Archive for January 19th, 2007


Friday, January 19th, 2007

KNICKS…NETS…TONIGHT

Knicks Rumors & NewsNets Rumors & News

Amazingly, halfway through the 2006-2007 NBA season, the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets will square off for the first time tonight. What should be a fierce rivalry has been mostly tepid over the last decade plus, largely because neither team has been very good at the same time. The Knicks mercurial plummet following their appearance in the 1999 NBA Finals conveniently coincided with the equally sudden rise of the Nets following the arrival of Jason Kidd in 2001. While there was brief optimism in New York upon the arrival of Isiah Thomas and Stephon Marbury in 2004, the Nets dominating playoff sweep that spring sent the franchise tumbling to new depths, culminating in last season’s 23-win season. Overall, since Kidd arrived in Jersey, the Nets are 20-4 against the Knicks, and 10-1 at Madison Square Garden. Staggering and embarrassing statistics.

Yet if the buzz surrounding tonight’s match-up at MSG is any indication, the tide may be beginning to turn. For the first time in …

The New NHL

Devils Rumors & NewsIslanders Rumors & News

Next season, the NHL will sport a new look as teams will switch to more streamlined jerseys. The aim of the uniforms is to blend “fashion with functionality,” improving the players’ comfort, flexibility, and movement. The new unis will be unveiled at next week’s All-Star Game, but the Journal News’ Sam Weinman has a sneak peak over at his blog. The new look is actually not all that dissimilar from the current uniforms, which had changed very little in the last 40 years.

Shanahan named captain!

Rangers Rumors & News

No, not captain of the Rangers, though many would argue the first-year Ranger has been captain de facto all season long. Brendan Shanahan has been named captain of the Eastern Conference All-Stars, and at age 37, is the oldest All-Star from either conference. Colorado’s Joe Sakic was named captain of the West.

Shanahan’s 24 goals are tied with Martin Straka for the team lead. Captain Jaromir Jagr leads the Blueshirts in assists (42) and points (59), but will be skipping this year’s All-Star Game in favor of rest and rehab for his injured right shoulder. Jagr separated the shoulder in the first round of last year’s playoffs, and underwent surgery in the offseason, but still does not feel at full strength.

The All-Star break begins on Sunday, the YoungStars game and skills competition will be held on Tuesday night, and the game itself will take place Wednesday night.

Wilson signs with Atlanta

Yankees Rumors & News

The AP reports that first baseman Craig Wilson has signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Atlanta Braves. Wilson, 30, hit .251 with 17 homers and 49 RBIs for the Pirates and Yankees last season, and will replace former Braves 1B Adam LaRoche, who yesterday was swapped in exchange for Pittsburgh pitcher Mike Gonzalez.

The Yankees acquired Wilson at the trade deadline in 2006 for pitcher Shawn Chacon.

Knicks keeping eye on KG, Allen

Knicks Rumors & News

Both the Post and Daily News believe Isiah Thomas is frustrated with the corner he’s painted himself into, unable to add significant payroll due to Garden orders, and unwilling to trade his young talent. While the Golden State Warriors and Indiana Pacers completed an eight-player swap on Wednesday, and Chris Webber made his debut for the Detroit Pistons, Thomas has been left sitting on his hands.

The Post cites an unsubstantiated internet rumor that had Kevin Garnett coming to the Knicks in exchange for Channing Frye, Nate Robinson, Jamal Crawford, and a 2008 first-round pick. But according to a league official who spoke to the Post, the Knicks have not been active on the trade front lately.

The Daily News reports that New York continues to “monitor” the KG situation in Minnesota, as well as the availabilty of Seattle’s Ray Allen. While the Timberwolves are still in playoff contention, the Sonics have struggled all season.

Yankees Grade: Incomplete?

Yankees Rumors & News

Earlier today, we reported that Jon Heyman had handed out a “D” to the Mets in his offseason report card for the National League. Well, Heyman has also released his AL report card, and the Yankees received…an incomplete?

