SBS's blog on news opinions and developments in the NBA, with a focus on business.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sacramento Kings Name Reggie Theus Head Coach

By David

Former New Mexico State head coach Reggie Theus will be announced as the new Sacramento Kings head coach at an afternoon press conference today.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Third Overall Pick In The NBA Draft Is...

By David

Once Greg Oden and Kevin Durant are selected one and two in next weeks draft the Atlanta Hawks will have the biggest decision of the draft to make. Do they select the ''total package man'' in Florida's Al Horford, Yi Jianlian of China, Ohio State point guard Mike Conley Jr. or UNC's Brandon Wright?

During the past three drafts Atlanta has not made the wisest decisions when it came to improving their ball club. Josh Smith, Josh Childress, Marvin Williams and Sheldon Williams have all endured disappointing starts to their basketball careers as members of one of the worst teams in the league.

Instead of adding another tall and talented power forward like Florida's Al Horford, General Manager Billy Knight woulld be smartest to pick point guard Mike Conley Jr. Even though Conley Jr. could be available when the Hawks select at number eleven, he is the best guard in the draft and is most ready to make an impact right away.

So, with the third pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, Mike Conley Jr. should hear his name called by Commissioner David Stern.

L.A. Lakers Superstar Kobe Bryant Demands Trade, Again

By David

For the second time in the past several weeks disgruntled shooting guard Kobe Bryant has asked for a trade from Lakers management.

Last month in an interview with 1050 ESPN Radio Kobe said that there was no conceivable way that the Lakers could keep him. Not a chance at all for L.A. to keep their superstar who has been an integral part of the team and community for over a decade.

In a twisted turn of events the two-time scoring champion stated that he had reconciled with coach Phil Jackson and that he and the team now saw eye to eye. All along Bryant's number one complaint or as I see it his number one excuse for wanting to leave the only team he has ever played for is their lack of winning and a viable direction for the future.

Wait, wasn't it Kobe himself who wanted complete control over the Lakers so that he can prove he could win without another prominent superstar by his side. Since Shaq departed for South beach L.A. has not made it out of the first-round of the playoffs.

With 4-years and $88.6 million left on his contract Bryant will look to add his name to the record books in another NBA city. Although he's the only player in the league to have a no trade clause, it appears that he'd be willing to waive it to play for the Chicago Bulls.

Unfortunately, Lakers' General Manager Mitch Kupchak will have a steep asking price when he sits down to discuss the parameters of the deal with Bulls' General Manager John Paxson. Reportedly L.A. would be seeking center Ben Wallace, guard Ben Gordon, forward Luol Deng and the ninth pick in June 28th's draft.

In my opinion that deal would be too sweet for the Lakers who are currently in the rebuilding mode, and it would serve no purpose for Chicago. Despite the major impact he'd make in the Windy city, it would be foolish for the Bulls to take on nearly $90 million and lose three of their best players.

Bryant,28, said on his website today that ''Now there is a new road ahead. I am gonna keep grindin and keep working to get back to competing for Championships. Sometimes the trek up the mountain is tough. But, I know we'll get there.

Luckily for Kobe he will be winning no more championships in the Staples Center. The Lakers will look to trade their superstar before next weeks draft and if they are unable to it might be a long Summer ahead for both parties.

Two Major Trades Around The NBA

By David

While the San Antonio Spurs were celebrating their fourth title in the last nine years, the Toronto Raptors, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves were all completing trades.

On Thursday, Minnesota dealt point guard Mike James and forward Justin Reed to Houston for veteran Juwan Howard. When I initially read the headline about this trade I was surprised because all three players are not household names and I didn't expect any team to exchange players before the NBA finals were over.

Vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale who was been lambasted for poor decisions he has made in the past said ''Juwan is a veteran low-post player who is a proven scorer and rebounder.'' Howard, a twelve-year veteran was a member of the fab five at the University of Michigan and will provide great leadership to the Twolves locker room.

In 25.1 mpg last season in Minnesota's back court James averaged 10.1 ppg and 3.6 apg. The Amityville, New York native will have the opportunity to do well playing along side Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming.

On Friday, the Toronto Raptors added some more international spice to their roster as they acquired Carlos Delfino from the Detroit Pistons. Delfino, a native of Argentina, was traded for a second-round draft pick in 2009 and 2011. At 6-foot-6, 230 pounds Delfino will be a positive addition to an already potent Toronto lineup.

