Monday, July 31, 2006

Belliard Gone

This is the first trade of the season that actually bums me out and actually feels like a salary dump.

Belliard could still help this ball club next year a beyond. He is a free agent after the season and is due for a contract upgrade. But this feels like a contract dump.

I could kinda justify the other trades... Crisp? They had no 3B prospects and they had the chance to get Marte, plus they had decent outfielders for the short term. Jason Johnson? He sucked, end of story. Eduardo Perez? Perez wasn't going to be a long term part of this team, and they needed a middle infield prospect after the Brandon Phillips debacle (note: I'm not mad about the Phillips trade, no one thought he'd do this well. Hell, Cincy didn't play him for 10 days after they got him). Wickman? The team was out of it and he wasn't going to be around next year, sure I would've liked more, but at least he didn't just retire without the Indians getting anything for him. Broussard? Please; I've never been the biggest Broussard fan, he's 29, platooning at first base and we're still hoping he 'figures it out', it was time for a change.

But Belliard? They got Hector Luna in return, he's 26, but he can play 'multiple positions'. Hooray! I've grown tired of trying to defend this front office against charges of penny pinching. I know Belliard isn't great; he doesn't have the best range, he seems to tail off int he second half and he looks a lot like bootleg Manny Ramirez. But if you can't re-sign Ronnie Belliard, who can you re-sign?

If the Tribe wants people to show up at all next year, they need to go out and sign some pitchers. This team isn't awful, the bullpen is. Of course, a right handed power bat wouldn't be bad either (preferably 1B or a corner OF). The starters are pretty set (CC, Sowers, Lee, Westbrook and Byrd isn't a bad rotation) and the line up can score runs (not consistently, but still), the problem is the bullpen. If Shapiro goes out and spends money on some relievers, the team should turn around and compete with Detroit and Chicago (fuck, and the Twins).
If the team goes bargin hunting again, expect another year of low turnout and angry fans.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

What's this? Good News? For the Browns?

Wah?

I remember reading some stories earlier in the offseason (if I were a good blogger, I'd find the links, but guess what, I'm not- I want to say it was in ESPN the Magazine, but I can't find shit online) about how Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow were working out and rehabbing together. They both have knee injuries, and though Winslow got hurt earlier, he had a relapse and was basically on the same track as Edwards. The article was about how the two players were pushing each other and becoming all buddy-buddy.

When training camp started I read/heard a lot of stuff about how Winslow became good friends with Browns QB Charlie Frye. Joint work outs, buddy-buddy shit, going to Akron games- that kinda stuff.

This struck me as odd because Winslow was back practicing and Edwards wasn't going to be back until October. Now Edwards comes back 2-3 months before schedule? Really? This guy was put on the unable to practice list recently, how the hell can he jump ahead 3 months?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I just think something smells fishy. Somebody was being lied to, whether it was the Browns to the media, Edwards doctor to the Browns or... I don't even know, someone else lying... uh.. anyways my point... this doesn't happen, you don't just skip three months of rehab.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Playing for Peace

I never usually read the E-Ticket stuff that ESPN.com promotes, but I just finished reading the Chad Forde's Hooping with the Enemy story and I have to say I really enjoyed it.

Wanna See the Future?

Check out the Indians tonight, it looks like not only will we be seeing new aquired Shin-Soo Choo but Andy Marte (who apparently was better in spring training??) as well.

Speaking of Choo, in todays column, Roger Brown gives us a National League's opinion of the Tribe's new OF. And, surprise surprise, it isn't favorable. I'm not surprised that Brown gave us this guy's opinion, mostly because it's a negative view of a player Cleveland fans kinda like. Also, a National League scout? Choo was on Seattle's farm team and was traded to the Indians, both AL teams. Why not get a view from an American League scout? My guess? An American League scout may have a good opinion of Choo and Brown cannot have that.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Oh it hurts

I've railed for years at people who suggest Cubs and Red Sox fans are/were the most tortured fans in sports. Bullshit, Cleveland wins hands down, sure the Cubs haven't won since since 1908 and the Red Sox hadn't won since 1918 but ya know what? Those cities had other winners. Chicago had the Bulls and the Bears (and recently the White Sox) while Boston fans had the fucking Celtics and more recently the Patriots. Cleveland? Nada.

Papa Cass breaks down the curse a bit more.

LeCharles is French for... The Charles

The Indians suck ass and the Cavs are in the middle of a boring offseason so I guess it's time to look forward to the upcoming Browns season.

The papers have been having their Browns previews and Bud Shaw even wrote a column on LeCharles Bentley's awesomeness.

Welcome home LeCharles.

I'm gonna be sick.

Bye Bye Ben Broussard

Let the fire sale begin! Due to many factors this year (Cavs playoff run, shitty season) I haven't really gotten into the Indians this year. I haven't watched many of the games, mostly because by the time I finished watching Dwyane Wade shoot 49082343 free throws, the Indians were in third place and dropping fast. (My point you ask? This season hasn't been as devastating to me as it has other Cleveland fans).

