Speak no evil , see no evil and hear no evil

Speak no evil , see no evil and hear no evil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of ESPN

Julie Hermann remains under fire

By Andrea Adelson ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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tophatal ………………………. 05/28/2013

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

Why not simply place a mannequin in your shop window ?

Why not simply place a mannequin in your shop window ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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tophatal ………. 05/20/2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Having easily dismantled the “ highly touted “ …. Los Angeles Clippers , few gave the Memphis Grizzlies much of a chance against the Oklahoma City Thunder , the defending Western Conference champions . In what was seen as a supposed precursor to a possible conference finals’ match-up against the winners of the San Antonio Spurs versus the Golden State Warriors . A clear path , had been set for the Thunder and Scott Brooks’ players, yet somehow , someone forgot to pass on that particular script to the Grizzlies. Lionel Hollins and his team , simply flipped the script and hoisted the Kevin Durant and his teammates on their ass , with a surprisingly easy , 4-1 series’ victory.

Now one could question whether or not Memphis would have won their series against the Thunder , who were without their All Star point guard , Russell Westbrook . On the sidelines , having suffered a season ending injury , the player has supported his teammates throughout the postseason. It must be said that with Westbrook missing from the team’s lineup , a great deal more was being asked of Kevin Durant as well as Kevin Martin . , who was not able to provide the foil needed , in order to assist Durant throughout the series . Last night’s game was very much indicative of that and a great deal more , as neither the team or Scott Brooks made the adjustments necessary in order to erase any part of the series’ deficit , much less play themselves back into contention . Suffice to say , with the departure of the Thunder , the Western Conference Finals may well lack the buzz , panache and excitement everyone might have been expecting . Randolph and his teammates await the outcome of the series between the Spurs and Warriors , knowing full well that the Grizzlies , now have their own destiny in their hands .

A decision has been made with regard to the future of the Sacramento Kings , with David Stern , pretty much playing Devils Advocate in a decision , which I find to be completely asinine , disingenuous and self-serving on the part of the commissioner . Hell, no one ever said that you had to be honest or a man of integrity to be the highest ranking executive within the NBA hierarchy . None of the traits that I believe Stern actually possesses ! With the NBA’s Board of Governors voting against the relocation and sale of the franchise to the consortium led by billionaire venture capitalist , Chris Hansen and Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer . This now leaves the road clear for a rival bid by software mogul , Vivek Ranadive to be accepted by the league to acquire a 65% stake in the Kings . The remaining 35% would still be retained by the Maloof family , current owners of the beleaguered Western Conference franchise .

Stern was very welcoming of the Hansen , Ballmer bid , when it was first announced, with the billionaire entrepreneurs giving the league a clear indication that it was their intent to buy the franchise for a reputed $575 million and then seek to relocate the Kings to Seattle , Washington . David Stern is either averse to making money or he simply got weak kneed when the team owners snubbed their noses at two individuals whose combined fortunes could swallow up the entire NBA in terms of the value of the league’s thirty teams . Either way, this episode leaves a rather distasteful odor , when you seek to dig to the bottom of this all. Sacramento City Mayor , z Kevin Johnson , whose last minute effort led to the Ranadive bid , will now seek to use public funds to either refurbish the Sleep Train Arena , home to the Sacramento Kings , or they well may well seek to use those funds in conjunction with what we are told will be private financing to possibly build a new venue and a commercial and residential complex that will sit by side with the proposed venue . Now bear in mind , that the Kings remain one of the NBA’s poorest supported franchises in terms of home and overall attendance , as well as being one of the NBA’s least profitable teams . It does beg the question what are the ulterior motives behind Johnson’s moves , when his own city is currently facing an economic blight , with a major budgetary deficit that still has yet to be properly addressed ? Anyone care to answer that particular question ?

Politicians no matter what their altruism might appear to be, are no different from drug dealers who pedal their ware to young and old . Only in such instances , it is deemed as a felony and a crime . whereas , an incompetent elected official can lie , cheat and steal , will not face any legal repercussion , unless his hands are physically caught in the “ cookie jar “ , misappropriating public funds for his own personal use or soliciting a bribe . I’d like to think that Kevin Johnson doesn’t fall into any of the categories mentioned , but , then again , the former NBA star , turned politician , has himself , been less than upfront throughout this whole saga . Much like the NBA commissioner , who continues to bask in his own limelight , claiming accolades that he is not necessarily deserving of .

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What thoughts if any, do you have concerning the salient points raised within this piece ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit , and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it greatly appreciated !

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(1) Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) talks with Dwyane Wade (3) during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal against the Chicago Bulls, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(2) Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade (3) and Chris Bosh , right, hug after the Heat defeated the Chicago Bulls 94-91 in Game 5 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal, Wednesday, May 15, 2013 in Miami. The Heat advanced to the conference finals having defeated the Chicago Bulls 4-1 in the series . AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….

(3) Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose , left, stands with teammates during the second half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(4) Chicago Bulls’ Carlos Boozer wipes his face as he stands with Joakim Noah (13) during a time out in the first half against the Miami Heat in Game 5 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(5) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, left, and Indiana Pacers’ Paul George vie for a rebound during the first half of Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series, on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(6) Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph (50) shoots as Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins (5) and Serge Ibaka (9) defend during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki …

(7) Vivek Ranadive , left, has the support of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and California state Sen. Darrell Steinberg in buying the Kings. Photo: Richard Drew, AP ….

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NB: NBA related links to ongoing stories

NBA owners vote to keep Kings in Sacramento

Seattle still without NBA team after relocation denied

Hinkie formally introduced as 76ers president

The Splash Brothers

And to NBA articles within this site, click on link provided . NBA posts

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NBA news and archived stories

NBA postseason 2012-13

NBA results 15th May , 2013

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NBA postseason 2011-12

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NBA team owners

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Hot chic pic of the day Sarah Randall .

Desperate times call for desperate measures ………..

Desperate times , calls for desperate measures ……

Strange as it now seems, the NBA finds itself in a quandary with the departure both the Los Angeles Lakers and now the Boston Celtics from postseason play. This now leaves the league without the two most prestigious teams in NBA history and quite possibly, what is likely to lead to a decline in viewership, for postseason play . The fact that both teams were unceremoniously dumped in the first round was not astonishing but it does lead us to question however , what is it and where will both franchises be heading , in terms of their immediate and long-term future ?

