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Friday, January 26, 2007

2007 NBA All-Star Starters in the Western Conference

By David

The All-Star starters in the West were announced yesterday, and to my dismay there were several glaring omissions. Yes, I understand that the voting procedure is a popularity contest, but please explain how the best player in basketball Steve Nash, his teammate Amare Stoudemire, and his former teammate Dirk Nowitzki will not be in the starting lineup for the Western Conference.

The Rockets' Yao Ming will be starting at center, his teammate Tracy McGrady and the Lakers Kobe Bryant will be the starting guards, and the Timberwolves Kevin Garnett and the Spurs Tim Duncan will be the starting forwards. Yao, who already received the most votes in All-Star game history in 2005, received 2,451,718 votes this year. This ranks as the fourth most votes received in All-Star game history.

It puzzles me that the best players in the West will not be starting next month in Las Vegas. It almost seems like a broken record when the same players in the West start every single season. Granted, if someone like Kobe or T-Mac deserves their spot over the rest of their peers, then they should be the players selected. Unfortunately, Tim Duncan, Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady did not deserve to start. Instead, Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Dirk Nowitzki should be starting in their spots.

Nash is without question the best player in basketball, and not to mention is leading his Phoenix Suns to the best record in the NBA. The 10 year veteran out of Santa Clara is averaging 19.5 PPG, 11.7 APG, and is shooting 53.6% from the field and 50 % from beyond the ark. Nash has guided his team on two 15 game winning streaks this season, and is the odds on favorite to win this season's MVP.This would be Nash's third consecutive MVP award. In my estimation, that deserves him a start in the All-Star game.

Nash's teammate Amare Stoudemire should be selected as the player to replace Yao Ming in the starting lineup. Even if Yao was healthy, Amare still warranted an All-Star start. Amare is averaging 18.7 PPG, 9.1 RPB, and is shooting a remarkable 60.5% from the field. It also doesn't hurt to be playing with the electrifying Steve Nash every night. Stoudemire's numbers are even more impressive when you take into account the fact that he only played in three games last season.

Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki was also snubbed of a starting spot. The 7 footer out of Germany is averaging 25.1 PPG, 9.5 RPB, and is shooting 49.9% from the field, 41.8% from behind the ark and 89.8% from the line. Dirk's numbers alone do not offer a fair representation of what he brings to the court every night. His team has won 35 out of their last 40 games, and this has occurred due to the outstanding play and leadership of Nowitzki. He has made Josh Howard into an excellent player, and has made the rest of his teammates increasingly better. This is why he deserves the starting spot, but at this point, I think he will take a 35-9 record in what is a brutally tough Western Conference.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

2007 NBA All-Star Starters in the Eastern Conference

By David

The starters for next months game in Las Vegas were announced today,and the results in the Eastern Conference are as follows. Dwyane Wade and Gilbert Arenas will start at the guard positions, LeBron James and Chris Bosh at the forward positions and somehow Shaquille O'Neal will be starting at center.

Shaq was voted to his 14th straight All-Star team, but this time he did not deserve the selection. He has only played in five games this season and has averaged 12.2 PPG and 7 RPB. Conversely, Orlando Magic superstar Dwight Howard is averaging 17 PPG, 12.5 RPB and 1.9 BPG. Not to mention, Howard has played in 43 games and has his Magic 3.5 games ahead of the Heat in the Southeast division.

The Diesels selection was obviously based on name recognition and popularity, but he would even admit that he doesn't deserve the selection. The NBA needs to institute a minimum games played rule if you are to be selected to the All-Star team. Both Dwyane Wade and LeBron James deserved their selection over any other player at their position. LeBron captured the second most votes in NBA All-Star game history this year as he received 2,516,049 votes.

Gilbert Arenas squeaked out Vince Carter by 3,010 votes for the second starting spot at the guard position. This was the fourth-closest race in NBA All-Star history, but Mr. Hibachi as he is now known as deserved the selection by the fans.

Besides Dwight Howard's omission as the East's starting center, every other player deserved the starting nod. You can make the case that Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal should have been selected over Toronto's Chris Bosh because Bosh missed 12 games with an injury, but Toronto's franchise player is having a stellar season.

All in all, the Eastern Conference has produced a starting five that matches up well to the starting five of the West. In my next NBA Blog, I will share who the starters in the Western Conference are, and how in the world Steve Nash was not voted in by the fans.

Can it get any worse for the Boston Celtics?

By David

The Boston Celtics used to be one of the premier and storied franchises in the NBA, but now they are competing with the woeful Memphis Grizzlies for the worst record in basketball. The Celtics are 12-29, have lost nine straight games, are 4-16 at home and sport the worst record in the Eastern Conference. Yes, even the Hawks and Bobcats have better records than the team who has won 16 NBA titles.

Can someone please explain to me what went wrong in Boston? There comes a time when you have to stop blaming the Executive Director of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge for their lack of success and start holding the players accountable. I understand that they are without their best player Paul Pierce who is out with a stress reaction in his left foot, but there is no excuse for not winning a home game since December 15th. Since going on a five game win streak in early December, the Celtics have lost 16 out of their last 18 games.

Now, at some point the young players on the team need to wake up and play productive basketball. After surrendering a mere 29 points to the Hawks in the first half last night, they permitted them to score 53 in the second half. For a young energetic group of players, falling apart in the last two quarters to the Hawks of all teams and shooting 31.6% from the field is unacceptable.

