Whining gets you nowhere when you want to feel good about your team, especially when you realize they’re on the decline

Whining gets you nowhere when you want to feel good about your team, especially when you realize they’re on the decline

As the NBA season has yet to get into full swing there are now a number of situations beginning to unwind concerning the frailities of a number of teams. In something of a debate, but though a little contentious , a patron on a site suggested that the Dallas Mavericks, a perennial contender was perhaps one of the best franchises in the NBA. All true, as the Mavericks have indeed won an NBA Final where Dirk Nowitzki won the Finals’ MVP in leading the team in a surprising victory over what was then an overrated Miami Heat team led by LeBron James.

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Mark Cuban , the always none too shy, self publicity seeking owner of the Dallas Mavericks, as ever opinionated makes the statement he would like to see the Oklahoma City Thunder “tank” their season . With two of their most senior and best players sidelined by injuries , Oklahoma has made do without both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. I get the feeling, Cuban sees this as the best opportunity for the Mavericks to gain a postseason berth because his team has very little chance of winning what has always been a very competitive Southwest Division within the Western Conference.

Off to a 4-3 start to the season Rick Carlisle and his coaching staff will certainly know this will almost certainly be Dirk Nowitzki’s last season in a Mavericks’ uniform. The center’s career with the franchise has indeed made him the face of the Mavericks during his tenure and a likely Hall of Fame inductee having met the eligibility requirements. Nowitzki leads the team in many of the relevant statistical categories which matter the most .

Coming off a 105-96 loss to the Miami Heat where Monta Ellis led the scoring drive for the Mavericks in this contest. Nowitzki had a solid all-round game but not one where you could state he made a difference with the result. The flaws on the Mavericks are there to be seen, with their being very little resilience from this team with regard to theirdefensive capabilities. Dallas may well be able to outscore their opponents, but clearly defensively , the team cannot defend when a game is on the line and it will continue to be the ‘Achilles’ Heel’ for the Dallas Mavericks.

Next up for Dallas will be the opportunity for the team to gauge themselves against DeMarcus Cousins and a good Sacramento Kings’ team looking to make a clear statement they are ready to compete with the very best the conference and NBA has to offer this season.

DeMarcus Cousins is now growing into his own as a player , albeit, his stature is not where it should be for a player with a great deal of talent and who has repeatedly failed to show the maturity sought by the Kings’ coaching staff and front office and team owner Vivek Ranadive .

You certainly don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize the New York Knicks are struggling in the NBA this season. Head of Basketball Operations & SVP Phil Jackson was induced to return to the franchise where he made a name for himself as a player and won an NBA title with the franchise . This season the Knicks have been anything but consistent as the team led by Carmelo Anthony seeks to get over their early struggles. A six-point loss , 91-85 to the Atlanta Hawks was the Knicks’ third consecutive defeat suffered by team as they fall to 2-6 within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.

New York cajoled and plead with Carmelo Anthony to remain with the Knicks, on the premise they would build a competitive lineup to complement his talents as a player and the New York Knicks’ leading scorer this season. It is pretty much safe to say the Knicks are failing miserably and thought their year is somewhat of a microcosm of what was witnessed last year doesn’t provide the fans with a great deal of confidence. While attendance at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York remains healthy , you have to wonder at what point these fans are likely voice their displeasure with the team and the coaching staff of Derek Fisher.

The Knicks if they are to succeed, in spite of the belief of their fans that this season could be the year where they are primed to make a deep playoff run in pursuit of their first NBA title in over four decades. Derek Fisher in his first season as a rookie head coach must be wondering if his mentor Phil Jackson ever had these type of struggles at any point during his career. Other than Carmelo Anthony there is not a bona-fide superstar on the Knicks’ roster. Amare’ Stoudemire is on the downside of a rather disappointing career , along with a thirty-seven year old Argentinian guard Pablo Prigioni , JR Smith, Andrea Bargnani and Samuel Dalembert are seen as the mainstays of this Knicks’ team. Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher know there are teething problems concerning the New York Knicks and their next five games will tell us a great deal about the franchise and the inner workings of the organization owned by James Dolan .

With a net worth of over $1.2 billion the New York Knicks remain the most valuable NBA franchise in spite of the exorbitant price of $2 billion paid by Steve Ballmer in his purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers . While Ballmer strives to make the Clippers a more recognized brand around the league, the Knicks have no such worries , with the franchise perhaps one of the most recognizable names in the NBA and one of the most revered sports’ franchises in North America . The Orlando Magic will be the guests of the New York Knicks on Wednesday when the two teams meet in the first of the scheduled meetings this season. Ballmer has seen the Clippers get off to an indifferent start with a 4-3 mark , seated fourth within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference 1 1/2 games behind division leaders the Golden State Warriors (5-1).

In their most recent game the Los Angeles Clippers’ fall to the San Antonio Spurs, where the reigning champions witnessed the trio of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker combine for their five hundredth victory together as teammates. A singular feat , likely to go down in history but not necessarily lauded by the print and television media where even the NBA Network have been slow to laud the feat , but the network’s constant obeisance and ass kissing of the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks have become bile inducing beyond anyone’s scope and comprehension. Doc Rivers has his own trio of stars with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan laying swath to their opponents this season, but the real issue, has to be , can the coach get his team playing defense with a great deal more resilience ?

In the aftermath of the Donald Sterling fiasco the Los Angeles Clippers have shown they are ready to move on and put that lamentable chapter behind them . Unfortunately, were it not for the incompetency of the hierarchy’s handling of the issue , this matter might not have been so prolonged and a complete embarrassment to the league. As the Clippers’ ascent continues the fast spiraling descent of the Los Angeles Lakers continues abound.To date , Kobe Bryant has yet to show his anger or direct his angst towards his teammates or front office executives Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak who in recent years have blundered with their acquisition of free agents and through a number of their recent draft classes .

Bryant as a multi- time time All Star has seen the Los Angeles Lakers’ season flounder with the loss of Steve Nash and rookie Julius Randle. Add in the fact head coach Byron Scott and the coaching staff are struggling to find their best lineup much get something from the roster in terms of depth . The Lakers got their first victory of the season with a 102-97 win over the Charlotte Hornets in game where Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin led all scorers for the Lakers in the contest and for the Hornets , Michael Kidd-Gilchrist leading the way for the for the visiting team. I am not so sure Bryant will be able to pull the Lakers out of their current abyss, not with a team that seems to lack a competitive edge and nature . Nonetheless , it will be interesting how they fare over remainder of the month and then throughout December as the NBA season gets into the heart of its schedule.

As the youngest League MVP in NBA history the Chicago Bulls’ (6-2) point guard Derrick Rose has seen his career take a meteoric trajectory . Rose at his very best happens to be one of the most electrifying players in the league and almost certainly among the top-five point guards playing the game today. The issue however, remains keeping Rose healthy where he can play an entire season for this team . Without him the Bulls tend to struggle as does provide the bulk of the team’s offense . Head coach Tom Thibodeau knows Rose remains the one asset , his team can do without and though over the past two postseasons the Bulls had admirable runs , those failures can point to the fact they were without their best player.

Chicago’s 6-2 mark is one of the best in the Eastern Conference and one of the best in the entire league . GM John Paxson was heavily criticized last season with the trading of Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers , but Deng now finds himself as the centerpiece of a revamped Miami Heat roster in the aftermath of the departure of LeBron James. The Bulls do not seemed to have missed a beat and their play this season has been scintillating at times , leading me to believe they might provide the biggest threat to the Cavaliers and James’ quest to bring an NBA title to Cleveland this season , which would be to the delight of team owner Dan Gilbert . James will be looking to add to his legacy and that of the Cleveland Cavaliers .

If there is one sport where the players feel theirs is a right to entitlement, the world of professional basketball would be it. Where else can the players be rewarded so highly , while leaving their peers within the NFL , and hockey its wake ? The demented lunacy that continues to exist within Major League Baseball (MLB) and the imbalances to be seen from a financial aspect , has me wondering how soon before that particular ” House of Cards” begins to fall ?

The NBA hides behind the idiocy of a “soft ” salary cap ($63.1 million) , while David Stern and his successor Adam Silver have repeatedly failed to rein in the expenses of the teams in terms of their payroll . Adam Silver as the NBA Commissioner , is not unlike Bud Selig , in his failing to address and admit his sport, has a major economic problem , even in spite of the countless, millions of dollars in annual revenues . Yes, while the burgeoning television contracts and team revenues continue to escalate , the NBA finds itself within its own personal Utopia . There still remains the question of trying to address declining viewership and in some cases the fall in attendance for teams around the league.

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Mikhail Prokorov and Paul Allen as the owners of the Brooklyn Nets and Portland Trailblazers had their teams entering this season with the highest payrolls in the NBA . Money is obviously of no issue for two of the wealthiest individuals in all of professional sports, with Prokhorov and Allen having a combined net worth exceeding $30 billion . Their teams are likely to become intertwined over the course of this season as both the Nets and Trailblazers seek to make their mark on the year. The first of their regular season meetings come on the 15th November when the Portland Trailblazers will play host to the Brooklyn Nets at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon,.

Portland will be looking to their combo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard to lead the way as they take on Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez of the Nets. Garnett the wily veteran of this Brooklyn team has long felt he can still be productive during the latter stages of his career. He has been as good as his word , giving given this roster some stability where it is needed and the coaching staff of Lionel Hollins have benefited from Kevin Garnett’s experience and leadership. Among active players, Garnett’s statstics weigh up favorably and it has been one of the defining points of his career with his durability and willingness to lead.

There is no denying , playing in a weak Eastern Conference does create the illusion great basketball is alive and well within the conference. In reality , nothing could be further from the truth with their being little to suggest the Eastern Conference is at all competitive . The hyperbole which surrounded the Miami Heat quickly brought a number of analysts and fans back down to earth, because they bought into the idiocy that LeBron James could carry the Heat though the postseason without really being assisted his supporting cast. When you consider the cast in question barely showed up during the NBA Finals , you have to wonder how anyone in their right mind favored the Heat , never mind the fact , they completely underestimated the San Antonio Spurs and their coach Gregg Popovich .

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With the NBA season still in its infancy , has there been an event or game which you feel is reflection of why the league remains pedantic ? Also which teams by your estimation are already in danger of seeing their season being flushed down the tubes ? Just 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 gallery below .

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(1) From left to right , 2011 Finals’ MVP Dirk Bowitzki is seen alongside teammates, Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion after the Dallas Mavericks’ triumph over the Miami Heat in the series to win their first championship in the franchise’s history.. Team owner Mark Cuban has not been afraid to spend money capriciously , but with Nowitzki likely to retire from the game, it will be interesting to see the lengths GM Donnie Nelson will go to , in rebuilding the team. AP Photo / Mike Carpenter …

(2) Mark Cuban left , owner of the Dallas Mavericks is seen here with the team’s head coach Rick Carlisle . The two will have a great deal of pondering to do at the end of this season , should the Dirk Nowitzki make the decision to retire from the game and the franchise where he has spent his entire NBA career . Getty Images North America / Moses Carter ..

(3) Reigning League MVP Kevin Durant shows a great deal of humility and humbleness, as he accepts his MVP Award. Durant is currently missing from the Oklahoma City Thunder lineup due to an injury that will keep him sidelined for at least two months, hampering the team’s chances of making a successful defense of their divisional crown . Head coach Scott Brooks hopes to see Durant back in a Thunder uniform by late December or early January , Also missing from the starting lineup is point guard Russell Westbrook . The duo are two of the league’s most potent offensive players accounting for over 63% of the team’s offense this past season . AP Photo/ Larry Mason …

(4) Phil Jackson now a senior executive within the New York Knicks’ front office has been entrusted with the decision making process for all personnel moves for the franchise. The former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach hired Derek Fisher to coach the team . Off to an inauspicious start Fisher and his coaching staff will have to make good on the wishes of their fans to make the postseason for the first time in three years . At their present rate the projected wins’ total for the Knicks seems to be no more than twenty-eight games . A record , unlikely get them a berth for the NBA Playoffs based on the last two years . AP Photo / Matt Turner …

(5) Former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer is seen here with Los Angeles point guard Chris Paul , (right) at a Los Angeles Kings’ game . Ballmer purchased the Clippers for a record $2 billion , and with that an appreciation in the value of the NBA’s other twenty-nine teams is likely to take place . Getty Images North America …

(6) From left to right , Manu Ginobli, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are seen here on the bench during a game. The combo were part of the team’s lineup during which they won their five-hundredth game together as a trio. Duncan has been part of all five team triumphs in the NBA Finals with his two teammates each winning four titles . The Spurs hope to make it a sixth this upcoming season and they are off to mild start to their schedule . Head coach Gregg Popovich seeks his six title as coach and third NBA Coach of the Year Award during his illustrious career . Peter Holt and GM RC Buford have presided over the franchise’s success over the past eighteen years. AP Photo / Paul Holland ..

(7) Four-time League MVP LeBron James whose return to the Cleveland Cavaliers have seen an increase in the Cavaliers’ attendance at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio . James for his part leads the team in the most pertinent offensive categories this season . Cleveland is seen as the leading contender for the Eastern Conference title this season and James hopes to make that a reality for the franchise. Team owner Dan Gilbert was ecstatic at the return of the player who was drafted by team and as a rookie started his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers . AP Photo / Manny Velazquez …

(8) Brooklyn Nets owner , Mikhail Prokhorov is seen here with the team’s point guard Deron Williams . Beyond his ownership of the franchise , Prokhorov owns the a majority (85%) stake, which encompasses the Nets’ venue the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York and real estate enterprise surrounding the arena. AP Photo / Barry Marshall …

(9) Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose is seen on the sidelines discussing a play with head coach Tom Thibodeau during a game. The player has missed a significant number of games over thelast two seasons due to injury and already this early into Bulls’ 2014 season, Rose has once again been sidelined due to injury . AP Photo / Anglela Hart …

(10) Luol Deng (9) of the Miami Heat , who in a recent outing for the team scored a season high thirty points against the Dallas Mavericks , which the Heat won with ease against a Mavericks’ team, who showed poor defensive qualities . Deng signed with Heat after being part of a mid-season trade in during the 2013 season which saw him being dealt by the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Signed as a free agent this off-season by the Heat , Deng has become a solid member and performer for the team this season , leading the Miami Heat to one of the best records in the Eastern Conference. Getty Images/ Matt Jones …

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Don’t bother with the platitudes just bring on a dose of reality …………

Don’t bother with the platitudes just bring on a dose of reality …………

Tim Finchem and the PGA Tour , now s have an image problem to deal with beyond the fact golf’s most high-profiled player is likely to be lost to the Tour for a several weeks. Tiger Woods’ career has been derailed in recent seasons by his own behavioral issues and by recurring injuries, most notably his back. This season, it has been injuries which have plagued the player’s year and his play , leaving many in doubt , whether he can reach the heights where he was once golf’s most dominant player and a certainty to break Jack Nicklaus’ record of eighteen Major Grand Slam wins. Nicklaus’ feat might now seem out of reach but the PGA all-time career wins on the Tour does seem attainable for Woods, if he can regain a degree of fitness and form.

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As the PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, cannot be happy with the fact he has suspended Dustin Johnson for a six month banishment , while the player undergoes rehab for a substance abuse problem, which has been determined to be cocaine addiction. Now don’t get me wrong, but my question is , since when were golfers known to be the “bad boys “ of the sports’ world , never mind their partying like perverted rock stars? I guess after the sexual peccadilloes of Tiger Woods , Johnson’s actions had to be expected. If not Dustin Johnson, then who would be the next high-profiled Tour golfer to be caught in a web of lies , deceit and sexual intrigue?

Courtesy of Fox News

Dustin Johnson failed drug tests, fooled around with tour player’s wife, report says

Reports of drug use and sleeping with other tour players’ wives have followed in the wake of Thursday’s announcement by pro golfer Dustin Johnson that he is taking a leave of absence from the PGA Tour.

Golf.com cited an unnamed source who said Johnson failed three drug tests in the past five years, including a positive test for marijuana in 2009 and two positive tests for cocaine in 2012 and 2014.

The PGA is not required to make public any player suspensions that result from positive tests for recreational drugs.

The same report also said Johnson “had a sexual indiscretion with at least one wife of a PGA Tour player.”

A rep for the tour did not respond to Golf.com’s request for comment.

Following the report, Fox Sports reporter Robert Lusetich tweeted that Johnson was known to have slept with not one, but two tour players’ wives.

Not a huge secret either that #DustinJohnson had affairs with 2 wives of PGA Tour players. One broke up the marriage.

— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) August 1, 2014

Johnson became engaged to Paulina Gretzky, the daughter of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, in August, 2013. He issued a statement Thursday that addressed his hiatus from the tour.

“I will use this time to seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced,” he said. “By committing the time and resources necessary to improve my mental health, physical well-being and emotional foundation, I am confident that I will be better equipped to fulfill my potential and become a consistent champion.”

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Now if the allegations concerning Johnson are indeed true, his philandering with the wives of many of the players on the PGA Tour does leave the player in an untenable position in terms of his relationships with his peers. As to what this also indicates concerning the behavior of a number of the Tour professionals does leave a great deal to be desired as well as the wholesome tradition Tim Finchem tries to sell to the public. With over $260 million in official prize money on the PGA Tour, as well as a further $60 million in unofficial prize money , by way of unofficial tournaments that remains in part, a bevy of the schedule, golf remains one of the most lucrative sports by way of the on course earnings afforded their professionals.

The PGA Tour much like the NFL , MLB and NBA , has created a charade of wholesomeness , that in no way could they have maintained , which their respective hierarchies tried to keep up the perception, while conning the fans and public alike their sports remained above reproach. Fact of the matter remains, golf has always been shrouded with some very dubious distinctions of which its greatest was and still remains racism , lack of diversity, and the ongoing bigoted and archaic values within Augusta National , home to The Masters . Only recently, have we seen the change in attitude of members of Augusta and even now, there still seems to be an aversion to real change within that bastion of male chauvinism and bigotry. Before Tiger Woods’ ascent to the top of the world rankings as well as winning fourteen Grand Slam Majors and seventy-four official PGA Tour wins. The last African-American golfers of note on the PGA Tour were Lee Elder and Calvin Peete. Perhaps, this was merely the PGA Tour’s lack of social response or the very fact they felt, the issue did not need to be addressed.

With Tiger Woods’ descent, the rise of Rory McIlroy might well have provided the PGA Tour with a real superstar the sport is now sorely missing. Phil Mickelson does not seem to be the player thought to be ready to lay down the gauntlet and in proving to be a real adversary for Tiger Woods. Bubba Watson appears to be all too robotic in his approach , character and the very fact he does not seem to be a real major draw on the Tour in spite of his career. Jordan Speith’s rise up the world rankings and Fedex Cup standings has simply afforded him a great deal of attention within the print media but until he notches that first real big win on the PGA Tour, he will be merely seen as another wunderkind, thought to be the heir-apparent.

Rory McIroy’s wire to wire-to-wire win of The Open at Hoylake and his most recent win of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational , simply emphasizes why he is now the best golfer on the planet . His world number one ranking , reinforces that fact and his dominance of the game comes at a time when golf is really in need of a genuine superstar and not a robotic character-less prototype thrown up on the PGA Tour , as the next American golfer that will dominate the game.

Dustin Johnson’s suspension and Tiger Wood’s recurrence of a back problem now leaves incoming USA Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson at a loss as to the possible replacements are likely to be , to fill out his twelve man roster for this biannual team competition featuring the US against the best Europe has to offer in terms of the European Tour players. With golf, having now become a global game , the two main tours are the PGA and the European Tour . Europe may well be made the presumptive favorites for the upcoming competition, set to begin on the 23rd September through to the 28th September at Gleneagles Golf Course , Gleneagles , Scotland. Paul McGinley as the European team captain will have a bevy of talent with a group of players made up of Major winners, regular competitors on the European Tour, as well as on the PGA Tour. . The bragging rights and unique distinction of this team competition, makes it one of the most anticipated and talked about sporting events in the world at the time of its scheduling. With Europe looking to take back the Ryder Cup trophy, this September, all eyes will be on Gleneagles , Scotland, once this competition gets underway.

Having won three of the four legs of the Majors which make up the career Grand Slam . Rory McIlroy would like nothing better than to join what is really a select list of golfers to have achieved that feat. Jack Nicklaus , Tiger Woods and Gary Player are three of the group of players to have achieved the feat, with Nicklaus’ eighteen Major wins heading the list of Grand Slam victories. It should be noted the tally would have been far greater for the Golden Bear , when you consider the number of runner-up finishes (second place) he tallied in the Majors over his illustrious career. The Green Jacket of The Masters is the one Major victory McIlroy now seeks to join the illustrious group in question, but this Thursday , with the start of the PGA Championship at the : Valhalla Golf Course in Louisville, Kentucky. The young Irishman will get the chance to win his fifth Major title and second in succession within a calendar year, should he prove victorious in taking the PGA crown. The odds might not favor McIlroy, but who is likely to really challenge him at this juncture, given his present form ?

Misery , sorrow , call it what you will, but the belly aching by the fans who saw the fall from grace of the Miami Heat was enough to make your stomach turn. You had the sheer idiocy of fans suggesting an ailing Dwyane Wade merely had to turn up for the postseason and barely lift an eyelid and the Heat would have swept their way to victory over the San Antonio Spurs . In reality, I know what makes the North American sports’ fan really tick, it is their inane stupidity and lack of real knowledge, only knowing to spurt real absurdities to make themselves sound knowledgeable. LeBron James was afforded as much aid by his teammates in this past NBA Finals as a gunshot wound victim would be given aid , had it been a Band Aid to cover a wound to the abdomen that was still bleeding profusely. Where was either Dwyane Wade or the ” overrated” Chris Bosh in these Finals ? I will tell you where , no fucking where to be seen , and yet the excuses as to the Heat’s demise were still forthcoming. Let’s put it this way , with the dumb ass lack of intelligence being shown by LeBron James’ apologists such as Stephen A Smith and Chris Broussard , I really wonder how the NBA has any real legitimacy with regard to the print media much less the lack of frigging intelligence shown by some fans !

With LeBron James now deciding to pull up sticks and make his way back to Cleveland and bringing a forgiving smile by rejoining the Cleveland Cavaliers , all may well be right in the NBA world once again. Throw in for good measure , Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert seems to have had a change of heart about the player he once called self-centered, arrogant and disloyal. One might now ask , what must James now do to make the fans in Cleveland really happy ? An NBA title in the first year of his return will not be happening, even if based on the premise of the Cavaliers trading away their 2014 NBA number one draft pick , Andrew Wiggins to acquire power forward Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves .

Dan Gilbert, GM David Griffin and new head coach David Blatt , believe the acquisition of Kevin Love can best bolster the team roster, making them a legitimate contender within the Eastern Conference . While likely the case, I believe it too early to make such a presumption, not when you have a Chicago Bulls’ team led by Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah , reigning Defensive Player of the Year and the addition of a still productive veteran Pau Gasol. In the Bulls you have a team coached by the best coach in the NBA yet to win a title, by the name of Tom Thibodeau . Chicago can be considered a real threat and with Rose fit though not yet in real game shape , he is already proving to be his old self in terms of leadership skills, which have been on display while a member of the USA FIBA squad for the upcoming World Cup tournament. And with the injury suffered by Paul George of the Indiana Pacers during a team scrimmage, Rose’s place on the final team roster for the tournament seems assured. If he can merely find some of the form shown when he became one of the youngest players ever to win the NBA League MVP , then one has to look at the Chicago Bulls as a prohibitive favorite within the Eastern Conference this upcoming season. From a defensive standpoint the Bulls are one of the best teams within the conference and the league itself and might just be the most balanced team in the Eastern Conference with the addition of Pau Gasol.

