Important change to the Opening Ceremonies

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Important change to the Opening Ceremonies

From Comcast SportsNet
LONDON (AP) -- Lights, camera, action ... Cut! Not the words director Danny Boyle was hoping to shout just days before the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. But the Oscar-winning director of "Slumdog Millionaire" has been forced to trim parts of the ceremony -- including removal of a stunt bike sequence -- to make sure the show finishes on time and spectators can get home before public transportation shuts down. London organizers said Boyle was "tightening" the ceremony by up to 30 minutes to ensure the show, scheduled for three hours, concludes between midnight and 12:30 a.m. "This is like any other piece of film you would make, things end up on the cutting room floor," London organizing committee spokeswoman Jackie Brock-Doyle said. The ceremony, with a cast and crew of 10,000, is set for July 27 in the 80,000-capacity stadium in east London and be watched by a global television audience expected at 1 billion. Brock-Doyle said a 3-4 minute sequence featuring stunt bikes has been deleted from the show but the riders will be paid and credited anyway. Boyle is making other changes, too, to keep within the time frame. "It has been an evolution," she said. "It was longer 10 days ago than it was a week ago and was longer a week ago than it is now. It is a matter of tightening. It's not cutting big chunks." Reports in British newspapers said Boyle was angry at having to make the cuts, but Brock-Doyle said he was used to making films or shows fit a time schedule. "He's an award-winning filmmaker," she said. "Things end up on the cutting-room floor. I think he understands that." Boyle's ceremony, called "Isles of Wonder," is inspired by William Shakespeare's "The Tempest." He has revealed that the opening sequence will feature an idyllic British countryside setting complete with live farm animals, including 70 sheep, 12 horses, 10 chickens and nine geese. Former Beatle Paul McCartney has said he will perform the closing act. The International Olympic Committee has pressed London organizers to make sure the show -- which starts at 9 p.m. -- doesn't overrun so that athletes can get to bed at a reasonable hour. Many of the athletes will be able to walk back to their housing, located adjacent to the Olympic Park, after the ceremony. "We've always said it's a three-hour show, but it could end at 12:30," Brock-Doyle said. Organizers are under pressure to make sure spectators can get home on public transportation after the ceremony. The Underground and buses will run until 2:30 a.m. during the games -- an hour later than usual. Brock-Doyle denied the ceremony cuts were prompted by the failure of private security firm G4S to provide the required number of security personnel for the Olympics, a blunder which forced the British government to call up 3,500 extra troops. "This has absolutely nothing to do with security," Brock-Doyle said. The longest part of the ceremony involves the march of athletes into the stadium. Several thousand athletes from 204 national Olympic committees will be taking part. "The bit no one ever knows is really how long the athletes parade will be," Brock-Doyle said. "No one actually knows until the day how many athletes are going to come out. We're using all the tricks of the trade to get people to move fast." The weather could also be a factor. "If it's pouring with rain, some athletes won't turn up," she said.

The Ranadive Paradox: Every choice Kings face almost guarantees failure

The Ranadive Paradox: Every choice Kings face almost guarantees failure

Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac declared he had a better offer for DeMarcus Cousins two days before he took the New Orleans Pelicans offer, which means that this is not the worst trade in the history of the franchise.

It is, however, the one that best explains the history of the franchise.

The cavalcade of Kingsiana, from their halcyon days in Rochester to their fringes-of-good years in Cincinnati to their mostly thin years in Kansas City and Omaha down to the desiccated decades in Sactown, is summed by this – Boogie Cousins, a disputatious star traded for less than he was worth and for less than they could have gotten a couple of days before.

[RELATED: Report: Vivek Ranadive thinks Buddy Hield has Steph Curry potential]

And in its wake, a battered marketplace turns on itself yet again to rage against the amorphous blob of a team they horship and loathe in alternate moments. The fans are left to argue among themselves whether Cousins is better or worse than no Cousins, and whether the reward for no Cousins was sufficient.

Now they know, from their general maanger’s mouth. It wasn’t. Yay Kings!

The pro-Boogie and anti-Boogie factions break down along simple party lines. The anti-Boogies explain that Cousins was a volatile, ball-hogging non-leader who also was an easily distracted rage-a-holic who never made the Kings better than they were, and that any trade that removed him (and to a lesser extent the freshly waived Matt Barnes) could only help team and organizational chemistry.

But the pro-Boogie folks, while acknowledging his manifest faults, point out one thing the anti-Boogie folks cannot refute, namely:

There is no guarantee that this front office would take whatever bounty it received in a Cousins trade and not turn it into yet another colossal mess along the lines of everything they have ever done in the years bracketing the Rick Adelman Era.

And yes, this predates the Vivek Ranadive Era, although his unhealthy obsession with the Warriors has tinged his decision-making to the point in which he said that Buddy Hield has “Stephen Curry potential.”

Hey, thanks for that one, boss. You want to make Tyreke Evans Michael Jordan, or the second-round pick the reincarnation of Wilt Chamberlain? Or maybe just cut to the chase and say, “I am now going to make Buddy Hield’s future a horror show of unmet/unjustified/unrequested expectations?”

[RELATED: Isaiah Thomas' reaction to DeMarcus Cousins trade includes an 'LOL']

The point here is that Ranadive isn’t all that undermines the monarchy, but he is the first truly megawealthy Kings owner to maintain the low standards that have dogged the franchise since the early 1950s. The rest of the time, they could plead short-walleted owners, unresponsive audiences or miscellaneous meatheadery. Now, they have plenty of money, an avid fan base and . . . well, two out of three keeps you out of the playoffs if the third one isn’t solved.

