NBA Possibly Extending All-Star Break – Finally

The NBA is possibly taking the model of what baseball does with its all-star game – extending the weekend into a 7-day break for the 2014-15 season. Nothing is finalized as of now, but according to ESPN, the league is working on their season schedule with the 7-day break as a template. This would also mean that teams would get one more set of back-to-back games at some point during the season.

This Adam Silver administration is shaking things up in the league right now. And I am a huge fan for sure.

The NBA All-Star Weekend is absolutely the most fun out of all the All-Star games out there & with having a 7-day break, it means more revenue into the cities that host the game in terms of restaurants, hotels, bars, nightclubs & such. It would also possibly mean that big stars would be willing to compete in some of the more high profile competitions such as the 3-point contest & the slam dunk competition, both competitions that have needed some big stars to participate & take the events to a higher level, the same way that they were in the 80s & 90s.

NBA All-Star Break

LeBron James has been a big advocate of the NBA having a 7-day break during the NBA All-Star Weekend.

In the 80s & 90s, it was nothing to see Michael Jordan take on Dominique Wilkins in a slam-dunk contest & tear down the house. It is NBA folklore that Larry Bird would always walk into the 3-point contest & tell everyone that they were playing for second place. Who the heck even does that anymore that any NBA fan or casual fan would care about!?!?!??!?!!

That’s right. No one.

People have been clamoring for LeBron James to get into the slam dunk contest. This could be the type of break that a big time star could use that would entice them to rest up a bit, get ready for the All-Star weekend activities & really be able to show out without damaging their bodies & giving them the opportunity to rest up before getting back into the grind of the NBA season.

Even if James or the other big stars of the NBA didn’t compete in all of the all-star weekend activities, it lends to a longer break during a grind of an NBA season. 82 games over the span of 7 months, not including playoffs, which is another 2 months, is an absolute grind on the body, the mind & on the players’ families. Having just that week in the middle of the season to go travel, unwind from basketball a bit & rest the body a bit will lend itself to some great basketball down the stretch run & will allow for players to have a bit more energy during the grind of the NBA playoffs & even the push to make the playoffs for many teams.

Sounds like Adam Silver is going to be the NBA Commissioner who is all about change & listening to the players. He made a big splash in the Donald Sterling ban, now possibly extending the All-Star break & a big TV deal coming up with possibly Turner Sports, Fox Sports, ESPN & other networks being involved.

The NBA has a slam dunk on their hands right now.




UFC Apparel On Sale Tonight During #UFConFox12

During tonight’s UFC card on Fox, titled #UFConFox12, the Sports Fan Playground has deals on hundreds of UFC t-shirts, hats & much more to show off that you are a true UFC fan. Here are some of the items that are currently available at low prices this evening.

UFC Men’s Escape Training Shorts – $19.01

UFC shorts

These UFC training shorts are currently $19.01, down 72% off of the retail price of $67.95. The shorts are made out of 74% polyester & 26% spandex.

UFC Chrome Women’s Logo T-Shirt – $24.95

UFC t-shirt

UFC chrome women’s logo t-shirt is available for $24.95 during the UFC on Fox 12 event this evening.

EA Sports UFC – Playstation 4 – $39.00

UFC Playstation 4

The recently released UFC video game, developed by EA Sports, is available for $39.00, down from $59.99 at the Sports Fan Playground video game store.

UFC Bruce Lee Shirt – $29.99

UFC Bruce Lee

UFC Bruce Lee translation t-shirt is available for $29.99 at the Sports Fan Playground UFC store.

These are some of the UFC items that are currently marked down tonight. To see more of the items that are on sale, please visit the entire UFC store to see the entire line of products available.


NFL Showing True Colors With Ray Rice Situation

Roger Goodell has had a bit of a rough offseason. The situation with Michael Sam of the St. Louis Rams has been met with strong optimism & a small bit of skepticism & criticism about having a landmark moment of having an openly gay player in the NFL. However, that is a positive moment.

