Posted on: July 7, 2011 4:03 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 6:09 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Talk of losing an entire season is a bit ridiculous to me. There's just way too much at stake. Money, momentum, fan support, money, loyalty, money -- it's just hard to imagine losing any games much less a whole season.
But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise. Let's start with the Southeast Division.
The biggest question hovering over the Magic isn't about wins and losses or if Gilbert Arenas should stop tweeting. It's all about Dwight Howard's future and July 1, 2012. That's when Howard will become an unrestricted free agent. General manager Otis Smith has already said he won't trade Howard, but that could just be talk. Howard has said he wants to be in Orlando, but hasn't committed, turning down a three-year extension.
But if NBA offices are shut down and all transactions are halted, Howard might be forced to stay with the Magic all season -- except he won't play a game. Meaning Orlando could lose out on A) having a team good enough to convince Howard he wants to stay because he can win there; B) the Magic won't have an opportunity to trade Howard and get a Carmelo-like deal where they can restock the roster instead of letting him walk with nothing in return; or C) the Magic miss out on at least one more year with Howard meaning they miss out on a chance of having a good team that can compete. That's a lot to think about if this lockout starts stretching into 2012.
It's simple and very obvious for owner Micky Arison and the Heat: Lose the 2011-12 season and that's one less year you have of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. That's one less year of the spotlight, the attention and all that money funneling right into South Beach. That's one less shot at a title. That's one less season of constant sellouts, through-the-roof merchandise sales and huge TV ratings.
Basically, it's one less season of $$$$$. And one big reason for Arison to be an owner willing to bargain.
The Hawks are in pretty solid shape right now. After the 2011-12 season, they only have six players under contract, including all their big names (Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford and uh, Marvin Williams I guess).
But a prolonged lockout could simmer the momentum built from last season's deep playoff run. The roster still isn't quite there and a resolution on what to do with Smith has to be figured out. The earlier he's traded means the more he's worth. Losing that opportunity is bad news for the Hawks, even if they choose to keep Smith.
But on the bright side, it is one less season of overpaying Joe Johnson.
The Bobcats aren't really going anywhere this year, or even next year. The roster needs work. It needs more talent, more ability and better structure.
But the Bobcats used two lottery picks on Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker, meaning there's a little jolt of young talent on the roster, which is exactly the direction Rich Cho is looking to take them. Younger, faster and a path to building, not just hanging on with marginal veteran talent.
A year without basketball for the Bobcats means a year of stunted growth. These guys need to play together every second they can and I don't just mean on a blacktop in Greensboro. Even if they lose 60 games, that's progress. But they need to be on the court to even have the chance to learn through losing.
Michael Jordan was a player (if you didn't know). I don't know if that means he's on the players' side because I'm sure he also wants a system that helps his franchise competitively and one that helps him make money, but at the same time, I think he cares more about winning and playing than all the rest.
It's the same story for the Wizards too. John Wall, new pick Jan Vesely, Nick Young and JaVale McGee are all young guys that just get better every night they play.
The bright side though is that Rashard Lewis is owed $21.1 million next season and that could be money well not spent. Which is why Ted Leonsis, an NHL owner who has been through an extremely painful lockout, probably isn't all that worried about things like stunted growth when there's money to be saved and made. The Wizards aren't on the path to prosperity right now and are likely one of the teams hemorrhaging a little dough. The Wizards risk setting back their development, but I think that's a price Leonsis would be willing to pay.
Posted on: May 10, 2011 2:06 pm
Edited on: May 10, 2011 2:08 pm
The Washington Wizards have unveiled new jerseys for the 2011-2012 NBA season. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Despite the best efforts of Gilbert Arenas and Andray Blatche, the Wizards franchise has a long, proud basketball tradition, highlighted by four NBA Finals appearances in the 1970s and an NBA title in 1979.
New Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis came to power promising change to a fan base that's dealt with far more than its far share of hijinks over the last few years. Not surprisingly, fans of the team have a nostalgic bent for the days when the franchise was still known as the Bullets and the jerseys came in patriotic red, white and blue. Leonsis understood this sentiment -- and the potential marketing and memorabilia power it represented -- and made it clear last year that new jerseys would be at the top of his agenda list.
