August 7, 2009
Welcome to the gun show. I bought mine at Walmart.
Rashard Lewis has been suspended for the first 10 games of the NBA season without pay for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. He claims that he didn’t know that the over the counter pills were considered steroids. He’s a key player on the Magic, and they will likely suffer without him, but maybe it will help resolve his recurring knee tendonitis. While the $1.6 million loss of salary is bad, it’s nowhere near the penalties faced in other sports.
The 10-game suspension for a first positive test in the N.B.A. is a little less than an eighth of the season. A first positive in baseball results in a 50-game suspension (about a third of the season) and a first positive in football results in a 4-game suspension (a quarter of the season).
– New York Times
On the plus side, the Magic’s underplayed bench will get some coveted court time. Lewis is only the 4th to recieve a suspension since the leagues drug-testing anti-dope program was initiated in 1999. The program is far from stringent, requiring no off-season testing. It is believed that the off season is when athletes benefit from the drugs the most, so if the Lewis scandal is at all indicative of a trend (unlikely), the NBA will have to reevaluate their policy.
August 6, 2009
A few weeks ago, it was thought that Lamar Odom had seen the last of the Lakers. Candy Man fans feared that they would have to go out and buy Miami Heat gear and study up on Dwayne Wade, but luckily he’s been resigned to LAL. With the addition of Ron Artest this summer, it is likely that Odom will serve as the team’s sixth man back court. The starting line-up includes Artest, Bryant, Bynum, Fisher, and Gasol. The season doesn’t start till the end of October, but with Shaq on track to play with Lebron and the Celtics back in contention, it’s shaping up to be a good year.
August 4, 2009
Is Alan Iverson heading to the Eastern Conference?
No…well not the NBA’s Eastern Conference. The 34 year old free agent has a 2 year, $10 million contract on the table to go and play in Greece. No comparable offers exist for Iverson in the states, making a pretty solid case for him to read up on the Parthenon and feta cheese, but NBA players who have gone and played in Europe have attested to the other worldliness of the international league.
Iverson was plagued by a back injury for the duration of last season, causing the Pistons to bench him from April onwards. He’s still got a few solid years in him, but his Sixer style glory days are gone; surrendering the number 3 jersey he’s worn throughout his professional career when joining the Pistons is symbolic of that. His only other option at this point? Stay stateside and settle for a one year deal with a team like the Heat or the Knicks in a backseat position.
July 21, 2009
Omri Casspi is set to be the first Israeli to make it to court – the NBA court, that is. The 23rd pick in NBAs first round draft was picked up by the Sacremento Kings. Howard Beck of New York Times wrote:
When the Kings took Casspi with the 23rd pick, he became the first Israeli to secure a guaranteed contract, which will almost assuredly make him the first to play in an N.B.A. game. The celebrations began immediately on draft night.
“It was a huge festival in Israel,” said Dan Shamir, a longtime Israeli coach who worked with Casspi when Casspi was a teenager on the national team. “For many years, people were asking when Israel will have an N.B.A. player. When it actually happened, it made huge headlines.”
Basketball is only second to soccer as the nation’s most popular sport. The 21-year old already has a huge fan following from his performence on Maccabi Tel Aviv, his home team, and his faithful fans will follow his NBA career, even though it will mean waking up at 4 a.m. for games. They might be disappointed; the 6 foot 9, 225 lb forward will have to work hard with his new teammates to turn around the Kings performance last season as the team in the NBA with the worst record.
Regardless of the Kings 2009/10 season performance, Casspi’s guarenteed contract is unprecedented and a huge victory for the Israeli/Jewish community abroad and at home.
July 15, 2009
The Lakers offer to unrestricted free agent Lamar Odom for $9 million per season has been taken off the table after Odom’s agent Jeff Schwartz failed to respond on the player’s behalf. He may be heading back to the Miami Heat to join Dwayne Wade or over to the Dallas Mavericks.
Personally, I would like to see the Candy Man back in LA; Odom was an asset to the Lakers, and without him the team will have to depend on Andrew Bynum and former Houston Rockets player Ron Artest. The start to the regular season is a long way off, but keep tabs on trade talks, free agents, and the latest courtside news at HoopsHype.
