Longtime Miami Heat beat reporter Ira Winderman of the SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL reports Tuesday morning that discussions between Heat free-agent guard Dwyane Wade, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh have taken place examining how all three could fit under the Miami NBA club’s salary cap.
The Sun Sentinel has learned that the three star free agents have gone as far as to acknowledge that it might not be possible for the Heat to clear the needed space to start each of the three at the $16.6 million maximum salary that they would be eligible for in the first year of new contracts.
According to the source, the three have agreed to consider to “split the money up,” if need be.
By unloading the $4.96 million 2010-11 salary on the contract of forward Michael Beasley, as well as potentially minimizing the cap hit of the buyout of forward James Jones, the Heat would be on the cusp of being able to extend maximum offers to Wade, James and Bosh.
According to Winderman, the trickiest part of the deal appears to be the Heat trading for Bosh: Read more…
The Manny Ramirez Traveling Salvation Show hit a snag last night in New York, thanks to an umpire with a hair trigger. Well, it’s hard to call anything about John Hirschbeck’sfifth-inning ejection of Ramirez “hair trigger,” since it took roughly 15 minutes seconds from when Hirschbeck rung Ramirez up on a called third strike to when he tossed Ramirez from the game for throwing his helmet, bat, elbow guard, cleats, socks and jock strap into the air in disgust.
Manny didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal, since “I was playing only five innings, so I was leaving anyway.” Which came as news to Dodgers manager Joe Torre. Not that it mattered much - with Ramirez going 2 for 4 with three RBI and Clayton Kershaw throwing six shutout innings, the Dodgers cruised to an 8-0 win over the Mets. But it did give Los Angeles residents driven nutty by the Michael Jackson Circus a chance to remember the other, ridiculously overblown media circus in town.
If you are a college football fan who hates the current BCS system, you had reason to celebrate yesterday as Sen. Orrin Hatch ordered up a can of whoop-ass with a side of hash on the football elite during a congressional hearing about the college football playoff system, and the Senate cafeteria was all out of hash. Specifically, he said that “the Justice Department ought to be looking at this” because he believes the system violates antitrust laws.
(Play the BCS off, Keyboard Hatch.)
Which is great, until you realize that Hatch was the only member of the subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights to actually attend any significant portion of the hearing. But there were plenty of junior staffers there, fresh out of college and probably the only people outside of Hatch and Barack Obama who care about college football in Washington D.C.
Also, you have to understand that Hatch is from Utah, where the majority of the state is still steaming about the undefeated Utes being left out of the BCS Title Game last season, so there’s certainly an element of “playing it up for the home constituants” going on here. So you basically had Hatch grilling the President of Nebraska University, who was acting on behalf of the BCS Backers, which is kind of sad when you realize that Nebraska is roughly one zillion percent less likely to play in a BCS Title Game in our lifetimes than Utah.
Meanwhile, you might remember a small link we had yesterday about U.S. National Soccer Team midfielder Michael Bradley being suspended following a red card and subsequent confrontation with a referee at the end of the team’s shocking 2-0 win over Spain in the Confederations Cup. And it turns out that he will be suspended for three games, although it’s perhaps the weakest three-game suspension in sports history.
Ever get mad when a pitcher receives a five-game suspension for his part in a brawl, which only means that his next start gets pushed back one game? This one is even worse. FIFA has suspended Bradley for three games, all right - three games that he was never going to play in. The suspension will be served during the group play stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which is convenient for Bradley since he’s not on the roster for the tournament.
Which means that Bradley will be available for the U.S. next game that matters, a World Cup qualifying match at Mexico on August 12. Somewhere in Mexico City, a Mexican senator is preparing a special committee hearing.
DEUCE OF DAVENPORT knows that the only thing better than Erik Estradadrunkenly butchering “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during a Cubs game is him giving an interview in the booth during the game that somehow works in child porn and Ron Jeremy. A master class in awkwardness in two parts: First the singing…
…and then the interview:
Lance Armstrong has moved to within a second of the yellow jersey after his Astana team cleaned up during a team stage during the Tour de France. Which I’m sure no one in America cares about, but it has to be irritating the French more than a canceled Jerry Lewis movie marathon, and that’s always a good thing.
