Make a believer out of me ….

Make a believer out of me

The NBA off-season has been filled with blood , sweat and tears , as teams have gone about bolstering their rosters with a plethora of high and low-profiled free agents . Said to be the biggest acquisition of the off-season, Dwight Howard`s none too surprising departure from Los Angeles to Houston, drew a few jeers, snickers and some laughter . I believe it further proves that Howard simply cannot function in the glare of the spotlight or lead to a team to any measure of success. Now, it must be said that this was indeed a bold move on the part of the Houston Rockets ` GM Daryl Morey . A move approved by team owner, Leslie Alexander and head coach Kevin McHale . The beleaguered center joins a talented team , led by James Harden and point guard Jeremy Lin . It will be interesting to see how the newly revamped Rockets will fare against many of the top ranked teams within the Western Conference as well the rest of the NBA this upcoming season.

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If you are going to play by the rules, then do so and not act under the pretense of not fully understanding the cap responsibilities or that a team cannot add incentives to a player`s tat circumvent cap restrictions . The Brooklyn Nets, in a deal to acquire unrestricted free agent Andrei Kirilenko , sought to add incentives by way of a back-door method , clearly in violation of NBA rules . However , when this all came to light, it would appear that Nets GM Billy King and team owner , Russian investment tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov backed off the original elements of that deal.

The signing of Kirilenko to a one-year mid-level $3.1 million contract seems all the more baffling when you consider that Kirilekno earned $10 million in 2012. It has to be said, that mid-level deals are prevalent within the NBA and are part of its inner workings . Yet, one has to consider also the signing of the player will push the Nets` payroll for the upcoming season to in excess of $103 million, far in excess of the current league soft salary cap of $58 million . By that measure, were the cap to remain at its current level , the Nets would have to pay a luxury tax of $45 million for the 2013-14 seasons. Given the vast resources at Prokhorov’s disposal, and his estimated wealth of $13 billion , making him by far in a way the league`s richest owner . Beyond wanting success , it would appear that the mantra for the billionaire , is by any means necessary , no matter what the cost .

The Brooklyn Nets having also acquired aging veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce , are a team being built to contend and quite possibly win this upcoming season. The stars were brought in to bolster what appears to be very good roster on paper , but somehow, during the post-season they failed to live up to expectations. I simply believe that beyond Deron Williams , Brook Lopez and an enigmatic Joe Johnson , there does not seem to be a great deal to this team.

The Nets` newly installed head coach Jason Kidd and his coaching staff will be hard pressed to get this team playing at a level , consistent enough to place them on par with the likes of the Miami Heat , New York Knicks , Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers … within the Eastern Conference . Kidd , with a wealth of experience as a player , now has to corral the talents of a team , that at best, can be described as having under-achieved in 2012 . Yet, the new additions to the roster can either create false hope or become a cohesive unit good enough to take on all-comers . Next season should provide us all with the answers we seek . The rookies drafted by the franchise will learn a great deal from their head coach , a former player still revered by his peers and fans alike , for his work ethic and brilliance on a basketball court .

With the pre-season to the NFL opening , less than three weeks away , so much of the news that as encompassed the league has been about the arrests of not only a number of players but also senior executives from an NFL franchise . It would appear that the NFL is now also becoming associated , not only with the athletic feats of the players on the field , but what they now seem to be capable doing off the field , as it relates to breaking the law . From misdemeanors to capital murder , no stone seems to have been left unturned , in terms of the crimes committed. In the midst of it all , NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and is union counterpart DeMaurice Smith remain as quiet as docile church mice. It is now pretty much safe to say, all of the piety and pomposity from bot of these executives have begun to alienate the fans , just as much as the narcissistic and deviant behavior of the players . I mean , how else can you explain their silence and their being no sense of outrage ? In reality , the less said by both, perhaps the better off we all are, because at this juncture , neither Roger Goodell or DeMaurice Smith can be taken seriously in terms of their respective roles within the NFL !

We are all aware as to the off-the field issues faced by the New England Patriots with the arraignment and indictment of Aaron Hernandez on a charge of felony first degree murder, as well as , possibly being a complicit accomplice in two unsolved homicides . A second Patriots` player, corner-back , Alfonzo Dennard was arrested on a DUI charge , but the defensive stalwart of the team`s secondary now knows that if he is charged with this particular criminal act , he faces a double whammy , because as a two-time offender , with another sentence due to be served for assaulting a law enforcement officer. Alfonzo Dennard`s fate may not only rests in the hands of the justice system , but also at the behest of team owner Robert Kraft, who has now witnessed the franchise`s name and reputation being dragged through the mud.

Often thought to be one of the better ran organizations around the NFL . In the past two-and a half weeks the New England Patriots` franchise has gone from being the pride of the NFL , to an organization now more known to harbor deviants and miscreants . Are the Patriots in need of a makeover at this juncture ? And here am I thinking, the biggest drama to be had for the franchise, was the signing of Tim Tebow and the speculation , as to where he stood on the team`s depth chart behind Tom Brady. Less about that, and now more about , what the hell can the organization now do to regain its composure and raise its profile back to an acceptable status ?