June 25, 2009
Last Year's NBA Draft
The 2009 NBA Draft airs tonight from 7 pm-12 am ET, and although it’s known that the number 1 draft pick Blake Griffin will be playing for the LA Clippers, nothing else is set in stone yet. Check out ESPN online for a list of the Top 100 Draft Picks. ESPN’s Mock Draft has pick 2 Hasheem Thabeet (Connecticut) going with Memphis Grizzlies, pick 3 Ricky Rubio (Spain) going with Oklahoma City Thunder, pick 4 Stephen Curry (Davidson) going with Sacremnto Kings, and pick 5 Tyreke Evans (Memphis) going with Minnesota Timberwolves. The Minnesota Timberwolves have 4 picks in the Top 30 (5th, 6th, 18th & 28th), promising them a fresh start with a young team in the wake of trading Kevin Garnett to Boston two years ago.
June 25, 2009
It’s official; Shaq has been traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers! Lebron will finally have someone to run defense for him. With these two big hitters on the court, 2010 is already looking a lot brighter for the Cavs. In return for Shaq, Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic are headed to Phoenix. This trade puts Cleveland in a position to combat Howard of the Magic in the Eastern Conference next year, gives them the player they’ve been coveting since February, and guarentees that Lebron will renew his contract. The Cavs get O’Neal for a year, allowing them to try to lure in more all-stars in next summers free agent class. Expect to see Varejao re-signed and back on the court with these two heavy hitters next season too.
Update: Shaq learned of the trade via Twitter.
June 25, 2009
Dwight Howard made his first TV appearance on Jimmy Fallon last night. Although he was only on camera for a short time, his infectious smile and easy going demeanor came through strong and he won over host and crowd alike. Fallon challenged him to a arcade shot contest, to which Howard replied, “Man, have you SEEN my freethrows?!” Howard was also presented with a copy of “NBA Live 2009,” which has him on the cover. He took a moment to take it in.
June 16, 2009
The dust has settled in the wake of Magic’s defeat by the Lakers in Game 5 of the series on Sunday night. I can’t say that it was a shocker – Bryant, Gasol and Fisher were solid throughout the game and Odom showed up in a big way – but it was nonetheless disappointing. The Magic didn’t have a chance once the second half hit. It was the kind of close out game that I had no desire to finish watching; the last 5 minutes were just too painful. The finals are made for 1 2 3 point games, not 13 point deficits. Bitching aside, there are plenty of reasons why the Lakers won. The Lakers were the better team, and I must admit that I’m glad Kobe was crowned a champion without Shaq. Shaq manned up on his Twitter and gave credit where credit is due, saying
Congratualtions kobe, u deserve it. You played great . Enjoy it my man enjoy it. And I know what yur sayin rt now “Shaq how my ass taste ”
Howard has also been attentive to his Twitter, sending out updates all day yesterday about Magic’s defeat
i wanna thank all our true fans for believing in our team. and havin faith in us. we didnt reach our goal. but GOD is still good. love yall
im lookin forward to next season. and this summer to get better. we was so close. but sometimes u gotta learn how to lose to be a winner
and for everyone my head is not down. im ready to get better for next year. never hold ya head down. never. life is too short for that
Candy man Lamar Odom (who shot more threes in the last game than in the rest of the series it would seem), left his Twitter on a lighter and brighter note
Still can’t believe it! I’m in a daze. Going to celebrate all week!
I have a feeling Howard will be feeling the post-season blues for a long time to come. 2009 was a miss for both Howard and Lebron…but there’s always 2010.
June 12, 2009
It’s as good as over. ORL lost Game 4 in overtime. How did it happen? I thought it was a sure thing! They came in with a great attitude, gunning to tie up the series, but lost it in a Failblog.org worthy overtime. Pietrus looked like he was hurting all night, and Howard just wasn’t on his game, but between Turkoglu, Lewis, Alston, and fresh-faced JJ, I really believed that we’d pull through. Enter Derek Fisher. How old is he, 40? The vet dominated and stole the game away from the Magic. Forget Kobe, Lebron…whoever the hell else. Last night, Fisher was King. I had to grin and bear it, sitting at a bar staring stupidly at the oversized flatscreen too shocked to drink my beer as Fisher scored that 3 to tie it up at 87, and Gasol DUNKed (that brace faced son of a…), and the crowd around me erupted into a grab bag of delighted screams and cheers, and belligerent drink induced boos. I weakly picked up my phone post game and tapped my Twitterfon app only to be informed by The_Real_Shaq that the winner of Game 4 has won the finals the last 9 of 11 times. So where do we go from here? ORL will no doubt regroup for Sunday night and come back with a vengeance, but so will LAL…they’ll be going into Game 5 with a 2 game advantage and the knowledge that they could close it out tonight. We’ll have to wait and see. Regardless, I’ll be back at a bar drinking $3 pitchers, watching the game, and cheering for Magic.