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Kevin Johnson Encourages Sacramento Kings Fans to Move on

Former Phoenix Suns All-Star point guard Kevin Johnson is now the mayor Sacramento, his hometown city. He’s been trying to help the city keep its beloved basketball team, but the Kings moving seems inevitable. Last week we wrote about the Kings filing patents for exclusive rights to the names Los Angeles Royals and Anaheim Royals. That seemed to be a clear sign the Kings were leaving, and a blog post by KJ on Tuesday night echoed that statement.

Towards the end of his post, KJ wrote “First things first, we’ll fight to protect taxpayers and the city. That means making sure the Kings fully pay off their loan.” He added, “Then, we plan for the future” and he began to talk about the city possibly building a new arena to attract a future team. He capped it all off writing “The slow death is almost over. It’s painful. But a new beginning is right around the corner.”

I would encourage you to read the entire post if you’re a Kings fan but you may not like the message. Recognizing the team may be moving on and that you can’t do anything about it is difficult, but like KJ says, Kings fans can take the high road in the situation.

Video: JaVale McGee Incredible Block on Wes Matthews

The Wizards are the second-worst team in the East but that doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to play for. At the least, JaVale McGee and company can still make the highlight shows with spectacular plays like this one. Check out this clean block by JaVale McGee on Wesley Matthews:

People are already calling it the block of the year and it’s hard to disagree. It’s rare a guy gets all ball in a situation like that but McGee managed too. Best part is instead of being one of those people who knocks the ball out of bounds, he grabbed out out of Matthews’ hand to create a turnover. It’s safe to say McGee rebuilt some of the equity he lost after this embarrassing sequence.

If Knicks Are Going to Fire Mike D’Antoni, They Should Fire Donnie Walsh First

New York, we have a problem.

As the New York Knicks’ star-studded spaceship comes tumbling back to Earth, Mike D’Antoni‘s seat is heating up as if he had been jettisoned from the cockpit to burn up in the atmosphere by himself.

While the Knicks load up on losses, the front office counts down the days until D’Antoni will inevitable be fired. The Knicks’ loss Monday night to the Boston Celtics dropped the Knicks to the 7th seed and sent their record crashing to .500. Now just 35-35 and sitting behind the 76ers in the East, New York looks worse than they did just a month ago. With no signs of a turnaround coming, the negative fan base is growing tired and frustrated by the New York minute. For all of this, their coach Mike D’Antoni, will unjustly shoulder the blame.

But is it all D’Antoni’s fault? Not all of it, no. To a degree, he has been responsible for their recent losses. His style of coaching and play calling doesn’t necessarily demand defense and plays into the laziness of his current roster on that end of the floor. But the roster he has to deal with — that’s not his fault; he can’t coach up a team that isn’t willing to be coached.

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Carmelo Anthony Apologizes to Teammates, Upstaged by Latrell Sprewell

It’s truly amazing to see how the excitement surrounding Carmelo Anthony’s trade to the Knicks has died down. We went from this guy being the lead subject in trade rumors the entire season and having New York engulfed in “Melo Mania” to fans already complaining. Perhaps the disappointment exists because the Knicks now have a losing record since acquiring Melo, having gone 7-8 including losing five of six since the trade. The hype built up during the trade announcement and that was validated in a win over Miami is now gone.

Carmelo Anthony didn’t speak to the media after Friday’s loss to Detroit in which he went 2-12 for just six points. He told reporters he cleared the air with teammates at their hotel on Saturday, saying “I got a chance to talk to coach and the guys. Letting them know, don’t be used to me getting frustrated out there. All around it was just a bad day, us losing. The way we lost. That stuff is frustrating.”

The positive feelings from Melo’s apology were short-lived because the Knicks lost to the Bucks by five Sunday. Apparently former Knicks forward Latrell Sprewell was on hand at the Bradley Center for the game and got a positive reception from the fans. And as the NY Post put it, he upstaged Melo “When Anthony went to the free-throw line in the third quarter, the fans chanted “Sprewell’s better.” Yikes!