Reigning Executive of the Year and General Manager and President of the Raptors Bryan Colangelo said ''Carlos is a talented basketball player that should thrive in our system.''

NBA finals hits record low on TV

June 15, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -- The NBA finals were a television bust.

San Antonio's four-game sweep of Cleveland finished with a record-low 6.2 television rating and 11 share on ABC, Nielsen Media Research said Friday. That was down 27 percent from the 8.5/15 for Miami's six-game victory over Dallas last year and 5 percent under the previous low, a 6.5/12 for San Antonio's six-game win over New Jersey in 2003. The NBA finals averaged 9.3 million viewers this year.

San Antonio's series-winning 83-82 victory on Thursday night got a 6.5/12, down 17 percent from the 7.8/14 for Game 4 last year.

The NHL Stanley Cup finals also hit a record low this year, with NBC averaging a 1.6/3 for the final three games of Anaheim's five-game victory over Ottawa. The first two games were televised on the cable network Versus.

The rating is the percentage watching a telecast among all homes with televisions, and the share is the percentage tuned in to a broadcast among those households with televisions on at the time. A ratings point represents 1,114,000 households.

Updated on Friday, Jun 15, 2007 5:44 pm EDT

Friday, June 15, 2007

San Antonio Spurs Win The NBA Finals

With an 83-82 victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers the Spurs have swept the series and secured their fourth NBA title in the last nine years.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

San Antonio Spurs In Control Of The NBA Finals

Two games through the 2007 NBA Finals Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs are embarrassing LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Entering the series it was clear that the Spurs were the better team, but no one could have expected the Cavs to sleep walk through the first two games in the lone star state.

At the end of the third quarter in game one Cleveland was down by ten points and it got progressively worse Sunday night in game two as they dug themselves a 27 point deficit. Team leader LeBron James was no where to be found in his first finals appearance, going 4-16 from the field and scoring a dismal 14 points Thursday night.

Tim Duncan and Tony Parker exerted their force over an inexperienced team in the first two games of the series, combining for 104 points, 18 assists and 30 rebounds.

Mike Brown's club will look to rebound tonight at home in game three of the finals as thy host their first finals game in team history. If they are unable to win tonight it will be all but certain that the Spurs will capture their fourth championship since 1999.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Stan Van Gundy Named Head Coach of Orlando Magic

By David

After Billy Donovan bolted from his obligation as Magic head coach last week, General Manager Otis Smith had a vacancy to fill.

He thought that he found the perfect guy in Donovan who guided the Florida Gators to back-to-back national championships and established the basketball program as a power house among all NCAA teams. Unfortunately, Donovan had a change of heart and returned to Gainsville.

Luckily, Smith would not have to leave the state of Florida to find the right guy to lead an up and coming young group of players. Former Heat head coach Stan Van Gundy was targeted by many teams including the Sacramento Kings, but felt that he had the best opportunity to succeed with the Magic.

When you have a budding superstar like Dwight Howard and an organization that is determined to bring a winning ball club to the city of Orlando, who would not want to become the ninth head coach in team history?

The one attribute that made Van Gundy so desirable by many teams is his winning track record and knowledge of the game. During eight seasons as a college head coach, including three at the University of Wisconsin he compiled a record of 135-92.

His next challenge in life would be tackling the NBA and he found the perfect fit with the Miami Heat. He spent twelve fantastic years in the Heat organization, including six as an assistant and two plus seasons manning the sidelines.

Van Gundy took a struggling franchise to new heights during his coaching tenure, recording a regular season record of 112-73 and a postseason record of 17-11. After acquiring all-star Shaquille O'Neal in 2004 Van Gundy coached the team to a 59-23 record. They eventually were eliminated by the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals, but the mark he left on the team was staggering.

He was Dwayne Wade's first head coach and has shaped the superstar into the player he has evolved into today. Most importantly he set a benchmark for success that the Heat still follow today. The countless hours he spent going over film to improve the team's level of play was an integral part of why Miami was able to capture their first NBA title in 2006.

Many times in sports one manager or coach lays down the winning formula and foundation for success, only to see his successor lead the team to the championship game. That was the case with Pat Riley who lead the Heat to the NBA finals due in large part to the work of Stan Van Gundy.

