- The Season's Over -

Checking Up on Last Year’s NBA Free Agents

February 28, 2007

The 2006-07 NBA season is more than halfway over, so Empty the Bench thought we’d take a look at some of the biggest offseason moves in free agency and how they’ve panned out thus far for the team and player. Hint: it’s (mostly) not pretty.

Tim Thomas, Forward: from Phoenix Suns to Los Angeles Clippers

Former 7th overall pick and career under-achiever Tim Thomas experienced somewhat of a resurgence last year in Phoenix, if that’s what 11 points, 5 boards, and 43% shooting is called. The good news for the Clips is that the chronically injured Thomas has stayed relatively healthy all season, but the not-so-good news is that, like many predicted, Thomas hasn’t really improved much on his average career numbers. For the season, he’s putting up 10.5 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists on 40% shooting. About the same stats as last year, but for more significantly more money: $24 million over 4 years.

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No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Feb. 28, 2007 at 11:53pm in ETB Articles, NBA, NBA Fantasy News

Fat Fingers + Bowling Ball = Hilarity

February 28, 2007

R. Kelly, “I Believe I Can Fly”

I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open door
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly

2 CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Feb. 28, 2007 at 9:36pm in Miscellaneous

Cedric Maxwell Can’t Wait for Breakfast

February 28, 2007

Bacon and eggs sound tasty, Cedric, but we’re hooked on Apple Jacks and espresso. Boston Celtics’ radio commentator Cedric Maxwell came down with a severe case of Foot in Mouth Syndrome on Monday, saying over the air that female NBA referee Violet Palmer should “go back in the kitchen” because he didn’t like her calls (the Celtics won, by the way, 77-72). To further clarify what, exactly, he wanted her to whip up in the kitchen, Maxwell said: “Go in there and make me some bacon and eggs, would you?”

D'oh!

Mmmmmm…. bacon. Maxwell of course “apologized” Wednesday night for his remarks, but announcing partner Sean Grande made it sound like they’d been victimized:

“If I said anything that might have been insensitive or sexist in any way, then I apologize because she worked extremely hard to get where she is now, end of quote,” Maxwell said before the Celtics’ game against the New York Knicks on WEEI-AM, which is owned by Entercom Communications.

Said Grande:

“We are not changing the way we do our jobs because of the tendency of media outlets to present people’s comments in a way that serves their story.”


And to bring it all home, let’s not forget the last time an on-air personality for Entercom made a slip of the tongue:

Entercom fired former WRKO talk show host John DePetro in November after he called Green Party gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross a “fat lesbian” on the air. DePetro later apologized.

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Feb. 28, 2007 at 9:23pm in NBA

Flea: Wordsmith

February 28, 2007

Flea

Since posting about Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ongoing Lakers blog on NBA.com, we here at Empty the Bench just haven’t been able to pull ourselves away from his thoughtful prose. As such, we’ve decided to regularly reprint select passages of Flea articulately expressing himself through words. This edition’s excerpt wrestles with complex issues ranging from the motivating power of failure to the ethics of winter sports.

As always, if you have any favorite Flea passages of your own, please do feel free to post them in the comments section.

perhaps the lakers needed to spend some time in a dismal slump
in order to truly see the necessity of an intense defense
and a committed and heartfelt style of play
one can only hope………
good to see that lamar seems to begetting back to form as well
and certainly that is a major factor
kobe playin sick last night, sucks it up for the righteous cause
go lakers

i was snowboarding during the all star break just like radmanovic
except i did not fall
i cruised down the mountain at high speeds having the time of my life
i am disappointed in his dishonesty about the whole affair
but certainly not as disappointed as he probably is
and at least he came clean about it
laker fans are not happy about the whole thing

come back luke come back kwame

Move over Donald Hall, we have a new candidate for Poet Laureate.

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Feb. 28, 2007 at 9:00pm in NBA

Mark Cuban Interested in Chicago Cubs

February 28, 2007

Could Cuban break the curse?

