Cap it, with what ?
With the pending approval, in the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer. The NBA hierarchy, will now be in a rough ride, with the beleaguered Donald Sterling seeking to sue the league for a reputed $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) . Any protracted litigation in the US Federal Court will be damaging to the NBA, its owners , the union (NBPA) and to the brand itself . Adam Silver, in banishing Sterling for life, from the NBA, while welcomed, was too little, too late. The commissioner’s predecessor, David Stern , is just as culpable, with his lack of action , in not dealing with this particular owner’s abhorrent actions, and it is a prime example of why his tenure was often filled with as many pratfalls, as the ongoing ridiculous claims, that he was indeed good for the NBA.
This sale, is likely to ignite an NBPA leadership , that will have the bit between their teeth, in dealing with future labor negotiations between themselves and the NBA hierarchy. Claims of poverty, can no longer be made by the team owners or anyone from within the league hierarchy. A record $2 billion, inflated price tag , for a franchise that in reality, is not worth sixteen times its gross revenues is not only staggering , but simply endemic of all the things that the league has tried suggest that they were finally dealing with the economic plight of their brand. Five years on, from David Stern’s bailout of twenty franchises, something that seems to have escaped some of the apathy of the fans , whose knowledge of the economy sports ranks up alongside Sarah Palin’s knowledge of domestic and the foreign policy of the United States. Far be it for me to suggest , that Palin, has any clear idea on any particular subject that she is likely to be debated on , but , when you have a political lightweight such as this Tea Party Grand Dame of Stupidity. I really, do believe , it is symbolic of the growing lack of intelligence among the sports’ fan in general, as well as the electorate in this country .
I once had a patron allude to me, that the woes of the NBA were not created by David Stern. Anyone, with an ounce of fucking common sense, would realize that many of the changes made within the league during his tenure, had his imprint and were his creation, which, he then duplicitous , sold to the union , under the pretense, it would be to their benefit. . The NBPA remains in tatters, having no Executive Director and where the last person to hold the position , has now filed wrongful dismissal lawsuit in the US Federal Court against the union . Billy Hunter, a former corporate litigator is seeking unspecified damages , while seeking punitive damages in adjoining suit for libel slander filed jointly against former union President Derek Fisher and the NBPA. If that were not enough , the union itself , while in a state of disarray , now has contend with the fact, that they have to deal with a number of financial irregularities , that were never fully addressed , prior to their vote to dismiss Hunter, from his position, as that union’s top executive. Yes , this is what the NBA has now become , a brand that is now engulfed with racial bigotry hypocrisy , homophobia, misogyny and there are fans who remain apathetic and clueless, concerning the ongoing malaise within this league.
This NBA Postseason has become something of ” an us against the world mentality” , as the Indiana Pacers seek to overcome the Miami Heat in their Eastern Conference Finals’ Series . LeBron James and his Heat teammates enter a game six contest where the prize for Miami, will be a third consecutive berth in the NBA Finals . Currently leading Indiana 3-2 , tonight’s (Friday) game being played at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida , will likely lead to closing out the series and the likelihood, that Larry Bird as Head of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers, will break up this roster and rebuild the team. One casualty , may well be Pacers’ center Roy Hibbert , whose inconsistent play in this series and throughout much of the postseason , has many questioning the player’s maturity, as well as skill-set under pressure. Hibbert’s teammate, Lance Stephenson having ran afoul of the officials in game five and then given a $25,000 fine for flopping, was also reprimanded by Bird , subsequent to the contest for his conduct . What this now means for Stephenson, is simply a further indictment of how far the Pacers have fallen from grace this season. This team lacks leadership, maturity and the premature belief that Paul George had finally arrived and could be looked upon as top-ten player in the NBA , when the now growing evidence that George has failed to meet those lofty expectations. In the midst of this all, there is now mounting speculation , that head coach Frank Vogel’s position could very well be in danger. His dismissal , were it to take place, might well be the most asinine decision that the Pacers’ front office could actually make . Yet, here we are, now debating, whether or not; Frank Vogel should be relieved of his duties. Bird, as a former head coach of this very same franchise, knows the pratfalls a coach has to go through , having relinquished that role for health reasons.