The shakeup within the NBA caused by LeBron James’ defection to the Cleveland Cavaliers did not have desired effect one might have thought. Carmelo Anthony remained with the New York Knicks signing for more money , as if there was any real doubt , he would have left their offer on the table ? Phil Jackson will now seek to bolster what is still a very under-achieving team , with Amare’ Stoudemire still remaining a part of an equation , where his lack of productivity and bloated salary becomes more than an eyesore and afterthought. As to the reasons why Knicks’ fans seem so reassured , might have more to do with the choice of Derek Fisher to succeed Mike Woodson as the team’s head coach than it has to do with the Knicks’ 2014 draft class . Not exactly thrilling, but for the Knicks, anything which takes the spotlight off the organization’s incompetence has to be seen as a positive .

The Miami Heat’s loss of LeBron James has Pat Riley running to the hills , seeking to repair the damage done . During the season Riley essentially stood pat , not seeking to bolster a roster that was flawed in so many ways. Yet , there were fans and analysts alike enamored and in awe of a team playing in a weakened , mediocre division and conference . If any of them , simply took the time to look at what was happening in the Eastern Conference and its divisions, they would have noticed how dire the situation had become was simply ongoing from previous seasons . Instead, it was all about the greatness of LeBron and this team seeking to win back to back to back NBA titles. When you have a product which has become so putrid and bile inducing, as witnessed in the Eastern Conference, with fans are lauding over it as something spectacular , you simply have to wonder what might be going on inside their minds as well as that of the NBA hierarchy? Outgoing commissioner David Stern was lauded by owners and his peers as being a savior of the game, but his apparent willingness to overlook litany of behavioral issues of Donald Sterling and Rich DeVos , shows the former commissioner being an ass, as well as dubious and duplicitous in the league’s ongoing problems . Stern is to the NBA, what the Tea Party is now proving to be for the Republican Party, more of a burden, rather than a considerable boost .

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli , Kawhi Leonard and their teammates showed us what team work was all about during the finals and their clinical dismantling of their Eastern Conference opponents. Leonard showed us why Gregg Popovich had so much faith in the three-year starter in the league. He has matured into a dependable and solid player , likely to be the centerpiece of the Spurs’ future upon the retirement of the franchise’s Big Three of Duncan, Ginobli and Parker. Leonard’s winning of the Finals’ MVP Award was more than justified as he led the Spurs, showing signs of maturity beyond his years, as well as the fans witnessing his great all-round ability during the series. Could the same be said of anyone on the Miami Heat’s roster with the exception of LeBron James ?

In winning their fifth NBA title under Gregg Popovich , the San Antonio Spurs have proven themselves to be league’s most recent NBA dynasty. Something fans were quickly tying to anoint the Miami Heat with , after two titles and four appearances in the league’s showcase finale , during LeBron’s tenure with the franchise. Greatness, is normally afforded to teams and individuals who have achieved something special, but in the midst of the James’ saga, fans were seeking to anoint the player as the rightful successor to Michael Jordan . LeBron James while epitomizes determination , has become self-centered, less charismatic than the brand his handlers suggest him to be. Throw in the ongoing signs of immaturity, petulance and you have yourself an immature superstar, seeking to be in spotlight at all times , with the media there, simply to build him up into something he really is not.

Becky Hammon formerly of the San Antonio Stars of the WNBA and the Spurs’ affiliate within that particular league. In a notable first within the NBA, Hammon will become the first female to be a lead assistant coach in the NBA joining the coaching staff of Gregg Popovich. Also joining Popovich’s roster of coaches will be Ettore Messina whose vast experience and success in Europe cannot be discounted. The Italian brings with him an impressive resume’ in European club basketball. Hammon’s playing career in the WNBA makes her one of the game’s best players in the league’s history, where she is in the upper echelons of WNBA career statistics beyond the success achieved with the Stars. Whether or not her experience and career resume’ can equate with success , the Spurs and her gaining the respect of the male players remains to be seen over the course of this upcoming season. So far, she has the respect of the Spurs’ head coach and many of her counterparts on the Spurs’ coaching roster.

The NBA remains a bastion of male camaraderie , in spite of the league having the WNBA offshoot where women are afforded the chance to show off their skill-set within the game but unfortunately there too as well as within the league (NBA) itself there remains few opportunities for real advancement as a head coach much less as a league front executive.. So much for the hypocrisy of the motto of the NBA _______ the “ NBA Cares “ . This is a league so devoid of leadership and integrity, the only thing that seems to matter, is the amount of money annually pouring into their coffers.

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With the news of Dustin Johnson’s suspension by the PGA Tour and it being the most serious reprimand of a PGA Tour player , do you believe the Tour can survive its image taking such an adverse hit ? With the NBA preseason still a few months away but with the league itself still in a state of turmoil caused by ongoing litigation between Donald Sterling and the NBA, what do you feel will be the final outcome to this whole saga? Finally, what are your thoughts concerning how LeBron James left the Miami Heat after four seasons of substantial success ?

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) PGA Tour Chairman Tim Finchem . The chairman has a great deal to worry about concerning the PGA Tour’s image after the suspension of Dustin Johnson after his having failed a drug test for the third time . Johnson tested positive for cocaine but further allegations have surfaced suggesting he had slept with the wives of a number players on the Tour . AP Photo / Barry Mitchell …

(2) PGA Tour player Dustin Johnson who has taken a prolong leave of absence from the Tour schedule to deal with what he says are personal medical issues. A spokesperson for the Tour issued a public statement , noting Johnson has been suspended for a third failed drug test , having tested positive for cocaine use. Further allegations , yet to be substantiated , suggest he has also slept with the wives of several players on the Tour . Getty Images / Gary McAdams ….

(3) US Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson is seen here alongside Tiger Woods . Woods hopes to make a full recovery in time to compete in the Ryder Cup for the USA . His standing among the ten players in the FedexCup standings would not make Tiger Woods an automatic choice . Only the top ten players are automatic choices , with the captain then having the discretion to fill out his twelve man roster with two more players to make up his team. Getty Images North America / Chris Woods ….

(4) Rory McIlroy seen here holding the Claret Jug having won the The Open at Hoylake , in Liverpool , England , this year . McIlroy led from wire to wire , never once being seriously challenged by any of his competitors in the tournament . He also recently won WGC Bridgestone Invitational in commanding style , placing himself back atop of the World Golf Rankings as the number one player in the world . Rory McIlroy now heads into Lexington , Kentucky and the Valhalla Golf Course , hoping to add the PGA Championship to his list of career achievements as well his Grand Slam tally in terms of victories . Getty Images / Harry How ….

(5) LeBron James meets young fans in the town of Akron , Ohio , recently having returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The return of the Prodigal Son to the franchise where he began his career in 2003 , will begin anew with a revamped roster , new head coach and coaching staff led by rookie head coach David Blatt . Getty Images / Hugh Davis …

(6) Becky Hammon formerly a player with the San Antonio Stars will now become a lead assistant on the coaching staff of the San Antonio Spurs . Hammon brings along a wealth of experience as a player in the WNBA , where she was a multiple WNBA All Star . AP Photo / Michael Proffitt ….

(7) Ettore Messina one of the most successful coaches in European club basketball history , having won four Euroleague titles . Messina and Becky Hammon will be joining the coaching staff of the San Antonio Spurs . Both assistants already have impressive starts to their careers with the franchise , bringing praises from head coach Gregg Popovich as well as from several players on the team’s roster. AP Photo/ Dean Jones ….

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Nikita Valentin . I just love what she does for this setting !

Nikita with some whipped cream and strawberries thrown in for good measure .

There is no place like home and home is meant to be where the heart is ……….

There is no place like home and home is meant to be where the heart is ….

In the last few days we have seen an upheaval within the professional basketball world with the departure of LeBron James as he leaves the Miami Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers . From my own standpoint, I believe that LeBron simply grew tired of having to support a team where his supporting cast were anything but supportive. As to this idiocy, Dwyane Wade’s sporadic appearances and performances during this past postseason were of benefit to the Heat would be like suggesting that Greg Oden became a force to be reckoned with during the season.

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Pat Riley’s ambitious rebuilding of the roster this past season, was so misguided, it begs the question what was he thinking to begin with ? Michael Beasley was meant to add to something to this lineup beyond the menial productivity of Rashard Lewis ? Granted, this was the Miami Heat’s fourth consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals was a great accomplishment, but the menial return of only two title wins, is a reminder of how overrated this team was said to be in their appearance against the San Antonio Spurs in this past NBA Finals.

LeBron James saw no reason to resign with the Miami Heat, knowing that the organization had shown little concern in rebuilding the roster with the talent needed to make the team more competitive. As to the talk of his wishing to be offered a max contract, one that would likely see him being offered a six-year $125 million deal, now seems more imaginary on the part of the media , in light of James signing with Cleveland in a two-year $42 million deal.It will be interesting to see the dynamics of the relationship LeBron James will have with his new head coach David Blatt , in comparison to that of his relationship with Erik Spoelstra .

The Miami Heat’s loss, will be the Cleveland Cavaliers’ gain as the Prodigal Son is welcomed home. A far cry from the events of just over five years ago when LeBron James left the Cavaliers under a cloud of controversy, with their being a great deal of controversy and antagonism between the player and Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert . The front office have to be pleased with themselves, in pulling off such a coup, in resigning the franchise’s best player James, along with point guard Kyrie Irving will be the focal point of this lineup in the upcoming season. Cleveland, almost overnight have gone from being outsiders for the NBA title to a presumptive favorites for this upcoming season’s championship.

Whether or not Gilbert and the front office will seek to pull off anymore deals during this off-season will obviously be predicated on the attractiveness of playing alongside the four-time League MVP . I certainly believe the Cleveland Cavaliers will make the upcoming postseason, simply because the NBA’s Eastern Conference remains extremely poor and will continue to be that way over the coming years. Cleveland are .likely to be seen as presumptive favorites alongside the Chicago Bulls and perhaps the Miami Heat, if the franchise is able to resign both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh . The pairing of Bosh and Wade along with LeBron James were the primary reasons behind the franchise’s most recent success, but the failing of the coaching staff and the front office led by Pat Riley in addressing the Heat’s lack of depth must be seen as one of the many reasons for their failure during the NBA Playoffs .

Miami Heat owner Micky Arison has yet to issue a public statement on the departure of LeBron James, but there has to be some disappointment with the owner’s knowing that the player’s departure will likely lead to a possible decline in the Heat’s play. Acquiring seasoned veterans such as Danny Granger and Luol Deng might well have added some respite ,but the makeup of Miami’s roster as it now stands , no longer makes them a legitimate threat within their division much less the conference.

If the disappointment of the Miami Heat’s postseason was said to be a surprise then the Los Angeles Lakers’ fall from grace has to be seen as one of the most embarrassing in recent NBA history . Lakers’ fans remain optimistic , that Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss can turn things around with a great deal of urgency. Yet, with the franchise being unable to land a marquee free agent during the off-season leads me to believe the team is likely to have another woefully inept season. An aging Kobe Bryant can no longer single-handed lead this team without considerable aid from his teammates. Anyone believing the likes of Robert Sacre , Nick Young , Marshon Brooks, Xavier Henry , Jordan Hill , Wesley Johnson and Jeremy Lin can make the Lakers a force to be reckoned with within the Western Conference , has no idea as to the considerable mountain the team is being asked to climb. You simply have to look at their failure this past season under Mike D’Antoni to fully appreciate, how the head coach and his coaching staff were completely out of their depth ,without considering the loss of Bryant for a large part of the season .

The Lakers remain without a head coach, while Mitch Kupchak conducts what he says, remains an in-depth interviewing process of prospective candidates . I liken the statement, to one of a suitor, who is not so sure of his choices of a companion for an upcoming dance . Such has been the incompetency shown within the Lakers’ front office , that it is hard to have any faith in the leadership or acumen shown by either Kupchak or team owner Jim Buss. . Among the candidates that are known to have shown some interest in the vacant head coaching position are former Lakers’ players Kurt Rambis and Byron Scott . Both have varying degrees of success as former head coaches in the NBA. Yet, it appears Mitch Kupchak would rather prolong the situation’s process, in the hope of hiring the right d candidate as the successor to Mike D’Antoni. . Unless the Los Angeles Lakers can hire a coach with a proven track record, then the franchise is likely to struggle in the upcoming years , without ever being able to challenge for an NBA title . As optimistic as their fans continue to be , in reality, they have to know that the writing is on the wall. Kobe Bryant is now in the waning days of an undeniably successful career , but it would be foolish to think he will still be playing for the franchise three or four years from now .

While I believe the NBA has been a marketing phenomenon on the global stage , I believe its hierarchy , first under David Stern and his successor Adam Silver have been negligent in their handling of the Donald Sterling issue ! As the legal process now plays out within the legal system , with the Los Angeles Clippers’ owner and his estranged wife Rochelle Sterling now fighting over the ownership of the franchise as well as their matrimonial assets.It begs the question, how could things have spiraled out of control , after Sterling’s repeated egregious behavior ? As to this idiotic insistence , the former commissioner has been of great benefit to the NBA , well if you value the rising value of the NBA teams , then you would be correct , he has been of benefit to the league. In the case of his custodial responsibilities in upholding the integrity and image of the NBA, I would say he proven to be a disaster , with his lack of leadership and corralling the behavior of the players, that of the team owners and in some cases the front office executives . Excuses continue to be made for the lack of common decency with apathy being shown not only by the fans themselves but also the media, in the ways they have continued to cover the stories within the league concerning player misconduct and that of the owners. But I believe this is simply a reflection of the society we now live in , where a lack of respect no longer seems to be the norm !

The NBA off-season is said to be encompassed by hyperbole, then a great deal of it comes down to the issue of the free agency period. Where conjecture, rumors and speculation make up a great deal of the idiotic news we are continually being force-fed by the media , but specifically, the on air talent who cover the league in general. If they cannot create the suspense surrounding a story , then why not simply create the perception it is for real by sprinkling some falsehoods. Sports’ journalism is no different from that of real news being played out on the domestic front and the o global stage . The journalists themselves now believe they are as popular as the stars they cover, if not more so in some cases , furthering their own profile in the public eye. Buy into their garbage and you are likely to believe just about anything that they will say or write.

Other than LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony was the biggest free agent to hit the market during the off-season. Anthony’s willingness to resign with the New York Knicks now makes him among the highest paid players in the NBA, by way of his contract and annual salary. The player’s six-year $124 million deal slightly dwarfs Joe Johnson’s still ludicrous contract with the Brooklyn Nets . And there are those who suggest that the NBA in terms the contracts being offered reflects a player’s worth and what the market is ready to bear ? An instant recipe for disaster for franchises without any financial expediency and fans who do not understand the nuance of how a business works and that sports’ economics, especially as it relates to the NBA.

Anthony’s return to the New York Knicks and Phil Jackson’s persuasive powers would prove to be too alluring, but I cannot help wonder if the reason was not the fact, the player knew, once LeBron James chose to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers , the chances of the duo teaming up together remained simply an elusive gambit. Carmelo and LeBron James in New York would have been a persuasive image for fans of the NBA to watch the Knicks with a great deal more intensity. Now it comes down to, how the Anthony will readjust his mindset under rookie head coach Derek Fisher and being surrounded with a new supporting cast , which on paper looks a great deal better than what was on offer from the team last season .

Far be it for me to suggest, but Kevin Love’s last three seasons in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ organization have been a complete waste of the player’s talents. Glen Taylor , Flip Saunders and the front office have spurned the issue of seeking to make the team more competitive. This has worn thin one of the NBA’s most talented players as he seeks with a great deal of legitimacy the chase for that elusive first NBA title . Love, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant might be the best players currently in the NBA without an NBA title to their list of achievements.

Now with the Timberwolves quite ready to trade the power forward, with a great deal of interest being shown by the Golden State Warriors , it will be interesting to see what directions the now ongoing deliberations take between the two teams. Will the asking price be too high and are the Warriors ready to give up a bevy of players to make the deal a reality ?

The Warriors’ co-owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are known to very ambitious individuals who are well versed in their respective fields. Yet the thought of making their franchise , perhaps the best NBA team in the state of California is not something that can be overlooked. I certainly believe that the Golden State Warriors are the equal of the Los Angeles Clippers , certainly better than either the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings in almost every aspect of the game ! The continued knock against the Warriors , will be that until they make a deep playoff run with Steph Curry leading the team , they can only be looked upon as a franchise with a great deal of flair and offensive firepower .

The Golden State remains a work in progress and I believe the team in its current guise with the potential addition of Kevin Love are credible challengers to the San Antonio Spurs , Oklahoma City Thunder , Los Angeles Clippers for conference supremacy. As things now stand even with the Spurs having the same cast of characters with an addition or two they are still likely to remain the best team within the conference and the NBA in general. Their clinical dismantling of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, was simple proof of the fact, they remain a team be reckoned with, just as long as their Hall of Fame destined triumvirate are part of their arsenal. With Gregg Popovich also having signed a contract extension with the Spurs, team owner Peter Holt and the front office have reaffirmed their faith in the head and his coaching staff . Now comes the defense of their title ,where they are likely to caught in the cross-hairs of the NBA’s other combative teams.

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During this NBA off-season, which story or event do you believe to be the most important? By all means leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it has always been greatly appreciated !

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Picture gallery slideshow details below .
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(1) In a scene from the classic movie “The Wizard of Oz “ , from left to right , Bert Lahr, the Cowardly Lion, Ray Bolger , Scarecrow, Judy Garland , as the heroine Dorothy Gale and Jack Haley as the Tin Man. The movie made in 1939 remains a timeless classic loved by generations . Courtesy of Warner Bros .

(2) A pensive LeBron James speaks to the convened press during this past season’s NBA Finals . James’ gallant effort was not enough to stave off the Miami Heat’s embarrassing 4-1 series’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the Finals. His announcement that he is rejoining the Cleveland Cavaliers took the NBA world by surprise including the front office of the Miami Heat . AP Photo/ Chris Charles …

(3) Luol Deng of the Cleveland Cavaliers agreed to a two-year $20 million deal with the Miami Heat as team President Pat Riley seeks to rebuild the roster after the departure of LeBron James who rejoined the Cleveland Cavaliers, signing a two-year deal with the franchise . AP Photo / Amy Morton ….

(4) Jeremy Lin who this off-season was traded by the Houston Rockets , joining the Los Angeles Lakers . Lin hopes to add some much-needed productivity to a team that languished at the position within the conference this past season . Getty Images / Christina Belcher …. ..

(5) Byron Scott is rumored to the frontrunner to succeed Mike D’Antoni as the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers . Scott is the only known candidate to have been interviewed twice by Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss for the vacant head coaching position . AP Photo / Paul Matthews ….

(6) Minnesota Timberwolves’ power forward Kevin Love . The Timberwolves are said to be interested in trading the player , with the main suitors in such a deal, being the Golden State Warriors . Team owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , a highly ambitious duo, are keen to make a big off-season splash and see the acquisition of Love as a big part of gaining a much higher profile for their franchise . AP Photo/ Morton Parker ……..

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Not so newsworthy moments in the world of sports and then there are some, that are worth contemplating


Not so newsworthy moments in the world of sports and then there are some that are worth contemplating

Well, after a rather lackluster display by the Miami Heat , the consensus favorites for this season’s NBA title , were summarily given a lesson in humility , and Heat power forward Chris Bosh had to eat crow. As to the whining by fans who felt that the title was the Miami Heat’s by divine right, begs the question, are they really as dumb as they tend to sound and look ? During the off-season, Heat Team President Pat Riley and team owner , Micky Arison will be left to ponder whether not paying out the ” big bucks” actually amounts to anything, when the organization was counting on making history this past postseason. Four consecutive NBA Finals , two victories and two rather embarrassing losses in which the Heat were favored both times , now leaves the league deciding, what can they do next to sell the fans by way of an image. David Stern and his successor , Adam Silver, have never been the ones to champion the less glamorous teams within the NBA and most certainly it would seem, that the only people favoring the San Antonio Spurs to win the title, were the Spurs fans themselves and perhaps the uninitiated and first time observer of the NBA.

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A 4-1 series’ win and in many ways reminiscent of the Detroit Pistons annihilation of the 2004 Los Angeles Lakers , in that season’s NBA Finals . This series provided the fans of the NBA another lopsided contest , during which the game’s best player LeBron James , could not single handedly defy the odds stacked against him, while seeking pull his team out of a hole that they dug for themselves during the NBA Finals. Where the Miami Heat now goes from here is rather dependent upon the mindset of the front office led by team owner , Micky Arison and Team President Pat Riley . There is no doubt that the roster will have to be rebuilt from the ground up , with several of the players being jettisoned. One , if not two members from the Heat’s core of their Big Three are likely to be shed and the likelihood that Dwyane Wade could very well be the player seen as superfluous to the team’s needs.

The astonishing achievement of the San Antonio Spurs cannot be praised enough, with a fifth title to the franchise’s already impressive history, beyond the Spurs making the postseason for the sixteenth consecutive season. Something that has not been accomplished by another NBA franchise since Bill Russell was a member of those memorable Boston Celtics’ teams that won nine championships during an eleven-year span.

The NBA has never been truly appreciative of their teams, but the t hierarchy is now inclined to sell their superstars to the public along with the persona built up by a litany of agents, lawyers, advisers and image consultants. Unfortunately, what should be seen as a team sport has now become all about individualistic achievement , with the fans buying into the garbage being sold by the league. The San Antonio Spurs’ win of the title might not necessarily change the face of that premise but it might somehow change the landscape if only momentarily , with some fans actually getting to know what the meaning of team achievement is all about.

As the NFL off-season is summarily about the chance for the rookies acclimatizing themselves with the rigors of playing football at the professional level. The league suffered a heart rendering loss with the passing of four-time winning Superbowl coach , with the death of Pittsburgh Steelers’ legend Chuck Noll . The eighty-two year old former head coach died this past weekend and will be sorely missed by the Steelers’ fans as well as the rest of the NFL. There might not have been a more revered coach in NFL history than Noll, perhaps with the exception of Vince Lombardi , whose name adorns the Superbowl Trophy. I am sure the league as well as the Pittsburgh Steelers will find a way to commemorate Noll during this upcoming season . Pittsburgh has always been appreciative of their heroes and Chuck Noll was certainly a great deal more than that, within the steel town. He lived and breathed the game and the success attained was symbolic of what the franchise was said to be about, during his reign as the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Last season would prove to be disappointing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, within Mike Tomlin’s players failing to make the postseason with the team performing poorly within the AFC North, AFC and the league .

The Steelers’ failure was more to don with GM Kevin Colbert not seeking to bolster the team’s roster after some significant departures of several seasoned veterans. Cost-cutting by the front office might well have seemed prudent , but it severely hampered the chances of the team to be competitive last season. This off-season proved to significant for the coaching staff , front office , with Tomlin and Colbert seeking to make what they feel were the necessary adjustments needed by way of the draft and free agent acquisitions. . I truly believe that the Steelers will only go as far as Ben Roethlisberger is capable of carrying the team and in recent years the Steelers’ quarterback knows that he has failed to do at the level leading many to believe that the two Superbowl victories were not a simple aberration. Troy Polamalu, a teammate of Roethlisberger over the past few years and member of the rosters in the franchise’s most recent victories in the Superbowl, is essentially in the twilight of his career. Injuries , have begun to plague the defensive player and this could very well be his last season with the team.

It will be interesting to see how the Pittsburgh Steelers fare during the regular season ,with their preseason merely being viewed as a dress rehearsal for the team’s sojourn in 2014. Pittsburgh will being their season with a week one divisional contest against the Cleveland Browns . Cleveland for their part will want to start a new chapter afresh, even with the advent of the hyperbole surrounding their drafting of Johnny Manziel . Whether or not Manziel can beat out the presumptive starting quarterback, Brian Hoyer , remains to be seen. Browns’ heads coach Mike Pettine believes Hoyer to have the edge over his rookie teammate. Yet, with the Cleveland fans likely to be clamoring to see the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, it will see interesting to see how this duel will pan out over the course of the Browns’ schedule.

