For whom the bell tolls …

For whom the bell tolls ….

The NBA is now gearing up for an emphatic season , but a great deal of off-court news has somewhat created a dilemma for the league . Granted , with sale of the Los Angeles Clippers and abandonment of the Sterling family , of which Donald and Rochelle Sterling are no longer owners of the once besieged franchise , it now leaves the NBA to start afresh , or so we thought. Atlanta Hawks’ owner Bruce Levenson for some inexplicable reason in an e-mail he sent, saw fit to go on a racial tirade stereotyping African-American players and individuals of the ethnicity in a very repulsive way. To further exacerbate the situation we then had the franchise’s general manager Danny Ferry be extremely critical of then free agent Luol Deng who chose not to sign with the Hawks during the off-season.

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Ferry’s statements attributed to an e-mail he read from , states the player was of low intelligence often seen with players of ethnicity and those from the African continent . Danny Ferry has now taken a leave of absence while offering very little by way of an apology for his remarks . Bruce Levenson sold his majority stake in the franchise with Michael Gearon now assuming control of the Atlanta Hawks. In the midst of his all , NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has not seen fit to reprimand either Ferry or Levenson for their actions , instead Silver has seen fit to issue a statement in support of the Hawks while not necessarily distancing the league from Ferry’s remarks.

The NBA’s handling of the Donald Sterling saga was a complete embarrassment for the league and the criticism of the league was more than warranted. Such incompetency and hypocrisy by the league , its owners and the union (NBPA) in general, had many questioning what the mindset was said to be within the league hierarchy, not just under the present commissioner , but also his predecessor, David Stern . The latter has been given a pass, while his legacy seems to remain intact , with this continued idiocy , Stern was of great benefit to the league, because of the rise in profits and revenues of the NBA in general and his custodianship of the league. In truth, David Stern simply fought the battles he felt would benefit his image and raise his profile even higher among his peers , the fans and public in general.

One could continue to be critical of the NBA, but it would be of little benefit because the league, like the NFL , MLB and NHL are simply bereft of leadership and creativity. It will continue to be that way, no matter what changes are proposed by the hierarchies under the existing leadership. One simply has to look at the current mess within the NFL and the poor handling by the hierarchy, as led by Roger Goodell.

The Atlanta Hawks will face a tough season in the NBA, as the team opens up their schedule with a game against the Toronto Raptors on the opening night of the league on the 29th October ,2014. The exhibition season for the franchise will begin on the 6th October , and there the Hawks will begin their preseason schedule with a game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Philips Arena, in Atlanta , Georgia,. Head coach Mike Budenholzer and his coaching staff will be under pressure to succeed with the team that is light on experience, but is likely to play with a great deal of fortitude as the season begins. Atlanta will be looking to seasoned veterans such as Elton Brand , Kyle Korver and Al Horford to provide the team with much-needed leadership while rookies , Adrian Payne and Walter Tavares are not expected to make a great contribution in the first half of the season , while still learning the ropes at the professional level. Jeff Teague is likely to be the player with which Budenholzer is expected to see the biggest improvement as he provided the Atlanta Hawks with a great deal of leadership throughout much of last season and is expected to do the same again this year. For the moment however, this remains Al Horford’s team, as he is still by far the best player on the roster.

LeBron James is back in Cleveland, much to the chagrin of the Miami Heat and team President Pat Riley , but as they say, ” the show must go on “ .Unfortunately, for the Heat the cast is now a bunch of nondescript coupling, with an aging Dwayne Wade who is now past his sell by date , along with a very inconsistent Chris Bosh who has been in essence the ” third wheel” , as part of the franchise’s former ‘Big Three’ . As to what that now says about the current roster remains to be seen before they embark upon their preseason schedule as well their regular season sojourn. With the roster as it is, I certainly do not believe the Miami Heat will be good enough to win their division but they are likely to gain a postseason berth, if Wade and Bosh can play at an optimum level while leading the team. Erik Spoelstra will be counting the duo’s experience along with Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen .

An eight-game exhibition season, will give the Heat head coach just about enough time to gauge how competent his players are likely to be, before their first regular season encounter when they take on the Washington Wizards at home in the AA Arena in Miami , Florida. LeBron James’ departure simply placed a monkey wrench in the plans of Pat Riley, but to my mind this departure while a surprise came about because of the executive’s unwillingness to bolster the roster in the ways needed and if it meant the decoupling of the Big Three , then it should have been done, rather than this asinine belief James could continue to carry the team on his back. He was barely supported throughout last season and during the postseason , his teammates were literally nowhere to be seen as shown in the lopsided series’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals . Not much more needs to be said beyond that !

Steve Ballmer may well have paid for the privilege of owning the Los Angeles Clippers with his audacious bid of $2 billion , simply blowing any competing bid out of the water. Ballmer was needed more by the NBA, than they would actually care to admit because of their poor handling of the Donald Sterling affair. Nobody can yet justify the value of the Clippers was on the mark , in terms , of the final sale price , but here is what we do now know , every single owner in the NBA must be now salivating , because of the sale price and the belief the value of their respective franchises will continue to rise.

With Donald Sterling’s departure, the Los Angeles Clippers can set about re-imaging the franchise , but it will be down to head coach Doc Rivers and the two mist visible members of the roster , Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to bring about a new change in how the public view organization. The Clippers for their part last season proved themselves the better of the two Los Angeles’ based franchises winning the Pacific Division , with the Los Angeles Lakers bringing up the rear within the division. As to what this suggests about the decline of the Lakers , can be best summed up by the upheaval within the franchise with the departure of Mike D’Antoni , his being replaced by Byron Scott and the departure of several players from last season’s roster. From my own perspective , I firmly believe Mitch Kupchak has lost his touch , with Jim Buss simply being clueless about what is needed in resurrecting the fortunes of this now fast declining basketball club.

Kobe Bryant remains part of the current Lakers’ roster and the likely only chance of survival the team will have this upcoming season. Their contests with the Clippers should prove to be engaging , with the belief Blake Griffin , Chris Paul and their teammates having the upper hand in the season meetings , which was definitely the case this past year. The first of those highly anticipated games will take place on the 31st October , with the Clippers being the visiting team at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles , California , on the night in question.
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As tumultuous as the off-season was said to be for both the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers, both franchises are thought to have fared reasonably well in the NBA Draft , but clearly, the Clippers are ready to be deemed contenders now , rather than later . For Byron Scott and his coaching staff , this will likely be a season where he is simply left to gauge the makeup of the roster and let things fall where they may.

The Los Angeles Clippers had a memorable season , but their postseason foray ended abruptly with a conference semi-finals’ loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder . Kevin Durant would prove to be the star of the series, leading all players in scoring average and points scored in the series . Oklahoma for its part , would fall the to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals , where defense played its part in the Spurs’ success, but in essence it was systematically the all round play of the team , which led to the victory.

Disappointment in 2013 and 2014 , and it would seem the Thunder are found wanting , with / Scott Brooks being unable to get his teams over the hump during the seasons in question. He has the reigning MVP in Kevin Thunder and one of the most dynamic players in the NBA with point guard Russell Westbrook . There is also the defensive prowess of Serge Ibaka , but somehow the team last season was lacking the killer instinct needed to get the job done. Oklahoma was favored to come out of the Western Conference and likely to seen as a real threat to the Miami Heat , but it was all to no avail , as witnessed in the series’ loss to the eventual champions the San Antonio Spurs. This season the Thunder will be under a great deal of pressure , but Kevin Durant will be severely tested as to his acumen and appetite as he chases after that elusive first NBA title of his career. Frustration has begun to build for the player and recent statements attributed to him, suggest he would like to play somewhere else, at some point in the future. Albeit , he has not stated where , Durant is a native of Washington , DC and the likelihood of his suiting up in Washington Wizards’ uniform for the moment might seem remote , but it would prove to be a tremendous morale booster for the beleaguered franchise .

Durant will not become a free agent until 2016 , but he can opt out of the final year of his contract in 2015 , which seems to be the likely outcome for the player who is represented by the up and coming sports’ management agency RocNation Sports , home to several high-profiled professional athletes. If Durant can be persuaded to remain with the Oklahoma City Thunder, then Scott Brooks , GM Sam Presti and the franchise’s ownership group will have to move heaven and earth to prove to the player, they all share the same goal and that is to bring an NBA title to the franchise and the city of Oklahoma, where this basketball team has been well supported ever since their relocating to the city.