Mark Cuban is reportedly trying very hard to buy a major League Baseball team, and he has his sights set on the Chicago Cubs. He has made an offer of $625 million to buy the team from current owners the Tribune Co. Cuban has apparently been trying to get a team for some time, and in a recent interview with with TheStreet.com he had the following to say:

TheStreet.com: I’ve heard rumors about the Chicago Cubs — are you considering purchasing them or any other sports team?

Mark Cuban: I’m always interested in iconic teams or teams from my hometown, but it’s a “nice to do,” not a “have to do.”

Cubs fans should be excited about this news. Cuban is a first-rate owner who is serious about putting a quality product on display. He spared no expense in building up the Dallas Mavericks from laughingstock to perennial NBA Championship contender. He enthusiastically supports the Mavs in every way, a team that is in first place in the NBA now and must be considered the favorite for the title this season. They have been selling out every game, they are competitive, their facilities are first-rate and Cuban does everything within his power to help the team.

Despite their reputation as perennial disappointments, the Cubs are one of the most valuable franchises in baseball; last year, Forbes estimated the team’s worth at $448 million. (The Yankees topped the ranking at more than $1 billion.) Cuban’s offer represents a sizable premium over that valuation.

Cuban is extremely obnoxious for opposing fans and referees, but it’s not his job to be liked by them. It’s his job to please the local fans, and he does it as well as any owner in professional sports. So, could he break the curse? I’d sure like to find out. Professional sports need more owners who actually care about the team, who attend every game they can, who live and die with the team: more owners like Mark Cuban.

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Feb. 28, 2007 at 7:48pm in MLB, NBA

The Battle for California: Bynum vs. Biedrins

February 28, 2007

This weekend’s ETB column, All-Youngin’ Team: NBA’s Best, 21 And Under, has generated quite a stir among local fans all over. The biggest response was probably from the Golden State Warriors faithful, who took offense to Andrew Bynum being chosen over Andris Biedrins despite Biedrins having a better season to date. I posted a brief response to the excellent discussion taking place on that forum, but it got me to thinking: California has two starting centers that are extremely young, extremely talented and have very bright futures. So which one is going to have the better career?

“The one thing that is for sure is this – 10.3, 9.7, and 2.0 is better than 8.5, 6.6, and 1.6. Both these guys can blow up into something special very easily or both can stay the same. The point is that right now Biedrins is further ahead than Bynum and is leading the race. There is no definitive way to say that one of these guys will definitely be better than the other, so you take who is further along at this point.”
-Thunder, Warriors Discussion Forum

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No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Feb. 28, 2007 at 5:07pm in ETB Articles, NBA, NBA Fantasy News

Jamal Crawford Suffers Stress Fracture

February 28, 2007

The Knicks’ playoff dreams sustained a stress fracture the same time Jamal Crawford did.

Jamal Crawford is done

Jamal Crawford, the Knicks second leading scorer, will be out for the remainder of the season barring some kind of miracle healing process. New York will sorely miss his scoring punch, outside shooting and ball handling skills. Before the injury, Crawford was posting a nice fantasy line: 17.9 points, 4.5 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1 steal and 1.8 three-pointers in 38 minutes. Also of note was his 84% FT shooting on 4.7 attempts per game. The man set to take his place is Nate Robinson, who is considerably less savvy on the offensive end, especially in terms of passing, basketball IQ, IQ and perimeter shooting.

Although Thomas said he will miss Crawford’s shot-making ability, the 26-year-old’s ball-handling also will be sorely missed on a team two games off the pace for the final playoff spot. With Steve Francis out (right knee), Stephon Marbury and Robinson will have to handle the ball more than ever.

Thomas was trying to avoid that with the erratic second-year Robinson, whom former coach Larry Brown once called “the farthest thing from a point guard.”

“God bless his soul, yes, he probably will have to [handle the ball]. And forgive me, Lord, for the things I’m going to say to him,” Thomas said of Robinson before erupting into laughter.

Fantasy owners will certainly have a hard time replacing his production. This is obviously a boost for Quentin Richardson, assuming he can stay on the court himself. New York is already without the services of Steve Francis, so there are a lot of minutes up for grabs in the Knick backcourt. Nate Robinson might be worth a look (a look, not an add just yet), but it remains to be seen how the Knicks’ rotation adjustments will work out.