The Wickman trade didn't really bother me too much, even if we only got a single A player in return. What was Shapiro supposed to do? I would imagine there were other offers, but Wicky was a 10-5 guy, so he could chose where to go, so maybe Atlanta was the only option. Plus what was the Indians big problem this year? Relief pitching. The Tribe's infield is set for now (especially after the Perez trade), the farm system has a lot of OFs and the starters aren't too bad down there either. If Atlanta is trading for Wickman, they probably won't give up a relief pitcher in return. So ya, a single A player (who is supposed to have a high ceiling), oh well, Wickman was gone after the year anyway.

Ben Broussard got shipped out today, to the Mariners. Seattle now has the Indians first base platoon from spring training. Awesome. The Tribe got a Triple A OF player who looks like he could bat leadoff. I like the deal (as do others) and I'll tell ya why.

I've never been a huge Broussard fan. He isn't bad, but well, he isn't that good. It seems to me that we're all still waiting for Broussard to 'get it'. He doesn't hit for the kind of power one would like from a first baseman. Last year it worked out because the Indians got good power numbers from Peralta and Victor (and Coco, not to mention Hafner). I think the Indians thought they could get a player to bat leadoff (and move Sizemore down to third) for a first baseman who is streaky as hell and platoons.

Anyways, I've always thought the Indians were close to dumping Broussard the last couple seasons, but he'll come up with a HUGE grand slam late in the year, get hot and the Indians will go "hmmm... maybe Ben is figuring it out, we'll bring him back for another year". And it just repeats and repeats and repeats.

This may be a fire sale, but I'm not really all that concerned. I know this season has sucked, but I just can't bring myself to get too upset at losing: Eduardo Perez, Bob Wickman and Ben Broussard.

I really think that the Tribe's front office is going to go out next offseason and spend (not a lot) money and go after good relievers. Hitting hasn't really been the Tribe's problem this year (now, timely hitting...) it has been the bullpen. If the front office brass realize that they gotta pay relievers as well, I see no reason why the Indians can't bounce back and compete next year.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

That's right, he can drink

Since ESPN is done rumor mongering (and since there's nothing to talk about), Brian Windhorst (who is fastly becoming Cleveland's own Ed Werder or Sal Palanontioioio) has an article about LeBron looking old. And they even have a copy of LeBron's birth certificate. Awesome.

It is Comforting to Know

that Kenny Rogers is still Kenny Rogers

(I've been waiting for this guy to come back down to Earth all season, I'm extra glad that it happened during the Tribe's weekly win)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dirty Pretty Things on Rescue Me

The closing scene from tonight's Rescue Me (which was awesome as usual- next week looks epic) featured "If You Love a Woman" by Dirty Pretty Things, one of my favorite new bands.

Their debut CD, Waterloo to Anywhere (which I've reviewed) comes out August 8th and I highly recommend it.

Here's the video for their first single "Bang Bang, You're Dead" (the song is badass, enjoy)

Zach Galifianakis is Funny

I first saw Galifianakis on Jimmy Kimmel's show a few years back and every time I see the guy I laugh. He was in The Comedians of Comedy with Patton Oswalt and he's in that new show Dog Bites Man. He usually performs while playing the piano, but here are some clips:





Clerks II

I saw it.

I liked it.

Of course, I come pre-programed to like Clerks II. I own all of Kevin Smith's movies and I like them all. There, I've said it. All of them. I mean, Chasing Amy is the best according to conventional critics, but I liked Mallrats too. I also LOVED Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was retarded fun and I even enjoyed Jersey Girl (I feel like I need to justify that statement: I saw Jersey Girl during one of the few periods in my life where I'm not single, so Jersey Girl worked really well as a date movie, I mean, it's a much better choice than something like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.)

But back to Clerks II. Some people said that Clerks shouldn't be fucked with; it wasn't needed and a sequel might ruin the first one. I had no problem with Smith returning with Dante and Randal (especially after learning about Jason Mewes's drug problems and how Smith promised him another Jay and Silent Bob movie if he stayed sober. He did.)

Now for the movie itself. First of all, the previews don't really do this movie justice; some of the best stuff is either A) really hilarious and vulgar but couldn't be shown on TV or B) really dramatic/deep/thoughtful dialogue that couldn't be broken down into a commercial soundbite.

There were parts of the movie that were cheesy as hell (some dialogue and situations were text book Hollywood stuff), like a lot of Dante's romatic lines and situations. There were some parts that were sublimley stupid, like the extended dance sequence. That's right: extended dance sequence. Amazing.

There was also a lot of inside jokes (Ben Affleck and Jason Lee show up), some nerd humor (Star Wars vs Lord of the Rings) and some classic Smith vulgarity (a donkey show).

However, these are things we all expect from a Kevin Smith movie, no one is really shocked by this. What was shocking was the gut wrenching dialogue Smith wrote for Dante and Randal. Some of the shit is so real, so dramatic that my mouth dropped. It felt like I was watching two friends fight as a fly on the wall. It was almost uncomfortable.