I really feel bad for all the die hard Celtics fans who have stayed loyal to their team throughout this dismal season. Living in New York and having to watch the Knicks play is bad, but at least they have shown signs of improvement this season.

At some point, Al Jefferson, Delonte West and Ryan Gomes need to demonstrate that their actually alive on the court. Individually, these players possess exceptional talent, but when you throw them all out on the same court they flounder. Since the beginning of last season the C's
have compiled a 45-78 record, and based on their recent play that record is only going to get increasingly worse.

Maybe it's time to fire Doc Rivers, or maybe Danny Ainge needs to make another trade to bring along a few proven players. Still, it's unfortunate to make Doc Rivers the scape goat, but in a league that is predicated on winning now,being 17 games under .500 will not aid your chances of keeping your job.

Whatever Danny Ainge decides to do, I hope it's in the best interest of the team because during his tenure with the Celtics he has made several idiotic trades. The only positive thing going for Boston is that their only eight games back in the division, but at the current time all their hoping for is a win.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Timberwolves fire head coach Dwane Casey

By David

Dwane Casey was relieved of his head coaching duties today after 1 1/2 seasons on the job. Through 40 games this season Minnesota is 20 up and 20 down, but they have lost four in a row. The T-Wolves are currently third in the Northwest division, and if the playoffs began today they would find themselves as the eighth seed.

Granted, the Western Conference is extremely competitive, but Casey was never able to catapult the Wolves into being a serious contender. Last season he lead Minnesota to a 33-49 record. It's unfortunate that the long time Sonics assistant coach wasn't able to resurrect the Wolves because he has one of the premier players in the league on his team in Kevin Garnett.

Garnett has voiced his displeasure over the direction of the team on many occasions, and has even hinted that if Minnesota doesn't turn their play around quickly he would like to be traded. A change of scenario might be needed for the 12 year veteran, but at the current time his team does not seem to be going anywhere, but down hill.

They only lead the Clippers by one game for the eighth and final spot in the West, and play their next three games on the road. The final game of their road trip happens to be Saturday night against the Clippers. It's too bad that Casey had to be made the scape goat for the Wolves struggles, but he is sure to land another head coaching job in the near future. In the mean time, assistant coach Randy Wittman will take over the head coaching duties.

Friday, January 19, 2007

NEW WARRIORS READY TO RUN- San Francisco Chronicle

The Warriors currently sit ninth in the Western Conference, and after their recent trade they have the possibility of catapulting into the last playoff spot. It will be difficult for them to grab the eighth seed because of how stacked the West is, but the addition of Harrington and Jackson bring Golden State two players with playoff experience.
San Francisco Chronicle

Al Harrington can't wait to beat Chris Mullin in a game of H-O-R-S-E.

He says Golden State was his top choice all summer long.

And he thinks the Warriors play more than up-tempo under coach Don Nelson.

"They play fast-forward," he said. "I'm about to go out there and work out and hope I can keep up."

Harrington and swingman Stephen Jackson landed in Oakland on Thursday, and the centerpieces of the Warriors' eight-player trade with Indiana -- which also netted Sarunas Jasikevicius and Josh Powell in exchange for Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, Ike Diogu and Keith McLeod -- had plenty running through their minds before watching their new teammates practice.

At the top of the list was jump-starting their seasons in Nelson's fast-paced system, which both stressed couldn't be more different than former coach Rick Carlisle's deliberate offense.

"It's night-and-day," Jackson said. "Nellie has a lot of confidence in his point guards and guys that are out there to get the team in its offense and get shots. Rick wants to control a lot of the offense, control the game. That's one thing we didn't see eye-to-eye on."

Jackson and Harrington were both unhappy with their roles in Carlisle's slow-it-down system, but their transition in Golden State figures to be smoother with some deep ties to the organization already in place.

Harrington was feeling out the league as an 18-year-old rookie in Indiana while Mullin was winding down his illustrious career in 1998. It wasn't long before Harrington had a mentor and a workout buddy - even if he couldn't beat Mullin in a shooting game.

Now, Harrington and point guards Baron Davis spend their offseasons training together in Las Vegas, where Jackson dropped in this summer. Jackson also played for Warriors assistant coach Keith Smart in the CBA.

It's his kinship with Mullin, however, that might be most important. Jackson faces ongoing legal issues from the 2004 Pacers-Pistons brawl and October's gun-firing incident outside a strip club in Indiana, and said he feels a natural connection to Mullin, who overcame alcoholism as a player.

"I think Mully understands a guy like me," he said. "He understands I'm very emotional about the game."

Jackson becomes the only Warrior with an NBA championship to his name. He was a member of the San Antonio's title team in 2003 and averaged 12.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists during the playoffs.

In Jackson and Harrington, the Warriors gain athleticism without giving up long-range shooting, and they might have even upgraded their defense. Harrington has never been known for locking players down, but said that he and Jackson were "more athletic" than former forwards Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy, "and coach can demand more from us."

None of the new Warriors could practice Thursday night because the four players sent to the Pacers had yet to pass their physicals. They are expected to have their first workout with the team today.

Nelson figures to start Harrington at power forward and use Jackson at shooting guard, especially in the absence of Jason Richardson, but Nelson is always shifting his lineups on the fly.
The newcomers said they will adjust to whatever Nelson needs, and the same applies to Jackson and his legal issues.

