Sports Buffet for 06/03/10

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SptsBuf

NFL

The Browns have announced that Hall of Fame RB Jim Brown and WR Paul Warfield will no longer serve as an advisers to owner Randy Lerner. Given the history of the Browns since the team returned in 1999, the leadership of the team needs all the advice they can get. Both will be missed.

Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger’s biggest test of the suspension is not now going back with the team and participating in the OTAs. The biggest test will be how he completes what the league has asked him to do to reduce the suspension from 6 games to 4. The other half of that test will be how he behaves or misbehaves during the time from the end of the last preseason game until he gets reinstated by the league. Under NFL rules he can have no contact with the team at all during that time except for medical staff as prescribed by the terms of the suspension. If he has another incident like the ones that got him suspended in the past, there could be games added to his “unpaid leave.”

The talk around Dolphin land at their OTA last weekend was all about the passing game. QB Chad Henne has developed nicely after replacing Chad Pennington in 09. The one thing that he needs to improve on in 2010 is his TD to Int ratio. In 09 he threw 12 TDs but 14 picks. He looked even better in the OTAs. However, a lot of “want to be” guys look good in shorts.

Eagle CB Marlin Jackson is out for the season after rupturing an Achilles tendon in the team’s OTA. The team signed Jackson from the Colts to start despite his ending the 09 season on the IR.

Packer CB Al Harris is behind schedule on his recovery from knee surgery that ended his 09 season. He was expected to participate in the OTA last week but is still on the sideline.

Ram S Oshiomogho Atogwe did not sign his tender with the team. On June 1 the Rams could have increased their offer to 7M to keep their exclusive rights for him. They did not. Atogwe is now an unrestricted free agent but the Rams are still hoping they can come to a long term contract with him. He has a history of being a ball hawk. The only question is how much in this economy is he worth. The Packers and Vikings are teams that might be interested.

Lion RB Kevin Smith is not ready to participate in OTAs and will likely start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Players on that list do not count against the roster limits but only qualify if they are hurt away from football or from an injury in the previous season. Players that are on the PUP on the final cutdown day may not be activated until after week 6.

NBA

Game 1 of the Finals goes tonight. The 2-3-2 format puts the stress most on the Celtics. To win the title, in my opinion, they must win one of the first 2 games. The latest on injuries indicates that Celtics PG Rondo will play and is 85-90% while C Perkins is OK. For the Lakers C Bynum is as good as he can be expected to be with his knee problem. He had more than 70 ccs of liquid taken out of the knee on Monday.

MLB

Tampa Bay continues to lead the AL East by 2.5 games over the Yankees. The secret has been a 21-6 record on the road. As long as the pitching holds up, the Rays could be in the race for the duration.

The Twins have built a 3.5 game lead in the AL Central over the Tigers. The Twinkies have been helped by the Tigers going 3-7 over the last 10.

The Rangers lead the AL West but both the As and Angels are coming on. The Rangers were 4-6 over the last 10 while both their pursuers were 6-4.

The two best races in MLB are in the NL. The Central and West divisions are both tight. The Reds and Cards have been trading leads in the Central for a couple of weeks. Last night the Cards beat Cincy 4-1 to climb back into a tie. The Padres have the best mark in the NL with a 32-21 record but only lead the Dodgers by 1 game in the West.

The Tigers traded former All Star P Dontrelle Willis to the Diamondbacks for P Billy Buckner and cash. The Tigers will pay all but the prorated remaining part a minimum veteran contract for Willis in 2010. Despite being a big dollar FA signing in 2008, he has only be able to start 22 games for the Tigers. In 2010 he had a 4.98 ERA and was 1-2 for Detroit.

NHL

The Flyers got back into the finals series with a 4-3 OT win yesterday. The key for Philly will be to win game 4 at home then take game 5 at Chicago. Otherwise, they could be in trouble. The Black Hawks are a lot deeper than the Flyers. As the series goes on, that should give them a real advantage.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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Analysis: When is a deal not a deal? When it's a DUMP!

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Lebron

The Bucks traded their best player, Richard Jefferson, for a trio of decent but not winning players. The Milwaukee Bucks have sent a message to their fans—“We lost with Richard Jefferson. We lost paying the NBA Luxury tax for being over 71.5 million. So this year don’t bother watching us. We are going to save money and dump the 2009-10 season.”

Like all the NBA teams that are dumping payroll this year and next, the excuse is that “we are preparing to make a big splash in the free agent market in 2010.” Don’t believe that for a second. No major free agent is going to go to Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland (if LeBron leaves), Washington, Oklahoma City, or any other of the cold weather and traditionally mediocre teams in the league.

The reason that teams get away with these half-truths is that all sports fans are gullible. As a Cavs and Cubs fan, I include myself in that group. We all believe that all we need is one more really good player to bring a title to our long suffering team.

There are several BIG names in the 2010 free agent pool. But the pool is not nearly as deep as it looks.

CLE – LeBron James

The future of the Cavs begins and ends with James. If he leaves, it ends for sure. No free agent would ever come to Cleveland except to play with LeBron. There is a 33% chance that LeBron will stay in Cleveland. I believe it will depend on what the Cavs do this off season. If not, he is bound for Orlando, LA, NY, or maybe even San Antonio.

Miami – Dwayne Wade (Player option)

Wade is the most valuable PG available in the next 2 years. He will likely move to a contender. The Bucks fans don’t have to worry. No way will Wade or any other big time FA go there.

