Tag:New Orleans Hornets
Posted on: September 5, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2011 1:42 pm
 

Realigning the NBA

Posted by Royce Young



Conference realignment has sort of taken over the world the past few weeks. Texas A&M pretty much put the nail in the coffin for the Big 12 by bolting for the SEC and because of it, a whole new chain of events have tipped over. The landscape of college football could look a whole lot different in a few months. Or in a few weeks. Or even tomorrow.

But you know what else could use a little realigning? The NBA's divisions. They're kind of a mess. It's not going to be as a result of some $300 million network, recruiting ties or competitive advantages. Nope. For the NBA, it's more just about common sense. Geographically, the divisions are kind of a mess. In 2011 that's not as huge a deal as it was in 1981 because travel is much easier. You can go from Portland to Oklahoma City in just a few hours.

However, chartered travel is experience. Fuel is very pricey. And with the NBA and teams supposedly losing so much money, why not exhaust every option to cut costs and realign the divisions so they make a lot more sense? Why not group teams together that are hundreds, not thousands, of miles apart?

Plus, it just makes a lot more sense to have structured regions. Grouping teams together based on geography does more to forge rivalries, gives fans a chance to commute between games if the want to and gives the players less travel and more days of rest. All good, right?

So if you're going to spend all this time restructuring a new collective bargaining agreement, why not fix the divisions too? Here's how they should look:

WESTERN CONFERENCE

SOUTHWEST
Dallas
San Antonio
Houston
Phoenix
Oklahoma City

The NBA's new Southwest division is the American League East, the SEC West, of the league. It's a group of five teams that are all pretty good. Things change though and in 15 years, this could be the weakest division in the league. But for now, it'd be pretty good.

And it just makes sense. Dallas and Oklahoma City are about three hours via car away from each other. San Antonio, Dallas and Houston are in the same state. And OKC and the Texas teams and Phoenix just have one state separating them, which is a whole lot better than five.

MIDWEST
Memphis
Minnesota
Denver
Utah
Milwaukee

Clearly the division that needed the biggest overhaul is the Northwest, mainly because of the Sonics transformation into the Oklahoma City Thunder. When the team was in Seattle, the division made a lot more sense. Now it doesn't. That's why a midwestern division with makes a lot more sense.

That creates somewhat of a problem in the Northwest though. There's not a great fit. So for the sake of the argument, the Northwest has to make the Big 12 and peace out. No more Northwest, but instead the new Midwest.

The new Midwest is still a bit spread out, but all the teams are at least located somewhat centrally in the country. A trip from Utah to Milwaukee won't be quick, but the Jazz, Nuggets and Timerwolves have been oddballs in the Northwest. It's not an ideal division with teams right next door to each other, but it makes a lot more sense than the current setup.

PACIFIC
Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers
Sacramento
Golden State
Portland

Moving Phoenix away from the Lakers is a bummer, because those two teams are historical rivals that have always competed in the same division. But if A&M and Texas can separate, I think we can live with the Suns and Lakers moving apart.

The Pacific now features five teams that are actually next to the Pacific Ocean, which seems like it should count for something. Plus having the Blazers and Lakers together makes up for separating the Suns and Lakers.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

CENTRAL
Chicago
Detroit
Indiana
Cleveland
Toronto

Really, the new Central was the inspiration for this. Why aren't the Raptors in this division? Look at how close those teams are to each other. I think you could almost ride your bike between arenas. The old Central was really good too -- maybe better -- but the Bucks have to move. So it's the Raptors who replace them and the solid geographic setup remains.

ATLANTIC
Boston
New York
Philadelphia
Washington
New Jersey

Nothing too radical here. Five cities that you can transport between using a train. Old rivalries are preserved and the Wizards are added, which frankly, makes a lot of sense.

SOUTHEAST
Miami
Orlando
Atlanta
Charlotte
New Orleans

Two teams would swap conferences with the Bucks moving back to the West and the Hornets heading to the East. Not that this would upset the competitive balance of the league or anything, but it just makes a lot more sense for the Hornets to be placed in a division with Orlando, Charlotte, Atlanta and Miami.

