Wednesday, September 12, 2012

After a Long Journey, Miami Heat Center Mickell Gladness Hopes to Stick in South Beach

Miami Heat center Mickell Gladness didn't have the easiest road to South Beach-but now he's found his way back.

After graduating from Alabama A&M with a career 396 blocks, Gladness saw the 2008 NBA draft come and go without a mention of his name. A defensive gem seemed to have fallen through the cracks, but that didn't deter him from pursuing his career as pro basketball player. 

The former Bulldog took his talents overseas to the Netherlands, where he joined the Matrixx Magix Nijmegen for one season. After playing one year in Europe, Gladness  split his next three years between the Rio Grand Vally Vipors and the Dakota Wizards in the NBA's D-League.

Last season Gladness caught the eye of the Miami Heat and finally broke into the league he had been working towards for so many years. 

Gladness appeared in only 8 games last season for the Heat before becoming a free agent after his 10-day contract expired. He soon caught on with Golden State and finished out the season with the Warriors averaging 3.0 points and 2.6 rebounds.

With a new season set to begin, the former Warrior has caught on with a familiar team in Miami. The Heat have signed Gladness to a non-guaranteed training camp contract, and while their roster stands at 15 now, they can bring up to 20 players to training camp, which begins September 29.

Until then, the Heat center says he is just happy to be back with Miami.

"Right now I'm in the place I want to be," Gladness told Talkin Hoopz. "I've dreamed about playing here, and excelling here."

Excelling in South Beach with such a crowded roster may be a tough thing to do, but the lack of size and depth in Miami play in Mickell's favor.

Joel Anthony and Dexter Pittman primarily serve as the Heat's centers, with Chris Bosh rumored to get some spot starts at the position. If Gladness can create some seperation from Jarvis Varnado, who signed a similar non-guaranteed contract, then the big man from Alabama could make the final roster. Bosh as a regular starting center will not happen, he can't swing with opposing centers on a night to night basis and still be expected to contribute significantly on the offensive end.

Gladness has all the tools to make it in the NBA, and with training camp opening at the end of the month, he'll get the opportunity to show out and prove he deserves to play along side Lebron James and D-Wade.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

NBA Roundup: Nets get their Man, Knicks Get to Work, and the Bulls talk Extension

Nets Agree to Deal with Andray Blatche

The Nets have agreed to take on the Andray Blatche project-at least for one year.

The former Wizard has accepted to join the team for the veteran’s minimum, where he will serve primarily as a backup for Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez.

Blatche was amnestied by Washington, and will make $23.3 million over the next three years.

Blatche averaged 16.8 points and 8.3 rebounds in 2010-11, but only appeared in 26 games last year, and saw a major drop off in production.

All Business in New York, as Knicks get to Work

Knicks forward Steve Novak told ESPN the Knicks are gearing up for the season with a "pre-training camp".

The camp will begin Monday and run through October 1.

Last season, the lockout hurt the Knicks ability work on their chemistry, and it showed throughout the year. The front line of Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler didn't live up to the hype. The three didn't play well on the offensive end of the court together, and the franchise suffered because of it.

Now, with a full off season, two legit point guards, and new coach, the Knicks will look to finish better than the lower tier of playoff teams, and finally begin their push for a championship.

Bull Look to Keep Tibbs in Chicago

The Chicago Bulls and head coach Tom Thibodeau have resumed contract talks.

"Tibbs" is entering the final year of his deal, and if Chicago was wise, they'd listen to his demands.

The 2011 NBA Coach of the Year has had his success, and shortcomings with the Bulls, but losing the leagues MVP in the playoffs is not an easy thing to overcome.

We fully expect a deal to be worked out, and Thibodeau to be back in Chicago after the upcoming season.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Knicks and Nets Looking To Bolster Front Lines

The Knicks and Nets continue to play in free agency, as both teams are rumored to be looking for some big help.

The Knicks are reportedly interested in Sean Williams. Nets fans should remember him since he spent three years with the club from 2007-09. The former Boston College standout was recently released by Houston, and has been linked to numerous teams such as Miami, Minnesota, and now New York.

He's averaging 3.6 points and 2.3 rebounds per game throughout his four-year career.

The Nets however are looking for a little more talent with Andray Blatche.

A player with enormous talent, the former Wizard could be more of problem than solution for Brooklyn.

