Out with the old and in with the new …

Out with the old and in with the new

Well as we enter 2017 , there are stories yet to be written and there are also stories yet to be finished. Nowhere is this now more relevant than within the NFL as stories continue to unfold , head coaches’ firings and all of the failed expectations of the teams who failed to make the postseason. Granted , we are now four days away from the beginning of the playoffs and the wildcard round of the postseason will begin. The top-two seeds within each conference will have a bye and will not enter the fray until the divisional round. A great deal is expected of the New England Patriots (14-2) as the number one seed within the AFC and they are closely followed by the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders respectively. Within the NFC , the Dallas Cowboys have proven themselves to be the best team within the conference , but the most dangerous team could very well be the Green Bay Packers , who have rolled off five consecutive victories to end their regular season schedule behind the arm of their Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers .

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From my own perspective , I feel the Green Bay Packers could very well be the most dangerous team in the NFC this postseason, clearly endangering the ambitions of the Dallas Cowboys. For the Cowboys , their season has been one , where expectations were exceeded as they excelled behind the arm of their rookie quarterback Dak Prescott Now given the fact both Tony Romo and Mark Sanchez saw some playing time during the team’s final regular season game , it will be interesting to see if Dak Prescott will be given his first postseason start, when the Cowboys open up their postseason schedule in the divisional round.

Elsewhere within the NFL , it wasn’t really a great surprise to see coaching firings which actually took place. Rex Ryan rightfully , was shown the door at the Buffalo Bills , while Mike McCoy was jettisoned by the San Diego Chargers , Gus Bradley was let go by the Jacksonville Jaguars , Jeff Fisher was simply shoved out the door by the Los Angeles Louis Rams . Last , but not least was the non-too surprising move to fire both Chip Kelly of the San Francisco 49ers who was also followed by the team’s general manager Trent Baalke . It now begs the question , with their being calls for the York family to relinquish control of the Forty Niners and sell the franchise to someone who actually cares about the game , will the team CEO Jed York actually come to the decision to make this all a reality ? Forget about the idiocy and so-called distractions off the field concerning quarterback Colin Kaepernick , as the real issues for the Forty Niners came from the very fact they were very non-competitive on the field of play. Ending the season with a record of 2-14 with only the Cleveland Browns (1-15) with a worst record in the entire league. I am still at a loss as to why there were idiot fans around the NFL who were of the belief Chip Kelly was actually a great coach . He was an abysmal failure with the Philadelphia Eagles , where his teams played no defense and this trait was brought to San Francisco where again , his teams were an abysmal failure. Two years with the San Francisco 49ers and the franchise remains in complete disarray, while the York family as the owners continue to preside over this monumental mess of their own making.

The wildcard round of the NFL postseason provides the fans with some intriguing match-ups featuring the Oakland Raiders (12-4) taking on the Houston Texans (9-7) at Reliant Stadium in Houston , Texas on Saturday, 7th January. The second game of the day will feature Seattle Seahawks playing host to the Detroit Lions . Sunday’s contests will offer the fans the chance to see the Miami Dolphins match wits with the Pittsburgh Steelers , while the Green Bay Packers will entertain the New York Giants at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. If all four games are as entertaining as the wildcard games of last season, then fans will definitely be in for a real treat.

Far be it for me to suggest this College Football playoff format is the best thing which could be offered to the fans , but the final games leading up to the championship game taking place on the 9th January have proven to be an immense disappointment. Alabama steamrolled their way past Washington on New Year’s Even in what was meant to be the first of two thrilling semi-finals games played . The second of the two contests proved to be even less compelling as Clemson embarrassed an Ohio State team which was clearly outmatched and didn’t come to play . The national champion hip game will feature the top-two ranked teams in the nation as Alabama chases it fourth national title in the last eight years when they face off against the Clemson Tigers , led by their quarterback DeShaun Watson . I firmly believe if Watson has good showing in this game , even if Clemson falls , he will certainly be one of the top-two quarterbacks taken in the upcoming NFL Draft (2017) . Many analysts around the NFL may well feel Lamar Jackson leads the field alongside Jake Browning , but I do feel Watson has proven himself against a higher caliber and quality of opponent. Should Clemson upset the apple-cart and get the better of Alabama , which is not without merit , then DeShaun Watson can name his own price a s possibly the top pick in the NFL Draft.

