My balls, my rules in the NBA ….

My ball, my rules in the NBA

The NBA preseason is now upon us and the reigning league champions the Golden State Warriors will begin their quest to make a successful defense of their title with their preseason schedule as Steph Curry and his teammates seek to make it all once again be a reality. For Steve Kerr , his coaching staff as well as the front office led by co-owners , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , as they have seen a spectacular rise in the value of the franchise, but also a marked increase in the revenues and attendance levels for the team. With the imminent move to a more fan-friendly and more attractive venue for the NBA’s current champions. The signs are, the Warriors’ ascent to the top of the basketball world has been well thought out and the intent of the franchise to have a lasting and long-term impact on the league.

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Steve Kerr and Steph Curry were recipients in the running for two of the top individual regular season awards of last season , with Kerr coming in second for the NBA Coach of The Year Award , while the point guard won the league’s Most Valuable Player Award after a scintillating season. Curry along with Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala will be relishing to get back unto the court and begin the defense of their title. The NBA Draft itself, saw the Warriors simply bolster their roster, with some young talent and these players are likely to get their chance at some point during the season to shine.

Without a doubt, the Golden State Warriors will have to be seen as the presumptive favorites within the Western Conference to make a quick return to the NBA Playoffs alongside perennial playoff bound and five-time champions the San Antonio Spurs. During the off-season, San Antonio without a doubt were the biggest winners in the free agency market , having acquired Texas native LaMarcus Aldridge alongside veteran power forward David West. Departures from last season’s roster were expected and the losses were certainly outweighed by acquisitions made by the franchise , whose general manager R C Buford has stood stall, showing his executive acumen and one of the many reasons why he has to be considered one of the very best general managers in NBA history.

San Antonio will also see the return of veteran players Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker for another year together , with the trio having won over five-hundred regular season games together as a combination as well as four of the franchise’s five championships all under the coaching tutelage of Gregg Popovich . All three players as well the head coach are future bound and likely inductees into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame joining another Spurs’ luminaries already enshrined in basketball’s most hallowed institution, George Gervin and David Robinson , the two most notable Spurs’ inductees were the starting point for the history of one of the NBA’s most respected franchises. However, it has been the astonishing success under coach Gregg Popovich which has been the template seen , which has led San Antonio to its present time.

The NBA during its preseason schedule will be playing second fiddle to the MLB postseason which begins on Tuesday , while the NFL season though in its infancy has begun to take on a life of its own. Away from the basketball court , there have been some less than palatable story-lines which have come into focus. Former League MVP and Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose finds himself at the center of allegations of sexual assault and battery claim from a female victim. A charge which the player categorically denies and he has been very adamant with his repeated denials of the alleged victim’s claims.

As to how this is viewed by the Bulls’ front office led by GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson . Well, the executives have simply issued what can only be deemed a standard response, with the view , until there has been a legal investigation and legal outcome, the organization will continue to show support for the player.

For Derrick Rose , his failure to make an impact for the Chicago Bulls over the course of last season must come into question given the franchise’s long-term financial commitment to the player , who has missed over 100 games over the past two and a half seasons. This past season, Jimmy Butler stepped up to the plate for the Bulls and though they made the NBA Postseason their foray was somewhat short-lived . Rose for his part was simply a peripheral character in the team’s attempts to make a deep playoff run . The firing of Tom Thibodeau , with his being replaced by Fred Hoiberg as the new head coach of the Chicago Bulls , opens a new chapter for the franchise. It will be interesting to see what Hoiberg and his newly assembled coaching staff brings to the table as the Bulls begin their preseason schedule and then on into the regular season.

Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls will begin their regular season, when they open up with their first game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in a contest at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on 27th October, 2015. If the Bulls are to have a chance of prevailing within the Central Division of the Eastern Conference much less against the rest of the league , then it will be predicated upon of the play of Rose and the team over the entire schedule in 2015.

This season there will be a great deal of pressure on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The four-time League MVP had a roster built around a team which had his own personal blessings and specific wishes. The fact that idiot fans , bought into the belief James would be capable of leading the Cavaliers to their first NBA championship solely based on his play was utterly ridiculous. As good as LeBron James over the course of his career in the NBA , certain things were being overlooked by the James’ supporters. A rookie head coach with little NBA or postseason and a team, where the players , other than Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love would be barely thought of as being competitive in comparison to the other lineups around the league.

Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert along with GM David Griffin have a great deal riding on keeping in the good graces of LeBron James and the player’s yearning to bring a title to the franchise. Two appearances in the NBA Finals have ended up in significantly embarrassing series’ defeats each time for James, as a member of the franchise.

What is becoming abundantly clear is the very fact LeBron James remains an impatient individual who seeks not only to be acknowledged by his peers, but also by the NBA analysts and fans as the greatest player of his generation and the greatest player in NBA history. A tall order indeed, when one considers he has fallen short of the accomplishments of his idol , Michael Jordan. While I do not believe it pertinent to make comparisons between players of the past against players of the present. It is clear, James wishes to be seen as the heir apparent to the six-time NBA champion , Finals’ MVP and League MVP . Such comparisons are best made upon the retirement of both subject as it is best then start a meaningful debate over the accomplishments of the subjects in question.

This season might well be the last opportunity for both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to reestablish their legacies with the Miami Heat. The departure of former teammate LeBron James left the franchise in complete disarray. Inasmuch as there was criticism being leveled at James by Heat Executive Alonzo Mourning , what became abundantly clear was the fact the front office became lackadaisical and negligent in failing to bolster an aging roster , believing it best , James as a one-man band could simply lead Miami to another title. With LeBron James’ departure the Miami Heat became a listless team , with neither Bosh or Wade contributing much to the Heat’s mediocre showing and season in 2014 .

During the off-season, Pat Riley and the Heat’s coaching staff led by Erik Spoelstra bolstered the roster through the NBA Draft and free agency . Miami’s rookies will be expected to make solid contributions to the team over the course of the Heat’s eighty-two game schedule. Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson , the two rookies taken in this past draft will get their opportunities this season and I believe Erik Spoelstra expects to see some great play from these two young players. Miami will open up their regular season schedule when they face the Charlotte Hornets on the 28th October ,2015 at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida.

With the recent news that James L Dolan , owner of the New York Knicks has seen fit to relinquish control of the Cablevision , the public company where the Dolan family still has a sizable presence. The questions now being asked are , will the family quite possibly seek to sell their controlling stake in the Madison Square Garden Company which presides over the family’s sports’ interests ? Can the team actually be competitive this upcoming season ? Is it possible for the New York Knicks to be even worst off, than they were last season ? As woeful as the New York Knicks have been this past season under the guidance of Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher as the team sank to new levels of of sheer incompetence while supporters of Jackson are still trying to suggest the former NBA coach has a Master Plan for the resurrection of the Knicks’ fortunes.

To understand the incompetency of the New York Knicks , one simply has to look for an explanation as to the Phil Jackson first round draft pick of Kristaps Porzingis and how Jackson has tried to placate the fans with his thoughts on the matter. There can be no denying the choice had and still has a number of people perplexed and wondering what the hell is going on within the Knicks’ hierarchy and whether or not there is any semblance to be found there at all ?

Porzingis was taken as the fourth overall pick in the first round and is seen as a solid front court player , but in reality , the player is likely to remain a work in progress and not likely to be a major contributor to this team, which is need offensive talent as well as a solid defensive presence. Triangle Offense or not the basketball IQ on this team is way below average and almost a certain obstacle in the way of a franchise where the coaching staff has to be deemed equally incompetent as the players and the front office executives within the organization. The only saving grace for the New York Knicks has been the fact the franchise remains among the profitable of all the teams in the NBA and that remains about it. From my own standpoint, I do not believe the team in its current guise will pose that much of a threat to their divisional opponents or conference rivals this upcoming season.

Speaking of another vastly overrated NBA franchise, has anyone ever wondered where elephants usually go to die ? If there was said to be an elephants’ graveyard in the league, then it would have to be the Barclays Center , home to the Brooklyn Nets . From one year to the next this franchise over the past six seasons has been a monumental eyesore . For all the wealth of Russian billionaire tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov as the Nets’ owner . This organization would not be able to spot talent if the coaching staff of the franchise were given the aid of a flashlight , night vision glasses, if they were left in a darkened room and asked to figure it out all by themselves.

GM Billy King has outlived his usefulness and the only sound decision he has made was the jettisoning of Deron Williams , a player whose talents remain vastly overrated as a point guard . He certainly doesn’t excel under pressure and by no means can he be considered a leader much less the equal of several of his peers within the game today.

With Deron Williams having joined the Dallas Mavericks, it remains to be seen how much of an improvement his addition will be to the team and how competitive they’re likely to be over the course of this season. Dirk Nowitzki remains the best player on the current roster by far. If the Mavericks are to succeed as they seek to win a second NBA title , then it will be predicated Nowitzki’s indomitable play and leadership ability , because none the traits in question , are to be seen even vaguely in any of his teammates.

Two teams with something to prove this season, will be the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. James Harden and Kevin Durant are now viewed as being among the elite players in the NBA and there can be no denying that fact. Both of these superstars are likely to be viewed as early preseason candidates for the League MVP this season. The disappointment of the NBA Playoffs was there for all to see as the Rockets failed to get by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals last season. Harden and teammate Dwight Howard were simply not enough to get by the best team in the NBA during the playoffs. I certainly believe games between the Rockets and Thunder as seen last season and will prove to be extremely competitive.

Oklahoma City Thunder under their coach Billy Donovan will seek to make this season their big opportunity to advance to an NBA Finals for the second time under the ownership group of Clay Bennett and his partners. GM Sam Presti knows it is in the franchise’s best interests to keep the services of Kevin Durant, knowing the player is likely to weigh up his options as an impending free agent in 2016, the Thunder must know their best chance to have Durant within their organization is to have a successful season ,with the ultimate goal being to win a world championship. Kevin Durant and his teammates will begin that quest this season opening up their schedule with a home game against the San Antonio Spurs on 28th October ,2015.

Picture inset with an accompanying narrative to the images . Simply click unto any image to view.

The NBA hierarchy enters this season looking to avail themselves of the best publicity possible , but I cannot help wonder what the biggest controversy is likely to be once the season gets into full swing .

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Tophatal ……

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You don’t want to be the guy who replaces a legend , you want to be the guy comes in after the legend’s successor is said to have failed miserably

You don’t want to be the guy who replaces a legend , you want to be the guy comes in after the legend’s successor is said to have failed miserably

Over the past two decades within professional team sports , we have seen the departures great players from the game , either through retirement or their trade to another franchise. Though not thought to be earth shattering at the time , the feeling was that Peyton Manning’s departure from the Indianapolis Colts and the organization’s handling of the matter was haphazard , incompetent and somewhat disrespectful , given Manning’s contribution and resurgence of that particular franchise. The famed quarterback’s success along with Tony Dungy’s coaching acumen brought about that success , the added profitability of the Colts and to the overall wealth of the team’s owner Jim Irsay .

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With the Indianapolis Colts having traded Peyton Manning to the Denver Broncos , the team was lucky enough to have drafted Andrew Luck out of Stanford as the number one overall draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft . Luck’s success as a rookie and subsequent play has simply been a revelation , having led the team into the postseason in 2012 , along with his peer Robert Griffin III , who was able to achieve a similar feat with the Washington Redskins .

This season , both the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins have followed different paths, with the defending NFC East champions are likely to miss the postseason , after an erratic season of missed opportunities and a great deal of finger-pointing around the organization , with the actual coaching acumen of Mike Shanahan and his coaching acumen now coming into question, along with that of his coaching staff . At the same time, Robert Griffin’s play this season has been far from scintillating , somewhat of a surprise to many, given his growth and maturity shown over the first two years of his NFL career. This season , much like the team’s, Griffin’s performances , along with the other quarterbacks within the NFC East , have been understated and amongst the most erratic in the entire NFL . Yet , if there is blame to be apportioned , then a great deal of that must be placed squarely on the shoulders of the Redskins’ secondary and the poor play exhibited over the course of the season . With the team now in preparation for their week twelve scheduled Monday night match-up against the high-flying San Francisco 49ers , in an NFC contest to be played at Fedex Field in Landover, Maryland . It will be interesting to see what steps will be taken by the Washington Redskins as they take on the NFC West divisional antagonists.

There is no denying that Andrew Luck’s success has been contagious and that it has affected the organization throughout , with the fans coming in droves to see a newly revamped team play at Lucas Oil Stadium , in Indiana , Indianapolis , all under the watchful eye of head coach Chuck Pagano and his coaching staff . Having replaced an icon and legend in Peyton Manning, it would appear that the young quarterback , Andrew Luck is prepared to lead the Colts’ into a new chapter of their history . That next phase, will begin on Sunday , when the Colts are guests of the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Tempe , Arizona, where former Colts’ assistant Bruce Arians is now the head coach of the host team . Arians and the Cardinals will be looking to see if they can secure a win , in order to leapfrog the second placed San Francisco 49ers within the NFC West , in a division that is now blossoming into a thoroughly enthralling contest between the top three teams , by way of its competitiveness .

Robert Griffin’s path of succession in following in a long line of shall we say lackluster Redskins’ quarterbacks over the past eight seasons , has been one of the numerous reasons why the franchise has failed so miserably . Reading off those list of names of nondescript individuals , would be akin to reading the recipe of ingredients from a can of soup , produced as a generic brand to be stocked on the shelves of your local supermarket. The list of Rex Grossman , a past his prime , Donovan McNabb , Jason Campbell , Mark Brunell , and Patrick Ramsey have all got something in common . They have played for a franchise, where the team owner , Dan Snyder , has spared no expense , in carrying on with the Redskins’ ineptitude, since he took the helm of the Washington Redskins in 1999, as its main proprietor .

At 3-7 within the NFC East , the record of the Washington Redskins has proven to be a monumental disappointment . In a division , where the only team above .500 in terms of a winning record are the Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) . It is a damning indictment, as to how bad the teams are said to be, in what has been repeatedly described as the “glamor division “ . of the NFL , with the brand and product having become so diluted . Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there has been absolutely nothing glamorous about the quartet of teams much less their play over the course of this season . As I alluded to earlier , the quarterback play also has been something of an abomination and it is also, another clear indicator as to how bad things now appear to be, even in spite of a number of analysts now salivating over the play of Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles , who may well be on the verge bringing about the abrupt end of Michael Vick’s career with the franchise . If former, Philly head coach, Andy Reid could not see it for himself, that Vick is now past his prime . Then surely Reid’s successor , Chip Kelly must now realize that fact for himself , given the rather innocuous performances from the veteran player player this season , in spite of his health issues .

