Sports Morning Headlines-Thursday, 6/23/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Thursday, June 23, 2011.

ProjectSpurs:  Parker almost traded to Portland? - According to HoopsWorld, the San Antonio Spurs had a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers for Tony Parker but the deal died when the Spurs wanted Richard Jefferson involved in the deal:  "The San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers nearly completed a blockbuster trade on Wednesday afternoon, but the deal fell apart in the late stages. San Antonio was prepared to ship Tony Parker and the #29 pick to Portland in exchange for Andre Miller, Nicolas Batum and the #21 pick. Other players would have been included in the trade to make salaries work. However, the deal died when the Spurs insisted that Richard Jefferson somehow be included. Since San Antonio's attempt to add Jefferson, talks have quieted, but they could pick up tomorrow if one of these teams has a change of heart."   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  George Hill is trade chip for Spurs to move up in NBA Draft - As trade talks continue to build leading into Thursday's NBA draft, the San Antonio Spurs are trying to move up into a higher draft position, reports ESPN's Chad Ford. The player being mentioned this time is not the Spurs' starting point guard Tony Parker, but instead backup point guard George Hill.  Among the teams who have made calls? The Rockets (who are offering picks Nos. 14 and 23), the Pacers (offering No. 15 and Brandon Rush), the Knicks (No. 17 and Toney Douglas) and the Spurs (George Hill).  Sources say the Rockets and Spurs are interested in Jonas Valanciunas if he ends up sliding. The Spurs are also eying Washington State's Klay Thompson, according to sources.  The Bobcats are in the most interesting situation. They are are actually trying to package picks Nos. 9 and 19 to move up a few spots to get a shot at drafting Leonard. However, if Leonard is off the board the Bobcats may be inclined to do a deal with Houston or San Antonio.  I don't think the Bucks or Warriors are inclined to do the Spurs trade, as George Hill doesn't hold a huge appeal to either team.   READ MORE

Spurs tried to trick Jason Terry about his game-worn shorts phobia - Jason Terry has never been the most popular opponent for Spurs Nation.  And his mouthy style has never endeared him to many opponents, either.  But the superstitious Terry claims the Spurs tried to trick  him in one of his best known beliefs.  Terry prepares for an opponent by wearing the shorts of the next day’s opposing team. This compulsion has left “The Jet” desperately tracking down the right trunks after a bad night. But a network of rival equipment managers and fellow NBA players usually take care of Terry.  But after Terry’s groin shot to Michael Finley during the 2006 playoffs, he doesn’t have many friends with the Spurs. And the team tried to trick him by giving him a pair of practice shorts rather than a game-worn pair several years ago.  “It’s gotta be the real thing,” Terry told ESPN.com. “Now, San Antonio tricked me about three years ago when they gave me some practice shorts, and I tried them. And they ended up beating us. So that doesn’t work.”   READ MORE

Nelson said Mavs wouldn't have won it all without Marion's defense - Don’t think for a minute that the Dallas Mavericks didn’t appreciate the stellar defense Shawn Marion played in the playoffs.  Donnie Nelson, the Mavs’ general manager, explained that Marion’s role on defense was just as critical to Dallas’ success as the jobs turned in by Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea and the other players in the rotation.  “(Mavs coach) Rick (Carlisle) gave him a challenge, and we’re not sitting here with the (championship) cup without his defense against three of the best players that have played in the history of our game,’’ Nelson said. “I’m talking about LeBron James, Kobe (Bryant) and Kevin Durant.’’   READ MORE

NBA Draft hasn't been part of the Mavericks' blueprint - Building an NBA championship team is certainly an inexact science.  For instance, if there isn't a franchise-type player available in the draft such as a Michael Jordan, a Hakeem Olajuwon or a Tim Duncan, most teams build a championship team by leaning heavily on trades and free agency.  The Lakers won titles from 2000-02 by riding the coattails of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. Bryant came to the Lakers via a draft-day trade with Charlotte, and O'Neal was picked up via free agency.  And when the Lakers won NBA championships in 2009 and '10, the heavy-lifters were Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and Bryant -- four players they acquired through trades or free agency.  In the case of the Dallas Mavericks, they won their first NBA title this year without relying on anyone they've acquired directly through the draft. In fact, the only player on the Mavericks' roster who they actually drafted is point guard Jason Kidd.   READ MORE

JJ Barea honored with a parade in Puerto Rico - More than 1,000 folks showed up for a two-hour long parade in San Juan, Puerto Rico, today in honor of Dallas Mavericks guard JJ Barea.  The parade was given for Barea – a native of Puerto Rico – to show appreciation for him helping the Mavs win the NBA title on June 12.  Ryan Blake, the co-director of NBA Scouting, is not surprised Barea has reached such a stature in his life to where parades are being thrown in his honor. Blake remembers when Barea was coming out of Northeastern University and how he tore up the NBA pre-draft camp in Portsmouth, Va.  “I love little Barea,’’ Blake said. “When he came in we brought him to Portsmouth and he broke the record for assists.   READ MORE

