NBA Trade Deadline Watch 2010

According to Marc Stein, Robert Sarver told Amar'e last night in closed-door meeting that Apostrophe is unlikely to be traded. Fuuuuuuu-uuuuuuuck. Excuse me while I go break something.

Deals that are still being made or finalized:
A Nate Robinson and Eddie House swap

"Unofficial but pretty certain they're done deals" Trades:
Bricks get: Knee-Mac and Sergio Rodriguez
Rockets get: Kevin Martin, Jared Jeffries, Jordan Hill, Hilton Armstrong, and right to swap first-round picks with NYK in 2011 and New York's first-rounder in 2012 (per Chad Ford, Bricks' pick in 2011 is Top-1 protected; In 2012, Bricks' pick is Top-5 protected)
Kings get: Carl Landry, Joey Dorsey and Larry Hughes (and his expiring contract)

Bobcats get: Tyrus Thomas
Bulls get: Flip Murray, Acie Law and future 1st round pick

Bucks get: Primoz Brezec and Royal Ivey and a second-round draft pick
76ers get: Jodie Meeks and Francisco Elson

Bucks get: John Salmons, rights to swap first-round picks with Bulls (top-10 protected)
Chicago gets: Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander

Confirmed Trades:
Crabs get: Antawn Jamison, Bassy Telfair
Bullets get: Zydrunas Ilgauskas, rights to Emir Preldzic, 2010 first-round draft pick from Cavs and Al Thornton. (Plus they now can get out of luxury tax territory with a Big Z buyout! Atlanta Hawks to be among suitors if Ilgauskas gets bought out)
Clippers get: Drew Gooden (unknown if his weird neck beard patch thingy gets to come to LA)

Knicks get: Brian Cardinal (who apparently will be waived to make room for other trades)
Timberwolves get: "Human Victory Cigar" Darko Milicic, and cash

Blazers get: Marcus Camby
Clippers get: Travis Outlaw's injured body, Steve Blake, cash to help pay off Donald Sterling's lawsuits (To make room on the roster, the Clippers waived Ricky Davis)

Bullets get: Josh Howard, James Singleton, Quinton Ross, plus Drew Gooden (who was then traded to Clippers in another deal),
Mavericks get: Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson and his crazy ass tattoos.

Who Are the Secret Avengers?

Guess - Who are the Secret Avengers?

I... honestly have no clue. But could this be a spiritual successor to Dark Avengers? It's hard to say, as Marvel offered no other details outside of a May 2010 launch window. Even the roster "reveal" is blacked out. You can see the images below. At first glance I want to say one of them is Venom, but that almost seems too obvious. The following are the possibilities of the silhouetted Secret Avengers.

Who are they? Take your best shot and let's see if we got it right by May this year!

Possibilities: Captain America, Ronin, USAgent, Professor Xavier, Patriot, Iron Patriot, Nick Fury, Luke Cage, Ares.

Possibilities: Beast, Venom, Anti-Venom, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Dark Beast, Gorilla Man, Scarlet Spider, Lizard, Tigra, Daredevil, Toxin, Constrictor.

Possibilities: Iron Man, War Machine, Crimson Dynamo, Deathlok, Gauntlet, Bishop, Frankencastle, American Son.

Possibilities: Sentry, Moon Knight, Taskmaster, Shroud, Mephisto, Cloak, Brother Voodoo, The Hood, Beta Ray Bill, Dr Strange.

Possibilities: Valkyrie, Scarlet Witch, Storm, Enchantress, Lady Sif, Polaris, Songbird, Emma Frost, Jessica Jones, Meggan, Spiderwoman.

Possibilities: Justice, Noh-Varr, Nova, Marvelman, Protector, Jack of Hearts, Blue Marvel, Wonderman, Living Lightning, Falcon, Iron Lad, Genis-Vell, Wasp, Vision, Penance, Namor, Captain Marvel, Captain Britain.

Premature Ejaculation Daredevil

Daredevil got his start as a superhero the way many children do: He was hit by a radioactive truck. It replaced his eyesight with radar and gave him the ability to smell, hear and feel harder than any man alive. These things all helped him grow up to become a ninja and start a law firm. He’s a complicated character, perfect for readers looking for more maturity in their graphic literature. And since I’ve always considered myself to be a writer of graphic maturity, I thought I’d see what I could bring to the Daredevil universe. I give you… Premature Ejaculation Daredevil.

