Tag:Ben Golliver
Posted on: March 6, 2012 1:36 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 1:53 pm

Charles Barkley: NBA had bounties

The only way Barkley would have won a ring is if someone bountied Jordan. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver  

Hall of Famer Charles Barkley said that a "bounty system" -- purposefully injuring an opponent for monetary gain -- isn't exclusive to the NFL, where pay-for-hit has become a lead headline in the offseason.

Indeed, in a DanPatrick.com interview, the TNT commentator said he personally participated in a bounty during the 1980s.

"One time," Barkley said, before refusing to identity the target's name and team. "I can't tell you that... I can't incriminate myself."

Barkley's definition of a bounty is apparently a little bit different from the standard. In his version, the purposeful injury was a method for ensuring that the unwritten rules of the game were upheld rather than merely an attempt to knock a particular player out of action.  

"We were getting beat by 30 points, back in my Philadelphia [76ers] days," Barkley remembered. "I'm a firm believer, if a guy shoots a three, that you knock his ass as far in the stands as you possibly can. We were getting beat by 30 or 40, I can't remember. This guy was shooting threes and running up and down the court. I said, 'Hey, we've got to hurt that guy right there.'"

Barkley put the bounty amount at $5,000.

Regardless of the sport or the circumstances, Barkley felt like the bounty was something that should stay in the locker room and away from media scrutiny.

"People are clearly going to overreact to the bounty thing," he said. "You have to be a punk to snitch that out. That's like giving a reporter an anonymous quote." 

It's impossible to truly compare the NFL and NBA versions, obviously. In the NBA, there are so many different methods for enforcing unwritten rules or dealing with out-of-line behavior that don't involve maiming someone. There are hard, clean fouls. There is plenty of dead ball time to mill around and exchange thoughts without a line of scrimmage intervening. There's running your offense at a guy over and over to let him know he should chill out on the other end. There's purposeful trash talk that escalates to double technicals. There's pushing, shoving and "Hold me back!!!!" There's nose-to-nose staredowns. There's talking loads of trash to a guy while he's shooting a free throw. There's hard fouling the violator's superstar teammate to send a message. There's walking over a guy when he's on the ground to send a message. 

The list goes on and on. Even the most intense NBA games rarely, rarely get to the point where a bounty would serve any real purpose. Of course, no pads or helmets and no tackling helps too. From Barkley's description, it sounds like this was a fairly rare occurrence. That's a good thing.

The "non-injury" theatre just laid out is fairly entertaining, in a pro wrestling sort of way. It's also way better than watching someone get carted off the court due to injury. 

Hat tip: ProBasketballTalk
Category: NBA
Posted on: March 6, 2012 4:57 am

Blake Griffin gets technical; was it dirty?

Posted by Ben Golliver 

You won't see this one replayed in a goofy Kia commercial. And, hopefully, someone gets through to Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin to let him know this type of play isn't OK, it's borderline dirty.

During the fourth quarter of a tightly contested game between the Clippers and the Timberwolves at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Griffin pulled down Luke Ridnour from behind after the Minnesota guard he broke up a transition pass from Chris Paul to Griffin. 

L.A.'s All-Star forward came barrelling down the key and, after the ball was already out of bounds, pulled Ridnour back towards him by yanking on his shoulder as the two crashed into the baseline. Thankfully, Ridnour's legs somehow managed not to get caught underneath him or he could have been looking at a broken bone or ruptured ligaments. His right foot did briefly catch on the court but pulled free quickly, ensuring that he narrowly avoided what could have been an ugly knee injury.

"What is that?" the FSWolves broadcaster noted in disgust. "Ridiculous."

The Timberwolves players, to their credit, immediately appealed to the officials in Ridnour's defense. The Timberwolves fans, to their credit, immediately and loudly lit into Griffin with boos over his action. The referees, to their credit, hit Griffin with a technical foul.

Minnesota went on to win the game, 95-94. Appropriately, the winning margin was equal to Ridnour's made technical foul shot, so at least there was some justice here.

In Griffin's defense, he plays all out, all the time. He gets into more than his fair share of mix-ups and melees. He's clearly a target around the league. This one, though, was inexcusable. 