I understand this was a road game, but it really is amazing to see how things are unraveling. I still believe the Knicks will be a dangerous team in the first round of the playoffs and that they’ll be peaking in two seasons, but in New York there is no patience. The pressure is on to perform now, and at the moment broke Latrell Sprewell is a more popular figure than Melo. That’s sad.

Dan Gilbert Sacked by the LBS Nut Bag for Pathetically Attacking Writer Kelly Dwyer

Over the past year we’ve come to learn that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is quite the jackass. The night LeBron James decided to leave Cleveland for Miami, a livid and chilidish Gilbert fired off an angry letter to the fans ripping LeBron to shreds. Then a few months later he continued to rip LeBron, only this time on twitter. Then in December we learned Gilbert was hiring a law firm to investigate the Miami Heat for tampering. Yeah, this guy is quite the jerk, and for all his offenses he is formally getting sacked by the LBS Nut Bag.

Gilbert’s latest juvenile display includes mocking Yahoo! Sports writer Kelly Dwyer who had predicted the Cavs would win 12 games this season, as I learned from Cleveland sports site Waiting for Next Year.

After the Cavs beat the Kings Wednesday night, a fan pointed out to Gilbert that the Cavs won their 13th game thereby surpassing Dwyer’s prediction. Gilbert then replied “Who is Kellie Dwyer?” He followed it up saying “How long has Kellie been writing? Never heard of her.”

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Avery Johnson Happy Nets Did Not Trade for Carmelo Anthony

Before ultimately being traded to the New York Knicks last month, media reports had Carmelo Anthony traded to New Jersey about a half dozen times. We had a report of a trade in September, January, and February, but Melo wound up with the Knicks, not the Nets.

Now, a month after missing out on the forward, Nets coach Avery Johnson says the team is better off not having pulled the trigger on the trade.

Speaking at New Jersey’s practice Wednesday, Johnson reflected on the status his team. “Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make,” Johnson said. “And that prospective trade that was reported where we were going to supposedly lose basically eight players, man that would have really gutted our team. So we’re glad that that didn’t happen.”

Of course he’s happy! The Nets had won five in a row when he made the comment, so he feels like they’ve improved. And by acquiring Deron Williams, maybe they did get a deal that improves their team more than the Melo trade would have. But I have two reasons Avery should be cautious. One, New Jersey only beat one good team during their streak (Boston), so it’s not like they’re gods. Two, I still bet Deron Williams leaves them in 2012 — they just don’t have enough on the team to keep him around.

Still, Avery may be right — the team could very well be better off with the Williams trade than they would have with Melo.

Donald Sterling Had No Idea About Elgin Baylor’s Playing Career

We’ve been all over Donald Sterling watch here at LBS, so we weren’t about to let another fantastic story slip through the cracks. The lawsuit former Clippers GM Elgin Baylor has brought against the team alleging age discrimination is now being heard. On Tuesday, Sterling testified in court and gave some responses that should come as no shock to anyone who’s followed his story closely.

Asked about hiring Baylor initially, Sterling said he had no idea about the Hall of Famer’s legendary playing career and accomplishments. The LA Times’ Lance Pugmire described the exchange between Sterling and Baylor’s attorney:

“You didn’t know about his basketball career?” Baylor attorney Carl Douglas asked Sterling in his first day on the stand as Baylor’s wrongful termination civil lawsuit against the team continued at a Los Angeles courthouse. “His accomplishments? The Hall of Fame?”

“No,” Sterling answered. “… I didn’t know that. I hired him for $3,000 a month. I didn’t really know what his role was…. He was working in a mail-order company back then.”

Ordinarily I’d say there’s some legal strategy behind this denial from Sterling, but I actually wouldn’t be surprised if he’s telling the truth. He was on the stand when he said it, and as a businessman, it’s quite possible he wasn’t a sports fan. We’ve already talked about what a flake he is and how strange he is, so this shouldn’t even come as a shock.

The one area I will defend Sterling for is his patience with Baylor. Few GMs had a worse record than Elgin, yet he kept his job for 22 years. I find it hard to believe there was any discrimination going on — any other GM aside from Isiah Thomas would never have lasted 10 years with such poor performance. Baylor was lucky to be employed as a GM as long as he was, and if anyone should be examined it should be Sterling for leaving him in there so long.

(also via Matt Moore at CBS)