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ABADays
04-10-2005, 10:57 AM
Just ran out to get breakfast and had FSN on the radio. Chad (somebody) - the voice of the Timberwolves said he would take Shaq as league MVP and Carlisle as Coach of the Year.

Unclebuck
04-10-2005, 11:14 AM
http://www.newsday.com/sports/printedition/ny-spbark104212556apr10,0,3003318.story?coll=ny-sports-print



Coach keeps Pacers in fight

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Barabara Barker

April 10, 2005


With the recent high rate of turnover in the NBA coaching ranks, almost anyone who has managed to hang on from the start of the season merits consideration for Coach of the Year.

With so many young players and so many impatient owners, coaching in the league has never been so challenging. And no one has had a more challenging job than Indiana coach Rick Carlisle.

Yes, it's true there's a large group of coaches out there who merit serious consideration: Phoenix's Mike D'Antoni, Miami's Stan Van Gundy, Chicago's Scott Skiles, Washington's Eddie Jordan and even Denver's George Karl, who has been with his team for only two months.

All have their teams playing better than anyone thought they would.

None of them, however, has done it under conditions as harsh as Carlisle's.

Thanks to the brawl against the Pistons and the fans in Auburn Hills along with injuries, the Pacers have had to play without their best player, Jermaine O'Neal, for half the season, without All-Star Ron Artest for virtually the entire season, and without Stephen Jackson, their third-leading scorer, for 31 games.

There also have been injuries to other top players, including Jamaal Tinsley and Reggie Miller.

All told, the Pacers have had 28 different starting lineups and 17 different starters. And somehow they not only are going to the playoffs but still have an outside shot of nabbing homecourt advantage.

"If you got great players, it's easy to win. If you take away those great players, it's got to be the coach," O'Neal said last week. "I mean, tell me, with all the stuff that's happened, what are we doing in sixth place? Rick Carlisle has to be the Coach of the Year. Take away the top three players on any of those other teams and ask me if they'd be in position to compete."

Maybe some voters will hold the fact that his team got out of hand in Auburn Hills against Carlisle. Others might not vote for him because he's not always the most personable guy. (If personality were a standard, however, Skiles wouldn't be anywhere on the list.) Carlisle deserves this one.



Turmoil in Cleveland

Those close to LeBron James are beginning to hint that the superstar is getting fed up with the situation in Cleveland.

"If Cleveland wants to win championships, they had better get this thing stable and get it done quick," Dru Joyce II, LeBron's high school coach, told the Akron Beacon Journal on Friday. "Who am I to say anything? I'm just a high school coach. But I know LeBron and I know what motivates him."

The Cavaliers are in serious danger of falling out of playoff contention, and that has to be frustrating to James, who was having an MVP-caliber year. The midseason change of ownership has thrust the franchise into turmoil. Coach Paul Silas has been fired and general manager Jim Paxson is rumored to be next. And interim coach Brendan Malone is struggling to keep the lid on a team that realizes that owner Dan Gilbert, not the coaching staff, is calling the shots.

None of this is setting well with James, who will be a free agent after two more seasons. "We lost our coach, we get new players, we get new ownership and now Pax might be getting fired," a fired-up James said after a 21-point loss to the Pacers on Wednesday. "I've got to stay positive, but we are headed in the wrong direction right now."



Around the league

Having won just nine games since taking over for Rudy Tomjanovich in January, the Lakers' Frank Hamblen said he hasn't given any consideration to holding the job past this season. "Mothers, don't let your sons grow up to be interim coaches," Hamblen said . . . There's always a danger in planning for the future if things get too ugly in the present. Just ask Rob Babcock, who sent Vince Carter to the Nets for draft picks. Babcock, according to several newspaper reports, likely will be fired at the end of this season, his first as general manager.

Unclebuck
04-10-2005, 11:17 AM
http://www.boston.com/sports/articles/2005/04/10/bird_hasnt_lost_his_fight/

BASKETBALL NOTES
Bird hasn't lost his fight
By Peter May | April 10, 2005

For the Indiana Pacers, the 2004-05 season will be remembered as their annus horribilis. It began with legitimate championship aspirations. One ugly, ugly night in Auburn Hills, Mich. -- the Pacers' 15 minutes of infamy -- changed everything.

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Now the team is playing surprisingly well given all that has transpired. It will make the playoffs. It may even win a round. But it's still not the same, and hasn't been since Nov. 19. And the team's president of basketball operations just shakes his head about how it all came down so hard and so fast.

