Act like you’ve got a pair , …balls that is

Act like you’ve got a pair , balls that is ……..
Strangely enough, hearing a sports’ fans continue to opine on the ills within the game, be it baseball, football, basketball or hockey. My take on it all, if your teams suck , don’t just look at the players , but also the coaches and owners in particular . How they act , will trend to give you a clear idea as to whether or not they know how to handle real adversity. The NBA season remains in its infancy , but we already witnessing several teams struggling to step away from their own ineptitude . There were high hopes for the New York Knicks after Phil Jackson was brought in , to lead their Basketball Operations where GM Steve Mills would be ultimately answerable to Jackson within the Knicks’ hierarchal organization . Owner James Dolan remains the one constant within the organization , whose decision-making continues to come into question. Granted , the franchise remains popular among its fan-base , profitable and still the most valuable team in the NBA.

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Nine games into the regular season and the New York Knicks are 2-7 , just above the win-less Philadelphia 76ers(0-7) within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . For rookie head coach Derek Fisher it would be fair to suggest having seen his team get off to such a sluggish start should be cause for concern. The players themselves have been lackluster with only forward Carmelo Anthony actually showing signs of life .

In their two most recent games the New York Knicks suffered a six-point home loss to the Atlanta Hawks , then followed that up again with another defeat , where their guests, the Orlando Magic inflicted more pain upon what has become a troubling start to the Knicks’ season. Fans of the New Yorks, all too often, tend to point to the positives about their team , one , mainly from an offensive standpoint they can put up points on just about anyone , what they fail to indicate has been the very fact the team simply has no idea how to defend leading their ever increasing issues , which have yet to be addressed by Derek Fisher and his coaching staff

New York came into the season with one of the highest payrolls in the NBA , but nonetheless , Phil Jackson and Steve Mills felt they could live with just as long as the players lived up to expectations . Hard to believe this current roster is no better than the lineup from last season that failed to make the NBA Playoffs . As good as the New York Knicks believe themselves to be , this is not a team currently showing it can compete with the best that the NBA has to offer. Next up for Derek Fisher’s team will be a home game against the Utah Jazz , a contest which will likely tell us a great deal about the mindset of the host.

For two straight years the Chicago Bulls (6-2) have been heavily reliant on Derrick Rose being around for the long haul . In 2012 and again in 2013 , the Bulls’ point guard was felled by an injury . Come full circle and here we are , already wondering about the fitness of Rose after another injury scare. I doubt Tom Thiboadeau wants to head into the next three to six weeks of the Bulls’ schedule without their most prized asset .

In their two defeats the margin of victory for the Bulls’ opponents have been less than seven points in each case. This points to the fact Chicago remains a resilient defensive force , one of the best in conference as well as the entire NBA .

The departures of Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer , two of the Bulls’ best scoring options from last season may well prove to hinder the team’s chances this season, but there is every reason to believe with the addistion of Paul Gasol and the ever-improving play of Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson , Joakim Noah , Mike Dunleavy and Aaron Brooks , there is every reason to believe the Chicago Bulls can make a long and spirited run during the NBA Playoffs for this season . Chicago’s next scheduled game will be a match-up with the surprise of the team of the early part of the basketball season, the conference leading Toronto Raptors.

There will come a time when a price has to be paid for the alleged belief the NBA and its idiocy of a soft salary cap has been of benefit to the game. Not unlike the idiocy within baseball (MLB) , where Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred are still mired with their own hierarchical ineptitude . It begs the question, which idiotic fans of professional basketball actually has a clue as to what happened with regard to the economic vagaries of the NBA . Last season the Philadelphia Sixers’ willingly ” tanked “ the final quarter of their schedule , all with the hope gaining a lottery pick from the NBA Draft . Sixers’ owner Joshua Harris has given cart-blanche to ruin the franchise while fans think nothing of the destruction now taking place . Win-less and off to an 0-7 start , there seems to be clear evidence that this team cannot win a game no , matter who the opponent just happens to be .

Sixers’ head coach Brett Brown and his coaching staff have been far from inspiration for this team . Nerlens Noel , Luc MBah a Moute , Jason Richardson , Tony Wroten and Michael Carter-Williams are simply not enough to lure anyone to see the Sixers play . It is pretty much safe to say this season beyond being viewed as an eyesore is far from being desirable for the NBA . Yet , there you have it , with the league hierarchy unwilling to intervene when an organization shows an obvious unwillingness to compete . As to suggesting who the best player on the Sixers’ roster might be , well given what you might see as desirable , I would leave that choice in your hands ! Michael Carter-Williams having been a Rookie of the Year might just be the lone asset on this team .

Two consecutive losses for a combined eighty-five points defines mediocrity in the NBA. Philadelphia’s next game will be on the road when they face the Houston Rockets led by e James Harden and .Dwight Howard . The contest will be a decidedly lopsided affair favoring the home team.. Make no bones about it , the NBA remains a brand is in need of some real coaching talent beyond Gregg Popovich , Erik Spoelstra, Rick Carlisle and Doc Rivers .

Denver Nuggets’ (1-6) head coach Brian Shaw was overlooked when he sought to succeed Phil Jackson as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers . The Nuggets’ record this season reflects how bad this team just happen to be . In the Nuggets’ most recent game the team gave up eighty-four points in the first half of a contest against the Portland Trailblazers . Blazers’ players Damian Lillard , LaMarcus Aldridge and their teammates had a field-day in wiping the court with the Nuggets in their twenty-three point victory over their divisional rivals .

Beyond Kenneth Faried , Ty Lawson and JJ Hickson , there is absolutely nothing to suggest the Nuggets are capable of competing in the NBA . Team owner Stanley Kroenke and GM Tim Connelly have not shown the acumen to suggest they have the best interests of the fans let alone the league , but yet consumers are asked to tolerate this type of ineptitude not just from the Denver Nuggets, but with several teams around the league . Some fans are willing to show their apathy and ignorance by simply pointing to teams who are winning and not the dire consequences which . take place when the franchises are far from being competitive .

When the Nuggets face the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse , in Indianapolis , Indiana the meeting between these two teams should prove to be an caution as to the meaning of ineptitude based on the play of the two clubs this season.

Adam Silver the successor to David Stern as NBA Commissioner, seeks to spread his global brand and professional basketball remains the most popular sports’ brand North America has exported around the globe , far exceeding the reach of MLB , NFL and NHL . Silver has been engaging, while offering little to suggest he is the right person to be leading the NBA. As an executive he has been quick to point out that he believes the federal government should legalize gambling on all professional sports nationwide with their being tight restrictions , due diligence and oversight for the proposed statute. Given the lobbying presence of the hierarchy (NBA) up on Capitol Hill , is anyone actually surprised by Silver’s comments on the issue ? Sorry , but the commissioner is now creating a conflict of interest for his sport because , there are likely to be serious ramifications and misgivings should there be the slightest slightest impropriety within the game by a player coach or executive seeking to decide the outcome of a game by giving a less than forthright effort.

Granted, given the lax play at this point of the season , might I suggest , things might well have gotten off to the start neither Silver the league and the world of sports? College sports specifically football and basketball are aware of the problems encompassing their respective sports and it would be fair to suggest the monitoring by the NCAA under the leadership of Mark Emmert has been less than adequate. Yet , these are some of the issues likely to be faced by the NBA and Adam Silver , has not suggested if the league will seek to monitor the wagering , lines offered on the games and the final results. All well and good in the commissioner’s eyes , but once Pandora’s Box has been opened , the chances of it being closed will be remote .

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At this point last season the NBA was still in its infancy but then too., there were signs the league would be in for long and arduous year of rather mediocre play . What if anything has been the most disappointing aspect of the league this year ? By all means simply leave a comment as you see fit on on this and anything else you believe relevant to this article.

