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Sports Morning Headlines-Friday, 7/29/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Friday, July 29, 2011.

Deron Williams: How He Could Go to the Dallas Mavericks in 2012 - We are all entitled to pipe dreams, even if ultimately they hardly ever pan out. We’ve all done it. Any of these sound familiar? Honey, next summer we’ll take a whole month off and tour Europe like we always wanted. Man, we’ll apply to the same school and be roomies. Someday, I’ll run with the bulls in Pamplona.  Rarely, though, do these fantasies become reality. Stuff happens. Couples get pregnant, high school pals go their separate ways and people recognize that possibly being stampeded to death by two dozen thousand-pound beasts really isn’t the way they wanted to go.   READ MORE

Caron Butler talks on all topics - Following another grueling workout with fitness guru Tim Grover on Tuesday, Dallas Mavericks forward Caron Butler dished on topics such as getting paid during the lockout, his availability for a Game 7 in the Finals, watching the team win the title without him, the camaraderie of the 2010-11 Mavs and, of course, his venture into free agency.   READ MORE

Peter Holt and Al Frakes Announce AT&T Center Event To Benefit The Education Center At The Wall - Spurs Sports & Entertainment Chairman and CEO Peter Holt and Al Frakes, CEO/President SAF Studios & Event Co-Chairman recently announced The Education Center at the Wall, Celebrity-Charity, Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament (more info) coming to the AT&T Center on Sept. 23, 2011 to benefit The Education Center at The Wall. The poker tournament, to be hosted by Vince Van Patten of World Poker Tour, endeavors to honor and support the memories of our Veterans while providing an entertaining event venue of national and international notoriety.  The Education Center at The Wall is a collaborative effort between the National Park Service and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF). Construction for The Center is planned for 2012, and will be located in Washington D.C at the National Mall site adjacent to the Vietnam Memorial.   READ MORE

Tony Parker or George Hill: Which San Antonio Spurs Guard Should Have Left? - Should “Pretty Tony" Parker or “Naked” George Hill have been sent running out of the Alamo City?  Ask your chick.  She’d probably say neither-nor, instead of either-or, but hey…chicks are allowed to mess up.  A lot of ladies probably messed up their blouses with tears after Naked George got shipped.  Parker probably cried as well, but his tears were for an entirely different reason.  Tony probably wanted to be traded more than Hill did, but No. 9 would never admit it to America’s media.  San Antonio is still part of America—last I checked.  Parker could at any time reveal his true player personality to France’s media while speaking French, though.  The Flying Frenchman, not too surprisingly to me, threatened to join ASVEL—a team he reportedly owns in part and executive produces—if the NBA lockout lasts all year.  He held the press conference recently in France just to make the warning official.  If the orchestrators of the NBA lockout don’t stop tripping, then he’ll play in France for the rest of his high-flying layup life.  Don’t think he’s tripping.  He’s playing for “Les Bleus”—France’s men’s national team—in the FIBA 2011 EuroBasket Championship tournament in Lithuania.  It started this week, with a slate of exhibitions scheduled before the real thing August 31.  The top two teams are guaranteed a spot in the 2012 Summer Olympics.   READ MORE

Luis Scola says he might play for Yao Ming’s China team - Luis Scola, the Houston Rocket’s forward, isn’t going anywhere. He has four years, $46 million left on his NBA deal.  But throw him in the “flirting with overseas” category during the lockout, although the Argentinian forward is not exactly thinking what you are thinking.  At least according to the Argentinian sports site Ole (via Hoopeshype).  Scola prefers Yao Ming’s land as a destination if the NBA season does not start because of the lockout.”It’s a more open market, it has so much potential and the country is appealing to me,” he told Ole.  In his last visit to China, Luis Scola was asked which Chinese team would he play with. “I see myself playing with the Shanghai Sharks because Yao is the owner of the team.”  As we told you before, China can offer more money than many European teams, so a number of NBA players may look there. Plus, Scola has an obvious connection to Yao Ming.   READ MORE