The public have not been made aware as to the reason why Lane Kiffin was summarily dismissed as the lead assistant on the coaching staff of Nick Saban’s team at Alabama , but it does add a great deal of intrigue and speculation as to what might be the reasons why Kiffin was fired so close to the national championship game. Saban has yet to issue a public statement on the matter and Kiffin has remained tight-lipped as to the reasons why , but clearly something is amiss and likely to cause a distraction should the whole story become known to the public. Lane Kiffin has supposedly accepted a head coaching position with Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and was said to be assembling his staff for the new position instead of his role, as the offensive coordinator for the team . I find the whole episode somewhat asinine given the explanations now being given by the respective parties involved. It should be noted several years ago , Nick Saban in a deceitful act, lied to the members of the press in Miami , leaving the Miami Dolphins high and dry to accept his current position with Alabama. How soon the idiots seem to forget !!! Kiffin may well have reinvented himself , but as a pet project for Nick Saban , you just knew at some point the bow would break on this particular vessel . The jury is still out on another of Saban’s reclamation projects , former USC (Trojans) head coach Steve Sarkissian , whose sobriety and imbecilic behavior while at the school, became something of a national spectacle and a complete embarrassment for the program.

No bells and whistles as of yet, but something will be coming down the pike within the NBA , because all eyes are watching for the first head coaching casualty of the season. The Brooklyn Nets (8-25) , currently have the worst record in the league , though the likes of the Dallas Mavericks , Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns are by no means teams which should be admired for their poor play at this point of the season.

It is becoming abundantly clear the NBA really does have an image problem concerning its brand , even though many of the league’s leading stars are among the most admired and recognized athletes on the planet. While LeBron James continues to be the leading face of the league, having assumed the mantle of his idol Michael Jordan , a player who James’ game in many ways is modeled on . It remains to be seen if can garner the same sort of success achieved by his idol . The four-time League MVP and three-time time Finals MVP does want to emulate the achievements of Jordan in just about every way imaginable. His thirteen year career will be part of his legacy , as will any further accomplishments, as he seeks to win more championships on top the Cleveland Cavaliers being the reigning NBA champions . The first professional team title within the state of his in the last twenty-five years or more .

The Cleveland Cavaliers essentially have the Eastern Conference to themselves and have yet to be challenged by any team they have faced within the conference. In their last game the Cavaliers got by the New Orleans Pelicans , winning the contest by an eight-point margin 90-82 . The team’s last defeat came by way of a loss to the Detroit Pistons on the 26th December in a road game at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit , Michigan. LeBron James might be lucky enough this time around. to be surrounded by a better cast of teammates than the championship winning team of last season . If there is to be a serious challenge to the Cleveland Cavaliers this season within the Eastern Conference, then it could very well come from either the Boston Celtics or the Toronto Raptors based on the current conference standings . Both of these teams have been highly competitive within the conference this season and clearly have to be seen as legitimate contenders. Brad Stevens and his Celtics’ team will be in action against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night in a home game at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston , Massachusetts , while the Raptors will face a tough battle on the road , when they tip-off against the San Antonio Spurs (27-7) .

They are still a young team at their core , but the Indiana Pacers are a franchise looking to recall their heyday when Reggie Miller led the franchise to their infamous battles with the New York Knicks during the regular and postseason . Larry Bird remains a pivotal element within the organization . Head coach Nate McMillan and the coaching staff know if the team is to be remotely competitive , then they will have to raise the level of their play over the course of the season. Whether or not the Pacers can seek the consistency sought will also be dependent upon the type of leadership seen from the team’s best player Paul George . He has hit his mark , while providing them with the assurance needed and the very fact the Pacers are not one of the highest paid teams in the NBA should point to the financial acumen also seen from the franchise.

Paul George and the Indiana Pacers will be on the court for their next game when they are due to face the Detroit Pistons in a road game on Tuesday night.

This season’s League MVP race could be one of the toughest to decide in recent history . Steph Curry , the reigning two-time League MVP will be looking to make it a third consecutive win of the award , as he and the Golden State Warriors currently possess the best record in the league. There are many who feel the votes will be split , merely , because of the fact he has now been joined by Kevin Durant as a teammate on the Warriors’ roster . While this is valid , I do believe if the voters can see beyond that issue , then there is no reason why the player cannot win the award for a third consecutive season ! Granted , there are many other candidates to be considered , among them , LeBron James , Houston Rockets’ guard James Harden , Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and perhaps the most electrifying player in the league at present , Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder . The point guard has been lighting up the scoreboard throughout much of the season , while leading the Thunder in many of the offensive categories which matter the most .

Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder will be on the court to face the Charlotte Hornets on the 4th January at the Spectrum Arena in Charlotte , North Carolina . This should prove to be a very competitive contest between the two opposing conference teams .



Picture gallery and by clicking on an image you can view that frame along with the accompanying narrative.

