Phoenix Suns notes: From Channing Frye kickball to Marcin Gortat digging a teammate

Channing Frye sure seems to be enjoying himself at his annual Kick for Kids kickball tournament on Saturday. (Courtesy of The Giving Back Fund)

Channing Frye sure seems to be enjoying himself at his annual Kick for Kids kickball tournament on Saturday. (Courtesy of The Giving Back Fund)

Steve Nash isn’t the only Sun to play another sport for charity this offseason.

Channing Frye staged his second annual Kick for Kids kickball tournament Saturday in Portland, raising close to $25,000 for the Oregon Active Foundation and The Frye Family Foundation, according to Jessica Duffaut from The Giving Back Fund. Those charitable organizations focus on improving the lives of underserved youths in Portland and Phoenix.

Although Frye’s event lacks the star power of Nash’s Showdown in Chinatown, the 28-team, 375-player co-ed kickball tournament was all about fun, as teams were encouraged to wear outrageous costumes, the more ridiculous the better (as you can see from the picture).

Frye’s squad did not do so well despite the presence of the Suns’ forward to which he tweeted: “1-4 is def not a good record for your own tourney,our team had a blast though.” The winning team, the Smashing Gallaghers, earned a dinner with the Suns’ sweet-shooting big man.

I guess that rules out a professional kickball career for Channing, but sounds like he had a hell of a time raising money for a good cause nonetheless.

Gortat: Lopez didn’t take advantage of opportunity

Marcin Gortat’s honesty is either endearing or something that will get him in a lot of trouble one day.

As we learned early on when Gortat eviscerated his new teammates’ defensive efforts after an ugly December loss to Philly, Gortat will always tell you exactly what he’s thinking even when it’s not the type of thing teammates typically speak about.

According to SB Nation Arizona’s Seth Pollack, with some help from Polish translators over at Bright Side of the Sun, on Gortat’s first day of practice he asked Lopez if the team starts on the practice court or the film room and Lopez told him he didn’t know. Marcin ended up going to the practice court while Robin went to watch film and then later the Polish Hammer got chided by a coach for being late for film. Gortat “took that as a sign of where things stood between himself and Lopez,” according to Pollack’s translation.

Lopez later e-mailed to say the team often starts practice in different places so I wouldn’t be surprised if this was just a big misunderstanding. But apparently in Gortat’s mind at least it was the start of a big man battle that was just a bit easier for him to overcome than competing against Superman.

Gortat went on to elaborate in the translated video:

“This guy (Lopez) had such a big chance, such a big opportunity, to play in the best league. When I was Orlando, playing behind Dwight (Howard), I was praying to get a chance to play and he (Lopez) has had this chance for two years and he didn’t take.

“So I thought, when you don’t want it, there will be 50 persons behind you, waiting to take this chance, and then I came by and I took (it). Sorry, that’s business, that’s life.”

What does this mean?

Aside from the fact that Gortat probably shouldn’t be so open concerning how he feels about his teammates, probably not a whole lot. If anything, perhaps this will drive Lopez to match Gortat’s intensity level and show a bit more fight over the starting center job than he did last season when the Polish big man ripped it away with no resistance.

So although this can’t be great for team chemistry, if comments like these push Robin even in the slightest perhaps this will be seen as a positive.

Give Brooks a chance?

Paola Boivin of The Arizona Republic chased down Aaron Brooks at the H206 Charity Basketball Classic in Seattle and wrote up a positive piece on AB’s future with the team.

“Despite how things went, I think Phoenix is a good place for me,” Brooks told her. “The players, management, fans; everything about the team I liked. That’s not something you always find.”

Boivin concludes that Brooks needs to embrace the opportunity, but I’m still not convinced that an inefficient gunner deserves the opportunity to be the Suns’ point guard of the future although I wouldn’t mind seeing him return as a spark plug for the bench who doubles as trade bait.