He has court dates scheduled for Jan. 26 and Feb. 12, the latter of which falls on a game day. The Warriors travel to Denver to finish up a back-to-back set on Feb. 12. Though Jackson said he could miss a practice or game, he vowed not to let it affect his play.

"The ups and downs happen. My whole focus the whole time, regardless of what I go through, is basketball," Jackson said. "It keeps me focused on the bigger things, which is life, my family."

Added Harrington: "He deals with it at home. He doesn't bring it into practice with him. Those two or three hours, he's very professional."

E-mail Janny Hu at

Thursday, January 18, 2007

NBA Official Rodney Mott Suspended For Obscene Gesture

Mott suspended three game for obscenities toward fans
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- NBA official Rodney Mott was suspended three games without pay Friday for making an obscene gesture toward a fan and also using inappropriate language.

Mott made the gesture and remarks after the Portland Trail Blazers' 93-90 loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday night in Portland.

The 49-year-old Mott is in his ninth season as an NBA official.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

Joumana Kidd Files Restraining Order Against Nets Jason Kidd

Kidd's wife responds to restraining order in kind
Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. -- The wife of New Jersey Nets star Jason Kidd has filed her own domestic-violence restraining order, less than a week after the point guard accused her of beating him and extreme cruelty.

"There was a lot, a lot of physical violence," Joumana Kidd's attorney, Raoul Felder, said in Saturday's New York Post.

Felder said that Joumana Kidd asked the court for the restraining order on Friday.

On Monday night, police served Joumana Kidd with a restraining order obtained by her husband. On Tuesday, the 33-year-old NBA star filed for divorce from his wife of 10 years, citing "extreme cruelty" and saying that he was an abused spouse.

Under the protection order filed by Jason Kidd, he must pick up his children curbside for visits so that Joumana does not violate the order, attorneys said.

The Kidds, married in 1997, were involved in a domestic violence matter six years ago when he played for the Phoenix Suns.

In that incident, Jason Kidd was arrested in January 2001 after Joumana told police he slapped her in the face during an argument about feeding their son, who is now 8. The couple also have 4-year-old twin daughters.

Kidd pleaded guilty to spousal abuse, was fined $200 and ordered to take anger-management training.

In the dissolution papers Kidd filed Tuesday, however, he painted a detailed portrait of Joumana Kidd as a vitriolic, jealous and paranoid wife who suspected her husband was cheating and who was prone to public outbursts and threats.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Warriors & Pacers swap players

By David

Jermaine O'Neal spoke and Pacer management listened. The Pacers star has been fed up with the direction of his team for a while now as he recently said ''we're a very average team right now.''

O'Neal's Pacers won't be average for long because they completed an eight-player trade today with the Golden State Warriors that will greatly improve their roster. Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Josh Powell were sent to the Bay Area in exchange for Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, Ike Diogu and Keith McLeod.

Both Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy have struggled under the system of head coach Don Nelson. Even though Nellie is a Hall of Fame coach, both youngsters were not able to mesh under his style of play. A change of venue will be great for the former number three pick in the 2002 draft and the former Notre Dame star.

Murphy will automatically became a solid big man in the Eastern Conference because of his outside shooting ability and rebounding skills. Murphy's skills have been overshadowed out West because of the plethora of skilled big man, but as he returns to the state of Indiana he will have the opportunity to display his talent. In only 28.2 MPG in his career, Murphy has averaged 11.2 PPG and 8.2 RPB. His numbers are sure to be on the rise.

Mike Dunleavy will be a great beneficiary of the trade. He is player who has an abundant of talent and great shooting ability. I feel that in Rick Carlisle's system the former Duke Star will see his scoring and shooting percentage numbers sky rocket. Being that he will now play in a porous Eastern Conference Dunleavy will have the opportunity to prove why he was selected third in the 2002 draft.

Also, former Arizona State star Ike Diogu can now show critics why he was a lottery pick. Diogu is not a big man at 6 foot 8, but he plays like he's 7 feet tall. At a robust 255 pounds he will have the opportunity to trample over the opposition. He only played 13.1 MPG this season because of the over abundance of big men that the Warriors have, but his playing time will increase. If you translate Diogu's playing time to 39 MPG he would be averaging 21.3PPG and 10.2 RPB. I see Diogu as being the steal of the whole entire trade, and a person who will form a nice combo up front with Jermaine O'Neal.

Overall, the Pacers made an excellent trade that will pay dividends for many years down the road. The average age of Murphy, Dunleavy and Diogu is 25. When you exclude veteran Darrell Armstrong, the average age of the Pacers roster is now just under 26. This is great news for a franchise that's trying to build a stable foundation for the future. Now that Jermaine O'Neal has the players in place to win, he needs to back up his comments by leading the Pacers to an Eastern Conference title.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

MO'KELLY thinks Jason Kidd's Divorce From His Wife Joumana Proves She Can't Handle Being NBA Wife

I can't agree that Jason needs a hug as he was accused of beating his wife several years ago. If anything, Joumana needs a hug.

