Monday, July 31, 2006

Could we make Iverson a Blazer?

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As we wait for Jamaal Magloire to officially become a Blazer today, John Canzano of the Oregonian has come out with an interesting article on how Allen Iverson could be a Blazer. In an idea similar to that which I mentioned last week, he feels that the addition of Magloire to the frontcourt allows the Blazers to make a move for Iverson.

The more I've thought about this, the more I think that it may be just too hard to move Darius Miles. The fact that it has taken this long will likely mean that he has been devalued too much and we won't be getting more than fiddy cents in the dollar.

Thus, the suggestion that Randolph could indeed be the trade bait makes some sense. Magloire is not a piece to be scoffed at - he adds legitimate size and touch in the paint. Given that the Blazers are looking to change the image of this team, a move that rids us of Randolph and brings in a hard worker like Iverson could be perfect. Iverson's presence could even be enough to bring fellow cornrow-wearer Miles into line.

There will need to be someone else included in the deal to make it work - I would suggest someone like Juan Dixon. Of course, this could all make Philly look like a bunch of liars, after declaring that AI was off the market. Then again, when has that ever stopped teams in the past?

Out of interest, we would then be looking at:
PG Allen Iverson / Jarrett Jack
SG Martell Webster / Brandon Roy
SF Darius Miles / Travis Outlaw
PF Jamaal Magloire / LaMarcus Aldridge
C Joel Przybilla / Raef LaFrentz

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Magloire rumours still strong

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If you believe the reports out there, an announcement could be with us on Monday that Jamaal Magloire will be a Portland Trail Blazer.
The more I think about this, the more the move would make sense for the Blazers, whilst making no sense at all.
Firstly, adding Magloire to an already loaded Blazers frontcourt, with Zach Randolph, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Przybilla and Raef LaFrentz, would be ridiculous. There simply is not enough playing time to go around. No sense.
Secondly, losing the steadying influence of Steve Blake at the point on such a young team. No sense.
On the other hand:
The Blazers have had no luck to date in moving Darius Miles. He has 4 years left on a substantial contract and what's more, he's known as a destabilising influence on the team, regardless of his level of talent. Blazers management can not allow Miles to stay on a team that has so many young talents who could be adversely influenced by his presence. That is why they have had to take a "dispose at any costs" type approach.
The removal of Blake will allow Brandon Roy time to flourish at the point, running the offence as the team develops a new identity. Roy, in combination with Jarrett Jack, could form a solid nucleus for the future.
Thus, don't be surprised if Magloire is brought in and then immediately shipped out along with Miles for another SF. Someone along the lines of Mike Miller or Mike Dunleavy, who fits within an offence and can hit the outside shot, would be a possibility.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Trade Rumour : Magloire to Portland

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There's a rumour running rampant at the moment that Milwaukee Buck Jamaal Magloire will be traded to the Blazers for Steve Blake, Brian Skinner and Ha Seung-Jin.
This would be a positive move for the Blazers.
Magloire is a massive upgrade on Skinner. Previously an all-star, Magloire is a dominant presence in the paint, capable of a double-double on any given night. Skinner is a tough-nosed player, however his body does not seem to have the endurance to continue with his style of play much longer. As noted in our season preview, Skinner has little chance of making an impact with the Blazers, whilst having to break into the rotation of Zach Randolph, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Przybilla and Raef LaFrentz.
This of course means that the addition of Magloire would create a logjam in the middle for the Blazers... read on further, later, for my take on that.
Blake is the main drawcard for the Bucks. He is a solid and mistake-free choice at the point. His assist/turnover ratio is outstanding and he can effectively drive an offence whilst making a solid percentage of the few shots he takes.
Skinner has previously been with the Bucks and his contract, which has a team option at the end of next season, could be discarded to make space at the end of the 2006/07 season.
Ha would likely be waived by the Bucks, unless they have hatched some crazy plot to unleash the giant on the league.
Final scenario:

Blake's disposal would mean more minutes for promising Jarrett Jack at the point, along with 6'6" rookie Brandon Roy. Blake, whilst a solid and steady player, would hinder the play of Jack and Roy at the point. The latter are two players with star potential, whilst Blake is a role player and nothing more.

