Nets Drop Out Of Carmelo Trade Talks

 

~ It’s back to the drawing board for the New Jersey Nets as they have reportedly scratched Carmelo Anthony off of the wish list. In a press conference, 1st year team owner Mikhail Prokhorov announced that he has decided to withdraw his Nets from the recent trade talks involving the Denver Nuggets superstar.

 “There comes a time when the price is simply too expensive,I am instructing our team to walk away from the deal. Really, I am not happy with the way the deal has gone until now, It has taken too long. It has been played out in public. The uncertainty has taken a toll on the players … and I believe it has cost us several games.” … Mikhail Prokhorov, New Jersey Nets Owner

Okay, so here is the bottom line with this. The Nets basically sat down and reached the conclusion that after all the back & forth, all the players who were mentioned as trade bait (14 names), even with Jay-Z involved in the picture, it still wasn’t enough to overcome one glaring hurdle … Carmelo never confirmed to anyone he would want to play for them in the first place. In order for any of the trade possibilities to become a reality, Anthony would have to agree to signing a 3 year extension on his contract. The only teams that Anthony has reportedly expressed serious interest in are New York & Chicago. Don’t get me wrong here, the Nets did what they were supposed to do in this if you’re looking to build a winning team and winning enviroment. They went aggressively at one of the best players in the league and for awhile were willing to try and sell him on staying with them long term. Sometimes it just does not work out and it was getting more and more clear as the days turned into weeks and soon to be months, that Carmelo Anthony does not appear ready to make that kind of commitment to a team such as the New Jersey Nets.

Prokhorov showed me in that press conference why he’s a successful business man. Not a lot of people in his position as a team owner would have so aggresively went after someone who never really expressed interest in coming to play for them. Those same people in his position also would not have so aggressively withdrew from a potential deal such as the one for Anthony. Prokhorov knew the longer these talks were going to continue, the more of a strain it would have on his franchise. What they don’t get in Carmelo Anthony, they do get in more time to come up with a eqaul or even better solution in the long term. The Nets have a lot of room on the salary cap and five 1st round picks over the next 2 years. As poorly as they are playing right now, those draft picks are going to be high.

Where does this leave Carmelo Anthony now? My guess is either a surprise deal to Chicago or New York by the All Star Break or playing the season out and looking to come to the Knicks as a Free Agent. Only he really knows though and at least he now gets to concentrate a little bit on basketball. New Jersey fans should not feel too bad about this deal falling through though. They now have a owner who clearly is focused on looking to put a winning product on the court without being over aggresive and knows win to walk away from a bad deal. That’s something sports fans in the tri-state area are simply just not used to seeing around here with it’s basketball teams.

Advertisements

AFC & NFC Championship Games Are Set

 

~ The road to the Super Bowl is narrowed down to four teams as the AFC and NFC Championship games are now set. The Green Bay Packers will head into Chicago to face the Bears for the right to represent the NFC. The New York Jets will look to continue what has been one of the great post season runs  in recent history as they head to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers for the right to represent the AFC.  Seeding has played a very small factor this season as 2 of the 4 #6 seeded teams (Jets & Packers) are now 1 game away from the big game in Dallas.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger isn’t Tom Brady or Peyton Manning when it comes to flash or style on the football field. I give the guy respect though because he just goes out and gets it done and sometimes it’s not pretty. In the Steelers playoff win over the Baltimore Ravens, Roethlisberger led his team back from a 21-7 Ravens lead with that blue collar-like approach that represents his style of play. It’s been a long and tough season for the Steelers’ quarterback. He was suspended the first four games of the season following sexual assault allegations that weren’t prosecuted. His image was badly damaged from it, however he has come back to help lead Pittsburgh to 12 wins this season and securing a 1st round bye in the playoffs and now his team is 1 game away from a Super Bowl berth. In a season where so much of the focus has been on Michael Vick and his performance on the field for the Eagles, Roethlisberger’s story has been mostly under the radar. It’s been that way for him since he was drafted actually. The talk of the draft that year was Eli Manning, then the draft day trade of Manning for Phillip Rivers. Somewhere within all of that the Steelers drafted Roethlisberger and he’s proven to be a winner with 2 Super Bowl rings as proof. The win over Baltimore was Roethlisberger’s 7th straight over them and for the Ravens this one had to hurt the most. Costly turnovers dropped passes and not enough big plays when it mattered most took the Ravens out of this game in the second half.