With the NFL postseason now about to get into full swing , which teams do you feel are capable of rising to the occasion ? Also , of the two teams now left to decide who will become this year’s NCAA FBS champion , will Alabama claim another title in a lopsided victory or will Clemson pull of a surprise by derailing the Crimson Tide’s ambitions ? Finally , from your own observations of the NBA at this point of the season, do you believe the fans are getting their money’s worth from the teams and players ?


Tophatal ………..

Related articles : https://tophatal.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/lets-take-a-walk-on-the-wild-side/


NFL news

NFL wildcard round schedule

This month in NFL history

On this date in the NFL

NFL Pro Bowl balloting


NCAA Football

NCAA Football postseason schedule


NBA news

NBA schedule 3rd January

NBA game results

NBA standings division

NBA standings (conference)

NBA team statistics

NBA team statistics (defense)

NBA player statistics

NBA rookie stats

NBA League MVP Award Winners and NBA Rookie of The Year

This month in the NBA and on this date in basketball

Author: tophatal ...........

Brit ex-pat living C Florida . Now working with a consultancy firm in the field of corporate governance on the international front , concerning economic policies . Also covering the area of finance , banking, international banking. An MBA graduate from the (LSE) and UCL (London) , M&A (mergers & acquisitions), economics , risk management & assessment . Martial artist (tae-kwondo, karate, savate , muy-thai) & an vowed sports ' fan , sports' junkie. Served in armed forces British ... Royal Marines . Taught unarmed combat to members of the military and also competed in tournaments prior to joining the Royal Marines . Also an avid motorcycle junkie & free running enthusiast . Tech geek and computer repair technician. Entertainment: Musical tastes _ reggae, r&b, soul, hip-hop, rap , jazz, classical. Film genres , Preferably thrillers , crime dramas Hobbies ..... reading biographies & anything by John Grisham Just a lil' something to make me feel comfortable ! Tophatal

79 thoughts on “Out with the old and in with the new …”

  1. So as the NFL now concentrates on a meaningless postseason spectacle of the NFL Pro Bowl , a game which I truly believe has outlived its usefulness ! It is neither competitive or entertaining , as history has revealed over the last decade . This is merely a game which provides the players a chance to earn added incentives based upon their salaries during the season. The upcoming game will feature two opposing captains picking the respective rosters for the AFC and NFC . Based upon reports , the players who will be part of this spectacle are usually believed to be the among the most popular in the NFL. Granted , among the missing contingent will be the players from the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots , who will be preparing for the Superbowl .


  2. These are troubling times in the Windy City , with the Chicago Bears having failed miserably this past season , failing to make the postseason . In the NBA the Chicago Bulls are playing like a team without competitiveness , compassion and any type of real leadership from even the veterans on the roster. Head coach Fred Hoiberg and his coaching staff continue to be out of sorts , not forming any type of playing strategy. The addition of Dwyane Wade to the Bulls’ lineup was meant to foment a team ready to compete not just within the Central Division , but also in the Eastern Conference as well as the league overall .

    Over their last ten games the Chicago Bulls have been playing some very mediocre basketball and the struggles of Dwyane Wade and his teammate Jimmy Butler are apparent for just about everyone to see. Wade in an interview has insinuated he is prepared to opt-out of the final two-years of his current contract at the end of the season , if thing don’t change. This quite clearly indicates the veteran is not happy with his plight and the lack of on-court success this season. The Bulls are not challenging within their division and if they miss the NBA Playoffs , there is likely to be a major overhaul of the entire roster with the exception of Jimmy Butler.

    Courtesy of the Miami Herald

    Is Dwyane Wade thinking about leaving the Chicago Bulls after just one season?

    By George Richards

    Dwyane Wade spent 13 seasons with the Miami Heat.

    His stay with the Chicago Bulls will most definitely be shorter but just one season?

    Dwyane Wade (3) and Jimmy Butler (21) of the Chicago Bulls.

    On Tuesday, Wade told the Chicago Sun-Times that he would consider opting out of the two-year deal he signed with the Bulls if things don’t change.

    The Bulls, who visit the Magic on Tuesday and play host to the Heat on Friday, are a game under-.500 after beating Sacramento on Saturday night.

    That’s not what Wade counted on when he left Miami as a free agent over the summer.

    When asked if the Bulls’ average play would have him consider leaving after one season, Wade said “Listen, I wouldn’t lie to you and say no. Of course. I can’t play this game forever.

    “I just turned 35 and I have a number in my head on how long I want to play, and at the end of the day you want to be in a situation, whether it’s a competitive situation or whatever it may be.”

    Click on link to read this article in full.