THE MO'KELLY REPORT: Jason Kidd Needs a Hug

By Morris W. O'Kelly
January 11, 2007
*New Jersey Nets star Jason Kidd has filed for divorce from his wife of 10 years. He is accusing his soon to be ex-wifey Joumana of "extreme cruelty" in the form of physical and mental abuse. Jason, it seems was getting his a$$ whooped on the regular.
Hey...don't get mad at Mo'Kelly for saying it; it's what Jason Kidd is alleging in his own complaint. Mo'Kelly's just making it plain.
Both Jason and Joumana have declined any public comment, so in their absence Mo'Kelly will gladly comment publicly on their behalf.
Jason alleges that Joumana is "jealous, paranoid and unstable, prone to physical attacks and public threats." Let's circle up the fellas. Group hug for battered husband Jason Kidd. Brothaman needs a friend right about now...and some self-defense classes.
Specifically, Jason claims that Joumana used their 8-year-old son to sneak into the Nets locker room and get "daddy's" cell phone so she could harass among other people, the various "female" entries in his phone. Afterwards, Jason alleges she went courtside to verbally berate him DURING a game.
That's good, sending the son to fetch daddy's cell phone so Mommy can harass the groupies AND her husband while he's at work.
There's nothing better than getting heckled by the other team's fans AND your own wife while you're shooting free throws.
(Jason dribbles the ball three times and blows a kiss to the sky in honor of his wife as he prepares to shoot a free-throw.)
Heckler: "Jason, you're a bum and washed up!"
Joumana (holding up cell phone): "Yeah Jason, you're a bum! And who the hell is Loquita...609.777.9311?! I hope you brick you sorry @#$*(&! "
Didn't Joumana get the memo? When you marry an NBA player, all wedding vow bets are off. Those are the "rules" and Joumana knew the job was dangerous when she took it. If fidelity is high on one's marriage list of priorities, maybe having an NBA all-star as a husband is not your best bet. Oh, we all know the world "shouldn't" be that way, but Mo'Kelly "shouldn't" have to lock his door after leaving his house either. Some things are just the way they are.
Or you can look at it this way...
If you are an eye-candy groupie/NBA TV anchor of marginal talent (i.e. Joumana)...and marry an NBA player in the hopes of forwarding your career (i.e. the victim/battered husband/sympathetic figure Jason) the "rules" clearly state that the wife was not the first and shall not be the last groupie in the career of the NBA husband. Juanita Jordan knew the rules, Vanessa Bryant knew the rules and even (ahem) Cuttino Mobley knew the rules before each went to the altar. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and (ahem) Stevie Franchise are going to do what they want, with whomever they want. That's the price you pay as an NBA (ahem) spouse.
Use a gun...go to jail.
Marry an NBA all-star...invariably deal with infidelity.
Remember when Hall of Famer James Worthy was arrested for solicitation in Houston for having not one...but TWO upscale hookers? See, Mo'Kelly can't even afford two "regular" hookers at the same time. Mo'Kelly's mortgage, electricity and food are slightly more important. Hookers and groupies aren't a threat to Mo'Kelly's woman. But since those like Joumana wish to move to a higher tax bracket, hookers come with the territory. They are like roaches in the hood. You can't have one without the other. Now some of the groupies are "pros," some amateur...but all are within the rules. Read the rulebook.
For example:
Larry Johnson, "GrandMaMa" - 5 children, 4 different women
Shawn Kemp - 7 children, 6 different women
Wilt Chamberlain - claimed sex with 20,000 women
Stephen Jackson - 6 maybe 7 children with multiple women
Juwan Howard - 3 children, 3 different women
In the case of Shawn Kemp, you'd think that after the 6th child with the 5th different woman, #6 would have some sense. But I guess 'cents' were on her mind, not 'sense.' But that's another discussion for another day.
In any event, when you pursue these professional athletes, especially basketball can't get brand new when ballers do what ballers do.
Sports Illustrated has estimated that the number of illegitimate children fathered by NBA players equals or exceeds the number of players presently in the league. That's pretty impressive when you think about it. 12 players, 30 teams...360 children, minimum. Remember, these are just the children BORN from these sexual dalliances...not the tens of thousands of questionable trysts by both married and unmarried players.
These guys were man-whores (allegedly) when you met them and you collectively were willing to overlook these truths for the chance at a lifetime of materialistic luxury. Don't get brand new on us because you now don't like the idea of sharing "your" man-whore. No amount of GPS trackers or beatdowns will change the rules. You can't turn a man-ho into a house-husband. Even Jason Kidd is one of the dozens of current NBA players who have been slapped with paternity lawsuits. Although some of the many suits may be frivolous, the only way you can even get hit with a paternity suit in the first place is to have sex with someone other than your wife, if not unprotected as well. They don't usually appear out of thin air. There's this thing called a DNA/paternity test, you might have heard of it. All aspiring groupies have; it's the first thing they learn while studying at Groupie Tech U.
Those are the rules and Joumana knew the job was dangerous when she took it. She wanted a career and the life of an NBA-wife.
Well, she got exactly what she signed up for and somewhere along the way wanted to change the rules. Can't do that.
The "rules" explicitly state that the non-contributing spouse (that would be Joumana) can't have jack to say until the NBA career is over. The gold-digger waves all rights and privileges in that regard. Juanita Jordan handled it correctly and Joumana should have followed her lead.
But wait, there's more.
Kidd also alleges that the man-beater would routinely kick, hit, punch and throw household objects at him. And when the beatings weren't enough to get Jason to act right, she installed tracking devices on his car and computer to monitor his whereabouts. Or did the satellite tracking come first and the evidence led to the beatings?
Hmmm...Mo'Kelly's not sure which came first here, the chickenhead or the egg.
(Joumana is covered in car grease, wearing a uh, I mean a husbandbeater T-shirt, smoking a cigarette and drinking a 40oz, while working on the undercarriage of Jason's 200k Bentley...her son dribbles a basketball nearby.)
"Mommy...whatcha doin'?"
"Mommy is installing a GPS on Daddy's car. Hand Mommy that wrench."
(Joumana wipes the sweat from her brow as she struggles to tighten a bolt with a crescent wrench)
"Mommy...what's a "GPS?"
(Joumana pulls out a hammer and bangs away to loosen a stuck bolt)
"'s a...uh...uh...Groupie Protection let's Mommy know when broke and dangerous, gold-digging groupies are near Daddy. It keeps Daddy safe."
"Mommy...what's a groupie?"
"It's kind of like Mommy, but without the marriage certificate and diamond ring to show for it."
"Oh, ok...where's Daddy?"
"He's at the hospital getting stitches. Daddy accidentally hit himself in the eye five times in a row with a can of soup."
"Didn't he already go to the hospital last week for his eye?
"No, that was his 'other' eye...remember when Daddy accidentally fell down and hit his left eye on Mommy's steel-toe Timberlands while she was wearing them? Now go find me Daddy's cell phone."
Thoughts and prayers to Jason Kidd in this, his time of need. And could somebody please pull the (alleged) man-beater aside explain the rules to her in the interim?

