Sports Outside the Beltway

NBA suspends training camps indefinitely

File this under not surprising news-

NEW YORK — The lockout has started doing real damage to the NBA’s calendar.

Players won’t report at the usual time. The preseason won’t start as scheduled.

And more cancellations could be necessary without a new labor deal soon.

Out of time to keep everything intact, the NBA postponed training camps indefinitely and canceled 43 preseason games Friday because it has not reached an agreement with players.

All games from Oct. 9-15 are off, the league said. Camps were expected to open Oct. 3.

“We have regretfully reached the point on the calendar where we are not able to open training camps on time and need to cancel the first week of preseason games,” deputy commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “We will make further decisions as warranted.”

The players’ association did not comment.

I don’t expect their to be another NBA game this year. This kind of labor conflict is usually protracted and nothing will get done till the season is on the verge of being lost. As NHL fans know from 2004-2005, even then the dispute can go over the cliff taking a whole season with it.

I have no sympathy for either owners or players. The players are rich and overindulged, the owners of small market NBA teams had to know when going in that they had little chance of making the franchise they were purchasing into NBA Championship contenders/moneymakers.


LA Lakers Andrew Bynum misses team flight to Toronto

Didn’t anyone ever hear of a head count? From the Fabulous Forum-

Andrew Bynum is 22 years old now and a 5-year NBA veteran, so one would think he knows better, that he would be more of a professional.

But obviously that’s still not the case.

When the Lakers left New York on Saturday morning to travel to Toronto, Bynum missed the team flight and was forced to pay for his own travel to Canada.

Lakers Coach Phil Jacksonsaid that Bynum would be fined — he wouldn’t disclose the amount — and that paying his own way was another way of punishment for the young center.

Jackson said Bynum placed his bags outside his hotel room in New York for the designated time for pickups, but perhaps fell back to sleep.

“His bags made it to Toronto, but he didn’t,” Jackson said, smiling. “So obviously he got up and put his bags outside the door and something happened between there and the bus, like going back to sleep again, or whatever. … He’s all right. A rookie mistake you would call it, even though he’s not a rookie.

Did anyone notice Bynum was missing? A basketball team isn’t that large, nothing like a football team. You would think someone would noticed a player missing. It sounds like the Lakers players don’t have much upstairs. Maybe they should consider a job in government after their playing days are over. How about the FBI?

There’s a standard fine for it. He paid his own plane fare.”

Jackson said that Bynum still was going to start against the Raptors tonight and that his playing time would not be lessened.

Bynum said he put his bags outside his room at 9:15, fell back asleep and woke up at 11:15 Saturday morning.

He said his ticket to Toronto cost him about $300 and that he arrived here Saturday night.

You mean Bynum, who measures 7′ feet tall, bought a coach class seat? I’m betting he wished he paid for first class as his knees came up to his chin the whole way to Toronto.


Toronto Raptors fire coach Sam Mitchell

Can’t get a banged up team to play .500 ball, you get a pink slip in the NBA. From AP-

The Toronto Raptors fired coach Sam Mitchell on Wednesday and replaced him with assistant Jay Triano, one day after an embarrassing loss at Denver.

Mitchell led the Raptors to the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and was honored as the NBA’s coach of the year for 2006-07. Toronto was off to a sluggish 8-9 start, due in part to injuries.

General manager Bryan Colangelo said Tuesday night’s 132-93 loss to the Nuggets was the final straw. Toronto allowed Denver to shoot 60 percent from the field and the Nuggets’ 37 assists were the most by an NBA team in regulation this season. The 39-point difference marked the fifth-worst loss in franchise history.


Mitchell is the third NBA coach to be replaced this season. Oklahoma City fired P.J. Carlesimo and Washington dismissed Eddie Jordan last month.

Colangelo said Triano, the first Canadian head coach in NBA history, likely would be in charge for the rest of the season. Triano is in his seventh season on the Raptors’ coaching staff and served as interim coach for one game in February, leading Toronto to a 109-91 victory over the New Jersey Nets.

The GM said the big loss was a kick to the gut. That makes me think Mitchell’s firing is more about one game than the mediocre record of this season. Colangelo has let his emotions make a personnel decision. IMHO.


Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell takes leave

In the process some NBA history will be made.

TORONTO – Raptors coach Sam Mitchell is taking a leave of absence so he can fly home to Atlanta following the death of his father-in-law.

A team spokesman said Monday that Mitchell left Toronto and will not rejoin the Raptors until after the All-Star break. Toronto’s first game after the break is at home against Orlando on Feb. 20.

Assistant coach Mike Evans was to take charge of the team for Monday’s game against San Antonio, because the Spurs are one of the teams he scouts. Fellow assistant Jay Triano will serve as head coach for Wednesday’s game against New Jersey.

A native of Niagara Falls, Ont., Triano will be the first Canadian head coach in NBA history

My condolences to the Mitchell family. Now it will have to be seen if Canada lets the coach back in the country. They may not want their first ever NBA coach to step down!(Sarcastic laughter time)


Greatest NBA Centers Ever

For Shaq’s 35th Birthday ESPN saw fit to rank the top 10 centers of all time and I can’t disagree with #1 at all.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

As for his achievements: 1967-68 USBWA College Player of the Year; 1969 Naismith Award; Six-time NBA MVP; Six-time NBA Champion; Two-time Finals MVP; NBA Rookie of the Year (1970); and NBA Hall of Fame (1995).

Like no other player, Abdul-Jabbar embodied the maestro team brilliance of Bill Russell and the individual excellence of Wilt Chamberlain. His NBA cup runneth over: six championships, a record six MVPs and a Finals MVP award … at 38 years old!

Possessed the single most unstoppable shot in NBA history — the sky hook — but more than that, he was clutch, consistent and underrated in the toughness department.

He was the starting center on six championship teams and had the presence of mind to cohabitate with stars like Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and James Worthy.

He’s the all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points; was named to the All-NBA Defensive team 11 times; and is the only modern era player to lead the league at least once in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, minutes played, field-goal percentage and PER.

However, in their explanation of choosing Kareem as #1 I believe they left out on of the most amazing things about Kareem’s career. His expected arrival in the college ranks led to directly to a preemptive rule change by NCAA when they banned the dunk after the 1967 season and reinstated it shortly after his departure from UCLA. No other player that I can think of recieved the same treatment. While the rule was made mostly to limit his size advantage, it didn’t slow Kareem down as UCLA went 88-2 while he was a player.

The other thing to ponder about this list would is where Bill Walton would be if he hadn’t the chronic injury problems.

As for the complete list:
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
2. Wilt Chamberlain
3. Bill Russell
4. Shaquille O’Neal
5. Hakeem Olajuwon
6. Moses Malone
7. Bill Walton
8. David Robinson
9. George Mikan
10. Patrick Ewing


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.]


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