Star Telegram on the case …
So the Internet's blowing up tonight (Sunday) with reports that an LA radio station has C-Webb, yes, Chris Webber, ready to sign a deal with the Mavericks, with the Mavs giving him the full mid-level exception, $5.36 million...hey, why not? might as well spend the thing, and C-Webb could become a signature add if his veteran body can hold up and if he's ready to embrace a reserve role on a team led by a coach with unwavering championship aspirations.
I don't know about you, but late summer Sundays are for relaxing with family, so I gave Donnie Nelson a rare Sunday night off. Eddie Jones is expected to be at the Mavs' offices for a physical Monday before his deal for $1.83 million this season can be finalized.
Perhaps Webber is close in tow. The Mavs clearly could use veteran help to back up Dirk and help Avery ease up just a bit on Dirk's minutes while feeling comfortable that the sub can hold the fort for a few minutes. The Mavs have long had their eye on Webber and P.J. Brown, who's been mulling retirement, but could also command the full MLE from the Mavs or Phoenix or Boston or maybe even others -- everyone it seems needs size in the paint.
Webber has said it's either Detroit or Dallas, so if he signs with the Mavs, figure Brown heads to the Suns. That would make for some interesting analysis of two aging forward-centers as the season goes along.
For Webber, to sign with the Mavs has to be a little strange seeing how his career forever changed at the AAC during the 2003 playoffs when he blew out his knee in a horrible injury under the basket. That Sacramento team was really good and still took the Mavs to 7 games. With Webber healthy throughout, I think that Kings team could have won the championship. The Spurs beat the Mavs (without Dirk) in six games in the West finals and went on to win it all.
HoopsVibe looks at it from different angles ….
My Quick Take: Detroit or Dallas? That’s been Chris Webber’s dilemma for the last few weeks. Well, it appears C-Webb is leaning towards doing the Texas-two-step with Mark Cuban’s Mavericks.
Let’s be clear: this is only a report. Nothing has been confirmed. However, it’s interesting to speculate on how the forward would fit in Dallas.
• Webber would instantly become Dallas’ best passer. The forward’s exceptional dime-dropping abilities would add a new dimension to Coach Avery Johnson’s half-court sets.
• Webber, after knee surgery, was forced to extend his outside range. He possesses a deadly perimeter shot and would punish opposing defenses that tried to double-up on Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard, and Jerry Stackhouse.
• Webber’s now a perimeter, high-post player. How would he click with Nowitzki, who also likes to play off the left-side of the high post?
• Webber is a below average defender. Everyone on Dallas has to play defense. No exceptions. It’s the Mavericks’ identity. So I’m not sure how Johnson would cope with Webber’s lackluster defense.
• Webber and Dallas have something in common: they both have had to deal with bitter losses. Remember, C-Webb’s infamous timeout in the NCAA Finals and subpar playoff performances with the Kings? Well, the Mavericks can relate after blowing a 2-0 lead in the 2006 NBA Finals and losing to the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs. Both Webber and Dallas have something to prove!
All things considered, C-Webb would make Dallas a better team. However, details would have to be ironed out for him to thrive in Texas.
Plans for Thursday …
On Monday, Wade Phillips said quarterback Tony Romo and some other starters will play a quarter in Thursday's preseason opener against Indianapolis.
But starting tackles Marc Colombo and Flozell Adams will miss the game because they're coming along slowly from knee surgeries.
It appears that rookie Doug Free (left tackle) and Pat McQuistan (right tackle) will protect Romo. Each has practiced with the first team when Colombo and Adams are given time off.
"I like what Free has done athletically," offensive line coach Tony Sparano said. "He's a helluva athlete. I think he's the best in the group. He can really move his feet well.
McQuistan has been a pretty tough guy and a pretty reliable guy for us, and [James] Marten is really tough."
The Cowboys will also miss receiver Terry Glenn, who is rehabbing from knee surgery and possibly Terrell Owens, who is having back problems. On Monday afternoon, an MRI revealed no damage to Owens' back other than spasms.
