College Basketball

Billy Donovan sucks, but not as bad as these guys

Minor league baseball is notorious for having absolutely gosh awful promotions. Take the retarded gimmickry of the Portland Beavers a while back. Bob L. Head night?! Talk about grasping at straws! Oh, but Portland is not the first, nor the last, to literally scrape the bottom of the creative barrel when it comes to putting asses in the seats. The latest perpetrator of pitiful promotions comes to us from the sunny state of Florida.

The marketing geniuses with the Single-A Fort Myers Miracle came up with the timely idea of having “Billy Donovan Night” after the Gators Magic Gators coach tarnished his legacy and broke the hearts of millions of Orlando fans. So, how exactly to you pay homage to a man who’s know as a lying, backstabbing, two faced, weasely little bastard? Why you make fun of him in some of the most ridiculous fashions possible of course.

All ticket issues will be up for negotiation during the first three innings with a power hungry local attorney serving as the final say in all matters. Everything from ticket price to seat location is up for debate during the brief period of 18 outs.

If it’s a Yankee fan, I’m going to tell them to go take their seat and sit there for the whole nine innings,” (Michael) Hornung said. “I have free reign. I’m judge and jury.

If having a period of negotiation isn’t a feeble enough attempt at humor for you, just wait til you hear about the other cheap shots the Miracle have in store for “Billy Donovan Night.” First, they are going to have a local loser named Billy Donovan throw out the first pitch. Next, waffles will be served to the crowd to commemorate Donovan’s “waffling” behavior. And if that still isn’t stupid enough for you then just stick around until the complimentary hair gel is handed out to poke fun at Billy’s hairdo.

Damn, and we thought this guy made the minor league look ridiculous! The only way this idea could possibly be a success in our eyes is if they hold the game at Rolling Rock Park.


[]: Minor-league promotion parodies Billy Donovan

NBA General

Around the Rim: The Cavaliers just picked up a significant sixth man

1. Home sweet home
So far, this year’s finals have be LeBoring as the Spurs have easily held serve on their home court during the first two games of the series. But as you’ve heard a million times before, especially from the Cavaliers squad and those windbags at ESPN, Cleveland has been in this position before and they have the an Eastern Conference championship to prove it.

Cleveland Rocks isn’t going to just be some stupid city slogan when Game 3 tips off because the walls of downtown establishments will probably actually be shaking from the celebrations and drunken cheers. Home court advantages like that can extremely helpful during the postseason; just ask Golden State and Utah. Both teams had long playoff droughts and their fans treated them like kings in appreciation for their return to glory. Considering that LeBron James has his city hosting a finals game for the first time in their 37-year history, we’re guessing it’ll probably add up to a Game 3 victory for the home team. It’s a lot easier for a young team to hit shots in front of a crowd that is cheering as opposed to booing and if the possibility of falling into a 3-0 hole isn’t motivation then nothing is.

But the Spurs are playing like a well oiled machine and in addition to making a run at becoming an NBA dynasty, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are beginning to make a run at the title of all-time best trio in league history. Other than Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale and Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, there aren’t too many trios who have been more successful at what they do than the fellas in SA.

2. More Billy Donovan B.S. for the Magic

As if having a college coach accept and then reject their multimillion dollar offer in the pros isn’t embarrassing enough, the Magic are now begrudgingly forced to the point of contacting fans who bought season tickets after Billy Donovan‘s hiring and asking if they’re still planning on coming. Turns out that a lot of fans are pissed and don’t want to go to the games anymore now that Billy the Kid has shot them in the back, and rightfully so. But there’s a catch to getting the refund; the season tickets had to be purchased within 48 hours of Donovan’s announcement big fat lie. However, there are some people who still seem to be interested in Orlando’s Stan Van Gundy era. And who knows, maybe the Ron Jeremy look-alike can take the Magic all the way to playoff success just to spite Mr. Gator.

3. Motown shakedown?
We heard that Flip Saunders wasn’t planning on leaving Detroit after the Pistons blew a 2-0 lead to the Cavs in the East Finals, but that doesn’t really mean a lot in today’s NBA. But once the president of basketball operations gets on his side, then that’s when you have a reason to feel comfortable. And that’s what Joe Dumars did on Monday when he brushed aside rumors of blowing up the team. In addition to reassuring his coach, Dumars also made it obvious that resigning Chauncey Billups is his top priority during the off-season. Rasheed Wallace, not so much. In fact, Gentleman Joe said that he “wouldn’t blink an eye about” trading away Sheed if it comes down to it. Sounds like the NY trade rumors could come to fruition after all.

