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Archive for May, 2013


By Robert Littal 

black sports online dwight howard best life ever

I could be wrong, but I believe that Dwight Howard simply can’t handle the spotlight of being on the Los Angeles Lakers and will sign with another team.

No one should slam him for it, because it is his contractual right as a free agent to go wherever he wants. Houston also might be the best basketball destination for him, so I wouldn’t be shocked if he signed there. The Rockets are preparing to make moves to guarantee they can offer him a max deal.

The Houston Rockets are determined to trade forward Thomas Robinson – the fifth pick in the 2012 NBA draft – to create salary-cap space for the pursuit of Los Angeles Lakers‘ free-agent superstarDwight Howard, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Rockets have made clear to multiple rival teams that they plan to accept the best offer to move Robinson and eliminate his $3.52 million salary for the 2013-14 season.

Without Robinson’s salary, the Rockets will have the space to offer Howard a maximum deal starting at approximately $20.5 million a season.

James Harden is the star of the Rockets, Dwight can settle into the #2 position and won’t have to worry his every move being watched.  For someone as ultrasensitive as Howard it would allow him to continue with his clown act

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Did NBA Ref Cost The Heat The game?

Today’s Big Winner: Joey Crawford

Come on, Joey: It’s the playoffs.

Either the NBA ref needs a reminder of that — or he was clearly aware of it. There aren’t many other good explanations for that absurd sixth foul on LeBron.

Did that call irrevocably determine the result of the game? LeBron exited, baffled and frustrated (and for only the second time in his playoff career, mind you), but Miami was only down four with a minute to go. You could say that Dwyane Wade’s subsequent travel did them in, but — really — without LeBron, the Heat were a mess in that final minute, totally discombobulated.

But rewind two minutes for the real story of the game:

Tied at 89, Paul George missed a long 3 — Roy Hibbert was there for the offensive rebound and put-back. A minute later, the Pacers up 2, this sequence:

*Lance Stephenson misses a 3.
*David West gets the offensive rebound.
*Hibbert takes a jumpshot and misses…
*Hibbert hustles for his own rebound and puts it in.
*Add in an “and-one” on LeBron, his 5th foul.
*Hibbert makes the free throw. Pacers by 5.

LeBron’s long 3-pointer 10 seconds later made it interesting, but the Pacers’ punishing work up front was way more determinative than Joey Crawford’s look-at-me antics: The Pacers won the rebounding battle in the fourth quarter 17-4, part of a 49-30 rebounding advantage overall.

The existential threat to the Heat’s would-be dynasty is that for all of LeBron’s individual brilliance — and given Wade and now Bosh’s hobbled states, LeBron is more on his own than at any point since his final season in Cleveland — is Indiana’s size and tenacity inside.

It’s not like the Pacers have a huge advantage — even with the massive rebounding edge and sense of “must-win” urgency in front of a frenzied home crowd that clearly seemed to influence the officiating just enough to matter, they still barely beat the Heat.

But compare last night’s result to a year ago, when the Pacers, up 2-1 on the Heat in the conference semifinals, folded at home in Game 4 en route to being drummed out of the series.

This year, down 2-1 (including that Game 3 blowout loss at home), they took advantage of a hobbled Bosh and a hampered LeBron and, clearly, what the adjustments they have made between their fold a year ago plus their close calls earlier in the series and last night.

Presumably, the officiating will get its own “adjustment” for Game 5 and beyond, but the template of success for the Pacers is there, regardless of Joey Crawford’s influence:

By Glenn Erby 

 nflpa-inquiry-into-jay-z-geno-smith

The NFL Players Association has sent a letter of inquiry to Roc Nation agent Kim Miale, concerning Jay-Z’s involvement in recruiting New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith.

According to Around The League, Miale will need to write the NFLPA a letter responding to the allegations, and depending on the facts, the matter then could be referred to the Committee on Agent Regulation and Discipline, which regulates agents for the union. A hearing could also take place.

The recently instituted “runner rule” prohibits agents from having colleagues or friends who aren’t NFLPA-certified agents present for recruiting meetings.

A lot of the concern the NFLPA has stems from an Instagram photo that shows Smith and Jay Z together under the moniker #RocBoys.

The NFLPA is trying to say that Smith hired Miale not because of Miale but because of Jay-Z.  The NFLPA also inquired about Jay Z’s relationship a few weeks back.

I”m not sure that the NFLPA really has a case.  Smith is allowed to have a relationship based on the potential for a marketing and endorsement deal.

Smith’s excuse simply can be that he wanted to handle his business under one roof.

LeBron James Sees the Value in Flopping

A lot of players and teams in the NBA flop. Sadly, the anti-flopping rule that was implemented didn’t seem to slow things down one bit league-wide. The classic floppers were still up to their old tricks. The Miami Heat are no exception to the rule. They take part just like everyone else.

