The Great Lakes Land Lamar

August 3, 2009

After a month of posturing on both sides Lamar Odom signed a 4 Year, $33 Million contract to remain with the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.  The fourth year on the contract is a club option in case Lamar eats too much candy and the Lakers want out.  There were a lot of worried people in Los Angeles over the past month because Odom’s contract negotiations and what kind of Laker team we would be looking at next year without him.  With the rest of the NBA elite (Cleveland, Boston, Orlando, San Antonio) upping the ante by strengthening their rosters,  it became vital that the Lakers sign the 6 foot 10 inch Odom to keep the teams versatilite championship core intact.

The Lakers Are Fortunate That Lamar Isn't Going To Miami To Make Waves With Wade

The Lakers Are Fortunate That Lamar Isn't Going To Miami To Make Waves With Wade

Odom was a selfless player last year, coming off the bench for the majority of the season until Andrew Bynum got injured again.  It can be argued that Lamar Odom was the X-Factor for the champs because of his ability to be a catalyst while playing with the starters and upping the tempo while jetting around the court with the second unit.  Lamar Odom became an invaluable part of the Lakers nucleus because his size and skills caused many matchup problems for teams that just did not have an answer to the small forwards length, passing ability, dribbling savvy and his presence both inside and out.

Normally,   resigning Odom would have been a no-brainer, but the Lakers chose to play hard ball because they are several million over the luxury, so every dollar counts twice.  That means that even though Odom signed for $33 Million, with the luxury tax implications, he really signed for 4 Years $66 Million if the Lakers salary number remains around the same for the length of the deal. And that’s without taking into account the anticipated luxury tax shrinkage next year.  Laker fans should be Wayne and Garthing it outside of Owner Jerry Buss’ house with a million man “we are not worthy chant”.

Alas, it is not clear to me that Laker fans know how fortunate they really are that Odom never really wanted to leave L.A., because he easily could have.  It was well publicized that the Miami Heat duo of Pat Riley and Dwayne Wade were intensely trying to bring Lamar back to the Heat, after being shipped to the Lakers for Shaq many moons ago.  Information that was not as well publicized was that the Portland Trailblazers offered Odom a contract worth upwards of $40 Million Dollars, to play besides Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. But Odom opted to sign on the dotted line for less money to remain a Laker, and defend their title.

There was jubilation and a huge sigh of relief in The City of Angels when it was reported that Odom was coming back.  The Lakers would have looked very foolish if they had lost both Ariza and Odom from their championship squad, but they did not.  Odom returning provides invaluable insurance for the Lakers;  It allows for their continued lineup flexibility, which would have been severely lacking if he had departed, and left the Lakers to bank on Andrew Bynum having an injury free and productive year, neither of which are safe bets.  The wild card fact in this deal is that Lamar and Ron Artest are very good friends, which should help keep #37 happy and for the Lakers title hopes sake, focused.

Whether replacing Ariza with Artest makes them a better squad remains to be seen, but there is no question that the Lamar Odom signing was a deal that LA needed to get done.  This move ensures that the Champion Lakers squad is  whole and ready for a title defense in whats shaping up to be one of the most  anticipated NBA seasons in recent memory.

I for one am an excited NBA fan.  Still more NBA to come from me with my analysis of the rest of the 2009 NBA Draft and an overview of what can be expected from the NBA this year.

From your blogging buddy,

Jordan

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A pair of Sox winners at trade deadline

August 2, 2009

A couple big names will don new uniforms following the trade deadline, and none were bigger winners than the Red and White Sox that Victor Martinez and Jake Peavy will be slipping on.  While the Indians season fell apart quickly leading to trades of 2 of their best, the White Sox have fought nicely to keep themselves in the playoff mix, and now they have positioned themselves to potentially steal their division in September.

