Swoosh, nothing but net baby !
It may not be too early to talk NBA , even in the aftermath of the triumphs of Teams’ USA in the men’s and women’s Olympic basketball tournament in London , with which the London Olympics (XXX th Olympiad ) came to a close . Now as the international contingent of NBA and WNBA players make their way home , the men on the US roster will now have to prepare for the NBA preseason and the regular season, which begins on the 30th October , 2012. Now, to my mind even though this past season was a truncated schedule 66 games , with many of them being back-to-back –to-back games . We were told by the NBA hierarchy that this was needed in order to facilitate the revised schedule , that was put together rather expeditiously by the league, in order to avoid the abandonment of the 2011-12 season .
Granted , this was done to avert such a situation wherein there would have been a league wide shut-down and the NBA being shuttered . This was averted , when the hierarchy and NBPA (union) reached a compromise that was said to be beneficial for all of the parties concerned . Thus far , things seem to be working out amicably for all of the parties concerned .
With the Miami Heat having won their second NBA title in six years , with the first coming in 2006 , as a precursor to this past season’s title . Now every effort is being , and will be made to make sure that organization is prepared for a successful defense of their NBA championship. Erik Spoelstra coming off his first title and with the nucleus of the team’s roster built around LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade , the coach knows that if they are to avert any type of letdown then his players will have to remain focused to the task at hand. In the off-season the organization made a bold move in acquiring sharp –shooter Ray Allen as an unrestricted free agent . If anything this now gives the Heat’s offense even more diversity from a player of Allen’s caliber .
Certainly others may well point to the fact that the Brooklyn Nets also made their own changes in the makeup of their roster , as they seek to renew the interest in the franchise . In comes swing-man , Joe Johnson along with the three years of a rather draining contract that pays the player in excess of $62 million . GM Billy King , head coach Avery Johnson and team owner Mikhail Prokhorov obviously felt that a bold and audacious move
had to be done , in order to create a spark and in the organization and make it far more attractive and relevant once again . To my mind , beyond what is deemed the competitive aspect , from a financial standpoint something was needed, as the franchise makes the move from New Jersey to a new multibillion dollar development in the heart of downtown Brooklyn , the Barclaycard Atlantic Yards Development . The new venue will see an array of commercial and residential properties on the site along with several movie theater multiplexes, a public library and a municipal park . Prokhorov , apart from being the owner of Nets, is also one of the largest private investors in the development , having bought a large stake from developer Bruce Ratner , the former owner of the NBA franchise . The deal was done in order to fend off the financiers of the project, as money began to run out for the real estate mogul , Ratner ,in light of the financial meltdown within the commercial real estate market across the nation .
Finally , after what appeared to eons of rather inane stupidity , we have a conclusion to the Dwight Howard “saga” . The Orlando Magic relented and made the only move possible , by relinquishing the player and sending him on his merry way. In what now appears to be the “biggest move” of the off-season , Howard was part of a multi-player , multi-team trade that involved four teams including the Orlando Magic. The All Star center and three-time Defensive Player of the Year , will now take his talents to “Hollywood” , courtesy of the Los Angeles Lakers . This has emboldened the Las Vegas odds-makers to make the Lakers one of the predetermined favorites in the Western Conference for the NBA title . Now where this puts the Los Angeles Lakers overall , when one considers that the reigning champions , the Miami Heat , have themselves gotten a great deal better , must now become a matter of conjecture and a great deal of speculation .
Certainly, the addition of Steve Nash to go alongside that of Dwight Howard makes this Lakers’ roster with its perennial All Star Kobe Bryant , one of the more formidable lineups in the NBA . However , it may not have occurred to some prognosticators that there now is a new “Sheriff in town” , that goes by the name of the Oklahoma City Thunder , and all roads through the conference still have to go through that team . When last I looked, they were the Western Conference champions , having easily disposed of the San Antonio Spurs in the conference finals . On their way through the earlier rounds of the playoffs , Scott Brooks’ Thunder team handed the Lakers one of the franchises most lopsided series’ defeats in their postseason history . Taken into account , I believe that was an emphatic statement as to what we ought to now expect from a lineup that now has the NBA world at its feet. To overlook that team as it appears, the odds-makers are now doing , simply shows their naïveté , while at the same time seeking to bring in the more fervent bettors , seeking to make that big wager and win.