Here's the video of Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin's technical foul and scary hit on Minnesota Timberwolves guard Luke Ridnour. 

Posted on: March 5, 2012 7:57 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 8:26 pm

Reports: Clippers interested in Ray Allen trade?

Ray Allen could be on the move before the trade deadline. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

Talk about a dream trade, at least from one side.

Multiple reports indicate that the Los Angeles Clippers are interested in trading for Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen in advance of the Mar. 15 trade deadline.

CSNNE.com reports that the Clippers are one of a number of teams interested in the veteran sharp-shooter who is in the final year of a contract that pays him $10 million this season.
Among those believed to have some interest in Allen, are the Los Angeles Clippers. With the season-ending injury to Chauncey Billups, the Clippers have a huge void to fill at the shooting guard position.
SI.com also reports the Clippers' interest, but foresees difficulty making the deal.
Yet for all the talk of Boston point guard Rajon Rondo possibly being traded, some league executives have shooting guard and free-agent-to-be Ray Allen pegged as the most likely to be moved. Sources say the Clippers are interested, having lost Chauncey Billups to season-ending injury and lost out to New York in the J.R. Smith sweepstakes. But the price is likely too high, as Boston wants a package that includes a young talent and a draft pick.
So, yeah, talk about a dream scenario: championship contender fills biggest hole with best available player at that position without real assets to provide in return. Not super likely.

Boston would indeed do best to move Allen at the deadline for a young asset and pick rather than allow him to expire this summer. Allowing him to come off the books this summer is a nice back-up plan, but he still has significant value, especially to contenders, because of his proven playoff ability. The aging, inconsistent Celtics have no shot of making a substantive run through the East; cashing in on Allen would make the deadline a success.

Quickly, L.A.'s interest here is obvious. Allen fits a hole perfectly, stretches defenses to open the court for All-Star guard Chris Paul, can make teams pay for double-teaming on All-Star forward Blake Griffin and adds the postseason experience a newly-formed team can't get enough of.

The only real rule from Boston's side is that any future money they take back must be for a player they see as a long-term fit or for a talented youngster on a rookie deal who will have the opportunity to blossom. That's where it gets tricky to make a deal with the Clippers.

The best package they could create would be Mo Williams, Eric Bledsoe and a future, future pick. Williams would be needed to help match contracts with Allen, Bledsoe is L.A.'s one remaining tradeable young asset and the pick would have to be generated from another deal or pushed into the future because L.A. has already moved its 2012 first in a previous deal. Another version could include trading Randy Foye's expiring contract, Chauncey Billups' expiring deal and Bledsoe but that starts to create roster spot issues for Boston to accept back all those players in trade.

The biggest problem with either scenario is that Bledsoe does not play a position of need for Boston. At 22, he unquestionably possesses untapped upside and, other than injury insurance, he doesn't figure to see much time as long as All-Star Chris Paul is in town. He's played just 64 minutes all season with so many veterans competing for minutes for the Clippers and because he's dealt with some injuries. His external worth to a team without depth at the one is far greater than his internal worth, making him an obvious trade chip.

But Boston has its own incumbent All-Star in Rajon Rondo and a young prospect in training in Avery Bradley. Assuming Celtics GM Danny Ainge doesn't move Rondo in a blockbuster -- always a possibility -- the uber-talented point guard represents the one bit of certainty heading into the future, with Hall of Fame forward Kevin Garnett and Allen likely moving on. Even franchise forward Paul Pierce's future isn't guaranteed. Rondo can be the cornerstone centerpiece in any rebuilding or blow-it-up scenario. All deals are therefore assessed on whether the incoming pieces fit with him.

Taking back Williams, who is on the books through 2012-2013 assuming he picks up his player option, doesn't make a lot of sense in that framework. He's playing well this season, averaging 13.5 points per game and shooting nearly 40 percent from deep, but he's not a starting caliber backcourt complement to Rondo and a GM facing the challenges Ainge is facing would likely prefer cap flexibility to Williams' contract, given its $8.5 million price tag.