The Orlando Magic hired an exceptional coach and great person in Van Gundy who will elevate the club to new heights.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Memphis Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers Hire New Head Coaches

The Memphis Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers employed different styles when it came to selecting head coaches.

While the Grizz, who sported the leagues worst record this season, went for youth in Phoenix assistant Marc Iavaroni, Larry Bird and the Pacers went for leadership in former head coach Jim O'Brien.

O'Brien, who previously coached the 76ers and Celtics, will replace Rick Carlisle who was dismissed as head coach back in April. During his five-year coaching career O'Brien compiled a record of 182-158 and lead the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals in 2001.

During his one season in Philadelphia players perceived O'Brien as a tough coach to play for. It will be interesting to see if he has reformed his coaching techniques during his time off and can return the Pacers to the playoffs.

If all indications are correct he will not have the services of all-star Jermaine O'Neal who's expected to be dealt to the Lakers at some point this month. That would be a major blow for a coach that has had superstars like Paul Pierce and Allen Iverson to work with in the past.

The hiring of Marc Iavaroni is a wise decision for a Memphis club that is looking to steer themselves in the right direction. Iavaroni learned for many years under Mike D'Antoni, and the Grizzlies are hoping that he will be able to implement some offensive fire power into their system.

With the uncertain future of big man Pau Gasol and a team that went 22-60 last season, it will be a difficult task for Iavaroni to turn the Grizzlies into a winner.

What's Next For The Detroit Pistons?

By David

Two straight trips to the Eastern Conference finals, home court advantage, the best record in their league, but zero NBA finals appearance.

Point guard and team leader Chauncey Billups is a free agent, hometown kid Chris Webber is contemplating retirement, fiery power forward Rasheed Wallace continues to implode and head coach Flip Saunders might be on the way out.

With all that said what's next for the Detroit Pistons?

Every season they dominate the Eastern Conference, steam roll through the first two rounds of the playoffs and fall apart in the Conference finals. After taking the first two games of the series it seemed inevitable that the playoff tested Pistons would defeat the Cavaliers.

Unfortunately, LeBron James guaranteed that would not happen as he went from a superstar to one of the best players in league history. What he has done in the first four years of his career is better than what Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and other tremendous players accomplished at such a young age.

After scoring 48 points and 25 consecutive in game five at the Palace, LeBron displayed that he was ready to take his team to the promise land. Whatever barriers that were put before him would be overcome and the only thing that could stop him would be himself.

In terms of what lies ahead for the Pistons, there is increased uncertainty that Flip Saunders has lost control of the locker room and many players don't respect him. Rasheed Wallace definitely showed that during this series and it wouldn't be a surprise to see another person behind the bench next season.

Chauncey Billups has been an integral part of the Pistons' streak of success and has laid down the foundation that will make Detroit a winner for many years to come. Billups might not be around to see his team reach another Conference finals because he becomes a free agent this Summer and many teams will be knocking on his door.

With tonight's lose, the pieces that have been so critical to Detroit's success might have just begn to unravel.

Cleveland Cavaliers Advance To The NBA Finals

By David

For the first time in franchise history the Cleveland Cavaliers are headed to the NBA Finals.

After winning at home in game six of the Eastern Conference finals by the score of 98-82, LeBron James and his teammates have done the impossible: dethrone the feared Detroit Pistons.

I have to admit that I was part of the majority of skeptics who believed that the young and inexperienced Cavs' had no chance at all of defeating a veteran and experienced lead ball club like the Pistons.

The job that second-year coach Mike Brown has done is next to amazing and the city of Cleveland should be ecstatic. During the presentation of the Eastern Conference trophy Hall of Famer Bill Russell told the Cavaliers ''make me proud'', and that is what the Cavs' intend to do against the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs.

Ironically, head coach Mike Brown and general manager Danny Ferry were part of the Spurs' organization for several years and won a championship with the club in '03. It will be interesting to see what the game plan of both men will be when they take on Greg Popovich and the Spurs.

In game six against Detroit rookie Daniel Gibson took over the game, scoring 31 points en route to his first appearance in the finals. Gibson, a second-round draft pick, became the first rookie since Magic Johnson in 1980 to score at least thirty points in the playoffs.
Phenom LeBron James attempted a mere 11 shots and scored 20 points to help his team advance to the next step in their quest to bring a title to the city of Cleveland.

It's now time for LeBron and company to tackle ''the big bad wolves of the west.''