Ray Rice

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who is suspended for 2 regular season NFL games for assaulting his girlfriend-now-wife.

The biggest negative moment so far in the NFL offseason is the incident with Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice showing up in video that showed that he was dragging his unconscious now-wife out of an elevator after hitting her in an elevator at a casino.

Let’s put this out here immediately – violence against women is NEVER acceptable at any level whatsoever. The fact that Rice felt that his only recourse in a situation that was allegedly the fault of he & his wife was to hit her, thus knocking her unconscious is one of the lowest, dirtiest things that a man can do against a woman. The backlash against Rice around the league was very minimal, at best – so minimal that the league announced that Rice would only serve a two game suspension in the upcoming 2014 NFL season.

Wait, isn’t this the same league who’s leader (Goodell) said that the idea of every player in the league is to “protect the integrity of the shield” & that a personal conduct policy would be strictly enforced?

If that’s the case, that shield gets more & more damaged every single day & every single season. Unfortunately, most of it seems to be from the culture of many of the players in the NFL. Of course, its never everyone causing the problems, but particular players are the ones who shed a bad light for everyone else & gives a bad impression to younger players who look up to professional athletes – for what reason, I will never know.

The league has had issues in the past with domestic violence & sexual assault situations with a variety of players. The teams don’t firmly punish the players or educate them on the issues of what assault & violence consequences can have. It shows that the NFL has a bigger program than taking marijuana or pain-killers & crap like that.

The NFL does NOT respect women in no way, shape or form.

For Rice, who doesn’t have a history of incidents in the NFL or when he was at college at Rutgers, this should have been a throw-the-book type of justice. Most people would have been fine with a 6 or 8 game suspension & it would have gone away until the next major situation arises later on in the season, but this is far different. Rice isn’t going to miss any significant time with the Ravens organization & by week 3, the Ravens fans will still be cheering for him.

But what about the message that the NFL is constantly trying to talk about sending out to kids? The league has shown that this large, powerful organization is a “good-ol-boys” network that only thinks that women should be around just for hot eye candy & to be treated as dolls by overgrown athletes who feel entitled to anyone & anything that they want.

Roger Goodell sent a message this week that if you don’t “fit” into the NFL way of thinking, you are not respected. If you are one of the boys or if you help to bring in revenue to the league the way that Rice does has being a big time running back, you can almost get away with anything.

But, maybe we should have seen this coming, however. The situation with the issue of bullying last year with Jonathan Martin being bullied by Richie Incognito, even though that issue could have been overblown some, was talked about for about a week or so, & then it was swept under the rug & no one talked about it anymore. The Miami Dolphins were punished a bit, had an investigation done on them, coach Joe Philbin said a few words, but there wasn’t a severe penalty that was levied against the Dolphins. It was a “don’t do it again” message & it was life as usual, with Incognito out of the league & Martin on the San Francisco 49ers roster.

That was a situation with two men. This is a situation that is a incredibly large problem in our world right now – disrespect to women & treating women has if they are a lesser than a man. The NFL is front & center with that philosophy & they have made it to seem that Ray Rice was defending himself or being a real “man” by striking his girlfriend at the time & basically condoning the actions.

However, should we be surprised by this? The NFL is seen as the #1 place for macho mentality & in a game where the league is strengthened & promoted through organized violence by being bigger, stronger & faster – almost like trained robots – the robots don’t always know how to tone it down & treat people as normal human beings with respect, especially women.

If the NFL really wanted to send a message, Rice would have been suspended for the entire season & the league would make sure that his merchandise wouldn’t be sold in the Baltimore Ravens stores or the NFL store. By giving that weak two-game suspension, it just shows that everything that the league tries to do that would think to show that they are concerned about the women associated with the league is completely on deaf ears.