Phillips said Owens wants to play, but it appears doubtful, considering the coach doesn't want to place key veterans at risk in the preseason while they recover from injuries.
The late practice involved fighting and hard hits that would make any promoter proud. Running back Julius Jones body-slammed free safety Patrick Watkins on a blitz pickup and the two started a scrape. Rookie fullback Deon Anderson, who was watching the play, jumped in and a scrum ensued. Watkins lost his helmet, and there was plenty of yelling.
"I felt like he violated me," Watkins said. "I was running a blitz, and I felt he tried to slam me. I asked, 'What was that about?' And he pushed me. Then, Man Law kicked in. You don't put your hands on another man."
Jones ran off the field after practice without speaking to reporters. He seemed upset for most of the afternoon practice. After he was grabbed by cornerback Jacques Reeves to end a run, Jones pushed him away.
During Jones' burst of anger, inside linebacker Bradie James yelled, "What's wrong with you, 21?"
On another play, Watkins hit receiver Sam Hurd on top of the helmet. Hurd slapped Watkins on the backside.
Another three-rounder occurred when defensive end Jay Ratliff got into a tiff with offensive lineman Matthew Tarullo. While they were battling, rookie running back Jackie Battle slammed into free safety Ken Hamlin at the goal line. Hamlin needed help walking off the field.
I sure liked Watkins referencing “Man Law” as a guide to on-field altercations….
Colts quick hit …since they are on their way back to Texas Stadium – their house of horrors…
BY THE NUMBERS
The combined "official'' weight the Colts have dropped in less than a month by losing offensive tackle Tarik Glenn (retirement) and defensive tackles Corey Simon (contract terminated) and Anthony "Booger'' McFarland (knee injury). Trust us, the real total is higher. Glenn was listed at a conservative 332 and Simon at 300, the same as McFarland.
Cowboys effort to get a Final 4 to Arlington …Laura Miller has no response…
Cowboys officials have the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, the Big 12 championship game and Super Bowl XLV. Now the team is focusing on the Final Four.
Stephen Jones, the Cowboys' executive vice president, said the team is in the preliminary stages of putting a proposal together to bring a Final Four to the new stadium in Arlington.
The Cowboys' new stadium will open in 2009, but the next available year to bring a Final Four to the Dallas-Fort Worth area is 2012.
It's doubtful the new stadium will get the Final Four in 2012 because Houston's Reliant Stadium will host it in 2011.
The NCAA rarely awards the Final Four to the same state in consecutive years. That would mean the earliest a Final Four would come to the stadium is 2013.
If the Cowboys' new stadium wins a bid to host a Final Four it would automatically host a regional final the year before the NCAA men's championship game.
The last time the area hosted a Final Four was 1986, when it was played at Reunion Arena.
Jones said the Cowboys new stadium is open to hosting several events and that they're formulating plans for how the facility would look hosting a major basketball event.
The NCAA hasn't set a date on when it would accept bids for future Final Fours.
Up next for Bonds? Our former intern, Mike Bacsik …
Barry Bonds had the perfect stage. Only one thing was missing Monday night: the home run he needed to break Hank Aaron's record.
No. 756 had to wait for at least another day.
Back home two days after matching Aaron's mark, Bonds was held in check by John Lannan, a 22-year-old rookie lefthander making his third major league appearance.
Bonds went 0-for-3 with a walk and left after seven innings in the Giants' 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals. Randy Winn hit a bases-loaded single with one out in the 11th to win it.
Bonds' godfather, Willie Mays, was in attendance. So was his oldest daughter after she returned from a trip to Sweden. And so was his 8-year-old daughter, Aisha, who had "Pitch 2 Dad!" written in black marker on her right cheek.
Not to mention 43,000 others who dearly wanted to witness history.
But Bonds never came close. He walked down the dugout steps and disappeared with his batboy son, 17-year-old Nikolai, by his side after striking out against Lannan in his final try.
Bonds gets to try again tonight against Mike Bacsik. Bonds is 0-for-2 with an RBI against the lefthander, who will be looking to follow the success of Lannan, who avoided becoming the 446th different pitcher to surrender a home run to Bonds.
