Monday, February 28, 2011

Knicks do the unthinkable, beat the Heat


It may be early in the Carmelo Anthony/Chauncey Billups marriage with the Knicks, but if the Knicks become the definition of a team, Sunday night's victory in South Beach may have done it.

The Knicks found themselves down big in the fourth quarter, but a incredible 13-2 run in the final two minutes, highlighted by a three pointer by Billups with 1:01 to go to give the Knicks an 85-84 lead, and a huge block by Amare Stoudemire of a LeBron James drive with seven seconds to go, preserved the Knicks lead, as New York came away with the win.

It was the Knicks most impressive win to date. In a season full of impressive moments this had to top it.

The Knicks got 29 points from Anthony, who was a pain for the Heat to defend all night. They got 16 points and 10 boards from Stoudemire, and 16 from Billups. In a match-up against Miami's big three of James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, it was the Knicks big three who stepped up big when the team needed it the most.

Watch out eastern conference, the Knicks are for real, and they are gelling faster than one can imagine.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NFL labor unrest: Negotiations to continue March 1

And so the NFL Players Union and NFL owners are willing to take the negotiations over a new CBA right down to the clock: to March 1 in fact.

All anyone knows right now is that both sides met for over a week, and negotiations are said to have been positive, but nothing seems imminent in completion. The current CBA runs out on March 3, and if there is no deal in place by that date, then the players will be locked out and go on strike.

A lot of the conerns revolve around players' salaries, health benefits after players retire, rookie wage compensation and, finally, the threat of an 18 game schedule which players are not high on.

The fact that talks are "positive" is a big change from a few weeks ago when NFL PA President Kevin Mawae said in an interview with the New York Post that both sides were far apart, and that fans should side with the players on these issues.

If the league goes into a lockout, it will affect a lot of business. Already NFL teams are starting to lay off workers, and some teams have placed franchise tags on some of their fee agents, i.e. the Jets with David Harris, and the Colts with Peyton Manning. But even the legality of franchise tags are being challenged by the NFL PA, but who knows whether these types of contracts will even exist when a new CBA is hammered out.

The mediation, which took over 46 hours over seven days in Washington D.C., resulted in nothing substantive completed or resolved for release to the press.

Say good bye to the 2011 NFL season? We shall see in about a week.

Carmelo Anthony brings MSG to life


It was like the 1990's all over again.

Madison Square Garden was alive and well, loud and raucous as Carmelo Anthony made his first apperance in a Knicks uniform. Anthony did not disappoint in his debut. He scored 27 points with 10 rebounds, and led the Knicks to a solid win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Anthony's first bucket with the Knicks came early in the first quarter when he connected on a two point shot to give New York a 6-4 lead.

Then Chauncey Billups got into the action draining a 25 foot three pointer to give New York a 9-4 advantage. Billups had a huge night with 21 points, six boards, and eight assists.

Amare Stoudemire took a back seat. For the first time he wasn't the guy who had to score all of New York's points. Stoudemire scored only 19 on the day, and even fouled out in the fourth quarter, but it didn't matter.

With Anthony and Billups, the Knicks have multiple guys to lead the team and score on a given night.

New York is now 29-26 and travels to 10-47 Cleveland on Friday before heading to South Beach for a Sunday night showdown with the Miami Heat.

James Dolan Denies Isiah Thomas was involved in 'Melo trade

Before introducing Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to the media, Knicks owner James Dolan felt it necessary to deflect speculation that former disgraced Knicks GM and coach Isiah Thomas was involved in the negotiations.

Last week rumors spread that Dolan was taking advice from Thomas on the deal, and that current Knicks GM Donnie Walsh was against the number of players involved in the trade.

"I will also say this very directly. While Isiah Thomas is a friend of mine, a very good friend of mine, he was not at all involved in this process. He wasn't advising me or telling me what to do in any way. And any report implied that is simply untrue and fiction in somebody's minds."

Dolan went on to add that he will begin negotiations with Walsh on a new contract when time permits, that he is aware that Walsh has done a solid job in getting the Knicks out of the cap trouble created by Thomas, and that he established a culture to bring in pieces like Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nets land Utah's Deron Williams in mega trade

The New Jersey Nets have finally hauled in a star player.

New Jersey completed a three team trade with the Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors to acquire point guard Deron Williams from Utah. The Nets sent over Devin Harris and Derek Favors to the Jazz in the deal.