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For head coaches Mike D’Antoni and Doc Rivers , it now leaves both , questioning whether or not they can proceed along into next season , with aging rosters , and in some case , players who are essentially , either past their prime or who have simply underperformed . From my own perspective I believe it to be both and the very fact that a false sense of security led both to believe that their teams were simply good enough to make a deep playoff run during this postseason . Now we know, that has not been the case , and both teams in their current guises, are likely to be revamped by their respective front office staffs.

While many of the results of the postseason might not have come as a great surprise to a number of fans and analysts alike . It must be said , that the fashion in which a number of teams were dispatched from the playoffs did come as a surprise . Perhaps none more so than the Brooklyn Nets whose payroll is was amongst the highest in the league . The team’s three main stars , Deron Williams , Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace accounted for more than 54% of the ….. team’s $83.9 million payroll .

With Nets’ fall from grace against a short-handed Chicago Bulls’ team , where the ramifications were great and the judgment from the front office , was swift and “cold-blooded “ . GM Billy King , in conjunction with team owner , Mikhail Prokhorov have summarily dismissed interim head coach PJ Carlisimo , issuing a public statement, announcing that the coach would not be returning for next season. . Carlisimo was able to get this team playing with a great deal of resolve during the regular season , but somehow , the their postseason play was lackluster and uninspiring . As to the continued idiocy that Deron Williams is one of the premiere and “ elite “ point guards in the NBA . I would like to know what it is , that Williams is said to have done to warrant such plaudits from analysts and fans alike ? More style over substance than anything else , with the idiotic hyperbole surrounding a player who has failed to reach anywhere near his alleged potential. Williams cannot be seen as a leader , and he simply does not possess that trait , in spite of comments being made to the contrary about the player .

Pushed to a game seven , which was played at the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York . The Brooklyn Nets simply did not have an answer for Joakim Noah , whose play during the game was simply outstanding . Never mind that from a defensive standpoint , this PJ Carlisimo coached team seemed to be as slow, as a group of aging geriatrics in search of a bedpan , as they sought to discharge themselves of a bodily function . Suffice to say , the stench now emanating the NBA’s newest venue had more to do with the odor of fecal matter and urine which may well have emanated from the bodies of the Nets’ players , who were ran off their home-court by Tom Thibodeau’s players .

Where this now leaves the Brooklyn Nets and the decisions that will undoubtedly have to be made as it relates to this roster , and that of the hiring of a high-profiled head coach. A great deal of that will now boil down to the mindset of the team’s billionaire owner , Mikhail Prokhorocv and the price he might well be willing to pay , to get the right man for the now , open vacancy. We already know that his desired choice , eleven-time NBA title winning coach , Phil Jackson is not available for the position . Jackson has accepted in principle , an executive position with the Detroit Pistons , having met privately with the team’s owner , Tom Gores . That now creates a dilemma and a great deal of speculation as to whether or not , the Pistons’ general manager , Joe Dumars will remain a part of the organization , in essence , becoming a subordinate of Phil Jackson , whose role within the organization will be a great deal similar to the role held by Jerry West , within the Golden State Warriors’ front office under co-owners , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber .

It is my own belief , that Dumars is likely to relinquish his role within the Pistons’ front office, having guided the franchise to their most recent win of an NBA title in 2004 , when the team coached by Larry Brown won with surprising ease , , shoving aside a star laden Los Angeles Lakers’ roster of All Stars . In the subsequent years , fate has not been too kind to a franchise that has simply labored , while making numerous mistakes in terms of , off and mid-season trades , mishandling of the rather archaic and asinine salary cap ($58.044 million) and draft classes .

Unless I am mistaken, the New York Knicks and their fans either believe that this postseason , they are meant to be a team of destiny , and supposedly the likely combatants to meet the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals . Anyone who has witnessed team’s play in their first round match-up against the Boston Celtics , will know that they were extremely luck to come through unscathed , ultimately with a series’ victory (4-2) . Yet this team was far from convincing under Mike Woodson’s tutelage . If nothing else , the Knicks’ players showed their complacency but above all , they clearly misjudged the mental approach that the Celtics brought in this series .

Now when it matter most , the Knicks are back to the ways of old , proving that they simply do not have the mental or physical toughness to play with any real grit or determination . In the opening game of their Easter Conference semifinals series against the Indiana Pacers . This Carmelo Anthony led team , was exposed , and all of their flaws were on display, for everyone to witness . Defensively incapable of stopping a much younger team at its core , the New York Knicks are said to be ” showing their age “ . Granted , with age comes experience , and along with that there should be dexterity in one’s play . Yet , somehow , Anthony and his teammates were simply unable to do that , in seeking to defend their home-court advantage in game one of this series .

Frank Vogel , his coaching staff and players have to be delighted with the fact that they fired the opening salvo , with a 102-95 victory at Madison Square Garden in front of a sold out crowd , with millions more , watching via a national television broadcast network . Now the question becomes , can the Knicks avoid going down 2-0 in a series , that will undoubtedly be defined by their presence of mind , and whether or they can defend their home-court with any sort of distinction ? Your thoughts on the matter ? The two teams will resume the series on Tuesday evening during prime-time , where Mike Woodson and his players will surely be looking to avenge that game one defeat .

It’s still early days yet in the NBA postseason , but overall , are you completely satisfied with the turn of events that have taken place ? Also , which teams do you believe are now in need of a good enough head coach to lead that franchise where they need to be ? Chime on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter at hand

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(1) CHICAGO, IL – MAY 02: Brooklyn Nets Head Coach, P.J. Carlesimo, addresses the media during a press conference following Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Chicago Bulls during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on May 2, 2013 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The much traveled and well-respected head coach will not be returning to the Nets next season , a decision said to have been jointly made by GM Billy King in conjunction with team owner Mikhail Prokhorov . Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(2) Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts to a call during Game 6 of their first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets in Chicago, Thursday, May 2, 2013. The Nets won 95-92. AP Photo/Daily Herald, Joe Lewnard …

(3) Pistons’ general manager Joe Dumars (left) is seen here with the team’s owner Tom Gores . The franchise has brought in famed former head coach Phil Jackson in a consultancy and executive role to provide Dumars with insight on personnel decisions . However , it is being widely speculated that apart from Dumars’ role being diminished , it could very well lead to his abrupt departure from a a franchise where he has spent his entire professional career as a player and front office executive . AP Photo / Michael Ross ….