Monday, January 15, 2007

The NBA Celebrates Martin Luther King Day-

Today is a day to honor and commemorate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. The NBA does a superb job all around of remembering his legacy.
January 15, 2007 marks the 21st anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday and the NBA will honor Dr. King's legacy with 10 games, including eight matinee games. Be sure to tune in to see the Spurs and Bulls go at it on NBA TV at 2 p.m. ET, followed by two more nationally televised games on TNT -- The Suns take on the Grizzlies in Memphis (home of the Civil Rights Museum) at 7:30 p.m. ET and the Lakers and Heat revisit their Christmas-day rivalry at 10 p.m. ET.
NBA presents live games in multiple countries on Martin Luther King Day

Game Schedule
1 p.m.
Sacramento Kings at New York Knicks
1 p.m.
Utah Jazz at Washington Wizards
2 p.m.
Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers
2 p.m.
Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks
2 p.m. - NBA TV
San Antonio Spurs at Chicago Bulls
3:30 p.m.
Indiana Pacers at New Jersey Nets
3:30 p.m.
Minnesota Timberwolves at Detroit Pistons
4 p.m.
L.A. Clippers at Golden State Warriors
7:30 p.m. - TNT
Phoenix Suns at Memphis Grizzlies
10 p.m. - TNT
Miami Heat at L.A. Lakers
(All times Eastern)

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today."-- Martin Luther King Jr., Speech at Civil Rights March on Washington, Aug. 28, 1963

D-League MLK Showcase

GREENVILLE, S.C., Jan. 4, 2007 – Twelve games in three days highlight the 2007 NBA Development League MLK Showcase that takes place Jan. 15-17 at the Sioux Falls Arena in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Every team in the D-League, along with scouts and player personnel executives from every NBA team, will converge on the home of the Sioux Falls Skyforce for four games each day. Games will be broken into two sessions daily, with the opening game of the first session tipping off at 11 a.m. CT, followed by game two 25 minutes following the conclusion of the first game. The second session begins at 5 p.m. CT, with the final game each day starting 25 minutes after game three.

NBA TV will broadcast all 12 games from the Showcase, 10 live. Coverage begins each day at noon eastern, 11 a.m. central. Games not covered live by NBA TV will be video streamed live on Additional NBA TV coverage details will be available soon. Both Idaho Stampede games will be live audio streamed as well at, and tape delayed on 630 AM KFXD beginning at 7 p.m. Mountain Time each day. Read more ...

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

-- Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

Stephen A. Smith: ESPN cancels `Quite Frankly' TV Show - The Philadelphia Inquirer

ESPN cancels `Quite Frankly' TV show with Stephen A. Smith
By Gail Shister

The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA - ESPN on Friday pulled the plug on Stephen A. Smith's weeknight interview show, "Quite Frankly.''

Its finale was Friday night. Smith, a Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter since 1994, launched "Quite Frankly'' in August 2005. His high-decibel delivery earned him the nickname, "Screamin' A. Smith."

"Frankly'' ran at 6:30 weeknights, moving to 11 p.m. in January 2006. Its cancellation was not a surprise - the show never drew big ratings.

Smith's presence will be expanded across numerous platforms, the network announced on Friday.

To wit: He'll be featured more regularly on "SportsCenter,'' NBA studio programming, and on ESPNEWS, as well as host four TV interview specials surrounding big events.

In addition, "opportunities" with ESPN the Magazine and columns "will be explored," the network said.

"Stephen A. connects with fans because he brings great energy, knowledge and strong opinions," Norby Williamson, ESPN's executive in charge of remote and studio production, said in a statement.

"While `Quite Frankly' delivered strong interviews and discussion, this new role will provide a better showcase for Stephen A.'s impactful voice to be heard across numerous forms of ESPN media."

"Yes, it's true, and I support ESPN's decision," Smith said. "Doing a brand new show on ESPN2 was a tremendous challenge and I'm proud of what we accomplished.

"I've learned a great deal. I've also learned there's limits to what I can withstand in regards to my schedule. Now I move on to future challenges - while enthusiastically embracing old ones like writing for The Inquirer on a more frequent basis. This is not an end for me. This is just the beginning. I'm just getting started."