Blatche was amnestied by Washington, and will make $23.3 million over the next three years. While he said he is open to signing for the veterans minimum, only time will tell if he means what he says.

During his breakout year in 2010-11, Blatche averaged 16.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. If he could bring his talent the Barclay's Center, and leave his ego at home, the Nets could have found the comeback player of the year.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Looking Ahead: The Five Most Anticipated Games From the Upcoming NBA Season

In case you were stranded on a deserted island, or have been living under a rock for the past three months, you already know all the headlines that stole the NBA off season. 

Dwight Howard got his wish, Ray Allen found South Beach, and the Knicks are hoping to have found the fountain of youth-and oh yeah, Linsanity is no longer playing on Broadway.

After an off season full of trades, transactions, and of corse, drama, we are now only 63 days away from the start of a brand new season. In honor of this, we felt is was necessary to preview the five most anticipated and intriguing games of the 2012-13 NBA season.


Was there ever any question? 

The Nets are the first team to call Brooklyn home since the Dodgers back in 1957-needless to say the borough was in dire need of a fix. 

The Knicks and Nets were never really known for heated rivalries, but that's all about to change now that both teams are stacked and primed for runs at an NBA title for the foreseeable future. 

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has already fired warning shots at the Knicks, calling owner James Dolan a "little man". 

The battle for New York gets underway November 1, at 7:00pm on TNT.  And like the saying says, "They Know Drama".


"My time is now" 

Those were the words of the NBA's scoring champion Kevin Durant, who was visibly shaken after dropping four games to the Miami Heat in last year's finals. 

If the Olympics are any indication of what's to come, then the league, and its fans, had better start strapping in for one intense ride.

The Heat on the other hand have added some firepower to an already solid roster with the acquisitions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. Miami was in need of some outside shooting help, and have once again solidified themselves as the top dog entering the season. 
Sparks will fly on Christmas Day when these two teams meet in South Beach. 


One word - LINSANITY! 

But will it have the same effect in Houston? 

That remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain, Knicks fans were left with a bitter taste in their mouth after their golden boy skipped town for a bigger deal on a dimmer stage. 

All that is a thing of the past for the rest of league, but New Yorkers don't forget, and Lin will get a cruel taste of that reality when he visits Madison Square Garden as the enemy instead of the savior. 

The Knicks should also enjoy an easy win here, as the Rockets gutted their entire roster this season and made players like Lin and Omer Asik major players. 


Personally, I can't wait for Andrew Bynum to outshine Dwight Howard-not only this season, but for years to come. 

Professionally, I think this will be statement game, not only for Bynum, but for the Sixers as a franchise to show they are ready to return to NBA prominence. 

Catch this game News Years Day @ 10:30pm. 


If you have any interest in watching the future stars of the NBA light it up, then this is a can't miss game. 

Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan will take on Austin Rivers, Eric Gordon, Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson.  

Still not sold?

Did we mention the underlying story that involves Chris Paul playing against his former franchise? 

This game is ripe with emotion, drama, and highlights. These two franchises have complied the most exciting young talent in the NBA, and if you're not sold on that then the NBA doesn't apply to you. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Andre Iguodala Wants Contract Extension, Serge Ibaka Gets One

For the past few seasons, Andre Iguodala's name has come up in numerous trade rumors and contract talks. After years of debating what to do with Iguodala, the Sixers finally caved and sent the swingman to Denver in the four team mega-deal that included names like Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, and Aaron Affalo. 

The face of the franchise ever since Allen Iverson left town, Iguodala is a mini LeBron in that he can do everything on the court-just not as well his majesty.

But the newest member of the Nuggets doesn't want his new city to just be a stopping point.

"We weren't coming into this thinking this will be a one-year deal," Iguodala said. "This is definitely a place that I can see myself for more than just a year or two."

Iguodala is only under contract for the upcoming season, but both sides seem to be on the same page-for now.

Meanwhile, things in Oklahoma City have settled down after securing Serge Ibaka for the next five seasons after the young fella agreed to a four-year extension reportadly worth $48 million. 

Ibaka (@sergeibaka9) posted on twitter:
"So happy for the opportunity to be part of the @OKCThunder  for 5 more years! Proud to play for this team and for the best fans in the @NBA."

