Blog Update

Happy Monday.

Wanted to drop a note and give you fun bit-o-news.  I have signed on to be the lead blogger at Dunking with Wolves, a Minnesota Timberwolves blog.  This blog is part of a great team blog network at FanSided.com which covers the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and more.

I have enjoyed have a solo-blog and trying to create interest myself, but I am excited to be a part of a team and really refine my craft by focusing on a team that I love and followed for many years.

Please stop and drop a line.

Thanks

Daniel Damico

Quick Hits: Twitter Style

Looks like it is time for my monthly post. :)  Sorry, I have been away and not blogging, but then I again, I have no idea if anyone reads this.  So there.

I added Twitter to the right column.  Though it might be a nice way to give a thought in 140 characters or less and not blog on it.  In that way of thinking, I am doing to does this blog a variety of topics, with 140 characters or less in each response.  If you think I am lying, enter it into your twitter account.

NBA Playoffs -

Cavs Vs. Bulls: I hope Chicago enjoyed their only win of the series. Expect the Cavs to win next game by 20 pts or more. Bulls=younger Cavs w/out LeBron.

Magic Vs. Bobcats: If the refs can loosen up a bit, the Magic should run away with it. Actually, they will anyways, even w/Howard only playing 25 mins a game.

Hawks Vs. Bucks: Bucks will got 1 in Milwaukee, but that’s it. This series is over in 5. Jennings can’t do it alone, so who is going to help him? Salmons?

Celtics Vs. Heat: Unless the Heat sign a max player tonight – this series will be over in no more than two games. I feel bad for Wade. He looked tired.

Lakers Vs. Thunder: Is Kobe injured? Is the the Thunder just that good? This seems to be the best series of Round one -expect Thunder to be around for awhile.

Mavs Vs. Spurs: These teams always play tough games. I expect the next to be the same, but I don’t see how the Mavs come back to take this series.

Suns and Blazers: Is Brandon Roy the 6 Million $ Man? The Blazers are totally different when he is healthy. This series goes seven – Suns win.

Nuggets Vs. Jazz: George Karl is missed. Nugs are lost without him, Jazz playing  more physical ball. DWill is nice – Melo needs help. Mr. Big Shot?

All in all the playoffs have been very good – even the Magic and Bobcats series. Here are the key factors to this playoffs so far:

  1. Match-Ups – how the individual is able to exploit an advantage.
  2. Team Is Greater – we are saw this in March Madness and we are see all over the NBA.
  3. Coaches Do Matter - If George Karl is on the bench, that series is very different.   Look at Scott Brooks with the Thunder *Same can not be said for the Bulls – they would get beat with Phil Jackson.
  4. Physical Play - How teams can adjust or adapt to refs letting more physical play go.
  5. Deeper Teams Can Handle the Load - When Jason Terry went down holding his ankle – the Mavs season was done – it will be done very quickly anyways – but they still believe there is a chance.

NFL Draft: Vikings were disappointing to me. Lions drafted well on paper. ESPN sucked every moment they possible could out of the draft, and Mel Kiper.

MLB: The Twins are World Champs. Maybe not – yet. Love the line-up, new stadium & uniforms. Would love another legit starting pitcher. Anyone?

An NBA draft piece will get that out once the lottery balls fall in place .  And while the TWolves have a very good chance at the No. 1 pick, I am not sure they want it.  WHAT?  No John Wall?  There will be more to come and I sure David Kahn will say things that only kinda-sorta make sense.  But I have hope!

Quick Hits: 3/26/10

I love this time of year.  It is starting to get very nice outside, golf courses are opening, and my life has been crazy busy.  I will not bore with that, because I am sure we ll can say the same thing – but it has been worse than usual.

I stayed up way to late watch the double-overtime game between Xavier and Kansas State.  What a crazy game.  It was maybe one of the best games I have seen all year.  Just as it should be!

Thoughts of Madness

I have been so busy that I did not even get invitations out for my bracket from CBSSports.com out to all the people involved, and I have had it for 3 years.  Oh well.  On my work brackets, I am boarder-line screwed.  I picked Kansas to win and well….DAMN IT!

Here is my quick run down of how things are going at this moment.

No. 1 Seeds – DAMN IT!  We have lost the two teams most thought would make it to the Final Four.  I wonder how long it will take for Kentucky’s Final Four appearance to be erased due to violations of something?!

Ohio State looks tough.  They are not deep, but they may have the best starting five left in the tourney and the match-up with Tennessee will be showcase some very good match-ups.  UT’s Wayne Chism vs. OSU’s Dallas Lauderdale.  UT’s Scottie Hopson vs. OSU’s Evan Turner.

General Theme of Tourney: Playing as a Team > Team of Talent.

