Notable Dates on the 2014-15 Houston Rockets Schedule

Categories: Basketball, Sports

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Time to dig in to the Rockets 2014-15 schedule.
The NBA released its schedule for the upcoming season and, naturally, the first thing everyone looked for was when Lebron James would return to Miami (Christmas Day as it turns out), but we here in Houston were more interested in the Rockets, who will try to improve on their 54-win season and first round knockout at the hands of Damian Lillard and the Portland Trailblazers.

The Rockets have 16 nationally televised games (not counting games on NBATV), which is key considering their home network still isn't on providers other than Comcast -- though that could change if things go their way at hearings in October. But, there are plenty of interesting games on the schedule worth noting.

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Outtakes from the James Harden, Charles Barkley Foot Locker Video

Categories: Basketball, Sports

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Barkley can crack up anybody.
Charles Barkley makes pretty much everyone laugh. James Harden is no exception. The current Rocket, while filming a Foot Locker commercial with a pair of former Rockets in Barkley and Scottie Pippen, was the picture of dry sense of humor, something he is known for. But, the outtakes tell a different story.

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Jeremy Lin's Dunk Cam Will Make You Like Jeremy Lin (VIDEO)

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Photo by Groovehouse
He can dunk too!
I'll admit, I wanted the Rockets to trade Jeremy Lin this past summer. Unconditionally, I wanted him gone from Houston.

Part of it certainly was about fiscal responsibility, as Lin is scheduled to make $15 million in cold, hard cash in the final year of his three-year "poison pill" deal, and for a backup point guard who plays around 25 to 30 minutes a night, that's just too much money.

The other part of it was admittedly a psychological "scarred fan" thing, where Lin's mere presence was a reminder of his failure late in the pivotal Game 4 of the Portland series and, in turn, the team's overall failure to get out of the first round of the playoffs.

Well, ultimately, after a number of chess moves executed before and after, I got my wish -- Lin was traded (along with a first-round pick as a sweetener) to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal in which the Rockets received an $8.4 million trade exception.

When the Chris Bosh free agency courtship fell through, an argument could be made that the Rockets should've held onto Lin, but I didn't care. I was ready for the Houston chapter of Linsanity to end.

Now I fear I might have been wrong.

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CSN Houston Has a New Owner...Maybe

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And the new partial owner of CSN Houston is...
So it comes to pass that DirecTV and AT&T U-verse were the mystery parties attempting to purchase CSN Houston out of bankruptcy. It was revealed in court papers filed late on Wednesday night that, should the court accept the network's bankruptcy reorganization plan, DirecTV and U-verse will together own 100 percent of the failed network. Both companies will also add the network to their distribution lineup.

The Astros and Rockets will both sign new media rights deals with the new entity, and both will forget about collecting the amount they are due under the media rights deal with CSN Houston. Comcast will have neither an ownership nor a management stake in the network, but it does appear that Comcast will continue to carry the network on its system.

But all of the above is still a big if. Now that the joint DirecTV/U-verse bid has been made public, other parties can attempt to make bids on the network, including Comcast. And there are still a lot of unknowns. So while we're waiting for the final outcome, here are a few items to watch:

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James Harden, Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen Team Up for Funny Foot Locker Video

Categories: Basketball, Sports

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Harden and Barkley discuss short memories.
The NBA season may still be several months off, but James Harden is back in another Foot Locker commercial. This one features a pair of former Rockets and all-time NBA greats in Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen discussion how all great players need short memories, something Harden and the Rockets no doubt need after the forgettable offseason they've had so far.

Harden runs down a list of embarrassing moments for Barkley who claims not to remember including the incident where the threw someone through a window. "I'm a pacifist," Barkley responds.

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Zapruder Analysis of Andrew Wiggins's Painfully Awkward SportsCenter Interview

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Andrew Wiggins is about to get really uncomfortable.
When you're the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft in late June, the summer months should be a time of celebration.

For that player, years of youth basketball, high school basketball, the AAU circuit and a hard-fought few months in the college ranks have all culminated in the realization of millions of dollars, adulation of a new hometown and maybe even a shoe contract!

This should be a time where the top pick begins bonding with new teammates and laying the groundwork for the upcoming season.