Buzzer Beater: Everyone thought that Danny Ainge was going to have a complete meltdown after Boston slipped all the way to fifth in the draft lottery a few weeks back. And while Ainge might have appeared to be somewhat collected after having his hopes smashed by the bouncing ping pong balls of fate, we now have proof that Danny Boy is suffering through a bit of a mental lapse to say the least. Turns out that Ainge is open to the idea of bringing Sebastian Telfair back, despite the fact he got picked up by the cops with a loaded gun in his car a few months back. Guess if there is no new, young, franchise changing image coming to town then there is no new, young, franchise changing image to ruin with criminal hijinks and shenanigans. And it’s that kind of idiotic decision making that is why the Boston Celtics aren’t going to be improving anytime soon.

NBA General

Around the Rim: The Magic Kingdom is getting kinda depressing

1. Doesn’t anyone wanna coach Dwight Howard?
The poor Orlando Magic just can’t seem to find anyone to roam the sidelines for the club. Of course, Billy Donovan left them standing at the alter and made a total fool of himself in the process and now it looks like they might get another shaft from their second selection. Stan Van Gundy has reportedly been offered the head coaching gig but due to contractual obligations with the Heat as a consultant, he might not be able to accept the offer. The Magic might be forced to give up draft picks to Miami as compensation should the Heat release SVG. But even if Van Gundy gets released there is no guarantee he wants to go to the Magic Kingdom; he’s already been on two interviews with the Kings. It’s all gonna come down to the dolla’ dolla’ bills ya’ll but if the ball was in our court, there would be no way we could pass up that boatload of talent down in sunny Florida like Billy the Kid did.

2. Hottest tickets in town

Fans in Cleveland are going absolutely bonkers over their Cavaliers right now, and with good reason; after all, LeBron James has been playing like a man possessed by legends of NBA past as he delivered his squad to the promised land for the first time in franchise history. So, you can understand why fans are willing to do and pay anything for tickets to Game 3 against the Spurs. Some tickets to the game/big ass party are going for a whopping $14,999! Now that’s some serious team spirit. We can’t wait to see how the local radio stations decide to completely humiliate the faithful followers with whacky promotional contests for a pair of seasts but it should be pretty hilarious. We’ll keep you posted. But don’t think for a second that the emotion of making their fourth finals appearance doesn’t have San Antonio in a tizzy. The Spurs front office has spirit and to show it they’ll be giving away 18,797 white “Go Spurs Go” T-shirts to fans at Game 1. Not bad, huh?

3. Rasheed Wallace would eat New York alive
With the Pistons eliminated from the postseason, the rumor mill is working overtime in Detroit and most of the speculation is focused on a specific hot headed power forward sporting a stylish gray spot. And most of that speculation has Rasheed Wallace landing in New York by the time the season tips-off anew in November. Could be a good fit for New York, they have certainly seen their share of bad boys coming rolling through the Garden, but does Isiah Thomas really want that kind of a headache? This is a guy who can self destruct at the drop of a hat and proved it by flying off the handle in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals and not only getting himself ejected from the game but suspended for any possible Game 7 when he threw a typical Sheed tantrum. And he’s probably had more significant structure surrounding him there than he ever has in his career. What Knick is gonna be able to keep Wallace in check? This could take us all the way back to 50-techs-a-season Sheed from his Jailblazer days.

Buzzer Beater: If you’re not quite in finals mode yet then maybe a little trash talking can get you revved up. Bruce Bowen was recently asked about the next big thing, a.k.a. LBJ, and he really didn’t seem too impressed with the challenge. “The No. 1 assignment in the league?” Bowen repeated back when asked about guarding James. “That’s your opinion, that’s your opinion. … There’s a lot of other scorers in this league, too.” And when he was asked about the sensation Game 5 performance against the Pistons, Bowen again hinted that James might not be all he’s cracked up to be. “I think Michael Jordan‘s 60-something points in Boston was incredible. Now do I think it got this much media coverage? No. Did it deserve it? You could say it did,” Bowen said. “Magic Johnson, his rookie year in the NBA, the show he put on in Philly. That is huge. But it goes to show you that if you’re not playing anymore, it’s, ‘OK, well, we’re looking for the next best thing.'” We know that Bruce is probably just playing head games with the kid but we’re guessing that he’ll be singing a completely different tune after this series is over; win or lose.

