NBA.com’s David Aldridge on the Kings staying in Sacramento after the NBA Board of Governors meeting denies Seattle:
Sacramento pulled it off.
Capping an unprecedented rally to keep its team, the city convinced the NBA’s Board of Governors to reject the potential move of the Kings to Seattle for next season. In a 22-8 vote, the full Board voted against ratifying the $625 million sale of the team to a Seattle-based group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, meaning the Kings will remain in California’s capital city for the foreseeable future.
NBA Commissioner David Stern said he hoped to convince the Kings’ current owners, the Maloof family, to enter into a sales agreement within the next 48 hours with a group led by software magnate Vivek Ranadive that would keep the team in Sacramento, and that has committed to building a $447 million arena in the city’s downtown area.
NFL Draft just days away; looking at some of 2013′s top prospects:
After months of preparation, the 2013 NFL Draft is finally hours away.
And as we make final preparations before the commissioner steps to the podium, my top-100 draft board is finally set. There haven’t been too many changes over the past few months, but minor tweaks to narrow down my top 100 players in this year’s draft.
Final 2013 Draft Board
1. OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan (6-7, 306, 4SR)
Fisher proved in the Senior Bowl and at the combine that he could hang with the big boys and not just dominate MAC competition. He has room to grow, but the upside is undeniable.
2. OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M (6-6, 306, 3JR)
He’s a three-year starter, and the game seems to come easy to Joeckel. He is smooth in his movements with a stout base, winning with both quickness and strength.
3. DE Dion Jordan, Oregon (6-6, 248, 5SR)
A rare athlete for his size, Jordan needs to show he can stay healthy and add good weight. His fluid feet and range make him a versatile asset for any defense.
4. CB Dee Milliner, Alabama (6-0, 201, 3JR)
Although he doesn’t have elite speed, Milliner makes up for his lack of quick-twitch athleticism with smooth hips, natural instincts and very good read/react skills.
5. OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma (6-6, 303, 5SR)
A personal favorite, Johnson moved to the offensive line in 2011 and is still growing at tackle, but he flashes all the necessary skills to develop into an NFL starting LT.
Sports Media World in San Antonio for Showtime’s Austin Trout vs Canelo Alvarez bout, ESPN’s Kieran Mulvaney with a preview:
No professional prizefighter can ever truly be said to have had it easy. The adjective simply doesn’t belong in a trade that involves athletic human beings pummeling each other on the body and head. But while each and every pugilist must ultimately carry himself or herself along the path to glory, the path that is laid out for some can be more conducive to success than those faced by others.
A Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., for example, by dint of being the son of his near-deified father, might be headlining pay-per-views in his teens, with barely a recognizable name on his résumé. Conversely, an Ishe Smith, having labored to overcome doubters and self-inflicted wounds, might find himself so moved upon finally winning a title belt at age 34 that he is unable to prevent himself from shedding convulsive tears afterward.
For a while, Austin “No Doubt” Trout must have felt his path was destined to be more like that of Smith than Chavez. An accomplished amateur, he fell just short of a shot at Olympic glory, losing to eventual champion Vanes Martirosyan in a box-off to reach the 2004 Games. He turned professional the following year, but his hometown of Las Cruces, N.M., is no boxing hotbed, and his arrival among the paid ranks went relatively unnoticed. He fought in Topeka, Kan., and Auburn, Ind. He traveled to Canada, Panama and Mexico.
CBS Sports NBA writer Ken Berger on the aftermath of the Kobe Bryant Achilles injury and its implications during his recovery:
Kobe Bryant emerged from the Lakers’ locker room at 10:55 p.m. Pacific Time with his family. He climbed into the back seat of a golf cart, his left foot in a walking boot, dangling off the side.
Someone said, “You’ll get through this, man,” and Bryant replied, “Yessir.” And he was off, driven to the loading dock at Staples Center after tearing his left Achilles’ tendon — in the 3,013th minute of the 78th game of his 17th season of this remarkable career.
