Sports Outside the Beltway

New Jersey’s Jason Kidd wants a trade

What will the Nets do with the malcontent point guard? From AP-

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Jason Kidd says he wants to be traded from the slumping New Jersey Nets. “We tried to make this work. We’ve found out it doesn’t,” Kidd told ESPN The Magazine on Monday. “It’s time for us all to move on.”

The Nets, losers of nine in a row, were scheduled to play the Milwaukee Bucks at home Tuesday night. Kidd attended the team’s morning shootaround but did not talk to reporters.

Nets president Rod Thorn did not immediately return a phone message Tuesday.

Trade speculation has followed Kidd since last February when the Nets reportedly were close to making a deal that would have sent him to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Last month, Kidd sat out a game against the New York Knicks with a migraine, a move suspected by some to be a one-day walkout to try and force a trade or new contract.

At a news conference, Kidd denied those were his motives, saying, “I am having one of my best seasons — why would I want to be asked to be traded? And as a team, we are doing better than last year.”

New Jersey was 9-10 at the time. Since then, the team has dropped 16 of 25 games to fall to 18-26.

Truthfully I’d trade Kidd. He isn’t helping the Nuts as much as he is hurting the team. Trade the idiot for two good players. New Jersey won’t be the NBA’s worst afterwards. The Miami Heat have a headlock on that at present.


1970 – it was a very good year …

In Baltimore.
For sports fans.

Thirty seven years later – also 23 years since the Colts left and 22 since the Orioles ceased their run of 19 winning consecutive winning season – it’s hard to remember that there was time like this, but the Baltimore Sun’s Mike Klingaman does.

The Orioles (108-54) won their division by 15 games, then took four of five from the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. Three months later, the Colts answered by defeating the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl.

On their heels came the Bullets, the city’s basketball entry, who reached the NBA Finals before losing to the Milwaukee Bucks.

“That was a magical year, though people didn’t realize it,” said Sam Havrilak, then a Colts running back. “It wasn’t such a big deal until [years later] when the media built it up.”

In 1970 Baltimore, the stars were all aligned. The Orioles had Jim Palmer, Boog Powell and Robinson; the Colts had John Unitas, John Mackey and Ted Hendricks. Even the Bullets seemed destined for success behind Earl Monroe, Wes Unseld and Gus Johnson.

I was a 10 year old, who had moved to Baltimore 2 years earlier. It was a great time to be a sports fan in Baltimore. (My children came of sports fan age during hte 90′s when their grandfather’s team, the Yankees were dominant and their father’s team stunk. Guess who they root for.)

But there was a cloud attached to that silver lining.

Yet the Orioles struggled at the turnstiles. Crowds averaged 13,000 during the season, and even the final game of the Series at Memorial Stadium fell far short of a sellout.

Players still are irked by that.

“We were a damn good team, and we knew it,” said Powell, the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 1970. “We were disappointed that there weren’t more people in the ballpark.

“When we got so far in front during the season, people said, ‘We know you’re not going to lose [the pennant], so we’ll save our money for the World Series.’

“But, deep down, you knew Baltimore at that time was just not a baseball town.”

It wasn’t just that Baltimore was a football, WBAL, the one time flagship station of the Orioles saw baseball games as nothing more than programming. It wasn’t until WFBR took over the broadcasts in 1979 that rooting for the Orioles became fashionable.

The reason for this discussion, is that,with the Patriots going strong, Boston may again (repeating 2004) be a city of champions. But what the article reminded me of was a cartoon that the Sun (possibly the Evening Sun) reprinted from a New York paper at that time. (It might have been the Daily News, but I’m uncertain.) It depicted a number of individuals discussing Baltimore’s sports dominance at the time. The punchline was something like “But they don’t have a hockey team.” (Well Baltimore had a hockey team, the Clippers, but they were part of the now-defunct AHL, not the NHL.) Maybe Bill Ordine or someone around the Sun could dig up that cartoon, and republish it, if the paper has the rights to it.

One other thing I remember is that given how good the Oriole were for the first 15 years we lived in Baltimore, I never really developed a sense that it was possible that the team could deteriorate or ever be bad. I was in my mid-20′s when that realization hit. 19 years is a long run of success. To the best of my knowledge it is the second longest streak or winning seasons in North American sports history. (First place belongs to the Yankees.) But it’s long over now and the question is whether or how long it will be before the Orioles get it back.

(One final irony: we moved to Baltimore from Springfield Massachusetts. When I learned we’d be moving I wondered if I’d still be allowed to root for the Red Sox. The Orioles success from 1969 and on made that question moot very quickly.)

Crossposted on Soccer Dad.


NBA Mock Draft

ESPN’s Chad Ford offers the Sports Leader’s take on the impending NBA Draft.

It’s almost draft day, and the picture is getting clearer and fuzzier simultaneously.

We’ve been able to narrow down the list of prospects that each team is considering, but two things stand in the way of getting a complete picture.

One, this is a time when many GMs are notorious for dropping smoke screens. A source in Memphis swears the team is taking Joakim Noah. Another says to bank on the Grizzlies’ taking Mike Conley. Someone is misinformed or bluffing.