With Hernandez now being held without bond , the likelihood of his trial not taking place until late into the season or quite possibly in early November or late December . One could attest to the fact that head coach Bill Belichick now faces a real dilemma . The team`s other tight-end tandem of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, of which the latter , is still recuperating, having undergone back and arm surgery . Those challenges asides, the likes of Julian Edelman , Danny Amendola , Stevan Ridley will be asked to step up to the plate in order for the offense to remain formidable and potent . While we are all aware as to the troubles on defense for the Patriots . I do believe that this season the team in its present guise will be able to make some giant strides It is unclear whether or not he can be a willing participant in the Patriots` preseason schedule as well as the regular season opener for the team. As things now stand, with all of the trials and tribulations now surrounding the Patriots at present . It now brings the franchise a great deal closer back to the pack within the AFC East . Yet, by no means should we entirely count out New England , who have made the division their own personal domain over the past decade .

One year wiser and with an influx of talent by way of the draft as well their free agency acquisitions , we should be able to see New England raise their standing as a defensive presence . Last season`s woes , during the regular and post-season were a nightmare , most notably so, were the team`s failings in the AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens . Joe Flacco was instrumental in dissecting the defense and making it look extremely mediocre . Then again, during the post-season , which teams did the Ravens` quarterback not make look ordinary from a defensive standpoint , as he and the Ravens marched on the Superbowl ?

Personally , I have never placed much faith in the NFL pre-season as those games are primarily staged for the purpose of assessing draft picks and veteran acquisitions seeking to make mark for their respective teams. If anything , what I am looking forward to seeing, is how the New England Patriots will fare through the first four games of their regular season schedule . As I believe that will be a true indicator and test as to how the team will fare over the course of their season . Those games will be against in week one , the Buffalo Bills , week two , the New York Jets , week three , Tampa Bay Buccaneers and finally in week four , the Atlanta Falcons . If they can come out of those four games with a 3-1 mark , then it is my belief that the team can win the division as well as having a winning record , with no more than twelve games being good enough to win the AFC East outright.

Baseball has begun its mid-season showcase with their All Star Game festivities . Meanwhile, a giant cloud has been cast over the game that is likely to cause a major upheaval within baseball and for the remainder of the season . Bud Selig`s lax stewardship of the game has seen its image deteriorate , alienating the fans and in many cases a mass withdrawal in attendance for a number of teams, with a decline for a number of games. . The fact that the names of several major stars have been linked to the scandal plagued South Florida firm Biogenesis and its now indictment of owner , Anthony Bosch .

The landscape of the divisional and wildcard races will be severely altered should MLB carry out their measures of suspending these players for as many as one hundred games . The commissioner has simply been living in a delusional vacuum over the past decade . And even with adopting what he believes to be the strictest testing policy in all of professional team sports , baseball still remains plagued by steroid cheats, and there has not been a damn thing done by the league hierarchy to abate the problem. The rescinding of Ryan Braun`s suspension in 2012 , simply was proof of that , with Bud Selig being overly critical of the arbitrator who presided over the case . Selig would have been better off level is criticism at the testing facility who mishandled the player`s test samples . Yet, this was something ignored by this buffoon , who continues to make a complete ass of himself as baseball`s highest ranking executive .

As great a spectacle as the event is meant to be , it will mean nothing in the end, whichever of the two leagues prevails in the game on Tuesday night at Citi-Field in Flushing , New York . Baseball placed itself in this predicament , simply because they are afraid of and to deal with the power of the MLBPA (union) . And the very fact that many the game`s high-profiled stars have seen fit to stand idly by , as the game is besmirched by fellow players , who simply have no wish to abide by the rules of the game or its tenets of a sport with a now tainted image.

Baseball was privileged to have its second no-hitter of the season , as Tim Lincecum pitched a complete game in the San Francisco Giants` victory over the San Diego Padres in a lopsided 9-0 win on Saturday afternoon . The fact that the Padres would rebound from that loss to defeat the Giants the following day with an astounding 10-1 victory , tells you how diabolical the NL West division just happens to be this season . There is a scarcity of great baseball being played within the division in spite of the recent run by what appears to a resurgent Los Angeles Dodgers . Much of that has come down to the heroics of their rookie phenom Yasiel Puig . Tim Lincecum can now add a no-hitter to his already impressive resume` as being a two-time Cy Young winner with the Giants as well as a two-time World Series champion with the ball-club.

At 43-51 , the defending World Series champions now find themselves 9 ½ games out of the wild-card play and some 6 ½ games out first place within the division . One could point to the fact that injuries have played their part in the woes of the Giants , but a great deal of the team`s dilemma has come from inconsistent pitching and a woefully inept offense . Bruce Bochy and his staff will now have to muster all of their guile if the team is to have any chance of playing themselves into contention and the possibility of winning their third World Series title in four years.

As the praise is now being heaped upon the shoulders of Chris Davis and his play this season for the Baltimore Orioles . I can`t help but wonder how the purists can overlook the achievements of Raul Ibanez . As a forty-one year old, the Seattle Mariners` slugger has recorded his tenth consecutive season of fifteen or more home runs alongside at least fifty runs batted in . All but a select few players at that age,have achieved that feat , and a number of those in question were destined for the Hall of Fame .

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Picture gallery.

While no one questions the fortitude of Ibanez , doubts have come into question concerning Chris Davis` record breaking season in terms of his home runs tally , which leads the Majors with at thirty-seven home runs . Personally , I have long-held the contention that ever since Barry Bonds obliterated the single season home runs` mark , nothing is out the realms of being possible, as it relates to such feats ! possibility . Davis may well continue to deny any wrongdoing on his part , but I have yet to hear the player himself, be even remotely critical of his peers associated with the era of steroids and cheating. So make of it , what you will .Your thoughts on this, and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter ?