One could perhaps attest to the fact that where would be something of a misnomer with regard to the title of this piece and how it relates to the NFL , may well have been the passing on of the baton from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers and Joe Montana to Steve Young . Though not necessarily controversial at the time, Favre’s unwillingness to take a back seat to a younger and most certainly a more receptive player in Rodgers, led to the veteran being looked upon as a rather petulant individual . Brett Favre’s departure from the Green Bay Packers had its supporters and detractors. Yet, it should be noted, the all-time career touchdowns’ passing as well as career passing yardage leader , never showed the form that made him such a treat to watch after his departure from the Packers. After a fifteen career in Green Bay , the subsequent stops in New York with the New York Jets ( one year) and two years with the Minnesota Vikings were as eventful , as they were somber. No doubt, upon meeting the eligibility requirements, Brett Favre will become a first year ballot Hall of Fame inductee.

Aaron Rodgers, has all but erased the memory of Brett Favre ever existing and playing at Lambeau Field for one the league’s most revered and venerable NFL franchises . Now considered to be amongst the elite of the NFL quarterbacks, now playing in the NFL , his career has been a personification of dedication to his craft , as well as having the respect of his peers and teammates alike. Other than, Tom Brady , Peyton Manning and Drew Brees , I seriously doubt that there is a more well-liked or respected quarterback in the entire NFL !

Five Superbowl victories for an NFL franchise, tends to tell you a great deal about an organization and what they have been able to achieve over the course of their existence . The transition from Joe Montana to Steve Young did a have a few bumps in the road , but who can deny the fact that these two quarterbacks along with Jerry Rice , Roger Craig , Ronnie Lott , Dwight Clark , Jesse Sapolu and the franchise’s legendary head coach Bill Walsh may well have done more to put the San Francisco 49ers on the map , beyond Walsh’s influence on the game , through his play-calling . Montana and Young between them, account for all five of those Superbowl triumphs, with their names being etched in postseason history in terms of their respective performances in the postseason and the “big game ” itself .

After a spectacular 2012 , during which we witnessed the San Francisco 49ers make their sixth Superbowl appearance. The team would not fare as well , as in their previous forays , as Colin Kaepernick and his teammates would fall to their AFC opponents the Baltimore Ravens 34-31 in a game blighted by the incompetence of not only the NFL hierarchy , utility’s company Entergy , but also the host site, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome , home to the New Orleans Saints , operated by SMG and a venue owned by the Louisiana Expo & Sports Authority . The explanations forthcoming, as to why a power outage interrupted the NFL’s biggest spectacle were as ludicrous, as Roger Goodell’s comments that the stoppage, did nothing to take away from the event , nor did it have an effect on the end result. One more reason, why the incumbent NFL commissioner cannot be taken seriously as the league’s highest ranking executive. His communicative and leadership skills , beyond being remarkably poor, are in fact a complete embarrassment to the NFL and the teams he presides over .

I have been reading with a great deal of interest , where Hakeem Olajuwon , a Hall of Fame inductee , whose playing career with the Houston Rockets was unprecedented , has now taken it upon himself along with fellow inductee and Rockets’ head coach Kevin McHale , to assist in improving and “polishing ” the game of Dwight Howard . These two great players from a bygone era of excellence within the NBA , may well be taking on a great deal than either would care or be willing to admit . Howard may well have been, a Defensive Player of the Year within the league on multiple occasions , but his offensive prowess , as well as leadership skills and lack of maturity, has repeatedly come into question . It was self-evident and there for all to see, as the player struggled to show any signs of leadership, much less being able, to impose his will on a game , while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers last season .

The fact that Dwight Howard was acquired by the Lakers’ franchise as a long-term investment and seen as heir-apparent to Kobe Bryant , as the vocal leader of the Los Angeles Lakers, came and went as swiftly , as Howard’s decision to bolt from the Lakers , taking less money , to sign with the Rockets . If that was not indicative of the fact, that the center simply could not handle any form of adversity , then his now constant moaning , as to why he has been criticized by many of the elder statesmen of the game , is clear evidence that Dwight Howard will never be viewed as one of the best players at the position to have ever played the game. The NBA in terms of the play of the centers now within the game, are a far cry from what many of the fans have witnessed during the heydays of David Robinson . , Hakeem Olajuwon , Shaquille O’Neal , Bill Russell , Kareem Abdul Jabbar , Nate Thurmond , Patrick Ewing , Willis Reed and Moses Malone . All of whom were known to be ferocious competitors . Can the same be even remotely said about Dwight Howard , even as many now regard him as the best center , currently now playing in the NBA ?

Dwight Howard’s acquisition by the Rockets, in some circles was seen as the missing piece for a franchise with a legitimate shot of making the NBA Playoffs this upcoming season. In bolstering a roster , led by the presence of James Harden , Jeremy Lin , Ronnie Brewer , Patrick Beverley , Chandler Parsons and Aaron Brooks . The team was seen as a solid enough of a competitor to challenge the presence of the San Antonio Spurs (10-1) within the Southwest Division of the Western Conference . Coming off a narrow three-point 123-120 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night , the Rockets will face the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Toyota Center in Houston , Texas on Saturday evening , in what is likely to be a very lively contest between these two Western Conference foes.

Rockets’ owner Leslie Alexander and GM Daryl Morey, made a bold move, that will either prove to be a success or simply backfire for the organization. While, I believe Dwight Howard will be of some benefit to the Houston Rockets, I just cannot see the player as the person who will now get the team “ over the hump” that will make them a legitimate threat to the more prominent teams within the conference , such as the San Antonio Spurs , Oklahoma City Thunder , Los Angeles Clippers and what now appears to be a very talented and well-coached Golden State Warriors’ roster. I may well be wrong, but at this juncture, my observations are based on what I have seen from Dwight Howard , and the fact that he’s now being asked to fill the shoes of predecessors before him on the Rockets, who made significant progress in making the franchise more widely recognized . Hakeem Olajuwon and to an extent , Yao Ming made you aware of the franchise in terms of what they brought to the Houston Rockets . Has Dwight Howard actually been able to do that any point of his career, beyond his goofy off the court antics and winning a meaningless Slam Dunk Contest ?

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Do you believe it easy, for a professional sport’s franchise to replace an iconic legend that has been associated with a team over a long period of time? Or as teams would always like to suggest “ it’s time to move on” , more often than not, because of monetary issues , rather than the athlete’s possible declining production ? Your comments are most certainly welcomed on this and anything else you believe to be of value to the premise stated this moderated piece.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Mar 7, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning speaks and Jim Irsay stands beside him to announce during a press conference at Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center that Peyton Manning will become a free agent. Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE ….

(2) Andrew Luck, left of the Indianapolis Colts is seen here with team owner Jim Irsay. . The quarterback, who was drafted out of Stanford as the number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft , proved to be an immediate success with the franchise having taken the team into the postseason and the Colts now seem to be set , in terms of their long-term future with a quarterback who has proven to productive , with an immediate impact for the Indianapolis Colts from a competitive and financial standpoint. AP Photo / Garry Moss …

(3) Washington Redskins` starting quarterback Robert Griffin III is seen here with the team’s offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and backup quarterback Kirk Cousins . The team as defending champions within of the NFC East , now find themselves in almost untenable position of being at the bottom of the division and likely to miss the playoffs , having rode into the 2012 postseason riding on a sea of optimism and at the same time , projected long-term success. Instead, this season has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster , with a defense performing poorly , with alarming regularity and the same could be said of the offense . GM Bruce Allen and team owner Dan Snyder are likely to make a number of sweeping changes during the off-season concerning the player personnel and quite possibly amongst the coaching staff. Getty Images / Lance Jones …..

(4) Green Bay Packers’ teammates Brett Favre (4) and Aaron Rodgers (12) are seen here seated on the sidelines looking up at the scoreboard . The two players who have been described as not being extremely close , with Favre having been critical of the organization when Rodgers was drafted by team as a late first round draft pick in the 2005 NFL Draft . The backup would not become a regular season starter until 2008 . Brett Favre would later depart from the franchise under a cloud of controversy , with fans and detractors of the veteran , voicing their thoughts publicly , in print, via the airwaves and on television . Getty Images/ Mark Parsons …….

(5) Former 49ers Steve Young (L), Roger Craig (C) and Joe Montana (R) wait to go onto the field for a half time presentation during home opener as the San Francisco 49ers host the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick Park September 20, 2009 in San Francisco, California. Getty Images North America / David Paul Morris ….

(6) Hall of Fame inductee Hakeem Olajuwon foreground , shows the Houston Rockets’ center Dwight Howard a few on-court drills and moves . Howard , since his arrival with the franchise has performed moderately , but the team now evolves around the play of point guard Jeremy Lin and James Harden . Olajuwon , GM Daryl Morey and head coach Kevin McHale see Howard as a vital part of the team’s offense , as they seek to make their presence felt within the Western Conference this season . AP Photo / Matt Shields ….

(7) Newly acquired center Dwight Howard , left foreground , is seen here with Houston Rockets’ great Hakeem Olajuwon and the team’s head coach Kevin McHale in the background at the team’s venue the Toyota Center in Houston Texas . Signed as a free agent in the off-season , the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year is seeking establish himself as the premiere center in the NBA , after a somewhat lackluster year in 2012 , with Howard being unable to assist the Los Angeles Lakers during the postseason in any great depth . AP Photo / Keith Miller ….

(8) Two legendary giants of the game and some might agree a pair of centers who at the height of their careers were the most dominant players of their generation as centers . Bill Russell , left , whose career with the Boston Celtics is littered with accolades too numerous to mention , shakes hands with Kareem Abdul Jabbar , whose own career with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers are synonymous as Russell’s with the Boston Celtics . AP Photo / Roger Pettigrew …. …….

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tophatal ……………….

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Speak no evil , see no evil and hear no evil

Speak no evil , see no evil and hear no evil

Well modesty forbids me to gloat , but I can’t help but feel that while the San Antonio Spurs many of the doubters of this team must now be somewhat disappointed . At the ripe of old age of thirty-seven , Tim Duncan is still proving that he remains a formidable player after all these years . Gregg Popovich , has now guided the team to their fifth NBA Finals` appearance since 1997. The franchise is also seeking to win their fifth title under Popovich`s tenure . This much we do now know , whoever the Spurs are to meet in the upcoming Finals , will be meeting a rejuvenated team with three future Hall of Fame players on the team`s current roster .

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In the unlikeliest of situations, San Antonio simply slipped by the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals in a four-game sweep of their conference counterparts . For Lionel Hollins and his coaching staff of the Grizzlies , theirs was a commendable year , where their season-high came by way of their first round defeat of the number one seeds in the conference , the Oklahoma City Thunder . Suffice to say , as the Spurs await the winners of the ongoing hard-fought series between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers .

Now while the Heat have taken a 2-1 lead in their series , no one is saying that this duel has reached a finality by way of LeBron James and his teammates having slammed the door shut on Pacers` postseason aspirations . This still remains an unfinished and a completely unwritten chapter , a number of plot-lines and episodes that still remain unresolved .

The baseball season has become something of an anathema as the duels between the pitchers and batters remains a highly competitive one . That being said, there is very good reason to believe that if things play out as they currently are , the fans MLB analysts alike , could be in for a great deal of fun , as the year unfolds .

Last season’s Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera is ahead of last season’s pace , as he looks to possibly make history as the game’s only repeat champion in that specific category . Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers (29-20) are themselves riding high in the AL Central , with Jim Leyland’s players seemingly looking to run away with the division . However , in light of that all, the Cleveland Indians , led by new installed manager Terry Francona has the Indians a mere 2½ games behind the Tigers .

Far be it for me to suggest , but I believe that the last time Indians Tigers contended for anything in baseball , I was in the midst of a divorce , not exactly a happy time for myself and presumably the franchise at the time . Amicable as the parting was said to be , it must be said , my ex-wife doesn’t remain on my list of high priorities . In the case of the Cleveland Indians winning does remain utmost at the top of their agenda , along regaining their respectability amongst their peers within the game.

If there is likely to be a managerial casualty within the game at present , then one could possibly look no further than Bo Porter of the Houston Astros , Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers , Mike Redmond of the Miami Marlins and Terry Collins of the New York Mets . All three managers currently have their respective teams playing sub .500 baseball , and I might, the sort of mediocre baseball , that I seriously doubt that their owners or general managers thought would be so dire .

I am not about to go into any in-depth prognostication as to why I believe that four managers in question should be relieved of their duties . Yet , there is enough evidence there to suggest that this season , neither of the aforementioned individuals have done anywhere near enough to guide their respective teams , with any great authority . Mattingly’s position on appearance alone , might appear to be all that tenuous , but you simply cannot overlook that the Dodgers , in spite of the team’s compilation of injuries , the team has performed miserably . What makes this all the more embarrassing , is the very fact that with a $200 million payroll , team owners , Magic Johnson , Todd Boehly . Peter Guber and Mark Walter , may well be putting on a brave face , while their ball-club is beset by on the field issues . Yet who would have guessed that this team would be performing so badly in the midst having been purchased with a $2 billion price tag and with the lingering odor of former owner Frank McCourt still wafting over Dodgers’ Stadium , in Los Angeles California , like rancid feline urine . It begs the question that in spite of the big splash and the bold predictions , the Dodgers have come up way short of Johnson’s own lofty expectations for this team and the season.

The Dodgers will entertain their cross-town rivals the Los Angeles Angels today in a game to be played at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angeles , California . On the mound for the team when they face off against the Angels will be Hyun Jin Ryu against the Joe Blanton in what should prove to be a very good pitchers’ duel . For GM Ned Colletti and team President Stan Kasten , the issues faced beyond the team’s bloated payroll and the under-achievement of the players , is that there now appears to be no leadership forthcoming from either Matt Kemp or Adrian Gonzalez , two of the team’s better offensive players and likely to be amongst the NL’s prime candidates for the NL MVP .

No lull before the storm but the NFL OTA’s (organized training activities) for a number of teams , have brought about a few odd spectacles for a number of franchises . Perhaps none more so , than for the Buffalo Bills , whose playoff drought in the league has been so lean , that the fans crave it , like the air they breathe . Head coach Doug Marrone and the front office had their turmoil during the off-season, but the big surprise came with the franchise’s choice to take a quarterback in the first round of this past NFL Draft . EJ Manuel was the player who had the privilege of being the franchise’s first draft pick , player , surprising a number of fans NFL analysts around the league environment . As a draftee taken out of Florida State where he had a moderately successful collegiate career .

Signs are , with Manuel along with veteran Kevin Kolb are likely to have something of an unsettling regular season , albeit , that it might still be too early assess how good or bad this team is likely to be . Marrone will certainly be looking to see of a journeyman such Kolb , still has anything to offer a franchise at this stage of his career . Kolb has suggested that he has joined the Buffalo Bills with a view to winning and to guide the young rookie quarterbacks on the team`s roster . Last I looked , Kevin Kolb`s resume` as a player , gave nothing by way of a suggestion , that he could or would be ever considered to be a winner ! The former Eagles and Cardinals` signal caller , if anything , can be best described, as a below to moderate backup quarterback in the NFL .