"It's been tough," Larry Bird said. "I've never been in a situation where I'm going to win 40 games. There's a lot of pressure put on this franchise. It was like we took the brunt of everything that happened. Our players went into the stands. They should never do that. They did it. But it seems like everything was thrown on us. It's hurt our franchise. It's something that's going to be hard to overcome. In time, hopefully, it will heal."

It hurt the franchise. It eviscerated a season. Ron Artest played seven games and commissioner David Stern never wavered from the season-long suspension he handed down for the volatile forward, despite several pleas from the Pacers. (You might have thought Bird would have taken Stern aside and said, `Look, buddy, I saved your league when nobody was watching your precious NBA Finals. How about some giveback?") Jermaine O'Neal got his suspension reduced, then hurt his right shoulder. He has appeared in 41 games. Stephen Jackson missed 30 games because of a suspension. Jamaal Tinsley might as well have fought somebody that night; he has missed half the season with a bad left foot.

But it's the insinuation that the Pacers were to blame, because of what they did and how they were punished, that eats at Bird. It was the Pacers' players who were suspended. It was the Pacers' good name that took a hit. The Pistons took . . . what?

"It's like it happened here," Bird said, referring to Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. "It didn't happen here."

No, it didn't. That eats at Bird as well. Here was a team in a visiting arena, a hostile visiting arena, winning easily, when all you-know-what broke loose. Bird was watching at home on television and he said his first (printable) thoughts were, "Oh, my God." But he also recalled an event in his own life that spoke to the chaos that went on that Friday night in suburban Detroit.

It was the 1977 World University Games and Bird, a member of the United States team coached by Denny Crum, was playing in Sofia, Bulgaria, which is not to be confused with Auburn Hills. At one point in a game against Cuba, Crum was calling for a foul from the bench. So a member of the Cuban team slapped him. Continued...

All of a sudden," Bird said, "a brawl broke out. They were throwing bottles. James Bailey got cut on his arm and he was out the rest of the tournament. It was a brawl and when that stuff happens, you don't know what's happening. You're looking for safety. You can't get out. I've been in one. I know you don't think right. You're concerned you're going to get hurt. You're on the road, you never know what's going to happen."

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Bulgarian police had to step in to stop the fracas. The US won the game handily, and took the gold medal as well.

Bird said he was hopeful that Stern would reduce Artest's suspension sometime after the trading deadline. But Bird said after his last trip to New York, he quickly discovered that was a non-starter.

"We went up and talked," he said, "but when I got there, after five minutes, I knew it wasn't going to happen. Every time we brought up a point in favor of Ronnie, he'd turn it around and come up with something else. And everything he said was true. It was one of the worst incidents in the history of the NBA. But I still thought there was a chance."

Bird recalled the Board of Governors meeting in October, before the start of the season. At the end, Bird said, "When nobody else was paying attention, I remember the commissioner saying that he was going to start coming down harder on these players. He wants them to be professionals. I remember telling Donnie [Walsh, the Pacers' president] on the way back, `The commissioner is going to be tough on these guys.' And he should be. He's tired of the guys not putting their shirt tails in. He's tired of them laying on the floor. He's tired of them not standing right for the national anthem. And I'm for all that. You know me."

He paused, then added, "Then this thing happened. And wow."

And a promising season went down the tubes.


First impression is he's not a sixth

The Sixth Man Award will be mightily contested, with the Celtics' Ricky Davis one of the leading candidates. But the more I watch the Celtics, the more I have trouble with Davis as a sixth man.

He really isn't. He's a starter who comes off the bench and plays starters' minutes and is put in starters' situations. Look at the minutes played. Davis plays nearly 33 a game, which would lead the Grizzlies. As it is, only Paul Pierce has played more total minutes than Davis on the Celtics, and Davis basically is even with Gary Payton for second in minutes per game (third, if you count Antoine Walker). Continued...


You can count Larry Bird as a fan of the 20-year age limit for rookies, but he wonders if the plan to send young players to the NBDL for seasoning and minutes will work. "I like the idea of a [developmental] league," Bird said. "But it's going to be a battle with the agents. It's a good idea to send a young guy down there just to get some experience, just a few games. I'm not talking a whole season. I think it would help. It's going to be tough to do it. Who's gonna coach it? If you send a kid down there, you want him to get so many minutes. If you're with another team, they want the same thing. You end up having two players take all the shots. It'll be tough. It would be nice to have it. I could send Jonathan Bender down there. Al Harrington. Jeff Foster, just for a short period of time and let 'em play." Bender, by the way, has played seven games this season.

Vintage Larry doll is a collectible

By the way, if you missed your first chance to get a Bird bobblehead (with him wearing his Springs Valley High School uniform) there are still some left. If you're interested, call Springs Valley athletic director Butch Emmons at 812-936-9984 or write to him at 326 S. Larry Bird Blvd. (honest), French Lick, Ind., 47432.

