The War Of The Roses ………….

The War Of The Roses

So at this point of the NBA season teams are now vying to position themselves for the second-half of the NBA schedule . The NBA All Star Game is not that far away and the news surrounding the league has been the dismissal of Jason Kidd as the Head Coach of the Milwaukee Bucks . It would appear that the organization now wants to go in a different direction. Much to the dismay of Bucks’ player Giannis Antetokounmpou , Kidd’s firing came right out of the blue. Over their last fifteen games the Bucks have managed to put together a 7-8 record over the period. Antetokounmpou tried to intervene on Kidd’s behalf, but it was all to no avail. With his firing , the Bucks will now have Joe Prunty inserted on an interim basis as the new Head Coach. .


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In their last contest the Milwaukee Bucks were on court to face the Phoenix Suns whom they defeated by the score of 109-105 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center , in Milwaukee Wisconsin. The team’s home record as well as being on the road has not been all that illuminating .

Moving forward, I am not so sure the Milwaukee Bucks are heading in the right direction without Jason Kidd. He brought some semblance of urgency to the team , but the real issue has been the fact they do not have a proven veteran leader on the roster with a track record of success. Throughout much of this season Giannis Antetokounmpou has been by far their best player . If the Bucks are to have any semblance of success this season then it will be incumbent on the play of their forward and fast-rising star. Up next for the Milwaukee Bucks will be a game against the Brooklyn Nets , as they host the Eastern Conference team at home.

The opportunities for Jason Kidd will not be bleak , as I believe he is quite capable of leading a team to success. However, what it all comes down to at the end of the day, is where will be a suitable fit for one of the league’s most astute Head Coaches

Say what you will, but even with the claims that he’s been a breath of fresh air within the game, LaVar Ball is proving to be more of an off-court attraction than he could be seen as an asset for the Los Angeles Lakers . If Ball Sr is not touting the Big Baller Brand , then a great deal of the time in recent weeks he has been overtly critical of the Lakers’ organization, most notably Luke Walton , Head Coach of the Lakers as well as senior executives within the front office. Suffice to say, while his son Lonzo Ball has barely contributed anything of note to the Lakers other than one or two flashes of brilliance . The guys in purple and gold have become an eyesore on the court, while there now appears to be some dissension of the court , as players are now being asked to take sides . Will it be Team Big Baller Brand and Lonzo Ball or Team Lakers ? I don’t think this was what either Magic Johnson or Rob Pelinka had in mind at the start of the season and I am sure that the Buss family must be besides themselves with the ugliness now being witnessed from this team .

Unable to compete within the Pacific Division and also struggling to hold their own within the Western Conference , it’s best to say that the Los Angeles Lakers should consider “ tanking” their season while senior executives Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka decide what to do concerning the makeup of this team. There’s nothing to suggest that this Lakers’ team is playing with a great deal of confidence. In their last scheduled game the Los Angeles Lakers put up 127 points in a twenty point victory over the New York Knicks . It was a contest of missed opportunities by both teams the match-up . Following up that game , Lonzo Ball and his teammates would face the Boston Celtics where another home victory provided a timely boost for the team’s moral . With an upcoming contest against the Chicago Bulls , it will be interesting to see if the Lakers can put together a consistent winning streak .

He is a four-time League MVP and a three-time Finals’ MVP , but as LeBron James continues to rewrite the history books , the continued comparisons will be made to his idol Michael Jordan . James in a game played against the San Antonio Spurs which resulted in a loss for the Cleveland Cavaliers , he became the youngest player in NBA history to have amassed thirty thousand career points (30,000) during the regular season. The list of players to have passed that threshold now lists as seven . With the exception of Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki , all of the other members are enshrined in the Hall of Fame . James and Nowitzki are the only active players the list to achieved that feat.

As the season has progressed , it has become troubling to see the struggles of the Cleveland Cavaliers continue. The additions of Dwyane Wade , Derrick Rose and Isiah Thomas doesn’t seem to have made up for the loss of point guard Kyrie Irving . With the recent rumors of dissent within the locker room , after it was revealed that Kevin Love may well have feigned an on-court injury during a game and then not meeting for a morning practice with his teammates. One has to wonder whether or not Head Coach Tyronn Lue still commands the respect of this team , but more importantly , can the front office now do anything to appease LeBron James as it appears that things are spinning out of control ?