Finch uses road less traveled - McHale's hire makes stops in Europe, D-League.  The first time the Rockets offered Chris Finch a job, he didn't know what to think. Mostly, he wondered how they knew about him.  He did not expect that it would bring him from coaching jobs around Europe and as the coach of England's national team to his next job offer: to be part of Kevin McHale's staff with the Rockets.  Finch, however, accepted the position to coach the Rio Grande Valley Vipers as the Rockets took over operations of their NBA Development League affiliate. He took the Vipers to the D-League finals in each of his two seasons, added a championship to the titles won in England and Belgium, and will return to England on Friday as an NBA assistant coach.  As the coach of England's national team, he'll open training camp Saturday in preparation for September's European championships.   READ MORE







Wandy Finishes Strong, Astros Win 5-3 - Brian McTaggart reported before the game that virtually every team in contention for Wandy Rodriguez was at Busch Stadium tonight, and the Astros' lefty certainly did not disappoint in what could have been his last start with Houston.  He threw seven solid innings, allowing just one earned run and striking out six. Rodriguez was very impressive in that he retired the last 13 batters he faced and settled down nicely after surrendering a run in the third. I recently wrote an article about Wandy's value over at SB Nation Houston, and it's becoming more and more likely that he will be dealt before Sunday's trade deadline. I think his last two road starts (tonight and last Saturday at Wrigley) were very good ones, and it's nice that his career as an Astro could potentially end with a strong finish.   READ MORE

Bedtime Pence update - A couple of quick notes before it's beddy-bye time.  UPDATE: Alright, one more. Jim Bowden sources a scout who says that the Astros' asking price is Cosart, Singleton, and Trevor May.  Hunter Pence admitted to Brian McTaggart that tonight could have been his final game in an Astros' uniform:  “What can I say? I’m not in control. I love these guys, I love Houston. That’s all I know.”  Where he ends up is of course all speculation. But Jayson Stark has some ideas.   READ MORE

Brewers facing tough stretch without Weeks - If the Brewers want to stay in contention for a playoff spot, they will have to do so without the help of one of their best players.  Milwaukee found out Thursday that All-Star second baseman Rickie Weeks will spend time on the 15-day disabled list with a severely sprained left ankle. Weeks is expected to miss 2-6 weeks.  The Brewers will begin their first series without Weeks on Friday, as they host Houston to kick off a three-game set.  "It's certainly not easy when you lose one of your best players for an extended period of time," Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun said. "There aren't many guys who can replace him -- if any -- in baseball. But we have to move on. We're prepared to move on, and our expectations don't change."  With just a 1 1/2-game lead on the Cardinals and Pirates in the National League Central, the upcoming stretch is crucial for Milwaukee.   READ MORE

Pence: ‘I love Houston’ - With the Astros possibly getting closer to a deal to trade Hunter Pence, the right-fielder admitted following Thursday night’s win over the Cardinals that he couldn’t help but think it might have been his last game in an Astros uniform.  “What can I say? I’m not in control,” he said. “I love these guys, I love Houston. That’s all I know.”  The Phillies are pushing hard for Pence and could be willing to offer pitcher Vance Worley, outfielder Domonic Brown and a Minor League pitcher.   READ MORE

Quick pitch: Harrison strong again for Rangers - Left-hander Matt Harrison continued his development into a pillar of the Texas Rangers' rotation on Thursday night.  Harrison held Minnesota to one run in 7 1/3 innings during a 4-1 victory at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers have won each of Harrison's last five starts. He is 3-0 with a 2.04 ERA in that span.  ``He's staying out of deep counts and getting a lot of ground ball and quick innings early,'' manager Ron Washington said. ``We've been seeing this from him all year.''  The Twins put a runner at second with none out in the fifth and sixth innings but turned that into only one run.   READ MORE

Cecil, Ogando square off in Round 2 in Toronto - Toronto starter Brett Cecil had an outing to remember the last time he stepped on the mound.  The Rangers would rather forget it.  The left-hander recorded the first shutout of his career against the Rangers on Sunday and is hoping for a repeat performance when he takes the hill against them Friday. He struck out seven Texas hitters while allowing just one baserunner to reach scoring position.  The Rangers will counter with Alexi Ogando.  "It was [Cecil's] changeup, and he was spotting his fastball," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "The thing of it is, a whole lot of it wasn't for strikes. We just couldn't lay off of it. I felt like we could hit that guy, but we never took the time to say, 'OK, we're going to make him throw strikes.'"  Cecil is on a roll. He's 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in his past three starts.   READ MORE