Brown resigned to the situation?

Detroit coach Larry Brown is sounding more and more as if he's going to extricate himself from the Pistons at season's end. Then again, maybe it was just Larry being Larry. Brown, as we've come to expect, generally doesn't mince words. On his radio show last Tuesday, he tore into Pistons youngsters Darko Milicic and Carlos Delfino after a lackluster performance against the Raptors. "There have been a lot of situations when I don't think these young kids have come off the bench with a desire to play," he said. "What if Ben [Wallace] or Antonio McDyess or somebody is in there because these young kids didn't feel like playing, and, God forbid, they get hurt? The one thing is, you are a part of a team and you do what you're told. I didn't like the way they played and I didn't like the fact that they didn't try." If Milicic, the No. 2 pick in the 2003 draft, has made any real progress in Year 2, only the Pistons know. It hasn't translated to minutes or productivity. "Darko is a young kid that just doesn't get it," Brown said. "He wants to play, but he wants to play on his own terms. He sees all the other kids from his draft class playing on bad teams and it's tough for him. If he'd played last year, and we lost, he'd been much happier." Think Darko won't drive Brown to the airport? As for the Pistons, they've been in a bit of a funk, which is traceable to (a) Brown's health issues, resulting in assistant Gar Heard coaching; (b) an injury to Rip Hamilton, and (c) the fact that they are locked into the No. 2 spot and have little incentive to finish strong or hard.

This may not be a save situation

Phil Jackson created a bit of stir Thursday when he attended the Lakers-Rockets game, sitting in owner Jerry Buss's luxury box. It was said to be the first live Lakers game Jackson has seen since Game 5 of the 2004 Finals. Afterward, his beleaguered assistant/successor, Frank Hamblen, was asked about Jackson returning to the Lakers. "Phil's been a great closer his whole career," Hamblen said. "I don't know if he'd be a fixer-upper." And the Lakers, as we've seen, need some serious fixin'-uppin'.

Material from personal interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sour

ABADays
04-10-2005, 11:21 AM
Yeah - LeBron and his mates looked really frustrated on the bench at the Pacer game.

Unclebuck
04-10-2005, 11:22 AM
Most of this article is worthless, but there is a little blurp about Stern not attending Reggie's final game in NY



http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/story/298322p-255451c.html


Air without a throne

There are 400 million reasons why Michael Jordan is...








Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan continues to dream of becoming an NBA owner but is starting to wonder if it will ever happen.
With NBA teams topping the $400-million mark these days, and the worst franchises expected to fetch at least $250 million in the future, Jordan's business gurus have complained to league suits in recent weeks that franchises are way out of his price range.

"We're getting priced out of the game," one of Jordan's cronies whined to a league official. "We can't come up with the numbers these teams want."

The Cavaliers were sold earlier this season to Michigan businessman Dan Gilbert for $374 million, a figure that stunned Wall Street and was cause for celebration in David Stern's executive suite.

Miami owner Micky Arison has told confidants that he would sell the Heat today if he is assured of walking away with at least $400 million. But that price is considered a long-shot given the sizable debt for the American Airlines Arena.

One team Jordan probably could afford is the Bucks, but he tried to purchase them a few years ago and couldn't close the deal with Herb Kohl. Jordan wanted to move the team and Kohl, up for re-election to the U.S. Senate at the time, couldn't afford to have his Wisconsin constituency turn against him.

According to league sources, Kohl still wants to sell the team but has placed too many conditions on the sale. Kohl is demanding that the buyer be from Milwaukee and that he or she agree to keep the team in Milwaukee, one of the league's smallest markets. Also, the new owner has to promise that he will not squeeze the city for a new arena.

"Unless he changes those conditions," said one source, referring to Kohl, "he's not going to be able to sell."

Orlando's owner, Rich DeVos, would like to sell the Magic, and cash in the way that Phoenix's owners did when the Suns were sold for a league-record $401 million last year. But he still has been been persuaded by his children to keep the team. So while he tries to get the kids on board, DeVos is trying to figure out a way to get a new building in Orlando and have someone else (read: taxpayers) pay for it.

Jordan, who was in New York earlier this week after taking in North Carolina's NCAA championship victory in St. Louis, is avoiding the Hornets. New Orleans has turned out to be a terrible location for an NBA team. The Hornets have the worst record in the West, the second-worst attendance in the league (14,107 per game), play at a dump of an arena, and there's no corporate base in New Orleans to help get that franchise turned around.

