Monthly Archives: July 2012

A Giant Problem

There is an old baseball cliche that you can never have too many pitchers.  Perhaps we should start one for football that goes, “you can never have too many cornerbacks”.  As offenses become more and more pass happy, secondaries become more and more important.  And, unfortunately, the Giants may have a major problem in theirs.

After their Super Bowl win, the Giants let Aaron Ross go because they didn’t want to overpay him and they thought Terrell Thomas could come back from his ACL injury. It’s hard to blame the thinking, when healthy, Thomas is a much better cornerback.

The problem is, Thomas isn’t healthy and the way the news has been leaking out today, it sounds like he may be badly hurt. Without Thomas, Prince Amukamarka becomes a starter opposite Corey Webster.  Assuming the Giants are right about Prince, that shouldn’t be a problem, but the depth after Webster and Prince is worrisome. Antwaun Molden was a third round pick, but he has had trouble staying healthy. Michael Coe and Dante Hughes have bounced around the league.  Justin Tyron and Bruce Johnson are both coming back from injury. Brandon Bing spent the 2011 season on the practice squad. And Jayron Hosley left the field with an injury today as well.

We will find out more about Thomas tomorrow probably, but for now I bet that Will Blackmon is a name being discussed as a possible addition in the Giants’ Front Office.

Olympic Openers

I enjoyed the opening ceremonies last night, but I found a couple of the choices somewhat strange.  For instance, I didn’t hear a single song by Sir Elton John.  I also didn’t hear anything by Duran Duran, Sting or the Cure.  Yet, New Order made it as did the Sex Pistols.  And where was Ringo?  Having Paul McCartney close the ceremonies was a great, but it would have been so much better with Ringo on the drums.

And finally, since they paid tribute to the four countries that make up Great Briton, where were the Bay City Rollers?

Florida Fire Sale

The Miami Marlins have gone from extreme buyers to extreme sellers in the span of seven months. In December, the Marlins reeled in Jose Reyes, Mark Burhele and Heath Bell  and apparently came close to getting Albert Pujols to join them.  Now, they have traded Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers, Anibal Sanchez to Detroit  and are reportedly on the verge of trading their ace, Josh Johnson.

The problem is, Miami ownership just opened a new $1.2-billion stadium.  This was supposed to be a new era in South Florida baseball.  Now, the Marlins are breaking apart their team, just like they did in 1998 and 2004.  Though those breakups came after World Series victories.

Sure, the team is lousy this year and underachieving.  And yes, attendance isn’t what they hoped for, but they are still drawing more than 10,000 fans more than they did last year.  Now, the Marlins are showing the South Florida market once again not to trust them.  We’ve heard about Jeffrey Loria pocketing revenue sharing money and other examples of his bad behavior.  Bud Selig says it is the “golden age” of baseball, but that seems to refer to the fact that the owners and players are making plenty of gold while the fans pay higher and higher ticket prices.  Sooner or later, fans everywhere are going to say enough.

A Big Deal

Reports are still sketchy, but it sounds like the Rangers have landed the big fish- Rick Nash.  In exchange for Nash, the Blue Jackets will receive, a #1 pick, Tim Erixon and Brandon Dubinsky and something else.

The 4th piece is critical to evaluating this trade. We have heard it is not Stepan and we know the Rangers won’t trade Kreider, so who is it?

UPDATE- Apparently it is Anisimov.

So, the Rangers give up a defense prospect, two decent young centers and a draft pick for a proven goal scorer.  But they keep their best center prospect and their best offensive prospect. Considering how badly they needed offense, that’s a win in my book.

Quitting The Knicks?

If you listen to talk radio or read the papers this morning, lots of people are renouncing their Knick fandom.  Apparently, the loss of Jeremy Lin has pushed them over the edge and sent them into the arms of another (the Nets?) franchise.  I don’t understand this at all.

Sure, Linsanity was fun, but if you were going to stop rooting for the Knicks, aren’t there about 1,000 other reasons to have done so.  Let’s look at some of those.

1- How about the fact that the playoff win over Miami in May was the first playoff game the team won since 2001?

2- Jim Dolan is the owner.

3- Isiah Thomas.  And the time when Isiah almost came back.  Forget for a moment the things Isiah did as GM to the Knicks, remember that this is a person who was found liable of sexual harassment.

4- The resignations of Jeff Van Gundy, Lenny Wilkens, Larry Brown, Mike D’Antoni….

5- Donnie Walsh being forced out after cleaning up Isiah’s mess.

Need I go on?

There are plenty of reasons to abandon the Knicks beyond the fact that they didn’t give a point guard who played 25 games for them a huge contract.

Stopping The Linsanity

It’s official, Jeremy Lin is a Houston Rocket.  It’s amazing how much incorrect information has been spewed over this move, so let’s do some myth busting.

Myth 1: The Knicks could have prevented this from happening by making Lin an offer instead of letting him shop around for a deal.

Reality- not exactly.

The Knicks could only offer Lin a three-year deal worth $16.13 million or a five-year worth $28.75.  Now that is nothing to sneeze at, but remember Lin is going to be paid $25.1 million over three years in Houston now.

Myth 2: The Knicks didn’t want Lin.