The Thunder still have some work to do with James Harden set to hit free agency after next season, but for now, they have the pieces in place to make another run at an NBA title.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Whose Ready To Play? An Updated Report From The NBA's Medic Bay

The NBA saw its fair share of stars and superstars go down with injuries throughout the season, most notably Stephen Curry and Derrick Rose. So who will be ready for opening week, and whose hoping to get back later in year?


Stephen Curry:

What seemed to be a very promising NBA career after the 2009 draft class, has turned into a series of questions marks as to the health of Curry.

Coming off of right ankle surgery, the sharp-shooting guard has stated he expects to be ready for opening night, and will begin 5-on-5 drills in the near future.

Even if Curry is a go for the start of the season, there is no guarantee he will stay that way for the rest of the year, as his chronic ankle problems have  held him back since he began in the league.

Dwyane Wade:

The two-time NBA champion has made it very clear there is "no question" he will be ready for opening night.

Wade, who played through the pain last season, is coming off of a successful  knee surgery, but had to miss the Olympics because of the procedure.

While Wade has dedicated his off season to getting ready, the Heat have added some insurance at shooting guard with Ray Allen.

We don't expect Wade to experience a drop off in minutes, but his scoring could take a hit with the NBA's all-time leading three point shooter on the roster.

Dwight Howard:

Lakers fans may have to hold their breath a little longer before they can witness Nash throwing lobs to Howard at the rim. 

Howard underwent surgery to remove herniated disc fragments from his lower back.

While his recovery timetable says he could be ready for the start of the season, it doesn't seem likely at this point, but things can change as fast he did jerseys-oh wait. 

Derrick Rose:

This may be the biggest question mark of all, when will Derrick Rose recover? 

A torn ACL is one of the worst injuries an NBA player can experience, just ask Rose who said it was the "closest thing to death". 
We've heard a ton of possible return dates,  but sources tell CSN Chicago that Rose is expected to rehab through the February All-Star break. 


Can Chicago hang around the Eastern Conference playoff seedings that long? Let us know what you think!

Ricky Rubio:   

One of the best young point guards in the league missed part of last season, and the Olympics, due to a torn ACL.

He remains very questionable for camp, and is reported to be out until December. While he will be re-evaluated mid-September, these types of injuries take time, just ask Derrick Rose.

The Timberwolves are a young team on the rise, but they will need Rubio if they have any hopes of making the playoffs.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Crowder Family Making an Impact, Both On and Off the Court

Jae Crowder may only be a second round draft pick in the NBA, but he's the number baller in the league according to his father.

Former player and Vice President of the NBRPA South Florida Chapter Corey Crowder, stopped by talkinhoopz Tuesday night and told us his son was the number one player in the league.
"If you asked me 100 times I'd give you the same answer, Jae Crowder is the best player in the NBA in my book."
Sure, that may have been a biased pick, but Jae's talent is worth far more than the late round pick in which he was selected, as multiple teams were said to have been interested in acquiring the Big East player of the year.

After being drafted by Cleveland with the 34th overall pick, Jae was then dealt to Dallas, where he will presumably be competing for playing time with Vince Carter and OJ Mayo.
His game may still need time to develop, but Corey believes his son is ready to contribute right away.

"As far as the way he plays, if he's got to make a transition, absolutely not," Crowder boldly stated.  "There's not a team in the NBA that cannot use a kid that's going to rebound, not be a hindrance on either end of the court, and just going to be a winner for the organization. I really like what he does."
But while Jae deals with the current talent, his father will be handling the former ones, as his new role will be helping retired players through the NBRPA get acclimated to a world after basketball.

"We have a lot of good programs for the retired players, we're bring on some medical insurance, some transition programs for the guys to make a smooth transition."

With Jae set to take care of business on the court, and Corey off it, the Crowder family is poised to lead the league, and its players, for many years to come.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Former NBA Player Mark Strickland Finds Time for his Passion and his Love

Former NBA player Mark Strickland is staying close to the game-but not too close.

The former Heat and Mavericks forward has enjoyed time as a coach on multiple levels, including the National Basketball League of Canada, but now spends his time training kids, both as a personal trainer and an instructor.  

"I have a lot of kids that I train, a lot of high school kids, just trying to teach them the right way," Strickland said.

While his coaching career thrived,  his personal life suffered, and  Strickland knew that wasn't something he was willing to do.

"When I was coaching in the development league it just took away so much from my family time, especially my son, so I figured out a way to still do something that I love to do, but also make my own schedule so that I could be there for my little man."

