Preach , preacher __ preach

The NBA postseason is underway and there is a great deal to be said of the expectations of the participants this postseason. Sixteen teams vying to be this season’s NBA champions and to succeed the San Antonio Spurs . The defending champions face the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of their best of five-game series, with the Clippers holding a one-game lead as the two teams head into game two to be played on Wednesday night at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles, California. Chris Paul led the team to their convincing victory with a very commanding performance , leading all scorers with thirty-two points.

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This Western Conference Quarter Finals series is far from over , but I get the impression, should the Spurs falter in tonight’s game, then the Los Angeles Clippers would be placed firmly in the driver’s seat. Doc Rivers is not about to let his team become complacent and his opposing number , Gregg Popovich will ask his players to become more resolute on defense while playing to their strengths . The Spurs’ veteran trio of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker are battle-tested, having witnessed the triumphs and tribulation of postseason play for the franchise . Likelihood remains, the defending champions will square the series , by looking to stymie the productivity of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Jamal Crawford .

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LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 22: Tim Duncan ( 21) of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NBA Playoffs on April 22, 2015 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Duncan was among the leading scorers for the Spurs as they beat the Clippers in overtime , 110-107 in the second game of their Western Conference Quarter Finals’ Series. Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Mike Budenholzer was rewarded by being named NBA Coach of The Year having led the Atlanta Hawks to the best record in the Eastern Conference this season. While many might well have expected to see the Cleveland Cavaliers romp their way to the best record in the conference solely because of the return of LeBron James to the franchise where he began his career. This season, it has been the Hawks who proved themselves to be the “class of the East” .

Atlanta for its part as the number one seed, have yet to be tested in their series’ match-up this postseason as they take on the Brooklyn Nets. Game two on Wednesday evening will see the Hawks seek to further extend their lead over their conference rivals in a contest, that is pivotal to the Nets’ hope to prolong their stay in the playoffs. For the Brooklyn Nets and in particular team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov with the tens of millions vested in the franchise , beyond his being a majority stakeholder in the Barclays Center and its surrounding development . It is imperative for the Nets to advance deep into this NBA Playoffs’ season. The franchise beyond having moved from New Jersey back to New York and the city of Brooklyn , this organization has been hemorrhaging money at an alarming rate over the past four years. Prokhorov might well be among the wealthiest owners in the league , but one seriously doubts the Russian billionaire can continue to plow money into the franchise without seeing anything tangible in return.

The absurdity of the NFL off-season continues unabated, with the story-line now becoming one of comedic heights. Nowhere has this been more visible, than with the Philadelphia Eagles’ recent signing of Tim Tebow to the team’s roster. Tebow when last seen in the NFL , was inept at best , with their being little to his overall game, albeit, that idiots continue point to the fact the former Gators’ quarterback led the Denver Broncos to the postseason. His foray that year, led to the Broncos

The absurdity of the NFL off-season continues unabated, with the story-line now becoming one of comedic heights. Nowhere has this been more visible, than with the Philadelphia Eagles’ recent signing of Tim Tebow to the team’s roster. Tebow when last seen in the NFL , was inept at best , with their being little to his overall game, albeit, that idiots continue point to the fact the former Gators’ quarterback led the Denver Broncos to the postseason. His foray that year, led to the Broncos being brutalized against the New England Patriots and an indication that Tebow does not possess the skill-set to play in the NFL. The fact he was later acquired by the Patriots only to be subsequently shown the door, may well have been done out of pity, rather than anything else.

Tim Tebow’s lackluster years of unproductive play with the New York Jets emphasized what many knew all along, he is not good enough to play in the NFL. The fact he’s now being provided another chance by Chip Kelly and the Eagles’ organization , I believe now has more to do with Kelly’s ego and the fact the NFC East based franchise now under even more pressure to succeed might well have seen this type of publicity as a way of averting eyes away from the team’s deficiencies. If anything , it will now place the Eagles more under the microscope with Tebow and the Eagles’ head coach receiving the biggest scrutiny of all. GM Howie Roseman and team owner, Jeff Lurie could very well have blundered with this move as much as there now seems to be doubters of Kelly’s abilities as a head coach and his recent decision making with the player turnover and the departures of Nick Foles , LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson , among the players let go by the franchise.

The absurdity of the NFL off-season continues unabated, with the story-line now becoming one of comedic heights. Nowhere has this been more visible, than with the Philadelphia Eagles’ recent signing of Tim Tebow to the team’s roster. Tebow when last seen in the NFL , was inept at best , with their being little to his overall game, albeit, that idiots continue point to the fact the former Gators’ quarterback led the Denver Broncos to the postseason. His foray that year , led to the Broncos being brutalized by the New England Patriots and an indication that Tebow does not possess the skill-set to play in the NFL. The fact he was later acquired by the Patriots only to be subsequently shown the door, may well have been done out of pity, rather than anything else.

Tim Tebow’s lackluster years of unproductive play with the New York Jets emphasized what many knew all along, he is not good enough to play in the NFL. The fact he’s now being provided another chance by Chip Kelly and the Eagles’ organization , I believe now has more to do with Kelly’s ego and the fact the NFC East based franchise now under even more pressure to succeed, might well have seen this type of publicity as a way of averting eyes away from the team’s deficiencies. If anything , it will now place the Eagles more under the microscope with Tebow and the Eagles’ head coach receiving the biggest scrutiny of all. GM Howie Roseman and team owner, Jeff Lurie could very well have blundered with this move as much as there now seems to be doubters of Kelly’s abilities as a head coach and his recent decision making with the player turnover and the departures of Nick Foles , LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson , among the players let go by the franchise.

With Mark Sanchez and the recently acquired Sam Bradford as the only players on the Eagles’ roster with any real depth of playing experience, it is hard to suggest how Tim Tebow fits into any type of role on the team. Matt Barkley , as a fourth quarterback on the depth chart, I can only surmise , any type off or preseason competition for the starter’s role will have to be looked upon with a great deal of ridicule. Bradford with limited experience in a starting role has been ineffective , but beyond that issue , he is also injury prone.

Mark Sanchez for his part, at best, is no more than an average quarterback, whose two and a half years of initial success with the New York Jets was then followed up with what can be best described as mediocrity, heightened by the infamous ” butt-fumble” incident . However, the biggest issue for the Eagles will remain the fact, Chip Kelly has no propensity for his teams to play defense . It has been their Achilles’ Heel and is likely remain so during this upcoming season , even if defensive coordinator Bill Davis has an epiphany. The Eagles are sorely in need of defensive talent, based upon their lackluster play since Kelly assumed his role as their head coach. Last season made that abundantly clear also , where they were among the lower rung of the NFL’s franchises with an inadequate secondary. NFL Draft or not, I doubt things are likely to change this upcoming season !

An eight-game winning streak seems to have sent New York Mets’ fans into an extreme flight of fantasy. Yet considering the streak, the best thing which can be said about these recent turn of events for the NL East based franchise, might be well be the fact , it has been the only tangible success the ball-club might well have had in the past seasons . As good as the Mets appear to be , I do not believe this team is capable enough of sustaining their level of play over the course of a one hundred and sixty-two game schedule !

Terry Collins and his managerial staff may well have gotten the Mets off to a fast start, but for Collins this is likely to be the season where he either sinks or swims with regard to his managerial acumen. The jury is still out on the manager and I dare say front office executives, Sandy Alderson and J P Ricciardi still remain under a great deal of pressure to steer the franchise back on the path of success. Whether or not Collins remains a part of their strategic plans is a matter of conjecture and debate, but this much we do know, failure by this team and the likelihood will be the manager is shown the door along with the managerial staff.

A 3-2 victory over divisional rivals the Atlanta Braves where the Mets simply outplayed the visiting team to Citi-Field in Flushing, New York . The two teams will meet again on Thursday with Julio Teheran on the mound for the Braves facing the veteran Bartolo Colon of the Mets. The match-up should prove to be highly entertaining between these two pitchers. .

An MLB team is said to be only as good as their current win streak might suggest. For the Philadelphia Phillies, having gone 2-8 in their last ten games, , only the Milwaukee Brewers’ current mark of ineptitude over a similar ten-game span (1-9) is deserving of even more ridicule. Phillies’ manager Ryne Sandberg is suddenly finding out his playing career by comparison is nowhere as difficult as his managerial career is now turning out to be. A 6-1 homeloss suffered at the hands of the Miami Marlins emphasized several of the issues that this Phillies’ team is having to face. Age, declining productivity from several players , who are overpaid , beyond a front office continually spinning their wheels, in search of answer to what ails this organization.

How and why Reuben Amaro still remains the general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies is a question that many seem to have no answer for . Other than their 2008 success in the World Seriesand a subsequent appearance in the “Fall Classic” , pickings have remained stark for this franchise. Ryan Howard , once a productive player for the Phillies, has now become more of a liability, rather than an asset to this team. Howard’s teammate , Cole Hamels , a former World Series’ MVP winner has not shown the form that once made him one of the most feared pitchers in the NL, let alone the rest of baseball.

Hamels’ $25 million salary might well appear cheap in comparison to his peers within the game, but given today’s ambivalence and the preponderance of the ball-clubs to overpay for talent. Some might well believe the Phillies are getting a bargain with the services of Cole Hamels. Sandberg and his beleaguered Phillies will face the Miami Marlins once again at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia, with David Phelps of the Marlins facing off against Dustin McGowan of the Phillies.