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tophatal ……. 07/15/2013

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1)Dwight Howard, center, poses for a group photo with, from left, Yao Ming , Ralph Sampson , Hakeem Olajuwon and Elvin Hayes after he was introduced as the newest member of the Houston Rockets during ceremonies at Toyota Center on Saturday, July 13, 2013, in Houston. The free agent officially joined the Rockets with a news conference and public rally. AP Photo/ Houston Chronicle, Smiley N. Pool …

(2) Dwight Howard smiles as he addresses a press conference where he was introduced as the newest member of the Houston Rockets during ceremonies at Toyota Center on Saturday, July 13, 2013, in Houston. The free agent officially joined the Rockets with a news conference and public rally. AP Photo/ Houston Chronicle, Smiley N. Pool ….

(3) In this Jan. 11, 2013, photo, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko (47) drives past New Orleans Hornets forward Al-Farouq Aminu during a basketball game in New Orleans. A person with knowledge of the deal says the Brooklyn Nets have agreed to a contract with Kirilenko. The person, speaking Thursday, July 11, 2013, on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced, says Kirilenko has accepted the taxpayer’s mid-level exception worth about $3.2 million. The contract includes a player option for the second year. AP Photo/Bill Haber ….

(4) Alfonzo Dennard leaves a Lincoln Nebraska Courthouse, with his attorney , having been found guilty of assaulting a law enforcement officer in Lincoln, Nebraska . YNETH ROBERTS/THE JOURNAL-STAR/AP

(5) San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum is bent over as water hits the crowd of Giant players celebrating Lincecum’s no-hitter over the San Diego Padres in a baseball game in San Diego, Saturday, July 13, 2013. Tim Lincecum has thrown his first career no-hitter and the second in the majors in 11 days, a gem saved by a spectacular diving catch by right fielder Hunter Pence in the San Francisco Giants’ 9-0 win against the last-place San Diego Padres on Saturday night. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi …

(6)Baltimore Orioles’ Chris Davis follows through on a two-run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the third inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 14, 2013, in Baltimore. It was Davis’ 37th this season. AP Photo/Gail Burton …

(7) Seattle Mariners’ Raul Ibanez (28) doubles in a run as Los Angeles Angels catcher Chris Iannetta looks on in the fifth inning of a baseball game on Sunday, July 14, 2013, in Seattle. AP Photo/Elaine Thompson …

(8) Raul Ibanez (28) of the Seattle Mariners hits his second home run of the game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the seventh inning at Safeco Field on July 12, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. Otto Gruele Jr/Getty Images ….

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This is not what I signed up for !

This is not what I signed up for !

By Tophatal

The NBA season is moving along nicely, but for a new of teams , it now looks as their seasons could very well be over before we have reached the midway point of the 2012-13 NBA calendar . The plotlines to the season are now being played out , with Charlotte Bobcats , Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards , all three teams are seeking to redefine mediocrity , and now the fans have been witnesses this all.

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In the Eastern Conference , the three teams that seem to the setting the pace , are the Miami Heat(23-11) , New York Knicks (23-12) and the surprisingly resourceful Indiana Pacers(22-14) . While the reigning champions, the Heat are looking to make a successful defense of their title. Yet on the face of it, this team do seem to be trying to make things extremely hard for themselves with their rather inconsistent play. The NBA season, having had the first of two coaching casualties, with the dismissals of Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers , five games (1-4) into their season , with a rather asinine explanation coming from GM , Mitch Kupchak , as to the reasons for the improbable decision .

The other casualty to fall , was Avery Johnson of the Brooklyn Nets , and whether or not this is pertinent , but it would appear that Nets’ point guard , Deron Williams , is now becoming known , as something of a “ coach killer” . It should come as no surprise , with the evidence being there for all to see , first with the Utah Jazz , and the departure of Jerry Sloan, albeit the famed former head coach resigned , rather than being forced out , but the tell-tale signs were there for all to see . An underperforming star , continually, complaining about his team’s play, without ever once, showing any form of leadership to his teammates . I’ll say this for Deron Williams , in spite of his play , his lack of maturity far outweighs anything that he is said to have achieved at this point of his career .

The Brooklyn Nets , with P J Carlesimo , now coaching the team on an interim basis , have made a hard push to lure famed and future bound Hall of Fame coach , Phil Jackson , out of retirement , literally offering him a King’s ransom and a rumored minority interest in the Nets’ franchise . Part ownership of a listless team, that is also without a leader , much less having any real character , is not I believe, a scenario where Jackson would be lured back into coaching ! And the same situation can now be applied to the idiocy that has now befallen the Los Angeles Lakers , another aging , uninspired franchise and team . As Kobe Bryant , recently stated, we’re getting old and heading nowhere fast “ . It is now beginning to look all the more probable that the franchise could very well end up missing the postseason , should the team continue with their ongoing season of ineptitude and inconsistency. It has now left many fans and NBA analysts wondering , how could things spiraled so out of control, so fast , without their being any inclination at the start of the season , that , it would be one , of sheer ridicule of the ownership and management ?

The hiring of Mike D’Antoni to succeed Mike Brown , is befuddling to myself , as to this ongoing belief and fascination with the paparazzi, that the career of Lindsay Lohan , still remains relevant when she has done absolutely nothing of merit over the past five years. As to D’Antoni’s resume` , well let’s just say , there’s not a great deal that one could truly say , is altogether inspiring ! I truly believe, that Mitch Kupchak and Lakers’ SVP, Jim Buss , have now erred twice in their most recent managerial hiring! If you believe my statement to be a mistake, then do take the time to explain your reasons why?

