Category: NBA


Report: Blazers fire coach

Multiple media outlets are reporting that the Portland Trail Blazers have fired head coach Nate McMillan. Portland is 20-23 on the season and lost seven of its last 10 games.

Not sure I’d give Nate the boot like this so quickly. I sort of think Portland’s problems go beyond this…like two franchise players not being able to play.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

The Los Angeles Clippers have been one of the worst NBA franchises bar none. Now, when they’re finally starting to become competitive they do this?

“Clipper Darrell” has been cheering the Clippers for a while. His outfits…stand out in a crowd shall we say. But the Clippers say he is trying to profit off of it and have asked him to stop with his personality. They offered him an extra season ticket if he complied.

Are you kidding me? The Clippers organization should be embarrassed. Even if they have legitimate reasons, they never asked him to stop when they sucked. So now, when they start winning is when they ask him to cease with his persona. Looks like a heartless move by LA to me.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

For now, former Nevada guard Armon Johnson’s future in the NBA is in jeopardy. The Portland Trail Blazers cut Johnson today.

Anyone who knows me knows I was against Johnson leaving early. The Blazers are keeping an injured Greg Oden over Johnson. Think about that.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

NBA considering contraction

NBA Commissioner David Stern said both sides are talking about a possible contraction in the league. Speaking on a ESPN podcast, Stern said the subject will be brought up again once CBA negotiations are completed.

Here’s something I wouldn’t mind seeing. The NBA does have too many teams with practically empty stadiums. The league also has too many teams making the playoffs for my liking and the season is too long. While it’s unlikely the last two will change, it’ll be nice to see the NBA with a few less teams. Let’s face it, some cities are just not basketball cities. And seeing half-full stadiums isn’t very appealing.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

So, it’s the start of what I hope will be a weekly column. Let’s just start with some Wolf Pack stuff.

Media day was this week. Head coach Chris Ault and the players said about what you’d expect. That there are a lot of leaders on the team, that quarterback Tyler Lantrip is ready. That the team is out to prove that last year wasnt’ an anomaly. Let’s be real. It’ll be difficult to tell how good this Nevada team is for a while.

The team’s non-conference schedule is difficult. Opening the season against Oregon…not good. Road games against Texas Tech and Boise State in the first four games of the season? Recipe for a rough start. Lantrip may be ready to lead, but, let me tell you, Autzen Stadium is a tough place to begin your first season starting. The Red Raiders are tough on the road and Boise State will be looking for revenge. In short, Lantrip and the Wolf Pack will be overwhelmed early in the season. And by the team they get settled, it’ll begin its conference season in full force after a game against UNLV. And, the WAC is not a good judge of how good a team is.

Fresno State and Hawaii are good, but definitely not great competition. So, just as fans shouldn’t panic if Nevada starts 1-3, fans shouldn’t get overly excited if the Wolf Pack runs the table in conference play. Frankly, it’ll be difficult to judge how good this Nevada team is. The bowl game, assuming the team makes one, could be the best judge of how good this team is. What stinks is Lantrip is a senior, so, after this season the Wolf Pack gets to break in a new quarterback again next year.

In my prediction for the season I said Nevada would be a two-loss team this season. And I do believe that can and will happen. However, I do think people need to be a little reasonable here. The Wolf Pack isn’t going to beat Oregon. Trust me, growing up in Oregon and being a former Oregon State fan, I want nothing more than to see the Ducks lose. But they have too many weapons. I’d love to say Nevada was going to have a magical season like last year. But, I just don’t see it happening. But, if the Wolf Pack is a two-or three loss team, that’s about as good as you can expect from this group this season.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

LeBron James cut the ribbon for the LeBron James clubhouse in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. The gym, which belongs to the Boys and Girls Club that he played in as a child, received renovations totaling $240,000, which was donated through his family’s foundation.

Look LeBron. It’s good that you donated money. And helping children is always a worthwhile cause. But, if you are really humbled to be able to help children, if this was really about helping people and that’s it, two suggestions: Don’t name the gym after yourself. And, why not do it anonymously? I mean, according to you, this is, in no way, a way to try and rebuild your image. It’s simply you being charitable. Well, donate anonymously then. Just give them the money. Don’t make it into a media spectacle.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

The Atlanta Hawks and Phillips Arena will be sold to Alex Meruelo, a pizza chain owner and California developer, according to the Associated Press. If that name sounds familiar it’s because Meruelo acquired the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.

As one message board that I saw on http://www.wolfpackchat.com pointed out, this does bring up a pretty good question. Why doesn’t the University of Nevada go after more donors like this? I mean, Meruelo obviously has money to spend, and this shows he’s willing to use it. Why not ask him to play a major role as a donor and sponsor? I know, I hear ads about the GSR during basketball games. But I’m talking about stepping it up. Getting the people more involved, making more of a connection. I did a story earlier this year where people said the problem is businesses didn’t know who to even talk to and the university needed to be able to offer the business something in return for their support.

It’s time the university stepped up its game.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

The NBA and its players union will meet Monday, one month after the league had its first work stoppage since 1998. Now, it’s no secret that the two sides are nowhere near close to each other. The question remains whether the two sides will work out a deal enough to save a large portion of the season.

In my mind there’s no question games will be missed. But, don’t necessarily believe all these NBA players will have a mass-exodus overseas either. It’s an obvious bargaining ploy, but lets not forget foreign leagues can be sketchy at times in paying its players. And, it’s not like if the NBA players all go overseas it will instantly become a premiere league. They don’t have the money and, let’s face it, with players spread out across different leagues, it won’t have the same feeling as the NBA. Here’s one aspect the players might not be thinking about it: It might be a turn-off to their fans in America.

Think about it. Many players already have the image of being greedy, “thugs” and other negative images. You think if they bolt and go overseas we’ll believe the whole we need money argument? Maybe for the lesser-known players, but not the stars. Fans might just think players are getting greedier and reinforce the image that they don’t care about fans at all and just are in a major cash-grab mode.

Lukas Eggen

The NFL isn’t the only major sport going through a lockout. The NBA had talks break down June 30, as the league is in its first lockout since the 1998-99 season, where the season was shortened to 50 games. There’s a difference, however. The NFL is America’s most popular spectator sport. The NBA is in danger of killing its ratings…again and will take years to build it back up.

The NBA seems to think it’s more popular than it is. Frankly, most people don’t care about it. Sure, we tune into some of the playoffs, when it’s on. But, the NBA is a distant second or third in terms of major sports popularity. The season is too long. And, people are getting fed up with the NBA’s image: that it’s athletes are spoiled prima donnas who blow through their money and are a bunch of thugs. I’m not saying it’s true, but that’s the image the NBA has to live with. A lot of its marquee players, including Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant are considering playing overseas if there is no season. You know why the NFL is so popular here? It’s the premiere football league. The NFL players remain uniquely to that league. If the NBA players go overseas, now all the NBA players can say they also played in Europe, or China or wherever they end up going.

And finally, when they have a season in which ratings are up, when Lebron James gives the NBA what it needs, its own version of the Yankees, a team everyone loves to hate, the lockout happens. Make no mistake, the NBA will see far more serious consequences than the NFL in terms of fans, attendance and viewership.

Lukas Eggen