Five years too late , but the press junket has already began, with world titlists , Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao . doing their nationwide appearances to conjure up enough excitement for their upcoming welterweight title fight on 2nd May, 2015 at the MGM Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Complex , in Las Vegas , Nevada. The fight is set to break all gate receipts and PPV records for a title and non-title bout. If the reported purse splits are anything to go by, the estimated take home pay for Mayweather will also be record-breaking , with the undefeated boxer receiving a gargantuan pay-day exceeding $125 million. Gross revenues are expected to top $300 million , with the possibility , the figure could very well exceed $450 million to $500 million u>, when taking into account residuals and the merchandizing revenues.(7)

Manny Pacquiao ,left, is seen here with Floyd Mayweather at an NBA game played at AA Arena in Miami , Florida , earlier this season. The two welterweight title holders will meet on the 2nd May, 2015 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas , Nevada , in what is likely to be the most lucrative fight in the sport’s history . Getty Images North America / Paul Evans

For Manny Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum , this offers the pairing a chance to prove Pacquiao’s recent losses over the past three years were simply an aberration. This might well be the bout which will either seal his legacy or hasten his retirement , leading him to fulfill his obligations as a Filipino Congressman.

Once an avid fan of the sport boxing , I now find it tedious , boring , lacking depth in terms of truly talented boxers and where fights more often than not have conjured far more controversy, than than expectations of a thrilling bout ! How else can you explain the sport’s rapid decline into mediocrity ? Inasmuch , as its supporters still believe boxing has something to offer their most avid fans, there is more excitement and competitiveness to be found in five rounds of Mixed Martial Arts’ bout.

The international governing bodies for this sport (IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC , WBO & WBU) are so far behind their combat counterparts, that the image from the MMA rear-view mirror has become a complete embarrassment. For those who seem to be under the belief , MMA has no place in the world of combative or professional sports , they should consider the fact , the IOC might well be considering to dropping the sport of boxing from the Summer Olympics due to its declining popularity on the global stage.

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Which recent events in the world of sports have highlighted what you believe to be either the more comedic or fascinating incidents to have taken place ?

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Paint me a picture of the NBA this season

Paint me a picture of the NBA this season

The NBA regular season will begin with its usual customary splash . The defending champions the San Antonio Spurs will begin their defense of their title with pretty much the same core group of players and Finals MVP and now the fourth cog in their wheel Kawhi Leonard being a focal point of the Spurs’ lineup. With head coach Gregg Popovich also returning with his full lineup of assistant coaches it should prove to be eventful in seeing how the Spurs go about in winning the franchise’s sixth NBA title. Few teams have achieved the type of success attained by this franchise over the past two decades.

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The teams have already began their ritual of preseason exhibition games , with many having new lineups. With the departure of LeBron James from the Miami Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers , it has created a seismic shift within the Eastern Conference , with a number of analysts now making the Cavaliers the prohibitive favorites for this season’s NBA title. Undoubtedly, with the addition of Kevin Love to the roster , Cleveland will have to be looked upon more favorably as one of the better lineups within the conference but as to their being the best team in the NBA , is open to great deal of debate and speculation among prognosticators and supporters of the franchise.

David Blatt , the new head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers , while being a proven commodity , he is simply another rookie head coach within the NBA this season. Blatt will find his task a tough one albeit , he has league’s best player available to him __ LeBron James, along with a good point guard , Kryrie Irving and one of the game’s best power forwards in Kevin Love.

There is a distinct feeling, with both the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs having begun their preseason schedules , the question now becomes , what type of seasons are the two teams likely to have? Age and experience would suggest the Spurs are not likely to be complacent and it is certainly not the way Gregg Popovich is known to approach a season . Cleveland are unbeaten through their preseason schedule . The team in their most recent overcame a tough Indiana Pacers’ team looking to reassert themselves after lackluster and disappointing postseason , where they fell to the Miami Heat —- in the Eastern Conference Finals . That series told us a great deal about the Pacers, specifically how mentally and physically soft the team was said to be as seen throughout the series against the Heat.

The San Antonio Spurs having started their exhibition season with a 1-2 mark with Tim Duncan , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli playing sparingly during this preseason. Over an eighty-two game schedule, Gregg Popovich knows his players will be going through a rigorous season where fitness will of the utmost if they are to make a successful defense of their NBA title . San Antonio remains a team in its essence being able to play an uptempo game competing with the best in the league. In their most recent contest the Spurs were on the wrong side of a rather lopsided loss to the Phoenix Suns , albeit, that Popovich’s playing staff were under-manned with several players being sidelined for a number of reasons beyond the coach’s decision.

This upcoming season I expect the San Antonio Spurs to meet the challenges envisaged , that will likely come from the Los Angeles Clippers , Oklahoma City Thunder , Golden State Warriors , Portland Trailblazers and Houston Rockets . Of the aforementioned teams , I believe the Clippers , Thunder and Trailblazers are most likely to give he Spurs their toughest challenge over the course of their schedule ! With four games left on their preseason schedule , Gregg Popovich will hope to have his players in sync for their foray into the regular season , but first , a Saturday exhibition contest against their foes from the NBA Finals will be on the agenda , when they play hosts to the Miami Heat at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas,.

The defending NBA champions will begin their season against the Dallas Mavericks in the first of several meetings between the two teams this season.

It has been astonishing to see the growth in Kevin Durant’s game since he entered the NBA , having been drafted by the Oklahoma City (Seattle Supersonics) . An NBA Finals’ appearance notwithstanding and the team’s demoralizing loss (4-1) to the Miami Heat has not quenched the player’s thirst for his first NBA title . Accolades asides , Durant quite possibly poses the only threat to LeBron James’ dominance of the NBA as the league’s best player . What could hamper the Thunder’s season is the loss of Kevin Durant for the first two months of the regular season , with the player being lost to the team , having suffered a broken right foot .

Scott Brooks and GM Sam Presti will now have to press forward in how the Oklahoma City Thunder will proceed without their All Star . If this team is to have any chance of succeeding this season then a great deal of responsibility will be placed upon the shoulders of Russell Westbrook , with the player likely to be asked to provide the leadership needed in the absence of his teammate.

If Westbrook can prove himself worthy of the role in leading the team it would go a long way in allaying the fears of Brooks and the coaching staff. As mercurial a player as Westbrook is known to be , he has yet to show the leadership abilities desired by the coach . However, Scott Brooks believes highly in the point guard in spite of the concerns raised by others , who believe his star something of a loose cannon. Russell Westbrook has proven to be a highly effective player in his role as a point guard. The combination of Durant and Westbrook when on court , they are one of the most productive tandems in all of basketball . It is that type of productivity which will be needed throughout the first two months of the season if the Thunder are to make some headway this season , while Kevin Durant is sidelined by his injury. Who steps up into the role to be the appropriate foil for Westbrook will be predicated on the desires of this team and the coaching strategies of the head coach.

Oklahoma will begin their regular season and opening night schedule with a game against the Portland Trailblazers on the 29th October, 2014. Contests between these two franchises have proven to be competitive and that was clearly the case last season with the Trailblazers surprising a number of analysts and fans alike with their resiliency and sense of purpose . Portland’s head coach Terry Stotts and his coaching staff know that last season’s exploits were no flash in the pan with the team coming away with a 54-28 record, good enough for a playoff berth , but their conference semi-finals’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs bore the hallmark of a team simply lacking recent postseason experience .

LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard are the two players who have led to the team’s ever improving play over the past two seasons . Of the teams I believe capable of making a legitimate run of winning not only their division but also with a chance gaining a playoff berth within the Western Conference this season, the Portland Trailblazers most definitely fit the bill ! This is a well-coached core group of players capable of playing at a high level on both ends of the floor .

A fifty-four win season in 2013 was definitely a sign of the Portland Trailblazers heading in the right direction. This season will be one , likely to prove to be a real test of wills for LaMarcus Aldridge , Damian Lillard , Chris Kaman , Dorell Wright , Robin Lopez , Steve Blake , Nicolas Batum and Will Barton .

The $2 billion sale price agreed to and paid by billionaire and former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer , if anything signified how quickly the league hierarchy and owners wanted to rid themselves of Donald Sterling when the Los Angeles Clippers was purchased by Ballmer . The missteps of the NBA and sheer hypocrisy of the team owners was one of self-serving and complete embarrassment to the league. As to the apathy and idiocy of fans who tried to suggest while Sterling’s actions were inappropriate , it was not overly derogatory damaging to the NBA. Perhaps those very same idiots have not looked at the makeup of the league’s player personnel and the number of executives and members of the hierarchy who happen to be of an ethic background . The sheer incredulity and lack of action shown by David Stern and his successor Adam Silver after the repeated acts of Sterling , indicates their own naivete and willingness to show that the “old boys’ network “ is alive and well in the NBA along with its ongoing lack of real leadership and social awareness . Pragmatism and rhetoric cannot be used as an excuse for ignorance and the allowance of racial bigotry . Yet somehow , the NBA caught with their pants around their legs, with their dicks in their hands and idiots fans still cannot comprehend the magnitude of Donald Sterling’s inappropriate behavior .

Doc Rivers head coach , SVP & Head of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Clippers will be hoping , his team has an even bigger showing this season than witnessed in 2013 . Rivers has seen the growth in the Clippers , with the play of Blake Griffin , Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan , there is every belief this could be the year where the franchise makes an even bigger run in the NBA Playoffs and quite possibly to their first NBA title . Steve Ballmer for his part with an estimated $22 billion fortune has made it abundantly clear , no expense will be spared , as he seeks to bring a title to the franchise , while making the team the most competitive and star-laden in the NBA .