When playing for Russian side CSKA three years ago, Yuri Zhirkov didn’t take the advice of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to learn English. Which is a problem, since Abramovich signed Zhirkov to a a huge deal on Monday, and the winger will have to deal with struggling to communicate with his teammates.
When GM Joe Dumars fired Michael Curry as head coach of the Detroit Pistons, he claimed that the team needed a more experienced hand at the helm. Which makes it curious why he eventually decided to give Cavaliers assistant John Kuesterhis first crack at an NBA head coaching job. Couldn’t have anything to do with both Doug Collins and Avery Johnson bailing from the gig? But Kuester has been a head coach at Boston…University, which is close to the Celtics, right?
Another depressing sign of the economic times: the NBA salary cap will decrease next year for only the second time in 26 years. The cap number next year is $57.7 million, down almost one million dollars from last year. So when Dwayne Wade lashes out at the Miami Heat for failing to land a big free agent again, they have a ready-made excuse.
Reports are circulating that Mike Krzyzewski is going to be coming back to coach Team USA at the 2010 World Championships and the 2012 Summer Olympics. Because as he showed in Beijing, he clearly could handle coaching with limited talent.
In case you were wondering if there was any bad blood between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir ahead of their heavyweight title unification rematch, CAGEWRITER answers with a resounding “yep” after watching the two trade barbs during the “Countdown to UFC 100″ on SPIKE. Also, Lesnar thinks the referee of the first match is an idiot, and really, really hates doors.
Meanwhile, if you were curious, UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is still insane. He’s not crashing an SUV with his name and picture on it after a wild car chase this time, but SPORTS RUBBISH says he is dry humping unsuspecting reporters during interviews.
Interesting news about “aspiring rapper” Keith Norfleet, the ex-boyfriend of Sahel Kazemi. Not only was he the person who picked her up after she was popped for a DUI in Steve McNair’s car, but he also emailed a local newspaper the following: “Pretty interesting news about our golden boy McNair…You would be pretty amazed at the fact of who he was actually with, which I really don’t think his wife would like it too much either.”
According to investigative reporters Alan Schwarz and Benjamin Hill, a book called “Odd Man Out”, allegedly a memoir about medical resident Matthew McCarthy’s one season — 2002 — with the Provo (Utah) Angels of the rookie-level Pioneer League, is fraught with errors, as identified by McCarthy’s own subjects in subsequent interviews. While the concerns haven’t reached critical mass yet, the book is already teetering on the edge of becoming a sports version of James Frey’s infamous “A Million Little Pieces”.
Need proof? Check out the disparity between what McCarthy writes about these players, and what they say about their time with the team.
Pitcher Blake Allen repeatedly talks about missing his wife and child back in Alabama; Allen, in a telephone interview last week, said his first son was born Sept. 28, two months after he had permanently left the team. Allen later is quoted saying he met his wife in Oxford, Ala., but they actually met in high school in Alexander City.
Out of baseball since that year and now living in Alexander City, Allen said last week that the more disparaging but less disprovable stories about him — crassly disparaging (Manager Tom) Kotchman, Dominican players and the Mormon citizens of Provo — were just as false. Allen added that a portion where he admitted to faking his injury so he could “just sit back and cash the checks,” which appeared in the Sports Illustrated excerpt, could seriously affect his life.
That, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. Neither Viking Publishing’s Carolyn Coleburn, who is in charge of publicity for the publishing house that put out “Odd Man Out”, nor Chris Stone, Sports Illustrated’s baseball editor who green-lighted the excerpting of the memoir, could claim that they aggressively verified facts in the book.
It’s uncertain whether much will come of the new questions being raised about McCarthy’s tome, and the pitcher is already fudging some of the details about his story to make his book more defensible. Regardless, he’s bound to make serious bank on it, which goes to prove what the banking scandal should have taught us already: If someone has two Ivy League degrees, be awful careful before investing in any product they’re selling you.
As soon as India was attacked by terrorists earlier this year, concerns were raised about international cricket and the subsequent tours to be made by European and Caribbean teams to the Indian subcontinent. Well, those fears have come to terrifying realization after five policemen were killed and several Sri Lankan cricketers were injured in a terrorist attack in Pakistan early Tuesday morning. The Associated Press puts the number of injured athletes at eight, though that number has yet to be confirmed.