Steve Kerr’s rebuff of Phil Jackson’s overtures to become the next head coach of the New York Knicks , is another reminder why this particular franchise remains a complete laughing-stock around the NBA, while their idiotic fans continue to make excuses for that team’s continued malaise . Dysfunctional from top to bottom, the thought that Jackson’s insertion into the front office and his reputation would bring about a glow to the Knicks’ downtrodden reputation would be akin to spraying rose petal essence into a bucket of fecal matter and then telling an unsuspecting passer-by, that it was indeed a new fragrance created by a cosmetic company. Perhaps if the New York Knicks continuance in stinking up the joint as an NBA Eastern Conference franchise would not be so bad, if there were modicum of talent on this roster beyond Carmelo Anthony. That player’s indecision concerning his long-term future, can only be of deep concern for Phil Jackson and for the fans of this franchise. The longer the player chooses to delay his decision, the less likely it seems that he will return to the franchise , where he has become their best player ever since the trade that saw his departure from the Denver Nuggets in late 2010.
New York’s malaise is to the detriment of the NBA and specifically to the conference in which the franchise plays . With the Indiana Pacers, simply being the pale shadow of what in reality , is an average team and no real rivalry in the contests between themselves and the Miami Heat . One can only aspire to see the renewed rivalry that once epitomized regular and postseason match-ups, between the Knicks and Heat. Granted, those days, may well be viewed as long gone, but one can live in hope, that the intensity can be reopened on some level. Senior Miami Heat Executive and part owner , Pat Riley , whose association with both franchises are well-known to the fans and media analysts alike who cover the NBA, have a vested interest in seeing that rivalry resurface. From a financial standpoint , it would provide a major boost to the NBA , albeit , the Knicks remain one of the most valuable teams in the league . James Dolan’s ownership of the franchise, has seen the one constant , and that has been the appreciation in the value of the New York Knicks over the last decade , to the point where its value is in excess of $1 billion , with only the Los Angeles Lakers on the same plateau, in terms of value .
The era of Patrick Ewing leading the New York Knicks in a contest against the Miami Heat was looked upon as a contest or series of contests that were bound to bring out the best and the worst in both teams. Beyond the heated rivalry , there was a distinct dislike between the two teams , often seen through the eyes of Ewing’s teammates , John Starks and Larry Johnson and Charles Oakley . On the opposing team , Heat center Alonzo Mourning possessed a great deal of disdain for his foe at the time and though upon his retirement he reflected on those contests as being some of the most memorable of his career . It has to be said that the NBA , in its present guise there is no current rivalry in the NBA that is on par with those classic match-ups between the Miami Heat and New York Knicks . Certainly, there are competitive player rivalries , but team rivalries, those days are clearly are of a bygone age within the NBA.
LeBron James, perhaps the best player in the game today, has simply raised the bar to unexpected heights since his entry into the NBA in 2003. And while some claim, that his rivalry with Kevin Durant will provide the league with a player and team rivalry that the league longs for . The fact of the matter has been, the Oklahoma City Thunder have not fared well in their postseason contests against the reigning NBA champions. At present Durant and his teammates are on the brink of elimination looking to stave off their 3-2 deficit against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals . A pivotal game six , will be played on Saturday night at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma, . in-front of, what is sure to be a raucous sold-out arena, filled with passionate Thunder fans, who are likely to outnumber their opponent’s fan in size.
In all honesty , the NBA is a monster, of its own making. As it has marketed with professionalism and a great deal of guile ,but , where it has fallen flat , has been , that it has not noticed , the issue of the declining state of play , with the level of coaching having dropped precipitously low , with their being only a handful of very good coaches in the league at present. Furthermore , the league itself has also become arrogant , pompous and brazen and nowhere has this been more expressed than during the tenure of David Stern , with his overbearing and autocratic rule of what he believed was his own personal fiefdom. Like the Pied Piper of Hamlin , some dumb ass fans , simply nestled their lips firmly against his sphincter , willing to lick any morsels of excreta that he would be let loose from his bowels. Simple apathy , has indeed become the norm of the fans, with them having very little knowledge or being able to actually think for themselves .
If the New York Knicks are said to have an indifferent season , then the travails of the Los Angeles Lakers and their staggering decline should come as something of a major shock . Hard to believe, that the Lakers fell so far, where they barely challenged within their division for supremacy, and if that were not enough, they saw their fellow inhabitant of the Staples Center , the Los Angeles Clippers make the postseason as the Western Conference’s number three seed . Steph Curry and his teammates’ postseason foray would be short-lived, with them falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the conference semi-finals 4-2 .