Ha's disposal means little, as he was unlikely to make the squad regardless.

Skinner's departure and the arrival of Magloire suddenly means Nate McMillan has a dirth of big men at his disposal. Here's where it gets interesting. I would not be surprised if Magloire was used as a kicker on a Darius Miles trade. This could see an upgrade at the small forward position for the Blazers.

The team is set at PF and C with Z-Bo and the newly re-signed Przybilla, so there is likely to be a move there. More likely is that Miles would accompany Magloire in a trade for a strong SF or alternatively, a trade for the "not being traded" Allen Iverson could be on the cards...

No matter what unfolds, the rumour is an interesting one for the Blazers, in what has already been a more than interesting off-season -- for all of the right reasons this time.

Cassell / Payton / Caffey brawl

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Details of the April 2003 incident in which Gary Payton, Sam Cassell and Jason Caffey were involved in a brawl in Toronto are emerging. He said, she said... It's the type of thing you just wish you were there to see. NBA Players vs Exotic Dancers. If MTV got their hands on it...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

2006/07 Preview : Portland Trail Blazers

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Starting Lineup 2006-07: Blazers

The topic on many fans’ minds is as to the starting lineup the Blazers will use this season. Given the influx of young talent, it’s a question of building for the future or winning now. Hopefully the two scenarios don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Here is an early look at the potential 2006-07 depth chart. This will need revisions as the season draws nearer.

Point Guard

Likely starter: Jarrett Jack. After serving his apprenticeship behind Sebastian Telfair and Steve Blake last season, many are predicting Jack ready for a solid season. Look for Jack to average close to 8ppg and 7apg in approximately 30 mpg. His strong defensive ability benefits from his body strength and will be a great asset to the starting unit.

Steve Blake is likely to get a large share of the minutes, particularly when Jack is struggling. Blake’s ability to distribute the ball with few mistakes means he is a safe, yet unexciting choice at the point.

Shooting Guard

Likely starter: Martell Webster. Webster started 18 games in 2005-06 and showed flashes of brilliance, such as his 24 points against Boston (Feb 24) and his average of 13.7ppg during the month of April. His ability to shoot the ball from range gives the Blazers a much needed outside threat – a weakness of the team that only scored 4.4 treys per game last season (23rd in the league).

Webster will have strong competition from Rookie of the Year candidate, Brandon Roy. After a very strong showing at the Las Vegas Summer League and a stellar college career at the University of Washington. A large amount of the Blazers’ scoring – particularly from the outside – will be relied upon from this young duo.

The question is then, what becomes of incumbent starter, Juan Dixon? Look for Dixon to have extended minutes at SG in the early going, as the youngsters struggle to find their feet. Dixon provided a solid scoring option last season, particularly when Darius Miles was out injured.

Small Forward

Likely Starter: Darius Miles. Miles is again the unquestioned starter here, however his future with the Blazers is uncertain. The Blazers have reportedly been shopping him all off-season with little apparent success. Unless a deal comes to fruition before season-start, look for the troublesome versatile swingman to provide a strong scoring threat. His ability to penetrate and length leads to matchup problems for other forwards.

Webster may spend some time at small forward, as he has the height and size to do so. Jack, Roy, Webster and LaMarcus Aldridge have formed a special bond during Summer League and in order for all of them to be on the court at the same time, Webster has said he thinks he has the capability to swing to the forward position.

Travis Outlaw has had another strong Summer League showing (he was one of the stars and predicted sleepers after the 2005 Summer League). His defensive prowess and athleticism mean he should get some minutes – how many minutes will likely depend on the situation of Miles.

