Monday, March 31, 2008

Magic Number: 162

Well, major developments from our two winter teams must take a backseat. For a period of time that could last somewhere between 1 day and 6 months, optimism exists as it pertains to the local baseball teams – our Texas Rangers.

I am trying to kick it with optimism this morning, regardless of those Erik Bedard numbers I shared with you on Friday. If you missed them, just know this: If stats mean anything, the Rangers are in for a very long day.

But, Josh Hamilton, CJ Wilson, and David Murphy are not the same old thing. They may be nothing special, but we have not established that YET. At least it isn’t Frank Catalanotto, Kevin Mench, and Kenny Lofton in the outfield. Well, Catalanotto is still in the mix, but he is not starting, right?

They join Hank Blalock, Michael Young, and Ian Kinsler to try and help Kevin Millwood as he grinds through a textbook Kevin Millwood start.

For today at least, it is baseball season. And odds are, that this season, the Rangers season will be relevant longer than the Mavericks season.

Play Ball.

Revo types the most amazing paragraph in the metroplex last week

If you're keeping score, in the past two years, the Rangers have traded Alfonso Soriano, Chris Young, Adrian Gonzalez, Francisco Cordero and Teixeira and will not have a single player on their opening day 25-man roster to show for it. You have every right to wonder how much better this team would look if those five players were still here.

The bad news is that baseball season could be over by the end of the week if the opening trip starts 1-5 or so

Today's game
At Mariners, 5:40 p.m., FSN Kevin Millwood (10-14, 5.16 ERA in 2007) vs. Erik Bedard (13-5, 3.16)

Tuesday: at Seattle, 9:10 p.m., FSN SW, Padilla vs. Hernandez
Wednesday: at Seattle, 9:10 p.m., FSN SW, Jennings vs. Silva
Thursday: Off
Friday: at LA Angels, 9:05 p.m., KDFI/27, Gabbard vs. Moseley
Saturday: at LA Angels, 8:05 p.m., FSN SW, Millwood vs. Weaver

Stars playing better; not enough to win but better…

A month ago, it didn't seem like that big a deal for the Dallas Stars to clinch a playoff spot.

Then again, a month ago, it didn't seem that big a deal for the Stars to outplay an opponent for one third period.

But ending one of the worst months in the last decade, the Stars celebrated a 3-2 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. By gaining a point in the standings, the Stars (43-29-7, 93 points) clinched a playoff spot. By overcoming a 2-1 deficit with a Niklas Hagman goal in the third period, the Stars outscored an opponent in the third for only the second time in the last 12 games.

Small victories, sure, but victories the Stars say they need.

"I thought we needed that third period," captain Brenden Morrow said. "Yeah, we would have loved to win, but we needed to get some positive momentum going forward."

The Stars finished the month 2-7-2, but they also went 1-0-2 on a three-game road trip through San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim.

"I think this group was a little fatigued," coach Dave Tippett said. "Marty [Turco] cleaned up a lot of hiccups we had, and we found a way to get a point. We were a tired group today. You could tell we didn't have a lot in the tank."

But again, is that a tribute to the team's determination to come back or a statement that rings of faint praise. After all, the Stars could have tightened up the race for fourth place in the Western Conference by winning this game. They could have sent a message to the Ducks, who very well could be their first-round opponent.

Was fatigue even an option?

"We wanted to keep home ice, we wanted a regulation win, and it's too bad we couldn't pull it out," said Turco, who had 30 saves, some spectacular. "We're going to take a lot out of the point that we did get, but from my perspective, I thought the game was winnable."

Not the way the Stars played it early. They handed the Ducks seven power-play opportunities in the first two periods. They were outshot, 32-25, for the game and were outhit, 25-17. They were on their heels until the third period, when they finally began to fight back.

"It is a big deal," Tippett said of making the playoffs. "If you don't get to the playoffs, you don't get that opportunity to go on. That's always a goal, and now we can put that behind us and keep building our game and getting ready for the playoffs."

So, the 4th ever Stars Road Trip is over for BaD Radio. Here are our results for all of our trips…

2/14/04 At Pho L 3-2
2/16/04 At Ana L 1-3
2/18/04 At LA W 4-3

3/5/06 At Chi W 7-2
3/7/06 At Edm W 4-3
3/9/06 At Cal L 1-0
3/11/06 At Van W 2-1

3/21/07 At LA W 4-2
3/23/07 At Ana OTL 3-2
3/24/07 At Pho W 4-3

3/27/08 at SJ OTL 3-2
3/29/08 at LA W 7-2
3/30/08 at Ana OTL 3-2

7-3-3. With points in 10 of our last 11 games! Not too bad…

Mavs fall into tie with Warriors and Nuggets …I hope you didn’t make plans for the playoffs…

Once again, the Mavericks were right there, stuck in a close game with the fourth quarter ticking down.

Haven't they been "right there" all season?

And, once again, right there became a nightmare.

The Mavericks got outplayed at the end as the Golden State Warriors pulled out a 114-104 victory Sunday evening at Oracle Arena, creating a three-way logjam for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference.

The Mavericks, Warriors and Denver Nuggets all are 45-28. Two will make the playoffs.

It should be an exciting finish to the regular season. But the way things are going, the Mavericks seem ill-equipped to keep pace with their two rivals. They fell to 0-10 against winning teams since the All-Star break.

"It's not exciting for us," coach Avery Johnson said. "We'd rather be third or fourth. We don't want to be part of seven and eight."

But that's where they are, mostly because they couldn't stop the Warriors in the fourth quarter.

One play summed up their frustrations.

Down, 102-98, after a three-point play by Brandon Bass, who had a career-best 21 points, the Mavericks had the momentum and forced a missed fadeaway by Baron Davis. The rebound tipped off of Bass' hand and out of bounds. On the inbounds play, the Warriors got a 3-pointer from Kelenna Azubuike with 3:48 left. Moments later, their lead was 109-100, and the Mavericks were goners.

"That's the way it's been for the last two weeks," Bass said. "A few plays, a few stops. We're all determined. We're not down on each other. We just got to get some wins."

Cowboys realize that they can negotiate as hard as they want with Tennessee since nobody else wants Pac Man

Pacman Jones wants to go to Dallas, and the Cowboys apparently want him. How much they'll give up to get him is a different story.

A source close to the negotiations told ESPN's Ed Werder on Sunday night that trade talks between the Cowboys and Titans have stalled over the issue of compensation.

The Titans are seeking a fourth-round pick in this year's draft and another selection next year, according to the source. The Cowboys are so far unwilling to provide either, believing they are the only team pursuing Jones, who remains suspended for violations of the personal-conduct policy.

The Titans have been steadfast in their position, apparently convinced that Jones' trade value will not worsen.

Jones said last week in a radio interview with Cowboys Hall of Famer Michael Irvin that he wants to resume his career in Dallas. He will apply to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for reinstatment in the next two weeks.

FC Dallas fortunate to get a draw against Chivas

FC Dallas' biggest signing of 2008 became its biggest liability in the team's MLS regular-season opener.

Mexican defender Duilio Davino's mistake allowed Chivas USA to score a goal in the 84th minute, resulting in a 1-1 tie Sunday at Pizza Hut Park in front of an announced crowd of 17,540.

Davino did a poor job of trapping a loose ball near the edge of the 18-yard box. That created an opening for Chivas striker Maykel Galindo, who beat Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala for an unassisted goal.

"He [Davino] made one slip towards the end of the game, otherwise he had a solid performance for us," FC Dallas coach Steve Morrow said. "It was very unfortunate; he gave up one mistake, and it cost us at the end of the game."

Added Davino: "Pressure on defenders is like that. A mistake can cost you, and that's what happened."

It was Davino's first 90-minute match since his last appearance with Mexico's Club America in December in the South American Cup final.

Since joining FC Dallas in January, Davino was injured most of the preseason and was limited in exhibition games.

"He'll get better," Morrow said. "He missed a couple of weeks of training. He needs some match fitness. He'll get over it and continue to get better in the next few weeks."

Midfielder Juan Toja put Dallas ahead in the 21st minute. Bobby Rhine, a defender playing in the midfield, served a ball into the box, where forward Abe Thompson held off two Chivas defenders and fed the ball to Toja. With room to work, the Colombian playmaker ripped a left-footed shot past Chivas keeper Brad Guzan.

How many bizarre things can you find in this story?

Godzilla" has taken a bride.

Yankee slugger Hideki Matsui stunned his fans and teammates Thursday when he revealed he secretly wed a longtime girlfriend at a New York City chapel.

"I met somebody who felt right. That was it," the 33-year-old outfielder said upon returning to the Bombers' spring training camp in Tampa.

Matsui refused to reveal many details about Wednesday's wedding or his new wife, only saying she is 25 and from Japan, where she formerly worked "in a reputable position at a highly respected company."

He is so secretive about his wife's identity that he held up a drawing of her, rather than a photo, at a press conference where he showed off the silver band on his left hand.

"I have decided to spend my whole life with her," said Matsui, considered the most eligible bachelor in his native Japan.

As teammates congratulated him, Yankee captain Derek Jeter and outfielder Bobby Abreu claimed they were conned into a bet by the newlywed slugger.

Abreu and Jeter said at the start of spring training, Matsui overheard them wagering on who would be the first to get married.

"It was a bet between me and Bobby," Jeter said. "[Matsui] finagled his way into it. That's pretty good. Sneaky. How do you say 'sneaky' in Japanese? I should have known he was up to something."