Giving up 756 is no disgrace ….
Last night, Bonds faced Nationals rookie John Lannan. In his third major-league start, Lannan held Bonds hitless in three official at-bats. Bonds popped out, grounded out, struck out and walked against the 22-year-old lefty, who before this game was best known for breaking Chase Utley's right hand with a pitch.
All along, Lannan planned to challenge Bonds, just as Al Downing did to Hank Aaron on April 8, 1974.
Downing gave up Aaron's record-setting 715th homer, the one that eclipsed Babe Ruth's mark.
While some pitchers might have considered that an inglorious connection to baseball history, Downing for years has relished his spot in baseball lore. He was a major-leaguer for 17 seasons and pitched in three World Series and an All-Star Game. Many people would have loved to have had that career, even though it included giving up the big one to Aaron.
Someone is going to be caught by those cameras serving up the new big one to Bonds. Someone is going to become the instant answer to a trivia question.
But that's as far as it should go. All pitchers give up home runs. Ask Robin Roberts. Ask Curt Schilling. Ask Cole Hamels. Giving up No. 756 shouldn't be a source of embarrassment.
"Barry's gotten a lot of guys," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said before last night's game. (Four hundred and forty-five, to be exact.) "I don't think it's something that should scar anybody or damage a career."
Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz - "he's gotten all those guys and they're not scarred," Bochy said. "It's all about being competitive. There will be someone that goes after him."
The chances that a Washington pitcher will give up No. 756 are very good. After all, the Nationals arrived last night for a four-game series. At the least, that's probably 16 plate appearances for Bonds. The Giants slugger swung the bat well in his previous game, hitting No. 755 against Clay Hensley on Saturday night in San Diego. Bonds came home last night rested, relaxed and confident. He was ready for the record chase to end, and the Giants' 11th straight sellout crowd was eager to see it happen.
In case you weren’t sure, Major League Umpires are Jerks …
The Major League Baseball umpires union said Monday that it is refusing to cooperate with a request for background checks from commissioner Bud Selig's office, calling the initiative a "knee-jerk, misguided witch hunt" in response to the NBA betting scandal involving referee Tim Donaghy.
The umpires are willing to consider submitting to background checks, but only if MLB comes to the bargaining table and negotiates the provisions in "good faith," said Lamell McMorris, a spokesman for the World Umpires Association.
The umpires union detailed a list of objections in a letter sent Monday to Rob Manfred, MLB executive vice president of labor relations. A copy of the letter was obtained by ESPN.com.
"We are committed to fulfilling our obligation to maintain the integrity of the game, but Major League Baseball also has a responsibility to do what's in the best interest of the sport and its fans -- and that is to not engage in knee-jerk, misguided witch hunts against the umpires without fair negotiations," the letter said.
"The league hasn't investigated the umpires in the past thirty years for good reason -- our guys are of the highest ethical standing."
Manfred and union lawyer Frank Coonelly outlined MLB's plan to institute background checks during a recent meeting with McMorris and Brian Lam, general counsel for the World Umpires Association. McMorris told ESPN.com that Manfred was "extremely unprofessional" in the way he dealt with the umpires group.
"He totally dismissed any concerns we might have and showed no willingness to negotiate on this matter," McMorris said.
NY Times on the 9 year old signed by ManUnited…
With the competition to sign the stars of the future cutthroat, soccer teams are staking their claims on talent early. And from Freddy Adu, who was billed as the next Pelé at age 14, to Wayne Rooney, a bullish striker who has been scoring goals in the English Premier League since he was 16, soccer loves a wunderkind.
But Manchester United’s latest prospect makes Adu and Rooney look like latecomers to the game. His name is Rhain Davis, and he is 9 years old.
After Davis’s grandfather sent United, the Premier League champion, a DVD of Davis playing for his under-11 team in Brisbane, Australia, the Manchester United F.C. Academy, a training camp designed to foster young talent, invited him to England for a tryout. Clearly impressed by what they saw, the academy directors accepted him last Thursday.
