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Nets-Knicks opener in Brooklyn postponed

Nets-Knicks opener in Brooklyn postponed

NEW YORK (AP) Barclays Center sits right above a major mass-transit hub, an ideal destination for fans throughout New York.

Not right now, though.

With those subways knocked out by Hurricane Sandy and no way of knowing how fans would get there, the city's mayor decided this isn't the time for a game.

So Michael Bloomberg asked the NBA to postpone Thursday's highly anticipated opener between the Knicks and Nets, and the league agreed Wednesday.

``It's a great stadium, it would have been a great game, but the bottom line is: There is not a lot of mass transit. Our police have plenty of other things to do,'' Bloomberg said at a news conference.

Barclays Center sits above the Atlantic Avenue subway station complex which hosts nine subway lines and a Long Island Rail Road station, and was expanded as part of the $1 billion arena's construction. The Nets believe that will be a major selling point in drawing fans to the games after they were plagued by poor attendance during their years in New Jersey.

But without knowing what - if any - subways would be available and with city officials still preferring people not drive into New York, the Nets agreed with the decision.

``We're disappointed that we can't play, but there's a lot more important things going on right now, a lot of people displaced from their homes, a lot of people lost loved ones. So in the grand scheme of things, a basketball game really doesn't mean much right now,'' Nets point guard Deron Williams told reporters after practice. ``I think it'd be hard for a lot of people to even get to the game in the first place, with public transportation being shut down. I guess it makes sense to not have the game.''

The Knicks are now scheduled to open their season at home Friday night against the Miami Heat. The Nets are scheduled to host Toronto on Saturday night.

Bloomberg said the city will work with the league to provide extra buses to Saturday's game in case the subways are not yet operational. Brett Yormark, the Nets' CEO, said in a statement that there would be food and beverage specials starting at 5:30 p.m.

The usual NBA policy on the status of a game is to play it if both teams and the three referees can make it to the arena. That wouldn't have been a problem, one of the reasons the league originally planned to play as scheduled.

However, the league also wanted to be sensitive because it was the Nets' first game, televised to a national TV audience on TNT, and didn't want the team's big event to be one that was largely empty.

``Mayor Bloomberg informed us this afternoon that after further analysis of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy that he felt it was in the best interests of the city of New York, the teams and our fans that we postpone the Knicks-Nets game scheduled for Thursday night,'' NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said. ``Our thoughts are with all those affected by this devastating storm.''

The Nets are still practicing in New Jersey this season, yet moved practice to Barclays Center after their facility in East Rutherford suffered damage from the storm. Rookie Tyshawn Taylor was unable to make it, stuck in his Hoboken home.

The NBA had said Tuesday night that the game would go on as scheduled, and fans were eager for what would have been the first major sports game in Brooklyn since the Dodgers left for Brooklyn in 1957. Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, a Brooklyn native, called it a ``monumental'' event for the borough.

Bloomberg said he planned to attend with his daughters and girlfriend and said players wanted to play, but he and the Nets agreed that it was better to wait.

``The right thing to do,'' Nets coach Avery Johnson said. ``We all would have loved to play, to bring, hopefully, the people that have power or some of the fans that could've made it to the building, we would have loved to have brought them some sense of entertainment or joy or whatever, but, at the same time, all of the people who were responsible for making this decision, it was the right thing to do.''

The Nets are working with the league to find a makeup date. Tickets for Thursday's game will be honored for the rescheduled game.

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Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

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USA Today Sports

Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

The Ravens have reportedly agreed in principle to a new contract extension with head coach John Harbaugh, a move already being praised by national pundits everywhere. 

It was nearly a month ago that the Ravens announced Harbaugh would be returning as the team’s head coach in 2019, which was noteworthy considering his status as a potential lame duck head coach.

In the same release, the team announced they were working towards a contract extension with Harbaugh, whose current deal was set to expire next year.

Despite reports from national NFL insiders, including Jason La Canfora and Peter King, that Harbaugh might prefer to hit free agency as a highly sought-after head coach after the 2019 season, it appears the Ravens will keep him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. 

This news comes on the heels of a busier-than-usual coaching carousel, with a quarter of the 32 NFL teams changing head coaches in the last month, including two AFC North rivals. Harbaugh almost certainly would have been the cream of the crop among coaching free agents no matter when he became available, so the Ravens were looking to lock him up long term.

After a tough November home loss to the Steelers that put the team at 4-5, Harbaugh was asked about his job security, and he remained steadfast and confident.

"I've never been someone who's worried about keeping a job," Harbaugh said. "It's always been, for me, [about] doing the job. I've got a bunch of great coaches and a bunch of great players that bust their tails every day to do the best job they can. I feel really good about the way this team has been coached for the last 11 years, and for the last number of weeks we've been in the season. So, there are no regrets. Never been any regrets here with me."

After that game, the Ravens rattled off six wins in seven games to make the playoffs, and many players credited Harbaugh with keeping the team together. It was prior to Week 16 when the front office announced Harbaugh would be returning no matter how the season ended, but the strong finish and AFC North title certainly made the decision easier.

A coach with a special teams background, Harbaugh is an anomaly in the current era of young, offensive-minded head coaches. He won Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, and holds a 104-72 career record in Baltimore.

The terms of the new deal have not yet been released, but it will be interesting how many years the team is committing to Harbaugh.

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

Bradley Beal, his agent Mark Bartlestein told Bleacher Report, would like to stay in Washington - even as he's a hot topic among front offices as the trade deadline approaches.

From Bleacher Report:

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, is not looking for a trade. "Brad wants to win, Bartelstein told B/R. "He wants to win at the highest level, and he wants to compete for championships. I think he's seeing progress, and he's going to do everything he can to lead this team. They got themselves into a huge hole, and he's going to do his best to get them out of it.

The Wizards are facing tough decisions when it comes to the future of the franchise as this season's trade deadline approaches. Beal, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig detailed this week, is among the most tradable assets they have, especially when it comes to their three major contracts. But owner Ted Leonsis took a firm stance against tanking while speaking to reporters in London, and Beal is integral to their playoff hopes with John Wall sidelined. 

This isn't the first time this season that Beal has denied wanting to be anywhere but DC. When drama swirled around the team earlier this season, Beal denied a report that he had requested a trade.

"That's nonsense," he said at the time. "I heard it earlier before the game and I was like, 'If it didn't come from the horse's mouth, it wasn't me.' I got this Washington jersey on and I come here and work everyday, you know, until otherwise. This is where I wanna be."

Earlier this season, it was reported that the Raptors were interested in Beal but couldn't afford what the Wizards were asking for him. According to the latest report on Beal from Bleacher Report, there are a number of teams who may still be interested. 

Again, from Bleacher Report:

There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal," a Western Conference executive told B/R.

But even if some fans are clamoring for a big trade at the deadline, the price tag for Beal - who had 26 points in the Wizards' comeback win over the Knicks this week - only seems to be rising. 

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