Anyways, if you liked any of Smith's earlier films, you'll probably like Clerks II. If you've seen only Clerks and Chasing Amy (his 'serious' ones), you'll probably like Clerks II. If you don't approve of adult language and sex with a donkey, Clerks II is probably not the movie for you.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Let's Hope Roger Brown Is Wrong

Brown:

If the Cavs really are interested in pulling a sign-and-trade deal with Drew Gooden, their free-agent power forward, they'd better be ready to take a pretty bad contract off another team's hands in return. How bad? How does the one belonging to malcontent Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin ($63 million over the next four seasons) strike you? Or that of major New York Knicks flop Jerome James ($17.4 million through 2008-09)?"


I'm not sure how correct Brown is here. The Cavs don't want to sign Drew Gooden to a huge contract because they don't think he's worth big dollars. So to get out paying Gooden big dollars, they trade him away for a overpaid, overrated power forward? Huh? That doesn't make sense.

Assuming they have to take a bad contract in return, why couldn't/wouldn't they take an overpaid point guard (or any other posistion)?

Hell, the Nuggets might want to be dropping Andre Miller's contract as well as Kenyon Martin. If you're talking with Denver, why not go for Miller?

So yea, if the Cavs do a sign-and-trade with Gooden, they have to get some kind of contract comparable to Gooden's, so of course they'll be taking back salary. But it doesn't have to be dead weight like Martin or James.

Everybody's Doin' the Fish

I was in Columbus this weekend for a doctors appointment (follow up for the shoulder... I'll be able to play contact sports in 2 months, basketball shall be played) and a friends birthday.

On my way down, I was deciding what to put on my ipod and I realized I hadn't played any Reel Big Fish in awhile, so I put on Turn the Radio Off and Why do They Rock so Hard? Wow.

If you were on 71 South between 9:30 and 11:30 on Friday morning then you saw what happened. I was the guy in the Honda, speeding, singing his lungs out. I went nuts. I put the albums on and before I realize it, I'm screaming along with the lyrics and doin some weird driving dance.

I felt like I was 17 and speeding though Hudson, not some overweight bearded dude driving to a follow up on my shoulder surgery. It was sweet. Reel Big Fish is probably my favorite band. I just fucking love these guys, I've seen them play at least 5 times, the last time (this past summer) my friends and I actually met the band and got autographs. (For those wondering, yes, I know they were at the House of Blues in Cleveland a few weeks ago, however: I am poor. I have no money. I did not attend.

Anyways, here's some RBF videos I found:

their first:



their hit:



their famous cover:



their latest:

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bye bye Bob

Sure, I'd like to have gotten something more than an A level catcher, but I'm not that bummed.

Wickman was going to retire after the season anyway, so at least we got something. Would I have rather gotten, oh I dunno... two prospects? three? How about a prospect at the AA level? AAA? I mean, Wickman is a closer.

Vinny and The Hornless Rhino are a bit angrier than I am.

Maybe this season has just drained me so much I'm just that apathetic, I'm just seeing it as: "Well, at least he didn't leave for nothing"

Jack Bauer is Raistlin Majere

confused?

also, I just finished Dragons of the Dwarven Depths, and I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you're new to the series, obviously I'd recommend reading Dragons of Autumn Twilight first, but this is right in the wheelhouse for vetern DL readers.

Traveling Wilburys

Harrison, Orbison, Dylan, Petty and Lynne. Not bad way to start a band.

There's been rumors of some Wilbury remasters (especially after Jenny Lewis covered their song 'Handle with Care') coming soon, but I haven't seen or heard anything lately.

Here's the Wilbury's video for 'Handle with Care', the video itself is nothing special, but I get chills seeing Harrison, Dylan, Orbison and Petty sharing a mic. (Orbison died shortly after the completion of their first album, Vol. 1). The second video is from their second album, Vol. 3, and is called 'The Wilbury Twist', the song (and video) isn't as good as 'Handle with Care', but you can tell these superstars are just having fun playing music. Also, enjoy the late 80s, early 90s cameos. Awesome.



Wednesday, July 19, 2006

LeBron's Contract

For years now people (ESPN people) have been saying that LeBron's Nike contract has a kicker if he plays in NYC or LA, some have gone as far to say that it doubles.

For as long as I can remember, I've been yelling bullshit. I based my yells on Brian Windhorst, who has maintained that LeBron's Nike contract has no kickers at all.

Everyone is wrong.

Turns out LeBron's deal does have a clause giving him more money if he's in NYC or LA. James would get an extra 5 mil a year. 5 mil. That's it.

$5 million won't make up the money he would lose if he spurs the Cavaliers offer. The Cavs can pay James more than anyone (including 4 years from now), so if he leaves the Cavs, he'll lose a ton of cash, all of his contracts combined wouldn't make up for it.

Of course, this doesn't matter much, we'll still be getting stories like this for the next few years (or forever) so don't worry about it. If the Cavs are good, none of it will matter.

That is a first

hey lookie, a veto, only 5 years in...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

LRMR

This is an article about LeBron's marketing team and their goal of making James a global icon by 08/08/08, or the start of the 08 Olympics in Beijing.

James is considering taking classes at the University of Akron and is considering learning Mandarin so he could converse with the public during the games.