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(1) New York Knicks’ front office executives from left to right owner James Dolan, Phil Jackson SVP & Head of Basketball Operations and GM Steve Mills . The team is off to a bad start and hindering their chances within the division and Eastern Conference. Derek Fisher and his coaching staff struggled to find any form of consistency from the playing staff this season . AP Photo / Barry Gill …

(2) Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls has been limited in his play this season through eight games , having only appeared in four contests for the team at this point of the season. Head coach Tom Thibodeau may well seek lessen the minutes for the point guard over the next month as he seeks to regain full fitness . Bulls’ general John Paxson may add his input advising Thibodeau because of the franchise’s immediate and long-term investment in the player . Getty Images/NBAE/ Clark Jones …

(3) Head coach Brett Brown center is seen here with members of the Philadelphia 76ers’ coaching staff and players . The teams remain win-less and struggling to make leeway this season. Team owner Josh Harris has shown few signs that he seeks for the Sixers to be competitive over the course of this season, much to the dismay of their fans and several former players including Allen Iverson , who has been critical of the organization. AP Photo / Marcus Shaw ….

(4) Denver Nuggets’ head coach Brian Shaw and the team’s point guard Ty Lawson are seen here on the sidelines during a game . The Nuggets are far from being competitive this season and the fans are now voicing their displeasure with the team and play of the Nuggets. AP Photo / Bob Foster ..

(5) Josh Kroenke left , is seen here alongside his father Stanley Kroenke of the Denver Nuggets . The two are senior executives within organization . The elder Kroenke is also the owner the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche as well as Premierleague soccer team Arsenal . Getty Images / Tim Johnson …

(6) (6) Adam Silver commissioner of the NBA has issued the statement he would like to see legalized wagering for all professional sports, as well as at the collegiate level . Silver believes it would be of great benefit to the NBA but in his comments he made has stated little of how he believes the federal government can mandate a statute covering legalized gaming . The NBA has offered very little , by way their team owners, general managers or the players, . leading many to believe this whole scenario was not thoroughly well thought out . Clearly, Silver since being elected commissioner of the NBA , has sought to stamp his authority , identity on the league and creating the type of dialog that places him front and center of what is likely be a controversial debate . Getty Images / Harry How …

(7) Allen Iverson whose retirement from the NBA after a distinguished career winning a League MVP Award and multiple All Star appearances and litany of franchise records for the Sixers . Iverson has been extremely critical of his former team , management and the front office staff concerning their lack of competitive spirit. AP Photo / Matthew Miller … ….

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The grass is not always greener on the other side …..

The grass is not always greener on the other side …..

If there is one thing I know, then it is when someone is blowing smoke to create the perception that everything is OK , more to the point, blowing it up my ass ! Clearly , that has been the point concerning the antics of the Philadelphia 76ers and the ownership group led by venture capitalist Joshua Harris , who also just happens to be the owner of the NHL’s , New Jersey Devils . As many of you might now be aware, the Sixers’ equaled a league record , in reeling off twenty-six consecutive losses , which just happens to be franchise and league record. An ignominious feat for a once proud franchise , that produced such great players as Wilt Chamberlain , Julius Erving , Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson .

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Inasmuch , as with each season , the common thought is that all of the NBA’s teams are in with an equal chance of making the postseason , in reality, with only eight berths up grabs within each conference, the chance of being amongst those contenders is not assured as some might think. The level of competition also , in particular within the Eastern Conference , where the Philadelphia 76ers are domiciled, , has been a boon to the game of basketball , that is in a dire state of disrepair.

Coming into the season, the Sixers had a threadbare team with very little experience on the roster , beyond that of Thaddeus Young , James Anderson , Byron Mullens and Jason Richardson . Then throw in the fact that head coach Brett Brown is a rookie coach , along with a very inexperienced roster of coaching assistants and you simply have a natural recipe for a ready-made disaster.

Joshua Harris , who made his considerable wealth as venture capitalist , founding the firm , Apollo Global Management , where risks are taken , with start-up companies or the way he seeks to buyout under-performing companies and then either seeks to turn them around , break or split them up , selling off discarded pieces , or where possible , seeking to use such deals to enable a tax write-off and an inevitable gain for the company. If, this is Harris’ intent, with regard to the Sixers’ franchise without making the die-hard fans aware of his intent. Then, he is certainly going about the right way in alienating those loyal fans , as well as, creating an atmosphere and discontent amongst the fan base and thereby bringing about a great deal of unrest . .

It is certainly hard to envisage, how anyone can take any positives out of a season, where a team with a 16-57 record within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference , can be seen as a competitive franchise. There has been absolutely no leadership from the seasoned veterans on the roster and even with the somewhat refreshing play of Michael Carter-Williams and to a lesser extent Nerlens Noel , there are no signs that the Sixers will be viewed as competitive force. Rookie head coach, Brett Brown , was thrown in at the deep end along with an equally inexperienced coaching staff , that was meant to assist with regard to this season. I may well be mistaken, but there also seems to be a great deal of stupidity amongst some fans, who see the travails of the 76ers as a way to aid them in the future , especially as far as attaining a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Granted , with the NCAA Tournament still ongoing , but with a number of players now declaring their eligibility , the varying consensus would appear to be that beyond Jabari Parker , Andrew Wiggins , Shabazz Napier , Doug McDermott and should he declare his eligibility , Scottie Wilbekin of the Florida Gators , whom, if he leads the program to their third national title in the last ten years , he is likely to be the most sought after player in this draft.

Sixers’ GM Stan Hinkie has not seen fit to give any type of explanation, as to his decisions as it relates to the player personnel moves , since he assumed his position , but given his relative inexperience , I cannot see how anyone can believe, that because he is prepared to gamble on a sense and premise, that the team is likely to get blue-chip player from this lottery , it well set the franchise on the right path. Someone should remind him, the coaching staff over this past season, has shown little , if any type of coaching ingenuity and for that, a great deal of the blame has to be placed upon the general manager’s naïve and conceited shoulders.

Coming off a moral boosting twenty-five points win over the equally abysmal Detroit Pistons at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , on Saturday night, the Sixers’ next scheduled contest will be on Monday night , when they are the guests of the Atlanta Hawks at the Philips Arena in Atlanta , Georgia,. With a mere nine games left on their schedule, we should be able to tell a great deal about the mindset of the Philadelphia 76ers and not this idiocy of them being deemed a team, much less a credible NBA franchise. Nothing, about the way that they have conducted themselves would indicate that, and the lack of candor from the front office , is a clear indication of the continued disdain shown for the fans over the course of the season. Doubt my words, then look for any for an indication by or from either Joshua Harris or Stan Hinkie, as to their motives and then ask yourself why it is , that they have remained silent, while subjecting the fans to a monstrosity of a totally and noncommittal season from the playing staff and organization as a whole ?

I have always found it fascinating to listen to the idiocy of some , who try to give an explanation about their local teams , when they in actuality, have no damn idea, what they are said to be talking about . Case in point, here in the local Tampa Bay area sports’ market , the MLB franchise is a profitable one , but in large part that would not be the case , unless they were not propped up by the aid given, by way of the MLB tax revenue sharing scheme , but yet for some reason, the clueless fans and the local print and television media tend to spin the myth, that through the ingenuity shown by the franchise’s front office , that has been the case for a considerable period of time. Tends to be the way, when those seeking to proffer up the knowledge would rather not spend the time to use any due diligence in coming up with the correct information concerning the Tampa Bay Rays’ financial means and stability.

This season for the Rays will be , make or break, because one more season of missed opportunities and in all likelihood , GM Andrew Friedman will have to gut the roster once again , as a face-saving exercise. It becomes the same old story , season in and season out , concerning the Rays and there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel at all , and that also pertains to the ongoing saga of the franchise’s stadium issue. This may well be the last year in which Bud Selig remains the MLB Commissioner and the idiotic article written by USA Today’s …. Christine Brennan , praising the league’s highest-ranking executive , paints a picture of someone, who at every turn, has been able to handle any problem , that the league has faced with a great deal of intellect and ingenuity . Now, I was not expecting a hatchet job to be done on the commissioner , but at the same time , the article on Selig, was simply not objective enough , nor did it seek to show his flaws or the numerous miscues, that he has made during his tenure . Unfortunately, this is now the price one has to pay, if you take the print media seriously , as they still believe themselves to be paragons of virtue , while seeking out the truth. To my mind , that is simply a crock of bull#hit , with this article by Brennan having as much merit to it , as a piece of plagiarism written by the infamous Jayson Blair !

The Glazer family, it can be said, in owning two professional sports’ franchises, may well have had one of their worst years on record , One of the franchises owned , the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , simply stunk up the joint within the NFL and once again their less than intelligent fans , were making excuses as to the woes of the team , when it was simply clear for all to see that head coach Greg Schiano lacked even less discipline than his entire playing roster. So much so , that at varying points during the Buccaneers’ season , you had to wonder which of the two entities were said to be the more incompetent. Was it the players on the field of play or Schiano and his entire coaching staff ?

