Sports Morning Headlines-Thursday, 6/30/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Thursday, June 30, 2011.

Spurs’ Bonner keeping hope of labor resolution alive - Spurs forward Matt Bonner spent Wednesday enjoying basketball in its purest form. He was the headliner at his eponymous youth camp in his hometown of Concord, N.H., where the average camper will never earn a dime playing the sport.  Today, Bonner — a vice president of the NBA Players Association — will be in New York for the kind of last-second shot he never practiced in his New Hampshire driveway. Principal negotiators from the NBA and union are scheduled for a final meeting this afternoon, eyeing one last chance to avert a lockout before the league’s collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight on the East Coast.  Somewhere between the Granite State and the Big Apple on Wednesday afternoon, Bonner began to channel John Lennon.   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  Ginobili: Spurs window not closed - Argentinian newspaper, Olé, recently spoke to San Antonio Spurs' all-star guard Manu Ginobili about the Spurs' season, Tony Parker's recent comments about the team and the myth of the Spurs being too old.  GinobiliAfter a successful 61-21 regular season, Ginobili chalked up the Spurs' first round playoff loss to the Memphis Grizzlies wanting it more.  'It's simple. Memphis played hard, defended well and had a very inspired Zach Randolph," Ginobili said.  Ginobili also said the Spurs slump at the end of the season was due to the Spurs peaking too soon, not a matter of the Spurs' age catching up to them.   READ MORE

Previous NBA labor stalemate shows price of discord - The last time the NBA was engaged in a lockout was the year Dallas Mavericks fans had to wait extra long to get to know the player who would eventually lead them to their only world championship.  That was the 1998-99 season, after the Mavericks had acquired Dirk Nowitzki in a June draft-day trade with the Milwaukee Bucks. The lockout lasted from July 1, 1998 to Jan. 20, 1999, with Nowitzki holed up in Germany during the majority of the stalemate between the union and the owners.  When a settlement was finally reached, the NBA cut its 82-game season to 50 games. The league also canceled the All-Star Game and didn't start the season until Feb. 5, 1999.   READ MORE

Nowitzki: I'm not a 'brand' - If Dirk Nowitzki cared about gathering lucrative endorsement deals, there would be no better time for the 7-foot German to capitalize. He has remained loyal to one team, he is one of the hardest working athletes in professional sports and he finally added a championship to his resume.  But Nowitzki doesn't care about the individual attention. Heck, the guy doesn't even employ an agent.  Nowitzki has negotiated all of his contracts with the Dallas Mavericks, and his only endorsement deal is for the Nike's he wears on his feet during games.   READ MORE

NBA heads to CBA deadline day, sides far apart - The NBA is headed to deadline day, with perhaps one last chance to avoid a lockout.  Negotiators for owners and players will meet Thursday, about 12 hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and seemingly nowhere close to a deal.  The sides remain far apart on just about every major issue, from salaries to the salary cap, revenues to revenue sharing.  After meeting twice a week for most of the month, this is the only session scheduled this week. The two sides could continue bargaining past the deadline, but that probably requires owners to see evidence of the gap narrowing Thursday.  Otherwise, they could lock out the players for the first time since the 1998-99 season was reduced to 50 games, though Commissioner David Stern has refused to say what would happen if a deal is not done Thursday.   READ MORE

For McHale, basketball is not Rocket science - Kevin McHale isn't a big fan of some of the conventional thinking in basketball. More accurately, the new Houston Rockets coach chuckles at the notion there are finite ways to win or that you can't win without an elite player.  "I've heard people talk about basketball, and I get a chuckle out of it, like it's some sort of rocket science," McHale said. "This is the only way to do this . . . there's a million different ways to skin the cat."   READ MORE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan in favor of Astros moving to AL West - Rangers president Nolan Ryan said he would be in favor of the possibility of the Astros moving into the American League West.  That's one of the rumors that has been floating around baseball over the past few weeks. Nothing official has been proposed by the Commissioner's Office, and Ryan said he has heard little in the way of an official discussion.  But moving the Astros to the AL West would give Major League Baseball six five-team divisions rather than the unbalanced current configuration. Ryan likes the idea of having at least one team from the Central Time Zone in the same division as the Rangers as well as the three West Coast teams.   READ MORE

Kinsler's two HRs give Rangers Silver Boot
- Ian Kinsler had just one thing to say to home-plate umpire Bob Davidson as he crossed home plate in the third inning.  "Thank you," Kinsler said.  The show of gratitude was appropriate. Instead of being hit by a pitch, Kinsler delivered the second of two home runs in support of starter Colby Lewis, and the Rangers were able to hold on for a 3-2 victory over the Astros at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday night.  Kinsler, who had led off the game with a home run against Astros starter Brett Myers, led off the third inning and tried to drop down a bunt on an inside fastball. The pitch hit him in the leg, but Davidson ruled it a strike because he said Kinsler attempted to bunt.  Kinsler argued hard and replays suggested that he was right. But Kinsler took a different stance after hitting a 3-2 pitch over the left-field wall.  "I'll take it," Kinsler said. "He got the call right."  But the replays showed ...   READ MORE

Harrison aims to keep momentum going vs. Astros -  Interleague Play in the Lone Star State has, as of recently, been a lonely feeling for the Astros. Heading into Thursday's series finale, the Rangers have made easy work of their southern neighbors by winning nine of the last 10 games in the series dating back to last season. That disparity has magnified the contrast between the first-place and defending American League-champion Rangers and the MLB-worst Astros.  Looking to keep his club's and his own momentum going on Thursday is the Rangers' Matt Harrison (6-6, 3.00 ERA). The left-hander is 3-3 with a 1.95 ERA over his last eight starts, dating back to his shortest outing of the year on May 1 when he lasted just 1 2/3 innings and gave up four earned runs. Conversely, Harrison comes off one of his better showings of the season -- seven innings of one-run ball against the Mets on Friday.   READ MORE

Rangers notes: Josh Hamilton not concerned with All-Star voting - Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton is one of the stars of a new commercial promoting the All-Star Game.  And as of Tuesday, Hamilton is in line to be in the game. He's third in the American League outfield voting, a little more than 120,000 votes ahead of Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury.  While Hamilton wants to make his third start in the game, it's not something he's getting worked up about.  "I don't even know where the voting stands," said Hamilton, who is wearing a cowboy hat in the commercial. "You always want to go to the game. If he [Ellsbury] deserves to go to the game more than I do, then he should. If I don't go, I'll spend time with the family. I may even go to the beach or something."  Hamilton's play recently is certainly worthy of All-Star status. He came into Wednesday's game having a big month. Hamilton has seven homers in June, and his 23 RBIs this month were third most in the AL.   READ MORE

Harrison aims to keep momentum going vs. Astros -  Interleague Play in the Lone Star State has, as of recently, been a lonely feeling for the Astros. Heading into Thursday's series finale, the Rangers have made easy work of their southern neighbors by winning nine of the last 10 games in the series dating back to last season. That disparity has magnified the contrast between the first-place and defending American League-champion Rangers and the MLB-worst Astros.  Looking to keep his club's and his own momentum going on Thursday is the Rangers' Matt Harrison (6-6, 3.00 ERA). The left-hander is 3-3 with a 1.95 ERA over his last eight starts, dating back to his shortest outing of the year on May 1 when he lasted just 1 2/3 innings and gave up four earned runs. Conversely, Harrison comes off one of his better showings of the season -- seven innings of one-run ball against the Mets on Friday.   READ MORE

Norris, Johnson embracing social media - Social media is sweeping the nation -- as evidenced by Thursday's second annual Social Media Day -- and the Astros' Bud Norris and Chris Johnson have embraced the growing phenomenon.  Norris and Johnson are frequent Twitter users, but they began using social media with another of the world's most popular websites.  "I've done Facebook for awhile," Norris said. "One of my best friends actually works for the company. His sister was the 13th employee and he was the 82nd, so they're really high up on the chain."   READ MORE

Astros at the season’s midpoint - The Astros hit the halfway mark of the season with a 28-53 record, which means they’re on pace to finish with 106 losses. That would easily surpass the franchise records for most losses in a season, which is 97 set in 1965 and matched in 1975 and 1991.  Of course, the Astros were on pace for 100 losses for much of last year before they turned it around in the second half following the trades of Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt. This year’s club could be facing selling off some commodities as well, but it’s hard to envision a strong second half like we saw last year.   READ MORE