The Cleveland Cavaliers were seen as the prohibitive favorites to make a successful defense of their conference title and make it back the NBA Playoffs. That will likely be the case , but based on their current play, I am not so sure that they’re a guaranteed thing for a deep run in the NBA Playoffs , much less beat the best that the Western Conference has to offer. Game in and game out , LeBron James continues to give it his all , but I no longer believe this current Cleveland lineup is actually good enough win another NBA title . Over their next six games , the Cleveland Cavaliers will have a great deal to prove to themselves as well as their fans. Up next for LeBron James and his teammates will be a game against the Indiana Pacers at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on the 26th January , 2018.

Head Coach Tyronn Lue is no longer sure what his best lineup should be concerning the roster. Other than LeBron James being automatically being penciled in as a starter, the coach and his staff might as well be drawings names out of a hat to see who will line up alongside the four-time League MVP

The one thing we can be sure of , money doesn’t always guarantee success, but it certainly helps. Last year’s winning team in the NBA Finals the Golden State Warriors was among the costliest lineup in the league’s history. In seeking to make successful defense this season, the Warriors are already back to their very best . With the best record in the league , it will be interesting to see what this team is capable of between now and the rest of the season, as they seek to win their third NBA title in the last four seasons . This season , it has been all about Kevin Durant and his erstwhile teammate Steph Curry as they lead the team in scoring . Over his last eight games Durant has been very impressive , during which time Golden State have continued to show their dominance. However, where I feel the Warriors have greatly improved , has been through the team’s defense. Head Coach Steve Kerr knows what to expect out of his players and holds them accountable for their actions .. Golden State will be looking to up the ante when they face the Minnesota Timberwolves on the 25th January in a game which will be played at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California . This should be a very good match-up between two of the better teams within the Western Conference this season.

The dismissal of David Fizdale led to a great deal of speculation that his firing had more to do with the front office no longer having any faith in their coach . Memphis’ players seemed to admire Fizdale and what he brought to the table and gave it their all . The team’s billionaire owner Robert Pera bought the franchise on the cheap , but the real issue became the fact that for all of the fandom, there was no real plan of action moving forward. JD Bickerstaff has now taken over the reins of the team as the Grizzlies push to place themselves into contention for a playoff berth. . Currently sitting in twelfth place within the Western Conference , the Memphis Grizzlies are 6 ½ games behind the eighth-placed Denver Nuggets . Bickerstaff will prepare the Memphis Grizzlies for their next game when they will meet the San Antonio Spurs at the FedEx Times Forum in Memphis , Tennessee on Wednesday evening.

Dwight Howard seems to be having one of the best years of his career , if you consider the past four years were anything to go by. There was a time when the former NBA Defensive Player of the Year was seen as a great catalyst. Instead , he’s become something of a journeyman toiling around the league , looking for the best contract available, while having shown very little leadership ability for any franchises he’s played for with the exception of the Orlando Magic . Howard now toils away with the Charlotte Hornets (19-27) , where team owner Michael Jordan is still looking for his club to make a deep playoff run during his tenure. Dwight Howard didn’t excel in the Playoffs while he was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers and I seriously doubt he still has the capacity to take this Hornets’ team to the next level. Howard might be the second best offensive weapon the Hornets have , but that in of-itself will not be enough if this team has any desires on making it to the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2015.

The next twelve games on the Charlotte Hornets’ schedule should prove to be interesting for the organization and this team. Up next for the Hornets will be a game against the Atlanta Hawks , a former team that Dwight Howard played for.

With the All Star Game and all of its precursor festivities just around the corner, the remainder of the NBA schedule will be impactful . What match-ups are you most looking forward to and which team do you believe could provide the biggest surprise during the second-half of the season ?

Tophatal ………….


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Put a ring on it ………….

Put a ring on it ……….

In the past few days, the interest in witnessing the mounting speculation after LeBron James chose to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat has been dramatic and somewhat idiotic. Joining James in the same attempt are teammates Udonis Harlem, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh . The angst caused to Heat team President Pat Riley and team owner , Micky Arison , as they now seek to resell all three core players and Haslem on the idea of taking less money for the betterment of the organization, seeking to move forward and be much more competitive. It was very clear that not only were the Miami Heat overrated but those who bought into the idiocy, that they were the best team in the NBA , simply had no damn idea what they were talking about, much less looking at. The way where the Heat were humiliated in the NBA Finals, was clearly indicative of why the NBA’s Eastern Conference is so damn mediocre without the ongoing asinine insinuation that neither the Heat or the league hierarchy are to blame for the league’s ongoing woes and lack of competitiveness within the conference and its divisions .