And let me add this: If college football has no issue tossing tradition and historical rivalries out the window, why not just eliminate conferences all together? It would be a radical move, but what's the point of the East and West, other than just that's the structure of the playoffs? If it were one unified "super" conference, that would finally solve the issues of a 50-win Western team missing the postseason while a 37-win Eastern team slips into the eight-seed.

You could even just build the league into three 10-team divisions. Combine the Southwest and the Pacific, the Midwest and the Central, and the Atlantic and the Southeast. There are your super-divisions. Now you can keep teams playing more in their division than anything else and cut down on long road trips. It would make a West coast road trip for the Mavericks a whole heck of a lot more interesting.

Basically, we'd be looking at a league with three sub-conferences and once the playoffs started, seeding would just be based from that. Almost like the NCAA tournament, you could set two regions and seed from there. Head-to-head tiebreakers, division records and all that stuff would separate any identical records. Just an idea while we're brainstorming, you know?

(Note: I don't really love that idea, quite honestly. But I was just throwing it out there. One of those things that probably makes sense, but wouldn't ever happen. Much like Bill Simmons' terrific "Entertaining As Hell Tournament." Really, a unified conference makes it easier to implicate the tournament too.)

Let's face it: The West has kind of sort of dominated the past decade. Sports operate in cycles, but if there's a way to prevent that, should we? The West compiled a record of 2,257-1,643 against the East from 1999-2008 and over the last 13 seasons has represented 10 champions. That's pretty dominant. That'll change eventually, but what really is the point of the conferences, other than the standard, "that's just the way it's always been done" answer? 

All that is after the fact though: Divisional realignment is the start. Fixing the structure of the postseason would be the ideal next step. It's kind of like a plus-one for college football. Maybe a pipe dream, but something that's really in the best interest of the game. But if anything's to be done, it's to realign the divisions so they at least make a little more sense. Preserve rivalires, start new ones, save money, cut down on travel and hopefully, help the league grow a little bit more.

Picture via Jockpost
Posted on: August 18, 2011 3:22 pm
 

Carl Landry sees himself as a fit in Portland

Posted by Royce Young

In an interview with SLAM, power forward Carl Landry, most recently with the Hornets, said he saw himself as a good fit with the Trail Blazers. His reasoning? They need his size.

“I think I can fit in with Portland," he said. “They’re in need of a big post presence down low. I’m not taking anything away from (Greg) Oden and (Marcus) Camby. I just know what I can provide. The Blazers are a good team and I know I can help.

“I really like Portland,” said Landry.” I’m good friends with Greg Oden, and Wes Matthews is from Wisconsin like me. There are a lot of ties there and I have no doubt that I would blend in fine.”

A quick note to Carl Landry: LaMarcus Aldridge plays for the Blazers too. In fact, he's their best player. In fact, he's one of the league's best players. I'm sure it was an oversight but when you say the Blazers need size because all they have is Oden and Camby, you might not want to leave out that 6-11 power forward that probably should've been on the All-Star team. Just a heads up.

But the point I think Landry is trying to make is that the team needs frontcourt depth. Landry's a bruiser. He's a guy that plays physical post defense, rebounds and scores a lot cleaning up inside. He's not going to be a starter, but in terms of having him to foul players like Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol hard, he's your guy. 

And do I really have to point out that the Blazers need every body they can get? Oden's not a guarantee to be back with the team anyway, but health seems to always be an issue with the Blazers. Camby's like 56 years old to start with, so having a quality post player like Landry certainly would help. Even though his reasoning might not be correct since he forgot Aldridge, I think I have to agree with Landry. He'd be a fit with the Blazers. 

Because here's what Landry says he brings: “I have an engine that doesn’t come in every car. Its’ a special engine like turbo and that’s something a coach can’t teach.”

You hear that Unknown Blazers General Manager? Sign this guy up!

Posted on: August 18, 2011 12:57 pm
 

Stern says Hornets have potential local buyers

Posted by Royce Young

David Stern recently said that the league is open to looking at contraction. All at once, everyone pretty much said, "Uh oh, New Orleans."

But he made sure to note that the Hornets are actually doing well. Local sponsorships are looking up, ticket sales are solid and a new arena deal with the state could be in the works.