How about those Jets?  2 years for Rex Ryan as head coach and 2 years in the AFC championship game, not bad at all. If you would have told me a couple of weeks ago that the Jets were going to beat Peyton Manning and the Colts then Tom Brady and the Patriots, both on the road … I would have just sat there in front of you with a Bill Bellichick facial expression. Well, the Jets did just that and are now 1 game away from the Super Bowl. People can say what they want about the Jets back dooring into the playoffs this season or being a 6th seeded team. Do they talk a lot? Yes … they talked so much heading into New England, it would have been a major setback had they came out of there without a win. I give credit to Rex Ryan for what he’s done as Head Coach the last 2 weeks for the Jets. Ryan put the spotlight on him,  he told the media that the Colts game was “personal”. Ryan then tells the media the Patriots game is “Rex Ryan vs. Bill Bellichick”. It was a bold strategy that took the spotlight off the team and allowed them to go out and just play. As much as Rex the Promoter is known for his talking, Rex the Coach has put in some of his best work the last couple of weeks in stopping Manning and Brady. The fact of the matter  is not many NFL teams are going to beat the Colts and the Patriots in consecutive weeks on the road. They head into the AFC title game playing with house money. I’m not making the mistake of putting Ben Roethlisberger under the radar. Between the Jets and Steelers, I have to give momentum to New York right now.

Over in the NFC, I was never really convinced that the Atlanta Falcons were for real & I’ve grown more and more convinced that the Green Bay Packers are for real. There is no other starting quarterback among the 4 left in the playoffs that is playing as well as Aaron Rodgers is right now. The Packers have found a running game to go along with Rodgers and the passing attack and it’s defense has been making big plays throughout the playoffs. The latest big play  by cornerback Tramon Williams was a 70 yard touchdown run after intercepting a Matt Ryan pass that ended the first half and bascially the season for the Falcons. This Green Bay team is dangerous and I still can’t believe I didn’t take them seriously during the regular season. The Chicago Bears put the Seahawks away early, and while it was good while it lasted for Seattle’s playoff run, Green Bay-Chicago is a much more attractive game. Two teams that don’t really like each other in the oldest rivalry in the NFL.

Two good games for the right to go to the Super Bowl and I’m going to go with the two teams who are playing the best football right now. The Jets and Packers are heading to Dallas after this weekend.

Blazers Lose Roy To Surgery On Both Knees

 ~ The Portland Trail Blazers have been hit hard by the injury bug the last couple of seasons. The team has announced that  Brandon Roy will have arthroscopic surgery on both of his knees next week, according to Yahoo Sports.

Roy has missed 16 games this season because of soreness in his knees, which he has said is caused by a lack of cartilage. He is a 3 time All Star and the 2007 NBA Rookie of the Year. Losing Roy is a big blow to Portland who already is without the often injured Greg Oden for the season due to microfracture knee surgery.  The team has said there is no timetable for Roy’s return, and announced on Dec. 30th that Roy would sit out indefinitely this season.

Lawrence Taylor to plead guilty to misdemeanors, expects no jail time.

 ~ Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor is reportedly set to plead guilty to two misdemeanors and avoid jail time stemming from rape charges last year.

Although he could get up to two years in jail, Taylor’s attorney Arthur Aidala told ESPN that he believes Taylor will not get any jail time.

Taylor was charged with third-degree rape, patronizing a prostitute, sexual abuse and endangering a child. The two misdemeanor charges are soliciting a prostitute and sexual misconduct for having sex with a girl who was not old enough to give consent.

It will be determined at a later hearing whether Taylor must register as a sex offender.

*Sources: ESPN.com & Pro Football Talk

NFL Moves & Notes : Panthers Get A New Coach, Cromartie & Brady

 

  ~ Congrats to Ron Rivera for becoming the new head coach of the Carolina Panthers. Rivera becomes only the second Latino to be handed control of an NFL team. He replaces long time coach John Fox who is reportedly a leading canidate to become the new coach of the Denver Broncos. Rivera has interviewed 8 times in the past for a head coaching position before finally getting his first chance to lead a team. Rivera has a defensive background, however it’s the offense that might need the most work right away for Carolina. He has his hands full starting with the quarterback position. Rivera has to figure out if Jimmy Clausen deserves another look as the starter and that is hard to justify. The Panthers were 2-14 this past season, 1-9 with Clausen as the starting quarterback . If Rivera is looking to make a quick impression, it has to be tempting to look around for other options to lead the offense.

