Thursday, July 31, 2008

5 Ways Team USA can please Coach K!

Team USA gave Turkey a beating in their second exhibition game, but I'm not too impressed. Here are five ways they can please me and Coach K:

5. How about some more air time on Road to Redemption? As Coach K is probably in his last couple of years as a coach, I'd like to see him doing other things than saying come on let's go, this is great, we have to play as a team. I mean, if they don't win the gold, he's got to have something to remember.
4. Get Dwight Howard to work his magic to get more minutes for ex-Blue Devil (his current title is bench warmer) J.J. Redick. Maybe then he can look half as good as he did in college. I think saying this kid hasn't lived up to his potential is an understatement. If the Magic can't deal him where he would play, they need to find a use for him.

Give Coach K a cool Chinese nickname (like Ball Don't Lie did for Kobe and LJ). I'm thinkin something that involves ee (the number one, I know how to say it, not sure on the spelling) and however you say number and coach in Chinese (together, number one coach!). Maybe asking Yao to help out?

2. Get Kobe to go back in time and play for Duke. A dream for Coach K and Kobe is now being achieved in the Olympics. But, I assume he'd like to win an NCAA title with Kobe at the helm. So, they'll cut a deal to go back in time when ever time travel is real (trust me, we're just having fun with this one!) and get Kobe in blue and white. This would really change everything, he'd probably be drafted before the 13th pick and not traded to the Lakers for Vlade Divac.

1. Win the damn gold! Sorry to be obvious, but this is why these guys are giving up their summers. If they don't win the gold, I think it would be a huge disappointment for US basketball. On the positive side, I think it will increase the hunger for some of the stars during the NBA season. We know Flash and Kobe don't need more desire, but why not?

EXTRA: I came up with two ways to make assistant coach Mike D'Antoni happy!

2. Find a way to make Danilo Gallinari a US citizen and get him on the 2012 team!
I know, I'm playing the Italian card, but the Knicks drafted him, by the time those London games rolled around, they'd have a great feel for each of their styles. To get him on the team, they could pull some strings (hey, Kaman got to play for Germany!).

1. Let him take over for Coach K! It's time for some fresh legs all across USA basketball and Fran Fraschilla also thinks he could be the next coach. He could bring his experience from playing and coaching and Italy, he'd already know the international game. A little run and gun for the USA team? Why not!

Of course some of this stuff is crazy, but I'm psyched about this basketball! The summer league wasn't that interesting and the medal round of these games is shaping up to be great!

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Team USA Thumps Turkey!

In an early game (started at 8pm Eastern time) the USA beat Turkey 114-82. Turkey stayed close through most of the first half, but just like Canada, they were blown out.

The thing they really have to work on is defense. I think they will do fine with getting steals and getting out into the open court, but they need solid half court defense. Just like Fran was saying, the teams they're going to be faced with in the future will be a lot better. According to the box score, there were no turnovers, but the USA can't count on that in the future.

I am still very much impressed with the play of Dwayne Wade. It looks to me like he is more focused and hungry than ever. He had a solid 13 points today and I think what was great was his fast break dunks.

In this game, team USA shot almost 71% from the field. Again, another stat you can't count on. If I remember correctly, they shot a little over 60% against Canada and I can assure you, it won't be the same in tomorrow's game. They will face Lithuania, a team that John Hollinger thinks they might wrongly underestimate (talks about a couple of minutes into the video).

Set your alarm clocks, Friday's game against Lithuania starts at 8pm Eastern time on ESPN2. Also tonight, another episode of the Road to Redemption series at 7:30 pm Eastern on ESPN2 (sorry to sound like an ESPN promo, but this is good stuff!).

Photo by: Andrew D. Bernstein

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Artest to Rockets?

According to RealGM, the Houston Rockets have reached an agreement with the Sacramento Kings to acquire Ron Artest.

Rockets get: Ron Ron
Kings get: Bobby Jackson, 1st round pick next year, probably Donte Greene and cash.

Oh, I forgot to include a ticket to the draft lottery in what the Kings get. I think this is a steal for the Rockets and if Yao and TMac are healthy, you've got a team that's ready to win. The West just gets tougher. This deal can't go through until August 14, if the rookie Greene is included. There will probably be more players added as more is learned.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Knicks Make Deal for the Heck of it!

