Speak no evil , see no evil and hear no evil

Speak no evil , see no evil and hear no evil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of ESPN

Julie Hermann remains under fire

By Andrea Adelson ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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tophatal ………………………. 05/28/2013

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

Why not simply place a mannequin in your shop window ?

Why not simply place a mannequin in your shop window ?

No good can ever come from letting your heart rule your head when it comes to business or in the world of sports . Let’s face it, those now trying to suggest that an NFL team would benefit having Tim Tebow on their roster solely from the point of being able to lure fans to an NFL venue . Case in point , did that scenario actually work for NFL franchise, the New York Jets in 2012 ? Granted , the team and franchise were thoroughly mismanaged with Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano simply making a mockery of their profession as NFL coaches . Never mind the fact that , then GM , Mike Tannenbaum and many of the alleged asinine decisions that were said to have been made in conjunction with both Ryan and Sparano . Those decisions included the signing of Tebow after what was said to be “his great season” in 2011 and the fact that he led the Denver Broncos into the postseason .In reality , those exploits were less about Tebow and more to do with the desire of the team and their front office staff led by former Broncos’ star and Hall of Fame inductee John Elway .

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In the aftermath of the Broncos’ short-lived postseason foray , John Elway and team owner Pat Bowlem made the decision that changes would be needed in terms of the make up of the team’s roster and who would ultimately lead the team during 2012 at the quarterback position . Tim Tebow became superfluous to the team’s needs and he was traded to the New York Jets . The trade itself was met with a great deal plaudits as it was felt that the Heisman Trophy winner would bring a revived presence to the Jets’ offense and a luring of fans to their palatial venue , Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey , home to both the AFC East franchise as well as the New York Giants . Inasmuch , as I believe Tebow to be a great ambassador for the game of football , at as a player , but for a few fleeting moments in 2011 , he has yet to show that he can play in the NFL with a great deal of consistency . As to Tim Tebow being viewed as a brand that can sell tickets much less be the face of a major corporation. Well let’s now take a look at that shall we ? Can Tebow be considered a “winner “ in the NFL , because essentially that is what an advertiser will base their product’s selling point on , apart from what they believe are the quarterback’s unique qualities . Furthermore , in terms of Tebow’s marketability , beyond his Christian faith , this asinine notion that he is now the most influential athlete in North America does actually ring hollow , if not being downright asinine and insulting .

Beyond Tim Tebow’s affability , what is it that the fans can actually most look forward to ? The NFL in this day and age is about winning , making money and the overall marketability of its stars . Tebow is a draw , but he is not a major draw where instantaneously you would be drawn to him or a product that he would be hawking on behalf of a major endorser . And while we are at it , let’s look at the so-called major endorsers now said to be part of the Tebow “ branding “ . Other than his ads for TiVo , the player’s presence as a major marketing draw for Madison Ave , is barely noticeable and his annual earnings of $ 4 million by way of his off the field activities , pales into insignificance when adjudged against that of Peyton Manning , Drew Brees and Tom Brady . Granted, the three players in question, have longer tenures in the NFL and have been far more successful than the now unrestricted free agent with a four-year career to his name .

The rumblings, well not necessarily around the NFL , but more so within the state of Florida and the NFL franchise that is in desperate need of more notoriety .Jacksonville Jaguars’ owner Shahid Khan is said to have taken a liking to Tim Tebow, and originally upon his multimillion dollar purchase of the beleaguered North Florida franchise , it was being suggested that the team acquire the former Florida Gator . This AFC South team has been in a state of disarray for several years , and this has revolve around the lack of progress and productivity in the play of Blaine Gabbert and the fact that his coach at the time Jack Del Rio was ill-equipped to aid the player in his troubles , in spite of his experience and that of the coaching staff at the time . Khan and general manager David Caldwell may have mulled over the novel idea of bringing Tebow to Jacksonville , with a view to luring fans to one of the NFL’s least supported franchises and where in their last eighteen regular season home games , the Jaguars have been unable to sellout a single game and thereby initiating in the NFL’s television blackout policy .

Personally , I think that even if Tebow were part of the Jaguars’ roster , merely as a selling point , he would add nothing more than the curiosity and novelty factor for the franchise ! In a hotbed area , where College Football ” rules the roost ” , it easy to understand the reasons why the Jaguars have failed to attract a fan-base big enough to fill its venue , Ever-Bank Stadium , in Jacksonville , Florida . From an economic standpoint , how much in value would Tebow add to franchise such as the Jacksonville Jaguars , by way of their bottom line , overall value or for that matter by way of additional revenues overall

? Just because he has the top jersey sales in the NFL , that simply counts for squat ! In reality however , all three NFL franchises that reside in Florida , do have a tremendously tough time even attracting and selling out on a regular basis for their regular season home games and that has been widely known amongst sports’ economists and the NFL hierarchy for several years now . Something that you would be hard pressed to even get NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , to readily admit , much less that of the ownership groups of the Jaguars , Miami Dolphins or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers .

The NFL is actually big , in Florida , but not to the point, where fans are thronging to see the three franchises domiciled within the state . Go figure ! .

What the immediate future now holds for Tim Tebow, is now based upon whose statements you are prepared to believe , whether or not they are coming from NFL insiders , on air television personalities who cover the sport or from Tebow’s own agent . At present Tim Tebow’s agent , Jimmy Sexton has not provided the public or any of Tebow’s fans with a desired destination of his client . Yet this much we do know , Tebow still yearns to be a player in the NFL , though not as a position player but simply as a quarterback . As to the possible takers for the player’s lackluster talents , even if he were to be viewed as a backup or merely as a selling point for a franchise . In light of 2012’s debacle in New Jersey with the New York Jets , would you as an owner , general manager of head coach bring in Tim Tebow to be part of your franchise ? I think that New York Giants’ co-owner Steve Tisch , summed it up best, when he stated , “ the Jets ruined Tim Tebow “ ! Truth be known, Tim Tebow was already ruined before he ever played his first down in the NFL . The Florida Gators’ coaching staff under his college coach , Urban Meyer simply did not prepare the player in terms of his skill-set in preparation for what he should have expected in the NFL . One should also take note that another of Meyer’s pupils Alex Smith struggled for the first few years of his NFL career , only in 2012 to be then subjected to humiliation and then be beaten out by second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick for the staring role on the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 . The rest as they say is history as it it regards to Kaepernick’s own accomplishments in 2012 with the franchise .