The makeup of this Lakers’ roster pivots around the play of Kobe Bryant , and as he goes , then so does the rest of the team, Granted , Bryant can go off , for forty-plus points , and inevitably given their play of the team, and they still end up losing . Yet the enigma, here , is that the team either choose not to , or has no idea , how to play a lick of goddamn defense , when it matters most ! As things now continue , with the winners of four of their last ten games , it begs the question what is the perceived direction that the team , is said to be heading in ? The Lakers now sit 12.5 games out of first place , within the Pacific Division behind the surging Los Angeles Clippers (28-8).

With Blake Griffin leading the way alongside one of the NBA’s premier point guards , in Chris Paul , it has to be said that the Lakers’ task is becoming all the more unenviable , especially when the Clippers are now seen “ as the best story happening , in the city of Angels” . Failure at this juncture , and we could very well see the franchise go through their second managerial change inside of a calendar year . Something, I would have said , was impossible at the start of the season . And this is a franchise known for its semblance of continuity , albeit , that the glitterati and paparazzi make the organization the center and focus of the NBA landscape , and that is with due respect to the residents of the “Big Apple” and “ Brooklyn” .

Now unless I’m mistaken, we were led to believe that the NBA is a brand that has become world renown , yet, I seriously doubt David Stern would have expected three teams within the Eastern Conference subjecting the fans of the league , to such abject futility! The Charlotte Bobcats (9-26) , Cleveland Cavaliers (9-29 ) , and the Washington Wizards (5-28) , this season have given a whole new meaning to the words , “ futility” and “mediocrity” , which is clearly reflected in their respective records and play.

Inasmuch , as I have admired Michael Jordan’s career as an NBA player , it has to be said his successes as an NBA front office executive is now “peppered” with a “ litany of failures” . Anyone who would now suggest that Jordan is at the forefront of his present career, as owner and de-facto general manager , should now begin to acknowledge that he might now be the NBA’s answer to Jerry Jones of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys . I am not about to suggest that Michael Jordan doesn’t accept the input of his fellow executives , in particular that of GM, Rich Cho . Yet it has become , and will remain abundantly clear, that Jordan is prepared to things his way , and is not truly prepared to accept any criticism leveled his way. And the Bobcats for their part , are not making the situation any more acceptable with the ongoing futility of this team . If there is a silver cloud to this nightmare , then it is the fact that , the organization is unlikely to end up with the worst record within the NBA at season’s end , especially when one bears in mind , the franchise’s 7-59 mark of last season , in reduced schedule of sixty-six games , from the customary eighty-two game schedule the NBA is naturally known for.

I’ve called it , and the anally retentive idiots who sought the retention of the Sacramento Kings in the California state capital , clearly have no fucking idea as to what is happening within their very midst , let alone within the front office of the Kings , altogether. I suppose that all comes down to the apathy of those fans , and what they feel is their all-knowing belief, that the NBA eats , breathes and shits , by the events take place on the West Coast, and shapes this league as a whole ! In what should not be seen as a surprising turn of events the ownership group the Sacramento Kings , led by the Maloof family , of Joe and Gavin Maloof , have agreed in principle to the sale of the NBA franchise to a Seattle-based consortium that will relocate the Kings to Washington State. For the better part of two and a half years, the city’s mayor , Kevin Johnson , himself a former NBA player , has judiciously negotiated with the Kings , primarily with GM, Geoff Petrie , but also with, Joe and Gavin Maloof.

Courtesy of USA Today

Sacramento Kings’ possible move uneasy for players, fans

SACRAMENTO (AP) — Aaron Brooks has been in an awkward spot since news surfaced that the Sacramento Kings could be sold and moved to his hometown of Seattle.

The Kings guard has no answers for family and friends who have been calling and texting for information. Even the excitement his brother, Alvertis, had when he showed up for a visit evaporated once he realized those in Sacramento might feel the same sorrow as when the SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008.

NEARING DEAL: Seattle group negotiates with Maloofs

“Seattle does need a team. But you would hate to have a team leave a city you know wants a basketball team,” Brooks said. “It’s unfortunate.”

For Sacramento players, coaches and fans, this is not an easy time.

In the first game since the latest — and perhaps most serious — round of relocation talks began, the Kings lost to the Dallas Mavericks 117-112 in overtime Thursday night, with chatter around the aging arena seemingly centering on everything but basketball.

GAME: Mavericks come back from 17 points down

Newspaper and television reporters from Seattle showed up along with an increased local media presence. Fans contemplated whether they should keep supporting a team they love. Ushers and parking attendants who depend on the team for work approached reporters wondering if they knew what might happen.

Even players and coaches admitted all the attention made it difficult to focus on the game.

“It’s definitely going to be a distraction,” said Kings coach Keith Smart. “But we’re pros. We’ve got to figure out a way how to separate the two and then get ready to play.”

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However, it has been intransigence of the franchise’s owners and the very fact , that David Stern has failed to act as a willing intermediary and peacemaker , that has led to this actual debacle . From the very outset, it was my belief that Johnson was negotiating from a position of weakness! And this continued idiocy by a number loyal but misguided Kings’ fans that it would be in the city’s best interest to use public funds in conjunction with that of private enterprise within the city’s locale , presently shows why the state and city remains a “complete cluster fuck “ , politically and economically , with no apparent leadership or the capacity to do what is ethically right , and that is to walk away while you have the option , instead of being made to look like a complete asshole ! As of now, that can be the only way to view Kevin Johnson and the Sacramento City Council. When will these municipal politicians, learn that continually kissing the ass of a billionaire or millionaire professional sports’ franchise owner , rarely benefits a city in the long-term !