Power Forward

Likely starter: Zach Randolph. ‘Z-Bo’ is the indisputable leader of this team. The success of the Blazers to a large extend depends upon his work ethic and the mindset he portrays to the younger members of the team. Being such a young squad, thrusts Randolph into this role perhaps prematurely, however Paul Allen didn’t give him $10.7m last season ($84m over 6 years) to be a role player. If the recently turned-25 year-old can put up a solid 20-10 every night, the Blazers have a chance to surprise some teams.

Overall second selection in the draft, Aldridge, brings a different look at the four spot off the bench. His long body and ability to get double-doubles should demand some attention down low and assist the frontline on defense. His progress will no doubt be closely scrutinised by fans, after media speculation has placed Roy as the more likely ROY candidate, despite being a lower pick.

Brian Skinner and Joel Freeland provide different looks in the reserve role here and it will likely be the experience of Skinner that wins the twelfth position on the roster. Skinner is a bruiser with a strong ability to rebound, whilst rookie Freeland adds athleticism and versatility up front.


Likely starter: Joel Przybilla. There were some very tense times in the Rose City until Przybilla made his final selection to stay with the Blazers. He gave strong consideration to Detroit and San Antonio before having faith in what the team was trying to build in Portland and sticking around for the ride. His re-signing makes a dramatic difference to the face of this team. His ability to rebound and block shots shores up the inside for the next five years.

Raef LaFrentz, acquired in the Telfair trade with Boston, provides a scorer off the bench at centre. His ability to spread defenses with his three-point range means that Randolph can operate in the low block. The big call on LaFrentz often is that he is soft – a trait which means Coach Nate McMillan may be hesitant to give him many minutes. Przybilla shoring up the middle means he shouldn’t be called upon for more than 15 mpg.
On the outer
Ha Seung Jin: The big Korean may have seen the temporary end of his NBA time, as there does not appear to be room on the roster for him and his progress at Summer League has not been impressive enough to secure his spot.
Sergio Rodriguez: Will have trouble finding a position at the point with Jack, Blake and at times, Roy manning the one spot. This doesn't mean he won't be on the squad at some stage.

Z-Bo getting in shape

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Good news Blazer fans! It looks like Zach Randolph has been working out like a demon in preparation for the upcoming season. This report from the (much improved) Blazers' official site has a nice slideshow, depicting a much slimmed-down Z-Bo and even a couple of pictures with his daughter.
After seeing Zach cheering his younger teammates on at Summer League, we could be seeing a revitalised team leader. If he's in shape and motivated by the injection of young talent into the Blazers squad, Randolph could be a force to be reckoned with come November. Let's just hope its not all an off-season illusion.

Rodney Rogers hits NASCAR

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Them there NASCAR reporters ain't too smart eh? This article mentions how former Nugget Rodney Rogers is getting involved in NASCAR, both financially and physically. He may even work with the pit crew or "drive the hauler to the races" it says.

Rogers' NBA career statistics are mentioned too -- including the fact that he "was an outstanding 3-point shooter with a career 69% percentage." By my calculations, there has been a gross mis-justice in awarding Steve Kerr the mantle of career 3PT% leader, with his 45.4%. Perhaps they were referring to Rogers' career Free Throw Percentage of 69% ... Otherwise I would have used him a hell of a lot more in NBA Live.

Blazer Dancers : Profile #2

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That's right, it's time for another gratuitous Blazer Dancer photo. Today we meet Mary-Ellen, whose guilty pleasure is "Anything sweet." Any sweet guys out there reading this?

Are NBA owners taking us for a ride?

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NBA owners have their fans hijacked. If Paul Allen decides he's moving his team from Portland to Seattle, what can you do? Sure you can protest it, you can refuse to buy-in on his product any longer. However Allen knows, as does Clay Bennett in Seattle, that if he decides to move the team into another market -- one which he would have researched extensively to ensure it is viable -- their will be another Joe Bloggs who will take up the support of your team.

There will be another guy with war paint on his chest in Section 206, Row N, Seat 13.

There will be another little Billy who convinces his parents to buy him a Ray Allen bobblehead.