The league will get high ratings this year & many people (including this blog) will profit off of the NFL’s strong success, but the question is – what is the league & its players going to show our children & are the issues that the league is having right now with its domestic violence indicative of the overall culture of America? Until we answer that question & do something about what the answer is, this won’t be the last time that a player will do this to a woman & that the NFL’s players as a whole will be looked at as complete neanderthals & savages.



NFL Team Previews, NFL Store Items at Sports Fan Playground

As we prepare for the 2014 NFL season, the Sports Fan Playground blog & store have a variety of items & content devoted to the start of the season.

The blog has comprehensive NFL team previews for all 32 teams going into the upcoming season. The previews will discuss the offensive & defensive units, new coaches, big time players that have come & gone through the offseason, as well as predictions in terms of records.


NFL Team Previews & a comprehensive NFL team store is available at the Sports Fan Playground blog.

Along with the NFL previews, the Sports Fan Playground has deals at its NFL store on various items including jackets, jerseys, hats, t-shirts & much more from all teams around the entire league. The store has top selling jerseys from the 2014 NFL rookie class available from top players such as Johnny Manziel, Michael Sam, Jadeveon Clowney, Blake Bortles & many others.

To go along with the rest of the NFL content available on the blog, the store also has complete NFL TV schedules for all 32 teams, including times, locations & TV channels the games will be located on.

For some, however, the NFL might not be their favorite thing…………the Sports Fan Playground has Saturday college football covered with deals at its college football team stores which represent the Big 12, Big Ten, ACC, Pac-12 & SEC & represent top programs such as Alabama Crimson Tide, Auburn Tigers, Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes, Texas Longhorns, USC Trojans, Stanford Cardinals, Michigan State Spartans, Notre Dame Fighting Irish & many other elite program stores, at low prices.

For more information, check out the rest of the Sports Fan Playground blog.


Bowling Is The Coolest Sport In America Part 1 – The Kids

Here in the midwest, & in other parts of the country, people are getting ready for the new season to begin. No, not to play football, not to play basketball, not to play baseball. People are getting ready for the fall bowling season.

You may read this blog & say “what in the world is this guy smoking?” but let’s be honest, bowling is the #1 recreational sport & highest participated sport in the United States. In many cities, especially where it gets cold during the winter, bowling is a great way to stay active, social & competitive, while not being out freezing your buns off.

But, what are some other reasons that bowling can be the coolest game around? We will break down the great sport & talk about why you should possibly think about joining & maybe inspire your children to join in a local league.

Bowling Equipment Doesn’t Cost Tons of Money For Kids Early On.

Joining as a young person, many areas have sanctioned USBC bowling leagues for children where kids can bowl for scholarship money & the money is saved up as they get older. For the young kids & teenagers, the leagues are typically on Saturday mornings & afternoons & the kids are able to qualify for youth tournaments, get used to the team atmosphere & learn what its like to be in a competitive environment.

But, as with any sport, to be truly competitive, you have to have quality equipment. For the beginning bowler, your equipment can be around $130 to $150 dollars, which is cheaper than hockey, golf, & many of the major high school sports such as football, basketball & baseball, especially if you are paying for multiple children.


Brunswick bowling balls

Brunswick is one of the most trusted & synonymous names associated with bowling anywhere in the world. This Brunswick T-Force ball is a 6-pound ball & is currently priced at $34.95. Many kids start off with 6-pound plastic balls to begin their bowling careers so that they get the confidence of keeping the ball on the lanes and getting high pin counts.

The great thing about bowling for young kids is that most of the equipment doesn’t have to be bought again for several years until they truly develop their skills better. The $100 to $110 is even a high number – many plastic balls (bowling balls that don’t hook) can be as cheap as $30-$40 & are good enough to just get the kids used to the sport & give them a great chance to discover if its a sport that they truly want to continue with in the future.

Bowling Shoes

These Brunswick men’s bowling shoes are on sale for as low as $19.95, with the average price being around $25. Bowling shoes typically last about 3-4 years for the average bowler throwing 2-3 times a week.