A 4-12 season, has a way of bringing an organization back down to earth and giving you a clear indication of who and what they are and that was clearly the case with the Buccaneers . The franchise entered the off-season , dismissing Greg Schiano and not extending the contract of GM Mark Dominik . Replacing the former head coach is a face well-known to Buccaneers’ fans with Lovie Smith now succeeding his predecessor and Jason Licht brought in to head the front office as the new general manager. Smith and Licht, have been quick to start their era with some bold moves with regard to players they thought to be superfluous to the team’s needs, as they seek to get under salary cap and in preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft . Where the Buccaneers now go from here, will come down to the decisions made by the new head coach and that of the general manager, with Glazer family finally being aware and in tow with what is actually going on around them, not that they were over the course of the entire NFL season .

Joel Glazer , alongside siblings Avram , Edward and Bryan Glazer , have been entrusted by patriarch Malcolm Glazer to exercise due diligence in the running of English Premiership League (EPL) soccer team Manchester United and to ensure that the continued success of the soccer club is ongoing . With the stepping down of soccer’s most successful manager in Alex Ferguson , who as manager of the soccer club won just about every domestic trophy possible in English domestic soccer, as well as most prized trophy in club soccer, the UEFA Champions League Trophy . Ferguson’s successor, David Moyes , was thought to be the person best suited to succeed the most successful manager in English soccer history.

One of the issues that was never addressed and should have been by the board of directors of Manchester United, was to have allowed Ferguson some latitude , but not be totally reliant upon his counsel as to who his successor should have been . Unfortunately, with success comes power and Alex Ferguson was able to wield a great deal of it , even after having stepped down as the manager . At the same time , fearful of the fact, that fans still remained entirely unhappy in the way the family was able to purchase the club for almost $2 billion, without having to use any of their own money, but instead , using the club as collateral , they leveraged team and its assets, therein increasing its debt, while being given access to some $300 million in liquid assets (cash) , which was never used at the time, to bolster the team’s roster. Such were the vagaries of the takeover in which the existing shareholders walked away entirely happy cash-rich and several major financial institutions were now left to ponder , the next move of the Glazer family, as the owners of soccer’s most famous club in the world . They held the debt, but the club had now become Joel and Avram Glazer’s own personal bauble to do with as they pleased , within certain parameters off-course .

Nine years after the team’s purchase by the Glazer family in 2005 , and here we are , now in 2014 and all of the success attained in between then and now , will be for nothing, in terms of a domestic league title . The team fell by the wayside in the FA Cup , fell apart in the League Cup (Carling) and they are languishing , completely out of contention for the Premiership title , which guarantees qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League and the lucrative cash windfall that comes out of that particular European club competition .

The only saving grace for David Moyes at present, just happens to be the fact that he has led the team to the quarter-finals of this season’s UEFA Champions League competition where the team has been drawn against Bayern Munich of Germany, and where the first-leg of the two game aggregate contest, will be on the 1st April , 2014 being played at Old Trafford in Manchester, England , Anything short of a victory and the ire of the fans will continue, as there are already calls for Moyes’ dismissal, after his failure in each of the domestic competitions in England. With those mountings calls of discontent from the game’s most passionate fans , have come for the call for the Glazer family to actually sell the team , rather than their continued incompetence at various levels within the organization, from the boardroom on down. From the very beginning , it was very clear, that when the team was bought, Malcolm Glazer was truly out of his depth and the alleged acumen that his sons are said to have, in running a commercial concern , was not evident when it came to running this particular soccer team.

All of the familial incompetency had already been on show, as it related their continued idiocy, when it came to the Buccaneers and it was simply transferred across the Atlantic , where it was continued., , concerning how they sought to change the inner workings of Manchester United which was already successful, even profitable , and valuable concern . Leveraging the club and placing it with so much debt and then having to twice renegotiate with the financiers , again shows that Joel Glazer’s business acumen is not as astute as was first being claimed by a multitude of individuals within the Bay area and within the NFL fraternity. United has managed to lessen its debt obligation , but it may well be in for something of a scramble , if it is not able to fully meet the criteria set by UEFA for the 2015 season, wherein, teams qualifying their sanctioned competitions cannot carry debt totaling more thirty per-cent of their book value. Get the feeling the Glazers are not as smart, as some claim them to be?

In recent weeks there have rumors, highlighting even more discontent concerning malaise within the Manchester United organization , with evidence that former player David Beckham and several of his teammates from the 1992 side will lead a consortium backed by a wealthy Arab family providing the financing for the takeover of United , with Beckham , Ryan Giggs , Gary and Phil Neville fronting the consortium, with each of the players holding a stake in the team.

David Beckham , however, in partnership with business partner and manager, Simon Fuller and billionaire Mauricio Claure are busy in trying to get an MLS franchise off the ground in Miami in time for the 2017 season , but first, an agreement must be hammered out with regard to the building of a 40,000 seat venue in the downtown Miami area, with negotiations set to begin with the city of Miami. The blight that has already hit the city economically and they have yet to learn anything from their stupidity, in acquiescing to the whims of Bud Selig and Miami Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria in building the Miami Marlins’ Ballpark that has yet to be filled to capacity for a ball-game ever since its opening during the 2012 MLB season . Beckham and his partners, may well fare a great deal better, than Loria , given the demographics within the greater Miami area and the passion for soccer. On the flip side of the coin, baseball struggles to attract fans within the state of Florida, amongst the two professional Major League franchises and barely have decent attendances for their home games during the regular season. Spring Training is one thing, but during the regular season, one would expect a great deal more out of the fans of the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays, rather than the continued excuses.

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Are you of the belief, that the actions of Philadelphia 76ers’ owner Joshua Harris can be justified even when there is no actual guarantee of future success based on his apparent intent ? Also given the lack of success by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 2003 , where do you believe that the blame lies for their failure, subsequent to that Superbowl triumph ? Out of their depth or not, should the Glazers now look for a buyer of their soccer team , where in all likelihood they would be able to sell Manchester United and make a tidy profit after sundry expenses ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always, for your continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) PHILADELPHIA – MAY 14 : Managing Owner Josh Harris ,left, of the Philadelphia 76ers introduces Sam Hinkie as President of Basketball Operations and General Manager during a press conference on May 14, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Copyright 2013 NBAE — Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images …

(2) An emotional Allen Iverson addresses the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , on the night that his number three jersey was retired by the franchise . Iverson began his career with the franchise having been drafted out of Georgetown University by the 76ers as the number one overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft . AP Photo / Denny Rogers …..

(3) Sixers’ teammates Nerlens Noel, left , seen here with Michael Carter-Williams , are seen as two of the main pieces that GM Sam Hinkie would like to build a team around . Both players have been moderately successful on what has been a thoroughly disappointing season , for the franchise which sees them languishing at the bottom of their division , as well having the ignominy of equaling a league record for mediocrity having lost twenty-six consecutive games during their regular season schedule. For rookie head coach , Brett Brown and his staff , it truly has been a difficult year, with very little progress being made on-court. USA Today/ Eric Hartline …..

(4) Avram, Bryan and Joel Glazer, pictured at Old Trafford in 2008, say they are not interested in selling Manchester United. However, if the rumors are to be believed the family are prepared to relinquish their ties to Manchester United if the right offer is made , that figure is thought to be in excess of $ 3.75 billion . Photograph: Mike Egerton/Empics Sport/PA …

(5) Newly installed Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach Lovie Smith ,left is seen here with GM Jason Licht after the two were introduced to the convened press , with both replacing dismissed former employees Greg Schiano, Smith’s predecessor and Mark Dominik , who prior had been the Buccaneers’ former general manager. After a 4-12 season , Smith will seek to resurrect the fortunes of the NFC South based franchise , which has not made the postseason since 2007. During the off-season both the head coach and general manager have already began to make moves with the discarding of Darrelle Revis who has since been signed by the New England Patriots . It has but one of several moves engineered to make the team more cap friendly as they also prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft . AP Photo / Mike Patterson ….