Northern Iowa did want NDSU was not able to do last year.  I think they can run to the Final Four – we will find out tonight.  This is not the Michigan State from last season – even with Kalin Lucas.   I remember Ben Jacobson when he was playing at UND – I liked him then.

West Virginia is looking legit and I still not sure why and a Match-up with Kentucky will be physical!

St. Mary’s has legit size and skill, I could see them getting past Baylor and Duke.  First things first.  Baylor and St. Mary match-up very well.  but remember the “General Theme of the Tourney”.

Duke has beat Purdue the last two times they met, and that was with Robbie Hummel.  Duke is too tough in the front-court – don’t think that has been said in the last 5 years.

Final Four Predictions – West Virginia, Ohio State, Kansas State and the toughest call…Baylor.  Not very legit when I do it so far into the game, but I don’t care.  I will probably end up one-for-four.

I have enjoyed watching this tournament more than many in the past.  There have been great games all over the place regardless of seeding.  My brother and I were talking about a month a go and we said that any one team in the Top 25 could either win, or loose in the two rounds.

I am not sure we have seen the playing field so level as it has been this year.

DTP: NBA Trade Reactions

The NBA deadline has come and past with a few major moves and plenty that don’t really matter other than money.  So while everyone and their dog are ranking/grading the trades, I thought I better do the same – or something close to that.

Instead of giving an A or something I will try to determine why the move made sense or not.  And if you disagree, please feel free to tell me why.

The Big Deals

1.  Antawn Jamison to the Cleveland

There are more players involved, but this is the only one that matters.  With Zydrunas Ilgauskas more than likely getting bought out and returning to Cleveland, the trade ends up like this.

  • Cleveland receives: Jamison.  From the Clippers – Sebastian Telfair – don’t forget the Clippers are involved here.
  • Washington receives: From the Cavs –  2010 first-round pick and the rights to Emir Preldzic.  From the Clippers – Al Thornton from the Clippers.
  • Los Angles receives:  Drew Gooden from the Wizards.

Why does this make sense for the Cavs?  They get Jamison for a first-round pick that would likely be no higher than 30, and some guy named Emir Preldzic who was the Cavs second round pick last year.  The Cavs make this trade for one reason that leads into more reasons.  The main reason – To keep LeBron James, and hopefully win a few rings.  This trade also makes way more sense then the Amar’e trade – Jamison just seems like the right type of player, but also the right personality to fit in with this group.

Why does this make sense for the Wizards?  If you are going to blow things up – do it big and fast.  This team was going no where and while this is horrible for the 15 fans in Washington, it makes financial sense for front-office.

Side Note – I watch the Wolves vs. Wizards game the other night.  There we more people on the floor and benches then there were in the stands – sad.

I also wonder if this a little jab at Gilbert Arenas and forcing him to seek a trade – look out New York.  I mean, the guy cripples you with his contract AND his behavior.  Destroys the team and I doubt he will want to come back , and I can not blame him.

Why does this make sense for the Clippers? It does not for this season.  But what about next season?  The only way this works is if the Clippers really think they can get a max-level player in this summer.  And it is an appealing option for a talented free agent.  Baron Davis, Blake Griffin, Chris Kaman, Eric Gordon, Travis Oulaw, Steve Blake, and  Drew Gooden provide a pretty solid team to lead.  I am not saying LeBron is coming, but maybe Joe Johnson.

2. Tracy McGrady to Sacramento New York

We knew McGrady had no future in Houston. What we did not know was where he would land and what Houston would get in return.  And by most accounts, Houston walked away with more than the brought to the party.

  • Houston receives: From New York – Jared Jefferies, Jordan Hill, and a protected 2012 first-round pick and the right to exchange first-round picks in 2011.  From Sacramento – Kevin martin and Hilton Armstrong.
  • Sacramento receives:  From Houston – Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey.  From New York – Larry Hughes.
  • New York receives: From Houston – Tracy McGrady.  From Sacramento – Sergio Rodriquez.

Why does this make sense for the Rockets? Really?  There can’t be much question as to why this works.  You trade a player who wasn’t playing and has the largest salary this season.  You get a lottery pick in Hill, and good player in Jefferies, two picks from NY – which could be high picks AND Kevin Martin.  Upgrade!

Why does this make sense for the Kings? The Kings leadership must have seen enough of Tyreke Evans to make him the franchise and unload their best player in Martin for Landry, Dorsey, and Hughes expiring contract.  But this moves clears a lot of cap space to allow for signing a top tier player to a max deal, or couple of really good pieces.  I guess this years team will have time to gel, and play into a top-five pick.