And 1

Polish reporter Lukasz Ceglinski told me last week that the insurance issues that originally prompted Gortat to question whether he would play for his national team were nearing a resolution so he fully expects The Polish Hammer to join his Polish teammates on Aug. 1 to prepare for EuroBasket 2011. Gortat previously told he would play so long as the Polish Basketball Federation pays the insurance the Suns normally would in a non-lockout situation. The tournament begins Aug. 31 in Lithuania and two Olympic berths will be on the line. …  According to Sport.Pl, Gortat’s potential contract with Russian club Spartak St. Petersburg would pay him $2.5 million. … Phoenix native Kenny “The Dunk Inventor” Dobbs is among 10 semi-finalists for the Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown. Fans can vote for four finalists at through Aug. 12 to compete for the $10,000 grand prize at the Sprite Dunk Showdown championship event. The dunkers’ highlights can be seen here.

Tags: Aaron Brooks Channing Frye Marcin Gortat Robin Lopez

  • Steve

    Oh Gortat. He certainly wasn’t cut out for politics, was he? Gotta love it.

  • Mel.

    It’s not particularly professional or diplomatic for Marcin to go off like that (Assuming that something wasn’t lost in translation), but I at least get the rationale’ behind it.

    I mean, you’re scrubbing for sub minutes behind the greatest C in the league; night in and night out, you watch as he decimates the opposition from the pine. You have an understanding of what excellence looks like, and you experience it in every practice; Gortat had to white-shirt against D12 during his time in Orlando, which means he was probably working ten times as hard during daily scrums as most players do during actual GAMES.

    Take that formative experience and make it the foundations of a desire to improve… then take that guy and put him in a franchise where the five-spot has historically been treated like filler, and populated by whoever the tallest guy (maybe) on the team is.

    That’s a hell of a culture crash.

    Likewise, I don’t blame Lopez for being blase’ about the situation; it isn’t like Robin was being groomed for marquee status even when he WAS producing, in ’09-’10. He was a role player–like Duds, Frye and Dragic–who did what he was asked, and whose improvement was probably more a case of a superior roster and system (Compared to ’10-’11, anyway) than it was an actual case of upside.

    Basically, Gortat’s the Ivan Drago in this situation. He’s been engineered for high expectations, and has a work ethic and outlook that supports that development; on the other side of the coin, Fropez was likely feeling a lot like Apollo Creed when the trade happened.

    “It’s just an exhibition, we’ll probably wind up sharing minutes. He’s a second unit guy, what’s the worst that could possibly hap-”

  • Phx suns fan in la

    Trade lopez and peitrus to the lakers for bynum or shannon brown :) its obvious peitrus wants to go to la because he said kobe would like him on the team lol

  • Tony

    While Gortat probably should not have stated these opinions, or at least mentioned that Lopez had significant injuries effecting his performance, hopefully Lopez will be motivated to come back strong. Competition is usually a good thing.

  • Mel.

    “Trade lopez and peitrus to the lakers for bynum or shannon brown :) its obvious peitrus wants to go to la because he said kobe would like him on the team lol”

    LMAO. That’s a rarity; it isn’t often that you see the Laker “Armchair GM Logic system (TM)” applied TO Los Angeles.

  • EBJM

    Forget all of you! Gortat called it as he saw it. There are only 30 starting center jobs in the NBA and there isn’t even close to 30 quality centers to fill them.

    Gortat is from POLAND, not California like Robin. Robin liked to surf growing up. Marcin? He would spar with his his professional boxer brother whom their Olympic medal winner father was training.

    Mel is actually going to penalize Gortat for being Howard’s sparring partner? Seriously? In less than 20 years Poland has gone from a Communist country to a free-market economy that is booming.

    Nice job Marcin! You don’t need to make any excuses for working hard and taking what you wanted, a starting center job in the NBA.

    Who better to make a judgment about Robin than the guy who played with him.

    If Garret Siler comes out next summer and says the same thing about being Gortat’s back-up then I think Robin should retire.

  • Momochi Sandayu

    Some cultures are more comfortable with being direct than others…

    Japan is EXTREMELY indirect, and the US is very indirect too. Israel is EXTREMELY direct, and apparently Poland might be as well. :)

    Personally I try to keep my Ethnocentric opinions on the actions of those from a different culture seperate from my perception of them. Its an “apples to oranges” comparison.