“Very disappointing, obviously,” Crawford said after yesterday’s practice, where he was dressed in sweats and flip-flops. “You never really expect something like this to happen. But I guess it’s part of life.”

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Feb. 28, 2007 at 4:22pm in NBA, NBA Fantasy News

Dale Davis Gets His BlingTune On

February 28, 2007

Bling

Put your iPod in the trash. Throw away your Zune (that’s a joke… you don’t really own one, do you?). Detroit Pistons center Dale Davis is set to dominate the mp3 player market with the launch of “BlingTune,” which he describes as “an MP3 and radio encased in a jewelry piece.” Davis says BlingTunes will mostly be marketed to an urban audience “because it’s jewelry.” Solid. Here’s more from the Bling Daddy, courtesy of Justin Rogers over at Full Court Press:

“Just looking at the emergence of what iPod did and the market in general, if you look at a product like BlingTune, all it is, it’s a little more flashy, it’s a little more hip. It goes in line with more of an urban product because it’s jewelry. And by the built-in market already being there with MP3s and iPods, we thought it would be a good idea to kind of attack that market, the urban market. It’s an MP3 piece for the urban market.”

We’re anxiously awaiting official pricing and release details. I already have my little niece penciled in to get one for Xmas this year, and, heck, probably grandma too. For more info, including specs and photos of the BlingTune, visit the official BlingTune website.

1 CommentPosted by Brian Spencer on Feb. 28, 2007 at 3:04pm in NBA

Wolfgang Puck Catering: “Oops, Our Bad”

February 28, 2007

Puck's Party Grub

Attendees of Sports Illustrated‘s swimsuit edition bash may have been exposed to Hepatitis A, and surprise, it’s not from the models! SI reports that a member of Wolfgang Puck Catering diagnosed with the fun-filled affliction handled some of the food at the party, and that those who ate the food are probably none too pleased with the situation. While the risk of infection is “quite low,” you have to cover your ass these days:

While we’ve been advised this is a low risk situation, we’re strongly urging our guests and staff to follow the department’s recommendation to consult a physician to receive an immune globulin (IG) immunization in the next 24 hours.

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, county director of public health, said the caterer’s response to the situation has been “exemplary.”

Yah… but it seems not-quite-so exemplary that the Puck employee was found to have worked “nine other events at a time when [the worker] could have been infectious.” Man, I’m psyched to order some take-out now. That little Indian joint downstairs with the spicy pakoras and green curry sounds good. Maybe I’ll order a samosa too.

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Feb. 28, 2007 at 12:34pm in Miscellaneous

Free-Agent Targets for Every NFL Team

February 28, 2007

You won’t believe this: Sporting News actually has an interesting article about the NFL that does NOT require you to log in or purchase an exclusive-content plan just to read it! Hoorah!

JaMarcus Russell to be a Raider?

On Monday the fine folks at SN published a list of every NFL team and who they might be targeting in free agency. The unfortunate fans of last season’s worst team, the Oakland Raiders, will be thrilled that their team is targeting the sexiest position of all: the offensive line.

Look for the Raiders to go after 49ers C Jeremy Newberry as a potential replacement for starter Jake Grove, who could move to left guard. Newberry likely would come cheap because he has been injury-prone the past few seasons. If his knees hold up, he still may have a couple of more years in him. The Raiders also might make a run at Chiefs QB Damon Huard, who would give them an established player to handle the reins while Walter or whichever quarterback Oakland drafts develops. Huard plays well within the scheme and doesn’t commit too many mistakes. Most of the team’s moves likely will be made after the initial wave of free-agent signings. That could change if the team cuts ties with Jordan, G Barry Sims or WR Randy Moss to create cap space.

Fans hoping and praying for Huard to save the QB situation, though, will be disappointed, as yesterday the big man re-upped with the Kansas City Chiefs for 3 years. I wouldn’t be too disappointed though: this all but guarantees that LSU QB JaMarcus Russell will be suiting up in black and silver as the first overall pick in the draft. Then again, Al Davis might opt for a punter… you just never know.

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Feb. 28, 2007 at 11:24am in NFL

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