On Tuesday, he delivered new home and away jerseys for the team (pictured above, courtesy of NBA.com). The jerseys return the team to a 1970s-style look and color scheme. The jerseys incorporate the Wizards logo across the chest and the shorts have a "DC" logo which features a twist on the "arms and ball" logo the team used in the 1990s.
The throwback look fits the team's history and locale much better than the most recent dark blue designs, which seemed as contrived as the "Wizards" moniker. Love these new jerseys or hate them, at least they aren't these gold disasters. We can all agree on that.
The fan reaction over at BulletsForever.com seems mostly positive. "The colors are cool and so are the logos. Old school but with a fresh feel... MUCH better than the gold and blue we were rocking before," writes seewhite.
"Could not be any happier with them," agrees hibachi. "Honestly, they’re perfect."
Posted on: February 4, 2011 2:47 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Ted Leonsis went on record saying he didn't want to see Gilbert Arenas traded and that Arenas was part of the Wizards long term future.
And then Arenas was traded a few weeks later.
Most saw it as the usual NBA person says one thing and doesn't mean it story, but according to Michael Lee of the Washington Post, Leonsis really didn't want to see Arenas moved, until Arenas started talking.
The idea of trading Arenas was given a thumbs up after Leonsis became angry with some comments from the point guard. Lee writes: "A person with knowledge of the situation said Leonsis became upset after hearing that Arenas was telling those close to him that a home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers would be his final game in a Wizards uniform and that he was likely headed to Orlando. The comment was a surprise to Leonsis, according to the source, because he was unaware of any trade discussions involving Arenas. Arenas played the next game, a loss in New Jersey, but was dealt two days later."
Honestly, I don't really get it. So Leonsis was upset because Arenas thought he was going to be traded? I'm sure he did because his name was associated with a ton of rumors and after the Wizards, you know, drafted John Wall, Arenas became expendable.
But maybe Leonsis was looking for a reason to move Arenas and he found it because of the comments. Who knows.
Arenas returns to Washington for the first time tonight as the Wizards host the Magic. Arenas was of course dealt to Orlando Dec. 18 for Rashard Lewis.
I'm sure there's no hard feelings on Arenas' side of things because he was very appreciative of the Wizards when he left. He had some good years there accompanied by some serious turmoil, but was always a fan favorite.
Posted on: January 25, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2011 4:54 pm
Washington Wizards forward Andray Blatche blasts off on Wizards fans. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Somebody call Kanye West: We've got a blame game going on in the nation's capital.
First, Washington Wizards coach Flip Saunders publicly called out forward Andray Blatche after the Wizards lost to the New York Knicks on Monday night. Saunders was quoted by CSNWashington.com as saying, "He was terrible, he was bad. He was bad. He didn't look like he had energy or something. He didn't have it. When you're a quote-unquote go-to guy you can't have those kind of games. You gotta get some energy and find a way to produce."
OK, the in-over-his-head coach of a team that just lost its 21st consecutive road game of the season blames his knucklehead go-to player. Not really the most productive course of action, but it's at least somewhat sensical, as Blatche went 2-10 in 28 minutes to finish with six points and five rebounds.
On Tuesday, however, SBNation DC quotes from a 106.7 FM rant that Blatche handled the pressure about as poorly as you could imagine, making three excuses for his poor play in one sentence -- he's ill, he has a shoulder injury and he has a knee injury -- before going on to say that he wasn't going to make any excuses. From there, the inane turned into the regrettable, as Blatche blasted off on Wizards fans, who he believes are disloyal, citing former teammates Gilbert Arenas as a trusted reference.
That caused him to share a conversation he had with Gilbert Arenas, in which the mercurial, divisive outgoing star told him 'You're next.'
"We had a discussion, and this is what he said to me. 'Just as fast as they turned on me, it's going to happen to you.' I took it as a joke, but I actually see what he's talking about. Everybody is looking for someone to blame, and I feel like I'm turning into that person just like Gil."Blatche's understanding of the basketball fan is both completely wrong and condescending, as he apparently believes the general basketball-viewing public is made up of money-spending robots that should not concern themselves with matters of performance. And let's not forget character or civil decency, as Blatche put a black mark on his entire organization by fighting with teammate JaVale McGee at a nightclub on Christmas Eve and long-ago attempted a tryst with a lady of the night.
