Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sixers to introduce Jordan Monday

The Sixers will have press conference to introduce Eddie Jordan as the team's new head coach Monday at 12 p.m (et).

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Former Cowboys DC to join Eagles

ESPN's Matt Mosley is reporting that former Cowboys defensive coordinator Brian Stewart will soon join the Eagles' coaching staff.

Stewart was the the defensive coordinator in Dallas under Wade Phillips when the Cowboys went 13-3 in 2007, but he was stripped of his play-calling duties midway through the '08 season.

Phillips fired Stewart a few days after the team's humiliating 44-6 loss to the Eagles.

Eagles head coach Andy Reid and Stewart have remained close since they were at Northern Arizona together in the mid-80s.

Farce in Philly

By John McMullen

Philadelphia, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - When Eddie Jordan was fired by the Washington Wizards in November of last year, I quickly told my co-workers he would be the Philadelphia 76ers next full-time coach.

Not exactly a bold prediction.

Jordan was the lead assistant with the New Jersey Nets for four seasons when Ed Stefanski was an executive with the organization. The Nets went to the Finals twice during that time, in 2002 and 03, and it's no secret in NBA circles how much respect Stefanski has for Jordan.

That's why the Sixers recent coaching search bothered me.

It's not that I think Jordan is a bad coach, but he was Stefanski's choice from the get-go and the Sixers' GM never showed the courage of his convictions.

Instead, Stefanski went through a vetting process that can only be described as a public relations campaign, designed to fend off the notoriously tough Philadelphia media.

Big names who have an intent on returning to the NBA's coaching ranks like Doug Collins, Jeff Van Gundy and Avery Johnson all showed interest in the Sixers' position but were never interviewed.

In Stefanski's defense, Comcast-Spectacor big shots Ed Snider, one of the most overrated owners in all of sports, and Peter Luukko would not have opened up the checkbook for another big name coach in the City of Brotherly Love.

The thought process there is understandable. The Sixers may be paying more ex- coaches than players at this point. Since Larry Brown fled the organization in 2003, Randy Ayers, Chris Ford, Jim O'Brien, Maurice Cheeks and Tony DiLeo have all roamed the sidelines in the City of Brotherly Love. No truth to the rumors Comcast is still cutting checks to Doug Moe and Alex Hannum, however

A "big ticket item" was never an option for Stefanski so he settled on candidates that would make Jordan and his extensive NBA coaching experience look good.

Current assistants Tom Thibodeau, Kurt Rambis and Dwane Casey were brought in for interviews as were Ford, who still works for the Sixers as a scout, and Villanova mentor Jay Wright.

Locally, Wright was the big story because of his success on the Main Line but his "interview" was another publicity stunt. While few doubt Wright has NBA aspirations, the 'Nova mentor has built a solid resume that will let him cherry-pick a far better gig and only took the Sixers interview as a courtesy to Stefanski, his personal friend.

In the end, Stefanski finally pulled the trigger late Friday night, naming his old bobo the Sixers head coach and giving him a three-year deal, worth $8.1 million. Not exactly chump change but certainly far less than a Collins, Van Gundy or Johnson would have commanded, and much less than the $4 million Jordan himself was earning in D.C.

"I saw first-hand the immense impact Eddie Jordan had in helping the Nets reach two NBA Finals and as the head coach in Washington, he consistently put his teams in a position to win on a nightly basis," Stefanski said after confirming the seal. "He embodies all the qualities I was looking for in the next head coach of the Sixers and we are very excited to have him in Philadelphia."

Maybe I would be excited too -- if Stefanski only had the courage of his rather obvious convictions.

Phils looking to add impact pitcher?

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports think so. Rosenthal spoke to Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who said the Phillies don't have the money to add multiple starters.

Instead they will aim high at a Erik Bedard or Roy Oswalt, according to Rosenthal.

Union officially name Nowak first team manager

CHESTER, PA (May 29, 2009) – Philadelphia Union, slated to begin its inaugural season as Major League Soccer's 16th team in 2010, today announced Peter Nowak as the club's first ever Team Manager.

Nowak, 44, has won MLS Cups as both player and coach, the only individual to have accomplished the feat in league history. A captain of the Polish National team for three years, Nowak most recently served a dual role as Head Coach of the Under-23 U.S. Men’s National Team and Assistant to Bob Bradley with the full national team. Nowak will be responsible for all facets of the club's training and on-field performance, and will report directly to Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz.

"Peter possesses the competitiveness, passion and discipline necessary to build a club from scratch and compete for a championship from day one," said Philadelphia Union Chairman Jay Sugarman. "His extensive domestic and international scouting network, coupled with a deep understanding of the game from being a world-class player, will be invaluable for our club. We were determined to find an individual who is well respected in the global soccer community, understands the unique structure of MLS and, most importantly, has demonstrated the ability to win."

In 2004, Nowak led D.C. United to a championship in his rookie season as Head Coach after he had led the expansion Chicago Fire to the 1998 MLS Cup title in his first season in the league as a player. He is the only coach in the last half century of U.S. sports to win a championship within two years of retiring as a player.

"Peter’s toughness and attacking style of play on both ends of the pitch mirror the hard-working attitude of our fans and the entire Philadelphia region," said Sakiewicz. “Peter demands that his teams play with a clear purpose, combining creativity with a relentlessness that breeds success. We are structuring our technical staff such that our Team Manager will be on the sideline during matches but also play a substantial role in personnel decisions. Peter is an ideal fit to lead our club in the critical, formative months ahead, and for years to come."

Nowak began his 23-year professional playing career in his native Poland in 1979 when he was just 15 years old. After stops in Turkey and Switzerland, he moved to Germany and Dynamo Dresden before joining Bundesliga side FC Kaiserslautern in 1994. Transferring to 1860 Munich the following year, he earned Best Playmaker of the Year honors for the 1995-96 Bundesliga season.

After joining the Chicago Fire for their inaugural MLS season, Nowak promptly established himself as one of the league's premier players. Nowak patrolled the Fire’s midfield for five years, being named to the MLS Best XI three times. In 2005, as part of its tenth anniversary celebrations, Major League Soccer named Nowak to its All-Time Best XI, a selection of the best eleven players in the history of the league.

After working in the Fire front office for one year following his retirement, Nowak was named Head Coach of D.C. United in 2004. In his first year, Nowak led his team to a 3-2 MLS Cup victory against the Kansas City Wizards after the team had finished no better than fourth in the Eastern Conference during the previous four years. In three years with United, Nowak led the team to a combined 42-27-25 regular season record, including winning the Supporters’ Shield for best regular season record in 2006 with a 15-7-10 record. Nowak’s career.609 winning percentage ranks among the top-five all-time for MLS coaches.

Nowak has worked with both the full national team and the U-23’s since December of 2006. Together with Bradley, Nowak coached over 70 players between both teams and orchestrated the USA’s championship winning run in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

"I am extremely grateful for my time with U.S. Soccer, but the chance to join an organization that is in the process of defining its identity was an opportunity I could not turn down," said Nowak. "Our supporters are already notorious for their passion and it is our mission to put a team on the field that is worthy of their loyalty. Our responsibility is to build a club that leaves everything on the field and represents the Philadelphia region proudly."