Draft buzz: Rockets eyeing No. 2 pick? - A number of nuggets from reporting through sources with direct knowledge Wednesday afternoon:  Minnesota has four trade scenarios on its board for the No. 2 pick. As of midday Wednesday, the Timberwolves now are leaning toward Arizona’s Derrick Williams over Kentucky’s Enes Kanter of Turkey. But the Wolves are actively listening to offers for No. 2. Phoenix and Washington are two teams that aren’t involved, but Houston, which owns pick No. 14, has proposed at least 10 different options for Minnesota's No. 2.   READ MORE

Draft Notes - ESPN’s Chad Ford, in his latest mock draft, has big man Jonas Valanciunas falling to the Rockets due to his buyout dispute.  It’s funny because while such a stroke of good luck would be just what the doctor ordered, one can almost even now foresee the reaction from some in the local media over acquiring a prospect who can not yet come over; delayed gratification seems a bit difficult to grasp.  In any event, it is probably a worthwhile bet that the team will not remain at both 14 and 23.  As I explained last year, if the team selects at 23, they really like who they picked; the lower 20′s in the draft are financial no-man’s land.  You’ll either see Morey package the picks to move up or trade the #23 to either move down or for cash.   READ MORE

Union: Owners still demand too much - Union officials say NBA players and owners are about $7 billion apart over a 10-year span in their most recent proposals, a significant gap to close to avoid a work stoppage.  Players' association executive director Billy Hunter also says under the league's proposal for a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, it would take the players until the final year to get back to where they are now financially.  The current CBA expires June 30, and the sides remain far apart as they head into another meeting Friday.   READ MORE

 

 

 

Downs' Dramatic Bomb Lifts Astros To 5-3 Win - I actually had a good feeling about tonight, thinking that Colby Lewis was the opposing pitcher that we needed to get the offense back on track. He had a 4.62 ERA prior to this game, and he had also allowed 19 home runs this year (1st in the AL). Surely we could get something going and salvage a game in this rough series, right?  Well, I was wrong for eight innings. Lewis threw six scoreless innings, and the offense continued to look lost at the plate until Neftali Feliz came to the mound. Trailing 3-1 in the ninth, the offense exploded with four runs against the Rangers closer. Matt Downs ended the longball drought in dramatic fashion with a pinch-hit tiebreaking two-run shot to give the Astros a 5-3 lead, and Mark Melancon closed the door in the bottom half of the inning.   READ MORE

Downs' homer helps Astros shock Rangers - When the replay of Matt Downs' game-winning home run came on the television in the Astros' clubhouse Wednesday night, his teammates joked about how quickly he ran around the bases. Downs just couldn't wait to join the dugout celebration.  "The dugout got up a little bit after that," he said.  Downs came off the bench to hit a dramatic two-run home run off Rangers closer Neftali Feliz to break a tie and cap a four-run ninth inning, sending the Astros to an improbable 5-3 win over Texas at Rangers Ballpark.   READ MORE

Astros tee off on Feliz in 9th to beat Rangers - The report manager Ron Washington received Wednesday afternoon was that Neftali Feliz would be ready to go later that night.  Pitching coach Mike Maddux delivered the message directly from Feliz, who only a night earlier had pitched two innings and thrown 35 pitches.  So, when the ninth inning rolled around Wednesday night with the Rangers in a save situation, Feliz was brought in from the bullpen to close out a series sweep of Houston.  Four hits, four runs and a blown save later, the Astros were the ones exiting Rangers Ballpark with a victory. Feliz and Washington, though, weren't doing any second-guessing.  Feliz got only two outs as the Astros charged back from a two-run deficit and avoided a three-game sweep with a 5-3 victory at Rangers Ballpark.   READ MORE

Japanese reliever makes case to stay with Rangers - Right-hander Yoshinori Tateyama has developed a comfort level in his month with the Texas Rangers.  That's an easy thing to do when you're pitching well, which Tateyama has done.  Tateyama won his first game in the majors Tuesday night and has a 3.52 ERA in his 15 appearances with the club.  His emergence is going to make pending moves difficult. Pitchers Scott Feldman, Tommy Hunter and Darren O'Day are getting healthy, which figures to put pitching spots at a premium.  Tateyama hasn't hurt his cause with his pitching.  "He's serviceable," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "You've got to try and make sure he's in positions where he can be successful."   READ MORE

 

 


Shut up, Jerry Jones; step up, Nolan Ryan - "He probably just got tired of Dirk telling him to shut up," said J.J Barea on a Monday night national TV show, with, yes, Mark Cuban sitting next to him.  Whatever works, right?  So who at Valley Ranch tells Jerry Jones to shut up?  More intriguing, who at the Arlington ball yard now tells Nolan Ryan to shut up?  Sixteen years without the Cowboys even sniffing another Super Bowl, and while the Rangers made a massive leap into the World Series last October, there was no world championship parade rolling down Collins, right past the Pitt Grill.   READ MORE