Well over the weekend the once and highly favored New York Knicks were summarily dumped out of the NBA postseason . Reasons to be happy ? Hell yeah , if you’re not a Knicks’ fan but then again , who amongst really expected to the Mike Woodson to guide this team deep into the postseason ? Were we meant to be sold on the fact that Carmelo Anthony , on his own , would lift his fellow teammates unto his broad shoulders and take them to the promised land ? In no uncertain terms , the reality for the Knicks and their loyal devotees , this team couldn’t support their own lofty goals much less anything else . Aging at their core , the New York Knicks’ roster had more in common with prospective members of AARP , than it would for a franchise seeking to win their first NBA title since the ’72-73 NBA season .

So much was made of the prodigious talent on this Knicks’ roster and the fact that its offense was said to be explosive . Yet what no one failed to pick up on , even those who are said to be avowed experts on the game , was the very fact , the New York Knicks were a defensively challenged team , and where several players on the team were simply averse to playing a defensive role , even when not called upon by Woodson’s coaching staff . The very fact that they were summarily dumped out of the NBA postseason by the Indiana Pacers in game six of the Eastern Conference semifinals was enough of an indicator to me , what playing as a team was meant to be about and simply having one superstar and a group ill-fitting parts that were so disjointed , that you would have that they were glued together with saliva mixed with epoxy resin. Nothing ever stuck and so errant and inconsistent was the Knicks’ play against the Pacers that 4-2 series’ loss was nothing short of a real embarrassment . However, the Knicks’ fans will try to make light of this all , by trying to suggest that their only wish was to see the team simply make the postseason . Well , they were able to achieve that , but the front office led by owner James Dolan and GM Glen Grunwald , expected a great deal more from one the NBA’s most respected franchises .

Beyond Carmelo Anthony , the Knicks’ guard was barely supported in this series , which begs the question what will be or should one say , what decisions are likely to be made by Mike Woodson and Glen Grunwald concerning the makeup of this roster , as it relates to the upcoming season . Power forward , Amare Stoudemire is owed an astonishing $44 million over the next two seasons , and it once again further emphasizes why this franchise still remains absolutely bereft of intelligence within the upper echelons of its organizational structure .

Forty four million dollars to guy way past his prime , and whose wish is to go out a winner ? Grunwald’s predecessor Isaiah Thomas as the architect of that deal , still casts a giant shadow across the whole panacea of this Knicks’ franchise beyond his alleged sexual proclivities and peccadilloes that cost the organization in excess of $2 million in a legal suit settled in the US Federal Court several years ago .

It is my own personal belief that as ambitious as Carmelo Anthony just happens to be , he simply cannot win an NBA title being surrounded by a team that at its core while showing a great deal of playing experience , in reality those players’ best years have already passed them by ! It certainly will be interesting , to see what players are jettisoned from the roster and which are likely to be retained .

Whatever was said by Bud Selig to convince Houston Astros’ owner Jim Crane to make the jump from the NL Central to the AL West this past off-season , was clearly a situation where beyond the added “sweetener “ of a $60 million rebate after his purchase of the franchise . The Houston billionaire must have been lulled into a false sense of security , as to how his team would fare in the AL . The Astros alongside the Miami Marlins , currently have the two worst records in all of baseball and are likely to be on course of actually surpassing last season’s marks for sheer ineptitude by both franchises .

Astros` GM Jeff Luhnow has done as much as is humanly possible , but his biggest mistake in terms of the personnel decisions made , may well have been the hiring of Bo Porter to manage this team . Beyond that , what looks like the inexperience of Porter’s coaching staff , has been the multitude of mistakes by the manager and his staff , concerning game strategy and what his best starting lineup might just be . At 12-32 , losers of eight of their last ten games , the Astros are twelve games behind the division leading Texas Rangers (29-15) within the AL West.

The Astros will play host at Minute Maid Field , in Houston , Texas in a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals , staring today . Jeremy Guthrie will start for the Royals against Dallas Kuechel of the Astros in a game that will tell us a great about both of these teams and their apparent ambitions as it relates to the overall season . .

Jose Altuve and Carlos Pena appear to be the most productive players on the Astros’ roster by way of the team’s offense , yet the team’s struggles this season are not solely confined to the offense but also their pitching . . .

The Astros’ projected number of wins’ total for the season is 46-116 , and when adjudged against last season’s total of 55-107 , it easy to understand why there seems to be a great deal of apoplexy and some might suggest the belief that it was misguided to have the Houston Astros relocate from the National League to the American League.

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(1) Sports agent Jimmy Sexton is seen here in his office . At present Sexton’s most visible and high-profiled client ,Tim Tebow , is an unrestricted unsigned free agent , still in search of an NFL team . AP Photo / Roger Carter ……

(2) Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez look on, as as Jets’ offensive coordinator Tony Sparano and head coach Rex Ryan explain a play to starting Greg McElroy during an NFL game in 2012 . AP Photo / John Corbett ………

(3) From left to right Jaguars’ head coach Gus Bradley , Shahid Khan and David Caldwell . The trio are beset with multiple of issues concerning this upcoming season and the ambitions of this franchise and their ambitions . The team’s quarterback Blaine Gabbert , has simply been lackluster in his performances for the franchise and it is one of the primary reasons behind the team’s failures in 2012 . AP Photo / Clark Devlin …..

(4) New York Knicks’ J.R. Smith reacts late during the second half of Game 6 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Indiana Pacers, Saturday, May 18, 2013, in Indianapolis. Indiana defeated New York 106-99 to win the series 4-2 . AP Photo/Darron Cummings …

(5) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 18: Head Coach Frank Vogel of the Indiana Pacers gestures during the Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on May 18, 2013 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(6) New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson talks to Carmelo Anthony (7) during the first half of Game 6 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Indiana Pacers Saturday, May 18, 2013, in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Darron Cummings …

(7) Pittsburgh Pirates’ Pedro Alvarez , right, rounds the bases in front of Houston Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez (9) after hitting a home run in the fifth inning of the baseball game on Sunday, May 19, 2013, in Pittsburgh. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic ….

