Sports Buffet for 5/25/10

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SptsBuf

Note: I will have a B I G announcement about getting back on the Internet radio very soon. We will also have Niblets this Saturday.

NFL

The NFL took a huge loss in the Supreme Court Monday. The Court in effect said that the league is not a single entity in regards to licensing producers of apparel but 32 separate businesses. For the details about what this means, check out my NFL News, Notes and Rumors on NFLDraftDog.com.

Vikings QB Bret Favre had the surgery on his ankle that he had said would be required to play in 2010. Expect him to be back this season the day AFTER the team breaks camp. At 40 timing is everything.

NBA

Most analysts are saying that the Magic just have not shown much effort in their series with the Celtics. They said the same thing about the Cavs. Could it be that the Celtics are just so good that they make their opposition look inept? Yes. The combination of very good coaching, experienced veterans that know how to play the game and the fact that for the first time all year the team is healthy have all contributed to the Celtics success in the playoffs.

The Magic did squeak out a win Monday in Boston. Don’t expect that to save them. The series will be over in 6.

Los Suns finally won a game. They trail the Lakers 2 games to 1. Los Suns will Los–e. The series will only last 2 more games.

The Cavs finally fired CINO (coach in name only) Mike Brown.  This will not keep LeBron in Cleveland.

MLB

The Astros are trying to trade SP Roy Oswald. There are a lot of challenges including his contract, history of injury and the fact that he can’t seem to find the plate. Because Roy is one of the faces of the franchise Astros ownership is not going to be willing to give him away just to make him happy. With most teams looking to reduce payroll, it is unlikely that the team will be able to get a deal.

The Reds are hanging in against the favored Cards in the NL. The Rays are hanging in to the always tough AL East. As long as both teams pitching stays healthy, they could be around past the All Star game.

Congrats to MLB for keeping politics out of the game. We don’t see that kind of guts out of many pro leagues these days.

NHL

The Black Hawks haven’t won the Cup since 61. Their goal tender Antti Niemi was driving a Zamboni not that long ago for a little extra cash. Now he is the toast of the city and the league. Great D helps win in the NHL but nothing will get you to the Cup Finals faster than a really hot goalie.

The Flyers will represent the East in the finals. This should be a great series. I have heard that the Flyers looked really good but since I don’t have the Verses network, I can not comment on that.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NHL,NBA,MLB,NHL Cup finals,Favre,American Needle v. NFL,Supreme Court,Celtics,Cavilers,Magic,Suns,Lakers,Astros,Oswald,Reds,Cardinals,Rays,Black Hawks,Niemi,Flyers,Verses Network

2009 Lakers Rockets Playoff Matchup

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Lakers Rockets 2009

2009 Lakers Rockets Playoff Matchup

In 2009 the Lakers were thought to be the team to beat. They had won over 60 games and were second only to the Cleveland Cavaliers in total wins in the NBA that year. It was thought little stood in their way between the start of the playoffs and an NBA finals appearance against the winner of the eastern conference. The experts were wrong. The Lakers Rockets playoff match up proved to be a great series and almost sent the Lakers home for the summer.

The 2009 Rockets were not considered favorites in the playoffs, in fact many thought the Lakers would beat them in five games. The Rockets were without the oft injured Tracy Mcgrady for the whole series and lost Yao Ming after game three of the series. After Yao Ming was injured many thought the series was all but over, they were in for a surprise.

Even though they were down 2-1 when they lost their superstar center, the Rockets were able to extend the series to seven games. Ron Artest was key to helping the Houston Rockets stay in this series. He played defense against anybody he was asked to cover and scored when he had to. Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest seemed to have a rivalry going on with each other during the series. The Lakers Rockets series kept NBA fans nationwide glued to their television sets waiting to see who would prevail. Many fans couldn’t believe the fight that the Rockets put up without two of their superstars.

While the series ended in game seven with a 19 point Lakers victory, many people gained a great deal of respect for the game Houston Rockets and for their superstar Ron Artest who had a never say die attitude and played hard until the very end. It seems that Ron Artest grew fond of the Lakers and Kobe Bryant during their series, as he went on to sign with the Lakers during the free agency period in the summer of 2010.

MLB All Star weekend troubles.

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What does everyone want to be named to but nobody wants to go to? Answer—the MLB All Star Game. Many players earn a bonus if they are named to the game only to find they are unable to participate because they are totally disabled by a potentially fatal case of hangnail.

The American League has no players entered in the home run derby. Even the HRD which has been the one shining star in MLB’s All Star Weekend has some serious rust on it. While every All Star game has challenges, MLB’s game seems to be the most endangered.

Who wouldn’t give up a weekend off at home with the family in the middle of July to spend a couple of days on the field at St. Louis in 100 degree 100% humidity? Evidently plenty of people wouldn’t. Even the NFL has decided that to get anyone to play in their post season game, they have to hold it in Hawaii. Baseball holds their game in the middle of the season. Maybe they should put a franchise in Hawaii too. At least the weather would be better.