Gentry goes on DL for different reason this time - At least it wasn't running into a wall.  That's the only solace Craig Gentry could take in going on the seven-day concussion disabled list Thursday, four days after suffering a mild concussion after a hard slide into second base and Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill.  Gentry has had four or five concussions and two of them were running into outfield walls. He also had one after being hit by a pitch.  "That's why we're being precautionary," Gentry said. "It was more of a whiplash-type thing [Sunday], and I couldn't see very well. The next day I was all right up until game-time and I started feeling sick."  Gentry had headaches and nausea the past two days, but felt better Thursday. He can come off the disabled list on Aug. 4, as the concussion DL list isn't retroactive.  MLB instituted the list this season, and Gentry is the first Rangers player to go on it. Triple A Round Rock pitcher Eric Hurley went on the minor league concussion DL earlier this season.   READ MORE

Former Ranger Rusty Greer visits Ballpark - A familiar face graced Rangers Ballpark on Thursday before and during the Texas Rangers' game against Minnesota.  Fans flocked around, as former Ranger Rusty Greer signed autographs and relived memories from his playing days.  "I met a lot of people here during my playing time," said Greer, who played his entire MLB career with the Ranger from 1994 to 2002. "It's great to chat with people and catch up when I come out to the Ballpark. It's nice to be remembered like this. The Rangers have treated me very well."  Greer also joined the Fox Sports broadcast during the game.  "When the Rangers want me, I will show up. Anything I can do to help the cause," Greer said.   READ MORE

Report: Ex-MLB Pitcher Irabu Found Dead - Japanese Pitcher Played For Yankees, Expos, Rangers.  Former major-league pitcher Hideki Irabu has been found dead at his California home, according to reports out of Japan. He was 42.  Few details were made available, but police are reportedly treating the death as a suicide.  The one-time star of the Pacific League's Chiba Lotte Marines, Irabu arrived in America amid much fanfare in 1997. His contract was originally purchased by the San Diego Padres, but Irabu stated he would only come to the major leagues to pitch for the New York Yankees.   READ MORE






Now or Never for Gary Kubiak - Fans were a bit surprised when Bob McNair, the owner of the Houston Texans, decided to retain the services of head coach Gary Kubiak.  Since McNair has brought back Kubiak, fans will be clamoring even more for a deep playoff run for the young franchise. With the players that are returning along with the ones that have recently signed (and could sign) there is no reason to think they will not make the post season.   READ MORE

Johnathan Joseph Agrees To Five-Year Deal With Texans, According To Report - Free agent cornerback Johnathan Joseph has reportedly signed a five-year deal with the Houston Texans.  Prized free agent cornerback Johnathan Joseph has reached an agreement with the Houston Texans, according to reports by ESPN's Adam Schefter. The deal is reportedly for five years.   READ MORE

Pinch me – Texans also sign S Danieal Manning - WHAT IN THE HOLY LIVING HELL OF THE WORLD IS GOING ON HERE!??!  Earlier today on Twitter, I asked aloud – would Texans fans rather have the CB/S combo of Nnamdi Asomugha/Gerald Sensabaugh, or the combo of Johnathan Joseph/Danieal Manning. I said I’d rather have Joseph/Manning, but at no point did I ever think it would HAPPEN.  Well, it has happened. Danieal Manning has been reported to have reached an agreement to join the Texans on a four year, $20 million dollar deal, with $9 million guaranteed.   READ MORE

Texans back up free agent talk, land CB Joseph - After all the talk and bluster from Bob McNair about how the Texans were going to be aggressive players in the free agent game, fans had every reason to be skeptical. As reports leaked Wednesday and Thursday that the Texans were pushing hard for Nnamdi Asomugha, some fans began to get on board… they began to “hope” if you will. For me, I still never thought they were going to sign Asomugha, but what their push showed me was that the Texans were finally serious about throwing around some real money in free agency.   READ MORE

DeMarco Murray signs; all Cowboys draft picks in the house - Stephen Jones was optimistic that the Cowboys would sign all of their draft picks before Thursday came to an end.  The club's executive vice president finished his task with a little more than an hour to spare.   READ MORE