Sixers name Jordan head coach

Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that Eddie Jordan has agreed in principle to become the next head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"I saw first-hand the immense impact Eddie Jordan had in helping the Nets reach two NBA Finals and as the head coach in Washington, he consistently put his teams in a position to win on a nightly basis," Stefanski said. "He embodies all the qualities I was looking for in the next head coach of the Sixers and we are very excited to have him in Philadelphia."

In June of 2003, Jordan was named the head coach of the Wizards. Under his leadership, Washington made the playoffs in four consecutive seasons from 2005 through 2008. During that four-year span, the Wizards posted a combined regular season winning percentage of .521. In 2005, Jordan guided Washington to a first-round upset of the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Jordan has been a head coach in the NBA for over 500 games across eight seasons with Washington and Sacramento. His first stint as a head coach came with the Kings at the tail end of the 1996-97 season. Following his time with Sacramento, Jordan served as the lead assistant coach for New Jersey, helping the Nets capture back-to-back Eastern Conference Championships in 2002 and 2003.

As a collegian, Jordan led Rutgers to the 1976 NCAA Final Four in his Junior year, and was named East Regional MVP. In his senior season, he was named honorable mention All-America, while setting Rutgers all-time career records in assists and steals. Jordan went on to play seven seasons in the NBA, averaging 8.1 points, 3.8 assists and 1.82 steals and was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers Championship team in 1982.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Watch Union name first team manager online

You can watch the live Webcast of Jay Sugarman introducing Peter Nowak as the Philadelphia Union's first ever team manager at 3 p.m. (et) this afternoon by banging the link...

Barkley thinks Eddie Jordan should coach the Sixers

Charles Barkley and Ed Stefanski have something in common...They both think Eddie Jordan should be the next coach of the Sixers.

Of course, only one of them can make it happen and Stefanski is continuing his public relations fueled farce that is the Sixers coaching search.

Hoping to convince you the fan and the local media that Jordan's imminent hiring was the part of some exhaustive search and vetting process, the Sixers GM has wasted a not of people's time over the past couple of weeks.

Tom Thibodeau, Chris Ford, Kurt Rambis, Jay Wright and Dwane Casey have all been interviewed but Jordan has been the guy from the get-go.

Thibodeau, who is officially out of the running, seems like the best fit but Barkley threw his support behind Jordan on Thursday.

“They’re pretty much stuck with the team they’ve got for the next few years because they’re paying guys so much money,” Barkley said during a conference call to promote his appearance at a celebrity golf championship. . “But I think Eddie Jordan would be a good coach. He did a good job with the Washington team. They probably overachieved, him getting to the playoffs every year."

Wachovia Center loses out in bid for best sports facility

Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis was named Facility of the Year at the Sports Business Journal Awards last night, edging out the Wachovia Center.

Shogun next for Machida

No. 1 contender Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has decided to take a coaching spot opposite former UFC light-heavyweight champ Rashad Evans in the next Ultimate Fighter reality show to build up a rematch between the two fighters instead of a title shot vs. new champ Lyoto Machida.

Brazilian slugger Mauricio "Shogun" Rua has agreed to be Machida's first title challenger.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Myers likely done for season

Phillies starter Brett Myers needs hip surgery and is likely done for the season.

X-rays and an MRI exam Thursday revealed bone spurring, fraying and a possible tear in the labrum.

A statement from Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. detailed the diagnosis and said that Myers will seek a second opinion from a hip specialist before any determinations are made with regard to surgery or a stint on the disabled list.

"It is possible that Brett will not make his next start. That decision, as well as any decision on a possible DL stint or surgery, will be determined at a later date."

However, Myers was quoted in a story on the team's Web site stating surgery was recommended by Phillies team physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti, who reviewed both the X-rays and MRI.

"It sounds like surgery is almost 100 percent from the first opinion," Myers told "They told me that my hip is [messed] up. They tried to compare it to [Chase Utley's hip]. From what they said it's similar -- similar, but different. It's got different fraying. I don't want to say it's worse, but that's kind of what they told me."

Utley's original recovery period was set at 4-to-6 months, but he returned much sooner than expected.

Gagne has successful surgery

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

Philadelphia Flyers forward Simon Gagne had successful surgery on Thursday to repair damage in his right hip.

Dr. Thomas Byrd performed the surgery in Nashville to remove a bone spur and adhesions which had built up in the area.

The 29-year-old posted 34 goals and 74 points in 79 regular-season games for the Flyers in 2008-09, adding three goals and one assist in six playoff contests.

Gagne will begin rehab Friday and is expected to be fully recovered in four-to-six weeks.

Another honor for Kalas

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Phillies

Legendary Hall of Fame announcer Harry Kalas, who broadcast Phillies baseball for 39 years before his death last month, will be inducted posthumously into the team’s Wall of Fame on Friday night, August 7, at Citizens Bank Park.

“When we started the Wall of Fame in 1978, the intent was to honor the great players in our history,” explained President David Montgomery. “We believe it is fitting to make an exception because Harry deserves to be remembered along with some of the greatest names in our history. He is indeed a Phillies icon.

“Being a Wall of Famer is our organization’s highest honor. There’s no doubt Harry should receive such recognition,” said Montgomery.

During his Phillies career, Kalas broadcast 6,037 games. By contrast, the franchise record for games played is 2,404, held by Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt, the greatest Phillies player ever. Schmidt hit 548 career homers and Kalas was on the air for every one of them, many with his legendary call, “That ball’s outta here!”

“Harry is a Wall of Famer by all means,” said Schmidt. “I can’t wait to see his plaque in August.”

Kalas was inducted into the broadcasters’ wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002 when he received the prestigious Ford C. Frick Award, given to a broadcaster who has made “major contributions to baseball.”

Wall of Fame Ceremonies

For the first time, Kalas will not be the emcee for the induction ceremonies that will begin at 7:30 p.m. on August 7. The Phillies-Florida Marlins game will follow.

Wall of Famers who are expected to participate in the ceremonies include Robin Roberts (first inductee, 1978), Jim Bunning (1984), Steve Carlton (1989), Mike Schmidt (1990), Dick Allen (1994), Greg Luzinski (1998), Garry Maddox (2001), Tony Taylor (2002), Bob Boone (2005) and Dallas Green (2006). Kalas broadcast games involving all of these players.

Delaware Supreme Court OKs sports betting

The Delaware Supreme Court has ruled that a proposed sports betting lottery does not conflict with the state's constitution.

The opinion was requested by Gov. Jack Markell, who has signed a bill that would make Delaware the only state east of the Rocky Mountains to offer sports wagering.

In a 22-page ruling dated Wednesday, the court says the state constitution permits lotteries that have an element of skill, as long as chance is the predominant factor in winning or losing.

The NFL opposes the lottery and is expected to challenge the bill.

Nowak tabbed as Union's first coach

The MLS expansion Philadelphia Union has selected its first head coach, Peter Nowak .

Philadelphia will introduce Nowak on Friday.

The only man to ever win an MLS Cup as a player and head coach, Nowak will leave his post as a U.S. national team assistant coach to take over as the mentor for the Union, which is set to begin play in 2010.