Williams is one of the NBA's rising stars. A guy many think will test the free agent waters in 2012, with an eye toward joining Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire in New York. Well, the Nets hope they can convince Williams to stay in Brooklyn instead of going up to 34th street.

Williams is averaging 21 points per game and nine assists per game. He has been blamed in Utah as being the guy that forced David Sloan out as head coach two weeks ago.

Harris was a decent player who averaged 15 points per game. They would have looked better on paper, if they had Harris and Williams teamed up together, but nevertheless, Williams is here in the major media market of the world.

As for the Golden State portion of the trade the Nets acquired Brandon Wright and Dan Gadzuric, two decent defensive players who can help the rebound challenged Nets.

New Jersey is 17-40, with no shot at the postseason. Williams is a postseason ready player at 26 years old. He isn't getting any younger. How the Nets do the rest of this year, and what they do next season will determine if he considers staying.

Monday, February 21, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Carmelo Anthony traded to New York Knicks

After trying their best to stay in the Carmelo Anthony trade talks over a hectic weekend, the Knicks finally got their man.

The Knicks completed a trade with the Denver Nuggets that would bring the famed forward to the Big Apple, for Dalnio Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov and draft picks to Denver. Eddie Curry will also be traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are the third team in the deal.

The Knicks also acquire Chauncey Billups and Sheldon Williams and Renaldo Balkman.

After a weekend full of news that the Nets were only a Carmelo Anthony approval away from getting him, and burning rumors that disgraced former Knicks GM Isiah Thomas was involved in the 'Melo deal, the Knicks get who they wanted.

With Anthony joining Amare Stoudemire, the Knicks will feature two MVP type stars who will get this team deep into the playoffs.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nets & Nuggest agree in principle to Carmelo Anthony deal

The New Jersey Nets are on the precipice of making their biggest trade since they acquired Jason Kidd from the Phoenix Suns 11 years ago.

According to the Bergen Record, the Nets have agreed in principle with the Denver Nuggets to a deal that would bring Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey, along with Chauncey Billups, Melvin Ely, Relando Balkman, and Sheldon Williams.

The Nets in turn would send first round pick Derrick Favors, point guard Devin Harris, Troy Murphy, and Ben Uzoh and four first round picks to Denver.

The deal is pending Anthony's approval on a three year extension with the Nets. Nets owner Mikhal Prokarov is to meet with Anthony this week to see if they can agree to a deal. If Anthony doesn't want any part of Nets, then he could say no to a contract with New Jersey and the trade will fall through.

That would open the door for the Knicks who have been hot on Anthony's trail, and whom Anthony has stated he wants to play for.

It is hard to believe that Anthony will come to New Jersey to play for a team that is 17-40, and has no realistic shot at an NBA title. The Nets are still struggling to re-establish itself after they ripped apart the Jason Kidd era after the '07-'08 season.

The Knicks, 28-26, are in a better position to compete, but the biggest snag in that deal has been the Knicks reluctance to let go of Raymond Felton or Landry Fields in any deal. They want to keep both.

The final word on the Nets deal could come later this weekend.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fred Wilpon says "Forgetaboutit" Mets not for sale

Fred Wilpon has a message to anyone who wants majority ownership of the Mets. Forgetaboutit!

“We’re not selling controlling interest of the team,” Wilpon said Wednesday at the Mets’ spring training complex. “It’s not on the table.”

Weeks ago, the Wilpons said that were willing to sell as much as 25 % of the franchise to any bidder, but a lot of people like Martin Luther King III and Donald Trump has inquired about owning more than 50 %.

The Wilpons are steadfast that they are not totally broke, and believe the lawsuit will not destroy their chances of keeping the Mets or SNY.

Sorry Mets fans!

Donald Trump wants to own the Mets

The New York Mets are in limbo. With huge uncertainty surrounding the team's financial situation as Fred and Jeff Wilpon, and their partner, Saul Katz, are about to be sued for more than $1 billion by Irving Pichard, trustee for the investor victims of the Bernie Madoff scheme. Consequently, the Mets have been scrambling to curb their troubles.

Two weeks ago, the Mets announced that they were looking for a part owner who would buy up to 30% of the Mets baseball team but would have no say in personnel matters and no claims to SNY, the Mets television network. As more details have rolled out regarding how much of a financial quagmire the Mets will find themselves in during trial, it has become clear that whoever buys the team, needs to have 50 %, if not a majority share, of ownership.

