Lakers, Time Warner team up for new L.A cable sports channel

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And the rich get richer…

Time Warner Cable — which already provides service to much of the Los Angeles area — will launch a two new regional sports cable channels in the Los Angeles marketplace in 2012 with the Lakers as part of the package, the team and company announced jointly Monday.

The Lakers will be the cornerstones of those stations for 20 years starting with the 2012-13 season. While the financial details are not yet public, for the Lakers to jump ship from Fox Sports where they have been for two decades you know this has to be very, very lucrative for the team. This will also mean the end of Lakers road games broadcast on KCAL 9 in the city.

The new Time Warner stations will be available to other carries in the Los Angeles region, such as Charter Cable, Verizon FIOS, DirecTV, etc.

Right now the two Fox Sports stations — Fox Sports West and the recently rebranded Prime Ticket — were the only game in town. They have the Clippers, Dodgers, Angels, Ducks, Kings, USC and UCLA (and Pac-10) packages. All of those sports entities just got a lot more negotiating leverage.

But the Lakers are the big dog in Los Angeles. With the absence of an NFL team in Los Angeles for nearly two decades, the Lakers have grown into the dominant sport franchise in the city. By far. And because of the Lakers history of success through multiple generations, even an NFL team would have trouble unseating them.

Key to this deal — they draw the best ratings. Just having them on board makes the Time Warner venture more than instantly credible, it makes it an instant powerhouse in the market.

Time Warner is launching two stations, one is a Spanish only regional sports station, the first of its kind in the nation. It’s a smart move, with a large Hispanic presence in Los Angeles the market is there. Also, the Lakers are popular in that community so this benefits both sides.

This kind of deal however is the kind of thing that NBA owners need to hash out amongst themselves in conjunction with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Currently, NBA teams get to keep all of their local television revenue. So the Grizzlies have to compete with what they can get out of the Memphis market, the Bucks out of the Milwaukee market, and the Lakers keep all the bank from the Los Angeles market deal. And you wonder why the Lakers can afford a $91 million payroll?

For there to be any real sense of competitive balance in the NBA Jerry Buss is going to have to cough up some of that money to the smaller markets. Same with James Dolan and Cablevision. And so on and so on with the big markets. Otherwise you end up with the Yankees and Red Sox in baseball.

Father trolls son with signs at NBA games saying he will join dad when grades improve

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As a father who has threatened to take things away from my daughters if some behavior/school situation didn’t change (then felt bad when I had to follow through on the threat), I appreciate parents willing to follow through on what they say.

But this guy is taking it to a new level.

This father showed up at two nationally televised games this week with a sign and a message for his son.

Good on Dad for following through and not caving and taking his kid to the games, but the signs are a kicker.

As Matt Moore points out at CBSSports.com (who gets the hat tip for finding this, he better never do this to his son), how much time does this dad have, he was in Charlotte for the Cavaliers game, then in Houston. Did he spend a Spring Break traveling the country to go to NBA games and troll his kid? (It makes you wonder if it’s real.)

Steven Adams, Enes Kanter with another Russell Westbrook for MVP video

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I don’t know if Russell Westbrook is going to win the MVP award this season — Sunday night’s showdown with James Harden didn’t clear up the picture. This year’s four-way race (also with Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James) is one of the most interesting and even ones in decades.

If Westbrook doesn’t win, don’t blame Steven Adams and Enes Kanter.

The Stash Brothers, the roommates, are doing their best with videos to promote him. And take subtle jabs at Westbrook’s fashion sense.

Dennis Schroder insists reeling Hawks OK despite seven-game skid

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ATLANTA (AP) — Dennis Schroder insists the Atlanta Hawks will be fine when their three injures starters return.

The point guard also believes the Eastern Conference playoff standings are too tight for the Hawks to wait for Paul Millsap, Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha to return from their injuries.

Schroder said the Hawks must snap their seven-game losing streak with their current limited roster, which will be without the three starters for at least one more game.

“I’m saying now we have to change something,” Schroder said Monday. “We can’t wait until they come back. Maybe it’s too late then.”

The Hawks are in a three-way tie for fifth in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. They are only 2 games ahead of eighth-place Miami, which currently has the final playoff spot, and 2 + ahead of ninth-place Chicago.

The Hawks see they could drop out of the playoff standings if they don’t quickly end the losing streak.

“The NBA isn’t easy,” Schroder said. “You’ve got to win games to make it in the playoffs.”

Coach Mike Budenholzer said Millsap, the four-time All-Star who has missed five straight games with left knee tightness, and the other two injured starters will not play in Tuesday night’s home game against Phoenix.

Bazemore, who has missed four straight games with a right knee bone bruise, said he hopes to return for Wednesday’s game at Philadelphia.

Sefolosha, held out against the Nets with a right groin strain, was seen working on an elliptical machine at the portion of Monday’s practice open to media. There is no timetable on Millsap’s return.

Before the losing streak, which matches the team’s longest of the season, the Hawks were competing with Toronto for the fourth seed in the East and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Home-court advantage is now a distant dream.

Atlanta is tied with Milwaukee and Indiana for fifth following Sunday’s 107-92 loss to New Jersey, which owns the NBA’s worst record.

The latest ugly loss left Atlanta in what Bazemore described as “a dark time.” Even so, he insists the players’ spirit is not broken.

Bazemore pointed to players taking extra shots after practice and said “My teammates are still laughing. … We’re still alive and kicking.”

Budenholzer’s message is for players to avoid trying to do too much to fill the void left by the injured starters.

“I think to some degree we’re all pressing,” Budenholzer said. “Coaches pressing, each guy individually. It comes from actually a good place. They want to win. They want to have success and it’s just remembering that the best way for us to have success is to do it as a group and do it together.”

Budenholzer said rookie Taurean Price, who had 17 points, six rebounds and three steals in his first start against the Nets, likely will remain in the lineup against Phoenix.

Ersan Ilyasova and Tim Hardaway Jr. combined to make only 8 of 30 shots against the Nets. Atlanta’s depleted bench was outscored 46-7 by the Nets’ backups.

Budenholzer said Bazemore is “very close” to playing and could be cleared after “another good day.”

Bazemore said has done “pretty much everything” on the court in testing his knee, including change-of-direction drills.

“I’m starting to feel good,” Bazemore said. “… Things are trending in the right direction.”

Sixers’ Ben Simmons throws down impressive dunk in pregame workout (VIDEO)

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Consider this a look at what might have been this past season. Or a look into what will be next season.

Philadelphia has shut No. 1 pick Ben Simmons down for the season as they wait for the Jones fracture in his foot to heal properly, but he is traveling with the team and working out on its current road trip. Before the game in Indianapolis, Simmons got in a workout on the court.

Then casually threw down a between-the-legs, off the backboard self alley-oop.

What does that mean? Nothing. Other than next season in Philadelphia could be a lot of fun.