Basketball fans should want Allen on the Clippers. It would transform L.A. into a team that could give both Oklahoma City and Miami a run for the title. But without the intervention of a third (or fourth) team or an extreme act of charity from Ainge, this one wouldn't seem to have real legs.
Posted on: March 5, 2012 3:57 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 4:07 pm

Obama: Michael Jordan is NBA's best ever

Posted by Ben Golliver    

Barack Obama says Michael Jordan is the GOAT. (Getty Images)

Sure, gasoline is $14 a gallon and North Korea and Iran are in a race to see who can be first to end humanity as we know it. But it's all good, because United States President Barack Obama got the correct answer when asked the world's most important question: Who is the greatest basketball player of all time?

During a podcast interview with ESPN.com, Obama didn't hesitate in making his selection: legendary Chicago Bulls guard and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan.

"You've got to go with Jordan," Obama said.

Point for point, Obama hit on all the major arguments in Jordan's favor: rings, passion, skill, clutch ability, marketing impact and swagger.

"You've got guys who are comparable in terms of talent," Obama said. "I think LeBron [James] is as talented as Michael is. You've got guys like [Larry] Bird or Magic [Johnson] who had that same will to win. But combining that package and then just always being there at the moment. Very rarely not hitting that shot. Like, Utah at the end... And the grace with which he played. There was a charisma to him on the court. You could not not watch him. Unbelievable."

Obama, a senator from Illinois before he became president and a big-time Bulls fan, was asked whether his selection was influenced by those factors.

"That's an NBA pick [and not a Chicago pick]. You never had a combination of talent and fierce will to win and longevity and rising to the occasion. I haven't seen it."

Since Jordan retired, the "Greatest of All Time" question has never been anything more than a two-player debate: Jordan or Boston Celtics center Bill Russell. No one else comes close when it comes to rings, individual accomplishments and overall dominance of their era. Jordan is the right choice, given his global impact and command over a larger, better, smarter league.

But Russell doesn't go home empty-handed. After all, Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal Of Freedom back in Feb. 2011.

"Bill Russell is the former Boston Celtics’ Captain who almost single-handedly redefined the game of basketball," Obama said in a White House statement at the time. "Russell led the Celtics to a virtually unparalleled string of eleven championships in thirteen years and was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player five times.  The first African American to coach in the NBA—indeed he was the first to coach a major sport at the professional level in the United States—Bill Russell is also an impassioned advocate of human rights.  He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and has been a consistent advocate of equality."
Posted on: March 5, 2012 3:22 pm

Duncan hits Birdman in head with ball before dunk

Tim Duncan clocked Chris "Birdman" Andersen in the head on his way to a poster. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver   

His body covered in tattoos and his past dotted with drug abuse, Denver Nuggets big man Chris "Birdman" Andersen is no stranger to pain. No matter, San Antonio Spurs big man Tim Duncan was happy to re-introduce him.

The mild-mannered, strictly-business Duncan delivered one-two-three strikes to Birdman in less than five seconds during a Sunday night game at the AT&T Center.

With the Spurs trailing with less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter, Duncan turned to face up on Birdman roughly 12 feet from the hoop. After a series of ball fakes, Duncan drew the ball back from left-to-right, clocking Birdman right in the face as he began his dribble drive.

With Birdman briefly stumbling and holding his face, Duncan took advantage of the opportunity, using a gather dribble to ascend through the heart of Denver's defense towards the hoop. By that point, Birdman recovered just in time to get put on a poster, as Duncan finished a one-hand dunk with authority over Andersen's challenge.

Then, for good measure, Duncan's momentum carried him into Birdman, causing Andersen to fall to the ground to further the embarrassment.

Let's review: clocked in the face with the ball, dunked on hard, thrown to the ground. That's a tough five seconds.

Here's the video of Tim Duncan abusing Chris "Birdman" Andersen via YouTube user nbaus3030 and @Jose3030.

Hat tip: IAmAGM.com.
Posted on: March 5, 2012 2:28 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 3:31 pm

Reports: Jamal Crawford draws trade interest

Jamal Crawford could be headed out of Portland just months after he arrived. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver  

The Portland Trail Blazers signed guard Jamal Crawford in December and, by NBA rules, he became trade eligible on March 1. Less than 72 hours later, the rumor mill was already swirling with talk that he could be headed out of town.

