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Kobe Bryant Finally Responds To His #NBARank

Photo: Flick/ Phlagmatic

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting patiently for Kobe to respond to his ESPN Forecast #NBARank of 25 for the coming season. I don’t necessarily agree that he’ll be the 25th best player in our beloved association this year, but I just want to see him tweet something along the lines of, “Message Received. Mamba out. #challengeaccepted.”

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Bulls vs Celtics: Playoff Outlook

Image by ARM Climate Research Facility via Flickr

Who's ready for the playoffs? I'm sure most fans are, and if you are like me, then the playoffs couldn't start fast enough. I hate this time of year in the NBA. The last three weeks of the season are always

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LeBron to Announce Decision Thursday

Free agent LeBron James will put an end to speculation as to where he’ll play next season Thursday, the first day that players can officially sign with teams, on a 9 PM eastern special on ESPN.

LeBron James will announce the team with which he will sign during a one-hour special on ESPN Thursday night, ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard has learned through independent sources.

ESPN would only confirm that active discussions for the special are ongoing. But sources tell Broussard that representatives for James contacted the network, proposing that James makes his announcement during a 9 p.m. ET special.

Those sources said that James’ representatives requested they be allowed to sell sponsorship for the one-hour special, with the proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and that ESPN agreed to the proposal but had not been told what James has decided.

While I doubt there’s any substance to it, his decision to publicize his choice in this way suggests he might be leaving Cleveland. It seems like he’d want a quieter, more direct approach if he were re-signing. But no one really knows.

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Kerr Dismissed as Suns GM

According to an ESPN.com report, Steve Kerr is no longer the Phoenix Suns general manager:

A source told ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher that the move has to do with Kerr feeling unable to adequately do the job with the financial limitations imposed by Sarver. The Suns have both Amare Stoudemire and Channing Frye as potential free agents this summer.

Kerr, 44, became part of the Suns’ leadership in 2004 and became a minority owner and adviser for Sarver, who eventually named him GM after Bryan Colangelo and coach Mike D’Antoni first held the job under Sarver.

Sarver told the newspaper the Suns will conduct a search for Kerr’s replacement and consider in-house candidates. Kerr will stay on board for the June 24 draft and keep his ownership stake in the team.

“It’s definitely been an interesting three years for both of us and the organization,” Sarver told the newspaper. “Overall, I think he did a very good job to put us on solid ground with players and coaches, getting a defensive emphasis and got the ground laid on teamwork and chemistry. We’re in a pretty good spot moving forward, and a lot of it has to do with moves he’s made. There were some good moves and bad moves, which goes with the job. But overall, I think he’s done a very good job.”

It seems questionable to pin the team’s failure to win a championship on Kerr. The Suns exceeded expectations this year and came within striking distance of uprooting the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. Therefore, this move looks like one that is aimed at retaining Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire for next season.

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Game of the Day: March 21

San Antonio Spurs at Atlanta Hawks — 8 PM eastern, telecast on ESPN

I recommend for today an interconference matchup between the Spurs and Hawks. The Spurs have been playing well of late, winning eight of their last ten games, but face a very dangerous Hawks team featuring premiere scorer Joe Johnson, two promising bigs in Josh Smith and Al Horford, and sixth man of the year candidate Jamal Crawford. San Antonio counters with perennial all-star and future hall-of-famer Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili.

Atlanta currently holds fourth place in the east, tied with Boston in the loss column and only percentage points behind for third place. San Antonio, given its strong play of late, appears to have a solid grip on a playoff spot, five-and-a-half games ahead of ninth-place Memphis in the West.

The Spurs won the only other game these two played earlier in the season on January 27, 105-90. Duncan had a mammoth of a game, amassing 21 points, 27 boards, and 7 assists. Johnson lead the Hawks with 31 points.

In a game like this in which the talent level is fairly equal, I look for the team who needs it more to come out on top down the stretch like this. Expect a win from Atlanta with another strong showing from Johnson and a solid effort up front from Smith