The ground rule of the clubhouse wager was that Jeter, who is single, loses if he fails to get married within a year of Abreu and Matsui. Abreu, who has a girlfriend, has six months to tie the knot after one of the two teammates.

"He won," Jeter said of Matsui. "I've got one year. No chance."

The amount of the bet was not revealed. Jeter joked that Matsui, who signed a $52 million contract before the 2006 season, must be hard up for cash.

"If he wanted the money, all he had to do was ask. He didn't really have to do it," quipped Jeter, adding that
he knows the identity of Matsui's wife and threatened to use it as leverage to get out of ponying up.

Abreu said he'll likely pay.

"Good for him," Abreu said of Matsui. "I'm happy for him. I still can't believe it."

Yankee skipper Joe Girardi, who got a heads-up on Matsui's wedding plans, laughed at Jeter and Abreu for getting played.

"Sometimes you should have all the information before you make a bet," Girardi said.

Matsui, also known back home for his large collection of porn films, said he and his wife have been planning their wedding for a year. He began dating her during the 2006-07 off-season. He said the nuptials took place in New York City at an undisclosed chapel.

Tom Hicks is looking even worse these days in England

George Gillett Jr has delivered a damning indictment on his relationship with Tom Hicks, his co-owner at Liverpool, admitting that their partnership has become untenable.

The American claims that Hicks's refusal to sell his stake in the club to Dubai International Capital (DIC) for £400 million has led to Gillett's family receiving death threats. Gillett said he also made an offer to sell his share of the club to Hicks, but his partner took too long to make a decision.

In an interview given to Prime Time Sports Radio in Canada, Gillett Jr said: "This partnership [with Hicks] has been unworkable for some time.

“We gave our partner a long period of time to try to make arrangements to buy us out. We didn’t put pressure on him but he ultimately did not get to the finishing line.

“Because of the things he said, the fans’ reaction has been so negative to him that
if we sold to him it has been made untenable for us.

“He threatened to block me selling to Dubai - that was certainly one of the things that made the fans upset."

Gillett added that he believes selling to DIC would put the Anfield club in safe hands. "Lord knows DIC have the means with the oil prices going up every day that money was not even an issue," he said. "I think they would have been very responsible owners. But making that not possible or difficult didn’t endear [Hicks] to the fans."

Revealing the fury that the Liverpool supporters have shown since the owners made an approach for Jurgen Klinsmann to replace Rafael Benitez, the manager, Gillett added: "We get as many as 2,000 emails a week. Ninety five per cent of them have been directed at some of the comments made by my partner.

“The fans don’t want him to have even one share of my stake in the club, based on what they are sending to me. As a result of that we have received many phone calls in the middle of the night threatening our lives, death threats. A number came to the office and my son, Foster, and daughter-in-law, Lauren, have received them.”
Gillett did not reveal what he planned to do with his half share of Liverpool now, but said there were “pieces on the chess board moving”.

“What I do know is that the fans and the fabled history of this club deserves better, and we are going to do whatever we can to prove that,” he said.

The Best of Emmitt

For Youtube, I was searching for Avery stuff last night, here is what I found…

Avery and Cuban

Avery and Sefko at the NBA Finals…Still painful to watch…

Friday, March 28, 2008

Turco'd in San Jose

In the Stars last nine games, they have one win (1-7-1) which was the home game against the Avalanche on March 9th. In those 9 games that have knocked the Stars from the 2 seed all the way down to the scramble to stay in the playoffs, the Stars have 1 goal after the 2nd intermission (Mike Ribeiro’s in Nashville) and their opponents have 16.

Last night we saw some real nice things from the Stars, but the final analysis shows a blown third period lead, another round of mistakes that cannot be made (Marty!), and another loss.

But, an overtime loss! A Point was rewarded! The third of the month of March, knocking the Stars forward to 90 points and they lost their way back up to the 5 seed (for now).

If this team is going to go anywhere, Marty Turco is going to need to tighten things up. That penalty in overtime is defined as another “what was he thinking?” moment. Sadly, those partially define his legacy for now. For that legacy to change, he will have to rise above those meltdowns. And some wonder when that will happen.

Also, another night of not really noticing too much from Brad Richards. I think I need more for 95k a game. And, although he needs to be allowed a bit more time before we totally slot him as part of the problem, it should be noted that if Mike Smith was still here, he certainly would be playing in games like the Kings last week and the Kings tomorrow. But the Stars have such little trust for their new back up tender Johan Holmqvist, that I would assume it would take a drastic reversal in fortune for anyone but Turco between the pipes…No matter how badly Marty needs a “sit down”.

By the way, the game experience at the Shark Tank is awesome. Kind of Edmonton mixed with Reunion Arena. I really recommend it.

San Jose keeps both team’s trends alive

Marty Turco is a direct reflection of his team right now.

The Dallas Stars goalie did almost everything right Thursday.

But stress the "almost."

Turco had a spectacular game, until he took a foolish four-minute high-sticking penalty and helped hand the San Jose Sharks a 3-2 overtime victory at the HP Pavilion.

The win pushes the Sharks’ point-scoring streak to 17 games at 15-0-2. San Jose (46-21-10, 102 points) can clinch the Pacific Division title with a win Friday against Anaheim. The Stars’ slump runs to 1-7-1 for the month of March. They now have 90 points and still are battling to maintain a playoff spot in the West.

Turco said he felt like his team had one of its best games of the month. Still, he said it came up short at all the wrong times.

"We made progress, but you don’t feel much better,’’ Turco said. "Mental mistakes are a lot easier to change than when your game’s not there. Tonight, I thought we did some good things."

Turco claimed responsibility for one of the biggest mistakes of the game. In the middle of overtime, he clipped Joe Pavelski in the head with his stick. Turco was trying to put a stiff arm into Pavelski to force the Sharks forward further around the net and create space for a Stars defenseman to carry the puck. But Pavelski leaned into a turn to go around the net, and Turco hit him square in the face.

"That thing in overtime was nothing short of dumb,’’ Turco said. "There’s no excuse. It was what it was, it doesn’t matter what you were trying to do. I always am trying to help my guys out, but in that case, he didn’t really need any help. It was just a reaction – and something that’s easily stopped.’’

And the sad tale of the Dallas Mavericks roll on …The Mavs were up 15 in the 2nd quarter, and I knew there was no way they were bringing that one home…just a feeling I had that you likely did, too…

The Dallas Mavericks executed a near-perfect first half, scoring 70 points to lead the Nuggets by 10. Yet they ultimately boarded their plane bound for the Bay Area with the hollow realization of just how difficult winning without Dirk Nowitzki will be when not playing the Clippers.

The Mavs, swept away 118-105 by a desperate Nuggets second-half performance, still must face the Golden State Warriors on Sunday before meeting the Clippers again on Monday in Los Angeles.

By then, the Mavs, outscored 58-35 in the second half for a fourth loss in five games, could be in a virtual deadlock for the eighth and final playoff berth. Those are the stakes with 10 games to go.

"We didn't come out in the third quarter necessarily all that well and it was a tale of two halves for us," Mavs coach Avery Johnson said.

Thursday's outcome was essentially a three-game swing. A Mavs victory would have meant a virtual four-game lead over the ninth-place Nuggets by virtue of owning the season-series tiebreaker.

Now Denver trails the Mavs by just one game. And it's the Nuggets who own the crucial tiebreaker if the clubs end the regular season tied for the final playoff spot.

"It is what it is," said Jerry Stackhouse, who had 18 points, 16 in the big first half. "We just have to keep plugging on and worry about the next game. We can't do nothing but look at ourselves. We had opportunities, not only tonight, but in the game at home where we didn't have energy, and they came in and took the game from us.
"We can't do anything but look in the mirror. That's all we can do from here on out."
Plenty of drama is still to unfold. The Warriors, in eighth place and playing a late game Thursday, play at ninth-place Denver on Saturday, then fly back to Oakland where the Mavs will have been waiting for two days for Sunday night's showdown.

"You want it to be competitive and I got everything I wanted, it's nothing but competitive every night and we're fighting for our lives just like everybody else is," said Jason Kidd, who amassed the majority of his 19 points and 15 assists in the first half. "We'll regroup, we had great effort, we just gave up some offensive rebounds, gave those guys second looks. That's something we've got to work on, especially against a team like Golden State."

Rangers Talk:

Erik Bedard is ready to open against the Rangers on Monday. A quick review of his 2007 against the Rangers will indicate that he should not lack in confidence against the Texas Rangers:

2 Starts, 2-0, 16 ip, 7h, 2er, 0bb, 26k, 1.13era – Rangers hit .132/.132/.170

The DMN Listed the line-up:

Here's the Rangers' planned opening day lineup:

Pos. Player '07 avg.
2B Ian Kinsler .263
SS Michael Young .315
CF Josh Hamilton .292
3B Hank Blalock .293
DH Milton Bradley .306
LF David Murphy .340
RF Marlon Byrd .307
C Gerald Laird .224
1B Ben Broussard .275

Charley Rosen’s view of college basketball

I've never made a secret of my lack of interest in collegiate basketball. Here are my reasons:

• Relative to the NBA, the talent level is decidedly low-grade.

• The game is much too sloppy, with too many unforced errors and boneheaded decision-making.

• By and large, college teams are over-coached. Offenses are mostly ineffective. Defenses are primitive. Substitutions are frequently gratuitous and have little connection with matchups. And the sideline antics of too many coaches are over-the-

• Dick Vitale and his cohorts are shrill shills.

• The college refs are part-time employees and their work reveals their incomplete understanding of the game.

• The relative paucity of college telecasts, along with the seemingly infinite number of college teams, renders even the most devout fans unfamiliar with the dramatis persona.