(4) Boston Celtics’ head coach Doc Rivers is seen here with the team’s general manager Danny Ainge . This off-season Ainge and senior managing partner , Wyc Grousbeck will face several tough questions , as to whether or not the roster will need to be revamped for the upcoming 2013-14 season . Veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are nearing the end of distinguished careers , but their productivity was very much lacking when it was needed the most during the postseason . AP Photo/ Kirk English ….

(5) Indiana Pacers forward David West (21) drives past New York Knicks forward Kenyon Martin (3) in the second quarter of Game 1 of their second-round NBA basketball series at Madison Square Garden in New York, Sunday, May 5, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(6) From left to right , Avery Johnson ,former head coach of the Brooklyn Nets is seen here with team owner Mikhail Prokhorov, center , and the team’s general manager , Billy King . With a bloated payroll and simply no one on the roster capable of playing any defense , much less their being team defense exhibited by team . It became increasingly clear why the Nets were unceremoniously dumped out in the first round of the NBA Playoffs , by an injury plagued Chicago Bulls team. AP Photo /Richard Carter ….

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Tophatal 05/06/2013 ……… https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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NBA news and archived news

NBA Playoffs overview (brackets)

NBA results 5th May

NBA schedule 6th May

NBA free agents 2013 and for 2014 and future payrolls based cap-hits

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Highest paid NBA players (overall)

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Hot chic pic of the day Kate Upton

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As one door closes , another one opens . For Christ’s sake , keep the f##king door shut !

As one door closes , another one opens . For Christ’s sake keep the f##king door shut !

Well the idiocy of the NFL Draft has come and gone , in spite of this high-profiled event , nothing will really be learned until many of these rookies get their first taste of the NFL , during week one of the upcoming season . And to hear many of these draft geeks and on air personalities speculate and prognosticate , you would’ve thought that all thirty-two teams in the NFL were in sheer dire straits . In reality this draft had more to do with personalities , lack of real talent in a vast array of areas , in spite of the recommendations being made by members of the media .

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Now Tim Tebow having been cut from the organization at the behest of GM John Idzik , speculation still remains as to the future of the team’s beleaguered quarterback , Mark Sanchez whose performances in 2012 , were amongst the worst in the AFC and NFL throughout much of last season .

Courtesy of Pro Footballtalk.com

Testaverde disappointed Tebow didn’t get a chance

By Darin Gantt

While just-released quarterback Tim Tebow hasn’t had much support today, at least one former Jet is disappointed he didn’t get a chance to stay.

Former quarterback Vinny Testaverde had worked with Tebow recently in Florida, and he said he saw significant mechanical improvement.

“I was kind of disappointed because I was hoping he’d get a chance to show the coaches what we worked on,” Testaverde told Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. “I think they would’ve been impressed if they had compared this year to last year ” .

Testaverde spent a week with Tebow, concentrating on his footwork. In layman’s terms, Testaverde said Tebow “was stepping in the wrong direction when he was throwing the football.”

Testaverde also consulted with IMG instructor Chris Weinke, saying they “speak the same quarterback language” because they both played under Dan Henning.

“Chris and I looked at Tim careful and we were both amazed,” Testaverde said. “Everybody has been focusing on his throwing motion, trying to fix that, but nobody had picked up his footwork. His footwork was all screwed up. Chris and I looked at each other after about four or five throws, and we saw the same thing. We got his footwork fixed. His throwing motion is now a non-issue.

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Sanchez is owed in excess of $12.8 million for the upcoming season , but it seems that in all probability , John Idzik will seek a trade of the player, rather than retain him for the entire season while still having to make the financial outlay . He is due a roster bonus of $4.1 million due on the 1st June , and a possible trade partner , if anything would rather seek to only pay a nominal sum with regard to the player’s salary , and then assuming the remainder of Mark Sanchez’s contract from 2014 through to 2016 . This upcoming season for the Jets will be very interesting to see how they fare in their season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the 8th September 2013 ,

It seems that fans , agents and analysts alike were simply surprised that a quarterback was not taken in the top ten of the first round of this NFL Draft . The fact that it was the Buffalo Bills , with the sixteenth pick in the first round taking EJ Manuel , made that whole premise all the more surprising . That being said , now consider the franchise’s options at the position , when you consider that Kevin Kolb is meant to be the Bills’ starter for the upcoming season . Shit , I’d rather walk on hot coals , rather than seeing Kolb quarterback any franchise within the NFL , as he simply does not possess the talent needed to be a starter in the NFL . Yet somehow, Bills’ head coach Doug Marrone and the front office believe the veteran to be their man . It is my belief , that sooner , rather than later , Manuel will be a starter in the league , quite possibly this season , if Kolb’s recent performances are anything to go by.

The AFC East , if nothing else , should prove to be a great deal fun , considering the antics of the teams from within the division and their performances from last season . Among the teams seeking redemption from last season’s nightmare , just happens to be the New York Jets , whose head coach , Rex Ryan barely escaped from the franchise’s purge of a mediocre coaching staff from 2012 . Out went , offensive coordinator , Tony Sparano , whose ides of team offense bordered on being absurd . And the very fact , that he has now joined the coaching staff of the Oakland Raiders , further enhances the notion , that coaching in the NFL , is no longer about creativity in terms of coaching talent but simply the “ rehashing” of “ mediocre coaches” “ , whose ideas are in essence , from a bygone age “ ! How else can one simply explain the fact that Sparano and Ryan were simply so how out of touch reality , while being allowed to ruin the franchise , and with asinine belief that Tim Tebow would be able to contribute to a team that was lacking in talent and creativity , never-mind poor coaching from every layer , within a considerably inept organization. Yet boneheaded individuals swayed by their emotions, continued to call for Tebow’s inclusion either as a starter or in some other capacity for the franchise . Fantasy geeks were either that blasé or simply that goddamn stupid, throughout much of 2012.