    With all of the issues now being faced by the Chicago Bulls, it is imperative the team has a great season and nothing less than a playoff berth within the Eastern Conference will prove to be satisfactory for the front office headed by team owner , Jerry Reinsdorf , Head of Basketball Operations , John Paxson and GM Gar Forman . During the off-season , if Dwyane Wade does decide to opt-out of the final two years of his contract , then it will leave the Bulls in a very good position , as they chase a marquee and productive free agent signing him to a long-term contract .

    In their last game the Chicago Bulls got the better of the Orlando Magic on their way to a 100-92 road victory . Next up for Dwyane Wade and his teammates will be game against the Atlanta Hawks at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on Wednesday, 25th January .

    Chicago Bulls news

    Tophatal ……..


  3. At this point last season in the NBA things were looking good for teams with playoff aspirations. By comparison the rallying cry would appear none too dissimilar . There were some big winners from Tuesday’s games with the Philadelphia 76ers leading the way with their win over the free-falling Los Angeles Clippers . Erratic play and shoddy defense brought about a surprise result , as the Miami Heat were able to defeat the Golden State Warriors , with their being late-game heroics coming from Dion Waiters of the Heat.


  4. The realities of the NFL off-season will soon begin to set in. It will all begin with teams simply letting go of to players they felt were no longer needed and then seek to bolster their rosters via the upcoming NFL Draft and acquiring free agents. This all came into focus at the same time last season after what turned out to be an exciting postseason foray . It will be interesting to see the decisions made by the front office of the Miami Dolphins and how they view the value of backup quarterback Matt Moore after his performances for the team during the regular and postseason . Moore proved to be effective during the absences of Ryan Tannehill .

    It is unlikely the Miami Dolphins will seek to trade Ryan Tannehill , but they do face a dilemma concerning Matt Moore who is due to become a free agent in 2018. There are flaws on this Dolphins’ roster which need to be addressed and using Moore as bait, could prove to be a very enticing key . From my own perspective I believe both Moore and Tannehill will be retained by the Dolphins , with the thought if Ryan Tannehill as the incumbent starter should have issues , then Adam Gase and the coaching staff will know there is a reliable backup with the skillset provided by Matt Moore. Miami will have the twenty-second selection in the first round of this upcoming NFL Draft, and it will be interesting to see what players are chosen by Team President Mike Tannenbaum in conjunction with GM Chris Grier .

    NFL news

    Miami Dolphins news

    Tophatal ……


  5. If the stories are to believed , then the Cleveland Browns (1-15) will not pass on Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson . The player started off slowly , but as the game progressed he was spectacular as he led the team to their national championship victory over the highly favored Alabama (Crimson Tide) . Watson was not this season’s Heisman Trophy winner , with the award going to Louisville quarterback , sophomore , Lamar Jackson . It seems DeShaun Watson’s value leapt after the outstanding national champion victory and placed him ahead of Lamar Jackson , as well as several of the highly favored and eligible college quarterbacks thought likely to go in the first round of of the NFL Draft .

    For the Cleveland Browns it would be extremely foolish and idiotic to overlook DeShaun Watson in the first round of the Draft , given the issues faced by this team during last season. Having lost Robert Griffin to a preseason injury , the former Washington Redskins’ quarterback has to be now considered something of a bust within the league . Beyond being injury-prone , Griffin continues to be reckless on the field of play as well as erratic with his decision-making. It would make sense for the Browns coaching staff as well as the front office to make a decision to draft a quarterback. There is no caveat as to a ” buyer beware clause ” , because the Browns are not dealing with another Johnny Manziel , whose stupidity is only surpassedby his low IQ and lack of maturity . Manziel was drafted by the franchise in 2014 . His career with the Browns barely lasted two years > before he was unceremoniously dumped by the organization with just cause .

    Browns’ head coach Hue Jackson (right) is seen here with the team’s quarterback Robert Griffin III(10), who spent much of this past season on Cleveland’s injured reserve list.

    DeShaun Watson shows a great deal more maturity and is a far more accomplished player than Manziel will ever be at the collegiate or professional level. Clearly, there is a dilemma now facing the Cleveland Browns with their long-term and near-term future , as they seek to make the changes which will make the team better for the upcoming season.

    Cleveland Browns news

    Tophatal …………….


  6. OK,so here we go again , inconsistent play and performances from several teams at the top of the NBA’s standings. While the players have excelled with some superlative performances , leading me to believe this season’s League MVP will not be an easy task to debate or resolve. Russell Westbrook continues to set a blistering pace , albeit that the Oklahoma City Thunder of late , have been slowly unraveling.

    In their last game played the Oklahoma City Thunder faced the New Orleans Pelicans and they were victorious over their Western Conference rivals.