• The only allure during the tournament is the constant threat of dramatic upsets. But except for bettors and alumni, who really cares?

Meanwhile, the skill level of NBA players continues to astound me. The NBA coaches and refs (ugh!) are far superior to their college equivalents. Pro offenses actually create spaces and angles that lead directly to shots. Pro defenses actually squeeze spaces and shut down angles that lead directly to misses.

Also, because of the continuity (and length) of NBA seasons (and players' careers), the strategies are infinitely more subtle. And the college kids certainly don't play with any more passion that NBA playoff teams do.

Indeed, the college game and the pro game are like soft-boiled and hard-boiled eggs — made of the same basic substance but profoundly different in form.

But, hey, let the boys have their fun. And let the once-a-year bettors sweat over their tournament picks.

Once the ripples in the wading pool subsides, there'll be time enough for discerning fans to watch the big boys ride the big waves.

And this for my fellow HD snobs!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


65 HD Games Slated on FSN Southwest
KDFI, KDFW to Broadcast HD Games for First Time Ever

Texas Rangers local television rightsholder FSN Southwest will produce a record 86 games in high-definition in 2008 that will be shown on a combination of FSN Southwest and Dallas-Fort Worth broadcast stations KDFI-My 27 and KDFW Fox 4 starting with the March 31 season opener against the Seattle Mariners on FSNSW.
FSN Southwest will carry 65 HD telecasts, nearly four times as many as the 17 HD Rangers games it offered in 2007. For the first time ever, Rangers games will be broadcast in high-definition on KDFI My 27 (20 games) and KDFW FOX 4 (one game). Seventy-two of the 81 home games will be produced in high-definition, while 14 road games will be in HD.

Support Bowling for Soup’s new movie!

Today, Halen 88 is now a hardcore Arkansas fan…tune in tomorrow to see who he is hardcore for!

Favre Tribute that I endorse

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Virtual Army Experience

From my appearance last week with the Army at Six Flags, here is the video of the simulation.

Step It Up, Boys

Well, it is a big sports day for our two teams that are being highly doubted these days.

The Mavericks must figure out how to win on the road without Dirk. At Denver tonight, and at Golden State Sunday. Meanwhile, the Nuggets and Warriors play on Saturday night. So, by Monday, the Mavericks could either be way up on Denver, or they could be completely out of the playoffs.

At the absolute minimum, they have to split.

Meanwhile, the coldest team on ice visits the hottest team in the NHL. I know the Stars have a great record in San Jose, but it will be tested tonight.

The Stars are still virtually assured that they will make the playoffs, but with only 2 points in the month of March, they have slid from a potential #2 seed all the way down to #6 this morning, and only 1 point above the #7 seed Colorado.

Home ice appears long gone, and now they just need to get some confidence back by having a successful road trip. For that to happen, they will need to step up as they play the Sharks and Ducks on the road. Otherwise, their confidence will be long gone as the playoffs arrive.

Who can get it done? Both? Neither? The truth shall be told tonight...

Mavs at Denver tonight – Denver Post asks for more from Melo

On one hand, you have a luminous all-star, a 23-year-old who is the NBA's fourth-highest scorer, who has improved his rebounding and who often unleashes a thought-you'd-seen-it-all move.

On the other hand, you have a lackadaisical defender who has never gotten his team past the first round of a playoff series, who is continuously "maturing," who is a star on a ninth-place team.

The juxtaposition that is Carmelo Anthony is a continuous debate in Denver in barrooms, locker rooms, and newsrooms. As good as he is, should he be doing more? Notably, as a team leader and a defender?

To dissect Anthony, who is not prone to introspection about his game, it's best to go to those who know the source — coaches, teammates and NBA analysts.

"We all think — from players, coaches to the organization — that Melo has constantly made improvement," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Now, is he there yet? I think we want more. I think he wants more."

Tonight, Anthony and the Nuggets (43-28) host Dallas (45-26) in a game of utmost importance, rivaled, though, by Saturday's home game against Golden State (43-27). If the season ended today, the season would end for the Nuggets. They are in ninth. But they trail eighth-place Golden State, sitting in the Western Conference's final playoff spot, by just a half-game, and Dallas is reeling without all-star Dirk Nowitzki.

If Denver is going to ascend into the playoffs over its final 11 games, it will likely do so because Anthony delivers.

Yes, you can pencil in Melo for 20-plus points and five-plus rebounds a night. That's not bad.

But in games Denver wins, he averages 26.7 points and 7.7 rebounds; in losses, 23.6 and 6.7. And recently, Anthony sputtered in losses against great teams. At Detroit, he scored just four first-half points when the Pistons blew the game open. And, in a close loss at San Antonio, Anthony didn't even get a shot off in the fourth quarter.

Like him or hate him, at least admit Bill Simmons is usually right when he has something to say about the Mavericks …and here he says more….

7. DALLAS (45-26)

Scouting report: The Mavericks didn't shake things up after one of the biggest collapses in modern sports history, played half the season before realizing that they needed more leadership and toughness (wow, really?), then mortgaged everything for Jason Kidd, which would have been fine except he's not really a leader and peaked about five years ago. ... They're not a great halfcourt team, they're not a great running team, they're not a great defensive team. ... And on top of that, it seems like they hate their coach. ... And now Dirk Nowitzki might be out for the season and they have eight tough games left (including road games at Denver, L.A., Phoenix, Golden State and Portland).

Biggest strength: In the third quarter of 20-point blowouts against terrible teams, they look like the Showtime Lakers reincarnated. So, um, they have that going for them.

Biggest weakness: Against good teams in tight games, it's amazing how many bad shots they get and how many good shots they give up. On the bright side, they can throw out a lineup of Jamaal Magloire, Jerry Stackhouse, Juwan Howard, Jason Kidd and Eddie Jones. Ladies and gentleman, your 1999 Eastern Conference All-Stars!

Biggest mistake: Not trading Dirk for Kobe before the season. Getting the best player in basketball would have been a good move. I'm almost positive.

Biggest X factor: Josh Howard is in danger of becoming the next Ben Wallace -- someone who was underrated for a while, received too much credit for bring underrated, then eventually became overrated even as everyone continued to maintain that he was underrated. We're 97 percent there.

Unsung hero: The guy in Dallas' organization who insisted that the 2008 No. 1 pick in the Kidd trade was lottery-protected. Hey, at least one good thing happened this season.

Best-case opponent: Houston.

Worst-case opponent: Everyone else.

Prediction: The ninth seed, no playoffs, a summer of "Should they fire Avery?" stories ... followed by everyone coming back and Avery getting fired in January. I wish there was a way to wager on this.

Eventual 2007-08 legacy: Their own chapter in Charley Rosen's upcoming book, "My 20 Favorite Panic Trades of the Last 60 Years."

This week, Modano and Richards are together

Many thought before the trade deadline that co-general managers Brett Hull and Les Jackson would get a scoring partner for Modano. In fact, Hull said that was exactly what he was looking for. However, the Stars ended up getting Richards, a playmaker, and have since been trying to make that move fit on the ice.

While Richards played right wing with Modano at center a few games back in what Tippett determined was a disappointing fit, the switch should have Modano as the shooter, Richards as the playmaker and Stu Barnes as the puck hunter on a second scoring line.

"That's fine with me, I'll look to shoot," Modano said. "Brad is a great passer and Stu is smart and does great things with the puck."

The move should allow Modano and Richards the opportunity to find answers together – and possibly take some pressure off the top line.

"The bottom line is, we need some production out of Richards and Modano," Tippett

Reminder: Last week, we had to keep em separated

The assimilation of Richards, who was acquired from Tampa Bay on Feb. 26, has been an issue. Tippett has tried the versatile forward at center on several lines and as a right wing with Mike Modano. But the coach said after a 4-3 loss to Vancouver on Saturday that Richards will stay at center.

"We like him as a center, and we like Mike [Modano] as a center, and that's the way we'll go forward," Tippett said.

Mike Ribeiro is expected to center a line with Brenden Morrow, Richards will center a line with Jere Lehtinen, and Modano will probably center a line with Steve Ott, who has one game remaining on a three-game suspension. The other parts will mix in, Tippett said.

The great Pat Kirwan Mocks his draft ….

22. Dallas Cowboys (From Cleveland) Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
CB, Tennessee St.

There's always speculation the Cowboys are packaging their picks to move up for Darren McFadden. They can stay right where they are and satisfy two big needs, corner and wide receiver. The run on either spot earlier in the draft will determine which area they address first. Rodgers-Cromartie would be an excellent compliment to Terence Newman, but he might have to start his career as the nickel back. A 4.33-second 40-yard dash and size make him a steal at this spot.

28. Dallas Cowboys DeSean Jackson WR, California

Jerry Jones and Co. take the receiver/returner who can replace Terry Glenn and help open up the offense. Jackson's size and some injury history should make him available at this point in the draft.

Rangers go with Laird at Catcher

Gerald Laird said he knew he would show the Texas Rangers enough this spring to make him the starting catcher. His chief competition, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, said he knew it, too.

Both got the news they expected Wednesday, as the Rangers settled the catching competition. Laird is the starter, veteran Adam Melhuse is the backup and the 22-year-old Saltalamacchia will start the season at Triple-A Oklahoma.

"Gerald came out and did his job," said Saltalamacchia, who added he had a feeling this off-season that he'd start the season in the minors. "He's the starting catcher and he didn't do anything to lose his job.

"I'm a little disappointed because I did everything I possibly could. I left it on the field, but at the end of the day it wasn't good enough. That upsets you. But I'll take it and go to Triple-A, and be an MVP there."