Ballmer’s willingness to make these bold statements, might well be his way re-imaging the franchise , while also seeking to upstage the Los Angeles Lakers whose misfortunes last season were well chronicled. As long as the Lakers are breathing as a franchise , the Los Angeles Clippers will always play second-fiddle to the city’s most beloved and renowned professional sports’ franchise. The Clippers may well struggle this season as they seek to become one of the Western Conference’s elite and more celebrated teams . The talent is certainly there , as to is the coaching , but it has been the complacency shown at the most inopportune of moments which have led to the team’s failures in recent seasons . This year Rivers will be looking to make even greater inroads in the playoffs than seen last year . The conference semi-finals’ loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder told us a great deal about the Clippers and the potential of the team during the NBA Playoffs .

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Chris Paul and his teammates will open up their regular season schedule with an opening night game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles against their semi-finals’ nemesis from last season the Oklahoma City Thunder . If their previous regular season meetings are anything to go by, then the fans will be in for a great treat over the course of this season.

There is no doubt in my mind four teams in the Eastern Conference will have a great deal to prove this upcoming season ! The Miami Heat , Chicago Bulls , Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks are the quartet of teams in question. Erik Spoelstra will lead a newly revamped roster into this season with team President Pat Riley eagerly looking on in anticipation . Riley’s missteps in part led to the Heat’s debacle the postseason , because of his reluctance to improve the lineup in order to assist LeBron James . As to this idiocy whereby , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade would come to James’ aid , only an idiot would actually subscribe to that notion given how poorly Bosh and Wade played during the playoffs . Sporadic and inconsistent, could best describe the play of both of these individuals during regular season , with their being little comfort in the fact Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were being handsomely rewarded for their endeavors and lack of real productivity .

I’ve no real wish to labor the issue of the Miami Heat being overrated during their regular season and the very fact , beyond LeBron James there was simply nothing about the team that would suggest they were capable of beating the San Antonio Spurs in this past season’s NBA Finals . Miami will begin its regular season sojourn knowing they are not likely to be the best team within the Eastern Conference

Derrick Rose considered to be back at full strength played his part in Team USA capturing gold at the FIBA World Cup in Barcelona, Spain. The Chicago Bulls will be hoping their All Star point guard will be able lead this team to another deep postseason run . Adding Pau Gasol gives them a veteran presence, but it must be noted Gasol is no longer the player capable of giving a team double-digit output , in terms of offense and rebounds . That much is clear after his final year with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. He will provide a wily veteran’s presence for the Bulls , but in large part the team’s success will be dependent on the form of Derrick Rose. It begins and ends with the determination of the point guard and his wish to rejoin the elite players within the NBA.

The one thing you can say about the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks and it is , both franchises will find a way to hog the NBA headlines. With their payrolls being among the highest in the NBA . There remains no real signs of intelligence or life within their respective front offices. Phil Jackson is now trying to resurrect a Knicks’ franchise still looking for its first title in almost four decades. Carmelo Anthony still remains with the Knicks , but his supporting cast appears to be an ill-matched set of cogs put together without a thought for competitiveness. Add in the fact a rookie head coach, Derek Fisher has been brought in to coach this lineup and you either have a recipe for disaster or the possibility of the New York Knicks surprising a number of fans and analysts alike.

Jason Kidd’s abrupt departure from the Brooklyn Nets says a great deal about Mikhail Prokhorov and his unwillingness to accede to Kidd’s wishes to be given a greater role within the organization . The fact of the matter became the former head coach’s belief he had a right to demand and dictate the player personnel decisions was an affront to the owner and GM Billy King whose responsibility it is for such decision making . Kidd’s primary role was that of being the head coach , a job which in part, he did rather haphazardly and at times showing a great deal of unsportsmanlike conduct and lack of respect in his role .

With a new coach in tow , Lionel Hollins and his coaching staff will be asked to make this team more competitive and to achieve what Mikhail Prokhorov believes to be a realistic goal of winning an NBA title . I believe the task beyond the Nets’ reach because there is simply no real depth to the lineup even with players such as Andrei Kirilenko , Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez on the roster . The question still remains , who among the players will step up to the plate and assume the vocal role as the Nets’ leader ? Garnett is well past his sell-by-date and his productivity is not what it once was. Deron Williams when healthy, is an extremely talented player , but that is all he is and will remain, talented , never a winner . Joe Johnson over the past four seasons has simply been robbing the Nets blind , while rarely stepping up to the plate .

Brooklyn, if they are to succeed this upcoming season they will have to overcome divisional and conference adversaries Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks within the Atlantic Division and from within the Eastern Conference, usual stalwarts the Chicago Bulls , Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, Indiana Pacers and the likely resurgent Cleveland Cavaliers. The first game on the Nets’ regular season schedule will be against the Boston Celtics at the TD Banknorth Gardens in Boston , Massachusetts,.

The NBA season itself should prove to be an exciting one , with the individual awards likely to be front and center , with Kevin Durant looking to defend his League MVP award. Elsewhere , among the rookies , Andrew Wiggins , Joel Embiid , Jabari Parker , Julius Randle , Aaron Gordon and Dante Exum will be looking to place their names on the Rookie of the Year Award . Michael Carter Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers won the award last season , where he was one of the main reasons why the Sixers had some semblance of success. Upheavals within the organization has seen Josh Harris become the managing partner , but the real problems still lies with the coaching staff and the overall makeup of the Sixers’ roster . A deliberate act or not , last season , during the later stages , it looked as Philadelphia was simply looking to “tank their season “ in order to avail themselves of a lottery pick . Unfortunately, the league hierarchy sees nothing wrong in the teams simply fraudulently taking the consumers for a ride, while selling a mediocre product to the fans and public alike being a major attraction.

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Picture gallery .

As the NBA season approaches which players are you most looking forward to seeing and which teams do you believe likely will be the main contenders for the NBA title ? Your comments as always are welcomed , appreciated and as always thank you for the continued support of this site !

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below

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(1) LeBron James(6) of the Miami Heat is helped off the court after cramping up against the San Antonio Spurs during Game One of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 5, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. Getty Images / Andy Lyons …

(2) LeBron James (6) and Dwyane Wade(3) of the Miami Heat celebrate after defeating the Indiana Pacers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 30, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Mike Ehrmann /Getty Images …

(3) Kawhi Leonard is seen here with San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich court-side during a regular season game. AP Photo / Adam Shelton …

(4)LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 18: Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and new owner of the Clippers Steve Ballmer, right, address the media after Ballmer was introduced for the first time during Los Angeles Clippers Fan Festival at Staples Center on August 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images..

(5) Jason Kidd seen here court-side during a game between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers played at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York on the 27th November , 2013 . Getty Images/ Chris Powell …

(6) Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers is hoping to make an impact in his rookie season for the franchise . AP Photo / Miles Moore ..
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The Larry O’Brien Trophy

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of Fox News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) August 1, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery.

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

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She feels the need for the “squeeze” .

Cap it with what ?

Cap it, with what ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture and slideshow gallery .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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tophatal ………………. 2014/01/15

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From the sublime to the ridiculous ………..

From the sublime to the ridiculous ……….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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tophatal ………………………….

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Goin’ old school

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

Tears of the Sun …….

Tears of the Sun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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tophatal ……. 06/17/2013

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

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

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

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

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Slideshow .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery .

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

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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

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

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

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

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Hot chic pics of the day Ewa Sonnet .

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

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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Slideshow .

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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Picture gallery .

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

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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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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NBA news & archived stories

NBA scheduled game

NBA playoffs` overview

This month in NBA history and for the month of June

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MLB news and news from around the league

MLB standings and wildcard standings

MLB schedule and probable pitchers

This week in MLB history

MLB standings 28th May 2012

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NFL news and archived stories

NFL transactions month of May and in April

NFL preseason schedule and regular season schedule , week`s one , two , three and four .

Buffalo Bills` news

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

Launching paper planes and making excuses

Launching paper planes and making excuses

Isn’t it amazing how soon we forget after proselytizing as to the greatness of a team , and once they have fallen from grace , we tend to start to make excuses for the prognostications and false claims . In the world of politics that has always been the norm. In the aftermath, of the New York Knicks’ exit from the postseason , all of the diagnosis has begun . And I might add, those who bore false witness are now running for the hills seeking still trying to seek some positives from what has been a monumental mess concerning the postseason . Granted , the Knicks and Mike Woodson came through the first round unscathed with a none too competitive first round series’ win over an aging and some might say clearly mismatched Boston Celtics’ team in a rousing 4-2 series` victory .

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Slideshow.

The New York Knicks’ season was filled with highs and lows , with the team ending their sojourn with a 54-28 record , good enough to be the second seed in the Eastern Conference , finishing twelve games behind the Miami Heat (66-16) . A great deal of the Knicks’ failures during the postseason can be summed up with the fact that this team is simply not , defensive minded , lacks the competency to play it with any great authority , in spite of the claims of the supporters of the team who claim to the contrary . And a few games , to where the Knicks held the Celtics, to under eighty points in their first round does not point or indicate to the fact that the team can play defense with any presumed authority . To believe that , would be to suggest that the Knicks would be able to make it the norm , as it relates to their play. One ought to note that the Boston Celtics are an offense challenged team to begin with , where scoring is simply not a premium , in where having to place their faith in an aging Paul Piece indicates the magnitude that they had as a unit , when there was no else capable on the roster to carry that burden of scoring .