What can we do? Show support for your team. No businessman in his right mind (yes this even includes Mark Cuban), will move a team away from a strong supporter base. But if you stop supporting your team, then cry foul when the team gets moved, well... you only have yourself to blame.

There's an interesting article on Bloomberg today about NBA owners hijacking their cities to get tax-funding for arenas. Guys like Allen (sixth richest man in the world) are not short on a dollar, but can still convince their city that "if you don't play by my rules, I'll take my ball and go home."

The fans in Seattle are still fighting for their team -- we wish them the best of luck. They aren't getting ours.

Player Movement : Raptors buy-out former Blazer Williams

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The Raptors have put the Alvin Williams era to an end. Williams, the longest serving Raptor with a 5 year stint with the franchise, has been bought out of the two remaining years of his contract. He has only played 1 game in the last 2 season, due mainly to injury, but plans to hook on somewhere else with a fresh start.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Jordan finally shakes Knaffel off

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Fifteen years after Michael Jordan asked Karla Knafel to get on him, he's finally managed to get her back off again. Jordan's court battle with Knafel has been ongoing for the past three years after Knafel claimed in 2002 that Jordan had gotten her pregnant in 1991 and told her to keep it quiet. Fifteen years... that's longer than a lot of marriages.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Blazer Dance Team 06/07 Announced

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Yes, you know what time it is... it's time for a gratuitous cheerleader... sorry, dancer photo. The Blazers today announced the Blazer Dance Team for the coming season. It's one of those announcements that makes fans momentarily forget that we're a lottery team.
Above you see the lovely Ione, a 5'1" legal clerk and singer. We might just have reason to include a full lineup in the next week or so... after all, it would be unfair to single one dancer out.

Player Movement : Harrington to Pacers ¦ Salmons to Sacto

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It seems all but a done deal that Al Harrington will head back to the Indiana Pacers, where he began his career. According to the infamous "front office sources" a sign-and-trade deal is ready for completion that will likely shift draft picks to the Hawks.
The deal makes sense for the Hawks, who are building around their other significant young pieces. The fact that Harrington was not entirely content in Atlanta was the main stimulus. The Indy Star don't believe that it is such a great move for the Pacers though.
Meanwhile, Toronto added to their off-season of significant changes, with the signing of Jorge Garbajosa. The Spaniard has possibly the best name in the league. You can see already that he's going to be called the "Garbage Man"... A preview for the Raptors is on its way - they've made too many changes to go unnoticed.
John Salmons, after having his money taken from him in Toronto by Fred Jones, has hooked on with Sacramento. Apprently Bonzi Wells has been playing hard ball with Sacto management, so they turned to the pink fish.

LaMarcus Aldridge Interview : NBA Live '07

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IGN has come out with another great interview today, this time with my main man (don’t I sound like Ahmad Rashad?), LaMarcus Aldridge.

Everything about this guy gives the impression that he is a genuinely good kid, one likely to succeed in the league if on nothing else, his work ethic. On the Superstar abilities available in Live ’07, Aldridge says, “hopefully by next year, I can earn one of those superstar abilities, but like I said, I want to earn it. I don't want to cheat the system.”

He goes on to add, “I don't know if everyone realizes that I'm the type of player who can shoot the ball and put it on the floor, but maybe they'll learn about me from playing the game.” He’s probably right – there are countless players out there whose skill-sets I’ve learnt through using their namesakes in Live. Haven’t we all discovered that 95-rated three-point shooter in the past and used him as our superstar player?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Will you be bitter if Bassy succeeds in Boston?

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Interesting article here about Rajon Rondo (who could have been a Blazer) and his forthcoming rivalry with a recent Blazer, Sebastian Telfair for the starting role. Reading this led me to the question, would you as a Blazer fan be bitter if Telfair succeeds with the Celts and becomes everything he was billed to be coming in to Portland?