Why does this make sense for the Knicks?  Next season, the Knicks only have $18.6M in salaries.  Meaning more space to make offers to LeBron and another max player – i.e. Chris Bosh.  But they also need to fill a roster that would not include David Lee, Eddie House, Al Harrington or McGrady or any first round picks for three years.  No matter what, the Knicks needed to cut salary for a team that had a $80M+ payroll.

3.  Caron Butler to Dallas

This was the first big move and was the first example of how the Wizards are very giving and want to help solidify other teams as prime playoff contenders.

  • Dallas receives: Caron Butler, Brendon Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson and cash.
  • Washington receives: Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, James Singleton and Quinton Ross.

Why does this make sense for the Mavs?  Dallas has never been mistaking for a team with an attitude or chip on their shoulder.  And a lot of times, teams with an attitude, win championships.  As the Mavs roll into the last few years of the Dirk era, owner Mark Cuben knows that time is running out on this team.

Howard was not the player he once was, and didn’t seem to care, and the Mavs really had no need for Gooden.  With this trade, the Mavs get some grit and a much more capable team.  Plus with Erik Dampier’s outrageous contract coming to a team options for $13M, the team can let him go and resign Haywood for much less money.

Why does this make sense for the Wizards?  Just like the deal with the Cavs, this trade has nothing to do with the players involved, only their contracts.  And this has even less to do with this season.  I am not sure what the Wizards leadership is going to do, but supposedly they want to KEEP Arenas.   I understand that he is not what you would call a hot name, but but he will be if the Wizards are able to void his contract.

Other Deals

1.  The only other deal that matter at was the Knicks sending Nate Robinson to the Celtics for Eddie House.   Here is the deal:  Traded G Nate Robinson and F Marcus Landry to Boston for G Eddie House, G J.R. Giddens, G-F Bill Walker and a future conditional second-round pick. ?  It will be interesting.

2.  Homer side-Note:  The Wolves were active again, sending Brain Cardinal’s expiring contract to New York for Darko Milicic’s expiring contract and cash.  Stupid – but no harm, no foul.

3.  The last deal that is one worth mentioning is Chicago trading Tyrus Thomas for a future first-round draft pick, G Flip Murray and G Acie Law from Charlotte.  Again, this move is not about players, but Chicago’s ability to offer Dwayne Wade and another max level player – i.e. Chris Bosh – a contract.  But I like Thomas and Larry Brown should break him down and maybe make an actual NBA player out of him.

Joe Mauer To Sign 10-year Deal

Minneapolis media outlet WCCO, is reporting that The Minnesota Twins and AL MVP Joe Mauer are close to signing a contract that would keep the face of the franchise.  Infamous local insider Mark Rosen, is the man behind the report.  

“A source tells WCCO-TV’s Mark Rosen that American League MVP Joe Mauer has come to a preliminary agreement with the Minnesota Twins for a 10-year contract extension.”

“WCCO’s Rosen Monday afternoon reaffirmed that the framework of a 10-year agreement had been reached. He also noted that deals like this can fall apart late in the process and that the two sides were still working out final details on incentives.”

It seems that there is nothing set in stone, but both sides are moving forward. And this would point to the Twins deciding to do the right thing and secure one of the top three players in the game.  And, I am not sure I care about the price tag! 

FINISH THE DEAL!

Click here for the Wcco.com article.

Quick Hits: 1/30/10

I think I am finally sober enough after drinking myself into unconsciousness after the Vikings again, crapped all over themselves – and all of us who cheer for the Purple.

To tell the truth, I actually thought that there was a chance to win it.  After all the fumbling and self-inflected wounds, I still thought the Vikings had a chance to kick a field goal as time expired.  Oh, tortured souls are we.

Since I don’t want spent too much time rehashing the game, here are my Mini-Hits versions for my points of interest.

  • Based on how the game ended, and ignoring the fact that he signed an extension, I am not sure Brad Childress should keep his job.  To all those you think I am just now piling on – please read some other posts.  I have never held Childress in the highest esteem.
  • The evening was very exciting on Facebook, as 90% of my friends grew-up in Minnesota and North Dakota.  The status updates were amazing.
  • So the NFL came out and said that the hit in the picture on Brett Favre should have been a 15-yard plenty.  Awesome.  So why was it not called?  The ref was right there.
  • The purple started running with some authority in the fourth quarter and then they would call a stupid pass play.  Just run the ball.
  • I thought that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman talked about the Saints defense and their coordinator way too much.  Even though Vikings out gained the Saints.
  • I have watched the Saints several times this year, and I thought they looked very average.
  • Even though the Vikings lost, I think it is safe to say we were the better team.

Vikings Side-Note:  Offensive Linemen Bryant McKinnie was kicked out the NFC All-Pro team.  What the hell?

Super Bowl Prediction

The Saints showed a ton of holes and the Colts defense is better than people think.  add that with Peyton Manning pretty much in the zone, and I see the Colts winning 34 – 17.