(6) Former managerial adversaries , but now both on the same side. Seen here are Sir Alex Ferguson , left, himself the most successful manager in British soccer history , having won major trophies with SPL team Aberdeen before becoming the manager of Manchester United and leading the club to the most successful era in their history , winning in excess of thirty major trophies . Ferguson stepped down from his position , but not before his own personal recommendation to the Board of Directors that his successor should be David Moyes , pictured here . An indifferent season for Manchester United sees them languishing currently in seventh place in the English Premiership League (EPL) some seventeen points behind league leaders Liverpool FC (71 pts) with only six games remaining to their regular season schedule . The lone trophy that the team is now contention for , remains the UEFA Champions League , where they meet Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga in the first leg of a two-leg quarter-final , where the winner advances to the semi-finals of the most important European club competition . Getty Images Europe/ Arthur James ….

(7) Bolivian billionaire , Marcelo Claure and founder & CEO of Brightstar is seen here with soccer star David Beckham at a Miami Heat game at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida ., The two have partnered up entertainment mogul Simon Fuller , creator of American Idol and CEO of XIX Entertainment the holding company for Fuller’s business properties . The trio bid an astonishingly low asking price of $50 million for the MLS Miami franchise which is due to become operational during the 2017 season . Don Garber , MLS Chairman , who was pressed on the issue as to why the rights’ fee for the franchise, was so considerably low , when the New York franchisee was asked to pay in excess of $125 million , stated that as part of Beckham’s original contract, when he joined the MLS as a player with the Los (LA) Angeles Galaxy , wherein, a codicil was added to his contract giving him the right to operate a franchise with a predetermined fee . The consortium is now in discussion with the city of Miami with regard to the building of a 40,000 seat venue in the downtown Miami area but there also signs that the consortium would be open to site close to the Port of Miami close to the current home of Miami Heat , NBA franchise . Miami Herald / Jose Garcia ………

(8) Former teammates and close friends , David Beckham is seen here with Ryan Giggs. The duo tasted unprecedented success as players with Manchester United having won every domestic trophy together as players and then triumphed also when club won the UEFA Champions League Trophy for the first time since it was one for the first time under the late Sir Matt Busby as the Champions League precursor (European Cup) in 1968. The two are rumored to be part of a consortium made of up several members of the 1992 Manchester United team that are said to be interested in purchasing the soccer club , in which they would be backed by wealthy Arab family , whose name has yet to be disclosed . Weary of his name being attached this deal , David Beckham has neither confirmed or denied that such a proposal , as having been discussed . Yet , unconfirmed sources , have stated that Giggs and his friend, have repeatedly discussed the situation in the past several months , with now a number of teammates coming on-board , to be part of such a deal . At the same time, a number of major English newspapers are now headlining many of their back page,s with the assertion that beleaguered manager David Moyes is likely to be fired at the end of the season campaign, based on his failure during the domestic season , notwithstanding the fact of his guiding United to the quarter-final stages of the UEFA Champions League. Speculation has continued to rise that, Ryan Giggs would be the suitable successor to Moyes , having played his entire twenty-year career with the team, where he is well-respected by current teammates and beloved by the fans at Old Trafford , home ground of the Premiership’s most widely respected team. Guardian UK / Ian Ogletree ………..

(9) Simon Fuller , left, is seen here with close friend , business partner David Beckham and his wife Victoria ‘Posh Spice’ Beckham , singer and fashion designer . Fuller also happens to be the manager of both celebrities , advising them on a wide variety of issues , as it relates to their respective images and ongoing careers. Getty Images / Alicia Markham …

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Manchester United Premiership position , in seventh place with 54 points having played thirty-two of their scheduled thirty-eight games .

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The Real Season In The NBA Starts Now ….Because It’s Christmas And David Stern Is Santa Clause …. ?

Well if you had any doubts that the NBA season is underway, then look no further than the play of the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic , Cleveland Cavaliers , Los Angeles Lakers , Portland Trailblazers, Denver Nuggets, and the Atlanta Hawks. And perhaps the most surprising of these teams mentioned may well be the Atlanta Hawks.

Minneapolis , Minn,. December 22nd 2009. Josh Smith (#5) of the Atlanta Hawks rises to the basket against Kevin Love (#42) of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game on December 22, 2009 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ David Sherman ...... copyrighted material @ All rights reserved ...
Minneapolis , Minn,. December 22nd 2009. Josh Smith (#5) of the Atlanta Hawks rises to the basket against Kevin Love (#42) of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game on December 22, 2009 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ David Sherman ...... copyrighted material @ All rights reserved ...

The Eastern Conference Hawks have been playing some exemplary and an exciting brand of basketball. So much so, that one has to say that they’ve got to be looked at as the ‘surprise team’ within the NBA at present. And for Commissioner, David Stern ,this has got to be pleasing not only for him , but the NBA hierarchy and most of all the fans in general around the NBA. Without the usual up and comers shall we say , we’d still be looking at the usual suspects around the league for our entertainment. Granted , we’re also witnessing the privilege of seeing the mediocrity of the New Jersey Nets. And one sincerely hopes that their alarming slide into banality doesn’t continue throughout the remainder of the season ? If so, then their long suffering fans may well have to look elsewhere for entertainment in terms of the hardcourt game. And let’s put it this way the entertainment they seek , won’t be coming from the New York Knicks, either ! This Mike D’Antoni coached team gives a new meaning to the word putrid, in terms of their overall play. And what’s even more alarming is that there appears to be no effort forthcoming from the team.

East Rutherford , NJ,. December 19th, 2009. Kobe Bryant (#24) of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against Josh Boone (#2) of the New Jersey Nets on December 19, 2009 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ Gett Images/ Nathaniel  S. Butler .........
East Rutherford , NJ,. December 19th, 2009. Kobe Bryant (#24) of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against Josh Boone (#2) of the New Jersey Nets on December 19, 2009 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ Gett Images/ Nathaniel S. Butler .........

We know that the game’s major stars in the guise of Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Brandon Roy will be looking to hold sway over the league with their play. But it’d be remiss not to mention some of the rookies in the league who’ve started off strong. The Milwaukee Bucks’ Brandon Jennings has shown that he’s a star on the rise. And though he’s no longer a rookie the play of the Oklahoma Thunder’s Kevin Durant has made everyone sit up and take note of this ‘one man wrecking crew’. It seems that on any given night when his game is on , then Durant comes out to lay waste to the opposition by running them ragged with his offensive weaponry. Never mind the fact that he’s making the scoreboard register numbers faster than the women who are coming out of the woodwork to lay claim that they’ve been bedded by Tiger Woods.

Milwaukee Bucks' Brandon Jennings, front, backs down Indiana Pacers' Tyler Hansbrough during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, Dec. 21, 2009. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Michael Conroy ......
Milwaukee Bucks' Brandon Jennings, front, backs down Indiana Pacers' Tyler Hansbrough during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, Dec. 21, 2009. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Michael Conroy ......

There are number of teams that are on the decline due to a number of factors. A lack of coaching , inexperienced or an aging roster and then some could also say that there might be something of mindset with the lack of a will to win. And at present those traits seem to sum up the Detroit Pistons. The loss of Rasheed Wallace to the Celtics and the return of a ‘prodigal son’ in, Ben Wallace , seems to have not made a change for the better. If anything the team is struggling to show some semblance of competitiveness. And for team coach, John Kuester and General Manager, Joe Dumars this is something of anathema and a dilemma. The acquiring of Allen Iverson backfired with the team trading Chauncey Billups in exchange for the seasoned veteran. But the turmoil that followed, in essence summed up how far the team has fallen. Then coach, Michael Curry couldn’t instill what he wanted out of the players and nor did they reciprocate with their best efforts in return. It certainly then didn’t help that there was a degree of acrimony being built up between Iverson and Curry- and also between Iverson and Dumars. It would all lead to the abrupt firing of Curry and Iverson being allowed to leave the team as a free agent.

Charlotte, NC.,HARLOTTE,  Will Bynum (#12) of the Detroit Pistons guards against D.J. Augustin (#14) of the Charlotte Bobcats on December 22, 2009 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.  picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Kent Smith ..............
Charlotte, NC.,HARLOTTE, Will Bynum (#12) of the Detroit Pistons guards against D.J. Augustin (#14) of the Charlotte Bobcats on December 22, 2009 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Kent Smith ..............

