We’re about 96 hours away from the start of the craziest NBA free agency period in recent memory and while the machinations of the LeBron James camp will continue to dominate most headlines, it appears the New York Knicks are already gearing themselves up for the consolation prizes. ESPN’s Marc Broussard reports Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni will meet with Joe Johnson in Los Angeles Thursday morning, prior to a discussion with James later that afternoon. More damning, Broussard characterizes Johnson’s interest in New York as something slightly different than a burning desire to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
While the Hawks hope to keep Johnson in Atlanta, several sources said the Knicks have emerged as his first choice. If they must lose him, the Hawks’ preference is to work out a sign-and-trade deal with the Knicks.
But if no players on the Knicks’ roster appeal to Atlanta, Johnson, believing he will make up the difference through endorsements and through buying stock shares in Madison Square Garden, is willing to take less money to play with the Knicks, according to sources.
Whatever the case, the Knicks could offer Johnson a maximum-salary contract worth approximately $96 million over five years, or a deal worth $125 million over six years through a sign-and-trade.
Anyone who witnessed Johnson’s performance during Atlanta’s first round loss to Milwaukee who believes this is a wise investment on Walsh’s part, raise your hand. Rick Sund, your vote doesn’t count.
Austin’s Red 7 is one such establishment, and Thursday’s bill, headlined by Houston’s MuhammedAli, may or may not go a long way in helping to hit the $500,000.00 national target. It might ultimately come down to whether or not the promoters agree to levy an exit fee of $8 per head for anyone who wishes to leave the room during the first band’s performance.
An NBA executive, who did not want to be identified discussing a player who is not yet a free agent, said he had gathered from discussions with his fellow N.B.A. executives that James was strongly leaning toward joining the Bulls in tandem with another free agent, Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors.
œI think it™s a done deal, the executive said.
He said he thought James was going ahead with the meetings in Ohio œto be respectful to all these teams who jumped through these hoops, a reference to the clubs, like the Knicks, who traded reasonably talented players like Jamal Crawford the last two seasons in an effort to open up as much salary-cap space as possible. But if James and Bosh are indeed going to Chicago, moves like the ones the Knicks made will have been done at least partly in vain.
The executive also said that the Dallas Mavericks were trying to join the Ohio meetings with James. Unlike the other potential suitors, however, the Mavericks are over the salary cap and could obtain James only through a sign-and-trade deal with the Cavaliers.
(EDITOR’S NOTE : With this week release of “Cyrus”, starring John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill and Marisa Tomei, I am unfortunately compelled to remind CSTB readers that directors Jay and Mark Duplas have a particularly ugly resume, 2005′s “The Puffy Chair”, being the longest 85 minutes of my adult life. The following post appeared in this space on June 5, 2006)
(a formless, aimless paen to the emotionally and intellectually stunted, possibly coming to an arthouse near you, though not if you’re lucky)
How in blazes is this ferociously annoying film garnering favorable reviews? Are people that starved for visual stimuli that a bunch of mannerisms parading as real-human-experiences resonantes? If the loud ovation this slopfest received at the Alamo Drafthouse the other night is any indication, sadly, yes.
Let’s review the cliches on parade :
character 1, Josh (Mark Duplass, above, right) : Bob Weston lookalike who yaps on his cell during a romantic dinner with his GF, has-trouble-commiting, and acts like a dick at every available opportunity (sorry, Bob. It was only a movie)
character 2, Emily (Kathryn Aselton) : Josh’s long-suffering girl-squeeze, who exhibits no personality to speak of and expresses no original thoughts whatsoever besides being clingy and wondering why her boyfriend has to be a dick.
character 3, Rhett (Rhett Wilkins) : Josh’s space cadet brother. The closest thing “the Puffy Chair” has to a character with any unique traits. Not very unique, mind you. He hops aboard Josh & Emily’s NJ-to-ATL roadtrip in order to reconnect with his dad (who presumably, would prefer he was less of a space cadet and more of a dick, like Josh.
At the film’s conclusion, Josh and Emily break up. If space cadet Rhett gets any quality time with his estranged dad, we don’t get to see it.
