Magic Johnson

D’Brickashaw Ferguson, the Jets’ bookend left tackle, charged with protecting star QB Mark Sanchez, signed a 6 year extension worth a potential $ 60 M today which will keep the borderline All Pro with the New York Jets.  Under the terms of the extension, Ferguson will be guaranteed no less than $ 34.8 M.

The team and Ferguson have “verbally” agreed to terms on a long-term extension that will keep him with the Jets through 2017, according to Ferguson’s agent, Brad Blank.

With the six-year, $60 million extension, Ferguson will be making $73.6 million over the next eight years, including $34.8 million in guarantees, according to a person with direct knowledge of the terms of the deal. The person requested anonymity because the deal has not been signed yet.

The guaranteed money is a record for offensive linemen. Ferguson is expected to sign tomorrow.

Ferguson, best friends with Mark Sanchez, has won himself quite a contract–a record contract for offensive linemen in fact–a good sign considering the Jets are negotiating a new contract with their franchise player, CB Darrelle Revis, who is also expected to set a benchmark with his next contract.

–Crack (

Tom Izzo (above), who has taken Michigan State to 6 final fours and 1 national championship (2000), and who revived a glorious basketball tradition at Michigan State, the alma mater of Magic Johnson, has been in negotiations to become the next coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.  But he isn’t the only coach that Cleveland is talking to, without having consulted impending free agent star Lebron James, the league MVP, a possible sign that the Cavaliers do not expect to re-sign their star, who also happens to be the pride of Ohio.  Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, a Michigan State alum, is high on Izzo, who once turned down an opportunity to coach the Detroit Pistons, who were a championship calibre team.

If Phil Jackson isn’t coming, Izzo might be the next biggest name available. But at 55 and without any NBA experience, there is plenty of risk involved on both sides. Izzo is a proven champion in college, coaxing an injured team devoid of its best talent to the Final Four in April. He has reached the Final Four in consecutive seasons now and six of the past 12.

That doesn’t make him ready for the NBA, where the only recent college coach to successfully make the leap was Larry Brown. The list of failures is much longer, but that doesn’t seem to be scaring away the Cavs.

“It’s finding the right guy,” new General Manager Chris Grant said. “When we hired Mike Brown five years ago, a lot of you might have said, ‘Who’s Mike Brown? Can he really coach LeBron?’ Right now we’re open to anything: assistant coaches, college coaches . . . When you go into a coaching search, hiring the head coach is always the most important hire because it is the most important job.”

Not that Izzo isn’t an excellent coach, but questions about his ability to transition to the pros abound.  Many fine college coaches have failed at the NBA level, and that doesn’t make them bad coaches.  But would Lebron want to play for the defensive minded Izzo, who seems to do his best work with depleted rosters in defensive struggles.

My feeling is that if Lebron wanted to play for a college coach, he’d have gone to college.  There have been questions about whether Lebron would play for coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, who is a much more high profile coach with a more famous olympic pedigree.  In any case, with a college coach, would Lebron James be willing to ride through a transitioning coach’s growing pains in the NBA? has reported that Cleveland also has interest in former Nets’ and Hornets’ coach Byron Scott, and Chris Broussard of ESPN reported earlier that Cleveland has had discussions with Scott in the last 24 hours.   Scott had a reputation as a Pat Riley tree, hard work guy, but his NBA teams have been panned for lazy play.  Scott has also been criticized as being a poor bench coach and for conducting very short practices.  It’s seems that Scott is more from the D’antoni coaching tree than the Riley tree.

But Scott is a player’s coach, which could attract James, moreso than say, Jeff Van Gundy, who is obviously the best coach available, and who called the Cleveland job a “tremendous opportunity” publicly, but who has told confidantes that he is not looking to get back into coaching next season.  To us, that’s a strong indicator that he believes James will be elsewhere.  Conditions don’t bother Van Gundy–he went to Houston, afterall.  But what would bother the gym rat coach is not having James in place.

Lebron James recently made his first public appearance since the Cavs playoff ouster in Boston, and declined to address his future and refused to talk to the media.

Be a Knick,

Crack (

Living legend Magic Johnson (above).

Mark Sanchez may have recently dined with President Obama at the White House, but Rex Ryan isn’t doing so badly when it comes to big name dining.  Recently, the coach, owner Woody Johnson, and general manager, Mike Tannenbaum, had dinner with Ervin Magic Johnson in New York City, the coach revealed in his Thursday press conference.

We’ve had some spirited practices, guys having a lot of fun. They enjoy the competition. Your great players enjoy competing against other great players. I was talking with Magic Johnson, who is very similar to me, great athletes and things. He was telling me that when he was on the Dream Team, I asked him what those practices were like and he said they were the most intense things and fierce competition that he’s ever been in, more than games, more than anything else, because you’re with the greatest players in the world. That’s probably why those guys are like that. The special guys love competing and that’s what you see on the practice field.

On talking to Johnson…

I talked to him. Mike Tannenbaum, myself and Woody [Johnson] had dinner with Magic. You try to surround yourself with great people. At least that’s what Magic told me anyway [laughing].

On if the dinner was recently.

Yes, recently.

On how it came about that he had dinner with Johnson…

It was an opportunity. He was in the city and we put out a call.

On whose idea it was to call Johnson…

It wasn’t Mike T [Tannenbaum] because he’s a Celtics fan. If it was Larry Bird, that would have been Mike T [smiling]. We actually met Magic at the fight the other day, so he was there and just kind of reached out to him. We knew he was in town and we just took him out to dinner.

On if Tannenbaum met Magic Johnson at the fight at The Garden…

No. It was the fight in Vegas. When he was in town we just said, “Hey, let’s take him out to dinner. Anybody want to go?” “I’ll go.” It was one of those deals.

On where they had dinner…

I’d rather not say. Il Postino. Italian.

Hey Rex?  I hung out with Magic once too.  Sort of.  It was back when I was in college.  I had a late class in which I had an exam, and as soon as I was finished with the test, I was headed out to a bar.  So my friend, with nothing else to do, came into the lecture hall to wait for me as I took the test.  In a big lecture hall, one could get away with all types of shenanigans.  So the TA came around, passing out test booklets, and my boy took one.  On the name and social security line, my boy writes “Magic Johnson” and “000-00-0032.”


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