By acquiring Jake Peavy for 4 prospects,  Ken Williams has now put together one of the best rotations in the league, with Mark Buerlhe, recent author of a perfect game, all of the sudden becoming a pretty damn good 2nd starter. Throwing Peavy and Buerlhe gives the White Sox a chance to win any one single game, and should they find their way in to the playoffs, they will be extemely dangerous. And let’s not forget Gavin Floyd and John Danks are no slouches either.  Peavy is on the disabled list with ankle issues, but should return at the end of the month, when the White Sox will then throw a quality starter out every day for the rest of the season.  The White Sox won the World Series a few years ago with a similar kind of depth to their rotation,  which pitched deep in to nearly every game and gave way to a strong and rested bullpen.  Ken Williams wasn’t just thinking about this year,  he’s thinking about the next 3 or 4, and as they’re veteran hitters tail off, he has again put together the kind of rotation that can shoulder the load. Whether they make the playoffs or not, this move makes them alot better now, as well as next year and beyond.  Smart move by Ken Williams, who in typically aggressive fashion goes out and gets the type of front line starter you need to win in this league.

The Red Sox trade for Victor Martinez makes them big winners at the deadline as well. While the Red Sox had some very good hitters in their lineup, it’s just not as imposing as it was in their World Series years, with Ramirez and Ortiz striking fear in the heart of the apposing pitcher. This move gives them that extra stick in the middle of the order that they sorely needed to stretch out the lineup. As Jordan pointed out, he will give them some flexibility between Catcher, where a near the end Jason Varitek currently resides, 1B and DH, and lightens the burden that falls on Pedroia and Youkilis considerably.  Manny is gone, the bloom is off Big Papi’s rose, and Jason Bay has been no where to be found of late.  So the Sox did what they had to do and went back to Cleveland for another slugger years after the Ramirez trade. Boston’s farm system was deep with prospects to dangle and Martinez should slot into the 3 or 4 hole for several years to come.  The Red Sox can only hope that his time with the team will bring as much success as Manny’s.  A year ago, they finally removed him from the middle of the order, potentially costing themselves a trip to the Series. This time around, they did what was necessary to fill at least a large portion of the gap he left, and perhaps with a little less drama as well.

The Phillies were big winners as well, they didn’t come up with the big fish Roy Halladay, but we knew they would get a pitcher, and I think that last year’s Cy Young winner Cliff Lee will suffice. I just don’t want to give them credit for anything. I don’t even want to talk about them.

Be back in the coming days to touch on some of the other deadline moves that could loom large, and maybe even our first dive into some NFL football.  I know I’m not the only one that’s counting the days…

Until next time

Bdon


The Tigers Roar

July 31, 2009

The most unheralded and least talked about first place team in Major League Baseball is the Detroit Tigers.  It’s their own fault really.  They were supposed to be a juggernaut and smash the Cardinals in the 2006 World Series, but their pitching rotation let them down and the upset occurred.  After their defeat, the Tigers faded into the abyss with a series underperformances from Dontrelle Willis, Edgar Renteria, Justin Verlander, Gary Sheffield, Joel Zumaya, Jeremy Bonderman and even from All World Player Miguel Cabrera.  The Tigers were caught in a funk and could not overcome the White Sox, Twins and/or Indians since their 2006 Season came to a crashing halt.  But this year, has been different.

The Tigers Are Looking To Open Some Eyes In October

The Tigers Are Looking To Open Some Eyes In October

There is a new scent in the air of Detroit around Comerica Park and it has to do with winning.  Since Detroit has been in such an upheaval since the automotive industry tanked, one of the countries greatest sports cities has been overshadowed by big business.  The Pistons and Red Wings have been able to be on the radar through these tough economic times because they have been able to make the playoffs consistently, whereas the Tigers have been a mirage.  As the 2009 Season rolls closer to October, the oasis of the post season may very well be a reality for Detroit baseball this year and it has all started with pitching.  Justin Verlander is back to being an ace that made him so promising as the Rookie of The Year in 2006, and it has set the tone for the rest of the staff.  Edwin Jackson has finally reached his potential, Rookie Rick Porcello has bloomed before our very eyes and Armando Galarraga has pitched better as of late after a tremendous 08′ campaign and a rocky start to the 09′ campaign.  Before the whistle blew, signaling the trading deadline, a tremendous acquisition was made to bolster the already stellar rotation.   With the addition of Jarrod Washburn, the Tigers have added depth, talent and playoff experience to a nucleus of pitchers that needed just a little bit more seasoning to be taken seriously.  The White Sox have added Jake Peavy to the arms race today so the AL Central just got a bit more exciting.

