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Cavs Job Has Little Appeal for Tom Izzo Without LeBron James

It appears that Michigan State men’s basketball mainstay Tom Izzo is the Cavaliers’ hopeful head coaching incentive to keep LeBron James in Cleveland. It also appears that LeBron James is the only incentive pulling Izzo away from the team he has led to six of the last 12 NCAA Men’s Final Fours.

Even if Izzo, who has been on the NBA radar since the Atlanta Hawks expressed interest following Michigan State winning the 2000 NCAA national championship, stands to make six million dollars a year for four to five years in Cleveland, no LeBron  means Izzo is probably better off staying at Michigan State. Without King James, things in Cleveland are just not as exciting. And we all know how Izzo likes exciting. Here’s what Jud Heathcote, Izzo’s predecessor at Michigan State, told the Detroit News:

“I honestly think he’ll look at this, but unless he can get some commitment from LeBron James, the job isn’t that good. I think a lot hinges on what [Izzo] feels about LeBron’s future. I think he’s seriously considering it. He’s going to look at it like he does on all things but he’s got an awfully good situation at Michigan State, too.”

While it’s obvious that LeBron is going to be the primary influence of how things fall into place in Cleveland, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert insists that LeBron James is not Cleveland’s head coach, general manager, and all-star, nor does he control the price of popcorn at the Quicken Loans Arena, as some speculators might suggest.

Sources:
Izzo, Cavs have discussed deal [FoxSports]

Touch the Wrestler, You May Get Punched

Let this be a lesson to everyone who has ever toyed with the idea of forcefully removing a luchador’s mask: don’t do it. While this may not be quite as serious an offense as firing a flare at the Greek basketball league finals or brawling at a high school basketball game, it is certainly less funny than Jack Black in Nacho Libre. Check out this video of a fan getting punched by a Luchador:

At first I thought, “This is professional wrestling—perhaps the stunt was staged?” But the video tape doesn’t lie and after repeated viewings it’s obvious that this overly ambitious fan got it pretty good.

Sources:
Angry, Fan Punching Mexican of the Week: This Guy [Deadspin]

Danny Ferry Joins Mike Brown Among Nation’s Unemployed

“Would somebody please do something to sign Lebron James?” seems to be the general consensus around NBA front offices this summer. Knowing that change is a necessity for the Cleveland Cavaliers to hold onto their six-time NBA All-Star, the Cavs’ ownership followed up the firing of Mike Brown as head coach with the announcement that they will not maintain Danny Ferry as general manager, opting instead to promote assistant GM Chris Grant to the top executive position. Rumors had been circulating about this move for some time, and the decision became official on the Cavaliers website today with this statement from majority owner Dan Gilbert:

“For five years, Danny Ferry was instrumental in leading the establishment of a culture, process and professionalism that has become part of the fabric of the definition of ‘who’ are the Cleveland Cavaliers. Danny worked extremely hard to create this strong foundation that we will continue to build upon going forward with much gratitude and appreciation. This solid foundation is evident by the natural and clear choice to choose his close associate, Chris Grant, whom Danny worked in partnership with for his entire five years leading the Cavaliers front office, to succeed Danny as the Cleveland Cavaliers new general manager.”

In other words, “See you later Danny, LeBron’s in charge.” Of course, it was abundantly clear that King James was not returning to Cleveland without a new coach and a new general manager, making this a major move in the LeBron summer sweepstakes. Only time will tell if these practical management decisions will be able to compete with the care package of cards, gifts, and signs that Moishe’s moving company is organizing to support New York’s bid for LeBron.

Sources:
Danny Ferry Resigns as Cleveland Cavaliers General Manger [NBA Fanhouse]

New World Cup Ball Is Terrible, Again?

FIFA might consider including players voicing complaints about the new World Cup competition ball as part of the official festivities leading up to the quadrennial international soccer competition. This year, Adidas introduced the Jabulani, meaning “to celebrate” in isiZulu, for the South African hosted World Cup which kicks off on June 11th. Reactions have been negative at best, with Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar taking a page out of Shaquille O’Neal’s book of witty criticisms by comparing the ball to a plastic toy you might find at a supermarket. Here is what his teammate, Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano, had to say:

“It’s very weird. All of a sudden it changes trajectory on you. It’s like it doesn’t want to be kicked. It’s incredible, it’s like someone is guiding it. You are going to kick it and it moves out of the way. I think it’s supernatural, it’s very bad. I hope to adapt to it as soon as possible, but it’s going to be hard.”

In the interest of honest, even-handed reporting, we should also mention that some players such as Kaka, Michael Ballack, and Frank Lampard — all under contract with Adidas — have praised the ball. I’m going have to take a wait and see stance on this one, though. Because we see these complaints every time the new ball is introduced, it really comes down to how the players react once they are out on the pitch and if the fans can notice a significant disparity from the expected level of play.

Sources:
Players not happy with ‘supermarket’ WCup ball [AP]

A Round of Golf with President Bush

One would think that golfing with eight carts filled with Secret Service men would make you a nightmare to share the golf course. To his surprise, however, Golfweek’s Jeff Rude had the pleasure of letting the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, play through at the Dallas National Golf Club on Monday.

It seems that being a U.S. President out of office is a pretty sweet gig. Playing three to four rounds a week when home in Dallas, Bush clearly rolls out in style, sporting an exclusive, custom made number “43” cap and, as Rude describes, “those cool looking, Fred Couples style black Ecco shoes.” Apparently, “number 43” isn’t afraid to use a little presidential privilege on the course either.

“After he scuffed a chip just short of the green, he looked at me and said, “There’s mud on my ball. Can I wipe it off?”

I had been introduced to him as a Golfweek writer. Now I was playing rules official.

“I suppose you have some sort of presidential privilege,” I said.

Given that unofficial permission, he picked up his ball, cleaned it, looked over and said, “I’m not going to read about this in the magazine, am I?”

I smiled but didn’t answer. I’ll answer now: No, not in the magazine.

On the Web site.”

Say what you will about W’s track record in public office, he doesn’t seem like the worst guy to have in your foursome. Playing 18 holes with eight secret service cars is probably the safest day on the links you could ask for—now watch this drive!

Sources:
Hate to be Rude: A President plays through [Golfweek]

Who Wants to See Maradona Naked?

Here’s a little taste of 2010 World Cup fever for you: Argentinean soccer legend and current national team manager Diego Maradona promised an Argentinean radio show that if his squad wins the World Cup he will run naked through downtown Buenos Aires. Some coaching strategies are beyond me.

The 49-year-old well known for the infamous “Hand of God” goal made the statement a day after Argentina defeated Canada 5-0 in a pre-World Cup warm-up match. The reporter asked Maradona what he would do if Argentina won its third World Cup title, to which Maradona pointedly replied, “If we win the World Cup, I will get naked and run around the Obelisk.”

For the non-geography students out there, the Obelisk is a tall, four sided landmark in Buenos Aires that was constructed to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the city. Maradona also took the interview opportunity to explain why he opted not to play reigning FIFA player of the year Lionel Messi against Canada: “If something were to have happened to [Messi] in that match, I’d have been kicked – you can imagine where.”

So for those of you sports fans that follow soccer one summer out of every four years looking for a club to support, consider this Maradona’s bid for your allegiance.

Sources:
Maradona will run naked if Argenita wins Cup [FOX Sports]