Wednesday, February 11, 2009

To Trade, or Not To Trade

ESPN Coast to Coast last night had a report that the Mavericks turned down a deal yesterday that initially sounds worth-while. They were offered Baron Davis and Chris Kaman for Jason Kidd.

They said no.

I think they made the right call.

Davis, will be 30 in April, is a fabulous player, but has and will always be in a battle with his knees. He is signed for 4 more seasons, and although he might be the Alpha-Male this team so desires – if he isn’t healthy, then he is an anchor on your spreadsheet.

Meanwhile, Kaman is a nice piece, and he is soon to be 27. But, again, is he the difference maker? Is he going to carry you with Dirk to the promised land? I don’t see it.

I like Baron a lot. I think Kaman is useful. And, I think the Kidd era has been failed, but I think you want to keep your powder dry. I think in these trying economic times, there will be a lot of offers like this, and you have to wait for that one that will put you over the top. I just can’t believe in Baron’s health. So, like the Mavericks, I pass.

It is a good deal, but it isn’t good enough for me to take myself out of all other deals AND the summer of 2010. If you take yourself out of 2010, then you better get a franchise making deal. This is not it.

B Davis11.25m12.15m13.05m13.95m14.85m
C Kaman9.5m10.4m11.3m12.2mOff
J Kidd21.3mOffOffOffOff

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The latest from Mark Cuban in player evaluation

To the Cowboys, and I am ready to give in. Everybody on the national scene is saying it. And now Michael Lombardi is, too

Now, for the real news out of Dallas regarding Terrell Owens. Peter King wrote this yesterday in his Monday Morning QB, and I believe he is dead-on accurate. When, not if, is the real question everyone is asking about T.O. He will not be back, but the team is still deciding when to make the announcement of his termination or trade.
Maybe Jones can work a trade out to send Owens to the Raiders since they have a huge need at wideout and have never been afraid to take on a big challenge. This will be interesting to follow as it develops.

From a Raiders Chat

I read today that several national journalists feel that T.O. will be out of Dallas and Oakland would be a good spot, perhaps only costing a 3rd round pick. Do you see this as a possibility?

Steve Corkran: Of course it's a possibility. Terrell Owens has Raider written all over him, and Al Davis is the kind of owner who would allow Owens to be the person he is as long as he produces in games.

We shall see, but there is too much smoke here for there to be no fire. Owens is gone. I think.


I am right in the middle of a life-long project that I occasionally admit to on the air. It is basically living in my past and researching and preserving the icons of my youth that made me the sports nerd that I am today.

This involves a number of things, including trying to convert many of my favorite video tapes from my teenage years (when I first had a VCR) to DVD. The idea is that this will preserve them for another few decades, and then I will convert them again to the next technology.

But, part of this process is soaking in sports as it was in the mid to late 1980’s. Back then, I was obsessed with basketball and the Packers. Basketball, because I was pretty sure at the age of 15, that I would be on my way to a life of playing professional basketball. I think if you watch this, you will agree .

Anyway, last night I was converting Game 4 of the 1987 NBA Finals to DVD.

What a game. Lakers vs. Celtics in the Boston Garden. Celtics with a huge lead (up 16 in the 3rd; up 8 with 2:30 to play) and the Lakers come all the way back to win with a Magic hook shot with :02 left.

A true classic

Game 4, NBA Finals, Boston Garden, June 9, 1987. The Lakers and Celtics are wrapped up in one of their epic encounters. Boston Garden is a madhouse, a deafening roar rolling down from the rafters as Larry Bird drills a heart-stopping three-point shot from the left corner with 12 seconds left, giving the Celtics a 106-104 edge, and moving the series closer to a 2-2 deadlock.

The seconds tick away as the Lakers, who have rallied from eight points down in the last 3½ minutes, move the ball inside to Abdul-Jabbar, who's fouled. He makes his first free throw, cutting the deficit to 106-105, but misses the second. Boston forward Kevin McHale seizes the rebound as the crowd goes berserk, sensing that the game is over. But somehow, McHale fumbles the ball out of bounds, enabling Los Angeles to retain possession with seven seconds left.

The Garden crowd is stunned. McHale later claims he was pushed by the Lakers' Mychal Thompson, prompting him to lose control of the ball. No matter. The Lakers' Michael Cooper looks to inbound the ball, the Celtics up by a point.

Johnson sets a pick for James Worthy and quickly pops out of the corner. Cooper passes in to Johnson, who turns and expects to see the eyeballs of Celtics guard Dennis Johnson. Instead, Magic is face to face with the long-armed, 6-foot-11 McHale, who was caught in a switch when Magic set the pick.

The clock is down to three seconds as Magic dribbles toward the middle of the lane, about 12 feet from the basket. The moment is his. He is not looking for Abdul-Jabber or Worthy or Cooper. "I wanted the ball in my hands," he would say later. "Guys like me and Larry Bird want the ball in our hands for the last shot. That's what we thrive on."