Now the former journyman just enjoys being a fan of the game, but he's not rooting for his any of his former teams.

"I really like the Heat but I'm a huge LA Lakers fan, so you already know I want Dwight Howard to go to the Lakers."

A former player, current fan, and all-around good guy, Mark continues to be a strong ambassador for the game through the South Florida chapter of the NBRPA, and is enjoying every minute of it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mark Stirckland: This Dwightmare Should Have Ended Last Season

Super teams and Dwightmares, two things former NBA player Mark Strickland is not a fan of.

Could you blame him?

The NBA has seen its fair share of players hold out and force a franchises hand, but nothing has compared to the torment Dwight Howard has put the Orlando Magic through.

For two years now Dwight Howard has publicly, and privately, expressed his desire to play in another uniform. His demands have forced Orlando into bad choices and  limited trade options. The firing of head coach Stan Van Gundy is just one example of the many things Orlando has done to keep "Superman" in a Magic jersey-but it seems their star still wants to fly.

And while Howard may be following the trend of big names leaving small markets, his approach to doing so has left left a knockout blow to the Magic franchise.

"It kind of put a black eye on the game,"  Strickland said. " I look at the Dwight situation, and he's just dragging this thing out too long. He should have just went to Orlando, told them he wasn't coming back and went on and got traded during the season."

However all this could have been avoided had Howard not opted back into his final year, thus releasing all his power to be dealt in a timely manner.

"He should have nipped it in the bud last year instead of opting in," Strickland added. You got a lot of these superstars, and their young. They been in the league a long time  but their still young, they really don't know how to make those decisions the proper way."

Strickland's thoughts echo that of the NBA community, that is tired of the never-ending saga that is Dwight Howard. As we have all learned, the NBA has lost complete control of its league, and the players are now calling the shots, rather than the front office. 

Orlando is out options, and running out of time. They must deal Howard or let him walk for free, and the latter will not happen. When Orlando finally deals Howard, the world can rejoice, but until then, we must all continue to suffer though this Dwightmare.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Take Your Pick: NBA Free Agents Still on the Market

Every off-season teams get to address their long shopping list via free agency and the draft. The major pieces fall first, setting the market for the lower-tier free agents, or guys that are seen as contributors rather than stars.

This year was no different as NBA fans saw guys like Deron Williams, Roy Hibbert, and Eric Gordon set the scene for the reaming transactions in the league.

But another thing can be said about every off season-a few players somehow always manage to fall through the cracks. So here's a look at the top free agents still available:

Perhaps the best thing about Landry is his motor-it never stops. Landry is averaging 12 points and 5 rebounds for his career, but exceeded those numbers in 2009-10 when he played with the Kings. In Sacramento he was able to put up 18 points and six rebounds while averaging a steal per game as well. Any team in the league could use Landry, so don't expect him to be on the market for too much longer.

Not too long after my post, Landry signed a two-year deal worth $8 million with the Golden State Warriors. He'll play behind David Lee, and give the second unit some life. 

Barbosa is one of those guys who can do a lot in a little amount of time. A guard of all trades, he can find different ways to contribute.  Although Barbosa can shoot, defend , rebound, and pass, the drawback remains that he does everything about average, and nothing great. Still, there is always a need for a guard who can do all of the above, and he'll have his pick of teams rather than just settling.

Reports say Pietrus is "moving on" from Boston, and league should take notice. Pietrus is a guy who has not only played on championship caliber teams, but big games as well. A guy not afraid to take the big shot, Pietrus has been rumored to be looking for more than the vet-min, but his best bet may be to take a one-year deal and hope for the best next season.

Martin missed half of last year because of his overseas commitment to China, where he played with another former NBA player Quincy Douby.

After signing with the Clippers, Martin saw a drop in his offensive career numbers, but showed he could still defend with the best of em' inside. Teams can roll the dice on the former number one pick, as he showed he's still got some left in the tank.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Former LA Lakers Forward Irving Thomas Finds the Most Rewarding Assist Is the One Off the Court

In every sport players come and go, some faster than others. Whether it be graciously or ugly, every athlete has to hang em' up and face the reality they can no longer play the kids game anymore.

Some athletes go on to become coaches or scouts, others tackle the media world and become broadcasters, but the majority of players are faced with adapting to a whole new world. 

Former NBA player and current LA Lakers scout Irving Thomas knows the feeling all too well, as he was faced with a similar situation when he decided to take off his jersey for the last time. 

