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What does the Oklahoma Thunder have to do to win a Championship? (1 comment)

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NBA News

NBA BasketBall Betting, the Top Teams and their Prospects for 2013, 2014 Season posted by NBA News

In the 2012, 2013 prediction of the NBA game seven, Miami Heat were the favorites to win according to basketball sports betting sites. They went ahead to win against the spurs. Miami Heat were defending their title for the second time. Spurs were not the favorites but they had raised hope in many people that they had a chance to take the title. Most odd makers had put odds in the fact that the game will be close. This prediction also came to be true with the final 95, 88 score. There are those that are looking for Miami Heat’s prospect for the 2013-2014 season.

Defending the Title

Miami Heat are favorites to win again in early predictions for this season. The Lebron James magic is expected to play out again as he leads his time to another victory and defend their title. Some predict that Lebron may retain his Most Valuable Player of the year title this coming season. He has consistently shown his skills in shooting, defending and attacking.

On the other hand it may be too early to judge. What are the real prospects of defending the title? Defending the title for the third time will not be that easy. There is talk of Dwayne Wade’s knee injury. Whether he will be part of the action next season and whether Lebron can do without him, is another important factor that will determine the prospects for the team this coming season.

Westbrook’s Return to Oklahoma City

Another team to watch is Oklahama City Thunder. Some odds place it second for the title after Miami Heat. Their prospects are also good. The team up of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook is going to be interesting to watch this season. The two are expected to help lead the team towards the title. However Russell has been on crutches and is widely expected to recover in time but how well he recovers and the level of his game remains to be seen.

Continue reading "NBA BasketBall Betting, the Top Teams ..."


Randolph Charlotin

Refreshed Bench posted by Randolph Charlotin

Focus on the last names:

 

Jeff GREEN.

 

Troy MURPHY.

 

They were meant to be Celtics.

 

If Danny Ainge stopped his trade deadline dealings at the two-for-two swap that sent C Kendrick Perkins and G Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Green and Nenad Kristic, then fan dread over Boston’s chances in the playoffs would be understandable.

 

But Trader Dan was far from done. Often with Ainge, he makes a deal with complementary moves in mind. The two trades that followed Perkins’ departure cleared room for productive veteran players on the bench and improved versatility.

 

Celtic fans have a tough time accepting change from a winning formula. Perkins was the anchor in the middle of the defense, an intimidator that protected the paint from intruders. The Celtics hung their hat on being a physical defense-first team and was the cornerstone.

 

Health permitting, Boston could had claimed their NBA-record 18th championship. But health hasn’t been on the Celtics’ side this season. Already down are the two O’Neals (Jermaine and Shaquille) and G/F Marquis Daniels. Ainge decided not to wait and hope for modern medicine.

 Upon arrival Kristic was in the starting lineup and Green came off the bench. Regardless of their performance (they helped the Celtics win against the Los Angeles Clippers), they were available to play, which is something Perkins and Daniels can’t do right now. Perkins is expected to miss his first two to three weeks while Daniels might not play another game this season.

Continue reading "Refreshed Bench"


john howard

Thunder Go Green on Pistons posted by john howard

With 7 seconds left who would you go to?  Kevin Durant no doubt.  If not, the blazing quick Westbrook.  Last night, the Pistons took both those options away, leaving Jeff Green one on one with Maxiell.  Green layed it up.  Oklahoma City took a one point lead with 2.5 seconds left.  What was more impressive is what Westbrook did next.  No one talked about it.  There was no post game interview, but Westbrook did something that every high school coach dreams of.  He turned his the dribbler not once, but twice in 2.5 seconds.  Ben Gordon got the ball on the in bounds and Westbrook forced him to change directions twice.   Every time you turn your defender, the defense has many advantages.  One, you can double team with his back turned. Two, as in this case, they don't make much progress up the floor.  And, three, it eats up clock.  He may be the best defensive point guard in the league.

Oklahoma City shot a terrible 38% from the floor and only hit 2 three pointers.  They made for it with 14 steals and 44 free throw attempts.  Durant ended up with 30 points and 13 trips to the line.  Westbrook had 17 points and 10 free throw tries.  The shooting must improve and someone has to hit 3's.  They acquired sharp shooter Dequan Cook who has yet to hit a 3.   Cook and Harden where a combined 0 for 7.  Both can shoot, so they will change.  But, Cook's defense is going to have to improve to earn a spot in the rotation.  He gave up an easy bucket at the end of the 3rd quarter.  Cook's has gotten close to 15 minutes each game and they may fall if he doesn't start hitting shots.

Continue reading "Thunder Go Green on Pistons"


john howard

Oklahoma City Thunder run with the Bulls posted by john howard

The Thunder open the season with a victory over the Chicago Bulls.  The defensive pressure led by Thabo Sefaloosha was too much for the Derrick Rose and the Bulls.  He had 4 blocks and 2 steals.

Russell Westbrook is on the fast track to becoming a premier player in this league.  He got to the free throw line 13 times, had 10 rebounds, 28 points, and only 3 turn overs.   Talk about production at the point, Eric Maynor came off the bench and added ten points with perfect shooting.  38 points from the pg and only 3 turnovers is incredibl.e

 Kevin Durant landed on his tailbone in the 3rd qtr but appeared to be ok when he returned.  He didn't shoot it great, but led all scorers with 30 points and added 7 rebounds.

Jeff Green, as usual, did a little bit of everything and was the Thunder's 3rd scorer over twenty with 21.  Serge Ibaka had 8 points and 9 rebounds. 

The only dissappointment of the night was newcomer Dequan Cook who went 0 for 4 beyond the arc.  If he is going to stick with the team and earn a spot in the rotation, he must stick shots.

This team got off to a very good start.  Go Thunder!!!

Continue reading "Oklahoma City Thunder run with the Bulls"


john howard

Summer League Scare for Thunder. posted by john howard

New comer Cole Aldrich did not play in OKC's first summer league game of the year.  in fact, the Thunder did not start a single rookie. 

James Harden did not make a single 3pt shot, but attempted 18 free throws and had 19 points for the Thunder. 2nd year player Eric Maynor had 5 assists and 15 poinsts.   DJ White continues to show he can score with 13pts on 29 minutes and 6 rebounds.  He may be needed this year if Serge Ibaka's injury is significant.  He went down with a knee injury but walked off the floor.  There is no word yet on what his condition is. 

The star of the night was Byron Mullins who had 24 points and 7 rebounds with 2 blocks.  He played a lot in the developmental league and saw limited time with OKC last year.  He is a good pick and pop player that can allow Durant and Westbrook to exploit one on one matchups.  Should he continue to develop, he could allow the Thunder to let Krstic go and simply replace him with Mullins.  I think that is the plan for now. 

Continue reading "Summer League Scare for Thunder."


john howard

The Thunder keep getting better. posted by john howard

Two of the biggest needs for the Thunder are inside presence and outside shooting.  They got the shooter by trading the 32nd pick to Miami for sharp shooter D. Cook and the 18th overall pick.  Wow!  The move helps Miami trim the cap space they are fighting while acquiring a very high second round pick to go along with the other 3 second rounders they already have.  Second round picks are not guaranteed like first round ones are. So, Miami doesn't have to keep the guys they draft. 

As for the Thunder, Cook will help spread the floor and give them more punch off the bench.  He is only $2.2 against the cap. So, he is a very inexpensive shooter that helps fill a need.  But more impressive in this deal is the 18th pick to go along with the 21st and 26th.  With 3 picks, the Thunder could trade up and try and take a good big man.  But, I don't know who will trade down.   Rumors have it that Indiana wants a point guard, but not at the ten.  Epke Udoh from Baylor may be available at the ten. 

They may simply draft and then deal one or two of the players for future picks.  They should get somebody that will help with the 3 picks.  Nick Collison is in final year of contract and BJ Mullins doesn't look like the answer.  DJ White has had moments and I think he can score inside.  But, there is one thing that makes all players better: competition.  Bring in people to challenge White and Mullins for a spot not only in rotation, but on the team, and you will get better.

From the mocks I've seen, Daniel Orton's name has been popping up at both the 18th and 21st.   James Anderson may possibly fall to 18th and Damion James could be available at 18th.   Both could give a slasher, playmaker type to sub in for Durant and play with the second unit.    Then, they have the 26th pick to gamble on a foreign player.  Like they did with Serge Ibaka.  He didn't come to play untila full year after he was drafted. 

Continue reading "The Thunder keep getting better."


john howard

NBA draft, Who Drafts the Best? posted by john howard

There are three ways an NBA team can improve:  1) Draft  2) Trades  3)  Free Agency.

 I've taken a look at how well teams have drafted since 2003.  I used the number of rebounds, points, assist, steals, and blocks to help me rank the teams on their ability to draft.  If a player was acquired via a trade, he counts towards the team that received him in the trade.  Also, the statistics that count are only the ones that the player acquired while with the team that drafted him.  So, if a player was traded and then became a good player, that team lost out.  Let's see the results.

The first list is the most simple.  It is how teams rank by just counting all the points, rebounds, steals, blocks and assists:

1)  Chicago

2)  Portland

3)  Oklahoma City

4)  Atlanta

5)  New Orleans

6)  Toronto

7)  Boston

8)  Orlando

9)  New York

10) Miami

11)  Cleveland

12) Sacramento

13) Charlotte

14) Philadelphia

15)  Denver

16)  Memphis

17) LA Clippers

18) Utah

19)  Washington

20) Indiana

21)  Golden State

22) Minnesota

23)  La Lakers

24) Milwaukee

25)  New Jersey

26) Detroit

27) Phoenix

28) Houston

29) Dallas

30) San Antonio

This is a pretty good look at how well teams have been drafting.  Portland is really high on the list, but has 15 picks since 2003.  Oklahoma City had 12, while NY and Memphis each had 10.  On the flip side, other teams had less than one per year.  So, stockpiling picks has a positive effect. 

Continue reading "NBA draft, Who Drafts the Best?"


Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Congratulations OKC !!! posted by Joe Franciosa, Jr.

I just wanted to congratulate Oklahoma City Thunder fans. Now you too know the joy of a "Beat L.A." chant that comes to fruition.

To be clear, I don't believe OKC has any hope of winning their seven game series. However, every game the Lakers lose is another they have to play to advance, and with their players advancing ages, one can hope that the Thunder's tenacity is taking its toll on the Laker team. So, while the celebrations are likely to be short-lived, I'll congratulate OKC and their fans one last time. "Beat L.A."!!!

Continue reading "Congratulations OKC !!!"


Johnny Matheis

Spot plays 04/03/2010 posted by Johnny Matheis

Before getting to the big races, most people like to wager on the races leading up to them. Here are some nice spot plays for 04/03/2010:

For each race, there will be a projected order of finish, listing, in order:

PROGRAM NUMBER-NAME OF RUNNER-PROBABLE ODDS-COMMENTS:

Then good bets, exactas, 50 cent trifectas and 10 cent superfectas will be listed:

2nd RACE GULFSTREAM 1 MILE Maiden claiming:

6 RUTH WONDERS 7-2 -Looks to be a sure thing, but anything is possible with young runners 

9 INTERCOM 8-1 Consistent, not likely to win, but hard to keep off board here

7 COUNTRY GREEN 20-1 Addition of Lasix may be all that's needed to hit board here

12 DANCE OF THE TIGER 4-1 Big class drop makes it a "must use" in exotics

2 I CAN SEE A GENIUS 20-1 Ran poorly as a 2 year old in September, has time to grow, and good jockey change

13 KINDA KINDA (Also eligible, not likely to get in)

11 CONSOLACION SUR 20-1 -passes some in stretch, but hitting the board still a challenge

1 KILLARNEY MIST 5-2-We've seen her best, and it isn't impressive

10 JEANNIE S 20-1 -a bit of a class drop may help here

3 LYNN'S PRINCESS 20-1 -already has 22 lifetime starts in April of 3 year old year.

5 DOINITWITHSTYLE 20-1 Fades

4 SHAHADAROBA 20-1-Also fades in stretch

8 SEXY THUNDER 20-1 -just nothing to like

BEST BETS: WPS on 6, Show on 6,11,12: Trifecta Box 6,7,9,12: Superfectas Wheel 6 with 9,12 with 1,2,7,9,11,12 with All, Wheel 9,12 with 6 with 1,2,7,9,11,12 with 1,2,7,9,11,12, Wheel 6,9,12 with 6,9,12 with 1,2,6,7,9,11,12 with 1,2,6,7,9,11,12

Continue reading "Spot plays 04/03/2010"


john howard

The Thunder playoff chances. posted by john howard

The Thunder needed to go 2 and 2 last week and that is exactly what they did.  They lost to San Antonio which put them into a tie for 6th. Then, they defeated Houston with an impressive comeback performance by James Hardin. They followed that with a romp of the Lakers.  Sunday was a defeat to Portland. 

The bad news is that they are in a 3 way tie for 6th,7th, and 8th with the Spurs and Trailblazers.  Phoenix also pulled away for the 5th spot.

The good news is they lowered the magic number to reach the playoffs to four. And, they sent a message to the league that they can play with anyone when they routed Los Angelos.

The Thunder end the month with back to back games at Philly and Boston.  It will be hard to be the Celtics on their floor as a second of a back to back series so, beating the 76ers is a must. This is a very tough end to a good season.  After a couple of days rest, they have another back to back at Dallas and home against Minnesota.  Another win and loss most likely. 

If they win all four games, OKC will have clinched the playoffs.  Most likely they will go 2 and 2 and Memphis might do the same, which would also allow OKC to be in the playoffs.

There are ten games left and the last one of the season is against Memphis, who is in 9th place right now.  Things are looking good!!

Go THUNDER!!!

Continue reading "The Thunder playoff chances."

Oklahoma City Thunder News

View All Oklahoma City Thunder News


In an autobiography update, Phil Jackson talks up flirtations with Seattle, and recruiting Dwigh

Between his final game coaching the Los Angeles Lakers in May 2011 and his official hiring as president of the New York Knicks in March , Phil Jackson worked through quite the tumultuous 34-month stretch. He became engaged , he watched his family grow, he underwent a series of significant surgeries, he nearly became coach of the Lakers for a third time, he flirted with front office gigs, he discovered that he was great at Twitter , and he wrote a book . During that stretch, the mutual interest between Jackson and potential NBA owner Chris Hansen was an open secret. Hansen took great pains and offered huge gobs of cash in an attempt to buy the Sacramento Kings during the 2012-13 season (moving them to Seattle along the way), and he pitched a role to Jackson that seemed to fit for his post-coaching career –that of a, in Jackson’s words, “keeper of the flame.”We quote Phil here, because on Thursday he followed up on his most recent book with an addendum published in the New York Daily News . In one of several anecdotes, Jackson discusses his proposed partnership with Hansen : The prospect that captured my imagination didn’t involve any coaching. In December 2011 my son Charley introduced me to Chris Hansen, a successful hedge fund manager who had put together a group of investors who were trying to bring an NBA team back to Seattle. Hansen’s plan was to buy a majority share of the struggling Sacramento Kings franchise, then persuade the NBA to let him move it to the former home of the Sonics. What I liked about Chris was his innovative thinking about sports and community. He wanted me to help him create a new kind of sports culture, focusing on the team itself rather than individual superstars. His goal was to make the fans feel as if they, too, were part of the family. One of Chris’s ideas, inspired by the Seattle Sounders soccer team, was to hold large pep rallies before each game to get the fans juiced up as they made their way to the arena. Another idea was to create a low-priced standing room section behind the baskets, complete with beat boards to rev up the noise level. Chris even wanted to remove the players’names from theirjerseys to shift attention away from individual players. I told him the marketing department of the NBA might have a problem with that one. What’s interesting to note is that Jackson claims his role with a Seattle franchise would not have him working as “the hands-on general manager,”as he kept the flame for a franchise that doesn’t actually exist. This begs the question as to how similarly aligned that potential role is with his current gig as Knicks president, and if technical Knicks GM Steve Mills is the one working over cap figures and negotiating with players. One thing fans of the Sacramento Kings will especially notice is how dispassionate Jackson is when discussing the potential uprooting of a team that has been working out of the California capital since the mid-1980s, and how matter of fact (or borderline dismissive) Jackson is in discussing both the “$258 million public subsidy”that Sacramento residents will have to foot in order for the Kings to have a new arena, how the NBA’s Board of Governors voted to block any move from Sacramento, and how the entrance of current Kings owner Vivek Ranadive “put an end to the dream”for Jackson and Hansen. It’s a tricky situation, one the NBA stuck itself with when former commissioner David Stern decided to back off as former Seattle SuperSonics owner Howard Schultz sold his team to a pair of Oklahoma City-bred men with clear (and proven) designs on moving the team to OKC. Current Oklahoma City Thunder owners lied to the SuperSonic fan base and eventually hauled off to Oklahoma, and Stern declined to intervene, only tossing off snooty replies to a local Seattle government that he did not get along with. Stern and the owners went the complete opposite route when dealing with the Kings’sale and potential move, which has to frustrate Seattle fans to no end. The problem here is that the NBA has an even 30 teams, no current need to expand in spite of the game’s remarkable growth over the last quarter century, and there isn’t a single franchise that seems like an appropriate candidate to move to Seattle. Presuming the NBA, as it watches small market teams being sold for half a billion dollars, votes to allow such a thing. Jackson went on to discuss well-worn topics, such as his engagement, and the Lakers’front office impatience in jumping ahead of Phil’s decision to coach again , and he also mentioned his role in working to convince Dwight Howard to re-sign with the Lakers in the summer of 2013. The former Lakers coach was working as a consultant to the Detroit Pistons at the time, and in his book addendum Jackson claims that Howard asked Laker GM Mitch Kupchak if he could guarantee that Jackson would return as Lakers coach in 2013-14, should Howard re-sign as a free agent. Kupchak “quickly disabused him of that notion,”according to Jackson, though Phil did reach out to Howard with a series of phone messages that Howard, according to Jackson’s newest revelations in the Daily News , never responded to. The former Lakers coach then details Los Angeles’re-recruitment process : The Lakers invited Kobe and Steve to the final pitch meeting to help persuade Dwight to come on board. It sounded like a good idea. Steve sent out an amusing tweet before the meeting: “Dwight Howard we’re coming for you. You’re going to love the statue we build for you outside Staples in 20yrs!”And Kobe made a moving speech during the pitch, promising to teach Dwight the secret of winning championships that he’d learned from the best in the game. If the meeting had ended there, it might have worked. But after the presentation, Dwight asked Kobe what he was planning to do after he recovered from his Achilles injury. Was this going to be his last year? “No,”replied Kobe. “I’m planning to be around for three or four more years.”At that point, according to others in the room, Dwight’s eyes went blank and he drifted away. In his mind, the game was over. A few days later he announced that he was signing with the Rockets. Jeannie Buss, the Lakers’president of business operations , swears that the presence of the late Laker owner Dr. Jerry Buss could have swayed Howard to stay in Los Angeles, and though Dr. Buss’track record was a sound one, that’s hard to get behind. Dwight Howard wanted nothing to do with Kobe Bryant’s looming presence, so much so that he left one of the world’s greatest cities and franchises to take less money to join the Rockets. (That’s not a slight sent toward Houston or the Rockets, just a reminder that it’s hard to turn down so many millions of dollars, even Howard’s finances balance out after his next contract.) Phil Jackson recently re-signed Carmelo Anthony, he runs a team populated by J.R. Smith and Andrea Bargnani, and he works for James Dolan. We can’t wait for the next book. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Kevin Durant and Justin Bieber enjoying brunch together

Justin Bieber hanging out with Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant.  [read full article]

From FOX Sports Digital


In an autobiography update, Phil Jackson talks up flirtations with Seattle, and recruiting Dwigh

Between his final game coaching the Los Angeles Lakers in May 2011 and his official hiring as president of the New York Knicks in March , Phil Jackson worked through quite the tumultuous 34-month stretch. He became engaged , he watched his family grow, he underwent a series of significant surgeries, he nearly became coach of the Lakers for a third time, he flirted with front office gigs, he discovered that he was great at Twitter , and he wrote a book . During that stretch, the mutual interest between Jackson and potential NBA owner Chris Hansen was an open secret. Hansen took great pains and offered huge gobs of cash in an attempt to buy the Sacramento Kings during the 2012-13 season (moving them to Seattle along the way), and he pitched a role to Jackson that seemed to fit for his post-coaching career –that of a, in Jackson’s words, “keeper of the flame.”We quote Phil here, because on Thursday he followed up on his most recent book with an addendum published in the New York Daily News . In one of several anecdotes, Jackson discusses his proposed partnership with Hansen : The prospect that captured my imagination didn’t involve any coaching. In December 2011 my son Charley introduced me to Chris Hansen, a successful hedge fund manager who had put together a group of investors who were trying to bring an NBA team back to Seattle. Hansen’s plan was to buy a majority share of the struggling Sacramento Kings franchise, then persuade the NBA to let him move it to the former home of the Sonics. What I liked about Chris was his innovative thinking about sports and community. He wanted me to help him create a new kind of sports culture, focusing on the team itself rather than individual superstars. His goal was to make the fans feel as if they, too, were part of the family. One of Chris’s ideas, inspired by the Seattle Sounders soccer team, was to hold large pep rallies before each game to get the fans juiced up as they made their way to the arena. Another idea was to create a low-priced standing room section behind the baskets, complete with beat boards to rev up the noise level. Chris even wanted to remove the players’names from their jerseys to shift attention away from individual players. I told him the marketing department of the NBA might have a problem with that one. What’s interesting to note is that Jackson claims his role with a Seattle franchise would not have him working as “the hands-on general manager,”as he kept the flame for a franchise that doesn’t actually exist. This begs the question as to how similarly aligned that potential role is with his current gig as Knicks president, and if technical Knicks GM Steve Mills is the one working over cap figures and negotiating with players. One thing fans of the Sacramento Kings will especially notice is how dispassionate Jackson is when discussing the potential uprooting of a team that has been working out of the California capital since the mid-1980s, and how matter of fact (or borderline dismissive) Jackson is in discussing both the “$258 million public subsidy”that Sacramento residents will have to foot in order for the Kings to have a new arena, how the NBA’s Board of Governors voted to block any move from Sacramento, and how the entrance of current Kings owner Vivek Ranadive “put an end to the dream”for Jackson and Hansen. It’s a tricky situation, one the NBA stuck itself with when former commissioner David Stern decided to back off as former Seattle SuperSonics owner Howard Schultz sold his team to a pair of Oklahoma City-bred men with clear (and proven) designs on moving the team to OKC. Current Oklahoma City Thunder owners lied to the SuperSonic fan base and eventually hauled off to Oklahoma, and Stern declined to intervene, only tossing off snooty replies to a local Seattle government that he did not get along with. Stern and the owners went the complete opposite route when dealing with the Kings’sale and potential move, which has to frustrate Seattle fans to no end. The problem here is that the NBA has an even 30 teams, no current need to expand in spite of the game’s remarkable growth over the last quarter century, and there isn’t a single franchise that seems like an appropriate candidate to move to Seattle. Presuming the NBA, as it watches small market teams being sold for half a billion dollars, votes to allow such a thing. Jackson went on to discuss well-worn topics, such as his engagement, and the Lakers’front office impatience in jumping ahead of Phil’s decision to coach again , and he also mentioned his role in working to convince Dwight Howard to re-sign with the Lakers in the summer of 2013. The former Lakers coach was working as a consultant to the Detroit Pistons at the time, and in his book addendum Jackson claims that Howard asked Laker GM Mitch Kupchak if he could guarantee that Jackson would return as Lakers coach in 2013-14, should Howard re-sign as a free agent. Kupchak “quickly disabused him of that notion,”according to Jackson, though Phil did reach out to Howard with a series of phone messages that Howard, according to Jackson’s newest revelations in the Daily News , never responded to. The former Lakers coach then details Los Angeles’re-recruitment process : The Lakers invited Kobe and Steve to the final pitch meeting to help persuade Dwight to come on board. It sounded like a good idea. Steve sent out an amusing tweet before the meeting: “Dwight Howard we’re coming for you. You’re going to love the statue we build for you outside Staples in 20yrs!”And Kobe made a moving speech during the pitch, promising to teach Dwight the secret of winning championships that he’d learned from the best in the game. If the meeting had ended there, it might have worked. But after the presentation, Dwight asked Kobe what he was planning to do after he recovered from his Achilles injury. Was this going to be his last year? “No,”replied Kobe. “I’m planning to be around for three or four more years.”At that point, according to others in the room, Dwight’s eyes went blank and he drifted away. In his mind, the game was over. A few days later he announced that he was signing with the Rockets. Jeannie Buss, the Lakers’president of business operations , swears that the presence of the late Laker owner Dr. Jerry Buss could have swayed Howard to stay in Los Angeles, and though Dr. Buss’track record was a sound one, that’s hard to get behind. Dwight Howard wanted nothing to do with Kobe Bryant’s looming presence, so much so that he left one of the world’s greatest cities and franchises to take less money to join the Rockets. (That’s not a slight sent toward Houston or the Rockets, just a reminder that it’s hard to turn down so many millions of dollars, even Howard’s finances balance outafter his next contract.) Phil Jackson recently re-signed Carmelo Anthony, he runs a team populated by J.R. Smith and Andrea Bargnani, and he works for James Dolan. We can’t wait for the next book. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

In an autobiography update, Phil Jackson talks up flirtations with Seattle, and recruiting Dwigh

Between his final game coaching the Los Angeles Lakers in May 2011 and his official hiring as president of the New York Knicks in March , Phil Jackson worked through quite the tumultuous 34-month stretch. He became engaged , he watched his family grow, he underwent a series of significant surgeries, he nearly became coach of the Lakers for a third time, he flirted with front office gigs, he discovered that he was great at Twitter , and he wrote a book . During that stretch, the mutual interest between Jackson and potential NBA owner Chris Hansen was an open secret. Hansen took great pains and offered huge gobs of cash in an attempt to buy the Sacramento Kings during the 2012-13 season (moving them to Seattle along the way), and he pitched a role to Jackson that seemed to fit for his post-coaching career –that of a, in Jackson’s words, “keeper of the flame.”We quote Phil here, because on Thursday he followed up on his most recent book with an addendum published in the New York Daily News . In one of several anecdotes, Jackson discusses his proposed partnership with Hansen : The prospect that captured my imagination didn’t involve any coaching. In December 2011 my son Charley introduced me to Chris Hansen, a successful hedge fund manager who had put together a group of investors who were trying to bring an NBA team back to Seattle. Hansen’s plan was to buy a majority share of the struggling Sacramento Kings franchise, then persuade the NBA to let him move it to the former home of the Sonics. What I liked about Chris was his innovative thinking about sports and community. He wanted me to help him create a new kind of sports culture, focusing on the team itself rather than individual superstars. His goal was to make the fans feel as if they, too, were part of the family. One of Chris’s ideas, inspired by the Seattle Sounders soccer team, was to hold large pep rallies before each game to get the fans juiced up as they made their way to the arena. Another idea was to create a low-priced standing room section behind the baskets, complete with beat boards to rev up the noise level. Chris even wanted to remove the players’names from their jerseys to shift attention away from individual players. I told him the marketing department of the NBA might have a problem with that one. What’s interesting to note is that Jackson claims his role with a Seattle franchise would not have him working as “the hands-on general manager,”as he kept the flame for a franchise that doesn’t actually exist. This begs the question as to how similarly aligned that potential role is with his current gig as Knicks president, and if technical Knicks GM Steve Mills is the one working over cap figures and negotiating with players. One thing fans of the Sacramento Kings will especially notice is how dispassionate Jackson is when discussing the potential uprooting of a team that has been working out of the California capital since the mid-1980s, and how matter of fact (or borderline dismissive) Jackson is in discussing both the “$258 million public subsidy”that Sacramento residents will have to foot in order for the Kings to have a new arena, how the NBA’s Board of Governors voted to block any move from Sacramento, and how the entrance of current Kings owner Vivek Ranadive “put an end to the dream”for Jackson and Hansen. It’s a tricky situation, one the NBA stuck itself with when former commissioner David Stern decided to back off as former Seattle SuperSonics owner Howard Schultz sold his team to a pair of Oklahoma City-bred men with clear (and proven) designs on moving the team to OKC. Current Oklahoma City Thunder owners lied to the SuperSonic fan base and eventually hauled off to Oklahoma, and Stern declined to intervene, only tossing off snooty replies to a local Seattle government that he did not get along with. Stern and the owners went the complete opposite route when dealing with the Kings’sale and potential move, which has to frustrate Seattle fans to no end. The problem here is that the NBA has an even 30 teams, no current need to expand in spite of the game’s remarkable growth over the last quarter century, and there isn’t a single franchise that seems like an appropriate candidate to move to Seattle. Presuming the NBA, as it watches small market teams being sold for half a billion dollars, votes to allow such a thing. Jackson went on to discuss well-worn topics, such as his engagement, and the Lakers’front office impatience in jumping ahead of Phil’s decision to coach again , and he also mentioned his role in working to convince Dwight Howard to re-sign with the Lakers in the summer of 2013. The former Lakers coach was working as a consultant to the Detroit Pistons at the time, and in his book addendum Jackson claims that Howard asked Laker GM Mitch Kupchak if he could guarantee that Jackson would return as Lakers coach in 2013-14, should Howard re-sign as a free agent. Kupchak “quickly disabused him of that notion,”according to Jackson, though Phil did reach out to Howard with a series of phone messages that Howard, according to Jackson’s newest revelations in the Daily News , never responded to. The former Lakers coach then details Los Angeles’re-recruitment process : The Lakers invited Kobe and Steve to the final pitch meeting to help persuade Dwight to come on board. It sounded like a good idea. Steve sent out an amusing tweet before the meeting: “Dwight Howard we’re coming for you. You’re going to love the statue we build for you outside Staples in 20yrs!”And Kobe made a moving speech during the pitch, promising to teach Dwight the secret of winning championships that he’d learned from the best in the game. If the meeting had ended there, it might have worked. But after the presentation, Dwight asked Kobe what he was planning to do after he recovered from his Achilles injury. Was this going to be his last year? “No,”replied Kobe. “I’m planning to be around for three or four more years.”At that point, according to others in the room, Dwight’s eyes went blank and he drifted away. In his mind, the game was over. A few days later he announced that he was signing with the Rockets. Jeannie Buss, the Lakers’president of business operations , swears that the presence of the late Laker owner Dr. Jerry Buss could have swayed Howard to stay in Los Angeles, and though Dr. Buss’track record was a sound one, that’s hard to get behind. Dwight Howard wanted nothing to do with Kobe Bryant’s looming presence, so much so that he left one of the world’s greatest cities and franchises to take less money to join the Rockets. (That’s not a slight sent toward Houston or the Rockets, just a reminder that it’s hard to turn down so many millions of dollars, even Howard’s finances balance out after his next contract.) Phil Jackson recently re-signed Carmelo Anthony, he runs a team populated by J.R. Smith and Andrea Bargnani, and he works for James Dolan. We can’t wait for the next book. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

In an autobiography update, Phil Jackson talks up flirtations with Seattle, and recruiting Dwigh

Between his final game coaching the Los Angeles Lakers in May 2011 and his official hiring as president of the New York Knicks in March , Phil Jackson worked through quite the tumultuous 34-month stretch. He became engaged , he watched his family grow, he underwent a series of significant surgeries, he nearly became coach of the Lakers for a third time, he flirted with front office gigs, he discovered that he was great at Twitter , and he wrote a book . During that stretch, the mutual interest between Jackson and potential NBA owner Chris Hansen was an open secret. Hansen took great pains and offered huge gobs of cash in an attempt to buy the Sacramento Kings during the 2012-13 season (moving them to Seattle along the way), and he pitched a role to Jackson that seemed to fit for his post-coaching career –that of a, in Jackson’s words, “keeper of the flame.”We quote Phil here, because on Thursday he followed up on his most recent book with an addendum published in the New York Daily News . In one of several anecdotes, Jackson discusses his proposed partnership with Hansen : The prospect that captured my imagination didn’t involve any coaching. In December 2011 my son Charley introduced me to Chris Hansen, a successful hedge fund manager who had put together a group of investors who were trying to bring an NBA team back to Seattle. Hansen’s plan was to buy a majority share of the struggling Sacramento Kings franchise, then persuade the NBA to let him move it to the former home of the Sonics. What I liked about Chris was his innovative thinking about sports and community. He wanted me to help him create a new kind of sports culture, focusing on the team itself rather than individual superstars. His goal was to make the fans feel as if they, too, were part of the family. One of Chris’s ideas, inspired by the Seattle Sounders soccer team, was to hold large pep rallies before each game to get the fans juiced up as they made their way to the arena. Another idea was to create a low-priced standing room section behind the baskets, complete with beat boards to rev up the noise level. Chris even wanted to remove the players’names from their jerseys to shift attention away from individual players. I told him the marketing department of the NBA might have a problem with that one. What’s interesting to note is that Jackson claims his role with a Seattle franchise would not have him working as “the hands-on general manager,”as he kept the flame for a franchise that doesn’t actually exist. This begs the question as to how similarly aligned that potential role is with his current gig as Knicks president, and if technical Knicks GM Steve Mills is the one working over cap figures and negotiating with players. One thing fans of the Sacramento Kings will especially notice is how dispassionate Jackson is when discussing the potential uprooting of a team that has been working out of the California capital since the mid-1980s, and how matter of fact (or borderline dismissive) Jackson is in discussing both the “$258 million public subsidy”that Sacramento residents will have to foot in order for the Kings to have a new arena, how the NBA’s Board of Governors voted to block any move from Sacramento, and how the entrance of current Kings owner Vivek Ranadive “put an end to the dream”for Jackson and Hansen. It’s a tricky situation, one the NBA stuck itself with when former commissioner David Stern decided to back off as former Seattle SuperSonics owner Howard Schultz sold his team to a pair of Oklahoma City-bred men with clear (and proven) designs on moving the team to OKC. Current Oklahoma City Thunder owners lied to the SuperSonic fan base and eventually hauled off to Oklahoma, and Stern declined to intervene, only tossing off snooty replies to a local Seattle government that he did not get along with. Stern and the owners went the complete opposite route when dealing with the Kings’sale and potential move, which has to frustrate Seattle fans to no end. The problem here is that the NBA has an even 30 teams, no current need to expand in spite of the game’s remarkable growth over the last quarter century, and there isn’t a single franchise that seems like an appropriate candidate to move to Seattle. Presuming the NBA, as it watches small market teams being sold for half a billion dollars, votes to allow such a thing. Jackson went on to discuss well-worn topics, such as his engagement, and the Lakers’front office impatience in jumping ahead of Phil’s decision to coach again , and he also mentioned his role in working to convince Dwight Howard to re-sign with the Lakers in the summer of 2013. The former Lakers coach was working as a consultant to the Detroit Pistons at the time, and in his book addendum Jackson claims that Howard asked Laker GM Mitch Kupchak if he could guarantee that Jackson would return as Lakers coach in 2013-14, should Howard re-sign as a free agent. Kupchak “quickly disabused him of that notion,”according to Jackson, though Phil did reach out to Howard with a series of phone messages that Howard, according to Jackson’s newest revelations in the Daily News , never responded to. The former Lakers coach then details Los Angeles’re-recruitment process : The Lakers invited Kobe and Steve to the final pitch meeting to help persuade Dwight to come on board. It sounded like a good idea. Steve sent out an amusing tweet before the meeting: “Dwight Howard we’re coming for you. You’re going to love the statue we build for you outside Staples in 20yrs!”And Kobe made a moving speech during the pitch, promising to teach Dwight the secret of winning championships that he’d learned from the best in the game. If the meeting had ended there, it might have worked. But after the presentation, Dwight asked Kobe what he was planning to do after he recovered from his Achilles injury. Was this going to be his last year? “No,”replied Kobe. “I’m planning to be around for three or four more years.”At that point, according to others in the room, Dwight’s eyes went blank and he drifted away. In his mind, the game was over. A few days later he announced that he was signing with the Rockets. Jeannie Buss, the Lakers’president of business operations , swears that the presence of the late Laker owner Dr. Jerry Buss could have swayed Howard to stay in Los Angeles, and though Dr. Buss’track record was a sound one, that’s hard to get behind. Dwight Howard wanted nothing to do with Kobe Bryant’s looming presence, so much so that he left one of the world’s greatest cities and franchises to take less money to join the Rockets. (That’s not a slight sent toward Houston or the Rockets, just a reminder that it’s hard to turn down so many millions of dollars, even Howard’s finances balance out after his next contract.) Phil Jackson recently re-signed Carmelo Anthony, he runs a team populated by J.R. Smith and Andrea Bargnani, and he works for James Dolan. We can’t wait for the next book. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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