If Wizards fans weren't already shouting "Trade him!" they should be now. That is, if only anyone in the league would touch him. Blatche is unintentionally wise to compare himself with Arenas: he's another player standing in the way of John Wall's greatness who will wind up being very, very difficult to dump.
As for Saunders, he's probably frustrated and at his wit's end, but he clearly applied more pressure than Blatche was capable of bearing. Throwing a player to the media wolves will only delay the inevitable for Saunders, who will surely take plenty of Heat himself before season's end.
The entire scene makes you feel bad for Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, as media-savvy and fan-friendly as NBA owners get. If I'm Leonsis, I'm looking at both Saunders and Blatche this week thinking, "Man, I can definitely do better than this."
Posted on: December 24, 2010 10:24 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:50 pm
Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee of the Washington Wizards reportedly exchanged punches at a Washington, D.C. nightclub on Christmas Eve. Posted by Ben Golliver. Washington Wizards forward Andray Blatche and center JaVale McGee took a short break from underperforming on the court to engage in fisticuffs at a nightclub on Christmas Eve, reports the Washington Post.
Multiple league sources have confirmed that teammates Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee were involved in an altercation outside an area club early Friday morning.
Witnesses have said that the players were screaming expletives at each other, but two league sources added that Blatche and McGee also exchanged several punches at the Shadow Room in Northwest Washington. A Wizards spokesman released a statement late Friday that read, "The team looked into the matter earlier today and determined it was simply a disagreement between teammates."Well, on the bright side, it was fists and not firearms. Friday morning's incident comes roughly one year after former Wizards guards Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton got into a disagreement that saw Arenas bring multiple guns into the team's locker room, and ended with Arenas suspended for the remainder of the season. Both players are young. Blatche is 24 years old and McGee is just 22, and no one would confuse either player with a mature adult. But their altercation, with some details still remaining unclear, is another sign that there is still work to be done in changing the Wizards' culture. Washington's new owner, Ted Leonsis, has said in recent interviews that a full rebuilding effort will take multiple years. Both Blatche, who is averaging 16.8 points and 7.7 rebounds, and McGee, who is averaging 9.2 points and 8.3 rebounds, are generally assumed to be in the team's longterm plans, which focus on building around franchise point guard John Wall, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft. But with any headline-drawing incident like this, it's good to step back and ask a simple but tough question: Will these players help Wall achieve greatness, will they stand in the way, or will they be a distraction? Bottom line: if they're not helping, they're hurting. The Wizards are currently 7-20 and in last place in the NBA's Southeast Division. With no meaningful games remaining in their 2010-2011 season, this is an excellent time for the Wizards to take a hard-line stance on player transgressions. Get through to them, or get them out of there. Wall's future is too bright to waste.
Posted on: December 13, 2010 11:15 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:33 pm
The Sports Business Journal has released its 2010 top 50 most influential list and here's a look at the NBA people who made the list. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Every year, the Sports Business Journal ranks the top 50 most influential people in sports business, a somewhat subjective but fun to debate list of the powerbrokers that govern the games we enjoy watching, listening to and talking about. The list is usually a who's who of commissioners and television network executives, but team owners, agents and apparel company executives can also find their way onto the list. The NBA is well represented on the 2010 list, with commissioner David Stern leading the way, as expected. "As the dean of professional sports commissioners, David Stern continues to pull all the right strings as the NBA enjoys a renaissance not seen since the Jordan era," Sports Business Journal writes. "This year, though, puts Stern under the spotlight as he pushes for huge changes in a new labor deal with the players that could lead to a lockout. But few, if any, can handle the glare as well as Stern." The three central figures that have controlled the public discussion of NBA labor relations for the last year -- Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver and executive director of the NBA Players Association Billy Hunter -- all make the list. Stern checks in at No. 3, the second highest ranking for a league commissioner, trailing only the National Football League's Roger Goodell, who sits in the list's overall top spot. Silver ranks No. 27 on the list, with Hunter not far behind at No. 30. The only NBA owner to show up is something of a surprise. New Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, who also owns the National Hockey League's Washington Capitals, is listed at No. 37. Sports Business Journal writes that Leonsis was included because he "became one of an exclusive group that owns two major professional sports teams and an arena in a top-10 market." Other high-profile NBA owners -- including billionaires Mark Cuban, Paul Allen, James Dolan and Mikhail Prokhorov -- were not included. The NBA's television partners are also well represented. ESPN/ABC President George Bodenheimer placed at No. 2 and Turner's President of Sales and Sports David Levy checked in at No. 13. The two apparel companies most closely associated with the NBA, Nike, who supplies a majority of the players with sneakers, and official partner adidas, both placed executives on the list. Charlie Denson, President of Nike Brand, and Mark Parker, CEO of Nike Inc. shared spot No. 14. Herbert Hainer, Chairman & CEO of adidas, ranked No. 23. President & CEO of AEG Tim Leiwieke, a powerbroker across multiple sports and an important voice in bringing the 2011 NBA All Star Game to Los Angeles, ranks No. 12. Multiple agents with ties to the NBA and other sports also make the list, including Casey Wasserman, Chairman & CEO of Wasserman Media Group, at No. 24, and the Co-Heads of CAA Howard Nuchow and Michael Levine, who rank No. 36. Given CAA's influence over player movement and executive placement in the NBA over the last 12 months, Nuchow and Levine may have the best case for being underrated.