I mean, the sporting fans’ world is full of former players who left the team and went on to burn them playing for the enemy. Most of the time these players get lambasted and heckled like crazy in their first visits back to their old home. Of course, the difference is often that the player has left in a bitter free agency dispute, rather than being traded away.

We all waited for Bassy to fulfil the potential of being the Next Great New York City Point Guard. Unfortunately, he never reached that status of NGNYCPG in Portland. 8.1ppg and 3.5apg just aren’t enough to cut it, especially after all of the hype. According to, Telfair’s 2006 season was most similar to Tim Hardaway’s in 2002. “The UTEP!” you might say. The only problem is, Tim-Bug was at the end of his career and jumping between Dallas and Denver that year – not the young aspiring point that Telfair is.

When Bassy starts averaging 20-8-4, will you be mad?

Steve Nash has mad skills

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Check out this somewhat grainy footage of Steve Nash playing football (soccer) “keep-ups” at his recent Charity Game. Not bad for a two-time NBA MVP.

Player Movement : Pacers guards on the move

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Reports indicate that the Pacers will send Anthony Johnson to the Mavs in exchange for Darrell Armstrong and NBDL players Josh Powell and Rawle Marshall. Johnson has been the subject of many trade rumours after a strong showing against New Jersey’s Jason Kidd in last season’s playoffs. He’d likely fill the role of third-string point guard behind Jason Terry and Devin Harris. Given that Terry can shift to shooting guard at times, the recent trade of Marquis Daniels to Indiana and Johnson’s veteran leadership, he could see a fair share of minutes.

Dallas have done a good job of shoring up their roster after just falling short of the final prize last season. Adding Austin Croshere adds some size to the bench along with mid-range firepower, despite the loss by free agency of Adrian Griffin to Chicago.

Toronto have made further changes to their roster with the reported signing of athletic Pacer guard Fred Jones. There is every chance that Jones will get the starting role and given playing time can be a dangerous scorer, as he demonstrated during the aftermath of the Detroit disaster where the Pacers roster was decimated. If Sam Mitchell decides to go small he could go with the newly acquired TJ Ford, Jones, Morris Peterson, No.1 Pick Andrea Bargnani and Chris Bosh for a run-and-gun lineup.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Magloire definitely on trading block

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Do you think Jamaal Magloire feels wanted? Milwaukee is making no secret that they are shopping him. As Larry Harris said, "We've spoken to almost every team."

There are a lot of teams out there that could do with Magloire's big body and skills. However his value has surely decreased given the public nature with which they are passing his name around. Most teams are probably waiting on a 'fire-sale' style trade in the end when the forward/centre gets disgruntled.

The risk a lot of teams will see in acquiring Magloire is that he is entering the final season of a contract which pays him $8.3m, meaning that they may lose him in a year's time.

Sonics owners cry innocent

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New Sonics owner Clay Bennett has expressed his "disappointment" at Seattle's reaction to his group's purchase of the team. Was he expecting loyal fans to be happy with the prospect of their team moving to Oklahoma City?

I could understand his "disappointment" if there had been no mention of a move by the OKC group, but since day one they have done nothing to dispell the idea that a move could be on the cards. The impression they've given is that they will give it a year and then in all likelihood will move the team -- and this only seems to be a result of some "goodwill" clause in the sale contract.

I guess we will see the result in a year...

Ron Artest opening for Fat Joe on European Tour

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Coming to a club near you: Ron Artest.

Meanwhile Shawn Kemp unfortunately seems to put another roadblock on his possible NBA comeback.