The Knicks sent Renaldo Balkman and cash to Denver for a 2010 second round pick, Taurean Green and Bobby Jones. I think the Knicks were just helping the Nuggets shed some cap.

I guess some of these guards have potential, but I don't think it's enough to pat Donnie Walsh on the back. Walsh has been pretty quite, in terms of wheeling and dealing (not like he's got much to work with!). Ultimately, these deals don't matter in the thick of things. The goal set by Walsh is simple: see if these guys can make anything happen for a couple of years, let their contracts expire and start chasing stars in the free agent market of 2010. There might be a couple of guys that fit well into D'Antoni's system (QRich did well with him in the Suns) and I can't believe I'm saying this, but they might keep them.

Here's how I think of the Denver situation:
George Karl was playing cards with all of the playoff bound Western conference teams, put down the "we're gonna suck at defense and see if offense can win a title" card and lost miserably. Now he and the Nuggets are scrambling to cut costs, become a lottery team and get better for the future.

I understand why Melo didn't get the Camby trade, it's not all NBA GM's aren't rocket scientists, right? Well the Denver rocket had a mechanical problem: it could get up high in the sky (think of that as scoring), but when getting back into Earth's orbit (think, defense), the only thing that kept them from a crash was Camby's defense (they settled for an emergency landing).

Anyway, if I was a big Nuggets fan, I'd be disappointed.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Team USA dominates Canada!

Team USA did what I thought they would and beat Canada big time, 120-65. The first quarter was close, but team USA cruised the rest of the way. I was most impressed by how good DWade looked, he looks great, no hesitation when he went up for a nice dunk. I think that once the US knew it was over in the second half, they were more relaxed and had much better ball movement.

Anyway, for anyone who cared to watch a Friday auto-blowout, there were some very nice highlights. My favorite was a play were Chris Bosh got a nice pass for an in-your-face, long jump and throw down! The next game for team USA is next Friday: hopefully we won't see a blowout there!

The Machine Overseas?

The free agents currently available seem to all be interested in Europe now. Sasha Vujacic is threatening to go to Europe if he doesn't get about $5 million a year. Pretty soon we might as well take every guy on the market and ask if they want to go to Europe (Josh Smith next?).

I hope LA will keep Sasha, he's a young, pesky defender and his jump shot is dynamite. It gives LA great depth when you can bring Sasha and Jordan Farmar off the bench. LA already lost Ronny Turiaf to the Warriors, the young core of LA's future is at risk. The future would be Farmar or Vujacic starting, throwing the ball to Bynum down low.

No one has made him an offer, I think if it's not LA, it's Europe. Euro, or weak dollar, Mr. Machine?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm thinkin.....

How bad will Canada lose tomorrow nights exhibition against the US (8pm Eastern, ESPN)? I'm not sure how hard the US will play, but Canada failed to make this years Olympics (they haven't since 2000, actually) and everyone knows the US wants to prove the doubters wrong.

No LJ in tomorrows game (probably), he's got an ankle sprain to deal with. What I am going to be looking for from the US is tough, lock down defense (I would say for 48 minutes, but I think it might be less). Also, I want to see how Coach K will play his three point guards (JKidd, CP3 and Deron Williams).

Hopefully, I'm wrong and we get to see a great game (a little more entertaining than summer league, please?). The only great thing going on in Canada that has to do with basketball is the Raptors, not this national team. Prove me wrong, prove to me that Steve Nash and Samuel Dalembert aren't the only two Canadian ball players worth knowing!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hawks Lose Depth, Blame the Dollar!

The Hawks have lost a nice young player in Josh Childress. Where did he go? Olympiakos. He's getting $20 million for three years and will stray from being paid in our weak dollar. Maybe my friend Kellex should change the name of his site (The Sports Dollar) to the The Sports Euro. Five guys have gone from the best professional basketball league in the NBA, to all parts of the world (Russia, Spain, Greece, etc.).