Nowak was a star on the Polish national team before leaving Europe to play with the MLS' Chicago Fire in 1998.

Nowak spent five years in the Windy City before retiring. A year later he took over as coach of D.C. United and led the club to the MLS Cup title in 2004, his first season in charge. He spent three years as D.C. United’s head coach, compiling a 42-27-25 record during that time.

Peter epitomizes the core values that we are building our organization around,” said Philadelphia Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz. “His fierce competitiveness will translate to the pitch and resonate powerfully with our loyal supporters and all soccer fans in the Philadelphia region. Peter was our primary target from the outset and we’re ecstatic that he’s as excited about this opportunity as we are about him. Philadelphia Union will be in the hands of a proven champion for years to come.”

Myers to have MRI

Phillies starter Brett Myers, who left his start against the Marlins on Wednesday with inflammation in his right hip, will undergo an MRI today.

Myers exited after hurling 5 2/3 innings, having given up five runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts. Three of those runs came in the sixth when Myers could be seen wincing during a two-out walk to John Baker. He took the loss for the first time in five starts as Philadelphia dropped a 6-2 decision.

The right-hander is now 4-3 with a 4.66 earned run average in 10 starts this season.

Eagles sign former East Stroudsburg punter

The signed punter Ken Parrish and released kicker Sam Swank on Thursday.

A rookie free agent signee of San Francisco in 2007, Parrish (6-1, 210) spent that training camp and preseason with the 49ers before being released prior to the start of the regular season.

A first-team, all-conference selection in both his junior and senior seasons at East Stroudsburg University, Parrish averaged 40.3 yards per punt and landed 59 of his 174 punts inside the 20-yard line during his four-year collegiate career.

The East Stroudsburg, PA, native attended East Stroudsburg South High School, where he earned All-Mountain Valley Conference honors as a punter.

WIP and ESPN950 both show bumps in latest Arbitron ratings

WIP had a 3.4 rating in the latest Arbitron ratings, good for 13th place overall in the market compared to a 1.1 rating for ESPN950. WIP was up 0.2 and 950 went up 0.4 to rank in 26th place.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wachovia Center looks to win facility of the year

Eagles sign rookie DT Jenkins

The Philadelphia Eagles have signed rookie free agent DT Trevor Jenkins.

A four-year letterman at Middle Tennessee State, Jenkins (6-1, 287) earned second team All-Sun Belt Conference honors as a senior in 2008. He started in 37 of 47 contests during his collegiate career, recording 105 tackles, 25 tackles for a loss and two sacks.

The Macon, GA, native helped lead Stratford Academy to the Georgia 3A state championship after collecting 95 tackles and eight sacks as a senior.

SwissOutpost and Swiss Knife Depot

Eagles' Ingram leaves OTAs with injury

Rookie tight end Cornelius Ingram left practice early today following a collision with three defenders while attempting a catch over middle. Ingram was able to leave under his own power and diagnosed with a left knee contusion. The Florida product is expected to return to practice tomorrow.

From You Flowers. LLC

Mainstream media off base on StarCaps story

By John McMullen

(The Phanatic Magazine) - Who protests a win?

The least according to the mainstream media.

Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson dismissed a lawsuit brought by the NFL Players Association on behalf of Minnesota Vikings Pat and Kevin Williams and three New Orleans Saints players facing suspensions in the ongoing StarCaps case.

However, Magnuson sent the Williamses original lawsuit back to Minnesota State Court.

The suspensions of the Williamses and the three Saints, Charles Grant, Will Smith, and Deuce McAllister, came after they tested positive for the diuretic bumetanide contained in a tainted but legal over-the-counter supplement called StarCaps.

It was reported as a resounding victory for the league by the lemmings who didn't take the time to read Judge Magnuson's 23-page ruling, a document that
read like a roadmap for the Williames lawyer, Peter Ginsberg.

Magnuson clearly loathes the NFL's position and behavior in this case but, because of the one-sided collective bargaining agreement that the players
signed with the league, is handcuffed and unable to do anything about it.

So, Magnuson sent the mess back to Minnesota and actually gave Ginsberg the ammunition to win.

Magnuson explained that the Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act confines employee drug testing in the state to the specific
procedures permitted by the law itself. Simply put, any testing or discipline not permitted by that law is illegal in Minnesota and the act prohibits an
employer from imposing any discipline based on a single positive test. The law also gives employees the right to explain any positive test.

Moreover, Magnuson explained that the Minnesota Consumable Products Act prohibits employers from taking action against employees who have "engaged in
the use or enjoyment of lawful consumable products, if the use or enjoyment takes place off the premises of the employer during nonworking hours."

Of course, Kevin and Pat Williams only tested positive once for "engaging" in the use of a lawful consumable product.

Under the NFL's policy for anabolic steroids and related substances, a four-game suspension arises from that first positive test whether the product came
from a legal or illegal source. That flys in the face of the liberal Minnesota law and its the Vikings that employ the Williamses, not the NFL.

Magnuson seems to be bending over backwards to help Ginsberg simply because of the NFL's behavior. The Judge seemed troubled that NFL executives knew
StarCaps contained bumetanide but did not notify the players.

Legally, the NFL did not have that responsibility but seemed to be playing a game of 'Gotcha' instead of instituting a meaningful, substantive drug
testing program that helped its players.

The NFL's "independent" drug administrator, Dr. John Lombardo, acknowledged that he learned in late 2006 that StarCaps contained bumetanide and didn't
inform the players, claiming "he feared that a specific warning regarding StarCaps could be used as a defense to alleged violations of the steroid
policy that involved weight reduction products other than StarCaps."

By failing to disclose the fact bumetanide was in StarCaps, they have essentially entrapped players. Perhaps more importantly, they exposed their
own players to significant health risks associated with the unintentional ingestion of diuretics.

Magnuson couldn't send the NFL the message he wanted too, so he sent it back to a jurisdiction that could.

"The decision strongly supports the NFL program on performance enhancing substances that protects the health and safety of NFL players and the
integrity of our game," the NFL said in a statement after Magnuson's ruling.

Then, after studying the decision they loved so much, he NFL filed an appeal, asking the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to review whether Magnuson
erred by sending the case back to the Minnesota courts.

Strange thing for a winner to do.

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Physical Addictions, Inc.

Zezel dies at 44

Former Flyers center Peter Zezel died on Tuesday. He was 44.

Zezel struggled with the rare blood disease hemolytic anemia for the past 10 years.

"Peter will forever be remembered as a great teammate and a wonderful individual who touched the lives of many both on and off the ice," Zezel's family said in a statement released by the National Hockey League Players' Association. "In his typical character of generosity, Peter donated his organs through the Trillium Gift of Life Network."


Sixers' Witte talks NBA Draft combine

Sixers Director of player personnel Courtney Witte discusses the new NBA Draft Combine:

Can you talk about the change of format going from the old Pre-Draft Camp to the new NBA Draft Combine?

In the past, it was in Chicago for a number of years and then it moved to Orlando for a couple years. Primarily, the format from Chicago to Orlando was the same: It consisted of testing of height, weight, lateral quickness, leaping ability, etc. Then there were skill workouts which consisted of NBA coaches putting players through various tests and then eventually a five-on-five format.