with so many off-season moves and the uneasiness that remains within the NBA because of the present economic climate. It should be noted the blame for the league’s malaise should rest squarely upon the shoulders of the NBA hierarchy , team owners , general managers and the union (NBPA) , itself. I am sick and tired of hearing the idiocy of patrons talking about the NBA has finally come to their senses , clearly do not understand the business of professional sports. Many of the new mandates that have come to fruition in terms of the new collective bargaining agreement are nothing more than window dressing” to create the perception that the NBA is now being financially expedient . In reality, nothing could be further from the truth , as the league continues to meander along the same path , rarely seeking to change its business template . The 2012-13 season we will see a new salary cap (“soft salary”) that will be set at $58.044 million up from the previous $57.5 million but herein lies the dilemma , teams will choose to go above that salary cap figure in order to acquire the marquee talent that no doubt becomes available on the free agency market . How does that actually equate if we are being told or in this case are being led to believe by David Stern that the league does have its house in financial order ? That’s akin to having Barack Obama ordering Tim Geithner to speak directly to the House Financial Services Committee , with the Treasury Secretary coming out with his usual hokum and bunkum as to where he sees the economy heading . When I last looked, the statistics that Geithner subscribed to , might as well have been created by a group of fairies with pixie dust, with a few leprechauns and their pots of gold thrown in for good luck . Now , in spite of that with the league mandating that teams forfeit $1-50 for every $1-00 that they go over the soft cap , it seems to have done nothing to abate the appetite of the franchises as they seek to buy their way to success , rather than seeking to develop and nurture their talent by way of the NBA Draft.
With the upcoming season reverting back to the usual schedule of 82 games are what might be best described about the 2011-12 season as being one indeterminable and endurance- sapping slog . The year-long sojourn will prove exciting as well as monotonous and for a number of teams along the way there will be heartache and heart-breaks .
As a life-long fan of the San Antonio Spurs , I am looking forward to seeing what Gregg Popovich can do with a team that will undoubtedly be looking to redeem themselves after an inconsolable series’ loss to the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals of the 2011 postseason . The famed head coach will look at his player personnel over the course of their preseason as he seeks to address what he no deems to be their flaws. As always , Popovich is as astute as he is prudent in terms of assessing talent and you simply have to look at the Spurs’ draft history to realize how much of a success he has been in this aspect of the game . Popovich, in conjunction with GM R C Buford have proven to be a considerable success in their drafting of players in the years that they have worked together.
There is a reason why the San Antonio Spurs for the last fourteen seasons have averaged 55 wins per year , an unmatched record in NBA history . It has been this sort of consistency that has made the franchise one of the most consistent and popular teams in the NBA . The San Antonio Spurs may not be “flashy” , spectacular or some might say possess a persona but when I last looked, those were not the traits required to win an NBA title. And the franchise has won four titles since 1998 , all under the tutelage of Gregg Popovich , a teacher whose credentials speaks to his acumen as an NBA coach . The nucleus of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker , have been be the omnipresent pieces in the Spurs’ dominant dynasty but now comes the time for the younger players on the roster to show their mettle and prove that they are the worthy successors to the “ Big Three” of the franchise .
It is my belief that this upcoming season , as the revert to an eighty-two game schedule we are likely to see a great deal of fatigue set in with a number of players who were participant s in the Olympic tournament for their respective countries . One has to believe that having played a truncated schedule of 66 games, a condensed postseason . we then saw many of the league’s stars then having to further let their bodies endure a torturous tournament format that left little to the imagination . Coach Mike Krzyzsewski and Team USA were triumphant , proving once again that the NBA brand reigns supreme but it would take a naïve individual to believe that while Krzyzsewski’s team were triumphant , they had an easy time during the Olympic Men’s Basketball competition . As dominant as the team was said to be , with stars such as Russell Westbrook , James Harden , Tyson Chandler , Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul , there was a sense of complacency about the players even though bringing home Olympic gold was meant to be the task at hand . Having achieved that accolade , it is now time to start afresh as USA Basketball prepares for the 2014 FIBA World Championships in Spain. From there, in 2016 and the Summer Olympic in Brazil once again becomes the focal point of basketball , as the USA seeks another triumph with their NBA stars. However , it remains to be seen whether or not there will be a format change determining an age limit for the participants of the team members . This has been something of discussion not just by the NBA but also basketball’s international governing body , FIBA. Those changes should they be mandated, will see a dramatic change in how we see USA Basketball Director Jerry Colangelo goes about assessing the makeup of the team’s roster. If a mandate stands and there is to be an age limit with perhaps now more than three players , with three or four years of NBA experience as part of the makeup of a roster . Consider then , how that might add to the complexity of a FIBA sanctioned international competition or that of the Olympic Basketball Tournament . From my own perspective , I believe it is time that the Summer Olympics revert back to its original ideals and the spirit of competition , rather than what we have witnessed the event having become , one of commercialism , and in many respects the Summer games have become corrupt , also being ran by committee that shows no signs of integrity or a sense of moral purpose . These are merely my opinions as it relates to the IOC and how they have conducted themselves over the years. What thoughts if any, do you have with regard to this specific issue?