Reality- not exactly

The Knicks were going to match Houston’s ORIGINAL offer.  Remember, the Rockets changed the offer.  Originally, it was a three-year deal worth $19.5 million.  Houston decided to up that offer to $25.1 million before presenting the deal to the Knicks.  Because of the way the luxury tax works, the Knicks would have been paying an enormous amount if they matched that deal.

Myth 3- Lin wanted to stay in NY.

Reality- well why did he sign with Houston then?

If Lin had wanted to stay a Knick, he could have gone to them and asked for the max deal they could offer, $16.13 million.  I don’t blame him for not doing that, but he certainly had to know that letting Houston revise their original offer would put the Knicks in a huge bind.  So, why do it if he wanted to stay?

Lin was a great story in New York, but he was also a tremendously risky one.  I don’t think anyone truly knows if he will be worth this deal or not, but I don’t think the Knicks were in a position to gamble on him.

The Knicks Have A Budget!

Stunning news in local basketball last night.  Not only did the Knicks let Landry Fields go to Toronto, but they also traded for Raymond Felton, probably putting an end to Linsanity in New York.

There are all sorts of rumors swirling about Lin right now, but I think Mark Berman of the Post probably comes closest to the truth with this:

One of things you learn in covering #Knicks is you don’t cross owner James Dolan. He is a very loyal guy but when disloyalty is shown, you are done with him. That may very well be case here with Jeremy Lin. It wasn’t just the money, which was obscene in third year. As we have reported last couple of days, the renegotiation of an offer sheet that was agreed upon and leaked to press – after Woodson publicly said they’d match and he’d be starter – was a kick in gut to organization.

From a basketball standpoint, I don’t think this is a major loss.  Lin looked great at times, but he was not a good defender and the Heat really showed that pressuring him could disrupt his game.  Furthermore, Carmelo and Lin did not work on the floor and I suspect they didn’t like each other much.  Look at what Carmelo had to say about the contract the Rockets offered Lin:

“It’s up to the organization to say that they want to match that ridiculous contract.”

I can’t ever recall seeing a player refer to a contract offered to another player as “ridiculous”.

What surprises me is that the Knicks are going to walk away from the Linsanity.  Lin made the Knicks an enormous amount of money in marketing and he drew a ton of attention to the team.  With the Nets right next door, I didn’t expect the Knicks to let their most marketable star walk away.  But, that isn’t necessarily a bad idea.

Match Them Both

The Knicks are widely expected to match the Rockets’ offer to Jeremy Lin when it is officially signed today.  They are not expected to match the Raptors’ offer to Landry Fields however, and that is a mistake.

Normally, matching a $20-million offer for a guard who regressed seriously in his sophomore season is not a smart business decision, but the Knicks left smart in the dust a long time ago.  Since the start of the offseason, the Knicks have given $15 million to Steve Novak and three-year deals to Marcus Camby and Jason Kidd. In the Camby deal, they traded away most of their remaining youthful assets- Harrelson, Jordan, Douglas and two second-round picks. They also brought back J.R. Smith.

So, between all of those moves, the Knicks are going to be well over the salary cap for the next three seasons. Once again, they have pushed all their chips into the center of the table and gone all in. There is no plan B.  There is also no shooting guard, unless you count Smith.  So, why not just match the deal for Fields and bring him back?  Sure he is flawed, but he knows the system, plays very well with Lin and his contract will expire after the 2014-15 season.  That also happens to be the next chance the Knicks will have to be under the salary cap.

The Worst Week Of The Year

This is the worst week of the year for a sports fan and MLB has made it even worse this year.  Between now and Friday you will have the Home Run Derby (who cares?), the All-Star Game (the players don’t care, so why should we?), 9 WNBA games and 1 MLS game. That’s it, there is nothing else to watch sports-wise unless you happen to love horse racing or think the ESPY’s make compelling television. Things are so bleak that I am seriously considering watching the “White Shadow” on ESPN Classic Thursday.

Instead of getting depressed about this, I am going to  think of this as a good time to catch up on important paperwork, read a book, attend a cultural event.  I am going to take a four-day vacation from sports. Then again, if the Nets pull off the Dwight Howard trade, or the Rangers finally land Rick Nash, my “vacation” will quickly end.

Quiet Start

I’m somewhat surprised that Zach Parise is still a free agent. Usually, 2-1/2 days into free agency things have mostly settled.  But in both basketball and hockey a lot of sports types are using the word “fluid” to describe the situation.

One team that may be on the verge of making a big splash is the Brooklyn Nets.  They have reportedly traded for Joe Johnson. And if you believe the tabloids, they are hot on the trail of Dwight Howard.

I’m not sure what to make of Howard.  He is obviously an amazing basketball talent, but his off the court machinations with Van Gundy and the Magic really make you wonder where his head is. But, it is undeniable that a trio of Johnson, Williams and Howard would make the Nets a very dangerous team in the Eastern Conference.  And it would certainly put plenty of fannies in the seats at the new Barclays Center.

It’s weird, but I sort of feel like I am living in an occupied territory now in Brooklyn.  New York has always been a one-team basketball town, but as I walk around my neighborhood signs that the Nets are coming are everywhere.  I especially like the one in my local pizzeria that has the Nets logo and says “Brooklyn’s first home game since 1957”. I am really curious to see what happens when the games actually start being played.  Will the local bar strip the Knicks off of its TV’s?  More importantly, will I watch? We’ll see what happens in October.