And even better news: Stern might finally be able to get the team off his hands. Via the Times-Picayune:
“We have four or possibly five buyers that engaged us about the purchase of the franchise to remain in Louisiana,” said Stern, who declined to identify them. “We have said that we’re happy to continue conversations, but we need to complete all of the things we’re working on and have a better idea on where the collective bargaining agreement is going to land.”
What makes that important is that while the Hornets may not actually be a prime candidate for contraction so much, they absolutely are in danger of relocating. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that there is a deal in place for the league to keep the team in New Orleans for three years, but once that time frame is up, transplanting the team wouldn't be too difficult.

At the same time, Stern could be rolling the dice with this lockout. For a lot of reasons, but one specifically with the team he owns. The Hornets are on thin ice and damaging fan support and local interest with an extended lockout would greatly hurt the team's chances of remaining in NOLA.

The league had to assume control of the team to trying and keep the value of it up. After George Shinn wanted out and with no local buyer anywhere to be found, the league purchased the team for something like $300 million. But if "four or five" local buyers are in play, that's nothing but great news for Hornets fans in New Orleans.
Posted on: August 17, 2011 8:34 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 10:47 pm
 

P. Diddy goes to UCLA with Davis, Love, Westbrook

Posted by Ben Golliverwestbrook-diddy

What's the only way to top having four NBA players, including two All-Stars, in your college class? By adding a hip hop mogul, of course.

On Wednesday, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Baron Davis and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love tweeted that hip hop legend Sean Combs, better known as P. Diddy, was attending summer school with them at UCLA.

"Another great day at school," Davis tweeted. "Recruited P. Diddy to our history class!! Good looking big bro."

"We recruited a new classmate," Love confirmed, attaching the picture shown to the right as proof.

As ESPN.com noted, Davis and Love are just half of the NBA contingent in this particular summer school classroom.  
In the meantime, Love is back on campus, taking a course on American popular culture. He said former Bruins and current NBA players Russell Westbrook, Baron Davis and Trevor Ariza are all in the same class. The four-credit class will make him a sophomore after he left UCLA following his freshman season in 2008. 

"I don't want the lockout to go to December or January but just in case I've signed up to be in class in the fall," Love said. "I'm excited to have the opportunity to do so but I'm hoping my fall classes get cut short."
According to CBSSports.com's UCLA RapidReports, Diddy was on campus because his son, a high school football player, is apparently getting a recruiting look from the Bruins. 

Back when the lockout went into effect, I promised my family that I would put away the snark in any post about NBA players going back to college to fulfill promises to their families. Working towards a degree is an admirable pursuit for anyone, and it's one of the smartest things a professional athlete can do given the relatively short career time frame and all the pitfalls that go with becoming extremely rich overnight.

But then P. Diddy had to get involved and it's pretty much impossible to write about him in 2011 without snark. So we'll just stop right here. Good times, though. Good times.

Image via Kevin Love on Twitter
Posted on: August 7, 2011 2:05 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2011 2:09 pm
 

Ex-NBA player arrested in $20K burglary bust

Posted by Ben Golliversean-banks

If you don't remember Sean Banks, you're forgiven. Banks was a standout forward at the University of Memphis who flunked out and was later signed by the New Orleans Hornets, only to be cut in 2006 before he appeared in an NBA game.

Since then, Banks has bounced around the D-League, playing most recently for the Idaho Stampede last season. WABC.com reports that Banks is now in scalding hot water, accused of stealing $20,000 worth of valuables with three accomplices.
In New Jersey, four burglary suspects, including a former NBA player, are under arrest after a high-speed chase. A Sparta police officer stopped the vehicle carrying the suspects for speeding but when he approached the SUV, the suspects took off.

After a high-speed chase, the runaway SUV flipped over and crashed trapping the four occupants inside. Police say they recovered more than $20 thousand worth of valuables, from two burglaries, inside the suspect's SUV.

TeaneckPatch.com provides additional details.
The chase began around 10 p.m. when a police corporal on routine patrol stopped a 2003 Chevrolet TrailBlazer for speeding, Sparta Township police said Saturday.  When police approached the SUV, it took off.

The TrailBlazer, driven by 28-year-old Englewood resident Aasim Boone, ran two red lights, passing traffic at speeds reaching more than 90 mph, police said. The chase lasted nearly a mile before the SUV hit a curb and rolled over several times, trapping the four alleged burglars inside.