Along with the bowling balls, the other main equipment that young bowlers normally have when they are in a league are bowling bags & bowling shoes. The shoes can be supplied by the lanes, but many times, people want to have their own for safety purposes.

The bowling bags can either come in the roller model or the single-ball carry model. For most kids, they will go with the single-ball carry model because they are a lot cheaper & the kids don’t have the skills early on to graduate to the next level of foller bags yet.

bowling bag

This is a single-ball bowling bag from BSI, which is available as low as $6.95, with the highest price being $24.95. This is a normal-size bowling bag for a child starting off for the first time on a league.

Children In Bowling Leagues Have The Ability To Win Scholarship Money.

In most of the leagues that are sanctioned by the USBC, the kids that compete in the various tournaments, as alluded to earlier, can compete for scholarship money while having the ability to compete against the best in their regional area, as well as the entire country for the top tournaments such as the Pepsi Championships.

In their own house leagues, the prize money at the end of the season, which comes partly from their dues that they pay each week, will go towards scholarship money for any school that the student chooses to go to. Along with that, it is a great way to be scouted by strong bowling schools to compete in NCAA competition, so they are able to get all of their competitive juices filled.

With many schools now offering bowling at the high school level, the kids are able to earn full rides to various universities & compete not only in the USBC Youth Program, but in high school programs that will allow the kids to move on to the major NCAA programs, which are becoming stronger around the country with the television coverage from ESPN & CBS Sports Network.

Bowling Allows For Competition Without Worrying About Concussions Or Other Lifelong Injuries.

As I say that, keep in mind that yes, there are injuries that can happen while bowling, especially in the back & knees. But most of the those types of injuries are about form & technique when you are throwing, & can get better with rest & time off, which typically takes place during the summer & spring months.

For parents, they can rest well knowing that the kids are getting the feel of being a part of a closely-knit team (bowling teams are normally between 4-6 members), having great competition, & not fearing that their children are going to be hurt, bruised or have criticially debilitating injuries that will affect their regular way of life in the future, as is what happens with football & other sports.

It is easy to practice for bowling, & going back to the equipment issue, at a certain point, if a child looks as though they are going to stick with the sport & want to be involved with it for years to come, the equipment upgrades won’t have to be done every single year. Bowling is a sport that can pay for itself & as with any game, its all about how much is put into it. Its a game where people won’t complain about how much practice time is put in or if their kids are working too much on a sport. They will get the physical exercise, while learning how to compete hard & take pride in perfecting their craft.



NBA, Los Angeles Clippers Might Face Mutiny If Sterling Owns Team in 2014-15

This story just will not go away. Neither will embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Sterling, who famously had a telephone conversation recorded with his mistress, V. Stiviano, regarding his views of her bringing black people to NBA games & not wanting her to be around them, is suing the NBA, his wife Shelly Sterling, NBA commissioner Adam Silver & the Clippers organization for basically trying to take the team away from him, as he claims that the league violated corporate law when they approved a sale of the team for former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer & that he is the sole owner of the team.

Adam Silver

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is dealing with a tough fight against Donald Sterling in terms of being able to get him out of ownership.

While all of the procedings are taking place in court, on the NBA court, the league could have a far bigger issue to deal with very soon. Reports came out that during the testimony in the trial with Sterling against his wife & the NBA, the appointed CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers, Dick Parsons, testified in court that Clippers head coach Doc Rivers would leave the team if Sterling were still the owner by the start of the 2014-15 NBA season.

Clearly, no one can blame Rivers for his views on the situation, as many players, executives & other employees from around the league have been incredibly offended & embarrassed by the actions & words of Sterling, not only with this situation, but words & actions in the past when Sterling was making his fortune in real estate.

If Sterling is able to keep the team somehow as the new season comes in, there is a good chance, I believe, that players, executives & other coaches around the league, especially with the Clippers, will not play in the league, thus causing a complete boycott. This is going to be the biggest situation that Adam Silver will probably have to face as the leader of the league. He has to do everything in his power to get this man out of the game, especially in a league that is predominantly African-American.