The Saints are not going to get away with the boarder-line hits on Manning.  There is no way.

US Soccer Bits

Timberwolves Talk

I follow the NBA and enjoy watching most teams, but they only team that I really have any connection with is the Minnesota T’Wolves.  For the casual fan, this season has probably been very difficult to watch.  And while I have yelled at the TV plenty of times, I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“A light at the end of the tunnel”?  Really?

Yeah.  I will do a full post on the state of the Timberwolves down the road, but this team as plenty of draft picks, will have cap room and have pieces for a competitive team.  Plus the rights to Ricky Rubio.

So I decided to play GM with ESPN’s Trade Machine and came up with this trade that would reshape the T’Wolves.

If you can’t read this picture, the Wolves give up Al Jefferson, Brian Cardinal and Mark Blount’s expiring contracts, and Ramon Sessions to the Phoenix Suns, the Wolves would get Amare Stoudemire, Jared Dudley and Channing Frye from Phoenix and Joe Johnson from Atlanta.  Atlanta would get Leandro Barbosa.  At best, there is a 0.005692% chance of this actually happening.   But let’s play pretend.  After this trade, the Wolves starting line-up would be

  • PG – Flynn
  • SG – Johnson
  • SF – Corey Brewer
  • PF – Amare
  • C – Frye

You would still have Kevin Love, Jared Dudley and others off the bench.  You would give your best player in Jefferson and back-up PG in Ramon Sessions – but Sessions is not your future – and Cardinal and Blount don’t play.  This is a just a dream, but I would love to think that anything can happen with David Kahn.  Like I said, this probably will not happen.  But my point is, THERE ARE OPTIONS!!

I will do a more in-depth look at the Wolves and the possibilities that are available this off-season, suitable free agents and draft picks.

Until then, I will relish the Wolves win over the Clippers!!

Wolves Side-Note:  Has Corey Brewer finally figure it out?  Looks like it.

College Basketball Hits

  • Jay Bilas’ Midseason Awards.
  • The Minnesota Gophers were dominating the MSU Spartans, but then end up losing 65-64.  I still can not figure this team out.  They really have no “go-to player”.  Then again, neither does Purdue.
  • Ohio State took a hit with Evan Turner out after breaking two vertebrae is his lower back.  But since he has returned he is leading the No. 24 Buckeyes in points per game (18.4), rebounds per game (9.9), and assist per game (5.5).  It may take while, but this Buckeye team is not cupcake.
  • UNC has fallen out of the Top-25 for the first time January 2006. Currently the Tarheels record is 13-7 and are 2-3 in the ACC – but there is still time.

Doug Gottlieb: “Looks like hoops was sacrificed for football at SC”

Part of being popular in sports media is writing shocking and negative articles – take a look at Jason Whitlock.   But Doug Gottlieb’s latest blog post on ESPN.com is not shocking, it just highlights the elephant in the room.  While some may find it shocking, Gottlieb points some very “interesting” penalties and asks “Why do they always feel the same?”.

Here is the theme of Gottlieb’s blog post:  When large college basketball programs get in trouble, it is to cover the ass of the football team.

After watching USC take down eight consecutive opponents, including winning the Diamond Head Classic and starting off 2-0 in conference play, it seemed the tales of the demise of SC hoops had been greatly exaggerated. Then just like that — in a move swift, decisive and thorough — athletic director Mike Garrett announced there would be no postseason basketball for this rag-tag group of second-chance Trojans.

Garrett’s move is an attempt to precede the NCAA in their ultimate findings, but it also reeks of both hypocrisy and a soullessness that leaves most in college basketball thinking the same thing: USC does not care about its current basketball players or its basketball program. Instead, USC simply believes — at least in my mind and that of many others in the sport — that by giving up its hoop dreams, the NCAA will go light on the school’s football program.

Gottlieb also points to other schools and their own issues.  But when it came to the punishment, it was not the football teams who had scholarships taken away or postseasons taken away, but the sport that does not bring in as much money.

Think about it realistically for a second. Look at the scandals in college sports over the past 20 years. Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio State and Indiana have all been on basketball probation in the Big Ten alone (and Northwestern had a point-shaving scandal), yet no one in the league has broken a rule so severe that there has been a major scandal on the football side? Come on.

I do not have any inside information, but it is tough to believe that, with all the suspensions and teams that have been on probation, that the rules were only broken by players and coaches who were sneakers and shorts and not cleats and helmets.

But again, how do you punish the current team for the past team’s NCAA violations? I just don’t get it. There must be consequences, but where is the accountability of the athletic department? It seems as though the coaches and players on the current team are the only ones truly accepting the blame for past transgressions.”

sports from a guy who didn't even play jv

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