© 2007, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

76ers waive former All-Star Webber- AP

When Chris Webber was brought to Philadelphia during the 04-05 season he was supposed to form a one-two punch with Allen Iverson. That didn't happen, and now Iverson is in Denver and Webber is without a team. C-Webb won't be without a team for long as he is expected to sign with the Pistons. The former University of Michigan star will receive a pro-rated $1.87 million-a-season, 10 year-veteran contract according to Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski.

January 11, 2007

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Philadelphia 76ers waived forward Chris Webber on Thursday, making the five-time All-Star eligible to sign with another team after clearing waivers.

The Sixers completed the paperwork to buy out the remaining 1 1/2 seasons on Webber's contract Wednesday, ending two disappointing years in Philadelphia. Once he clears waivers after 48 business hours, teams will be eligible to sign him.

Webber missed 11 of the last 14 games, officially with foot and ankle injuries. He was due nearly $21 million this season and $22 million next season.

Webber, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1993 draft, averaged 11 points and 8.3 rebounds in 18 games this season. He has career averages of 21.4 points and 10 rebounds.

Friday nights notable stars

By David

Last night brought us many memorable
performances from different players around the league.

Charlotte Bobcats forward Emeka Okafor continues to re-define the art of playing defense. He shinned at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks as he posted 20 points, 9 rebounds and a remarkable 10 block shots. His 10 blocks is a record for an opponent at MSG. The former University of Connecticut star is currently second in the NBA with 2.9 bpg, and is also sixth in the league with 11.1 rpg.

Fellow big man Marcus Camby continues to impress everyone in the rebounding department as he grabbed 24 boards in his teams loss to the Rockets. Camby has grabbed a total of 55 rebounds in his last three games, but Denver has dropped two out of those three outings. The 10 year veteran ranks third in the NBA with 12.1 rpg.

The Dallas Mavericks became the first team to 30 wins as they defeated the Pacers 115-113 in OT. After beginning the season 0-4, Dallas has won 30 out of their last 34 games. The Mavs were lead by their best player Dirk Nowitzki who scored a season-high 43 points and 12 rebounds. Dirk is quickly transforming into one of the best players in basketball, and at the same time is guiding his team to the best record in the NBA.

Sonics guard Ray Allen arguably had the best night of any player. He scored a career-high 54 points as he lead his team to victory over the Utah Jazz. Seattle might be sporting the second worst record in the Western Conference, but that was not evident by their play last night. Point guard Earl Watson chipped in with 16 assists and teammate Nick Collison grabbed 13 rebounds.

Ray Allen added 8 three pointers, went 12 out of 12 from the free throw line, took down 10 rebounds, and nailed the game tying shot to force over time.

It was a career night for the Sonics Ray Allen, and a great night of basketball throughout the league.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Michael Redd Out: A Crushing Blow To The Milwaukee Bucks

By David

The Milwaukee Bucks will be without their leading scorer and best player Michael Redd for the next four to six weeks.

Redd strained his patellar tendon during last Friday's loss to Lebron and the Cavs. The former Ohio State Buckeye is enjoying a career year as he's fifth in the NBA with 27.7 PPG. Redd scored a career and franchise high 57 points in November against the Jazz.

Redd currently has his Bucks positioned as the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference. He will need his teammates to pick up the slack if they want to stay in the playoff mix. Lucky for them, they play in the East where every team has a shot of securing a playoff spot.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

O'Neal says parting ways with Pacers may be best-

Pacers big man Jermaine O'Neal is getting to the point where he wants to win now, and he won't take any excuses for an early playoff exit. I can't blame him for voicing his displeasure, but he needs to understand that he's not on a team that's built for a championship run. Unfortunately, I don't see Pacer management trading their best player away any time soon. news services

Another disgruntled NBA franchise player who wants to win now, not later, has popped up in Indiana.

Pacers veteran Jermaine O'Neal voiced his displeasure with the direction of the team Thursday following a loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

"We're a very average team right now," O'Neal told the Indianapolis Star. "We're going to be average until we decide as players that we want to win and do the right things we're supposed to do to win. If we don't do it, we're going to mingle around .500, get in the playoffs and then be out."

The constant Pacers inconsistency has O'Neal thinking about his future with the team. Although clearly frustrated, O'Neal, who is averaging a team-high 19.3 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game, said his first choice is to remain with the team. But he did not rule out that a change may be necessary.

"If I can't take this team to another level, I truthfully believe we should go our separate ways at the end of the season," said O'Neal, according to the Indianapolis Star. "I'm saying in general, the bottom line is you play to win. If we don't have a system set to win a championship, if we don't have the crew to win a championship, then what are we doing?

"I'm getting to the point, I'm in my 11th year, I don't want to play 82 games and then exit to watch somebody else pop champagne. ... I'm tired of that. I want to compete for a championship. If we can't do it, that's a whole [different] story."

O'Neal said he wouldn't discuss any details regarding if he had taken his frustration to CEO Donnie Walsh and team president Larry Bird, but Walsh said he understood O'Neal's feelings.

"I think he's played really well and if the time comes for [talking about O'Neal's future], then that will be the time. We'll see," said Walsh, according to the Indianapolis Star. "We're going through a difficult part of the season. I'm frustrated, the coaches are frustrated on occasion and the team is frustrated."

Saturday, January 06, 2007

76ers Name Larry Brown Executive Vice President-

A familiar face has returned to the city of brotherly love, and his name is Larry Brown.