“I made a move that I’ve made a million times,” Bryant had said at his locker earlier Friday night, “and it just popped.”
And so much popped with it. The pursuit of a playoff berth that Bryant had so heroically –and now, tragically — fueled was rendered pointless in the wake of this vapid, 118-116 victory over the Golden State Warriors. These 48-minute nights, this stubborn battle to push past limits of pain and exhaustion that should’ve long ago conquered him –- over.
Entertainment Mogul/Rapper Jay-Z is at it again, expands Roc Nation into professional sports representation:
Via NY Times:
When Robinson Cano rejected the offer of a substantial contract extension from the Yankees before spring training, he was still being represented by Scott Boras, baseball’s most formidable and challenging negotiator. It is Boras, after all, who consistently takes big-name players to free agency so they can obtain every last penny possible in a new contract.
But on Tuesday, Cano announced that he had fired Boras and replaced him with a new agency headed by Jay-Z, the entertainment mogul and Yankee fan.
For the Yankees, who have been battered with bad news lately, Cano’s surprising decision could only be seen as a heartening development.
Jay-Z for Boras is a trade they would probably make any day of the week because it would seem to increase their chances of reaching a new deal with Cano, their 30-year second baseman, before his current contract expires after the 2013 season and before other teams can begin efforts to take him away. Read the rest of this entry
Myron Medcalf of ESPN looks at the interesting story lines and key matchups as the Final 4 is set:
The survivors, those who’ve persisted toward Atlanta for the Final Four and a shot at the national title, are diverse.
There’s the Big Ten team that’s not the Big Ten team many expected to see there. And the Kansas school that believes in the code of the WuShock, not the Jayhawk.
The Big East’s best team is still thriving. But Louisville’s conference colleague, Syracuse, is coming, too. They’re all different. Their styles, their systems, their paths.
But there’s a similarity that can’t be overlooked as we prepare for the final chapter of the 2012-13 season. They’re all led by elite quarterbacks (point guards).
Trey Burke, Malcolm Armstead, Michael Carter-Williams and Peyton Siva are savvy leaders who’ve demonstrated their value throughout the NCAA tournament.
Yahoo Sports looks at the remaining Sweet 16 teams and their chances to win the NCAA Title:
The opening weekend of the NCAA tournament produced plenty of surprises, but it did not change the favorite to capture the national title. That remains No. 1 overall seed Louisville, which looked as dominant as anyone advancing to the Sweet 16.
With the regional semifinals set to tip off Thursday evening, here’s ranking of the 16 teams still alive from most likely to least likely to win a championship. To be clear, this is not merely a best-to-worst list – it also takes into account upcoming draw and where those games will be held.
How they got here: Defeated North Carolina A&T and Colorado State
Up next: No. 12 Oregon
Outlook: Since a five-overtime loss to Notre Dame during Big East play, Louisville has reeled off 12 wins in a row, captured the Big East tournament title and throttled its first two NCAA tournament opponents by an average of nearly 30 points. The team that beats the Cardinals will have to be patient, careful with the ball and torrid from the field, which is bad news for an Oregon team that plays at a fast pace and turns the ball over a little too frequently.
How they got here: Defeated James Madison and Temple
Up next: No. 4 Syracuse
Outlook: It took a key block, a shrewd coaching decision and a game-clinching 3-pointer for Indiana to survive Temple’s round of 32 upset bid, but the Hoosiers did what they needed to do, which was survive and advance. They have the firepower to solve Syracuse’s zone and to overcome Miami or Marquette in the regional finals, but more production from everyone besides Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller is essential.
How they got here: Defeated Northwestern State and Minnesota
Up next: No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast
Outlook: Dominant as Florida has been in its first two games, questions remain how the Gators will fare down the stretch in a close game and whether they can hold onto a late lead in an Elite Eight game the way they’ve failed to do the past two years. Florida may have the size, length and athleticism to put Florida Gulf Coast away early, but whether it’s the Elite Eight or the Final Four, the Gators eventually will be tested in a close game.