Inasmuch, as I love to watch energetic and competitive football , I truly believe that the AFC East will be determined this season will be determined by the play of the New England Patriots and how Bill Belichick sets about in the preparedness of his team . As the Patriots go , then so will the destination of the divisional title . With the Bills opening their regular season a> schedule with a game against the New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo , New York on the 8th September, 2013 , opening weekend of the NFL regular season schedule . If the game is anything like the previous meetings between these two teams , then the fans in attendance, will be definitely be in for something of a treat . Newly installed GM Doug Whaley , in his first draft , in a capacity as a general manager , sought not to make the type of mistakes that were often associated with a number of his predecessors . That being said , it might will be the off-season free agent acquisitions , that may well stir a great deal of debate as it relates to the Buffalo Bills .

I am not about to suggest that Bills draftees , EJ Manuel , Robert Woods , Kiko Alonso , Marquise Goodwin , Duke Williams , Jonathan Meeks , Dustin Hopkins and Chris Gragg will not be able to make solid contributions for the team this upcoming season . Yet considering , the Bills` lackluster performances in 2012. By comparison to the team`s draft class of last season , was less than superlative , by way of their contributions for Buffalo , in terms of their schedule and the franchise`s final divisional and conference standings overall .

I am sorry, but after the idiotic behavior we all witnessed that went viral concerning, the now former Rutgers University men`s basketball coach, Mike Rice . and the school’s former AD , Tim Pernetti , whose incompetency was only outdone , by his sheer and utter stupidity in not having fired Rice , with cause , rather than seeking to make Rice is own personal reclamation project , even when it was known that Mike Rice was a repeat offender . I felt that there could be no way in hell that things could have gotten worse for the once distinguished educational establishment . State ran, or not, the absolute incredulity shown by all involved within the university`s administration is a clear indication why greed , and stupidity , overtakes common sense and moral expediency within collegiate athletics . And please, do not look for to any sound reasoning or common sense to be shown by anyone within the NCAA hierarchy , Most definitely not while on NCAA President Mark Emmert`s watch . Emmert has enough skeletons in his own damn closet to make a corrupt member of the US Congress blush .

Courtesy of ESPN

Julie Hermann remains under fire

By Andrea Adelson ,

Incoming Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann, already accused of abusive behavior toward student-athletes during her time as the women’s volleyball coach at Tennessee, is the focus of another lawsuit — this one during her time at Louisville in 2008.

According to a report in The New York Times, assistant track and field coach Mary Banker approached Hermann, who was then a senior athletics administrator at Louisville, about what she thought was sexist behavior and “discriminatory treatment” by head coach Ron Mann. After taking her concerns to human resources, Banker was fired within three weeks.

According to the legal filings obtained by The Times, Hermann initially was supportive of Banker after hearing of her complaints. In an email to Banker, Hermann wrote: “Thank you … We’re lucky to have you … You’re a change agent … don’t let their limitations take you out of the game … thank god you’re here.”

According to a filing, Hermann expressed concern after Banker went to HR with her complaints about Mann.

“Hermann called Banker into her office and flat-out told her, ‘You should not have gone to HR,’ ” the filing states, adding that Hermann allegedly told Banker: “I don’t know how I’m going to restore trust in you amongst staff now,” and “I don’t know how you’re going to work downstairs after this.”

On Monday, Rutgers president Robert Barchi gave a vote of confidence for Hermann, and supporters defended her as a strong leader and advocate for women after it came to light that Hermann had been sued by former Tennessee volleyball assistant coach Ginger Hineline in the 1990s. According to the suit, Hineline accused Hermann of discouraging her from getting pregnant. Hineline was awarded $150,000 in a settlement in 1997.

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich told ESPN, “In 15½ years, I never had one problem” with Hermann. “She did impeccable work for us. No one has said anything the past 15 years. She is beloved here.”

Joan Cronan, Tennessee women’s AD emeritus, also voiced support for Hermann, claiming in a statement that she does not “recall it being an abusive situation.”

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich told ESPN, “In 15½ years, I never had one problem” with Hermann. “She did impeccable work for us. No one has said anything the past 15 years. She is beloved here.”

Joan Cronan, Tennessee women’s AD emeritus, also voiced support for Hermann, claiming in a statement that she does not “recall it being an abusive situation.”

“I hold Julie Hermann in high regard, and I believe she is well-prepared for her new role at Rutgers University,” Cronan wrote in her statement, according to MyCentralJersey.com. “My recollection of the time Julie was at the University of Tennessee is that it was a very frustrating time for everyone connected with the volleyball program, which had performed far below our expectations. However, I do not recall it being an abusive situation.”

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Rutgers University President Robert Barchi has used about as much expediency while this continued idiocy has taken a familiar course along the route of ineptitude . The school recently hired Julie Hermann to succeed Tim Pernetti . Yet only now, has it come to the fore after grave doubts had been presented about Hermann`s character , honesty and integrity . In choosing to make Julie Hermann the first female athletic director of a D1 school in the last fifteen years , now poses the question , how much due diligence was used by Barchi and his subordinates during the entire interview and hiring process ? Throughout much of Hermann`s career`s in collegiate athletics , either as a coach, or as an administrator , some form of controversy has continued to followed her . Now with allegations of sexual impropriety , allegations of misleading investigators in a legal issue , as well as issues concerning her own competency in her now chosen field as an administrator . One has to wonder , why Barchi and interim AD made the decision to hire Hermann . New Jersey governor , Chris Christie has now entered the fray with reservations in part questioning Robert Barchi`s choice of Julie Hermann to succeed Tim Pernetti . Christie , conscious of this latest problem , obviously, does not want to see the state ran university fall any deeper into a quagmire of its own making .

. The nation`s children are being sent to establishments of higher learning to first and foremost , obtain an education and learn how to be productive citizens. Unfortunately , it is the faculty members who now seem to be falling way sort of what the parents and public alike expect from our state ran and private universities .

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Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any , do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) SAN ANTONIO, TX – MAY 21: Mike Budenholzer , assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs, speaks with Tim Duncan (21) and Kawhi Leonard (2) before resuming play against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on May 21, 2013 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images …

(2) Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) blocks a shot by San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) during the first half in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series in Memphis, Tenn., Monday, May 27, 2013. AP Photo/Danny Johnston …..

(3) San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan, of the U.S. Virgin Islands, left, is congratulated by Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins after Game 4 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series in Memphis, Tenn., Monday, May 27, 2013. The Spurs defeated the Grizzlies 93-86 to advance to the NBA finals. AP Photo/Danny Johnston ….

(4) DETROIT, MI – MAY 28: Miguel Cabrera (24) of the Detroit Tigers singles to left field in the first inning of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park on May 28, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ….

(5) LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 28: Hyun-Jin Ryu (99) of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts as he watches the third out of the ninth inning for a two hit complete game shutout of the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on May 28, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …

(6) Quarterback E.J. Manuel from Florida State stands with the team jersey after being selected 16th overall by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the NFL football draft , Thursday, April 25, 2013 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. AP Photo/Jason DeCrow …..

(7) Kevin Kolb of the Buffalo Bills speaks to the convened press, after recently been acquired by the team as a free agent . Kolb now seen as a journeyman quarterback will be viewed as starter for the team this upcoming season , but the prevailing thought appears to be that the job is E J Manuel`s for the taking as Buffalo`s options at the position do appear to be thin . Ryan Peters / Getty Images ….

(8) FILE – In this May 15, 2013 file photo, Julie Hermann , left, sits with Rutgers president Roberet L. Barchi, as they listen to a question during a news conference where she was introduced as the new athletic director at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J. A high ranking official at the University of Tennessee has voiced her support for Hermann, who is facing allegations she verbally abused players while she was the volleyball coach with the Volunteers. AP Photo/Mel Evans ……..

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tophatal ………………………. 05/28/2013

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NBA news & archived stories

NBA scheduled game

NBA playoffs` overview

This month in NBA history and for the month of June

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MLB news and news from around the league

MLB standings and wildcard standings

MLB schedule and probable pitchers

This week in MLB history

MLB standings 28th May 2012

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NFL news and archived stories

NFL transactions month of May and in April

NFL preseason schedule and regular season schedule , week`s one , two , three and four .

Buffalo Bills` news

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Hot chic pic of the day Vida Guerra and another framed picture below .

As one door closes , another one opens . For Christ’s sake , keep the f##king door shut !

As one door closes , another one opens . For Christ’s sake keep the f##king door shut !

Well the idiocy of the NFL Draft has come and gone , in spite of this high-profiled event , nothing will really be learned until many of these rookies get their first taste of the NFL , during week one of the upcoming season . And to hear many of these draft geeks and on air personalities speculate and prognosticate , you would’ve thought that all thirty-two teams in the NFL were in sheer dire straits . In reality this draft had more to do with personalities , lack of real talent in a vast array of areas , in spite of the recommendations being made by members of the media .

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Slideshow .

Now Tim Tebow having been cut from the organization at the behest of GM John Idzik , speculation still remains as to the future of the team’s beleaguered quarterback , Mark Sanchez whose performances in 2012 , were amongst the worst in the AFC and NFL throughout much of last season .

Courtesy of Pro Footballtalk.com

Testaverde disappointed Tebow didn’t get a chance

By Darin Gantt

While just-released quarterback Tim Tebow hasn’t had much support today, at least one former Jet is disappointed he didn’t get a chance to stay.

Former quarterback Vinny Testaverde had worked with Tebow recently in Florida, and he said he saw significant mechanical improvement.

“I was kind of disappointed because I was hoping he’d get a chance to show the coaches what we worked on,” Testaverde told Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. “I think they would’ve been impressed if they had compared this year to last year ” .

Testaverde spent a week with Tebow, concentrating on his footwork. In layman’s terms, Testaverde said Tebow “was stepping in the wrong direction when he was throwing the football.”

Testaverde also consulted with IMG instructor Chris Weinke, saying they “speak the same quarterback language” because they both played under Dan Henning.

“Chris and I looked at Tim careful and we were both amazed,” Testaverde said. “Everybody has been focusing on his throwing motion, trying to fix that, but nobody had picked up his footwork. His footwork was all screwed up. Chris and I looked at each other after about four or five throws, and we saw the same thing. We got his footwork fixed. His throwing motion is now a non-issue.

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Sanchez is owed in excess of $12.8 million for the upcoming season , but it seems that in all probability , John Idzik will seek a trade of the player, rather than retain him for the entire season while still having to make the financial outlay . He is due a roster bonus of $4.1 million due on the 1st June , and a possible trade partner , if anything would rather seek to only pay a nominal sum with regard to the player’s salary , and then assuming the remainder of Mark Sanchez’s contract from 2014 through to 2016 . This upcoming season for the Jets will be very interesting to see how they fare in their season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the 8th September 2013 ,

It seems that fans , agents and analysts alike were simply surprised that a quarterback was not taken in the top ten of the first round of this NFL Draft . The fact that it was the Buffalo Bills , with the sixteenth pick in the first round taking EJ Manuel , made that whole premise all the more surprising . That being said , now consider the franchise’s options at the position , when you consider that Kevin Kolb is meant to be the Bills’ starter for the upcoming season . Shit , I’d rather walk on hot coals , rather than seeing Kolb quarterback any franchise within the NFL , as he simply does not possess the talent needed to be a starter in the NFL . Yet somehow, Bills’ head coach Doug Marrone and the front office believe the veteran to be their man . It is my belief , that sooner , rather than later , Manuel will be a starter in the league , quite possibly this season , if Kolb’s recent performances are anything to go by.

The AFC East , if nothing else , should prove to be a great deal fun , considering the antics of the teams from within the division and their performances from last season . Among the teams seeking redemption from last season’s nightmare , just happens to be the New York Jets , whose head coach , Rex Ryan barely escaped from the franchise’s purge of a mediocre coaching staff from 2012 . Out went , offensive coordinator , Tony Sparano , whose ides of team offense bordered on being absurd . And the very fact , that he has now joined the coaching staff of the Oakland Raiders , further enhances the notion , that coaching in the NFL , is no longer about creativity in terms of coaching talent but simply the “ rehashing” of “ mediocre coaches” “ , whose ideas are in essence , from a bygone age “ ! How else can one simply explain the fact that Sparano and Ryan were simply so how out of touch reality , while being allowed to ruin the franchise , and with asinine belief that Tim Tebow would be able to contribute to a team that was lacking in talent and creativity , never-mind poor coaching from every layer , within a considerably inept organization. Yet boneheaded individuals swayed by their emotions, continued to call for Tebow’s inclusion either as a starter or in some other capacity for the franchise . Fantasy geeks were either that blasé or simply that goddamn stupid, throughout much of 2012.

Sanchez is owed in excess of $12.8 million for the upcoming season , but it seems that in all probability , John Idzik will seek a trade of the player, rather than retain him for the entire season while still having to make the financial outlay . He is due a roster bonus of $4.1 million due on the 1st June , and a possible trade partner , if anything would rather seek to only pay a nominal sum with regard to the player’s salary , and then assuming the remainder of Mark Sanchez’s contract from 2014 through to 2016 . This upcoming season for the Jets will be very interesting to see how they fare in their season opener against Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the 8th September 2013 .

With this draft I expected the New England Patriots to do a great deal more than they did , but once again I believe they have failed miserably with this particular draft class . To try and suggest that Jamie Collin s , Aaron Dobson , Logan Ryan , Duron Harmon , Josh Boyce , Michael Buchanan and Steve Beauharnais . These are the players drafted by the organization with view redeeming itself after a monstrous postseason foray , which was best summed up in the team’s embarrassing loss to the eventual Superbowl champions , the Baltimore Ravens , in the AFC championship game . Given the team’s malaise during the game itself and the very fact that Bill Belichick was out-smarted and outmatched by his opposite number John Harbaugh .

I firmly believe that Belichick failed to address the concerns of this team on defense , albeit , that they made a few off-season deals that would suggest that he , GM Nick Caserio and the coaching staff have addressed the team’s failings over the past three seasons. ( 2012 , 2011 & 2010 ). This season if this team in its present guise is unable to address those woes , then the Patriots’ 2013 regular season foray is likely to be an extremely tough one . While fans and analysts alike will point to the potency of the team’s offense over the past few seasons . One should also remember , defense wins championships , and the offense is simply there , as the mainstay of the regular season .

With the NBA postseason now in full swing with the opening round series in some instances , all but established . It seems somewhat unbelievable to believe that the league’s two most renowned franchises are about to be or have been eliminated the first round of the NBA Playoffs . The Boston Celtics have fought back from the cusp of being eliminated in game four , but still find themselves with an almost insurmountable issue in having to still erase a 3-1 deficit in their first round series against the highly regarded New York Knicks .

Having watched this series unfold , to say that I am disappointed in the lack of commitment being shown by the Celtics , would be a tremendous understatement . The core of this roster simply is not good enough , nor has there been any leadership shown by seasoned veterans such as, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett . Granted , while Doc Rivers does not have the privilege of having the team’s best player on the court , It must be said , that as surely as Rajon Rondo is missed, it should not be made or seen as the primary excuse for the team’s poor play in this series . Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson has simply instilled into this team a real “killer instinct” , not often witnessed with the Knicks’ teams from the franchise’s recent past .