There were two sessions a day. The morning consisted of individual skills and the afternoon or early evening was the five-on-five format. On the back end of that, the medical representatives from each team are allowed to observe the more specific medical tests that are done on each player.

This year, it’s going back to Chicago and is now called the NBA Draft Combine and consists of the same standardized tests done in the past. There’s no longer a five-on-five format; it will be replaced by a light-skill workout with one-on-none situations.

The nice thing about this year is that each team can conduct a maximum of 18 interviews with players of their choosing for a 30-minute period each. That’s what we’re really looking forward to. The standardized testing is fine, it’s something we need, but we have obviously seen a majority of these kids play numerous times. However, to be able to sit across from a young man and get a feel for him as a person, to see what’s inside his head, what his goals are, what his objectives as a basketball player are and what type of interaction there is between him and us, is very important.

You mention how important the interviews are, but since they players go through so many of them, how do you keep the answers fresh?

You can certainly tell the players who’ve been doing it after a while … they’re more relaxed and more used to the standard questions that are going to be asked. I think the way we get around it as an organization is that we have an experienced management team, led by Ed [Stefanski] as well as Tony [DiLeo] who has been around forever. We’re asking very genuine questions not only about kind of basketball player they foresee themselves being, but what kind of people are they. We’re looking for quality people that happen to be quality basketball players.

What are your thoughts the five-on-five games being dropped from the event?

In the last couple years at the camps in Orlando and Chicago, there were roughly 75 players invited. Out of that 75, the Top 30 players perception-wise did not participate in that camp. Instead the top players would conduct separate skill workouts. That was the reason the changes for this year was instituted.

Being a basketball purist, I would love to see the top players competing in that venue but it’s just not feasible. I think you can gain a lot from it. It’s a cumulative process. We’ve seen all these players multiple times. If you could just add another 3-4 days of evaluation, I think you’re going to make a better informed decision on that particular player’s strengths and weaknesses.

Do you think dropping the five-on-five from the NBA Draft Combine will have a positive effect on the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament since just about every player who thinks he will get drafted skips the event?

I think so. I certainly hope that’s the case. The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament is another evaluation tool. Whether you’re a four-year player or a first-year player, you’re used to playing the same system and most likely the same coaching staff and philosophy.

Whenever you can take somebody out of their comfort zone and put them out in front of every NBA team, you’re going to see some things you’re normally not going to see watching that kid play in a regular season game.

You can also see the mental aspect of it from a pressure standpoint. You can’t always judge a player by his height, weight, jumping ability or scoring ability. It’s in certain circumstances that you can only have environments like the PIT or private workouts that you see a kid taken out of his comfort zone and how he performs.

Can you learn anything from watching players go through the light skill drills?

Absolutely. There are a lot of things you can learn. One of the things most people don’t think about is a player being able to take instructions from a new coach in a different environment with every team in the NBA watching and then execute. How quickly can you pick up a drill or instruction from a coach? That’s one of the important things our staff will be looking for is how quickly a player can adapt to change. Primarily these players have been doing the same things.

And there will be plenty of shooting drills, which is always important. Now that the collegiate season is over, these players have been working with individual instructors and they’re working on improving their physical strength and conditioning. They’ve also been working on some of their weaknesses as well. Just watching them shoot from the NBA range is quite a difference from watching them shoot from the college 3-point line.

Do you think teams are getting away from the trend of putting an emphasis on the physical tools of a player (i.e. height, wingspan) and looking more at the end result of their contributions on the court?

I don’t think it’s really a trend, I just think with the rule changes that were implemented by the league with respect to defense. You’re not able to hand-check like you used to or guide people through the lane… that has opened the game up. It’s allowed for a more versatile player or a more agile player to still have a place in the league. I think we’re utilizing all those things now with the current rules and will only continue to do so.

What challenges come along with picking 17th? Is it difficult to convince players who think they’re going to be picked higher to come in for a private workout?

Everyone thinks they’re in the lottery in early-mid May. That’s every year. As the days go on and the draft gets closer, we will get the players we want to get into Philadelphia to work out and evaluate both on the floor and off the floor. Right now, every agent I’ve talked to thinks his client is in the lottery. As we go along, there’s only a certain amount of players who are going in the lottery, so while picking at 17 presents some challenges, I feel very confident we will get the players we want to see in here.

NBA Sale

Rambis out of Sixers coaching derby

According to the Daily News' Phil Jasner, you can count Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis out of the Sixers coaching search.

A source in Los Angeles confirmed to Jasner that the Sixers have informed Rambis that they are going in another direction.

Two other sources alsto told Philly Jazz that the Sixers have been in touch with a representative for Avery Johnson, the former Dallas Mavericks coach currently working as a studio analyst for ESPN.

One source said ''the timing isn't right'' for Johnson; the other source suggested that Johnson didn't seem interested in being part of a wide-ranging search.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lidge goes from lights out to liability

By Michael Rushton

While nobody expected Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge to repeat his amazing 2008 season, few could have foreseen his career falling faster then one of his patented sliders.

Lidge was the definition of perfection in helping lead the Phillies to a World Series title last year. He converted all 48 of his save chances, including the playoffs, and made hitters look foolish with a fastball-slider combination that led to over 100 total strikeouts in 81 regular and postseason appearances.

It has been a different story so far in 2009. The right-hander has already blown four of his 12 save chances and is pitching to an eye-popping 9.15 earned run average.

He blew back-to-back save chances over the weekend versus the New York Yankees by the same formula. In both outings, Lidge allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base; one by walk and another by base hit. Both runners stole second and later came around to score.

On Saturday, Lidge gave up a game-tying homer to Alex Rodriguez before later allowing the winning run to score on another single, steal then score scenario.

"Obviously I don't feel happy with how I threw," Lidge said after Saturday's loss. "I felt like the ball was coming out of my hand good, but obviously I made a mistake to [Rodriguez]. The leadoff walk was what frustrated me the most."

Despite a troublesome right knee that held Lidge out of action for a few days earlier this year but did not require a disabled list stint, injury does not seem to be the cause of Lidge's troubles.

Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee thinks it is the mental aspect of the game that is giving Lidge some problems.

"It's being committed to what he's doing," Dubee told Philadelphia's official site. "He's caught up in, 'Throw a slider here or a fastball there?' Instead of just being committed, 'Hey, I'm going to throw this here and I'm going to throw it to a certain spot.'"

If it is a mental thing with Lidge, the Phillies have some history to be concerned about. As the former closer in Houston, Lidge never seemed quite right again with that club after he gave up a mammoth homer to Albert Pujols in the 2005 NLCS. Although the Astros recovered to advance to the World Series, Lidge was less than spectacular in that series as well.

He blew six saves while notching a 5.28 ERA the following season with the Astros after a 2005 ERA of 2.29. In 2007, Lidge blew eight saves and also lost the closer's role for a period as well. That eventually led Houston to trading him to Philadelphia for a trio of players.

Lidge's 2008 led the Phils to sign him to a three-year deal, meaning it will take a lot for the club to remove him from the closer role. After all, the 2009 bullpen was built around Lidge with no real safety net. Ryan Madson has pitched to a 2.95 ERA this year and looked great against the talented Yankee lineup this past weekend, but he owns just six saves in his career.