ESPN The Magazine’s Don Van Natta examines NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s power over America’s most popular sport:
BEHIND THE CLOSED doors of a Capitol Hill chamber, Roger Goodell sits on a panel with an Army general before a rapt audience of two dozen lawmakers. The NFL commissioner swaps ideas with four-star Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III about how to better protect the brains of the young people who fight America’s wars and play America’s game. They also discuss changing the “warrior mentality” among soldiers and players, who keep fighting and playing through pain. The parallel is unmistakable: To detect and treat traumatic brain injuries, the U.S. Army and the NFL are partners in survival.
This was on Sept. 12 of 2012. Clad in a navy blue business suit offset by a bright yellow tie, Goodell, 54, jots notes as Austin speaks. Almost 7,000 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan have sensors embedded in their helmets to record concussive events, Austin tells Goodell. Another general muses that it’s easy to imagine that someday the Army’s sensors will be embedded in every NFL player’s helmet.
From Capitol Hill, Goodell races to a luncheon interview at the W Hotel before a crowd of fans. The interview, initiated by the league office, is conducted by a friendly questioner from the Politico website who allows Goodell to combat a swirl of bad news, from the league’s lockout of the referees to a run of negative player-safety studies. On that most important issue, he tells the awed audience, in his methodical manner of speaking: “Player health and safety is an issue that we’ve always been focused on. It’s always been a priority.”
Wright Thompson with an inside private look at the life of Bobcats owner Michael Jordan at the age of 50:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Five weeks before his 50th birthday, Michael Jordan sits behind his desk, overlooking a parking garage in downtown Charlotte. The cell phone in front of him buzzes with potential trades and league proposals about placing ads on jerseys. A rival wants his best players and wants to give him nothing in return. Jordan bristles. He holds a Cuban cigar in his hand. Smoking is allowed.
“Well, s—, being as I own the building,” he says, laughing.
Back in the office after his vacation on a 154-foot rented yacht named Mister Terrible, he feels that relaxation slipping away. He feels pulled inward, toward his own most valuable and destructive traits. Slights roll through his mind, eating at him: worst record ever, can’t build a team, absentee landlord. Jordan reads the things written about him, the fuel arriving in a packet of clips his staff prepares. He knows what people say. He needs to know, a needle for a hungry vein. There’s a palpable simmering whenever you’re around Jordan, as if Air Jordan is still in there, churning, trying to escape. It must be strange to be locked in combat with the ghost of your former self.
Smoke curls off the cigar. He wears slacks and a plain white dress shirt, monogrammed on the sleeve in white, understated. An ID badge hangs from one of those zip line cords on his belt, with his name on the bottom: Michael Jordan, just in case anyone didn’t recognize the owner of a struggling franchise who in another life was the touchstone for a generation. There’s a shudder in every child of the ’80s and ’90s who does the math and realizes that Michael Jordan is turning 50. Read the rest of this entry
SI’s Ben Golliver on Nerlens Noel’s NBA prospects after the Freshman star tears his ACL:
Kentucky announced Wednesday that center Nerlens Noel, regarded as one of the top prospects in the 2013 NBA draft, tore the ACL in his left knee during a Tuesday loss to Florida, an injury that will end his freshman season.
“Minor setback for a MAJOR comeback!,” Noel tweeted on Wednesday. “I love you all and can’t thank y’all enough for the prayers.”
There is never a good time and place for an ACL injury but this is about as bad as it gets. Noel was less than five months away from the 2013 draft, in which he has been regarded as a likely top-three pick, and perhaps the No. 1 overall selection. His injury generally carries a nine-to-12 month recovery, forcing him to choose between returning to Kentucky for his sophomore season, joining the team midseason once he’s healthy, or taking his chances by declaring for the draft.