Player Movement : Nene gets paid

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Nene Hilario has got his payday from the Nuggets, to the tune of $60m over 6 years. That’s an average of $10m per season for a player who has averaged 10.7 ppg and 6.2 rpg to date in his career. I’m not so much shocked by the amount of money, it’s more the number of years that the Nuggets have committed to him for. 6 years at that rate is a big call for a guy who is all about potential (he hasn’t produced $10m-per results yet) and is coming off a season riddled by serious injury.
Quality quotes:
Nene: “I want to be like (Karl) Malone”
Nuggets Director of Player Personnel: “We want you to be like Malone also”

In turn, the Nuggets have allowed the time to match the Spurs’ offer sheet to
Francisco Elson lapse. This now gives the Spurs a solid backup rotation in the frontcourt with starters Duncan and (most frequently) Horry being backed up by Matt Bonner (previously acquired from Toronto in the Nesterovic trade along with Eric Williams), Jackie Butler (New York elected not to match an offer sheet made by the Spurs) and Fabricio Oberto.
Does this stack up to the combination of Nesterovic and Nazr? In the short term, no. However Butler is a very solid prospect who managed to be a bright spark in a very strained situation in NYC last season and Bonner adds some range – something the Spurs love in their offence.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Jordan "lookalike" retracts lawsuit

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In a disappointing turn of events, Allen Heckard has dismissed his lawsuit against His Airness. I think he had a very solid case.

I can only assume this was due to one of the following:

1. He garnered enough publicity;

2. Jordan sent Charles Oakley around to his house; or

3. He has set his sights on a lawsuit against Steve Nash with his new haircut.

I’d venture the latter – I mean, he is the two-time reigning MVP after all.

NBA Live '07 : Update

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Today IGN has an interview with NBA Live ’07 Producer, Brian Ullrich. There are a range of improved features as EA attempts to make up ground lost to the NBA 2K series.

Most hearteningly, Ullrich said that, “Last year I felt like the game was a little too frantic and arcady so this year we have worked hard to create a game that is more authentic to the NBA game experience.”

He also elaborates a little more on the Freestyle Superstar system – emphasizing the fact that players can now be classified into more than one Superstar category. For example, EA poster boy T-Mac is a “Superstar” High Flyer and Outside Scorer, whilst he is only the lesser “Star” category as a Shooter and Playmaker. These aspects should add a little more realism to the game.

He also said that there are “around 120 unique (player) animations.” I wonder if they will include the Reggie “Wedgie” Evans move…

There you go, they even have a shot of Big Ben in a Chicago jersey too.

Sonic Boom can be felt in Portland

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Predictably, Seattle fans are angry at their smug Starbucks owner selling out; Oklahoma City fans are excited by the opportunity to get a permanent team in their city (if the Sonics relocate to OKC); and Blazers fans are hoping and rationalizing that their team will not be shipped to Seattle by the Microsoft co-founder.

It seems many in Seattle are resigned to the fact that the Sonics will be gone. It doesn’t seem a done deal by any means, however. There’s still a Key Arena deal to be sorted out and numerous other logistical problems. The overriding consensus has to be however, that this OKC ownership group didn’t come in to keep the team in Seattle. As “Trader” Bob Whitsitt says, the Sonics have earned the right to keep their team after 39 years. Sadly, in the sports business, that sort of stuff doesn’t matter.

What does all of this mean for the Blazers? And more specifically for their fans? As I wrote yesterday, I really can’t see it being an easy decision for Allen to take the Blazers to Seattle – whether he has affinity for the city or not. The financial constraints of a 2025 lease at the Rose Garden, the threat of the city suing for lost revenue and the uncertainty involved with attracting a new fan base all make it extremely unlikely.

Clay Bennett has contended that he intends to give it a year to eek out a local deal for the Sonics, but the overriding feeling is that he is set to move them within the next few years. It was a bit like James Dolan’s “I’ll give Isiah one year to perform” in New York. It gives you the impression that the smallest obstacle will be an excuse for change.

Meanwhile the people of Louisville feel a bit left out of the whole NBA equation.

A final thought: if the new OKC owners of the Sonics don’t think the team can be profitable in Seattle and are rushing to move them out, why would Allen believe he can move the Blazers there (alienating the fan base) and expect the team to be successful? The Blazers are finally on the right track in moving forward (signing Przybilla, making draft-day trades and infusing exciting youth) – now is not the time to move.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Blazers to move to Seattle: Unlikely

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There are plenty of rumours at the moment of the Sonics moving to Oklahoma Cityrumours spawned purely by the purchase of the franchise by an ownership team headed by Oklahoma City-based Clay Bennett, on Tuesday .