Orlando Magic

The state of Florida is split on Billy Donovan’s decision indecision

It was fun while it lasted.

What’s up with the NBA and all this flopping that’s going on?  Well, we should really be more specific about what we’re talking about; we’re talking about the flip-flopping that is going on off the court, not the kind of flopping that Steve Nash perfected when Robert Horry gave him a lil’ pop.  Turns out that Kobe isn’t the only big name in the Association to wanna weasel out of something he said.

Billy Donovan reportedly wants out of the five-year, $27.5 million deal that he signed with the Magic on Friday to return to the Florida Gators.  And it looks like he just might get what he wants.  Apparently, Donovan heard blowhards like Dick Vitale over the weekend while they flapped their gums about how Donovan could have been the next Coach K. or John Wooden but instead chose to leave his college legacy behind for the big bucks.  Or maybe he just realized that college guys don’t fare too well in the NBA.  Either way, it doesn’t really matter because the two time champion signed the dotted line at the bottom of the Magic’s stationary, putting his future in their hands.

While it would be pointless to keep a guy around if he’s not fully committed to the job, we are really hoping that Orlando forces Donovan to stay.  After all, that is how a contract works, right?  You had a good thing going in Florida Billy, you really did but when you shook the hand of the Magic’s owner and put the pen to the paper, your Gator days became priceless memories.  And anyways, how would you feel if Joakim Noah had pulled out of his commitment with Florida before ever taking to the floor for a single practice.  Well, Noah probably isn’t the best example but you get the point.

[]: Orlando Magic will allow Billy Donovan to return to Florida

NBA General

Around the Rim: King of the road

1. Video game James
There has been lots of criticism about LeBron James‘ game of late, but nobody can say anything about the league’s young King anymore. Scoring 29 of your team’s final 30 points in a double overtime Game 5 road game victory has a way of shutting people up. LBJ ended up with a career playoff-high 48 points as he led his Cavaliers to a 109-107 win that put his boys up 3-2 in the Eastern Conference finals and just one win away from a finals appearance. Oh, and let’s don’t forget about his nine boards and seven assists; the kid is multidimensional, ya know. However, Detroit has been making it easy for LBJ to win games for his team; just like they’ve blown a 2-0 lead in the series, the Pistons blew a seven point lead in Game 5 with 3:15 left in regulation. But the Bad Boys could have been up by 20 with the clock winding down and James was going to find a way to win that game. Big shot after big shot after big shot; it was an incredible performance. And even though the reference is way overused when it comes to some of today’s young superstars, LeBron’s takeover of Game 5 was definitely Michael Jordan-esque.

2. The Magic’s man

The Magic are ready to shoot up the Eastern Conference ranks with an All-Star in the middle and talented young point guard running things on the floor. And now it appears that they now finally have the superstar coach to guide take this franchise back to the promised land. Billy Donovan had fulfilled his duty to Florida by winning a pair of championships and after all his players jumped ship for the NBA there is absolutely no reason for him to turn down a five year deal worth $27.5 million from Orlando. And talk about stepping into a sweet situation! Most college coaches end up running squads like the Hawks when they get the big call; but not Donovan. Nope, a championship pedigree has earned this former Gator an immediate opportunity at success. Now we just have to wait and see if he’ll be another college punk who couldn’t make it with the big boys.

