NFL Hot Topics and Links

By NoontimeSports.com

It’s easy to state that it’s officially summertime, especially since the sports world is somewhat calm and subdue. However, there’s some interesting and intriguing NFL stories that emerged on Monday, which is why we’ve decided to compile a list and share them with our fans. So, find a story you like and click it.

* New England Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch seemed confident in a recent report that there will indeed be a NFL season this fall. However, he advised fans to be “patient.”

*According to reports, Terrell Owens is recovering from ACL surgery, but while it’s certain that he won’t be on the field anytime soon, some wonder if his career is officially over? Also, if he signs with a new team, one has to wonder, will he be a bad influence?

* Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett is making sure to workout and prepare for the upcoming season. Yet, why isn’t he working with his other teammates or Tony Romo?

* Good news for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, as his lifelong friend and quarterback coach Tom Martinez seems to be doing well despite his recent health issues.

* Have you been watching the NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players of 2011?” If so, one NFL writer has a few thoughts on the current list, as well as while it’s funny and interesting.

* New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has broken his silence and is optimistic about a new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) for the NFL.

Daily Noontime – June 24, 2011

The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Kyrie Irving, as their first round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft!

Happy Friday to everyone! It’s the weekend, which means, the work week is slowly coming to a close, wahoo! Here’s the day’s headlines and news, so enjoy! 

Headlines: 

* The Cleveland Cavaliers used their first round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft to select Duke’s Kyrie Irving, who apparently has a large following overseas.

* Well, the NFL talks have now switched to Boston, Massachusetts, so hopefully, Bob Kraft and the Patriots front office can help the negotiations, right?

* Despite the fact that the NBA could head into a lockout, players have admitted they’re not worried, but want a quality deal for the future.

* It’s official, New York Jets back-up quarterback Erik Ainge has decided to end his NFL career.

* The 2011 NHL Draft is Friday and the Detroit Red Wings have their eye on various defensemen.

* Well, the Los Angles Dodgers and Frank McCourt drama continues, as FOX is not interested in forcing a deal.

Games to Watch: 

* Colorado at New York Yankees (MLB) – 7:05pm eastern 

* Boston at Pittsburgh (MLB) – 7:05pm eastern 

* Cleveland at San Francisco (MLB) – 10:15pm eastern

Video of the Day: 

This wasn’t much of a surprise, right? 

Does Anyone Care About A NBA Lockout? Why It Will Happen!

Get ready folks because a NBA Lockout is on the way!

By Dan Rubin 

I used to say greed is good.  Now it seems as if it’s legal. – Gordon Gekko

If I say the words “NFL Lockout” to you, I guarantee you’ll have an opinion.

If I say the words “NBA Lockout” to you, you’ll probably do a double take and look at me funny. Well – believe it, because it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.

In two weeks, unless something drastic happens, owners in the NBA will lock out players in the same fashion that football owners did to their own. Facilities will be shut off to players and the landscape of professional basketball, as well as professional sports will change the way it looks once again.

It’s somewhat ironic at how this labor situation is taking place since it’s a complete 180-degree turn from the way the NFL unfolded. Throughout its recent labor dispute, the NFL operated very much in the public eye. The owners opted out of a bad labor agreement, leading to last season with no salary cap, followed by the labor talks throughout the whole year and into the playoffs. As the season ended, the owners eventually did put the locks on their stadiums, and the backlash became evident as the days bore on. The NFL Draft was littered with chants of “We want football,” which helped league commissioner Roger Goodell, the owners and players know how badly the NFL needs to come back.

The NBA has been completely different. There haven’t been too many articles regarding the labor woes found in basketball. When the Dallas Mavericks polished off the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, the league had higher ratings than before and storylines all over the place. Even with the NHL recording its highest ratings in years, the NBA still demolished it in its championship round television viewership.

And, yet, simmering in the background, was the prospect of no 2011-2012 NBA season.

The owners and players are roughly $8 billion apart in proposals. They’re also asking the players union to give back $160 million of a so-called “escrow tax” that ensured players made no more than 57% of league revenue. They’re trying to implement a “flex cap” system similar to the NHL, a system that players are balking at and with the NBA Draft on Thursday, prospects are already making contingency plans for what to do when teams select their negotiating rights, but then can’t negotiate.

The expired Collective Bargaining Agreement or CBA, limits the amount of money one team can pay for a player with a certain amount of years. It states that a player with less than six years’ experience can make no more than either $9 million or 25% of the salary cap. It then gradually slots how much a team can spend on selected players as they get older and gain more experience.

In its complexity, the CBA also slots players into several different rules, groupings, and exceptions. The most commonly known rule is the so-called Larry Bird Rule. The Bird Rule allows for a team to resign any player currently on its roster for as much money as agreed upon, even if it exceeds the salary cap.