Aasim Boone, his brother Akeem Boone, 26, along with Teaneck resident Jerry Montgomery, 29, and Sean Banks, 25, of Englewood were all charged with burglary, theft and criminal mischief after being pulled from the wreck by patrol officers, according to police.

There were certainly ample warning signs. Prior to his time in the NBA, ShamSports.com reports that Banks had a laundry list of character issues, including an arrest for burning a gang insignia into a teenage girl's leg. It's been a long time since we've heard the name Sean Banks. And I imagine it will be an even longer time until we hear it again.

Jay-Z: "Hoop dreams deflate like a true fiend's weight."

Hat tip: ProBasketballTalk.com
Posted on: July 29, 2011 12:45 pm
 

CP3 and Melo's interpretive opera mask dance

Posted by Royce Young

Superpals Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony are having themselves quite an adventure. They've spent the past week in China and besides posing with panda bears, they've also taken in some opera, and even participated in said opera.

Proof is this strange video of them holding framed masks over their faces while "dancing."



Man, that one guy thinks this is REALLY funny.
Posted on: July 25, 2011 1:18 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2011 1:32 pm
 

Report: David West eyes October return

Posted by Ben Golliverdavid-west-small

Back in late March, New Orleans Hornets forward David West tore the ACL in his left knee, a devastating injury at a tough time, as it happened just before the team's playoff push and months before he was set to hit the open market as a free agent.

Shortly before the lockout was imposed, West decided to opt out of the final year of his contract -- he would have been paid $7.53 million -- to become a free agent despite the injury concern.  

On Monday, NBA.com reported that West is right on schedule in his rehabilitation. 
Two to three times a day, five or six days a week, West is at the Athletic Performance Center in Raleigh, making rapid progress in his return. After his last visit two weeks ago to New York to see Dr. David Altchek, who performed the surgery, West's prognosis is now that he'd be ready for the start of the 2011-12 season -- if it starts on time.

"The way I'm looking at it, by October, I should be fully healthy," West said Monday morning. "When I go see Dr. Altchek in October, he should be giving me clearance to go out there and do my thing."

ACL tears generally take from six months to a year to rehabilitate from, so an October return date would put West on the low end of that range, excellent news given the financial stakes that are involved. Depending on how long the NBA lockout drags on, it's certainly possible West could be cleared to play by doctors before he is legally allowed to negotiate his next contract. 

NBA.com reports that West, 30, is approaching his free agency -- whenever it might take place -- with an open mind.
"I talked to my agent, and my whole thing is, I just want to see what's out there," West said. "I'm not saying New Orleans isn't a possibility. I want to see what's out there. and I want an opportunity to win. I'll be 31 at the end of the summer and no matter how great I feel physically and mentally, every year you don't win is a wasted year, a blown year, an opportunity you'll never get back. I don't want any more of those years. I've played eight years. And I want the next three or four years to be different."
This contract certainly represents West's last big payday. And, frankly, he's got the Hornets over a barrel. If New Orleans doesn't commit to paying whatever it takes to re-sign him, the organization sends a message to franchise point guard Chris Paul that it's not serious about winning. West and his agent surely know that, and it's excellent leverage as he weighs his options as one of the top free agents of this period. 

There's no compelling reason for West, who put up 18.9 points and 7.6 rebounds last year, to compromise financially on this deal. If he's healthy, he should expect long-term, big-dollar offers from multiple teams with playoff potential. The biggest variable was his health, but that looks like less of an influencer with each passing month.
Posted on: July 23, 2011 2:19 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Legend vs. Star: Isiah Thomas vs. Chris Paul



By Matt Moore

We live in an immediate society. The internet, social media, the ever-accelerating news cycle, everything means that the next 30 seconds is 10 times more important than the last 30 seconds regardless of what actually happened in the past 30 seconds. As a result, we lose perspective on what stands truly relevant from the past. The NBA is no exception. So in an attempt to merge the two worlds (since, as a blog, we love/hate/want to be BFFs within the next 30 seconds), we'll be bringing you a look at players past and present, in relation to one another. 