    Still considered to be the best team in the Eastern Conference , somehow the Cleveland Cavaliers are beginning to look extremely vulnerable , having dropped another game against what might deemed to be a lesser opponent. In their most recent outing the Cavaliers were on the wrong side of a four-point loss to the Sacramento Kings in a home defeat . This game seems to be defining what is actually wrong with a team , which in many aspects , is not as good as last season .

    NBA news

    NBA results 25th January and schedule 26th January

    NBA player stats and rookie stats

    Tophatal …………


  7. It won’t take long for the NFL teams to start shedding what they believe to be dead weight in order to save money in line with the cap for the 2017 NFL season . Last season , after the Superbowl , it became abundantly clear , there would be a great deal of movement during the off-season. There will be several prominent free agents during this off-season, with many speculating where a number of these top players are likely to end up. With many of the teams looking to pare down their cap obligations and several players with large caps for 2017, it will be interesting to see the decisions being made by the general managers around the league.

    We are still a week away from Superbowl L , where the New England Patriots will be playing host to the Atlanta Falcons in a game which will be played at the NRG Stadium in Houston , Texas, home to the Houston Texans. Prior to the championship , this weekend the Pro Bowl will take center-stage when it is played in the city of Orlando between the AFC and NFC .

    NFL news

    Tophatal ……………


  8. The nominees for induction into the 2017 Hall of Fame Class for Major League Baseball is officially known . All of the candidates in question are duly warranted for induction including those adjudicated by the Veterans’ Committee of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Those who failed to make the grade will be offered the opportunity in 2018 . On the field of play teams are now laying claims to non-roster invitees as well as acquiring free agents during this off-season. One of the biggest names among the free agents who failed to move was that of the Toronto Blue Jays’ slugger Jose Bautista . The player remains with the Blue Jays having signed a one-year deal with the organization . Bautista could have possibly signed elsewhere , but there were no takers for one the game’s most prolific and productive players over the past eight seasons .

    The Toronto Blue Jays for their part, are hoping in 2017 , this team should feel comfortable enough under the leadership of Jose Bautista , veterans , Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitski for the Blue Jays to be seen as a prohibitive favorite for the ALCS Pennant as well as the World Series this upcoming season. Toronto will embark on the season with their Spring Training schedule in March , before opening up their regular season play in April , with their opening game against the Baltimore Orioles on the 3rd April , 2017 .

    For Jose Bautista moving forward , he will seek to move himself up the ranks of the Toronto Blue Jays’ most productive and popular players in the franchise’s history. A ball-club that who won two World Series back-to-back , the only time baseball’s most renowned championship has ever left the United States of America.

    MLB news and Toronto Blue Jays news

    Tophatal …………


  9. Sensing a sign that things are suddenly flummoxed , with several teams now having some real issues at home as well as on the road this season within the NBA ? There were several games played on Wednesday night, with perhaps the most competitive and entertaining being the contest between the Dallas Mavericks (16-30) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (28-19). Once again , Russell Westbrook brought along his full repertoire , as the point guard led all-scorers in this contest , with an outstanding game .

    They still remain perhaps the most beloved and popular franchise in all of basketball, but since their last win of the NBA title , things have not gone smoothly for the Los Angeles Lakers . Multiple hires and then dismissals of head coaches with the exception of Phil Jackson and it could be said , the franchise has been ran as if it were a small corner store , seeking only to exist and serve a small customer base. Presiding over this all have been the Buss family as the team’s owners . Now in the hands of Jim and Jeanie Buss , with Mitch Kupchak serving as the general manager, fans have to be wondering what is now on the Lakers’ agenda. Current head coach Luke Walton has been entrusted with a team and lineup which lacks passion and competitiveness .

    Over their last ten games the Los Angeles Lakers have performed poorly with a record of 2-8 . In their most recent game the Los Angeles Lakers faced off against the Utah Jazz in a road game , where Gordon Hayward of the Jazz came up big for the home team in their eight-point victory over the visitors . Luke Walton will now prepare his team for their next game when the Los Angeles Lakers are due to meet the Denver Nuggets on the 31st January in a home contest .

    NBA news

    Los Angeles Lakers news

    NBA results and schedule for January 27th

    NBA standings (division)

    NBA standings overall

    NBA player stats and rookie stats


    Tophatal ……


  10. As big a disappointment as the season was said to be for the Indianapolis Colts , the bigger disappointment might be the fact GM Ryan Grigson failed miserably, in building the team into a legitimate contender for the AFC South and NFC title this season . Poor acquisitions , a very poor draft and a lack of real depth on the roster, clearly was of no aid to the team’s quarterback Andrew Luck .