Martin Luther King III was the first to step up to the plate; he wants the entire franchise. Jerry Seinfeld and New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg have declined interest in buying the team. But now, here comes The Donald. That's right: Donald Trump.


Monday, February 14, 2011

CC Sabathia on his way out of the Bronx?

The New York Post is reporting a story that Yankees ace CC Sabathia may consider opting out of his seven year $161 million deal after this season. Why?

Seems like speculation, but Sabathia did nothing to dismiss any notion that he could leave his current contract. He told the Post that "anything is possible," when it came to his contract future, which is a stark contrast from his past, where he would definitively say 'no' to opting out.

I doubt it very much that CC will leave the Yankees or even opt out. He is getting paid big bucks, and has a World Series ring with this team. He is the Yankees best pitcher on a staff that after himself and Phil Hughes has plenty of question marks heading into the 2011 season.

Spring Training opens today

Away from the bitter cold, heavy snows, and slippery roads. Away from the frigid air, the short days, and windy afternoons, the sights and sounds of summer can be heard from Florida and Arizona this Valentine's Day.

Baseball is back. Today is the first day for pitchers and catchers to report to spring training, as the MLB season is only 45 days away!!

It was a busy off-season that saw plenty of movers and shakers. Cliff Lee made his return to Philadelphia, after many had speculated that he would sign on the dotted line with the Yankees or Rangers.

Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford moved to Boston, making them favorites in the American League, while the Yankees achieved near mortal status this winter, having to spend less and spent on quantity rather than quality.

Meanwhile the Mets have been blitzed by scandalous headlines about their owner's involvement in the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme, that could cost the franchise billions of dollars.

Baseballs back---warm weather is not too far away either.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Packers Win Super Bowl XLV


It was not the "greatest Super Bowl ever" as many had trumped it up to be, but the Green Bay Packers found a way to hold off a late Steelers comeback to bring the Lombardi Trophy home to Green Bay as the Packers won 31-25 in North Texas.

The early moments of the game looked like it was heading for a blowout, as the Packers built a 21-3 lead thanks to a 37 yard interception return by Nick Collins, and a Aaron Rodgers 21 yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings.

Yet the Steelers just would not go away. The scored a touchdown just before halftime, when Ben Roethlisberger hit Hines Ward in the corner of the end zone to cut the deficit to 21-10. Then, in the third quarter, Rashard Mendenhall's eight yard touchdown run cut the deficit to four. Suddenly Pittsburgh was back in the game.

The Packers struggled in the second half, they were dropping passes, allowed Pittsburgh to march down the field and eat up clock, and looked lethargic and tired as the game wore on.

Add to the fact that the Packers lost Donald Driver to a ankle injury and Charles Woodsen to a shoulder injury -- one could understand that the Packers would be drained.

Then the Packers caught a break when Mendenhall was stripped of the football, Green Bay recovered near mid field. Rodgers then led a 2:56 drive right down the field, culminating in a touchdown pass to Jenning to open the gap back to 11.

Roethlisberger then led a terrific eight play drive that ended in a 25 yard touchdown to Mike Wallace to cut the lead to 28-23. Then in need of two points, the Steelers pulled one out of their hats, as Roethlisberger faked the run and flipped the ball to Antwan Randell-El who scored the two point conversion to cut it to 28-25.

The Packers needed to score. On a huge third down Rodgers hit Jennings in the flat for 31 yards to get a first down at midfield. That pass was huge, and it was the pass that gave Rodgers the MVP award for the night. Later, Rodgers hit Jordey Nelson for 21 yards to move the ball to the Steelers eight yard line.

The Packers settled for the field goal. Then it was up to their defense. The Packers rushed and blitzed Roethlisberger on the final drive, forcing two time Super Bowl champ to throw an incompletion on fourth and five to end the game.

Curtis Martin does not make cut for Hall of Fame

It really should come as no surprise that Curtis Martin did not make the cut for this year's NFL Hall of Fame class.

Martin lost out to Bears defensive end Richard Dent, Cowboys cornerback Deion Sanders, Rams running back Marshall Faulk, Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe, Rams linebacker Les Richter, Redskins linebacker Jim Hanburger, and NFL Films creator Ed Sabol.