Sanchez is owed in excess of $12.8 million for the upcoming season , but it seems that in all probability , John Idzik will seek a trade of the player, rather than retain him for the entire season while still having to make the financial outlay . He is due a roster bonus of $4.1 million due on the 1st June , and a possible trade partner , if anything would rather seek to only pay a nominal sum with regard to the player’s salary , and then assuming the remainder of Mark Sanchez’s contract from 2014 through to 2016 . This upcoming season for the Jets will be very interesting to see how they fare in their season opener against Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the 8th September 2013 .

With this draft I expected the New England Patriots to do a great deal more than they did , but once again I believe they have failed miserably with this particular draft class . To try and suggest that Jamie Collin s , Aaron Dobson , Logan Ryan , Duron Harmon , Josh Boyce , Michael Buchanan and Steve Beauharnais . These are the players drafted by the organization with view redeeming itself after a monstrous postseason foray , which was best summed up in the team’s embarrassing loss to the eventual Superbowl champions , the Baltimore Ravens , in the AFC championship game . Given the team’s malaise during the game itself and the very fact that Bill Belichick was out-smarted and outmatched by his opposite number John Harbaugh .

I firmly believe that Belichick failed to address the concerns of this team on defense , albeit , that they made a few off-season deals that would suggest that he , GM Nick Caserio and the coaching staff have addressed the team’s failings over the past three seasons. ( 2012 , 2011 & 2010 ). This season if this team in its present guise is unable to address those woes , then the Patriots’ 2013 regular season foray is likely to be an extremely tough one . While fans and analysts alike will point to the potency of the team’s offense over the past few seasons . One should also remember , defense wins championships , and the offense is simply there , as the mainstay of the regular season .

With the NBA postseason now in full swing with the opening round series in some instances , all but established . It seems somewhat unbelievable to believe that the league’s two most renowned franchises are about to be or have been eliminated the first round of the NBA Playoffs . The Boston Celtics have fought back from the cusp of being eliminated in game four , but still find themselves with an almost insurmountable issue in having to still erase a 3-1 deficit in their first round series against the highly regarded New York Knicks .

Having watched this series unfold , to say that I am disappointed in the lack of commitment being shown by the Celtics , would be a tremendous understatement . The core of this roster simply is not good enough , nor has there been any leadership shown by seasoned veterans such as, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett . Granted , while Doc Rivers does not have the privilege of having the team’s best player on the court , It must be said , that as surely as Rajon Rondo is missed, it should not be made or seen as the primary excuse for the team’s poor play in this series . Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson has simply instilled into this team a real “killer instinct” , not often witnessed with the Knicks’ teams from the franchise’s recent past .

It would be fair to suggest that the Boston Celtics and the franchise’s front office will have to reassess the makeup of this roster and look to build around either Rondo or seek to bring in a marquee free agent during the off-season . Certainly , GM Danny Ainge and senior managing partner Wyc Grousbeck will have to come to a decision , sooner , rather than later as it relates to the immediate and long-term future of this renowned franchise .

This series may well be far from over in the eyes of the Celtics’ fans and players, and it does seem highly unlikely that the team will be derail what now appears to be a focused Knicks’ team obviously looking towards that perceived showdown with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals . Alas , it is my belief that after all of the in-fighting within the Boston Celtics’ locker room and the animosity that allegedly lingered between Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen wasn’t quashed by the coaching staff , head coach or by the Kevin Garnett , the perceived leader of this roster . Instead , Garnett chose to show his immaturity , by berating his former teammate , haranguing him , after his departure , but even more so , when it was announced that Allen had signed with the reigning NBA champions , the Miami Heat.

These are certainly the twilight years in the careers of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce , certainly , two players that are likely to be enshrined in the Naismith (Basketball) Hall of Fame , having met the eligibility requirements upon their retirement .

Despite their value and profitability , it would be fair to say that the Los Angeles Lakers are the most storied franchise in NBA history alongside their most heated rivals the Boston Celtics . With the two franchises accounting for over thirty of the NBA Finals competed for in NBA history .

In what wasn’t seen as a strange turn of events, when the Bryant-less Lakers met the San Antonio Spurs in their opening round series , expectation were high. Instead lackluster … performances , an injury riddled roster and the growing immaturity of Dwight Howard shone through , in what can be best described as piss poor performances all-round from every participant on this Los Angeles Lakers roster during the series. And you simply know things are bad for the franchise when one of the Lakers’ most celebrated fans , actor , Jack Nicholson offers his congratulations to Gregg Popovich and the entire Spurs’ roster , while ignoring several members of the Los Angeles Lakers’ playing staff.

With the Lakers being swept 4-0 in the series , it was the franchise’s earliest exit in the postseason , where the Lakers has a lost series , in such an embarrassing fashion , with that coming in the 1967 Western Conference Semi-Finals to the San Francisco Warriors (Golden State Warriors) .

Mitch Kupchak and SVP Jim Buss now have the unenviable task of assessing the roster and making a number of far-reaching decisions as it relates to the makeup of this team . In my m honest opinion , the general manager and team owner have erred in so many decisions as it relates to this franchise in recent years , that it has been a constant comedy of errors , watching the Lakers as their season came to an abrupt end. Suffice to say , with Dwight Howard showing a real lack of commitment and his getting into foul trouble in the third quarter of game four (103-82) , the fate of this team was sealed as the Spurs came away with a rather lopsided victory , as they now await the victor of the series between the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies .

The Los Angeles Lakers, are now left on the outside looking in , as their season has simply gone up in flames . In all likelihood, with the Lakers’ bloated payroll ($100.1 million) , and no semblance of financial rationale for the never-ending stupidity to simply overpay for marginal talent , much as it would appear to be for a number teams around the NBA , while David Stern inexcusably tries to make the claim that the franchises of the NBA are financially responsible . Perhaps the NBA Commissioner could indicate the transparency of the claims he continually makes ? Once a boneheaded asshole , always a boneheaded asshole ! Nothing more , nothing less as it relates to David Stern !