Source: Seanbaby, Premature Ejaculation Daredevil: Why Super Senses Would Suck, Cracked, 4 February 2010

In Defense of Wrestling And It's Involvement With The NBA

When the Big Show meets the Big (insert nickname here)

Is Mark Cuban ready for the All Star Game? OOOHHHHH YEEEAAAAAHHHHH

Before I begin, let me set the record straight - wrestling cannot be considered a sport. Well not the one that most of us are accustomed to when the word is being mentioned. Who can blame it? Over the years, Vince McMahon have successfully marketed it as "sports-entertainment", and it's really more towards the entertainment rather than the sport. In principle, it still is a sport with all the maneuvers, the athleticism and training regimen involved. However, people tend to out it as being fake since the outcomes have already been decided, the rivalries and events are scripted, and the moves and personas themselves are considered over-the-top.

But to label it as fake is too harsh of a word. I deemed it as theatrical; it is poetry in motion except it involves chairs, ladders and blood. I deemed it as an act; to be able to get the audience to suspend their disbelief for the next couple of hours every night is nothing short of amazing. Trust me, wrestling fans are the most critical as they come and they will not hesitate to tell you that you suck because they really indulge their emotions. They're not stupid either, otherwise they wouldn't bother watching the sport in the first place. Plus, you know shows like Glee and True Blood are fiction (read: fake) yet people still love watching them. Irony, perhaps?

The beauty of wrestling is that in their universe, anything seriously goes. From on-and-off rivalries, romance and challenging authorities to necrophilia, satanism and real deaths. From time to time, personalities from other sports would get themselves involve. From LeBron James and the New England Patriots watching and enjoying themselves at ringside, to Mike Tyson having a scuffle with Stone Cold Steve Austin, there are endless cameos and possibilities that have yet to be realized.

Here are some clips that interweave basketball with wrestling:

Shaq hosting WWE RAW

Shaq smacking Carlito

WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 - Karl Malone and DDP vs Dennis Rodman and Hollywood Hogan

Ted DiBiase Basketball Segment

How To Defend The Likes of Dwight Howard In Post

Dwight Howard has the ball, he is 8 feet from the basket and you are supposed to stop him. What do you do?

Running for cover is not an option. Neither is fouling the crap out of him, even if this happens to be a common NBA strategy.

As a matchup, Howard is both an easy and extraordinarily difficult one. Easy in that his repertoire is so limited. He can shoot a running hook to the middle or an awkward half-hook with either hand, he rarely gets by his man (unless it's to spin baseline for a dunk) and has little confidence in his jumper, for reasons that are apparent if you've ever seen him shoot one. In other words: All you must do is keep him away from the basket.

Extraordinarily difficult because, of course, this last directive is nearly impossible. On the season, Howard has 102 dunks, tops in the league, and he is the NBA's most effective finisher on pick-and-rolls -- 31-for-37 from the field this season, according to Synergy Sports -- for the simple reason that his roll almost always results in a dunk, often on a lob.

These are minor points, though. To the casual fan watching, probably all that was apparent was that centres guarding Howard are always desperately trying to do two things: a) not get dunked on and b) send Howard to the line.

Indeed, most people assume post defense to be a basic, rather boring duty. Big guys burrow in, spin and other big guys try to stop them. Leapers like Howard wait and block shots. Bulldozers like Shaq hold their ground. But if you have a chance sometime, take a moment and watch, especially before a move is made, and you'll see an exquisite, if brutal, dance.

Don't believe me? Just talk to a true practitioner of the craft like Malik Rose, as I did some months ago while researching a book. Perhaps no player in recent memory has done more with less when it comes to post D. Neither tall (his nickname in San Antonio was Generously Listed, in reference to his stated height of 6-foot-7) nor especially quick or springy, Rose was drafted in the second round out of Drexel in 1996 and spent eight seasons as the Spurs' designated Shaq stopper, or at least Shaq waylayer. During his 13-year career -- he's currently "semi-retired" after playing with the Knicks and Thunder last year -- Rose guarded nearly all the great big men of the last two decades: Shaq, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson (in practice), Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki and, of course, Howard.

Which is to say we can learn much from Rose's answer to the question at the top of this column -- call the following A Little Man's Guide to Guarding the Very Bigs.