“Police resisted when 12 terrorists attacked the bus in which Sri Lankan cricket players were traveling,” Lahore police chief Habib-ur- Rahman told reporters. The Sri Lankan team “was the target,” he said.
Needless to say, knowing that the Sri Lankan team was the primary target of the attack is no comfort to Sri Lanka, or to cricketers across the globe. Perhaps more than any other sport, cricket athletes travel to areas of questionable security, putting themselves in front of more loosely screened fans and groups with a motive for terror. If existing concerns over India weren’t already enough, this is exactly the kind of event that could push England’s cricket team to cancel all touring outside of Europe or the West Indies altogether.
That says nothing of Sri Lanka, which is still trying to get a grasp on this latest brutal attack.
“We take these attacks very seriously,” Gamini Lokuge, sports minister of Sri Lanka, said in a phone interview from capital, Colombo.
Yes, we’d imagine they would take the attacks seriously. Now we’ll see how serious the rest of the world takes them.
In the end, both James and Wade were pretty spectacular. For the second straight game since being called out by the NBA for his fashion-aids, Wade went off, scoring 41 points. The only problem was that James was even better, scoring 42 in Cleveland’s 107-100 win.
If you thought that James and Wade like playing each other because it pushes them both to put up big numbers, well, you’re right. Just how close those statistics are, however, is frightening. Through 18 games between the Cavaliers and Heat, both Wade and James’s teams have won nine times. James has averaged 2.1 more points-per-game, with 0.1 more rebounds-per-game and one more assist-per-game, though both have four 40-point games against the other’s team. Spooky, huh?
Now the question is whether they’ll face off in the playoffs. If you don’t think that would make a must-watch series, well, we’re calling you crazy right now.
Just days after pundits tried to justify the massive Redskins deal for Albert Haynesworth in part by how it would help Jason Taylor, Washington cut the Pro Bowl defensive end. The team claims it wasn’t about money, but every million helps when you ink another guy to $100 million, particularly when you can get back $8 million+ in one move. It just goes to show how shortsighted owner Dan Snyder’s reign in D.C. continues to be.
Lou Pinella would like to make it clear right now: He is no fan of ESPN’s Steve Phillips, and he may have good reason to feel that way. He also has plenty of company. Just go ask a Mets fan how they feel about the former GM.
Garciaparra isn’t the only former Red Sox legend out of contract, but he sounds a lot closer to a future home than Pedro Martinez. Read between the lines in Pedro’s bizarre pseudo-interview with himself on Monday, and he sounds closer to Manny Ramirez’s unsettled contract status than Garciaparra’s.
Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is listed as the top overall prospect in all of baseball, a 6-foot-5, more cerebral A-Rod … with even more power. Naturally, because of the beating catchers take in their career, that has some wondering how long it will be until Baltimore wises up and moves him to first base.
A-Rodjust can’t figure out how to make a quiet entrance. Sure, he didn’t bring along Yuri Sucart, but ex-wife Cynthia’s appearance with his two daughters at the Dominican Republic training camp smacked of desperation, not to mention the Maybach he was driving.
The conventional wisdom is that the Pac-10 was having an exceedingly down year. In fact, that’s probably the main reason that USC was left out of the National Championship discussion: their one loss against a Pac-10 school was far worse than a loss to an SEC or Big 12 team.
So what do we make of Oregon’s 42-31 victory over Oklahoma State in last night’s Holiday Bowl? Yes, the Ducks featured an explosive offense, which you would expect from an Oregon team and is apparently mandatory to play in the Holiday Bowl. But the story was their defense in the second half, which put the clamps on the Cowboys’ star QB Zac Robinson.
It was just a big day all around for Oregon sports teams. Along with the Ducks winning the Holiday Bowl, the Portland Trail Blazers did the improbable on Tuesday night, taking out the defending champion Boston Celtics 91-86 without the services of injured All-Star guard Brandon Roy.
Keeping in mind it might be foolish for the Celtics to start panicking now - they are still 28-5 - but they have lost three of four. Oh hell, where the fun of having a sense of perspective: between this, the Patriots missing the playoffs and the Red Sox getting rejected by Mark Teixeira, let’s start wildly speculating about the end of the Boston sports dynasty.