"It took me three years to really find something after my basketball career was over," Thomas told talkinhoopz. That's just really too long for guys to transition into what we call the real world."

But Thomas isn't just a scout, he's also the president of the South Florida chapter for the National Basketball Retired Players Association,  an organization designed to assist members transition from the playing court into life after basketball.

Having dealt with those "real world" issues firsthand, Thomas can appreciate the struggle players go through once their career is behind them, and that's why he has signed on to help his fellow hardwood heroes. 

"It's not uncommon for guys to struggle after your career is over," Thomas said.  There are some stories out there that are really terrible, so I just wanted to help with that and do what I can to make sure that guys are successful in life after basketball."

For Thomas, the ultimate assist comes from helping not only former players, but future ones as well. 

In addition to his work with the NBRPA,  the former forward hosts his own basketball camp in the City of Miami Gardens-but it's not all just three man weaves and lay up lines at the Thomas camp: 

"We had a seminar last year where the kids actually got up and learned how to speak in front of the camera and be able to talk and express themselves.  If you're going to be involved in sports, you're going to be in front of the camera." 

With all the people Thomas gets involved with he should have considered being a point guard in the NBA, and while his playing career may be over, his role in the league is certainly in its prime. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Yankees Land Ichiro

In a surprising move the New York Yankees have landed Ichiro Suzuki in exchange for right-handers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar.

Ichiro, now 38, is set to become a free agent at the end of this season, and was expected to finish out his career with the Seattle Mariners. Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said recently he expected Ichiro to resign with the club-but so goes life in the major leagues.

Hitting .261 thus far, well off his career numbers, Ichiro brings some stability to a mismatched outfield comprised of DeWayne Wise, Andrew Jones, Raul Ibanez, Nick Swisher, and Curtis Granderson. The Yankees had been rumored to be in the market for another outfielder as Brett Gardner is expected to not make it back onto the field this year. 

The Yankees didn't give up much for this low risk high reward move, and will now continue to dominate the American League. They are expected to make one or two more moves, most likely adding a pitcher in an attempt to bolster the rotation. 

Whatever moves the Yankees end up making from now until the trade deadline will be hard to compete with the on and off the field significance Ichiro will bring to the Bronx. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Quincy Douby Focused on an NBA Return

Former Rutgers standout Quincy Douby has been out of the league since the 2008-09 season, when he last played with Toronto.  Douby struggled to translate his strong collegiate play to the pro level, forcing him to go overseas and improve his game.

Douby is now playing ball in China trying to develop his game through the point guard position. An undersized two-guard by NBA standards forced teams like the Kings and Raptors to play him at the one spot, something he was not used to doing. 

On Tuesday, Douby admitted to that his brief stint in the league was mostly caused to "bad situations". Those bad situations forced him out of the league and into a Xinjiang Tigers uniform in China.

Now entering his final year with the squad, Douby feels he is confident to make his return to the NBA.

"I've been using overseas to perfect my point guard ability, so when I do go back to the NBA I'll be able to play the point guard position at a high level",  Douby said.

A scorer by nature, Douby's new skill set will be interesting to see on the pro level, as he looks to make his return next year. Although the former first round pick is just looking for another shot, he does hope to catch on with a contender.

"My agent is talking to three teams right now that are very very interested" Douby said.  "The Lakers, Hawks and Mavs are interested."

If Douby could link up with Kobe in LA or Dirk in Dallas, there's no doubt he'll not only be back, but fulfilling his dream of playing for a contender.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Linsane Off Season for the Knicks Ends with a Bang

This off season has been anything but normal for the New York Knicks.

After winning the "Bird Rights" hearing on Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, the Knicks gained an inside advantage on resigning their top pickups from last year. Lin, a breakout star, and Novak, the best shooter in the NBA, were poised to make their return to the garden.

But things rarely go according to the script in New York.

As the Knicks pursued, and eventually struck out on Steve Nash, their attention seemed to be constantly fixated on the next best available point guard, with names like Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, and Jameer Nelson popping up in the rumor mill.

For all the rumors and speculation surrounding Lin's next mentor, there was little doubt the undrafted stud would actually leave NY, even though he was a free agent.

As the of weeks free agency dragged on, the Knicks added new (and some old) pieces to the puzzle in hopes of finally escaping the first round of the playoffs.