1. First off, make 'em make one. "If a guy is just a banger and he needs an angle to get a dunk, then I'll make him shoot that 6-to-10-footer and see how he looks taking it," Rose says. "If he looks comfortable taking it, even if he misses it, then I start to worry about it."

2. Bang the bangers. When dealing with a "bull in a china shop guy" like Shaq or Howard, Rose advises trying to hold him up, a task best accomplished by squatting as if Tim Lincecum is about to deliver a fastball. "I've got a low center of gravity, so if I try to fight Shaq or Dwight or those guys up top, forget it." Instead, Rose meets them at the waist. "That's their core, that's where their strength is. A guy can't really move anywhere without his stomach." Keeping low also allows for better lateral movement, which is important for staying with athletic bigs. "If Dwight gets a head of steam, you have a pounding coming. If he gets within 4 feet, he's lethal."

3. Encourage the pass. Especially in the case of someone like Howard, who is averaging a staggering 3.6 turnovers a game, Rose says you just need to hold position long enough for the double. "He wants to get me in the post to make an athletic move, but I'm not going to try to take a charge unless he's totally out of control." Instead, Rose takes a bump or two and knows that, once his opponent gets a foot in the paint, and definitely if he gets two, a double team is coming. "And then, more than likely, a big is not going to be able to pick up the ball and make the correct pass to the right person. More likely he's going to bobble it or roll it out there."

4. Be elusive. This may sound counterintuitive, considering how physical post play is, but Rose advises not laying a body on opponents. Rather, he employs a bent right forearm ("extend it and you get called for the foul") to create a gap, which leads to uncertainty. "Guys are always trying to feel you. With Shaq, he has a great spin, but you can feel it coming. Tim [Duncan] has a great spin. They spin when they can feel your body, so the more you can use that forearm, the better off you are."

5. Know the pet moves. With Howard, Rose says you have to always be aware of the baseline pivot. "He takes one hard dribble to the middle, then rips through to spin baseline and his athleticism makes it lights out." He rates Howard's lefty hook and jump hook as "getting better," but still far behind the go-to moves of top offensive players.

Rose says his three toughest covers were Duncan, Shaq and, a bit surprisingly, Antonio McDyess -- "He was a nightmare in his prime because he had that fallaway, like the second coming of the Dream fadeaway." When it came to particular moves, he hated covering Rasheed Wallace's turnaround -- "He never played with the ball, never brought it low where I could get it; he just caught it, turned and shot it" -- while Zach Randolph was "the best in the league at getting his own miss," and Antawn Jamison was tough because he "shoots his hook at a weird angle, almost like he's tossing a grenade."

6. Hack, hack, hack (but gently). Rose's best questionably legal move was to wait for an opposing player to turn to the middle and then, as all eyes followed the ball on a hook shot or jumper, use his off arm to nudge his opponent at the hip. "Mess with a guy's center of gravity, put a little pressure just to throw his balance off, and the shot is often a little short, a little left or right." Others grab an opponent's shorts (Adonal Foyle was a master of this), or keep their hands, shall we say, quite active. "Unless they hear an outright slap of the skin, most refs won't call it," Rose says. "Guys are getting mauled down there. I've gotten away with a lot. Kenny Thomas, he'll slap away three or four times on the same possession." And indeed, as Kurt Thomas proved Tuesday night, Howard is a prime target for this tactic.

7. If all else fails, piss the guy off. Rose is a proponent of making every matchup personal, something that may be difficult with the mild-mannered Howard but not so with other bigs. Here Rose describes a typical scenario. "If the offense crosses half court, and the guy I'm guarding starts shouting their own number or "Mouse in the house!' or "Mismatch," he's got a strike against him immediately. I don't care if he beats me, I'm fouling the s--- out of him. He's not getting a layup."

At that point, Rose also knew he was guarding "an aggressor. I know he's coming hard, so I push back. Then he pushes even harder and I can use the pull-the-chair move and he goes flying. Another thing I'll do is I try to hit him right in the chest or hit him in the back, because I know he's going to hit back. Then he'll jaw at the ref a little bit and, when that doesn't work, he's going to try to carve out his space.