We have seen a marked decline in the play of the Dallas Mavericks over the past two seasons and with Dirk Nowitzki in the waning years a of an outstanding career with the franchise. It will hard to imagine how the team in its present guise can be viewed as major contender within the Western Conference. An aging roster led by Nowitzki , with veterans such as Devin Harris , Jameer Nelson , Richard Jefferson , Raymond Felton , Tyson Chandler and coached by Rick Carlisle . If the Mavericks are to succeed this season , then these veterans will have to be the leaders on the team as the likes of Jae Crowder , Ricky Ledo and Gal Mekel make their way through the season where it will be a rigorous schedule for the players. The Mavericks’ first regular season game will pit them against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas on the 28th October, 2014 , opening night of the regular season within the NBA .

For the Dallas Mavericks’ owner , the larger than life Mark Cuban , he and GM Donnie Nelson can only hope this will be the season in which Dirk Nowitzki can bow out on a high note. I view this team as one which will go through the motions in trying win a second NBA title , but in reality , this group of players, will face a tough task even making it out of their division much less garnering a playoff berth this upcoming season , as the Western Conference is likely to very competitive, throughout the year.

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Picture gallery.

With the upcoming NBA season , which teams or players do you believe will have the biggest impact on the league ? Also, in light of the problems now besieging the NFL , do you think the NBA hierarchy will be able to deal with any major issue likely to affect their image should it be a problem concerning the behavior of a player ? Your thoughts on this and anything else are more than welcome concerning this article .

🙂

Picture gallery and slideshow details below.
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(1) Donald Sterling and his now estranged wife Rochelle Stein-Sterling are now the former owners of the Los Angeles Clippers . Banished by the league , Donald Sterling having lost his case concerning the sale of the franchise to Steve Ballmer , has a civil case pending against the league hierarchy in US Federal Court in California . The former owner is seeking $1 billion in damages from the league with punitive damages on top of the proposed figure mentioned . AP Photo / Keith Morris …

(2) Steve Ballmer , former Microsoft Chairman and now the league’s newest NBA owner . The billionaire paid an astonishing $2 billion for the franchise far exceeding most expectations in the value of the Los Angeles Clippers . Getty Images North America / Steve Matthews … …

(3) Former Atlanta Hawks’ owner Bruce Levenson , foreground is seen here with team general manager Danny Ferry . The two executives have been caught up in furor concerning racial epithets and stereotypes used in something of a very derogatory way to describe African-Americans . Levenson has since sold his majority stake in the basketball franchise and Ferry has taken a leave of absence from the team. Neither individual has been punished by the NBA for their actions. AP Photo/ Christina McIntosh …

(4) Miami Heat team President Pat Riley , left, introduces the team’s draft pick Shabazz Napier to the press at a press conference. Seated center , is Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra . The Heat’s roster will have drastically changed from last season , after the departure of LeBron James and several other players. AP Photo/ Paul Mason ……

(5) Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder is seen here with head coach Scott Brooks during a game played at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma,. Getty Images / Paul Ross ….

(6) Court-side from left to right , Rick Carlisle , Jose Barea and Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks. Getty Images/ Leon Patterson … …..
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🙂

tophatal ……..

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No soliloquies needed here .

8 thoughts on “For whom the bell tolls …

  1. OK let’s see in the past eighteen months I have been told the NBA is all inclusive , David Stern has been great for this particular league . Yet , what we have found is the league is hypocritical , homophobic and has an underlying tendency where racism comes to the fore . Jason Collins was embraced with about as much compassion as would be shown, initially , as if were an AIDS’ patient or victim of either the Ebola virus or leprosy . Now we have a former team owner , Bruce Levenson carrying on the same trend and a general manager Danny Ferry trying to excuse his behavior and ignorance , as nothing more than a mistake . What type of apathetic as#hole fans are there within the sports’ world without delving into this fu#king idiocy that David Stern or his successor, Adam Silver have ever known what the fu#k they were doing in the first place ?