No, the Phillies will stick with Lidge for as long as it takes. They will wait until he can solve his issues with retiring the leadoff hitter by locating his fastball and then getting hitters to hack away at his nasty slider.

"Sometimes things don't go your way, and that's when you have to stay in there and battle through it," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel after Sunday's game. Lidge's stuff is good, he just needs better command."

In other words, Manuel and the Phillies will wait for the light to go back on for "Lights Out" Lidge.

Utley leads in NL All-Star voting

Chase Utley leads all NL second basemen in All-Star voting.

Ryab Howard and Jimmy Rollins are third at their positions and Raul Ibanez is sixth in the outfield.

Even Superman likes puppets

By John McMullen, NBA Editor

Philadelphia, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - I'm a big fan of the 2008 Judd Apatow comedy "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."

In fact, much to the chagrin of my significant other, Debbie, it has basically been running on a 24-7 loop in my house since debuting on cable.

One of the many classic lines in the film comes from Davon McDonald as Dwayne the Bartender, who is defending the lead character, Peter Bretter (Jason Segel), the author of a Dracula musical featuring puppets, to Rachel (Mila Kunis)...

(Ed. note - this is the cleaned up version since this is a family column.) "He turned down @#@$-@$# from his ex-girlfriend. mid-(@#$%-@#&). You know how hard that is for a man? He's like Gandhi...but better - he likes puppets."

Who doesn't love puppets?

The NBA and Nike certainly do and have built an entire ad campaign called "three rings" around puppets of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. In the commercials, Bryant is heckling James about his three championship rings.

The tour de force that is
Kobe Bryant and LeBron James has resulted in a giant ratings surge for the league.
It's a phenomenal spot that takes advantage of the league's two marquee superstars that seemed destined for a collision course ending in the most highly-anticipated NBA Finals in years.

That was the hope anyway.

"I like the commercials," Magic All-Star Dwight Howard said on Monday. "They're funny. They are commercials that are very entertaining. So I love watching them. It is very entertaining. But our job is to go out there and play and not worry about what's on television or in the paper or whatever."

The tour de force that is Kobe and LeBron has resulted in a giant ratings surge for the league.

TNT's overall playoff ratings were already up a healthy 13 percent over last year through Game 1 of the Cleveland-Orlando series. Meanwhile, Sunday's Game 3 drew an overnight rating that was up a stunning 65 percent from a San Antonio-LA Lakers playoff game in the time slot last year.

ESPN ratings are also up and the first two Denver-Lakers games in the West finals became the network's most-watched basketball games ever.

As good as Howard and Chauncey Billups are, everyone knows who is fueling the ratings.

But, that doesn't mean "Superman" and "Mr. Big Shot" care what the league or you the fan want, and the dream matchup that is Cleveland-LA is slowly derailing.

If the Nuggets could do the little things, they would be in the catbird seat in their series with Kobe's Lakers. Instead the team's inability to master a simple inbounds pass has kept LA's head above water for the time being. That said, the Nuggets have outplayed the Lakers.

Meanwhile, in the East it's becoming increasingly obvious that the top-seeded Cavs just don't matchup all that well with the underdog Magic.

If Cleveland coach Mike Brown can't devise some sort of strategy that neutralizes Orlando's ability to stretch the floor in Game 4 on Tuesday night, its' very conceivable LeBron and Company will disappear by the weekend.

"It is disrespectful when everybody is counting us out trying to win a championship," Howard said. "They want to see Kobe and LeBron go at it."

"They" may want it but "they" ain't getting it.

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Sixers tip-off Fit for Fun Program

The 76ers Fit For Fun program, sponsored by Mid-Atlantic Dairy, focuses on encouraging kids to live a healthier lifestyle through a balanced diet and by staying active.

Ambassador of Sixers Basketball World B. Free will tip-off this program at the Paley PAL Center (5330 Germantown Ave., 19144) on Wednesday, May 27 at 4:30 pm. This is the first of six scheduled programs.

“Leading a healthy life starts at a young age,” Free said. “By participating in this program, we will show kids that maintaining a healthy diet and staying active are not only important, but can be fun at the same time.”

Within the 60-minute Fit For Fun program, students will take part in fast-paced activities and discuss ways to eat healthy. Free will then lead the kids through a series of stretches and a three-station rotation of basketball drills and classic gym class games. The program will conclude with an obstacle course challenge and Sixers prizes.

Complete Fit For Fun Schedule:

Location Date Time

Paley PAL Center Weds., May 27 4:30pm

Fels Community Center Weds., June 3 4:30pm

Marian Anderson Recreation Center Thurs., June 4 4:30pm

Cozen PAL Center Weds., June 10 4:30pm

Main Line YMCA @ Hill Top Prep School Fri., June 19 1:00pm

Ardmore Avenue Community Center Weds., June 24 2:00pm

For more information and to register a school for the Fit For Fun program next year, please visit our website at SIXERS.COM.

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Vets at Eagles OTA's

Some veterans on hand at this week's Eagles OTA, newly acquired CB Ellis Hobbs, RB Lorenzo Booker and FB/DT Dan Klecko.

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Former Flyer Zezel apparently fighting for life

According to a Toronto AM news station, former Flyer and long-time NHLer Peter Zezel is fighting for his life due to a blood disorder.

Bang the link to read on.

Sixers to play in Mexico

-Courtesy of the National Basketball Association

NEW YORK, May 26, 2009 – The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced that as part of the league’s ongoing commitment to growing the game in Mexico, preseason basketball will return to the country when the Phoenix Suns face the Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 18 in Monterrey. This marks the NBA’s second visit to Monterrey and the 18th game in Mexico overall, the most NBA games held in any country outside the United States and Canada.

NBA Mexico Game 2009 will give fans in Mexico the chance to see two exciting teams and some of the league’s biggest stars compete in the state-of-the-art Arena Monterrey. Currently, the Phoenix Suns’ roster features four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal, two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash, and the 2006-07 NBA Sixth Man of the Year and Brazilian native Leandro Barbosa. The Philadelphia 76ers, who made the 2008-09 NBA playoffs, are a young team on the rise, whose lineup currently features Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand and Thaddeus Young. Tickets will be on sale as of June 1st at

“We're thrilled about the opportunity to bring some of the NBA's most exciting teams and accomplished players to Monterrey," said NBA Senior Vice President of International Development and Partnerships Emilio Collins. "Our fans in Mexico are some of the most passionate in the world, and this year's NBA Mexico Game is sure to provide them with an unforgettable NBA experience.”

The league first visited Monterrey in 2006, when the Golden State Warriors defeated the Denver Nuggets in front of a sellout crowd at the Arena Monterrey. Mexico is the only international country other than Japan and Canada to ever host an NBA regular-season game, when the Houston Rockets defeated the Dallas Mavericks in front of the sold-out Palacio de los Deportes on Dec. 6, 1997 in Mexico City. The WNBA also staged an exhibition game at Arena Monterrey in 2004, when the Detroit Shock defeated the San Antonio Silver Stars.

