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.


Washington Wizard Josh Howard out for the season with a torn ACL

The injury takes place just days after he was acquired from the Dallas Mavericks.

Recently acquired Washington Wizards forward Josh Howard will miss the remainder of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld made the announcement in a statement Tuesday.

Howard was injured Monday night in Washington’s win over the Chicago Bulls, only his fourth game with the Wizards since being acquired from Dallas in a seven-player trade on Feb. 13. He collided with the Bulls’ Flip Murray with 4:23 to play in the first quarter and stayed on the floor for a minute before being helped off the court by two trainers.

Howard started three games for Washington and scored 14.5 points a game to help the Wizards go 3-1 since the deal, which sent starter Caron Butler to the Mavericks.

Howard has averaged 15.3 points and 6.0 rebounds since his 2003-04 rookie season with the Mavs.

The article says its not known if Howard will have surgery. I thought an operation was mandatory for ACL tear.

The loss of Howard won’t have much immediate effect on Washington this season. At this moment the Wizards are 6.5 games out of the last Eastern Conference playoff spot.


Snowstorm forces postponement of Atlanta-Washington NBA game

The bad weather on the east coast is playing havoc with both pro and college sports. From AP-

The game between the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards has been postponed because of the blizzard that battered the Mid-Atlantic region.

The NBA said on Saturday that neither the Hawks or Wizards could fly to Washington after their games Friday night. The Wizards played at Orlando and the Hawks hosted the Bulls.

The game will be rescheduled for a date yet to be announced.

A record 2½ feet of snow or more was predicted for Washington.

A slew of mid-Atlantic men’s college basketball games slated for Saturday afternoon were also postponed or canceled, including Florida A&M at Morgan State, St. Bonaventure at Saint Joseph’s and James Madison at Towson.

The Atlanta Thrashers were stuck in Virginia after playing the Washington Capitals last night. They only got to Atlanta around 6 p.m. tonight and are currently playing the Florida Panthers.

2 and a half feet of snow. Are scientists sure it isn’t global cooling instead of global warming?


One at a time- Washington defeats New Jersey 81-79

The last time New Jersey won two games in a row was April 11 and 13th of last season. From AP-

Two days after the NBA suspended their leading scorer and another teammate, Earl Boykins and the Wizards’ reserves gave Washington a much needed lift, if only for a night.NJ-Wash

Boykins hit a jumper with 0.4 to play and Washington defeated the New Jersey Nets 81-79 on Friday night, the Wizards’ first game since guards Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton were suspended for the remainder of the season for bringing weapons into the locker room.

“You have to stay resilient,” Wizards forward Caron Butler said. “You know, this has been a tough and trying period for all of us mentally and physically, but you have to try to find a positive. That’s what we have been doing, trying to stay afloat, stay positive and keep pushing. Fortunately the city has been behind us and we have been moving forward.”

Boykins was the main reason the Wizards ended a four-game losing streak and prevented the Nets (4-41) from posting consecutive victories for the first time this season. New Jersey beat the Clippers on Wednesday to end an 11-game losing streak.

When will sports writers begin referring to single Nets wins as ‘streaks’? Will the team’s fans begin wearing bags over their heads?

I predicted the Nets not to break the worst ever record for a NBA team(9-73). Right now, I think my prediction stands a very good chance of being wrong.


Washington Wizards give Coach Flip Saunders his 600th career win

He becomes the 22nd NBA coach to reach that milestone. From AP-

At the end of one of the toughest, most exhausting weeks in franchise history, the Washington Wizards needed a few smiles. And a win. And a nice ovation. And a milestone moment for the coach — just as an added bonus.

The Wizards beat the Sacramento Kings 93-86 on Saturday night, one day after their biggest star pleaded guilty to a felony gun charge and less than 24 hours after a deflating, double-overtime loss at Chicago.

The victory broke a four-losing streak and gave coach Flip Saunders his 600th career win, usually a significant moment that will end up merely as a footnote in an otherwise tumultuous season.

The Arenas saga has stolen the spotlight in Washington. The play of the Wizards hasn’t been very good, and so the press has not unexpectedly ended up concentrating on what has happened off the court.


Gilbert Arenas pleads guilty to felony gun charge

It was last week that the NBA suspended him indefinitely. From ESPN-

Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas pleaded guilty Friday to carrying a pistol without a license in the District of Columbia, a felony conviction that could jeopardize his future in the NBA.

Arenas pleaded guilty to a single count of violating the city’s strict gun laws as part of a plea bargain in D.C. Superior Court. He will remain free at least until his sentencing March 26.