We begin with Isiah Thomas and Chris Paul

Before Isiah Thomas' name was synonymous with the failure of the CBA (that's the Continental Basketball Association in this case, though you could argue that some of Thomas' later contracts offered might suggest he had something to do with this lockout), sexual harassment and the utter ruin of the New York Knicks as a professional basketball franchise, he was an incredible basketball player. He was an elite point guard from the moment he stepped on the floor at St. Joseph High School. He won a NCAA Championship at Indiana under Bob Knight (take a second and think about those two personalities sharing a floor). In his sophomore year, Thomas averaged 16 points and 5.8 assists while shooting 55 percent from the field.

So that's a pretty good start. 

You know how Blake Griffin made the All-Star team as a rookie, and it was a really big deal this year. Thomas made it in '82 when it wasn't quite so surprising, but Thomas also started, scoring 12 points with 4 assist and 3 steals. From there on, Thomas was an All-Star each year until his retirement in '93. He won the title in 1990 and 1991 with the "Bad Boys," even downing Michael Jordan's Bulls in the Conference Finals.  But those are just figures. To weigh Thomas' impact, much like to weigh Chris Paul's, you have to actually go back and watch. 










But even the highlight clips don't really show the kind of control Thomas had on the game. At only 6-foot-1 (that's right, the same size I have mocked Kemba Walker for being continually ... every time I read that height I get queasy to a ridiculous degree), Thomas was in such firm athletic control of his opponents, he was always one step in front of them, always in charge. Players had a remarkably difficult time forcing Thomas into doing anything he didn't want to do. His control and precision were offset by his scoring range, which was pretty much omnipresent. It was this control that allowed him to make defenders seem as if they were just trying to keep up with big brother. 

Paul, on the other hand, never won a championship at Wake Forest, though he was just as highly lauded for his intensity and performance. In Paul's first six seasons, he's established himself as the best point guard in the league (Derrick Rose fans, this is qualifying point guards under the traditional role; Derrick Rose isn't a point guard, he's Derrick Rose, which is more than a point guard). Paul's  ability to make his teammates better is arguably higher than that of Thomas. The comparisons between the two relative to Paul's stage of his career are eerily similar. 

From Basketball-Reference.com (click to enlarge):




 


 








Thomas scored more, but needed more shots. He had more assists, but had a higher usage. Essentially, were Paul to be as assertive with the ball as Thomas was at this point, his numbers would be even or better than Thomas, more than likely. But of course, injuries play a part. Paul has not only missed significant time with injuries since the infamous 2008 series with the Spurs that very nearly landed Paul in his first Western Conference Finals, but has admitted that he's holding back.  

In terms of style, Paul is much more beatific with his approach. His passes are delicate floaters, while Thomas' were primarily either lasers or high arcing bombs. Paul's 3-pointer is a dagger, while Thomas was more of a hoist. Thomas preferred the mid-range jumper while Paul's short-elbow floater is stunning in its lethality, when he turns to it. But there are vital comparisons. Both Paul and Thomas possess the intense desire to win at all costs that helped Thomas win the title. Of all the new breed of superstars, particularly those in the clique of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, etc., Paul's drive to win is perhaps fiercest. It was Thomas' intensity, or arrogance, depending on which side of the aisle you're on, that led to his feuds with various stars of his era. He and Paul share that, a willingness to tussle with nearly anyone. It is a relentless gear that never allows them to back down from anyone, while always then turning a smile to the camera. But Thomas' battles were almost personal, more vicious. While Thomas has, despite his numerous, nearly incalculable public relations disasters, been well-spirited toward his former rivals in retirement, at the time, it was Thomas against the world. 

Paul's approach has been different. He's much more calculating in his approach. He's willing to befriend anyone that will help him, and makes nearly no enemies. Paul is beloved by everyone. He's a darling of the league. A brilliant player who serves as a tremendous member of his community, an All-Star who pals around with the two-time MVP. He's everything to everyone, where Thomas was popular but also controversial.

In the end, Thomas gets the edge on Paul thanks to, you know, the championships. But Thomas won those when he was 28-29, two to three years older than Paul. CP3 has time. He has the mindset, the skills, and the leadership. He just needs the opportunity. As he showed us in the playoffs this year, Paul just needs a team good enough to support him and allow him to unleash that wolf in sheep's clothing he's often portrayed as (HT: Free Darko). 





 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com