Says Heyman:

“They have attempted to rekindle their past glory (Andy Pettitte; Roger Clemens?) and reinvigorate themselves by stockpiling youthful pitchers (Humberto Sanchez, Ross Ohlendorf and others) while also purging their clubhouse of greedy Sheffield and ornery Randy Johnson. The plan makes sense, but with Kei Igawa and Carl Pavano still penciled into the rotation, the pitching staff looks slightly unfinished. The bet is Clemens will be there by June (though the Red Sox and Astros haven’t given up on that one).

Grade: Incomplete (B- without Clemens, A- with him).”

Fair enough, Jon. FYI, the rival Red Sox received an “A” for their offseason acquisitions of Julio Lugo, J.D. Drew (if he ever signs on the ‘x’), and the much-hyped and highly-coveted Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Welcome to the Barclays Center

Nets Rumors & News

The Nets have reached an agreement with Barclays Bank for the naming rights to their yet-to-be-built Brooklyn arena. The parties have agreed to a 20-year, nine-digit deal that the New York Daily News reports “could become one of the priciest naming-rights deals ever for a sports venue.” Barclays, a London-based bank, is the largest bank in the world, by total assets.

Opponents of the arena project claim the deal is premature, and that “Barclays Bank is paying for what appears to be a violation of the Constitution.” Several eminent domain lawsuits are currently pending against the $4.2 billion plan.

Hurricane Joumana

Nets Rumors & News

If the daily tabloids are to be believed, Nets fans have only seen the tip of the iceberg concerning the Jason Kidd divorce controversy. According to the Daily News, Joumana Kidd was derisively referred to as “Five-O” – slang for police – due to her constant snooping and meddling. The paper also reports that there is no love lost between the soon-to-be-former Mrs. Kidd and the Nets front office, as Joumanna Kidd made frequent demands of the organization and was a general pest to all involved, leading to reported concerns by some insiders that Joumana will attempt to “terrorize the team” in the wake of the couple’s divorce.

According to a January 16th report from Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the organization believes that “Joumana plans to deliver damaging information on Jason and possibly his teammates…This is going to get messier and nastier and ultimately test the staying power of this franchise.”

Deadspin.com speculates that Joumana’s alleged bombshells could concern an unsubstantiated internet rumor from December …

Floyd to the Pirates?

Mets Rumors & News

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on WFAN’s Mike and the Mad Dog show mentioned that in addition to the Chicago Cubs, former Met Cliff Floyd is considering the Pittsburgh Pirates as a potential landing spot.

Giants make O.C. official

Giants Rumors & News

It’s official. The Giants have announced that Kevin Gilbride will remain the team’s offensive coordinator headed into next season. Gilbride had served as Giants quarterbacks coach since 2004 before his abrupt promotion to offensive coordinator in the final week of the season at the expense of team scapegoat John Hufnagel. While initially demoted to “administrative” duties, Hufnagel has since left the team.

Gilbride has worked with Eli Manning since Eli’s inception into the league, and part of the Giants’ thinking on the hire is that Gilbride’s close relationship with the stunted star will help bring out the best in Manning. If Gilbride is unsuccessful, then everyone associated with the Coughlin regime is probably out of a job, starting with the head coach himself.

Bidding war for Asante?

Giants Rumors & NewsJets Rumors & News

Vinny DiTrani of the Bergen Record breaks down the Giants’ need by position today, suggesting that the team bring in a veteran QB who could conceivably compete for the starting job and light a fire under incumbent Eli Manning. In addition, he lists the Colts’ Dominic Rhodes, the Titans’ Chris Brown, and the Packers’ Ahman Green as the best free agent options at running back.

DiTrani also brings up the possibility of the Giants entering into the impending bidding war for Patriots’ cornerback Asante Samuel should New England let him hit the open market. Jets head coach Eric Mangini coached Samuel while serving first as defensive backs coach and later as defensive coordinator of the Patriots. The Jets have plenty of cap space, and are a safe bet to pursue Samuel aggressively as well.

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