Classes at Akron eh? Man, that guy cannot wait to get to the Knicks.

Minor League Basketball

We all know minor league basketball isn't that great. We're also aware that NCAA basketball has ridiculous rules and regulations and that the NCAA doesn't exactly look out for the best interests of the kids. Speaking of rules, don't even get me started on high school summer rules and the AAU. Finally, we're all aware that no one cares about the NBDL.


So what to do? Mark Cuban has a few ideas.

I'm not sure how feasible his ideas are, or how right he actually is, but it's something to think about.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A Terrifying Message from Al Gore

Flip Murray

Is gone.

To Detroit? I'm not sure how he fits with that Piston team, but after the Cavs drafted Brown and Gibson, everyone knew Murray wasn't going to be back.

He obviouisly is going to back up Hamilton and Billups, which is weird, because I thought his main goal was to go somewhere he could start.

Anyways, Murray is officially gone.

About those Democrats using solider coffins in Ads

um... this is worse

Friday, July 14, 2006

Knocked Up

You know those guys who made 40 Year Old Virgin? They're makin a new one.

More Cavs Stuff

It looks like the Cavs may be pursuing David Wesley, most recently of Houston.

I remember Wesely mostly from his years on the Hornets and if I recall he was the guy that former Cav Bobby Phills was drag racing when he died.

Wesely is a pg (or sg in a point guard body), so signing him would give the Cavs even more of a glut at the guard position. (Let's see, Damon Jones, Eric Snow, Larry Hughes, Sasha Pavlovic, Daniel Gibson, Shannon Brown, Luke Jackson and Ira Newble)

And with the Gooden talks moving slowly, I wouldn't be surprised if a trade would be on the horizon. A package of Gooden plus Snow/Jones/Pavlovic/Jackson could net something decent.

wishfull thinking... Chris Wilcox

Nothing Surprises Me Anymore

nothing

Sad

bye bye Weezer

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Speaking ofWindhorst

He's having more and more articles pop up on ESPN.com. He also seems to be one of the guys who Sports Center goes to for LeBron info.

Does anyone else see this guys becoming the Cleveland/Akron version of Ed Werder? I mean, I'm pretty sure Werder has his own locker at Cowboys camp. When ESPN wants news on the Eagles, they turn to Sal Paolantonio, when they want Barry Bonds info they call Pedro Gomez.

I'm just looking forward to Cleveland gaining its rightful place in the sports world, along side Dallas, Philly and San Fransisco.

Drew Gooden Gone?

It seems to be getting more and more likely says ABJ's Brian Windhorst:

After a meeting in which the two sides exchanged numbers this week showed a wide disparity, Gooden's representatives are beginning to believe they might have to explore a sign-and-trade to get what they perceive as Gooden's market value.

"Market Value" means "Hey, Nene got $60 million for 6 years, and that guy played 3 minutes last year. Gimme money."

If you've read this blog for any amount of time you know that I'm not the biggest Drew Gooden fan. The short of it is, that I think he's too inconsistent and I'm not sure if he's the banger the Cavs and James need.

I'm not opposed to keeping Drew, but I don't want to be paying a guy who doesn't play crunch time $10 million a season. Do I advocate just letting him go? No, but a sign and trade might be the answer. Plus, it could shake up the roster a bit; if the Cavs go into next season with the only new additions being the draft picks, I'll be less than pleased.

Rescue Me

Denis Leary is up for the best actor in a drama Emmy and Rescue Me just got picked up for a fourth season.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pluto

I don't know if you've heard, but Terry Pluto likes Charlie Frye

The Headbutt Heard 'Round the World

Here's my thoughts on Zidane's now infamous Head Butt:

It was un-believably stupid. It's my last game, the World Cup Finals, we're tied in overtime, looking like we're going to go to penalty kicks, not only am I my team's captain, I'm also our best penalty kicker and I really want to headbutt this fucking dude. I'll probably get caught and red carded, but still. I'd be stupid not to do this.

It was also un-believably awesome. What a way to end your career. That's Zidane's last play. A headbutt.

It looks like the Italian dude that he got was a real dirty douchebag.

Not that I'm condoning the head butt (okay, kinda), but if I went up to one of my friends and head butted them in the chest, would their legs kick out from under them? Yea, Zidane clocked him, but that Italian dude over sold it just a tad. Which brings me to my next point.

I've enjoyed the World Cup a lot this time around, I've watched a fair amount of games, but come on, but I cannot stand the flopping. And I know, I love the NBA, which is getting pretty damn close in overall FPG (flopping per game). My buddy told me it was a smart move that the Italian guy over sold it, because if he didn't he might not have gotten the red card. That is fucking weak. Don't get me wrong, I see the point, but that's like some Laker fan telling me that Derek Fisher is good because he flops. When's the last time you've watched a pick up ball game and seen someone fall on their ass/back? Huh, anyone? That's right, never. Flopping is a move that isn't used for play or gaining an edge on the field, it's a move used soley to influence the ref. And that's fucking weak. That's the one thing I just can't stand about soccer, it's like a full team of Manu GinĂ³bilis running around. /rant

It looks like the Italian dude gave Zidane a nipple tweak. And there's been talk that he was trash talking about Zidane's mother. His dying mother. Possibly with racist coments. So that Italian fucker is a bitch.