Astros drop fifth straight, lose Silver Boot - Considering they're last in the National League in home runs and were trailing by one run late in the game, the Astros were going to be aggressive. Finding a way to get the potential tying run into scoring position in the eighth and ninth innings Wednesday night was paramount to manager Brad Mills.  What's the old cliché about best-laid plans going awry?  Astros streak-of-lightning center fielder Michael Bourn, who always has the green light, was thrown out trying to steal second base in the eighth inning, and Carlos Lee was gunned down at second base on a foiled hit-and-run to end the game an inning later.  And with that, the Astros reached the midpoint of the season with a 3-2 loss to the Rangers that was their fifth in a row and eighth consecutive at Minute Maid Park -- the club's longest home losing streak since a franchise-record 11-game skid in 1966 at the Astrodome.   READ MORE

 

 

 

 

 


Can the Texans’ Secondary Get the Job Done this Year? - Gary Kubiak got something that no one expected him to get at the end of the 2010 season—another chance.  A year after he guided the team to its first winning record in team history in 2009 and raising expectations for the young team, the Texans floundered to a 6-10 record. That was with the most dangerous passing and catching duo in the league (Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson) and the league’s No 1 running game.   READ MORE

Cowboys looking toward free agency - Free agency is a key part of every NFL off-season and this year is no different. When the lockout is lifted, teams will scramble to sign their unrestricted free agents and possibly even add a piece that was missing from 2010.  Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has never been shy about adding talent through free agency. However, before everyone begins talking about Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who is widely regarded as the top 2011 free agent, there are a few Cowboys that Jones will have to consider re-signing.   READ MORE

Free agent outlook: Cullen Jenkins - At the halfway point of our free agent series, we look at defensive end Cullen Jenkins. The Cowboys have some issues along the defensive line with three of their ends becoming free agents, and it's doubtful the team will re-sign Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher with a potential new financial system in place. With that, we now take a look at Jenkins.   READ MORE

Matt Schaub: 2011 Breakfast of Fantasy Champions or Just Another Marshmallow? - 2010 Review:  Matt Schaub, No. 8.  I wouldn’t call Matt Schaub’s 2010 season a bust by any means, but coming off his first Pro Bowl selection the year before, it sure was disappointing.  Under normal circumstances, Schaub’s 4,369 passing yards and 24 touchdowns would be considered a really good year.  However, I suspect fantasy owners would be on opposite sides of the spectrum on this, just as Schaub was during his first two weeks of the season.  In Week 1, Schaub tossed up the least amount of attempts (17), completions (9) and yards (107) he ever has in an injury-free game.  Luckily, one of those completions went for a touchdown, so not all was lost for fantasy owners that day.   READ MORE




 

 

 


Jamie Langenbrunner update - It appears Dallas Stars forward Jamie Langenbrunner will hit the free agent market on July 1, but that doesn’t mean re-signing with Dallas is out of the question.  Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk has had discussions with Langenbrunner and said he would he like to keep the 35-year-old right wing if the price is right.   READ MORE

Prospect update: Luke Gazdic - The latest in a series on top prospects of the Dallas Stars looks at forward Luke Gazdic, who played with the Texas Stars this past season.  Gazdic had 17 points (9 goals, 8 assists) and 110 penalty minutes in 72 games with Texas. He played in 5 playoff games, going scoreless.  The point totals won’t catch anyone’s attention, but that’s not what Gazdic is about. He’s going to be a role player who is going to toil away on the lower lines, play physical, forecheck hard, and he’s going to drop the gloves when necessary to stick up for his teammates.   READ MORE

Allen Americans re-sign Jarret Lukin - The Allen Americans have made their second signing of the off season, bringing back Center Jarret Lukin, for his third season in an Americans uniform. Lukin a native of Fort McMurray ALTA, was one of the 1st players signed by the Americans back in the summer of 09. Lukin was named Captain in that 1st season, and held that honor until midway through last year, when he left the team for personal reasons. Lukin returned and enjoyed his best season in an Americans uniform last year scoring 21 goals, and putting up 43 points in 50 games.  "I feel good and refreshed" said Lukin. "I'm looking forward to coming back to Allen". "I have enjoyed my time here". "The fans in Allen are some of the best in hockey".   READ MORE

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