Well, Portland may as well give up any hope this season of a title. Dwight Howard has gone ahead and guaranteed that the Orlando Magic will win the championship THIS season. Perhaps Dwight has been watching some old tape of Grant Hill back in the day or heard his recent comments about coming back with a vengence. Then again, I'm not going to argue with that big boy -- at 270 pounds he's a formidable presence that is only going to get scarier in years to come (see Malone, Karl).
In light of this, it's lucky for the Dallas Mavericks that they have secured the services of Dirk 'Diggler' Nowitzki for another three seasons, so that they have a shot at a title in years to come (after the Magic win this one). The Mavs have not disclosed the amount of the deal, but it rumours are that they have laid $60m on him over the period of the contract.
Speaking of the Mailman, he has been cleared of any wrong-doing by a judge, after his business partner alledged a bribe offered by Malone to take the blame for an illegal elk hunting trip. I just love the mental-image of big Karl dressed up in his hunting costume. Even moreso, it leads my mind back to that incident where Karl Malone told Vanessa Bryant that he was hunting "little Mexican girls." Quality comedy, the whole scenario -- there's a good re-counting of it here.
The guys at Celtics Green asked me to write an article on Sebastian Telfair, for the benefit of Boston readers who are pumped for his input at the Celtics this season -- you can see it here. I hope for Bassy's sake that he can have that breakout season -- just not in the games against the Blazers...
Meanwhile, Pat Riley has confirmed that he's ready for another crack at the title. Will Miami do it? I don't know. Those big Diesel legs are another year older. Alonzo Mourning will similarly play even more of a backseat role. The Glove has some holes in it. On the other hand, D. Wade will be even better as he showed over the Summer at the World Championships and they still have a stacked roster of talent. Detroit has lost Big Ben and a lot of other teams have gotten a lot better -- leaving the East wide open this season.