The footage of Davis has since made its way onto YouTube and has been viewed more than four million times.
It shows the boy in an oversized jersey stringing together stepovers and delicate flicks as he leaves his opponents looking like a team of, well, 9-year-olds.
To the British tabloids, this has been shark bait. Davis’s picture has been splashed across sports pages under headlines like “Braziliant” and “Wizard of Oz.” Manchester United officials, however, are quick to point out that he is only one of 30 boys his age admitted to the academy’s latest class.
“He’ll be treated the same, he’ll be expected to clean his kit, show discipline and aptitude while he receives coaching from us,” said Philip Townsend, a spokesman for Manchester United.
Les Kershaw, an adviser to Manchester United since retiring from his job as head of the academy last year, also would not single out Davis.
“He’s just one of the boys in our academy who’s doing O.K.,” he said. “I don’t think he would be classed as the best at the moment, but we don’t know what’s going to happen to him. We hope he’s going to be a good learner.”
Steve Davis with many Beckham questions …
As the interminable wait continues on soccer's most recalcitrant ankle, the list of questions continues to expand on L'affair Beckham.
First and foremost of course, when will David Beckham play? He missed Sunday's match at BMO Field as Toronto and an offensively moribund Galaxy played out a 0-0 draw that was rescued somewhat by the fabulous fans in Ontario.
Beckham says he's running now, but only on straightaways. Cutting and turning isn't part of the rehabilitation prescription just yet, which certainly would seem to dampen the odds of a meaningful appearance in either of the Galaxy high-profile matches over the next seven days.
Los Angeles visits D.C. United on Thursday and New England on Sunday, and the Galaxy is now desperate for points in the MLS playoff chase. Wouldn't it be rather embarrassing if the "Jewel of Major League Soccer," as GM Alexi Lalas has proclaimed his side, can't access the eight-team postseason?
So, as the pressure escalates on everyone attached to the Galaxy efforts, here are some other questions to ponder:
First, does the wisdom of his appearance two weeks ago against Chelsea seem more and more wobbly? We may never know if the 12 minutes plus stoppage time set back his progress. But it's safe to say that it didn't help, especially given that potentially disastrous challenge in midfield with Steve Sidwell.
Beckham himself said this type of injury usually requires 6-7 weeks to heal. And as he sat at the news conference in Toronto on Saturday, on the eve of what would have been his first league match, Beckham noted that it had been 6½ weeks at that point.
What, then, was Beckham doing participating in the friendly two weeks back? While everyone can understand the player's desire to get on the field, what was the point of risking his presence in matches that matter for a brief run-about for the cameras against Chelsea?
Shouldn't someone at the club have been the voice of reason?
Beckham sat on the bench Sunday in one of those swell Hugo Boss suits, the one supplied by the glamorous designer not only to players, but to office personnel as well, during Sunday's draw in Toronto.
And why was that? He didn't travel to Dallas for last week's SuperLiga match because air travel doesn't help the swelling in his left ankle. If that was the case, why take him to Toronto? Why not allow him to continue rehabilitating in Los Angeles and then meet the team in D.C. or New England, thereby eliminating one or possibly two plane trips?
Marvin the Martian Sound Board …
I am writing to ask if you would please take a look at the current AMA Superbike championship and include it into your air time in the way only BaD radio can.
The reigning champ is a Ben Spies from Longview, TX and is looking strong to repeat his championship run from last year; against his team mate on the same factory machine, who won the six previous consecutive championships prior to 2006. The current standings have Ben just 24 points ahead of Mat Mladin with only 4 race weekends left in the season. There happens to be televised races this Sunday afternoon on Speed channel, broadcast from the Mid-Ohio road course, just after nap time for your viewing pleasure and research.
In addition to the factory teams represented, Michael Jordan's team is in contention and currently the top team among the privateers.
Better than NASCRAP (more right turns, no roll cages, colorful personalities, technology, strategy, and you can see every move the players make!) Most of all, good or bad, I would love to hear your collective take on it!
What do you say?
Keep the BaD radio coming!
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