Tell me you’re not pumped about the upcoming NBA season. Sure its still a few months away but after all that’s gone down, I can’t wait. Since I’m a HUGE Lakers fan, let’s take a look back at their great offseason. You’d think that winning an NBA Championship, the Lakers would just return with teh same roster. But you know what, they got better. They trimmed the fat by not re-signing Jordan Farmar, DJ Mbenga, Josh Powell, and Shannon Brown. They shored up their point guard deficiency by going and picking up Steve Blake who could very well be a starting point guard by the middle of the season. Don’t get me wrong, I love Derek Fisher and am very appreciative of his late game heroics in the playoffs. But let’s be honest hear, Blake is the real deal. He’s a great passer, plays D, and can shoot the 3 and drive and dish. Lakers also went and picked up the poor man’s Ron Artest in Matt Barnes. Gives the Lakers a little more edge, a little more depth. One of their biggest problems over the last few years has been their bench. Inconsistency at its best. Or consistently inconsistent is how I like to put it. Finally, they have a backup big man that understands basketball. No more Mbenga, no more Powell. Lakers went and picked up Theo Ratliff. I know he’s old, but all we need for him is a few minutes each quarter to spell Bynum. He can block shots and rebound which is all they need. Finally Luke Walton is the worst player on the roster, and rightfully so. I am concerend about Bynum’s knee. I don’t think the Lakers should trade him. Bynum’s and Gasol’s height is what won this Championship and with Lebron/Bosh/Wade combo lurking around, they still don’t have an answer to the Lakers’ size and now bench.
Just when you thought the Cincinnati Bengals had began to right the ship, this happens… It appears that the Cincinnati Bengals have agreed to terms with disgruntled wide out and reality show star Terrell Owens, $2 million for 2 years (a bargain in my opinion). We all know Owens’ history with his quarterbacks: Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb, Tony Romo. I don’t think the Buffalo Bills ever had a quarterback for Owens to tear apart. The Bengals made the playoffs last year, the first time in a long time, only to get bounced out in the first round. They couldn’t make it work with a Chad Ochocinco and a humble T.J. Housmanzadeh combo. What’s to say they can do it with an Owens and Ocho combo? I fear for Carson Palmer’s reputation, let alone life. He’s always been one of those silent leaders and with Owens inevitable blowup midway through the season, who knows how this one’s gonna turn out. On the plus side, Owens still has a couple prime year left over. At $2 million for 2 years, this can turn out to be the steal of the offseason, if Marv Lewis can keep control of his team. I’ll tell you one more thing, I’m glad Owens is headed to the AFC North. Remember when Owens mocked Ray Lewis a few years ago by doing his dance in the endzone. Payback time for Ray Ray and the rest of the Ravens defense.
The Rangers thought that by getting Cliff Lee, they would have all AL West all but locked up. HOLD ON!!! Lee got rocked in his first start as a Ranger by the Baltimore Orioles, yes folks, the 27-59 Baltimore Orioles. The same Orioles who have a 11-34 road records. Led by right fielder Nick Markakis, the only player on the team batting over .300, the Orioles shelled Lee for 5 runs in 6 innings, ALL EARNED. It’s nice to see the Rangers stepping up and welcoming Lee with some offense (that’s online sarcasm). I’m sure Lee will bounce back his next start. But you never want to give up an easy win, especially against the Orioles. The Rangers have the hitting with Josh Hamilton and the rejuvenated Vladimir Guerrero, but they just seem to fade down the stretch every year. Let’s see if they can maintain some momentum in September now that they have Lee.
Lebron James has chosen the Heat. Everyone take a deep breath. This is GREAT for the NBA. Sucks for Cleveland. But let’s all remember that this is a BUSINESS First of all, he’s getting about $30 million less by going to Miami. But hey, the guy wants to win and you can’t blame him for that. I cant hate on the guy for leaving and going to the Heat. I do respect him for changing, because I would’ve done the same thing. Who the heck wants to live in Cleveland. I might have chosen New York over Miami just cause I love NYC. But the fans that are burning his jersey in Cleveland, GET A LIFE. Cleveland Owner Dan Gilbert throwing Lebron under the bus is just a bushleague move. 3 hours ago, Gilbert would’ve given his left nut to have Lebron re-sign with the Cavs. Frankly, he still will. Talk about an angry ex-girlfriend. This isn’t war. There was no betrayal, no desertion. Lebron is an ATHLETE, not a soldier. He plays basketball. Gilbert is pissed off because his team just loss 50% of its net worth. I do think that Lebron’s 1 hour special was a slap to Cleveland’s face but at the same time, let me remind you that this is a BUSINESS. He probably got paid big bucks for it, and to be honest with you, the guy’s down $30 mill, so he needs to make it up somewhere. Lebron chose the Heat because he wants to win. That’s what athletes do, win. He is playing with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Their point guard Mario Chalmers is going to be one of the most improved players next year because of these additions. They dumped that bum Jermaine O’Neal and traded away Michael Beasley. Don’t hate Lebron for leaving. You can hate him for quitting on his team during the playoffs. But don’t hate him for going to a better team, better city, better situation. I have a gut feeling that we’re going to hear some dirt on Lebron over the next few days. This kid’s had a super-clean image for the past 7 years. There have to be some skeletons in his closet. And I’m sure someone in the Cleveland organization is gong to leak some stuff out. Stay tuned, this sage is FAR from over. By the way, Jim Nance, worst invterviewer ever.