Posted on: December 1, 2010 6:41 pm
Posted by Royce Young
There's been rumor around Gilbert Arenas getting traded basically since the Washington Wizards won the lottery. It's pretty obvious that the Wizards have at least asked around who migt be interested.
And with the latest rumor coming out today that included Arenas in a deal that would send him to Orlando, the organization saw it fit to try and shoot it down.
Wizard owner Ted Leonsis told the Washington Post it's not happening:
“The team is trying to rebuild and Gilbert is one of the leaders on the team,” Leonsis wrote. “Gilbert is the best player on the team right now…. It isn’t true. I wouldn’t tell you if it was true but I am telling you that it is not true.”The caveat at the end there is my favorite part. I wouldn't tell you if it was, but I'm telling you it's not. Believable.
Still, the Wizards are at least denying it which speaks to the fact they might be willing to hold on to Arenas for at least the rest of this season and maybe another after.
Leonsis has been a very public supporter of Arenas over the past year and this isn't a surprise. He's probably telling the truth in regard to this specific talk. But if the right deal were to come along, I don't think the Wizards would think too much about offloading Arenas' huge contract and start the transition entirely to the John Wall Era.
Posted on: November 9, 2010 4:16 pm
Posted by Royce Young
When he's not Dougie-ing, Washington Wizards owner can often be found blogging, among other things. He's a refreshing owner that tries his best to communicate and interact with his fanbases (he owns the Washington Capitals too) while also being extremely likable and positive.
And on his blog Ted's Take where he tends to say outlandish things (like when he said he'd Dougie if the Wiz sell out a game this season), he made quite the glass half full statement.
Also had we won a close game at home on Saturday, we would be playing on Wednesday for a .500 record. If you look at the standings, a 2-3 record would qualify for the playoffs if the playoffs started today. No joke.
You hear that? No joking here people.
I'll give Leonsis the first statement. That's true. The Wizards lost 107-102 to the Cavs at home, basically by choking away a lead in the fourth quarter. So yeah, if the Wizards had won that game that would present them the opportunity to get to .500 against a struggling Houston squad. But at the same time Ted, had the Wizards won a close game against the Hawks, and then played better against the Knicks, and also come out of the gate with a better opener against the Magic, you could be going for 6-0 record against the Rockets!
But I really like the second statement. Mainly because I love "If the playoffs started today" statements. Those are fun. Especially when you aren't actually in the playoffs if they started today. Because the Wizards aren't 2-3. They're 1-4. So if the playoffs started today, they'd be in the lottery. But if they had won their five previous games, they'd be the No. 1 seed!
Leonsis does make a quality point in closing: "The difference between success and failure in professional sports is quite small. Hard work is the foundation to all success - in business, in sports and in life." Absolutely true. I remember in 2008 the Oklahoma City Thunder lost 20-something games by six or fewer points. Had they won all those, they would've been in the playoffs. And that's the thing, a year of growth and a year of evolution and the Thunder learned how to win, taking the total from 23 to 50.
I definitely appreciate Leonsis' upbeat, positive attitude. It's a lot more fun to look at thing that way rather than, "We're 1-4, Andray Blatche is fat, we have to practice two times a day now and Gilbert Arenas is still on our team." I mean, they are almost 2-3, you know.