Allen Iverson’s sojourn with the Memphis Grizzlies was short lived. And he has returned to where his NBA professional career started, in the city of ‘Brotherly Love’ with the Philadelphia 76ers. His presence there, though welcomed with opened arms, it will take a great deal of more than a love-fest between the two parties for Iverson for to prove that he’s still capable to contributing to a team, not just as a player with offensive presence but also to prove himself as a team leader with veteran presence. That if anything will be the legacy now for Iverson at this stage of his career. He’s at the twilight of it and one seriously doubts if the 76ers has what it takes to be even viewed as a legitimate contender for postseason honors , much less as a contender within the Eastern Conference. At best they may well no more than a fifth or sixth seed out of the conference, when it’s all said and done.

Memphis , Tn ,. December 20th , 2009. Carmelo Anthony (#15) of the Denver Nuggets hugs Rudy Gay (#22) of the Memphis Grizzlies after losing to the Memphis Grizzlies  at FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee.  picture appears courtesy of NBAE / Getty Images/ Joe Murphy ..............
Memphis , Tn ,. December 20th , 2009. Carmelo Anthony (#15) of the Denver Nuggets hugs Rudy Gay (#22) of the Memphis Grizzlies after losing to the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee. picture appears courtesy of NBAE / Getty Images/ Joe Murphy ..............

While there’s a great deal to be said for the talent in the Eastern Conference . It is their counterpart in the Western Conference where ‘the show’ is said to take place. The eight best teams in the conference record wise , all have an above .500 record. Whereas , in the Eastern Conference ony five of the top eight teams even have an above .500 record. The quality and the talent is in the West but in the East there the game is greatly predicated on defense. In the West that’s not always the case. Though you’d be hard pressed to believe when hearing many of the fans there speak about how their teams are defensively. Say it ain’t so ?

Now as we may wile away our time opining on our teams. We ought to remember that the season has essentially started as of now. What little we’ve seen of the teams, has been for them to start to fine tune their games for the onslaught of the next six arduous months of traveling and playing. For some teams their season is already essentially over . No disrespect to the Nets, Warriors , Timberwolves , Knicks and Sixers. Don’t call us but we’ll call you if the NBA is in need of your services for the postseason.

Los Angeles, California ,.  Kevin Durant (#35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks against Andrew Bynum (#17) of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  picture appears courtesy  of NBAE/Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein .............
Los Angeles, California ,. Kevin Durant (#35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks against Andrew Bynum (#17) of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein .............

It has to be said that this season is one filled with a great deal if intrigue as there are so many plot lines ,suspense and theater to be had. Will LeBron James with Shaquille O’Neal in tow be able to lead the Cavaliers to a title ? This may well be his last shot at one with the organization. Can the Celtics regain their composure and acquire another title with Kevin Garnett leading the charge ? Or will we see Dwight Howard finally live up to that leadership role with the Magic, instead of the asinine portrayal of Superman ? The thing is, it wasn’t Kryptonite that led to Howard imploding in last season’s NBA Finals against the Lakers. It was his sheer arrogance and naivete’ that led to his and the team’s downfall.

For the Los Angeles Lakers and their influential coach Phil Jackson, this season and NBA championship is theirs to lose. As the presumptive favorites to win it all again this season. It’ll be down to the calming influence of Jackson and the mercurial skills and leadership of Kobe Bryant take to this once again to the ‘promised land’. And one would hope that Bryant’s new teammate, Ron Artest, can above all, keep a level head on his shoulders ? As it is, he’s already proving that his basketball mind is great but anything beyond that intellectually and he’s like a fish out of water.

Commissioner , David Stern sits down with noted columnist and tv sports personality Michael Wilbon. Stern discusses the economics of the NBA.

Plot lines , stocking stuffers , call it what you will. Because ‘Santa Claus Stern’ wants you to enjoy this festive season surrounding the NBA and up to the season’s finale. After all, it is the least he’s asking of you , or is it ? Have fun this NBA season and hopefully your team will do well !

NB: To view the NBA Conference standings click here….

General allround NBA stats click here .

NB: You can also find this post within http://thebasketballoracle.com under the same title The Real Season In The NBA Starts Now ….Because It’s Christmas And David Stern Is Santa Clause …. ?

They Say You Can Never Go Back Home …… Well AI Is Back Where It All Started

Well, for the NBA’s, Allen Iverson, there seems to be ‘no place like home’. Much like with Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz, Iverson is making his own personal journey in the form of his return to the Philadelphia 76ers. As to what this bodes for the rest of the season for the franchise and the player. One can only speculate. But it’s clear to see that this was a last ditch effort by the player to find a place to play out what may very well be his last days in the NBA.

Well, for the NBA’s, Allen Iverson, there seems to be ‘no place like home’. Much like with Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz, Iverson is making his own personal journey in the form of his return to the Philadelphia 76ers. As to what this bodes for the rest of the season for the franchise and the player. One can only speculate. But it’s clear to see that this was a last ditch effort by the player to find a place to play out what may very well be his last days in the NBA.

Iverson makes his views known on ‘practice’ ? Yes we’s talkin’ ’bout practice !

The ‘prodigal son’ has returned and it appears that all might well have been forgiven. The player’s woes of late have been well chronicled , from his inability to play as a teammate with the Denver Nuggets. An experiment that I might add, was doomed before it even started ! His brief tenure with the Detroit Pistons and the very fact that he and the organization could not see ‘eye to eye’. And then there was the sideshow there in Memphis, with the Memphis Grizzlies. One minute he’s being viewed as perhaps the franchise’s savior , the next he makes himself feel about as welcomed as a child molester would be on the first day of his incarceration in prison. Suffice to say, that the Grizzlies’ front office were at a loss with regard to Iverson’s demeanor. The team’s coach, Lionel Hollins, the general manager,Chris Wallace, and the team owner, Michael Heisley , went out of their way to welcome him with opens arms , when they signed him as a free agent. In the blink of an eye , Iverson ‘wanted out’ of Memphis and just about anything to do with the team.

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Final Answer: Iverson back with 76ers

By Dan Gelston, AP Sports Writer

PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Allen Iverson’s first stint with the Philadelphia 76ers ended with the team yanking his nameplate off his locker and editing him out of video highlights before he was even traded.

The Sixers might want to find him a new locker and cue up some clips. Philly fans, pull out that No. 3 jersey from the closet. A.I. is a Sixer again.

In a move that appeared farfetched after their acrimonious split in 2006, the 76ers reunited with the briefly retired Iverson on Wednesday in a move designed to spike sagging attendance and fill in for the injured Lou Williams.

Coach Eddie Jordan said Iverson will likely start and stay the entire season.

“I told him I would like for him to start, and that’s where it sort of ended,” Jordan said. “And he was really like a kid at Christmas.”

Iverson will make his debut Monday night at home against Denver—one of three teams he’s called home since leaving Philly. The 10-time All-Star-turned-journeyman is determined to prove he still has something to offer in that No. 3 jersey.

He antagonized his coaches and opponents his first time around. Perhaps humbled, he signed after being reduced to a bench player in Denver and Memphis and forced to accept the veteran’s minimum salary to return to his NBA roots.

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For the time being , it’s hard trying to figure out what to make of this all. But with the apparent injury to the team’s point guard, Lou Williams and his impending loss for an indeterminate period of time. Coach,Eddie Jordan and the front office staff felt it an urgency, to bring the player in and gauge his interest in rejoining the team. Ed Stefanski, as the team President , General Manager and owner of the franchise, felt it to be a good idea. Albeit , that he indeed had some reservations as to how the fans may well have felt about the player returning to the franchise. But the advantages he felt far outweighed the negative aspect of it all.

In this April 12, 2006, file photo Philadelphia 76ers' Allen Iverson reacts during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball against the New Jersey Nets, in East Rutherford, N.J.  Philadelphia 76ers president Ed Stefanski announced Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009, on the team's Web site that Iverson will rejoining the 76ers. picture appears courtesy  of  AP/Photo/Bill Kostroun  ......
In this April 12, 2006, file photo Philadelphia 76ers' Allen Iverson reacts during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball against the New Jersey Nets, in East Rutherford, N.J. Philadelphia 76ers president Ed Stefanski announced Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009, on the team's Web site that Iverson will rejoining the 76ers. picture appears courtesy of AP/Photo/Bill Kostroun ......