It would be fair to suggest that the Boston Celtics and the franchise’s front office will have to reassess the makeup of this roster and look to build around either Rondo or seek to bring in a marquee free agent during the off-season . Certainly , GM Danny Ainge and senior managing partner Wyc Grousbeck will have to come to a decision , sooner , rather than later as it relates to the immediate and long-term future of this renowned franchise .

This series may well be far from over in the eyes of the Celtics’ fans and players, and it does seem highly unlikely that the team will be derail what now appears to be a focused Knicks’ team obviously looking towards that perceived showdown with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals . Alas , it is my belief that after all of the in-fighting within the Boston Celtics’ locker room and the animosity that allegedly lingered between Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen wasn’t quashed by the coaching staff , head coach or by the Kevin Garnett , the perceived leader of this roster . Instead , Garnett chose to show his immaturity , by berating his former teammate , haranguing him , after his departure , but even more so , when it was announced that Allen had signed with the reigning NBA champions , the Miami Heat.

These are certainly the twilight years in the careers of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce , certainly , two players that are likely to be enshrined in the Naismith (Basketball) Hall of Fame , having met the eligibility requirements upon their retirement .

Despite their value and profitability , it would be fair to say that the Los Angeles Lakers are the most storied franchise in NBA history alongside their most heated rivals the Boston Celtics . With the two franchises accounting for over thirty of the NBA Finals competed for in NBA history .

In what wasn’t seen as a strange turn of events, when the Bryant-less Lakers met the San Antonio Spurs in their opening round series , expectation were high. Instead lackluster … performances , an injury riddled roster and the growing immaturity of Dwight Howard shone through , in what can be best described as piss poor performances all-round from every participant on this Los Angeles Lakers roster during the series. And you simply know things are bad for the franchise when one of the Lakers’ most celebrated fans , actor , Jack Nicholson offers his congratulations to Gregg Popovich and the entire Spurs’ roster , while ignoring several members of the Los Angeles Lakers’ playing staff.

With the Lakers being swept 4-0 in the series , it was the franchise’s earliest exit in the postseason , where the Lakers has a lost series , in such an embarrassing fashion , with that coming in the 1967 Western Conference Semi-Finals to the San Francisco Warriors (Golden State Warriors) .

Mitch Kupchak and SVP Jim Buss now have the unenviable task of assessing the roster and making a number of far-reaching decisions as it relates to the makeup of this team . In my m honest opinion , the general manager and team owner have erred in so many decisions as it relates to this franchise in recent years , that it has been a constant comedy of errors , watching the Lakers as their season came to an abrupt end. Suffice to say , with Dwight Howard showing a real lack of commitment and his getting into foul trouble in the third quarter of game four (103-82) , the fate of this team was sealed as the Spurs came away with a rather lopsided victory , as they now await the victor of the series between the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies .

The Los Angeles Lakers, are now left on the outside looking in , as their season has simply gone up in flames . In all likelihood, with the Lakers’ bloated payroll ($100.1 million) , and no semblance of financial rationale for the never-ending stupidity to simply overpay for marginal talent , much as it would appear to be for a number teams around the NBA , while David Stern inexcusably tries to make the claim that the franchises of the NBA are financially responsible . Perhaps the NBA Commissioner could indicate the transparency of the claims he continually makes ? Once a boneheaded asshole , always a boneheaded asshole ! Nothing more , nothing less as it relates to David Stern !

ESPN’s David Aldridge is reporting that there will be a stay of execution as it relates to the sale of Sacramento Kings by the Maloof family to a consortium led by billionaire venture capitalist , Chris Hansen and Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer . In what is said to be a last-ditch attempt by the city of Sacramento mayor , Kevin Johnson , it appears that the NBA hierarchy and its Board of Governors have vetoed the sale of the franchise , and the consortium’s bid of almost $600 million is now likely to be overruled ,with the commissioner having been left with egg on his face , as initially he welcomed the pursuant bid of Hansen and Ballmer .

Courtesy of ESPN

In shocking twist, the Kings will likely stay in Sacramento

By David Aldridge

The NBA has all but officially decided to keep the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento.

In a unanimous vote of the league’s combined Relocation and Finance committees Monday afternoon, 12 NBA owners recommended that the league’s Board of Governors vote to deny the relocation of the Kings to Seattle — and, in doing so, deny the sale of the team from the Maloof Family to a Seattle-based group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The recommendation will be taken up by the full Board for a formal vote the week of May 13. But it is almost certain that the full Board will go along with the recommendation and vote to keep the Kings in Sacramento, at least for another year.

Relocating a team requires a majority, or 16 of the league’s 30 teams to vote yes. As 12 teams have already voted no, that means the Seattle group would have to get 16 of the league’s remaining 18 teams to vote yes, a near-impossibility. And once relocation is voted down, the sale of the team to Hansen’s group would follow, for Hansen has consistently said he was only interested in buying the Kings if he could move them to Seattle.

“I’ve never been prouder of this city,” Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson Tweeted Monday afternoon. “I thank the ownership group, city leaders, but most of all the BEST FANS IN THE NBA!!!”

While the Maloofs are not obligated to sell the Kings, they will now be under incredible pressure to do so, after Sacramento put together a group led by software magnate Vivek Ranadive, who would be the first majority NBA owner of Indian descent. Ranadive’s group submitted a formal bid to the NBA earlier this month that NBA Commissioner David Stern said was comparable to the Seattle bid, and which the league considered binding.

It is not clear what steps the league could take if the Maloofs opt not to negotiate with the Ranadive group or sell to it. Stern reiterated earlier this month that the league does generally allow owners to sell to whomever they want, provided the new owners’ finances are in place, even though the league decides whether teams will be allowed to move.

The league also knew that its owners’ decision would rip the heart out of one city or the other. There was no solution that could make both happy.

“It’s not exactly comparing two cities,” a source with knowledge of the discussions said Monday. “It’s been hard to leave a place that’s been good to the NBA. Leaving a team, leaving a city, leaving a bunch of fans when they stepped up. That’s what it is.”

The decision caps an incredible comeback by the city of Sacramento, which looked doomed to lose its team after Hansen and the Maloofs announced in January they had reached a binding deal for the Maloofs to sell 65 percent of the team to Hansen, or $341 million, on a franchise valuation of $525 million. Hansen gave the Maloofs a non-refundable $30 million deposit as part of the agreement.

Ranadive’s group, according to an April 17 letter from the Maloof Family to the league that was leaked to the media, agreed to match the $525 million valuation for the team, but wanted to give the Maloofs a $15 million non-refundable deposit instead of $30 million. The Maloofs claimed that entering into an agreement with the Sacramento group would constitute a breach of contract with the Hansen group and would reduce the family’s leverage to negotiate in case the league vetoed the sale to the Hansen group.

Hansen had meticulously put together a plan over two years, purchasing land near Major League Baseball’s Safeco Field on which he wanted to build a new arena for an NBA and National Hockey League team. He reached an agreement with the city of Seattle for construction of a $491 building with up to $200 million in public funds.

But Sacramento, led by Johnson, came roaring back, putting together its own arena deal and ownership group, first led by supermarket mogul Ron Burkle and 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov. But Burkle had to drop out of the team and arena plans after a conflict of interest with one of his businesses, which represents NBA players, was discovered.

Burkle was replaced by Ranadive, a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors, who quickly became the face of the Sacramento group. The city and the Ranadive Group reached agreement on construction of a $447 million arena, with Sacramento contributing $258 million toward the costs.

The Board of Governors postponed a final vote on whether to accept the Seattle or Sacramento plans when it met earlier this month, with NBA Commissioner David Stern citing the incredibly complex issues the league faced. Could it vote to leave a city whose fans had been incredibly loyal over the years, and who had reached agreement with the Maloofs last year on a new arena deal, only to see the family walk away?

On the other hand, Seattle had famously lost its team, which became the Oklahoma City Thunder, in 2008, and the NBA had lost a potentially dynamic market. The Hansen bid for the Kings wildly inflated the value of all other NBA teams, and the potential revenues from a regional sports network and other corporate dollars made Seattle an enticing city. In addition, Hansen’s group went about its business quietly, as the NBA prefers.

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For the last eight years the Sacramento Kings have been one of the least supported franchises in the NBA , along with being one of the least profitable of the NBA’s thirty teams . Why in the world Johnson would seek retain a loss making concern that is barely supported with anemic attendance level seems somewhat idiotic , but for the life of me I cannot understand the reasoning behind the mayor’s madness when his city has its very own budgetary woes to deal with . As with any asinine politician, who ill-serves his electorate, and the citizens who have entrusted him to lead. It does beg the question , will he now seek to use public resources to aid millionaire software magnate Vivek Ranadive and his last-minute bid for the Western Conference franchise ? Ranadive stepped into the fray , the moment this consortium hastily put together by Kevin Johnson , when billionaire real estate magnate , Ron Burkle dropped out the syndicate citing personal and professional reasons . In reality, Burkle’s concerns lay elsewhere , as he is one of the lead developers of the downtown Los Angeles area, seeking build a commercial and private real estate development , that will potentially house a 85,000 to 100,000 seat stadium with the view of luring a relocating or a new NFL franchise into the nation’s second largest ad market and its second most populated city. Be that as it may , my question for commissioner , if he is now prepared be mindful of the Board of Governors’ wish in such an instance . Then what in essence is now so different here from the same situation that arose when the Seattle Supersonics’ sale to Clay Bennett , when that franchise was then relocated to Oklahoma City ? Clearly , the league hierarchy , in this instance, has never acted with any real transparency , as it relates to their decision-making .

Many of you will know by now, that there were allegations made that the NBA acted with a great deal of subterfuge as they simply sought to relocate the Sonics’ franchise because of the advantage tax breaks that would be received by the Oklahoma City Thunder , from the municipality of Oklahoma City . Over the first five years of the residency within their new home (Chesapeake Energy Center) , the franchise was able to receive in excess of $65 million in tax breaks and other lucrative benefits for the state of Oklahoma’s only professional NBA franchise , much less its only professional sport’s franchise. It now begs the question what benefits will the city of Sacramento offer to the new ownership group of the Kings and their wish to remain in the California state capitol ? Is this really how Kevin Johnson and his fellow city commissioners wish to spend the goodwill and the resources of the city, while the NBA once again profits from this all. Most of all, the biggest benefactors from this all will remain the Maloof Family , and the lead siblings, Joe and Gavin Maloof , who preside over the sports’ interests of the familial holdings .

If Vivek Ranadive’s bid is now approved , and the Maloofs walk away with their newfound cash haul of $600 million to aid them in now ailing business interests as it relates to the family’s beverage , hospitality and transportation interests , their departure from the ranks of owners within the NBA fraternity , cannot come around quick enough in some circles . Joe and Gavin Maloof’s alleged business acumen as it relates to the Kings , has been at best , mediocre and a complete farce . The very fact that GM Geoff Petrie has also presided in and over this fu#king mess , makes it all the more asinine , that David Stern continues to make these dubious claims as to the league’s continued financial health and well-being. Meanwhile, anally retentive fans, continue to buy into the commissioner’s continued bull$hit ! The sooner the commissioner departs from his post , the better off NBA will be ! Unfortunately, Stern’s heir-apparent , Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver will assume his role in February 2014 and will follow in the same vein, as his predecessor. What else could the NBA ask for, at this juncture ? Simply one more reason to see the NBA for what it has simply become , a brand and business template completely devoid of character , integrity but above all , real leadership from anyone with a position of authority. Does anyone actually believe that David Stern has always acted in the best interest of the league?

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? By all means do leave a comment as you deem fit , concerning the subject matter and anything else that you believe to be pertinent .

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Tophatal ……….. 2013/04/29

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) In this Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012 photo, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) warms up before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y. The New York Jets say, Monday, April 29, 2013, they have waived Tebow. AP Photo/Gary Wiepert ….

(2) Tim Tebow (15) is seen here alongside his now former teammate, Mark Sanchez(6) , after the former Heisman Trophy winner was waived by the franchise . The New York Jets still have 5 quarterbacks remaining on the roster . There now seems to be mounting speculation that Sanchez is likely to be traded by the Jets , should they be able to find a suitable trade partner willing to undertake the remainder of the player’s sizable contract . GM John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan have refused to speculate on Mark Sanchez’s immediate future at this juncture . AP Photo / Richard Carter ….

(3) Jets’ front office executive John Idzik, left, sits next to New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan while waiting to be introduced as the Jets new general manager on the Jan 24th, 2013 . AP Photo / Mark Ruffo …..

(4) West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is seen here making his first public appearance as a member of the New York Jets . The quarterback was drafted as in the second round by the AFC East franchise . Smith hopes to make an immediate impact and contribution for the Jets this upcoming season . Yet it appears unlikely that he will be the starter in week one , as the common belief is , that veteran quarterback David Garrard will be the starting quarterback in that game , their season opener , against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . Getty Images North America / Paul Windham …..

(5) Veteran quarterback David Garrard, pictured inset , is likely to be the team’s starting quarterback during the regular season , but he is likely to face stiff competition from newly drafted rookie Geno Smith , as well as the other passers on the roster seeking to become the primary quarterback in the team’s depth chart . AFP / Ricardo Marchiallo ….

(6) New York Knicks’ Raymond Felton (2) gets a high-five from a teammate as Boston Celtics’ Doc River s walks onto the court after calling a time out during the second quarter of Game 3 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Boston, Friday, April 26, 2013. AP Photo/Winslow Townson ….

(7) New York Knicks’ Iman Shumpert (21) tries to control the ball as Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce (34) struggles with Knicks’ Kenyon Martin , far right, during the second half in Game 4 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series in Boston, Sunday, April 28, 2013. The Celtics won 97-90 in overtime. AP Photo/Elise Amendola …..

(8) Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol (16) , of Spain, knocks the ball out of the hands of San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan during the second half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series , Sunday, April 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. The Spurs won 103-82 and swept the Lakers in four games to bring the Los Angeles’ franchise’s season to an abrupt end . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(9) Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard , right, looks on along with San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal , left, after receiving a technical foul during the first half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Sunday, April 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. Howard scored seven points before getting ejected early in the third quarter for arguing . The Spurs won 103-82 . What we have seen from Dwight Howard in recent years has been the player’s growing immaturity and complete lack of leadership skills , but there are those who stand by the claim that he remains the best center in the NBA , and that may well be the case from a defensive and offensive standpoint , but it has to be said that he lacks the leadership qualities as such revered centers as Shaquille O’Neal , David Robinson , Hakeem Olajuwon , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(10) Indian-American software mogul Vivek Ranadive who is now showing an interest in purchasing the beleaguered Sacramento Kings . In the aftermath of 12 of the NBA’s thirty owners voting against the sale and relocation of the franchise , it now leaves the road clear for Ranadive’s bid to be accepted by the league hierarchy and Board of Governors . Getty Images North America / Bill Parker ……….