Having dispatched the Celtics , the New York Knicks were faced with having to go up against the NBA’s best defensive team during the regular and fourth best in postseason . The Indiana Pacers , coached by Frank Vogel , are well coached and play as a team , rather than as a disproportional edifice , where the play of a lone superstar dictates the play overall of that team . Much as it is in the case of the New York Knicks and their having Carmelo Anthony be the “tip of the spear “ and foil for just about everything that they do from an offensive standpoint . There is no doubt that the New York Knicks were favored to win this Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Indiana Pacers , and that is even now with the all too dubious claims of the Knicks’ supporters who would now have you believe that all they were hoping for was simply a berth in the playoffs . All well and good , but in reality , the Knicks’ front office , players and fans , had ambitions and were looking towards a potential Conference Finals’ series against LeBron James and the Miami Heat . Alas , it was not to be , and one could point to a number of reasons behind the team’s failure in the postseason. As laudable as it was , to see the franchise’s presence back amongst the NBA’s end of year showcase , in reality , we all knew that this team simply was not good enough to be even remotely considered a legitimate contender to take down their Eastern Conference rivals , much less the potential win the NBA title .

Where this now all leaves the New York Knicks and in particular the frustration for Mike Woodson and his obvious disappointment , will now be based upon how team owner , James Dolan and GM Glen Grunwald will seek to make any moves as they deem fit , in bolstering the Knicks’ roster . Old at its core , let’s be realistic , the contributions of Marcus Camby , Jason Kidd , Kenyon Martin and Steve Novak as well as Amare Stoudemire , could be best described as being anemic during the postseason . It might not be deemed so comical and idiotic , when it was suggested that Woodson was actually unsure what to expect from Chris Copeland , as a player . I can only surmise that Copeland was viewed as nothing more than a bench-warmer by the Knicks’ coaching staff . In the Knicks’ game five victory over the Pacers , Copeland came off the bench , scoring thirteen points , to be a hero in the team’s second win of the series . And JR Smith may well have won the Sixth Man of the Year Award for his regular season contributions ,but can someone please explain to me , why he was nowhere to be seen during the postseason ?

Of the sixteen participants in the postseason , the New York Knicks’ payroll was amongst the highest of the teams left at that stage of the proceedings . The team’s payroll for the season , of $80.3 million , was not of season’s past , when it exceeded $100 million , hitting the franchise hard in terms of the league mandated ” luxury tax” , which saw teams having to pay a dollar for dollar sum back to the league hierarchy for exceeding the “soft salary cap” . And it would appear that while David Stern sells the idiocy of the NBA being on a sound financial footing , the Knicks for their part will continue to spend their money capriciously on players , who in large part , simply do not pay off as a tangible return on that investment . As proof of that , Amare Stoudemire is still owed an astonishing $45 million on the two years remaining of what still in many eyes , was viewed as a ludicrous and outlandish contract, a five-year $ 100 million deal for the center / power forward . I would preface this by saying, with the idiocy witnessed within the Knicks’ front office, by former head coach and team President , Isiah Thomas , was allowed to simply throw money at players with little or no talent whatsoever . Inasmuch as Thomas’ successor Donnie Walsh tried to steady that ship, it would appear that the idiocy remained , while Jim Dolan craved the success of seeing his franchise back amongst the elite of the NBA .

A decision will have to be made on whether or not a number the Knicks’ impending free agents will be retained , as well as the long and short-term future, as it relates to Amare Stoudemire whose contract remains a yoke around the neck of the Knicks’ franchise , when one bears in mind the league’s existing $58 million soft salary cap , and that the franchise will this season will be remitting $23 million back to the league hierarchy in terms of the luxury tax .

With a $1 billion price tag the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers are by far the most valuable franchises in the NBA . For the Knicks being just one of the baubles in the Dolan family sporting interests that makes up parent company holdings for MSG Entertainment Inc / The Madison Square Garden Entertainment Company , it easy to understand why the franchise has been always been perceived as one the bell-weather models of the professional sports’ franchise industry . With that being said , wealth and fortune are by no means a guarantee of competitive success , when there has been poor professional acumen shown by the Knicks’ organization over the past few seasons. Bear in mind also , that beyond the fans within the New York state area , you also have the print , television and radio media simply lauding the franchise at every turn over the course of the regular season . Now that they have been inauspicious dumped out of the NBA postseason play . Fans and the media , are at a juxtaposition , as to how best to explain their team’s fall from grace . Self absorbed, and conceitedness or simply an unwillingness to accept the fact that they are not as good as advertised ? I will leave it for you to be the judge of that !

In what was deemed to be a competitive Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies , who defeated the number one seeds , the Oklahoma City Thunder with surprising ease . The Spurs have nonchalantly dusted down the Grizzlies in the first two games , taking a 2-0 lead before the series resumes at the Fedex Forum in Memphis, Tennessee on Saturday 25th May , 2013 .

The Spurs’ Big Three of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker have provided the experience and bulk of the offensive output of the franchise during the postseason . Duncan in spite of his age , is having one of his better seasons in what is sure to be undoubtedly viewed as a Hall of Fame career. Game three will be pivotal for both teams and should Lionel Hollins’ Grizzlies suffer a home defeat , then for all sense and purpose this series will be over , bar the ticker tape parade .

Zach Randolph has proven to be the Memphis’ best player during the regular and postseason , is now seeing what it is like to play with a great deal of emotion , only to have the door slam shut in his face . And while in the series against the Oklahoma City Thunder he was ably assisted by Marc Gasol , Tayshaun Prince and Mike Conley . The reality of that first round performance , was that it placed the Grizzlies’ on an emotional high and a physical plane , but now having met the San Antonio Spurs , reality has now finally set in , that their story is only half-written , and the ensuing chapters are now looking , not so bright .

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Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any , do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? Also , in light of the Knicks’ postseason demise , how would you go about addressing several of their personnel decisions that will undoubtedly have to be made ?

Picture and slideshow details below for your perusal .
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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 18: Lance Stephenson(1) of the Indiana Pacers celebrates in the game against the New York Knicks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 18, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.The Pacers won 106-99 . Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images …

(2) 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 . Getty Images /Andy Lyons …

(3) Paul George (24) of the Indiana Pacers battles for the ball against J.R. Smith (8) and Kenyon Martin (3) of the New York Knicks during game three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 11, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers won 82-71 . Getty Images North America / Joe Robbins …..

(4) From left to right , New York Knicks’ owner James Dolan , GM Glen Grunwald and head coach Mike Woodson . In light of the team’s demise in the postseason, all three executives will face some tough decision-making concerning the makeup of the team’s roster as they enter the 2013-14 NBA season . Courtesy of NY Daily News/AP Photo / Drew Pearson ….

(5) New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire , center, is tied up by Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert , right, and forward David West during the second half of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series in Indianapolis, Saturday, May 11, 2013. AP Photo/Michael Conroy …

(6) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan celebrates with the team as he comes down to the bench during the overtime in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies, Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 93-89 . AP Photo/Eric Gay …

(7) Memphis Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph argues with an official during the second half in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs, Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ….

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tophatal …………….. 2013/05/24

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NBA news and archived news

NBA schedule (postseason)

Eastern Conference Finals : Miami Heat (1) vs Indiana Pacers (3)

Western Conference Finals : San Antonio Spurs (2) vs Memphis Grizzlies (5)

NB : seeds shown in brackets

NBA playoffs’ overview

New York Knicks news

NBA teams’ salaries ($58.044 million salary cap). For teams exceeding that threshold they are surcharged a dollar for dollar amount which is paid back to the NBA hierarchy at the end of the season .

NBA team values , revenues and net income

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Hot chic pic of the day Kathy Lantigua .

It takes a village to raise a child , but what does it take to make an NBA franchise better ?

It takes a Village to raise a child , but what does it take to make an NBA franchise better?

By Tophatal

Well with the NBA schedule now eagerly making its way into the third quarter of the season , we can see that the divisional and conference standings now taking shape . No real surprises here , with the Miami Heat (40-14) and San Antonio Spurs leading their respective divisions with comfortable leads . And before the rather inane supporters of the New York Knicks (33-20) start to belly ache with their continued idiocy as to how dominant their team has been , let’s really take a look at that shall we . Beyond, leading the Heat in their season series , the team’s record and play has been somewhat uninspiring . I mean how and why is that they have disappeared into the shadows faster than a priest caught disrobing , as they seek to force themselves upon a young victim ?

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Only, the ever so obnoxious Knicks’ fans can one moment speak so passionately about their team, one minute , to then remain silent , the next ! Now not only are the Knicks suddenly a team without direction but they now find themselves as the third seed within the Eastern Conference , ½ game behind the suddenly surging Indiana Pacers (35-21) , a team , which recently blew Mike Woodson’s players off the court , in a rather embarrassingly lopsided twenty-six loss to the Pacers 121-95. Somehow , you won’t hear the Knicks’ ingrates discuss that loss , but they will suggest that Carmelo Anthony ought to be considered a worthy candidate for this season’s league MVP. Granted, there may well be some veracity to that argument, but this year , the race is essentially between LeBron James and his shadow , because no one else, is even remotely close to the player in terms of his extraordinary play this season .

Consider the fact that, the New York Knicks are now 4-6 in their last ten games , whereas the team that they seek to supplant , the Miami Heat , as the “best “ in the Eastern Conference are in fact 10-0 in their last ten games . Hardly ,seems fair , does it,? Yet, these are blatant facts borne out , for those who really seek to delve further into the matter . Yes, you, the Knicks’ fans out there, why so goddamn quiet? ? You guys, can talk the talk, but as always, more often than not , there tends to be more bullshit behind it , as you are not always prepared to “walk the walk” , more than anything else !

I don’t that there is a great deal to be said about the Detroit Pistons , as this franchise is seemingly heading into oblivion . Coming off an eleven-point loss to the Atlanta Hawks , I am not so sure that GM Joe Dumars and the team’s ownership group led by billionaire venture capitalist , Tom Gores and Dennis Mannion could have ever envisaged this team , playing so ineptly . Head coach Lawrence Frank , in spite of his youthful exuberance and experience , it is becoming abundantly clear that the franchise , while its core of players are considered to be young , the talent level and leadership needed , simply is not there , for them to be even considered a legitimate contender within their division , much less the Eastern Conference as a whole .