(8) Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve , top, hops over Pittsburgh Pirates’ Michael McKenry as he is forced out on a fielder’s choice on a ground ball to third by Clint Barmes in the fifth inning of the MLB interleague baseball game on Sunday, May 19, 2013, in Pittsburgh. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic ..

(9) Astros’ owner Jim Crane , left is seen here with team general manager Jeff Luhnow at Minute Maid Park in Houston , Texas . The team has gotten off to an incredibly bad start this season are projected to win no more than 46 game games as part of their one hundred and sixty-two game schedule in 2013 . Should that figure be correct , then it would fall considerably short of the fifty-five games won in 2012 , which was an MLB season record low for the thirty teams that make up the league. Getty Images North America / Bob Levey …

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tophatal ………. 05/20/2013

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Show Me the Money and I Will Show You That I can Play

Show Me the Money and I Will Show You that I can Play

by tophatal …… NBA pieces within this site

Take it any way you can get it , and that appears to be “mantra “ for so many unrestricted free agents at present within the NBA and NFL . The once highly praised hero of the New York Knicks , Jeremy Lin now seems to be superfluous to the organization’s needs . Knicks’ GM Glen Grunwald , in the past forty-eight hours has been making deals in order to bolster the team’s roster . In , have come point guards Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd , with Kidd either being viewed as a backup to Lin , should he still be retained , or more likely the case , his coming off the bench to support Felton .

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Jeremy Lin signed the offer sheet , from the Houston Rockets which is a three-year $25 million contract , wherein , the New York Knicks now have a further forty-eight hours to review and then if they choose to , match the offer of the Western Conference …. franchise . Lin was a member of the Houston Rockets in 2011 before the player was placed on waivers , and then acquired by the Knicks . Initially the young point-guard was a model of consistency before his game fell apart because of his lack of skill-set in being unable to secure the ball and cutting down on turnovers . Far be it for me to suggest but at this moment in time the Knicks have five guards on the roster including Jeremy Lin . With the recent departure of Landry Fields to the Toronto Raptors as an unrestricted free agent . Glen Grunwald now seems to be trying to corner the market in point guards . There has not been this sort of ineptitude shown by the front office , since Isiah Thomas held the dual roles of general manager and team President within the Knicks’ organization.

The New York Knicks for their part had a rather inauspicious return to the NBA postseason losing in the first round to eventual champions the Miami Heat . The franchise , was in many ways so flawed , that you were never given the impression that Carmelo Anthony , Amare` Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler were simply good enough to defeat the Heat . Defensively challenged , one could understand the issues that head coach Mike Woodson with this group of players during the postseason . If Jeremy Lin should be jettisoned by the Knicks and his return the Houston Rockets is a successful one , then the cards still remain in play , as the Rockets seek to acquire Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic . The drama that continues to be played out with Howard , and the franchise that he has continued to antagonize for the better part of the last six months , while acting like a petulant child has been a complete embarrassment to the NBA . As this scenario continues , the fans of the Magic must now question the experience being shown by team COO Alex Martins and the recently installed GM Rob Hennigan . The longer this idiocy remains within the public domain , the more asinine the actions of the Orlando Magic continues to be .

Dwight Howard’s initial wish , was to be sent to the Brooklyn Nets but that situation broke down , when it became known that the Magic’s desires exceeded those of the Nets’ front office . With that conclusion , Billy King in conjunction with team owner Mikhail Prokorov decided to cut their losses , as they re-signed the team’s center Brook Lopez to a multi-year deal . The Orlando Magic still remains with a very disgruntled player and a front office now at a loss , as what to do next . In addition , the franchise has yet to reach a decision , as to a successor to Stan Van Gundy . Moreover, yes, the idiocy continues , as the basketball club meanders like a listless , rudderless vessel lost at sea !

Houston Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey and team owner Leslie Alexander have engineered the transactions wherein , they are currently some $25 million beneath the league’s mandated salary cap of $58 million for the upcoming season . With that sort of financial flexibility the franchise can offer Dwight Howard the type of deal that he seeks but little else beyond that by way of competitiveness . The longer this episode continues , the more ludicrous I believe this whole situation to be ! There seems to be no common sense being shown by the Eastern Conference organization , whereas the Houston Rockets are simply pinning their hopes on signing a player who simply has no desire to be a part of that franchise . Does that actually make any goddamn sense ?

The NBA appears to be bereft of intelligence amongst the league hierarchy , team owners , front office executives but most notably the greed of the NBPA ( union) . You would be hard pressed to indicate that the David Stern and his minions . Declining revenue streams for a number of the NBA teams , meanwhile , ticket prices are have risen on average higher than the rate of inflation , all the while there has been no real restraint being shown by teams and their owners to rein in their expenses . Much of this the commissioner shows his indifference to these issues as he seeks even more notoriety and publicity to place himself in the public eye , as much as many of the game’s more high-profiled stars . Well , David Stern is on the right track , given the situation where his annual salary , in excess of $20 million a year , and that would rank alongside many of the NBA’s highest paid stars . Not bad , for a publicity-seeking whore-monger , is it ? That is after-all what David Stern , is actually all about !

As Team USA seeks to add gold in London , at the 2012 Olympics . I believe that it is time for all of this asinine talk in making comparisons from his current roster and that of the original 1992 “Dream Team” to come to a halt ! As star-laden as the incumbent is said to be , in no way do they possess the “drawing power” or “charisma “ of the team led by Hall of Famers , Magic Johnson , Michael Jordan , Larry Bird , Scottie Pippen , Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley .

Kobe Bryant simply needs to keep his opinions to himself , instead coming off looking like a complete asshole ! As if he has not done so already , in light of his philandering , that led to his recent divorce . What it is it , that Kobe has not learned from Tiger Woods’ fall of from grace ? Was it not enough he acted like an infantile little bitch after his arrest for the sexual assault of a female hotel employee in Eagle , Colorado ? The NBA player cried off , plead his innocence but also at the same time , he threw his fellow teammates Rick Fox and Shaquille O’Neal under the bus , claiming that both Fox and O’Neal were also philanderers , having numerous sexual partners , while the Los Angeles Lakers were on the road . Kobe Bryant , a teammate you can believe in ………… really ? Only , when they are winning , mind you . Now, his dumb ass just happens to “be writing checks with his mouth “ that he simply could not possibly cash !

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(1) (1) FILE – This Feb. 24, 2012 file photo shows New York Knicks’ Jeremy Lin laughing during warmups before the start of the NBA All-Star Rising Stars Challenge basketball game in Orlando, Fla. This would have been such an easy decision in February. Lin was the biggest thing in basketball, and no way the Knicks would have let him go elsewhere. Now, knowing his price and with no assurance he'll play as he did when “Linsanity ” reigned , the Knicks may allow Lin to leave for Houston. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …

(2) New York Knicks executive vice president and general manager Glen Grunwald poses for a photograph with Jason Kidd, one of the Knicks two newest additions, following a news conference at the team’s training facility in Tarrytown, N.Y., Thursday, July 12, 2012. Also acquired by the organization , center , Marcus Camby . AP Photo/Kathy Willens ….

(3) (3) FILE – This April 18, 2011 file photo shows Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard speaking at a news conference after he was presented with the 2010-11 NBA defensive basketball player of the year award in Orlando, Fla. Howard is the first player to win the award in three straight seasons. The Houston Rockets were the most active team leading up to Thursday night’s June 28, 2012 draft , making trades to position for a bigger move. As Thursday began, Houston held the No. 12, 16 and 18 picks, but more maneuvering was likely as the team took aim at a superstar big man, possibly Dwight Howard. AP Photo/John Raoux …

(4) Joe Johnson , left, and Deron Williams smile during a news conference introducing the Brooklyn Nets new back-court of All-Stars at Brooklyn Borough Hall, Friday, July 13, 2012, in the Brooklyn borough of New York in New York. The Nets NBA basketball team re-signed Williams and acquired Johnson. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ….

(5) Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins, left, shakes hands with Rob Hennigan, center, the new general manager of the NBA basketball team, next to the team’s chairman, Dan DeVos , son of team owner , Dick DeVos , at a news conference Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. The franchise is still without a successor to the recently fired, former head coach , Stan Van Gundy .AP Photo/John Raoux ….

(6) Inset seen , are standing , Houston Rockets’ owner Leslie Alexander , seated center , head coach Kevin McHale , alongside are two Rockets’ executives on NBA Draft day . The Rockets were frugal in their draft choices , seeking to complement their roster to meet their needs . Houston Chronicle / James Nielsen ….

(7) Houston Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey , seeks to become a ” major player” in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes . The franchise has the necessary cap room to trade for the beleaguered center but it has been revealed that the player is reluctant to join the Western Conference team . N Y Times / Barton Silverman …

(8) Members of Team USA Basketball are seen here in-front of photographers, as pictures are taken of the team . Mike Krzyzewski will seek to successfully defend the Men’s Gold medal won at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Blake Griffin , third from the left , back row, will not be a participant in London having injured his right knee during a team practice shoot-around . His place will be taken by Anthony Davis , the number one overall pick from this year’s NBA Draft . Kobe Bryant , seated front , far right, had suggested that the 2012 US Men’s Olympic roster would be quite capable of beating the “original ” 1992 US Men’s Olympic Basketball team that beat their opponents during the competition, average of 46.5 points, on their way to winning Olympic gold in Barcelona , Spain , in unprecedented fashion, that year . AP/ Reuters / Max Bronstein …..

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A Deal Is A Deal , Or Is It ?

A Deal Is A Deal , Or Is It ?

By tophatal

So , Dwight Howard after all of the stalling , insufferable and infantile behavior , has finally stated what everyone knew . He wants out , and he wants “out now” . The Orlando Magic center and three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year making demands of the front office led by team COO Alex Martins and newly installed general manager Rob Hennigan .

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Howard and his agent Dan Fegan now having made their intentions clear that the center would like to be traded to the Brooklyn/New Jersey Nets . The center who is a restricted free agent had originally sought a long-term deal with the franchise but ever since the heated exchange and meltdown in his relationship former head coach , Stan Van Gundy . The writing has been in essence on the wall , wherein with the abrupt firing of Van Gundy , it was either Howard remains , or he would depart from the only professional franchise he has ever played for. Rob Hennigan could proceed to meet the demands of the disruptive center but he could also seek the trade of the player elsewhere . The Nets have very few pieces on their current roster that would be desirable for the Orlando Magic . And with New Jersey Nets’ owner Mikhail Prokhorov and GM Billy King now looking to retain the services of his franchise’s heralded point guard Deron Williams . One could attest to the fact that the billionaire owner will move heaven and earth , to make it possible to have both Williams and Howard on the team roster for the start of the 2012-13 season . It may well take a multi-player , multi-player trade to facilitate such a deal . The requirement for such deals are that the salaries of the players in question must be a match or within 5% of the salaried contract. Williams however , has garnered the interest of the Dallas Mavericks and team owner Mark Cuban .

The Mavericks are in need of a replacement for seasoned veteran Jason Kidd , who it appears may well be superfluous to the team’s needs . Deron Williams for his part has met with Cuban and GM Donn Nelson to discuss a possible deal that would see the player sign a long-term multi-year deal . However, with the possibility that Dwight Howard could possibly be joining him as a teammate could stall the player’s decision to leave the Brooklyn Nets . At the same time , Williams has made it clear that he would like to have situation completed , in order that he can focus his attention on his preparations as a member of Team USA for the Summer Olympics in London , England .

The Orlando Magic’s fall from grace has been to the dismay of their fans and was self-evident with the team’s anemic display in the first round of the NBA Playoffs . The Philadelphia 76ers dispatched the Orlando Magic with utmost ease (4-1) , with the Magic being a complete embarrassment throughout the series . This team was not built for success and that is in spite of the rather asinine comments of the franchise’s former head coach , Stan Van Gundy and then general manager Otis Smith . The roster had ill-fitting pieces and at no time was there any cohesion being shown by the players over the course of the season .