The Euroleague should certainly be happy, their league will benefit from all these guys coming over (don't forget Brandon Jennings!). I will watch as much Euroleague as I can! My question is, right now these teams have an advantage because their curriencies are strong, but once that dies down, what happens to guys like Childress? I hope he got an early termination option, while he may be a star over there, he may want to come back to the NBA at some time.

Is anyone else Euroleague bound? I think there may be a couple more players, but I'm not sure who they are.

Another Detroit Brawl?

Yep, it happened again. Another brawl at the Palace, only this time it's a WNBA brawl. If you haven't seen it already, here's a video of the fight and some breakdowns of what happened:

This is, of course, terrible for not just the WNBA, but also the NBA (the NBA is already considered somewhat dirty and it could be leaking over into the WNBA). When the best player in your league, Candace Parker, is involved, it becomes tough to suspend her and still have a well represented league. I don't know much about the WNBA, but if this begins a trend, they will have to take action.

I would suspend Parker 10 games. I know there will be plenty of other suspensions also. Rick Mahorn claims he didn't push Lisa Leslie, but it certainly looks like he did. It's a big mess; we'll just have to wait for the league to dole out suspensions.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Don't Count Out the Nets!

Oh, the East is rising, what are we going to do about the one team that really improved itself, so far (the Sixers)? The New Jersey Nets picked in the lottery this year, but they have made some nice moves that may get them back in contention.

You look at the nucleus that they have built: great young point guard in Devin Harris (Marcus Willimas and CDR off the bench), bolstered front line with Yi and Brook Lopez (don't forget the energy Stromile Swift and Josh Boone could bring off the bench) and they just acquired Keyon Dooling (and did I mention VC?). While that sounds like a pretty solid squad, they have to prove it out on the court.

This team won 34 games last year and finished 10th in the Eastern conference. The Hawks made the playoffs winning only 37 games, but I think you might have to be at 500. next season (if we're lucky). To get to a winning percentage of 500., all these Nets have to do is win seven more games.

That is of course doable, but here's what they have to do: forget the doubters, work hard, the basics. This is not hard to do: this team is young, so all they need is a lot of practice and a strong, vocal coaching staff to get them over the hump.

They could be similar to the Hawks that took the Celtics serious for six games before being blown out of the building in the seventh.

Remember: this team will not be popping champagne and not sleeping for a week. They're young and if they don't live up to my expectations and squeak into the playoffs, well they get a lottery pick out of it. If they make the playoffs, then this young team gets some experience. Everyone wins!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Should Cuban and Pritchard Have a Sitdown?

The Mavericks let injury ridden Darius Miles workout for them. If he signs anywhere and plays in 10 or more games, the Blazers owe him a nine million dollar salary. That begs the question, what does Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard do about it? We can speculate how much interest the Mavs have, but I think he's inching forward in getting a job.
1. Get friendly with Mark Cuban. Just make sure they don't sign the guy. The Mavs recently signed Gerald Green, so make the case that Green is a newer, younger, and less washed up version of Miles. I don't think signing him makes much sense either. He could be a locker room distraction, another thing this squad does not need.

2. Let him rock; in the D-League. Some players that may not be the most popular NBA players, tend to play well in the D-League (Von Wafer is a good example). I could see Miles stay in the D-League and be a big time player there.

3. Offer him a ring if you win it all in seven years. It may not be as good as playing for it, but Miles could get a ring for not costing nine million!

I am a big Pritchard fan and I want to see the Blazers succeed (after the Lakers, of course). They have been taking in big time young ones and they are going to need all the cap they can get. So, make your old fans happy Darius!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Magic closing in on a deal?

The Magic have been adding players to the back court and I think it means a trade is imminent. They signed Anthony Johnson, drafted Courtney Lee and seem to be loaded at the one and two spots. I'm going to assume they are not going to resign Carlos Arroyo and Keyon Dooling, seeing as Johnson would take Arroyo's minutes and Dooling hasn't received an offer from the Magic yet.

So who's the odd man out? It has to be J.J. Redick. He didn't play much at all last season and it seems the Magic want to acquire Javaris Crittenton. I don't know how much Memphis wants for Crittenton, but Redick and possibly a sign and trade with one of their free agents might do. Redick may not be as good as Mike Miller, but he could bring some of that shooting touch back that was sent away to Minnesota.

Camby off to LA!