That being said, Zidane let himself get baited into it. He's got to know better, did he deserve to get thrown out? Probably. But that greasy Italian fucker probably had it coming (and more).

The announcer was annoying. At first it looked like neither the main ref or the sideline judges saw the play, but after it was showed on the scoreboard at the stadium, they issued the red card. The announcer kept going on and on about how the ref has to go by what he saw on the field and not the scoreboard. Really? Why is that? So if so if someone kicks someone else in the balls only the refs don't see it, its okay? Really? If the ref sees it on the big screen he has to pretend like he didn't? I know what the guy is going for, but the ref made the correct call of kicking Zidane out. If the video helped him, so what? It was away from the ball and the play. Is it cool to maul someone away from the action? That's how it works?

The head butt, now with nipple tweak:

My Head Hurts

Because it's never simple for the Cleveland sports fan, LeBron isn't going to follow the crowd and sign the max contract extension. LeBron's contract will be a bit different. The deal he signs will be for 4 years and $60 million (instead of 5 years and $80 million). Confused? Me too.

The theory goes that the NBA's current Collective Bargining Agreement ends in 2011 and if LeBron signed the average, 5 year max deal, it expire in 2012. By signing a deal that ends when the CBA does, LeBron is poised to take advantage of the new CBA rules, which more likely leads to a higher salary.

Does this mean LeBron is going to leave? I (and others) don't think so. The NBA makes it so a player's current team has the best chance (re: can offer the most money) to re-sign him. This in fact may make LeBron even less likely to leave. LeBron's next deal may be in the $150 million range and while the Cavs will be able to go over the cap to keep him because of the Larry Bird rules, any other team that wants to sign him is going to need mucho, mucho cap space (cause the Cavs sure as hell aren't going to agree to a sign and trade).

So what does this mean? Mostly nothing, but ESPN will probably say it means LeBron wants to leave early or some shit (though their article says he may be talking Wade and Melo into signing similar deals).

And if a deal that is a year shorter forces the Cavs to keep trying to improve (to satisfy James) maybe that's a good thing. They seem a little too content after last season for my taste. Don't get me wrong, the team played well and the managment team did a good job, but the team was flawed. Yea they were a game away from the conference finals, but the team was really flawed. I was kinda hoping that the Cavs wouldn't start the season with the only new additions being draft picks and the only major departure being Flip Murray. I was hoping for a little more tweaking... So if this deal lights a fire under the Cavs collective ass, so be it.

I don't believe this news is bad.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Venture Bros.

I just found out that the creator of Venture Bros. has a blog. Here's some clips I found on youtube:

Prison scene from season one



the opening of season two



a prison scene from season two



death montage



the henchmen return



new episode tonight on cartoon network, 10:30, enjoy.

Futurama

the top 25 episodes

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Our Long Local Nightmare is Over

Dear Bill Simmons, Greg Anthony, Rich Bucher, ESPN in general, the New York City media, Chicago media and Isiah Thomas,

Suck it.

With love,

Ben Cox

PS read this.

Friday, July 07, 2006

LeBron's Nike Contract

Competing views.

Simmons and the Top 40

These are fun every year, if you like the NBA at all, you will enjoy the column.

For you Cavs fans, here's what he says about LeBron:

2. LeBron James

I know, I know -- under normal circumstances, he'd be No. 1. But these are the facts ...

A.
I keep writing about this, and everyone in Cleveland keeps sending me hate mail, and I don't really know what else to tell you ... but people around the league swear that there's a clause in LeBron's Nike contract (already worth $100 million) that doubles the money if he plays for an NBA team based in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles AND that some of his other endorsement deals have the same clause. Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger.

B. We know that LeBron and his peeps are already positioning himself as a multimedia presence, someone who could potentially emulate Magic and P. Diddy and own record companies, movie theaters, clothing lines and everything of that ilk. You need to live in a big city to pull this off -- either New York or L.A.

C. The Cavs blew their cap space last summer (more than $160 million spent on Zydruans Ilguaskas, Damon Jones and Hughes) and have no real way to improve. If you remember, by the end of the Detroit series, poor LeBron was a one-man show. Do you think he wants to spend the next eight to 10 years carrying a mediocre supporting cast?

D. LeBron becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2008. He could sign an extension with the Cavs this summer, but there's really no reason to do so. Thinking logically, he could break any bone or blow out any ligament over the next 24 months and STILL get offered a max contract by every team with cap space. So why not see how this season unfolds and keep his options open? No injury short of paralysis could hurt his value over the next two years.

E.
From the NBA's standpoint, nothing would generate more interest in the 2006-07 season than the running subplot, "Is LeBron staying or going?"