    Heading into the off-season Ryan Grigson and the coaching staff led by Chuck Pagano will have to reassess the playing staff and do what is in the best interests of the franchise in the lead-up to the 2017 NFL Draft .

    Indianapolis Colts news

    Tophatal ……..


  11. Well folks, there’s now trouble in paradise with Chicago Bulls’ (23-25) head coach Fred Hoiberg , having benched two of the team’s biggest stars , when the decision was made by Hoiberg to have both Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade sit out a recent game. There has been understandable frustration from both players and their criticism though not leveled at the coach , but more so the organization , did not sit well with the coaching staff and the front office led by John Paxson , Head of Basketball Operations and team GM Gar Forman .

    From my own perspective , a great deal of the problems now being faced by the Chicago Bulls really does stem from the lack of real coaching experience among Fred Hoiberg’s staff and of the head coach. Hoiberg did not achieve a great deal as a player in the NBA , with his collegiate career being somewhat mundane.

    The Chicago Bulls are barely competitive let alone challenging within their division and the Eastern Conference at present, as their record certainly bears this out (23-25) . Over their last ten games , the team has been playing mediocre basketball , while attendance at the United Center does appear to be holding steady. Granted, this is a franchise with a history of success having won six NBA titles within an eight-year span , along with having two of the greatest players in NBA history of the past twenty-five years.

    Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were instrumental with the success achieved by the Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan has since gone on to become the owner of the Charlotte Hornets , while Scottie Pippen has become a Special Consultant and Adviser within the Bulls’ front office.
    Courtesy of NBA.com

    Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler benched for comments critical of team

    By Steve Aschburner , NBA.com

    CHICAGO – All three of the principals in the Chicago Bulls’ 48 hours of drama – Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo – reportedly were fined by team management for taking their “he said/he posted” criticisms public.

    But coach Fred Hoiberg wasn’t quite done.

    Hoiberg announced in his pregame media session Friday evening that Wade and Butler would be held out of the starting lineup against the Heat at United Center. Hoiberg said both would play but Doug McDermott and Paul Zipser would take their spots at tipoff.

    Entering tonight, Dwyane Wade has played 897 games in his career, but only 10 of those games were played off the bench.

    “Based on what happened the other night, we felt it was appropriate to make the change,” Hoiberg said. “We’ve spoken to both of them about it. They both understand. We’re going to move forward.

    Click on link to read this article in full.

    One of the primary reasons for the struggles of the Chicago Bulls has been the fact this team is not very good defensively. Chicago will not be in a position to compete this season and I certainly don’t believe they are good enough to gain a playoff berth , based on their current play .

    In their last game the Chicago Bulls faced the Miami Heat losing the contest , 88-100 , for a second consecutive loss in as many days at home . The Bulls’ next game will take place on Sunday , 29th January , when they face the Philadelphia 76ers in another road game for the lowly Bulls.

    Chicago Bulls news

    Tophatal ………


  12. The New York Knicks (21-27) continue to put the D back into the word ” dysfunction” . I once had a fellow blogger tell me why the franchise was relevant , to which I replied what have they done or won lately ? His response was that, ” this is a franchise back on the rise , with a team capable of competing ” . The Knicks haven’t been competent enough to compete within the division , conference or the league in well over eight years . It might not have been all that long ago since they made their last appearance in the NBA Playoffs , but in the subsequent years they have continue to be a complete embarrassment to the league , in more ways than can be counted.

    Now with Phil Jackson in charge of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks and his being given unparalleled decision making by team owner James L Dolan , I am beginning to wonder if Jackson’s ego is clouding his judgement concerning all of the player personnel and coaching decisions made.

    With the New York Knicks’ recent loss to the Dallas Mavericks , which was the eighth loss in their last twelve games , it speaks highly , concerning the lack of drive and will to win by this team .

    Courtesy of the NY Times

    Caps and Contracts Make Trading Carmelo Anthony a Tough Calculus

    Keeping Score
    By Benjamin Thomas

    The N.B.A.’s collective bargaining agreement can be labyrinthine, and when one considers the rigidity of the rules regarding trades, and the expectations of teams and their fans, the situation the Knicks face with Carmelo Anthony as the league’s Feb. 23 trading deadline approaches is a math problem worthy of an oversize chalkboard and a roomful of quantitative analysts.

    The Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony is one of the league’s highest-paid players and has a no-trade clause. Credit Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    Anthony, a nine-time N.B.A. All-Star, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and a virtual lock for the Basketball Hall of Fame, is the face of the Knicks and their leading scorer. He claims Brooklyn as his hometown, is in his early 30s, and his fame helps bolster the team’s prominence.