The charge stems from a Dec. 21 incident in which Arenas admitted he stored guns in his locker at the Verizon Center and took them out to play a joke on a teammate.

Sheridan: What’s Next for Arenas?’s Chris Sheridan answers five key questions surrounding the saga of Gilbert Arenas, including whether the Wizards’ three-time All-Star holds any trade value. Story

The NBA has suspended him indefinitely. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to ask for more than six months in jail for Arenas. He will be sentenced by Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin. Morin could sentence Arenas to anything from probation to a maximum of five years in jail.

Arenas has taken full responsibility for his actions. This will probably help him at sentencing. If Arenas serves more than 60 days, I will be surprised.


NBA suspends G Gilbert Arenas indefinitely

This stems from a series of incidents that took place last month. From ESPN-

The NBA has suspended the Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas indefinitely.

“Although it is clear that the actions of Mr. Arenas will ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse, his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game,” commissioner David Stern said in a statement Wednesday. “Accordingly, I am suspending Mr. Arenas indefinitely, without pay, effective immediately pending the completion of the investigation by the NBA.”

Multiple media reports over the weekend said that a dispute over a gambling debt led to a conflict between Arenas and Javaris Crittenton.

Multiple sources told that an argument commenced during a card game on the team’s overnight flight back to Washington from Phoenix on Dec. 19 and escalated into a heated exchange between Arenas and Crittenton. The Wizards had Dec. 20 off, but sources say hostilities between the two Wizards guards resumed Dec. 21 in the locker room on a practice day.

Sources say that Arenas, in response to what was said on the flight, placed the three guns on a chair near Crittenton’s locker stall and invited him to pick one before practice on Dec. 21. Sources said that Crittenton subsequently let Arenas know that he had his own gun.

The Washington Post reported in Sunday’s editions that Arenas, according to sources, was expecting Crittenton to see the guns on his chair as a joke based on the earlier back-and-forth on the plane, during which Crittenton allegedly said that he would shoot Arenas in his surgically repaired knee. But Crittenton, according to Post, reacted angrily and tossed one of the guns to the floor, saying he had his own.

In his statement, Arenas confirmed that the guns were brought out at the Dec. 21 practice.

Honestly, I’ve barely followed the Arenas saga. As part of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, players who bring firearms to practice are subject to discipline. How long will Arenas be out? Frankly, I’d be surprised if he returns this season.


Portland Guard Steve Blake has pneumonia

The Trailblazers have been so beset with injuries this year that team owners may begin investing in hospitals. From AP-

Trail Blazers guard Steve Blake has been hospitalized with pneumonia.Steve Blake

Portland says Blake is expected to remain in the hospital for several days. He is averaging 7.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists this season.

Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge has a sprained left ankle and is expected to miss Saturday’s game against Golden State.

The Blazers have been beset by injuries this season and have received two hardship roster exemptions from the league.

All joking aside, a case of pneumonia can be very serious business. It was for me in 2008, when I came down with it while recovering from open heart surgery. Get well Steve Blake.

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Former UAB and NBA Basketball player Alan Ogg dead at 42

Very sad and RIP.

Alan Ogg, a 7-foot-2 shotblocker who played for UAB Blazers and spent parts of three seasons in the NBA, died Sunday from complications from a staph infection, a university spokesman said. He was 42.Ogg

UAB spokesman Norm Reilly said Ogg died at UAB Hospital.

Ogg played 80 NBA games over three seasons beginning in 1990 with the Miami Heat, who had a moment of silence Sunday night before playing Chicago. He also played for Milwaukee and Washington, and averaged 2.2 points and 1.7 rebounds during his career.

Ogg is UAB’s career leader with 266 blocked shots over four seasons, averaging more than two a game.


NBA Fines Gilbert Arenas and Washington Wizards $25,000 each

File this story under Silence isn’t golden.

The NBA is making Gilbert Arenas — and the Washington Wizards — pay for his silence.

Arenas and his team were fined $25,000 apiece Tuesday by the league because he has not been talking to the media during the preseason, including before and after exhibition games.

The three-time All-Star point guard became one of the NBA’s most popular players thanks in part to his engaging personality and a willingness to speak his mind, including via a wide-ranging blog.

But he stopped producing the blog and steadfastly has been refusing to do interviews since the Wizards held their official media day on Sept. 28. Asked by a reporter last week when he’d begin speaking again, Arenas said it would happen only after the NBA tells him he has to talk.

It was at that media day that Arenas signaled his intention to keep quiet, declaring, “I’m not the entertainer anymore.”

Since when is an athlete required to talk to the media. Sports has a long history of stars who have avoided the media. Is there some NBA rule I don’t know about?


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