 bpg, 36.5% shooting
Nobody averaging less than double-digits and shooting this kind of percentage should be getting 10.23 shots per game while averaging only 1.8 assists per game to 1.5 turnovers. There was a time we thought of Penny as both point guard and shooting guard. Now, he is neither.

Nick Van Exel, Golden State Warriors
Weak work: 1-3 record, 7.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4 apg, 0.5 spg, 0 bpg, 29.7% shooting
Nick is getting paid whether he's bored or not. But let's not forget that in Dallas' last 15 games of last season, Van Exel led it in scoring six times (all playoff games against the Spurs, Kings and Blazers). This year, as the hapless Warriors begin their last 24 games of the season, Van Exel has had a hard enough time just reaching double digits twice in the last five games.

The Ugly

Wednesday night, the Phoenix Suns missed 47 shots while the Knicks missed 46, meaning that there were, at least, 93 rebounding opportunities. Of those 46 offensive rebound opportunities, the Knicks managed only four. Of those 47 defensive rebounds, New York grabbed only 22.

Overall, they were outrebounded 58 to 26 by the Suns, meaning that Phoenix actually grabbed 32 more rebounds than the Knicks in the same game on the same floor using the same ball and the same set of rims.

By the way, the Suns ended up winning that game by 18 points (113-95) after grabbing 19 offensive rebounds.

The Kitchen Sink

Shaquille O'Neal's bark has been much worse than his bite, lately. In fact, it's been almost an entire calender year since Shaq has scored 40 points in a single game. March 21 of 2003 to be exact. In that same amount of time, Tracy McGrady has done it nine times, Allen Iverson seven times, Kobe Bryant four times and Tim Duncan twice. And, in case you're wondering, he's only reached the 30-point plateau four times this year in 43 games while his rebounding, assist, steal and block stats are all below last year's numbers when he was averaging 6.2 more points per game.

Turns out, Keith Van Horn just needed a change of scenery. Again. In his last year in New Jersey, the forward averaged 14.8 points per game and shot 34 percent from long range. His next year in Philly, which happened to be his only year in Philly, he averaged 15.9 points per game and shot 36 percent from long range. He started off this season in New York and averaged 16.4 points per game for the Knicks on 37 percent shooting from long range. Then, he was traded to Milwaukee where he is now averaging 17.7 points per game and shooting 52 percent from long range as the Bucks have won three in a row and are tied with New Orleans for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.

During the Nuggets' five-game skid (with losses to the Magic, Heat, Grizzlies, Lakers and Spurs), they were outscored in the fourth quarter by a grand total of 144-105. In the last two games, against Los Angeles and San Antonio, they were outscored in the final quarter by a total of 25 points.

Jamaal Tinsley isn't ever going to win any shooting contests unless, of course, he's able to somehow compete against himself. This month, the Pacer point guard is shooting 47.3 percent from the field (44-for-93 in 11 games). Now, that might be average for some NBA players out there, but it's absolutely great for Tinsley. After all, he came into February shooting 37.5 percent from the floor after shooting 39 percent last year and 38 percent the year before. Even more impressive, though, is the fact that he's shooting 42 percent from long range after shooting 28 percent on his career.

In their last 15 games against Eastern Conference opponents, the New Jersey Nets are 15-0, destroying the competition by an average of 14 points per game. But in their last four games against Western Conference opponents, including Sunday night's blowout against the Lakers, the Nets are 0-4, getting blown out, themselves, by a sobering 16.5 points per game.

Last Sunday, the Orlando Magic took 100 shots and 25 free throws compared to the Portland Trail Blazers' 80 shots and 20 free throws and still lost by three points. And it wasn't because the Blazers shot particularly well at 46 percent from the field. Heck, they only shot 62 percent from the line. It was because new Blazer center Theo Ratliff blocked a whopping nine shots. Now, you may not be surprised that Ratliff continues to lead the league in that category at 3.23 per game. But you may be surprised that he's blocked nine shots in a single game five other times.

Tim Thomas, rookie season
1998: 11 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.2 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.2 bpg, 44% from field, 36% from three, 74% from line

Tim Thomas, career numbers
Six Years: 11.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.4 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.4 bpg, 44% from field, 36% from three, 76% from line

Detroit Pistons (38-24) versus Portland Blazers (29-30)
Thursday, March 4 in Portland, Ore. at 7 p.m. PST on TNT

It's the return of Rasheed Wallace to the Rose Garden. Do you love him? Do you hate him? Does it really matter when the home team needs every win it can get to keep alive a consecutive playoff streak that started when 'Sheed was barely 8-years-old?

The End
"Listen, kiss my (butt). Coach your own team, don't be calling me up. I'll be all right. I've been through a few of these before. I don't really want to hear from anybody, going well or going bad, because it's all (garbage) anyway, unless they're really your friend."