I am not one to always start shouting, ” buyers beware” ,but with the career of Josh Freeman now in complete tailspin , it is hard to imagine how Jon Gruden will z be of any real aid to the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ starting quarterback . While the winning of a Superbowl can add some legitimacy to a coach’s resume’, in the case of Gruden after that victory, his career simply spiraled downwards, while his ego took on gigantic proportions. Now an NFL analyst for ESPN , the former head coach spends a great deal of his time now assessing the quarterbacks recently drafted in the NFL. As to his thoughts on Freeman, well those are not publicly known. I can only surmise, Jon Gruden still believes that Josh Freeman is capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL or quite possibly a capable backup in the league. Having been let go by the Buccaneers in late 2013 ,Freeman was picked up by the Minnesota Vikings whose passing game was definitely challenged with Christian Ponder holding down theposition as the team’s starting quarterback. Ponders’ lack of leadership and with their being very little faith in his abilities , along with a the preponderance to be injury prone, has led to not only his likely demotion, but his career possibly coming to an end with the franchise.

Josh Freeman regaining any type of form , is unlikely to see his career resumption as a starter in the NFL. He was unable to command the respect of teammates while with the Buccaneers and his later playing time with the Vikings can be best described as being mediocre.

The passing of a legend in any sport has to be met with a moment of solitude and solemnity. Hall of Fame baseball player Tony Gwynn’s death at the age of fifty-four comes not only as complete shock, but as a complete surprise to those who knew him best. He might well be viewed as one of the greatest players in San Diego Padres’ history and to my mind the greatest pure hitter of his generation and one of the top-ten in baseball history. Gwynn’s accomplishment as a seven-time NL batting champion and the player who has come closest to hitting the .400 plateau in the modern era. A feat last matched by another Hall of Fame player who was as much beloved as Tony Gwynn by his peers and his successors. Ted Williams remains among the pantheon of baseball greats as does Tony Gwynn and it seems sacrosanct to think that a game where we once applauded the achievements of Gwynn and Williams are now overshadowed by the failings and deceit by players such as Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez .

Baseball’s failure under the leadership of Bud Selig , remains a microcosm of what only bedevils the sport, but sports in general and one simply has to look at the ongoing idiocy within the NBA., NFL and the lack of leadership being shown by Adam Silver and Roger Goodell . Gwynn’s passing and the difficulties now facing the San Diego Padres is another painstaking reminder of what can happen with the continued failings of a once proud baseball franchise . There is little to suggest that the Padres can be competitive within the NL West this season and while the San Francisco Giants now seem to be running away with the division. Two months into the MLB season and the Giants are not only the best team in the NL but they are by far in a way the best ball-club in baseball , based not just on their record, but also in terms of their all-round play. Bruce Bochy’s players are playing with a great deal of intensity and with their pitching staff being remarkably consistent along with an offense that seems to be getting some timely hitting when least expected.

Coming into today’s game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington , the Padres are the losers of eight of their last ten games, while on a two-game losing streak . For manager Bud Black , his coaching staff , and the team in particular , these are some trying times for ball club now sitting in third place within the NL West just above the Arizona Diamondbacks (30-43) who have a better overall record , but from a percentage standpoint they sit at the bottom of the divisional standings. On the mound for the Padres will be Eric Stults facing off against Roenis Elias of the Mariners in an inter-league game between the two ball-clubs.

How baseball now chooses to honor Tony Gwynn’s passing will say a great deal as to how much they revere their heroes . Certainly, the Padres’ player was one of the most beloved players of his era and most definitely his induction into the Hall of Fame was justified and a worthy bestowing upon Gwynn. There have been few players who carried themselves with such grace and poise on and off the field ,while being appreciated by the fans and his fellow peers alike.

Far be it for me to suggest, but witnessing the falling apart of the Tampa Bay Rays’ season from their own self- inflicted wounds , has been very much like a child who has been repeatedly told not to place their hands upon a hot stove. Coming into the this year , there were those lauding the Rays as the best team in the AL East and the favorites to in that highly competitive division outright. Instead, we have witnessed a team playing with little consistency , lacking leadership among the playing and coaching staff . As to the rather asinine rhetoric coming from manager Joe Maddon . You simply have to ask yourself is the best he can come up with, in spite of the claims he is one of the best managers in the game of baseball. Maddon may well have been able to achieve miracles over the years , with the organization paring down salary to compete with the very best, but there comes a point where you have to ask , how much longer can this go on and how much tolerant will the fans be? It should be noted also, the Rays play at Tropicana Field , where their fan-base is marginally above 15,000 in attendance , but there remains the constant cry that they are in need of a new venue. Clearly, the front office , their fans and baseball’s hierarchy are not in a position to understand the lack of feasibility of a ball club that is far from being self-sustaining from a business standpoint . Whenever I have posed the question to a die-hard Rays’ fan about the ball-club moving to a new venue. The response has often bordered on being absolutely idiotic and nonsensical , with their giving an answer , the money is there to make this all happen.

If the owners of the Tampa Bay Rays, can barely afford to have a payroll in excess of $65 million , while remaining uncompetitive. Then what would lead them to believe that fans or should I say, the city of St Petersburg, Pinellas or Hillsborough County would be willing to make that sort of financial outlay for a baseball stadium, that would be barely filled for an eighty-one game schedule? If the MLB hierarchy are unwilling to assist the Tampa Bay Rays , then clearly the issue at hand is not simply about baseball , but it does seem to have more to do with Bud Selig playing favorites , while looking down upon some teams and their owners. Anyone care to offer up another viewpoint on that particular issue, given the fact , Selig came to the aid of New York Mets , New York Yankees and Miami Marlins in the building of new stadiums for the three organizations in question ?

The world’s biggest sporting spectacle is now under way and with due respect to the Superbowl , that specific sporting event, cannot in any way measure up to the Summer Olympics or the FIFA World Cup now being staged in Brazil. The host country , in the opening game of the tournament came away with a lackluster 3-1 victory over Croatia and England’s chances may well have been severely hampered with a 2-1 defeat suffered at the hands of Italy , in their opening game. Jurgen Klinsmann , head coach of Team USA saw his players come through unscathed with a very good win over African powerhouse Ghana . Though Klinsmann , might now feel extremely worried with the injuries suffered by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey during what was a very physical contest. Reigning champions, Spain , may well have seen their hopes go up in flames when they fell to the Netherlands in a 5-1 thrashing , that was the largest margin of defeat suffered by a world champion during the World Cup tournament.

As this tournament proceeds , we are likely to see the boisterous passion of the fans be exhibited. Behind this all, lies a country where there exists a great deal of distrust of the government and where the allegations of bribery and corruption have been revealed with the Interior Ministry and FIFA making claims that the allegations are unfounded. Unfortunately, there exists a pattern of behavior by soccer’s governing body that has become endemic within the world of sports. Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter, FIFA’s President has been the subject of close scrutiny in recent years and his tenure as that body’s highest ranking executive has left him untouched by the scandals, even some of his closest allies and subordinates have been embroiled in a variety of misdeeds. Falling on the sword for your superior is one thing, but for him to also point the finger while also swinging the blade above your head , might be something different altogether . Explain that to me, if you can ?

Now Blatter has sunk the level of those, whom he believes have begun to make sport of soccer so vile , by suggesting that those who have been critical of the officiating during the tournament , are nothing more than avowed racists. That is now all we need to bring the game down to the gutter level now witnessed within the NFL and NBA. Thanks, but, no thanks !

The second golf major of the PGA season came and went without a great deal of excitement and with no home-grown player, from the US, being able to mount a credible challenge to Martin Kaymer of Germany, as he completely dominated the US Open at Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst , North Carolina. Kaymer’s margin of victory had more to do with his exceptional play over four rounds of golf as his fellow competitors simply struggled . It was the German’s second major of his professional career , having won the 2010 PGA Championship , pushes Kaymer back up the world golf rankings , where , having moved seventeen places to sit in the eleventh spot of the rankings. Current world number one Adam Scott is followed by Henrik Stenson , Bubba Watson , Tiger Woods , Matt Kuchar and Rory McIlroy , rounding out the top five.

With Tiger Woods having missed the US Open , there remains mounting speculation as to whether or not he can or will make a successful return to the PGA Tour this season. Woods may well be saying the right things, while trying to remain positive ,but the issues with the player, have become his physical health and the state of his overall game .His performances this season have been lackluster and under-achieving by even his own lofty goals. With official tour prize money winnings in excess of $100 million , off-course earnings exceeding $65 million annually and estimated fortune of $600 million . I am beginning to wonder if Tiger Woods has now become tired of the drudgery of being full-time professional on PGA Tour! At the same time, his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ eighteen Grand Slam major victories , once seen as a certainty , now seems all the more distant with each passing misstep by the player, as he seeks to pass his idol.

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At this point of his career Tiger Woods has proven himself to be the best player of his generation , but he will continue to be adjudged against the accomplishments of Jack Nicklaus. Unless Woods is able to surpass Nicklaus’ mark of Majors’ wins , then he will be always be thought as second best and not much else beyond that. Your thoughts on the points raised and what other sports’ stories have been of interest to you over the past ten days ?

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Members of the San Antonio Spurs celebrate their winning of the 2014 NBA Finals after their lopsided game five victory over the Miami Heat. Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs was named the Finals’ MVP , after an astonishing Finals’ series by the player. AP Photo / Garry Heard …

(2) Peter Holt , CEO & owner of the San Antonio Spurs is seen here taking receipt of the Larry O’Brien Trophy from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver , signifying the franchise being crowned the 2014 NBA champions . This was the Spurs’ fifth win of the title in their history with all five championships victories having been coached by Gregg Popovich . AP Photo / Amy Jones …..

(3) “The big three” of Manu Ginobili , Tony Parker and Tim Duncan have won four NBA championships together. Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images …

(4) Chuck Noll , a legendary coach who died at the age of eighty-two, having led the Pittsburgh Steelers to four of their six Superbowl victories. An inductee in the Hall of Fame , Knoll joins a hallowed group of individuals associated with the franchise. Courtesy of ESPN

(5) ESPN analyst and commentator Jon Gruden is seen here with Josh Freeman . Gruden has agreed to take the player under his wing while seeking to assist Freeman in resurrecting his game. The player a first round draft pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , with an uneven group of performances littering an otherwise understated career in the league . AP Photo / Rick Fowler ….

(6) .Hall of Fame player Tony Gwynn whose death from cancer has come as a shock to the baseball world . For the past few years he was rarely seen in public , with his health deteriorating from this particular form of oral cancer (parotid cancer of the salivary gland). A career .308 hitter , Gwynn’s career was littered with accolades , and his legacy with the San Diego Padres are well chronicled as are his noted feats of achievements . Getty Images North America / Ron Smith …

(7) Clint Dempsey (8) celebrates his goal after eleven seconds into the first half of Team USA’s game against group opponents Ghana . The win places the US team in a favorable position to advance to the next round , but their next two games will prove to be extremely difficult . REUTERS/UPI / Tony Harris …

(8) Jun 15, 2014; Pinehurst, NC, USA; Martin Kaymer poses with the trophy in front of the leader board during the final round of the 2014 U.S. Open golf tournament at Pinehurst Resort Country Club #2 Course. Kaymer won the event with considerable ease and was never seriously challenged < leading wire to wire throughout the tournament. Kevin Liles/ USA TODAY Sports ……..

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Back on the plantation, that was never left, America’s poor history on race within sports, which was never addressed ….

Back on the plantation, that was never left, America’s poor history on race within sports, which was never addressed ….

Much to their own ongoing embarrassment Donald Sterling simply will not go away and the NBA are as much to blame for this latest mea-culpa by league hierarchy and this continued belief that Donald Sterling is solely to blame for the conduct we have seen in recent years. This has been emblematic and symptomatic behavior a league , that simply has no respect for common decency among the players , general managers and the owners themselves. And while Adam Silver seeks to placate this latest outrage by banning the Los Angeles Clippers’ owner for his ongoing behavior. Repeatedly, Sterling’s behavior has been ignored by the present NBA Commissioner and his predecessor David Stern, never-mind the asinine outrage now being shown by apathetic fans, who acted as if they were unaware of the bigoted acts of racism being espoused and practiced within the league.

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Sterling is not the only owner within the league to have shown such behavior and he definitely will not be the last , in spite of the punishment meted out by the league. Less we forget, for some reason the league has not seen fit to pursue the actions of Rich De Vos of the Orlando Magic , but the yet the press, the fans and the league itself continues to show their apathy and downright ignorance to an issue that is certainly on the way to becoming an epidemic . America believes it has overcome its past on race relations , when in fact, the so-called advances that have been claimed are no more than a child’s footsteps, as they first learn to walk. David Stern a self-absorbed executive who has simply shown himself to be an autocratic leader and not a great deal beyond that. As to the reasons why Stern refused to act with impunity when Donald Sterling’s behavior first became clear , is as befuddling as to his refusal to offer a public statement why he failed to act.

Donald Sterling before making his fortune as a commercial and residential real estate mogul, the beleaguered owner was a highly successful corporate and criminal litigator. As to the idiocy, that he would be forced to relinquish control of the team, now seems mute. ,Sterling’s estranged wife, of whom to two are in the midst of a rather nasty battle over the pairings’ matrimonial assets. As an owner in the NBA, Sterling is among the wealthiest owners with an estimated wealth of over $2.0 billion . With his hiring of a litany of private investigators as well a high-powered Los Angles’ law firm, the upcoming battle between the league and now disgraced owner could very well open up a Pandora’s Box that is unlikely to be closed once open. Certainly owners, such as Mark Cuban , Mikhail Prokhorov, James Dolan and Dan Gilbert will definitely not like their private lives be delved into concerning any misdeeds on their part, criminal, NBA dealings or by way of their own conduct as it relates to their business. Any action now taken by the league, through an injunction or that of any owner seeking to have Sterling’s investigation be rescinded, will likely be seen as the league and its owners having something to hide. And hid they have, with no owner seeking to speak publicly on another peer’s insidious and disgraceful behavior. I have yet to read any fans’ statement on why there has been no outrage concerning the lack of action by another owner being critical of Donald Sterling. Instead, it has been their ongoing apathy and stupidity in simply seeking to blame Sterling alone.

While LeBron James and the Miami Heat now find themselves in a hole, with the Heat now down 3-1 in the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs . It has been James’ own incredulity and his statement that shows him to be devoid of intelligence and insight. His calls to his fellow players for them to go on strike during the NBA postseason , was something like a “call to arms “ , prior to when you are on the brink of defeat during a major battle. There was no way in hell that the NBA postseason would have been brought to a grinding halt at the high point of the Playoffs. Yet there are those who backed James’ call to arms and a stoppage.

The NBA is not the only sport that finds itself within a morass of widespread racism and misogyny within that particular fraternity Richie Incognito’s behavior and that of his teammate Mike Pouncey , was simply more of the widespread behavior that continues within the NFL and the can of worms opened, which Roger Goodell and the league would rather have not seen exposed to the public’s view. Ted Wells’ report commissioned by the NFL was a simple “whitewash” , with Wells finding no wrongdoing within the Miami Dolphins’ organization , other than that of three players’ misconduct. An assistant coaching staff member of Joe Philbin’s assistants was subject to the abuse first directed towards Jonathan Martin , yet the head coach, stated that he was completely unaware of the players’ behavior. Either, Philbin was in complete denial or he chose to ignore the behavior of the players in question , without ever seeking to reprimand them.

As the NBA Finals have progressed we have seen how flawed the Miami Heat have become without their being any signs of life from LeBron James’ teammates during this series, with questions now being pointed against Dwyane Wade and his inconsistency . Team game or not, it is now becoming abundantly clear that the Heat have no answer for the speed and athleticism being shown by the San Antonio Spurs ,who may well have found another budding postseason star with the performances and productivity shown by Kawhi Leonard .As to the doubters of San Antonio , they now seem to be singing another tune.

Game five on Sunday evening will be a pivotal contest and with the Miami Heat on the brink of elimination , thoughts of a “three-peat” will be out of the question. Erik Spoelstra’s players will have to be at the top of their game when the two teams meet at the AT& T Center in San Antonio , Texas. Defeat for the Miami Heat and all of this talk of a dynasty ,can be put to rest , once and for all. Tonight, we will either see the best of the Miami Heat or we shall see a team whose fall from grace will be astonishing, given the hyperbole surrounding a team that beyond their four three major stars, there was very little depth to their roster. Yet, fans begun to buy into the force-fed garbage being sold them to them by the print and television media alike. As to the fan, s with their idiocy not being willing to see beyond the bigger picture and the rationale that is it not Miami’s fault that their opposition within their conference has been so poor over the past five seasons., I would ask those fans how do they believe that Miami would fare , were they playing in the Western Conference in the NBA where the level of competition is a great deal tougher on a year-round basis. Never , have I heard anyone seek to discuss that issue , other than to suggest that the fans should simply be in awe of the Heat’s achievements and simply leave it at that.

While Phil Jackson seeks to make the overtures to Carmelo Anthony , it cannot help but fill the intrigue in New York , when it was recently announced that Pat Riley has sought the input of LeBron James and his thoughts as the Heat front office are seeking to acquire the Knicks’ forward. James and Anthony are known to have a very close relationship and this could very well prove to more than inducement should Carmelo Anthony make the decision to leave the New York Knicks. The Knicks’ player has all but hinted, that he will indeed opt out of them final year of his contract to be become an unrestricted free agent. Riley, with the blessing of Micky Arison, is likely to be given the go-ahead to pursue Carmelo Anthony and with the likelihood that the team’s main stars agreeing to take a sizable pay cut in terms of their annual salaries.. The likelihood of Anthony joining the Miami Heat is more of a reality , than the player joining either the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers , as has been previously reported. The Celtics and Lakers are long way from being considered legitimate NBA contenders for an NBA title and the issues of both franchise during this past season have been well chronicled.

Riley knows that the Miami Heat can ill afford can fall foul of the way of Los Angeles Lakers as they fell (4-1) to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals. A star laden team filled with Gary Payton , Karl Malone , Kobe Bryant , Shaquille O’Neal , Derek Fisher , Rick Fox and coached by Phil Jackson. Falling to the Pistons in five games with Chauncey Billups being named the Finals’ MVP , after Billups’ performances were simply exemplary. That being said, the NBA seeks to create the perception that its league is about the teams but in reality , it has now become about their marquee stars and not much else beyond that. A series’ win by the San Antonio Spurs brings back semblance of normalcy to a league that in recent years has, become more about the antics of the players, general managers , owners and the league hierarchy during the tenure of David Stern.

I do believe that a win for the San Antonio Spurs will be the greatest benefit for the NBA ! Granted, for those who believe that the league demands that history be ongoing, consider the achievements of the Spurs this season and their qualifying for the postseason for the sixteenth consecutive season, but shamelessly, anal retentive fans seek to only acknowledge what they see happening within their midst, rather than acknowledging true greatness. A fifth NBA title awaits the San Antonio Spurs, whether or not that takes place tonight or in game six , or game seven, but now it is now clear the Miami Heat, while being a very good team, they are nowhere near being a truly great team or a dynasty for that matter .

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(1) Rich Cho , general manager of the Charlotte Hornets is seen here alongside Hornets’ player Cody Zeller . After a successful season which saw the Hornetst make the postseason the franchise will seek to bolster the roster while seeking to be more competitive within their division and conference this upcoming season. Cho and Jordan believe that Zeller can be a big part of that process. AP Photo / Adam Gonzalez ….

(2) Mikhail Porokhorov ,left, owner of the Brooklyn Nets is seen here along with Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban . The two NBA team owners are likely to have their personal and public lives delved into with Donald Sterling having hired a high-profiled Los Angeles private investigative firm to dig deep into the business practices of the NBA’s franchise owners and the league hierarchy. It seems unclear whether or not an injunction will be sought by the NBA or any of the team owners to stop Sterling’s actions. Getty Images North America / Christina Fox ….

(3) LeBron James of the Miami Heat is seen here speaking with the convened press after his team’s lopsided loss to the San Antonio Spurs in game four of the NBA Finals . The team now finds itself with a 3-1 deficit and a game five where a victory is imperative for the Miami Heat , if there are to have any chance of winning a third consecutive NBA title. James leads all scorers in the NBA Finals’ series , but his teammates have failed to be as consistent this postseason as the four-time League MVP Miami Herald / Richard Vasquez …

(4) Kawhi Leonard(2) of the San Antonio Spurs controls the ball as LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat defends during Game Two of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 8, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas . Getty Images North America/ Andy Lyons …

(5) A pensive Carmelo Anthony ,. sits on the sidelines during a game played at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York , this past season. With the New York Knicks failing to make the postseason , Anthony has become disgruntled with the progress made by the franchise and specifically with the front office , where Phil Jackson is now in charge as the Head of Basketball Operations. Jackson’s boldest move has been the acquisition of aging veteran Lamar Odom . As to the idiocy because Odom is aware o the Triangle Offense, this will somehow aid the Knicks. Less I am mistaken, Lamar Odom’s productivity has dropped to an all-time low , without having to deal with his well publicized off-court issues. How is that meant to impress Carmelo Anthony is almost as idiotic, as the claims that Phil Jackson’s return to coaching would give the New York Knicks instant legitimacy as a contender for the NBA title . The Knicks’ coaching vacancy for the moment remains unfilled . AP Photo/ Matthew Bishop ….

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With the failure of the NBA in corralling the antics of Donald Sterling and the print and television media, seeking to apportion blame solely with regard to the behavior of the Clippers’ owner , this situation further indicts the country as still being entrenched with racial bigotry within all areas of sports. America, has failed miserably over the past four decades, while pompously portraying itself as a leader with regard to moral ethics. If only the hierarchies actually showed that there was some semblance of intelligence and leadership within their midst , rather than the continued apathy and that of the fans showing their ongoing stupidity.

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Just like the Miami Heat she’s feeling the burn and the real Heat of failing to produce .

She certainly handles her assignments better than Dwyane Wade this postseason ;

She feels the need for the “squeeze” .

Cap it with what ?

Cap it, with what ?

With the pending approval, in the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer. The NBA hierarchy, will now be in a rough ride, with the beleaguered Donald Sterling seeking to sue the league for a reputed $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) . Any protracted litigation in the US Federal Court will be damaging to the NBA, its owners , the union (NBPA) and to the brand itself . Adam Silver, in banishing Sterling for life, from the NBA, while welcomed, was too little, too late. The commissioner’s predecessor, David Stern , is just as culpable, with his lack of action , in not dealing with this particular owner’s abhorrent actions, and it is a prime example of why his tenure was often filled with as many pratfalls, as the ongoing ridiculous claims, that he was indeed good for the NBA.

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This sale, is likely to ignite an NBPA leadership , that will have the bit between their teeth, in dealing with future labor negotiations between themselves and the NBA hierarchy. Claims of poverty, can no longer be made by the team owners or anyone from within the league hierarchy. A record $2 billion, inflated price tag , for a franchise that in reality, is not worth sixteen times its gross revenues is not only staggering , but simply endemic of all the things that the league has tried suggest that they were finally dealing with the economic plight of their brand. Five years on, from David Stern’s bailout of twenty franchises, something that seems to have escaped some of the apathy of the fans , whose knowledge of the economy sports ranks up alongside Sarah Palin’s knowledge of domestic and the foreign policy of the United States. Far be it for me to suggest , that Palin, has any clear idea on any particular subject that she is likely to be debated on , but , when you have a political lightweight such as this Tea Party Grand Dame of Stupidity. I really, do believe , it is symbolic of the growing lack of intelligence among the sports’ fan in general, as well as the electorate in this country .