ESPN’s David Aldridge is reporting that there will be a stay of execution as it relates to the sale of Sacramento Kings by the Maloof family to a consortium led by billionaire venture capitalist , Chris Hansen and Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer . In what is said to be a last-ditch attempt by the city of Sacramento mayor , Kevin Johnson , it appears that the NBA hierarchy and its Board of Governors have vetoed the sale of the franchise , and the consortium’s bid of almost $600 million is now likely to be overruled ,with the commissioner having been left with egg on his face , as initially he welcomed the pursuant bid of Hansen and Ballmer .

Courtesy of ESPN

In shocking twist, the Kings will likely stay in Sacramento

By David Aldridge

The NBA has all but officially decided to keep the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento.

In a unanimous vote of the league’s combined Relocation and Finance committees Monday afternoon, 12 NBA owners recommended that the league’s Board of Governors vote to deny the relocation of the Kings to Seattle — and, in doing so, deny the sale of the team from the Maloof Family to a Seattle-based group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The recommendation will be taken up by the full Board for a formal vote the week of May 13. But it is almost certain that the full Board will go along with the recommendation and vote to keep the Kings in Sacramento, at least for another year.

Relocating a team requires a majority, or 16 of the league’s 30 teams to vote yes. As 12 teams have already voted no, that means the Seattle group would have to get 16 of the league’s remaining 18 teams to vote yes, a near-impossibility. And once relocation is voted down, the sale of the team to Hansen’s group would follow, for Hansen has consistently said he was only interested in buying the Kings if he could move them to Seattle.

“I’ve never been prouder of this city,” Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson Tweeted Monday afternoon. “I thank the ownership group, city leaders, but most of all the BEST FANS IN THE NBA!!!”

While the Maloofs are not obligated to sell the Kings, they will now be under incredible pressure to do so, after Sacramento put together a group led by software magnate Vivek Ranadive, who would be the first majority NBA owner of Indian descent. Ranadive’s group submitted a formal bid to the NBA earlier this month that NBA Commissioner David Stern said was comparable to the Seattle bid, and which the league considered binding.

It is not clear what steps the league could take if the Maloofs opt not to negotiate with the Ranadive group or sell to it. Stern reiterated earlier this month that the league does generally allow owners to sell to whomever they want, provided the new owners’ finances are in place, even though the league decides whether teams will be allowed to move.

The league also knew that its owners’ decision would rip the heart out of one city or the other. There was no solution that could make both happy.

“It’s not exactly comparing two cities,” a source with knowledge of the discussions said Monday. “It’s been hard to leave a place that’s been good to the NBA. Leaving a team, leaving a city, leaving a bunch of fans when they stepped up. That’s what it is.”

The decision caps an incredible comeback by the city of Sacramento, which looked doomed to lose its team after Hansen and the Maloofs announced in January they had reached a binding deal for the Maloofs to sell 65 percent of the team to Hansen, or $341 million, on a franchise valuation of $525 million. Hansen gave the Maloofs a non-refundable $30 million deposit as part of the agreement.

Ranadive’s group, according to an April 17 letter from the Maloof Family to the league that was leaked to the media, agreed to match the $525 million valuation for the team, but wanted to give the Maloofs a $15 million non-refundable deposit instead of $30 million. The Maloofs claimed that entering into an agreement with the Sacramento group would constitute a breach of contract with the Hansen group and would reduce the family’s leverage to negotiate in case the league vetoed the sale to the Hansen group.

Hansen had meticulously put together a plan over two years, purchasing land near Major League Baseball’s Safeco Field on which he wanted to build a new arena for an NBA and National Hockey League team. He reached an agreement with the city of Seattle for construction of a $491 building with up to $200 million in public funds.

But Sacramento, led by Johnson, came roaring back, putting together its own arena deal and ownership group, first led by supermarket mogul Ron Burkle and 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov. But Burkle had to drop out of the team and arena plans after a conflict of interest with one of his businesses, which represents NBA players, was discovered.

Burkle was replaced by Ranadive, a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors, who quickly became the face of the Sacramento group. The city and the Ranadive Group reached agreement on construction of a $447 million arena, with Sacramento contributing $258 million toward the costs.

The Board of Governors postponed a final vote on whether to accept the Seattle or Sacramento plans when it met earlier this month, with NBA Commissioner David Stern citing the incredibly complex issues the league faced. Could it vote to leave a city whose fans had been incredibly loyal over the years, and who had reached agreement with the Maloofs last year on a new arena deal, only to see the family walk away?

On the other hand, Seattle had famously lost its team, which became the Oklahoma City Thunder, in 2008, and the NBA had lost a potentially dynamic market. The Hansen bid for the Kings wildly inflated the value of all other NBA teams, and the potential revenues from a regional sports network and other corporate dollars made Seattle an enticing city. In addition, Hansen’s group went about its business quietly, as the NBA prefers.

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For the last eight years the Sacramento Kings have been one of the least supported franchises in the NBA , along with being one of the least profitable of the NBA’s thirty teams . Why in the world Johnson would seek retain a loss making concern that is barely supported with anemic attendance level seems somewhat idiotic , but for the life of me I cannot understand the reasoning behind the mayor’s madness when his city has its very own budgetary woes to deal with . As with any asinine politician, who ill-serves his electorate, and the citizens who have entrusted him to lead. It does beg the question , will he now seek to use public resources to aid millionaire software magnate Vivek Ranadive and his last-minute bid for the Western Conference franchise ? Ranadive stepped into the fray , the moment this consortium hastily put together by Kevin Johnson , when billionaire real estate magnate , Ron Burkle dropped out the syndicate citing personal and professional reasons . In reality, Burkle’s concerns lay elsewhere , as he is one of the lead developers of the downtown Los Angeles area, seeking build a commercial and private real estate development , that will potentially house a 85,000 to 100,000 seat stadium with the view of luring a relocating or a new NFL franchise into the nation’s second largest ad market and its second most populated city. Be that as it may , my question for commissioner , if he is now prepared be mindful of the Board of Governors’ wish in such an instance . Then what in essence is now so different here from the same situation that arose when the Seattle Supersonics’ sale to Clay Bennett , when that franchise was then relocated to Oklahoma City ? Clearly , the league hierarchy , in this instance, has never acted with any real transparency , as it relates to their decision-making .