~ Will someone please tell Antonio Cromartie to keep quiet? The Jets cornerback followed behind head coach Rex Ryan’s comments on Tom Brady’s alleged celebration antics against the Jets and decided to co-sign by letting the world know how he really feels about Brady. When asked by Gary Myers of The New York Daily News about the alleged Brady celebrations Cromartie replied  with this response … Cromartie …    “We see that a lot. He does it a lot,That’s the kind of guy he is. We really don’t give a damn, to tell you the truth.” When then asked what kind kind of guy is Brady, Cromartie pulled no punches with his response … “An ass ****”. Oh and to put icing on the cake Cromartie added ” **** him.That’s what I think about him. I don’t really give a damn about him, I don’t have to play against him. I play against the receivers.”  When reminded that Brady is the one throwing to those receivers, Cromartie outdid himself again with this response … “Yeah, but if I beat the s— out of his receivers, he can’t throw the ball.”  This the same Antonio Cromartie who last year in the playoffs was last seen in a Chargers uniform against the Jets trying to avoid tackling (more like getting run over by) Shon Greene?  Maybe it’s the same Antonio Cromartie who was lit up by Pierre Garcon of the Colts in the divisional round. Why Cromartie would want to give Tom Brady anymore reason than to try and put up a four touchdown performance on him in a playoff game is beyond me. If it wasn’t for his 4th quarter kickoff return against the Colts that helped put the Jets in position to win, Cromartie could have been a leading canidate for the goat of the game.

Brady isn’t going to be in a hurry to throw it towards Revis Island, Cromartie  is going to get tested early and often. The Patriots may not let the media know every move they make, however you know they are well aware of comments made in there direction, especially if the one making the comments is a New York Jet.

~ I’d like to see Joe Flacco of the Ravens crank it up this weekend in there playoff matchup against the Steelers. The Ravens-Steelers history involves a lot of smash mouth football. Run the ball, run the ball, play defense, and hit hard … then hit ’em harder. It’s easy to forget that Flacco actually has the arm to air it out if needed. The Ravens put him on restraints his first couple of seasons, this season they added Anquan Baldin to the wide receivers. Ray Rice has emerged to hold down the running game and Baltimore now has a balanced attack. This could be a good time to catch Pittsburgh by surprise and let Flacco show off that arm that the Ravens saw when drafting him out of Deleware in 08′.

Cavs Get Destroyed vs Lakers & The Lebron Twitter Response

 

~ December 2nd, 2010 wasn’t exactly a memorable day for me personally. I got up, went to work, came home, and went to bed. For the most part, a normal Thursday for me. I did however watch a basketball game that night after coming home. When I look back at the Cleveland Cav’s and Miami Heat, I think of December 2nd.

The Miami Heat were expected to start the season at least 19-0  with the way the team was promoted going into the season … they didn’t. 19 games into the season Miami was 11-8 heading into the month of December and a game which would serve as Lebron James first time back in Cleveland since “the decision”. The signs were beginning to show that the Heat were beginning to crack under the pressure at that time. The game was played and the result would send both teams into completely different directions. The 118-90 Miami win over Cleveland ignited Lebron and his two superstar teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, they learned how to play together all of sudden. The tweets on twitter all of sudden supported it’s young head coach Eric Spolestra and called off the Pat Riley watch. The Heat went on to win 13 of it’s next 14 games to close out the month. The winning has carried over into the new year, winning it’s first 5 games of January and currently have a  9 game winning streak.

The Cleveland Cavs have not been the same since that December 2nd loss to Miami. Every now and then watching sports you can see when the confidence clearly leaves a team. Before that game, Cleveland was playing decent basketball.The regular season started and surprisingly, without James the Cav’s were playing like a team that you could actually sit down and watch without your hand on the remote control. That loss on December 2nd however clearly looked like  a 20 point loss reality check instead of a bump on the road. The Cav’s are no longer Lebron James and the Cleveland Cav’s. They are now just the Cav’s. In a league where the top teams are considered superpowers, the Cav’s were back to being … ordinary. Cleveland went on to lose 13 of it’s next 14 games to close out the month. The losing has carried over into the new year, losing it’s first 6 games of January. It can’t get any lower than the most recent loss in Los Angeles to the defending champion Lakers.