Saltalamacchia batted .251 with seven home runs and 21 RBIs in 167 at-bats over 46 games for Texas as he split time with Laird the final two months of last season. He was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Mark Teixeira to Atlanta at the trade deadline.

After a 2-for-3 day in the Rangers' 12-7 win over San Diego, Laird was batting .293 this spring with four homers and 11 RBIs. Saltalamacchia's numbers weren't bad – a .250 average with eight RBIs – but in the end, it was a case of the incumbent never allowing the challenger to take his spot.

Laird, 28, told manager Ron Washington on Wednesday that he learned a lot from his disappointing 2007 season and he's ready to play at a higher level in 2008.

"I've had a lot of success in this game and last year was an experience, a really humbling experience," Laird said. "I didn't do as well as I thought I would. Honestly, it was discouraging. I learned from it, I've grown from it, and I think it's going to make me a lot better player."

Laird hit .224 with nine homers and 47 RBIs in his first season as a full-time starter. Washington challenged him to take control of the pitching staff and become a leader. It took time, but Washington believes Laird has done that.

Wow! A win in Europe for the US??? …amazing

In the run-up to the United States' friendly with Poland on Wednesday, U.S. men's national team manager Bob Bradley talked of how games in Europe reinforce the importance of doing the little things well. And if their 3-0 victory in Krakow is any indication, the Americans are becoming more adept at the subtleties needed to win international games on the road.

But the increased attention to detail by most of the players has resulted in a striking change in road form for the U.S. in the last six months. A 1-0 victory in Switzerland in October was followed by an identical result against South Africa a month later. And Wednesday's result was the team's third consecutive road triumph, a record for the U.S.

Only three times previously had the U.S. ever won so many as two road contests in succession, and those always included at least one CONCACAF foe. Now the U.S. has a three-game winning streak that includes two triumphs in Europe, which has never been much of a happy hunting ground for the Americans.

The Yanks' newfound road strength certainly bodes well for the start of World Cup qualifying in June, not that away games in CONCACAF have been overly troublesome in the recent past. During qualification for the 2006 World Cup the U.S. recorded a 4-2-3 record, losing only to Mexico and Costa Rica. And the recent road resilience not only bodes well for the Americans' qualifying campaign, but it at least gives an indication that the U.S. might be capable of bigger things when the stakes get higher and the venues become tougher.

Can Davino go on Sunday?

If he wants to play in FC Dallas' opener against Chivas USA on Sunday, Duilio Davino has three days to tune up.

The Mexican defender has been nursing a left knee bone bruise since the team's trip to Brazil this month, and has been training separately from the main group since last week.

"We are hopeful that he restarts practicing today and joins the team," club spokesman German Sferra said.

The last time Davino trained with the team was March 14, the day before FC Dallas faced the Los Angeles Galaxy in an exhibition. He reinjured the knee while shooting after a corner kick in that practice.

Davino has not played a full 90 minute match for FC Dallas. He signed with the team in January.

Aaron Pitchkolan, 25 and in his fourth MLS season, took over Davino's role as the starting central defender in two matches at Pizza Hut Park this month.

Though the team took Wednesday off, Davino continued his rehabilitation at the club's facility.

Drum video that may be labeled as insane….or cool…

FC Dallas chaos from last weekend…watch at about the 2:30 mark for disrespect for officials from the opponent…

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Do You Know The Way to San Jose

We are leaving with the Stars today on our annual road trip. It is always a highlight of my calendar year, but this year, with the Stars in free-fall, I wonder if this will be a tension filled trip with guys not in the mood for hilarity. We shall see.

In other news…

Welcome Clippers – Thank you!

The healing powers of the Los Angeles Clippers are so strong that if Dirk Nowitzki gets really, really close to them, his ankle might magically get better overnight.

As cure-alls go, the Clips were better than a slug of penicillin in the backside for the Dallas Mavericks. They didn't have to look pretty or play particularly sharp to come away with a vitally important 103-90 victory to snap a three-game losing streak in their first outing since Nowitzki's injury.

A sensational team-wide rebounding night and standout efforts by Josh Howard, Erick Dampier and Jerry Stackhouse sparked a third-quarter getaway as the Mavericks finished the period with a 12-2 binge. Their lead never dropped below a dozen in the fourth quarter.

Howard, who couldn't buy a shot early in the game, made a living at the free throw line, then heated up from the field and finished with 32 points, with 18 coming in the third frame. It was his best scoring output since he had 32 on Jan. 21.

Dampier had a double-double before halftime and finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds, prompting one fan in the high-priced seats to yell: "Where's that been?"
The answer would be that it's a lot harder to produce those kinds of numbers against San Antonio or Boston than it is against the Clippers, who lost their eighth in a row. Yes, everybody gets well against them.

But no matter whom it came against, the Mavericks needed a victory to build a shred of momentum as they head out for tough road games at Denver and Golden State in the next five days. The win gave the Mavericks a bit more breathing room in the seventh spot, moving them 1 ½ games ahead of the Warriors and two games up on the ninth-place Nuggets.

"Winning has always been a great deodorant," said Jason Kidd, who had 10 points and eight assists. "It helps with making the bumps and bruises go away and gives you a little more confidence, especially the getaway game going on the road."

The Mavericks could ill afford a loss to a team that, as Stackhouse said, "is not playing for anything right now." The Mavericks had a 12-point lead early but had to fight out of a close game in the second half. To their credit, they made sure there was no drama down the stretch.

Dirk News is improving?

The first 48 hours are supposed to tell a lot about an injury, and the Mavericks said they got all the right results about Nowitzki's left ankle and knee problems. It's looking like the original two-week prognosis by owner Mark Cuban might be a worst-case scenario.

"From what I'm hearing, he's doing really well," Johnson said Tuesday. "That doesn't mean he's going to be back anytime soon. But for the type of injury, he's doing well.

Hopefully, we'll catch a break with it. And he'll heal like he normally heals, and it won't take that long."

Officially, the team still says Nowitzki is out for an unspecified time.

Cowlishaw takes the controversial view that these trades might not be going well

When they went 4-4 initially, I said it wasn't a big deal. The team needed at least 10 games with Kidd in the lineup to come together, and those four losses were on the road against the top four teams in the West.

Their big week was supposed to be last week with the Lakers, Celtics and Spurs coming to Dallas. I thought they needed to win two out of three to make a statement.
Instead, they lost all three games and Nowitzki maybe for two weeks, maybe more.
If the Kidd deal has failed, the trade for Brad Richards has produced even worse results for the Stars.

There was that initial franchise-tying five-assist night against Chicago. Since then ... almost nothing.

The Stars have gone 1-7 since Richards' first game with Dallas. He has two goals and two assists in those eight games. He's not scoring, and neither is anyone else. Dallas has scored totals of one, one, one, three, three, three, one and two goals in the eight games.

As someone who supported both trades, although I considered the Richards deal a very high risk in the long run because of his salary ($7.8 million average the next three years), I'm not going to flip-flop and say the deals shouldn't have been done.

The Mavericks were going nowhere with Devin Harris at point guard. And if you're worried about Kidd and his abominable shooting, understand that both guards are shooting 41 percent from the field since the trade but Kidd is shooting far better from 3-point range.

I know, I know. That's hard to believe given what we witnessed last week. But before going 1 for 10 on 3-pointers in the losses to LA, Boston and San Antonio, Kidd was hitting better than 50 percent from 3-point range. Harris is tossing them in at a 25 percent rate in New Jersey, which has slipped out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture (hard to do).

I think there is some real truth to the belief that both head coaches have something to do with the failures of the deals.

If Avery Johnson isn't getting more positive results with Kidd at the point than he did with Jason Terry or Harris, then maybe it says something about how he works with his point guards.

Before getting into this road trip that could knock the team down to ninth in the West standings, Johnson should meet with Kidd and ask him how he thinks things should be run.

Of course, without Nowitzki, the Mavericks are going to struggle even if Kidd plays at his career best.

As for Dave Tippett and Richards, the Stars coach isn't giving him the ice time he needs. Only three times in nine games has Richards played 20 minutes. In Tampa Bay, he regularly played 23, 25 even 27 minutes a night.

The Stars may be deeper at center than the Lightning, but between power plays, penalty kills and Richards' ability to at times share the ice with Mike Modano, he ought to be getting more than 18 minutes a game to prove his worth.

Jon Barry has the Mavs bounced out of the playoffs

Who won't make the playoffs?

Dallas falls out. When Dirk Nowitzki went down and had to be carried off the floor on Sunday, Mavs owner Mark Cuban looked like his dog had been run over by a truck.

Two weeks in Western Conference, the minimum Nowitzki is expected to miss, and you can drop quickly. And without Dirk, Dallas is in serious trouble. The remaining Clippers game coming up is a must-win.

They made all these moves in the offseason to get guys who could defend. Now how are they going to score? I don't see where they get points from. Josh Howard is your No. 1 option, but I don't see how you can rely on him. Jason Kidd's averaging eight points a game. Just don't see them scoring enough.

Who gets in?

If Dallas is out, it's Denver. I wouldn't say this is a sure thing, because as great as the Nuggets are offensively, they are equally bad defensively. Is the offense going to be enough? They've got the a big game with Dallas at home on Thursday. The loss of Dirk should light a fire under the Nuggets.

Denver guard J.R. Smith is a wildcard with the impact he can have coming off the bench.

Rangers keep Jason Botts

But Jon Daniels is the general manager and while Washington's chief concern is winning the next ball game, Daniels worries not only about today's game, but next week's, next month's, even next year's and the year(s) after that.