Courtesy of USA Today

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says he’ll save Kings

By Sam Amick , USA Today Sports

SACRAMENTO — Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson swears he still has a shot to save his hometown team.

Johnson, the native son and former NBA point guard who has spent recent years trying to keep the Maloof family that owns the team from taking it elsewhere, told USA TODAY Sports on Friday night that Seattle hasn’t won this game just yet. Asked if his window had closed in light of a Wednesday report that the Maloofs and the Chris Hansen-Steve Ballmer group were finalizing a deal to bring the NBA back to Seattle and more reports on Friday that the deal was done in principle for $525 million, Johnson spread his hands wide and smiled. The window, he swears, remains open.

“(NBA Commissioner David Stern) knows that I’m going to make a request to speak to the governing board (before any Seattle deal is formalized),” Johnson said, noting that the deadline to file for relocation is March 1.

NBA A-Z: Sacramento turns out to support Kings

Stern said Thursday night that potential buyers who might keep the team in Sacramento deserve a shot, even naming billionaire supermarket mogul Ron Burkle as one candidate.

“This will be decided by a committee of owners and the NBA’s board of governors with the advice of me but not leading the way,” Stern said on Thursday night.

As was the case when he made an impassioned and ultimately successful pitch at a board of governor’s meeting in New York to keep the team from going to Anaheim, Calif., in April of 2011, Johnson — who had an agreement in principle with the Maloofs and the NBA for a new arena last February before they backed out — is confident Stern will give him the time necessary to organize his effort.

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A web of lies, and deceit , have been built around this whole sale , and it is clear that the Maloofs simply sought vested parties willing to take a beleaguered and an unprofitable franchise off their hands . Now comes the hard part , how will the fans act with regard to his monumental betrayal by the ownership group , and their malfeasance ? The irony here , has been the apathy of the fans who bought into this fucking bullshit , with regard to Joe , Gavin and Robert Maloof’s intent of keeping the franchise in Sacramento . I’ve always maintained before you run , you have to learn how to walk , and before you start to talk about the economic sports, at least have the goddamn temerity to know what the hell you are talking about , and that has been the stupidity of the Kings’ fans at this juncture !

At 13-23 , there does not seem to be a great deal that the Kings seem to be offering their fan at present , no matter how you view the situation. Coming off to a tough 117-112 loss to the Dallas Mavericks at the archaic and impoverished Sleep Train Arena , one of the NBA’s more dilapidated venues , for which the Maloofs, offered no assistance in refurbishing, when this whole negotiating process began . From the very outset it was abundantly clear , that neither Joe or Gavin Maloof, intended to negotiate in good faith , yet Kings’ fans in their continued bewilderment and sheer stupidity , held out hope that an amicable agreement could be reached between the city of Sacramento and the owners of the NBA franchise. It was merely the blind, and the blissfully stupid, being led down the garden path by the Maloofs . At the end of the day , one simply knows that David Stern in celebratory mood will commending the new owners of the soon to be relocated franchise , while the city of Sacramento , are left egg on their face and a white elephant , whose only use will be to stage a number of concerts and perhaps , a number of business expositions .

Next up for the Kings, will be two consecutive home games , with the first being tonight against the Miami Heat to be followed by a meeting against the Cleveland Cavaliers , on Monday night . There is not a great deal that can be said in terms of a positive for head coach Keith Smart and his coaching staff . The team’s best player remains Tyreke Evans , who’s ably assisted by Aaron Brooks , John Salmons and the troubled enigma that is , DeMarcus Cousins , whose exploits off the court , have now become the sole reason to even take an interest in the troubled player , who just doesn’t seem capable of harnessing his abilities and being truly productive for this beleaguered franchise . Beyond that, there is not much left, that can be said !

While, I am impressed with the growing stature of the Los Angeles Clippers , and their body of work this season . There can be no denying that if this franchise is to prove itself a success , then their efforts against the top tiered teams within the league will have to be amplified and maintained over the course of the season , and Vinnie Del Negro cannot be complacent in settling for half-measures in terms of his team’s productivity . If anything , while having the league’s best record , the continued “ knock” against the Clippers , will be , until they have proved themselves in the postseason , they will just be looked upon as a very good regular season team.

If the Clippers based upon their record are deemed the best team in the NBA at present , then surely , the Oklahoma City Thunder must pose an ominous threat , along with the San Antonio Spurs , within the Western Conference ? ? The “ dark horses” within the conference are the Memphis Grizzlies , a team capable of beating the very best within the NBA when they apply themselves to the task at hand .

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Picture gallery .

The NBA this season , we have been privileged to seeing the ascent of the New York Knicks , Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies . Players , LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant , continue to be dominant , yet why do I get the feeling that I am likely to be continually disappointed by the league in so many ways ? What, if anything has proven to be the biggest surprise and joy to your mind, while also witnessing, the very worst that the NBA has to offer? simply, leave a comment as you see fit.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
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(1)Indiana Pacers’ George Hill (3) drives against Charlotte Bobcats’ Ben Gordon (8) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. The Pacers defeated the Bobcats 96-88 . AP Photo/Doug McSchooler …

(2) Denver Nuggets’ Kenneth Faried , right, shoots over Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving , left, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, in Denver. AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez …

(3) Michael Jordan , the Charlotte Bobcats’ owner , is seen here with fiancée’ , Yvette Prieto , watching the Bobcats in a game played at the team’s home venue at the Time Warner Cable Arena , in Charlotte , North Carolina . Jordan and general manager , Rich Cho , have yet to get the Bobcats heading in the right direction , and it appears that their struggles have been on ongoing over the past two seasons . Team acquisitions as well as the draft have yet to be fortuitous for the franchise . AP Photo / Suzy Marshall …

(4) Phoenix Suns’ Sebastian Telfair (31) drives the ball past Brooklyn Nets’ Deron Williams (8) in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, Jan., 11, 2013 at Barclays Center in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek ….