For Andrew Wiggins of the Cleveland Cavaliers (for a few more weeks, at least), it hasn't been anything close to that. For Wiggins, the summer has been a six-week limbo of rumors and speculation with all signs pointing to his exile to basketball Siberia (which is Minnesota, just to be clear).


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CSN Houston Still Bankrupt, Still Not Coming to a TV Near You

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Yeah, this whole bankruptcy still isn't settled.
Presumably the bidder for CSN Houston was made known to Comcast yesterday. Presumably, of course, because nobody will comment. An order was sought yesterday evening seeking to prevent Comcast from divulging any details regarding the potential bidder. The parties are supposed to have a status conference with the bankruptcy judge next week.

It's time for this clown show to end. Either the network lives or the network dies, but this ridiculousness has to end. The network's been in operation for 22 months. That's two seasons for the Rockets and nearly two seasons for the Astros. Two seasons in which a large majority of the teams' fans have been unable to watch the teams play games on television. This is happening because the owners misjudged the market, misjudged price points, misjudged the willingness of the other cable/satellite providers to pay huge carriage fees.

The network was underfunded and given an unworkable management structure. It was forced into bankruptcy by one owner, with another owner fighting every step of the way. There's been a fraud lawsuit filed by one owner against a former owner. It's an ugly mess that nobody deserves to win and in which the ultimate loser will be cable/satellite subscribers whose rates will rise when this whole fiasco comes to an end.

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Kevin Durant Praises LeBron James, Countdown to 2016 KD Sweepstakes Begins

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Only two years away...
"I'm going to do what's best for me. It's hard to talk about that right now when I've got two years left in Oklahoma City. I'm just going to focus on that. I'm not going to make a decision based on what anybody else does." -- Kevin Durant, 7/29/14

LeBron James and Cleveland have given 29 other NBA cities hope, hope that when perhaps a hometown star becomes available in free agency, he will allow the tugging at his heartstrings to lead him home.

Barring a James opt-out from his current deal in Cleveland in 2015 (and the subsequent apocalyptic earthquake that goes with it), the next massively anticipated journey into NBA free agency will be Oklahoma City ├╝ber-star Kevin Durant's in 2016.

And if his most recent quotes from U.S. national team workouts are any indicator, Durant was watching James's return to Cleveland closely a couple of weeks ago.

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Donatas Motiejunas Takes His Turn on Chandler Parsons

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Don't see Parsons on there? Neither does D-Mo.
"Think before you speak." -- Chandler Parsons on Twitter, July 24, 2014

Chandler Parsons fired off these four words of advice late last week.

Taking a run through Parsons' Twitter feed, it's hardly a deluge of self-improvement axioms. He doesn't send out one of these a day to help his 234,000 followers make better life decisions, like some sort of hipster Confucius. No, Parsons Twitter timeline is mostly acknowledgement of other fellow NBA players and tips of the cap to really expensive restaurants in Vegas.

Indeed, Parsons' tweet about thinking before speaking had a much more specific target, likely former teammate James Harden on the heels of this quote last week:


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The Continuing CSN Houston Fiasco Makes Luc Besson Films Seem Sane and Logical

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CSN Houston makes Luc Besson films seem sane and logical.
Luc Besson's movies teeter on the edge of insanity. They're full of stylized violence, shouting, slow motion and visual effects. They're full of bright colors, big stars, fancy camera moves and flashy editing. Yet his movies usually make zero sense, appear to have no script, don't follow the rules of logic, and are usually huge, big-budget messes. But when everything meshes, his movies are joyous wonders to watch.

CSN Houston is, in many ways, the equivalent of a Luc Besson movie. The continued existence of the network borders on the brink of insanity. It's loud and messy, and features big stars trying their best to distract viewers, owners and creditors from the mostly inferior product. CSN Houston is failing and it's failing fast. It's what happens when Bruce Willis is cut from The Fifth Element for more Chris Tucker, and there's just absolutely no chance than Gary Oldman is going to pop up and pull it out of its death spiral.

Sometime this week the good folks at Comcast are supposed to find out the identity of the secret bidder for the bankrupt network currently known as CSN Houston. And by the end of next week, there's an actual chance that the people of Houston will know the identity of this entity. That's all, if of course, this so-called entity is still interested in the nightmare known as CSN Houston. And if it is, at what cost is it interested in the network?

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