Should NBA Put Games On Digital Platform?

David Stern heads into his final season as NBA Commissioner this season and there are many decisions and moves he made that can be legitimately criticized. However, it is difficult to conceive that anybody could have marketed and help grow the Association better than he has during his tenure. His dream was to take a sport that had their Championship Tournament, broadcast on a four-hour tape-delay basis by CBS, into a game embraced by the planet and he has seen his dream turn into reality. Children on the other side of the globe, sport Kevin Durant and LeBron James jerseys amazing American tourists.

One of the Associations broadcasting partners told reporters earlier this week that they were planning on going full-bore to retain their broadcasting rights. “Sports Business Daily” reported that ESPN president John Skipper said that the network would pull out all the stops to sign a new contract with the NBA when the current deal expires after the 2015-2016 campaign. Skipper said that the Association is a “critical product” for the network and told media members “There are plenty of live sports rights, but the ones that make a difference are scarce.”

The network president was asked about the possibility that the Association could ink a deal with a major website to broadcast games only on the Internet in the next round of negotiations. Skipper did not give the concept much credence as he said “It is incomprehensible to me that the NBA would decide to put their games on a digital platform, and that sports fans are going to make a transformation, saying, ‘I’m going to go to Yahoo to watch my games tonight.’ I don’t think that’s going to happen. I don’t think they have any way to monetize those rights in the same way that traditional (networks can).”

It was not all that long ago that the NBA relegating Playoff contests to cable networks was looked at as madness, however the system has done very well since 2002 with most of the games on ESPN or TNT. Yet I recall quite clearly talking to Orlando Magic Senior Vice President Pat Williams after the deal was announced and I asked him if it was a step-back for the NBA. Williams correctly predicted that it would be a successful marriage and the Association would prove to be quite pleased with the results.

The NBA proved to be ahead of the curve moving their games to cable, could a website possibly NBA.com be in the mix with the next round of negotiations? Internet penetration in this country and around the world is growing at an astronomical rate, by the Summer of 2016 it will only be more prevalent. Could the Internet be a successful venue for the game and help propel it to a new level? Broadcast on your laptop in HD quality, plus with more and more “Smart TV’s” in families homes, you will most likely be able to enjoy the game on your big screen in the family room.

That day is coming; the only question is will the technology and the acceptance be there for the next round of negotiations. I would not be surprised to see the Internet, get at least a taste in next contract as the Association keeps trying to expand their fan base.

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Lin Tells Taiwan Youth Conference “I Even Cried Before A Game” Last Season

Heading into last summer, life was just a bowl of cherries for Free Agent guard Jeremy Lin after signing a three-year deal with the Houston Rockets, however by last December the young man who took the Association by storm the season before, was looking at nothing but pits. Lin became the feel-good story of the 2011-2012 campaign as the 12th man on the New York Knicks roster was inserted into a contest against the New Jersey Nets as a desperation move and scored a career high 25 points and helped New York win the game 99-92.head coach Mike D’Antoni inserted him as the starting point guard in the next game as the hosted the Utah Jazz and the former Harvard player responded by scoring a new career high 28 points as the Knicks topped their visitors 99-88.

New York would go onto win seven straight games and the legend of “Linsanity” was born, a true underdog who suddenly was playing like a seasoned All-Star. The first American born player of Chinese descent to play in the NBA was not selected in the NBA Draft, instead he entered as a walk-on player and had been previously waived by two other teams earlier in the season. The second-year player found his image on the cover of Time Magazine and being discussed by President Barack Obama.

Lin’s season ended early as he underwent surgery to repair a torn left meniscus in April. Although the Knicks appeared as if they would keep the restricted Free Agent early on, they instead turned their sights on former New York starter Raymond Felton. Lin caught the Houston Rockets’ attention, a team that had cut him previously and inked a three-year pact reportedly worth $25.1 million over the life of the deal. Having the guard who showed he could take over a contest at anytime with the Knicks, leading their roster heading into last October pumped up fans throughout the city.

The player who appeared to be ready to challenge players such as Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook to become one of the elite points in the NBA, never was on the court during the past campaign. Although Lin ended with respectable number for a starting point guard; averaging 13.4 points and 6.1 assists per contest, he fell way short of the standards he had set for the Knicks. His season started out tough as he and James Harden who was traded to Houston from the Oklahoma City Thunder, learned to play as a duo. His saw time on the hardwood diminished, being subbed for in games most critical moments. He felt he had lost his coaches confidence and he could soon be relegated to the pine once again.