Martin released the following statement:

"I think the voting committee did a great job selecting the 2011 class," the statement read. "If I were a part of the committee I can't say that I would have voted any differently. I'm not being modest at all, but I truly don't feel that there's anyone in this year's class that I should have bested in the voting process. Of course I would have loved to get in this year but, number one the inductees truly deserved it, number two there's always next year! I thank you all for the recognition and congratulations to this year's inductees!"

It's not surprising that Martin didn't make it. He will get his day, but let's remember that Martin was really a great compiler than he was a great running back.

Eight times in his 11 year career, he carried the football over 300 times a season, and was one of the last backs to carry the ball about 30 + times a game. He was not a flashy back, probably not as good as Emmit Smith, Barry Sanders, Faulk, or even Jerome Bettis, as he averaged only 4.0 yards per carry in his career.

However, unlike a lot of those names, he ran for over 1,000 yards in each of his first 10 years in the NFL.

Martin will always be remembered as a guy who helped spur the turnaround in Jets history. When he came over in 1998 to join his old Patriots coach Bill Parcells, together they turned around a sad-sacked franchise into a winner.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Madoff mess has Mets owners scrambling

The revelations last week that Fred and Jeff Wilpon made money on the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme is getting more interesting by the minute.

In a story that hit New York on Friday, the Wilpons failed to come to a settlement with a trustee from the Bernie Madoff party, who is trying to reclaim the henchman's losses, could face a lawsuit that will cost them $1 billion.

The trustee is suing the Mets for pulling out $300 million before the firm collapsed in 2008. Talk about inside information. The Mets knew what was going on, and it will cost them dearly. The lawsuit seeks to recover every penny the Wilpons and Sterlings Equities put into accounts with Madoff.

But don't think that the Wilpons are the victims here, because they are not:

"Sterling Partners knew, or should have known that Madoff's consistently high and extremely non-volatile returns over almost a quarter-century were 'too good to be true' because they were at odds with the strategy Madoff purported to employ," the suit said. "Sterling partners knew or should have known that with every withdrawal from their [Madoff] accounts they reaped the benefits of a fraud. " New York Post.

As a result of Fred Wilpon's stuborn trust of Madoff, he has watched the value of his baseball team, his network and company take huge hits. The Wilpons owe $430 million in dept, for a team that cost roughly $860 million. He is also due to pay $700 million in construction costs on Citi Field, with $50 million annually in lieu of taxes, and SNY, the Mets television network is making $100 million a year after paying $20 million in interest on $450 million on loans, which Wilpon apparently can't keep up with.

That is why the Mets want the new minority owner to pay up $200 million; they hope and believe that it will go a long way in helping them curb their dept problems. However, selling only 25% of their shares, while still holding all of the chips on SNY, the Mets, Sterling Equities, and Citi Field is becoming an enormous feat for them.

In total the Wilpons are $1.58 billion in debt. They can't hold onto this franchise any longer. The Wilpons have to sell this franchise. They have watched their financial situation drag the baseball team down into the abyss. The Mets can't even afford to add players to the roster, and are choking on bad contracts also dished out by the Wilpons.

If the Wilpons truly love this team they are going to have to do the hard thing and bid it adieu, and sell it to someone who can afford to put money into the product on the field.

I am sure that the Mets were Fred's gift to his son Jeff, and Jeff's gift to his own children at some point, but there aren't the Steinbrenner's who know how to spend money and where to invest it. The Wilpons have no clue about handling money, just look at the contract of Oliver Perez for an example.

The sooner the Wilpons go, the better for the Mets.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Andy Pettitte planning to retire

New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte is on his way to New York City today to tell the Yankees his intentions to retire, according to WFAN.

Pettitte has been quiet about his future ever since the season ended in the ALCS. The Yankees have waited all winter for Pettitte to decide, and now just two weeks before spring training the legendary pitcher plans to hang up his glove forever.

Pettitte went 11-3 in 2010, but injuries hindered him from completing what was an outstanding season. Pettitte finished with 240 wins in the regular season, and is one of the winningest pitchers in the postseason with 19 victories.

He will always be remembered for his clutch performances in the playoffs. In 2009, Pettitte won the clinching game of each of the Yankees three playoff series, culminating in the club's 27th World Championship.

The Yankees wanted him back, but Pettitte, who has always been concerned about spending time with his family, finally decided that family was more important this time around.