(5) ” Clueless in Sacramento ” , Seattle Mayor , Kevin Johnson is seen here Sacramento Kings’ owners , Joe and Gavin Maloof are seen here in attendance of a Kings’ game in 2011 . It is now being widely being reported that the franchise will be sold to a Seattle-based consortium , for a yet undisclosed, sum for which the Maloofs have agreed in principle to the sale . Johnson, has vowed to use every available means within his power avert the ” sale” and to retain Sacramento Kings within the California state capitol . AP Photo/ Paul Pennant …….

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NBA & College Basketball pieces

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NBA related pieces :

Camby out two-four weeks with injured foot

Lakers’ Hill likely to miss the rest of the season

Pistons get boost from bench

Report : Oden eyeing comeback with the Heat

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NBA news and archived stories

NBA transactions

NBA teams & NBA coaches

NBA statistics

NBA schedule 12th January 2013 & 13th January

NBA standings (alphabetical by teams)

NBA standings by division & ….. by conference

NBA team statistics offense

NBA team statistics defense

NBA scoring leader

NBA player efficiency (pts, reb’s & assists ) & Double-doubles

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Dior Keyshia

Keyshia Dior , a hot piece of ass that’s worth watching , up close and personal !

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James Brown ……. ” Papa’s got a brand new bag ”

Come on, you have never had it so good , we are providing you with entertainment, sports’ entertainment , so suck it up, you son of a bitch …

Come on, you have never had it so good , we are providing you with entertainment, sports’ entertainment , so suck it up, you son of a bitch …

By Tophatal

With the NFL regular season now coming to a close , Sunday brings about week seventeen of the sixteen week schedule for 2012 . In large part, the divisions have been decided , but some playoff berths within the AFC and NFC , have yet to be settled, but Sundays’ results will bring about closure for the teams . One of the most intriguing games on this weekend’s schedule , will be the NFC East match-up , between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins. It is a game that will be played at FedEx Field , in Landover , Maryland . This, is a last ditch effort for the Cowboys, to make their way into the postseason. A win, guarantees them, the divisional title and some semblance of redemption after a somewhat disappointing season.

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Slideshow.

The opposing quarterbacks in this divisional match-up will be Robert Griffin III of the Redskins, facing off against Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys. And for the Cowboys’ quarterback , this may well be the last chance made available to him, as he seeks to lead this team back into the postseason.

Now there’s no denying that Robert Griffin III , has proven to be one of the exceptional rookie talents to have exploded unto the NFL stage this season. The Redskins’ rookie along with freshman players , Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson , have simply been exceptional throughout much of 2012. Luck and Wilson, have led both their teams to double-digit wins for the season , as well having secured a playoff berth for the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks , respectively. A truly astonishing feat , when one considers the inexperience of both players at the highest level of the game. There will be a great deal of intrigue and suspense to be played for the fans over the course of this weekend’s NFL schedule .

While the NFL regular season schedule seeks a finality , its NBA counterpart , is now a mere twenty plus games into their own long and arduous schedule . The season has already had its very first managerial casualty with the summary firing of the Brooklyn Nets’ head coach, Avery Johnson. Would it be appropriate to suggest that Nets’ point guard , Deron Williams , has now become a “ coach-killer “ ? It would appear that whenever the superstar becomes unhappy , with his environment or the level of his teammates’ play , he tends to cast a veiled displeasure and an indirect threat at his head coach. That was certainly the case, when Williams was formerly a player with the Utah Jazz , which ultimately led to the resignation of Jerry Sloan , and it certainly appears that Williams played his part in the firing of Avery Johnson. The idiocy of this whole situation cannot be underscored by the formal statement made by Nets’ GM, Billy King , in stating that the star point guard had nothing to do with the decision made by the front office that led to the dismissal of the beleaguered head coach. Kind of makes you wonder, if not for the player’s displeasure , would the franchise have “pulled the trigger “ and fired the head coach?

If the Nets’ general manager would take a single step back , and simply review his statement, he would suddenly realize that he cannot blow smoke up everyone’s ass, while trying to keep a smile on his face . And with the dismissal , it’s now hard to see how anyone can take the front office of the Brooklyn Nets all that seriously, never-mind their rather unenlightened and idiotic fans who proclaimed, that this team would be a worthy challenger to the likes of the , Miami Heat, New York Knicks , and Boston Celtics within the Eastern Conference. There was no body of work to suggest that this team was ready to even challenge the aforementioned trio , so now , those idiots , can sit back , and begin to eat crow , and deservedly so !