LeBron James has vehemently denied that he’s a flopper, but he does see the value in it, according to ESPN.com.

“Some guys have been doing it for years, just trying to get an advantage,” James said Monday in the lead-up to Tuesday’s Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. “Any way you can get an advantage over the opponent to help your team win, so be it.”

For the record, yes, LeBron flops (however, no nearly as frequently and blatantly as some of the best), but that shouldn’t be regarded negatively. Five years ago, if you were to call someone a floppper, those were fighting words. Now, flopping is so engrained in the very fabric of NBA basketball, I don’t think it’s an insult. When the anti-flop rule was instituted, I didn’t think it would have an impact because flopping is a part of certain guys’ skillsets and it isn’t something they can simply turn off at the snap of a finger. Seriously.

But referees have gotten a free pass on this one. They need to be held accountable in this too. Often times, referees will review a foul where a guy clearly flopped, and still call the foula  flagrant even if it wasn’t. Then the player will be fined  two days later for flopping. Again, this happens after the referees reviewed the play. Refs should be penalized too in that instance.

Paul Coro, USA TODAY 

Jeff Hornacek agreed to terms with the Phoenix Suns to become their new head coach and will sign the three-year contract by Monday morning.

The Suns quickly acted after impressive interviews from Hornacek, the popular former Suns player who has been an assistant coach for the Utah Jazz. He was interviewed for the Charlotte Bobcats’ head coaching job, and the Philadelphia 76ers also were interested in him.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were the first team to hire a coach this offseason when they brought back Mike Brown, but the Suns were among six teams currently seeking a new coach with as many as three more expected to join that search.

Hornacek, 50, joined the Jazz as a shooting coach shortly before the 2007 playoffs and moved into a full-time assistant coach role in February of 2011 when Tyrone Corbin, his former Suns and Jazz teammate, took over the Jazz coaching job from Jerry Sloan. Hornacek was known for his work with Utah’s younger players. His coaching style brings a lot of the intelligence that he was known for as a player and an even-keeled demeanor that can turn disciplinarian when necessary.

The Suns drafted Hornacek with the 46th pick in the 1986 draft and the 14-year pro played his first six seasons in Phoenix, becoming an All-Star in his final year with a 20.1 scoring average. Hornacek was then traded to Philadelphia as part of the Charles Barkley acquisition. He stayed there a season and a half before being traded in 1994 to Utah, where he started until his retirement in 2000. The sharpshooter helped lead the Jazz to two NBA Finals appearances and later had his No. 14 retired in 2002.

Hornacek kept a reduced role in coaching initially while his three kids (now in college or graduated) were growing up in Phoenix, where he and his wife, Stacy, kept the family home. Horancek is the brother-in-law of Suns head athletic trainer Aaron Nelson. They attended Iowa State, where Hornacek was a walk-on and also has his No. 14 retired.

Hornacek will be the 16th head coach in Suns franchise history and the fifth since the 2007-08 season. Horancek was a finalist when the Suns chose Terry Porter in 2008 and a finalist with no bench experience for the Boston head coaching job in 2004 when Doc Rivers was hired.

Chris Strauss, USA TODAY

It took one Instagram photo to shake up the sports industry.

The morning after April Fools’ Day, Jay-Z’s entertainment company, Roc Nation, posted a picture of the rapper-turned-mogul signing New York Yankees star Robinson Cano to a contract as the first client of his newly announced full-service sports management company, Roc Nation Sports. Partnering with established sports representatives Creative Artists Agency, the joke appeared to be on other agents, who suddenly faced the prospect of losing clients to one of the biggest entertainers in the world, a tastemaker whose particular brand of cool has minted money for associated clothing lines, nightclubs, beer brands, record labels and fellow artists.

Jay-Z, aka Shawn Carter, once rapped that “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” If his latest vision succeeds, the branding opportunities provided by Roc Nation could very well give his clients the capability to say the same thing, something that scares his newest competitors.

“Agents are going to be terrified of Jay-Z,” Maxx Sports & Entertainment founder and former NFL player agent Mark Lepselter told USA TODAY Sports. “He’ll be a legitimate threat.”

 

USA TODAY Sports

Just about everyone has the Cleveland Cavaliers selecting Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel with the top pick in the 2013 NBA draft, but if there’s any truth to the rumor that they’re actually interested in Otto Porter, the resultant ripple effect could really shake up the rest of the top picks.

According to Michael Lee of the Washington Postthe Cavs might not be as set on Noel as it seems:

But there is a possibility that Porter, arguably the most NBA-ready player among the top prospects, might not be around when the Wizards pick third. A source with knowledge of the Cavaliers’ thinking said Porter is under consideration to go No.1.