I once had a patron allude to me, that the woes of the NBA were not created by David Stern. Anyone, with an ounce of fucking common sense, would realize that many of the changes made within the league during his tenure, had his imprint and were his creation, which, he then duplicitous , sold to the union , under the pretense, it would be to their benefit. . The NBPA remains in tatters, having no Executive Director and where the last person to hold the position , has now filed wrongful dismissal lawsuit in the US Federal Court against the union . Billy Hunter, a former corporate litigator is seeking unspecified damages , while seeking punitive damages in adjoining suit for libel slander filed jointly against former union President Derek Fisher and the NBPA. If that were not enough , the union itself , while in a state of disarray , now has contend with the fact, that they have to deal with a number of financial irregularities , that were never fully addressed , prior to their vote to dismiss Hunter, from his position, as that union’s top executive. Yes , this is what the NBA has now become , a brand that is now engulfed with racial bigotry hypocrisy , homophobia, misogyny and there are fans who remain apathetic and clueless, concerning the ongoing malaise within this league.

This NBA Postseason has become something of ” an us against the world mentality” , as the Indiana Pacers seek to overcome the Miami Heat in their Eastern Conference Finals’ Series . LeBron James and his Heat teammates enter a game six contest where the prize for Miami, will be a third consecutive berth in the NBA Finals . Currently leading Indiana 3-2 , tonight’s (Friday) game being played at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida , will likely lead to closing out the series and the likelihood, that Larry Bird as Head of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers, will break up this roster and rebuild the team. One casualty , may well be Pacers’ center Roy Hibbert , whose inconsistent play in this series and throughout much of the postseason , has many questioning the player’s maturity, as well as skill-set under pressure. Hibbert’s teammate, Lance Stephenson having ran afoul of the officials in game five and then given a $25,000 fine for flopping, was also reprimanded by Bird , subsequent to the contest for his conduct . What this now means for Stephenson, is simply a further indictment of how far the Pacers have fallen from grace this season. This team lacks leadership, maturity and the premature belief that Paul George had finally arrived and could be looked upon as top-ten player in the NBA , when the now growing evidence that George has failed to meet those lofty expectations. In the midst of this all, there is now mounting speculation , that head coach Frank Vogel’s position could very well be in danger. His dismissal , were it to take place, might well be the most asinine decision that the Pacers’ front office could actually make . Yet, here we are, now debating, whether or not; Frank Vogel should be relieved of his duties. Bird, as a former head coach of this very same franchise, knows the pratfalls a coach has to go through , having relinquished that role for health reasons.

Steve Kerr’s rebuff of Phil Jackson’s overtures to become the next head coach of the New York Knicks , is another reminder why this particular franchise remains a complete laughing-stock around the NBA, while their idiotic fans continue to make excuses for that team’s continued malaise . Dysfunctional from top to bottom, the thought that Jackson’s insertion into the front office and his reputation would bring about a glow to the Knicks’ downtrodden reputation would be akin to spraying rose petal essence into a bucket of fecal matter and then telling an unsuspecting passer-by, that it was indeed a new fragrance created by a cosmetic company. Perhaps if the New York Knicks continuance in stinking up the joint as an NBA Eastern Conference franchise would not be so bad, if there were modicum of talent on this roster beyond Carmelo Anthony. That player’s indecision concerning his long-term future, can only be of deep concern for Phil Jackson and for the fans of this franchise. The longer the player chooses to delay his decision, the less likely it seems that he will return to the franchise , where he has become their best player ever since the trade that saw his departure from the Denver Nuggets in late 2010.

New York’s malaise is to the detriment of the NBA and specifically to the conference in which the franchise plays . With the Indiana Pacers, simply being the pale shadow of what in reality , is an average team and no real rivalry in the contests between themselves and the Miami Heat . One can only aspire to see the renewed rivalry that once epitomized regular and postseason match-ups, between the Knicks and Heat. Granted, those days, may well be viewed as long gone, but one can live in hope, that the intensity can be reopened on some level. Senior Miami Heat Executive and part owner , Pat Riley , whose association with both franchises are well-known to the fans and media analysts alike who cover the NBA, have a vested interest in seeing that rivalry resurface. From a financial standpoint , it would provide a major boost to the NBA , albeit , the Knicks remain one of the most valuable teams in the league . James Dolan’s ownership of the franchise, has seen the one constant , and that has been the appreciation in the value of the New York Knicks over the last decade , to the point where its value is in excess of $1 billion , with only the Los Angeles Lakers on the same plateau, in terms of value .

The era of Patrick Ewing leading the New York Knicks in a contest against the Miami Heat was looked upon as a contest or series of contests that were bound to bring out the best and the worst in both teams. Beyond the heated rivalry , there was a distinct dislike between the two teams , often seen through the eyes of Ewing’s teammates , John Starks and Larry Johnson and Charles Oakley . On the opposing team , Heat center Alonzo Mourning possessed a great deal of disdain for his foe at the time and though upon his retirement he reflected on those contests as being some of the most memorable of his career . It has to be said that the NBA , in its present guise there is no current rivalry in the NBA that is on par with those classic match-ups between the Miami Heat and New York Knicks . Certainly, there are competitive player rivalries , but team rivalries, those days are clearly are of a bygone age within the NBA.

LeBron James, perhaps the best player in the game today, has simply raised the bar to unexpected heights since his entry into the NBA in 2003. And while some claim, that his rivalry with Kevin Durant will provide the league with a player and team rivalry that the league longs for . The fact of the matter has been, the Oklahoma City Thunder have not fared well in their postseason contests against the reigning NBA champions. At present Durant and his teammates are on the brink of elimination looking to stave off their 3-2 deficit against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals . A pivotal game six , will be played on Saturday night at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma, . in-front of, what is sure to be a raucous sold-out arena, filled with passionate Thunder fans, who are likely to outnumber their opponent’s fan in size.

In all honesty , the NBA is a monster, of its own making. As it has marketed with professionalism and a great deal of guile ,but , where it has fallen flat , has been , that it has not noticed , the issue of the declining state of play , with the level of coaching having dropped precipitously low , with their being only a handful of very good coaches in the league at present. Furthermore , the league itself has also become arrogant , pompous and brazen and nowhere has this been more expressed than during the tenure of David Stern , with his overbearing and autocratic rule of what he believed was his own personal fiefdom. Like the Pied Piper of Hamlin , some dumb ass fans , simply nestled their lips firmly against his sphincter , willing to lick any morsels of excreta that he would be let loose from his bowels. Simple apathy , has indeed become the norm of the fans, with them having very little knowledge or being able to actually think for themselves .

If the New York Knicks are said to have an indifferent season , then the travails of the Los Angeles Lakers and their staggering decline should come as something of a major shock . Hard to believe, that the Lakers fell so far, where they barely challenged within their division for supremacy, and if that were not enough, they saw their fellow inhabitant of the Staples Center , the Los Angeles Clippers make the postseason as the Western Conference’s number three seed . Steph Curry and his teammates’ postseason foray would be short-lived, with them falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the conference semi-finals 4-2 .

Mike DAntoni’s tenure as the head coach of the Lakers was simply uncompromising as he and his staff simply had no idea in how to get the team to play with any sense of unity . Defensively , the Lakers’ players were simply poor all season long and their situation was made all the more untenable with the loss of Kobe Bryant, whose presence was sorely missed . Los Angeles Lakers’ executives , GM Mitch Kupchak and team owner Jim Buss , will now have to conduct an in-depth search for a successor to the now departed D’Antoni . The former coach’s decision, to offer his resignation, was indicative of the ongoing mess within this organization and Kupchak’s failure, with that of Buss to deal with the franchise’s ongoing problems. With criticism coming from various circles, most notably from former Lakers’ players Magic Johnson , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy and their impassioned pleas, for both front office executives to be proactive in acquiring the players needed the franchise to be competitive. Yet , the biggest call, might well have been Johnson’s calls for the Los Angeles Lakers to rehire Phil Jackson in a front office capacity, at the time of his being available. Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss had other ideas and simply did not wish to revert to the past. Therein lies, one of the many reasons why I believe the Los Angeles Lakers are unlikely to regain the stature within the NBA in terms of their most recent success ! Bryant, at the end of a well-chronicled career , with no heir apparent and I get the feeling that Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss are now without a clue, as to the next steps that needs to be taken !

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The NBA Finals for this season has two known occupants with a rematch of last season’s contest , where the defending champions the Miami Heat likely to be viewed as a consensus favorite against the San Antonio Spurs. I firmly hope, that the series will live up the drama and competitive play witnessed during the 2013 NBA Finals . As to the outcome , well that is now down to the two combatants, as the series gets ready to unfold on Thursday 5th June with the Spurs hosting game one at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas .

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Picture and slideshow gallery .

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(1) Former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer whose $2 billion bid for the Los Angeles Clippers, pending the approval by the NBA Board of Governors , which requires a majority decision or as mandated by the league hierarchy and twenty-five of the NBA’s thirty teams . AP Photo / Mark Edwards …

(2) Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban whose recent comments concerning the NBA and its issue of not being able to deal adequately with the issue of race , albeit that over seventy per-cent of the playing roster is made of minorities , primarily African-American players. The owner would also delve publicly into his own perception of racial profiling , and also the league’s lack of candor, as to its economic template . Getty Images North America / Paul Brown …

(3) Former NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter , having sought legal recourse with a filing of a civil suit against his former employer as well as that union’s former President Derek Fisher . The case will be based on his wrongful dismissal , and the actions of libel and slander as engineered by Fisher and the NBPA leadership. A trial date has yet to be set concerning this legal action . UPI / Elizabeth Parker …..

(4) Indiana Pacers’ head coach Frank Vogel , left, is seen here with the team’s Head of Basketball Operations Larry Bird . With the Pacers falling to the Miami Heat in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, the franchise faces an off-season of indifference and some major decisions concerning the makeup of the roster and the resounding disappointment of not making this season’s NBA Finals , a privilege that now goes to the Heat as the conference’s representative in the league’s postseason finale . AP Photo/ Amy West …….

(5) Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks who has yet to make a decision concerning his long-term future with the franchise. Phil Jackson has spoken intensely with the Knicks’ star , seeking to persuade the player of that it is his intent to improve the supporting cast around Anthony. N Y Time / Anthony DeMarco ….

(6) Patrick Ewing ,right and Alonzo Mourning , left , contest the possession of the ball during a game played between the Miami Heat and New York Knicks . During the duo’s playing careers their fierce competitiveness was always represented by the intensity seen during the contests between these two teams . In the regular , postseason and games overall , these contests were very hostile and enthralling for both sets of fans . AP Photo/ Matt Harper …

(7) Between the pairing of Kevin Durant (35) and LeBron James , they share five League MVP crowns , of which Durant was this season’s League MVP. Unfortunately, for the Oklahoma City Thunder player , his quest to make this season’s NBA Finals were dashed when they fell to the San Antonio Spurs in six games during the Western Conference Finals . This now sets up a rematch of the 2013 NBA postseason finale where the Miami Heat prevailed over the Spurs in seven games . Getty Images / Harry Howe ….

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No fuss, no sweat, no tears, no problem ….

No fuss, no sweat, no tears , no problem …

Having almost reached the midway point of the NBA season , the divisions are now becoming a little more competitive on the whole. Needless to say, that the defending NBA champions the Miami Heat , in spite of a few hiccups along the way are plodding along nicely . Albeit, that there now seems to be doubts as to whether or not the current roster has the resiliency of the team that won he title last season in defeating the San Antonio Spurs .

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A two-game losing streak for the Heat , and the doubters have already began to question the mindset of Erik Spoelstra and his coaching staff . Those losses to the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets on successive nights in New York City and Brooklyn , may well have had the victorious fans of the teams in question now licking their lips , with thoughts of being capable of taking down the champions in a playoff series this season. For the moment, let’s not think too far ahead , for what is in all honesty an arduous and grueling eighty-two game schedule for each of the NBA’s thirty teams . While LeBron James remains the “heart” and ” soul” of this Miami Heat ensemble , then the team itself , will remain the best in the NBA , in spite of their current record (27-10) , standing within the conference and league .

The first of those two back-to-back defeats , came against the New York Knicks came last Thursday night at Madison Square Garden , New York City , New York , in front of a raucous Knicks’ crowd . Miami was subjected to a ten-point loss in a 102-92 defeat . James led all scorers with 32 points , six assists and five rebounds, but this teammates’ productivity in this contest can be best described as being sub-par. Carmelo Anthony for his part, has repeatedly shown why all season long, the Knicks would be an anemic force , were he not on this roster . He sets rhythm for the team and if they are not on the same page , it becomes the matter of another poor performance from the Knicks. It would now appear, that after an anemic start to the their season , New York is now finally on a roll. Next up for the Knicks, will be a game against the high-flying Indiana Pacers (30-7) , currently the best team in the Eastern Conference record-wise.

That second loss by Miami , may well have come out of the blue , as the Brooklyn Nets have been just as erratic as their divisional counterparts the New York Knicks. Consider the fact , that in the aftermath of the victory , Jason Kidd and his players headed up to the Air Canada Center (Rogers Center) in Toronto , to be hammered in a sixteen-point 96-80 defeat at the hands of the Toronto Raptors . Anyone under the impression that Kidd as a rookie coach has the Nets heading in the right direction , really has to rethink that mindset .

Erik Spoelstra has now become his own man , as a head coach , having no longer to look over his shoulder to see if his mentor Pat Riley still observes his every move . Back to back NBA titles , as the team now chases a third championship , now gives the head coach a great deal of security in terms of his position within the organization and its structure . Riley as the team President and a minority stakeholder in the franchise , has seen the Heat’s value rise , along with their revenues and profitability over the past five seasons. With that in mind , as the league’s most popular and visible team , the executive knows that any disruption, in that all too high-profile , knocks off the All Star image that organization has successfully portrayed. The team once seen as the ” Big Three “ ” has now become an All Star quartet with the addition of Ray Allen , who became an instant hero . with his postseason heroics in last season’s NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. Suffice to say, that NBA’s best three-point shooter in league history , will be looking to further cement his legacy during the season .

Miami in light of the losses in question , will get the chance to rebound, when they face the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC on Wednesday evening . The Wizards led by John Wall , will be seeking to make light of a series between these two teams, that has favored the defending NBA champions over the years.

Someone will have to convince me, that the brand of basketball now played in the Eastern Conference is actually conducive to the health of the NBA fan. David Stern , continually seeks to sing the praises of this league , but year in and year out , the NBA brand has become more about individualistic achievement , rather than of team achievement and success. The NBA title may well have been won by a team. In reality however, the fans relished the exploits of LeBron James as the Finals’ MVP , more than they remembered what was achieved by the Heat as a team or namely members of the team’s roster and how each fared during the series. Much of what has been exhibited within the conference and the very fact that only four teams possess a record above . 500, has to be seen as a blight to the NBA , rather than being viewed as a positive.

Team scoring is up , but at the same time, the defensive strategy of the teams are on the wane . So much so, that highlight reel dunks have become the cannon fodder for the league to entertain the fans in attendance and those watching by way of the broadcast or cable networks .

The Los Angeles Lakers , alongside the Boston Celtics , are by far in a way the two most successful franchises in NBA history . These two teams have combined for more than half the NBA titles won. Finals showcasing , the two celebrated and revered teams have produced some of the most memorable highlights in league history. Halcyon days of Magic Johnson , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy , as they gazed across court to match wits with Larry Bird , . Kevin McHale and Robert Parish , has now become a thing of the past. And the last postseason match-up, in an NBA Finals’ series, now seems a distant memory. That last occurrence took place during took place in 2010, when the Lakers led by Kobe Bryant prevailed in a thrilling 4-3 series’ win .

Both the Celtics and Lakers are in a season of transition, Boston in particular , with a new coaching staff headed by rookie head coach Brad Stevens and a revamped roster under the leadership of point guard Rajon Rondo . Rondo has yet to be on court this season , still recovering from an injury sustained last season . In his absence, those leadership responsibilities have fallen squarely on the shoulders of Jeff Green and Avery Bradley . Yet, it has been all-round contribution from just about every player on the Celtics’ roster, which has seen the team post a 13-26 record within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . That mark places the franchise out of a playoff berth, that sees them lying in the twelfth spot of the conference, 1 ½ games behind the eighth seeded Charlotte Bobcats (16-23). Coming off a /. twelve point loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday night , the team will play host to the Toronto Raptors at the TD Banknorth Center in Boston Massachusetts, on Wednesday night. A victory would serve this young team well and set them in a positive direction, while Brad Stevens seeks to find a footing in this league , among his more experienced and noted peers.

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The Celtics’ most recent visit to the NBA Finals came in 2008 and there , once again the opponent cross-court were their perennial adversaries the Los Angeles Lakers . It was left to Paul Pierce , teammates Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to provide the franchise with their most recent title , Boston’s seventeenth overall , leading their closest rival the Lakers whose tally of sixteen remains second all-time .

It is pretty much safe to say, that a struggling Los Angeles Lakers’ team is not good for the NBA. Likewise, the same is also applicable to the New York Knicks, as two of the league’s most recognized teams. Mike D’Antoni , is still under the gun, as he seeks to find a group of players that can execute the strategies he believes they are capable of putting into place. . A record of 14-24 , at this point of the season , and I believe that this team can be now left for dead ! A seven-point loss last night to the Phoenix Suns , pretty much sums up one of the numerous reasons why the franchise is in a maelstrom of inconsistency beyond the continued idiocy of that the front office led by Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak are seeking to bolster the roster by acquiring a marquee free agent during the off-season. Hopes of acquiring either LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony , two players who can choose to opt out of their existing contracts do appear to be a pipe-dream. Yet needless to say , in Los Angeles and its close proximity to Hollywood , leads me to believe that the Lakers’ fans and the front office executives are just dreamers, seeking to weave their own pieces of fiction in order to create their own personal “Utopia” . A lack in developing talent by way of their drafts over the past eight years have essentially shown why the franchise is now in period of transition and inconsistency . Never mind, the very fact that D’Antoni struggles to get the best out of his players from a defensive standpoint.

The Los Angeles Lakers next scheduled game will be on Friday night, when they are the guests of the Boston Celtics. In a regular season series , that now sets a new chapter in motion, the changes in their respective environments and of the rosters in question.

They may not be the runaway trains , but the consistency now being shown by both the Portland Trailblazers coached by Terry Stotts and as always , the perennial contenders within the Western Conference , the San Antonio Spurs , leads me to believe that based on current form, both of these teams will be part of the postseason foray ! Spurs’ head coach , Gregg Popovich remains the best coach in the NBA, albeit , that Miami Heat fans will believe that Erik Spoelstra has become his equal , because of his body of work over the past three seasons. Valid as that point may well be , until Spoelstra takes his team to twelve consecutive postseason appearances , the debate becomes moot.

With both the Spurs and Trailblazers on a considerable role within their divisions and the Western Conference , it remains to be seen whether or not any other contender is likely to step up and make that race within the West more entertaining and actually suspenseful. Granted, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are back to the their very best , while guiding the Oklahoma City Thunder(28-10) to one of the best records in the conference and league. Scott Brooks and his players , are on a mission to simply erase the aberration of last postseason . And while the talk may well be about the rise of the Los Angeles Clippers (27-13) , let us analyze that team’s current situation under their head coach Doc Rivers , who took over after the abrupt firing of Vinny Del Negro .

As good as the Clippers appear to be , it is highly debatable, as to their likelihood of taking down the Spurs or Thunder in a seven-game postseason series , with their being n a great deal on the line. Teething problems remain for an experienced roster that is still finding its way , even with the coaching acumen of Doc Rivers and the playing experience of Chris Paul. Exuberance and a great deal of overconfidence remains one of a number of flaws on the team alongside being unable to commit themselves to playing defense as and when needed.

The Clippers coming off a high scoring two- point victory over the Dallas Mavericks , they will now take their game on the road to face the New York Knicks on Friday night in Madison Square Garden . Having signed veteran guard, Hedo Turkoglu , it will be interesting to see how the team acquits itself against their Eastern Conference opponent. San Antonio and the Portland Trailblazers for their part, will parlay their prominence into a anticipated and eagerly awaited contest when the two meet at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas on the 17th January, 2014. A precursor, to the conference finals perhaps or just a another regular season game on the calendar? Well, that remains to be seen, but one way or another, it should be a good enough guide in telling us what we are likely to see from both teams over the remainder of the season.

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The NBA continues to march to the beat of its very own drum and with David Stern due to step down after a close to a three-decade tenure as the league’s commissioner. His heir-apparent Adam Silver will now have the unenviable task of taking on the next phase of the league’s evolution , while trying to remain relevant amongst its existing fan-base and seeking to increase the game’s popularity on a global scale . Stern has brought to the NBA brand into greater prominence, than one could ever have imagined, from the days when a televised game was something of a novelty. Today, those broadcasts, have become a sports’ staple, along with a growing number of former players parlaying their ex-careers into a highly respectable second vocation, as a NBA broadcast analyst . As to what, may well now be expected be over the remainder of the schedule could be very well be summed up the level of the play seen over the first half the season.

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(1) Greg Oden (20) of the Miami Heat dunks the ball during a game played against the Washington Wizards played at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC. Miami lost the contest and their third consecutive road game on their schedule . John Wall of the Wizards and LeBron James of the Heat led all scorers in the contest played on the 15th January, 2014 . Getty Images / Rob Carr ……

(2) John Wall of the Wizards drives to the basket in a game played against the Miami Heat. The Wizards’ point guard and his teammates prevailed in defeating Miami 114-97. Getty Images / Rob Carr …..

(3) LeBron James of the Miami Heat looks up at the scoreboard during the first half of the game between the Washington Wizards and Miami Heat. A third consecutive road loss seems to have created some amongst Heat fans . Yet the team still remains atop of their division as well as having the second best record in the Eastern Conference . Getty Images /Rob Carr ….

(4) Paul Pierce of the Brooklyn Nets goes up for the offensive play during a game played against the Toronto Raptors this past Saturday at the Air Canada Center in Toronto , Canada,. The visiting team would end up on the wrong side of sixteen-point 96-80 loss to their hosts . AP Photo/The Canadian Press/ Chris Young ….

(5) NBA Commissioner David Stern is seen here alongside Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver during a press conference convened prior to last season’s NBA Finals . Stern made the announcement that he would be stepping down in his role, with Silver succeeding him as the new NBA Commissioner, as of the 15th February 2014,. AP Photo/ Josh Rogers …

(6) Jodie Meeks (20) of the Los Angeles Lakers makes an offensive play over the Suns’ Gerald Green during an NBA game against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night . The Suns defeated the Lakers in that contest. Subsequently , former Lakers’ great Magic Johnson was openly critical of the coaching staff , GM Mitch Kupchak , but in particular of team owner Jim Buss , and the lack of direction of the franchise. AP Photo/ Ross D Franklin …..

(7) Portland Trailblazers’ point guard Damian Lillard is seen here alongside head coach Terry Stotts , court-side, as they discuss an upcoming play. The Trailblazers have been one of the surprise teams in the NBA this season , showing a great deal of consistency as the schedule approaches its midpoint . Portland will be the guests of the San Antonio Spurs when the top two teams within the Western Conference meet at the AT&T Center on Friday evening . Matthew Arnold /UPI …

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tophatal ………………. 2014/01/15

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From the sublime to the ridiculous ………..

From the sublime to the ridiculous ……….

If there is one thing we know about both the NFL and NBA , it is that “defense wins championships”. Being able to do so on a consistent basis , best aids a team in achieving that ultimate of goal of winning a title , be it in any team sport. As the NBA season still remains in its infancy , barely a month into the season which began on the 29th October , with a number of games on the opening night . Over the weekend schedule within the league, there were a slew of very interesting games, of which a contest between the defending Western Conference champions , in the San Antonio Spurs against the New York Knicks , a team filled high-priced stars , that has simply under-achieved over the past two seasons . It should be noted that last season , a great deal more was expected of this Mike Woodson coached team . This season , the pretext already being suggested will be that the Knicks along with the Brooklyn Nets are likely to be the biggest threat to the Miami Heat the defending NBA champions , as they set on the defense of their title and in seeking to create their own piece of history in winning three consecutive NBA titles .