Though we’re supposed to believe the road trip is what exposes the cracks in Josh and Emily’s relationship, it’s impossible to feel empathy for either of these self-absorbed, throughly uninteresting dimwits. I’m not saying that a decent film needs to have protagonists you can relate to — there are countless examples to the contrary, but these characters aren’t merely hateful. They’re deadly dull.
All of that, plus Death Cab taking Peter Gabriel’s place on the boombox ala “Say Anything”. Say what you will about Cameron Crowe’s spotty filmography, but at least his passable movies featured characters that were almost as funny as your most boring acquaintances.
I’m not saying that our Saturday night at the cinema was without any redeeming features, however. The trailer for “The Wonderful & Frightening World Of Mark E. Smith” looked pretty good (always nice to see vintage footage of Mark E. with teeth and a good band playing behind him)
Baylor PF Ekpe Udoh was a surprise selection of the Golden State Warriors at no. 6 in Thursday’s NBA Draft, particularly as he was projected to be picked much later in the evening. ESPN’s Chad Ford gave the Warriors a D- for the draft, calling the 23 year-old Udoh “a classic candidate to disappoint.”
If you’re wondering what possessed Golden State to squander the 6th pick overall on a guy who bears great similarity to two players already on the Warriors roster, Brandon Wright and Anthony Randolph, perhaps the following video clip, forwarded by Josh Rosen, sheds some light.
Some have speculated the Warriors never saw the footage of Udoh attempting to post up on New Orleans head coach Monty Williams, but I think the answer is something far scarier. I suspect GM Larry Riley did see the clip, but misidentified the participants and thought he was drafting the guy who was playing such capable D.
“LeBron is not going on a tour,” Carter told ESPN.com. “He never planned to go on a tour and has not been a part of any team’s plans for a recruiting trip.”
Carter said James prefers to meet with teams on neutral ground but not at his mansion in Akron, Ohio.
Carter’s pronouncement throws a wrench into the Knicks’ extravagant plans but does not kill them entirely. The Knicks have known about the possibility of having to take the party to Akron — or wherever James would like to meet.
A source said P. Diddy, James Gandolfini of “The Sopranos” and Philip Seymour Hoffman have been added to the Knicks’ growing celebrity roster assembled to try to convince James to sign with the Knicks.
Of today’s USA v Ghana Round Of 16 knockout clash, When Saturday Comes’ Ian Plenderleith muses, “no coach or player on either side would ever publicly admit to looking beyond the next game.” So Plenderleith does so himself, correctly noting the victor of this evening’s match in Rustenberg has a relatively clear path to the semi-finals, as well as providing a reminder what happened the last time the two sides collided.
Ghana, possibly with one eye on the Serbia v Australia scoreboard, looked tentative against Germany, and frustratingly failed to finish off ten-man Australia. Although they played well against Serbia, their goal and their victory came thanks to a fortuitous handball. There’s something of the old Portugal about them “ lots of nice approach play, but an absence of penetration or conviction to their finishing, with both Asamoah Gyan and Prince Tagoe looking ponderous in front of goal.
Ghana must attack the US early, when the American defence has looked slow and sleepy in all its games so far. If the Ghanaians allow the US to set the pace, they could miss their best chance to score and then dictate the match, with the Americans more likely to be effective on their swift counter-attacks the later the game goes on.
Four years ago in Germany the US had to beat Ghana to advance from the group stage, but fell well short in a lacklustre 2-1 loss in Nuremberg. In that game German referee Markus Merk awarded Ghana a penalty for a phantom foul by Oguchi Onyewu, and US fans have duly moaned about it ever since. In 2006, though, the US knew they’d been too poor over three games to justify progressing, and that knowledge has always undermined the complaints about Merk’s awful decision. Clearly today’s game will be a measure of how far both countries have come in the intervening time.
During what’s a mostly disastrous season, it should be recalled that Jim Hendry actually came out a winner when he shipped the otherwise unmovable Milton Bradley to Seattle for Carlos Silva. Given the various risks/rewards on the table, who amongst us (especially those looking for easy blog/newspaper content) isn’t rooting for a Carlos Zambrano-for-Oliver Perez swap?