The latest to come of that is the suggestion that the Blazers could then be shifted to Seattle to fill the void left by the Sonics. This article describes exactly why the chances of that are very slim. Primarily, the fact that the Blazers are locked into a deal with the Rose Garden until 2025, means that the economic-feasibility of a move is extremely small.

There were already rumblings about a move for the Blazers last month, as owner Paul Allen played poor (stating that the team had become TOO unprofitable) and a group including Terry Porter has been attempting to draw together the funds for a buyout to keep the team in Portland.

Even if Microsoft co-founder Allen does remain owner, his Seattle-links are not going to be enough to move the team there. First and foremost, the man is a businessman and I don’t think he will be willing to payout on a Rose Garden lease that lasts a further 18 years, purely to relocate to his hometown. It’s simply not worthwhile – especially after his complaints regarding the financial viability of the team.

Meanwhile, the Blazers are doing their best to distract from this talk and focus on the re-signing of FA centre Joel Przybilla. They even printed t-shirts for the event!

Team USA

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Interesting times ahead in the selection of Team USA for the upcoming FIBA World Championships and in the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Team USA has done the right thing in finally trying to bring some stability to the team through the introduction of 3 year ‘commitments’ from players. Given that the core of the team is quite young, there is a strong foundation for the future of the squad.

The team is currently in training camp in Las Vegas and this will give Coach K a chance to evaluate some attractively difficult battles for starting positions.

KB8/24 has done Krzyzewski a favour in pulling out to have minor knee surgery as it eliminates one of the selection headaches he would have encountered. In addition, Paul Pierce (family), JJ Redick (injury) and Lamar Odom (family) will not be available.

I’d venture to say that this could be the greatest array of talent Team USA has had since the Original – and only ‘real’ – Dream Team.

So who would you select for the final squad? My selections would be something like this:

PG Chauncey Billups (you need a pure PG here with so many stars – otherwise I’d consider LBJ here with Melo at SF)

SG Dwyane Wade (there’s absolutely no competition with Kobe out – hands down)

SF LeBron James (the guy is not going to get under-used like he was at the 2004 Olympics by Larry “I don’t like youngsters” Brown)

PF Shawn Marion (I’d consider AmarĂ© here but let’s let him prove himself fit first – plus Marion is the ultimate do-all guy)

C Elton Brand (maybe the term ‘underrated’ is over-used here – but the guy is a beast – we all know it)

2006-08 USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team that will participate in the team’s Las Vegas training include: Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets); Gilbert Arenas (Washington Wizards); Shane Battier (Houston Rockets); Chauncey Billups (Detroit Pistons); Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors); Bruce Bowen (San Antonio Spurs); Elton Brand (Los Angeles Clippers); Kirk Hinrich (Chicago Bulls); Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic); LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers); Antawn Jamison (Washington Wizards); Joe Johnson (Atlanta Hawks); Shawn Marion (Phoenix Suns); Brad Miller (Sacramento Kings); Adam Morrison (Charlotte Bobcats/Gonzaga University); Chris Paul (New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets); Michael Redd (Milwaukee Bucks); Luke Ridnour (Seattle SuperSonics); AmarĂ© Stoudemire (Phoenix Suns); and Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat).

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

NBA Live 07 preview

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Today there's an article on, interviewing Boris Diaw. The versatile frog-leg-eater will be appearing on the cover of the French edition of Live 07 it seems. Let's hope that he doesn't encounter the dreaded Live Cover Curse (think about guys like Vince Carter, Stevie Franchise).

Looks like we're in for a whole different ballgame with Live this year - a recovery from the farce of the 06 edition. In particular there's one person here hoping for an improvement on the PSP version. You've gotta love the body-piercings they've given Boris though...
An even more comprehensive report on the features here.