SI.com reports that Crawford is "available."
With the Blazers (18-18) underachieving and the 12-year veteran having struggled to fit in this season, sources say he's available. Crawford signed a two-year, $10 million deal on Dec. 15, but the second season is a player option and he plans to opt out this summer to retest the free agent market.

While it's not known whether the Clippers and Blazers have discussed a deal involving Crawford, a source close to him said they showed significant interest when he was a free agent but lacked the flexibility to get a deal done.
CSNNW.com reported that both the Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves are "very interested" in Crawford's services, while HoopsWorld.com added three other teamsto that list. 
The Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves are pursuing him the strongest, but the Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks have also expressed interest. 
Crawford signed with the Blazers because of regional ties, a solid financial offer (a 2-year, $10 million deal with a player option), a chance to make a playoff push and the opportunity to play the clearly defined reserve scoring role in the absence of Brandon Roy, who was waived using the amnesty clause due to knee injuries.

But Portland's season hasn't played out to those expectations. At 18-19 entering Monday night action, the Blazers currently stand as one of the NBA's biggest letdowns. As recently as January, they touted themselves as contenders for the Western Conference title but currently sit outside the West's playoff picture with a daunting 7-game road trip beginning later this week.

With fellow guards Raymond Felton and Wesley Matthews struggling and lineups juggling as a result, Crawford has seen his minutes and shots vacillate, and he's also been asked to step into the starting point guard position, a role that clearly doesn't suit his well-established skillset. Given how poorly Felton has played, Blazers coach Nate McMillan likely felt like he had no choice to make the move, but Portland has lost three straight with Crawford as a starter and the team now plans to move Felton back into the starting lineup on Monday, according to The Oregonian. It's as messy as it sounds for all involved.

It get worse for Crawford, in particular, because McMillan has also moved forward Nicolas Batum into the starting 2-guard role, meaning that Crawford must compete with Batum and previous starter Wesley Matthews for minutes and touches there or continue to take on point guard duties in the reserve unit. Promising second-year two guard Elliot Williams is showing flashes that he deserves regular minutes in the rotation, too. On Portland's roster, this qualifies as a glut. Crawford made a lot of sense for a veteran team pushing for playoff success. On a middling team spinning its wheels with decisions to make at his position, he's extraneous. 

Clearly, something has to give. One way to fix the situation is to move forward Gerald Wallace, returning Batum to his natural three and restoring minutes for Crawford. Another, obviously, would be to ship out Crawford, whose contract and production make him one of Portland's best trade assets. With Matthews on a long-term deal, Williams starting to emerge and Batum figuring to command big dollars this summer, selling early on Crawford makes more sense than letting him walk in three months for nothing.

The Blazers and Timberwolves have been regular trade partners over the years, and a trade centered around a swap of Crawford for guard Luke Ridnour makes almost too much sense. Minnesota has a surplus of ones and a need for a solid two; Portland has a surplus of twos and a desperate need for a solid one.

Ridnour, a point guard by nature, has played out of position off the ball as rookie sensation Ricky Rubio has taken the Timberwolves by storm. Ridnour, 31, is on the books through 2013-2014, long after he will be useful for the Timberwolves. As of Monday, he represents a minor upgrade over Felton in terms of PER (he's ranked No. 41 in the league, Felton is No. 50). Portland has been looking for 3-point shooting from the point guard position to complement franchise forward LaMarcus Aldridge, and while Ridnour is shooting just 32.3 percent from deep this season, he's a career 35.9 percent shooter. Felton, meanwhile, is shooting just 24.6 percent from deep and averaging a full turnover more per game than Ridnour, in similar minutes.

Ridnour is a known commodity for Blazers coach Nate McMillan from their shared time in Seattle and could represent a low-risk transition from what has been a tumultuous time between Felton and McMillan in Portland. Felton is also set to be a free agent this summer and, if he's not moved by the deadline, would seem to have a murky (at best) future in Portland. Ridnour, then, would serve as a low-cost, reliable placeholder.