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NFL news and news from around the league

NFL archived stories

NFL Draft (2013)

NFL quarterbacks taken in this season’s draft

NFL team transaction

🙂 …… 🙂 ……. 🙂

New England Patriots’ news

New York Jets’ news

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NBA news and archived stories

2012-13 NBA Postseason summary & news

NBA Playoffs Brackets

NBA results 28th April & results 27th April

NBA schedule 29th April

NBA free agents 2014

NBA team salaries & players’ salaries highest paid

Boston Celtics’ news

Los Angeles Lakers’ news

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Hot chic pic of the day Jordan Carver .

More of Carver on the move , just as you may well like it , or not .

Take it from me , those puppies of Carvers’ need to be sucked and played with a great deal , if only in fun !

The bouncing ball and the NBA

The bouncing ball and the NBA

By Tophatal

The NBA season is but a mere eight days old , and already we have seen the rise of the Houston Rockets and the effect that the James Harden trade had added excitement to this franchise . And now with it comes the expectation of tangible success , as Kevin McHale and this team are riding on the crest of a wave.

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Slideshow .

It is still early days yet , but there are no real early surprise as the season unfolds, It is still early days yet , but what has come to the fore , have been the number players now on the NBA injury , which in certain instances will deal a great blow to the championship aspects of so many teams. As of Wednesday night, the New York Knicks (3-0) remained the NBA’s lone undefeated team , as they lead the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference by 1 ½ games over the Philadelphia 76ers (2-2). My own inclination is while the season still remains in its infancy , we are unlikely to see any real surprises . Questions will undoubtedly abound , as to how effective the rookies will be , and the sort of impact they are like to have for their respective teams. With the New Orleans Hornets’ Anthony Davis already sidelined with a concussion , it now also begs the question how safe is the game of basketball within the NBA ? This season , a strict new criteria has been initiated by the league hierarchy , which already has a number of coaches questioning the over-zealousness of the league. Hornets’ head coach, Monty Williams hinted that he was not entirely happy with the fact that Davis would have to miss two games , but also with the league’s new stance on concussions. Far be it for me to suggest , but I would have thought more prudent to err on the side of caution , rather than risk the health , livelihood and the investment placed upon a player, rather than reinserting the athlete back into a game, when he has not been fully cleared by a medical professional !

If the fast start of the Houston Rockets has come as a surprise , then most certainly the fact that the New York Knicks, apart from being unbeaten , it is the fact that the team is playing solid defense over a forty-eight minute period , and that they are doing so without the aid of Amare’ Stoudemire , who remains sidelined by an injury. In Stoudemire’s absence, others have stepped up to the plate , to aid Carmelo Anthony in the team’s offensive productivity , while Tyson Chandler leads the defensive efforts on this roster. It seems somewhat idiotic at present that there would be calls for Amare Stoudemire to be traded at this point of the season , when the trade deadline is not until early February , but there is a thought that the return of the power forward would upset the cohesive flow of the team. Clearly, head coach, Mike Woodson at present, is unwilling to address the issue , while the front office led by GM Glen Grunwald remains mute on the subject. Any proposed trade of Stoudemire to begin with , is littered with pitfalls , as the player is still owed in excess of $62 million over the three remaining years of his existing contract. The sheer idiocy of the fans and analysts alike , who raise such a premise , when having no full knowledge of the inner workings and the business side of the NBA, is a clear indication , as to why this country finds itself in such an economic mess . Sheer stupidity, not only runs amok within the federal government , but also within a large majority of a clueless sporting public , whose IQ is barely above that of a gnat.

So all is not quite right in ‘La-La Land , as the beleaguered Los Angeles Lakers (1-4) now find themselves at the base of the Pacific Division , looking up at divisional leaders , the Golden State Warriors (3-2), who are followed by the Los Angeles Clippers (3-2), Sacramento Kings (2-3), and Phoenix Suns (2-3), in that order . With all of the hoopla made after the big splash with the Lakers’ acquiring two-time league
MVP
, Steve Nash and three-time Defensive Player of the Year , Dwight Howard , all the elements were said to be in pace for this team to be dominant within their division and the Western Conference. An out of shape, Dwight Howard reported for duty , chiming in that he was ready to bring a great deal of success to a franchise that has simply known nothing but success for the greater part of its existence. Nash, the “ ageless wonder” , remains sidelined by a leg injury (leg contusion & swelling of the knee) that is taking longer than anticipated to heal.

If there is said to be one coach who will be under a great deal of scrutiny this season , then it will have to be Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers’ issues last came to light , with the team’s dismissal in the 2012 NBA Playoffs , by the Oklahoma City , who would go on to be the 2012 Western Conference champions , and losing finalist to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals of last season. That disappointment spoke volumes as to the deficiencies of the team in 2012, and why GM Mitch Kupchak and Lakers’ SVP, Jim Buss made the decision to revamp the roster . Success, and by that I mean the Los Angeles being viewed as a perennial contender and going deep into the playoffs , is the deepest desire of the owners of the franchise, with the ultimate goal of being crowned NBA champions.

Kobe Bryant , seasoned veteran, current face of the franchise , and elder statesman of the team, still remains eager to win , and like his younger counterpart LeBron James . That appetite, and zeal to be viewed as amongst the very best to have ever played the game, winning multiple titles , remains at the forefront of their reasons to be playing, and entertaining the fans. Between the pair, Bryant and James have won six NBA titles , four league MVP awards , and three NBA Finals’ MVP awards , and Olympic gold , representing Team USA at the Olympics.

What we have witnessed from the Lakers through their first five games , have been the defensive deficiencies of the team . Mike Brown’s failure , and that of his coaching staff , in trying to instill this trait in his players , has been the primary reason behind many of the Lakers’ lackluster performances this season . Metta World Peace , one time Defensive Player of the Year, has lost a considerable step or two , as a defensive stalwart, and as an offensive presence. While I have always been a great admirer of the Los Angeles Lakers from afar , I now get the feeling that as Kobe Bryant approaches the twilight of his career , this franchise will simply lose traction as a perennial contender for postseason honors ! When Kobe has an off-night, there is no one , that you could actually point to , and state categorically , that player will actually lead by example and pick up the slack. If you clearly believe that I am wrong in that context , then clearly state your reasons why ?

As an impassioned fan of the San Antonio Spurs , it is my hope that the team will have learned profound lessons from their experiences of last season , and specifically from the events that led to their ouster in the conference finals to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Gregg Popovich , remains the quintessential coach , admired by his peers and fans alike. Popovich , is amongst the four current head coaches in the NBA, with an NBA title on their resume`. Rick Carlisle , Erik Spoelstra , Doc Rivers , and the current Spurs’ coach , are the only individuals with that distinction currently coaching in the NBA. It certainly now gives credence as how thin the current makeup of the coaching fraternity just happens to be within the NBA. And one should consider the following of the twenty-two NBA finals decided since 1990 , fifteen of those finals have dominated by the presence Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich , finally holding aloft the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the culmination of those Finals. What says about the dominance of these two individuals as NBA head coaches , certifies the fact, that both will be future inductees into the Basketball Hall of Fame .

The knock against the San Antonio Spurs in recent seasons , is the very fact that , Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker are getting old , and have lost a step or two . Last I looked , this trio, as part of this franchise, are one of the nascent reasons behind some of the Spurs’ most historic moments ,while along the way , since the triumvirate have been together , they have guaranteed the fact, each year over the past decade ,with the exception of the curtailed seasons , they have finished with an above .500 record and have averaged 50 plus wins in each of the seasons mentioned . No other franchise in NBA history can match that feat , in having established such a run.

The makeup of the Spurs’ roster this season , is a blend of youth and experience. Team GM, R C Buford , team owner,Peter Holt and Popovich have established a successful franchise, that still remains the envy of the NBA . . Buford through judicious choices in the NBA Draft , and making the most of the free agency market over the years has been able to assemble a roster that he and Popovich believes will be competitive over a long and arduous season. The team’s choice in this year’s Draft was Marcus Denmon , taken as the 59th pick overall in the third round of the NBA Draft by the Spurs. Denmon is likely to spend some time in the NBA Development League , honing his game before that expected call-up to contribute as a starter on the team. Marcus Demon will be assigned with the Spurs’ D League affiliate , the Austin Toros . Taylor Jenkins and his coaching staff will seek the young rookie’s skills , as they have previous done with DeJuan Blair , Gary Neal and Tiago Splitter , players who are currently on the Spurs’ roster, and proving to be invaluable assets for the team this season. If the team is to prevail over the course of the season , then it will be incumbent for the Spurs to get consistent performances from their heralded trio , as well as from the role players on the roster.

Defending NBA champions , the Miami Heat are the prohibitive favorites to make a successful defense of their title . And it is hard to against the grain , when you consider how talent laden that roster now happens to be. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade , Chris Bosh and Ray Allen , not only add versatility to the makeup of that team , on the bear face of it this might just be a better roster than the Heat team that decisively defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder. . Head coach , Erik Spoelstra , under the watchful eye of his mentor and team President , Pat Riley have molded a resilient team of seasoned veterans with a splattering of youth . Now with their being repeated conversations, that the team is capable of surpassing the Chicago Bulls’ 72-10 record , from their championship winning season of 1995-96 . Are we as such putting the cart before the horse ? Now as good as this Heat team might appear to be on paper , does anyone truly believe that with LeBron James leading this roster , they would be able to challenge that Bulls’ mark ? Never mind the fact that the quality of the rosters then and now would have to be taken into account . What thoughts if any , do you have on the matter ? ? People also seem to be forgetting how dominant that Michael Jordan led team just happened to be , and that is with no disrespect to this current Miami Heat team. . I do believe that the Miami Heat can make a serious assault on that record , but in the end they are liable to fall short .

There seems to be this continued asinine assignation within the world of sports that municipalities are there to provide the billionaire and multimillionaire owners with the facilities needed to house their various sports’ franchises. Nowhere is this more prevalent than each of the four major professional sports __ specifically within the NFL , NBA and Major League Baseball . And along with it comes this apathetic absurdity of the fans who believe it appropriate that municipalities’ resources , be used to build such venues . Someone needs to ask Michael Bloomberg , if he still believe it was money well spent , in spending $775 million to build Citi-field , home to the New York Mets , a venue that in 2012 was never filled to capacity for any of the team’s home games . In light of that, we now have the continued idiocy of what has been an ongoing situation in Sacramento , California between the city , led by its mayor and former NBA star Kevin Johnson , as he tries to appeal to sense of fairness , from the egotistical traits of Joe and Gavin Maloof , co-owners of the Sacramento Kings’ franchise .

Groveling , as Johnson has been repeatedly doing , as he has not dealing from a position of strength , shows he, and the city of Sacramento , to be in a desperate situation . What might be even more unpalatable about this unsavory affair , is the very fact that the Maloofs have been duplicitous during this whole episode , while David Stern monitors this all from afar. One should remember the events now taking place , are almost an exact repeat , in the chain of events in Seattle that led to the departure of the then, Seattle Supersonics , who, having been purchased by Clay Bennett , were relocated to Oklahoma City. It should be remembered , at the very beginning David Stern and the owners promised that the franchise would not be moved outside the confines of Seattle . Yet lo and behold once the powers that be in Oklahoma City, threw its hat into the ring , with a sweetheart deal of deferred taxes for the proposed new franchise (Oklahoma City Thunder) , all bets were off with the city of Seattle . It should be noted that the commissioner interjected himself in the midst of those deliberations , repeatedly siding with Clay Bennett , rather than being an impartial bystander . A $25 million payout was made to the city of Seattle , and off went the Sonics, to their new-found home. The rest as they say is history , with a forlorn city left with nothing but a white elephant , that once housed an NBA franchise .

For the city of Sacramento, with its own budgetary woes , as the nation is in the midst of an economic blight , shows a lack a of unpreparedness , initiative but above all a complete lack of common sense on the part of the leadership hierarchy of the city, itself. If Johnson feels that his city should be using their much-needed resources to aid a billionaire family such as the Maloofs , without their being any reciprocal offer from the franchise , then whatever the fallout may well be from this all , it will not be of any benefit to the city, while it remains in the midst of a financial crisis of its own making , and further looking to embarrass themselves and their residents, with their continued groveling and ass kissing of Joe and Gavin Maloof. The Sacramento Kings have been hemorrhaging red ink all over the damn place , as this once proud franchise has become a comical caricature of sheer incompetence while being completely mismanaged both on and off the field of play. There is no accounting for apathy or stupidity, but it now apparently, is the norm within the city of Sacramento, amongst its politicians and most certainly amongst the fans, as they consider being screwed over repeatedly by the Sacramento Kings’ ownership group. Couldn’t happen to a bunch of more misguided souls !

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Picture gallery.

At this point of the NBA season , what if anything has been the biggest surprise to you ? And which teams do you believe will be amongst the league’s big contenders over the course of this NBA schedule ? Chime in with a thought as you see fit .

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Picture and slideshow details below.
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(1) Houston Rockets’ James Harden (13) is fouled by Denver Nuggets’ Kenneth Faried (35) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Houston. Denver won 93-87 . AP Photo/Pat Sullivan …

(2) New York Knicks’ Rasheed Wallace (36) celebrates with Tyson Chandler , right, at the end of the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in Philadelphia. The Knicks won 110-88 . AP Photo/Michael Perez …

(3) PHILADELPHIA – NOVEMBER 5: Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks shoots against Dorell Wright (4) and Thaddeus Young (21) of the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 5, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images …

(4) The Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire , left, smiles along with Raymond Felton during Media Day at the New York Knicks training facility in Greenburgh, N.Y. Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle ….

(5) FILE – This July 11, 2012 file photo shows Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown, left, and owner Jim Buss laughing during a news conference at the basketball team’s headquarters in El Segundo, Calif. A report from USA Today says the Lakers have fired Brown after a 1-4 start to his second season in charge of the team. The newspaper report Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 cited Brown’s agent, Warren Legarie, as the source of the information. AP Photo/Reed Saxon …..