The acrimony between Dwight Howard and the Magic organization cannot be quantified and it does not bode well for the franchise as they proceed forward . Hennigan has yet to hire a head coach to succeed Stan Van Gundy , and even with the drafting of Andrew Nicholson in the first round (19th overall) of the NBA Draft , to be followed by Kyle O’Quinn , you simply get the feeling that the franchise is at a loss as to the direction that they now need to be heading in . There is such disarray within the Orlando Magic as an organization , that is extremely difficult to view them as legitimate threat within the Eastern Conference of NBA , much less throughout the league as a whole .

With such individuals as Brendan Malone and Patrick Ewing still remaining on the coaching staff , it seems inconceivable that neither has been given the common courtesy of being granted an interview for the vacant head coaching position with the Orlando Magic . Team owner Rich De Vos seems to be completely oblivious as to problems of his beleaguered franchise and one cannot help but wonder if with the departure of Dwight Howard , we will see a significant decline in the value of this organization . By conservative estimates , the franchise is said to be worth $385 million , which ranks eleventh among the league’s thirty teams .

The Orlando Magic’s starting point guard Jameer Nelson has decided to opt out of his contract and it remains highly unlikely that he will return to the franchise . As the team’s third highest paid player on the roster , conversely one could ask the question during the reign of Otis Smith , what was the general manager seeking to achieve ? His failures and that of Stan Van Gundy have been highlighted and well chronicled over the course of their tenures . At no time could you genuinely state this team or in their previous guises while the duo oversaw the on-field personnel provided the fans with a great deal of excitement . The Orlando Magic has always been offensively challenged and they simply “lived and died “ with their three point shooting . When they were hot , then they were extremely good . On the opposite end of the spectrum , when they were bad , then they would have been better off working on a construction site , laying bricks . It has been this sort of ineptitude , that has been indicative of what we have seen by the Orlando Magic , and those purporting to suggest that this franchise was good enough to win because they played to their biggest greatest strengths .

If the perceived upheaval does take place , then it sets the Orlando Magic back several years . The last time there was an upheaval of this magnitude , it led to the acquisition of Shaquille O’Neal as a free agent by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1997 . And that renowned franchise by no means having an aversion to drama are themselves in the midst of uncertainty , after a season of great disappointment and underachievement . It is believed that GM Mitch Kupchak , head coach Mike Brown and Jim Buss , son of team owner , Jerry Buss , will assess the needs of the team this offseason , as they seek to remain a perennial contender for the NBA title . This past season for the Lakers , it was simply about Kobe Bryant once again taking this team on his shoulders while his teammates remained a constant audience on the sidelines , giving little aid , if any , to the shooting guard . Whether or not this leads to a major upheaval , with a number of players being jettisoned this offseason , it remains to be seen as to the possible decisions that will be made . You simply get the feeling that Jerry Buss and Lakers’ hierarchy were not too tolerant of the team’s poor performances the regular and postseason . Kobe Bryant always known as a fierce competitor has to be viewed as a player now in the declining years of what has been an illustrious career .

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning Dwight Howard and his request for a trade ? And do you believe that organization should acquiesce to the player’s request ? By all means do leave a comment as you deem fit on this and anything else you believe to the subject matter .

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(1) Rob Hennigan , the new general manager of the Orlando Magic NBA basketball team, speaks during a news conference, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/John Raoux …

(2) Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins, left, shakes hands with Rob Hennigan, center, the new general manager of the NBA basketball team, next to the team’s chairman, Dan DeVos , at a news conference Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/John Raoux

(3) FILE – This April 3, 2012 file photo shows Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy watching from the sidelines during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich. The Magic have fired coach Van Gundy after a rocky season. The moves came Monday, May 21, 2012 after the team’s second straight first-round playoff exit. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio ….

(4) ORLANDO, FL – DECEMBER 18: Orlando Magic General Manager Otis Smith speaks to the media regarding the acquisition of Gilbert Arenas from the Washington Wizards, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, and Earl Clark from the Phoenix Suns at Amway Arena on December 18, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. It was reported on May 21, 2012 that the Orlando Magic fired Head Coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images …

(5) FILE – In this April 9, 2012, file photo, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, left, leaves the court after the Magic’s 119-89 win over the Detroit Pistons in an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla. Howard told ESPN.com he will have season-ending back surgery on Friday, April 20, to repair a herniated disk. The operation will also prevent Howard from playing in the Olympics in London. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack ….

(6) Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, right, and Dwight Howard smile at each other as Howard comes off the floor in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, April 7, 2012, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Michael Perez

(7) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant wipes his face with his jersey during the first quarter of Game 5 in their NBA basketball Western Conference semifinal playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Monday, May 21, 2012, in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City won 106-90 . AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki …

(8) Los Angeles Lakers NBA basketball team’s new head coach Mike Brown (2nd L) poses with team owner Jerry Buss (2nd R), Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss (L) and general manager Mitch Kupchak after a news conference in Los Angeles, California, May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL …

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The Wheels On The Bus Go Round & amp; Round , Round & Round ….

The Wheels On The Bus Go Round & Round ______________ Round & Round ….

By tophatal …… . 06/20/2012 12:33 AM (EST)

As I watch the NBA Finals (2012) unfold I am not so sure now what to take out of the events I have witnessed . Are the Miami Heat that good ? Alternatively, is it simply that the Oklahoma City Thunder were that bad and overmatched ? Based upon the evidence provided in last night’s game , it now looks as if it is a mixture of both , as Scott Brooks …. team has no answer for the prowess shown by LeBron James .

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Russell Westbrook for his part , tried in vain to assist in the best way that he could by scoring a postseason career career-high 43 points , 5 assists and 7 rebounds . A solid but not overpowering 28 points from Kevin Durant , simply was not enough to provide the Thunder with the momentum they sought to square this series and tie it , at two games apiece (2-2) . Durant and Westbrook , were the only Oklahoma City Thunder players to get into double-figures in terms of scoring . That may well have been indicative of what went wrong for this team last night and over the course of this series . It seems somewhat strange , when one considers the Western Conference Finals and the players’ efforts against the San Antonio Spurs and their 4-2 series’ victory of that renowned franchise .