The LA Clippers sent a second round pick to the Denver Nuggets for Marcus Camby. I like the move by the Clippers. This, of course, signals a change of motives for Denver.

I thought LA could make a run at Emeka Okafor, but I think they will do fine with Camby. He can defend, hit the mid range jumper and do a decent job of filling the void of Elton Brand. Going forward, I would like to see an addition at the small forward position.

Also, now we have another ESPN analyst saying the Clips are playoff bound-Ric Bucher. Now I don't think there are many definite playoff teams in the West (Lakers, Hornets, Spurs, that's about it!). I cannot put the Clippers in that bunch, even if they're healthy. I'm sure we haven't seen the last move from Golden State and they still have Dallas, Phoenix, and others to get through.

The Nuggets are probably not going to make the playoffs next year. This move says, "hey, we thought this team was good, but now we traded our best defensive guy and want to be bad in order to have cap for 2009-10!" That's what this is about: they came to the conclusion that this bunch can't win a title and want to have money to get another star next to Melo. The star I would like to see in Denver is Chris Bosh. He would be a nice fit, he does play defense (they really need that). I think that Allen Iverson could be on the market now. If any team has cap space, they can probably get whatever Nugget they want as long as it's not Melo.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Starbury Can't Avoid Meteorite (Get rid of him)!

I think New York fans aren't going to have to deal with Stephon Marbury next season. Mike D'Antoni doesn't like him, Walsh acts like he wants him to hit the road and I think he shouldn't let the door hit him on the way out!
This guy should be bought out. I don't think he's tradeable and this will help the cap space situation. Can he get another gig? I think so, he could go to a place where he's not #1 (kind of like Rasheed, but not for a title). Could he go to Europe, like he said is in his plans? I don't think it's likely, he couldn't handle it. I would like to see him go to Milwaukee or Cleveland. If he plays to his potential, it would be a steal for the Bucks. If the Cavs had him, maybe LeBron could get him to put his money where his mouth is.

Wherever he goes, just get him out of New York! If you search, "stephon marbury out of new york," on Google, you get 309,000 results for a reason!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Shaq Jumping Cars?

Someone knows how to be Shaq! They shot this video of Shaq jumping over an Escalade.

I saw this and just cracked up! The guy may not look like Shaq, but he sure sounds like him! I found it on Ball Don't Lie and I'm glad I did! So, sit back and laugh! It's Friday!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Predictions Shattered!

Elton Brand and Brandon Jennings decided to mess with me: the basketball prophet (not really). I wanted Josh Smith to be a Sixer (I even had five reasons) and I wanted Jennings to make his choice on the 11th (so he could get an endorsement with Apple, or go to Cisco).

It's pretty much a lock that Smith won't come to the Sixers. Brand will take the cap space and the only way he'll go to Philly is a sign and trade. I don't disagree with the move, but I had no idea it was going to happen (did anyone?). The Sixers lacked scoring up front and Elton will fix that.

Has anyone noticed that Elton likes to mention how great his agent is? I watched the videos over at ESPN and he loves to mention his agent.


The deal with Brandon Jennings is he made his decision a couple days before iPhone day! Now I know he chose Europe and would go with Cisco, but I think he could really get more money out of raining on Apple's parade (not that they're direct competitors, but both are techie).

Either way, I loved writing those stories! More to come soon!

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

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Pietrus to Magic!

The Orlando Magic are going to bring in Mickael Pietrus, according to Realgm. I like the addition; Mickael can shoot, score and should help them launch a ton of threes again. They're becoming a deep team, key bench guys include: Brian Cook, Keith Bogans, and now Pietrus might replace Keyon Dooling.

I think they should trade Redick, maybe they could do it for cap space? It could help them be active in future free agent markets, which look crazy good. Anyway, I think they are making the right moves to look like a big time contender (especially once they're in that new arena)!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Brandon Jennings Can Get Rich on July 11th!

Brandon Jennings has a marketing opportunity that may not be on his mind yet (no, this is not a spam post). On July 11th, his SAT scores will be released. How does this affect basketball? Well, if he gets a high score, he can go to the University of Arizona. Disappoint and he's either going to Wake Forest (test optional now), or more likely; he'll be on his way to Europe.