Two, there is a flurry of trade conversation, starting with Memphis, Boston, Charlotte and Chicago all talking about trading away their lottery picks. Meanwhile teams such as Golden State, Phoenix and the Lakers are trying hard to move up. Others — like Portland, Indiana and Toronto — are trying to get in or grab another pick.

The talk in Phoenix about trading up in the draft has gotten so hot that the Suns have gotten Noah, Jeff Green and Corey Brewer to agree to a workout on Tuesday. They’ll try to add Brandan Wright as a fourth. That shows you how much players want to play in Phoenix — they’ll drop everything just for the chance. It could be the most competitive workout of the draft.

Their consensus draft board:

    1. Portland TrailblazersGreg Oden – C
    2. Portland TrailblazersKevin Durant – SF – Texas
    3. Atlanta HawksAl Horford – PF – Florida
    4. Memphis GrizzliesMike Conley – PG- Ohio State
    5. Boston CelticsYi Jianlian – PF – China
    6. Milwaukee BucksJeff Green – SF – Georgetown
    7. Minnesota TimberwolvesJoakim Noah – PF – Florida
    8. Charlotte BobcatsCorey Brewer – SG – Florida
    9. Chicago Bulls (via New York Knicks) – Spencer Hawes – C- Washington
    10. Sacramento Kings- Brandan Wright – PF – North Carolina
    11. Atlanta Hawks (via Indiana Pacers) – Acie Law – PG – Texas A&M
    12. Philadelphia 76ersAl Thornton – SF – Florida State
    13. New Orleans Hornets – Nick Young – SG- USC
    14. L.A. ClippersJulian Wright – SF – Kansas
    15. Detroit Pistons (via Orlando Magic) – Rodney Stuckey SG – Eastern Wash.

Click the link for more in-depth analysis and for the second half of the draft.


Milwaukee Bucks fire coach Terry Stotts

The team is in last place at present.

MILWAUKEE – Terry Stotts was fired Wednesday as coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, who are struggling this season after injuries to key players.

An interim coach was not announced for Thursday night’s against San Antonio, general manager Larry Harris said.

“Terry has done the best he could in a difficult situation, especially with all of our injuries,” Harris said of his coach for less than two seasons. “I felt it was in the best interest of our organization to make the decision now and move forward, rather than wait until the end of the regular season.”


The Bucks have dealt with a spate of injuries, including the loss of top scorer Michael Redd for 20 games as the team went 3-17 without him. Milwaukee is 23-41, last in the Central Division.

The Bucks were expected to be much improved with Redd’s return, but may have hit their lowest point Monday after losing by 15 at home to the Raptors.


Stotts was hired as the team’s ninth coach in June 2005 after Harris let Terry Porter go. Stotts was a favorite of owner Herb Kohl. The U.S. senator got to know the 13-year NBA veteran coach while Stotts was an assistant under then-Bucks coach George Karl.

Stotts and Harris made good on their promise to return to the playoffs in 2005-06, but the Bucks stumbled badly down the stretch, finishing 40-42 with the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and losing in five games to Detroit.

This season, the Bucks lost forward Bobby Simmons, the team’s second-leading scorer last year, with foot and ankle injuries that required two operations before their first game. Fellow starter Charlie Villanueva missed significant time with a torn ligament in his elbow and shoulder tendinitis.

Redd hurt a tendon in his left knee on a meaningless dunk at the end of a loss to Cleveland on Jan. 5 and missed 20 games. Starting backcourt mate Mo Williams sprained his shoulder in the next game, causing him to miss nine games as well.

Milwaukee, which had been 16-15 at one point, hit another low on Feb. 14, losing by 20 points to Boston, which had dropped a franchise-worst 18 games at the time.

No doubt the Bucks have been underacheivers this year, and Stotts firing should come as no surprise but as James Joyner might say, I don’t think the coach was the problem.


Ford Traded for Villanueva

The Milwaukee Bucks traded point guard T.J. Ford to the Toronto Raptors for all-rookie team power forward Charlie Villanueva.

Villanueva can score, as shown with his 48-point game against the Bucks in March. I saw it live. He was hot, hot, hot. But I don’t know how well the power forward plays defense. A jump shooting team needs good defense for the times when they get cold.

The Bucks must feel Mo Williams is capable physically to go an entire season at point guard. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, “Villanueva is expected to move right into the starting lineup at power forward, which will allow Bogut to slide over to center.” That means center Jamal Magloire will probably be traded. To whom and for what is to be determined. Maybe a back-up point guard.

Forward Progress”

[Cross-posted to The American Mind.]


Bucks Will Sport New Colors, Uniforms Next Season

Rumor has it the will be getting new uniforms next season and going retro. I liked the purple but don’t mind the colors from the days when Sidney Moncrief and company dominated the Central Division. I hope they keep the fierce-looking buck in the team logo. Even as a kid I wasn’t fond of the cartoon Bango mascot.

[Cross-posted to The American Mind.]


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.