The issues now facing the Thunder , as they face elimination , and the loss of the series , steering in the face , a 3-1 deficit . It is that history is completely against them . as no team has ever been able to overcome a 3-1 disadvantage in the NBA Finals , ever since the game adopted a the two , three , two playoff format for the Finals . Given the intent of Heat head coach, Erik Spoelstra and his team to make quick work of their Western Conference opponents . Scott Brooks , head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder now faces a real dilemma . Does he now , go for an all-out attack while seeking to cut the series’ deficit his team faces ? Or does he sit back and play a game of cat-and-mouse with the Heat , while looking to take advantage by any possible complacency shown by his opponent ? I am now , firmly of the belief , that upon the resumption of the series , game five will prove to be the “anointing “ of the Miami Heat , as franchise wins their second title in six years , after their triumph over the Dallas Mavericks in 2006 .

LeBron James for his part , will join a select group of players to have won both the regular season MVP award , as well as the Finals MVP in the same season . Vindication for James and now perhaps for the player , his own redemption after his failure in last season’s NBA Finals . So much had been promised by the Miami Heat but he and his then teammates came up short , with their being upended by the Dallas Mavericks .

Miami Heat executives Pat Riley and Micky Arison will become the “toast of the town” on South Beach and throughout the entire city of Miami. It has been their ingenuity and the faith shown in a young coach , Erik Spoelstra , which has brought this franchise to the cusp as being champions of the NBA . Two years ago with a great deal of showmanship , orchestrated celebration LeBron James and Chris Bosh were introduced to the adoring Heat fan-base . With h a great deal of adulation , the fans and NBA writers as a whole were expecting big things from the trio . One year wiser, and a great deal more maturity being shown , it is now finally time to say ….. the Big Three have arrived “ .

There is no denying that the Oklahoma City Thunder had a spectacular season , as can be borne out by the team’s play and the ease with which they won the Northwest Division within the Western Conference . From my own perspective , I believe the events of this postseason for the Thunder will provide to be a valuable learning experience for not only the players but the entire organization , from the ownership group on down , to the front office executives , led by GM Sam Presti . The general manager along with Scott Brooks and the coaching staff have built a solid player personnel roster through smart and incisive moves . This bodes well for the franchise’s long-term future and without a doubt , they can now be looked upon as the best team within the Western Conference . That is with due deference to the likes of the San Antonio Spurs , Los Angeles Lakers , Memphis Grizzlies , Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks , in light of their respective records .

If nothing else , the joyous ride that the Oklahoma City Thunder fans have had in the last few seasons has brought a great deal of joy to the locale . And with a core group of players built around Kevin Durant , Russell Westbrook , James Harden and Thabo Sefalosha , I firmly believe that in this franchise’s imminent future , an NBA title awaits and will be theirs for the taking !

The current NBA Finals by all accounts have been the most ardently watched series since 2002 and that bodes well for the NBA hierarchy led by David Stern . As to what this might say , and appears to be a “ budding rivalry “ between Kevin Durant and LeBron , that is now being viewed along the lines of the “Bird “ & “ Magic” era and their epic regular and postseason confrontations . Well , that remains to be seen but as a passionate NBA fan , I am beginning to be thoroughly immersed in the game once again , for all of the right reasons !

On a side-note , I believe that we can attest to the fact the Charlotte Bobcats had a horrendous season ! If nothing else , they (team) simply brought a level of mediocrity to the game , that has not been seen in years . For the representatives within the front office of the organization and they are the ones who should in large part bear the brunt of the blame . The roster was assembled with ill-fitting pieces and no veteran leadership presence being shown . It seems unfortunate , that twice over the course of his career as an NBA executive , Michael Jordan is being ridiculed for his complete lack of judgment and awareness . In 2001 , and Jordan introduced the world to Kwame Brown . That is a moment in NBA history that cannot be undone !
With the departure of Paul Silas as the head coach of the Bobcats’ franchise , Jordan and his fellow front office executives sought an immediate successor to the respected coach . Jerry Sloan was given the courtesy of an interview and it was rumored that both Stan Van Gundy and Mike D’Antoni would be also subject to interviews , were they said to be interested in the vacant post . Former Lakers’ assistant head coach Brian Shaw flatly turned down the opportunity to coach the Charlotte Bobcats , while obviously gauging interest of team owners who see the former player , as a viable coaching candidate for their franchise . It now appears that the front office executives of the Bobcats have found their man , with the hiring of St Johns’ assistant coach Mike Dunlap . Far be it for me to suggest but the last Jordan hired a coach from the collegiate ranks , that hire was none other than Leonard Hamilton . His tenure as the Washington Wizard’ Bobcats’ head coach was short-lived , and considered less than a success . while Michael Jordan served as the de-facto GM & Head of Basketball Operations under then team owner Abe Pollin .

Dunlap has served under Steve Lavin as part of the head coach’s staff , while the program has had some semblance of success . Lavin has high praise for his assistant and believes he will be a success within the professional ranks of the NBA . I certainly hope so for Mike Dunlap’s sake because I would hate for his career to stall in the NBA , while Bobcats’ owner Michael Jordan sits on the sidelines and watches the franchise being engulfed in flames. In essence this is what we have all been a witness to , ever since Jordan bought out former partner and majority stakeholder Robert L Johnson , five years ago . Since then , the Charlotte Bobcats have amassed a series of NBA lows . Prior to the start of the NBA Finals , it was felt that the franchise would be in with a chance of gaining the top pick in the Draft Lottery . Instead , that privilege will go to the New Orleans Hornets , with the Bobcats taking the second pick overall in the upcoming 2012 NBA Draft . The Kentucky Wildcats’ ….. Anthony Davis is deemed to the consensus #1 pick , with their being no distinct knowledge as to who will follow suit afterwards .