Other sports news that happened as you prepare to get your drank on tonight:
LeBron James’ birthday wasn’t as successful as he would have liked, as he lost his showdown with Dwayne Wade’s Heat 104-95. Somehow you excuse me if I’m not too sympathetic. Still, the game was a lot of fun to watch - NESW SPORTS has highlights of some impressive blocks each superstar had during the game:
Most coaches are petrified of their players getting distracted by the glitz and parties that surround bowl games, especially if they are some place exciting like Miami. Which explains why the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER says Bearcats head coach Brian Kelly is debating moving his team from the hotel they are staying at ahead of the Orange Bowl because Sean “P. Diddy” Combs is having a New Year’s Eve party there.
DIME WARS has awesome video of the Pistons’ Rasheed Wallace doing what he does best: taunting and baiting NBA referees. What can you say? The man is the best of all time.
The LA TIMES reports that UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker, long considered to be a prime candidate for a head coaching job somewhere, is finally going to get his chance at New Mexico State. Of the seven African American head coaches in the FBS, two are in the state of New Mexico.
More from the Danny Villa mess: the BOSTON HERALD says that his wife has filed divorce papers against the disgraced former NFL player and HS football coach accused of raping an underage student. Hope he has a good divorce lawyer.
Regardless of how you feel about the Miami Heat (both the sports team and the climate, for that matter), everyone has to agree: Dwayne Wade is a pretty solid guy. After hearing a holiday tale of woe about a South Florida woman’s nephew accidentally burning down their house, Wade and his charitable foundation — Wade’s World — stepped in and did what he thought was right: He bought her a new house.
OK, he didn’t buy her the entire house, but he did make her purchase of a new house possible. Wade reportedly took care of the property’s down payment and has committed to make Dawn Smith’s monthly mortgage payments until she gets her family back on their feet.
“That’s what I try to teach my kids,” Wade said. “It’s not about what you’re going to receive—it’s what you can give to others from what you’ve received. … We can help this family have a new beginning.”
As for the recipient, she was understandably overcome with thankfulness for the Miami swingman’s generosity. Not that it mattered that he was an NBA player.
While you were sleeping or taking part in your usual late night weekend activities USA Basketball was busy restoring order in the world of international basketball and not playing defense in the Gold Medal Game against Spain.
The USA came into Sunday’s game beating their opponents in their first seven games by an average of 30.3 points, which included a 37 point smackdown of Spain in pool play. In the finals, however, Spain gave the US a hotly contested offensive slugfest that remained in question until the game’s final two minutes.
In honor of the X Games, MAXIM brings us the 8 Hottest Girls of Action Sports. Sadly, most of them are not participating in the actual X Games, but feel free to include them in on your X Games fantasy teams.
Josh Howard is arrested for driving 40 miles per hour over the speed limit and THE BIG LEAD is all over it.
Team USA’s beating of Lithuania was capped off by Dwayne Wade’s windmill dunk off an alley-oop from Chris Paul. Video courtesy of INTENTIONAL FOUL after the jump.
With the Beijing Olympics less than a month away team USA called on representatives from the 51st state to participate in an exhibition game Friday night in Las Vegas.
Despite being banged up; LeBron James missed the game due to an ankle injury, Dwight Howard is coming off a stress factor to his sternumand Dwayne Wade missed the majority of the 2008 season with a bad knee (climbing onto Star Jones each night takes its toll on your body), the USA beat the Canadaians and their universal healthcare 120-65.
(Miami Heat basketball - plenty of great seats still available!)
Jorge Sedano of 790 THE TICKET reports that the Miami Heat is doing just that. Apparently throwing in the towel for this year, the NBA club is looking toward the future, trying to convince south Florida spectators to park their posteriors in American Airlines Arena for 2008-09.
And to do so, the team pulled out the big guns for the big pitch.
In quick succession recently, the NBA lost Yao Ming and Dwayne Wade to season-ending injuries. In each case, the player had apparently been struggling through one or more injuries and simply could not risk playing any longer. Also, each player had strong reasons to begin the healing process as soon as possible: Olympic glory.
Yao has extraordinarily strong national responsibilities, but both players have immense marketing muscle behind their athletic efforts under the international spotlight - in the most lucrative emerging consumer market.
Which leaves the obvious question: which players have the most incentive to set aside the remainder of the NBA season to better prepare for Olympic success this summer in Beijing?