Steve Novak and J.R. Smith were resigned, and Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby made their returns to the tri-state area.

There is no question that the Knicks greatly improved not only their second unit, but roster as a whole.

Both Camby and Kidd bring veteran leadership and defense to a vastly depleted Knicks squad. New York was down to nearly their last point guard towards the end of last season, and Jared Jeffries served as Tyson Chandler's backup.

But throughout all the success the Knicks have enjoyed this off season, their main prize had yet to be claimed, as reports of an unhappy Lin swirled, and a Houston Rockets offer sheet surfaced.

With a 39-year old point guard at the helm, the Knicks were almost a lock to retain Lin-that was until the Rockets decided to up the ante and raise the stakes of Lin's offer sheet.

The Rockets original offer was  four years, $28.9 million, with $19 million in guaranteed money. However, after the Knicks repeatedly and publicly proclaimed they would match the offer for Lin, the Rockets upped the deal to $25 million guaranteed over three years.

This new offer, should the Knicks match, would put a death grip James Dolans' pockets, causing the franchise to be almost $17 million over the luxury tax in 2014-15. New York could match still match the offer and then trade Lin down the road before the 2014-15 season and save themselves some serious cash.

Lin has tremendous value around the league right now, and could be used as a trade chip near the deadline.

With all this in mind, the Knicks still opted for plan B, or perhaps plan Z, and acquired Felton, along with Kurt Thomas, in a sign-and-trade with the Portland Trailblazers. The deal with Felton is reportedly worth $10 million over three years.

The Knicks also declined to match Toronto's offer Saturday night with Landry Fields as expected.

With Lin possibly headed for the exit, the Knicks can start over with a new backcourt, and a new lease on life, even if the expiration date on this team seems to be right around the corner.

The Knicks have brought in enough talent to secure them the deepest team in the league.
Felton, Smith, Novak, Thomas, and Camby will just flat out play harder than any other bench in the NBA.

There is enough talent and expierience there to beat some starting units in the league. (Bobcats, Kings)

For all the drama, for all the "Linsanity", and for all the non sense that surrounded this team over the past year, New York has finally weathered the storm.

The Knicks may be looking at only a two-year window to win with this team-but hey, it will be a glorious two years as New Yorkers don't know how to live any other way.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Couple of Old-Timers Look To Give Knicks a Fresh Start


The New York Knicks will win the 2006 NBA Finals.

Seriously though, the team they have now would have been more useful back then, but that doesn't mean this squad can't compete for a title next season.

With the additions of Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby, the Knicks have added some tough veteran experience that they lacked last year. 

Kidd is one of the most respected players in the league, not to mention accomplished, and will provide more assists off the court than on. While the Knicks haven't resigned Jeremy Lin as of yet, they are expected to, and the veteran point guard will be there to mentor the rising star every step of the way.

Lin struggled against teams who keyed in on him, and his turnover woes are a serious issue. With Baron Davis often injured, and Toney Douglas non existent, the burden proved to be too heavy for Lin to lift alone last season, and saw his breakout year cut short due to injury.

Kidd will not only show Lin the ropes, like he did with J.J. Barea in Dallas, but help shoulder the load. While Kidd may be growing a white beard by the end of the year, father time hasn't gotten his grips on the new Knicks guard just yet.

Camby on the other hand will do what Jared Jeffries could not last year-anchor the second unit.
No knock to Jeffries, as every Knicks fan knows his worth, but how many times did we see him out there?

Knee issues held him to 39 games last season, which added to the workload of Chandler and Amare Stoudemire. If the Knicks are going to go deep in the post-season, they need their superstars to be fresh late in the season, and Camby will provide that.

A menace to opposing teams, and a shot blocking wizard, Camby will be a true backup to Chandler, and give the Knicks a defensive presence when their star center is out. With the addition of Camby, the Knicks will be a force defensively, as they already have two of the best defenders at their positions in Iman Shumpert and Chandler.

If the Knicks can find some solidarity, and figure out a way to make the parts work, they could be a serious contender by the end of this year, but then again, that's a big IF.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The New Look Knicks Shoot For The Stars-But Can They Grab Any?

The New York Knicks have been linked to numerous names this off-season as they search for a team to surround their superstars.

The collective efforts of Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler were only good enough for a first round exit from the playoffs last season, and if New York wants to be seen as a serious contender, they have to make some roster moves to bolster the team.