Greg Monroe , , Jose Calderon and Rodney Stuckey , might well be considered the franchise’s best players , and the remnants from the Pistons’ most recent success , the title team of 2004 , are now a fast fading memory, for the fans normally in attendance at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit , Michigan, . And for Dumars , the architect of that championship winning team , time must be now fast running out , as I seriously doubt , that Tom Gores can considered it , to be in the franchise’s best interests to have the front office executive remain in his current position , that much longer .

The 2012 NBA Draft cannot be considered to be a productive one for the Pistons’ franchise , with Andre Drummond , (9th pick overall) taken in the first round , to be followed by Khris Middleton and Kim English . Thought to be prudent, but worthwhile picks , all three players having contributed overall in the team’s play , it is apparent there are still some great strides needed , before each can be considered a major star in the NBA . Albeit , that both Drummond and Kyle Singler , the franchise’s top pick from the 2011 draft , do figure in the top twenty of the league’s rookie players for scoring this season . Leading the way, in that specific category has been the Portland Traiblazers’ Damian Lillard, whose exciting play has been one of the standout highlights , for an otherwise somewhat under-achieving season for the Western Conference franchise .

Coming off a thoroughly convincing 92-86 victory over the now laboring Boston Celtics at the Rose Garden in Portland , Oregon,. It has to be said, that if the Trailblazers (26-30) are to chase down the eighth seeded Houston Rockets (31-27) and the ninth seeded Los Angeles Lakers (28-30) for that eighth and final qualifying berth for the chance to be an active participant in the postseason. Then, the level of play we are currently witnessing from the team will have to be of a much higher standard .

Blazers’ head coach Terry Stotts and GM Neil Olshey can only hope to achieve any semblance of success , just as long as team owner, Microsoft co-founder , billionaire, Paul Allen , is willing to keep the “purse strings” open , in order that the franchise is able to lure talented free agents to the Pacific Northwest . And given the premise that success, as it relates to the Portland Trailblazers in recent years, has become something of a lost cause , their last postseason appearance came by way of the 2011 postseason , in which they suffered a first round series’ loss (4-2) to the eventual NBA champions , the Dallas Mavericks .

In the aftermath in the death of Los Angeles Lakers’ owner , Dr Jerry Buss , it was a time of soul-searching , solemnity and dare one say , “ empathy for this renowned franchise” ? Well, the time for mourning, is now over and it is back to playing with passion, rather than going through the motions. In their most recent games , it would appear that the team have begun to heed the words of teammate Kobe Bryant , after the player chastised his fellow players for their sheer lack of effort . Personally, I have no problem with the presumed team leader “calling out “ his teammates , especially where , in the case of the head coach , in this case , the witless Mike D’Antoni , who is being paid a King’s ransom , but yet he has brought not a goddamn thing to the table by way of his coaching acumen . It were as if he is now leaving the players to figure it out for themselves , because he sure as hell , hasn’t been able to figure it out along with that lame assed coaching staff , whom he apparently calls upon for assistance. At times , this season , it were as if Sarah Palin were advising the team on their playing strategy , but I digress, the Tea Party advocate and “ doyenne of all things stupid “ , might just be more equipped to proffer up meaningful advice than a bonehead , such as Mike D’Antoni ! The Lakers’ head coach brings with his a resume’ that first glance seems impressive , until you realize he has never achieved anything of note from a coaching standpoint , nor has he ever developed a player that has become a perennial All Star . Need one say anymore, on the matter?

Presiding over this debacle in recent weeks or to be more accurate, throughout this entire season , has been GM Mitch Kupchak and Lakers’ EVP Jim Buss . The deluge of abuse and criticism , rendered against the duo , has been far and wide, it has been deeply scathing and seething with such venom , that you would be hard pressed to suggest that much of that was not warranted. And granted, while the Lakers have now played themselves into the position where they now sit on the cusp of obtaining a playoff berth , but it remains to be seen whether or not the team will be competitive for a deep playoff run in the postseason. Beyond the 2012-13 acquisition of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash , the makeup of this roster is uninspired and failing in so many ways. Unfortunately, the apathy shown by the fans is what you should now come to expect when success in recent years has simply been bought through high-priced acquisitions , rather than being organic and from within .

Does anyone feel truly threatened by names such as Robert Sacre , Darius Morris , Andrew Goudelock , Earl Clark , Darius Johnson-Odom , Jodie Meeks and Devin Ebank ? Yet somehow , there was this rather asinine idiocy that a team bolstered by Bryant , Pau Gasol , Nash , Howard and Metta World Peace , would be deemed a likely conference favorite for an NBA title ? I would have drunk the Kool-Aid , until I realized that it might well have been pissed into by profound idiots such as Skip Bayless , Tony Kornheiser and Jon Barry , allegedly knowledgeable NBA pundits and media darlings , who are trying to sell this organization as a credible contender for the world championship. I’m sorry, but, I have never drunk from the pot, that others have defecated or urinated in ! It is simply not my style , nor will it, ever be!

I have long-held the contention that the Lakers will be a franchise , that will be bereft of leadership and talent , the moment that Kobe Bryant officially walks away from the game . He will go down in history , as one the top fifteen players in NBA history , Look beyond the career statistics and where he ranks amongst the all-time greats and look at the player’s achievements on the court as a player , and I believe that you get a much clearer picture as to what he simply about as an individual and as a competitor . There is not one player on this existing roster that has the competitive instinct or the all-round ability to lead this team into for the next decade or more . And for anyone to have the temerity that Dwight Howard can be seen as such an individual , leads me to believe that the person in question is either a downright blithering ass or clearly a person, who simply doesn’t understand the nuances and the fundamentals of this game ! Howard has never been, a leader, nor does he possess the intelligence or the maturity to assume such a role . And the mere fact that Mitch Kupchak sees the center as the heir-apparent to Kobe Bryant, is both a sign of desperation on the part of the executive , as he clings to straws, while looking for a lifeline to save the Lakers’ floundering season . . The team’s next game will be against conference rivals the Minnesota Timberwolves , scheduled for tipoff at 10:30 pm EST at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California , on Thursday evening .

Make of it what you will, but teams that simply do not plan ahead for the future , and who would rather spend their way to success , tend to fall abruptly from grace because the know-how , and business acumen simply isn’t there ! Cases, can now be made for both the Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks , of which the latter is now simply on its last legs, as they seek to gain the last gleaming remnants of competitiveness out of Dirk Nowitzki , and the now laboring Mavericks . At 25-30 the eleventh placed Dallas Mavericks are now on the outside looking in , as they seek to climb out of their present position and up the conference rankings . Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban ” gambled and lost” in the Deron Williams’ sweepstakes as the Nets’ point guard chose to remain with the Eastern Conference franchise , as they sought resurrect their fortunes . The Brooklyn Nets with a payroll of $87.6 million for the season , have the second highest payroll in the NBA , which is led by the Los Angeles Lakers and their whopping $100.1 million , far exceeding the league’s “ soft salary cap figure” of $58.044 million for the 2012-13 season . And far be it for me to suggest, but even though the Mavericks’ figure of $69.6 million seems minuscule by comparison , in 2011 , they were amongst the highest salaried teams within the NBA , with Kobe Bryant being the highest paid player in the league that season , with a salary of $24,806,250 .

Mavericks’ GM Donn Nelson is now left seeking ways , how to best move forward as they seek build towards the future with the winding down of Nowitzki’s career . The 7’ center/power- forward has been of the best European players to graced the NBA over the past two decades , and to my mind there has not a player this good , from the European continent the Croatian , Drazan Petrovic graced the scene as a player with the New Jersey Nets . And Petrovic’s skill-set was as a mercurial point guard who simply astonished the fans with his passing dexterity and playmaking abilities . The closest we have now come to seeing this by way of European point guard , might well be the San Antonio Spurs’ dangerously deceptive Tony Parker , a three-time winning NBA titlist with the NBA franchise .

It is hard to see where the Mavericks will go from here because the team in its present guise is suffering growing pains , even in light of this and their 2011 draft picks . Defensively , the Mavericks are exceedingly poor and giving up 102.6 points per game for fourth worst in the league. And from an offense standpoint , the team remains woefully inadequate in more ways than Mark Cuban and Donn Nelson would care to admit.

Mikhail Prokhorov , the billionaire owner of the Brooklyn Nets cannot be entirely happy with what he has witnessed from his team this season . Already on their second head coach of the year, after the firing of Avery Johnson , who would be replaced by P J Carlesimo . As the interim head coach , he now has to work with the self-indulgence of Deron Williams , an “ overrated “ point guard , and the lackluster Joe Johnson , who with $60 million plus , remaining on his existing contract , he could very well be “ one of the biggest busts “ of the NBA season by way of his lack of productivity . GM Billy King , may well be rethinking his original stance of acquiring Johnson , albeit , the thinking would be that the player would be deemed a comfortable fit , alongside Williams and Brook Lopez , the young center , that the franchise now pins their hopes upon , having lost out in the race to acquire , then free agent , Dwight Howard .