It’s actually pretty reasonable for the Cavaliers to be looking at options beyond Noel. The lanky big man is coming off a torn ACL and might have trouble bulking up enough to be the dominant interior force some think he’ll eventually become.

 Cordell Broadus, a 4-star wide receiver in the class of 2015, has received an offer from LSU, according to Lyons Yellin of The Times-Picayune. Outside of USC, this is easily Broadus’ biggest offer to date.

Broadus, the son of legendary rapper Snoop Lion, formerly Snoop Dogg, is 6’2″, 180 pounds, and runs a 4.50 40-yard dash, according to 247Sports. He is the No. 7 wideout in the 2015 class.

 Cordell Broadus via 247Sports

Broadus is not receiving “celebrity offers.” He’s a legitimate talent and an intriguingcollege football recruit. He wouldn’t be such a highly ranked receiver if that weren’t the case.

He’s a big receiver with good length and athleticism. He gets separation because of his quick footwork and route-running ability.

Broadus has the speed to break a defender’s cushion on vertical routes, but he’ll also be a threat to pick up yards after the catch on shorter routes. He’s shifty for a wide receiver, and he displays good vision and strength as a runner.

 He also has good hands and should be a major impact player in the red zone, whether because of his ability to run after the catch or go up and get the ball over smaller defenders.

Along with USC and LSU, Broadus has offers (via 247Sports) from Arizona State, California, Duke, Oregon State, Tennessee, UCLA and Washington.

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

 When we spoke with Theo Pinson in late April, he said he wanted to trim his list soon. And then suddenly last Saturday, reports surfaced that Pinson was cutting his list to five — and ready to make a decision.

That decision came on Wednesday afternoon: Pinson is headed to North Carolina.

The 6-foot-5 wing from Wesleyan Christian Academy (NC) chose the Tar Heels over primary competition from Indiana, although LouisvilleGeorgetown and Duke were also in his final five.

The 6-foot-5 Pinson has tremendous vision. (Nike)
Theo Pinson couldn’t say no to the in-state Tar Heels. (Nike)

Being an in-state prospect, the pull to stay home was too strong for Pinson. He’s only a short drive to Chapel Hill, and he took several unofficial visits to the Tar Heels’ campus. With people constantly in his ear about playing for the home-state powerhouse, Pinson ultimately couldn’t say no.

Indiana seemed to have the lead for most of his recruitment, with the Hoosiers having all the momentum and looking like the choice when Pinson said he would be deciding. Tom Crean and his staff have followed Pinson around the entire spring, making their presence known at each of his games. He was a top priority for the Hoosiers. But Pinson had no plans to leave Tobacco Road.

At the next level, Pinson has the ability to be a matchup problem. He has good size for the perimeter, and his passing ability and vision are outstanding. Pinson can make difficult passes with either hand, and can see over the defense. He has great length and is very athletic. Pinson can also get to the rim on most defenders. In order to truly be a dominant player, he needs to become more consistent with his jumper and also improve his ball-handling ability.

Defensively, Pinson can be a stud. He can guard multiple positions due to his length and size. It’s that type of versatility that made Pinson such a sought-after recruit. He was ranked No. 12 in the 247 Sports Composite.

Pinson is the third five-star player to commit to North Carolina for the 2014 class. He joins talented small forward Justin Jackson and point guard Joel Berry in that group. Those three will form the primary core in Chapel Hill for a few years.

With four freshmen seeing minutes last season, and a very good three-man recruiting class coming in this season, there will be plenty of young talent on Roy Williams’ roster in 2014-15.

Lindsay H. Jones, USA TODAY 

 Brian Urlacher will not play for another team.

The longtime Chicago Bears middle linebacker announced Wednesday morning he will retire. Urlacher’s contract with the Bears expired in March, and he and the team could not come to agreement on a new deal.

“Although I could continue playing, I’m not sure I would bring a level of performance of passion that’ sup to my standards,” said in a statement posted to his Twitter account. “When considering this, along with the fact that I could retire after a 13 year career wearing only one jersey for such a storied franchise, my decision became pretty clear.”

BE PATIENT: Goodson’s attorney asks fans to wait for whole story

Urlacher, who will turn 35 later this week, was the No. 9 pick in the 2000 draft, and became the Bears’ starting middle linebacker by early in his rookie season. He defined the position, along with Baltimore’s Ray Lewis, for the next decade. Urlacher was named to eight Pro Bowls, was a five-time All Pro selection and was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.

It’s now possible Urlacher and Lewis could enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame together.

Urlacher struggled to stay healthy over the past few years, with a dislocated wrist in 2009, a knee injury late in 2011 and a hamstring injury that kept him out of the final month of last season.

“I will miss my teammates, my coaches and the great Bears fans. I’m proud to say I gave all of you everything I had every time I took the field,” Urlacher said. “I will miss this great game, but I leave it with no regrets.”

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