Thursday, June 26, 2008

O'Neal Traded to Toronto

The Toronto Sun is reporting that the Indiana Pacers have traded center Jermaine O'Neal to the Toronto Raptors for point guard T.J. Ford and Toronto's first round draft pick (17th overall) in tonight's NBA draft.

Assuming that the trade goes through, the pairing of O'Neal and Chris Bosh -- a 2008 All Star and one of the fastest rising stars in the NBA -- will give Toronto one of the most formidable front lines in the NBA, and could help make them a major factor in the Eastern Conference.

Friday, June 20, 2008

NABC to Coaches: Stop Offering Scholarships to 8th Graders

One week after Kentucky's basketball team received a commitment from an 8th grader, the board of directors of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) issued a recommendation to college basketball coaches to cease recruiting and offering scholarships to 8th and 9th graders. The NABC recommendation proposes that coaches wait until mid June following prospective student athlete's sophomore years in high school before offering scholarships.

According to the NABC, such young basketball players:

“have not yet displayed sufficient academic credentials or, in the vast majority of cases, basketball maturity to accurately project them as admissible students to the institution or impact players on the basketball team.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Celtics Win NBA Finals

Last night, the Celtics pummeled the Lakers 131-92 to win the 2008 NBA Finals. So the Celtics are champions again. Everybody at ESPN is practically orgasmic (except for all the Knicks fans who work there). Woo freakin' hoo.

I was actually kind of pulling for the Celtics in the finals because I like their collection of talent and I like the way that they play the game: the Celtics don't make a lot of noise, they just go about their business and win games.

But I have little tolerance for Celtics fans or for the obnoxious windbags who populate the Boston/Northeastern sports media.

So although I have a certain level of admiration for the actual 2008 Boston Celtics team, the media's season long case of Celtic mania (particularly on the part of ESPN) rubbed me the wrong way (and was the basis for my indifference toward a team that I would have otherwise enjoyed watching).

The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy and Bob Ryan are entrenched sports writers who embody the arrogance and parochialism that is typifies the Boston/Northeastern media.

Here's Dan Shaughnessy's take on last night's Celtics championship.

Friday, June 13, 2008

MSG Hopes to Land NCAA Tournament Games

Sports Illustrated is reporting that Madison Square Garden is interested in playing host to NCAA Tournament games in the near future:

"Madison Square Garden, which last hosted an NCAA tournament game in 1961, is hoping its $500 million renovation will help it land the East Regional championship as early as 2012."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NBA Refs Fixing Playoff Games?

A year ago, former NBA referee Tim Donaghy caused a stir when he was indicted for gambling on NBA games (including games that he had worked as a referee).

Although the revelation of Donaghy's gambling problems shook the sports world, it came as no surprise to Drive and Dish. I had always suspected that NBA referees and players bet on NBA games. And I'd always considered the quality of officiating in the NBA playoffs to be highly suspect. Aside from my suspicion that players and refs may be gambling on games, I've always suspected that referees may be instructed to engineer the outcomes of close playoff games (in order to ensure marquee playoff/Finals matchups for the league).

Now let me make something clear: I'm not a fan of conspiracy theories. I don't think that George Bush and Dick Cheney were behind the September 11 terrorist attacks. I don't think that Bush and Cheney seeded clouds in the Gulf of Mexico to create a giant Hurricane -- Hurricane Katrina -- in order to kill black people in New Orleans. I don't think the government created AIDS to kill black people. And I don't think that there are aliens in a hanger at area 51.

But I've always been highly skeptical of the NBA's integrity. And I've been waiting for Tim Donaghy to sing to the authorities, in an attempt to get a lighter sentence. Now Donaghy says that NBA referees fixed playoff games in order to increase revenue for the league.

More here.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Chicago Botches Collins Deal, Continues Coaching Search

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Doug Collins will not be the next coach of the Chicago Bulls after all. Based on the Tribune's report, it sounds like Collins and Chicago Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson wanted the deal to go through, but Chicago Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf vetoed the deal:

"Sources said Paxson signed off on Collins' hiring. Reinsdorf consistently and publicly has said he never tells his general managers whom to hire but that he can exercise veto power.

Collins refused to comment when asked if Paxson had made it clear he wanted Collins as his coach. But Collins said he understood Reinsdorf's hesitations because the two have become extremely close since Reinsdorf fired Collins in July 1989. Collins had just led the Bulls to the Eastern Conference finals.

'I understand if Jerry had concerns about firing me again,' Collins said. 'My whole thing is you can't enter into an agreement with somebody if down the road, you think there's a chance for failure."


The Chicago Sun Times' Jay Mariotti says: Oops, Reinsdorf did it again.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Is the Atlantic 10 Headed for an Upheaval?

Longtime Atlantic 10 Conference member Temple is leaving the A-10 to join the Mid American Conference. Now ESPN's Andy Katz writes that the Atlantic 10 might be about to undergo an upheaval (Requires ESPN Insider status).

ABC Executives Elated By Celtics vs. Lakers Finals

Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune writes that after suffering through several years of NBA Finals that featured smaller market teams from middle America, ABC television executives are "delighted" to have a dream match up in this year's Finals -- the Celtics vs. the Lakers.

What a revelation!

Drive and Dish, however, is not so thrilled by the prospect of a Celtics vs. Lakers Finals.

Oh well. At least the Knicks still blow.