F. The first day that teams could offer max extensions to rookies from the 2003 draft class: July 1, 2006. We know that Denver offered one to Carmelo (quickly accepted), Miami offered one to Wade (quickly accepted), and Cleveland offered one to LeBron (NOT accepted -- plus, neither LeBron nor his agent has commented publicly and it has been six days and counting). The silence has been deafening. Repeat: Deafening. In fact, it's developing into the biggest sports story of the summer and nobody seems to give a crap. But they will. Just wait.

G. Everyone in Cleveland is having a collective heart attack. And with reason. If LeBron ends up fleeing the Cavs, that would be the biggest non-injury/non-death blow to a professional team in sports history. Unless they were able to sign-and-trade him for a mother lode of players and picks (like the Oilers did with Gretzky), basketball would die in Cleveland and the team would have to move. Imagine living in Cleveland, watching LeBron pass through town like a comet -- the next Ali/Tiger/Pele/MJ -- then he spends the heart of his career playing in another city? How do you bounce back from that? The answer: You don't.

H. There are dozens of reasons -- literally -- why Isiah Thomas is one of the worst executives in sports history. But his failure to create cap space for the summer of 2008 just in case Facts A-thru-F played out remains his all-time dumbest move. Yes, even dumber than the Curry trade.

(Note: If Bron-Bron re-signs with Cleveland this month, disregard everything in the previous few paragraphs and move him to No. 1 on this list. You never know. And just for the record, I hope he stays in Cleveland because LeBron splitting town would be one of the cruelest sports stories of all-time, even if it was overwhelmingly predictable from day one, and no fan base deserves to get kicked in the collective groin to that degree. Well, unless he goes to the Clippers. Then I would wet myself. Repeatedly.)


I agree with him on a lot of these things (except for the contract, everything I've read has said that the Nike contract doesn't change, let alone double; smaller contracts like Upper Deck have the clauses), but there's a few things he still doesn't mention, mainly: WHAT BIG MARKET TEAM IS LEBRON GOING TO BOLT FOR??

I've said it before and I'll say it again, where is this mythical big market team?

New York? No cap space. Oh yea, they're also terrible.
New Jersey? Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson. Plus Jason Kidd's contract.
Chicago? They're going to have to pay Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon soon, plus Luol Deng, Andres Nocioni, Tyrus Thomas (okay, not as pressing, but still, another high 1st round pick) and oh yea, that Ben Wallace fellow. Plus, in Chicago he'll be baby Jordan forever. He'll always be Jordan II never LeBron I.
Lakers? They got Kobe, we all know how he deals with sharing the spotlight.
The Clippers? They're a possibility, but what is their cap situation like? Elton Brand and Corey Maggette already have big(gish) deals and both Shawn Livingston and Chris Kaman is going to have to get paid soon.

Am I missing something? Is there another big market team out there? Where is the better situation?

In my opinion if LeBron leaves, it won't be in '08, it will be in 2012 or whenever this 5 year deal ends. LeBron is 21 right now, in 5 years he'll be 26 (or maybe it kicks in after the rookie deal? so 28? or after next year 27?). I think it is a safer bet that LeBron leaves after 5 more seasons, especially if the Cavs don't improve. By that time Jay-Z should have moved the Nets to Brooklyn and their cap situation should be better. The Cavs would have gotten 8 years for a title shot with James, and if they couldn't get it done, then I can't blame him for leaving town.

I'm not harboring any delusions about Cleveland being bigger or better than New York or LA. No shit. But the Cavs have improved every year since LeBron has been here and this was the first year with a new owner, new coach and new GM. Why won't they continue to improve? The Pistons are worse, Chicago is better (but still can't score), and Miami is older. Why won't the Cavs be as good?

Finally, it hasn't even been a week since the contract was offered. 6 days. Calm down everyone (myself included), not even 7 days. If we're at training camp and LeBron hasn't signed, feel free to panic or hang yourself or whatever. But we're at LeBron watch day 6.

*deep breath and counting to 10*

Book News

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's newest Dragonlance book, Dragons of Dwarven Depths, comes out Tuesday.

I've loved the series since I first picked up Dragons of Autumn Twilight (the first of the entire series) and I'll read anything Weis and Hickman write together.

Speaking of Dragons of Autumn Twilight, it turns out they are making it into a movie. It'll be animated and I'm not sure how I feel about this. It's my opinion that for live action fantasy/comic book movies, you need A) a huge budget and B) a director who loves the material.

For every Lord of the Rings and X-Men there is a Dungeons and Dragons and Daredevil (movies where the story/effects weren't as important as getting the franchise out there to make $$). While Dragonlance has a big following (the new Weis and Hickman books always make the NYT Bestseller list), I don't think the fanbase is large enough to justify the budget a good live action Dragonlance movie would need.

Animation seems like the right way to go here. If done right, you can tell the whole story without comprimising any of the action. I have no idea what the animation will be like and I also have no idea if this is a theatrical release (though I doubt it). It says it will be an adult cartoon, so hopefully they don't try to make it too cute or anything.

Needless to say, I'm excited (and a dork)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Don't Fear the Bulls

Ben Wallace left the Pistons to join the Chicago Bulls.