Picture gallery for your perusal and viewing.
As we approach the NBA preseason , do you believe that this regular season can reach the heights of the 2011-12 schedule ? And which teams do you believe pose the biggest threat to the Miami Heat repeating as NBA champions ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit.
Picture and slide show details below.
(1) LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 12 : Gold medalists Tyson Chandler(4) of the United States and Kevin Durant (5) of the United States celebrate on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men’s Basketball on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 12, 2012 in London, England. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …..
(2) United States’ Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony > , LeBron James and Kobe Bryant celebrate the men’s gold medal basketball game at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London. AP Photo/Charles Krupa …
(3)Spain’s Marc Gasol (C) holds the ball away from Lebron James (L) and Tyson Chandler during their men’s gold medal basketball match at the North Greenwich Arena in London during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 12, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder BRITAIN – Tags: OLYMPICS SPORT BASKETBALL …
(4) MIAMI, FL – JULY 11: (L to R) Miami Heat President Pat Riley , Ray Allen and head coach Erik Spoelstra announce the signing of Allen at American Airlines Arena on July 11, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …
(5) Brooklyn Nets head coach Avery Johnson , from left, players Deron Williams , Joe Johnson , and general manager Billy King pose for photographers during an NBA basketball news conference, Friday, July 13, 2012, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The Nets introduced their All-Star back-court of Williams and newly acquired Johnson in preparation for their first season in Brooklyn. Johnson having been acquired also brings along a burdensome contract that only adds to the financial commitment of the Nets for the upcoming season . AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ….
(6) EL SEGUNDO, CA – AUGUST 10: Dwight Howard shows his new Los Angeles Lakers jersey after being introduced to the media as the newest member of the Lakers during a news conference at the Toyota Sports Center on August 10, 2012 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers acquired Howard from Orlando Magic in a four-team trade. In addition Lakers will receive Chris Duhon and Earl Clark from the Magic. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images …
(7) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) shoots under pressure from San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan (21) and power forward Boris Diaw (33) , of France, during the first half of Game 6 in the NBA basketball Western Conference Finals , Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in Oklahoma City. AP Photo/Jim Young ……
(8) USA Basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, left, and USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo wait for the start of a news conference for the 2012 U.S. Olympic mens basketball team at the Wynn Las Vegas Saturday, July 7, 2012. Colangelo working in conjunction with Krzyzewski has brought about Team USA’s most recent success , namely Olympic gold in Beijing as well in London alongside the 2010 & 2012 FIBA World championships . Krzyzewski has not yet committed coaching Team USA for the 2014 World championships (Spain) or Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games (XXX1 st Summer Olympics) . Steve Marcus / Getty Images /AP …
(9) Team USA prior to their departure to London and their participation in the London Summer Olympics. Blake Griffin , third from the left would be unable to participate having injured himself in a team practice session . His place on the roster would be taken by Anthony Davis , #1 draft pick in the 2012 NBA Draft . Having own Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012, along with the 2010 FIBA World championships , the organization will now prepare for the upcoming World championships and the Summer Olympics in Brazil , in 2016. Under consideration by the IOC , is whether or not to institute an age limit for the team participants in the men’s and women’s Olympic basketball competition as well as FIBA’s sanctioned international tournaments . AFP/ REUTERS/ Scott Marshall …….
(10) Bruce Ratner , left, developer of the Barclaycard Atlantic Yards Development in Brooklyn ,New York in seen here with rapper and entrepreneur Jay-z , a co-owner in the NBA franchise . The venue will become the new home to the Brooklyn Nets . Ratner having sold the franchise to Russian billionaire , Mikhail Prokhorov, as well as a sizable stake in the Brooklyn development to the Russian entrepreneur, in order to stave off financial ruin and the bankruptcy proceedings of the enterprise. AP Photo/ Chris Miller …
(11) Mikhail Prokhovorov , left, is seen here with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg , center , and Nets’ co-owner Jay-Z. Bloomberg welcomed the entrepreneurs to the city , and has stated that their residency will create not much-needed revenues for the city but bring about and enrich the community at large . New York Times / Jameson Brewer …