When Chris Paul finally escaped New Orleans, the Hornets receieved some consolation prizes from the Los Angeles Clippers. Chief among them were shooting guard Eric Gordon and a draft pick that would turn out to be Austin Rivers. Beyond that, the Hornets are still a team missing a ton of pieces. Now, with Gordon a restricted free agent, the Phoenix Suns have agreed to a four-year $58 million offer sheet with the former Clipper. Now, the Hornets have the opportunity to match and keep one of their few assets with the club. Gordon just hopes that they won’t.
Everyone remembers the saga that the Orlando Magic went through last season with their star center Dwight Howard. Howard openly flirted with every team the Magic played, telling anyone who would listen how excited he would be to play for pretty much any team but Orlando. He asked to be traded without technically asking to be traded, trying to maintain some illusion of being the ‘good guy’ in the situation. The team decided not to trade Howard, however, and instead resorted to desperate bargaining to keep their center, who eventually relented and waived his opt-out clause for next season, ensuring that Howard would not leave in free agency this offseason. Howard flexed that new-found leverage the team gave him to force out GM Otis Smith and head coach Stan Van Gundy (allegedly) shortly after the Magic’s season finished. However, that doesn’t seem like it’s been enough for the disgruntled Orlando big man, who met recently with new Magic GM Rob Hennigan to let him know that (SURPRISE!) he wants to be traded…this is starting to sound familiar, isn’t it?
On ESPN’s First Take Friday morning, Dallas Mavericks owner and guy who likes to talk a lot Mark Cuban went on the program and broke down all the ways that the hated Skip Bayless is a worthless waste of space. Bayless has made a career on being the loudest, most obnoxious ceramic doll in the room, and has found a way to worm his way into seemingly every second of programming on the Worldwide Leader. The internet exploded with praise for Cuban for finally getting to say to Bayless everything that everyone has always wanted to. Well, not everything. It’s still on basic cable. But people were excited none the less: “Finally! Somebody told that blowhard off! Now he’ll get his!” Except…not really.
The Miami Heat wrapped up the NBA Finals last night (I don’t know if you’ve heard about it yet or not), giving LeBron James his first NBA Championship in his illustrious career. Now he can put to bed all of the talk about how he can’t win a ring, that he’s cursed by his selfishness, and all that other talk because he’s achieved what every athlete hopes to by reaching the pinnacle of his profession. LeBron and the rest of the Big Three kept the party going last night, partying with Game 5 timeout entertainment LMFAO, and the South Beach celebration is sure to last all summer long! Oh, wait, never mind. Mike Krzyzewski needs King James for the Olympics…like now.
The Indiana Pacers were one of the surprise teams in the Eastern Conference this season. They made the playoffs, advanced past the first round for the first time in seven years, and even held a 2-1 advantage over the Miami Heat before losing three straight to get bounced from the playoffs, far exceeding any expectations people had for this squad. One of the main reasons for their unexpected success has been their emerging All-Star, and former Entertainment 720 employee, at center, Roy Hibbert. At just 25-years old, Hibbert set career highs in points and rebounds this season while also getting selected to his first All-Star game, which is all good news…except Hibbert is going to be a restricted free agent July 1, and his stock probably won’t ever be higher. What chance does Indiana have to keep their star big man?
The 2012 NBA season was a tumultuous one for the Orlando Magic. Their superstar center, Dwight Howard, openly courted almost every team in the NBA in hopes of getting traded from Orlando. The Magic weren’t so keen on trading him away, though, so they held on tight, begging and pleading with him not to opt-out and walk in free agency. They offered to bring in free agents, trade for players Howard wanted, fire anybody he asked if he would just not leave. Howard finally agreed, if only to get the Magic to stop groveling and to save some shred of his public image, giving up his opt-out clause, keeping the Magic big man in Orlando for at least one more year. That didn’t save Stan Van Gundy from unceremoniously being pushed out of the way (which was part of Howard’s demands depending on who you believe) or GM Otis Smith, who shouldn’t really be allowed near a basketball court anyways. The Dwight Howard saga was a circus and a constant distraction as the Magic muddled their way to an early playoff exit…and Adidas is hoping you missed all of that.
At the end of the regular season, Ron Artest Metta World Peace was involved in a nasty altercation with 6th man of the year award winner James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder. During the April 22 game between the Lakers and Thunder, World Peace delivered a decidedly unpeaceful elbow to the side of Harden’s head while celebrating a big dunk. The shot gave Harden a concussion and earned Metta a seven game suspension that held him out of six of the Lakers first seven games in the playoffs. He’s back with the team now, and the Lakers are matched up with the Thunder in the second round of the NBA playoffs, which is a little bit aaaaawkward since Metta hasn’t technically even apologized (because he doesn’t fraternize with opponents and won’t “shake the backups hands”) to Harden for the vicious elbow. Well, nothing says your sorry like a thoughtful gift…like a power forward.
After the New York Knicks’ loss in Game 2 of their first round matchup with the Miami Heat on Monday, Amare Stoudemire was visibly frustrated. The Heat were beating New York to every spot, forcing the Knicks to press, and the referees were coming down decidedly pro-Miami in their calls. While anyone would be frustrated after back-to-back disappointing showings in the playoffs, Stoudemire felt the need to vent his frustration by punching the glass casing of a fire extinguisher hanging on the wall. Initial reports were that he suffered slight laceration and that his availability for Game 3 would be doubtful. He left the arena with his arm in a sling, which left many to wonder just how bad this “laceration” really was. Turns out, it was super bad.
The NBA playoffs are in full swing and one of the marquee matchups out of the West is the second seeded Oklahoma City Thunder against the seventh seeded defending champion Dallas Mavericks. Both of their games so far in the series have been back-and-forth slugfests, with the Thunder coming out on top each time to take a 2-0 series lead. Game 1 was particularly exciting as Thunder superstar Kevin Durant hit a game winning shot as time expired to push OKC to victory. The twitterverse exploded in response, cementing Durant’s status as a fan-favorite pick for one of the best players in basketball. Everyone was blown away by his effort to push his team to a win…well, almost everybody.
There are few jobs that are as thankless as “sports team mascot,” especially when part of the job is dressing up as some kind of animal wearing clothes. You have the kids who are terrified of you and burst into tears at the sight of you, which can’t feel good, or the other kids who think it’s fun to kick and throw things at you because they don’t understand that you’re a human being under there, or they do and they just don’t care. Then it’s hot, and you can’t see where you’re going so you have to be led around at all times by handlers and you’re always expected be “on” and “zany,” which is probably exhausting. It’s also annoying if you’re caught up in that zany aura as a fan, doubly so if you’re not a fan of the team the mascot is representing. Add in some beer and arcade games, and that’s a recipe for a throwdown.