Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Let Me Explain...

Look, I feel like perhaps a few of you got me wrong here. Yes, I did say I wasn’t against the premise of Pac Man Jones in Dallas. Yes, I did say that if the right contract is out there, I would endorse bringing him in here. I don’t take those back.

But, based on some of the feedback, I feel like I should elaborate.

First, I never claimed to be the Cowboys moral compass. I have morphed into a realist from an idealist over the last decade, and I don’t fight as firm a fight as I once did about my effort to get the Vienna Boy’s Choir to play football for the Cowboys. The fact is that in the world of entertainment, you must make the choices on a case by case basis.

I realize that Jones is a knucklehead. I realize that he is not someone you would want on your team in normal situations. But, I am a big believer in the reforming of knuckleheads when they are clearly and simply reasoned with by someone taking away their earning power. Sitting out the entire season generally grabs any and all people with half a brain around the neck.

So, if Pac Man is reformed, you have a spectacular player at a discount.

And, if he is not, the NFL bans him again.

Either way, I don’t see a big down side in checking to see what the cost is. If it is a crazy contract, run the other way. But if you can trade for him with a 2nd day draft pick, and then pay him a reasonable deal that is based on his ability to behave, then I am fine with it. Just like Terrell Owens – who I also endorsed when most of the media was freaking out.

I hope that is not too disappointing.

Ott Suspended …In what seems like a harsh stance, Ott will miss 3 games for the below hit on Leopold…

Dallas Stars forward Steve Ott will receive a three-game suspension for his hit Sunday on Colorado defenseman Jordan Leopold, Stars co-GM Les Jackson confirmed Tuesday night.

Ott had a phone conference with NHL director of operations Colin Campbell on Tuesday, and Campbell is expected to announce the suspension today.

Campbell would only confirm the length of the suspension via e-mail. He did not elaborate on the hit or comment on whether he reviewed two separate incidents in which Colorado players injured Stars players Brenden Morrow and Mike Modano in Saturday's game in Denver.

Ott appeared to leave his feet to make a hit on Leopold against the boards in the Stars' offensive zone in the first period Sunday. Leopold left the game because of a head injury.

Ott was not penalized on the play, so his suspension could be for boarding, elbowing or charging.

Mavs with another glorified scrimmage tonight

Antoine Wright's purest court instincts kicked in upon hearing his new coach's voice screech from across the court. Avery Johnson's arms flailed about like a drunken traffic cop, his elongated index fingers frantically pointing every which way.

"I quickly understood I was in the wrong spot," Wright said.

Welcome to Mavericks Newcomer's Week.

The favorable schedule that has included blowout wins over New Jersey and New York, and welcomes Charlotte tonight, Indiana on Friday and a trip to Miami on Sunday, is affording Johnson audition time on the fly for the other players involved in the Jason Kidd trade as well as their two free-agent signees.

As Wright and Malik Allen make progress and hefty center Jamaal Magloire works his way into shape, backup veteran point guard Tyronn Lue is expected to debut tonight.
"My role is very simple," said Lue, who won NBA titles in 2000 and 2001 with the Lakers. "I just want to come in, play 10 to 12 minutes, play hard, bring toughness and a defensive presence. And he'll [Kidd] take care of the rest."

Since the All-Star break, five Mavs have left and five new ones have arrived.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who coached Lue in Orlando, phoned Johnson when Lue signed to tell him he got a good one in the tenacious, undersized guard who's listed at 6-foot but probably isn't.

Johnson is relying on the eyeball test with Allen, a 6-foot-10 forward who has a smooth jumper but doesn't rebound well. Still, Johnson seems to be finding room for Allen on a squad lacking a ready backup center.

"Allen is looking like he can be our backup at one of the big positions on the front court," Johnson said. "He has a skill that you can use with his jump shot, and he knows where to be on defense."

Wright, Allen, Magloire and Lue are all in the final year of their contracts, so all are playing for the chance to make a run at a title and a new contract, either with the Mavs or another team.

Most intriguing for the Mavs' future is Wright, a 6-7, third-year swingman who was the catalyst in the first season of Texas A&M's amazing turnaround. The Nets' 15th overall pick in 2005, Wright played behind Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson.

The Mavs' season-long unsettled situation at shooting guard now employs Jerry Stackhouse as the starter. He's the third starter there in 11 games with Kidd.

Johnson has lacked a young, athletic shooting guard with good size and an appetite for defense. Wright, who will become a restricted free agent in the off-season, has potential, but Johnson said it's too early to tell.

"Antoine's a basketball player. He's still relatively young, but he knows how to operate out there on the floor," said Johnson, who not only didn't play Wright in seven of his first 11 games, he made him inactive in five. "He's very heady, good instincts. He has a subtle confidence where he really thinks he belongs in the league. And, he gets after it defensively."

Bill Simmons with more salt in the wound

What if the Mavs had re-signed Steve Nash in 2005?

I defended Dallas for passing on Nash because (A) he hadn't looked good in the previous two playoffs and (B) $60 million seemed like an obscene amount of money for a 31-year-old point guard with serious back problems. What I didn't defend was Dallas subsequently using that money (and even a little more) to spend $73 million on Erick Dampier. If you're throwing money around, throw it at Nash over a dog like Dampier, right?