"If he's a star, he'll get the ball back, but if he's a role player, he may have blown his shot. And if he does get it, he's already thinking about what I did last time so I know he's not going to come barreling down, and if he's not a skilled shot-maker, then I got him. If he's a skilled shot-maker, then I can push him some more. Either way, he's worried about me and getting hit, so he's changing his game." Rose pauses. "And then I've already won."

So, yes, part of post D is elemental: push, smack, hold your ground. But plenty of it is not. You need to know your opponent, understand leverage and, more often than not, guess right. And if you guess wrong with a guy like Howard? "If he catches within 15 feet and gets to the launching pad before you do, it's almost like you needed to pre-rotate," Rose says. "Because at that point, the only choice you have left" -- and here Rose chuckles -- "is to go old school and just foul him as hard as you can."

So to sum it all up:

1. Playing post defense is not as basic as it looks -- there are finer points to it.
2. An undersized guy like Malik Rose couldn't just rely on physical skills to defend.
3. Rose's keys: Get low, disrupt an opponent's balance, play mind games.


Source: Chris Ballard, Tricks of the trade: How to defend the likes of Dwight Howard in post, Sports Illustrated, 4 February 2010.

Banker Caught Watching Online Lingerie Model On Live TV

The Australian banker caught on live TV looking at nude photos of the Victoria's Secret lingerie model Miranda Kerr is to remain in his job. A spokesman for the investment bank Macquarie, based in Sydney, announced today that it had completed an internal review and that Dave Kiely would not be sacked.

A statement read: "Macquarie and the employee apologise for any offence that may have been caused." The spokesman did not disclose whether a worldwide online petition for Kiely - backed by the supermodel herself - played any part in their decision.

Kiely's moment of fame - which has been seen worldwide thanks to YouTube - came about on Tuesday when he was sitting at his computer terminal and received an email with a racy set of pictures of Kerr taken for GQ magazine.

Unaware that one of his colleagues, Martin Lakos, was giving a live interview to Channel 7 news just behind him, Kiely began opening the attachments in full view of the TV camera. The clip now doing the rounds finishes with Kiely turning sheepishly to the camera.

A Macquarie spokesman said at the time that the bank had "strict policies in place surrounding the use of technology" and that it was launching an inquiry.

As a result, a London-based financial website, Here is the City, launched an online petition to save him. Twenty-six-year-old Kerr, who is Australian-born and happened be on a trip home when the incident blew up, informed reporters in Sydney: "I am told there is a petition to save his job, and of course I would sign it."

Meanwhile, another TV news station, Channel 10, reported an allegation that Kiely was set up. After several pages of Kerr pictures, a final email apparently read: "Turn round now".

If you laughed at what happen, join the group on Facebook about this!

The Michael Pilgrim Saga

This post is solely about Mike Pilgrim and how his tenure with the Barracudas ended prematurely. It's not my two cents on the matter, but rather compiling all of the relevant articles that covers the it. This is Mike's letter to the Barracudas fans from today's edition of Brunei Times:

Mike Pilgrim

It was a very good season an exciting and fun-filled year with the Barracudas and Brunei fans.

They say that people will remember fondly those that they leave behind, and likewise Brunei and the fans will always have a special place in my heart. I'm not trying to score brownie points here that's a sincere truth.

I never thought my time in Brunei would end so soon and never wanted it to end the way it ended. One thing I will never forget and always appreciate about my 'Bruneian family' is the way the fans always showed their love and support through the highs and lows of the season.

This, in my opinion, reflects the resilience and determination of a great country. I enjoyed being a part of a culture that graciously invited in the unfamiliar and embraced me with open arms.

I would also like to thank my ex-teammate (the Barracudas' first American import) Lonnie Jones for his patience and time he put in in Brunei. A lot has been said about him, but I just want to stress that he was indeed a positive figure in his short tenure with the Barracudas and a voice of reason among his teammates.

Lastly, I would like to thank all my fans in Brunei once again for all the support.

Terima kasih, Brunei!

American centre Mike Pilgrim used to play for Brunei's first professional basketball team, the Barracudas. Averaging 16.5 points and eight rebounds per game in the Asean Basketball League, Pilgrim was axed by the Barracudas on Jan 21, the Brunei side citing disciplinary issues for his dismissal.

No Mike, thank YOU for everything that you've done. Brunei can never repay for your services. It is a shame how things have ended, but nonetheless if ever you have the opportunity to return and play for Brunei we will welcome you back with open arms once more.

