Sports Outside the Beltway

Former Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly diagnosed with cancer

He coached in the Motor city for nine seasons. From AP-

Former Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

The team says Friday that Daly “is being treated for the cancer and his family is requesting privacy.”

The 78-year-old Daly coached the Pistons to NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. He also was the coach of the 1992 gold medal-winning US Olympic squad dubbed the “Dream Team.” He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to Chuck and his family following today’s tough news,” Detroit president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said. “He holds a special place in our hearts and we’ll be here to support him in any way we can.”

Dumars played for Daly on both championship teams, winning the NBA finals MVP award in 1989.

The Pistons were scheduled to play the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.

“I wish him the best. It’s a tough cancer to get,” Golden State coach Don Nelson said. “He beat my (butt) probably more than anybody.”

Family spokesman Matt Dobek says in the release that as a coach Daly was “known as the Prince of Pessimism, right now Chuck Daly is the King of Optimism.”

Pancreatic is a particularly nasty cancer. Say a prayer that Daly can beat it.


NJ Nets Sean Williams arrested for trespassing

This is one of more interesting or quirky athlete gets arrested stories that I have seen of late.

New Jersey Nets forward Sean Williams was arrested at Boston College last weekend for allegedly violating a no-trespassing order.

The 22-year-old former BC player was arrested Sunday shortly before the Eagles played Duke for violating an order issued in May, according to the campus police report.

Williams’ Boston-based lawyer, Howard Fisher, said the player was invited to Sunday’s game by a member of Boston College’s coaching staff and blamed the arrest on “lack of communication” between the staffer and campus police.

The police report said Williams was belligerent when police tried to arrest him and wrote obscenities instead of his name on the fingerprint card and trespass warning.

Williams was dismissed from the school in 2007 after multiple problems that happened while he attended the school. I have just never heard of an athlete not being allowed to return to a place at the threat of arrest if they did.

Williams posted $40 bail but failed to show for arraignment Tuesday. Prosecutors asked the judge to issue an arrest warrant, but the arraignment was rescheduled for March 5 — the day after the Nets play the Celtics in Boston.

The judge is obviously a Williams or New Jersey Nets fan. Do all accused criminals who skip bail get that kind of preferential treatment from the judge? If Williams did, an argument can be made for the rest being allowed off also. Someone in Massachusetts should probably be asking if this judge belongs on the bench.


Report questions age of New Jersey Nets’ Yi

A basketball twist to the sports question of 2008- What is the real age of a Chinese athlete?

NBA player Yi Jianlian is being investigated by a Chinese-language magazine which claims he is one of many of the country’s athletes guilty of lying about their age on official documents.

Yi, who plays for the New Jersey Nets, has long been reported in the Chinese media to be older than his records show. Earlier this month, China’s Sports Ministry reported that it found 36 players in China’s professional basketball league whose dates of birth may have been changed.

The December issue of the Chinese-language edition of Sports Illustrated said a reporter for the magazine found records from Yi’s middle-school registration in his hometown in southern China that said he was born in 1984.

His official basketball records say he was born in 1987. He is also listed by the Nets as being born Oct. 27, 1987.

A spokesman for the Chinese Basketball Association could not be reached Monday for comment.

Yi could be quizzed again about his age on Monday night when the Nets face the Houston Rockets and fellow Chinese star center Yao Ming in New Jersey.

The only people that would be cheated by Yi’s age being older would be the Nets. I know at least with baseball, a team won’t even look at a amateur prospect if they are past a certain age.


Sacramento Kings fire Reggie Theus coach

Another one bites the dust.

Two days after a heavy home loss to the New York Knicks, Reggie Theus was fired Monday as coach of the Sacramento Kings.

Assistant coach Kenny Natt has been elevated to interim coach. Natt is Sacramento’s fourth coach in less than three years, following Theus, Eric Musselman and Rick Adelman, who left the club after the 2005-06 season.

Theus is the sixth NBA coach to be fired before Christmas this season, joining Philadelphia’s Maurice Cheeks, Minnesota’s Randy Wittman, Toronto’s Sam Mitchell, Washington’s Eddie Jordan and Oklahoma City’s P.J. Carlesimo. The previous NBA record for pre-Christmas firings was three.

Theus, who coached at New Mexico State before coming to Sacramento, has a three year deal. How nice must it be to get paid for nothing for a year and a half when sports franchises fire coaches with time remaining on the contract

All sarcasm aside, Sacramento was 6-18 this year. The Kings ownership does have more than enough justification for the firing on that basis alone.


76ers fire coach Maurice Cheeks

Another NBA case of blame the coach.

The slumping Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday became the fifth NBA team to make a coaching change before Christmas this season, deciding they had to fire Maurice Cheeks despite extending his contract twice in the past year.

As reported by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, citing sources close to the situation, Cheeks was informed of his dismissal Saturday morning after the Sixers suffered their eighth loss in 10 games Friday night at Cleveland and dropped to 9-14.

The move was officially announced by the Sixers later Saturday. Assistant general manager Tony DiLeo will replace Cheeks on an interim basis. Philadelphia defeated the Washington Wizards behind Elton Brand’s season-high 27 points on Saturday night in DiLeo’s first game.

Philadelphia who isn’t a very good shooting team, has to contend on a regular basis with teams like Boston and Cleveland who are tearing up the league at present. When someone is 22-2, that makes it difficult for other teams to play .500 ball.

The firing of Cheeks is dumb in light of this.

NBA coaching sources told the Sixers were determined to give Cheeks every chance to halt Philadelphia’s slide after picking up his option for this season in February, extending his contract again in September and spending big money in the offseason to sign Brand away from the Los Angeles Clippers and re-sign Andre Iguodala.

No matter how often I see it done, I remain dumbfounded by pro sports franchises and universities to fire coaches with time remaining on their contracts. You pay for someone not to coach.

In light of the way the NBA recycles coaches, I expect Cheeks to pop up somewhere else in league. After all didn’t half the NBA keep rehiring Kevin Loughery in spite of his mediocre track record.


Washington Wizards fire Coach Eddie Jordan

The second head coach firing of the 2008-09 NBA season has taken place.

Eddie Jordan was fired as coach of the Washington Wizards on Monday after opening the season 1-10 without injured starters Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood.

Ed Tapscott, the Wizards’ director of player development, will replace Jordan on an interim basis, running his first practice as the team’s new head coach Monday morning, a team spokesman told The Associated Press.

The firing was first reported by The Washington Post on its Web site.

Assistant coach Mike O’Koren was also let go, and the Wizards named Randy Ayers as top assistant coach, a source told ESPN’s Ric Bucher.

Jordan was in his sixth season with the Wizards and led the team to the playoffs each of the past four. In September, shortly before the start of training camp, the Wizards picked up a one-year option to keep him under contract through the 2009-10 season.

Frankly I would have been more inclined to giving Jordan more time to work out the problems in Washington. These two recently fired coaches were producing dismal results too but didn’t have Jordan’s success in previous season.


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.


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