Many of you will know by now, that there were allegations made that the NBA acted with a great deal of subterfuge as they simply sought to relocate the Sonics’ franchise because of the advantage tax breaks that would be received by the Oklahoma City Thunder , from the municipality of Oklahoma City . Over the first five years of the residency within their new home (Chesapeake Energy Center) , the franchise was able to receive in excess of $65 million in tax breaks and other lucrative benefits for the state of Oklahoma’s only professional NBA franchise , much less its only professional sport’s franchise. It now begs the question what benefits will the city of Sacramento offer to the new ownership group of the Kings and their wish to remain in the California state capitol ? Is this really how Kevin Johnson and his fellow city commissioners wish to spend the goodwill and the resources of the city, while the NBA once again profits from this all. Most of all, the biggest benefactors from this all will remain the Maloof Family , and the lead siblings, Joe and Gavin Maloof , who preside over the sports’ interests of the familial holdings .

If Vivek Ranadive’s bid is now approved , and the Maloofs walk away with their newfound cash haul of $600 million to aid them in now ailing business interests as it relates to the family’s beverage , hospitality and transportation interests , their departure from the ranks of owners within the NBA fraternity , cannot come around quick enough in some circles . Joe and Gavin Maloof’s alleged business acumen as it relates to the Kings , has been at best , mediocre and a complete farce . The very fact that GM Geoff Petrie has also presided in and over this fu#king mess , makes it all the more asinine , that David Stern continues to make these dubious claims as to the league’s continued financial health and well-being. Meanwhile, anally retentive fans, continue to buy into the commissioner’s continued bull$hit ! The sooner the commissioner departs from his post , the better off NBA will be ! Unfortunately, Stern’s heir-apparent , Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver will assume his role in February 2014 and will follow in the same vein, as his predecessor. What else could the NBA ask for, at this juncture ? Simply one more reason to see the NBA for what it has simply become , a brand and business template completely devoid of character , integrity but above all , real leadership from anyone with a position of authority. Does anyone actually believe that David Stern has always acted in the best interest of the league?

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? By all means do leave a comment as you deem fit , concerning the subject matter and anything else that you believe to be pertinent .

😉

Tophatal ……….. 2013/04/29

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) In this Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012 photo, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) warms up before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y. The New York Jets say, Monday, April 29, 2013, they have waived Tebow. AP Photo/Gary Wiepert ….

(2) Tim Tebow (15) is seen here alongside his now former teammate, Mark Sanchez(6) , after the former Heisman Trophy winner was waived by the franchise . The New York Jets still have 5 quarterbacks remaining on the roster . There now seems to be mounting speculation that Sanchez is likely to be traded by the Jets , should they be able to find a suitable trade partner willing to undertake the remainder of the player’s sizable contract . GM John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan have refused to speculate on Mark Sanchez’s immediate future at this juncture . AP Photo / Richard Carter ….

(3) Jets’ front office executive John Idzik, left, sits next to New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan while waiting to be introduced as the Jets new general manager on the Jan 24th, 2013 . AP Photo / Mark Ruffo …..

(4) West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is seen here making his first public appearance as a member of the New York Jets . The quarterback was drafted as in the second round by the AFC East franchise . Smith hopes to make an immediate impact and contribution for the Jets this upcoming season . Yet it appears unlikely that he will be the starter in week one , as the common belief is , that veteran quarterback David Garrard will be the starting quarterback in that game , their season opener , against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . Getty Images North America / Paul Windham …..

(5) Veteran quarterback David Garrard, pictured inset , is likely to be the team’s starting quarterback during the regular season , but he is likely to face stiff competition from newly drafted rookie Geno Smith , as well as the other passers on the roster seeking to become the primary quarterback in the team’s depth chart . AFP / Ricardo Marchiallo ….

(6) New York Knicks’ Raymond Felton (2) gets a high-five from a teammate as Boston Celtics’ Doc River s walks onto the court after calling a time out during the second quarter of Game 3 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Boston, Friday, April 26, 2013. AP Photo/Winslow Townson ….

(7) New York Knicks’ Iman Shumpert (21) tries to control the ball as Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce (34) struggles with Knicks’ Kenyon Martin , far right, during the second half in Game 4 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series in Boston, Sunday, April 28, 2013. The Celtics won 97-90 in overtime. AP Photo/Elise Amendola …..

(8) Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol (16) , of Spain, knocks the ball out of the hands of San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan during the second half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series , Sunday, April 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. The Spurs won 103-82 and swept the Lakers in four games to bring the Los Angeles’ franchise’s season to an abrupt end . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(9) Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard , right, looks on along with San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal , left, after receiving a technical foul during the first half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Sunday, April 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. Howard scored seven points before getting ejected early in the third quarter for arguing . The Spurs won 103-82 . What we have seen from Dwight Howard in recent years has been the player’s growing immaturity and complete lack of leadership skills , but there are those who stand by the claim that he remains the best center in the NBA , and that may well be the case from a defensive and offensive standpoint , but it has to be said that he lacks the leadership qualities as such revered centers as Shaquille O’Neal , David Robinson , Hakeem Olajuwon , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(10) Indian-American software mogul Vivek Ranadive who is now showing an interest in purchasing the beleaguered Sacramento Kings . In the aftermath of 12 of the NBA’s thirty owners voting against the sale and relocation of the franchise , it now leaves the road clear for Ranadive’s bid to be accepted by the league hierarchy and Board of Governors . Getty Images North America / Bill Parker ……….

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Hot chic pic of the day Jordan Carver .

More of Carver on the move , just as you may well like it , or not .

Take it from me , those puppies of Carvers’ need to be sucked and played with a great deal , if only in fun !

