Eastern Conference

Will NBA free agents flee Western Conference for easy road in East?

With the NBA Draft in our rearview mirrors the focus for basketball fans throughout the remainder of the summer turns to the dealings of free agency.

Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders joined Carnahan Chronicles on AM 740 The Game to discuss a handful of topics from around the National Basketball Association.

Among those is a story he wrote about marque players choosing to leave the Wester Conference in favor of teams in the East in hopes of an easier path to the NBA Finals.

“I think it’s very possible that we’ll see players that are out West coming to the Eastern Conference, or free agents that are in the Eastern Conference staying out East, because players understand that the Western Conference is brutal right now. It’s hard to make a Finals run. You can be on a loaded team in the West and still miss the playoffs,” Kennedy said.

( – Click here for J.C.’s interview with Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders – )

Kennedy touches on a handful of NBA topics throughout the segment with a focus on players and teams from both central Florida and northeast Ohio.

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Cleveland Cavaliers return to top of NBA’s Eastern Conference

So much changes over the course of eight years. Just ask the Cleveland Cavaliers, who last played for an NBA title back when they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs following the 2006-07 season.

Three years later the Cavs decided it was time to move on from head coach Mike Brown, while all-star LeBron James decided to move on from Cleveland following semifinal setbacks to the Boston Celtics (2008, 2010) and an Eastern Conference final loss to the Orlando Magic in 2009.

And now, mercifully, Cleveland gets another shot at breaking a pro sports title drought that dates back to 1964 when the Browns last finished on top.

This time the Cavs’ hopes won’t hinge on the likes of overachievers such as Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes, Sasha Pavlovic, Daniel Gibson and, unfortunately, Anderson Varejao, who is one of two remaining players still on roster from 2007 but has been sidelined due to injury.

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Four teams remain in Stanley Cup Playoffs and none are from Canada

I hardly have time to care too much about the National Hockey League. There’s just too many other things going on in the world of sports to consume my attention.

But now we’re down to the final four teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That’s reason enough to start paying attention, right?

What’s interesting about the upcoming matchups this weekend is that there’s no hard feelings stemming from previous postseason clashes to help get the excitement brewing. Instead we’ve got one team in the mist of a marginally lengthy Stanley Cup drought and, in comparison, three others still cleaning up confetti from recent triumphs.

On Saturday it’s the top-seeded New York Rangers and the No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning meeting in the Eastern Conference. Sunday it’ll be the No. 1 Anaheim Ducks hosting the No. 3 Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference.

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Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City Soccer Club trades for Houston Dynamo goalie Tally Hall

The Orlando City Soccer Club is a long way away from being ready for the start of the 2015 Major League Soccer season. Finding MLS experience to fill out the roster is a top priority this offseason as the Lions make a move from the minor leagues to the top division in North America.

Last week I caught up with OCSC general manager Paul McDonough and president Phil Rawlins about the pending acquisition of Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall, who started in back-to-back MLS Cup matches in 2011 and 2012.

(– Click here to read J.C.’s story on Tally Hall coming to Orlando for MLSSoccer.com –)

Something Familiar About Blue Jackets Return To NHL Playoffs

If you’re looking for an underdog franchise to root for in the NHL postseason – which got underway this week – look no further than the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets joined the NHL in time for the 2000-01 season but are playing in just their second playoff series. And they’ve yet to even win a single playoff game, a streak that increased to five losses in a row Wednesday after a late goal by the Pittsburgh Penguins ended in a 4-3 setback.

It’s been five years since Columbus was swept in the opening round of their first postseason trip by the Detroit Red Wings, who later lost in the Stanley Cup finals to the Penguins in seven games. This time Ohio’s only pro hockey team is matched up against the state’s biggest sports-town rival in Pittsburgh.

If that’s not reason enough to make sports fans in Columbus take notice, perhaps learning of the similarities between the two Blue Jacket playoff teams will be enough to satisfy the hockey appetite.

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