Lin revealed his inner-thoughts recently according to “Sports Illustrated” at a Taiwan Youth Conference about what he considered a very disappointing campaign and the emotional toll it took on him. The guard heading into his fourth NBA season and second with Houston, told the attendees that comparing his numbers and his presence on the court to his time with New York effected his eating and sleeping habits, even bringing him to tears at one point.

He told the crowd “I felt like I had to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. That’s why I couldn’t eat or sleep. That’s why I was no fun to be around. I never smiled. In fact, I even cried before a game against the New Orleans Hornets because I was so anxious about losing my starting spot.”

He said that the way he got out of his funk, was his decision to no longer base his self-worth on what he does on the floor or how fans perceive him. He inferred that he was pressing last season and that is .why his numbers had gone down, by playing more loosey-goosey he will enjoy himself far more on the court and hopefully improve his game

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Sixers Name Spurs Assistant Brett Brown New Bench Boss

The San Antonio Spurs have provided the blueprint for teams in the Association to build a roster “naturally,” as opposed to trying to buy an NBA Title as the Miami Heat has done and the Brooklyn Nets are attempting to do this year. The Spurs have assembled their squad mostly through the NBA Draft, with an occasional trade or Free Agent acquisition, to fill a need. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies are two clubs that have come a long way in a short time following that blueprint; while there are other franchises that have gone that rout and are close to becoming contenders.

The team from San Antonio has not only influenced other clubs putting together rosters, they have exported former employees to bigger positions on new squads, usually successfully. Former disciples of Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich include Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry and recently re-hired Cleveland Cavaliers bench boss Mike Brown. Last month Ferry brought in another former member of the San Antonio management, hiring Mike Budenholzer to be the new head coach in Atlanta.

Yet another Spurs assistant will take over leading a team on the floor, as “Philly.com” has reported that the Philadelphia 76ers have come to terms with Brett Brown, for what is said to be four-year-pact. He replaces former Sixers head coach Doug Collins who was fired after the completion of the regular season. Brown had been a member of the Spurs coaching staff since 2002 and was on the bench as an assistant since the 2006-2007 campaign. The brain-trust in Philadelphia, hopes that the 52-year-old rookie head coach can be a good teacher for the young players on the squad, notably big man Nerlens Noel and point guard Michael Carter-Williams, both selected by the Sixers in the first round of the NBA Draft in June.

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Yo Shabazz, You Got To Follow The Rules In The NBA

Once again it is time for Your Old Pal New York Vinnie, to talk about the newest “FRICKIN PUD” in the NBA Shabazz Muhammad, the guard that the Minnesota Timberwolves selected with the number 14 pick in the draft this past June. The rookie finds himself in a kettle of boiling water, after being sent home after violating the rules of the NBA Rookie Transition Program earlier this week. According to “USA Today Sports,” the NBA busted Muhammad after sneaking a girl into his room on Tuesday night, which is not permitted during the event. Rookies had all the rules explained to them, just a few hours before Shabazz decided to play by his own rules.

If all this sounds vaguely familiar to you, you probably recall when “BUZZ-BOY Beasley” also known as the second pick in the 2008 draft, forward Michael Beasley got in trouble. “BUZZ-BOY” got in Dutch when he pulled out the weed and started toking during his time in the program, earning the ire of “The Great And Powerful Stern” and having to attend the program once again the following season. Beasley’s career has never quite recovered from the dim-wit move and the promise he showed before he was drafted has been lacking in his career, if you catch New York Vinnie’s drift.

Now in the big scheme of things, you are thinking that sneaking a girl into your room during this event is pretty harmless and New York Vinnie would not disagree with you. Except for the fact that “MY MAN” Shabazz broke the “FRICKIN RULES,” regardless if they were fair or not. You are working for the NBA Shabazz and you just made a lousy first impression to your new bosses.

Speaking of “FRICKIN PUDS,” one moron who loves controversy is Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes. Even though he is not on the same team as Muhammad, Barnes stuck-up for the rookie on his Twitter Account. For some unknown reason the veteran ripped the NBA and said that the rookie had every right to have that woman in his room. Barnes has to know that a fine from the NBA will soon be levied against him and New York Vinnie believes this half-wit deserves it for sticking his nose where it does not belong. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you; especially when it is none of your “FRICKIN BUSINESS.”

Yo Barnes, you are correct Shabazz will enter the NBA with a bad rap, but he only has himself to blame. If he couldn’t do without a little “Scratch and Tickle” for a few days, how is he going to keep up his focus to become a success in the NBA? Shabazz, take some advice from Your Old Pal New York Vinnie, apologize and be a Boy Scout in the upcoming season; it will pay off for you later on!