It is somewhat asinine to think that the Brooklyn Nets have sought to make such an exorbitant outlay , by committing in excess of $88, 257,129 for a team that now sits with a 0. 514 mark of 15-14 within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson account for almost 41% of the team’s salary commitment for 2012-13, with the two combining for just under $37 million of the eighty-eight million plus in the Nets’ 2012 salary outlay. Team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov , the Russian multi-billionaire entrepreneur , made it known , that money would be of no object , as he sought to make the Nets not just a competitive force within the NBA , but also a global brand, fittingly with a presence in Eastern and Western Europe , but most notably in his native Russia . With that commitment from Prokhorov , has come the billion dollar outlay in buying the majority stake in the Barclaycard Center/Atlantic Yards Development , which houses the Brooklyn Nets , as well as a commercial and residential complex . As of now, that investment, does seem extremely costly , with barely any dividends , being shown on-court , by way of anything being remotely competitive from this team . I firmly believe that Deron Williams lacks the leadership qualities to make the Brooklyn Nets a resounding success , and this idiocy that Joe Johnson , would be a player capable of supporting the skill-set of Williams , as diminishing those returns now appear to be ! PJ Carlisemo has now been installed as the interim-head coach , with rumors that Billy King , at the behest of Mikhail Prokhorov is said to be seeking out Phil Jackson , to gauge his interest in coming to Brooklyn , to coach the newly relocated franchise . There are only two coaching positions within the NBA , that are likely to pique the interest of the famed head coach , and at present , as neither the Knicks or Lakers’ coaching positions are vacant . One can only speculate , and in all likelihood, it is my firm belief that Jackson will turn down the approach from the Russian billionaire owner ! And even , if Jackson is offered a reputed five-year $60-$75 million contract , there is no guarantee of success , for a team that at present is in complete disarray .

Now while there are now those seeking to thrust the New York Knicks further into the limelight , and God knows that franchise needs to be relevant once again, after years of ineptitude in the wilderness , with the mismanagement by team owner, James Dolan , GM Glen Grunwald and his predecessors , Donnie Walsh and Isiah Thomas . While the NBA franchise remains the “ jewel in the crown” in terms of value and profitability as the most valuable NBA team in the league . There can be no denying, that were it not for the fact , that the New York Knicks are domiciled in the nation’s largest ad-market , New York City , and that it is part of a vast array of sports and entertainment interests owned under the umbrella of the privately held business entity, MSG Entertainment Inc. . , a wholly owned company, shrouded in secrecy , and presided over by James Dolan, and his family. One seriously doubts that the franchise would be in its present position, of being to lavish itself with such luxuries , with the salaries afforded to the likes of Tyson Chandler , Carmelo Anthony , Amar`e Stoudemire , Jason Kidd and J R Smith.

The Knicks , coming off a narrow one-point 106-105 loss to the Sacramento Kings , are now 21-9 , while seated atop of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . And while that record is impressive , let’s not kid ourselves into believing that this team is the most dominant franchise in the conference , while they are 6-4 on the road and impressive 12-2 within the conference. It begs the question, what is the true measure of real dominance within the NBA and specifically with regard to the Knicks ? Yes , they do possess one of the most forceful and naturally gifted scorers in the game , with Carmelo Anthony , who has been ably abetted this season by JR Smith . However, my position is that, until there’s a body of work , by which this team can be adjudged , there cannot be an assertion that this team is , or has been one of the more dominant franchises within the NBA this season !v . The team’s longest winning streak over the course of their schedule is one of six games , during the month of November, but they have been able to maintain a consistency by not having anything more than a two-game consecutive loss streak during their 2012-2013 sojourn .

Knicks’ head coach, Mike Woodson , has been able to mold together an aggressive cohesive unit that has proven to be an effective offensive corps of players . The team at 102.27 points per game lies seventh in the NBA in that offensive category , and second within Eastern Conference, behind the Miami Heat (103.4 points per game) . Defensively , in allowing 97 ppg , the Knicks are the ninth within the conference , and fourteenth within the NBA , of the of the league’s 30 teams.

In determining the margin of victory , at 5.3 points per game , Mike Woodson’s players sit comfortably in fifth place within the NBA , where the high-flying Los Angeles Clippers lead the way. For their part , the Clippers , led by Blake Griffin and Chris Paul , have been on an impressive run , having won a franchise best sixteen straight games , the best run in the NBA this season . Vinny Del Negro , and his coaching staff , has this Clippers’ team playing with a great deal of resolve and commitment , while ” overshadowing” their more illustrious rivals and namesake , the Los Angeles Lakers .

And for the Lakers , the infancy of their season has been a tumultuous one , with the firing of Mike Brown five games into their schedule (1-4) and Mike D’Antoni being brought in by GM , Mitch Kupchak and SVP, Jim Buss . The hiring of D’Antoni , was bewildering to fans NBA analysts alike , as front office had sought Phil Jackson , to gauge his interest in returning to the franchise he guided to five NBA titles while coaching the Lakers over two separate terms. And while Jackson had sought time to make a decision, it would appear that Kupchak and Jim Buss approached D’Antoni, offered him the position and then made the formal announcement that the once vacant position had now been filled by the former Knicks and Phoenix Suns’ head coach.

Injuries, and inconsistent play from the Los Angeles Lakers , with no clear sense of a real coaching strategy has simply played its part , in defining the under-achieving Lakers. Take into account , that Kobe Bryant is being asked to provide the bulk of the team’s offensive output , with an aging Steve Nash , and a rather lackluster showing , in a number of outings from Dwight Howard , and a recipe for disaster has now been created , as the franchise’s record (15-15) and standing reflects their continued poor showing .

While the Lakers swoon , the Oklahoma City Thunder are riding high , and they’re no doubt seeking to make a quick return to the NBA Finals , and redeem themselves after last season’s poor showing in the postseason finale . Kevin Durant and his erstwhile teammate , point guard Russell Westbrook , are the most prolific combination duos , now playing in the NBA , and such has been their productivity , that it should come as no surprise why there are and still remain the prohibitive favorites to repeat as the Western Conference champions this season. If there is a serious challenger within the conference , to the Thunder’s present supremacy , then that challenge may well come , jointly from, the Los Angeles Clippers , Memphis Grizzlies and four-time NBA champions , the always dangerous San Antonio Spurs . Gregg Popovich, a former coach of the Year award winner , coach of all four of Spurs Finals’ triumphs , places the illustrious coach in a select group of NBA coaches to have won multiple titles . Adding a fifth , would cement Popovich’s legacy, and further enhance his status as a future Hall of Fame inductee , alongside current players and likely future occupants , Tony Parker , Manu Ginobli and Tim Duncan , the elder statesman on the current Spurs’ roster , and the lynch pin for much of the franchise’s success , since his being drafted , as the number one pick in the 1997 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs.