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LeBron James has now not only sought to alienate himself among the fans of the NBA, but there are now likely to be questions about the player’s legacy and where he stands among the all-time greats of the game. Selfishness and narcissism are now the words that come to mind when perhaps describing LeBron James. Yet in large part, the team’s woes of the postseason and specifically why the Miami Heat failed so miserably as a team and individually, with their being absolutely no leadership being shown on or by anyone on the roster during the NBA Finals. A lopsided 4-1 series’ loss , was about as clinical a defeat that a team has suffered in the NBA Finals’ series in recent postseason history. As to what this all suggests about the Miami Heat as an organization , can be best summed up by those who are now seeking to make excuses for the Heat’s loss, while not seeking to acknowledge any great deferment to their opponents, the San Antonio Spurs. This was simply because they are not glamorous enough an organization but yet this has been the garbage, sold to NBA fan-base by the league hierarchy and specifically by David Stern during his tenure and it looks as if that same passage will be taken by his successor Adam Silver .

Now pardon for me saying this, but this asinine notion, this past NBA Draft by comparison was on par with the famed 2003 NBA Draft class , which brought us LeBron James as the number one overall pick, and also included Carmelo Anthony , Dwayne Wade and several other notable aspirants from that year. The hype and melodrama that surrounds this idiotic circus continues to show us why the process tends to be one monotonous bore, not unlike the comedic spectacle of the drafts of MLB, NFL , NBA and NHL . Like a badly acted and played out Latin tele-novela soap opera , it is becoming increasingly more difficult to understand why this idiocy is televised annually. for each the four major professional team sports. The drama that is said to be warranted by this all , is no better than a political debate between two opponents with nothing to say, but who are also so dumb founded clueless, one has to be worried about the political climate and the direction that the nation is now heading in. The same things, equally can be said about the state of each, within professional basketball, football, ice hockey, baseball and baseball.

The drama that will now follow LeBron James, as he seeks to force the Miami Heat to offer him a max contract which is in no way in the organization’s best interest will, also hinder the process of them seeking to get better. As to the assumption that the drafting of Shabazz Napier gives Pat Riley even more credibility in luring James to remain with the franchise. Ask yourself the question ,how will the general manager and team President seek to bolster the franchise, when the top player of that team, shows his discontent with the franchise, merely, because he was unable to win a third consecutive NBA title? His supporting cast, was simply not good enough and he also was unable to show any ability as a team leader. James, is certainly a great player, but he cannot be placed on the same plateau as his idol, Michael Jordan .

From afar, I have admired Jason Kidd as a great player and perhaps among the top twenty-five point guards in NBA history. His ascent into NBA coaching though rushed, the success attained the Brooklyn Nets while impressive . One has to admit that were the Nets playing in the Western Conference I seriously doubt that their year-end record would have garnered them a postseason berth, in spite of the alleged talent on the roster . Having made the postseason their exit from postseason play was as swift as butter melting off a hot knife.Their loss to the Miami Heat was a lopsided affair with seasoned veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett almost nowhere to be seen in that series. How Joe Johnson , remains the NBA’s highest paid player in terms of contract value and among the top forty players in terms of annual salary , is as mystifying as the idiocy of Ted Cruz now being seen as a future Presidential candidate , among the GOP fraternity of mind bending loons. There are some things that one can prove in the world of sports and politics, but in the case of Johnson and Cruz, it remains a mystery as well as being comedic, in nature .

Jason Kidd having led the Nets to the postseason in his first year as the Brooklyn Nets’ head coach, sought to have more of a say in the day-to-day running of the team’s operations , leading to a clash with team GM Billy King and the Nets’ billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov . King has the ear and the implicit faith and trust of the owner, but it was the coach’s indifference in not being given a greater role as a reward, for his guiding the franchise to a conference semi-final berth, led to a parting of the ways. It would seem that Jason Kidd’s ego is as big as his opinions, in the belief that his rookie season is a reflection of what he believes makes him a great coach. Somehow, those opinions were not necessarily shared by those within the Nets’ front office , coaching staff or among the players themselves.