Philadelphia, Pa. - Jan. 6, 2007 -- Philadelphia 76ers President Billy King announced today that he has named Hall of Famer Larry Brown as Executive Vice President. In this role, Brown will primarily be responsible for assisting King and the 76ers front office and basketball operations staff in personnel decisions, as well as other special projects.

"Larry Brown has been a friend and mentor to me for many years and his knowledge of the game of basketball is unparalleled," King said. "Adding his basketball knowledge to the existing staff gives us a valuable resource."

Brown returns to the Sixers organization with more than 43 years experience as a player, coach and executive at the collegiate and professional ranks. In 23 seasons as an NBA head coach with eight different teams, he compiled an all-time NBA coaching record of 1,010-800 (.558) in the regular season and a 100-89 (.529) record in the NBA Playoffs. He ranks as the fourth winningest NBA coach of all-time (regular season) and third all-time winningest coach in the NBA Playoffs.

"Billy came to me and asked if I would be interested in getting involved with the organization again," said Brown who spent a total of six years (1997-2003) with the 76ers as the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach. "Obviously, Billy has been a close friend for more than 20 years and I respect his work immensely. I am flattered that he asked me. I was very excited about the opportunity of working with him again and doing whatever I can to help him bring a winner to this city, a city that my family and I love."

In an NBA coaching career that began in 1976-77, Brown has piloted the Denver Nuggets (1976-79), New Jersey Nets (1981-83), San Antonio Spurs (1988-92), Los Angeles Clippers (1992-93), Indiana Pacers (1993-97), Philadelphia 76ers (1997-2003), Detroit Pistons (2003-05) and the New York Knicks (2005-06). Prior to that, he coached for four seasons in the old American Basketball Association with the Carolina Cougars (1972-74) and Denver (1974-76). Brown's 229-107 (.682) in the ABA gives him an overall professional record of 1,239-907 (.577), the second best NBA/ABA combined wins mark of all-time behind only Lenny Wilkens (1,332-1,155, .536).

The 66-year-old Brooklyn-native has enjoyed similar success in the college ranks, compiling a 177-61 (.744) career mark in seven collegiate seasons - two seasons at UCLA (1979-81) and five seasons at the University of Kansas (1983-88). He led UCLA to the 1980 NCAA title game, and in 1988 piloted Kansas to its first National Championship in 36 years. He stands as the only head coach in basketball history to win both an NCAA Championship (Kansas, 1988) and an NBA title (Detroit, 2004).

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Miami Heat Coach Pat Riley Taking Indefinite Leave

The Miami Heat are struggling on the court and to make matters worse they will be without their leader and head coach Pat Riley for an extended period of time.

Even though Riley wants to return to the coaching sidelines later this season, I wonder if it is really worth his trouble. His team might be playing poorly at the current time, but once D-Wade and Shaq return from injuries Miami will be back in the playoff mix. Still, with several quality teams in the Eastern Conference it will be difficult for the Heat to return to the NBA Finals.

Pat Riley might not want to hear this, but I think that it would be in his best interest to not rush back and let interim head coach Ron Rothstein finish out the duration of the season.

Heat coach needs hip, knee surgery

By Ira Winderman
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted January 4 2007

MIAMI -- A Heat championship defense gone sour claimed its leader Wednesday.

Coach Pat Riley announced he was taking an indefinite leave of absence to deal with hip and knee problems.

In saying that he was temporarily handing the coaching reins to assistant Ron Rothstein, Riley also said forwards Antoine Walker and James Posey would be deactivated immediately due to their failure to meet the team's conditioning standards.

With center Shaquille O'Neal and guard Dwyane Wade already sidelined by previous ailments, it left the Heat a shell of its championship self Wednesday night in a 110-95 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at AmericanAirlines Arena.

"I'm just tired of the pain and the medication," Riley said of his immediate leave. "It's going to be indefinite. I'll be very connected with the team.''

Riley, who also holds the title of team president, insisted he has not coached his last game.

"My plans are to return," he said. "This is a leave of absence and my plan is to return. When that is, I can't tell you.''

Riley said the knee problem had been an ongoing concern. However, a source familiar with the situation said Riley last week kicked a locker-room door in disgust over the poor play that dropped his team to the 13-17 record it took into Wednesday night's game. Center Alonzo Mourning confirmed the outburst came during last Friday's home loss to the Nets.

"What I do in the locker room really has always been my business," Riley said at the hastily called news conference at AmericanAirlines Arena. "I've broken a lot of objects in my time.''

The knee surgery will be conducted Friday under the supervision of team physician Harlan Selesnick. The hip replacement will likely take place shortly thereafter in South Florida, although Riley did mention seeing a specialist in Los Angeles.

"I've got a lot of floating chips in there," he said of the knee. "It's been bothering me lately. I don't want to keep taking injections just to coach.''

Riley, 61, was evasive when asked if he would have held off on the hip replacement had it not been for the knee incident.

"The knee is not going to be a big deal, but I've got to get that done," he said. "The hip is going to be a little bit more of a problem."

Surgeons said Riley's knee procedure would be minor, but the hip replacement would mean a few days in the hospital and three to eight weeks off his feet until he can get back to the activities of daily life.

"People in their early 60s do very well. A lot of them are driving within two weeks, barely using a cane by three weeks," Fort Lauderdale orthopedic surgeon Michael Reilly said. "He's the perfect candidate. He's fit, he's thin and he's younger."

