Monday, April 30, 2012

Nets officially unveil new logo

The Brooklyn Nets' new logo was officially revealed by the organization today and, as expected, the team is switching to a black and white color scheme while using the shield style logo that leaked last week. The team's merchandise website, NetsStore.com, is now live and fans can purchase memorabilia with the new look. Jerseys currently aren't available but will be coming in September.

Since last week's leak reaction has been mixed to the re-branding effort. I personally like it. The Nets are clearly trying to wash the bad taste out of the mouths of their fans and a whole new look and feel is the best place to start.

The logo was designed by part-owner Jay-Z.

(Banner image courtesy NetsStore.com)

A few Monday morning links

- The Clippers came back from a 21-point fourth quarter deficit to stun the Grizzlies in game one of their first round playoffs matchup. Los Angeles had trailed by as much as 27 during the game but Memphis went ice cold in the last frame to lose a heartbreaker. |Ball Don't Lie|

- At the request of his 8-year-old son, Yankees GM Brian Cashman sat in the bleachers for Sunday's game and participated in the traditional "Bleacher Creatures" roll call. |Sports Kings|

- Bruce Chen tried to pick off a runner 10 times during one at bat. |Big League Stew|

- Donovan McNabb still doesn't know if he will retire or not, although his hand may be forced. |ProFootballTalk|

Friday, April 27, 2012

NBA Playoffs: First round preview and predictions

A quick rundown of the first round NBA playoff matchups, with predictions for each series:

Eastern Conference

Chicago Bulls v. Philadelphia 76ers
The Bulls are certainly a deep team and their bench is as good as some teams' starting fives. Chicago grabbed the number one seed in the East with Derrick Rose nursing injuries for most of the year. Philly should grab a game at home, but the Bulls will easily take this series.
Bulls win series, 4-1

Miami Heat v. New York Knicks
The Knicks are perhaps the hottest team in the NBA and have a better bench than Miami. The Heat, however, have owned the Knicks since LeBron and Bosh took their talents to South Beach. If the Knicks can play the great defense they've shown since Mike Woodson took over, they'll have a shot, albeit a long one.
Heat win series, 4-2

Indiana Pacers v. Orlando Magic
The Pacers, one of the most underrated and under-appreciated teams in the league, would have been favorites even if Orlando had a healthy Dwight Howard. Take "Superman" out of the mix and it's an easy series for the Magic.
Pacers win series, 4-0

Boston Celtics v. Atlanta Hawks
The 4 v. 5 matchup has the potential to be the best series of the opening round. While early in the year many figured the Celtics were too old, they've come surging back, showing us the guts and gusto that won Boston an NBA Title just a few years ago. Ray Allen's injury will be a factor but I'd expect the Celtics to take the series either way.
Celtics win series, 4-3

Western Conference

San Antonio Spurs v. Utah Jazz
The aging Spurs just keep winning and getting better. Unlike last year's team, this year's version of the Spurs is a serious threat to go deep in the playoffs. They shouldn't have too much trouble with the Jazz, although Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap could create some issues inside for San Antonio.
Spurs win series, 4-2

Oklahoma City Thunder v. Dallas Mavericks
The defending champs open the first round with a tough matchup against the OKC Thunder, a young team ready to win now. These two teams always seem to play each other close but OKC will be too much for the older Mavs.
Thunder win series, 4-2

Los Angeles Lakers v. Denver Nuggets
The loss of Metta World Peace will hurt the Lakers, who are already a thin team depth-wise. Los Angeles is playing at a very high level, with Kobe Bryant rested, and should be able to handle a stiff challenge from Denver.
Lakers win series, 4-3

Memphis Grizzlies v. Los Angeles Clippers
This series provides some very intriguing matchups. The Grizzlies have the big men to battle with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Tony Allen is a defensive specialist who will look to shut down the Clippers' wings. But Chris Paul might be the deciding factor. Finally getting his chance to shine on a bigger stage, he'll lead the Clippers to a rare first round playoff victory.
Clippers win series, 4-3

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Image leaks of potential new Nets logo

As we wrap up the 2011-2012 NBA campaign and the final season in New Jersey for the Nets, all eyes turn towards their move to Brooklyn. Led by majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov and 1% owner Jay-Z, the team is trying to usher in a new era, capture the feel of New York City, and forget about all the bad memories they have from New Jersey.

From Gothamist comes the image to the right which was tweeted by a worker from inside the new Barclays Center.

If it is indeed the new Nets logo, I like it. There have been rumors for a while that the team was going to switch to a black and white color scheme and this logo is simple yet impactful. In an era of myriad alternate uniforms and color combinations, this would be a nice change of pace.

The Nets are expected to officially reveal their new logo sometime this coming week.

Dropping Links on NFL Draft Day

Some NFL-related tidbits first as we head towards tonight's Draft in New York City.

- The Colts put an official end to the Peyton Manning era, removing the giant "Thank You Peyton" banner they had been displaying on the outside of Lucas Oil Stadium yesterday. |Shutdown Corner|

- Deion Sanders has been having a pretty rough week. Primetime will still appear on NFL Network's Draft coverage, even though he's involved in a nasty situation with his estranged wife, whom he pressed charges against for assault. She replied by pressing charges against him. |ProFootballTalk|

- Calvin Johnson was announced as the Madden 13 cover player yesterday in Times Square. Following that comes some replay footage and another trailer showing some new gameplay features. |Pastapadre.com|

- Osi Umenyiora thinks there is a chance he could be traded during or leading up to the NFL Draft. He's been complaining about his contract and playing time for what seems like years now. Reports yesterday surfaced that Osi would be willing to keep his current contract if the team he were traded to made him a starter. That could be pretty enticing for considering his low base salary. |The Blue Screen|

- The NFL might not play the Pro Bowl anymore. No one seems to care except for the players that get a free vacation out of it. |With Leather|

(Image courtesy NFL)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Howard and Van Gundy make it awkward in Orlando

Remember "Happy Go Lucky" Dwight Howard? He was known as a guy who always had fun out there. (© Brett Favre) He was one of the smiling faces of the NBA, a guy who put up great numbers but also was a fan favorite.

Lately, Howard seems more like a spoiled brat.

It all began with his not-so-private hints that he wanted the Magic to trade him, a Nuggets-Carmelo Part Deus, if you will. Not that there's anything wrong with wanting to play somewhere else. But then Howard held the Magic hostage this season when he flip flopped back and forth several times on whether he wanted to be traded or ride out the rest of his contract with Orlando. After finally picking up his option for next season, it seemed like we could put all of the Dwight Drama behind us for at least one more year.

Then Stan Van Gundy confirmed the rumors that Howard asked the Magic front office to fire the coach.
With the Magic hosting the Knicks tonight in Orlando, Van Gundy was talking to reporters when he was asked to respond to a report on an Orlando television station Wednesday that Howard had told management he wants Van Gundy and his entire staff fired after the season.

Van Gundy, asked if he believed Howard had asked for him to be fired, replied, "I know he has.''

"That’s just the way it is," Van Gundy said. "Again, I’ve been dealing with that all year. It’s not anything real bothersome. You go out and do your job."

Sure, we can blame that one on Van Gundy, who has a reputation for always saying what's on his mind. As MSG's Alan Hahn pointed out in Thursday's Knicks - Magic postgame, while quotes like that are great media fodder, there really wasn't any reason for Van Gundy to say it. What made things even more interesting is that Howard came out right after Van Gundy's comments and gave the coach a hug, unaware that SVG had just pulled back the curtain on Orlando's in-house drama.

We can't blame this all on Dwight Howard. People can all relate to having a boss they don't enjoy working for. Most people's bosses don't know that and then go tell the media about it, though.

What we can blame on Dwight are his actions throughout the process. From his lack of commitment to his stoic postgame interviews, he has only made matters worse. And it's undoubtedly hurting his reputation around the league. The Knicks traded too much to get Carmelo Anthony, a malcontent in Denver according to some, and when he came to New York the same sorts of things happened. It was pretty much him or Mike D'Antoni, and now Mike Woodson is the coach. Other NBA GMs might be concerned the same will happen if they trade a bunch of pieces for Howard. Or, like the Knicks, they might not care. A coach is certainly more replaceable than a perennial All-Star center in his prime.

That's the sadness of it all. It really doesn't matter as long as Howard is still one of the game's best. Team's will trade for him, or sign him to a big money free agent deal, and then reshape their entire organization on the fly to fit his wants.

So for now the Magic organization, Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard remain in a sort of purgatory. It's like a divorce where the husband and wife keep living together, waiting for their lawyers to settle the whole thing.

Van Gundy and Howard's impending separation is just as ugly.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

NFL, Nike partnership begins; Seahawks get new duds

The NFL and Nike held a press conference today to debut the much talked about new uniforms that players will be wearing this season for all 32 teams. There are big time changes as far as the composition, but 31 teams remained relatively unchanged in terms of appearance.

The Seahawks, though, let Nike do what they do and go to town on their uniforms.


I wouldn't call these Oregon Ducks style changes, though. What the Seahawks will wear this season definitely leans more towards what we've come to expect from college football teams and their more futuristic looks, but the uniforms aren't complete eye sores.

In fact, I kind of like the new look. Check out NFL.com for a complete photo gallery.