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What to you as a fan , has been the most satisfying part of the 2012 NBA Finals ? And do you believe that the hiring of Mike Dunlap by the Charlotte Bobcats will serve the franchise well ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support , as it has always been greatly appreciated !

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(1) Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra answers a question during a basketball news conference, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Miami. The Heat host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday in Game 5 of the NBA finals. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ….

(2) Miami Heat small forward LeBron James reacts during practice, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Miami. The Heat play Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ….

(3) Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh, left, and shooting guard Mike Miller joke during practice, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Miami. The Heat play Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. AP Photo/Alan Diaz …

(4) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 19: Lebron James 6 hugs Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat after defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game Four of the 2012 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 19, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Heat won 104-98 . Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images …

(5) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook answers a question during a news conference, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Miami. The Thunder are scheduled to play Game 5 against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals on Thursday. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ..

(6) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 19: Serge Ibaka (9) of the Oklahoma City Thunder attempts to block a shot by Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat in Game Four of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 19, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Larry W. Smith-Pool/Getty Images …

(7) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, left, and small forward Kevin Durant listen to a question during a news conference after Game 4 of the NBA finals basketball series against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Miami. The Heat won 104-98 . AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …

(8) Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks answers a question during a news conference after Game 4 of the NBA finals basketball series against the Miami Heat, Tuesday, June 19, 2012, in Miami. The Miami Heat won 104-98. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …

(9) Charlotte Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap, right, greets his agent Bret Just , left, as his wife Mollie Busterud-Dunlap, second from left, looks on during a news conference after being named to lead the NBA basketball team in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, June 20, 2012. AP Photo/Chuck Burton …

(10) Charlotte Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap , center, poses with Rod Higgins , left, president of basketball operations and Rich Cho , right, general manager, during news conference after being named to lead the NBA basketball team in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, June 20, 2012. AP Photo/Chuck Burton …

(11) CHARLOTTE, NC – MARCH 13: Michael Jordan of the Charlotte Bobcats and Fred Whitfield answers questions about the team on March 13, 2007 at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. The former NBA great and owner of the franchise gave Mike Dunlap’s hiring his seal of approval . Mike Dunlap becomes only the fifth head coach in the franchise’s history Copyright 2007 NBAE Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images …..

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Bang The Drum Loudly …… The NBA Is … Better Than Ever ?

Bang The Drum Loudly …… The NBA Is … Better Than Ever ?

By tophatal … 06/15/2012 …. 11:45PM (EST)

The NBA postseason is definitely now in full swing , and the league hierarchy under David Stern have to be feeling extremely pleased with themselves . The very fact that two teams contesting the NBA Finals are considered the two best left at this stage of the competition . It pits perhaps the league’s best all round player against its most prolific scorer. The Miami Heat the Eastern Conference representative against the Oklahoma City Thunder , and their team led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook . To counteract the presence of Durant and Westbrook , coach Erik Spoelstra knows that he can rely upon LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to provide his team with the brunt of the offensive productivity sought throughout this series .

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For team franchise owners’ Micky Arison and Clay Bennett have been given the authority and responsibility to be make sure that fans are best entertained by the play exhibited on court . I have no doubt that both Arison and Bennett will imbue their respective head coaches Erik Spoelstra and Scott Brooks as to what is expected during the 2012 NBA Finals . The series is now tied at (1-1) one game apiece after the Heat’s narrow but spirited victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Games three through five , now reverts to the city of Miami where those games will be played at the AA Arena , in Miami , Florida . Sunday , in what is sure to be a sellout crowd in attendance , the resumption of the series is again up and running , with the Heat looking to make sure that the home-court advantage does work in their favor .

If LeBron James and his teammates can attain a victory then most definitely the series tilts in their favor . Beyond the Heat’s ‘Big Three’ of James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh , it would appear that in game two the Miami Heat found themselves a new go-to-guy in Shane Battier . Now whether or not Battier can reproduce the form shown in that game or perhaps another Heat role player can step up to the plate , it remains to be seen .

Scott Brooks knows that his team could have been 2-0 up in these Finals , had his players handled the ball more securely . Game two , exhibited turnovers by Oklahoma City Thunder , something that Brooks will seek to have his players address . And that will most certainly be something that Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook will have to take care of. Moreover , the players cannot afford to start these game off slowly , in allowing the Miami Heat to take an early lead and letting them retain that lead . Thabo Sefalosha , Kendrick Perkins , Serge Ibaka , Derek Fisher and Nick Collison will most certainly have to contribute a great deal more to this series , and when one bears in mind what Durant , Westbrook and James Harden have been able to achieve throughout the NBA Playoffs has been remarkable.

Undoubtedly , 2012 NBA Finals are living up to the “hype “ and a great deal more . However, with comparisons now being made with the apparent era of Durant & James , now we are told has begun . Many NBA writers and analysts are describing this budding rivalry as being similar in its magnitude as to the “ epic battles “ between Hall of Fame players , Larry Bird and Magic Johnson , when the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers had those monumental Finals’ series , as well as those regular season games .

Inasmuch , as I like the attributes that Durant and James bring to the game , it is far too early to make such comparisons , as to a rivalry that is on a similar scale as that Bird and Magic Johnson . Those icons of the game have certainly cemented their legacies and without a doubt one simply cannot deny what they were able to do , that raised the profile of the game at the collegiate level and then within the professional ranks of the NBA . Kevin Durant and LeBron James are a long way off from achieving the accolades and acclaim of the famed duo from perhaps the “ richest era “ of the NBA’s history . Moreover , that is with due credit of the Michael Jordan “ legacy “ and “ era “ within the NBA and the historical achievements with the Chicago Bulls .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What if anything do you anticipate seeing as the NBA Finals now unfolds ? Do leave a comment as you see fit and thank s as always for the continued support of this site .

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Chris Bosh (L) of the Miami Heat is guarded by James Harden (R) of the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game 3 of the NBA Finals on June 17, 2012 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The Heat won 91-85 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series . AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERTDON EMMERT/AFP/GettyImages ….

(2) Head coach Scott Brooks of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on as he answers questions from the media after the Thunder lost 91-85 against the Miami Heat in Game Three of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 17, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images …..