My ball, my game, my rules, let’s play ball

My ball, my game, my rules, let’s play ball

The NBA season has come to an end , with no major surprises as to whom the conference representatives will be and the seeding , as well the first round match-ups . Before the postseason gets underway, we already have a situation where the customary managerial merry-go-round will have begun. Lawrence Franks was fired as the head coach of the Detroit Pistons , and it is widely being speculated upon that Pistons’ owner Tom Gores , may well be prepared to relieve Joe Dumars , from his position as the general manager of the franchise .

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Doug Collins , formally stepped down as the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers , and it is likely that he will fill the vacancy , in succeeding Rod Thorn as the team’s President and Head of Basketball Operations for the franchise . The third managerial upheaval took place, with the firing of Byron Scott as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers . GM Chris Grant and team owner , Dan Gilbert , thanked Scott for his effort and services , but in reality , both front office executives were simply disappointed that Byron Scott was unable to engineer an even bigger improvement of the team , in comparison to last season . Kyrie Irving may well have had an exceptional season for the Cavaliers , but what cannot be denied , is the very fact that the team was highly inconsistent over the course of their season. And this was borne out by the franchise’s record of 24-58 within the Eastern Conference and their last place finish within the Central Division of the conference.

Away from the spectacle of some of the more poorly performing teams of the past season , it should be noted that the defending NBA champions , the Miami Heat (66-16) , simply made it something of a cakewalk , strolling away not only repeating as division champions but the margin of their dominance over the rest of the conference was simply astounding . Yet for all of the hyperbole that has surrounded the team this season , questions will come to the fore , as to how good this group of players just happens to be , and whether not they can be considered to be amongst the top ten teams in NBA history , should they repeat as NBA champions .

If there is one thing that appears to be beyond a certainty , it is that , LeBron James will repeat as the League MVP , winning the award for the fourth time of his now astonishing career . And James would certainly like to wipe away the criticism that has been leveled at him that he was not capable of winning a title unless he was part of an All Star team. Granted , playing alongside Dwyane Wade , Chris Bosh and Ray Allen , does have its privileges , but at the same time detractors will point to the fact and ask the question , would he have been just as successful playing alongside lesser luminaries within the NBA ?

A first round match-up against the Milwaukee Bucks , now awaits the Heat in the opening round of the NBA playoffs . Clearly, the Bucks will have no wish to become a whipping post for Lebron James and his teammates in this opening round series. This much we do know , if this team does play at anywhere near the level of the discipline shown last season , then series will be a short one , with Jim Boylan and his coaching staff not wishing to fulfill any expectation , that this series will be a walkover.

The team thought to have the best chance of dethroning the Miami Heat within the conference , might just be their most heated rivals and sometime nemesis the New York Knicks . This season , Carmelo Anthony . has led this team by example , being ably abetted by JR Smith and Tyson Chandler And for the Knicks , their postseason will begin with an opening round series that might be the most enticing of the NBA opening round series, when they face off against the Boston Celtics . The first game of this series will take place at Madison Square Garden , in New York City, New York , with the two teams vying for a semifinal berth at the end of what should be an explosive and exciting series of games .

PJ Carlisimo and the Brooklyn Nets and their high salaried roster face a tough series when they face the Chicago Bulls . What is simply intriguing here , is whether or not Derrick Rose will be on the team’s roster for the postseason . The point guard and 2011 League MVP still remains optimistic as to whether or not he will be able to play. For much of this season , he has remained supportive of his teammates and their endeavors , but yet one gets the feeling , that if Rose isn’t able to make an appearance this postseason , then it would be seen as a tremendous disappointment to the fans , but specifically to the Bulls’ front office . From my own perspective , I now believe that it would be in Rose’s best interest to forgo any attempt an appearance, and simply get himself back to game fitness in time for next season .

The Brooklyn Nets have a great deal to prove during this postseason , as the expectations remain high amongst the front office . Team owner has simply given the “green light” to GM Billy King to do whatever it takes in terms of acquiring players and if necessary just go for broke and “ break the bank” in terms of player salaries . Team owner , Russian billionaire , Mikhail Prokhorov having lavished his millions not only the team but also on the franchise’s multi-billion dollar venue , Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn , and now one of the NBA’s premiere venues . As to whether or not , Deron Williams and Joe Johnson are capable of leading the team into a deep playoff run remains to be seen .

In the Western Conference , it would appear that the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs are on head on collision course for the Conference Finals , as the two top seeded franchises within the conference . Their play and record over the course of the season would suggest that they are by far the two best teams within the Western Conference. In their head to head meetings this season it has been their season series was tied at one game apiece (1-1). However, last season’s Western Conference Finals , we witnessed the growth and maturity of a Thunder team that now has to be looked upon as a legitimate contender for this year’s title .

The San Antonio Spurs having won four NBA titles with famed head coach Gregg Popovich at the helm of this franchise , knows that the window of opportunity is quickly closing for a team that at its core is still reliant on their “ Big Three Stars”, Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli , and Tony Parker . They have now added to their lineup seasoned veteran and two-time NBA scoring champion , Tracy McGrady . And the veteran , if he is merely able to give the team a solid contribution during the playoffs then it augurs well for the franchise .

San Antonio will face the Los Angeles Lakers the first round of the playoffs , with game one being played on Sunday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas. An exhilarating series awaits the fans as these two teams will pit their wits against each other in seeking a competitive advantage.

I am not so sure that any fan of the Los Angeles Lakers will be relishing the chance of seeing their team relish taking on the Spurs this postseason , without the aid of Kobe Bryant as part of the team’s roster ! And inasmuch, as on air analyst Tim Legler believes that the Lakers are in with a definite chance , that chance in essence, is simply remote , if not at all . Legler’s brain, is not in overdrive, it hasn’t even moved out of “park “ in most instances . It’s the fact that he simply loves to hear the sound of his own voice , even while defecating .

The loss of Bryant to a season ending injury , prior to the end of the Lakers’ regular season schedule , now seriously impedes the team’s chances of progressing beyond the first round . Personally , I do not believe that they possess the firepower necessary to even make this series competitive ! The Spurs just happens to be a far more athletic , talented and more resolute team all-round . In the match-up of the head coaches , Mike D’Antoni , in spite of the alleged prowess , he simply does not the basketball acumen shown by his counterpart , Gregg Popovich . It is not even remotely close in that particular aspect and therein lies the ridicule concerning Legler’s asinine statements .