NBA Mexico Game 2009 is the second preseason game the NBA has announced that will be played outside the United States and Canada this October. The Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz will play in London, UK on Oct. 6 as part of NBA Europe Live 2009 presented by EA SPORTS. To date, the NBA has staged a total of 93 games outside of the U.S. and Canada in 31 cities in 16 countries and territories.

During the 2008-09 season, a record 66 games per week were available for fans in Mexico via television and broadband. NBA merchandise is currently sold at retail outlets throughout the country and the annual NBA Gatorade 3x3 interschool league and tournament tipped of on April 20 and is expected to have a record number of teams participate. At the end of the 2008-09
NBA season, NBA rosters featured 17 Latino players, including New Jersey Nets forward and Mexican-born Eduardo Najera.

For additional informational about NBA Mexico Game 2009, please visit

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Canseco beaten in MMA debut

As expected Jose Canseco was trounced in his MMA debut, lasting 1:17 against freak show attraction Choi Hong-man for the Dream promotion at Yokohama Arena.

Canseco managed to throw a few punches and kicks at the 7-foot-2, 330-pound Choi before taking one punch that stunned him. The former slugger then injured his leg throwing a kick and went down to the canvas before tapping from punches on the ground.

"That's a big man," Canseco told The Associated Press after the fight. "I ran into one of his left jabs and that almost knocked me out. You have no idea how scary it was facing a man that big."

"I hurt my knee back home real bad but I didn't want to disappoint the fans," Canseco said. "I knew that at some point during the fight my knee was going to give out and once I was down I knew I wasn't going to get up. He's just too heavy to move."

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Thome passes Schmidt on all-time home run list

Ex-Phillie Jim Thome passed Hall-of-Famer Mike Schmidt by belting his 549th career home run last night.

The steroid-era has made everything meaningless. (Hanesbrands Inc.)

Victorino's Biden-like gaffe

Every once in a while Shane Victorino has a brain cramp and last night was a biggee, trying to steal second base in the 9th inning with the team down by two runs and Matt Stairs at the plate....

"There’s no excuses to the fact that I fucked up," Victorino said.

Champs Sports

Monday, May 25, 2009

Brad Lidge: Condemned to be Human

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

Something’s wrong with his leg. Naaah…something wrong with his head…

Uncle Charlie isn’t telling us something important.. He’s gotta stop hiding it…

He sucks. He’s spooked again like after Albert Pujols got to him…

They’ve gotta stop putting him in these situations. It’s going to cost us now, which is definitely gonna cost us later…

Put in Ryan Madson. He’s done.

No. I’m done.

I’m finished hearing all the negative suppositional pseudo-babble which passes for concern regarding the Phillies’ closer not even two months into the season.

He’s only human. Got it? Of flesh and blood, he’s made. Not of fancy stardust and pure brilliant light and titanium and the indestructible hopes and dreams of a million sycophantic reactionaries.

To think that Brad Lidge would be off on the same superhuman trip he took us all on a year ago is total, unadulterated nonsense.

But we’re spoiled and a discerning bunch, us hard-core Philadelphians. We get to observe perfection once, we naturally foresee and demand it each successive time, driving up the price of expectation until nobody in their right mind can pay the cost.

Remember our sainted Mitchie-Poo? The one who actually LOST us a World Series? He went just 3-7 but saved 43 games in 1993, and cost the club a shot at 100-or-more wins by blowing seven more. In some quarters, he’s been forgiven faster than our current “anti-hero”, and Wild Thing prevented Philly from tasting the ultimate victory.

Even after the revelation on Sunday that Lidge does indeed have “something” wrong with his surgically-repaired knee, I had to hear the same old disparaging phrases with the game 3-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

And then, I had to see the anger, frustration and blank stares once that one-run lead evaporated into a tie ballgame heading into extras as the Yankees simply did what they always do, joke of a stadium or not.

His line in 2009: 0-2, 9.15 ERA. Eight saves. Four blown. Oh, the Humanity! He’s gonna be a liability come the dog days…

It’s not gonna be because the torrid and timely hitting might dry up, or if the starters continue to serve up runs and homers like Mister Softee serves up ice cream, or that our suddenly untouchable manager continues to botch in-game decisions as usual.

It’ll happen because our closer turned into a bum.

Hurt or not, the Phillies are succeeding in spite of him. Under normal circumstances that can crush a man’s spirit. Lidge, though, is tough enough that he should turn that into a great psychological edge, one that can only boost his confidence when he gets rolling better than the stats indicate.

But I guess he doesn’t deserve a mulligan. Or at least a concession to common knowledge of most knee surgeries, in which the repaired tissue/joint/cartilage muscle is just never the same again.

Forty-one-for-41 and 48-for-48 ain’t ever gonna happen again folks. Deal with it. Nobody ever has to be dead solid perfect in perpetuity to be effective. And nobody who isn’t close to perfection is ready for the glue factory, either.

Imperfection is a fact of life. Doesn’t matter whether it’s not putting the covers on those TPS reports, buying a halogen lamp that slightly leans backward on level carpet, or having a closer not do his job every so often. It’s a rare and beautiful thing in baseball that those mistakes can be erased in a quick turnaround.

I’m not saying Brad Lidge still deserves to have garlands strewn at his feet, but he can’t be the subject of garment tearing and verbal abuse only this far removed from glory.

Give it a rest, people. At least wait until he does give up that three-run homer to Carlos Delgado in mid-September at the Bank which puts the Mets in first place by percentage points before the haterade flows like summer wine.

Until then, keep the crying and whining and invective to yourselves.

Happy Memorial Day

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Gagne has a baby

The Phanatic Magazine offers its congratulations to Simon Gagne and his wife Karine, who had a baby boy, Matthew, at 9:49 am on Saturday.

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Utley gets the day off

Charlie Manuel gave Chase Utley the day off today against CC Sabathia.

Eric Bruntlett is playing 2B and hitting eighth.

Bradley takes over 6ABC's Football Frenzy

Stewart Bradley was named the co-host of Football Frenzy on 6ABC this fall.

He replaces Omar Gaither, who co-hosted the show last season, has since been benched.

No word if Gary Papa, who is battling prostate cancer, will be involved.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Johnson next for Sixers?

After being spurned by Jay Wright, Ed Stefanski is set to talk with two another high-profile option, former Dallas coach Avery Johnson. San Antonio assistant Mike Budenholzer is also on the radar.

Eddie Jordan remains the favorite in the clubhouse.

'Tis the Season to mock - NBA Mock Draft v. 1.0

By John McMullen

Philadelphia, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - The NBA Draft Lottery is safely in the rearview mirror, so the annual rite of passage that is the mock draft has to be tackled.

I was far too busy in Secaucus cozying up to my first ever man-crush, the great Reggie Jackson, to give the draft much thought but a thrilling Thursday night at the Samuel Yellin middle school's annual recital gave my mind plenty of time to wander and get the juices flowing.

The only certainty is that the Los Angeles Clippers will take Oklahoma power forward Blake Griffin with the No. 1 overall pick, and hope he's closer to the next Dwight Howard rather than the next Michael Olowokandi.

Then the fun starts...

1. - Los Angeles Clippers - Blake Griffin (Oklahoma), Power Forward - Griffin combines a rare work ethic with outstanding athleticism. He lacks polish on the low post, however, and isn't a can't-miss franchise guy like a LeBron James or Howard.

Think: Carlos Boozer

2. - Memphis Grizzlies - Ricky Rubio (DKV Joventut), Point Guard - The Grizzlies were the big winner at the draft lottery, vaulting from the sixth spot all the way up to No. 2. Mike Conley Jr. hasn't been the answer as the quarterback on Beale Street and Rubio has conjured up images of playmakers like the legendary Pete Maravich and Steve Nash.

Think: Nash

3. - Oklahoma City Thunder - Hasheem Thabeet (UConn), Center - The 7-foot-3 Thabeet has a long way to go on the offensive end but should be a defensive intimidator and upper-echelon shot-blocker out of the blocks.

Think: Dikembe Mutombo

4. - Sacramento Kings - Jordan Hill (Arizona), Power Forward - Sacramento fell from the top spot to No. 4 in the lottery and will have to make a decision between Hill and Arizona State shooting guard James Harden. Since Kevin Martin figures to be healthy next year, Hill looks like the obvious choice.

Think: Chris Bosh

5. - Washington Wizards - James Harden (Arizona State), Shooting Guard - Another big loser in the lottery, the Wizards need talent, and this draft falls off after the top five players. Harden may be the most NBA-ready player in the draft and should be a steady and consistent wing player very early in his career.

Think: Brandon Roy

6. - Minnesota Timberwolves - DeMar DeRozan (USC), Shooting Guard - The Wolves annual hard-luck in the lottery continued as the team fell to the sixth slot. I think they go Kevin Garnett here and take the talent with the huge upside, and that's DeRozan. An incredible leaper and explosive finisher, DeRozan already has an NBA body and may end up being the best player in this draft five years down the road.

Think: A young Vince Carter

7. - Golden State Warriors - Tyreke Evans (Memphis), Combo Guard - Evans is the type of ball-handling combo guard that will eventually thrive in Don Nelson's scheme.

Think: A more talented John Salmons.

8. - New York Knicks - Stephen Curry (Davidson), Shooting Guard - You know defense is on the pay-no-mind list for Mike D'Antoni. The Knicks want a shooter and Curry may have the best pure stroke in the draft.

Think: Allan Houston

9. - Toronto Raptors - Earl Clark (Louisville), Combo Forward - The 6-foot-10 Clark is more of a small forward who has great vision and strong interior passing ability.

Think: Rashard Lewis

10. - Milwaukee Bucks - DeJuan Blair (Pitt), Power Forward - The Bucks need help at the point and more toughness inside. Since the team seems to like Ramon Sessions, you have to look to the frontcourt, and who better to provide an inside presence than a 6-foot-6, 287-pound banger like Blair.

Think: Anthony Mason

11. - New Jersey Nets - Gerald Henderson (Duke), Shooting Guard - Henderson is the type of wing player that will excel running the floor next to Devin Harris.

Think: Latrell Sprewell

12. - Charlotte Bobcats - B.J. Mullens (Ohio State), Center - Mullens has the size and soft hands to develop into a legit center and complement Emeka Okafor in Larry Brown's frontcourt.

Think: A raw Brook Lopez

13. - Indiana Pacers - Brandon Jennings (Lottomatica Roma), Point Guard - Jennings struggled mightily overseas but has lottery-type skills and would be a nice gamble at this point in the draft. Like many young point guards, Jennings needs to develop a more consistent jumper so he can take advantage of his speed and ability to penetrate.

Think: Rajon Rondo

14. - Phoenix Suns - James Johnson (Wake Forest), Small Forward - Johnson is the rare college player with a solid mid-range game, and should fit in nicely now that Phoenix has reverted back to an up-tempo offense.

Think: Corey Maggette

15. - Detroit Pistons - Terrence Williams (Louisville), Small Forward - The Pistons need to get more athletic in the frontcourt and Williams is a great athlete with a solid basketball IQ, something that Joe Dumars usually looks for.

Think: Derek Smith

16. - Chicago Bulls - Austin Daye (Gonzaga), Combo Forward - Daye's skill set and 6-foot-10 frame have NBA scouts intrigued, but he lacks physical strength. If Daye stays in the draft, the Bulls may take the plunge since they could use a frontcourt player that can space the floor.

Think: Mehmet Okur

17. - Philadelphia 76ers - Ty Lawson (North Carolina), Point Guard - Andre Miller looks like he wants out of Philly and Lou Williams is a turnover machine so the Sixers need a legitimate point. Lawson has the speed and quickness to rival a Rondo or Devin Harris but his size will be a detriment on the defensive end.

Think: T.J. Ford

18. - Minnesota Timberwolves - Jrue Holiday (UCLA), Point Guard - Somebody is going to take a flyer on the talented UCLA freshman and Minnesota looks like a good fit.

Think: Delonte West

19. - Atlanta Hawks - Jonny Flynn (Syracuse), Point Guard - The point guard run continues, as Atlanta takes the heir apparent to veteran Mike Bibby, who is a free agent and on the downside of a very good career.

Think: Damon Stoudamire

20. - Utah Jazz - Eric Maynor (Virginia Commonwealth), Combo Guard - Maynor would fit in nicely as a third guard that could play with and also spell Deron Williams.

Think: Andre Miller with a jumper.

21. - New Orleans Hornets - Chase Budinger (Arizona), Swingman - The Hornets could use a weak-side shooter that can knock down the three consistently off Chris Paul's penetration.

Think: A more athletic Kyle Korver.

22. - Dallas Mavericks - Jeff Teague (Wake Forest), Combo Guard - The aging Jason Kidd is a free agent while Jason Terry and J.J. Barea are limited on the defensive end. Teague can give Rick Carlisle minutes at both guard positions and would have no trouble playing with any of the incumbents. Teague is a point guard that thinks shot first.

Think: Kevin Johnson

23. - Sacramento Kings - Omar Casspi (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Small Forward - Casspi is a shooter that can handle the ball very well for a wing player. Anybody who can put the ball in the basket should be considered by the Kings.

Think: Hedo Turkoglu

24. - Portland Trail Blazers - Gani Lawal (Georgia Tech), Power Forward - The Trail Blazers are very deep and will likely go the best player available route and that's Lawal, a big guy with great length that can play minutes at both center and power forward.

Think: Joakim Noah

25. - Oklahoma City Thunder - Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina), Power Forward - Hansbrough is not going to be a star at the NBA level but his energy level will be great fit for a young team like Oklahoma City.

Think: A more skilled Mark Madsen.

26. - Chicago Bulls - Marcus Thornton (LSU), Shooting Guard - It's unlikely Ben Gordon will be back in the Windy city so Thornton would be a nice insurance policy.

Think: Ronnie Brewer

27. - Memphis Grizzlies - Sam Young (Pitt), Combo Forward - A tough, athletic guy who likes to bang in the paint and has a plus jumper.

Think: Trevor Ariza

28. - Minnesota Timberwolves - Wayne Ellington (North Carolina), Shooting Guard - The Wolves probably don't want to pay three No. 1 picks but they need the talent so my pick would be Ellington, a great college player that projects as a 20-minute guy in the pros.

Think: Aaron McKie

29. - Los Angeles Lakers - Darren Collison (UCLA), Point Guard - Normally I would expect the Lakers to take a European player and leave him overseas but anybody who has seen Derek Fisher in the postseason knows this team really does need a legit point, so why not keep Collison in town?

Think: Anthony Johnson

30. - Cleveland Cavaliers - Sergio Llull (Real Madrid), Point Guard - No use paying luxury tax on the 30th pick, so expect the Cavs to take a Euro player and leave him overseas. Llull could be a solid point guard in a few years.

Think: Jose Calderon


Wright talked to Sixers, staying put

Villanova coach Jay Wright confirmed he talked with Philadelphia 76ers GM Ed Stefanski about the team's head coaching job but will be staying with the Wildcats.

Wright said Friday that he met with Stefanski last week and subsequently asked to be removed from consideration.

"Last week, Ed reached out to me to see if I would be willing to speak to him about the Sixers' coaching position," Wright said in a statement. "He is a longtime friend of mine whom I have great respect for and is someone I talk to often. We had a lively conversation about the vision Ed has for the Sixers organization. As a lifelong Sixers fan, I was honored to be part of the process.

"Following our meeting, I called Ed to thank him and requested that he remove me from consideration," Wright said. "I love Villanova and it is where I want to be. I am grateful to the Sixers for including me in the process. There is a lot to look forward to for Sixer fans like me with the young talent they have put together and the leadership of Ed Stefanski."

Stefanski updates Sixers coaching search

"In the past week, I have completed interviews with six candidates, all of whom are exceptionally qualified, have an impressive knowledge of the game and are very well-respected within the basketball community.

"I truly appreciate that they took time out of their schedules to meet with me regarding this position. Along with my staff, we will continue our due diligence – including further interviews, extensive research and in-depth background checks – before a final selection is made.

"As I have said before, the qualities I am looking for in our next head coach include excellent communication and leadership skills, will stress the importance of accountability while also developing our players and will be a strong tactician.

"As such, due to the number of candidates still involved in the process, there is no timetable set for when this very important decision regarding the future direction of the franchise will be made."

Stefanski has interviewed Eddie Jordan, Dwane Casey, Kurt Rambis, Tom Thibodeau, Chris Ford and Villanova's Jay Wright.

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Sixers confirm interview with Thibodeau

The Philadelphia 76ers have confirmed reports that the team met with Boston Celtics Associate Head Coach Tom Thibodeau in regards to their vacant head coaching position on Thursday.

Thibodeau, a defensive specialist, just completed his second season with the Celtics.

Prior to joining the Celtics, Thibodeau helped the Houston Rockets rank among the top five in the NBA in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense in his four seasons there.

"He's terrific, with unbelievable knowledge," Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers told Phil Jasner of the Philadelphia Daily News. "He knows the game, is a great teacher. And he knows more than defense. In some ways, he's so good defensively, people overlook his overall knowledge. Thibs is our defensive assistant, but has offensive input. Armond Hill is our offensive assistant, and he has input in the defense. But as good as all of Thibs' schemes might be, when you lose Kevin Garnett [for most of the season], somehow it doesn't look the same. Thibs' isn't Buddy Ryan. He knows so much more about basketball."

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chiefs hire former Eagles exec

ESPN's Bill Williamson reports that the Kansas City Chiefs have hired former Philadelphia Eagles senior vice president Mark Donovan as their executive vice president/chief operating officer.

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WWE moves Raw to Staples Center

-Courtesy of World Wrestling Entertainment®

World Wrestling Entertainment® announced today that due to the debacle caused by Kroenke Sports Enterprises regarding Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs, WWE is moving the May 25, 2009 edition of Monday Night RAW® from the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO to the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The event will begin at 5:30 PM PT.

In addition, due to the overwhelming support shown by the Staples Center, Los Angeles Lakers and the California WWE Fans, WWE will hold back-to-back nights of action at the Staples Center, with a second event on Tuesday, May 26 at 6:30 PM PT. Both shows go on sale tonight at 11 PM EST/8 PM PT through Ticketmaster.

WWE will be returning to Denver for an event at the Denver Coliseum on Friday, August 7. Refunds for the Pepsi Center event can be obtained by returning tickets to the place of purchase.

“WWE is extremely grateful to the Lakers and the Staples Center for the hospitality and professionalism shown to WWE during this whole situation,” said Vince McMahon, Chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment. “We apologize to all of the WWE fans in the Denver area who have been inconvenienced by Kroenke Sports Enterprises. We look forward to bringing two consecutive nights of WWE excitement to Staples Center this Monday and Tuesday night.”

From You Flowers. LLC

A History of Baseball in Philadelphia at Betsy Ross House

You can visit "A History of Baseball in Philadelphia" exhibit at the Betsy Ross House starting Friday. Items from the Phillies are on display Friday through September.


Phils have three of the best 15 players in MLB

The Phillies have three of the top 15 players in baseball according to The Sporting News' panel of 100 Hall of Famers and major award winners. Here's TSN's top 50...

1. Albert Pujols
1B, Cardinals

2. Alex Rodriguez
3B, Yankees

3. Johan Santana
SP, Mets

4. Manny Ramirez
LF, Dodgers

5. Hanley Ramirez
SS, Marlins

6. Chase Utley
2B, Phillies

7. Roy Halladay
SP, Blue Jays

8. Derek Jeter
SS, Yankees

9. Mariano Rivera
RP, Yankees

10. Chipper Jones
3B, Braves

11. Ryan Howard
1B, Phillies

12. Grady Sizemore
CF, Indians

13. David Wright
3B, Mets

14. Justin Morneau
1B, Twins

15. Jimmy Rollins
SS, Phillies

16. Josh Beckett
SP, Red Sox

17. Mark Teixeira
1B, Yankees

18. Dustin Pedroia
2B, Red Sox

19. Tim Lincecum
SP, Giants

20. Evan Longoria
3B, Rays

21. Lance Berkman
1B, Astros

22. Jose Reyes
SS, Mets

23. Carlos Beltran
CF, Mets

24. Ian Kinsler
2B, Rangers

25. Zack Greinke
SP, Royals

26. Josh Hamilton
CF, Rangers

27. Alfonso Soriano
LF, Cubs

28. Miguel Cabrera
1B, Tigers

29. CC Sabathia
SP, Yankees

30. Ichiro Suzuki
RF, Mariners

31. Brandon Webb
SP, Diamondbacks

32. Ryan Braun
LF, Brewers

33. Dan Haren
SP, Diamondbacks

34. Francisco Rodriguez
RP, Mets

35. Matt Holliday
LF, A's

36. Kevin Youkilis
1B, Red Sox

37. Vladimir Guerrero
RF, Angels

38. Jake Peavy
SP, Padres

39. Joe Mauer
C, Twins

40. Carlos Quentin
LF, White Sox

41. Jason Bay
LF, Red Sox

42. Chad Billingsley
SP, Dodgers

43. Cliff Lee
SP, Indians

44. Torii Hunter
CF, Angels

45. Victor Martinez
C/1B, Indians

46. Roy Oswalt
SP, Astros

47. Carlos Delgado
1B, Mets

48. Carlos Zambrano
SP, Cubs

49. Cole Hamels
SP, Phillies

50. Brian McCann
C, Braves

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