Ask me how many times the Vancouver Canucks have been to the playoffs? 22. Ask me how many times they’ve won the Stanly Cup? 0. Does this mean that they’re a good team or a bad team? Depends on if you’re asking someone who lives inside or outside of Vancouver. They made it to the semifinals last year and lost to the champion Chicago Blackhawks; the third time they’ve failed to advance past the semis since 2003. The question is, will they be able to overcome this hump? Led by the almighty Henrik Sedin and his league leading 112 points, on paper, the Canucks look solid. Their goalie Roberto Luongo is in the top 5 in the league in wins. His goals against average and save percentage could use some help though. They just signed Dan Hamhuis to a 6-year, $27 million and Manny Malholtra to a 3-year, $7.5 million contract. I guess if it ain’t working, throw some MORE money at it. It worked for the New York Yankees, not so much for the Dallas Cowboys, though. You would think that with a 2010 salary of $62,935,000, the Canucks will have a better season this year. Not that there’s much else to do in Vancouver, but I could think of 62 million ways of spending that cash, say a great night or two with a Vancouver escort service and an amazing night to remember? Ummmmm, yeah, I’ll take that over a Stanley Cup Championship. Then again, I’m not a Canucks fan or much of an NHL fan; just a fan of a good time. Opening night is October 9, 2010 at home against the L.A. Kings, I’m betting they start the season off with a win. For the sake of the Canucks and their fans, I hope they end it with a win too.
So Dwayne Wade is staying in Miami, surprise surprise. The good news for Wade and the Heat are that they nabbed the 2nd best free agent in the league in Chris Bosh. It’s a great move for the Heat. But let me burst this bubble for a second: it’s not enough. Both Wade and Bosh are young and in the prime of the careers, but they’re gonna need some help. The only other player on the Heat that you would recognize on the street in Michael Beasley, and he’s got a whole mess of off the court problems, let alone he hit a major sophomore slump last year. We all know how horrible Jermaine O’Neal is. Luckily for him, this Bosh move will send him straight for the bench. Udonis Haslem is a solid complement but I’m not sure how much of an effect his 15 foot jumpers will have? They do have some potential in Mario Chalmers and Dorrell Wright but I’m not sold on them yet. Carlos Arroyo is pretty much their most consistent player off the bench. The Heat have locked in two of the best players in the league for a while but in the east where Lebron, Orlando, and the Celtics reside, they’re going to need a lot more. What are the chances Lebron signs with these guys? 2 out of 3 ain’t bad though.
Here’s my prediction, Lebron James is going to stay in Cleveland. All this hype, all this drama, all the build-up over the past 2 years and all we’re going to get is an anti-climactic ending. I”m going to be VERY disappointed if this Lebronathon has no surprise ending. I want to see a Lebron going to Chicago or New York. Hell, I’ll even take a Lebron headed to New Jersey. Cleveland is not a place where you want to live for the rest of your life, especially if you have all that money. Go live it up in New York. Make some history with Lebron. You’ll have the biggest city with the best fans under your control. I can see why he wouln’t want to go to Chicago, even though he would make the Bulls instant favorites to win it all. The King probably doesn’t want to be compared to Jordan the rest of his life. I might even consider going to the Nets. With their new billionaire owner, there’s no limit what this team can do. Plus, he’d be matched up with point guard Devin Harris and Brook Lopez. Not too bad of a consolation gift. If there’s any truth to Mo Evans banging Lebron’s mom, then I would expect the King to leave. But otherwise, I have a bad feeling that on Thursday, the Lebron pinata is about to break open and no candy’s gonna fall out.