It will be at this juncture that I must ask the question as it will now equates with the Los Angeles Lakers , will Dwight Howard be able to step up to the plate in the absence of Kobe Bryant and prove that he can be the leader of this team ? Howard as of late, he has been playing at a level not seen his acquisition by the franchise. And now can we assume that his teammates will follow suite?

Of the teams coming into the postseason there was none hotter than the Miami Heat with a 9-1 win streak , but within the Western Conference there were several teams with an above .500 mark down the final ten game stretch of the regular season . It should come as no surprise that the Denver Nuggets (57-25) , Los Angeles Clippers (56-26) , and Memphis Grizzlies (56-26) hit a rich vein of form. Now the question becomes , with the conference known to be a dogfight , what awaits the fans in terms of the postseason play expected from these teams ?

The Denver Nuggets under the erstwhile acumen of George Karl , this Nuggets’ team might be the most dangerous of all , outside of the top two seeded teams in the Western Conference. Ty Lawson , Andre Iguodala , Wilson Chandler , and Kenneth Faried will be asked to lead the squad, when they play host to the Golden State Warriors . For Warriors’ head coach Mark Jackson , this will be his and the team’s baptism of fire for the first time since the franchise last played a part in the NBA’s postseason spectacle , which came by way of an appearance during the 2007 postseason . The team would fall 4-1 to the Utah Jazz in Western Conference Finals. For the Warriors’ ownership group this has to be seen as vindication of the faith they have shown in Mark Jackson and his coaching staff.

Another first round match-up within the first round in the Western Conference , will be the series between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies . Don’t be fooled into thinking that Blake Griffin , Chris Paul and the rest of the members referred to as “Lob City” can walk away from this meeting unscathed . The combatants are two evenly matched teams, albeit , that the Clippers will be seen as the prohibitive favorites , no doubt because they are the higher seeds and having the better seasonal record overall. Yet , if you would care to look at the season series between the two franchises and coming into the final ten games of the regular season. It would be remiss to suggest that the Clippers would have the upper hand. Another intriguing series , with plot-lines that could not have been better devised by Hollywood script writers .

Before the postseason foray begins , away from the spectacle, comes the expectations as to what might have been from a number teams. The Orlando Magic ends with the worst record within the NBA and final mark of 20-62 . For head coach Jacque Vaughn , in his inaugural season with the franchise in his role , it must be said that Vaughn and this team have a long way to go be even remotely thought of as a serious competitor within their division , much less the conference or the rest of the NBA for that matter . The Magic’s executives have to seriously assuage the caliber and quality of this roster , as well as the experience of this coaching staff . Clearly , neither has met the expectations of fans or the hierarchy , and with a declining fan base in terms of home game attendance , it does become all the more troubling with regard to the franchise’s long-term future and their economic viability .

The issues for Jacque Vaughn is how to figure out what his best lineup is likely to be , and which players can be viewed as superfluous to the team’s needs. With a team payroll of just over $87.3 million this past season which was third highest payroll amongst the league’s teams . And one wonders why the NBA is bereft of real acumen when it comes to the their general managers and team owners ? Yet, there are patrons within this forum who actually believe that the NBA and NFL have owners who are actually genuine businessmen ? When , will it occur to these individuals that these owners can simply use their franchise’s simply as a tax write-off and are not always simply looking to make a profit from operating their respective franchises ? Rarely do I read of a patron talking about the business side of sport , moreover I believe that they are simply apathetic to the issue with a lack of real knowledge with regard to that aspect , and would rather regale you with simple issues such as fantasy sports . Is it anything like, fantasy sex and what real gratification can you really get from that premise? Answers, please?

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Picture gallery .

What if anything, are you most looking forward to, during the NBA Playoffs ? Simply leave a comment as to you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it is greatly appreciated !

Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) File – In this March 4, 2013 file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott reacts in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks in Cleveland. The Cavaliers have fired coach Byron Scott after three losing seasons , not necessarily to the chagrin of the fans or the Cavaliers’ front office . AP Photo/Tony Dejak ….

(2) Detroit Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank watches from the sidelines during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich., Monday, April 15, 2013. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio ….

(3) FILE – In this Oct. 17, 2012 file photo, Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins, left and Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott talk before the start of their NBA preseason basketball game in Philadelphia. The Cavaliers have fired Scott after three losing seasons . Collins has resigned after three seasons and is likely to assume an executive role within in the Sixers’ front office , succeeding Rod Thorn as Head of Basketball Operations. AP Photo H. Rumph Jr. ….

(4) Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6), Mike Miller (13) , Mario Chalmers , center, and Dwyane Wade (3) high-five after taking a ten-point lead over the Chicago Bulls during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Sunday, April 14, 2013, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Bulls 105-93 . AP Photo/Lynne Sladky ….

(5) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony , left, shoots past Indiana Pacers’ David West during the second half of the NBA basketball game, Sunday, April 14, 2013, in New York. The Knicks won 90-80 . AP Photo/Seth Wenig ….

(6) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan (21) shoots over Minnesota Timberwolves’ Chris Johnson (20) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay …

(7) MIAMI, FL – APRIL 17: Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat drives against Doron Lamb (1) of the Orlando Magic on April 17, 2013 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Miami would defeat the Magic 105-93 . Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE Getty Images …

(8) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant , left, puts his head in his hands as trainer Gary Vitti looks on after being injured during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Friday, April 12, 2013, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 118-116 . The Lakers lost Bryant for the entire postseason with an ankle injury and it is uncertain whether or not the All Star guard will seek to return for the 2013-14 season . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….
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🙂

Tophatal ……. 04/19/2013

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NBA news and archived stories

2013 NBA Playoff schedule

Scheduled for 20th April 4 games and for 21st April, another 4 games (Sunday)

NBA transactions

NBA Final divisional standings

NBA Finals conference standings

NBA overall standings

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Hot chic pic of the day Wendy Fiore

And a little more of Fiore .

Forget green eggs and ham ……. how ’bout green scarfs ?