I'm sure by now you all have heard about his dismissal. It has been debated upon as well. Here's an article on the controversy that started it all:

Mike leaving Brunei

The Barracudas pushed the self-destruct button yesterday sending American import Mike Pilgrim packing with one game still to be played in the regular season of the Asean Basketball League (ABL).

The news came after the Barracudas' 95-89 defeat to the Singapore Slingers at the Indoor Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas on Wednesday.

"I thank him for his efforts and services here. Brunei was after all his first professional outing," said Benny Ang, the Barracudas manager, in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.

"We hope his experience in Brunei will help him become a better person and a better basketball player, too. We wish him all the best," added Ang.

Asked why Pilgrim was axed, Ang replied: "The situation just didn't work out the way we wanted it to and we needed to move on. It was a tough decision for us to make as well."

Brunei's first professional basketball team are expecting a new Australian import to replace Pilgrim on Sunday which could be their last game of the season should they lose to the Patriots and the Dragons win their match.

"The new player might not be as good as Mike but we still stand a chance to make it to the playoffs," said Ang. Pilgrim was grateful for everything that the Barracudas had done for him and also to the local fans who had supported him through out his time in the country.

"I appreciate the Barracudas for giving me a chance to play here. I have no regrets coming here and I really enjoyed being in Brunei especially with the people," said Pilgrim when met yesterday at the Brunei International Airport in Berakas.

"I learnt a lot since this was my first time to play professionally and it had been a good experience," added Pilgrim, who managed 12 points in Wednesday night's loss.

Asked on what's next, the 25-year-old American replied: "I want to spend some time with my family and plan the next step. Hopefully I'll get another job soon and who knows there might be a chance that I'll get back into the ABL with a different team if the situation is right."

That was the news that broke open the emotional floodgates and the general sentiment among the fans have largely been negative. You can't really fault them since Mike was one of the more popular player. This is the Barracudas' side of the story:

Mike's first ever game in Brunei vs Linktech

Mike Pilgrim's sudden exit from the Brunei Barracudas has evoked an emotional response from the fans, who feel that an injustice has been done.

Benny Ang, the manager of the Barracudas, has responded to the fans' outcry, telling The Brunei Times yesterday: "As the team's management we understand the fans' response (to Pilgrim's exit).

"We are sorry we have to drop him ... we know that the fans have an emotional attachment to the player," Ang said.

"We would like the fans to know that the decision was not taken in a haste. The decision to drop Pilgrim was made due to a combination of a series of events that had occurred throughout the season.

"It was due to Pilgrim's attitude ... that had led to this," he said.

"This was a decision taken with careful consideration. Mike had been given chance after chance to improve his attitude but has failed to heed all warnings fired in his direction," Ang added in a Jakarta Globe report yesterday.

The Barracudas fans cried foul over Pilgrim's dismissal which came just two days before the team's final match of the regular season.

Ang realises the situation, saying: "We know that the timing is bad but when one player isn't talking to the others, it is detrimental to the team.

"We did what we felt was the best for the team. It's just one of the things that we had to do," he added during the interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.

The Barracudas made a shock announcement on Thursday that they had released centre Pilgrim over disciplinary issues.

Pilgrim will be replaced by 6-foot-9 Simon Conn from Melbourne, Australia.

The 27-year-old Conn played for the Sandringham Sabres in the Australian Basketball League last year.

"We do not expect Conn to be a superstar (on the court), but hope that he will work hard and score on his rebound, playing as an interior defender.

"We cannot compare him to Pilgrim, who is a very talented player. Yet his dedication and work ethics must be addressed," the manager added.

Despite the 'Pilgrim issue', Ang hopes that the fans will continue to support Brunei's first professional basketball team.

"We hope that the fans will continue to support the team. We want them to understand that it was an emotional decision for us too. But it was something that we had to do," said Ang.

There you have it. The Mike Pilgrim dismissal debacle. It just goes to show that anything can happen in the world of professional sports as you live and die by the management's decisions.

1. Mike Pilgrim, Pilgrim writes to his Brunei fans, The Brunei Times, 2 February 2010
2. Yee Chun Leong, Barracudas axe Pilgrim, The Brunei Times, 22 January 2010
3. Amir Amin, The Barracudas on why Pilgrim becomes axed man, The Brunei Times 23 January 2010