The Nets are coming off a rather debilitating 76-72 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies , in which the team played some uninspired basketball in their defeat by one the Western Conference’s best teams. As to what this says about this Nets’ franchise and their overall ambitions over the remainder of the season , one can only surmise how it might all end . The team will seek to recover from that rather lackluster performance as they are the guests of the New Orleans Hornets , one of the NBA’s more uninspired teams of the season. A second successive defeat would not necessarily write off the hopes of the Nets , but it certainly wouldn’t create a conducive environment , as the franchise moves into the final quarter of their schedule . And with the outlay by way of the team’s payroll (87,577,676) , anything short of the playoffs and a deep run in the postseason and the front office of the Brooklyn Nets might seek to make some long-term changes right across the board that would most certainly have some far-reaching ramifications for the franchise. The financial resources asides , with Prokhovorov , being worth an estimated $13.2 billion , a fortune which places him as the fifty-eighth richest individual on the planet. It does lead one to believe that even with the Russian’s vast wealth , he must have known that his fortune alone , the lure of Brooklyn , and the ostentatious-ness of the cavernous Barclays Center/Atlantic Yards’ Complex. That alone , as the attractive pearl , could not have been enough of a driving force , for him to truly believe that his franchise could be taken as a legitimate contender for this season ? For him to have truly believed that , either he was under the mistaken belief , that the team was simply that good or the fact that rest of the Eastern Conference was simply mediocre , and would be willing to become “ lambs to the slaughter “ as the Nets laid siege to the conference . Which, do you believe it to be?

From my own perspective , I never bought into the Nets to begin with , as this current team had no real body work for which one could truly judge by . And the continued apathy , and idiocy shown by the fans of both the Knicks and Nets , as if it is now , both of these franchises’ time to shine, is simply idiotic to begin with ! As I alluded to earlier New York Knicks were a mediocre 5-5 in their last ten games , hardly something to tie one’s hat on , by way of viewing them as a legitimate , much less a perennial contender . Meanwhile, the Nets are simply a team , lacking in leadership , with a coach whose greatest claim to fame , was the very fact that he escaped being choked out by a psychopath NBA professional several years ago.

If things were to get any worse for the Boston Celtics (30-27) , then what guise would it take? They have lost their best player, point guard Rajon Rondo for the rest of the season, and the dark shadows have begun to set over this franchise. Rumors are circling that GM, Danny Ainge , would like to jettison Kevin Garnett and his burdensome contract , given his age and the fact that there are said to have been several inquiries from interested parties looking to acquire the seasoned veteran. Yet, with a no-trade clause tied to the contract , which would have to be waived and agreed upon by the player. It seems highly unlikely, that Garnett would actually leave a franchise , where he has stated categorically , he would like to play out the rest of his career with the Boston Celtics. With three years remaining on Garnett’s existing deal and approximately $36 million owed to the player , it would take a major concession on the part of the veteran and multiple All Star , to suddenly jump ship. And I can only envisage, Garnett going to a legitimate contender , rather than Ainge and owner , Wyc Grousbeck simply engineering a salary dump . As to what this might indicate to the Celtics’ fans , who may well see it, as the front office simply giving up on the season , when there is still something to play for , could very well sit either way , with those diehard individuals .

As the seventh seed within the Eastern Conference , the Celtics are quite comfortably set , with a two-game lead over their closest rivals the Milwaukee Bucks (27-28). All that is now being asked of Doc Rivers and his staff is to guide this team into the playoffs , and then simply let the chips fall where they may .

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It may well takes a village, to raise a child , but sheer know- how , real expediency and acumen is needed to make a successful NBA franchise . Something I truly believe, to be lacking in several of the franchises now playing within the NBA ! David Stern , longing to be seen as the best executive in professional sports , often comes off and across as a conceited self-serving pompous ass ! And is further proof is needed , during this last labor dispute with the NBPA (union) , while seeking concessions from the union , the commissioner was still compensated to the tune of $25 million in salary , not inclusive bonuses and other discretionary incentives . It simply makes you wonder . what really , does the NBA have to offer the fans by way of a very good product , and if anything by way of real integrity or intelligence ? The apathy of the fans , who state that there are some wonderful story-lines to be had , only speaks to their sheer stupidity , if it is simply a feel-good story that an individual is said to be looking for , when the product being served up , is nothing more than a rehashed meal , that is simply being reheated and packaged to look ever so fresh . Your thoughts, on this all ?

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(1)MIAMI, FL – FEBRUARY 26: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat works up the crowd during a game against the Sacramento Kings at American Airlines Arena on February 26, 2013 in Miami, Florida. The Heat would go on to defeat the Kings 141-129 . Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …

(2) Sacramento Kings’ John Salmons (5) fouls Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. AP Photo/J Pat Carter …

(3) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan (21) passes under pressure from Phoenix Suns’ Goran Dragic , of Slovenia, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, in Phoenix. The Spurs would go on to defeat the Suns 97-87 . AP Photo/Matt York …

(4) Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith (5) shoots around Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe (10) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich., Monday, Feb. 25, 2013. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …

(5) Detroit Pistons’ owner , Tom Gores is seen here with the team’s GM Joe Dumars during a pregame shoot around at the Palace of Auburn Hills , in Detroit , Michigan, . This season has simply been one of immeasurable struggles for the franchise , whose roster has been completely been revamped over the past two seasons . AP Photo & Detroit Free Press / Asa Hutchinson …

(6) John Starks (3) , left of the New York Knicks , looks to defend against the Nets’ point guard Drazan Petrovic during a game played at Madison Square Garden , in New York City , New York . Petrovic’s career in the NBA was cut short , when he died in an airplane accident , in his native Croatia , formerly known as Yugoslavia . Heralded as one of the greatest European players ever to have played in the NBA , his legacy still lives on in the minds of many Nets’ fans who saw him play. Courtesy of NBA.com/archives @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ….

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When, it’s all said and done , the better man, or team won . Or were they ?

When, it’s all said and done , the better man, or team won . Or were they ?

By Tophatal

Well, the 2012-13 NFL season has come to close , with the Baltimore Ravens winning their second Superbowl since 2000. The “ Harbaugh Bowl” lived up to all of the hype and expectations , one have come to expect of the nation’s biggest sport’s event . The city of New Orleans were wonderful hosts, and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans Louisiana , was the perfect setting for the event.

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With Ray Lewis now riding off into the sunset as a retiring NFL player , happy with the knowledge of having won his second world title ring , whatever awaits defensive lineman , undoubtedly will be a great deal of wealth and adulation. The wealth, will come in the form of the monies that will obviously be offered to a player by a number of broadcast outlets seeking to have Lewis become an NFL analyst , and who might well be described greatest defense player of his era, and quite good enough to be placed amongst the top five players at the position to have played the game in the NFL . The Ravens came away with a moral and well deserved victory , in a thrilling 34-31 win over their NFC counterparts , the San Francisco 49ers . Opposing quarterbacks , Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick , for the most part , were excellent , and it would suggest that both of these players, should have long and successful careers for their respective teams. Flacco was named the MVP of Superbowl 47 , albeit , that I felt either Jacoby Jones or Ed Reed could have supplanted Flacco for the award, but at the end of the day, the recipient of the award , seemed just right.

For winning head coach , John Harbaugh , he now becomes the first coach in NFL history to have taken a team to the postseason in each of his first five seasons , and to have won a Superbowl in his very first attempt. Baltimore Ravens’ owner, Steve Biscotti , billionaire industrialist , and avid sport’s fan has worked tirelessly in making the franchise he now owns a source of pride in the greater Baltimore area . Both Bisciotti, and general manager, Ozzie Newsome , have built the Ravens into a formidable franchise both on and off the field of play. And this victory was a culmination of their efforts along with that of the entire coaching staff , the players and the fans , themselves . . Newsome drafted prudently , and acquired players , using due diligence , while not having to pay outlandish salaries , in assembling this current roster . Inasmuch, as we know that there is bound to be off-season upheavals amongst the playing staff, there simply can be no denying that the Ravens will be amongst the contenders and quite possibly be viewed as a prohibitive favorite for the Superbowl , for next season. . Your thoughts, on this ? Simply chime in with a comment.

At a time when the NBA should be content with its environment , the game is mired in mediocrity , and lo and behold the self-indulgent union, the NBPA (union) now finds itself mired in controversy , that can only be deemed as an embarrassment not only to the union , league but also the sport , and the brand itself. The now embattled union has seen its Executive Director, Billy Hunter , be forcibly asked to step down , but he states, he is in fact taking a voluntary leave of absence , while the union’s executive committee conducts an in-depth investigation into the misappropriation of league funds , and suggestions that Hunter , sought to transfer $ 7 million in NBPA funds , to be used as an investment to shore up the finances of a Cherry Hill , New Jersey based bank, where two of his children , just happened to be employees . What makes this latest mea-culpa so embarrassing, at the center of this all, is the very fact that Billy Hunter’s intent was have this transaction take place without having advised any senior executive member of the union hierarchy. And here was I thinking , the only such organizations who conducted themselves with such secrecy, were the Teamsters Union , UAW , AFL-CIO and the now inept US government .

It is hard at this juncture to feel any empathy towards the union , Billy Hunter , who is being paid a $ 3 million annual salary to provide the union with his expertise in labor laws, as well as a wide variety of union related issues concerning the NBA . Somehow, I now feel, that Hunter’s days with the union are numbered , with him being in all likelihood being fired. Only a formal announcement awaits , pending the outcome of the investigation , with union President , Derek Fisher , or his deputy , VP , Keyon Dooling , making the statement that Billy Hunter will be relieved of his duties, as the union’s Executive Director , to take effect , immediately .

At the start of the season , in the midst of the upheavals around the league with so many off-season moves . A great deal was made of the fact that the Brooklyn Nets would be seen as a viable candidate to challenge the perceived dominance of the Miami Heat within the Eastern Conference . After an inauspicious start to their schedule , Nets’ GM Billy King summarily fired , beleaguered head coach , Avery Johnson and promoted , his assistant , PJ Carlesimo to the position of interim head coach , until the end of the regular season . And while the Nets under Carlesimo , have proven to be a great deal more energetic in their play , I am not so sure that this team , will be able to challenge the likes of the Miami Heat or the New York Knicks , were it to come down to a postseason seven game series !