    ” As long as Danny Ferry made no mention of the Jews I am fine with his behavior and sentiment, after-all they are God’s chosen people ” . Adam Silver NBA Commissioner ioir sei n sKnm

    LeBron James will be enjoying pastures new , but if this team does not make the postseason then the criticism leveled at the player along with Kyrie Iriving and their other teammates will be more than justified. David Blatt has yet to prove himself as a head coach in the NBA , in spite of his success at the Olympics and in Europe , but yet fans are buying into the belief he can lead this franchise to their first NBA title with minimal NBA experience .

    Do you get the feeling Pat Riley wished he had a do-over in terms of being able to use hindsight with regard to not bolstering the Heat’s roster in the lead-up to the trade deadline ? The Heat front office became complacent and too cocksure of themselves , with a roster which in essence was nowhere near as good as many believed , especially when you consider how weak their division and conference was said to be . Yet for some reason, idiotic fans bought into the crap without seeing the bigger picture .

    NBA news and archived stories

    First three opening nights’ scheduled games beginning on the 28th October , 29th October and 30th October , 2014

    tophatal ……….

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  2. The white man’s burden , I am not a racist and I only appear to be that way when encountered by those who espouse the greatness of today’s NBA . This being the mantra of the current NBA fraternity under the leadership , first of David Stern and now Adam Silver . It was never too great a task to bear , it was simply being hidden under the bull#hit , while dumb ass fans tried to suggest otherwise concerning race because of their naivete and stupidity .

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    tophatal ………..

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  3. If the Cleveland Cavaliers are already deemed to be the presumptive favorites within their division and the Eastern Conference because of the acquisitions of Kevin Love and LeBron James , if they fail to make the Eastern Conference Finals , will their season be deemed a complete failure ?

    Analysts believe the team to be that good , without looking at the fact David Blatt has never coached in the NBA and his assistant coaching staff has no real in depth experience coaching at the professional level . Begs the question who is blowing smoke here , the Cavaliers or the analysts who continue to kiss LeBron James’ a#s ?

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    tophatal ………..

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  4. In the NBA , you can’t keep the white guy down , because his foot will always be placed firmly on a ni##ger’s neck . At the same time , the ni#ger has to know his place in the NBA . I mean only in this league could you find idiotic general managers African-American in particular , jumping to the defense of Danny Ferry , while the team’s new owner , Michael Gearon wants him fired for his racially charged and insensitive comments .

    Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon wanted Danny Ferry gone for Luol Deng comments

    Atlanta Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon wanted Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson to either ask for general manager Danny Ferry’s resignation or fire him after Ferry made racially insensitive comments about Luol Deng on a free agency conference call in June.

    Gearon sent the letter to Levenson on June 12, and the letter was obtained by Atlanta TV station WSB and posted on its website Monday. Fox 5 in Atlanta was the first to report on the letter. Two people familiar with letter confirmed its authenticity to USA TODAY Sports. They requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.

    In the letter, Gearon wrote that Ferry’s comments were worse than ex-Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racially charged comments.

    By Jeff Zillgitt , USA Today

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    Click on link to read in full.

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    Only in the NBA can you them still jumping to the defense of Danny Ferry by suggesting he’s not a racist or his comments were insensitive as is being suggested here . Then again white America loves to hide behind the fact it remains color blind . What a fu#king crock of $hit !

    Courtesy of the NBA

    Hawks’ Ferry no racist, but he’s in middle of a racial firestorm

    By David Aldridge

    I’m going to tell you something, and I don’t want you ever to forget it. Are you ready? Are you listening to me? Black men scare white men more than black men scare black men.”
    — Muhammad Ali, Sound And Fury

    Let’s get the niceties out of the way.

    Danny Ferry, often, can be a jerk.

    But he is not a racist.

    It’s an important distinction.

    That is not to say that the new owner of the Hawks, whoever it turns out to be, should necessarily keep Ferry as general manager. New owners want their own people in place, and it’s beyond unlikely that the new boss in the 404/770 is going to want to deal with the baggage of retaining Ferry in the wake of the horrible, racially insulting remarks he made about Luol Deng during a staff meeting last month. And, for a number of reasons, the least of which is the city in which he currently works, with its large and vibrant African-American population — a population with which co-owner Bruce Levenson is seemingly unfamiliar — it’s hard to see how Ferry can be effective in his role as the public face of the franchise.