So what? (insider)

Oh, don't get me wrong, I love the fact that the Piston's chemistry is gone and that they had to replace Ben Wallace with Nazr Mohammed. The Piston's 'reign' has ended. Wallace worked perfectly there because he didn't need the ball on offense and played great off the ball defense. A guy like Wallace makes everyone elses defensive job easier. Chauncy Billups and Rip Hamilton are allowed to play close, tough perimiter defense because they know if their guy drives, Wallace will alter the shot. This really disrupts the Pistons; now they have to rely on Rasheed Wallace to A) play the Ben Wallace role and B) stay motivated without a motor like Benny Wallace pushing everyone. I'm not saying Rasheed can't, but he's not exactly a guy you want to depend on.

Now to the Bulls. I don't think they'll be as good as some people think. They were 41-41 last year, the 7th seed in the playoffs. How much better does Ben Wallace make them? Does signing Big Ben equal 5 more wins? 6? 9? Are the Bulls now a 50 win team? More than that?

The Bulls played the Heat really well in the first round last year, but their problem wasn't defense. It was offense. The Bulls have a lot of good perimeter players; Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich and Chris Duhon. Even their big men, like Andres Nocioni, shoots tres. When the jumpshots were falling the Bulls could hang with anyone. They could get out on the break and push the ball. But when the playoffs started and the Heat slowed the pace down, they were sunk. The Bulls had no inside offensive presence and they were 25th in free throw attempts last year (meaning, they didn't get easy points and didn't make the opposing team work on defense or get them in foul trouble).

So signing a 32 year old undersized center who plays no offense and makes a free throw about once a week to a 4 year 60 million dollar deal isn't exactly a cure for their woes. I'm not saying Wallace isn't a good signing or won't help the team. The Bulls upgraded their defense significantly while also hurting a division rival- that is good. Wallace is going to have a Sam Cassell like effect on that locker room; they are going to believe they can contend. And with Wallace, Nocioni, newly acquired PJ Brown and lottery pick Tyrus Thomas, the Bulls defense will be tough as nails (hell, even revolving door Ben Gordon might be shamed into playing some defense).

All I'm saying is this: the Bulls upgraded a strength (defense) without addressing their weakness (inside game/consistent offensive scoring/free throw attempts). Sure, they'll be better, but how much?

(of course, if they trade for KG, this is all moot)

Monday, July 03, 2006

All Star Game

Ozzie Guillen is a douche bag.

Free Agency News

Bobby Jackson and his old Serbian teammate have joined forces in New Orleans. I was never too interested in Peja, but I thought Jackson would've been a nice fit for the Cavs. Of course they have like 34 guards on the team right now, so they may not be in the market for a point right at this second. But Jackson is a vetern who is quick and can score for multiple places on the floor; not exactly a Cavs strong point.

It was said that the Cavs were interested in Vlad Radmanovic and he went to the Lakers. The Lakers were interested in another Clipper, Sam Cassell (who I was interested in, even if Cleveland's brass wasn't), but Cassell re-signed with the 'other' Los Angeles team. The Clippers quickly replaced Radmanovic (who I thought was a perfect fit for that team) with former Sun, Buck, Bull, Knick, and hell, every team, Tim Thomas. Man, he sure knows how to play for a contract doesn't he? (the Cassell and Thomas news are all in the same link above).

Somehow Joel Przybilla is getting interest from not only Portland, his current team, but with Chicago, San Antonio, Sacramento and Cleveland. What the hell? Joel Pryzbilla? Why? Last year he played in 56 games and averaged 6 points and 7 rebounds. Awesome. There's going to be a bidding war on this white stiff. My lord.

Drew Gooden

The Nuggets re-signed Nene to a 6 year $60 million contract.

6 years. $60 million.

How'd Nene do in 05-06? He played in only one game. For three minutes.

04-05? 55 games, started 19 games, averaged 9.6 points and 5.9 rebounds.

Why do you care about this? Because the Cavs are looking to re-sign Drew Gooden. As most of you know, I've never been the biggest Gooden fan. We all know that he has the talent and the ability, but does he have the drive? I've seen Gooden make some great plays out there, but I've also seen him make some bonehead ones. I rarely see Gooden have a string of good games. He'll have a monster game one night, say 22 points 16 rebounds, and then have a stinker, say 6 and 4, the next. He is the definition of in consistant. Also, next time you see him playing crunch time, please let me know. I don't mean to sound as if I'm hating on Drew, I'm not. And I'm not against the Cavs re-signing him either, but it just has to be for the right price.

Roger Brown likes to complain about Z's contract, and that was 5 years, $55 million (Z played in 78 games last year and averaged 15.6 points and 7.5 rebounds). Compared to Nene, Z is all world.

Last year Gooden played 79 games and averaged 10.7 points and 8.4 rebounds.
In 04-05 (Nene's last full year) Gooden was even better, averaging 14.4 and 9.2.

Gooden is a nice player, and maybe he'll figure it out soon (Terry Pluto always liked to point out that Gooden hasn't had the same coach for back to back seasons since high school). It looks like Brown will be here for a little while longer, so Gooden may actually get some consistant coaching for two complete seasons.