Washington's focus is immediate. The nature of Daniels' job demands that he always think big picture.

Occasionally those worlds collide, as they did Tuesday.

The organizational decision was to keep minor league wonderboy Jason Botts and send fan favorite Kevin Mench to Oklahoma City.

Washington had made it clear over the last couple of weeks that he favored keeping Mench, with his proven major league track record, even going so far as to personally attempt to expand Mench's versatility by giving him a crash course on playing first base.

One major factor came into play in the final decision: Botts has no more minor league options and would have to pass through waivers to be sent down, meaning the Rangers would risk losing him. Mench had signed a minor league deal with an agreement to report to Oklahoma City.

All other factors being relatively equal -- both players had good springs at the plate -- the sensible thing to do then was to give Botts an extended look with the Rangers during the early part of the season, with Mench, who can't opt out of his deal and become a free agent until June 1, still available at OKC as a fallback position if Botts blows this one last chance.

In other words, it's just smart business. Besides, Botts gave the Rangers no reason not to give him a shot.

"Ron looks at it that way, too," Daniels said. "It wasn't like I forced Jason Botts on him. Did I bring up some points along the way that made some sense why Jason is here? Has he earned the spot? Has he played well? Yeah, I believe he has.

"His defense at first base plays into it, his track record plays into it. He's out of options and that plays into it."

A week ago Washington was hinting that even if he had to keep Botts, he didn't have to play him. Tuesday, after all precincts had been heard from, the manager was toeing the company line.

"There's nothing being forced on me," Washington insisted. "That's one thing I can say about Jon Daniels and with the utmost respect: He doesn't just make decisions off the top of his head. He's always urging a collaboration.

"At the end, he has to make a decision, or I have to make a decision, but it's a decision that's always made through talking it out."

The Botts-Mench decision, Washington said, came down to common sense.

"What went into that decision, we needed a guy who could hit against left-handers and play first base," Washington said. "We decided in January, long before Mench was even in the picture, that we'd bring Botts in here, work him at first base and see how he did. He did an outstanding job.

"Bottsy didn't do anything to for us to say that he couldn't do it. So he gets the first shot, and that's how it came down. He did everything we asked him to do. He became a serviceable piece at first base."

The Rangers need a right-handed hitting first baseman to spell lefty-swinging Ben Broussard against certain tough left-handed pitchers. One thing the Rangers will ask Mench to do at OKC is continue learning how to play first.

Father of the Year Candidate Patrick Roy and his son Jonathan make us proud …See video below…

The hockey brawl that saw Patrick Roy’s son Jonathan pound an opposing goaltender was widely deplored on Tuesday.

And some felt Jonathan and Patrick Roy got off lightly with seven-game and five-game suspensions respectively.

“It certainly isn’t anything we like to see in the game,” said Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson.“Any time you have a person such as Patrick Roy involved, it always brings that much more attention.

“That’s why it’s been there in the media for that length of time.”

Nicholson discussed the incident with Canadian Hockey League head Dave Branch, who had talked to Quebec Major Junior Hockey League president Gilles Courteau before the suspensions were issued.

The melee that erupted in the second period of a playoff game between coach Patrick Roy’s Quebec Remparts and the Chicoutimi Sagueneens on Saturday, won 10-1 by Chicoutimi, has been replayed repeatedly across the country this week.

It featured Jonathan Roy skating the length of the ice to pummel Chicoutimi’s top goaltender Bobby Nadeau, who avoided suspension by refusing to fight back. Video footage shows Roy gesturing to his son before the attack, although the Hall of Fame goalie denied he was involved.

The Quebec justice department has opened a police investigation into the incident.

While he didn’t want to discuss the criminal investigation, Quebec Premier Jean Charest said Tuesday that junior hockey must reflect on the amount of violence on the ice.

Charest added his voice to those who have called for the abolition of fighting in junior hockey.

“We expect that the league will reflect, that other leagues (elsewhere in Canada) will do the same and the message sent by Quebecers is that the time has come to put an end to fighting in junior hockey,” said Charest, in attendance at the Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City for Tuesday night’s game.

Don Phelps, coach and general manager of the Junior A Calgary Canucks, said both father and son got off “very, very light.”

“I think it’s embarrassing to most legitimate hockey coaches because that sort of behaviour, it emanates from the bench. And how these players behave is a reflection of the coach.”

Former Canadian Olympic coach Pat Quinn, a tough defenceman in his playing days, deplored the brawling.

“We’ve seen these things before, but most of us don’t like seeing things of that nature in the game,” said Quinn. “We know there’s fighting, but this seemed a little over the side.”

Roy and Roy suspended for this

Hurrah! A new Uni-Watch!


Here are the top 5 reasons why this deal was over rated:

1. Brad Richards is a natural center. This gives the Stars three front line centers which means one of them has to play out of position if you want to have two of them paired together. Does this sound familiar from past Stars deals (Modano, Nieuwy, Arnott and Turgeon)? Did it work?

2. Richards has had just one point a game season and that was two seasons ago. Otherwise his career is .88 pts/game

3. His +/- is a league worst -25 out of 813 players. For his career he is +/- 55. Unless he learns how to play defensive hockey he will not fit into the Stars system.

4. His salary cap is the biggest hit of any single player in the league on any team (based on average salary over length of contract)

5. This salary will set the standard for resigning other players who will use Richards contract as a benchmark. There was a lot of discussion of overpaying Ribeiro what does this say about Richards

Doing something was good especially since the Stars gave up very little. But the deal I would have done to make the Stars better now is Marian Hossa and here is why:

1. Just two years older than Richards

2. It would have cost the Stars players like Miettenen, Erickson, Dailey, Halpern, Jokkinen all 3rd and 4th line guys to make this happen

3. Just short of a point a game player .93 pts/game

4. He is a natural wing and wouldn’t be playing out of position

5. Career +/- plus 85 player

6. His salary cap hit is $7M this year and then he is unrestricted which shouldn’t be a problem since they were willing to commit top $$ to Richards they could have offered the same to Hossa for an extension.


Jerry Sklar

My response to Jerry:

I have a few issues with your logic.

1) ppg is largely based on who you play with. Hossa has played with huge talents in Ottawa, and then has been with Kovulchuk in Atl. Richards top linemate may have been Fred Modin.

2) +/- is directly related to the success of your team. Lousy team, lousy +/-. Meanwhile, everyone on Detroit has a great +/-. It is far from an individual stat.

3) your points about Richards salary are right on, except that you contradict yourself with giving Hossa the same amount-

and 4) Richards makes sense as a center, because Modano is about to retire. Maybe in a few months, maybe in a few years, but when he does, Ribiero and Richards are two solid top flight centers.


Doomsday Tribute

Algerian Skywalker

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Post 1,014 of Bob's Blog

The Mavericks prepare for battle without Dirk

Dirk Nowitzki has missed one game this season, and it was a forgettable one for the Dallas Mavericks.

They were hammered by Houston when Nowitzki was benched by an NBA suspension on March 6.

Now the Mavericks are staring a lot more than just one game without their best player. The schedule, despite two games upcoming against the Los Angeles Clippers – including tonight's – is demanding. Five of the next seven games are on the road against playoff contenders.

So what do the Mavericks do without Dirk?

"We've just got to play hard as hell – every day, every game," forward Brandon Bass said. "It's got to be a team thing. No individual is going to replace him."

Bass is one of the options coach Avery Johnson has. Bass could replace Nowitzki at power forward in the starting lineup. Malik Allen also is an option.

The Mavericks could go small, with Josh Howard sliding over to power forward and
Devean George, Eddie Jones or even Jason Terry filling out the starting lineup.

Jason Kidd now becomes even more of a focal point for the Mavericks than he has been since he was acquired in a Feb. 19 trade. The Mavericks are 9-8 since, and they still haven't beaten a winning team since Kidd's arrival.

"Without Dirk, we're going to have to make the extra pass and do the little things –box out, not foul as much, don't put teams in the bonus," Kidd said.

"The beauty of this is nobody's really talking about us. We have to put up wins without him."

Sherrington tries to look on the bright side

Give Avery Johnson this much: He may not coax the best out of his point guards, but he sure slings a mean metaphor.

Just when Dirk Nowitzki's injury provided the rest of the Mavs an excuse to fold, Johnson magnified their dilemma.

"There's no Dirk coming out of a phone booth or anything," Johnson said. "They've got to stop looking."

Moral: If the Dirkless Mavs are going to salvage this season, they're going to have to save themselves.

And that's why Nowitzki's absence really is a good thing. Bear with me on this.

The Mavs can go one of two ways: They can close ranks and hold off Golden State and Denver, proving their mettle and getting a much-needed jolt when Nowitzki returns going into the postseason.

Or the Mavs can continue to flop-flop-flop along on a flat tire as they have since the Jason Kidd deal, a ride that should only get bumpier without Nowitzki, and slide off the road into the lottery.

Frankly, I'm not sure which is better. Tells you all you need to know about this season, doesn't it?

Consider the first possibility: No matter how much you hated the Kidd trade, he's certainly drawn the best from Nowitzki and Erick Dampier, of all people.

Nowitzki hasn't played this well since he earned all those MVP votes. He wanted a change at point guard, and he got it. Kidd's presence, particularly when he's pushing the ball, makes Nowitzki's life easier.

Question: So if Nowitzki's playing so well with Kidd, what's wrong?

Answer: It isn't the defense, despite warnings by the trade's critics.

If you think it's Kidd's shooting that's killing the Mavs, let me tell you a story.

A Mavs assistant confided after the trade that Kidd's indelicate shooting touch would keep him from succeeding.

Of course, that was the trade that sent Kidd from Dallas to Phoenix a dozen years ago.

Kidd has dragged his woebegone shot through a Hall-of-Fame career.

And the assistant with the scouting report? He's been out of the league for years.

If it's any consolation, Kidd has been working on his shooting. A few media members with attention-deficit issues were distracted Monday from Nowitzki's impromptu news conference by the sight of Kidd putting up jumpers.

A few of us even counted.

"How many is that?" someone would whisper.




Bottom line: Kidd will never be a good shooter, but he can be better than he's been lately. He simply must keep shooting. And not worry that Johnson will pull him after the next brick.

Michael Irvin welcomes Pac Man …I could take this opportunity to goof on Irvin’s show, but instead, please allow me to advise you to only listen if you do not want him on the Cowboys.

Because, if you do want Pac Man to play for the Cowboys, once you hear him talk for a while, you will change your mind. He should not be allowed to do interviews.

Embattled Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones was scheduled to land in Dallas on Monday night in advance of an appearance on the Michael Irvin Show on ESPN Radio (ESPN-FM 103.3) on Tuesday.

Why do a local radio show when national types would love to have him? Perhaps because the Dallas Cowboys – the team Jones has stated he'd like to play for – appear to be his most serious suitor.

Jones' agent, Manny Arora, said last week it was his understanding that the Lions and Patriots were also showing interest in his client. Hours later, Lions GM Matt Millen told The Detroit News that his team had not and would not make a play for Jones. According to a source, the Patriots are not interested in acquiring Jones.

A source said last week that the Cowboys and Titans have held preliminary discussions on a trade, which could be completed while Jones is still under suspension.

Jones would be more marketable if reinstated before the NFL draft, set for April 26 and 27. Arora has been working on getting the suspension lifted before then, but the league has only said that it would evaluate Jones' case before training camp.

Jones has three years left on the deal he signed after Tennessee selected him with the sixth pick in the 2005 draft.

Jones, 24, hasn't played in an NFL game since the 2006 season, when he was suspended for violating the NFL conduct policy after numerous off-the-field incidents.

And now on to the AJ Abrams portion of the show. Yesterday, the program was stopped down after I had gone on a “Texas Shorts look Ridiculous” rant that pointed out the guy with the goofiest look is AJ Abrams. I then said he is an Iverson starter kit with the #3, the ink, and the arm sleeve.

Well, then Longhorn caller shouts me down saying that a) Abrams doesn’t like Iverson, b) he has no tattoos, and c) he hurt his arm.

Honestly, given that I have watched 2-3 Longhorns games all year, and given his conviction in his voice, I backed off thinking maybe all this college basketball this weekend is running together and somehow I got it wrong.

Silly me:

Abrams loves Iverson

It's 45 minutes after last Thursday's practice, Boston College-Virginia Tech football is on the training-room TV -- no one in this college sports cocoon, apparently, is interested in Game 2 of the World Series -- and Longhorns guards D.J. Augustin and A.J. Abrams are caught up in their own banter. Augustin is in the hot tub, doing some preventative maintenance for the season ahead, in which he will no longer be Wooden Award winner Kevin Durant's sidekick but rather the team's unquestioned leader. Abrams, Texas' biggest three-point threat, is dangling a foot in the cold tub; he has been relegated to the sidelines because of a nagging toe injury. The topic of discussion is which NBA players they prefer to study on DVD film edits.

"D.J., cover your ears," says Abrams, knowing full well this won't happen. He turns to me and says, in addition to a Dee Brown and Chris Paul tape, "I have some A.I. footage."

Augustin takes this as his cue to chime in: "A.J. loves Allen Iverson. If you ever get in touch with Allen Iverson, let him know that A.J. loves him."

Augustin proceeds to claim -- despite Abrams' vehement protests -- that both the arm sleeve and leg tattoo Abrams sports are Iverson tributes, calling him "Little Allen." This is the real Augustin, not the quiet, serious kid we saw on the floor last season, when he averaged 14.4 points and 6.7 assists as the 'Horns finished 25-10. Behind closed doors he is an instigator. Assistant coach Ken McDonald, in a pop-culture reference that's lost on the current team, has taken to calling Augustin "Eddie Haskell."

He also has tattoos, and wears an arm sleeve because of Iverson…oh well…

John Stockton would not be proud of DJ Augustin's “shorts”…

Nike System of Dress is ruining basketball

the biggest trend this year is the expansion of Nike's other recent design template, the System of Dress (first showcased by several teams during last season's NCAA tourney), which features snug-fitting jerseys with so little ornamentation that they look like simple sleeveless tees.

At least more six teams are adopting the System of Dress this season (they'll be listed in a sec), and that's fine by Uni Watch, since the no-frills jerseys generally look pretty sharp. Granted, the same can't be said about the extra-baggy shorts, but that problem extends to plenty of non-System teams too. Actually, the biggest problem with the System of Dress is the hopelessly awkward name -- who wants to say, "System of Dress" even once in this lifetime? Fortunately, Uni Watch is at the ready with a substitute moniker: Since the System is tight on top and billowy on the bottom, much like a gown, Uni Watch will henceforth refer to it as Frocks for Jocks.

Nike's stupid System of Dress

Review of John Adams, episodes 1-2

Review of John Adams, episode 3

AJ Abrams racks his coach while wearing his incredibly huge shorts

Stanford’s Student TV highlights the Lopez twins

Monday, March 24, 2008

Bad to Worse

When we last visited, the Stars were a mess and the Mavs were worse.

Then, Easter weekend came and went.

The Stars are a bigger mess.

And, the Mavs are still worse.

And, if I were to guess, Dirk is done for the season.

Desperados Football, anyone?

Spurs win, Homestand 0-3, Dirk is hurt badly

The Dallas Mavericks were in the process of losing a double-digit lead, giving up 19 consecutive points to San Antonio. They were losing their cool as well as the game.
And none of that was the worst news.

When Dirk Nowitzki went down clutching his left leg, the Mavericks' list of concerns took a sharp turn away from a discouraging three-game home losing streak.
Now, all emphasis is on simply making the playoffs.

San Antonio's 88-81 victory Sunday afternoon, coupled with Nowitzki's injury that owner Mark Cuban said probably will sideline the superstar about two weeks, leaves the Mavericks in the precarious position of hoping to hang on to a low playoff seed.
There are no guarantees. With 12 games to go, the Mavericks appear headed to a showdown with Golden State and Denver for the last two spots in the Western Conference.

Nowitzki's injury won't make things easier.

It happened with 3:18 to go in the third quarter. San Antonio already had run off 14 of the 19 consecutive points that would push it ahead 61-54, a lead the Spurs would never surrender.

Nowitzki was playing defense against a driving Ime Udoka. The pair collided as Nowitzki blocked Udoka's shot. When Nowitzki landed, his left leg buckled underneath him. He first grabbed his left ankle, then just below the knee. X-rays were negative, but he will have a magnetic resonance imaging test today. The team said it was a lower-leg injury.

"I fell awkwardly, and my left leg got caught underneath me," Nowitzki said in a Mavericks news release.

As Cuban left the locker room toward his suite, he held up two fingers to indicate the weeks Nowitzki is expected to miss.

Working with that rough estimate, the Mavericks will face six or seven games in the next two weeks without their anchor. They are seventh in the Western Conference, two games ahead of ninth-place Denver. Moving up is looking less likely. The No. 6 Spurs are three games up and own the tiebreaker.

Is this good somehow?

But in the midst of what seemed like very bad news — the Mavericks were not overwhelmingly forthcoming with information about Nowitzki’s injury — we have very good news to report.

Not so much for the Mavericks, the players, the coaches or fans who had title aspirations. But if Nowitzki, who will be re-evaluated Monday, is out for an extended period — or simply long enough for the Mavericks to drop out of the playoffs — there will be some winners.

First of all, with no Dirk, no one expects the Mavericks to make the playoffs. If they do, no one would expect them to get out of the first round.

That means that Mark Cuban’s trade for Kidd will not be judged until next season. It appears to be a very bad trade at this point, but if Dirk’s out for awhile, who can really say?

The tension between Cuban and Avery Johnson could ease a little bit. They two had a shouting match after the Mavericks lost to the Lakers on Tuesday, but if Dirk is out, Cuban can’t get upset with Avery. That doesn’t mean that Johnson won’t resent Cuban’s meddling, but with no Dirk, there are no expectations.

And Cuban even did his part to make amends on Sunday when he modeled the latest addition to his T-shirt collection, one that had “Avery’s Team” on the front.
It made for warm and fuzzy TV, but did not seem to be a scene that would play out in a reality series.

Without Nowitzki, the lack of poise that the Mavericks have been exhibiting will not be an issue. Jerry Stackhouse got a silly technical in the third quarter on Sunday when Manu Ginobili boxed him out going for a rebound and the two fell to the court. Stackhouse got upset, put his hand in Ginobili’s face and, in Ginobili’s words, “pushed my head into the floor.”

Hate to be the old man here, but the size of the shorts the Longhorns are wearing is so ridiculous....

Texas marches on to play Stanford on Friday

With a 17-point lead unbelievably cut to three, Texas needed somebody — anybody — to make a couple free throws.

A.J. Abrams was ready — as he had been all day.

Abrams calmly sank two with 9.5 seconds remaining, giving the second-seeded Longhorns just enough margin to hold off seventh-seeded Miami 75-72 in the second round of the South Regional on Sunday.