Veteran tackle Colombo among Cowboys' major cuts Thursday - The Cowboys made official Thursday what has been known for a couple of days. They released nine players, including tackle Marc Colombo, to clear roughly $19 million in salary cap room.  The list also had three other 2010 starters: running back Marion Barber, guard Leonard Davis and receiver Roy Williams.  Colombo was told Tuesday he was going to be waived but the sides waited to make a final decision and considered restructuring his deal to save his roster spot.  In the end, the Cowboys and Colombo decided to move on. Re-signing veteran left tackle Doug Free and drafting top pick Tyron Smith made Colombo more expendable.   READ MORE

If the Cowboys win, Tony Romo will be hailed as a leader - Tony Romo wasn't the first player on the practice field Thursday. He wasn't the last. He didn't yell at his teammates. Yet, he wasn't passive with them either.  Love his leadership style or not, the Cowboys quarterback is what he is. His position dictates that he is the team leader, whether he is as emotional as you want him to be or not.  "From my perspective, you're always in a leadership role playing the quarterback position," Romo said.  Much has been made about Romo sitting, watching and possibly learning from Jon Kitna the last 10 games of last season when Romo was injured. It's true that Kitna is a natural leader. It's true that Romo could have -- should have! -- learned from Kitna last season.  Teammates, regardless of race or position, gravitate to Kitna. He runs a well-attended team Bible study on Fridays during the season, and every day at lunch, he is in the locker room with teammates, playing cards, laughing and having fun.   READ MORE

Jason Hatcher Turns Down Cowboys Offer: Dallas Going Cheap On Defensive Ends? - The bad news of the day was the Washington Redskin's signing of former Cowboys defensive end Stephen Bowen. Though Rob Ryan and some fans, including myself, were excited to see what Bowen could do in 2011 in Ryan's schemes, it is understandable that the Cowboys were not willing or able to pay Bowen $5 million a year. The silver lining was that the ‘Skins lost interest in defensive end Cullen Jenkins once they completed a deal with Bowen. In fact, it sounds like Jenkins and his agent were preparing to see the paperwork and were surprised by the end of negotiations and Bowen's signing.   READ MORE

Owusu-Ansah Leaves Favoring Leg - Combining free agency with training camp has left the Cowboys thin at safety, and now they could be thinner: Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, who's working with the first team, needed some assistance off the field late in Thursday's practice while favoring his left leg.  Owusu-Ansah was placed on injured reserve last November with a high right ankle sprain. It's uncertain whether he'll miss any time.   READ MORE


Oleksiak added to Canada's World Jr. camp roster - *No big surprise, but earlier today Stars defense prospect Jamie Oleksiak was officially added to the roster for Canada's National Junior Team development camp, which will begin next week. The Stars' first round pick (14th overall) in this summer's draft, who has dual citizenship, declined an invitation to Team USA's camp and decided to try out for Canada's World Junior team.  Right wing Brett Ritchie, the Stars second round pick (44th overall) in the 2011 draft, will also attend the camp. The players at the camp are split into Team Red and Team White and both Ritchie and Oleksiak are on Team Red. You can see the rosters here. More on the camp next week.   READ MORE

Puck Daddy ranks defensemen - No Stars - It wasn't really much of a surprise, but no Dallas players were mentioned in the top 25 defensemen when Puck Daddy came out with its list today.  The Stars' defense is seen as a weak spot _ or, at the very least, lacking a top-end talent.  Since this is about expectations for next season, you could have included Alex Goligoski. In his 23 games with the Stars, he had five goals and 10 assists for 15 points. Taken out over a full 82 games, that would have been 17 goals and 35 assists for 52 points. That would have put him in the top 10 in scoring.   READ MORE

Dallas Stars Announce Traverse City Tournament Roster - The Dallas Stars today announced their roster for the annual Traverse City Prospect tournament that takes place just prior to the start of NHL training camps around the league. Highlighting this years roster is newly drafted defensive giant Jamieson Oleksiak, netminder Jack Campbell and forward Scott Glennie, who will be attending his last prospect tournament.   READ MORE

---Staff and Wire Reports contributed to this story



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