Amare Stoudemire is gonna be a Knick, $99 million for 5 years. Hmmmm, I hope they’re not overpaying for the soft big man who plays no defense and loves to shoot jumpers. Let me not rain on his parade. I like this move. It brings the team some much needed flash, pizzaz. It gives them something to sell to Lebron or Wade or some other big free agent. But make not mistake, Amare alone is not enough. They might, MIGHT make it to the playoffs with a Stoudemire on their roster but they still need a leader. Someone who’s gonna put fear in the opponent’s minds before the season starts. Also, remember that Amare had Steve Nash in Phoenix. I’m really interested to see what he does without a top point guard in Nash dropping dimes to him. It will be a huge mistake if they can’t re-sign PF David Lee. These two together would create havoc in the front court for any team. Imagine a Lee, Soudemire and Lebron and/or Wade trio. WOW! Stoudemire can’t sign until Thursday but let’s hope that this isn’t the major move the Knicks have been planning for the past 5 years.
What a choke job! Tell me you watched this game. World Cup knockout, elimination round, the entire continent of Africa on your shoulders and cough, cough. This game was tied going into overtime. First 15 minutes, no goal. Second half of overtime, no score until the last minute when Ghana was awarded a penalty kick. Up comes Asamoah Gyan and shanks it off the top bar. Game goes to a shootout and the captain of Ghana, non-nonchalantly places the ball, then takes 2 steps back and kicks it softer than a 3-year old. Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera barely has to move and just like that, Ghana is down a goal. Uruguay makes an almost fatal error when Maxi Pereira sent the next kick 100 yards over the goalie (how do you miss by that much?) Didn’t matter though, because Uruguay choked again and the game was over. This was in Ghana’s hands. They had it. All they had to do was close it out. And now, instead of the final four, they’re headed home. Good thing for them, it won’t be too long of a flight. Tough break for Ghana. They played a great game. Too inexperienced for them.
First day of NBA Free Agency and looks like the Knicks and the Nets got the jump on Lebron with the first meetings with the King. Seems like the Hawks are gonna give Joe Johnson a $120 million, 6 year contract. That’s gotta go up as one of the most ridiculous contracts ever. I like Joe Johnson, but he’s nothing but a #3 option. This guy can’t lead a team to a Championship. He didn’t do it with the Suns and hasn’t done it with all that firepower the Hawks have.
I am kinda pumped to see where Lebron is going. I’m gonna be very disappointed if this guy stays in Cleveland. If I’m Lebron, Chicago or the New York is probably the best situation. Chicago because they have the best chance in winning if Lebron goes there. A Derek Rose/Lebron combo would be deadly for the next decade. New York would be a good choice because other than LA, its the best place to live. I LOVE the city of New York. Sure the Knicks are in shambles and sure they have a subpar front office. BUT… Lebron on that teams puts ’em straight into the playoffs. If they re-sign David Lee and 1 more free agent (Stoudamire/Bosh/Boozer) the Knicks will be favorites to come out of the East. I’m not sure of the cap implications, but New York better make something BIG happen.
If I’m Dwayne Wade, I’m leaving Miami too. Look at Kevin Garnett. He spent most his life being “loyal” to the Timberwolves and got nowhere. He finally left, and got 1 ring. 1 ring for possibly one of the greatest power forwards to every play the game is a SHAME. Dwayne Wade needs to think about going to Chicago too. It’s a great fit for him. Miami needs A LOT of pieces to become a real contender.
Chris Bosh is one guy who is definitely leaving his team. This guy’s a stud. He’s going to make his team an instant playoff contender, and if they are already, a finals favorite. I see him going to either Miami to play with Bosh or the Knicks. If I’m Bosh, money’s a secondary issue. I look to see where Lebron and Wade land. Teaming up with Lebron is the first choice unless Chicago puts out an offer he can’t refuse. Playing alongside Wade is cool, but in Miami they’re nothing but a second round playoff bust.
I’m pumped about this offseason. Hopefully, teams don’t blow their chances of landing someone big by panicking and pissing money away on the wrong talent. No offense to Joe Johnson, but he’s just not the man. No offense to Darko Milicic, but why the hell would the T-Wolves offer him a 4 yr, 20 million offer? This kid’s been in the league for 7 years, a #2 pick in the draft, and his best year, averaged 8 points and 5.4 rebounds a game. This is why the T-Wolves suck. Not Darko’s fault, just managements fault. Congrats to Darko for getting his.
P.S. I would love to see Dirk Nowitzki end up somewhere else. He’s a good players in a bad system.