Abrams gave Texas a 74-69 lead, but the Longhorns weren't quite safe yet. Miami's Raymond Hicks made a 3-pointer, and D.J. Augustin then shot an air ball on his first of two free throws with 1.8 seconds to play. Augustin made the second, however, and Texas was able to break up a long pass to preserve the win.

Abrams scored 26 points on six 3-pointers for the second consecutive game. Texas advances to the regional semifinals to play third-seeded Stanford on Friday.

Aggies were bounced; wondering if the DeAndre Jordan era was worth it ….

And now that the Aggies' experiment with teenaged lottery-pick talent is likely over, you have to wonder:

If coach Mark Turgeon had it to do all over again, would he still persuade DeAndre Jordan to honor his commitment?

To be fair, A&M's 7-foot freshman isn't the reason the Aggies lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday. UCLA's 6-foot-10 freshman is.

But before the season, the Aggies were just as excited about signing Jordan as the Bruins were about signing !Kevin Love. And to see the way it ended — with Love dominating like the All-American he is, and Jordan having teammates angrily grab his jersey and berate him at midcourt — just illustrates the rewards and risks of pinning your hopes on another freshman phenom.

Love and Jordan have been friends for years, and Love thinks so much of his counterpart that he said Jordan “might be the next Andrew Bynum.” He also asked Bruins coach Ben Howland why he didn't try harder to recruit Jordan to UCLA.

The Aggies — particularly sophomore forward Bryan !Davis, who tore into Jordan for pouting instead of joining A&M's postgame team huddle — could give Love and Howland a few reasons why they might've been better off. Even if Jordan still is a sure-fire top-10 pick in this summer's NBA draft — and scouts say he will be if he declares — he never showed much of that promise with the Aggies.

He struggled to score against physical competition, looked lost at times on defense and moved farther and farther down the bench as the season progressed.

It got so bad that by the NCAA tournament, no one at A&M even wanted to talk about him.

When Howland gets a question about Love, he's just as eager to rave as Kansas State's Frank Martin is when asked about Michael Beasley, just as happy to gush as Texas' Rick Barnes was when Kevin Durant's name was brought up. Turgeon? The mere mention of Jordan at this week's news conferences had him wincing and grabbing his temples.

“Offensively, it's never been easy for him,” Turgeon said. “It's going to take time. Whether it's a year from now, two years, four years, I don't know.”

In fact, all sorts of schools are wondering If the one and done super freshmen are really worth it

If freshmen are the story of college basketball this season, then it's a short story.

Indiana's Eric Gordon, Memphis' Derrick Rose, USC's O.J. Mayo, Kansas State's Michael Beasley and UCLA's Kevin Love arguably were among the 10 most popular players in the nation.

It will be an upset if any of them comes back for his sophomore year. Thanks for the short-term memories, fellas.

We're told this is good for college basketball, that getting even one year of them in a college jersey is a treat for us, that we are blessed if we can say, "I saw Mayo drop 18 on Cal Poly!" I'm not so sure anymore.

Oh, I know all the arguments for why high schoolers shouldn't be able to jump directly to the NBA. I used to make them. One year of college ball is better than none. It will make them better basketball players. Who knows, they might decide they like college. They might stay more than a year.

But none of it really is true. They're hell-bent on getting to the NBA. In almost every case, they will get better coaching in the NBA, or at least better coaching for the NBA game. Most of them would rather be listening to bluegrass music than sitting in a classroom. Even on the court, indifference oozes from Mayo.

And for us--or at least for me--the whole thing feels empty. It feels like free agency. You're watching something you know won't last. It's like keeping a wolf as a pet. The first chance it gets, it's going to escape.

Freshmen in captivity doesn't sound like much of a marketing campaign. It's like telling your 18-year-old to be in by 7 p.m. for no other reason than you can. (Hmmmm, not a bad idea.)

Is it really better this way? Most college coaches will say it is. They know if a Derrick Rose comes to their school and then goes to the NBA, other blue-chip players who have the same thing in mind won't be far behind. If a kid has to go to college for a year, he might as well go to the processing station to the stars.

In their heart of hearts, most coaches would prefer to have junior- and senior-led teams. Those teams are more coachable, and they're normally teams that play well together because of their experience together. But those coaches are well acquainted with reality, and reality says that stars help bring in more recruits. And, unless a meteorite hits and changes the landscape in college basketball, recruiting is everything in terms of job security.

It's why USC coach Tim Floyd signed Mayo, even though Mayo's "people" refused to give the coach Mayo's cell-phone number. That's right, Floyd had to wait for Mayo to call him.

That told me right there Mayo was ready for the NBA.

Some critics say that dropping the freshman rule would dilute college basketball. They say the game would suffer, that it wouldn't be nearly as good as it used to be, that it would lose something irretrievable.

I don't think so.

Beasley is better than North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough by miles and miles, but at least we got to know Hansbrough, a junior. Boy, did we get to know him, thanks to overzealous announcers who saw a Wagnerian opera every time they looked in his eyes. But college basketball is bigger than Beasley and Hansbrough. If they weren't there, somebody else would fill the void. They might not be as good as Beasley or Hansbrough, but it wouldn't matter.

The college game is about emotion. It's about raucous crowds and student cheering sections and longtime rivalries. It's about big-name coaches. It takes place inside a vacuum. It's great theater unto itself, regardless of who the actors are.

You don't want to get emotionally attached to freshmen. It was fun watching Greg Oden play for Ohio State last season, but there was something distracting about it.

Oden's accomplishments always were put in the context of what undoubtedly would be his one-year stay in college basketball: Great game against Michigan, but do you think he will go first or second in the draft?

Most Ohio State fans will say he was worth the distraction. Same with Syracuse fans and Carmelo Anthony in 2003. But it's hard to imagine Anthony coming back to campus for a 25-year championship reunion and either him or the fans, if they're honest with themselves, feeling a tight connection.

One and done is no way to go through college.

Either give them a financial reason to stay in college, or let them go to the NBA whenever they want.

This morning, after 31 games, this is how the Top 5 places in the English Premiership looks. Man United is in the cat bird’s seat, and Liverpool is nursing its wounds after its pounding yesterday…7 games left for everyone…

Man United – 73
Chelsea - 68
Arsenal – 67
Liverpool - 59
Everton – 57

3-0 is the final tally for Hick’s boys

There is always one moment in every season when, for the team that are going to finish as champions, everything clicks, the worrying stops, all the hard work comes together and everyone knows it is going to be a year to remember. For Manchester United, this was quite conceivably that moment, another potentially decisive day to go with Steve Bruce's header against Sheffield Wednesday, Eric Cantona's volley at Newcastle, Andy Cole's lob against Tottenham and all the seminal moments in the portfolio of Sir Alex Ferguson's favourite Premier League wins.

That is not to say Ferguson will underestimate the strength of Chelsea's desire to prolong the argument. Yet the pity for United is that Javier Mascherano's buffoonery, and the debate it conjures up about the behaviour of modern-day footballers, will inevitably divert attention away from what was, in essence, a performance of authentic brilliance. Liverpool were dismantled from A to Z, losing to Wes Brown's first goal in almost three years, Cristiano Ronaldo's 34th of the season and a scorching effort from Nani on a day when Mascherano registered his nomination for Clot of theYear, acting as if he thought Sky should have redefined the coming together of England's top four clubs as "Surly Sunday".

Mascherano, to put it succinctly, lost the plot. His behaviour was contemptible and the Football Association will be obliged to take extra disciplinary measures when they consider the way he sought to take out his anger on the referee, Steve Bennett, in a scene more reminiscent of a Friday night punch-up. A lengthy ban should follow, but the real story here was not of one man self-imploding but a team reaching the point of maximum expression.

United had already made a convincing case for being the superior team by the time Mascherano paid the price for his dissent. The gulf in class then became wide enough to resemble an embarrassment for Benítez, his players and everyone associated with Liverpool, not least those supporters who were plunged into such a state of shock even their final chorus of "You'll never walk alone" was cut short.

And before we blame everything on Tom Hicks, we should also consider the spare-ness of his manager. Rafa Benitez is a genius at the Cup competitions, but when it comes to just winning a game against the “Big 3” in league play, here is how he has done since he was hired in June 2004:

Vs. Manchester United 0 - 7 - 1
Vs. Arsenal 3 – 3- 1
Vs. Chelsea 1 – 5 - 2
Total 4 – 15 – 4
In 23 games – Of 69 possible points, Liverpool has pulled 16


Meanwhile, Chelsea charges ahead of Arsenal with a nice win

There are rational causes for gladness around Stamford Bridge now that a fixture with a principal rival has finally been won by the Israeli. What is more, Chelsea have overtaken Arsenal to stand second in the table, five points behind the leaders Manchester United, whom they have still to meet on this ground.

The overall situation will please Sir Alex Ferguson and the Old Trafford squad but Chelsea are at least putting up a fight. They will be particularly capable of making heads ring if Drogba can go on landing blows as he did here. The Ivorian must be infuriating to Stamford Bridge devotees, since it sometimes feels as if he had no sooner set down his pen after signing for the club than the tales of his disaffection began to spread.

He was fully engaged yesterday, particularly after the interval. Arsenal were unlucky since Drogba should have been given offside in the build-up to the equaliser as the ball was launched through the middle. Nonetheless, Arsène Wenger's team began to reel from the moment they opened the scoring. That goal from the right-back Bacary Sagna exposed Chelsea's deficiencies at set-pieces, just as Tottenham had done.

The Frenchman broke away from Salomon Kalou and got in front of Frank Lampard to head in a Cesc Fábregas corner from an acute angle at the near post in the 59th minute. Before long, Sagna hurt an ankle and he eventually had to be replaced, a factor that Wenger blamed, in part, for the outbreak of confusion in his back four. As the Arsenal manager knows, of course, his squad have to be far more resilient than this in adversity.

Arsenal have improved this season, but it now looks like the early stage of a revival. In future, a larger squad will be essential and so, too, will be an enhanced hardiness because brittleness has become apparent over the pounding of the long Premier League programme. A five-point lead has, in mercurial fashion, been converted into a six-point deficit.

Arsenal's showing here was good enough for a period to suggest that the club, who had been the last to beat Chelsea on the Premier League here in February 2004, would repeat the feat. They had been developing some enterprise even before they scored, with Mathieu Flamini, for instance, seeing a raking drive blocked by the goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini after 47 minutes.

Email of the Day:


When are people going to start facing the facts about what type of player Jason Kidd is at this stage of his career? I know everyone wants to blame everything on Avery (he deserves plenty of blame), but Kidd has done nothing to make the team better at all. In fact, they were a better team with Devin Harris running the point. Kidd is a liability in the halfcourt offense. He can't shoot and he can no longer penetrate either. He never gets to the foul line. Is it any coincidence that New Jersey was one of the worst halfcourt offensive teams in the league. Kidd is great in transition, but the Mavs don't have the personnel to be a run and gun team and good teams will make you play in the halfcourt eventually. Devin Harris may not be able to pass like Kidd, but he is way better offensively and was the one player on the team who could get to the rack consistently.

After the trade was made, all I heard about Kidd was how clutch he was and what a great leader he was. However, Kidd has yet to come through in the clutch for the Mavs and hasn't changed the persona of the team one iota. Everyone said the Mavs now have two superstars with Kidd, but Kidd has been at his worst in the big games and didn't step it up at all when Dirk was out vs. Houston or when he went down vs. the Spurs. I am not saying it's all Kidd's fault or even close to it, but he has been a major disappointment so far and deserves his share of the criticism. The Mavs panicked and made a bad trade. They way overestimated Kidd's ability at this point of his career. There was a reason why a lot of basketball people didn't even think Kidd was an upgrade over Harris. For all the good things Kidd can do, he is zero threat offensively. The old team probably wasn't going to win anything either, but this trade did not address their weaknesses at all and actually made the team worse. I just think people need to start being more critical of the Mavs organization for making such a misguided move and realizing Jason Kidd is not close to being the answer to their problems. Anyway, I love listening to BAD Radio every day and reading your blog. Take it easy.


Halen 88, once regarded as a hardcore Cowboys fan, now exposes himself as a “hardcore Lakers fan”. I am sure he also loves the Yankees or Braves. FRONTRUNNER.

HBO Wins again with John Adams

Friday, March 21, 2008

Circling the Drain

Cue REM’s Everybody Hurts…

NBA Basketball is the great deceiver. You have your self convinced that you can “play with these guys”. But, alas…don’t be fooled. The worst team in the league can “play with” the best team for 40 or 45 minutes. But when it is time to play “win”, that is when the good separate from the great.

So is the case with our little Mavericks.

Moral victories? That is another way of saying you can “play with” these teams until they find that next gear in the final few minutes.

Last night, in another gutting loss – this time to Boston – Jerry Stackhouse made a 3 point basket from well behind the arc as the shot clock was ticking down to give the Mavericks an 84-83 lead with 5:08 left in the game.

It would be the last field goal they would score until Erick Dampier’s put back with :09 left.

Between, I counted numerous chances to get hoops in the half court. Here is how the game was lost in 10 trips down the floor:

Mavs Possessions in Final minutes

4:10 Pierce Steals from Dirk on Double Team
3:50 Garnett steps in front of Dirk Pass to Stackhouse
3:45 Howard fouled, free throws
3:08 Kidd feeds Dampier, Dampier fouled, free throws
2:40 Kidd drives lane, is rejected on lay-up
2:15 Dirk dives to save errant Kidd Pass, Garnett steals
1:54 Dirk fouled, free throws
1:18 Dirk 18 footer missed
:42 Kidd misses a 3 pointer
:22 Dirk drives and misses
:09 Dampier rebounds Dirk Miss and BASKET!

10 trips without a hoop. Ballgame. Game over. And Confidence Shot again.

The bottom line is this: Against elite competition, this team cannot get a basket at crunch time when it needs it. Not often enough. Not enough to outlast and outplay their opponent to the finish line. And that is all playoff basketball is about. Feel free to make plans for May. You won't need it for the Mavericks, I don't believe.

It is What it is

It is what it is.

That's one of the most popular sayings in the NBA this season, and a variation of it absolutely fits the Mavericks during this most disappointing stretch of the season.
They are what they are.

Call it mediocre. Call it not-ready-for-prime-time. Call it good but not great.
Whatever it is, the Mavericks have proved to be a notch or two – or maybe more – below the elite teams in the league.

They were bounced, 94-90, by the Boston Celtics on Thursday night at American Airlines Center as the threesome of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce was just a little better than Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard and Jerry Stackhouse.

At least the Mavericks should be able to face themselves in the mirror today. Their effort was supreme. Unfortunately, it yielded the same result as a lousy output of energy against the Los Angeles Lakers two nights earlier.

"Until we ultimately hold it [a trophy] up, there's always going to be questions about us," Stackhouse said, accurately summing up frustrations in the locker room and among fans. "We got some work to do to be in the field, quite frankly. It's not a given. We got a talented team, but at some point, we got to take a stand in the sand."

The Mavericks lost their second in a row at home for the first time this season. They fell to 0-7 against winning teams since the Jason Kidd trade.

Allen knocked in a 3-pointer with 31.7 seconds left to put the Celtics up, 90-88, and James Posey and Garnett each hit two free throws in the final 15 seconds to secure the win.

Nowitzki missed a drive with 21.9 seconds to go, with Sam Cassell rebounding, to douse the Mavericks' hopes. They had led by seven points – the biggest lead for either side – early in the fourth quarter but could not hold on.

The Celtics became the first team to sweep a three-game, uninterrupted trip to Texas since Sacramento did it in 2001. They completed the perfect triangle by overcoming the fourth-quarter deficit and applying salty defense on the Mavericks, who got heroic efforts from several players, notably Nowitzki, but not enough clutch play at the end.

The Celtics swept the season series from the Mavericks for the first time since 1993-94.

"I loved our effort," coach Avery Johnson said. "We're close. We're just not being rewarded. We're getting closer. We just have to stay positive.

"I've never really been one to panic, but I understand the urgency. Right now, it's just a game of inches."

Star Telegram ..

On paper, the Mavericks won nearly every critical category - shooting percentage, rebounds, points in the paint, second-chance points, fast-break points - but their pained faces and slow gait when all was over told a different story on the scoreboard.

The Boston Celtics, trailing by seven early in the fourth quarter and by one with 1:54 to go, scored seven of the game's final nine points and sent the Mavs to yet another agonizing defeat, 94-90, in front of a sellout crowd that was poised to blow the lid off American Airlines Center.

Instead, Jason Kidd, who made one field goal on eight shots, missed a 3-pointer with 39.9 seconds left that would have put the Mavs up by four. And Dirk Nowitzki, who played another stellar game with 22 points and 19 rebounds, was left to ponder two driving layups that wouldn't drop in the final 22 seconds after Celtics sharpshooter Ray Allen had drained the go-ahead 3-pointer.

"We were right there again," said Nowitzki, who had three turnovers in the final quarter. "I got some good looks in the fourth quarter that I've got to make. It was a disappointing fourth quarter for me."

And so for a seventh consecutive game against a winning ballclub since Kidd's arrival, the Mavs (44-25) came up empty. Meanwhile the NBA-leading Celtics (55-13) completed a sweep of the Texas trio.

The Mavs now have the same number of losses as eighth seed Golden State, but with two more wins, and they fell 161/27 games behind Sunday's opponent, the Spurs, for third in the Southwest Division.

Unlike Tuesday's abysmal start against the Lakers that had the Mavs down by 25 in the third quarter, the Mavs came out gunning in this one. They scored 29 first-quarter points on the league's best defense.

Meet the Newest Cowboy …Pac Man…

Although the Dallas Cowboys can’t comment publicly about their interest in acquiring suspended Titans defensive back Adam “Pacman” Jones, it appears they are seriously considering the idea.

NFL sources said the Cowboys are looking into the possibility of trading for Jones, but that the discussions are moving at a slow pace. The third-year cornerback missed all of last season after he was suspended by the league for multiple off-the-field incidents.

Jones has yet to be reinstated but that wouldn’t prevent the Titans from trading him to another team. A suspended player can be traded but he would not be eligible to play until the suspension is lifted.

League spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail Thursday, “[Jones] has been told that there will be a decision on his status for the 2008 [season] at some point prior to the opening of training camps. The commissioner will review all relevant facts, including his conduct over the past year, and make a decision.”

The Titans would probably prefer to trade Jones before the NFL Draft when he would command more in return.

NFL sources said the Cowboys could potentially offer a second-day draft pick, probably as high as a fourth-rounder, to obtain Jones. Last season the Patriots traded a fourth-round pick to Oakland in return for receiver Randy Moss.

Packers fans may be annoyed by this, or love it

Warning: I am not sure you should watch this. But, Here is the video from Dan’s BaD Radio Report from yesterday

And another place for the same video

Fake Nick Cage in Real Madrid fools the team

Marathon Layout