At 28-19 , the Brooklyn Nets , currently sit in second place , three games behind the New York Knicks (30-15) within the Atlantic Division . In what might be seen, as one of the more competitive divisions within the NBA , it has to be said that the three teams in contention within the division , cannot now afford to make any major slip-ups between now and the end of the regular season , with so much being on the line , and where a drop in a conference position , can mean a life or death situation for those teams and their postseason aspirations. Personally , I am not convinced that the makeup of this current Nets’ roster is simply good enough or anywhere near talented enough to win an NBA title. The team led by Deron Williams , Joe Johnson , Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries have proven to be somewhat inconsistent , albeit , that since the installing of P J Carlesimo as the head coach , there has been a gradual overall improvement in the team’s play.

Are you beginning to wonder how good the Chicago Bulls(29-18) might be , were Derrick Rose fully fit and playing on that current roster ? Taking up the slack , in the absence of the point guard , have been Luol Deng , Carlos Boozer , Joakim Noah , and Nate Robinson . And this has all been borne out , by having the third best record within the Eastern Conference ,while leading the Central Division over their closest rivals , the Indiana Pacers (28-19) . Bulls’ head coach , Tom Thibodeau , in spite of his postseason letdown in 2012 in the playoffs , which at the time , it was the scene of what precipitated to the loss of the Bulls’ point guard , in their first round series loss to the Philadelphia 76ers . Thoroughly outplayed in the entire series , the reverberations from that series’ defeat to suggest that beyond the inexperience shown by the team at the time , Thibodeau’s inexperience was glaringly transparent for all to see. With Rose, now on the mend , and thought to be almost nearing the end of his rehabilitation from his surgically repaired left knee . The anticipated timeline for his return, is said to be, after this year’s All Star Break (15th-17th February 2013) , which will be played at the Toyota Center in Houston , Texas , with the rosters of the East and Western Conference being made up of the game’s biggest stars.

The Bulls’ next game will be on Monday night , when they face the Indiana Pacers in a pivotal match-up , that should tell us a great deal about these two teams and where they currently now stand . However , with the anticipated return of Derrick Rose , Tom Thibodeau , has to be mindful , as to how the insertion will affect the rhythm, that the team currently now have. Winners of seven of their last ten games , which is amongst hottest streaks now going in the NBA . As I alluded to earlier , the expectations are high for the return of Derrick Rose , and the likelihood , his first game back could very well be either against the New Orleans Hornets on 19th February , or quite possibly against the Charlotte Bobcats on the 22nd February . There is an intervening game in between 19th and 22nd , on the 21st February , which would I believe would prove to be too stern a test for the player, in having to face the Miami Heat at home in the United Center , in Chicago , Illinois .

If Rose can recapture the form that won him the NBA league MVP , in 2011, then it would certainly bode well for the Chicago Bulls and their very ambitious point guard .

Call me naïve , but it may well take more than a kick in the a$s for David Stern to realize that the NBA brand is in the midst of a down year from a competitive standpoint in comparison to last season . And it would certainly help if the commissioner and the league hierarchy would acknowledge that fact, rather than continually extol the virtue of a league that is lacking in truly appealing stars. Granted , the likes of LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony , Dwyane Wade , Kevin Durant , Russell Westbrook , James Harden , Tony Parker , Chris Paul and Blake Griffin , are some of the most recognized names , and well-paid stars in the NBA at present . Yet, even that by itself, is no real guarantee concerning the success of the league. The revenues of the brand , will grow and decline exponentially , as the NBA finds itself in the midst of another economic downturn .

At a time when the NBA calls out for a rivalry to match the most famous of them all , that of the “ heated rivalry “ between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers during the regular season , but one which took on a life its own during the playoffs , but even more so during the NBA Finals . The budding embers of what could be this best era’s rivalry , that of the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder was on view last season during the 2011-12 NBA Finals. And we have seen growing stature and respect between the game’s two best players , in Kevin Durant and LeBron James . Their teams , which they represent , the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat, are considered to be amongst the best in the NBA , but this season it is clear that the league is seeing some rather mediocre play being exhibited by the teams in the NBA .

For the Thunder’s head coach , Scott Brooks , his team’s play has been as resolute as ever , even in light of the departure of James Harden from last season’s roster in a stunning trade that sent Harden to the Houston Rockets , and one which literally took everyone by surprise. Currently, with the second best record in the Western Conference. At 36-12 , the Thunder sit two games behind the conference leading San Antonio Spurs (38-11) who are winners of ten consecutive games , currently the longest such winning streak in the NBA at present .

In their regular season meetings between the Heat and Thunder , since the inception of Western Conference franchise , these two teams have met a total of 54 times , when one takes into account the franchise’s former being as the Seattle Supersonics . The Miami Heat currently leads the series 30-19 during the regular season , and by a margin of 4-1 in the postseason , as reflected in their only series’ postseason meeting , which took place in last season’s NBA Finals.

In the 2012-13 season , and their only meeting thus far , the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-97 in the Heat’s regular season opener to start the defense of their NBA crown. Kevin Durant , and LeBron James, led all scorers , scoring 33 and 29 points respectively , for the Thunder and the Miami Heat, during the game. The next scheduled meeting between these two franchises will take place on the 14th February when they will meet at the Chesapeake Energy Center , in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma , in front of what is sure to be a rabid and vociferous crowd of primarily loyal Thunder supporters . It could be seen as a precursor, as to another possible encounter in the postseason , but much of that will be predicated upon how both teams acquit themselves over the remainder of their respective regular season schedules, and in the earlier rounds of the postseason.

Shrewd businessman and some might say perhaps , one of the ” most despised “ owners in the NBA . Yet somehow , Mark Cuban , owner of the Dallas Mavericks , and a constant thorn in claw of David Stern, has always found a way to either keep himself in the news , or that of the franchise that he owns. In the subsequent years, since the Mavericks won it all, in 2011 , when they defeated the Miami Heat in a surprisingly easy 4-2 series’ victory , with Dirk Nowitzki , being named Finals MVP. Since that triumph , the Mavericks have fallen on hard times, with Cuban and general manager , Donnie Nelson , having to shed burdensome contracts , or simply players who were under-achieving with the franchise. Head coach , Rick Carlisle , will be asked to work his magic once again , this time however , with something of a younger cast to complement the aging and declining skill-set of Nowitzki, who is now , in the twilight of an illustrious career.

Now playing for pride more than anything else , it is extremely difficult to see how the Mavericks can hope to play themselves into playoff contention , and currently playing with a sub .500 record at 20-28 ! The team lacks real scoring , and defensively , there remains a great deal to be desired , from unit that gives up on average 102.9 points per game and a staggering 33.7 defensive rebounds a game. Definitely, not the sort of statistics that is likely to win a franchise a championship. Away from the court , Donnie Nelson, is having a tumultuous time in dealing with troubled star , Delonte` West , a player , whose off the field troubles and well chronicled run-ins with law enforcement , have shone a light on West , far more than anything he has ever achieved on the field of play throughout his troubled career . His refusal to originally report for duty , with the Mavericks’ D League affiliate the Texas Legends , can only cast further doubt , on whether or not he has a role to play for this franchise , much less a have a future at all within the NBA . At this juncture , I would think it pretty safe to suggest that either by the trade deadline or at the end of this season , Delonte West will no longer be with the franchise ! I mean , why have a loose cannon , within your midst , when your coaching staff is trying to create some semblance of camaraderie and competitiveness amongst the players ?

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During the Superbowl , which incident or incidents do you believe may well have been the focal and turning point of the game ? And do believe, the explanation of electrical the power outage was good enough, given the importance of the event? Last but not least , what do you believe to be the biggest disappointment behind such lackluster play season in the NBA at this point of season ? Chime on in with your thoughts as you see fit

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(1) A fan looks around the Superdome after half the lights went out during a power outage in the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …

(2) Baltimore Ravens players look around the Superdome after the lights went out during the second half of NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. The game would resume after a 34 minute delay with the Ravens defeating the Forty Niners 34-31 , in the most watched Superbowl game in NFL history . AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(3) Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy during a news conference after NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, in New Orleans. The Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 . AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(4) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with MVP Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco at a news conference after the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, in New Orleans. The Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31. The unassuming quarterback whose contract expires on the 31st March seeks a new deal with Ravens’ organization . Team owner , Steve Bisciotti , in conjunction with GM , Ozzie Newsome have stated that they will do whatever it takes to retain their Superbowl and MVP winning quarterback without having to resort to “breaking the bank” . AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(5) San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh , left, greets Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh after the Ravens defeated the 49ers 34-31 in the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Dave Martin …

(6) Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, left, and linebacker Ray Lewis celebrates their 34-31 win against the San Francisco 49ers in NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(7) Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome , who also happens to be the Baltimore Ravens’ general manager . Newsome became the franchise’s general manager in 2002 , having worked as a consultant with the Ravens prior to being promoted by owner Steve Bisciotti . In the subsequent years , it has been the executive’s keen eye for talent , which has drawn rave reviews from his peers. He now joins a select group of NFL individuals to have won a Superbowl as a player and in the role as a front office executive , but it should be noted that with the victory, he becomes the first African-American to have guided a franchise to a Superbowl victory , in his present capacity, as a general manager. Courtesy of USA Today /AP Photos / Mark Warren …

(8) NBPA President , Derek Fisher , left, is seen here with the union’s Executive Director , Billy Hunter , right , taking questions from the convened press , at a time when the union was at an impasse with the NBA hierarchy over the renegotiating of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Hunter , is now embroiled in tawdry scandal that involves the misappropriation of union funds by a subordinate in his employment who was in fact a family member (daughter – Alexis Hunter) . Further allegations. though not fully substantiated but showing a pattern of behavior suggesting that the union executive sought to transfer $7 million in union funds to a Cherry Hill's , New Jersey based bank , where his son just happened to be a mid-level executive . The intent was to use the funds to prop up the balance sheet of what was then a financially impoverished concern.