    Unfortunately for the Knicks, he is one of the game’s highest-paid players. He also has a no-trade clause; cannot seemingly will his team into being a championship contender; does not appear to appreciate the team president Phil Jackson’s prized triangle offense; and has experienced a statistical drop-off this season that helped contribute to his not making an All-Star team. (The Knicks’ 20-27 record entering Friday night’s game did not help, either.) He will miss the game for the first time since the 2008-9 season.

    That has left Jackson to figure out how to shop Anthony to other teams for something the Knicks can claim as a victory, while also trying to persuade — or coerce — Anthony to accept such a deal. He would have to waive his no-trade clause.

    After multiple news outlets reported that an offer to trade Anthony to Cleveland for Kevin Love had been rejected — the Cavaliers apparently did not want to trade their All-Star forward for an older, more expensive, now former All-Star — the talk has shifted to a potential deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. That might get rid of Anthony, but it would probably be hard to sell as an improvement for the Knicks.

    Click on link to read article in full.


    With rumors now circulating that the New York Knicks are willing to part ways with their best player Carmelo Anthony . This all continues to point to the fact , there is not a great deal going right for the team or the coaching staff of Jeff Hornacek . The head coach hasn’t been able to induce any guiding defensive principles into the into to the players and it should be noted the Knicks have been a poor excuse for a defensive team in the NBA . If the Knicks are to part ways with Carmelo Anthony , then either a blockbuster trade has to take place with at last three teams being involved , because of the cap inequalities likely to place because of the player’s salary and contract . Anthony has a no-trade clause which would have to be waived before a trade could take place.

    New York Knicks news

    Tophatal ………………..


  13. Serena Williams defeated her older sister , Venus Williams to win the Australian Open Women’s Singles title . The victory would prove to be historic , as Serena now surpasses the number of Grand Slam Singles’ title won by Hall of Fame player Steffi Graf . Williams is by far the most successful and best player of her generation , but the question remains, is she the greatest female player in the history of tennis.

    From my perspective , Serena Williams can be ranked inside the top-five players in the sport’s history. Williams has nowhere singular success of Martina Navratilova in terms of the number of overall singles’ and doubles’ titles and during the era which Navratilova played , the talent that was far more competitive than the challenges now faced by Serena Williams. Therein now lies the difficulty , objectivity subjectivity faced when coming to making such a decision.

    History would also be made when Roger Federer would defeat Spaniard Rafael ‘Rafa ‘ Nadal to win the Australian Open Men’s Singles title . The victory would be Federer’s eighteenth Grand Slam Singles’ title , a record in Men’s tennis. Roger Federer is not only greatest player of his generation , but is considered to be greatest player in the history of Men’s tennis. A few years ago , there were many ready to write off the Swiss player , believing he had lost his form. It should be remembered, Federer had been plagued by injuries had been on the ATP Tour circuit for well over a decade.

    Few players in the game have reached the unparalleled success achieved by Roger Federer and his being able to come back and now capture the Australian Open, is even sweeter for the seven–time Wimbledon champion. It remains to be seen if Federer will announce his retirement after this victory or seek to play in the remaining three Grand Slam Tournaments on the ATP Tour.

    Australian Open Tennis news

    ATP Men’s Singles rankings

    WTA Women’s Singles rankings


    Tophatal ……….


  14. The Miami Heat have been on an impressive seven-game win streak , which has moved them up within their divisional and conference rankings over the last ten days . The Heat had some impressive wins against conference as well as non-conference opponents on their way to their most impressive run of the season to date. Erik Spoelstra and the Heat coaching staff have to be impressed with what they have seen from the team over this stretch of seven games .

    After their great victory over the Detroit Pistons the Miami Heat will be looking to increase that win streak to eight consecutive games when they face the lowly and very inconsistent Brooklyn Nets on Monday night , 30th January . This game should be the Heat’s for the taking .

    NBA news

    NBA results 28th January and for the 29th January ………..



  15. The New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks locked horns in a battle which went to triple overtime , for one of the highest scoring games of the season, with a compiled 281 points being scored . This was also one of the highest scoring games in NBA history , certainly among the highest of the last five seasons . Paul Millsap of the Hawks was the leading scorer in the contest , amassing a double-double and a career-high for the former Detroit Pistons’ player.

    Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks .

    If there is one thing we already know and it is that the very fact the New York Knicks are not a very good defense team. Head coach Jeff Hornacek has yet to instill this facet of the game into his players . The acquisitions of Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose has not made a great deal in how the team has performed in comparison to last year at roughly the same stage .