With Iverson, having been formally signed by the team, they expect to make him to make his first appearance in the Sixers’ uniform on Monday. Then the team will formally reintroduce him as player back on their roster. And with the team’s record now at (5-13) within the Atlantic Division. The team now is looking up at the likes of the Boston Celtics (14-4), Toronto Raptors (7-12), beneath them the New York Knicks (4-14) and the woefully inept New Jersey Nets (0-17). The division itself , though not devoid of talent , might just be one of the weakest in all of the NBA, in terms of a real top flight team. Other than the Celtics and the somewhat inconsistent Raptors, there’s nothing there, that one would say is an entirely competitive team to watch. The Knicks remain an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum , even with Mike D’Antoni in tow as their coach. The Nets are proving that their problems are way beyond solving ,as of now. Much like the Middle East ‘peace process’ is at present, now. There’s no road map there to guide them. And by all accounts even with the aid of a compass and a map, Nets’ interim coach, Kiki Vanderweghe, will be hard pressed to lift this team off the scrap heap. Such are the vagaries of what we’re now seeing within the division.

If Iverson is to come and assist this team in being or providing some semblance of being competitive. Then , he’ll have to show that as the elder statesman on the roster, he’s prepared to show leadership skills and a great deal more maturity than he’s been showing as of late. Despite his fourteen years in the NBA, there’s still that ‘thug mentality’ and immaturity that’s still being shown by the player. The ‘baggage’ that he still continues to carry with him , despite his undoubted talents as a player will continue either drag him down, or that of an organization.

There’s no denying that Allen Iverson has the ‘heart of a lion’ and his willingness to compete is unlike any other. But what may well detract from his a player is his unwillingness to admit that he cannot do it all by himself and being prepared to put his trust in others and in particular those around him in the guise of his teammates. He’ll defer to others but only after he , himself feels that they’ll be prepared to reciprocate in a similar manner. And for the team at present , one has to look at the likes of Samuel Dalembert, Elton Brand, Marcus Speights,Andre Iguodala , Rodney Carney, Jason Kapono and Thaddeus Young, can get along with a player of Iverson’s demeanor. Far be it for me to suggest otherwise but at the first hint of dissent from Iverson. The last thing that the Sixers’ organization could withstand , would be to follow suit in that of their erstwhile predecessors, who had to deal with Iverson at his worst. No one man can be an island but Iverson gives you the very best impression of being Robinson Crusoe at times without his ‘man Friday’. If it’s not about him than mightn’t be about anyone else to begin with.

Who can fail to forget his classic rant about practice ? If that’s not an indication as to what Iverson has been about over a large part of his career. Then, the world of the NBA may well have been asleep when he was on his very best behavior. It’s always good to have someone back in your home because they made you feel at peace, and it was gladly reciprocated by that individual. For Allen Iverson, it’s not so much thought of ‘returning home’ but the fact he felt the need to be loved and wanted by someone. No matter who they may well have been. Luckily enough for the player, the entity who’s now showing him ‘the love’ , is in fact the first port of call at the start of his professional career. The organization may well feel that they owe Iverson, something. But in reality , it really is the other way around. Allen Iverson owes the Philadelphia 76ers ‘a debt of gratitude’ for taking him at the start of his career and now for welcoming back with open arms , as his career now winds down formally to its inevitable close.

NB: Philadelphia 76ers roster

NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB FROM YRS
42 Elton Brand F 6-9 254 03/11/1979 Duke 10
7 Primoz Brezec C 7-1 255 10/02/1979 Postojna, Slovenia 7
25 Rodney Carney G-F 6-7 205 04/05/1984 Memphis 3
1 Samuel Dalembert C 6-11 250 05/10/1981 Seton Hall 7
33 Willie Green G 6-3 201 07/28/1981 Detroit Mercy 6
11 Jrue Holiday G 6-4 180 06/12/1990 UCLA R
9 Andre Iguodala G-F 6-6 207 01/28/1984 Arizona 5
12 Royal Ivey G 6-4 215 12/20/1981 Texas 5
72 Jason Kapono F 6-8 215 02/04/1981 UCLA 6
14 Jason Smith F-C 7-0 240 03/02/1986 Colorado State 1
16 Marreese Speights F-C 6-10 245 08/04/1987 Florida 1
23 Louis Williams G 6-1 175 10/27/1986 South Gwinnett HS (Snellville, GA) 4
21 Thaddeus Young F 6-8 220 06/21/1988 Georgia Tech 2

HEAD COACH
Eddie Jordan (College – Rutgers)

ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH
Mike O’Koren (College – North Carolina)

ASSISTANT COACHES
Randy Ayers (College – Miami (OH))
Jim Lynam (College – Saint Joseph’s)
Aaron McKie (College – Temple)

ATHLETIC TRAINER
Kevin N. Johnson (College – Indiana State)

ASSISTANT TRAINER
Scott Faust (College – Alabama-Huntsville)

All Good Things Must Come To An End ……I Repeat All Good Things Must Come To An End !

It has to be extremely embarrassing for a player of Allen Iverson’s stature to hear a sound byte from New York Knicks’ general manager,Donnie Walsh state….’he’s not in our plans for the future because we’re comfortable with where we’re at.’ That either has to be a damning indictment of the player. Or merely that things for the (2-9) Knicks just aren’t going to get much better, even with Iverson in tow.

Iverson seen here playing  for the Memphis Grizzlies  in  an  NBA game   against the Los Angeles Lakers.  The player  asked to be  released   from  his contract with the  team  and  has   now  become  an unrestricted  free agent.  He had  hoped  to  sign  with the New York  Knicks.  But Knicks' general manager  , Donnie Walsh , didn't  see Iverson  as a  comfortable  fit  for the   team.  Much  to  the dismay of  the  Knicks' fans  who've  had very little  to cheer  about this season   from  a 2-9   team.   picture appears  courtesy  of   ap/phot/ Lori  Shepler  ...............
Iverson seen here playing for the Memphis Grizzlies in an NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The player asked to be released from his contract with the team and has now become an unrestricted free agent. He had hoped to sign with the New York Knicks. But Knicks' general manager , Donnie Walsh , didn't see Iverson as a comfortable fit for the team. Much to the dismay of the Knicks' fans who've had very little to cheer about this season from a 2-9 team. picture appears courtesy of ap/phot/ Lori Shepler ...............

With Iverson, having sought and finally obtaining his release from the Memphis Grizzlies. The player felt that his next step would be to ascertain the interest of the New York Knicks. One has to bear in mind that with the present form of the team. Any addition by subtraction, would probably be in their best interest. And no doubt the intuitive Donnie Walsh , while admiring the player’s gifts and qualities, knew that bringing in Iverson,would only add to the woes of an already beleaguered team.Never mind the fact that the team’s coach, Mike D’Antoni is still struggling to find his best quintet of players to place on the court,for any given period of time. And one thought that their struggles with the hapless Isiah Thomas as their previous coach, was pitiful ? Watch the Knicks now, and tell me if you actually think that they’ve improved one iota, under D’Antoni’s tutelage ?

Courtesy of New York Daily News


Fans cry foul as New York Knicks pass on Allen Iverson

By Matt Gagne Daily New Sports Writer

No one in in his wildest dreams thought Allen Iverson could have transformed the Knicks into a championship-caliber team, but fans were dealt another blow Friday when the struggling franchise passed on the free agent and former MVP.

“What do the Knicks have, two wins?” said Jose Valentine, 24, of Manhattan. “Iverson can win more games than that by himself. He has the heart to play, he loves the game.”

“It’s a bad move,” added Tim Coffey, 25, of Brooklyn. “They could have at least put people in the seats.”

The Knicks take a 2-9 record into Saturday’s basement-dwelling showdown with the Nets, who are a league-worst 0-12 and the only team trailing the Knicks in the Atlantic Division.

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And for Allen Iverson, this must be something of a come down to think that a player of his stature is longer wanted by an NBA franchise. Now all he can but do, is to sit on the sidelines and wait patiently to hear the phone ring from a potential team. He joins the likes of former Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks‘ swing-man Jerry Stackhouse on the sidelines,in seeking gainful employment in the NBA.It’s not so much that the NBA is bereft of talent. But it’s essentially that players, such as Iverson and Stackhouse are no longer viewed as players, who can still play meaningful minutes and still be productive for a team. And for both of these former NBA All Stars, time is most definitely not on their side, given their respective ages and recent health issues.