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New York Knicks’ owner James Dolan’s desire is to bring a title back to the media capital of the world. With the team , housed in perhaps the most famous sports’ venue in the world, Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York, it seems only fitting that his wish ought to be granted. That being said, when your team has been assembled from ill-fitting parts , you can only expect there to be a number of hiccups along the way both on and off the field of play. In recent years, we had the tenure of Isiah Thomas as head coach and then in an executive position of the venerable franchise . Missed opportunities , overspending on mediocre talent and to date , it would appear that not a single lesson has been learned by anyone within the front office of the organization . Yet continually , the Knicks’ fans and mass media within the New York City metropolitan area continue to hype the franchise , as if they have been an omnipresent force within the NBA over the past decade or more .

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As I indicated earlier, the New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs met in a game over the weekend . In front of a national television audience, as well as a global audience of millions via the NBA Network and their international broadcast partners and those in attendance at Madison Square Garden. New York and San Antonio would put on a colorful display of attacking basketball. Unfortunately, for the Knicks’ fans , what they were also allowed to witness, was a team without the slightest propensity to play an iota of defense, as New York fell to the Spurs in a thirty-one point blowout loss to their opponents, 120-89 on Sunday afternoon.

If the New York Knicks are to have any hope of being within a remote chance of even challenging within the Eastern Conference and the Miami Heat, in particular . Then this team will have to a great deal more than have Carmelo Anthony be the lone threat offensively , and with their being no one of note actually being prepared to assume the load defensively to aid the ball-club. Anthony, is the only player on the roster averaging twenty points or more per game this season . With a record of 2-4 , the New York Knicks find themselves at the bottom of the Atlantic Division , a division that is currently led by the Philadelphia 76ers (4-3) . From a conference standpoint, the team now stands at the bottom of the Eastern Conference , bearing the same record as the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards (2-4) . From a league wide standpoint , only the Denver Nuggets (1-4) , Sacramento Kings (1-5) and win-less Utah Jazz (0-7) , possess a worse record .

Clearly , all is not right with the New York Knicks, and with players such as JR Smith , Andrea Bargnani , Raymond Felton , Metta World Peace , Amare Stoudemire , Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpert barely contributing anything of note during the Knicks’ two victories this season . It is extremely difficult to see how anyone can actually take this team seriously based on their current play. GM Steve Mills who was recently promoted to his current position may feel the need to make some drastic changes to the makeup of this roster at the trade deadline or try to engineer a buyout of the remainder of his contract . His biggest wish may well be to move the bloated salary of Amare’ Stoudemire off the books and as far away from the franchise as is humanly possible, as it has been years since he has contributed anything of note to this Knicks’ franchise. New York’s next game will be on Wednesday , when they are the guests of the Atlanta Hawks at the Philips Arena , in Atlanta, Georgia ,.

If the New York Knicks are said to be having an indifferent season , alongside their fellow in city and conference rivals , the Brooklyn Nets . Of which the best thing I can say , is if the front office led by Billy King feels that an aging roster , and rookie head coach in Jason Kidd , whose playing career is unquestioned , but his coaching acumen is already in doubt , is the best way to proceed forward. Then clearly, the mindset of the organization is misplaced along with an outrageously bloated team payroll of $102.6 million . Bear in mind, also, the organization will be obligated to pay the luxury tax of $63.5 million for this season alone , having exceeded the league’s soft salary cap of $58.455 million.

While, I believe that Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry can contribute to the Nets’ ambitions this season. From an observer’s standpoint, I just cannot see the team going deep into the playoffs, because simply put , the minutes needed from the entire roster to mount a serious challenge to the obvious contenders within the Eastern Conference will not be forthcoming . Kidd’s coaching inexperience is already evidence of that and it is plain to see , that there has been little productive advice being proffered up by anyone on his coaching staff . The defense of the Nets, also seems to be a work in progress , with the losses inexplicably coming in the most inopportune of ways. A barely functional Deron Williams has yet to have a real breakout game this season and it has been left to Brook Lopez to provide the greater part of the Nets’ offensive productivity this early in the season. While Williams is coming off , off-season surgery , without his productivity , it is unlikely that the Brooklyn Nets will be able to compete at a higher degree of efficiency and competitiveness , in spite of Jason Terry’s presence on the roster as the best alternative at the point guard position . As Deron Williams goes , then so do the Brooklyn Nets. So, it will be of the utmost urgency, that his game is back at a peak level .

Coming off a narrow five-point loss to the Indiana Pacers’ , the Nets will now look to gain some momentum from that defeat , when they meet the Sacramento Kings at the Sleep Train Arena , in Sacramento, California , on Wednesday evening . At this juncture just about any positive traction that can be gained must be seen as an added plus, even if it can’t be viewed as a moral victory .

Should the Miami Heat fans be worried at this juncture that the team has a 4-3 record , though they do lead the Southeast Division by a mere game over the Atlanta Hawks ? Coming off a 66-16 record in 2012 , given the Heat’s currently play , they would be projected to finish with a win total of 48-34. While I do not believe yet to be a cause for concern , I do think that the players might still be reveling in last season’s triumph over the San Antonio Spurs and for the moment are content to be judged on the credentials of being the two-time defending NBA champions ! The three defeats as early as they have come this season , I would have thought that would have shaken Miami of its complacency and simply galvanized the team into playing a great deal better than they have been . There can be no excuses made for a franchise seeking to make NBA history , alongside perhaps the best player to have graced the NBA since his entry into the league as the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers . That year, was a draft resplendent with talent not since seen , in subsequent years, by a very wide margin. . LeBron James’ legacy we know, has been written and cemented in stone , but the player I now believe wants to be viewed as the ” best ever” ! Will he be able to accomplish that ? Well, only time will tell, and also dictate the fate of the player and this team.

Saturday’s loss by the Miami Heat to the Boston Celtics , by a one-point margin 111-110 , emphasized what I now have always felt, was a weakness with the Heat. They have never been considered a “physical” or a “very good rebounding “ team. What we are uniquely aware of concerning Miami, is that they are quite capable shifting gears, as and when they believe there is a reason to do so . Were it not for the inexperience in the Indiana Pacers’ roster last season in the Eastern Conference Finals , it remains my firm belief that the outcome of the series would have been entirely different ! The physicality and play of Roy Hibbert , David West , George Hill , Lance Stephenson and Tyler Hansborough ….. exposed the flaws of the Miami Heat , who are and will always remain something of a finesse team , while LeBron James , Dwyane Wade , Chris Bosh , Ray Allen remain the fulcrum and pivotal to the play of the team overall. Beyond that, you can simply draw your own conclusions .

Hoping to push their record to 5-3 , the Heat will play host to the Milwaukee Bucks at the American Airlines Arena , in Miami , Florida on Tuesday evening . For the Bucks , they will certainly be hoping that they can make the proposed contest a little less lopsided than they have been in the past , with Erik Spoelstra’s players having the better of their visitors in their most recent match-ups .

In spite of the lofty expectations each season of the self-absorbed Los Angeles Lakers’ (3-5) fans and the glitterati of A List Hollywood celebrities who make it their place to be seen at the Staples Center when the venerable Lakers are on the court . I am not so sure that this will be the season, that is likely to be an advantageous a turning point for the franchise in terms of its history . Kobe Bryant’s career is on the wane and no matter how one tries to spin it , this is not a very good Los Angeles Lakers’ team , in terms of its makeup. Beyond Pau Gasol , an aging Steve Nash , Steve Blake and Nick Young and Bryant , himself . There is absolutely nothing to suggest that the Lakers are capable of hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy this season , much less be considered to good enough gain a playoff berth within the Western Conference . Kobe Bryant may well have felt chided, that the Lakers were favored to finish no better than twelfth within the conference at the end of this season. Yet in reality, those assessing the team , were doing so, in its merits and how they what they believe are the strengths and weaknesses of the roster outright . With Bryant still sidelined as he seeks to recuperate from injury, there is no doubt without him , the Lakers are a shell of themselves both from an offensive and defensive standpoint.

The departure of Dwight Howard should not be seen as that great of a loss for the Los Angeles Lakers. The center simply could not adjust to being in the spotlight , much less be asked to lead or be seen as the future leader of the franchise upon Bryant’s departure from the Lakers, upon his undoubted retirement. Howard simply took less money , to play ‘second fiddle ‘ to James Harden as a member of the Houston Rockets , while looking to escape a season of underachievement in Los Angeles in 2012. As to the Lakers’ impending future, that will be predicated upon Kobe Bryant’s return, as there appears to be no set timetable for his much-anticipated participation in a regular season game . It is pretty safe to suggest , his return and in a Lakers’ uniform will be about as welcomed as the franchise’s last taste of postseason success in 2010, as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals .

The Lakers’ next regular season test will at home to the New Orleans Pelicans in a game between two teams looking to reinvent themselves s and gain some traction in terms of their respective seasons . For Lakers’ head coach, Mike D’Antoni and his coaching staff , this is likely a season , that will prove to be the toughest of his professional career. If as anticipated, the franchise fails to make the postseason , then it will certainly be back to the drawing board for GM Mitch Kupcak and team owner , Jim Buss . A future without Kobe Bryant , is not that far off in the offing and with the acknowledgement by Carmelo Anthony that he will remain a life-long New York Knicks’ player , even if in choosing to exercise the option to test the free agency market by opting out of the . final year of his contract . The player knows his best chance of a title remains where he is now domiciled , rather than with a franchise that will be in a total state of transition.

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Picture gallery.

With the NBA season still in its infancy , what if anything has proven to be the biggest surprise or the most disappointing in either the terms of the play or stories emanating from around the league ?

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(1) Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks walks into the locker room during half time against the San Antonio Spurs with his teammates Raymond Felton (2) , J.R. Smith (8) and Amar’e Stoudemire (1) at Madison Square Garden on November 10, 2013 in New York City. The Spurs went on to defeat the Knicks 120-89 . Getty Images North America / Maddie Meyer …..

(2) J.R. Smith (8) of the New York Knicks drives against Manu Ginobili (20) of the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden on November 10, 2013 in New York City. The Spurs defeat the Knicks 120-89 . Getty Images / Maddie Meyer …..

(3) Tiago Splitter (22) of the San Antonio Spurs drives past Amar’e Stoudemire (1) of the New York Knicks during the second half at Madison Square Garden on November 10, 2013 in New York City. The Spurs defeat the Knicks 120-89. Getty Images North America / Maddie Meyer ….

(4) Paul Pierce (34) of the Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Garnett (2) and Deron Williams (8) walk down-court during the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Barclays Center on November 9, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Pacers would defeat the Nets 96-91 . Getty Images/ Paul Hughes …..

(5) Head coach of the Brooklyn Nets Jason Kidd disputes a call with referee Mark Ayotte (56) at Barclays Center on November 9, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Pacers defeat the Nets 96-91. Getty Images / Maddie Meyer ……

(6) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat attempts to pass the ball as Phil Pressey (26) of the Boston Celtics and Jared Sullinger (7) of the Boston Celtics look on at American Airlines Arena on November 9, 2013 in Miami, Florida. Getty Images / Chris Trotman ….

(7) Jeff Green 8 of the Boston Celtics watches his three-point shot at the buzzer as Chris Bosh (1) of the Miami Heat and LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat look on at American Airlines Arena on November 9, 2013 in Miami, Florida. The Boston Celtics defeated the Miami Heat 111-110 . Getty Images / Chris Trotman ….

(8) Kevin Love (42) of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots over Pau Gasol (16) of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The Timberwolves won 113-90 with the Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio torching the Lakers’ lackluster defense with an exhilarating all-round offensive display . Getty Images / Peter Harris ….

(8) Los Angeles Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak , foreground, is seen here alongside head coach Mike D`Antoni as the two host questions from the convened press at the Lakers’ training facility, the Toyota Center in El Segundo , California,. Another lackluster start to the season , somewhat similar to last year, shows the team to be struggling offensively and defensively , with their being no outright answers as to the team’s continued struggles . With no apparent timetable set for Kobe Bryant’s return , it would appear that the Lakers’ struggles are likely to continue. AP Photo / Matt Slocum …

(9) Kobe Bryant, the active career points’ leader in the NBA, a five-time NBA championship winner , Finals’ MVP and League MVP , is now in the latter stages of his storied career , but he is looking to make one last assault on winning a sixth NBA championship ring , all with the Los Angeles Lakers . With the player still sidelined by injury and recuperating as best possible , Bryant hopes to make return to the team by the end of November . AP Photo / Peter Mills ……

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tophatal ………………………….

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Goin’ old school

Sylk E Fyne , feat’g Chill ………. “Romeo & Juliet ”

Cease and desist ………..

Cease and desist

David Stern enters his last season and the NBA commissioner looking for the year to be an eventful and a fully entertaining one. He has found some cordiality and a somewhat uneven truce with the NPBA (union) , who themselves will be going through a tumultuous stage of non-stop litigious to and fro , with former Executive Director Billy Hunter . The former union leader has brought about a multi-million lawsuit against the union , Derek Fisher , who until June of this year was the union’s President . With the Los Angeles Clippers’ point guard Chris Paul having won a unanimous vote to Fisher , the union will now to forge head in seeking a calmer environment , while looking to throw out the civil suit for wrongful dismissal , slander and libel action brought by Billy Hunter . From my own perspective , I believe that the union has been acting under a veil of secrecy with regard to its actions and that was most certainly true of the former executive director . At the same time, why there seemed to be no oversight in place to monitor Hunter’s alleged actions and activities has to come into question. Yet this all will be left in the hands of a jury and a federal judge to decide what will be deemed a justified outcome. One way or another, whatever the decision made, the losing party is likely to appeal the verdict .

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As to the season itself , LeBron James and the Miami Heat will seek to add to their current legacy as the organizations seeks to win its third consecutive NBA title . Having won in 2012 and 2013 , this season the team is likely to be viewed as the prohibitive favorites to win it all. Will there be a worthy opponent and challengers coming from within the Eastern Conference ? Well that remains to the seen , but most certainly the Chicago Bulls , Brooklyn Nets , Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks , are the four teams thought to have the best chance of derailing the Heat’s hopes at this juncture. I believe a great deal of that will now come down to the coaching acumen shown by Tom Thibodeau , Jason Kidd , a first time head coach in the league, Frank Vogel and Mike Woodson .

Far too often I have read pieces, some of which have been written quite articulately , that tend to simply gloss over the importance of the coach and simply delving into which player or players matter the most in order to bring about a victory for the team . Last I looked , if a head coach did not have the strategy of a game-plan in place, more often than not, the victory being sought actually ended up in defeat. Which brings me to the conclusion , are Kidd , Vogel, Woodson and Thibodeau on the same level as Erik Spoelstra as a head coach ? After a difficult first season , the Miami Heat head coach has now come into his own and given his managerial style , a few more title wins and he could very well surpass his mentor and current Team President Pat Riley as perhaps an even better coach and motivator of players. Clearly , Spoelstra has been able to get his trio of superstars to buy into his philosophy , while at the same time, he has been able to get the supporting to come along for the ride, while contributing greatly to the success of the team . Two titles, says a great deal about the young coach, a third , fourth and may be a fifth , would raise the decibel levels even higher and place on the same plane, as perhaps the likes of Gregg Popovich , or dare one say it, Phil Jackson ? Now detractors could make the argument, that when you coaching two or even three superstars on the same team, you are supposed to win. Spoelstra, like Jackson have suffered the slings and arrows of misfortune of have lost to teams in the Finals , where the roster of players they were coaching at the time were highly favored. Yet complacency and immaturity on the part of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004 led to their ultimate downfall against the Detroit Pistons . In 2011 , once again, we saw those same familiar traits with the Miami Heat , as Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks laid waste to the Heat’s ambitions that season.

In the Western Conference , we could be on the cusp of seeing the all too quick descent of the Los Angeles Lakers into a deep abyss of mediocrity. Clearly, their fans, are either that naïve or simply not educated enough to now realize that this team in its present guise , is simply not good enough to now challenge even their own neighbors at the Staples Center the Los Angeles Clippers , never mind the likes of the Oklahoma City Thunder , San Antonio Spurs , Houston Rockets and dare I say it either the Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets ? No amount of suggestion, that while Kobe Bryant remains a Los Angeles Lakers’ player, then just about anything is possible. Unfortunately, Bryant is now on the downside of an illustrious career and cannot be asked to continually do it all by himself . The five-time NBA champion may well have been able to do it on his own three or four years ago , but not now , on aging legs and what is in all honesty an injury riddled body, when there has been little if any support coming from his surrounding teammates . It begs the question , why does he put his body through such torture when his legacy has already been assured as one of the top-fifteen players ever to have played the game and graced an NBA basketball court ? It certainly cannot be for the money !

Lakers’ fans remain delusional, while Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss seem to be intent on ruining the legacy built by Jerry Buss and the great Lakers’ players of the past, even if that is not their original intent. My question for the Los Angeles Lakers’ fans, did you ever at any time, have any implicit faith in Mike Brown ? Do you now have, any faith in the coaching style of Mike D’Antoni ? It is not as if, he has made the practice of defense a policy of or much less an aspect of the Los Angeles’ Lakers’ game since he succeeded his predecessor. Instead, all I continue to hear is a great deal of bitching and whining from the Lakers’ fans still living in the past, who are just not willing to accept the inevitable and that this team in its present guise just is not good enough to win an NBA title, and that is in spite of the false bravado coming from Kobe Bryant. That may well prove to be a motivating factor for Bryant, but he even must now realize the truth and accept it for what it is, the window of opportunity has already been shut for this team. Can we please stop it also, with this ludicrous obsession also that in 2014 , either LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony will come in riding on a white steed to rescue the damsel in distress, known as the Los Angeles Lakers ? Idiots such as Chris Broussard , Stephen A Smith , Skip Bayless and Tim Legler are paid for their stupidity and their combined knowledge of the NBA even with their breaking stories , pose just about as much of an attraction, as a group of individuals during an act of flatulence , each of whom, have eaten several plates of baked beans . They simply begin to stink up the joint .

While Miami opens up the defense of their title , starting their season with a home game against the Chicago Bulls at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida on the 29th October , when the league opens its regular season schedule . The Bulls and Tom Thibodeau will welcome back point guard Derrick Rose who missed much of the 2011-12 postseason when in the opening round the top seeded Bulls lost their opening series to the Philadelphia 76ers . The injury shook the young point guard mentally more than it seemed to have done from a physical standpoint. Rose’s seventeen-month delay seems like an eternity to the franchise’s fans , but now that long delay will come to an end when the get to see the player and his teammates return to the court in the first of several preseason opening games in the lead-up to the Bulls’ regular season opener. . The first of those preseason games will be on , Saturday , 5th October against last season’s .. Eastern Conference Finalists the Indiana Pacers. A team that many believe will be amongst the most serious challengers to the Miami Heat this upcoming season.

The Orlando Magic this past season ended the year with a league worst mark of 20-62 , with a team that was simply out of its natural environment . First year head coach, Jacque Vaughn struggled to get any semblance of consistency out of the team throughout much of last season. Never able to maintain a lead during a game , not being able to defend with any zeal , pretty much summed up the woes of the franchise. A shake up within the front office was meant to bring about changes that would be of benefit to the franchise , but yet things remain bleak for the Orlando Magic , who now have to contend with a declining attendance and a major drop-off in its overall fan-base , as well as major corporate endorsers no longer prepared to sponsor the success starved organization . As to what this will now mean to Dan De Vos , Team President Alex Martins , GM Rob Hennigan , Charles Freeman and Jim Fritz , may well mean a concerted effort on their part to try something new. The on-court product, remains the main issue, along with the lack of veteran leadership on the roster. That team will now be placed in the hands of Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu , as the presumed leaders of the Orlando Magic. A great deal also will be asked of Jacque Vaughn and his coaching staff as they embark on their reason . Orlando will begin their schedule against the Indiana Pacers at the Bankers Field House in Indianapolis , Indiana.

In a division (Southeast) where the Orlando Magic will have to contend with the Charlotte Bobcats , Atlanta Hawks , Washington Wizards and the defending NBA champions the Miami Heat. It remains to be seen how this team will be able to contend not only within their division but within the Eastern Conference never-mind the rest of the NBA as a whole . David Stern profligates the charade that the league remains competitive , but like Major League Baseball (MLB) , it now has now become a league of the ” haves ” and ” have not’s” . A ” soft ” salary cap that no one seems to be interested in abiding by , but yet we have a group of idiots still trying to create the perception that the NBA has no real underlying issues concerning its business template .

I have never been a great admirer of Mark Cuban , who apart from being a constant thorn in the side of David Stern , he has proven to be an egotistical and narcissistic asshole . Not content with those traits, it now appears that the Dallas Mavericks’ owner is about to have his day in US Federal Court , as he seeks to prove his innocence against the charges of insider trading , and profiting to the tune of $750,000 . All of this, for an individual whose net worth is estimated to be in excess of $ 2.5 billion . It makes me wonder how the mega-rich can now survive in this day and age if three-quarters of a million dollars will prove to be that much of a loss . Not content with having mocked the US Justice Department with preceding the charges against him , but Cuban has taken upon himself to suggest that the motives behind the case has been the fact that he has been politically outspoken and critical of the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) . That last statement might well be the most ludicrous of the claims being made by self-aggrandizing and always publicity seeking owner of the Mavericks . If he wishes to prove his innocence , then do so by appearing in court , rather than continuing to make a complete ass of himself , because he is not being judged in the court of public opinion in this case. That will ultimately take place in a Federal Court , where he will be judged by a jury of twelve of his peers , with those individuals adjudicating his guilt or innocence. After-all, is that not what the Justice System is meant to be about ?

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Picture gallery

Though the season has yet to begin within the NBA , what if anything do you believe will be the most interesting or thrilling event that is likely to take place over the course the schedule ?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Former NBPA Executive President Director Derek Fisher , left is seen here at the dais, alongside Billy Hunter . The union’s former Executive Director is seeking punitive damages from the union for wrongful dismissal , libel , slander and damage to his reputation . Fisher and the union state that Hunter acted outside his parameters in establishing deals and the hiring of certain family members to maintain certain entities within the NBPA’s structure including its pension fund . There also allegations of misappropriation of union funds exceeding $250,000. All of the allegations in question have been vehemently denied Billy Hunter’s lawyers , who state that this essentially a character assassination attempt by the union . AP Photo / Brandon Jones ………

(2) Four-time league and two-time Finals MVP LeBron James will be seeking to guide the Miami Heat to the franchise’s third straight NBA title . In 2014 the player can opt out of his existing contract to become a free agent but it seems highly unlikely he is like to leave the franchise to play elsewhere . Getty Images / Robert Woods …

(3) Miami Heat President Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra are seen here celebrating the team’s 2013 NBA title series’ victory over the San Antonio Spurs . In a series that went to a seventh game , the Heat were pressed throughout the Finals by the Western Conference representatives . Spoelstra will seek join Red Auerbach and Phil Jackson as the only coaches in NBA history to have won three consecutive NBA titles . Getty Images North America / Paul Hanson …

(4) Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Mike D’Antoni is seen here talking with players Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol during the interval of a game played at the Staples Center last season . Throughout much of the year the team struggled and with the departure of center Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets as a free agent , questions arise as to how good the team is likely to be in its present format . AP Photo / Chris Marshall ……

(5) From left to right Orlando Magic executive Alex Martins , head coach Jacque Vaughn and general manager Rob Hennigan . AP Photo / Phil Coulter ….

(6) Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban seen here polishing the Larry O’Brien Trophy after the team’s triumph over the Miami Heat . The often outspoken owner will face insider trading charges having sought to manipulate the stock price of a small tech-firm while seeking to make a profit of $750,000 from the trade . All charges which Cuban and his attorneys deny . AP Photo / Kelly Myles ….