The addition of Jason Kidd is a welcomed one, but not enough.

The veteran point guard will give the Knicks a solid presence on the court and in the locker room, and can alleviate some of the burden on Jeremy Lin-should New York retain him.

While Kidd will most likely use up the mid-level exception (a three-year $9.3 million package) , any offer Lin receives can be matched by the Knicks thanks to the newest "Bird Rights" ruling that allows New York to resign the guard without going over the cap.

With money tight, and few option available, the Knicks will need to move fast if they ever want to get out of the first round of the playoffs.
Veteran free agent Marcus Camby would be a welcomed addition to his former club, as the two sides will meet in Houston today.

The 2007 defensive player of the year is said to be interested in reuniting with New York, and the feeling is mutual.  Tyson Chandler cannot continue to log heavy minutes, and the Knicks need a defensive presence in the second unit now more than ever with Iman Shumpert recovering from a torn ACL.  If the Knicks can convince Camby to join the cause, then New York would most likely need to work out a sign-and-trade with Houston to secure Camby a more lucrative offer.

Another possibility for the Knicks could be Randy Foye.

Foye was an unsung hero throughout the LA Clippers season last year, and has also expressed interest in throwing on a blue and orange jersey.  The veteran two-guard averaged 11 points per game last year, but exploded on April 25 when he dropped 28 against the Knicks in a 99-93 loss at the Garden.

But Foye shouldn't be the only side interested, as the Knicks are not expected to match Toronto's 3-year $20 million offer to Landry Fields, thus leaving an hole at the shooting guard spot. With J.R. Smith recently opting out, the Knicks have no healthy shooting guards on their roster.

Other names linked to Knicks have been O.J. Mayo Rashard Lewis, Pablo Prigioni, and Raymond Felton. J.R. Smith and Steve Novak may also return, but how the Knicks acquire Kidd (via sign-and trade or using the mid-level) will shed much more clarity on what kind of room the Knicks will be working with moving forward.

Time is ticking quicker than a New York minute in the city that never sleeps, and the Knicks are on the clock.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Second Coming: Brandon Roy Set to Make His Return-Just Not with Portland

At some point every athlete has to come to terms with the inevitable fact that it's time to hang em' up, unfortunately for Brandon Roy, that time came too soon.

One of the greatest talents to ever bless the hardwood floors was forced into early retirement because of a remarkable six knee surgeries over his short five-year career.

But that may all be a thing of the past now as Brandon Roy announced to the world via twitter Friday night that he has plans of a comeback.

In a series of posts under his former college teammates handle, @ChillConroy, Roy tweeted, "Lord willing, I will play again soon."

He later added, "I’m preparing for a comeback. I’m training daily. I’m preparing for a return next year. I appreciate the love. Hopefully I’ll be back on the floor soon. Health is good.”

 Roy, now 27, is still in the prime of his career, should his knees permit him to enjoy it. In his five seasons in the NBA, Roy never played a full year, and was rarely seen without some type of brace.

If Roy can make his triumphant return, it will have to be with a different franchise, as he also confirmed on Twitter that the NBA does not permit him to return to the only team he has ever known: the Portland Trailblazers.

"Due to the NBA rules I cannot play in Portland until 2014-2015, I’m looking to return sooner."

Just another blow to a franchise that has experienced all types of pain throughout the years.

From the 1984 NBA draft debacle that saw the Trailblazers select Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan, to passing on Kevin Durant for Greg Oden 23 years later, Portland has experienced more than its fair share of heartache. asked Trailblazers star guard Wesley Matthews about what it was like to play in a city surrounded by dark clouds.  

"It's a positive place," Matthews said. "We get hit with bad luck unfortunately ya know with injuries to B.Roy, injuries to Greg (Oden),  everyone's going to date back to the Jordan selection, but we got a team that doesn't believe in that."

This was all prior to knowing Roy was going to make his return to the NBA, perhaps now Matthews will change his mind about the black cloud that seems to follow Portland down whatever trail they try to blaze.

Kyle McMorrow is also a Correspondent for Bleacher Report, and a writer and producer for 1010 WINS Radio in New York City. He has also worked for the Big Ten Network and ABC-TV in New York City. Kyle McMorrow has interviewed numerous prominent athletes, such as Larry FitzgeraldJustin TuckEli Manning and LaDainian Tomlinson. Twitter: @Kyle_McMorrow

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The New Look Mets Remind Former Amazin' Stud John Franco of Yesteryear

The new look Mets have been given a new lease on life after pulling themselves out of the cellar they've been trapped in since 2008.