Johnson is about to take a jumper, then, as the eyes of the world glare in at him, he goes to the middle. Then, to the amazement of everyone in the Garden, including his own teammates, Johnson steals a page from Abdul-Jabbar's book and takes a graceful, sweeping, arching sky hook, a shot he would later refer to, laughingly, as "my junior, junior sky hook," the little brother of Abdul-Jabbar's famous sky hook, that unblockable shot that defined his career.

The ball passes over McHale's outstretched fingernails, by the distance of strand of hair, and floats toward the basket. With two seconds on the clock, the ball swishes through the net. There is total disbelief in the arena. "I started to take the jumper and when a big guy comes out at you, like Kevin did, I knew my best chance was to drive on him," Magic would say later. "I needed one step to get the shot off, and that's what I got."

Magic had gone to Kareem during the season to ask for pointers on shooting a hook shot. He always wanted to learn something new to keep his opponents off-balance. To keep them guessing. He asked Abdul-Jabbar about the mechanics of the shot. He didn't understand how to turn his body correctly on the shot. But he practiced it continuously, often by himself.

Magic's hook gives L.A. a 107-106 lead with two ticks left on the clock. Boston calls timeout to set up a final shot. Dennis Johnson inbounds the ball to Bird, who beats Worthy on the dribble and launches a three-point shot from the left corner. It bounces long off the opposite rim, and a hush descends upon New England. Final score: Lakers 107, Celtics 106. Los Angeles leads the series, 3-1.

"You expect to lose on a skyhook," Bird would say later, managing a slight grin. "You just don't expect it to be Magic."

Then I did a full Sports Illustrated search for some bed time reading, and found this very interesting David Halberstam piece about the role of race in the 1987 NBA Finals

Because the styles and the racial composition of each team were so strikingly different, race was very much at issue during the series (and indeed was covertly at issue even when it was not overtly so). It was always there, as race is always there in American life, even when it seemingly is not.

One enters the subject of race and basketball as one enters a minefield: American blacks are clearly faster than American whites; in addition, they are now generally perceived as better natural athletes; and Los Angeles is a significantly blacker team than Boston. The first seven Los Angeles players are black; Boston, which was the first integrated team and the first team to start five blacks, has been for almost a decade one of the whitest teams in the league, and it starts three whites and often plays four at a time.

Even before the finals started, Dennis Rodman and Isiah Thomas of the Pistons had raised the question of race, both suggesting that Larry Bird was overrated and had become a superstar not so much because of the excellence of his game as because he was white and because white fans and media seized on and magnified his value. At the same time, The Boston Globe ran a story quoting some local black youths at a playground saying they favored the Lakers because the Celtics were so white. That story reverberated throughout the paper for the next few days.

Racism is about stereotypes on both sides, and like most stereotypes, racial ones can be both true and untrue. One can imagine, for example, the young and still healthy Walton as an ideal center for the current Laker team. Comparably, one can easily imagine the mid-career Abdul-Jabbar playing for the Celtics and fitting in perfectly well with their style. Yet, as the current Laker offense springs from Magic, so the current Celtic team is an extension of Bird. The Boston offense is built around a forward with great vision and great hands who moves well without the ball and who will, against an exceptional defense, come off a series of picks, ready to shoot or pass. It is critical on this team that everyone be able to shoot well from within a specified range. This is, for better or worse, defined as white basketball. That Bird would be an equally wonderful forward on the current Laker team does not change the stereotype (in part because Johnson would have difficulty on the Celtics as currently constituted; he would probably be too fast for them, and it is possible that an adjustment in his game might cost him what is best in his game).

Anyway, that is how I spent part of my Tuesday night. Yes, I party.

And then there is this disturbing story about Robbie Alomar’s post baseball career

Baseball great Roberto Alomar has full-blown AIDS but insisted on having unprotected sex, his ex-girlfriend charged Tuesday in a bombshell lawsuit.

The shocking claim was leveled by Ilya Dall, 31, who said she lived with the ex-Met for three years and watched in horror as his health worsened.

In papers filed in state and federal court, Dall said Alomar finally got tested in January 2006 while suffering from a cough, fatigue and shingles.

"The test results of him being HIV-positive was given to him and the plaintiff on or about Feb.6, 2006," the $15 million negligence suit says.

Nine days later, the couple went to see a disease specialist who discovered a mass in the retired second baseman's chest, the court papers say.

Alomar's skin had turned purple, he was foaming at the mouth and a spinal tap "showed he had full-blown AIDS," the suit says.

Alomar, 41, who quit baseball over health issues in 2005, could not be reached for comment.

His lawyer, Charles Bach, would not say whether Alomar is HIV-positive. "We believe this is a totally frivolous lawsuit. These allegations are baseless," Bach said. "He's healthy and would like to keep his health status private. We'll do our talking in court."

Alomar's father, Mets bench coach Sandy Alomar, said the claims were news to him. "That's the first time we ever heard of that," he said from Puerto Rico.

Baron Davis Mix Tape

Sports make me smile

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