(6) Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak talks about the NBA basketball team’s firing of coach Mike Brown, during a news conference in El Segundo, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. Assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff will coach the Lakers against the Golden State Warriors later Friday while the club’s top brass searches for Brown’s replacement. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes …

(7) In this photo taken Oct. 21, 2012, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant passes the ball as a fan holds up a sign regarding Lakers coach Mike Brown during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Los Angeles. The Lakers fired Brown on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, after a 1-4 start in his second season in charge. Prior to the start of the preseason , former Lakers’ great , Magic Johnson , indicated that the the franchise needed to win and win big this season , as Mike Brown would be under an all too public microscope, because of the mere fact that was thought to be a deeply talent laden team . Looks can be , oh so deceiving , and the Los Angeles are simply proof of that . With the rumors now seeming to foment that Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak will seek to gauge former head coach Phil Jackson and his interest in returning the team, that he guided to five NBA titles during his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …

(8) Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) looks for an open teammate past Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson (7) during the first half of an NBA basketball game , Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(9) From left to right Joe Maloof , Sacramento mayor , Kevin Johnson and Gavin Maloof , are seen here prior to an NBA game in 2011 . The Kings’ ownership and the city of Sacramento are in the midst of what best can be described an acrimonious deliberation process concerning the retention of the franchise and the building of a multimillion dollar facility in a joint public and private enterprise partnership for the Sacramento Kings. At present the franchise plays in the Power Balance Pavilion Arena in downtown Sacramento , California . The venue is now twenty four years old , and in need of a major upgrade, however, the franchise ownership group is unwilling to pay for the renovation in partnership with the city. AP Photo / Mark Hall ….
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NBA related links : Kings reportedly talking to Virginia governor about relocating

Pacers’ Granger has knee procedure , to miss three months

Monty Williams fined over remarks on concussions

Lakers’ guard Blake fined $25,000 by league

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NBA posts within this site & NBA pieces

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NBA news & …….. archive news

NBA important dates

2012 NBA Draft

NBA schedule 9th November

NBA results 11/08/2012

NBA standings by division

NBA standings by conference indicating margin differentials

NBA transactions

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NBA team valuations’ list

NBA top salaries

NBA team salaries

NB: Note there is a ‘ soft salary cap’ mandated by the league hierarchy of $58.044 million for the 2012-13 season

NB: At the time of my beginning to compile this article , I was not aware that the Lakers had just fired the team’s head coach Mike Brown , after franchise’s disastrous 1-4 start to the season . For more details on the story please click on the links provided below.

Los Angeles Lakers news & news features

Lakers’ news courtesy of Yahoo.com

Lakers fire Mike Brown after 1-4 start

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Hot chic pic of the day Tahiry Jose`

The Ball is in your court ……

The Ball is in your court …..

By Tophatal

The NBA season hit its stride with an opening night schedule , which the defending champions the Miami Heat , open up the defense of their title , also with the members of the team receiving their NBA championship rings. LeBron James the reigning MVP and Finals’ MVP, will almost certainly be looking to make successful defense of their title. James along with new teammates, Rashard Lewis , Ray Allen , joining Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to what on paper looks to be an already formidable lineup .

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Slideshow for your perusal.

Tuesday night , the Miami Heat played host to the Boston Celtics in their season opener at the AA Arena in Miami, Florida. Heat executives, Micky Arison, and team President ,Pat Riley, have assembled a roster , that they believe will be successful , over the course of this season, with the ultimate goal of making a successful defense of the NBA title. Considering , that there has not been a back-to-back winner of the title, since 2010 , when the Los Angeles Lakers made a successful defense of the NBA championship won, previously in 2009. Complacency might be the only thing standing in the way of the Miami Heat , in defense of their title , although there is a common belief that the team they defeated in last season’s finals will seek to redeem themselves. Head coach, Erik Spoelstra , I do not believe will be susceptible to such an inclination, albeit that the Oklahoma City Thunder , in spite of their being a minor shakeup in their starting lineup , with the loss of the James Harden , via a trade to the Houston Rockets. How the Thunder’s Rockets’ fans may now feel about the loss of Harden, will obviously be dependent upon how they view the start of the team’s season and how the players acquit themselves in such an instance. GM , Sam Presti and head coach, Scott Brooks were forced with a situation where it came down to what was best for the organization . As a small-market franchise , with a limited revenue streams , the franchise was less committal in granting Harden’s wish for a sizeable contract. The vast majority of the Thunder’s financial commitment in team salary , was in fact tied up in the team’s two best players, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. James Harden has since signed a five-year $80 million contract with the Houston Rockets , to be on a team, whose ascent within the NBA is not seen as something that sees the franchise being sought and thought of as legitimate contender this season for the NBA title.

The Houston Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey’s wish, if anything, is to create more of an offensive minded team, but I do not believe that this current roster is simply good enough to even be considered amongst the elite teams within the NBA ! And the team’s opening game of the season , and their convincing victory over the Detroit Pistons , may well go a long way in convincing the fans that this might have been such a bad move after all , in acquiring James Harden.

Don’t look now, but something is not so right in “ Tinseltown” , with the Los Angeles Lakers getting off to an 0-2 start to their season . Mitch Kupchak, and Jim Buss , simply wanted to make a big splash in off-season , and that they did , with the acquisitions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash . Whether or not the Lakers’ non too fickle fans are amenable to such a lackadaisical start to the season , remains to be seen. For head coach , Mike Brown , should this team stall , and simply not find flight , then his stay in the “city of Angels” , could very well come to an abrupt end.

The Los Angeles Lakers were the guests of the Portland Trailblazers in a game that pitted a new look Blazers roster and a coaching staff led by Terry Stotts . In a game of contrasting styles , it was the Trailblazers who dictated the pace against a lethargic Lakers’ offense and defense in transition. And though Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard , led all scorers with a combined 66 points , for the Lakers in their second successive loss of the season. It was Nicholas Batum , LaMarcus Aldridge , Wesley Matthews and Damien Lillard , who led the way for the Traiblazers , as they knocked off their Western Conference counterparts 116-106 . The Lakers’ scheduled event, will see them take on the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center , which will be a home game Lakers who share the venue with their namesake. The series’ meeting between these two historic franchises is somewhat lopsided, with the Lakers leading the Clippers 143-49 , in their one hundred and ninety-two meetings.

Steve Nash may well have to miss the game due to a bruised right knee and contusion of his right leg. In what was hoped to be a classic match-up of two of the NBA’s marquee point guards, will now be left for a subplot to be written all of its very own. Clippers’ point guard Chris Paul, was amongst the most productive players at the position within the NBA. And in 2012, though we are a mere two games into the season we are a number players rising to the occasion . The Clippers for their part, coached by Vinny Del Negro must seek to see a more defensive approach and presence from this team. Del Negro and his coaching staff have revamped the roster to complement the skillset of Blake Griffin , Chris Paul, Lamar Odom , Grant Hill , Chauncey Billups and Ronny Turiaf .It may well be seasoned veterans such as Hill , Billups , Odom and Turiaf, who will have to provide a major contribution if the Clippers are to fare well over the course of this season. Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling and team general manager Gary Sacks in recent seasons has often been viewed as an owner who was averse to spending money on his franchise in terms of team salary. Chances are the Los Angeles Clippers will seek to make themselves a contender for the NBA title, and most certainly a viable candidate for the Western Conference title.

The city of Detroit has seen its NFL franchise , the Detroit Lions rise from the ashes like a phoenix, albeit that this season, the team seems to have fallen on hard times . With the NHL now shuttered down , with their being signs of this fiasco being found an amenable ending to their nonsensical drama. That would leave us with the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Pistons at the professional level , in terms of our sporting entertainment. The Tigers as we now know fell, all too listlessly to the San Francisco Giants in one of the embarrassing and lopsided defeats in World Series’ history.

The Pistons, ever since their NBA Finals’ triumph in 2004 over the labored , albeit the then overzealous Los Angeles Lakers , And that specific roster was filled a quartet of future Hall of Famers , that included Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, Gary Payton, and Shaquille O’Neal, along with legendary coach , Phil Jackson. That series’ loss 4-1 to the Detroit Pistons would prove to be one of the biggest upsets in NBA Finals’ history. In the subsequent years since that loss, the Pistons’ franchise has had it high and low points. The organization has changed ownership with a new executive structure in place , with Joe Dumars, having become the Head of Basketball Operations, with Tom Gores , billionaire venture capitalist, owning the venerable NBA franchise. Head coach, Lawrence Frank, has been entrusted with the considerable task of coaching this team , having assembled an abled group of assistants . And the roster itself, it is not one that on paper looks overly impressive or distinguished . If anything , it is workmanlike in its makeup , led by ten-year and thirteen-year veterans , Tayshaun Prince and Corey Maggette. Considered to be the Pistons’ best player, Rodney Stuckey, he will be asked to do a great deal as the leader of this team, as they embark upon their schedule this season. In light of the Pistons’ 105-96 loss to the Houston Rockets , it will be interesting to see how they acquit themselves when they take on the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center , in Phoenix, Arizona , this Friday.

Another season, another year of low expectations , dependent upon how one looks upon the Charlotte Bobcats as an NBA franchise. And it does seem somewhat asinine to keep on repeating the fact that, this organization has been mismanaged, and the face of it , they seem bereft of creativity and intelligence within the front office . Yet , it is a fact that since Michael Jordan assumed control of this franchise, they have been incredibly inept right across the board , from management , on down to the players on the roster. One year removed , from having posted one of the worst records in NBA history , albeit that the season was one of sixty-six games , rather than the customary eighty-two game schedule. Nothing can be left to chance in 2012 , as it relates to the Charlotte Bobcats , and what the prognosticators might be suggesting concerning the franchise, as they embark upon their schedule. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings , but I would be pleasantly surprised if the Bobcats were able to surpass last season’s mark of 7-59 !

I certainly don’t believe that the Bobcats were assisted in the subsequent NBA Draft Lottery or the Draft itself . If anything this format, insisted upon by the soon to be outgoing commissioner , David Stern , does not add intrigue or suspense to the whole system itself. It has become rather mundane, asinine, and if anything , it makes the NBA “ the laughing-stock “ of the sports’ world . Yet somehow , on each occasion that this ridiculous event takes place , there stands the commissioner , grinning from ear to ear , like a cat about to take a sip from a plate of milk. “Milk, may well do a body a great deal of good” , but it certainly hasn’t added to Stern’s intellect or overall intelligence. The 2012 NBA Draft , said to be littered with high-quality talent , and what should appear to be breakout prospects , could very turn out to be a monumental bust. The Charlotte Bobcats for their part under the auspices of head coach, Mike Dunlap, GM Rick Cho , and President of Basketball Operations , Rod Higgins, chose Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeff Taylor as their picks within this year’s NBA Draft. It remains to be seen whether or not these two highly sought after recruits can make a name for themselves within the NBA , on a team , being coached by a first-year coach , in Mike Dunlap. The odds are more stacked against the team and their freshman coach , than one would come to expect given the franchise’s overall lack of success since the Bobcats came into existence . As the team’s best player Kemba Walker may well struggle once again to find some semblance of success over the course of this season.

Everyone seems to enthralled with the very fact that the city of New York now has two NBA franchises , presumably of relevance. Yet when you bear in mind that last season was the first time that the New York Knicks had ventured into the NBA Playoffs, it was for the very first time in after their disastrous foray in 2011 . There, a first-round loss (4-0) to the Boston Celtics , sealed their fate during the postseason schedule. Prior to that, the franchise’s last appearance came in 2004 , where again, they were not so lucky , as they fell to the New Jersey Nets . Joining, the Knicks in the “Big Apple” will be the Brooklyn Nets , formerly the New Jersey Nets. The franchise having moved into their new venue , the aptly named , Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York , a luxurious , half-billion dollar ($500,000,000) edifice , that might the most palatial of all of the NBA’s thirty arenas. Certainly, for Nets’ owner,Mikhail Prokhorov , beyond his investment of having purchased the franchise , there was also his stake in that multibillion dollar venture of commercial and residential estate deal , that should reinvigorate the community at large . Whether or not, the fans in attendance will be there on a regular basis , will most definitely be defined by the amount of success that is attained on the courts by the Brooklyn Nets.

Nets’ coach , Avery Johnson , and his coaching staff have assembled a capable roster of seasoned veterans along with core group of youngsters , to go alongside their 2012 NBA Draft picks. The “pecking order” and bragging rights will be up for grabs this season , as to who should be viewed as the city’s best NBA franchise. James Dolan , as owner of the New York Knicks will now have to match wits with the ambitious Russian billionaire, Mikhail Prokhorov, who also happens to be one of the wealthiest men in the world , with an estimated $13.2 billion fortune , far exceeding Dolan’s reputed $4.2 billion , net worth.

The Brooklyn Nets were due to host the New York Knicks at the Barclays Center, in what was meant to be the inaugural regular season game at the venue. That game has now been postponed until the 26th November , in the aftermath of Super-storm Sandy, which has simply decimated the city of New York and much of the Northeast United States , but specifically the eastern seaboard. As to the mindset of New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, still thinking it appropriate to proceed with the New York City Marathon , this upcoming Sunday , while many of his city’s residents are without a home, electricity , and a number of other staples needed to carry on with daily lives , seems to smack incredulity and incompetence on the mayor’s part, with his stating the staging of the event will boost the morale of the city, and not take away from the city’s resources in terms of the residents’ safety. PR image or not, Bloomberg’s , Chief of Staff and Press Information officer , Howard Wolfson , obviously are not of the opinion that the city’s plight and that of its residents , should take precedence over an event, that should be postponed and rescheduled for a later date. Bloomberg, in my opinion is simply looking for the nation’s sympathy as well as making the Marathon itself more of an event than it really needs to be at this moment in time. And why this decision by the mayor has not drawn the anger New York’s residents is simply beyond belief.

Courtesy of NBC News (NBCnews.com)

Backlash erupts as New York City prepares for marathon

By Andrew Mach and Elizabeth Chuck, NBC News

NEW YORK – Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to allow the world’s largest marathon to proceed on Sunday has drawn a severe backlash from some quarters of the city.

“If they take one first responder from Staten Island to cover this marathon, I will scream,” New York City Councilman James Oddo, who represents parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn, said on his Twitter account. “We have people with no homes and no hope right now.”

Staten Island, the marathon’s starting point, suffered some of the worst destruction from Superstorm Sandy. At least 19 of New York’s 37 deaths occurred in the oft-forgotten borough, home to 500,000. Officials are still searching homes for survivors.

On Thursday, the bodies of two children who had been missing since the storm were found. The boys, ages 2 and 4, were swept away from their mother’s arms Monday night after the car they were driving was swamped by floodwaters on the island.

“The prudent course of action here — postpone the marathon, come back a different day,” Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “Our first priority, let’s help people who lost their homes, who are missing loved ones.”

Stringer said downtown Manhattan, the city’s financial hub, “looks like a wasteland” and is nowhere close to being ready for the race, which goes through each of New York’s five boroughs.

Bloomberg has vowed the marathon will not divert any resources from victims, and expects power to be restored to downtown Manhattan by race day. In defending his decision to go forward, the mayor cited the thousands of out-of-town visitors who come for the marathon.

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As to the proposed game between the Knicks and Nets, as I alluded to earlier , that event has been rescheduled. The Brooklyn Nets’ inaugural regular season game will now be against the Toronto Raptors on the 3rd November , which will be followed by a second home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on the 5th November , 2012. There is a great deal that the NBA fans will have to look forward to over the course of this season as the Knicks and Nets get their season’s schedules underway. Most notably though, will be the meetings between these two franchises. The stars may well align for one if not both of these teams at some point during the season, but much of that will predicated on the play and coaching styles adopted by Avery Johnson of the Nets and Mike Woodson of the New York Knicks. Issues already abound for the Knicks , as they are like to be without C/PF , Amare’ Stoudemire, who could be out for for 6 to 8 weeks , with having to undergo knee surgery . I’ve always maintained, that prudent decision-making by way of the Knicks’ front office and specifically that of GM Glen Sather has left a great deal to be desired . Stoudemire has failed to live up to the almost $100 million contract , which expires in 2015 . The outlay made to the player by the organization, is just more of the continued idiocy that the Knicks have become known for in recent years . And yet to no avail, has there been any financial expediency been shown by Sather or for that matter by the owner , James Dolan.