The big problem now for Allen Iverson , is that given his ego and temperament- will he now, not see that it is in some ways futile and somewhat embarrassing for him, to be seen to be begging for a roster spot on an NBA team. Here we have one of the NBA’s ‘best little men’ to have ever played the game, with multiple All Star appearances and scoring titles to his name, as well as a regular season, MVP award. And now he’s seen to begging like a homeless bum on the streets merely for the chance to play the game that he no doubt still loves.The unfortunate scenario here for Iverson, is that the love is no longer being reciprocated …. as the game ‘no longer loves him’. If it did,then he’d still be playing. But essentially, Iverson’s own actions and his wish to be seen as a starter got in the way of common sense. He’s no longer the player, he once was. And he’s under the mistaken impression that he still is that same player , with a ferocious heart and an unending will to win.

Now if you thought the dilemma that Allen Iverson now finds himself in,
is somewhat complex. Then consider the situation that the Houston Rockets find themselves in, concerning their guard, Tracy McGrady ? Here’s a player who’s essentially been missing in action for the better part of a season, and who chided and berated the team’s executives as well as management,while was injured. Never mind the fact that, having made the postseason without him, he still continued his tirade against the organization. He pointed to the fact that they couldn’t win without him, nor would they stand a chance of winning the NBA title. Way to go, McGrady, there’s nothing like showing not support for your teammates, when you’re taking pot-shots at the management and ownership.

Houston Rockets forward Tracy McGrady, right, speaks with Rockets forward Brian Cook on the bench as they play the Atlanta Hawks during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game at Philips Arena, Friday, Nov. 20, 2009, in Atlanta. The Hawks went on to win 105-103. The Rockets believe McGrady needs more time and would risk hurting his knee again if he comes back too soon.    picture appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Gregory  Smith  ..................
Houston Rockets forward Tracy McGrady, right, speaks with Rockets forward Brian Cook on the bench as they play the Atlanta Hawks during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game at Philips Arena, Friday, Nov. 20, 2009, in Atlanta. The Hawks went on to win 105-103. The Rockets believe McGrady needs more time and would risk hurting his knee again if he comes back too soon. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Gregory Smith ..................

McGrady, may well have felt aggrieved that this team was able to make the playoffs without. And the fact that they’d been able to do so, while also sustaining the loss of their All Star center, Yao Ming, shows you how successful this team actually were , in garnering a berth in the postseason without their two super-stars. Furthermore , it couldn’t have escaped McGrady, the fact that the Rockets’ fans had found a new fan favorite in Ron Artest, as well as rising star, Aaron Brooks.And not only that the Rockets were actually playing as a cohesive unit. Something of which wasn’t always the case when McGrady was on the court without the help of Yao Ming. To an extent, he’d matured as a player but there was still that selfish streak about him.Stats seem to matter more,than being a teammate.

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

McGrady wants to play, Rockets say no

By Paul Newberry, AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP)—Tracy McGrady(notes) is eager to play. The Houston Rockets say he’ll have to wait.

The seven-time All-Star had microfracture surgery on his left knee in February, but insisted that he’s fully recovered before Friday night’s game against the streaking Atlanta Hawks.

“Right now, I could play,” he said.

Not so fast. The Rockets believe McGrady needs more time and would risk hurting his knee again if he comes back too soon. The next step is an MRI on Monday.

“We have a difference of opinion,” coach Rick Adelman said. “He wants to play. He’s not ready to play. It’s as simple as that.”

Both sides denied a Yahoo! Sports report that the situation degenerated into a heated argument before the Rockets’ previous game at Minnesota. The report quoted a person close to McGrady who was not identified.

Yahoo! Sports stands by the story.

“I don’t know where that came from,” McGrady said. “We talked but it was nothing that was reported like that. I mean, screaming and all.”

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Over the course of his career there’s no denying that McGrady has been a gifted player. But what he lacked was really playing as part of a team, and the fact that he always felt it best that others deferred to him. He may well have been the best player , while was on the rosters of both the Toronto Raptors and the Orlando Magic.Though it’d be debatable in that regard, considering the Raptors’ roster at the time. But what Tracy McGrady seems to have forgotten is that….one man doesn’t make a team. That’s unless your name happens to be Michael ‘Jeffrey’ Jordan? And last I looked, Tracy McGrady is no Michael Jordan,not by the longest stretch of the imagination. In fact he’s not even good enough to sniff Jordan’s jockstrap ! Less we forget also, that while McGrady was on that Raptors’ roster,he was also playing alongside his cousin and teammate,Vince Carter.Now if memory serves me correctly, I seem to remember ‘Vince Sanity’ being the star on that team ? Do you remember that as well ?

Rockets coach, Rick Adelman, having met with McGrady and the teams’ general manager,Daryl Morey, over the last couple of days. He could not provide the player with any of the assurances that he sought, as to whether or not he was still a member of the organization. And it would be prudent to acknowledge the fact that McGrady is the highest paid player on the Rockets’ roster. He’s due in excess of $23 million for the 2009-10 NBA season. And on the face of it , it would be the financially prudent thing to do concerning the player, in letting him go, once the season is over.He’s become a mild but ever increasing irritant over the last couple of season, while at the same time he’s become susceptible to repeated and prolonged bouts of injuries, which’ve made him less and less a productive factor in the Rockets’ striving to be counted amongst the elite teams in the Western Conference and the rest of the NBA.

It’s counter-productive to keep a player on a roster when you’re not getting anything tangible from them in return. And this has been clearly the case with Tracy McGrady and the Houston Rockets. He may well feel that he has something to contribute to a team,any team. But at this stage of the game, unless he’s prepared to defer to others and also act like a teammate. Then, there won’t be any room for him at all, there in Houston !

Whether or not he’s prepared to accept something of a lesser role, remains to be seen. But clearly it appears that the player and the organization are at an impasse.

I’d certainly like to think that both Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady still have something left in the tank. And also that they can still play the game at an optimum level. But given both of these players’ demeanor and their predilection to self destruct and blame others for their malaise or mea-culpas. It may well now be time for them both to call it quits and step away from the game that they once graced, somewhat effortlessly. No one wants to remember a super-star behaving like a spoiled brat. But that’s essentially what we’re now seeing from Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady. Merely, because they can’t get their way and play the game of basketball. They seem to forget that there’s no I, in the word ‘team’ team and also that there’s no I, in the word ‘we’.

To my mind as they say ‘ all good things must come to an end’. It’s always best to walk away,quit while you’re ahead,with your head held high and your self esteem intact. Rather than being thrown out like an old unwanted pair of worn out shoes. Is that how they both want to be remembered at this juncture ? What do you think ?

Man Up And Act Like You’ve Got A Pair ………..

It never ceases to amaze me as to the narcissistic attitude of today’s athletes ! They in effect think that the world owes them something after they’ve graced us with their presence on the athletic stage. Case in point , it is being widely reported that Memphis Grizzlies’ guard Allen Iverson has taken a leave of absence from the team for personal reasons.

Four  time  NBA  scoring  champion Allen Iverson  seen  here alongside  team  coach   Lionel Hollins,  left, general manager Chris Wallace and  team  owner   Michael  Heisley   pictured   far  right.     picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Lance  Murphy ................

Four time NBA scoring champion Allen Iverson seen here alongside team coach, Lionel Hollins, left,general manager Chris Wallace and team owner, Michael Heisley , pictured far right. Iverson formally became a Memphis Grizzlies’ player, having just agreed to a two year contract with the team. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Lance Murphy …………

However, what should also be noted about this situation, was that the player had voiced his disapproval with the team in having to sit on the bench. Iverson , though had suffered an injury prior to signing with the team and they thought it best that he rehabilitate and recuperate before returning to active play for the team. The player felt he was fit enough and ready to contribute something to the franchise and to the team. Be that as it may, what Iverson shouldn’t forget is that this it is the team first and all else is secondary in nature in terms of attaining success for the organization. It’s certainly not about what he wants but what is best for the team. It’d appear that at present this is lost on Iverson and what he believes to best for him and not for the team.