    But we’re talking not just about a job. We’re also talking about a person. And it would be wrong to make racism Danny Ferry’s epitaph.

    We live in a world now dominated by Twitter and social media, and where they are useful. That is fine. But all of us have said and done things at one time or another in our lives that, without context, could be fatal to not just our employment, but our reputation. Think of every e-mail and text you’ve sent, or every phone call you’ve made, in the last five years. Anything in those messages that, if posted on Twitter, would make you look like … a racist? A sexist? A tax cheat? A homophobe?

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    NBA columnist David Aldridge is clearly not enlightened as to what is now happening in the country and what young men of color actually face on a daily basis , when being harassed by law enforcement or within certain areas of society . Has Aldridge recently forgotten , Jason Collins was being black-balled by the NBA because of his sexuality , until being signed by the Brooklyn Nets ?

    tophatal …………

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  5. I’m actually looking forward to this NBA season, Al. We should have another race to the finish for Western Conference teams and the shake ups in the East should make for some interesting rivalries.

    Can’t wait for the first Cleveland-Miami matchup and I want to see how the trio of Irving, Love and Bron Bron.

    Plus it’ll be nice to actually talk about games again and not the all the other bullshit we’ve been forced to discuss.

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  6. Chris Humpherys (SportsChump)

    The Eastern Conference and their divisions this upcoming season could be far worse than last season . The Miami Heat with its roster will not be competitive at all in spite of their changes made .

    In the West , it will be about whether or not the Oklahoma City Thunder can overcome the likes of the San Antonio Spurs , Los Angeles Clippers , Golden State Warriors and perhaps one or two more teams deemed worthy within the conference . Kevin Durant this season will certainly have to prove he and his teammates are good enough to win the title , but if he does not , then I can see the roster being broken up with GM Sam Presti and head coach Scott Brooks looking to start afresh .

    The Spurs for their part , are not getting any younger and this might be the last season where we see Tony Parker , Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli side by side on the same team after their undoubted success .

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    tophatal ……………….

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  7. To further emphasize how damn well clueless the Minnesota Timberwolves and their front office are said to be , led by owner Glenn Taylor , head coach Flip Saunders , GM & Head of Basketball Operations. The hierarchy now has to deal with the uncertainty concerning their star point guard Ricky Rubio , who is said to be unhappy after the trade which sent Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers . Minnesota is likely to see Rubio now make a trade request of his own rather , than his wanting to remain with what is very lackluster team in terms of the current roster .

    Last season the Spaniard and Love were by far the two best players on the team’s roster after their lackluster year within their division and the Western Conference . This season will prove to be no better , in what will be a very competitive conference .

    So now Rex Chapman can’t afford to pay for $14,000 worth of items , leading to the ex NBA player having to shoplift his ill-gotten gains ? Chapman earned a tidy sum ($22 million) over the course of his NBA career without actually being spectacular as a player.

    Courtesy of USA Today & The Arizona Republic

    Rex Chapman released from jail, faces 14 felony charges

    A former Phoenix Suns player accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from an Apple store in Scottsdale, Ariz., was released from jail Saturday afternoon.

    Rex Chapman, a former a guard for the Suns, was arrested Friday on accusations he shoplifted more than $14,000 of goods.

    Scottsdale police say Chapman stole the items from the Apple Store at the Scottsdale Quarter on seven separate occasions over the span of several weeks. According to public records, Chapman owns or rents a residence in the neighboring development of Kierland Commons.

    Chapman was not reachable for comment.

    Store employees told police that Chapman picked up items in the store and made it appear that he was paying for them using a self-checkout system via iPhone app. He would then leave the store without actually paying for the items, they said.

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    ” That’s right , that’s right , I got Ashley Judd wanting a piece of the Chapman ” ! Former Wildcats’ player Rex Chapman and actress Ashley Judd .

    —-

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    tophatal …………..

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