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The Oden Comeback, Heading To South Beach

The most accurate description of Greg Oden’s career in the Association at this juncture, may be best summed up by the “Grateful Dead,” when they sang years ago “What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been.” Selected with the first pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers the center spent most of his time with the franchise on the sidelines as his body rebelled against him. The former Ohio State big man’s knees could not withstand the wear and tear of the NBA schedule, forcing him to undergo micro-fracture surgery on both, a total of three operations in all. Oden played in just 82-games for Portland, before they released him last summer.

The center could have collected his money and gone onto the next stage of his life, most likely financially secure enough to do what ever he chose for the rest of his days. Despite the surgeries, all the pain he had gone through and realizing what would lie ahead for him, a fire still burned within the center that would not allow him to walk away quietly into the night.

Oden stayed away from the Association this past season and dedicated the year to getting his body back into shape for him to attempt a comeback starting this October. According to numerous reports, the big man has lost considerable weight and is in the best shape since his high school days. He started have negotiations with interested teams during the last part of this past campaign, however he decided to suspend his talks until the summer. Proving once again the old adage “You can’t coach big,” several teams expressed interest in the former number one pick.

The “Sun Sentinel” reported that after an extensive courting process, Oden decided to take his talents to South Beach for at least the next two seasons, choosing to stage his comeback attempt with defending NBA Champions the Miami Heat. The paper reports the deal is for two-seasons at the NBA veteran’s minimum, paying the pivot man $1 million in the upcoming campaign and $1.1 million in the following year. There is also a player only option for a third-year.

The big man could have earned more money with other franchises, as published reports state that the New Orleans Pelicans offered him a pact that would have paid him $3 million per season. However, signing with Miami gives Oden the best chance of winning his first NBA Title, while also starting with the club as a complimentary player, putting far less pressure on him. If he can consistently play at the level he did in his last attempt with the Blazers, he would be an asset in the team’s battle to win a third straight NBA Finals.

Although it is a positive sign that the big man has made it this far in his attempt to get back on the floor in the Association, it will be far from smooth sailing for Oden to show that he still belongs on the hardwood. Will the surgeries, the hard-work and the time away from the Association allow him to salvage his NBA career? The book is still open on that, but the first chapter will begin in about two-months.

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Former Cavaliers Star Craig Ehlo Arrested On Multiple Charges

The name Craig Ehlo is still well-known in Cleveland, if for nothing more than allowing former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan to score “THE SHOT” against the Cleveland Cavaliers, knocking the Cavaliers out of the first round of the 1989 NBA Playoffs, when they expected to go deep into the Post Season. That started a precedent for both teams, as the Bulls won a boat-load of Larry O’Brien Trophies, while Cleveland never made it past the Eastern Conference Finals. Despite being posterized by Jordan, Ehlo was a productive player for Cleveland, playing for the squad from 1986-1993. He would end up playing 14-seasons in the Association with four-different clubs.

The former swing-player’s name has not been mentioned prominently in the news for a while, however he made headlines on Thursday morning, after being arrested outside his home near Spokane, Washington. “The Spokesman-Review” reported that Ehlo was arrested and booked on two separate charges, domestic violence and first-degree reckless burning, which is a Felony in the state.

According to the paper, Ehlo and his wife were involved in a domestic dispute at home on Wednesday night and carried into Thursday morning. After the fight was over family members told deputies on the scene, heard unfamiliar sounds emanating near the garage. When they went out to investigate the source of the noise, they discovered that Ehlo had pulled a big pile of clothes out of the garage and had set them on fire.

When the deputies arrived on the scene, two men had pinned the former NBA player to the ground, they told the law-enforcement officials that they kept him on the ground fearing Ehlo was going to jump into the blaze.

The 51-year-old had been an assistant-coach at Eastern Washington University, the past two seasons, but resigned his post on July 11. There has been no public speculation if the two events have any connection.

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AK-47 Says Nets Are “The Best Option Possible”

Is there anything more frustrating in life, then when you do something for all the right reasons and them some “FRICKIN PUD” questions your motives? As far as Your Old Pal New York Vinnie is concerned, there are not too many things that make my blood boil quicker than that. However New York Vinnie has been around long enough to realize that what ever you do, there is going to be some nit-wit out there that will question your motives. That is most likely, because those “PUDS” have never done a thing to help anybody but themselves.

New York Vinnie has always been competitive and I admire that quality in others, but there are times you have to step back from the situation and question what makes the most sense in the grand scheme of things. The older you get, the more you realize that the big picture matters a lot more than individual glory, or at least it should if you catch New York Vinnie’s Drift.

The career of an NBA player goes by in a heart-beat, one second you are that fresh-faced rookie and the next you are a grizzled veteran. It has to be mind-blowing for these guys to start the second half of their life in their mid-thirties, for those who invested the right way, they can just kick back for the rest of their life.