The issue that could come is that Sterling has promised to leak out information on other owners around the league & possibly throw some of the them under the bus, which if their actions are anything close to Sterling’s, then the league – as well as all major sports leagues – will need to truly sit back & reevaluate the conduct of its owners just as hard, if not harder than the actual players.

The NBA players are in an interesting position. The game is very much about star power, as opposed to the other sports where it is more of a team mentality. If LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony & others decide that they won’t play games if a certain owner is running a team, the league would have no choice but to expedite all of their processes & power to get this matter resolved. The team has always been punished in a way, as very few free agents even entertained the idea of playing for the Clippers, a tone that was far different than earlier in the season when the Clippers were the destination team to play for as many people see the team on a rise to being a consistent NBA Championship contender in the next few years.

The power of the players & employees is already showing in Rivers, who has a first-year coach with the Clippers, took the team to the second round of the NBA playoffs & worked to help make the Clippers the #1 team in the city of Los Angeles, a title that had been held by the Lakers for many years. Rivers has a tremendous amount of respect in the league. A move by Rivers to leave the Clippers organization would send huge shockwaves throughout the league & could threaten to cripple the league if the situation wasn’t resolved quickly.

When Silver made his speech that Sterling would be banned from the league & fined for his actions, it received huge praise from players & fans alike. It showed that Silver was fair & firm & wasn’t going to be intimidated by the gravity of the moment & it helped to earn the respect & trust of the players. That trust will be tested in a major way the rest of the summer & for as long as this lawsuit continues.

A big question would be what happens for Clippers players? The league has megastars on the squad already in Blake Griffin, Chris Paul & a budding star in Deandre Jordan. Sponsors showed early on in the scandal that they had no problem with pulling down their advertising dollars away from the organization.

I’m guessing that the players understand that this really isn’t all on Silver, its on Sterling because of the fact that he just doesn’t want to step down as owner of the team on sheer principle alone. He has been filing lawsuits for years, ever since he became the owner of the Clippers when the team used to be in San Diego because he moved the team in the early 80s. Silver & the NBA can only move as fast as the legal process would go, but where the NBA can take some solace is that the players could only be out for so long before the game paychecks would start to truly hurt & the division of the players’ loyalties would start to take place, similar to what happens when the leagues end up in work stoppages.

No matter what happens here, Sterling has to go, no questions asked. Hopefully, he will understand that by hanging on with these lawsuits, he is hurting the very league that he claims to care so much about & the future of the team that he supposedly loves so dearly.


2014 NFL Rookie Jerseys On Sale at the Sports Fan Playground

NFL training camps are opening all around the league, & the Sports Fan Playground has jerseys from the 2014 NFL Draft class available for sale in the blog’s official store.  The jerseys that are available are from the all of the top players in the first round as well as other top names that expect to make an impact in the league in the coming season. Here are some of the top jerseys available for sale at the NFL store at the Sports Fan Playground -

Johnny Manziel – Cleveland Browns

Johnny Manziel jersey

Johnny Manziel Cleveland Browns jerseys available in various sizes at the Sports Fan Playground store.

Michael Sam – St. Louis Rams

Michael Sam

Michael Sam St. Louis Rams jersey available at low prices at the Sports Fan Playground store.

Jadeveon Clowney – Houston Texans

Jadeveon Clowney

Jadeveon Clowney was the #1 pick in the NFL Draft this past year, & the new Houston Texans player has his jersey available at low prices at the Sports Fan Playground store.

Along with those jerseys, the Sports Fan Playground has the jerseys available of Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Eric Ebron & many others, at low prices.


WWE Network Needs Presence on Cable, Satellite

For wrestling fans, old school & new school, the WWE hit a strong home run with their WWE Network, launched February 24, even with some of the bugs that were in the program ( & still are depending on the medium that you are watching the network on). Even though the network hasn’t launched around the world yet, the fact is that the network would help from having some kind of presence on cable & satellite providers.