Mike DAntoni’s tenure as the head coach of the Lakers was simply uncompromising as he and his staff simply had no idea in how to get the team to play with any sense of unity . Defensively , the Lakers’ players were simply poor all season long and their situation was made all the more untenable with the loss of Kobe Bryant, whose presence was sorely missed . Los Angeles Lakers’ executives , GM Mitch Kupchak and team owner Jim Buss , will now have to conduct an in-depth search for a successor to the now departed D’Antoni . The former coach’s decision, to offer his resignation, was indicative of the ongoing mess within this organization and Kupchak’s failure, with that of Buss to deal with the franchise’s ongoing problems. With criticism coming from various circles, most notably from former Lakers’ players Magic Johnson , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy and their impassioned pleas, for both front office executives to be proactive in acquiring the players needed the franchise to be competitive. Yet , the biggest call, might well have been Johnson’s calls for the Los Angeles Lakers to rehire Phil Jackson in a front office capacity, at the time of his being available. Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss had other ideas and simply did not wish to revert to the past. Therein lies, one of the many reasons why I believe the Los Angeles Lakers are unlikely to regain the stature within the NBA in terms of their most recent success ! Bryant, at the end of a well-chronicled career , with no heir apparent and I get the feeling that Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss are now without a clue, as to the next steps that needs to be taken !
The NBA Finals for this season has two known occupants with a rematch of last season’s contest , where the defending champions the Miami Heat likely to be viewed as a consensus favorite against the San Antonio Spurs. I firmly hope, that the series will live up the drama and competitive play witnessed during the 2013 NBA Finals . As to the outcome , well that is now down to the two combatants, as the series gets ready to unfold on Thursday 5th June with the Spurs hosting game one at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas .
Picture and slideshow gallery .
(1) Former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer whose $2 billion bid for the Los Angeles Clippers, pending the approval by the NBA Board of Governors , which requires a majority decision or as mandated by the league hierarchy and twenty-five of the NBA’s thirty teams . AP Photo / Mark Edwards …
(2) Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban whose recent comments concerning the NBA and its issue of not being able to deal adequately with the issue of race , albeit that over seventy per-cent of the playing roster is made of minorities , primarily African-American players. The owner would also delve publicly into his own perception of racial profiling , and also the league’s lack of candor, as to its economic template . Getty Images North America / Paul Brown …
(3) Former NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter , having sought legal recourse with a filing of a civil suit against his former employer as well as that union’s former President Derek Fisher . The case will be based on his wrongful dismissal , and the actions of libel and slander as engineered by Fisher and the NBPA leadership. A trial date has yet to be set concerning this legal action . UPI / Elizabeth Parker …..
(4) Indiana Pacers’ head coach Frank Vogel , left, is seen here with the team’s Head of Basketball Operations Larry Bird . With the Pacers falling to the Miami Heat in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, the franchise faces an off-season of indifference and some major decisions concerning the makeup of the roster and the resounding disappointment of not making this season’s NBA Finals , a privilege that now goes to the Heat as the conference’s representative in the league’s postseason finale . AP Photo/ Amy West …….
(5) Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks who has yet to make a decision concerning his long-term future with the franchise. Phil Jackson has spoken intensely with the Knicks’ star , seeking to persuade the player of that it is his intent to improve the supporting cast around Anthony. N Y Time / Anthony DeMarco ….
(6) Patrick Ewing ,right and Alonzo Mourning , left , contest the possession of the ball during a game played between the Miami Heat and New York Knicks . During the duo’s playing careers their fierce competitiveness was always represented by the intensity seen during the contests between these two teams . In the regular , postseason and games overall , these contests were very hostile and enthralling for both sets of fans . AP Photo/ Matt Harper …
(7) Between the pairing of Kevin Durant (35) and LeBron James , they share five League MVP crowns , of which Durant was this season’s League MVP. Unfortunately, for the Oklahoma City Thunder player , his quest to make this season’s NBA Finals were dashed when they fell to the San Antonio Spurs in six games during the Western Conference Finals . This now sets up a rematch of the 2013 NBA postseason finale where the Miami Heat prevailed over the Spurs in seven games . Getty Images / Harry Howe ….
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