If a team then goes over the salary cap, they’re limited on how much they can spend for free agents and who they can trade for. They cannot trade for a player if they end up more than $100,000 over their current salary level. This means they can continue to exceed the cap, but they can’t do it by more than $100,000. And, as a reminder, for every dollar a team goes over the cap, they have to pay a dollar to the league in luxury tax, essentially doubling a player’s salary.

There are several other layers, and I probably could spend solid seven pages writing about the old, expired CBA. It’s confusing, it’s weird, and it leads to some awkward moments.

Remember when the Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen?

One of its intricacies is that a team can’t trade draft picks after the lottery. They can only trade draft rights. That means that a team holding a draft pick has to draft a player, then trade that player to the team that wants that pick. That awkward moment came when the Boston Celtics drafted Jeff Green in ’07. It was already agreed upon that the Seattle Supersonics wanted that draft pick in exchange for Ray Allen. But Green had to be chosen by the Celtics in order for that to happen.

It’s confusing, confounding, and a lot of people, least of all the general managers of the NBA, got really sick of it. That’s ironic considering their the ones giving out the contracts, bending to the will of the players, willing to resign them and escalate the salaries just to put some butts in their seats.

NBA owners are looking for a system, which is easy for their organizations to navigate, and also gives them a break from their self-imposed budget crunch. There are too many teams with high-priced players and sub-par attendance, and, what’s worse, teams unwilling to spend. Trade deadline talk almost always centers on “expiring contracts,” leading to teams trading their best players away to clear cap space for runs at free agency.  It’s hard to imagine that the Cleveland Cavaliers, who couldn’t even 20 games last year, actually have two players making more than $10 million per season.  As stupid as he was for the public smear campaign against Lebron James, owner Dan Gilbert might be dumber for that little statistic.

David Stern is a smart and shrewd businessman. He knows his salary cap system is completely antiquated, and it does nothing to stop “super-teams” from forming because teams are willing to shell out cash. It surely didn’t stop the Miami Heat from signing James and Chris Bosh, even though their respective teams of Cleveland and Toronto could’ve offered them more money to stay under the Larry Bird Rule.

Stern knows that the max salary rule, while good, didn’t stop the Heat from manipulating the rulebook, just as Boston and New York did when they traded half their teams away for Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony, respectively. And he realized all of this while realizing that, overall, the league was in danger of losing serious amounts of money if half of their teams began failing.

In fact, he looked squarely at the NHL when the negotiations began and, almost immediately, began lobbying for a flex cap system like the one hockey uses. Hockey lost an entire season in 2004-2005, a year that really bottomed out what was the dark age of the sport. But in the wake of the lost season, the NHL rebounded to become a heck of a lot stronger than it was before.

When the NHL came out of its lockout, it introduced a hard salary cap of just under $40 million (which is $10 million more than what Alex Rodriguez makes in an entire season). They capped what max salaries could be, and they made the salary cap contingent on how well the game was received. Having gone up every year since the lockout, the NHL salary cap now exceeds $60 million for the first time.

The NBA is worth more money and is more popular than the NHL; it’s recognized as a much more national game. If Stern can institute a system where player salaries are not 57 or 59 percent of the cap and cannot exceed a certain amount, then the NBA can ensure further profitability. If they can rollback salaries that are flaming out of control (which the NHL did when it came out of its lockout), then teams can have more money to spread across more players. By instituting a salary floor that the league could use to force some teams to avoid clearing salary cap, bottoming out, and it restores a thicker middle of the league.

What did Gary Bettman do that helped the NHL return after their lockout?

In the NHL this past season, the worst team in the Eastern Conference had only 18 wins less than the first seed. In the NBA, the worst team in the Eastern Conference had 43 wins less than the top seed. Granted, the NHL has other rules governing overtimes and ties, but that’s still a massive contrast.

I’m not saying the NHL is better than the NBA; it’s no secret that I’m a big hockey fan. I am saying that the current system in place in the NHL is a model system for financial parity, and although some teams have failed or are failing (Atlanta and Phoenix chiefly among that list), that has to do more with fan attendance and a lack of interest in southern, non-winter climates than it does with escalating salaries (poor product placement on Gary Bettman’s fault). The NBA is the more nationally popular sport, and kids everywhere play ball. There’s no reason why it should be in this situation.

Very quietly, the NBA is stomping towards a lockout. As news trickles out that the NFL might be inching closer to a labor agreement, the NBA appears content to hurdle towards a lost season. A year in which it was massively popular will go by the wayside. Maybe in five or six years, it’ll be a better league for it.  But for right now, the league seems prepared to sit out, its lasting image being Dirk Nowitzki emotionally going into the locker room in Miami, holding the Larry O’Brien Trophy, with fans filing towards an exit, no idea of what’s about to happen.