NFL Free Agency: Nnamdi Asomugha and 10 Targets for the Dallas Cowboys - The Cowboys fell quite short of expectations this past season for the talent they had.  With the lockout still being held, the Cowboys haven't been able to talk to free agents, but they are no doubt going to make some moves when the time comes.  Here are some players the Cowboys should look to target in the upcoming free agency.   READ MORE

Cowboys LB Victor Butler "Super Excited" About "Crazy" Rob Ryan Defense - There is a lot to look forward to for Cowboys fans in the new season. The return of a healthy Romo, Dez Bryant playing up to his potential, Sean Lee having a breakout year, perhaps some free agent acquisitions. But the one thing I'm most looking forward to is to see what Rob Ryan can do with the Cowboys defense.  Seems that Cowboys linebacker Victor Butler shares my excitement. In fact, he says he's "super excited". Rainer Sabin from the DMN caught up with the third-year player at a football camp in Plano, and this is what Butler had to say about Rob Ryan's defense:  "It's crazy. You've got d-linemen lining up at the free safety spot. I'd love to see Jay Ratliff line up where Alan Ball is. It sounds crazy but when you get out there and run it it makes a lot of sense. I am super excited. I was hoping for [organized team activities]. That's how excited I was. Nobody hopes for OTAs. But I was hoping for OTAs so we can get in this defense and run this defense."   READ MORE

NFL Free Agency: Why the Houston Texans Should Not Target a Wide Receiver - With a new collective bargaining agreement as realistically close as it's been since the lockout began in March, NFL teams will soon turn their full attention to free agency.  Although it is still unsure how free agency will work for this year as well as subsequent seasons in the new CBA, teams will look to fill their needs no matter what the rules are.  While it is obvious that the Houston Texans still have a lot of those needs on the defensive side of the ball, there has been some speculation that they will pursue a wide receiver to start opposite Andre Johnson and move Kevin Walter to the slot.  While I respect differing opinion, I believe that there is no way that Rick Smith and Gary Kubiak will target a starting caliber receiver in free agency, and furthermore, if they did it would be a monumentally foolish decision.   READ MORE

Rick Smith: Will The Real Texans' GM Please Stand Up? - Last week, two separate appearances by former Texans players on AM radio's 1560 The Game netted criticism of Texans general manager, Rick Smith. First, former NFL running back, Ahman Green, joined Sean Pendergast on his radio show to tell his side of the story about his tenure in Houston in 2007. I know Green's name conjures immense feelings of disappointment for most Texans fans, but his story is worth a listen, especially if, like me, you sometimes forget these guys are human beings just like the rest of us. (Besides, as a Texans fan you should be hardened to the paltry effects of immense disappointment by now.) Green openly discussed his father dying from cancer, his injuries and family struggles. Like Rivers said in his post that pointed me to the interview, Green's stories show a side of an NFL player that the league doesn't usually promote: vulnerable.   READ MORE

Houston Texans Two-Step: Dorin Dickerson Sooner Rather Than Later - With CBA talks currently resuming in an undisclosed location somewhere in or around Boston it seems that a general consensus is forming on when the NFL Lockout will end. Most are predicting mid July. That is just in time to get training camps going right on time.  Once an agreement is in place it will open the door for the free-agent frenzy to get under way. The freny could end up being more entertaining than the first few games of the season if a delay in the season were to happen due to a non-agreement.   READ MORE



 


Mock drafts and the Dallas Stars - Here’s a look at what some of the various mock drafts have the Dallas Stars doing with the 14th overall pick in Friday’s first round of the NHL Entry Draft.  I picked 14 mock drafts, including some of the more notable independent scouting services, top media sites and resources that I use.  Finnish right wing Joel Armia, Swedish defenseman Jonas Brodin and center Mark McNeill, who plays for Prince Albert of the Western Hockey League, led the way with three mentions each. There were five other players that some of the experts thought the Stars could take at No. 14.   READ MORE

2011 NHL Draft Profile: D Joseph Morrow - Defending Big D continues our annual series of looking at top draft prospects that could possibly have their name called by the Dallas Stars at the 2011 Entry Draft. Today, a surprising defensemen out of Canada.  Joseph Morrow - Why the Stars would take him:  Morrow is a blend of a high-end puck-moving defenseman and a shutdown defenseman, giving him a versatile skill set.  He has a cannon of a shot from the point, and can get it through traffic and on net quite often.  He has a great first pass out of the zone, helping his team start breakouts into the offensive zone.  Averaging almost a point per game, Morrow has shown that he is also a great passer and has poise on the puck.  All of this to say: if he's on the board when the Stars pick, it would not be surprising at all to see him in the green, gold and black.   READ MORE

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MVPTEXAS RT @AnwarRichardson: #Longhorns #HookEm coach Charlie Strong said he wasn't pleased with the defense. Said they could play better
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MVPTEXAS RT @LonghornSN: Former Texas walk on Dylan Haines with 74-yard INT return vs. ISU http://t.co/EfhCI6k7K4
 

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