(7) Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls . The young point guard, after a seventeen-month layoff makes a welcome return for the team hoping to contribute to Bulls’ success this upcoming season . AP Photo / Paul Mayhew ….

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tophatal ……………… 09/30/2013

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NBA news and archived stories

NBA regular season begins 29th October 2013 and 30th October 2013

NBA head coaches

NBA team payrolls ( salary cap $58.044 million) —– Top player salaries

2012-13 NBA standings (division) and conference standings

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Idle hands make for light work , so let’s get those hands doing something worthwhile .

Now that’s what I call keeping the assets perky !

Going for broke ……..

Going for broke

I find it simply amazing the gullibility of today`s sports fan and a belief that they seem to have that because a franchise owner (NBA) is steeped in billions . There is no simplicity to the madness, that an owner can simply spend tens of millions of dollars on talent, in seeking to gain success overnight. Rarely has that been known to happen overnight and more often than not , the franchise itself may well have lost just as much as the owner has spent in acquiring the athletes to fulfill their dreams. Nowhere has this been more self-explanatory than with the fortunes of the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat in recent years . The two franchises in question are the winners of the last three NBA titles . Team owners Mark Cuban and Micky Arison are amongst the wealthiest owners in North American sports , with their names to be found amongst the Forbes` 400 wealthiest Americans. That in of-itself, is by no means a guarantee of their alleged successes as owners of a sport`s franchise. For years, both the Heat and Mavericks toiled in the obscurity of the NBA, as other more illustrious franchises held the limelight and the glare of the spotlight before attaining the success denoted in their respective histories.

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For the Dallas Mavericks after a disappointing season , during which the team posted a 41-41 record , good enough for tenth place in the Western Conference . The front office led by GM Donn Nelson and head coach Rick Carlisle , in conjunction with Mark Cuban sought to revamp the roster of last season , in the hope of building a competitive contender for the upcoming year . What has become abundantly clear with the Mavericks` owner in recent years , was that money was of no object , as he chose to offer king`s ransom to any player willing to sign with the Texas-based franchise . At the height of the executives` capricious spending in seeking to lure some of the top-flight free agents , Mavericks` payroll was as high as $92.5 million during the 2008-09 season . As the sixth seed for that year in the Western Conference , the team would meet the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the NBA Playoffs . The Mavericks` foray in the postseason would be short-lived as they would fall to the Denver Nuggets in the conference semi-finals 4-1 .

Fueled by that loss, Mark Cuban continually spent money unwisely in the chase for that elusive first NBA title, and along the way racking up losses for the Mavericks` franchise in excess of $103 million . Now one should bear in mind also that the NBA did have a soft salary cap in place , with teams exceeding the cap being penalized under the luxury tax penalty structure. . For the teams who sought to exceed that cap , NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league hierarchy continued to sell the fans a “ bill of goods“ , knowing full well that the financial health of the league`s teams were nowhere as healthy as he was trying to suggest . Between 2009 and 2011 the league`s executive committee ( hierarchy) sought financing from major financial institutions to aid teams around the NBA , who were said to suffering acute financial problems . The sum borrowed exceeded over $515 million . At the time , NBA Commissioner David Stern stated that … “monies received by these franchises should not be viewed as a bailout , but merely a way to aid the teams overcome what had been a difficult period for the NBA in the midst of an economic downturn that was adversely affecting the country “ . So good to know that at the time the league could avail itself over of a half billion dollars ($500,000,000) , while small businesses around the country could not be facilitated with a small business loan . Your thoughts on that specifically ? From 2003 to 2011 , the NBA and its teams have received financing exceeding $2.3 billion ($2,300,000,000) and yet it would appear that the greed of the league and its owners seem almost boundless .

The 2010-11 season would see the rise of the Dallas Mavericks , as the team led by Dirk Nowitzki , would finally slay the dragon , on their way to a rather surprising Finals` victory (4-2) over the highly favored Miami Heat , who were at the time were led by their trio of NBA All Stars , LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh . What took place during those series of games was a testament to the strength of the Mavericks and what I believe to be the sheer arrogance and complacency of the players on the Heat`s roster . Nowitzki would come away with the Finals` MVP award and adding to his legacy as perhaps the best European to have played in the NBA during its history.

This upcoming season the Dallas Mavericks will be built around Dirk Nowitzki as the central focus point of a team looking to get younger . As to how they will fare against much younger and far more athletic rosters within the Western Conference will be predicated upon the defensive and offensive capabilities , and how they are able to play in transition . The veteran forward will be looked upon to be and provide a large part of the team`s offensive productivity, Something that the player has been able provide for the franchise over the majority of his career. And it is proof , to the testament of his game and the longevity of his career.

The NBA Draft of 2003, literally provided the NBA with a plethora of stars , that over the past decade have provided the league with one of its richest era during the NBA`s existence . If you simply peruse the list of players taken over the first two rounds , you can see undeniably, that a number of those stars players are still around and very productive within the NBA. . Granted , there were a few hits and misses made by a number of teams in the assessment of the players drafted .

Lebron James taken number one overall, by the Cleveland Cavaliers would be followed by Darko Milicic , taken by the Detroit Pistons . A pick that many believe was so stupid in the sheer gullibility and lack of thought made by Pistons` GM Joe Dumars . The pick would set the franchise back for a number of years , due to Milicic`s lack of productivity , but the Pistons would somehow come through to pull off what I believe to the biggest upsets in NBA Finals` history over the past two decades , when they simply outplayed the Los Angeles Lakers on their way to the 2004 NBA Finals` championship (4-1) .

The Miami Heat`s success in acquiring their first title was built around the premise and skill-set of Dwyane Wade and surrounding him with players complementary of his skills . Wade along with center Shaquille O`Neal , Jason Williams , Gary Payton , Alonzo Mourning , Michael Doleac , Dorell Wright and other role players . Then head coach Stan Van Gundy would be ousted from his position in 2006, as the team would go on to make that season`s NBA Finals. While the controversy concerning Van Gundy`s ouster had more to do with is souring relationship with central figures O`Neal and Wade . It was widely known, that Heat team President Pat Riley sought one last shot at winning a title as a head coach. Riley denies that Van Gundy`s ouster was anything more than his desire to return to a head coaching role. Riley would excel in leading the Miami Heat to their first NBA title along with Wade`s bravura postseason performances that would also see him garner a Finals` MVP award as the team derailed the hopes of the Dallas Mavericks that season .

Micky Arison and Pat Riley would not let team expenditure in terms of the payroll be a hindrance to what was their ultimate goal . Winning that elusive first title would prove to be profitable, but also create even bigger problems going into that off-season . From a team high payroll of $119 million and with the salary cap of $49.5 million , Miami during the off-season paid just over $70 million to the league hierarchy in luxury taxes. Teams surpassing the cap figure were imposed with the customary dollar-for-dollar penalty, as mandated under the collective bargaining agreement. . The team`s payroll would drop from the aforementioned figure to a more manageable $78.2 million for the following season , but still remaining above the league mandated cap (soft salary cap) .

A patron of this site whose business acumen as such simply revolved around zeroes and the wealth of NBA franchise owners, was of the opinion that the Brooklyn Nets merely because of having acquired Kevin Garnett , Jason Terry and Paul Pierce would be a competitive franchise with the prowess of Deron Williams , Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez . The fact that the addition of the former Celtics trio adds an additional $33 million to the team`s already bloated payroll for the upcoming season which will be set at $ 102.7 million , ranking the Nets` payroll atop of the league`s thirty teams . In the past two seasons Nets` owner Mikhail Prokorov has squandered in excess of $250 million in payroll and luxury tax fees on a franchise , whose playoff run was a single appearance last season , that ended rather abruptly in a first round playoff series` loss , with the team itself , being less than competitive , lacking in leadership and any heart , in being able to play , even a modicum of defense during the postseason . Yet somehow, here was an individual now rather vainly and I do believe idiotically, trying to extol the virtues of a team where three aged veterans will not be able to truly contribute to a roster lacking in leadership and who will now have a rather inexperienced head coach at the helm, in Jason Kidd . The Brooklyn Nets are simply an organization looking to keep up with many of their more illustrious luminaries , while simply believing tat throwing money at an issue is the ultimately the best way to solve it , without showing any real knowledge of know what it is they are doing .

In the subsequent years between the Miami Heat winning first NBA title to successfully making a defense of their second title won in 2012. The franchise has seen a number of highs and lows . None more so, than the less than celebratory departure of Shaquille O`Neal and the we ill will between the player and the organization . During the intervening years , there have been multi-million dollar losses , $140 million u in total , upheaval of the rosters and a change of coaches. Pat Riley`s protege Erik Spoelstra succeeded Pat Riley in 2008 , and the young head coach brought a about a great deal of stability and , with the players buying into his coaching style and blend of youthful exuberance .

The biggest coup for the franchise however , was Pat Riley`s engineering of the deals that would bring both LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the team , along with the re-signing of Dwyane Wade. An immediate impact could be felt on the franchise’s bottom line and that proved to be fortuitous along with the astonishing rise in attendance for the organization . Teams at home facing the Miami Heat saw an immediate attendance spike , alongside concession sales . There is a unique business principle that comes into play , something I believe that is often overlooked by inane fans, simply making pronouncements about teams and their willingness to simply spend money on a whim . If you are going to make such a presumptive statement , at least have the temerity to back it up with something more substantive , than that is a good team, simply because of the makeup of the roster and the fact that the team`s owner has a great deal of money to spend . It simply shows ignorance and even more so, a lack of understanding about the economics of a sport that is not solely about X`s and O`s.

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LeBron James, since his entry into the NBA as proven to be everything the analysts and fans believed him to be. The accolades received, have been a testament to that fact , as his game has become more well-rounded , along with a leadership ability , the respect of his peers and the growing belief now , that he could very well over the next five or so years reach the unprecedented heights of surpassing almost every feat achieved by his boyhood idol Michael Jordan . There is no denying that James` decision to come to Miami, was not only of benefit to the player, but a major part in the turnaround of the franchise and the economic impact brought to the city, but quite possibly above all, to the NBA as a whole. James as now joined the rarefied air of being mentioned in the same as breath of many of the all-time greats within of the game . Justified or not, I will let you be the judge of that ! As to the statements made within this article , do you believe that the NBA can now continue on its current course, when so many of the teams choose to ignore the league`s soft salary cap ? Also , do bear in mind that in spite of the increased values of a number of the NBA franchises , a number of the organizations have acute financial issues , wherein profitability is their greatest concern . Your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter? Chime in with a comment, as you see fit.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
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(1) Pictured from left to right, are Miami Heat owner , Micky Arison , head coach Erik Spoelstra and team President Pat Riley. The trio celebrating the franchise`s 2012 triumph in winning their second NBA title . A feat that would be repeated again this past postseason with the Heat`s second consecutive title and third overall in the past six seasons . The Miami Heat hope to achieve their own historic three-peat by winning a third consecutive title in the 2013-14 season . The franchise is now a heavily backed favorite by the odds-makers in Atlantic City and Las Vegas , respectively. AP Photo /Bruce Moss …..

(2) Jason Kidd , left, is seen here alongside Dallas Mavericks` team owner Mark Cuban , head coach Rick Carlisle , Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki. The group are pictured just after the franchise`s triumph over the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals . Getty Images / Kim Moran ….

(3) Mikhail Prokhorov team owner of the Brooklyn Nets is seen here with former minority stake owner in the NBA franchise , rapper and entrepreneur Jay-z . The entertainer has since sold his interest in the team back to Prokhorov , having become the founder and owner of sports` management company RocNation Sports , a full consultancy sports management firm sports marketing and promotions company , managing athletes and their business portfolios . Jay`z was also licensed as a certified sports agent by the NBA, WNBA , NFL , NHL , MLB . Prokorov for his part in conjunction with team general manager Billy King in the past two seasons have spent in excess of $ 375 million on team payroll and luxury taxes for a franchise , that has yet to progress beyond the first round of the postseason since he assumed control of the Brooklyn Nets . Getty Images / Mark McNair ….

(4) Carmelo Anthony , left is seen here with LeBron James on the night of the 2003 NBA Draft . The two players were drafted in the first round by the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers respectively , with James being the number one pick overall . NBAE/Getty Images / Christopher Riggins ….

(5) LeBron James and Michael Jordan . Comparisons are now being made between the two players and their respective careers . I believe that certain similarities can be made , but on making a call upon who is said to be the better player . It should and is best left to NBA historians after the career of James has ended , and then true comparisons can be made . Matte Inc . @ copyrighted material ……..

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NB: The NBA bailout , twenty-two of the league`s thirty teams were recipients of the funds disbursed during the years mentioned .

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tophatal ……….
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NBA news and archived stories

List of NBA champions ……. Champions 2010-11 , 2011-12 and 2012-13

NBA team payrolls and salary cap $58.044 million

Dallas Mavericks news

Miami Heat news

NBA team owners and general managers

This month in NBA history (July) and August .

News, views, and what the hell was that ?

News, views, and what the hell was that ?

Well the NBA season is over and done with , and now the fans will have the downtime of this off-season to assess how their teams will seek to strengthen their rosters, while seeking to usurp the Miami Heat and their dominant season . The NBA Draft will act as a precursor, as to what we can expect, as a number of struggling organizations will seek to better themselves . To my mind , it will not be so much about what these teams do , but what Pat Riley , Erik Spoelstra and team owner , Mickey Arison will seek to do , to improve this organization not just from a competitive standpoint but also economically as well .

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LeBron James pretty much etched himself into the NBA record books with a series of scintillating performances against the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals , that were almost Jordan-esque, in their nature and size . That being said, this seven game series , might just go down as one of the very best in recent NBA Finals` history . And while praise is being heaped upon James` broad shoulders, it would be remiss not to think that Erik Spoelstra has contributed as much to the team`s success this season, as he did in last season`s Finals also . The head coach of the Heat has pretty much written his own chapter in Miami Heat history , of which I am pretty sure , there is still a great deal to come from this Pat Riley protegé !

A great deal of speculation will begin as to whether or not this team will be broken up as the coaching staff seeks to bolster the roster . First of all, can we stop with this asinine notion and situation where LeBron James will seek to opt out of his present contract and ply his trade elsewhere ? James and his agent , Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Management , are unlikely to give up the opportunity of being in a major high-profiled market to go elsewhere , not while James is at the height of his earning power in the NBA and a marketing behemoth to the advertisers of Madison Avenue and their global clients . Somehow this all seems to be overlooked by many of the analysts and fans out there , who simply use stupidity as a guide for what they deem to be common sense, in suggesting that the player is likely to leave the confines of Miami . For the moment, the Miami Heat organization, will be allowed to enjoy the spoils of war, before preparing for the upcoming season .

In what now seems a catalyst for excessive stupidity this season and during the off-season . The NBA has simply gone awry, with the number of head coaches either being fired or simply not having their contracts extended . One of individuals who was said to be an unwilling participant in all of this , just happened to be Vinny Del Negro , who in having guided the Los Angeles Clippers to the postseason was summarily dismissed by the organization , headed by team owner , Donald Sterling and GM Gary Sacks . Now one could speculate, as to the reasons why Del Negro was not rewarded with an extension of his contract . Yet, his untimely dismissal, does smack of what now appears to be an underlying trend that now seems commonplace across the NBA, amongst the team owners and general managers alike. It seems that when all else fails , the best person to blame, has to be the head coach , rather than the players who under-achieve or a general manager who just doesn`t have a damn clue . It is clear that neither Gary Sacks or Donald Sterling have ever had a clue how to run or create a successful NBA franchise . A case in point can be made, that the evidence has been there all along , for all to see over the past decade or more, as it relates to the Los Angeles Clippers .

With the recent public announcement that Doc Rivers has been hired to succeed Vinny Del Negro , it will be extremely interesting to see the direction that will be taken by the organization under their new head coach. A number of decisions will have to be made during this off-season as to the makeup of the roster , the status of their impending free agents , as well as the upcoming NBA Draft .

For the Boston Celtics , after what appears to be years of none movement by way of simply improving the roster overall . GM Danny Ainge , lead managing partner and team owner , Wyc Grousbeck , are now left with having to pick up the pieces after the abrupt departure of Doc Rivers . As to how the situation will be viewed by the Celtics` unabashed die- hard fans, remains to be seen . Yet it is my belief, that a great deal of the blame for Rivers` departure , lies with the coach himself and the actions of Danny Ainge , who at times seemed averse to change , that would have helped the franchise’s long-term goals . . I have yet to hear a succinct reason why Rivers signed a three-year contract extension in 2012 , knowing full well that he remained unhappy with a number of decisions being made by the front office, even when his input was called for . From my own perspective, Doc Rivers is just as much to blame for Celtics` present predicament , as are the executives within the front office of the Boston Celtics` organization !

In what might amount to an admission of guilt , Hall of Fame bound former NFL head coach Bill Parcells says, he as a great deal of regret in leaving the New England Patriots in 1996 . Four absolute years of futility, by his successor , Pete Carroll , pretty much laid the foundation for the Bill Belichick years of unparalleled success . For Parcells to readily admit that fact and that he and team owner , Robert Kraft failed to see eye to eye on a number of issues while he coached the franchise , was not necessarily astounding , but it leads me to believe that the head coach was a man , who simply liked to do things his own way and was unwilling to accept criticism even when valid . Parcells` resume` we know to be unrivaled , with the coach having taken four separate teams to the postseason during his now famed coaching career . A Superbowl appearance came with the Patriots in , during his four years with the well-respected NFL franchise . In what amounted to be a lopsided to be a 35-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers , for which the season that turned out to be so full of promise ended up being something of a major letdown for the franchise , and brought about an abrupt end to Bill Parcells` reign with the Patriots .

Courtesy of USA Today

Bill Parcells laments decision to part ways with Patriots

By Jim Corbett , USA Today Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Bill Parcells has one haunting memory from a coaching career that will culminate with his Aug.3 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: his bitter post-Super Bowl XXXI divorce from the New England Patriots and owner Robert Kraft after the 1996 season.

“I regret leaving New England. Had we done things differently … ” Parcells recently told USA TODAY Sports. “I had a good young team there. I hated to leave that team, because I knew what we could do.

“I was absolutely too headstrong. And he might have been a little headstrong, too. I think both Kraft and myself, retrospectively, would have done things a little differently.”

And the course of NFL history would have changed.

Parcells was succeeded in New England in 1997 by Pete Carroll, who coached the Patriots for three seasons before he was replaced by Bill Belichick in 2000.

The Patriots have won three Super Bowls and reached two others under Belichick, who, without the New England job available, might have remained head coach of the New York Jets for more than a day before resigning to move up the road to Foxborough, Mass.

Parcells and Kraft have made their peace, getting over a breakup caused by Parcells’ lack of final say on building the roster, which was decided by then-director of player personnel Bobby Grier. That power struggle led Parcells to taunt Kraft with the famous line: “If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.”

Kraft recalled the truce, which happened about 10 years ago.

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Bill Parcells can be seen as one of the modern- day innovators within the NFL coaching fraternity . The measure of success can also be seen from the coaching tree that has been established by Parcells and the members of his coaching staff who went on to carve success for themselves in the NFL , in various capacities . If that is not enough to signify the greatness of this former head coach , beyond his obvious over-sized ego , then I certainly don`t know what will .

Now as an avid Patriots` fan , I have to admit that this story concerning Aaron Hernandez’s involvement in the death of a former close confidante bears all t the remnants of quite possibly a friendship gone sour . The victim, Odin Lloyd , is a one-time known md close associate of the Patriots` tight end . That being said, with Hernandez now having gone, from a person of interest in this homicide, to the number one suspect , it now has me questioning why Robert Kraft , GM Nick Caserio and Bill Belichick would still allow the player to turn up at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts , for the team`s off-season workouts , mandatory or not ? It has become enough of a circus and a distraction the nation`s press and television media encamped outside Patriots` headquarters, waiting for the next glimpse of the now besieged and troubled player .

Personally, I would like to see what the next step that will be taken by the Patriots` hierarchy or the NFL itself , should the player be arrested and be charged with Odin Lloyd`s murder ! If that wasn`t enough and given Aaron Hernandez’s unwillingness to cooperate with local law enforcement and his own actions , prior to being questioned , leads me to believe that he does have a great deal to hide beyond his possible involvement in a homicide ! The destruction of what law enforcement (Boston PD) believes to be pertinent (cell phone , cleaning up of his residence and that of his SUV ) points to that of serious felony having been committed . Yet mere supposition alone, cannot be enough to truly suggest a player` guilt . However, any good prosecuting attorney should be able to indict and arraign a possible defendant on less . I may well be mistaken , but at this juncture , I am not expecting an asshole such as Roger Goodell to make any public statement , much less deliver any sort edict stating the player should be suspended pending the outcome of the police investigation. Would that be too much to ask of the NFL`s buffoon of a commissioner , given his proclivity for supposedly wanting to protect the NFL`s image ?

It is becoming abundantly clear that the NFL has become archaic monolithic system that is simply devoid of intelligence and this ongoing fact that all Roger Goodell can actually point to, are increased revenues , yet little by way any concern over welfare of retired veterans, most notably the issue head trauma and concussions . For years, Goodell and his predecessor , Paul Tagliabue , ignored their own in-house studies as well that of studies conducted by world-renowned academic facilities, Stanford , UCLA Medical Facility Berkley, John Hopkins University , Sloane Kettering as well as studies conducted by the AMA , NIMH and the AAN (American Academy of Neurology) . In the midst of this all , remains the apathy of fans who say that the NFL continues to emasculate the league and the way football is officiated , interpreted and the rules adhered to by the referees. Somehow these are quite possibly the same idiots , who raise the national flag to show that they are patriots but simply couldn`t give a shit that there are now more than 750,000 homeless military veterans in living on the streets of Los Angeles , New York , San Francisco , Miami and Washington, DC ., all suffering chronic mental health and drug-related issues . Where is the compassion for those men and women said to be coming from ? Yet , these are the forgotten , who no one seems to care about at all , not even the VA (Veterans Administration) the federal government itself, in spite of the lip service coming from members of the House , Senate , as well as Barack Obama , himself .

I may well be mistaken, but this year is 2013 , is it not ? A little over two eighteen months ago, ago an individual and former patron of this site was simply critical of me , because I was overly critical of the Kansas City Royals(35-38) and that as an organization , they were not only bereft of talent but also devoid of intelligence, in terms the ownership and managerial staff . Far be it for me to suggest , but it has been several years since the Royals last made the postseason , let alone contest for their division during that time-frame. Furthermore , this season , the Royals are once again playing sub-par baseball and while not belying their status as an also ran within the AL as well as baseball as a whole .

Royals` manager Ned Yost and his staff have been entrusted to guide this team for the long-haul , but it is my belief that Yost is handicapped by ball-club that simply has no wish to spend money to bolster this team . Be it, adding a veteran leader or simply a talent, by way of a bonafide star who is productive as an offensive player or pitcher . The biggest issue facing the Kansas City Royals , are that their fans have always been under the impression that the team will contend , if not this year , then it will be next . God bless those Royal fans, and their ongoing optimism, in spite of the sheer ineptitude shown .

Year in and year out the MLB Draft has been an ongoing process of the Kansas City Royals and GM Dayton Moore going through the motions creating the perception of creating a competitive ball-club. David Glass , owner of the Royals , in spite of his alleged business acumen , and the propensity for simply sitting back and let the chips fall were they may. And as we know MLB simply takes care of its own , even when they just happen to be abhorrent mediocre and repeatedly so . The Royals will continue to live high on the hog , just as long as Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy avails teams such as the Royals with their asinine tax sharing revenue scheme , which since the day it was initiated, , it has barely created a level playing field . Others might well counter that with the argument that the World Series has been contested by several different teams . However, if one would merely look at the make-up up of postseason , specifically the divisional series and championship series , over the years that the perennial contenders are always there . As to the World Series itself , well what can one say , when the names more often than not tend to be the same ? Does anyone truly believe that the Kansas City Royals , Pittsburgh Pirates , Tampa Bay Rays , Houston Astros , New York Mets , will ever win a title , given their respective records in recent years ? Granted in 1969 , the Mets triumphed over the Baltimore Orioles , with a lopsided 4-1 series` victory . Since then , four decades plus of sheer purgatory , financial mismanagement and the absurdity of Sandy Alderson and JP Ricciardi are credible enough to turn things around for this moribund franchise . Terry Collins and his bedraggled team are simply back to their ways of old , with the same old excuses being put forth by their fans and the front office . I wonder why ? One merely has to look at the team`s season and standing in the NL East to realize what a mess the New York Mets continue to be .