When a guy is 19-22-years-old, he is filled with hope and optimism and thinks he can take on the world. However when a basketball player reaches his early thirties, he knows his time is running out before he has to hang up his high-tops for good. Everybody loves money, but it won’t buy you an NBA Championship ring; unless you get it at a Pawn Store. Continue reading

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Simply Despicable, Rockets Terrence Jones Busted For Harassing Homeless Man

NBA observers are well aware that summer does not officially arrive until a player is in an incident, that brings shame to him, his team and the Association. Summer this year arrived on the last day of July, as the “Houston Chronicle” has reported that Rockets forward Terrence Jones was arrested early Wednesday morning in Portland, Oregon charged with harassing a homeless man. According to a spokesperson for the Portland police department, the former Kentucky player saw two homeless men sleeping in a doorway, shouted “Wake Up,” then stomped on one of the men’s legs.

Jones was arrested at about 2:00 am PDT and charged with harassment, which is a “Class B” misdemeanor, then released without posting bail about four hours later. The player heading into his second NBA campaign, will be in court next Tuesday to face the charges lodged against him. The victim 46-year-old Daniel John Lellerher, was bruised but did not need medical attention at the time of the arrest.

Regular readers of this page are well aware that I believe, if you allow your child to have a pro-athlete as their role-model, than you are a lousy parent. This cold and callous behavior that Jones displayed on Wednesday, is just the latest example of these young men feeling they have a sense of entitlement. That their athletic talent puts them above the laws that we mere mortals live by. Enabled by the system and by society, to believe that they can do what ever they please without ever facing ramifications.

How low does one truly have to be to literally kick someone when they are at their lowest point? Did Terrence Jones feel more like a man after committing the act? Does he have any idea how blessed he is to have the skills that he has and should be set for life financially because of them? What will be his next act, stealing candy from an infant, or pulling the wings off of flies?

This is the last season that David Stern will be the NBA Commissioner and I hope he sets a strong precedent when it comes to disciplining the Rockets forward. Although, I would like to see Jones suspended for next season, Stern has to punish the big man strongly enough, that it will send a message to all other players that the Association will not tolerate such despicable behavior from their players.

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A Trade Of Two Brandons, Bucks Send Jennings To Pistons For Knight

The “Detroit Free-Press,” reported late Tuesday night that the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons are nearing completion on a deal that will send Brandon Jennings to the “Motor City,” in return for Pistons starting point guard Brandon Knight and two big men entering their second season in the Association. According to the paper’s sources, Milwaukee will sign their restricted Free Agent to a multi-year pact and then send him to Detroit in exchange for Knight, small forward Khris Middleton and center Slava Kravtsov.

Jennings came to national attention when he decided to play in Italy after high-school rather than spending the year in the NCAA. He was selected by Milwaukee with the tenth pick of the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft. Milwaukee had made an offer to their guard before this past season, rejected by the player and his agent.

The Pistons brain-trust are hoping that Jennings along with small forward Josh Smith, who they signed earlier in the month will help the franchise accelerate their growth-curve, along with their promising big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Jennings will also be able to learn from two of the best point-guards in the history of the Association, in teammate Chauncey Billups as well as new Detroit bench boss Maurice Cheeks.

Knight, who has shown talent as he enters his third NBA campaign will most likely team-up with Milwaukee’s Free Agent acquisition O.J. Mayo, as the starting back-court for the rebuilding Bucks. The squad also will have a new head coach as Larry Drew will run the team on the floor after being dismissed by the Atlanta Hawks.

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Rockets Hope For Boost As Camby Heads Back To Houston

Mission Control in Houston has been a hub of activity, so far this summer. Although NASA remains in a state of suspended animation, there will be a rocket taking flight in October and they added some booster-fuel for their trip on Sunday. The “Houston Chronicle” has reported that veteran Free Agent big man Marcus Camby, will be back with the Rockets, a year after the team sent him to the New York Knicks in a sign-and-trade deal.

Camby became a Free Agent earlier this month after he was sent to the Toronto Raptors, in a trade that put Andrea Bargnani in a Knicks uniform. The Raptors then bought out the rest of Camby’s contract, allowing the veteran to sign on with another club. The big man played 19 games for Houston in the 2011-2012 campaign, after being traded to the team from the Portland Trail Blazers. He started 13 games that season, however he will be coming off the bench in the upcoming campaign, as the Rockets signed All-Star center Dwight Howard to a long-term pact.

Although injury limited his time on the floor for the Knicks, the 17-year veteran can still be an effective weapon off the bench, both offensively and defensively. He will also bring leadership into the clubhouse, as the Rockets hope to go all the way to the NBA Finals next season.

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