Other doctors were more cautious, saying even healthy patients, such as Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who had a hip replaced in early October, need several months to return to normal function.

"He was out a month and still limping around" when the Lakers played at Miami on Christmas day, said surgeon Fernando Moya-Huff, of the South Florida Institute of Sports Medicine at Weston. "Riley has always kept himself in good shape. He's not obese. He has all the ingredients for a great recovery."

Riley insisted his team's struggles were not a factor in the timing of his decision.

"It's what it is," he said. "We are what we are right now. We're an injured team obviously. We're not the same team without Shaq and without Dwyane. I haven't been happy with how we're playing. I haven't been happy with how I'm coaching. I'm not happy about the situation. I don't think anybody is.

"I hope that when everybody gets healthy, including myself, it will rectify itself."

While Rothstein, the inaugural Heat coach who rejoined the team Sept. 23, 2004, as an assistant, was named acting coach, Riley said assistant Erik Spoelstra would be heavily involved in the guidance of the team, perhaps offering a hint to his eventual successor.

Riley previously stepped down as coach Oct. 24, 2003, handing the reins to assistant Stan Van Gundy. He then resumed coaching Dec. 12, 2006, after Van Gundy resigned citing family reasons.

Rothstein filled in twice for Riley last season, when Riley attended to the death of his mother. Riley then returned to guide the team to the NBA title.

"The overall game plan and the purpose of what we're trying to do doesn't change a whole lot," Rothstein said. "Pat said to me, `You have to do what you think is right.'"

Van Gundy was not contacted during Wednesday's handoff and apparently does not have interest in returning. He remains under contract to the team this season as a consultant to Riley, but was not mentioned at Wednesday's media session.

Riley has been noncommittal about coaching beyond this season and reiterated that position.

"I'm not going to make any decision on that," he said.

O'Neal expects to finish the season with Riley at his side.

"All we know now is he has health issues and we wish him a speedy recovery," he said. "Very soon, everybody will be back. That'll be the day we're looking forward to."

Ira Winderman can be reached at Staff Writer Bob LaMendola contributed to this report.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Johnson Sets Mark As Mavericks Extend Streak- AP

The Dallas Mavericks ended 2006 on a high note as they captured their tenth win in a row. In doing so, they improved their record to an NBA best 24 and 7.

Dallas 89, Denver 85

DENVER, Dec. 31 (AP) -- No Dirk Nowitzki. No problem for the Dallas Mavericks in extending their winning streak to 10 games.

"Everybody knew Dirk was out of the lineup,'' Dallas forward Josh Howard said. "We needed some people to pick it up and not just me.''

Howard had 28 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Mavericks to their 10th straight victory, 89-85 over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night.

"I was trying to stay aggressive,'' Howard said. "But it was more of a matter of me going out there and playing my great game.''

Howard has scored 20 or more points in 10 his past 17 games while averaging 23 points.

"This is the top,'' Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "We could easily have found an excuse for this game, but these guys are playing some tough, hard-nosed basketball.''

Howard had nine points in the fourth quarter and made a key basket in the last minute. Jason Terry scored nine of his 21 points in the final period for the Mavericks, missing star Dirk Nowitzki because of a sinus infection.

Allen Iverson had 28 points and eight assists for Denver, and Earl Boykins added 20 points. Marcus Camby had 13 points and 13 rebounds in his first game back after missing four games because of a broken finger.

"I sat out the last four games,'' Camby said. "I felt like I couldn't miss anymore time.''

Dallas outscored Denver 26-16 in the fourth quarter.

"This one was hard to take,'' Iverson said. We had it. We had the game and didn't finish it out.''

Terry connected on two short jumpers in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, getting Dallas to 69-67, but the Nuggets regrouped to go ahead 72-67 after Eduardo Najera's layup and 76-69 on Najera's follow with 7:35 remaining.

"The Nuggets had our backs to the wall at that point,'' Johnson said. "But we just wouldn't let ourselves buckle.''

Dallas tied it at 79 after Terry's 3-pointer and a jump shot by Devean George with 5:08 left.

Camby gave Denver its last lead, 82-81 with a free throw with 2:32 left and Devin Harris gave Dallas the lead right back with a jump shot with 2:16 remaining.

Boykins and Yakhouba Diawara missed badly on 3-point attempts on Denver's next two possessions, while Erick Dampier and Howard were converting two free throws each to make it 87-82 with 1:16 left.

Iverson hit two free throws for Denver, but Howard buried a 15-foot shot with a minute left to put Dallas ahead 89-84. Najera had a free throw for the game's final point.

The Nuggets have blow six fourth-quarter leads this season.

Denver opened the second half with two jumpers by Iverson to 54-44 lead before Howard started an 8-0 run to get Dallas to 54-52 with 8:15 left. The Mavericks remained close until Terry's jumper made it 62-61, but Iverson hit four three throws as part of a 7-2 run in the final 3:08 of the third quarter for a 69-63 lead.

"Tonight we would have won a 40-minute game, but these games last 48 minutes'' Denver coach George Karl said. "I've got to find a way to win these games until we get everyone back.''

Notes: Dallas is 7-0 in the second night of back-to-back games. ... Dallas' Jerry Stackhouse (sprained left ankle) has missed five games. ... Denver went with its five different lineup in six games since the suspensions of Anthony and Smith. The Nuggets are 3-3 in their absence.