Daily Noontime – June 23, 2011

Tim Thomas earned a special award on Wednesday, but what exactly was it?

Happy Thursday, Folks! It’s going to be yet another great day, but in the meantime, here is today’s headlines and news, so enjoy!

Headlines: 

* Well, the NFL labor talks are now going to be switched to Boston, but again, what will happen this time?

* It was an exciting evening in Las Vegas on Wednesday, as the NHL handed out their yearly awards.

* It was an exciting day for Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas who won the Vezina Trophy on Wednesday.

* Things are not looking good for Frank McCorut and yes, it slowly looks like his days with the Los Angles Dodgers are numbered.

* Remember a young soccer star by the name of Freddy Adu? Well, in case you didn’t, he’s a young, talented soccer player that helped Team USA beat Panama, 1-0.

* For the second time this season, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee went the distance, as well as lasted nine innings for a shutout.

Games to Watch: 

* Seattle at Washington (MLB) – 1:05pm eastern 

* Oakland at New York Mets (MLB) – 1:10pm eastern 

* Minnesota at San Francisco (MLB) – 3:45pm eastern 

Video of the Day: 

It was an exciting evening for Tim “Timmy” Thomas on Wednesday and yes, he was happy to win the Vezina Trophy! 

Daily Noontime – June 21, 2011

Who in the NBA wants Josh Smith?

Good day to everyone! Yes, it’s Tuesday, but also, it’s the first official day of summer, wahoo! Here’s the day’s headlines and news, so enjoy!

Headlines: 

* If you’re a Boston Red Sox fan, well, you’re quite content these days, as their offense has certainly found its groove.

* Attention NBA owners … the Atlanta Hawks would be interested in hearing from you about acquiring Josh Smith.

* Apparently more turmoil is occurring in the NFL, as players and owners continue to see things differently. Although it certainly seems the owners are the reason why a new CBA hasn’t occurred.

* It’s official, NBA owners will meet on Tuesday to discuss their labor-issues, as well as see if they can piece together a new season too.

* Good news NHL fans, the NHL network and website will wrap up their 2010-2011 coverage with the draft, so be excited.

* According to sources, Nicklas Lidstrom will return for a 20th season with the Detroit Red Wings, but is that a good or bad move?

Games to Watch: 

* Los Angles of Anaheim Angels at Florida (MLB) – 7:10pm eastern

* Philadelphia at St. Louis (MLB) – 8:15pm eastern 

Video of the Day: 

It’s officially summer, but we can still watch college bands perform, right?

 

Daily Noontime – June 3, 2011

Miami led, but Dallas won Game 2!

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to the end of the week Daily Noontime! Have a great weekend and yes, let’s get it started with today’s headlines and news!

Headlines: 

* The Miami Heat may have led Dallas for a majority of the game, but the Mavericks comeback was the true story of Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

* LeBron James and his teammates should certainly learn by now, if you’re leading a team, don’t expect to win the game, right?

* Well, it looks like we have some good news for the NHL, which is Brendan Shanahan will be the leagues new disciplinarian, which could be a good or bad thing.

* Apparently the NFL experienced some “secret talks” yesterday between owners and players and yes, it sounds like it went somewhat well.

* Good news for Vancouver Canucks fans, Alex Burrows won’t be suspended for biting Patrice Bergeron during Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals.

* According to sources, Alex Rodriguez‘s former steroid supplier was seen at the New York Yankees hotel this past week in San Francisco.

Games to Watch: 

* Texas at Cleveland (MLB) – 7:05pm eastern

* Oakland at Boston (MLB) – 7:10pm eastern

* Chicago Cubs at St. Louis (MLB) – 8:15pm eastern

* New York Yankees at Los Angles of Anaheim Angels (MLB) – 10:05pm eastern 

Video of the Day: 

Throwing out the first pitch at any baseball game is an honor, right? Here’s a few tips from a MLB expert! 

Daily Noontime – April 21, 2011

Good news Bucs fans. If there is no season, you will get the London game refunded.

Happy Thursday to everyone and welcome to yet another Daily Noontime in April. Here is today’s headlines and news, but also, an amazing video of the day!

Headlines: 

* The Dallas Mavericks will hit the road for Games 3 and 4 against the Portland Trail Blazers, but will they succeed outside of Texas?

* How about the play of Lamar Odom on Wednesday, not bad, right? Odom led the Los Angles Lakers past the New Orleans Hornets to even the series, 1-1.

* Even though they are scheduled to play in London this season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are planning to refund fans for the game.

* NFL Labor Talks will begin again on May 16, but one has to wonder, is the leagues unity dissolving?