The fact that Kidd has seen fit to pursue a position with another NBA franchise whose coach was still in that position. not only reflects the lack of respect that the Nets’ head coach has for his peers, but it also reflects the duplicitous nature and double standards within the NBA. Larry Drew may well have known that his job was in jeopardy but the lack of respect shown him by Herb Kohl and the Milwaukee Bucks’ organization> shows that franchise to be just as conniving as Kidd himself. Drew was fired , not because of his failure as a head coach, but simply because Kohl sought to displace a coach he did not believe fits the mold of what he desired in a professional basketball coach. The Bucks’ as an organization, have failed miserably over the last seven years and the front office remains a prime example of what happens to an NBA franchise that has no one with the acumen to really make the right personnel decisions necessary. Their failure beyond being a reflection of a Bucks’ team heading nowhere , was also an even greater reflection Herb Kohl’s own failures as an owner. The rumors are now widespread that he will seek to sell the team to an owner willing to keep the Milwaukee Bucks in the greater Milwaukee area. Yet, that predicament will be solely based upon the willingness of the potential new owner not wishing to move the franchise.

Kidd may well come in riding on a white charger and be seen as some type of savior, but my own thoughts are, he has made a monumental mistake , while burning several bridges behind him ! The lack of action by the league hierarchy, in not fining Jason Kidd , for pursuing a coaching position that was not vacant, has been symptomatic of an organization which continually makes up the rules as it goes along, but also one that will condone some of the most repulsive behavior, while moronic assholes, who call themselves NBA fans, try to justify an idiot such as David Stern, of being a real benefit to the NBA. One could liken that to Hillary Clinton’s thoughts on what it is to being a pauper and what it is to being extremely wealthy. Clueless, as well as being extremely dumb.

The more things are said to change, the more they remain the same and the very fact, Donald Sterling has the NBA hierarchy, the team owners and his estranged wife , Rochelle Sterling within his cross-hairs, will prove to be a real embarrassment to the league. I read one patron’s comments on another side during which he stated that the league could enforce the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers from the now disgraced owner. That may well be true, but consider the fact, Sterling’s racial tirade was not unlawful , but simply the uttering of a racial bigot. Now consider , the NBA as a league , where misogyny among the players is considered a sign of masculinity and bravado, while the league’s intolerance of a player’s homosexuality is considered taboo and off-limits. All of this, from a league hierarchy, whose former commissioner sought to use racial stereotypes to sell his brand on the domestic and global market .Am I missing something here , but half a century on from the civil rights’ era and the alleged leaps and bounds that are claimed to have been made, are merely a charade and nothing more than a baby still learning to walk. Understandably, that child is likely to take repeated stumbles, but how many more can the NBA really afford to take at this juncture ? Where is the outrage and common decency among the fans, who fail to call out a league hierarchy and its union for being so inconsistent and incompetent on so many damn social and NBA related issues ?

The NBA (basketball) may well be a great sport to be a spectator of, but in reality what has it now become ? Billionaire team owners , narcissistic players and a brand that in no way is a true reflection of a sport that in its heyday, really had the fans speaking in glowing detail about their teams. It has now become about the “me mentality” , not just among the players , but also among the owners and front office executives as well .

Phil Jackson cannot walk on water, nor can he turn water into wine or feed a crowd of thousands with several basket of bread and fishes Yet , New York Knicks’ fans believe him to be the NBA’s answer to the Messiah. Eleven NBA championship rings can place you in rarefied air but Jackson is no miracle worker as of yet , when it comes to the New York Knicks. As to this asinine notion that Carmelo Anthony will remain in New York because his wife and son enjoy the lifestyle . Last I looked , it was Anthony who was the breadwinner in the household, while his wife, La-La Anthony remains a D-List celebrity and a BFF of reality show star Kim Kardashian.. If the player truly wants to pursue the furtherance of his NBA career, then he has to see that the “writing is on the wall” and a move elsewhere would be in his best interests. His pursuit of that elusive first NBA ring is now beginning to take on epic proportions by way of the Knicks’ incompetence as an organization , before and since Phil Jackson joined the front office to head up the team’s Basketball Operations.