If I were a Royals` fan , am I supposed to be sold players such as Mike Moustakas , Alex Gordon , Eric Hosmer , Billy Butler , Lorenzo Cain and a team batting average of . 257 , which in essence, places the Royals in fifth in the AL ? Yet what might be of even more concern, is the fact that the team cannot manufacture runs (RBI`s) or even home runs . Wow ! And these are the type of statistics that will lure fans to Kauffmann Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri ? The one saving grace might well be, that in terms of pitching , the team does possess the best ERA in the AL with league low average of 3.52.

Next up for Kansas City will be a home game against the Atlanta Braves ,with Kris Medlen taking the mound for Atlanta against Ervin Santana of the Royals , in what is sure to be a lively pitchers` duel between these two players . Great games are normally expected when we have two highly competitive teams facing off against one another. At present , only one of these two ball-clubs actually fits that criteria of being even remotely competitive . Care to guess, which one ?

Los Angeles Angels` (33-43) owner, Arte Moreno , has become disgruntled and upset by the direction of this team . I cannot say that I would blame him , given the fact, that he now has over $450 million invested in three high-profiled players on this roster . Yet here are, almost at a crisis point, almost midway through the MLB season . A season , in which, the Angels have simply been mediocre , at best . It is not that hard to fathom how an organization can in fact be so naïve in its wish to seek out success , having to see their crosstown rivals be front and center, garnering much of the news when it comes to all things baseball in the city of Los Angeles . There is no denying that this season both the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers (33-42) are grabbing all of the headlines within the game but for all of the wrong reasons. Angels GM Jerry Dipoto and his Dodgers` counterpart Ned Colletti are struggling to make both teams relevant within their respective divisions . For managers, Mike Scioscia and Don Mattingly , for all sense and purpose , their jobs now appear to be on the line, with respective owners Arte Moreno and Magic Johnson undoubtedly rethinking the situation, as whether or not, it would be wise to extend the contracts of the two beleaguered managers . By season`s end I believe we will be given the answers in both cases !

As I alluded to earlier with over $450 million invested in Albert Pujols , C J Wilson and Josh Hamilton , it is extremely difficult to see how and where this team will be in a position to challenge for the AL West this season , when they are struggling just to be competitive within the AL as a whole .

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Picture gallery .

The Angels will be the guests of the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park , in Detroit ,Michigan for a series of games . Jim Leyland brings in a team that will be seeking to tighten its grip on the AL Central , as they seek not only redefine themselves , but also seek redemption after last season`s lopsided World Series ` loss to the San Francisco Giants . As the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics contest the AL West , leading the Angels by ten and eleven games respectively, you kind of get the feeling that we could very well be witnessing the beginning of the end as it relates to the career of Mike Sciocsia with this ball-club. As one of the longest tenured managers in baseball , Sciocsia`s greatest achievement in came in 2002 as he led the organization to their lone triumph in baseball`s biggest showcase event .

Your thoughts on the points raised within this piece and how you see the second half of the season panning out for a number of teams within baseball ? Do leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) NBA champion Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra , center, gestures to fans during a parade honoring the team in Miami, Monday, June 24, 2013. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ….

(2) Fans take photos of the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy with their mobile phones and cameras as it rises from the from a box, Monday, June 24, 2013, during a celebration for season ticket holders at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. The Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 in Game 7 to win their second straight basketball championship. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(3) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 24: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat celebrates alongside teammate, Juwan Howard on the bus during the championship celebration parade through downtown Miami on June 24, 2013 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images …..

(4) LeBron James , left , is seen here with his childhood friend and business partner Rich Paul . Paul a former junior associate with mega-agency CAA Sports left to form Klutch Sports Inc , taking along with him the NBA star , who at the time , just happened to CAA`s biggest NBA client . James and Paul are also co-founders of LMR Enterprises which oversees all of James` business interests , covering endorsements , his charitable foundation as well as other outside interests of the player. Mathe` Enterprises Inc. copyrighted material …..

(5) FILE – In this file photo made Feb. 1, 2013, Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers gestures towards an official during an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic in Boston. A Celtics official told The Associated Press, Sunday, June 23, 2013, that a deal to allow Rivers to coach the Los Angeles Clippers has been agreed to. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal was contingent on NBA approval and negotiations between Rivers and the Clippers over a new contract. AP Photo/Charles Krupa ….

(6) CHICAGO, IL – MAY 17: Trey Burke (3) completes a lane agility test on Day 2 of the 2013 NBA Draft Combine on May 17, 2013 at Quest Multiplex in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(7) New England Patriots` owner Robert Kraft , left , is seen here with then team head coach Bill Parcells . The two individuals had what could be best described as a testy relationship , that would often become extremely combustible . Parcells would have four successful seasons with the franchise , before leaving abruptly at the end of the 1996 season . In a recent interview with USA Today , Bill Parcells voiced his regrets in leaving the Patriots under the circumstances that he had chosen to depart . Boston Globe / Frank Pietro ….

(8) Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas tags out Chicago White Sox’s Paul Konerko (14) on the way to third before throwing to first for the double play hit into by Dayan Viciedo during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 22, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …

(9) Los Angeles Angels` owner Mike Sciocsia is seen here with team owner Arte Moreno . Sciocsia is under a great deal of pressure this season for the team to succeed . However , with players failing to live up to expectation and a seven-figure payroll that ranks among the top ten in all of baseball . It begs the question , can Mike Sciocsia and his staff survive the season or will Jerry Dipoto and the team owner relieve the manager of his managerial position at season`s end ? AP Photo Mark Rogers ……..

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tophatal ………………………….. 06/24/2013 .

NBA news and archived news

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MLB standings 24th June 2013

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Hot chic pic of the day Sheneka Adams .

Tears of the Sun …….

Tears of the Sun

I am pretty sure the start of the current NBA Finals the Miami Heat were the overwhelming favorites to win this series outright over their Western Conference opponents the San Antonio Spurs . Both teams came into the Finals , with not only a rich achievement of success over the course of their respective histories . In essence, throughout much of the regular season and postseason we bore witness as to why both of these teams arrived at their present destination.

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Five games into the NBA showcase finale and we now appear to be on the cusp of seeing Miami’s season come to a finality , and end , in which having made three consecutive NBA Finals , their tally may well up just showing a record of 1-2 . Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra now has to rally his troops for that final onslaught, as they now seek to erase a 3-2 deficit against the four-time NBA champion Spurs . No small task, when you consider that the opposing coach is none other than Gregg Popovich . Far too many of the analysis`, I have read by patrons within this forum , suggesting that Miami would see these Finals as nothing more than a cakewalk , clearly showed how blurred the diagnosis were by these individuals . And it certainly did not get any better when ESPN/ABC NBA analyst Stephen A Smith simply waxed on lyrically as to why , he thought that LeBron James would be the dominant force in how he perceived the outcome with the Miami Heat prevailing . Well , if Smith had not spent so much time with this lips glued to James’ sphincter , he would realize that this is not a Spurs’ team whose intent is to go down without a fight . Furthermore , the analyst is not from someone , who is known to show any impartiality , clearly blurring his judgment along the way .

Coming off an impromptu game five loss , Miami and its players now face the daunting task of having to fend off a San Antonio Spurs` team that now smells blood in the water . Bearing in mind that during this series itself , no one team has been able to pull of back to back postseason wins , you now get the feeling the bow will break in terms of San Antonio now making that more of a reality . Meanwhile , odds-makers in Las Vegas are either laughing all the way to the bank or a number of them may well be left in a scene of apoplexy . Needless to say, Vegas, will always come out on top , no matter how one might view the situation . One of the more disturbing things to have witnessed in this series has been the somewhat casual , if not laissez-faire manner in which Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have gone about providing LeBron James little help , if any , during the Finals . A far cry from 2012 , when each of the Heat`s Big Three played their part in the defeat of the Oklahoma City Thunder in what was deemed to be a rather lopsided NBA Finals , that season . James would come away triumphant having led the franchise to its second world NBA championship , as well winning the league`s regular season MVP award and Finals` MVP award .

The 2012-season for the Miami Heat was one, in which we witnessed the team come away , winning their division with a great deal of ease and never seriously challenged within the Eastern Conference for any type of dominance . Sorry , Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks` fans , but this was not going to be your season , not by any stretch of the imagination , as was borne with your fall from grace during these playoffs . Need I say anymore, on the matter ? It is one thing to use superlatives to describe a team, laying out an argument as to their dominance . Yet , these were many of the asinine claims being made about the Miami Heat throughout much of this past season . Granted , they came away with a league best sixty-six wins on their way to a 66-16 record , but in no way should that record and the ensuing results be an argument for any foundation that this roster was amongst the ten best teams in NBA history . This Miami team at its very best , would be deemed a noteworthy opponent for many of the great Boston Celtics , Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers teams of the past , but to suggest , that they are even remotely close to being one the ten best in NBA history , is simply asinine . In a seven-games series , I would seriously doubt that the Miami Heat in its current guise could take down a Showtime Lakers` team made up of Magic Johnson , Kareem Abdul Jabbar or James Worthy . Never mind , a Celtics` team made up of Larry Bird , Kevin McHale and Robert Parish . As to the 95-96 Bulls` team , well let`s just say that Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen at their best with their supporting cast would have feasted off such a poor rebounding Miami Heat team , in spite of the athleticism of LeBron James .

Miami`s Team President Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison went out of their way to make sure that the team assembled with all of its ill-fitting parts would be one , that could be deemed a championship caliber team . That being said assembling a group of three superstars and then to surround them with role players , is not always enough to secure a championship . Last season, could not be seen, as the exception to the rule . And were it not for a young and inexperienced Thunder team coached by Scott Brooks , it is my belief that particular NBA Finals in 2012 , would have been far more competitive and a true reflection of both teams , with the outcome being a great deal closer than the 4-1 series` victory reflected in what turned to be a lopsided affair , for Miami .

If Miami are seen as one of the glamor teams of the NBA, because of its proximity to the night life , sumptuous beaches and multimillion dollar mansions , homes to some of the most notable of the glitterati imaginable . On the opposite side of that coin , one might view the San Antonio Spurs as being one of the lesser lights of the NBA . How wrong you would be to think that , with the achievements of this franchise under Gregg Popovich, team owner , Peter Holt and the front office led by RC Buford . Never known to be big spenders , making all too outlandish salary commitments to players , San Antonio under Holt`s tenure , have simply become one of the most well-respected and best ran organizations in the entire NBA . Economically , the franchise may not be able to compete with the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks , but I would dare say that those two teams would not mind having the consistency shown by the Western Conference representative in the NBA Finals . During which the coach and franchise have not produced a sub .500 season , which is a great deal more than can be said for several of the more illustrious franchises around the NBA and their fans who aspire for greatness but simply do not know how to damn well recognize it , but will continue to serve up rather inane and idiotic platitudes as to what they deem to greatness .

In the playoffs for the San Antonio Spurs one would expect to see the customary performances from Tony Parker , Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli . Yet , it has been a wide array of game to game performances by Gary Neal , Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard that have set the stage for placing the team on the cusp of raising their fifth NBA title . In doing so they ave negated the offensive strategies put into motion by Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat . Neal and Green would be my choices for co-Finals` MVP or quite possibly , Green having a slight edge over is teammate . Either way, it would not really matter to even the most discerning of San Antonio Spurs` fans, just as long as the team is able to raise the Larry O`Brien Trophy at the end of either game six or seven at the American Airlines Arena (AA Arena) in Miami , Florida , over the next seventy-two hours . For a seasoned veteran such as Tracy McGrady , this might be the final piece of the puzzle the player sought to end his often troubled and varied career in the NBA. A two-time scoring .scoring champion and with multiple All Star appearances , this would be a fitting end for a player, who while being an exceptional talent , who never fulfilled that preeminent role that he long sought to fulfill . And for McGrady, any postseason contribution that he can make in assisting San Antonio in a victory, will be more than appreciated by the fans of the organization .

To suggest that the NBA postseason has been less than turbulent, would be an understatement . Numerous coaching firings and with general managers and team owners now scouring for the best available talent . It begs the question is now big game season and what the hell is going on , by way of the lack of intelligence with these owners ? Eleven of the coaches who guided their teams into the playoffs, were either relieved of their positions or simply not offered a renewed contract extension. Jason Kidd , having retired, is now the successor to PJ Carlisemo as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets . Nets` GM Billy King and team owner , Mikhail Prokhorov have shown their implicit faith in an unproven talent , but there is no denying Kidd`s undoubted talent as a player. Now the question becomes , what type of a relationship , will the new head coach have with his roster of underachieving talent ?

With Deron Williams said to be the face and future of the franchise and long seen as one of the best point guards in the NBA . There are two things , I believe are solely lacking in Williams as a player ! He remains an immature prima donna, and someone who cannot be viewed as a vocal leader of this team by any stretch of the imagination. As to Deron Williams, being one of the elite players at the position in the NBA , those claims can be challenged on numerous levels . Yet herein lies the issue , assists alone and being able rack up the stats , are by no means an indication of a player`s greatness , if he is unable to lead or make those around him better . And those claims cannot be made or be justified concerning the Nets` point guard .

The biggest move, should it actually materialize , are the percolating rumors of the Los Angeles Clippers gauging the interest of Boston Celtics` head coach Doc Rivers in succeeding Vinny Del Negro of the Western Conference franchise . As part of the possible move would be Kevin Garnett also being included as part of a package deal , along with Paul Pierce , in exchange for Blake Griffin , DeAndre Jordan , Eric Bledsoe , and two first round draft picks from the 2013 NBA Draft and in 2014 .

For the past few years , Doc Rivers has grown impatient with the Celtics` management as they have simply misspent that time in the belief that by delaying the inevitable and trying to ride on the backs of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and a healthy Rajon Rondo , all would be fine for this illustrious franchise . Now set to be in a rebuilding mode , it could prove to be very beneficial for GM Danny Ainge to off-load aging stalwarts such as Garnett and Pierce along with a beleaguered head coach and simply get the best possible pieces to complement the skill-set of Rondo and the remaining players on the roster . Certainly, the Celtics would be cap-friendly and they would also be able to pursue a number of desirable fee agents during the off-season without having to break the bank . Something, I believe lead managing partner Wyc Grousbeck has to be assessing and considering in conjunction with his general manager .

I have long maintained that Donald Sterling , owner of the Los Angeles Clippers might just be one of the worst owners in all of North American professional sports ! Granted , his franchise , had to live in the shadows of the Los Angeles Lakers, for the better part of two decades and counting . Yet in all of that time , you cannot count on one hand the number of times that the franchise has even ever had a chance of doing something exceptional in the postseason . This year would be no different for a team that was simply defensively challenged , even when pressed upon by former coach Vinny Del Negro to simply put forth that extra effort , there was none to be found . Personally , I am not so sure that even with an aging Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to assist a wily and skillful, Chris Paul , we are simply going to see more of the same . It is not as if Garnett and Pierce still have the legs on them to contribute greatly , giving Rivers anywhere between fifteen to twenty minutes a game . Furthermore, if the swirling rumors are to be believed that Paul, himself , has expressed an opinion that he would like to see the Clippers` management make a solid run at acquiring Dwight Howard . Then, I for one , would like to know how this would sit , not only with the Lakers` fans and management , but also Kobe Bryant ? In addition to that scenario, it might not be such a bad thing to see the center simply disappear from a Lakers` lineup, where his regular and postseason contributions for the team , could be best described as anemic .

Wyc Grousbeck may well seek to buy out Paul Pierce`s contract for $5 million , rather than being committed to pay him the $ 15 million due in 2014 . If it is David Stern`s intent to show the fans that the NBA does understand the meaning of financial frugality. Then the league hierarchy , team owners and the union (Players` Union) , have a damn idiotic way of showing it . We all know that baseball remains in a financial maelstrom and in one hell of a mess , with much of it being at the insistence of Bud Selig , that with growing revenues , the game has never been healthier . Unless the MLB commissioner does not know how to read a balance sheet , then he is simply talking out of his ass. Not too far behind, remains his counterpart from the NBA. , who if anything has simply sought to create even greater subterfuge within the NBA concerning the financial health of the teams there . Look at the mess that baseball remains in from a financial standpoint , without us delving into the never-ending saga of steroids and who now happens to be the latest cheat to have been caught in the net that the league hierarchy has repeatedly never been able deal with the culprits involved , adequately Manny Ramirez , having twice failed a drug test , basically, upon his second transgression , simply retired without any penalties being leveled against him by MLB , and the former Major League slugger is now back in the game playing in the Far East , while being well compensated for his efforts and fans see nothing wrong with this at all ?

Stern will bow out as NBA Commissioner in February of 2014 , marking twenty-five years as the NBA`s highest ranking executive . Granted , during the course of his tenure , he has made several mistakes , none of which he has ever been prepared to admit to . It is essentially, and has been Stern`s demeanor , behavior and how he perceives is importance within the game , that I believe has done the NBA image more harm than good ! David Stern remains a pompous and conceited oaf , whose very tenure now should come into question concerning the numerous pratfalls made during is twenty-five year reign . If there is one thing that the NBA can be congratulatory about during the commissioner`s reign. It is that he took the opportunity to ride on the coattails of NBA`s greatest player and global ambassador , Michael Jordan . Now fans might well point to the explosion of the NBA and television exposure , came when Magic Johnson and Larry Bird made the smooth transition from very successful collegiate careers to creating perhaps the greatest rivalry in NBA history . Those epic and legendary meetings between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers , especially from the postseason , are still of some relevance today . Unfortunately, we no longer have the players who carry the necessary glamor or skill-set to warrant our interest in those match-ups .

Jordan has left an indelible mark on the game, that still holds our attention , even in the aftermath of his retirement from the NBA . Now as an owner of the Charlotte Bobcats (soon to renamed the Hornets) , the former player`s struggles as a front office executive are now well chronicled and still come into question concerning the personnel decisions that have been made with regard to the franchise . Now as the Bobcats enter the off-season the team`s greatest priority remains not only drafting well to complement the existing roster led by Kemba Walker , Michael Kidd Gilchrist , Jeff Adrien and Gerald Henderson . It will be interesting to see how Jordan , his fellow executives and the coaching staff , led by Steve Clifford , will go about assessing the talent needed to make this team considerably better , after another inept season by the franchise , which saw the Bobcats post another sub .500 record with a team and an almost league of 20-62 , just above the equally abysmal Orlando Magic this past season .

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Picture gallery .

In light of the events that you have witnessed in the NBA Finals , how do you see tonight’s game playing out ? Also , do you believe that David Stern`s successor should come from within the existing NBA hierarchy ? Or would you prefer it to be an outsider , yet also an individual , who does have the necessary experience to bridge the gap between the fans , the NBA brand and imagery ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

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(1) San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker (9) shoots against the Miami Heat during the first half at Game 5 of the NBA Finals basketball series, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ….

(2) Miami Heat’s LeBron James loses the ball as San Antonio Spurs’ Tiago Splitter (22) , of Brazil, and Boris Diaw (33), of France, defend during the second half at Game 5 of the NBA Finals basketball series, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in San Antonio. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …

(3) San Antonio Spurs’ Danny Green (4) scores a three-point basket against the Miami Heat during the second half at Game 5 of the NBA Finals basketball series, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ….

(4) Pete D’Alessandro smiles as he answers a question after being formally named as the new general manager of the Sacramento Kings NBA basketball team by new Kings owner, Vivek Ranadive , right, during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, June 17, 2013. D’Alessandro, who spent the past three seasons with the Denver Nuggets, replaces Geoff Petrie who had been notified that he would not be retained after his contract expired June 30. Te departure of Petrie was also met with the summary firing of head coach Keith Smart earlier this year , one of fourteen coaching casualties that took place in 2013 . AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …

(5) FILE – In this June 13, 2013, file photo, Brooklyn Nets new head coach Jason Kidd meets with reporters after he was introduced at an NBA basketball news conference in New York. Ex-teammates, players and a former NBA assistant coach say the credibility a sure-fire Hall of Fame career brings and familiarity with today’s players will help Kidd successfully transition into coaching. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews ….

(6) Celtics` head coach Doc Rivers , center , is seen here , flanked by Kevin Garnett , left and Paul Pierce , right . In what could be one of the biggest blockbuster moves of the off-season , the Boston Celtics are said to be mulling over an offer from the Los Angeles Clippers that would see the cross-country move of all three Celtics` personnel , in exchange for De`Andre Jordan , Eric Bledsoe , Blake Griffin and two first round NBA Draft picks . Boston Globe / Patrick Shaughnessy …..

(7) National Basketball Association Commissioner David J. Stern, left, and Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig, participate in the Wall Street Journal’s “The Future of Sports” discussion in New York, Wednesday, May 6, 2009. AP Photo/Richard Drew ….

(8) ) ORLANDO, FL – MAY 5: Patrick Ewing , left, and Steve Clifford, assistant coaches of the Orlando Magic, watch their team warm up before playing the Indiana Pacers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 5, 2012 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. The two will reunite , with Clifford recently being named to succeed Mike Dunlap as the head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats . Patrick Ewing will become Clifford`s lead assistant of the newly formed coaching staff. Dunlap`s one year tenure with the Bobcats , was filled with ineptitude on so many levels, for the first year NBA coach. Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images …

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tophatal ……. 06/17/2013

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Lupe Fiasco , feat`g Matt Santos …… ` Superstar `

A plan of action that just does not seem to be working

A plan of action that just does not seem to be working

Well, three games into the NBA Finals for the 2012-13 season and the postscripts and obituaries could very well be on the verge of being written , as the Miami Heat now find themselves between a rock and a hard place . Down 2-1 in the best of seven-game series , it is hard to imagine how this Heat team can now survive when LeBron James is being poorly supported by what appears to be a cast of disinterested players . Off the court , Erik Spoelstra and his coaching staff are simply being out-coached by a seasoned veteran in Gregg Popovich . I offered an early synopsis of this series by suggesting that this NBA Finals’ series , could very well be that of the a chess match between a Grand Master and a young protégé . Well , Spoelstra is now proving to be less of a protégé and more of a first time novice . And that is hard to believe , when you consider Erick Spoelstra`s resume and his success in guiding the Heat to the 2012 NBA Finals , in their series` victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder .

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Slideshow .

Last night was a game for the ages as the San Antonio Spurs rained down threes on a Heat defense , that simply did not know what they had been hit with , and how best to address the play of Gary Neal and Danny Green throughout four quarters of outstanding play . The fact that game three turned into something of an extraordinary blowout , with it being , the third largest margin of victory ever recorded in an NBA Finals’ game , can leave no doubt in any ones` mind how dominant the San Antonio Spurs were said to be on their home-court in last night`s game .

Gregg Popovich for his part , now seeking to add a fifth NBA title to an already legendary and impressive resume` , now knows that he will have to impart a great deal more knowledge to his players , and remind them that they cannot afford to be , at all complacent . The fact that they have Miami on the ropes , having to take a standing eight count , one more body shot , should very well be enough to subdue what has been a very poor performing Miami Heat team in this Finals’ series . . And while LeBron James leads all scorers on this Miami Heat roster during the playoffs . It must be said that he has been subdued and his play has been often pressured and unlike the usually proficient and prolific type of play off production in this series , is definitely not what we have come to expect from the ten-year veteran and four-time League MVP .