If you didn't know, July 11th is also iPhone day. People will be standing in line waiting to activate their 3g iPhones. How does all of this allow Brandon Jennings to compete with the marketing gem that is LeBron (he's got big endorsements with Nike, Microsoft and too many others)?

Let's assume he gets the right SAT Score..

Then, he should give a call to Apple. "Hey, Microsoft has LeBron James; I passed the SAT on iPhone day. Sound like the perfect combination?" Imagine Jennings talking with the iPhone music in the background, "When I'm not playin' ball, I rag on my friends who use Windows Mobile and chat it up with other 'one and done' guys." He could milk about a million from this at Arizona and raise the bar once he's in the NBA.

If the SAT doesn't compute..

Then he's Cisco bound. I can envision this even more than the iPhone: "Since I play on the other side of the globe, I need a powerful network that lets me video chat with my friends and family back in the states." Cisco could claim they're hip with a guy like Jennings backing their product. Jennings could start to compete with LJ with a couple million a year to start.

Now, I know this is far fetched

But Jennings has to start thinking about cash money! Aren't we going through tough economic times? And remember when three years and $21 million wasn't enough for
Latrell Sprewell to feed his family? Jennings might not be able to feed himself at Arizona, let alone feed everyone back home with his salary from Europe. And like KG says, "Anything is possible!"

Friday, July 04, 2008

5 Reasons Josh Smith Should Be a Sixer!

Josh Smith is probably one of the best free agents available at this point. The Sixers were a surprise playoff team in the East; they're young, athletic and getting better. They also have some cap room they can dish out. So I thought of five reasons they should sign Josh Smith.

5. So the Hawks can officially become the new Clippers (before the Baron Davis and Gordon moves). Unless there was a sign-and-trade, this team would go from just cracking into the playoffs, to a team with Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby and some other young guns. They would be the new team to laugh at (the Griz have joined that group).

4. So it looks like Ed Stefanski made a big move and is not just feeding off of the roster that Billy King made.

3. Because I want to hear a commentator say, "Oh my goodness what a move by Smith," (or some other OMG like reaction) further into the playoffs.

2. Then AI (the one in Denver) will realize, "
Man, I wish I had someone who played defense on my team."

1. Because it would give the NBA an excuse to put two players from the same team in the dunk contest! Josh Smith and Andre Iguodala are just freak athletes. Here is some proof: when you search "Josh Smith dunk," or "Andre Iguodala dunk," on Google, you get a combined 254,400 results!

Here are some Smith blocks and dunks:

This is a move-esq highlight film of Iguodala:

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Free Agency Time!

Today teams can start negotiating contracts with free agents. So there are plenty of rumors flying around.

Baron Davis

I really don't like the idea of BD opting out. It doesn't make sense financially, unless there's a sign-and-trade.

Here are some numbers from a Ball Don't Lie post:
Davis was due to make 17.8 million bucks next season, but faced with a stalemate with the Warriors over a contract extension, he's now left all of that on the table.

Who cares about the extension now? Davis is 29 and despite past health issues, the big time 09-10 market might be better. Also, he's getting to that age where he probably wants to be with more of a real time contender (Clippers, stay away!).

He should have focused on playing this year, get almost 18 mil (not too shabby) and worry about getting a raise next summer. I hope this isn't about a raise. If I'm a GM, this guy isn't worth any more than that. Let's say he wants a three year deal that would net him just as much, if not more, per year. Then, you are paying a guy, who will be on the decline and possibly become an energy guy off the bench. Stay in Golden State, at least sign a one year deal, then you can play in the big free agent market!

Jose Calderon

Is staying put! Smart, seeing as Ford is going to the Pacers (as long as everyone passes a physical and the league approves it). The Raptors need him, it should be much easier to play the inside game, he'll get to throw the ball to Bosh or O'Neal.

Okay, enough with free agency for now. I have a poll up about the new film Gunnin' For That #1 Spot (here's a description). I haven't been able to see it yet (thanks for only releasing it in the big cities!), but I am trying to find a way. Hopefully I'm able to see it soon!

For the latest on free agency, check Google News, RealGM, and any other great sources for up to the minute updates.