I’m sitting on my sofa at home reading my Twitter timeline and remember that the Lakers game is on. I’m not exactly in a hurry to watch any of this game, however I decide to check on the score … it’s the start of the third quarter and all anyone would need to know is that the Cav’s only had 25 points by that point. In case you’re not too caught up in NBA 101 … if your team has 25 points after 2 quarters of basketball then most likely you’re team isn’t very good. Cleveland went on to lose this game obviously, 112-57.  The reason I mentioned my Twitter timeline is because that is where I go to see some of the funniest comments and feedback from others and of course I figured an NBA team scoring only 57 points in a game might fit that profile.

Twitter can be many things during the course of a day. It can be entertaining, it can be informative, it can also be annoying & become someone’s credibility killer. Lebron James has been a subject of focus on Twitter since news first broke that he was joining the social network site. James rightfully deserves that attention. We all watched last summer as James was the main topic in sports for his free agent move from Cleveland to South Beach. Some (myself included) were highly critical of this move as James aligned himself with two NBA  premier superstars to pursue an NBA championship. Whenever something happens involving a high profile celebrity, it manages to find it’s way to Twitter.

The downfall of the Cleveland Cav’s always is going to be linked to Lebron James. After the loss to the Lakers, a tweet was posted from James twitter page  …

        “Crazy. Karma is a b****.. Gets you every time. Its not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!”

Who is Lebron tweeting about? Alright thats not exactly a good question. Not when you consider the last 6 months between Lebron James, the Cleveland Cav’s, it’s fans, and the team owner Dan Gilbert. It was Gilbert who responded to James ESPN promoted “decision” to announce he was leaving for Miami, by nationally thanking James for nothing. I didn’t agree with Gilbert for that move and the way he did it. He was right to be upset and frustrated at losing the main piece of his franchise. Dan Gilbert didn’t win any fans over by boasting his team would win an NBA title before James does. It came off as childish, inmature, bitter and put a spotlight on a team that is nowhere near the team it was when James was a member of it. However, he is still an owner of a professional basketball team. Maybe you can make the case that if the belief in Karma is involved, then Gilbert and his team had it coming. The case can also be made that Lebron James and Dan Gilbert both are on a two-way street built on Karma.

I look back at the Lebron James tweet and I can’t help but think that if this is about Karma … Miami is gonna have a short stay in the playoffs.James is arguably the best NBA player in the world. I use the word arguably because of his choice to align with two superstars in Miami. I use the word arguably because James didn’t show up in those last two games he wore a Cav’s uniform. He didn’t show up to be the best that night. Possibly one foot already out the door and pointed towards South Beach. I say arguably the best in the world because reportedly he didn’t even give the Cav’s a goodbye phone call to let them know he was leaving and that his mind was made up. The team that drafted him, the team he grew up watching not far away in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. The Cav’s might as well got a gold watch from Lebron and a pat on the back thanking them for there services. The saying goes perception is reality, and how did it look to Cleveland fans to see James not only go to Miami but then go on tv posing for pictures in his new uniform with Wade and Bosh. How about those Cleveland fans who have Twitter and read his tweets celebrating the move?  James is quick now to let everyone know now he does not mind being the villain or the bad guy. It’s easy though to do that when your new team is 30-9 and dominating the league as expected. Dan Gilbert is paying for his mistakes last summer. The Cav’s are paying for his mistakes as well. Lebron James might want to be careful with his words going forward or we could be saying the same thing in June about the Miami Heat … “Karma is a B*tch”.

Yes, Walt Frazier Wore This In Public

~ Walt “Clyde” Fazier is known as much for his fashion style as he is for his legendary career as a player and television analyst for the New York Knicks. It’s always interesting when it comes to the wardrobe selection of Frazier. Last night, Frazier was in rare form (even for him) as the Knicks were in Los Angeles to take on the Lakers. Maybe it was because it was Hollywood, I’m sorry, that’s the best reason I have.

 According to Newsday, Frazier provided a little background on the suit: He said he was furniture shopping and saw the print. He purchased the material and then had the suit made.

Some things in life you just can’t make up folks. Craig Sager of  Turner Sports has nothing on “Clyde”.

%d bloggers like this: