• NBA

    by Published on 12-14-2013 08:24 PM  Number of Views: 79 
    Categories:
    1. NBA



    Jaguars defensive end Jeremy Mincey has struggled with accountability issues throughout the season, and they finally cost him his job.

    The Jaguars released Mincey on Friday after he was late for another team meeting, according to a source close to the team. That comes nearly three weeks after he did not make the team's trip to Houston because he overslept and was late for a team meeting.

    Coach Gus Bradley and general manager Dave Caldwell met with Mincey to deliver the news.

    Read more http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/10...nville-jaguars
    by Published on 07-30-2013 03:14 PM
    Categories:
    1. NBA



    Benjamin "Ossie" Schectman, the man who scored the first basket in NBA history, for the New York Knicks, has died, the team announced.

    Schectman was 94.

    He played for the Knicks in 1946-47, averaging 8.1 points and two assists per game, though he is widely known for his layup on Nov. 1, 1946, against the Toronto Huskies.

    Schectman, a 6-foot guard, scored the opening basket of the Huskies' game against the Knicks, which was the first in NBA history.

    Read more http://espn.go.com/new-york/nba/stor...basket-dies-94
    by Published on 02-07-2012 06:37 AM
    Categories:
    1. NBA
    2. Chicago Bulls
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    Backing up a superstar is pretty much a thankless job. I mean, no one wants to see you in the game and ...
    by Published on 12-03-2011 09:27 AM  Number of Views: 2590 
    Categories:
    1. NBA
    2. Chicago Bulls



    Well, the NBA and its players finally reached an agreement and are expected to begin their abbreviated 66-game regular season on Christmas Day.

    As expected, the owners pretty much routed the players in these negotiations though it would be inaccurate to say that the owners got everything they wanted...they only got most of what they wanted.

    I won't bore you with all the details of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NBA players and owners. Rather, I want to focus on the highlights and on some of things casual fans might want to know.

    The Economics

    In the old CBA, the players were guaranteed 57% of "Basketball-Related Income," aka BRI (BRI includes just about anything you can think of from TV/Radio, ticket sales, concessions, parking...you name it). Both sides knew that 57% was too high given the current economy so the players quickly moved to 54%. Though the owners initially were looking for a BRI split that would eventually end up with the owners getting something like 61%, this was pretty much silly negotiating posturing. The owners hardcore number was 53% (47% for the players). While this is what the owners wanted, it was only relevant if the 2011-12 season had to be cancelled. As things played out, it became clear that the owners would accept a 50-50 split if the season could be saved.

    The ultimate agreement was a BRI split within a band of 49%-51%. The percentage the players receive depends on whether the league's revenue projection is met (50-50), exceeded (51% for players) or falls short (49% for players).

    The agreement on the BRI split doesn't actually change any player's salary, so all players will have a 10% deduction from their paychecks which will be deposited into an escrow account. To the extent that players salaries exceed the prescribed level, the owners will be able to get the money from the escrow account. If the total escrow account isn't enough to cover the owners' shortfall, the escrow deduction % will be increased the following year. In the unlikely event that the players' salaries fall below the prescribed level, the owners must immediately cut a check to the players.

    As long as the economy doesn't get any worse, the agreed-upon BRI split should put the league, as a whole, on a profitable footing. It will then be up to the owners to put an expanded "revenue sharing" program in place that moves sufficient money from the big-market teams to the smaller-market teams to ensure that the league continues to have a financially-viable 30-team league.

    In purely financial terms, the new CBA ought to work.

    The New Competitive Model

    This is where it gets interesting...at least to me.

    The old CBA had a "Luxury Tax" (LT) provision that required teams whose payrolls were over a certain level ($70mil in 2011) to pay a dollar-for dollar tax on their excess salary. The intent was to discourage big-market teams from attempting to gain a competitive advantage simply by grossly outspending the smaller-market teams. What the league learned was that a dollar-for-dollar tax was little more than a speed bump to teams like the Knicks and the Lakers one bit. For the 2006-7 season, the Knicks willingly paid $45.1mil in luxury tax alone...nearly as much as some of the smaller-market teams were paying in total salary.

    In the new CBA, the owners initially proposed a hard salary cap. A hard cap is foolproof. Each team can spend only a set amount on players and that's that. They moved off the hard cap proposal fairly early in the negotiations and eventually settled for a LT that starts at a higher penalty rate ($1.50 tax for each dollar over the tax limit) with the tax rate going higher for each additional $5mil a team exceeds the tax threshold. As an example, if a team exceeded the tax level by $45mil like the Knicks did 5 years ago, they'd be forced to come up with a total tax payment of about $147.5mil. As a late concession to the players the owners agreed to delay this new, more punitive LT system until the 3rd year of the new agreement, so the LT remains only dollar-for dollar for this season and next.

    While the season 3 graduated tax system is not a hard cap, the NBA hopes that their graduated financial penalties will effectively "even the playing field" in terms of spending on players. However, keeping in mind that the reason big-spending teams spend big is to gain a competitive advantage, they've also targeted new "competitive penalties" to LT-paying teams.

    One of the key new competitive penalties involves what is called the Mid-Level Exception (MLE). In the old CBA, any team over the salary cap was allowed to sign one or more free agents so long as the total first-year salaries of these players didn't exceed the average NBA player's salary ($5.8mil last season). Using this exception, even teams at the top of the spending list could add very solid players to their rosters each season, and since these high-paying teams were among the most attractive franchises to play for, they usually had first choice among the MLE-type free agents.

    In the new CBA, the MLE has been reset to a flat $5mil first-year salary with contracts of up to 4 years in length. However, for LT-paying teams, the MLE is only $3mil and the contract length can't exceed 3 years. LT-paying teams will no longer be the destination of choice among MLE free agents.

    Another competitive penalty for LT-paying teams is that they can no longer use the "Bi-Annual Exception," which, every other year, allows teams to sign a free agent to a 2-year contract starting at $1.9mil.

    LT-paying teams also have more restrictive rules with regard to trades than non-taxpaying teams.

    Net, in the new CBA, the NBA learned from their past LT mistakes and is aiming for greater parity by attacking the big spenders on both the financial and competitive fronts.

    Is all of this good for the (NBA) game?

    Yeah, I think it is. Each of the past 5 NBA champions were LT-paying teams. Fans of smaller-market teams stopped believing that their teams could become legitimate contenders and lost interest. The changes in the new CBA should, over time, give these disaffected fans new hope.

    This said, the new CBA isn't very "Bulls-friendly." After years of mediocrity, the Bulls finally have an elite team again. With center Joakim Noah getting his salary bumped from $2.3mil to $11.3mil this season and reigning MVP Derrick Rose set to be extended for a contract starting at over $17mil next season, they'll have an elite payroll to match. Just when the full penalties of the LT kick in, the Bulls team payroll figures to be at its zenith.

    A lot has been made of the fact that the Bulls have never paid so much as one penny of LT. This fact has been used to support the position that the Bulls (i.e., Jerry Reinsdorf) will never pay any LT. Don't believe it. Reinsdorf never paid the LT because until now, he didn't have a team that warranted it.

    In the end, if you're a Bulls' fan, I wouldn't worry. The team will pay what it takes to remain an elite team and ideally to become a champion.

    As an NBA and die-hard Bulls fan, it'll be great to have the games back.
    by Published on 11-26-2011 09:14 AM
    Categories:
    1. NBA

    NBA owners and players reached a tentative agreement early Saturday to end the 149-day lockout and hope to begin the delayed season on Christmas Day.

    Neither side provided many specifics but said the only words players and fans wanted to hear.

    "We want to play basketball," NBA commissioner David Stern said.

    After a secret meeting earlier this week, the sides met for more than 15 hours Friday, working to try to save the season. This handshake deal, however, still must be ratified by both owners and players.

    Stern said it was "subject to a variety of approvals and very complex machinations, but we're optimistic that will all come to pass and that the NBA season will begin Dec. 25."

    Barring a change in scheduling, the 2011-12 season will open with the Boston Celtics at New York Knicks, followed by Miami at Dallas in an NBA finals rematch before MVP Derrick Rose and Chicago close the tripleheader against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

    President Barack Obama gave a thumbs-up when told about the tentative settlement after he finished playing basketball at Fort McNair in Washington on Saturday morning.

    Read more: http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/72...tive-agreement
    by Published on 06-24-2011 10:32 AM
    Categories:
    1. NBA
    2. Chicago Bulls
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    In a typical NBA draft, there are about 15 or so players who will stay in the league longer than 5 years. ...
    by Published on 06-24-2011 09:28 AM
    Categories:
    1. NBA
    2. Chicago Bulls
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    In a typical NBA draft, there are about 15 or so players who will stay in the league longer than 5 years. ...
    by Published on 06-22-2011 02:09 PM
    Categories:
    1. NBA



    NBA Commissioner David Stern and the NBA owners got down to business yesterday. They jumped off their kind ...
    by Published on 05-30-2011 10:01 AM
    Categories:
    1. NBA
    2. Chicago Bulls
    3. Denver Nuggets

    This summer, I expect to hear J.R. Smith's name brought up repeatedly in connection with the Bulls. I don't really feel ...
    by Published on 05-27-2011 02:39 PM
    Categories:
    1. NBA
    2. Chicago Bulls
    3. Miami Heat

    I knew the song was coming to an end, but I thought there was at least one more verse.

    To state the obvious, ...
    by Published on 05-20-2011 04:40 AM
    Categories:
    1. NBA
    2. Chicago Bulls

    I usually throw some stats and stuff into what I write, but today this is pretty much just going to be limited to observations ...
    by Published on 05-13-2011 11:13 AM
    Categories:
    1. NBA
    2. Chicago Bulls
    3. Miami Heat



    Generally, I write to an audience that doesn’t closely follow the NBA. They’re Bulls’ fans mind you, it’s just that most wouldn’t dream of spending a couple precious weekend hours during the regular season watching a Raptors-Twolves game (come to think of it, neither would I). With them in mind, I did playoff write-ups on the Pacers and Hawks to explain things like the late-season emergence of the Pacers’ Tyler Hansbrough and to sing the praises of the wondrously-erratic Hawk Josh Smith.

    The Bulls now face the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. You don’t need to be an NBA fan to know about the Heat. In fact, you don’t even need to be a sports fan. Ask some little old lady on the street who plays on the Heat and she’ll get at least 2 correct answers.

    The Heat Dynasty – Year 1

    When Lebron James announced that he was “taking his talents to South Beach” to join forces with superstar guard Dwayne Wade and brought All Star power forward Chris Bosh along for the ride, the national media quickly declared a dynasty. Never in the history of the league had 3 in-their-prime players of this magnitude played on the same team. Many predicted that the Heat would shatter the ’95-’96 Bulls regular season record of 72 wins.

    When the Heat got off to a disappointing 9-8 start to the season (making the record-breaking 73-9 somewhat unlikely), the national media wrote it off as a normal adjustment phase. This looked like a good call as the Heat promptly ran off a 12-game winning streak and won 21 of their next 22 to tie them with the Boston Celtics atop the NBA’s Eastern Conference standings at 30-9. It took a little time, but the Heat were where they were supposed to be and the rest of the league would soon be mere specks in their rearview mirror.

    Didn’t happen. The Heat played well, going 58-24, but struggled against the top teams (2-9 vs the Celtics, Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks).


    The national story line

    Despite the fact that the Bulls won more games than any other team this season, beat the Heat all three times they played them and have home court advantage, the Heat are the betting favorites in this game. Why? A couple reasons.

    First, it’s generally believed that the Heat have looked like the better team through the first 2 rounds of these playoffs. Both the Bulls and the Heat dispatched their first-round opponent in 5 games, but the Heat beat the Philadelphia 76ers who were considered a significantly better team than the Pacers. In the second-round, the Bulls often struggled to get past the lightly-regarded Hawks, while it only took the Heat 5 games to take out the Celtics, considered by some to be a legitimate championship contender. James and Wade have been brilliant in these playoffs, each averaging 26 points and 5 assists per game. Lebron has stepped up his rebounding, grabbing 9.4 per game and Wade pulled down nearly 8 boards per game...eye-popping for a guard. Bosh has provided solid support, averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds.

    The second reason the Heat are favored is that many believe that the regular season was nothing more than a long and tedious pre-requisite to what this team was built for…winning championships. This is why James left Cleveland and Bosh left Toronto. It’s why all 3 of the Heat’s stars took less than the max money each would have received if financial considerations were put at the forefront. The Heat trio is superbly-talented and highly-motivated. The playoffs are where the stars truly shine and it remains unarguable that the Heat lead the NBA in star power. They simply will not be denied…it’s their destiny.

    So who else plays for the Heat?

    It’s a fair question, and since Heat Head Coach Eric Spoelstra is allowed to put 5 players out on the floor, he probably will. The Heat’s supporting cast is pretty much made up of two types of players – big guys who try to set screens, rebound, block shots and not shoot and little guys who hang out at the 3-point line waiting for a wide open shot.

    Leading the big guys is 6-9 center Joel Anthony, an undrafted free agent who has been with the Heat since the ’07-’08 season. He’ll pull down some rebounds for them (5.7 per game in the playoffs), but his thing is blocking shots…he leads the Heat with 16 in the 10 Heat playoff games. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is 7-3 and was once a heckuva player, making 2 All Star game appearances back in the day. After 12 years in Cleveland, 7 of them playing alongside James, he signed with the Heat on a minimum salary contract (over a $10million pay cut…yes, he’s the prototypical “ring-chaser). He was never fast, but he’s stunningly slow at age 35, but he can still hit the occasional open jumper if you leave him open. At age 38, 6-9 forward/center Juwan Howard certainly has experience on his side. The Heat are Howard’s 8th NBA team, though in truth he’s played for several of those 8 more than once. Look for him to play about 7 minutes/game and set a couple screens…sad, but that’s what it’s come down to for Howard. Lastly, there’s Udonis Haslem. Haslem may be the Heat’s 4th-best player, but has been sidelined with a foot injury since November. He made his return in the Heat’s game 4 win in Boston and played 3 minutes of hideous basketball earning him a DNP-CD (did not play-coach’s decision) in the deciding game 5. Haslem could be a “wild card” in the series with the Bulls.

    Of the little guys, Mario Chalmers and recently-acquired veteran Mike Bibby will get most of the point guard minutes, but don’t expect much in the way of playmaking from them…they’re in the lineup to occasionally bring the ball up the court and then wait at the perimeter if needed. Chalmers can defend some. Bibby hardly even tries anymore. If neither Chalmers nor Bibby are hitting their 3s, Spoelstra may send journeyman chucker Eddie House into the game for a heat-check.

    One Heat bench player who doesn’t fit either of the 2 categories is 6-8 forward James Jones. Jones is a good 3-point shooter who has been very good in these playoffs. He was on fire in game 1 of the Celtics series, knocking down 5 of 7 treys and scoring 25 points…he actually outscored James by 3. Rounding out the Heat bench is veteran 6-8 small forward Mike Miller. By design, Miller should be the Heat’s #4 player (he’s the 4th-highest paid) and resident 3-point marksman (40% for his career), but has had an injury-plagued season. Jones has pretty much taken over Miller’s role on the team.

    Matchups

    This figures to be a very non-traditional series matchup-wise. For the Bulls, Luol Deng figures to be on James nearly all the time and Carlos Boozer will likely be assigned to defend the Heat’s non-shooting big man (mostly Anthony and Ilgauskas). Beyond that it’ll probably be a mix and match situation. Wade figures to see mostly Bogans and Brewer, but Derrick Rose may guard him as well, particularly when Kyle Korver is in the game with Rose. Noah figures to have Bosh. This figures to be a much better defensive series for Korver since, as has been mentioned, the Heat almost always have someone in their lineup whose job it is to hang out at the 3-point line…that’s your guy, Kyle.

    For the Heat, the obvious key is to stop Rose. Rose will probably start out being defended by Chalmers, with Wade on Bogans. This leaves Wade will be free to provide aggressive weakside help, one of many things at which he excels. Wade will also defend Rose and particularly late in games, James will take his turn in an effort to get Derrick to give up the ball. Boozer could be defended by either Anthony or Bosh, but if Boozer gets hot, it’ll be Anthony (the better defender).

    In the interest of full disclosure

    I don’t like the Heat, but most of all I don’t like Lebron James. He’s a magnificent basketball player, the most talented on the planet, but first and foremost he’s an actor playing the Lebron role in an effort to increase the market share of the “Lebron brand.” I should point out here that, unlike most James-haters, I didn’t like him in his last few years with the Cavaliers.

    Watching him on and off the court, I often wonder how long James rehearses his myriad facial expressions. I particularly enjoy his “determination” and “astonishment” looks…the latter can be seen every time he either misses an inside shot (I was fouled) or is called for a foul (Are U Serious?). I honestly believe that James brushes his teeth as if he’s on camera. Great player and totally self-absorbed, narcissistic douchebag.

    I also don’t like Chris Bosh, but again it’s for reasons that are different from many. I really liked his game in Toronto and believed that in his last season there he was on the brink of superstardom (24 points, 11 rebounds and a superstar-level 25.0 Player Efficiency Rating…Wade posted a 25.6 PER this season). Why oh why would a 25-year old kid with that kind of talent turn himself into a “ring-chaser?” What a freakin’ waste.

    I actually like Dwayne Wade and believe Chicago fans have treated him harshly. Did he use the Bulls for leverage last summer? Almost certainly. I might have done the same thing in his shoes. I like him because he’s a tough-minded competitor who is a basketball player first and a pitchman only in his spare time.

    Oh yeah, I’ve always hated Pat Reilly.

    Conclusion

    Buckle up, kids…this series is going to be an “E” ticket ride, or as the kids say, “Epic.” I’ve heard many opine that this series will determine the future 5 years of the NBA Eastern Conference, but I wouldn’t go that far. However, the Heat and the Bulls figure to be elite teams for the foreseeable future and one of them is going to walk away from this one with a mental edge.

    For each team, the last time they took the court, they were had what could be viewed as “statement victories,” yet some belittled their achievements. The Heat had their emotional home win over the Celtics, but some pointed out that the Celts were handicapped by their one-armed point guard, Rajon Rondo. The Bulls totally dominated the Hawks in Atlanta, but some said that the Hawks lackluster effort in front of their home fans just proved that they remain nothing more but pretenders. As for me, they looked like two elite teams doing what they needed to do when they needed to do it.

    I find myself compelled to pick the Bulls in 7. The fact that I’m a Bulls’ fan and also having a genuine dislike for the Heat undoubtedly have entered into my thinking. Also, my coaching bias tells me that a well-coached team can overcome superior talent (y’all saw Hoosiers, didn’t ya?). I’m convinced that Thibodeau is the better coach, or at least the coach who is allowed by his players to do the better coaching job.

    I can’t wait for this one to start.

    Tom Nossem
    by Published on 04-29-2011 10:57 AM
    Categories:
    1. NBA
    2. Atlanta Hawks
    3. Chicago Bulls
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    The Atlanta Hawks surprisingly sent Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic home early, taking their first-round ...
    by Published on 04-10-2011 10:06 AM
    Categories:
    1. NBA
    2. Chicago Bulls
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    Although some teams are still jockeying for playoff seed positions, the #1 vs #8 first-round series in the ...
    by Published on 03-30-2011 07:49 AM
    Categories:
    1. NBA
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    In the first 4 installments of this series, we dealt only with advanced individual player stats. Now we’re ...
    by Published on 03-20-2011 11:29 AM
    Categories:
    1. NBA
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    You gotta love percentages…they’re just so versatile. You start with perfection (100%) and work from ...
    by Published on 03-11-2011 06:19 AM
    Categories:
    1. NBA
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    You watch the games. You can see what’s going on out there. You may not know (or care) about what your ...
    by Published on 03-05-2011 02:00 PM
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    1. NBA
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    So you say you want to be a NBA General Manager? First, a question. Do you feel lucky…well do ya punk? ...
    by Published on 02-27-2011 07:48 AM
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    1. NBA
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    In the NBA, being known as a “Franchise Player” is currently considered the highest of compliments. ...
    by Published on 02-20-2011 01:36 PM
    Categories:
    1. NBA
    2. Chicago Bulls
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    I'm definitely not looking for support...just venting. And I have no doubt that my advanced age is a big ...
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