A source close to the team (holy shit! I have sources now!) has given me some details about Hardy Riley’s being cut by the team. He was definately cut (the team told me he was “waived”), he did not leave the team by choice. There is appearently no major issues with Riley, and he, and the other players, were blindsided by his being cut. He appearently is heading home on Thursday, and other players on the team are understandably upset about him being suddenly cut. I was told that he doesn’t really understand why he was cut and there has been very little communication between coaching staff/front office and the players about his.
My source (ha! I love it!) also indicates that there is a great deal of tension in the house (someone needs to make this a reality TV show) around the coach and his style (running 5 players for three quarters, lack of plays, etc.), as well as his strong preference for some players. One player in particular is appearently being described as “coach’s pet” and is telling the coach everything that is happening in the Rainmen house. Up until recently it was all respect in practice, but in private players complained. But I guess now some players are openly calling for Coach Lewis to be replaced.
Riley traveled with the team and played during the roadtrip, returned home on Monday and had no idea about what was going to happen. He practiced with the team on Tuesday and at some point after practice (practice on Tuesdays generally run from 3-7) he was told he was being “waived”. This whole issue is somewhat complicated since the ABA does not have a CBA (collective bargaining agreement) with a players’ union defining terms like “waived,” “realeased,” or setting other trade and contract rules.
The Rainmen have made a big deal about the fact that the team aisn’t just a team – they live together and they all moved here not knowing anyone, so they’re like a dozen brothers. You can’t just rip a player out of that brotherhood (ugh… so phallocentric and patriarchal) without throwing things off. Riley is understandably upset, but so are most of the other players. They’re losing a friend, and it doesn’t exactly make everyone feel safe if they think they can be replaced in an hours notice.
The players want Riley to stay, and at least one player is talking about refusing to play on Friday if he leaves.
Just an all around crazy situation. Some quick thoughts:
- If Benoit is captain he needs to smooth this shit out fast, but even that may be out of his control.
- The team is in a huge losing skid, attendance is falling and this is going to absolutely destroy an already fragile chemistry.
- Lantrice Green is walking into an awkward circumstance.
- I have been critical of Riley’s on court play, and I stand by that. But cutting a player like this hard on team chemistry, hard on a fan base, and most importantly hard on a young man who gave up a lot to come and play in a provincial backwater. I also can think of at least two guards on the team who should get the boot before Riley.
- I’m not even sure why they’re cutting anyone. Most teams carry more than 12 guys. My assumption is that the team needs to clear space for Green in the Rainmen house in Bedford, but imagine how awkward that will be for everyone living there.
In related news: according to Andre Levingston Lantrice Green will play on Friday night.