Toronto head coach Kevin O'Neill waiting for the next telemarketer to call on his long distance plan after his team lost its ninth game in a row.

Peep Show

New Jersey Nets: Jason Kidd's heart is willing, but his bruised left knee isn't. "He is in a great deal of pain," interim coach Lawrence Frank said in the New York Daily News. "You have to use sound judgment and if a guy is not able to perform because he's in pain you have to shut him down a little bit. If the most prudent thing is for Jason not to play, even if he wants to play, then we have to do the wise thing." Kidd is unsure if he will be able to play tonight against the Nuggets or when exactly he will be able to return. "I don't know how it happened," Kidd said. "It just got stiff on me and I couldn't move. If I can't move, then it's serious. That's part of my game, to get out and run and start the transition. The last couple of games, we haven't really been able to get out and run, maybe that's due to me not being mobile."

Boston Celtics: The Vin Baker sweepstakes continues as the maligned forward visited with Knick officials on Monday after meeting with the Heat previously and upcoming visits with the Sixers and Raptors a definite possibility. "It's about a comfort level for both Vin and the team," said his agent Aaron Goodwin. "They want to see that he's fit mentally and physically. He wants to see that they'll be supportive and support him without prejudice and let him do what he does best, which is play basketball." The Players Association has given permission to Vin Baker to shop himself but the league has yet to rule on his case and nothing can be done until the arbitrator rules.

Los Angeles Lakers: Gary Payton wants Karl Malone back on Friday against his former Sonics team. Malone wants to be back on Monday to play his former team, the Jazz. But they're the last two people who will be making the determining comment on Malone's right knee and torn ligament. "I don't know if that's realistic," Malone said in the Los Angeles Times. "We'll see. The next three days will tell a lot." But he made it very clear that, all things considered, he'd do this Laker thing all over again. "Knowing then what I know now, I'd do it again," he said. "I'm sure 90% of the people wouldn't. But I wouldn't quit on this team&. In spite of everything, we've held together."

Washington Wizards: After further review, Jerry Stackhouse's knees are fine. But both of his ankles have tendinitis. "Hopefully, [his return] will be a few days, maybe a week," Stackhouse said in the Washington Times. "I don't really have a time limit on it. I just have to feel better and from talking to everybody involved, from that point we just have to do things so I can feel better." Even so, the Wizards do not plan to put him on injured reserve and expect him to return to action well before the end of the season.

San Antonio Spurs: Head coach Gregg Popovich has decided not to replace Tim Duncan on the roster so that the superstar forward can return from the injured list at any time. Just don't get your hopes up too much. "I don't expect him to play on Wednesday," head coach Gregg Popovich in the San Antonio Express News, "but he has gotten better every day and says he's feeling pretty good. Hopefully, he'll be back."

Philadelphia 76ers: As expected, head coach Chris Ford fined Allen Iverson an undisclosed amount for missing his second practice in two weeks. "I spoke with him, and everything's all right," Ford said in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "He said it was a good win for the guys [Sunday] night. I just told him he should call me when he has a problem . . . It's just a way of conducting yourself. To be part of the team, there are guidelines that are set down. To make it a cohesive unit, you have to have that. I just think, in a team concept, there have to be rules." And, unfortunately, says one of his teammates, there has to be reporters. "Allen knows what he has to do," Derrick Coleman said. "He has to be accountable for his actions. I think he takes that responsibility more than anything. I think you [reporters] are really blowing everything out of proportion with him and Coach Ford. We came off a great win and everybody wants to talk about that situation. It's something that Allen and Coach Ford have to deal with. It's not a distraction to us. More than anything, I think you guys make it more of a distraction. We're just trying to concentrate on getting into the playoffs."

03-02-2004, 02:13 PM
Why, oh why, would Nellie just now start to get frustrated with Walker when he finally looks like he's starting to get it. Furthermore, why would we want him to just walk this summer when we could use that contract for trade bait. Methinks the Insider's on the outside. Oh well. At least he got it right about Steve. Mark won't let him slip away, nor will Steve want to.

03-02-2004, 03:33 PM
I seriously doubt that Nelson is getting frustrated with Walker ...he's done everything we've wanted him to do, we're winning, and the team is beginning to play as a cohesive unit....it's all good in big D

03-02-2004, 04:04 PM
And of course Camby is the fifth player that is going to take a pay cut and go to the Knicks for the mid-level exception.

Psychedelic Fuzz
03-02-2004, 06:01 PM
I wish I could get paid to churn out stupid rumors.

03-02-2004, 07:56 PM
I thought Nelson had been quoted saying that he liked what Walker was doing.