WWE Network

The WWE Network is one of the better bargains in entertainment, having thousands of hours of classic wrestling content for $9.99 per month.

Yes, the WWE Network is amazing as an app, & it should stay available in app form, but many people around the country don’t have the access or capability to watch the network, especially if you live in a rural area. For example. I happened to be in Nevada in April for business & being in the mountain areas there, there was no way I could pull in the WWE Network because of the big signal there & that high-speed internet wasn’t completely available in that area.

With so many people in the United States who still live in very suburban & rural areas, the WWE is missing out on a large chunk of the population who would probably purchase the Network & with all of their pay-per-view events in the United States on the Network, the company is losing a strong chunk of customers.

According to Worldbank.org, over 54 million people live in rural areas of the United States. If you figure that about 3-4 million of those people might be wrestling fans & another 1-2 million would be willing to actually purchase the WWE Network, that would have taken care of the WWE’s goal of hitting 1 million subscribers in year one & wouldn’t have to go through the massive cost-cutting measures that the company is going through right now, as WWE CEO & Chairman Vince McMahon announced that the company was trying to trim $20 million off of their regular budget.

At the $9.99 a month price for the channel, fans would easily pay for it & the company would become much stronger overall & reach those people in the rural areas that the network isn’t currently reaching.

If the channel were to launch on cable or satellite, it would work as an alternative for the people who don’t have the other systems, or the company could make the WWE Network app strictly their on-demand channel & let the live stream be exclusively on the cable & satellite channel & make the content that shows on the channel immediately available on the app when the shows are completed.

By having the WWE Network live stream running as a regular network on Xfinity, DirecTV & others, yes WWE might have to share some of the revenue streams, but due to so many customers not being able to cut the cord yet with their satellite & cable services, the company will still bring in a strong revenue & be able to turn a profit far faster than just being on an app that many people who are past the age of 55 may not understand.

Right now, the WWE Network is one of the best entertainment apps in the United States, hands down. The collection of shows & events that are available is unprecedented & looks to only get better with shows coming such as the Monday Night War, which looks as though it will be a slam dunk for the company, similar to how WWE Legends House was earlier this year.

It just seems to be, as a die hard wrestling fan, that the WWE Network is poised to succeed, & once more people have access to the service, it will take off the way the fans & the company believe that it will & it should have from the very beginning.


Alabama Crimson Tide NCAA Apparel Up to 80% off at Sports Fan Playground

With the college football season – especially the SEC season – starting in just over 4 weeks, the Sports Fan Playground has deals on various NCAA apparel & accessories, including the entire Alabama Crimson Tide store, which is marked down up to 80% off through the start of the upcoming season.

Items that are currently marked down includes t-shirts, shorts, replica jerseys of great Alabama players such as A.J. McCarron, Mark Ingram, Joe Namath, Eddie Lacy, C.J. Mosley & others.

Along with the jerseys, the store has deals on tailgating items including canopies, grill covers, items for the bedroom, bathroom & kitchen; items for food & many Alabama products for dogs, including dog jerseys.

The Crimson Tide will be looking to avenge their loss to the Auburn Tigers & the Oklahoma Sooners at the end of last season with a strong recruiting class, which is tops in all of college football, under coach Nick Saban, who has led the Tide to 3 national championships in his time in Tuscaloosa.

Here are some of the items that are currently marked down right now at the Sports Fan Playground store -

Alabama Crimson Tide Cornhole Game

Alabama Crimson Tide game

Alabama Crimson Tide cornhole toss game on sale for $80.34 at the Sports Fan Playground store.

Alabama Crimson Tide Metal License Plate Tag


This Alabama Crimson Tide License Plate Tag is available for $4.89 at the Sports Fan Playground store.

Alabama Crimson Tide A.J. McCarron Autographed Replica Jersey

A.J. McCarron

Autographed A.J. McCarron Alabama Crimson Tide Nike Jersey – available for $249.99 at the Sports Fan Playground.