(9) Brooklyn Nets forward Kris Humphries (43) shoots over defending Chicago Bulls players in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Barclays Center , Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(10) Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) shoots in front of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (9) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013. AP Photo/Alonzo Adams ….

(10) Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) drives past Charlotte Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….

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NFL news & archived NFL news

Superbowl 47 (SBXLVII) results & stats

Baltimore Ravens news

San Francisco 49ers news

2013 NFL Draft

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NBA news and archived stories

NBA standings by division & by conference

NBA playoff picture

NBA results 3rd February

NBA schedule 4th February (8 games)

NBA statistics

NBPA (Players Union) & news and events

2013 NBA All Star Game to be played at the Toyota Center , in Houston , Texas (15th -17th February, 2013)

NBA All Star rosters (Eastern & Western Conference )

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Actress , author , philanthropist and entrepreneur , Jaime Pressley .

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And as most would aspire to see Pressley !

The lunatics have indeed taken over the asylum

The lunatics have indeed taken over the asylum

by Tophatal

With the NBA season now in full swing , and having reached its midway point , teams are now jockeying themselves into position divisionally , as well as within their respective conferences , to make that second half push for a playoff berth , for the NBA postseason. And already the league has seen its sheer of controversy, with the summary dismissals of Mike Brown from the Los Angeles Lakers , five games into their season , and that of Alvin Gentry from the underachieving Phoenix Suns . And while I do not believe that this will be the last of the managerial firings that will take place over the course of this NBA season , it is my belief that a number of coaches have now been put on notice , that the general managers and team owners are not prepared to put up with incompetence on the part of their head coaches .

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In the Eastern Conference , it does now look as if the Miami Heat , will not be as dominant a team as they were said to be last season , on their way to marching through the NBA Playoffs and their second NBA title . Defensively , we have seen something of a drop off from this current roster, in comparison to last season , albeit , that there have been certain changes , as to the makeup of the team. Team President and de-facto general manager , Pat Riley , has seen fit to bring in Ray Allen , Rashard Lewis, and Chris Anderson , to add what is an already formidable squad of players , with a payroll to match , which is now amongst the highest in the NBA .

When one bears in mind, that the league hierarchy , this past season , were simply asking for two-fold concessions across the board, from the NBPA (union) , while there has been “ little “ real resolve shown by the teams, to scale back on their exorbitant spending in terms of team and players’ salaries , and simply making it, somewhat asinine of a notion, that there is a “soft salary cap” of $58.044 million and a luxury tax for teams whose payrolls are above the aforementioned figure . It is at times like this , I have to question the alleged business acumen of David Stern , albeit , that he has led the NBA , for the past quarter of a century, to unprecedented success from an economic standpoint, but upon a downturn in the economy , he and his subordinates , as well as the owners ,and front office executives have not seen fit to rein in their expenses , while simply gouging the fans in terms of ticket prices , for what has essentially now become, something of a watered down and thoroughly diluted on-court product.

Heat , head coach , Erik Spoelstra , certainly has his team playing with a great deal of resolve and after their crushing and lopsided victory over the Brooklyn Nets , it is clear to see why they are at present are in a class by themselves within the Eastern Conference . Fans of the New York Knicks , however , might feel to the contrary , and would be very much willing to dispute that fact, as Mike Woodson , has his team playing some great basketball at present . . And one has to admit , that whenever these two noted franchises have met , they simply have not let the fans down , be it , in the regular season or in the postseason , as their much-anticipated and heated rivalry continues unabated . . The next scheduled meeting between these two teams , will not be until 3rd March , in a match-up at Madison Square Garden , home to the famed , New York Knicks . And with Woodson’s team currently leading the season series 2-0 , with the Knicks’ most recent victory over their arch rivals , coming by way of a 20 point shellacking of the LeBron James’ led Heat 104-84 in early December . Prior to that , in their initial meeting of the season series , the New York Knicks would have their way , with what appeared to be an undisciplined Miami Heat team. .

I am not about to suggest that David Stern , ought to consider contraction , given the poor play of a number of teams around the league . Yet, I have to ask , why should the fans be paying good money to witness the mediocrity of teams such as the Charlotte Bobcats (11-34), Washington Wizards (11-33) , Cleveland Cavaliers (13-33) , Orlando Magic (14-31) , New Orleans Hornets (15-31) and the Sacramento Kings (17-30) . About the only thing that has been continuously this incompetent , has been both legislative chambers of the US Congress , along with the present Presidential administration .

The next scheduled game for the Miami Heat, will be an away encounter against the Indiana Pacers , at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse , in Indiana , Indianapolis . The Pacers are one of the more surprising teams within the Eastern Conference this season , as head coach, Frank Vogel has the likes of Roy Hibbert , albeit , deferentially, David West , Paul George , Gerald Green and Danny Granger , playing with a great deal of confidence . Much of that , I believe has come from the presence of Brian Shaw , as an assistant head coach , providing more resolute defense from his team . This game , should provide both teams with a stern test , as each seeks to impose their will upon the other .

So at this point of the Boston Celtics’ season , is now on the cusp of imploding , as they have arguably lost their best player , point guard, Rajon Rondo , for the entire regular and postseason, should the team be in with a chance of gaining a playoff berth. Yet , GM Danny Ainge , is said to be unsure as to whether not he should delve into the free agency market and pursue a trade for a point guard . His own cupboard, within his roster, is threadbare , and looking at the options via free agency for a suitable fit . without having to break the bank , the situation overall doesn’t appear to be all that bright. It is likely that Ainge will consult with head coach , Doc Rivers , and team owner, Wyc Grousbeck , before a final decision is made .

Without a field court general and a productive point guard such as Rondo , the Celtics would quickly become a demonstratively average team , struggling to score and play in transition with any ease . >. And the team , does not seem to be helping themselves at present , with their undoubted inconsistency , due to the loss of the valuable point guard. A test of the team’s resolve will take place when they host the struggling Orlando Magic (14-31) in a game to be played at the TD Banknorth Center , in Boston , Massachusetts , on Friday night. This match-up should give both teams a chance, to gauge themselves at this point of the season and see what , if any positives they can take away from their respective situations . For first time head coach , Jacque Vauhgn of the Orlando Magic , to say that he has been made a “ sacrificial lamb” would be a great understatement , as the team is lacking in confidence . There seems to be no apparent leadership forthcoming , either on the field of play from anyone amongst Vaughn’s coaching staff , or from the coach , himself . For GM Rob Hennigan and CEO Alex Martins , the choice of Vaughn , might have been a prudent one , given the coach’s overall lack of head coaching experience .

I don’t think that at this point of the season , I can remember so many teams within the NBA playing sub . 500 basketball and wherein , the fans feel as if they are being short-changed by the on-field product . >. Yet , this is what the league hierarchy feel that they can bestow upon the consumer , fans and their corporate sponsors , while the league’s revenues increase exponentially primarily through the renegotiation of the NBA’s television contracts with their broadcast partners , such as ABC/ESPN , TNT Tv , WGN , none affiliated broadcast outlets nationally, and global network broadcast partners. The NBA has now become an annual $4.5 billion industry , and with teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks seeing their value , rise above the rate of inflation , with a number of the franchises also eking out fairly substantial profits in a down economy . It should be noted also, a number of teams are the recipients of an outmoded and archaic formula , wherein they are the benefactors of a luxury tax sharing scheme . Teams with payrolls in excess of the league’s “ soft salary cap” of $58.044 million are penalized as much as $1-00 for every dollar they are over that soft salary cap figure . The monies, derived from that scheme, are then disbursed amongst the so-called small market teams within the NBA. It does appear that even with the luxury tax in place , the teams do not appear to be showing the financial restraint one would have come to expect , albeit , that this latest CBA (collective bargaining agreement) , agreed to , between the league hierarchy , led by David Stern and the NPBA (union) remains littered with potholes and numerous dangers , that they clearly do not wish to address publicly .

The core of the Spurs’ roster , revolves around the team’s “ Big Three” , players, Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker , each of whom , has won an NBA title ring with the franchise . With four titles to the Spurs’ trophy cabinet , there would be nothing better for the organization , than for this team to add a fifth NBA championship to their treasure trove . As Duncan , Ginobli and Parker go , then so does the rest of this team , with the role players and certain youngsters coming off the bench to add to the team’s productivity . Hopefully , we can see that same sort of being shown by the players during the course of the postseason . Hopefully , we can see that same sort of being shown by the players during the course of the postseason . With the team playing host to the Washington Wizards on Saturday , at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas , it will be interesting to see how the Spurs fare against a team , that as of late , has become less inspiring and more of an embarrassment to themselves as well as to the NBA . The Wizards’ organization, just seems to be crumbling under the continued weight of mediocrity .

I could well be wrong in my assumption , but I have always maintained , if a business entity cannot hold its own executives accountable for their actions , then whatever befalls them as a concern , no sympathy can be shown for that entity. In the case of the NBPA (union), and the ongoing saga , and revelations of the misappropriation of monies ($80,000) from within the organization , by family members employed by the union’s Executive Director Billy Hunter . It leads me to believe that either Hunter was sim