But if Nene, who misses a ton of games, can get a 6 year deal at 10 million a year, how much is Drew Gooden worth? I mean, at least Gooden makes it out there for the games, Nene has missed 108 the last two years combined. And his last 'healthy' year, when he played 55 games? He only started 19. Gooden has been a starter for 3 years now in Cleveland.

If the Cavs can sign Gooden to 4-5 year deal, worth somewhere between $6-8 million a year, I say go for it. But Drew Gooden for 10 million a year? No thank you.

Finally, we have to remember, this is the NBA, you over pay for bigmen. Ben Wallace is looking to get 15 million a year, and he is half retarded on offense. Yes, Z has a large contract, but it was overpay Z or have... um... someone else playing center. Am I surprised that the Nuggets gave Nene 6 years and 60 million? Not really, but a little; for a player who has played in 56 games the past two season, 6 years?. And he wasn't particularly stellar in those 56 games. However, I'm not going to be surprised in two years when Denver is trying to unload Nene's burdonsome contract because they are trying to sign parts to put around Carmelo Anthony.

Big men get overpaid, thats how it works. The Cavs have two pretty decent power forwards under contract with Donyell Marshall and Anderson Varejao. I wouldn't mind Gooden in that mix for the next few years or so. But if Nene can squeeze $60 million bucks out of the Nuggets, what can Gooden get out of the Cavs?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

LeBron, Isiah Thomas and the Knicks

Alright, we all know that there's a certain sports network that seems to think that LeBron James wants to play for the Knicks. Most basketball people know that there's almost no chance that LeBron doesn't sign his contract extension. I can't blame some for worrying (Windhorst even thinks that LeBron may wait just to fuck with us), but I'm pretty sure we're in the clear.

This has gone on for a few years now and it's just gotten annoying. Hell, the ABJ even parodied it Saturday.

Then there's the Knicks, why would LeBron leave a team that made the playoffs (and took the Pistons to 7) for a team in such a mess? GM/coach Isiah Thomas has become a punchline and his drafting of Renaldo Balkman this past Wednesday may have the been the the highlight of the Draft. No one really knows why Thomas picked Balkman at 20. He wasn't in the official draft guide, he wasn't on most draft boards and some people even thought you could get him as a free agent after the draft. One of Thomas's reasons is that the Suns would've picked him at 21 (which the Suns deny). There are Ronaldo Blackman (former Knick player who was actually good) jokes flying around the internet and Thomas generally looks like a fool.

So why did Isiah Thomas pick a 6'6'' power forward with no offensive skills? While on NBA Matchup, Greg Anthony, seems to have found the answer (no link, this is a transript):

One thing you got to keep in mind that both Balkman and Mardy Collins are represented by Leon Rose. Who is Leon Rose? That's LeBron James's agent. So there's a lot of possibility that this could be one of those tit for tats where they just want them to know that "hey we're thinking about youin the future if you, LeBron James, ever decide you want to move on and not stay a part of the Cleveland Cavaliers resurrection". So, if that's the case, they definitely laid the ground work. However, it was a P.R. nightmare; something they're going to deal with for the rest of the offseason. Something you didn't necessarily need after going though the debacle with Larry Brown.

So there you have it folks, Isiah Thomas used the 20th and 29th pick in the first round to take players who share an agent with LeBron James. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense: Thomas knows he only has one year to turn the franchise around and everyone thinks he would take players who would help him this year. But no, Thomas goes the other way; he decides to waste the picks in the '06 draft so he can start making in roads on LeBron James. It's actually quite brilliant; it doesn't even matter who you draft at 20, just make sure he shares an agent with LeBron James. Who cares that Balkman has no offensive skills and you could've gotten him in the second round? He shares an agent with LeBron. Perfect.

We've heard that Balkman is a Rodman/Artest type player; a hustle guy who loves to play defense and get rebounds. Isiah played with Rodman and coached Artest, so he knows how important these guys are to winning teams. But the consensus is that Thomas could've gotten his guy at least at 29, if not in the second round or as a undrafted free agent. Balkman was far and away the biggest reach in the draft and by all accounts a terrible pick. But not to Greg Anthony, drafting Balkman is just another way for the Knicks to lure LeBron away from Cleveland.

And by the way, LeBron can't leave for two more seasons. The Cavs are the only team that can offer him a contract this offseason, and next offseason he is a restricted free agent. And if you don't think the Cavs are matching any contract James signs, you are insane. So not until the offseason of '08 can LeBron leave with the Cavs having no say in the matter.

Why the GM of the Knicks would waste a draft in 2006 to make in-roads on a player who won't be available until the offseason of 2008 is beyond me. Especially when that same GM/coach has a one year window to turn the team around. One would think he would do everything possible to succeed in that one year (you know, so he could have a job past 06), but no.

Well done ESPN, well done.

[update: fixed some gramatical errors and cleaned up some passages]

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Indians

actual conversation:

"so you watchin any of the Indians game?"
"Not really, on and off"
"they still up 5-0?"
"ya"
"sweet, I wonder how they'll blow this one"
"yeah, heh heh"

sonofabitch!