Players are afraid of injury. Remember Pete Rose running over Cleveland’s Ray Fosse in the 1970 game? Fosse was never the same after that hit. It cost him his career.

What has happened to MLB’s summer classic is inter league play and too much television. When Ben Franklin and I were kids, we seldom saw our favorite players on out of market teams except for the all star game. Ben was always a bigger baseball fan than I was. But you can’t eliminate inter league play because it draws fans to the ballparks all over the league. Reductions in TV games won’t be happening any time soon either. Baseball is losing enough money as it is. So what’s to be done?

One thing that should NEVER have been done is to allow the game to determine home field advantage in the World Series. Can you even imagine how stupid it would be to allow the West winning the NBA game 128-126 to give the Lakers home field advantage in the NBA finals?

Nothing can be done. Baseball can add a skills competition like the NHL and NBA has but that will not draw the top names. The old timers game is about the only thing that will draw some viewers but not enough to make a difference. A rookie game with 3A all stars vs the current rookie crop might generate some interest and exposure for future stars of the game.

As it has in every other area, baseball will continue to do the same things the same way and expect better results. That won’t work. Just ask our elected representatives in Washington. They use that exact approach to the problems we face.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: MLB,MLB ALL STAR GAME,NHL,NBA,LAKERS,World Series,home field advantage,Rose,Fosse

Analysis: The Cavs take 2 steps up and 1 step back.

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nbaDraft

The Cavs took 2 steps up with the trade for C Shaquille O’Neal. Most of the experts are saying that Shaq won’t impact the Cavs that much. That is both true and false. But then they threw away their 1st round pick by drafting Christian Eyenga of the Congo via Spain. One step WAY back.

False: The thing that Shaq gives the Cavs is an inside scorer. Shaq is also a better passer than almost any other C in the league. When the Cavs get the ball inside and the D begins to collapse on him, he can pass to the perimeter for a 3 point shot. That will work if anyone other than LeBron James is capable of hitting a 3 in the playoffs. Mo Williams was brought in to be the other outside scorer and take some pressure off LeBron. That worked well in the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs. However, in the series against Orlando, Mo became one of the statues standing watching LeBron take on the entire Magic team. Add to that the fact that Mo couldn’t have hit the Mississippi River from the middle of a bridge and the Cavs get blown out of the playoffs.

The older C Zydrunas Ilgauskas gets the farther away from the basket he seems to play. Over the last couple of years, no one doubled Z. And most of his points have come from 10 feet and out. He has not been an inside scoring force that LeBron needs. He has never been physical. Given the ability of Shaq to catch the ball and score inside, he is a major improvement in the middle over Z.

True: The addition of Shaq does nothing to help pick and roll D which was half the reason that the Cavs lost to the Magic. The Cavs needed the addition of one more outside shooting threat that can also play D against the opponent PF or SF with some quickness. Don’t even think that Cleveland can play Z at the PF against teams like the Magic. Forward Richard Jefferson that was traded to San Antonio from Milwaukee is EXACTLY the kind of player that could have made the Cavs much more effective against the Magic. He also would have helped against the Celtics. By getting Jefferson, the Spurs can challenge the Lakers in the west.

That brings us to the draft. ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper said of a team during one draft “They clearly don’t understand what the draft is all about.” He was right then and it applies to the Cavs’ 2009 NBA draft as well. Eyenga is supposed to be very athletic. Ok, that’s nice. But any prospect that has a highlight tape that looks like it was taken by a $9 cell phone is not worth a 1st round pick—even the 30th pick. I admit I had never heard of Eyenga. I have a list of 150 players that I have seen and Eyenga is not on that list. He was also not on the lists of any website I have been able to find.

The point that Kiper was making is that having a good draft is a product of getting value with each pick. Do the Cavs really think that Eyenga wasn’t going to be there at 47, their other pick in the draft? He would have been there in September of 09 as an undrafted and unknown FA. With that 30th pick, the Cavs could have gotten DeJuan Blair (PF Pittsburgh 16th on my ranking) who is a good defender and rebounder and can score a little. The Spurs will work Blair into the rotation immediately and he will develop into a starter down the line. They could have gotten Sam Young (SF Pittsburgh) or Dante Cunningham (F Villanova). Even Richie Cunningham would have been a better pick. He played for his high school team on Happy Days didn’t he?

I did like the pick of Danny Green (SF North Carolina). He is as ready to contribute as anyone picked around him (47 overall).

So what do the Cavs do now? Get into the Hedo Turkoglu (F FA from Orlando) sweepstakes. Turk could be the guy they need to fill that other F position opposite LeBron. Turk as I predicted has opted out of his Magic contract. The Cavs need to spend the money now to get Turk and pay the luxury tax. If they fail to win it all in 09-10, they will lose LeBron and 90% of the value of the franchise.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NBA,NBA Draft,Shaquille O’Neal,LeBron James,Cavilers,Lakers,Magic,Kiper,Jefferson,Turkoglu,Happy Days,Blair,Cunningham,Young

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 https://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

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 https://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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