(3) Nick Collison (4) of the Oklahoma City Thunder goes to the basket against Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat in Game Three of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 17, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Segar-Pool/Getty Images …

(4) Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant gets off a shot against Miami Heat during the NBA Finals game between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder 17 June, 2012 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO/POOL/LARRY SMITH …Larry W Smith/AFP/GettyImages …

(5) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 17: (L-R) Kevin Durant (35) and LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat look on in the second half of Game Three of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 17, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.

(6) Magic Johnson (left) and Larry Bird seen here as college athletes , whose friendship and rivalry at the collegiate level and within the NBA simply transcended the sport . Today the duo have a life-long friendship that has stood for over three decades . Mike Portmann ….

(7) Bird and Magic square off in the 83-84 NBA Finals in which the Celtics would prevail in the series 4-3 . Reuters/ Arnold Hughes …..
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NBA news

2012 NBA Finals

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Game three Oklahoma City … @ … Miami Heat — AA Arena , Miami , Florida

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By tophatal …… 6/11/2012 11:56:36 AM

The NBA Finals’ matchup is now known with Miami Heat having overcome the Boston Celtics . They will be the guests of the Oklahoma City Thunder in game one of the best-of-seven game series . For coaches Erik Spoelstra and Scott Brooks this will the stage where they will prove themselves to be the most skilled of NBA coaches .
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Slide show , for your perusal .

And for the team owners in question Micky Arison of the , Miami Heat and Clay Bennett of the Thunder , this gives each the legitimacy of seeing their respective franchises rise to levels of expectations and ambitions that they envisaged . For Brooks’ team they were easily the convincing victor over the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals . With the litany of All Stars on display from both teams in this postseason finale , should prove to very exciting to say the very least .

Clearly , with what is at stake neither team comes into the series under the misapprehension that the NBA title is theirs by divine right . That may well have been the case for the Miami Heat last season as their complacency caused them to be defeated in the 2011 NBA Finals . The Dallas Mavericks came away triumphant while the Heat players on the Heat came away with their tails hanging between their legs .

LeBron James this season’s league MVP and a three-time winner of the award is seeking his first NBA title . Having already made two appearances in the NBA’s showcase event , once each with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat , James now seeks to add to the legitimacy of being recognized as the best player in the NBA . With two-time scoring champion Kevin Durant leading this young Thunder roster being on the opposing side , this series could be an affirmation for both players as well their respective franchises. And given the rise of the Oklahoma City Thunder , who could be looked upon now as the dominant franchise within the Western Conference . We now look to see if Durant and his teammates can presumably take that next step by defeating the very best that the Eastern Conference has to offer this season.

LeBron James will be ably abetted by teammates Chris Bosh , Dwyane Wade and the cast of role players . Erik Spoelstra knows that he is under a great deal of pressure to succeed and if he should fail at this juncture there is the likelihood he could very well meet the same fate as his predecessor Stan Van Gundy , who was fired by Heat team President Pat Riley .

I view this series beyond the customary matchups but as one strategizing by the respective coaches . With so many variables at play between two evenly matched teams , in terms of defense and offense . This NBA Finals , will come down to who desires the victory more.

I will not be making any prognostications as to the outcome of this series , having seen my beloved San Antonio Spurs succumb to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals . The franchise is now at a crossroads with an aging core but with several young and aspiring players seeking guidance from the veterans on the team . Tim Duncan after fourteen years in the NBA , his career is now on the decline . He is no longer the player who effortlessly assumed the mantle of leadership from David Robinson . And Duncan would then lead the franchise to another three NBA titles , to add to the first , won in conjunction with the Hall of Fame center . Gregg Popovich , GM R C Buford and team owner Peter Holt have a number of decisions to make during the offseason , before the 2012-13 schedule gets underway in September . I firmly believe that Tim Duncan should walk away with his head held high having achieved so much over the course of his distinguished career. It has been Duncan , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli , who in recent years have made this franchise the success it has been .

Consider the , fact that in twelve of the last fifteen years the franchise has posted 12 consecutive seasons of fifty-plus wins and five conference finals’ appearance in conjunction with their four NBA titles . So it should come as no surprise that Thunder GM Sam Presti who served an apprenticeship under R C Buford , has molded the franchise along the very same lines as that of the San Antonio Spurs . That in of-itself should be an indication as to the aspiration of the franchise and how this ball-club has built its roster judiciously through the NBA Draft and free agency acquisitions . Long-term this franchise could very well become the dominant force within the Western Conference as they assume control of the conference and be looked upon as a perennial contender . Chances are , we are seeing the rise of Oklahoma City Thunder as a franchise , looking to take over from the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs .

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Picture gallery .

As either a passing observer or an avid NBA fan, what event has been the most pleasing thing to witness this postseason ? Which team do you believe is the presumed favorite in the NBA Finals ? Do leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slide show for your perusal
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(1) Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant (35) and Kendrick Perkins take a break during practice, Monday, June 11, 2012, in Oklahoma City. Game 1 of NBA Finals basketball between the Miami Heat and Thunder is Tuesday. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki …..

(2) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 09: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat speaks with the media after beating the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on June 9, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …

(3) Dwyane Wade (3) and LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat speak with the media after beating the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on June 9, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….

(4) Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35), Thabo Sefolosha (2) , Russell Westbrook (0) talk during practice, Monday, June 11, 2012, in Oklahoma City. Game 1 of NBA finals basketball between the Miami Heat and Thunder is Tuesday. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki ….

(5) Miami Heat owner Micky Arison receives the NBA Eastern Conference trophy from former Heat player Alonzo Mourning , Saturday, June 9, 2012, in Miami, after the Heat defeated the Boston Celtics 101-88 in Game 7 of the conference finals . AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(6) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook holds the western conference trophy after Game 6 in the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the San Antonio Spurs, Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in Oklahoma City. The Thunder won 107-99 and move on to the NBA Finals . (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

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NBA news

2012 NBA Finals

Miami Heat news

Miami Heat roster …. & … team stats

Erik Spoelstra coach’s bio

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Oklahoma City Thunder roster …. & ….. team stats

Scott Brooks coach’s bio

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