Bos – Paul Pierce (Early Termination Option ETO)

The BIG 2.5 (Ray Allen is only half) is getting older. We saw this year how important the loss of Kevin Garnett was. If Pierce leaves, the Celts are the 4th or 5th best team in the East. The team will do whatever it takes to keep him. Allen will also be unrestricted in 2010 and will likely be allowed to leave.

Hou – Yao Ming (ETO)

Since a group of Chinese businessmen bought into the Cavs, there have been rumors of Yao going to Cleveland to join LeBron. Don’t bet on it. Yao may well take a hike if the team loses more of his support. Ron Artest is a free agent this year, and Tracy McGrady is a free agent in 2010. If they both stay and the Rockets bring in someone else, he will likely stay. The problem that the team faces is that Yao is the only young C in the pool. He will receive a lot of offers.

ATL – Joe Johnson

There is no way that a team that is young and building is going to let a scorer go. Johnson will be super-glued to the Hawks roster. With the Hawks coming along nicely, he won’t leave.

Milw – Michael Redd

Redd will likely put his house up for sale this year because the housing market is down. That should give him plenty of time to sell the house prior to him leaving the Bucks. He is the one player that might go home to Cleveland but only if LeBron is there. Since Redd is a SG, he is not exactly what the Cavs need the most.

There are a lot of other players including Amare Stoudemire (ETO Suns) who is an oldie but goodie.

Most teams are using the 2010 season of LeBron as an excuse to lose now and save money. But we all get lied to a lot, so why the NBA team owners be any different.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NBA,Trades,free agent,LeBron,Dwayne,Wade,Pierce,Allen,Ming,Yao,Redd,Stoudemire,Bucks,Jefferson,Cavs,Rockets,Celtics,Lakers,Magic,Knicks,Spurs
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  • Published: Jun 16th, 2009
  • Category: NBA Basketball
  • Comments: Comments Off on LeBron is good as LeGone—Unless…

LeBron is good as LeGone—Unless…

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Cavs

The facts:

Fact 1: Given the debacle of 08-09, unless the Cavs do something spectacular, LeBron is LeGone. The Magic were better than the Cavs this year and the Magic will be significantly improved with the return of PG Jameer Nelson next season. The Magic’s key players are getting better.

Fact 2: The Cavs are likely to be worse next season unless they make some spectacular and admittedly desperate moves. Ben Wallace has already mentioned retirement. Despite his efforts, he is no where near the player he used to be. If some team offers Anderson Varejao a deal, he is likely to go. While he is not the answer for the Cavs, his departure will hurt the Cavs more than his arrival will help another team.

Fact 3: Mike Brown is not the kind of coach that is likely to be able to convince LeBron than the Cavs have a future. The Cavs should look for a high energy high profile offensive minded coach immediately.

Fact 4: Cleveland without LeBron could not attract a free agent offering a magic carpet ride through Shangra La. The ONLY hope the Cavs have for any kind of future is to do whatever the team can to try to keep LeBron.

Fact 5: The salary cap for 2008-09 was $58.680 million. The Cavs had one of the highest salary totals in the league last year. It was around 94 million.

Fact 6: Any team that goes above the salary tax level of 71.15 million pays a dollar for every dollar above that level. That meant that the Cavs had to give the league around 23 million in tax penalty payments.

Fact 7: There were only 2 teams, Miami and Portland, under the salary cap. And they were only popcorn money below the cap.

Plan 1 Amar’e Stoudemire (Pheonix 2008-09 Statistics PPG 21.4 RPG 8.10 APG 2.0)

Stoudemire is coming off an injury and there is reason to believe that the Suns are thinking about reworking their team. There are also rumors about the Suns needing to drop payroll to get under the tax level. Stoudemire is only 27 and is a consistent 20+ point 8+ rebound guy. Having another shooter to draw attention is critical. He would make Zydrunas Ilgauskas better by giving the team a 3rd rebounder. Stoudemire would create a very tough front line match up for opponents and someone that could slow down Dwight Howard.

Plan 2 Hedo Turkoglu (ETO) (Orlando 2008-09 Statistics PPG 16.8 RPG 5.30 APG 4.9)

The Turk has already announced he plans to opt out of the contract with the Magic. If the Cavs could land him, he would not only help Cleveland but hurt their prime opponent. A great thought if they could pull it off. Don’t hold your breath. Turk is looking for BIG money. He may not find it but other teams have a better chance of giving it to him than the Cavs.

Plan 3 Shaquille O’Neal (trade only) (Pheonix 2008-09 Statistics PPG 17.8 RPG 8.4 APG 1.7)

There has been a lot of talk about the Suns trading Shaq to the Cavs for Aleksandar Pavlovic and Ben Wallace. Shaq MIGHT be willing to take that trade for one reason—to beat Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in a final. Shaq has only 1 or 2 seasons left at best. He would be a short term fix that would not entice LeBron to stay. But it might get LeBron a title as a thank you for what he has done for the Cavs.

The bottom line: No team can afford to lose a key player and stay competitive. Because they are all over the salary cap, they have only a mid level exception to bring in a free agent. That is expected to be around 6 million next season. The teams will do whatever it takes including overpaying marginal stars because they can’t afford to take any big money free agents.

The only chance the Cavs have is to make a trade but they just don’t have much to trade with. The Cavs have to do something but there are very few options. Look for them to try but I can’t see them being able to do much.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NBA,NBA Draft,NBA Playoffs,Cavilers,LeBron,James,Suns,Varejao,free agent,trades,Wallace,NBA Salary Cap,Miami,Portland,cap tax,Stoudemire,Turkoglu,Shaquille O’Neal,Shaq,Pavlovic,Kobe,Bryant,Lakers,Magic

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