    The long haul for the New York Knicks will be to get back to winning ways , winning with consistency at home and on the road . In their next game the Knicks are due to face the Washington Wizards as the Verizon Center in Washington, DC on the 31st January , 2017.

    New York Knicks news

    Tophatal ………….


  16. Coming straight out of left field , careering down the road and possibly over a precipice , the San Francisco 49ers have announced the hiring of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ player Jon Lynch to succeed Trent Baalke as the general manager of the franchise. Baalke was dismissed alongside former head coach Chip Kelly after two disastrous seasons with the organization. This hire not foreseen by anyone will either be viewed seen as a bold move of genius , with regard to the Baltimore Ravens’ hiring of Ozzie Newsome whose success in guiding the Ravens to two Superbowl victories has been astounding or it will be viewed as a major disaster compared to the Detroit Lions’ hiring of Matt Millen , whose tenure proved to be one of sheer incompetency on so many levels.

    Niners’ newly appointed general manager Jon Lynch (pictured).

    If as expected the San Francisco 49ers also hire Kyle Shanahan as their new head coach , then the franchise will begin the upcoming season from a position, where two of the leading personnel members are novices in their respective fields. Niners’ CEO Jed York instrumental with all of San Francisco’s recent hires is placing himself front and center , having already been ridiculed by fans and NFL analysts alike from across the league. Many , believe the York family should simply sell the franchise, rather than retain control. If the San Francisco 49ers were to be sold , realistically the value of the sale would be in excess of $2.9 billion , making it the most expensive sale in NFL history .

    Kyle Shanahan presumptive head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

    There is no denying the San Francisco 49ers must have a coaching staff in place , alongside Jon Lynch’s staff to front office executives to assist him in assessing the roster . First course of order has to be the futures of both quarterbacks on the team’s roster with Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert not proving effective enough for the Niners over the course of the season . The other areas which need to be addressed will be the defense as well as the offense , with their being a need for players competent to meet those needs on both sides of the ball. The team’s impending free agents , restricted and unrestricted , will be one where the Niners will have to look at their cap obligations for this past season and for 2017 before moving forward. Having the second pick in the first round of this upcoming NFL Draft will prove to be a very interesting one for the franchise as they can ill-afford to make wasted pick with that first choice.

    Courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times

    Ex-Buc John Lynch named general manager of San Francisco 49ers

    By Rick Stroud , Tampa Bay Times

    HOUSTON — The 49ers shocked the NFL on Sunday by hiring former Bucs and Broncos safety John Lynch as the team’s general manager.

    Lynch, 45, has no front-office experience, but his connection to former 49ers head coach Bill Walsh, whom he played for at Stanford, turned out to be a plus, as well as his ability to surround himself with a “great staff,” 49ers CEO Jed York told the San Jose Mercury News.

    The 49ers are expected to hire Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan as their head coach after Atlanta faces New England on Sunday at Super Bowl LI in Houston and pair him with Lynch.

    Lynch has agreed to a six-year contract, according to ESPN.

    “Obviously, I’m rooting very hard for him to succeed,” said Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks, who with Lynch and Warren Sapp were the leaders of the Bucs defense from 1995-2003. “His leadership and work ethic is top notch. He transitioned well from the field to broadcasting and now I expect the same from the booth to the front office.”

    Shanahan began his NFL career as the Bucs’ offensive quality control assistant from 2004-05. But by then, Lynch had begun the second part of his career playing for Shanahan’s father, Mike, and the Broncos.

    Lynch is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the third straight year. The class of 2017 will be elected Saturday at Super Bowl LI in Houston. He was named to nine Pro Bowls and was inducted into the Broncos and Bucs Ring of Honor last season.

    Click on link to read this article in full.

    For the moment , the jury will still be out concerning the announcement of Jon Lynch becoming the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers and the expected choice of Kyle Shanahan as the team’s new head coach. A completely new coaching staff has to be put into place before the NFL Draft, along with their being a smooth transition with these changes. For Jed York this might very well be the last chance for him to prove to the fans , he is capable of doing what is in the best interests of the Niners of the franchise.

    NFL news

    San Francisco 49ers news

    Tophatal …………


  17. Well the NBA season has kicked it up a notch over their last few games . The Miami Heat have been on an eleven game win-streak surprising their opponents with their rugged play over that period . Miami’s first victory of that current win-streak came against the Dallas Mavericks on the 19th January , with their most recent win coming on the 8th February when they faced the Milwaukee Bucks on the road. Their next contest will be against conference rivals the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York on Friday 10th February .

    NBA news

    NBA results

    NBA schedule 9th February

    Tophtal …


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