Granted, as the NBA’s most valuable franchise does assist the New York Knicks in how they conduct their business operations , something that is not afforded to the vast majority of the league’s thirty teams . Much of the financial malaise that the NBA currently finds itself in , has been summarily been brought on by the lax rules applied to the NBA “soft salary cap” ($58.044 million). And there seems to be this tendency to believe that NBA Commissioner David Stern is without blame for this continued idiocy. However, do bear this in mind, the commissioner’s annual salary is in excess of $25 million , which would place him amongst the highest paid players in the NBA . Far be it for me to suggest, if Stern is asking the NBPA (Players’ Union) to make concessions in terms of their share of the league’s revenue pie . How is that, he, has never indicated that league hierarchy is prepared to the same? Clearly, that is something that has never been posed to David Stern as a question. What thoughts if any do you have on that premise? Billionaire owners , multimillionaire NBA athletes simply pissing into a lake, to see how much of a ripple effect is made , meanwhile the fans are being imbued with a less than satisfactory product ! Fuck it! Professional sports, has no integrity or morals, as cash rules everything . Anyone who believes to the contrary , is seriously delusional .

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Picture gallery.

What thoughts if any , do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? And what do you wish to see come out of this NBA season by way of the players’ and teams’ performances ? By all means do you leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Slideshow and picture gallery details below.
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(1) Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade holds his 2012 NBA Finals championship ring during a ceremony before a basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/J Pat Carter ….

(2) From left, Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James pose with their 2012 NBA Finals championship rings during a ceremony before a basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/J Pat Carter …

(3) Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett (5) backs down Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem (40) during the first half of their NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/J Pat Carter …..

(4) Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives to the basket against Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe (10) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Duane Burleson …

(5) Amar’e Stoudemire (C) of the New York Knicks introduces new players Carmelo Anthony (L) and Chauncey Billups (R) at a press conference at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. Chris Trotman / Getty Images North America ….

(6) Brooklyn Nets’ owner Mikhail Prokhorov , the billionaire entrepreneur seeks to make the NBA franchise a worldwide brand , as he seeks to the Nets a competitive force in the NBA .
AP Photo / Richard Laurence ……..

(7) New York City Mayor , Michael Bloomberg ,foreground, is seen here with the city’s police chief , Ray Kelly . Bloomberg made the decision to proceed with the staging of the New York City Marathon , this Sunday , which will have 24,550 competitors for the event . There has been a great deal of anger at the mayor’s decision , in light of the recent devastation in the city , causing billions of dollars of damage to New York City’s infrastructure , residential and commercial property . AFP / REUTERS / Keith Hammond ….

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NBA related links: Hornets’ Gordon says knee injury legitimate

NBA, NBPA pledge $1 million for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

Barclays Center Suites to Become ‘Your Home Away from Home

NBA pieces within this site
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NBA news & archival news’ pieces

NBA Calendar key dates

NBA standings by division

NBA results 1st November 2012

NBA results 31st October 2012

NBA schedule 2nd November, 2012 (12 games to be played)

NBA transactions

Brooklyn Nets’ news

New York Knicks’ news

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Amber Lynne, currently a member of the Miami Spice of The Bikini Basketball League , a new start-up women’s professional basketball league where the uniforms are in fact a two piece swimsuit. What’s bad about that?

Full court press ……..

Full court press

By Tophatal

With teams returning for preseason training camp, a number of franchises will seek to make up for last year’s fall from grace during the 2011-12 NBA season . The reigning champions ,the Miami Heat will look to make successful defense of their title , with league MVP and Finals’ MVP LeBron James looking to carry from where he left off in 2012. A dominant season, wherein, James led the franchise in a number of categories , while further emphasizing his legitimacy as the game’s best player. Heat executive , Pat Riley sought to bolster the roster in the off-season by acquiring sharpshooting free agent Ray Allen , who departed from the Boston Celtics under a great deal of controversy. If anything, this deal further boosts the Heat’s credentials as being the prohibitive favorites for this season’s NBA title .

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The Miami Heat will have their “Big Three”returning, as the team embarks upon their schedule . Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will join their erstwhile partner LeBron James in conjunction with Ray Allen. Erik Spoelstra, having won his first NBA title as a coach will look to add to his resume` in seeking a second title. And while the Southeast Divisional champions will almost certainly look re-emphasize their dominance within the division as well as the Eastern Conference . Certainly, there is bound to be the expected challenge from the likes of the Chicago Bulls , Philadelphia 76ers , Atlanta Hawks , Boston Celtics and a now resurgent , New York Knicks . However, I do believe that the Southeast division , as well as the Eastern Conference, will be the Heats to lose !

Inasmuch as I see the Miami Heat repeating as NBA champions , a great deal about their season will be predicated upon the health of the players , and whether or not their “key players” can stay healthy, while being consistent throughout their season. LeBron James, Ray Allen , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade , will hold the key in terms of the success that this team will be able to achieve.

With the failure of the Los Angeles Lakers not going deep in the 2012 NBA postseason last season, you simply knew that there would be a major shakeup of the roster during the off-season. GM Mitch Kupchak, working in conjunction with head coach Mike Brown made the decision to jettison a number of players from last season’s roster. The most prominent of the players released, were Andrew Bynum , the team’s often erratic and troubled center . With the departure of Bynum, the Lakers made the ambitious move to acquire three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year , Dwight Howardlong with two-time league MVP and All Star point guard Steve Nash . These two prominent free agents join a team that will now be all the more potent ,built around the offensive prowess of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol , but with an aging core of seasoned veterans at the center of this roster , it is by no means a guarantee of success. The last time the Lakers had a team of this magnitude , came by of their roster assembled for the 2003-04 season that was dismantled in the NBA Finals (2004) by the Detroit Pistons.

At present, there’s a great deal of furor being made by former Lakers’ great Shaquille O’Neal and his criticism of Dwight Howard. Whether or not this comes down to jealousy or O’Neal being constructive in his criticism , it begs the question why now , when the former player has become a well-respected NBA television NBA analyst ? However, it does seem there are those who feel there is some justification to O’Neal’s observations and remarks. Bear in mind , Howard opened himself up to a great deal of criticism and scrutiny, with his demeanor in the run-up to his departure from the Orlando Magic. Howard’s intransigence, unwillingness to be upfront in his dealings with the front office led to a great deal of criticism of the player and how he handled this whole episode prior to his departure from the franchise. At the same time it should be noted that with the upheaval within the Magic’s own coaching and executive structure , their handling of this episode was considered a complete farce , with general manager Rob Hennigan and CEO Alec Martins , looking like complete novices, with their rationale and explanations, as to what they desired for the franchise. The Orlando Magic have since tried to infer that the franchise with the addition of Jacque Vaughn as the successor to Stan Van Gundy , and the players acquired in the trade of Dwight Howard , that they are now in a better position to make a credible run at an NBA title. To believe that , one would have to attest to the fact that they believe in the tooth fairy and that leprechauns do in fact run around with a pot of gold granting wishes to individuals who proceeded to be good. So have you been granted a wish by a leprechaun today?

The 67th season of the NBA kicks off officially on the 30th October,2012, when the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat , meet in a conference match-up of these two heated rivals. A number of teams within both conferences are deemed credible aspirants this season, but two franchises in particular have a vested interest in being amongst those thought to be in with a chance of dethroning the Miami Heat. Personally, I am of the opinion that the newly relocated and renamed Brooklyn Nets will remain a work in progress , even with the acquisition of Joe Johnson to form a formidable presence alongside Kris Humphries, Brook Lopez and Deron Williams. And with the franchise now moving into their multimillion dollar venue , the Atlantic Yards Development , it begs the question , how successful can this organization be ? Nets’ owner Mikhail Prokhorov and minority stake owner , rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z.

Head coach Avery Johnson and his coaching staff will be in for a torrid time over the course of the season , albeit that there is a general feeling that this team can and will be competitive .

When the Nets sought to bring in Joe Johnson , I thought it somewhat incredulous, given the fact that Johnson , while being a very good guard cannot be viewed as one of the preeminent players at the position , much less the vocal leader on any team that he has ever had the privilege of playing for.He was never the leader that the Atlanta Hawks desired , and the very fact that he now has three years remaining on a contract that owes him in excess of $63 million, it has me wondering how and where GM Billy King sees Johnson fitting in with this team ! I recently read a patron’s article wherein he suggested that the Nets are now in a credible position to successfully challenge the Miami Heat as well as other prominent teams within the Eastern Conference. Given the Nets’ 22-44 record for the 2011-12 season , the team in its present guise would have to make an incredible leap, in terms of improving on last season’s record . Little was made of this , by this patron , other than to suggest that the Brooklyn Nets are just that good. I believe that there is a great deal of naiveté on the part of this patron ! The newly minted Atlantic Yards /Barclays Center venue may well see a great deal of excitement this upcoming season with the Brooklyn Nets , but I seriously doubt that it will come by way of the team becoming a prominent contender for the NBA title. The team is good, but nowhere as good, as is being advertised.

What else needs to be said of the continued idiocy concerning the ongoing machinations of the New York Knicks ? The team’s front office under the guidance of owner James L Dolan and Glen Grunwald. What now seems to be befuddling to the fans and press alike , is the contingencies being made to reintroduce former executive Isaiah Thomas back into the fold, as with retired veteran Rasheed Wallace now coming out of retirement to re-sign with the famed franchise . I’m somewhat surprised at this juncture that the organization hasn’t approached Hall of Fame player Clyde Frazier to gauge his interest in making a comeback , considering the desperation now being shown by Glen Grunwald and the coaching staff led by Mike Woodson. Given the inconsistency shown by the team and the very fact Amare` Stoudemire has shown the infantile like behavior, rather than the leadership qualities sought by the organization. For the greater part of the season it was left to Carmelo Anthony to lead the team by example . And can we please get over the contributions of Jeremy Lin ? The point guard’s momentary glare in the spotlight was a passing fad , he soon fell back to earth with an emphatic thud. One only has to look at Lin’s statistics and specifically the multiple turnovers per game. Aren’t we missing something here? Instead, the press sought place the player into the spotlight while failing to look at his overall game ? Something we should not be surprised by , given the lack of journalistic integrity , there just happens to be in the New York city media market . If bulls#hit were an aroma , somehow and in some way , the New York media market would definitely try sell it to the public and consumer as a worthwhile product , as it’s just the way they are !

It is one thing that Glen Grunwald would bring in Carmelo Anthony and Amare` Stoudemire to a great deal of fanfare , and no doubt so much more by way of expectation. The Knicks being summarily being dispatched in first round of the playoffs by the Miami Heat with consummate ease. The New York Knicks were a poor excuse for a playoff team, as they simply fell apart under the barrage set forth by LeBron James and his teammates during the series . It is hard to understand how anyone can be of the belief that the James Dolan can believe that the addition of Rasheed Wallace , Marcus Camby and an aging Jason Kidd will bring any semblance of success to a team that simply is devoid of defensive —- capability , but the fans in attendance this season can only but hope. And therein lies the drama that surrounds this whole sorry episode concerning this franchise. Does anyone truly believe that the New York Knicks over the course of this season will be a competitive force within the Eastern Conference , then based upon last season’s results clearly this beyond being lackluster they will continue to be an afterthought in the minds of most analysts who will make their prognostications concerning the best teams within the conference as well as the NBA as whole.

There is no denying that the loss of Derrick Rose in the first round of last season’s playoffs, which ended in series’ defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers. With the Bulls’ season ending so abruptly , and with the team being the number one seed coming into the postseason, it was something of an extreme letdown for the organization, and specifically their fans. Rose’s injury came in game one of the series and many felt that Tom Thibodeau erred in his judgment , in keeping the player on-court when the game was well within their grasp. The loss of Rose , the 2011 league MVP was beyond thought-provoking as the Chicago Bulls simply was unable to recover from the loss of Derrick Rose .The player’s recovery has been slow, but for the point guard his return will ensure that the team has a better player than last season . Much of that however, would have to be predicated upon Rose’s teammates and the contributions that they are able to make.

David Stern knows that coming into this season , the league needs to fulfill the wishes of the fans , by offering up an entertaining brand for the consumer. A truncated season of 66 games in 2012 , brought about because the NBA hierarchy saw fit to enforce a league wide lockout of the players , thereby forcing the hand of the NBPA and their executive committee led by Executive Director Billy Hunter and union president Derek Fisher. The new collective bargaining agreement ensures that the two parties are now has a mutual peace accord that is amenable to all both parties. In truth the NBA has an even greater distrust of the union , now than at any other time in the NBA’s history. It remains to be seen how the league and union can now coexist while offering the consumer a brand worth watching.

The league’s franchises have their issues from an economic standpoint , and while the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers remain two the most valuable teams in the NBA. It should be noted also that one half of the NBA franchises were in fact unprofitable , losing collectively in excess of $175 million .With the biggest loss being amassed by the NBA’s worst franchise in 2012 , the Charlotte Bobcats . The franchise remains in a tailspin under the ownership of the beleaguered Michael Jordan and a front office led by CEO Fred Whitfield and GM Rich Cho . The Bobcats’ draft history at best , can be described as monumental mess , and has continued through the haphazard thinking by Jordan and his fellow executives. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, was taken as the number two overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. With the Kentucky Wildcats having produced a plethora of players that were taken in the first round of the NBA Draft(2012). As to whether or not these players will be an undoubted success will be determined by the success of the teams that drafted these rookies.

Could the Minnesota Timberwolves be the surprise team in the Western Conference this upcoming season ? Built around the presence of power forward Kevin Love and the mercurial play of point guard Ricky Rubio , the Timberwolves are hoping to take up from where they left off from last season .The two, are now the fulcrum that drives the team and their progression.

Rick Adelman brings with him a great deal of experience from a coaching standpoint, and it will be that experience along with the Love’s leadership , that is liable to dictate the type of season and the success that the Timberwolves can attain this year. It should be noted that the fans of the team have not been this excited in years , and most certainly not since their heydays when Kevin Garnett was a member of this organization and then a perennial All Star. The years have been lean in recent seasons with the Timberwolves not being part of the NBA postseason foray since 2003-04 . As I alluded to earlier , this could very well be the season where we may well see the Timberwolves rise like a phoenix from the ashes of ineptitude.

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as the preseason gets underway for the NBA, what expectations do you have for the NBA regular season? Which teams do you believe will be participants in the upcoming postseason and do you believe that the NBA hierarchy has done enough to secure a lasting peace within the league ?

