The Links: The Jazz Are In Trouble, Paul Pierce Is Infected

by Lang Whitaker

Got a few things going on today.

• First of all, an endorsement for the new John Legend album, which dropped yesterday. If you like R&B, it’s a really great album, and it might be good enough for those of you not into R&B to cop. It’s a little softer and slower than his first record, but it’s great listening. I took it with me to Vegas last week and listened to it a few times while driving to Zion National Park in Utah one afternoon. Go get it.

• If you missed it, I posted my review of episode three of “Committed: The Christies.” What a great show. That episode actually aired last week while I was out of town, which means we’ll be getting another show tomorrow night.

• I’ve started running our official SLAM NBA previews. Atlantic Division is here. Southeast is coming later today.

“I don’t understand your question. Looser? We practice hard every day. We don’t come in here, sit down on lawn chairs (under) umbrellas and have mai tais. We work hard everyday.” — Sam Mitchell, asked if the Raptors are looser after getting off to a good start in the preseason.

It’s hard job for me. Sometimes I don’t know what to do. In Russia, it’s more like coaching role in the floor. Here, it’s like you should be spiritual leader.” — Andrei Kirilenko, on being a team captain.

“I don’t want to say from where. As soon as I got done with it my stomach started hurting. I fell asleep, then I woke up and threw up for the rest of the day.” — Al Harrington, on eating a bad omelet.

“I know what my thinking is, but I don’t know what my decision is.” — Danny Ainge, on having to cut a player.

• Breaking news from Utah, where a number of Jazz players are apparently under investigation in connection with an alleged sexual assault in Portland, where the Jazz were for three days last week. The Jazz have released this statement:

SALT LAKE CITY (October 25, 2006) — There is an ongoing investigation by the Portland police department concerning the Utah Jazz. The players and staff of the Utah Jazz are fully cooperating with investigators. At this time, the team has no further comment.

Meanwhile, Andrei Kirilenko might lose his gig as team captain. And I can’t wait for his new movie, “Andrei: Cultural Learnings of NBA For Make Benefit Glorious Team of Utah.”

• Ever had a paper cut? Paul Pierce got one, and now his finger is infected.

• Look for Zydrunas Ilgauskas to break out the hook shot this year.

• Mark Cuban says he’d rather play preseason games in Pittsburgh than overseas.

• The Zen Master has returned.

• Stephon is suffering from an injured foot, which the Daily News says might be from his shoes. In the Post, Steph says no way.

• Bonzi Wells is back, but we still don’t know where he was.

• Don’t mispronounce Gonzaga when Adam Morrison is around.

• Odd lead of the day is here:

Nets president Rod Thorn came into the locker room the other day, walked over to Mile Ilic, squeezed his arm and said, “It’s getting bigger.”

Why thank you, Rod. Meanwhile, the Nets are still beefing with Jeff McInnis, and they brought in Mo Rivera to give the team a pep talk.

• If you were in Columbia, South carolina yesterday and happened to run into a huge guy at the Chinese restaurant The Wing Basket, that was Jermaine O’Neal.

• The Bulls are still trying to figure out their starting lineup. PJ Brown? Andres Nocioni? Luol Deng? Either way, one of these guys is going to be an early contender for Sixth Man of the Year.

• Has Beno Udrih lost his job?