To make matters worse, the Mavs made a fatal mistake by underestimating the aforementioned rule changes that transformed Nash into the two-time MVP. Had they kept Nash and Antawn Jamison (sent to Washington for Jerry Stackhouse and the rights to Devin Harris) and still made the semi-brilliant Jason Terry trade, that's suddenly a monster roster: Nash, Nowitzki, Jamison, Terry, Josh Howard, DeSagana Diop, Veteran Free Agent X and February Buyout Guy X year after year after year -- as well as the league's single-most entertaining team.

(One other note: Looking back, it's fascinating Mark Cuban played the "fiscal responsibility" card as his reason for not re-signing Nash, then quickly overpaid for Dampier and started spending more recklessly than ever. Did you know, for the 2007-08 season, Dallas is the only team to spend more than $100 million on its payroll? Incredibly, the Mavs are checking in at $105 million this season, a good $17 million more than the second-place Knicks. I have a great deal of respect for Cuban as a businessman and a thinker, but other than passing on Nash, he has spent the decade making it rain like Pacman Jones -- only coming close to a title in 2006, when the Mavericks were robbed by some incredibly poor officiating -- and now he's stuck with a nine-figure payroll and a static roster that might be quitting on its coach as we speak. We're at the point when the Mavs might need to be reinvented. And soon.)

Peter King TMQB …on Aaron Rodgers future (which I am sure interests you greatly)…

Liverpool kills off Inter …4 English teams in the Final 8…

San Siro was deserted, blue and yellow ticker-tape strewn over its empty seats, save for 4,200 Liverpool supporters singing along with a Beatles number that blared from the loudspeakers and captured the occasion perfectly. "Get Back" they sang in unison with the city's other acclaimed export. Quite right, too. Rafael Benítez has taken Liverpool back to where they once belonged.

A third Champions League final in four seasons is on the horizon for the Spaniard as a relentless Liverpool, combined with a touch of excellence by Fernando Torres, made relatively light work of the supposed vengeful might of Internazionale. The clean sweep of four English clubs in the quarter-finals - a record for any nation in the competition - arrived with the cleanest of strikes from the formidable Spain international, and Liverpool march on as a team to be feared.

Roberto Mancini's men gave their all only for the wasteful front line of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Julio Cruz together with the 50th-minute dismissal of Nicolás Burdisso to deflate their chances of becoming the first team in 16 years of the Champions League to overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit. Mancini later announced he will be quitting the job this summer.

For 43 years Liverpool have cursed a referee for depriving them of glory against Inter and no doubt the Italian champions will return the compliment now that the 1965 European Cup semi-final has been avenged. Inter played 100 minutes of this 180-minute tie with 10 men, Burdisso repeating the mistakes of the man he had replaced from the first leg, the suspended Marco Materazzi, but blaming officialdom is a diversionary tactic without merit.

Liverpool were the more disciplined, clinical and, it needs saying, professional side over the two encounters. With Torres as their spearhead they also carry a far greater threat than any of the Anfield sides that reached the finals in 2005 and 2007, and following his 26th goal of an outstanding debut season at the club, Moscow does not appear out of reach come May.

This was not the show of defiance that protected a slender lead with a goalless draw at Juventus in the quarter-finals three years ago but an effort that fulfilled Steven Gerrard's pre-match promise to "attack and kill the tie". True, Inter had five glorious chances to have transformed the outcome but ultimately Liverpool's progress was a straightforward exercise.

Stuff White People Like looks at the Wire

Though white people have a natural aversion to television, there are some exceptions. For white people to like a TV show it helps if it is: critically acclaimed, low-rated, shown on premium cable, and available as a DVD box set.

The latter is important so that white people can order it from Netflix and tell their friends “they are really into and I watched ten episodes in a row in the weekend. I’m almost caught up.”

If you attempt to talk about an episode they have not seen yet, they will scream and cover their ears. In white culture, giving away information about a film or TV series is considered as rude as spitting on your mothers grave. It is an unforgivable offense.

Recent series that have fallen into this category include The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and most recently The Wire.

For the past three years, whenever you say “The Wire” white people are required to respond by saying “it’s the best show on television.” Try it the next time you see a white person! Though now they might say “it WAS the best show on television.”

So why do they love it so much? It all comes down to authenticity. A long time ago, someone started a rumor that when The Wire is on TV, actual police wires go quiet because all the dealers are watching the show. Though this is not true, it seems plausible enough to white people and has imbued the show with the needed authenticity to be deemed acceptable.

The popularity of this show among white people has create a unique opportunity for personal gain.

If you need to impress a white person, tell them you are from Baltimore. They will
immediately ask you about The Wire and how accurate it is. You should confirm that it is “like a documentary of the streets,” the white person will then slowly shake their head and say “man” or “wow.” You will be seen in an entirely new light.

If you are not from Baltimore but the white person you are talking to is, they might start asking you a lot of questions. In this situation, you should just say you left when you were young but you still have a lot of cousins there but you don’t like to go back to visit. This will remove all doubts and they can go back to telling you about how John from Accounting needs to “stop snitching” about their two hour lunch breaks.

Barkley (who is on our show today) tries to hold his breath

Dikembe Comedy


A Silence Production said...

Ott destroyed him...I mean if you're gonna fight!

see you all at SXSW!

Tony said...

Come on Sports Sturm, no Iditarod talk? ;-)

We have fun races up here in the Last Frontier.