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Picture gallery and slideshow for your perusal.
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(1) Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) is defended by Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith in the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game , Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in Atlanta. AP Photo/Todd Kirkland ….

Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh (1) goes up to dunk in the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in Atlanta. The Hawks won 92-79 . AP Photo/Todd Kirkland ….

(3) ATLANTA, GA – OCTOBER 07: Chris Bosh (1) , LeBron James (6) , Ray Allen (34) and Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat watch the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on October 7, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Copyrighted material all rights reserved … @ Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images ….

(4) Los Angeles Lakers’ Chris Duhon, Jordan Hill, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash talk during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in Fresno, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian ….

(5) Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant , left, and new teammate Steve Nash , second from right, get set to play a preseason NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in Fresno, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian ….

(6) The Brooklyn Nets’ Joe Johnson speaks to reporters as he and his team worked out at the Barclay’s Center for the first time Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012 in New York. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle ….

(7) FILE- In this May 17, 2006, file photo, Detroit Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace argues with referee Ken Mauer during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of their NBA playoffs second-round series at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich. The New York Knicks signed Wallace on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 . Wallace, a four-time All-Star, is ending a two-year retirement. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ….

(8) New York Knicks’ Jason Kidd (5) shakes hands with Kurt Thomas during their NBA basketball media day at the team’s training facility in Greenburgh, N.Y., Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle …

(9) Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman, center, poses with coaching staff including, from left, Terry Porter, Jack Sikma and T.R. Dunn during the their NBA basketball media day, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Minneapolis. Coming into this season, Adelman wanted veteran players, and team president David Kahn made it happen by bringing in Brandon Roy , Andrei Kirilenko and several others in a house-cleaning that Adelman hopes will get the Timberwolves in the playoff picture in the West. AP Photo/Jim Mone …..

(10) Minnesota Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio poses for photos during their NBA basketball media day, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Jim Mone ….

(11) FILE – In this Aug. 8, 2012, file photo, United States’ Kevin Love, left, dunks as Australia’s Brad Newley , right, defends during a men’s quarterfinal basketball game at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Love is back in Minnesota after a summer highlighted by an Olympic gold medal. He’s gearing up for one of the most anticipated seasons in the Timberwolves’ hardscrabble history , with training camp starting next week. AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano …..

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All Hail The King ……… Long Live The King …

All Hail The King ……… Long Live The King ….

By tophatal ……….

Well, with an emphatic victory in game five , of the 2012 NBA Finals , the Miami Heat were able to secure their second NBA title in six years . The team’s defeat of the Oklahoma City Thunder was as clinical, a display by the players , as they have exhibited over the course of this season. For Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison this has to be seen as vindication for the maneuver engineered prior to the 2010-11 season , that brought LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Miami , to further their respective careers .

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Slide show for your perusal .

After a series of exhilarating displays in each of the five games of the Finals , there was no doubt that LeBron James would be deemed the winner of the NBA Finals’ MVP award . In doing so , the player joined a select band of players to have won both the regular season MVP as well as the Finals’ MVP award in the same season . Add to that crowning achievement was the very fact that the All Star guard may well have now solidified his position as the best player in the NBA by an increasingly wide margin . The Finals in some circles , were anointed as a “budding rivalry “ between LeBron James and Kevin Durant as being on par with that of those epic battles in the NBA between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson , at the height of the duo’s of Hall of Fame careers with the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers . From my own standpoint , I feel it , far too early to categorize this new rivalry as being on par with that of their renowned predecessors !

Granted , James is now nine years into a career, which has seen him reach unprecedented levels within the game . Durant for his part , at the tender age of 22, has already been a three-time league-scoring champion and will undoubtedly win a great deal more scoring titles over the course of his own indomitable career. It seems fitting that the NBA now has these two great players as well as a litany of other stars to grace the game . There might be no one dominant team that harkens back to the Chicago Bulls and the Jordan years , or for that matter the years when the Lakers and Celtics reigned as they sought supremacy within the league . Are we now back at a point where as such we can relive those moments but now in the guise of the Heat and Thunder ? Well , it remains to be seen , and it will be intriguing to see how both of these teams acquit themselves in the immediate and long-term future.

In the world of sports it tends to be about the immediacy of “here and now “ : rather than what can be achieved over a period of time . Is it really that the fans desire their teams to win now , and not think about the future , and a body of work , upon which the teams and players ought to be judged ? Care to add your thoughts to that premise ?

Now for the Miami Heat’s young coach Erik Spoelstra , this has to be the most gratifying moment of his young coaching career . There were many who felt in the aftermath of last season’s Finals and the franchise’s failure in defeating the Dallas Mavericks . A great deal of speculation had arisen , as to whether or not he should be replaced with a more experienced and high-profiled head coach . GM & team President Pat Riley had implicit faith in his young protégé and that faith has reaped dividends with LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh buying into Spoelstra’s game plan over the course of the season . In addition, with Erik Spoelstra now having recorded his first NBA title as a head coach , there can be no doubt that he would like to add to that tally . The team’s trio of All Stars , Bosh , James and Wade , in terms of their own legacies would also like to add to this initial feat as a unit . The first title of any sort is said to be the hardest to obtain but thereafter , things are mean t to be a great deal easier . Well the Miami Heat have just got underway as they seek to add multiple titles to their agenda and that of the franchise’s history . Most certainly , the Heat’s trios of players have a long way to go before they can be mentioned in the same breath as Bird , McHale and Parish . Or for that matter , where they can be even thought of as being as great as the “Showtime Lakers “ where Magic , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy held sway over the entire league . That is obviously the dominance that is now sought by the Heat’s current crop of bona-fide stars . Whether or not they can achieve that status will be questioned when one bears in mind the stages at where LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade’s careers is said to be at . At best , the trio collectively may well have only another five or six years together to meet their goals of winning multiple titles . And by multiple titles based upon James’ preemptive statements that would be to reel off at least four in that timeframe . .

Numerous questions have arisen as to the reasons why the Oklahoma City Thunder came up so distantly short in this series . Kevin Durant , Russell Westbrook and James Harden , it was felt , as a trio they would be able to compete against their opponents in the Finals . Young at their core , Scott Brooks’ players tried their utmost to make the NBA Finals a truly competitive matchup , and in part they were able to achieve that . It his however , in stark contrast to what we witnessed from the Thunder as they completely corralled and clinically dispatched the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals . However , the real issue with Durant and his teammates was the very fact that they simply could not retain a lead long enough , in order to distant themselves from the Miami Heat , in any of the game five games played , with the exception of the team’s game one victory . If there was said to be a flaw to the Thunder then that would certainly have to be it and the repeated chances that they let slip from within their grasp. This may well be all too painful a lesson to learn but it will undoubtedly serve this franchise well in the future . Through adversity comes determination and strength , and those are the traits that will make the team a formidable presence not just within the Western Conference but throughout the entire NBA .

The future for the Thunder appear s to be plentiful for the organization and the very fact that they have to be seen as by far the best team within their conference . Kobe Bryant is now in the declining years of a wonderful career with the Los Angeles Lakers and there seems to be no willing successor on the current roster wanting to take over the leadership responsibilities for that team. At the same time , I for one , believe that with head coach Mike Brown has the unenviable task of having to succeed his predecessor and the franchise’s most successful head coach , Phil Jackson , That is a truly daunting task in of-itself , to say the very least .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

With the NBA postseason having reached a successful and thrilling culmination it will be interesting to see how the off-season now plays itself out . All that now awaits the most ardent NBA fans is that of the upcoming NBA Draft and the decisions that will be made by the head coaches , front office executives and team owners . What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the NBA postseason and where would you rank the performances of the LeBron James during the NBA Finals ? Do take time to leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra celebrates after Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Miami. The Heat won 121-106 to become the 2012 NBA Champions. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(2) The Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh celebrates in the locker room after Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Friday, June 22, 2012, in Miami. The Heat won 121-106 to become the 2012 NBA Champions. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….

(3) The Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade holds the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy and LeBron James holds his most valuable player trophy after Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Friday, June 22, 2012, in Miami. The Heat won 121-106 to become the 2012 NBA Champions. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …

(4) Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) and Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) pause between plays during the first half at Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …..

(5) Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) and shooting guard Dwyane Wade react in the final moments during the second half at Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Miami. The Heat won 121-106 to become the 2012 NBA Champions. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky ….

(6) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Derek Fisher (37) talks to small forward Kevin Durant (35) between plays against the Miami Heat during the second half at Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky ….

(7) Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) and shooting guard Dwyane Wade react in the final moments during the second half at Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Miami. The Heat won 121-106 to become the 2012 NBA Champions. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …..

(8) Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) shoots over Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha (2) of Switzerland during the first half at Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….

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Wyclef Jean ….. feat’g Claudette Ortiz …………. “Two Wrongs ” …Big ups to my Haitian massive ! Ca qua fait ?

Finally We are Getting Some Closure

Finally We are Getting Some Closure

By tophatal ……… 06/09/2012 02:04 AM (EST)

Well as the landscape seems to be setting for the NBA Playoffs where we have one contestant known for this season’s NBA Finals . From the Western Conference we have the Oklahoma City Thunder , who await the outright winners of the series between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat . As we know the Thunder came through a hard-fought series during which they prevailed over the San Antonio Spurs (4-2).

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For Scott Brooks and the players of the Oklahoma City Thunder this was their coming out part y , as they announced themselves to the NBA environment and the nation at large . Kevin Durant has pretty much stepped into the role as “the leader “ of this team , while he is ably supported by teammates Russell Westbrook and James Harden . But not to be overlooked has been the contributions of Thabo Sefalosha and Serge Ibaka , who by themselves have seen fit to be role players under Brooks’ schemes during his tenure. For the fans who attended at the Chesapeake Energy Center as Oklahoma closed out the series in front of a sold-out arena . This was pretty much a night for a great deal of euphoria for all . The heartache for the city of Seattle cannot be overlooked but I see this as being nothing more than sour grapes on their part ! That asides , the city’s lack of really being thorough in their dealings with the NBA hierarchy led by David Stern and the prospective buyer of the franchise at the time , Clay Bennett , would suggest that the city government was very naïve. As we, all know Bennett and his partners purchased the Seattle Supersonics with a view to keeping the franchise in the city of Seattle but instead they reneged on that deal and relocated the basketball team to Oklahoma City . David Stern was unapologetic , even though he gave the impression that he , Bennett and his partners acted in good faith . Howard Schultz , the owner of the Sonics and the founder of the Starbucks’ coffee-house chain , was pretty much sold on the idea of the franchise being in good hands , and the fact that promises were made that the team would remain in Seattle long-term . Boy was he wrong , and the sheer gullibility on his part and that of the city’s council must come into question . In the end , a $25 million payoff by Bennett and the NBA hierarchy pretty much avoided a civil suit in US Federal Court . Therein , the Sonics relocated and the city was left without basketball team .

Over the ensuing the years the Oklahoma City Thunder has pretty much moved up the pecking order of relevance within the NBA and the Western Conference . Moreover, this was very much an indictment of that fact with the team’s performances over the course of the season . Now all that awaits this organization would be an emphatic triumph in the NBA Finals .

Well , the excitement provided by LeBron James in-game six of the Eastern Conference Finals has pretty much brought us to the position where there will be finality in this series. It is either “ win “ or “ go home “ for either team . The Boston Celtics under the tutelage of their head coach Doc Rivers have pretty much given it their all but they will have to give it one more shot , if they are to prevail over their Eastern Conference rivals .

For the Celtics’ veteran trio of Kevin Garnett , Ray Allen and Paul Pierce this will definitely be their last stand as teammates in such an event . The situation almost predicts that whatever the outcome at the end of the postseason , there will be an upheaval within the player personnel . Certainly, team GM Danny Ainge and owner Wyc Grousbeck must know that if the franchise is to look forward to its long-term future , then changes will have to be made . Garnett , Allen and Pierce , collectively have over forty years of NBA experience and a great deal of basketball acumen . It will that experience and the tenacity shown by Rajon Rondo that could very much determine the outcome of this series . While no one is denying that the Celtics were unable to corral LeBron James , I have to believe that Doc Rivers will not let his team be stung twice under such a premise !

On the other side of the coin, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra knows that he is now under a great deal of pressure to succeed . After the team’s triumph in-game six , it is now or never to finally put away the events of last season’s NBA Finals . A victory in-game seven casts away that dark shadow and places the Heat in what will be a highly anticipated showdown with the Oklahoma City Thunder . With several days in between the Thunder’s series victory over the San Antonio Spurs, will be looked upon as the prohibitive favorites in this match up. And while the Miami Heat may well have other ideas as that outcome there is the likelihood with the Thunder’s inexperience in the postseason what might be seen as favorable for the Western Conference team could well end up being a disadvantage . Given the tenacity shown by Kevin Durant and his teammates in the dismantling of the Spurs , I am not so sure that premise will hold true !

Heat team President Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison having engineered the deal that saw the arrival of Chris Bosh and LeBron James was meant to assure immediate success for the franchise and financial viability . Arison has seen his team’s value rise , that places it amongst the top ten most valuable franchises in the NBA . And the very fact that the Miami Heat now has the drawing power that rivals the Los Angeles Lakers , Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks , augurs well for the franchise and its long-term future .

Perhaps the most intriguing matchup has to now be that of LeBron James and Kevin Garnett . Both have been multiple All Stars as well as league MVP’s who have climbed to unprecedented heights within the game . The duo this postseason have been two of the most productive players during the showcase for its finale . In addition, with that anticipated matchup and the possibility that Bosh and Wade , will have to play their part if the Heat are to win the second NBA title in the past five years .

Doc Rivers will be chasing his second title as an NBA coach and I am sure that he will be looking to his front line players as he seeks to garner further success for the Celtics’ franchise . The role players such as Marquis Daniels and Mikael Pietrus will also have to step up to the plate in order to support the roles that will undoubtedly be played by Kevin Garnett Ray Allen and Paul Pierce . The Celtics’ defense also will have to be more resolute if they are to stymie the offensive prowess shown by the Miami Heat . We can only hope that game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals provides with a great deal of excitement , with the added anticipation that the Finals itself up to the expectations the NBA has come to known for .

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Picture gallery .

Having witnessed the events of events of the NBA Playoffs which results or teams have been the biggest surprise to you during this postseason ? In addition, which team do you believe will prevail in the series between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat . Simply leave a comment on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .

Picture and slide show details
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(1) Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks smiles as he answers a question during a news conference in Oklahoma City, Friday, June 8, 2012. The Thunder advanced to the NBA basketball finals by defeating the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference finals. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki ..

(2) In this photo taken Thursday, June 7, 2012, Miami Heat forward LeBron James works the ball against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter of Game 6 in their NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals playoff series in Boston. James scored 45 points to lead Miami to a 98-79 win . Game 7 is scheduled for Saturday night in Miami. AP Photo/Elise Amendola …

(3) BOSTON, MA – JUNE 07: Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics reacts against the Miami Heat in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 7, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jared Wickham/Getty Images …

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