. Jackson’s first personnel move was the acquisition of Lamar Odom and with the departures of Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton , I can only assume beyond cap room flexibility this will afford Jackson the chance to prove to Carmelo Anthony that he does mean business in seeking to improve the roster . If the move in the acquisition of Odom was meant to impress anyone it certainly did not impress Carmelo Anthony and only a fool would see the maneuver as a positive. Phil Jackson’s assessment of talent is questionable at best, but there is no denying his legacy as a head coach. Yet, I believe he has no wish to step back into the scorching cauldron of being a head coach in the NBA once again. The fans may yearn for his return but Jackson’s ongoing health issues and his wish to be around his family remains the primary reason he has chosen not to return to the league and redefine his legacy as perhaps the NBA’s best coach in the league’s history. ‘

The move that will either impress or intrigue Knicks’ fans, was the hiring of Derek Fisher to succeed Mike Woodson as the new head coach of this franchise. The relationship between Jackson and Fisher is one of mutual respect, but I am not so sure that will be enough, as the pair set about rebuilding the team .It was clear last season the Knicks were a flawed team in several areas , with Carmelo Anthony being the sole bright spot on an otherwise moribund roster.

As the NBA’s off-season takes a path of uncertainty with the legal assailment of the veracity of Donald Sterling’s legal suit against his estranged wife Rochelle Stein-Sterling and her selling of the Clipper’s franchise. The buyer, billionaire former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer is likely to pull the plug on his $2 billion bid for the franchise , if this legal case becomes protracted. Sterling also has a two potentially damaging legal suits against the NBA and its commissioner Adam Silver that will likely embarrass the institution even more so than their apparent inaction in not dealing with Sterling’s egregious behavior. The league remains an archaic fraternity and institution where leadership is truly lacking, with the owners, simply acquiescing to just about every idiotic edict rung down by idiots such as Adam Silver and David Stern, throughout the years , simply because , financially it made them a great deal wealthier . There is little common sense to be found within the NBA among its upper echelons and within the front offices of the franchises there, without looking at the ongoing hypocrisy of the game’s leading players.

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As Andrew Wiggins , Jabari Parker , Joel Embiid and the other rookies are made welcome to the NBA, I wonder what story will be prescient a year from now in the league and which team will have been triumphant in the NBA Finals ? Simply leave a comment on this and anything else you believe to relevant to this article.

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(1) Miami Heat President Pat Riley, left, and owner Micky Arison look at the NBA Championship trophy during a public celebration for the team in Miami, Monday,June 25, 2012. Having made four consecutive appearances to the NBA Finals from starting in 2011 , the Heat fell to the San Antonio Spurs in this past season’s NBA Finals in a lopsided 4-1 series’ loss. The front office will now embark on a rebuilding process while seeking to bring back their core of NBA All Stars in LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. AP Photo/J Pat Carter ..

(2) Jun 5 , 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) talks to San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) during the second quarter in game one of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

(3) Newly installed New York Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher , left , is seen here with the team’s Head of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson . Fisher signed a five-year $25 million deal to become the team’s head coach and the pairing will now seek to rebuild the roster while hoping to convince Carmelo Anthony to remain with the franchise. AP Photo / Rick Brown …

(4) Jun 13, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King (left) listens as head coach Jason Kidd speaks during a press conference to introduce Jason Kidd as the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York ,. Kidd has since departed from the franchise after a disagreement with the organization concerning his duties . The former NBA point guard has since succeeded Larry Drew as the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. Courtesy of USA Today Sports/ Brad Penner …

(5) Larry Drew , former head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks , whose ouster has many questioning the integrity of not only the NBA but also the Bucks’ front office and specifically the behavior of Jason Kidd , who sought the position before Drew’s firing by the franchise. Getty Images / David Mason ….

(6) Donald Sterling is seen here with his estranged wife Rochelle Sterling at a Los Angeles Clippers’ game played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California ,. The two are now involved in a bitter court battle, where Donald Sterling is now challenging the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers’ franchise to Steve Ballmer . The deal having received the approval of the NBA’s Board of Governors is being challenged in the US Federal Court , by the beleaguered owner. Sterling also has two legal suits against the league hierarchy and its commissioner seeking unspecified and punitive damages. A long and protracted legal battle would prove costly for the NBA and a loss of that case , could lead to a multi-billion dollar payout were the decision to go in Donald Sterling’s favor. Getty Images North America / Kelly Bishop …..

(7) Bill Self , left , head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks is seen here with the team’s center Joel Embiid who was taken as the third overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft . Embiid plagued by back and foot injuries is hoping to make a solid contribution to the Philadelphia 76ers this upcoming season. AP Photo / Nestor Gomez ….

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tophatal ………….

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Beyoncé’ …………… ” Single ladies (Put a ring on it) “