For Minnesota, Crawford plugs in at the team's weakest position, bringing his scoring and shot-creating ability to a team that can use it as it tries to make its first playoff push in years. He wouldn't be asked to carry the load or handle the ball all that much and he would find more room to work thanks to Rubio and All-Star forward Kevin Love. Recently, he spoke highly of Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman and his offense to the Star-Tribune. Whether Crawford decides to test free agency this summer would seem to be of little concern to Minnesota, as they are simply looking for better roster balance and the flexibility created by shedding Ridnour's future dollars.

The questions here are whether Portland can locate a better point guard option than Ridnour via trade, whether someone will offer more for Crawford prior to the deadline and whether moving Wallace instead of Crawford would bring back a significantly better package. (Wallace also holds a player option for next season.) For Crawford, moving on to a place that can offer the consistency in playing time and responsibilities that he thought he was getting when he signed up in Portland makes all the sense in the world, whether that is Minnesota or somewhere else.

Both sides have tried to make it work and so far it hasn't. The long-term prospects don't look good for a turnaround, either. That rumors popped up immediately after Crawford became trade eligible says it all.
Posted on: March 4, 2012 6:32 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 6:46 pm

LeBron James steps on lady's sandal video

LeBron James crushes a woman's sandaled foot. (ESPN Broadcast)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

Falling short late in games is surely frustrating, but that's no reason to pick on a defenseless woman.

On Sunday, Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James suffered a second straight defeat, as the Los Angeles Lakers emerged from a nationally-televised showdown with a 93-83 win at Staples Center. This after James had been ridiculed for passing on the game-deciding possession during a Friday night loss to the Jazz in Utah.

On Sunday, James' late-game folly was less about choking and passing and more about crushing and stomping. Indeed, James just demolished a gray-haired woman's sandaled foot during the game's closing minutes, rolling his left ankle in the process.

With a little bit more than a minute left to play in the game, James attempted to intercept an inbounds pass and went crashing into the courtside crowd. There, his foot landed squarely on the sandal of an elderly woman, who seemed none too pleased about it. James rolled around on the court briefly in pain but was able to continue playing. The woman, however, looked shocked, mortified and terrified, all in one.

James is listed at 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds so that's a lot of force coming down on the toes and toenails. He finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in 43 minutes on 12-for-26 shooting. 

Here's the video of Miami Heat forward LeBron James stepping on a woman's sandaled foot during the fourth quarter of a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.

Posted on: February 27, 2012 2:02 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 2:24 pm

Reports: Sacramento, Kings agree to 'framework'

Looks like they were right. They are staying. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

The Kings have taken a significant step towards remaining in Sacramento for the foreseeable future, with team and city agreeing to the "framework" of a stadium financing proposal, according to multiple reports.

SI.com and NBA.com reported that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Maloof family, who owns the Kings, told reporters in Orlando that stadium funding is on track.

"It's game over, so our community should be really excited," Johnson said, according to SI.com. "I want to jump up and down."

Johnson added, according to NBA.com: "I’m very excited. It’s a new day for Sacramento. We’ve all been working around the clock to get to this point."
Negotiations that involved the NBA league office, the City of Sacramento and the Maloofs took place throughout All-Star Weekend.

During his annual All-Star Weekend address on Saturday, NBA commissioner David Stern said that a deal was close but that money still separated the two sides and that "several remaining [deal] points" need to be hammered out.

"Life is a negotiation," Stern said on Saturday. ""The City would like the Maloofs to make the largest ‑‑ both have come up with very substantial contributions.  It's really getting there.  It's just not there yet.  And we're looking for other ways, imaginative ways, to bridge the gap ... It's coming down to money after all of this?  Yeah."

SI.com reports that the Maloof family will put up $73 million towards the $387 million expected price tag and an additional $60 million could follow in future years.

SacTownRoyalty.com reports the next steps in the arena funding process include a City Council vote and approval of a plan to create stadium funding from parking structures.

The Maloofs attempted to relocate to Anaheim last season but the NBA actively encouraged the family to reconsider and give Sacramento another year. Johnson has been pushing hard to keep the Kings throughout the process. The city of Seattle has also been interested in landing a team.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com