Besides, while this trade will be marked as one that was meant to get DeMarcus Cousins out of town, the enduring problem is still right there. The Kings do things like this because they are the Kings, in the same way that the Warriors used to do stupid things because they were the Warriors. In that way, Ranadive has achieved his aim to be more Warrior than the Warriors. He just got the timeline horribly wrong.

And now we have this deal, which cannot be explained except by invoking two essentially untenable concepts – getting rid of your best player just because he is a monumental irritant and leaving the mechanism that makes deals like this necessary (a record held by many), and the idea that making yourself worse now is just making yourself better eventually (now known as the Hinkie Paradox).

Teams that have to tank almost always put themselves in that position because they are poorly run. People point to the San Antonio Spurs’ one year of suck before the Tim Duncan draft in 1997, but the Spurs’ history has almost exclusively a parade of winning teams going back to the NBA-ABA merger in 1976.

The Kings? They’ve had 11 winning seasons in that time, and every choice that confronts them now almost guarantees failure. That is the Ranadive Paradox.

The Cousins deal is endemic of who the Kings are, what they are, and what they have almost always been. It is, to strain the analogy, a bit like the Oscar Robertson deal in 1970, when the best player in franchise history raged against years of failure and his own coach, Bob Cousy, and was moved to Milwaukee for the talent haul of Flynn Robinson and Charlie Paulk. Robertson landed with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, won one NBA title and two division titles in the collaboration and ended his career far more cheerily than at any time in Cincinnati.

Nobody thinks the Pelicans are similarly positioned, although comparing Abdul-Jabbar and Anthony Davis is comparing generational with brilliant. But most folks agree that the Kings dealt their best player from a position of profound and ongoing weakness that they have built for themselves, didn’t get what they could have but are almost certain to get what they deserve.

Again.

Kings trade Cousins: 'Winning begins with culture and character matters'

Kings trade Cousins: 'Winning begins with culture and character matters'

Programming note: Watch Vlade Divac's press conference today at 12:30pm streaming live right here.

The Kings acquired guards Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and 2017 first and second-round draft selections from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for forward/center DeMarcus Cousins and forward Omri Casspi, the team announced on Monday.

“It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization, said Divac. “Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in a decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward. We thank DeMarcus for his contributions and wish him all the best in New Orleans. The fans in Sacramento are the best in the world and we are all committed to building a team that will continue to make Sacramento proud.”

[RELATED: Report: Vivek Ranadive thinks Buddy Hield has Steph Curry potential]

A 6-5 guard and 2015-16 recipient of the John R. Wooden Award bestowed on the nation’s best collegiate basketball player, Hield joins the Kings in his rookie campaign after New Orleans tabbed him with the sixth overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft out of Oklahoma. In 57 contests with the Pelicans this season, he accrued averages of 8.6 points (.392 FG%, .369 3pt%, .879 FT%), 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 20.2 minutes per game in 57 contests (stated 37). 

Evans returns to Sacramento where he earned 2009 Rookie of the Year honors after being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. An eight-year league veteran, he has amassed 16.3 points (.444 FG%, .289 3pt%, .757 FT%), 4.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 32.5 minutes per game in 459 NBA games (started 370). The Memphis Tiger enjoyed his most prolific seasons in a Kings jersey, registering 17.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 35 minutes per contest in 257 games (started 247).

In his third NBA campaign, Galloway averaged 8.6 points (.374 FG%, .377 3pt%, .769 FT%), 2.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 20.4 minutes per contest in 55 games for New Orleans this season. The St. Joseph’s alum previously spent parts of two seasons with the New York Knicks, where he saw action in all 82 games in 2015-16. 

Cousins departs the Kings ranked prominently in Sacramento-era annals as the leader in career rebounds (5,060), double-doubles (278) and free throws attempted (3,546) second in points scored (9,894), free throws made (2,604), and blocks (577), third in steals (661), field goals made (3,557) and attempted (7,747) and fifth in games played (470). Recently named to his third consecutive Western Conference All-Star team, he currently ranks fourth in the league in scoring, 11th in rebounds and 10th in double-doubles while averaging  27.8 points (.451 FG%, .354 3pt%, .770 FT%), 10.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.2 blocks and 34.4 minutes per contest in 55 games (all starts). 

[RELATED: Isaiah Thomas' reaction to DeMarcus Cousins trade includes an 'LOL']

Originally drafted with the fifth overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft, Cousins posted 21.1 points (.459 FG%, .322 3pt%, .734 FT%), 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.2 blocks and 31.9 minutes per contest in 470 games with Sacramento (started 448).    

Casspi was selected 23rd overall in the 2009 NBA Draft and played two seasons in Sacramento (2009-10 – 2010-11) with stops in Cleveland (2011-12 – 2012-13) and Houston (2013-14) before returning to the Kings prior to the 2014-15 season. Limited by injury this year, the 6-9 forward averaged 5.9 points (.453 FG%, .379 3pt%, .571 FT%), 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18 minutes per game in 22 contests (started 2).         

Additionally, Divac announced that the team has waived forward Matt Barnes. A 14-year NBA veteran, the UCLA alum is averaging 7.6 points (.384 FG%, .327 3pt%, .758 FT%), 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 25.3 minutes per contest in 54 games (started 13) for Sacramento after joining the team prior to the start of this season.

Sacramento Kings media services