"The only place to move (the Hornets) is to Vegas," a source said. "But Stern still won't allow it."

The commissioner still has issues with putting a team in the gambling capital, making Anaheim's Pond the only other desirable locale for Hornets. But the Lakers and Clippers continue to be steadfast in their opposition to having a third team located so close to L.A.

Stern wants Jordan to become an owner, but he is most concerned with his franchises going for top dollar, regardless of the buyer. If that means Jordan doesn't realize his dream, so be it.

So for now, Jordan remains on the outside of the owners' suite looking in.

Sichting and destroy?

If he is allowed to return as Minnesota VP, Kevin McHale wants to elevate assistant Jerry Sichting to the Timberwolves' head coaching position, sources close to McHale report. But McHale and his coaches know the score. If they don't make the playoffs, they believe that owner Glen Taylor is going to clean house. Sichting is an interesting choice, given that he has no head coaching experience and is not at the top of Kevin Garnett's wish list. Then again, no one on the bench is.

The Lakers were officially eliminated from the playoff race, former coach Rudy Tomjanovich was scouting for L.A., at this week's Portsmouth camp. He plans to stay on with the team as a consultant. Campers who raised their stock included Cincinnati forward Jason Maxiell and North Carolina's duo of Jawad Williams and Jackie Manuel. Manuel, Carolina's defensive ace, showed previously unseen offensive skills.

Phil Jackson didn't look like he was having the time of his life when he watched the Lakers in person this past week, did he? Jackson also talked biz with his agent, Todd Musburger, but it's no certainty that either came up with the right job for next season.

Slam Dunks


David Stern didn't attend Reggie Miller's final game at the Garden, but it had nothing to do with Reggie's recent criticism of the commish for how he hammered the Pacers with record suspensions after the auburn hills riot. Stern's handlers were quick to note that he plans on attending one of Miller's playoff games.

Steroid policy correction: NBA players testing positive for steroids a third time are suspended for 25 games without pay, not 15. Additionally, a player will be dismissed and disqualified from the NBA if he is convicted of, or pleads guilty, no contest or nolo contendre to a crime involving the use or possession of steroids.

The Cavs have been in free-fall since they were 30-20 on Feb. 16, losing 16 of their last 24 games entering the weekend. New owner Dan Gilbert is showing zero patience and GM Jim Paxson is expected to get fired after the season, even if the Cavs manage to hang on for a playoff berth. Toronto's Rob Babcock also isn't long for his GM job. The Cavs and Raptors are sure to look at Joe Dumars' top lieutenant, Detroit's highly regarded VP, John Hammond. The Raptors had a chance to hire Hammond last year but failed to make a serious offer.

The Naismith Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., has always been a joke, compared to Cooperstown and Canton, and it lived up to its rinky-dink reputation when no NBA players were chosen for induction this coming fall. The NBA deserves a first-rate hall of fame where it is in total control of the operation and where only its players, coaches and contributors are eligible for enshrinement. It's time for Stern to leave the bush leagues and build a hall of fame here in New York.

Unclebuck
04-10-2005, 11:47 AM
http://www.boston.com/sports/articles/2005/04/10/bird_hasnt_lost_his_fight/



But it's the insinuation that the Pacers were to blame, because of what they did and how they were punished, that eats at Bird. It was the Pacers' players who were suspended. It was the Pacers' good name that took a hit. The Pistons took . . . what?

"It's like it happened here," Bird said, referring to Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. "It didn't happen here."

No, it didn't. That eats at Bird as well. Here was a team in a visiting arena, a hostile visiting arena, winning easily, when all you-know-what broke loose. Bird was watching at home on television and he said his first (printable) thoughts were, "Oh, my God." But he also recalled an event in his own life that spoke to the chaos that went on that Friday night in suburban Detroit.





Exactly right

shags
04-10-2005, 11:57 AM
Exactly right

I figured that article would rile Pacer fans up.

I've said this before, but it's worth repeating, I think. Stern's two biggest mistakes in this incident were:

1. Not punishing the Pistons at all ($5 million fine and no alcohol sold for Pacer-Pistons games this season at the Palace seems right to me).

2. After the arbitrator upheld most of Stern's suspensions (Pacer fans need to realize that if the arbitrator had reduced Artest's suspension, HE'D BE PLAYING NOW), Stern should have said "Artest is done for the season. No ifs, ands, or buts."

Anthem
04-10-2005, 12:50 PM
"I like the idea of a [developmental] league," Bird said. "But it's going to be a battle with the agents... It would be nice to have it. I could send Jonathan Bender down there.

Ouch. That's by far the meanest thing I've ever heard Pacer brass say about one of their own players.