In the latest move in a wave of conference realignment, league sources are reporting that the NBA’s Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Orlando Magic are poised to accept invitations to join the Western Conference. The same sources cite increased exposure, greater revenues, and a higher level of play as the primary reasons for the move.
“This is a big day for us,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “The Eastern Conference treated us well for decades, but we want to be where the best teams are. Plus, it’s hard to get comfortable in a conference where your playoffs air on TNT. You’re always worried aLaw & Orderrerun is going to preempt one of your games.”
“I don't think this was an easy decision for this franchise,” said Magic center Dwight Howard. “I knew that unless I died or lost a leg I’d be starting the All-Star Game for the East for the next 12 years. I grew up dreaming of playing in the real NBA, though, against the best players in the world. And now I finally have a chance to do it. It's about legacy. I can only prove myself in the Western Conference.”
Cavaliers officials are hopeful that the move will help the team retain free agent superstar LeBron James. “Giant contracts are nice and all,” said one team official, bBut now we can promise LeBron that those repeated midseason trips to Detroit and Indianapolis are a thing of the past. That’s huge.”
Commissioner David Stern who says he is now Western Conference Commissioner David Stern says he believes the creation of a mega-conference will improve the financial picture of the NBA.
"Honestly, I have no idea what will happen to what's left of the Eastern Conference," he says. "And I really don’t care. Maybe those teams can join the Big East or something. Their names and level of play are already sort of similar.”
Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference is left scrambling to populate its ranks. The conference has considered adding the University of Kentucky from the NBA, but there are concerns about whether coach John Calipari could get his squad’s payroll under the NBA’s $57.7 million salary cap and still put a competitive team on the court.
“At this point, we’ll take any team with five players. They don’t even have to be healthy or particularly good at basketball,” said New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. “If anyone has a connection with the NBDL’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants, please have them call us.”
Although Ron Artest wears shorts almost as short as the ones you see here. This is a 1987 anti-drugs video recorded by the Los Angeles Lakers. Yes, Kurt Rambis included. (VIDEO)
The Boston Celtics dedicated their victory in Game 2 of the NBA Finals to former teammate and longtime NBA star Kevin Garnett, who recently passed away due to age-related causes.
"This is what Kevin would have wanted," said shooting guard Ray Allen, wiping away tears. "I just wish he could have been here to see it. I hope he knows, wherever he is, that we're playing for him."
Allen scored 32 points, including 27 in the first half, to lead the Celtics past the Lakers.
"I am 34 years old," said Allen. "A whole year older than Kevin Garnett was when he passed on. There but for the grace of God go I, you know? So if my time is short, I want to make the most of every game and play in the memory of those who are no longer with us."
The Celtics plan to play the remainder of the series with a black band on their jerseys in honor of Garnett and will also honor him before Game 3 at TD Garden by unnecessarily screaming and scowling at things in a pre-game ceremony.
The team also honored Garnett by inserting 6 points, 4 rebounds and 5 fouls into the Game 2 box score under his name.
"I just wish it could have been more," said head coach Doc Rivers. "Well, points and rebounds, at least. The fouls could have been less."
Following the game, teammates lit candles in their longtime teammate's locker.
"Hey, who the fk lit candles in my locker?!" yelled Garnett, emerging from the shower. "I'm gonna kick somebody's ass!"
"It's almost like he's still here among us," said Allen. "You can feel his presence."
Whether David Stern likes it or not, Dwyane Wade, Lebron James and other free agents will talk about their plans for free agency. As will coaches and team owners.
And chances are, they might even organize these summits on Facebook.
We'd only care about it once every four years.
Love them or hate them, the Lakers and Celtics are the NBA's premier franchises and have a historic rivalry.
Here's a look at how that rivalry grew through pictures.
Phil Jackson is one of the greatest basketball coaches of all-time, and his ability to play mind games has been a big part of his success.
Now board game manufacturers have taken notice and are re-releasing some of their most popular titles as Phil Jackson Editions with a mind game element.
Despite a long and successful NBA career, millions of dollars, and fame, Ron Artest has never forgotten where he comes from.
"That is incredibly disappointing," says Mary Thompson, who lives in the Queensbridge Houses public housing where Artest grew up in Queens. "A lot of people here have it tough as it is without everyone thinking we're nutjobs because of Ron Artest."
Artest proudly told TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager to "say Queensbridge" after he hit the winning shot at the buzzer in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. His display of pride had an immediate impact at the Queensbridge buildings.
"I guess a lot of people were watching the game, because right after he said it, you could hear a big groan all around you," said Queensbridge public activities coordinator Mychal Logan. "And then what sounded like the sound of people slapping their forehead in disappointment."
Thompson, a single mother of three, says she has had numerous job interviews end when potential employers realize she is from the Queensbridge Houses and associate that with Artest.
"Usually they then have security escort me out," she said. "And do you have any idea how hard it is to keep up the self-esteem of your kids when they think one of the only ways out of here is to be like Ron Artest? Thank God they also have a good example like Nas."
Logan says he appreciates Artest's pride and the charity he has done for the community, but says if the Lakers forward really wanted to help, "he'd make a point in his next post-game interview to say he's from the Bronx. Or, I don't know, Iowa. Just, please, show the people of Queensbridge mercy."