Alabama Crimson Tide 2014 Schedule T-Shirt

Alabama Crimson Tide T-Shirt

Alabama Crimson Tide t-shirt with the 2014 schedule on the shirt is available for $19.95 at the Sports Fan Playground.


NBA Free Agent Winners & Losers – Part 2

The last time we got together (3 days ago), we talked about basically the Cleveland Cavs & Miami Heat making moves to keep their teams relevant after LeBron made his decision to go back to the Cavs. Here are some other teams in the league who have been winners & losers over the last few days.

NBA Free Agency Winners

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers got rid of Lance Stephenson after he wanted some absolutely absurd contract demands to stay in Indiana & ended up getting a strong deal with the revamped Charlotte Hornets.

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson, formerly of the Indiana Pacers, is betting big on himself by signing with the Charlotte Hornets for far less money than the Pacers were offering, hoping to get in position to get a bigger deal in the future.

While Stephenson was a great defender & a guy who could get under many players skin (see the Eastern Conference Finals from this year with the ear blowing), his act was wearing thin big time. It was time for the organization to move on & it was clear that Pacers President Larry Bird wasn’t going to put up with Stephenson’s shenanigans much longer.

Shortly after it was announced that Stephenson was moving on, the team signed free agent guard Rodney Stuckey, formerly of the Detroit Pistons, to a one-year deal. This is a great deal for the Pacers because Stuckey has much of the same game that Stephenson does & it gives the Pacers another scorer who can easily put up 17-19 points per game, when motivated.

With it looking like George Hill will be the point guard for the foreseeable future, this signing will allow Stuckey to play the shooting guard position (the position he is naturally made for) & give Paul George some extra help with the scoring load, which was the main area that hurt the Pacers throughout the playoff run last year, especially when they got to the conference finals against the Heat.

Washington Wizards

The Wizards have become an organization that has become a destination spot for players. The team signed former Celtics & Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce to get some veteran leadership in the team to go along with John Wall & Bradley Beal. The team re-signed Martin Gortat, their big center who can get rebounds & has proven to be a strong scorer as the season went on.

Even though the team lost Trevor Ariza, they hired quite possibly the most important person in the organization going forward in the next few years………..David Akins. Who is David Akins you ask? He is the high school coach of Oklahoma City Thunder superstar forward Kevin Durant, who is set to become a free agent in 2016. The Wizards are showing that they want to be a true player in trying to bring Durant to the nation’s capital, assuming that the Thunder won’t put together a deal this year or next that will keep Durant in OKC for the duration of his career.

With the issues of the last two seasons with Russell Westbrook on the court, where Westbrook was taking some insanely crazy shots & not always keeping Durant in the flow of the offense, Durant may see that being in the nation’s capital could mean that his superstar status can grow higher & with Wall & Beal, a new “big 3″ could develop soon.

NBA Free Agency Losers

Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers had the big opportunity to capitalize on the Los Angeles Clippers misfortune by really putting themselves on the marquee, & didn’t make a single big move. Sorry if I don’t count Jeremy Lin & Carlos Boozer has big time acquisitions, they didn’t get Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James & in a year where Kobe Bryant could be playing his last season in the NBA, the organization could go all out to make the Lakers a contender immediately.

Houston Rockets

The Rockets traded Lin to the Los Angeles Lakers in thoughts of signing Chris Bosh to a max contract if LeBron didn’t sign with the Heat. Bosh went back to the Heat instead & Houston lost out on re-signing Chandler Parsons as well. The team did get Trevor Ariza from the Wizards, who could be a great wing man & help out Harden & Howard not have all of the attention on them, but the team had far bigger aspirations for this offseason & promises to Dwight Howard in making the team a championship contender & in many ways, the completely failed.

The Rockets will need to make sure that the team is in position to make a move midseason to bring in a key player for a playoff run or there will be talk that the Rockets big spending spree will have been all for nothing.