In the four years since, the Mets have had more off-field headlines than accomplishments, but some young bloods have rekindled some of that Amazin' power fans have sorely missed.

Guys like Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada, and Daniel Murphy have contributed early and often in this young season, helping New York's ugly step sister to a respectable 32-29 record-good for third in the N.L. East. While most would scoff at a team only three games over .500, the Mets sit only five games back of first, and former Met John Franco knows how these things go all too well.

"It's early yet,"Franco told "This isn't a sprint, it's a marathon,"

Entering the season with so many new and young faces, not many would have guessed the Mets to be playing so well.

Third baseman David Wright has rediscovered his swing, and may be playing better than any other corner infielder in the league. Johan Santana has bounced back nicely from shoulder surgery, and R.A. Dickey was the first pitcher in the league to nine wins.

A team of perhaps misfit toys has banded together and opened eyes, a feeling Franco says he remembers all too well.

"They kind of remind me a little bit of the 2000 team when nobody gave us a chance and we ended up going to the World Series that year, Franco said. "They are a little bit under the radar, and that's kind of how we were."

But there are reasons why people didn't have their sights set on a Mets comeback, and the franchise may be showing signs of why nobody payed attention at the start. Having lost eight of their last thirteen, and four of six to division opponents over the past two weeks, the Mets may be coming back down to earth.

Whether the Mets can keep pace with the rest of the division remains to be seen, but if they can continue to hang around until September, baseball fans know all too well that anything can happen.

Kyle McMorrow is also a Correspondent for Bleacher Report, and a writer and producer for 1010 WINS Radio in New York City. He has also worked for the Big Ten Network and ABC-TV in New York City. Kyle McMorrow has interviewed numerous prominent athletes, such as Larry FitzgeraldJustin TuckEli Manning and LaDainian Tomlinson. Twitter: @Kyle_McMorrow

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Former Knick John Starks Optimistic About the Future of the Franchise

The new-look Knicks delivered an all too familiar feeling this season as the team once again failed to deliver any results.

Aside from a small moral victory that delivered the franchises first playoff win in over 10 years, the trio of Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony, and Amare Stoudemire weren't enough to propel the Knicks to anything more than a seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. But former Knicks star John Starks doesn't chalk that up to failure.

"It wasn't a disappointment, it was an up and down year," Starks said. "For them to turn it around mid-season and get to the playoffs is a big accomplishment."

The Knicks will now look to build on those accomplishments as they scramble to keep key free agents Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields and Steve Novak. It's no secret the importance Lin has brought to the Knicks not only on the court, but off as well.

In 35 games last season, Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists-not too bad for an undrafted point guard claimed off of waivers. During that time period Madison Square Garden shares rose 3.9 percent and the stock gained 32 percent.

But if the Knicks hope to keep "Linsanity" in blue and orange they will most likely have to use the mid-level exception to keep him, meaning no more room for upgraded talent at any position. "

"Obviously there's going to be some changes. We've got some free agents we have to sign. Guys just have to come back stronger and better this upcoming season," Starks told

Should an arbitration hearing on June 13 go the Players Association way, Lin, along with Novak, will retain their "Bird Rights," and thus allow the Knicks to keep their mid-level exception, rather than having to use it on Lin.

If the Knicks could keep Lin while maintaining their mid-level, it could open up all types of possibilities at both the point guard and shooting guard spots.

Names like Steve Nash, Raymond Felton, and Jason Kidd have been mentioned to mentor and help a Knicks team desperate in the backcourt. O.J. Mayo is somebody the Knicks could also look at should J.R. Smith decide not to return to the Big Apple for another year.

Whatever happens in New York next season and beyond, Starks may have summed up every Knicks fan's sentiment when he said, "I'm excited for what the future holds for the Knicks."

Kyle McMorrow is also a Correspondent for Bleacher Report,and a writer and producer for 1010 WINS Radio in New York City. He has also worked for the Big Ten Network and ABC-TV in New York City. Kyle McMorrow has interviewed numerous prominent athletes, such as Larry Fitzgerald, Justin TuckEli Manning and LaDainian Tomlinson.Follow him on Twitter: @Kyle_McMorrow