3. Movin’ on up
If you enjoy hearing Steve Kerr‘s in-depth analysis and self-references of dishing the ball off to Tim Duncan and Michael Jordan while racking up five rings o’ bling then you better be DVR-ing these final Eastern Conference finals games. Why you ask. Well, once either the Pistons or Cavs move on to play the Spurs, Kerr will be leaving the TNT booth for an awesome gig as the Suns president of basketball operations and general manager. Mike D’Antoni will be stepping down as GM so that he can be a full time coach and Kerr can be a full time fat cat. No more having to put up with Marv Albert‘s stupid comments or spending nights squeezed in-between John Thompson and Kevin Harlan while his spits out his obnoxious “Buckle up!!” catch phrase. Not a bad promotion if you ask us. We’d like to see that schmuck Mark Jackson from ESPN do that.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: LeBron James @ Detroit 50 min, 48 pts (FG: 18-33, 3FG: 2-3, FT: 10-14), 9 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl

Buzzer Beater: There’s a saying that there is no such thing as bad publicity, but Salt Lake City might have something to say about that after John Amaechi gave his old home town a shout out as “the hippest, gayest place east of San Francisco.” We’re sure that Deron Williams was even happier about his current situation in Utah after hearing that excerpt from Amaechi’s memoirs. Not that there is anything wrong with that. In fact, Utah will be drenched in gayness this weekend when Amaechi serves as the grand marshal for the Utah Pride Parade. But America is still waiting for an active player to come out of the closet and lead one of these parades in uniform. And hurry it up Brady Quinn; we’re not getting any younger.

NBA General

Around the Rim: King sized comeback

1. LeBron at 80% is better than most players at 100%
After missing a game versus the Celtics on Sunday due to tendinitis in his right knee, LeBron James returned to the Cavs lineup last night in Minneapolis and nearly torched the Timberwolves for a triple-double. King James finished the game with 31 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and four steals in the Cleveland victory. And LeBron’s performance came at a time when he considered himself to be “about 80-85 percent.” If that’s at 80 percent, just wait until we get to see him run the floor at full strength. Just one game separates the Cavaliers from the Bulls, but if Cleveland loses their grip on the slim lead they would slip from the second seed to the fifth seed and lose home court advantage in the post season.

2. Indiana locks up losing record

With eight games remaining in the season for Indiana, they have already clinched a Pacer benchmark that hadn’t been touched in a decade. Thanks to a 15 point loss at the hands of the Pistons, Indiana secured the franchise’s first losing season since 1996-97, which was also the last year that the Pacers failed to make the playoffs. But, that’s what happens when you go 3-18 over your last 21 games. Jermaine O’Neal refused to talk to reporters after the game as his frustrations continue to mount. This season could be last time O’Neal suits up in the yellow and blue; but a change of venue would be good for O’Neal. Unless he wants to follow in Kevin Garnett’s footsteps and simply decides to sink with the ship.

3. No Dirk, no problem
The Dallas Mavericks were forced to take the court against the Kings without their superstar and MVP candidate, Dirk Nowitzki, due to a nasty case of food poisoning. But the Mavs still managed to stay the course without their stud and defeated Sacramento by four points, 97-93. The loss of Nowitzki didn’t weaken the club, as the Kings hoped it would, but instead it simply allowed for other players to step up offensively and fill the scoring void. Josh Howard led the way for Dallas by scoring 29 points to go along with eight rebounds, while Jason Terry finished the game with 27 points. Oh, but that’s not enough 20+ point games by one team in a game; Jerry Stackhouse came off the bench to rack up 23 points of his own.

Tuesday’s Player of the Day: Gerald Wallace vs. Washington 44 min, 34 pts (FG: 16-24, FT: 2-5), 14 reb, 1 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk

Wednesday’s Game to Watch: Toronto (41-33) @ Orlando (34-40) The Raptors are coming off a close, three-point loss to the Heat last night but are still sitting one game ahead of Miami for the third spot in the East. Chris Bosh continues to impress as he scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against Miami’s stout frontcourt. But Bosh will have to take on another All-Star big man as Dwight Howard will look to slow down Bosh in the paint. Howard’s numbers have fallen a bit since the season began but he is still only .7 rebounds per game away from becoming the youngest player ever to win the league’s rebounding title.

Buzzer Beater: Apparently, the Memphis Grizzlies are prepared to offer Billy Donovan a multiyear deal. As a two-time NCAA champion, Donovan really has nothing left to prove on the collegiate level so it would make sense to advance his career to the next stage. But, then again, the Gators could probably smoke the Grizz at this point so it’s not going to help his legacy any to jump on the back of the sorriest team in the NBA. In the end, this will be a financially motivated decision for Donovan; the only question remaining is will the cash be stuffed into his pockets by Florida, Memphis, Kentucky or someone else?