Rudy Gay of  the  Memphis  Grizzlies goes  for the  layup against the  Los  Angeles  Clippers  in  a game   played at the  Staples Center  , Los Angeles  , California. Looking  on is  Gay's  teammate  Zach  Randolph.   The  Grizzlies  would  go on  to  lose  the  game  to the  Cippers  113-110  .  picture  appears   courtesy of  nbae/getty images/  Noah   Graham  .................

Rudy Gay (22) of the Memphis Grizzlies goes for the layup against the Los Angeles Clippers in a game played at the Staples Center , Los Angeles, California. Looking on is Gay’s teammate Zach Randolph (50). The Grizzlies would go on to lose the game to the Clippers 113-110 .
picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Noah Graham …..

And if not to make things worse the Memphis Grizzlies(1-6) are off to a horrendous start within the Southwest Division of the Western Conference of the NBA. And things are only liable to get worse for this young team that’s strong on youthful exuberance , talent and a zeal to play the game. What the roster is sorely lacking is that of veteran and vocal leadership. Much of that now falls to the Grizzlies’ coach, Lionel Hollins to coach and teach this team in all of the intricacies needed to be a success in the NBA– not just as a team but also as players. If he’s able to do that , then there might just be some semblance of success on the court. If not then there’s liable to be a great deal of angst and resentment among these players.

With the thought being that Iverson will be allowed to leave the team. I can’t help but wonder what the hierarchy of the Grizzlies’ organization were thinking to begin with. Much of what we now see unfolding , in large part started to foment with the way Iverson left the Detroit Pisitons. His relationship with then coach , Michael Curry, ended up being an icy one at best. And Iverson was even critical of the coach as well as the organization. And his criticism was also pointed at Pistons’ GM Joe Dumars. And in doing so, Iverson placed an irretrievable wedge between he and the organization. The fact that he wasn’t invited back by the team should give you an indication as to how icy the relationship had become between the two parties .

In essence it shouldn’t at all come as a surprise that Iverson has acted the way that he has. He probably still has a great deal of resentment as to the way he was treated by Michael Curry and the Pistons’ organization.And that seething resentment has now been built up and aimed at the Memphis Grizzlies. If as he says, Iverson wanted to be a teammate and contribute to the building of success within the Grizzlies’ organization. Then he certainly has a funny way of showing it. He has turned his back on his teammates as well as the entire Memphis Grizzlies’ fanbase as a whole. And these were the very same fans that welcomed him with open arms when the formal announcement had been made that he had signed with the team.

Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley, left, smiles at a comment made by the NBA basketball team's new coach, Lionel Hollins, center, during a news conference in Memphis, Tenn., Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009. At right is Chris Wallace, the team's general manager. picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Greg Campbell

Michael Heisley ,Grizzlies’ team owner smiles at a comment made by the NBA basketball team’s new coach, Lionel Hollis, center, during a news conference in Memphis, Tenn., Sunday 25th January 2009. At right is Chris Wallace , the team’s general manager. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo Greg Campbell ………

Memphis Grizzlies’ owner Michael Heisley appears to have left the door open for a return by the wayward star. Whether or not they need Iverson, more than he needs them. As it now appears to open to be open to a great deal of speculation, conjecture and debate. And since his departure from the team’s headquarters, Iverson hasn’t communicated with them direct . Nor has he formally given a statement to the media for that matter. Much like a poker player hoping to call someone’s bluff. Allen Iverson is closely keeping his cards close to his chest, before making a decision as to whether or not he’ll retire or make a return back to the fold within the Memphis Grizzlies’ organization.

There’ll be some among us who see nothing wrong in the actions of Allen Iverson. While there’ll be other who view his actions of a self absorbed athlete who cares about none but himself. That may be or not be entirely true but one thing is certain , his most recent actions say a lot about the player and his emotional state of mind. He’s long been a conflicted soul , who in his early days within the NBA flouted and scoffed at its rules. His most memorable tirade was against his then, coach, Larry Brown of the Philadelphia 76ers, who’d asked him to participate alongside his teammates in some extra set of team drills practice. Iverson’s response ….””If I can’t practice, I can’t practice. It is as simple as that. It ain’t about that at all. It’s easy to sum it up if you’re just talking about practice. We’re sitting here, and I’m supposed to be the franchise player, and we’re talking about practice. I mean listen, we’re sitting here talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, but we’re talking about practice. Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game last it’s my last but we’re talking about practice man. How silly is that? ” He would then go on to reiterate that very same comment to the awaiting media who somehow got word of the volatile flare up between Brown and Iverson at the time. And it has now become folklore in the annals of NBA history and in some ways it’s the noose that still hovers around Iverson’s neck to this very day.And that’s despite the outward signs of maturity on his part.However,
his latest action is just a simple reminder that despite his growth as a player.There’s still some growing up to be done for Iverson to be seen as a mature individual.

I’m of the belief that Iverson has acted improperly and not in the best interests of either himself or the Grizzlies ! He’s placed himself above the organization and that of their ambitions for the season. For someone who was looking to ingratiate himself with the fans and community of Memphis. Iverson has now eschewed all of that and essentially outlived his welcome within the community, brief as it now appears to be. And one seriously doubts that should he return to the Grizzlies , that he’ll offer up a profound apology to the organization, his teammates and the fans at large.

If Allen Iverson wants to prove himself a mature individual , then he ought to ………Man up and act like he’s got a pair. Instead of walking out and away from his responsibilities as a player and to the Memphis Grizzlies organization His act is condescending and smacks of infantile behavior. Either he makes a formal announcement that he’s retiring or he returns to the team and live up to the obligations of his contract with them. After all he’s an employee of theirs and not vice versa.

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Grizzlies owner: Not sure of Iverson’s plans

By Teresa M Walker , AP Sports Writer

Memphis owner Michael Heisley says he is not sure of what Allen Iverson’s future plans are, though he hopes Iverson returns to the Grizzlies soon.

Heisley granted the 10-time all-star permission Saturday for an indefinite leave to deal with a personal matter. The Commercial Appeal newspaper reported Monday that Iverson is contemplating retirement.

“I’m not in Allen’s head. I don’t know what he’s thinking,” Heisley told The Associated Press on Monday.

“I know he went back to take care of a personal problem. Whether he does something else, I don’t know. I’m hoping he comes back. I think he could still play for us, somebody else, what have you. In my opinion, there’s two, three years of outstanding play that could come out of Allen Iverson.”

Leon Rose, Iverson’s agent, did not immediately return a message left at his office Monday.

However, Heisley said the 34-year-old Iverson is struggling playing at what the guard feels is less than his previous best.

Iverson, who signed a one-year, incentive-laden deal in September, missed the preseason with a partially-torn left hamstring. He made his Grizzlies’ debut on the road a week ago in California, playing in three games at Sacramento, Golden State and in Los Angeles with the Lakers.

Iverson averaged 22.3 minutes coming off the bench, and he hit 57.3 percent of his shots. He averaged 12.3 points per game for the Grizzlies (1-6).

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Memphis Grizzlies active roster 2009-10

2009-10 Roster
NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB FROM YRS
00 Darrell Arthur F 6-9 235 03/25/1988 Kansas 1
1 DeMarre Carroll F 6-8 212 07/27/1986 Missouri R
11 Mike Conley G 6-1 185 10/11/1987 Ohio State 2
33 Marc Gasol C 7-1 265 01/29/1985 Barcelona, Spain 1
22 Rudy Gay F 6-8 230 08/17/1986 Connecticut 3
15 Hamed Haddadi C 7-2 265 05/19/1985 Ahvaz, Iran 1
45 Steven Hunter C 7-0 240 10/31/1981 DePaul 7
3 Allen Iverson G 6-0 165 06/07/1975 Georgetown 13
55 Marko Jaric G 6-7 224 10/12/1978 Belgrade, Serbia 7
32 O.J. Mayo G 6-4 210 11/05/1987 USC 1
50 Zach Randolph F 6-9 260 07/16/1981 Michigan State 8
34 Hasheem Thabeet C 7-3 267 02/16/1987 Connecticut R
5 Marcus Williams G 6-3 205 12/03/1985 Connecticut 3
4 Sam Young F-G 6-6 220 06/01/1985 Pittsburgh R

Head Coach

Lionel Hollins Arizona State