If the Spurs are to be a collective force , then beyond the productivity provided by Tony Parker , Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli , then players such as , Kawhi Leonard , Danny Green , Gary Neal , Tiago Splitter , Stephen Jackson , and Boris Diaw , will have to step up and answer the call, as and when needed .

Saturday night’s schedule offers the fans eleven games of note , but essentially Sunday , is when the nation will be watching , if they are not transfixed by the NFL scheduled games being televised by the broadcast networks. The Spurs will be part of the afternoon’s four game sortie , when they face the Dallas Mavericks in a game to be played at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas , Texas. The team leads the season series 1-0 , having met on the 23rd December in San Antonio , when the Spurs came away with a lopsided forty-eight point victory in defeating the Mavericks 129-81 , a loss that sent Rick Carlisle’s team reeling , with many questioning whether or not the current rebuilding process now being undertaken , is actually working . At this juncture , I think it’s pretty safe to say that Carlisle and the Mavericks’ front office will certainly have to look at the underlying issues the team now faces. Team owner, Mark Cuban , saw fit make a radical decision upheaval of their roster and rebuilding afresh. GM , Donn Nelson , entrusted with this task has seen fit to also reduce the team’s payroll considerably from last year . A considerably sharp decline, from when the Mavericks’ carried a payroll that would place them among the highest in the NBA .

In 2012, with the league’s “soft salary cap” of $58.044 million , it would appear that the teams would rather ignore that plateau , as they seek all-out success and glory , no matter what the financial stake may well be, and the morass that such extravagance might bring about . And for this idiocy , we have the league hierarchy to thank , led by NBA Commissioner, David Stern , and the lackadaisical attitude of the team owners , who plead poverty , . but who still choose not to rein in their costs .

The commissioner would rather have us believe that the NBPA (Players’ Union) bears the responsibility for the league’s financial malaise , but nothing could be further from the truth , as this all comes down to the lack of restraint being shown by all sides , as it relates to curtailing financial costs and the league’s own response to the criticism being leveled at them by the fans , television and print media .

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Picture gallery.

What do you believe has been one the high points of the NFL season ? In your opinion, what should we expect to see over the course of the postseason ? With all of news now unfolding within the NBA , rightly or wrongly , what if anything gives you the greatest cause for concern for the league still in its infancy of its schedule , this season? Simply , leave a comment as you see fit , and thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as it is gratefully appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Washington Redskins’ Robert Griffin III passes in the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Philadelphia. Washington won 27-20 . AP Photo/Michael Perez …

(2) Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan , left, and Philadelphia Eagles’ coach Andy Reid meet after an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Philadelphia. Washington won 27-20 . AP Photo/Michael Perez …

(3) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) leaves the field after overtime play of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. The Saints won 34-31 . The Cowboys’ quarterback and his well chronicled postseason experience has been more ” hyperbole “ , rather than anything productive for the player and the Cowboys , since he became the full-time starting quarterback for the franchise . AP Photo/Sharon Ellman …

(4) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) passes the ball as New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith (91) moves in during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Brandon Wade …

(5) Brooklyn Nets’ Deron Williams looks to pass away from Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving , right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, in New York. The Nets would go on to defeat the Cavaliers 103-100 . PJ Carlesimo since his being installed as the interim head coach the team is off to a 2-0 start in his tenure , in the position . AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …

(6) Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo calls out to his team during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, in New York. The Nets won 103-100. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …

(7) FILE- In this Dec. 17, 2011, file photo, New Jersey Nets head coach Avery Johnson , right, talks with assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the New York Knicks in Newark, N.J. The Nets fired Johnson on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, and Carlesimo will coach the team on an interim basis, starting Friday night with a home game against Charlotte. AP Photo/Mel Evans …..

(8) SACRAMENTO, CA – DECEMBER 28: James Johnson (52) of the Sacramento Kings is congratulated by teammates after he made a three-point basket at the buzzer to beat the New York Knicks 106-105 at Sleep Train Arena on December 28, 2012 in Sacramento, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ….

(9) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan (21) works the ball around Houston Rockets’ Marcus Morris, left, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game on Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ….

(10) San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili (20) , of Argentina, is fouled as he drives to the basket against Houston Rockets defenders Cole Aldrich (31), Daequan Cook (14) , James Harden (13) and Chandler Parsons , right, during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 122-116 . AP Photo/Eric Gay ….

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NFL news & news from around the league

Dallas Cowboys news

Washington Redskins news

All time head to head match-ups between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins

NFL standings by division

NFL standings by conference

NFL schedule week seventeen

NFL stats weekly leaders week 16

NFL team stats

NFL team injuries

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NBA news & archived news

Brooklyn Nets news

New York Knicks news

NBA standings by division

NBA standings by conference

NBA team salaries & NBA soft salary cap of $58.044 million for the 2012-13 season

Highest paid player salaries (NBA)

NBA team values – revenue streams & profitability

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Analicia Chaves , picture comes courtesy of King Magazine

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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Click on link provided to read in full.
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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?