* How should the Los Angles Dodgers feel about the MLB intervening and taking over?

* Believe it or not, but Steve Yzerman could be a possible NHL GM of the Year.

Games to Watch: 

* Atlanta at Los Angles Dodgers (MLB) – 3:10pm eastern

* Boston at Montreal (NHL Playoffs) – 7:00pm eastern

* Chicago Blackhawks at Vancouver (NHL Playoffs) – 10:00pm eastern

* Dallas at Portland (NBA Playoffs) – 10:30pm eastern

Video of the Day: 

You never want to score for the other team because otherwise, you just feel awkward, right?


Daily Noontime – April 8, 2011

Happy Friday to everyone and welcome into yet another Daily Noontime. It is Opening Day here in Boston, as the Red Sox welcome the New York Yankees to town, so get excited fans! In the meantime, sit back, relax and enjoy today’s news and headlines.

Headlines:

* The MLB season has just begun, but Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is already looking forward to the end of the year, so he can have surgery on his left foot.

* Barring an epic collapse, which could happen, the Chicago Bulls will indeed be the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

* The NFL may want to consider returning to the bargaining table because otherwise things will remain the way they are currently.

* Sad news hit the NHL on Thursday, as EJ McGuire past away. McGuire, who was battling cancer was the Vice President of Central Scouting.

* Don’t count out those Baltimore Orioles, who rallied on Thursday to get past the Detroit Tigers, 9-5.

* Rory McIlroy currently is the leader at the Masters, but how much longer will that last?

Games to Watch:

* New York Yankees at Boston (MLB) – 2:05pm eastern

* Texas at Baltimore (MLB) – 7:05pm eastern

* Philadelphia at Buffalo (NHL) – 7:30pm eastern

* Phoenix at New Orleans (NBA) – 8:00pm eastern

* Denver at Oklahoma City (NBA) – 8:00pm eastern

Video of the Day:

Nothing like a flyover on Opening Day, right? Especially at Fenway Park!


Daily Noontime – April 7, 2011

When exactly will the Red Sox win?

Well, what do you know? It is officially Thursday and April is slowly flying by, well, not really flying, but somewhat. You get the gist, right? Any who, here is your Daily Noontime for April 7, 2011, have a terrific day everyone!

Headlines:

* The Boston Red Sox have had worse starts in franchise history, but after Wednesday’s loss to Cleveland, things are certainly not looking up!  If things don’t change, Theo Epstein could make a gigantic splash.

* Miami Heat forward LeBron James is always causing controversy, but how does he feel about his mother getting arrested?

* It looks like Duke’s Kyrie Irving will enter the NBA Draft this June, but did he make the right decision?

* After an interesting session in court on Wednesday, it seems the message is simple to the NFL… GET BACK TO THE TABLE AND TALK!

* Did anyone see this coming? The Milwaukee Bucks knocked off the Miami Heat on Wednesday, 90-85.

*Are the Atlanta Falcons in the process of replacing their great tight end, Tony Gonzalez?

Games to Watch:

* Boston at Cleveland (MLB) – 12:05pm eastern

* Houston at Cincinnati (MLB) – 12:35pm eastern

* Tampa Bay at Chicago White Sox (MLB) – 2:10pm eastern

* Boston at Chicago (NBA) – 8:00pm eastern

Video of the Day:

There may actually be one member of the Red Sox organization who is doing quite well, right? This guy is it!


Daily Noontime – March 11, 2011

Would you really want to arrest Chara for a serious hit?

Good morning and welcome to yet another weekend! It is indeed Friday March 11, 2011, and it is now time to deliver todays headlines and news, so sit back, relax and have a great weekend!

Headlines:

* Despite dealing with a serious foot injury, Yao Ming has made it clear that he plans to return to the Houston Rockets next season.

* The NFL Lockout deadline is 11:59pm eastern on Friday, so unless both sides work out something, this “War of The Rose” could get worse.

* If there isn’t a NFL season in 2011, it could have a major impact on the Sin City.

* Los Angles Lakers forward Blake Griffin may have dunked over a car, but could he match Guy Dupuy who was able to jump over the top of a BMW?

* Despite the Miami Heat’s win against the Los Angles Lakers on Thursday, more news continues to swirl around their “cry-gate.”

* Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara is indeed in trouble with the fans for his hit on Tuesday, but do they seriously need to have a criminal investigation occur?

Games to Watch:

* Edmonton at Detroit (NHL) – 7:30pm eastern

* Atlanta at Chicago (NBA) – 8:00pm eastern

* Orlando at Golden State (NBA) – 10:30pm eastern

Video of the Day:

Kemba Walker knows how to make things rather dramatic, so that’s why he waited to take the final shot… again!