If Erik Spoelstra can now be adjudged, as having a problem with the poor and inconsistent play from Dwyane Wade , Chris Bosh , Mario Chalmers , Udonis Haslem , Ray Allen and Chris Anderson . Then it does beg the question , what else can he now ask of a team that has seemingly lost its way , and wherein , their on-court general , LeBron James , simply is now at a loss for words and who cannot navigate through what now appears to be a fully confident San Antonio Spurs , that is now said to be playing some resolutely stout defense ? Spoelstra , his coaching staff and the players will have to answer this very question , while preparing for game four on Thursday night in front of what is sure to be a raucous and vocal home crowd of San Antonio Spurs` fans at the AT&T Center , in San Antonio , Texas looking to will their team to a victory .

A 3-1 lead at that juncture for San Antonio , I believe would leave the Miami Heat with an insurmountable task of having to win three straight games at the American Airlines Arena in Miami , Florida , to close out and make a successful defense of their NBA title . One might deem it to be not out of the realms of possibility , given the team`s home record (37-4) during the regular season . Yet, this is the NBA postseason , the league`s showcase finale and it is where the Miami Heat have proven to be far from convincing at home or away so far during this series as well as in the Eastern Conference Finals in their series against a very young energetic and tough Indiana Pacers’ team .

For the San Antonio Spurs now chasing that fifth NBA title in the franchise’s illustrious history , all under the auspices of team owner , Peter Holt and the steadying presence of Gregg Popovich and GM RC Buford . It does go to show that you don’t necessarily have to be in a market city to be a perennial success while still being able to be a profitable NBA concern . Granted , when witnessing the idiocy of such teams as the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks , who in recent years , have been more known for their rather asinine belief that they can buy their way to success by lavishing exorbitant salaries on players , while getting little in return on that investment, by way of any tangible success. One seriously has to ask why is that these moronic fans try to repeatedly equate mediocrity as being acceptable , and as a degree of success ? It was abundantly clear to see that the New York Knicks` fan in particular , expected far more from their team during the postseason , than they even now would readily care to admit . Yet , it should come as no surprise however , when you hear the rather asinine excuses then proffered up by those less than intelligent fans for the team’s fall from grace during the playoffs . . Lame excuses , clearly showing , a lack of any conceivable intelligence one thought that could be found from a bunch of Neanderthals .

RC Buford and Gregg Popovich have gone about constructing this team with a view of building for the franchise’s long-term future , as well as seeking to be seen as a perennial championship contender . The Spurs’ record over the last seventeen years , simply speaks for itself beyond the legacy of many of their great players of the past . Constituted around their Big Three of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker . It must be said that the chapter subsequently written after the retirement of David Robinson speaks well of what the franchise has been able to achieve and is likely to achieve with young players such as Danny Green , Gary Neal , Kawhi Leonard , Nando De Colo , Dajuan Blair , Aron Baynes , Patty Mills , Tiago Splitter and Corey Joseph representing the Spurs’ future. Plainly put , other than the Los Angeles Lakers in recent years and that of the Miami Heat . This San Antonio Spurs’ franchise has been the one constant on a landscape within the NBA , that has been simply devoid of creativity , deftness in terms of economic frugality and assuredness . The New York Knicks may well be the most valuable NBA franchise , but I can categorically state that their fans , team owner , James Dolan and GM Glen Grunwald would gladly trade that all , for just one NBA title to be recently added to that franchise’s list of accomplishments over the last decade . Any Knicks’ fans who claim to the contrary, can be considered , itinerant buffoons and complete idiots !

For the Miami Heat , their season now all comes down to this , win games four through seven , otherwise fold your tents and use the off-season to deconstruct what went wrong . Look at the numerous deficiencies on the team , and simply get away from believing the idiotic hype and plaudits being heaped upon a group of players that are simply not as dominant , but who were suggested as impervious , as was being suggested by the likes of imbeciles such as Bill Simmons , Stephen A Smith , Jalen Rose , Magic Johnson , Ernie Johnson and a whole multitude of on air NBA personalities , who have literally drank , way too much of the damn Kool Aid . LeBron James may well be the best player to have donned an NBA uniform since the retirement of Michael Jordan . Yet at this moment in time ” King James is being made to look like a mere mortal and not a basketball God , like the man he hopes to emulate , in terms of having an illustrious NBA career , while making a profound impact upon the game .

For Miami Heat President & General Manager , Pat Riley and team owner , Micky Arison , having assembled a three superstars to supposedly to win multiple NBA titles , garner the Heat franchise even more notoriety than they would be normally accustomed to. While, having appeared , in three consecutive NBA Finals, a commendable feat in of itself, the fact that this team , so highly favored after a franchise record breaking season . It has to be said, that were this team to be summarily be dethroned as defending champions , without much of a tenacious defense of that crown . The questions will be asked not just of a number of players on this roster , but also of the front office executives and their willingness to overspend on talent , far exceeding the NBA salary cap of $58.044 million . A lone title in 2012 , now seems indecent , when one considers the brouhaha made by Bosh , James , Wade and the local media market in Miami , as the franchise’s future dominance of the NBA was said to be a certainty . Well folks , that simply has not happened , and it is now time for the players on the Miami Heat , to put up or simply shut the hell up and stop with the rather mundane excuses for the team’s woes . Real champions , step up to the plate , they do not wait to be asked, nor do they seek to make excuses ! .

Perhaps this should not prove to be either surprising or all that idiotic given the immense propensity for the stupidity shown by the NBA team owners and their fellow executives , the general managers . It seems inconceivable to think that of the sixteen teams to be part of this postseason eleven of those teams have either summarily fired their head coaches or sought not to extend their contracts . And of the NBA’s thirty franchises , there were thirteen coaching vacancies as of Tuesday night . If the rumors are to be believed , then the Boston Celtics’ head coach , Doc Rivers is unlikely to return the team for the 2013-14 NBA season . Team owner , Wyc Grousbeck and GM Danny Ainge are said to be clearly aware of the situation and appear to be offering on the verge of offering Rivers a very lucrative long-term contract , in order to have the coach remain with the franchise . The contract would reputedly make Doc Rivers amongst the highest paid coaches in the NBA , and is rumored to be in the region of a five-year $38 to $40 million contract . With the Celtics thought to be in a rebuilding mode , and veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce said to be on the downside of their respective careers . One can only surmise that Doc Rivers has no wish to be around another process that is likely to take two or three years to make the Boston Celtics , deemed a legitimate contender within the NBA much less the Eastern Conference itself .

With the recent joint retirements of Jason Kidd and Grant Hill , the league has now lost two of its greatest ambassadors for longevity within the NBA . Kidd and Hill were both co-joint Rookies of the Year in 1994 , the year the duo were drafted . Two possible future Hall of Fame inductees ? Well , that remains to be seen , but what we do know for certain , it is that Jason Kidd wishes to fulfill an ambition to be an NBA head coach . The former point guard , is now said to have formally been invited by Brooklyn Nets’ management to interview for the vacant head coach’s position with the franchise , with the now former player said to be an early favorite to succeed the ousted PJ Carlesimo . GM Billy King and team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov are not said to be in a hurry to come to a decision in making a formal announcement . Yet any long and protracted situation , concerning the vacant position , does not bode well , with the upcoming NBA Draft (2013) less than two weeks away. Teams and their executives will be vying to get their staffs together and assess the status the eligible college and international talent that have shown their intent to join the professional ranks of the NBA . A case can be made that the Brooklyn Nets should make the decision now rather than leaving it too close to the eve of the NBA Draft .

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Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any , do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? Also do you believe that the Miami Heat has it within them to even this series and win it outright , thereby making a successful defense of their NBA title ? Chime with your thoughts on this , and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter , as you see fit .

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra watches a team during NBA basketball practice Wednesday, June 12, 2013, in San Antonio. The Heat trail the San Antonio Spurs 2-1 in the best-of-seven games series. Game 4 of the NBA finals series is scheduled for Thursday. A thirty six point loss (113-77) to the Spurs in game three has placed the Miami Heat in a precarious situation . AP Photo/Eric Gay …

(2) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan, left, and guard Tony Parker, right, of France, talk during a practice on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, in San Antonio. San Antonio will face the Miami Heat in game 4 of the NBA Finals basketball game on Thursday; San Antonio leads the series 2-1 . AP Photo/Eric Gay …

(3) Miami Heat forward LeBron James looks to pass around San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan and Heat’s Chris Andersen during the first half at Game 3 of the NBA Finals basketball series, Tuesday, June 11, 2013, in San Antonio. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …

(4) Joint co NBA Rookies of the Year in 1994 , Grant Hill , left , is seen here with Jason Kidd. The players enjoyed successful collegiate and NBA careers and are almost certain to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame , having met the five-year eligibility requirements . AP Photo / Mark Parrish ………
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tophatal ……… 06/11/2013

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Hot chic pics of the day Ewa Sonnet .

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A side order of breasts please , just the way I like `em !

For all the Marbles and whatever else you can think of

For all the Marbles and whatever else you can think of

Well now that the NBA Finals` parings are set with the San Antonio Spurs representing the Western Conference , where their opposition, are the highly favored Miami Heat of the Eastern Conference . Led by reigning four-time League MVP Lebron James , the Heat will be looking to make a successful defense of their NBA title . This might not be the postseason finale that everyone had hoped for amongst the throng of NBA fans , as a more lucrative finale might well have been envisaged , with a Miami Heat match-up against the Oklahoma City Thunder or Los Angeles Lakers within the Western Conference , being the desired option .

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The two opposing coaches could not be more diametrically opposite , with a seasoned veteran in Gregg Popovich , and his opposing number being , Erik Spoelstra , seeking to add a second title to is resume` . For Spoelstra , the additional factor , beyond his knowledge of the game , is that his mentor and team President Pat Riley will be presiding over this series with the demeanor of an individual who is proud of his young protege . There is no doubt that the Miami Heat were by far the best team in the NBA this season , without reflecting on their overall record or the idiocy of the New York Knicks` fans bemoaning the fact that having beat Miami during the regular season and taking their regular season series (3-1) . It is quite clear that within New York and perhaps farther afield , fans of the franchise are not all that bright . Suffice to say , what happens in the regular season simply counts for nothing , or simply paraphrasing ___ “ what happens in Vegas , stays in Vegas “ .

Now while LeBron James seeks to add to is already glowing career, this future Hall of Fame player , has simply excelled this season , far surpassing his exploits of the previous season . One has to wonder , where Miami would be without James` exploits over the regular season and into this postseason . He has led this Heat team in almost every offensive category that matters , and LeBron James has proven to be a defensive stalwart on a roster , that during the postseason , has not been all that exhilarating . Contributions from Chris Bosh , Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade can best described as somewhat anemic , if not downright dire at times . There is no denying that the bench or should one say the presumed role players on the Miami Heat roster will have to step up their game against a San Antonio Spurs` team that in should no way be underestimated . There is a damn good reason that Popovich has been behind and the main architect of a franchise , which he has successfully , led to four NBA titles over the course of his now historic reign .

Players such as Mario Chalmers , Norris Cole , James Jones , Chris Anderson , Shane Battier , Mike Miller , Juwan Howard , Rashard Lewis , will be called upon at various points in this series to make various contributions . Erik Spoelstra will make demands of his players and quite rightly so , as failure to be even competitive against San Antonio , could very well lead to dire consequences .

James , Wade and Bosh , are meant to strike to fear into the hearts of rivals and foes alike. Yet somehow , in the Eastern Conference Finals , against the Indiana Pacers , a series that went to an astonishing seven games , came as a great surprise to analysts fans alike . Miami never really had an answer for Roy Hibbert , David West and Paul George , and were it not for the postseason inexperience of a young Pacers` team , this conference finals` series could very well have provided us with the privilege of seeing Miami dethroned as the defending conference champions in such a surprising manner .

If LeBron James` career can now be described as being or approaching a description of being Jordanesque . Then the career of Tim Duncan has to be one , that would place the power forward on the Mount Rushmore of the titans to have played that coveted position in NBA history . Duncan played alongside one of the great big men of the modern-day game , in David Robinson . The Master and student coexisted and led to the franchise to the first of their four titles in 1999 . Duncan a first round draft pick by San Antonio in the 1997 NBA Draft . The series` victory …. over the New York Knicks proved to be an apt finale of Robinson`s now illustrious career , as he bowed out , riding off into the sunset and retirement , as an NBA titlist and Hall of Fame inductee , a few years later .

In the subsequent years the NBA Draft would prove to be fortuitous for the San Antonio Spurs as Gregg Popovich and his staff would proceed to acquire some extremely productive players , while also attaining players notably seasoned veterans via free agency or the customary off-season trades . The addition of Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker can only be seen as momentous events in San Antonio`s history as an NBA franchise . With the Argentinian and French man simply bringing along their extraordinary skill-set to a mid-market NBA team that was always seen , as being well ran , under the auspices of team owner Peter Holt and GM R C Buford . They may well do things big in Texas , but in San Antonio , this has been a franchise that has gone about doing it all , the right way , without the need to cause a big splash or make complete of fools of themselves in the process . Please take a hint Mark Cuban , Jerry Jones , Tom Gaglardi and Nolan Ryan . In recent years other than the Dallas Mavericks` triumph in 2011 , there really has not been much that as been really achieved by your respective professional sports` franchises , that you seemingly parade about as a bastion of opulence , rather than attaining actual tangible success .

Parker and Ginobli have been great complementary pieces to Tim Duncan over the years , with the trio providing some of the richest moments for the San Antonio Spurs over the past decade . Three titles together , has proven to be a greater reward than even most observers would have come to expect from this triumvirate , with each player having distinguished themselves at the highest levels possible on the NBA` s greatest stage , its postseason finale .

Gregg Popovich will seek some solid production from the likes of Kawhi Leonard , Dajuan Blair , Boris Diaw , Matt Bonner , Danny Green , Tiago Splitter and Gary Neal throughout the course of this series . One of the stranger stories to have taken place with regard to the Spurs , was Popovich`s decision to sign veteran Tracy McGrady . The fifteen-year career veteran , a two-time scoring champion and multiple with All Star appearances , one now has to deem it , McGrady , is now the process of winding down his career , seeking to win that all too elusive first NBA championship ring . Whether or not McGrady ascends to those heights of acclaim , while providing the Spurs with a much-needed lift , remains to be seen over the course of the NBA Finals . Game one kicks of what hopefully, will be a seven game series, if merely to whet the appetite of the fans and the NBA hierarchy .

One of the few things that the NBA cannot afford to have happen during this NBA Finals would be for the series to be a lopsided series of uncompetitive games. LeBron James will undoubtedly seek to impose his will upon this series , while hoping to maintain his postseason scoring average .
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Picture gallery .

Whatever, the outcome of the NBA Finals , this series should prove to be historic , for a number of reasons . LeBron James comes away with his second title in three years . A San Antonio Spurs` victory adds to that franchise`s already impressive history , and that of their Big Three , and their well-respected head coach. The true NBA fans , should be in for a real treat and a feast of exhilarating entertainment . Your thoughts on this upcoming series ? Leave a comment as you see fit .

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(1) Tim Duncan , left, is seen here with teammate David Robinson . Two years after being drafted by the San Antonio Spurs Duncan would make his first appearance in an NBA Final . The duo would lead the franchise to their first NBA title , with a series` victory over the New York Knicks in the 1999 NBA Finals . AP Photo / Mark Jameson ….

(2) MIAMI – JULY 09: LeBron James (6) , Dwyane Wade (3), and Chris Bosh (1) , of the Miami Heat show off their new game jerseys before a press conference after a welcome party at American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Architect of the move , team President Pat Riley and approved by team owner Micky Arison , the trio and their teammates were assembled not only to win multiple titles but to also make Miami Heat franchise a more profitable and lucrative concern for their billionaire owner . Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images …

(3) Gregg Popovich, left, a four-time winning NBA title coach , seeks to add a fifth Finals` series victory to is resume` . Whereas, is opposite number Erik Spoelstra seeks to add what will be his second title in his third consecutive appearance in the NBA postseason finale . Courtesy of NBA.com @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ….

(4) Miami Heat’s LeBron James , left, talks with Chris Andersen , right, during NBA basketball practice, Wednesday, June 5, 2013 in Miami. The Heat play the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …

(5) Tim Duncan (21) , center, is seen here alongside teammates , Manu Ginobli (20) and Tony Parker (9) in a game played against the Phoenix Suns this season . The Spurs would prove to be victorious defeating the Suns .on their way to a 58-24 record in the Western Conference placing as the second seeds , yet once again winning their division all too convincingly . Getty Images North America / Adam Knox ………….

(6) San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan , left, and shooting guard Tracy McGrady celebrate on the bench during the fourth quarter of Game 6 of a Western Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, May 16, 2013. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ….
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tophatal ………. 06/05/2013

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You asked my opinion and now I’m giving it to you , nothing has changed

You asked my opinion and now I’m giving it to you , nothing has changed

What looked as if it would prove to be an exciting NBA postseason , is now turning out to be a horrendous nightmare not only for a number of favored teams who harbored championship ambitions , but it could also lead to a monumental nightmare for the television ratings and become a major catastrophe for NBA hierarchy led by Commissioner David Stern . Nonetheless , the league will now have to go with what now appears to be its only plotl-ine left , and that is the possible successful defense by the Miami Heat and the title they won in 2012 .

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With Stern , due to step down from his position in February of 2014 , it was widely known that he wanted to step down on a career-high, after twenty-five years as the NBA Commissioner . He will be succeeded by his able second in command , Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver . Though this postseason doesn’t appear to be have been clouded by any major controversies , it must be said that once again the officiating this postseason once again remains as inconsistent as it has ever been and as we have all known to be in recent years . Players and coaches , have ran afoul of the league officials , with financial penalties being levied against the perceived culprits . And as usual , David Stern has remained staunchly supportive of the referees , even when their errors have come to light.

The Miami Heat have simply cake-walked through this postseason , easily dispatching their first round opponents the Milwaukee Bucks with effortless ease . In their conference semifinals’ showdown with an injury ravaged Chicago Bulls’ …. roster , LeBron James and his teammates , merely toyed with the Bulls this second round series , albeit , that they lost just one game , in that best of seven games series . At 7-1 this , postseason , Erik Spoelstra seems to have his team playing at a high octane level , ready to place their foot on the gas , as and when needed . James for his part has raised the level of his play , more so , now in the postseason , than at any time during the regular season .

Having come through that series against the Chicago Bulls unscathed , the Miami Heat now await , the series’ victors between the number the two seeded , New York Knicks , who are fighting off elimination against a determined Indiana Pacers’ team , coached by Frank Vogel . And for the teary-eyed Knicks’ fans who have now been inexplicably silenced by their team’s inept play in this series . Well, let’s just say , that when praise is due, it ought to be given and where criticism is warranted , then take it like a man , stop with your goddamn bitching and whining as to what might have been .

There is no doubt in convention circles , that this series against the Bulls would have been far more interesting had the Heat faced , Derrick Rose , Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich , a trio of players who in part , have been sideline during the postseason , due to various injury woes. Inasmuch as head coach Tom Thibodeau , might well be disappointed , he saw in several of his players , a grit and determination that he can build on for the future . And amongst the players , who I believe will be an integral part of the team’s long-term future, will be Jimmy Butler ! He proved to be a defensive stalwart , albeit , the team faced a Heat with a great deal of offensive fire power. Thibodeau also , can take pride that in Joakim Noah , he seems to have found someone who is not afraid to play with gusto , while leading by example . It now also raises the question , can and when Derrick Rose chooses to return , will or would he , be willing to defer his leadership role to Noah ? My own thoughts are , the point guard did his teammates and the Bulls’ organization no favors in being none committal concerning whether or not he would be a willing participant in the postseason . It would be remiss also , to overlook the contributions of Rose’s replacement this off season , diminutive point guard , Nate Robinson .

With the Bulls’ abrupt departure , it now leaves now speculating , which of the two teams left , now said to be slugging it out , will be or would prove enough of a formidable opponent for the Miami Heat , as they are now a mere eight games away from repeating as NBA champions ? In each of their regular season meetings with the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks , Erik Spoelstra’s team were definitely tested in each of the match-ups in question. In their regular season series’ meetings with the Pacers , Miami were on the wrong side of the loss column , 1-2 this past season . And in their always highly contested meetings with the New York Knicks , once again the match-up would lead to another regular season deficit (1-3) for the Heat . Yet this is the postseason , a time where nothing can be left to chance , and where the circumstances will be entirely different , with their being so much at stake . The odds-makers in Las Vegas will undoubtedly make the Miami Heat the prohibitive favorites in either of the series’ match-ups in question .

Now if someone can explain to me how a team that finished atop of their division , the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference , with a mark of 58-24 , some five games ahead of their closes divisional rivals , the Brooklyn Nets (49-33), can then suddenly in the wake in what do not appear to be insurmountable odds , seemingly fall apart , in the way that the New York Knicks have done ? Was it not enough that all season long their all too obnoxious fans, were simply lauding this team , as if they were the second coming of the era , during which the franchise led by Patrick Ewing were deemed perennial contenders within the Eastern Conference. Instead , but for their first round series’ victory , this team would not have been viewed a passable imitation of a varsity basketball team . No excuses , here it is , the New York Knicks are vastly overrated , upon which their play is solely based upon the offensive prowess of Carmelo Anthony , with their being little if any, overall leadership ability being shown by anyone on the entire roster .

Called upon to now show their mental and physical fortitude , the Knicks find themselves adrift in the midst of sheer ambivalence , and some rather asinine statements , forthcoming from members of the playing and coaching staff, as to the reasons why they now find themselves in a 3-1 hole to the Indiana Pacers . And if that were not enough , Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson , has to be in apoplexy as to why his team has been so poor in their defensive assignments . Nowhere, has this been more evident , than in this series against the Pacers . Roy Hibbert is being made to look like an All Star , while David West , Paul George , George Hill are making the core of this Knicks’ roster look their age . AARP would feel proud and privileged enough to make Marcus Camby (39) , Jason Kidd (40) , Kenyon Martin (36) , Amare` Stoudemire (31) and Pablo Prigioni (35) early paid up members of the organization representing the nation’s population, aged fifty and over . Far be it for me to suggest , but that grouping combined have played their part , in much of the Knicks’ defensive and offensive woes during the postseason .

Tonight’s game five remains pivotal for both teams , with the Pacers seeking to close out the series . Should the Knicks be fortuitous in their endeavors and manage to eke out a win on their home-court at Madison Square Garden , then it would set right up for a grand series’ finale over the possible , final two games of this conference semifinal series .

Zack Randolph , it has to be said, has simply come into his own over the past three seasons , but during this season , the player has looked like someone on a mission of acceptance from his peers , while seeking redemption , after his often troubled stay in Portland , with what was then a franchise known not only as the Portland Trailblazers but also as the “Jailbreakers” . So much so , that it was hard not take note of the back pages of the nation’s daily papers , when you simply read about another player from the Blazers’ organization running afoul of the law , for a litany of legal issues , be it DUI , spousal abuse , drug possession and or sexual assault . Take your pick , at one time or another, it was simply a staple within that organization , for a player or players to parlay their notoriety for some illegal or stupid act , that would have them become part of a police blotter after their apprehension and arrest.

Having easily dismantled the “ highly touted “ …. Los Angeles Clippers , few gave the Memphis Grizzlies much of a chance against the Oklahoma City Thunder , the defending Western Conference champions . In what was seen as a supposed precursor to a possible conference finals’ match-up against the winners of the San Antonio Spurs versus the Golden State Warriors . A clear path , had been set for the Thunder and Scott Brooks’ players, yet somehow , someone forgot to pass on that particular script to the Grizzlies. Lionel Hollins and his team , simply flipped the script and hoisted the Kevin Durant and his teammates