Hopefully for the Tigers, their big bats Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Brandon Inge and Marcus Thames can help bring the thunder and make the Tigers a force to be reckoned with come this October.

Regardless, it’s going to be an exciting two months until October!

Be well junkies,

Jordan


Tyson Time

July 30, 2009

Hello my friends helllooooo.

Back to talk about the Tyson Chandler/Emeka Okafor trade from Charlotte’s perspective. And I believe it makes sense for them on several levels.  The Bobcats reasoning behind this trade are  prominently financially driven, as they are able to shed the difference of 3 years and 40 million on Okafor’s deal which runs through 2014. Chandler’s deal, which only has 2 years left (1 a player option) will provide cap relief in 2011-12. You can talk all you want about what Chandler brings them on the court, but this was first and foremost,  a financial move in a time when they all seem to be.

This Move Opens Up Free Agent Flexibility For The Future Of The Bobcats... Time Is On Their Side

This Move Opens Up Free Agent Flexibility For The Future Of The Bobcats By Moving Okafor's Colossal Contract... Time Is Now On Their Side

On the court, Chandler is not the player that Okafor is, but the difference between to two is negligible in the grand scheme of things for Charlotte. He’s a slight drop off on the offensive end as we said, but Okafor was no Wilt Chamberlain either.  And Chandler’s size and athleticism on the defensive end is an upgrade, and could help them to at least a respectable showing in a matchup against Shaq or Dwight,  should Charlotte squeeze into the playoffs as a 7 or 8 seed. The fact of the matter is, that such an outcome is a best case scenario for Larry Brown’s squad, which is what makes this financially driven move, the proper one. Charlotte is locked in to over $50 million in salaries this year and next, so they are more or less locked into their current roster. By making this move to shed Okafor’s deal, they reduce their payroll beyond those 2 years significantly, and now are in position to have a lot of flexibility down the road.

Michael Jordan has made unconscionable trades to acquire Vlad Rad, Nazr, and Diop whose 6-7 million dollar deals have clogged up their financial arteries,  because of Charlotte’s desperation to add talent of any kind to their roster. Now they are drawing the line in the sand for 2 years from now, when they now have given themselves the ability to change the dynamic of the team.

The goal over the next 2 years will be to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.  The Bobcats have a solid 9 man rotation of Felton, Raja, G Wallace, Diaw, Chandler, Augustine, Henderson, Diop and Radmo will give the Larry Brown a chance to bring them there. This deal however, doesn’t make them discernibly better or worse right now, but what it does do is open up possibilities for the future.

Whether Chandler is a keeper or not, will be up to him and the powers that be in Charlotte to decide.   The question marks will remain regarding his health, and just how bad he must of looked for Sam Presti to call off the original trade. But with just 1 year and a player option remaining on his deal, it was a risk that they were willing to take.

Back later to chime in on some of these baseball deals, and how things will shape up because of them in the next day or 2. The Pirates have successfully dealt off every accomplished major league player on their roster,  so we have that and much more to discuss..

Until then,

Bdon


You Can’t Spell Victory Without Victor

July 30, 2009

The art of sports is often in it’s calculations and negotiations, this being never more evident then when the trading deadline approaches in Major League Baseball.  It is that special time of the year in America’s pastime that separates the Champs from the Chumps.  The Cleveland Indians season spiraled out of control quickly,  finding themselves buried in the basement of the dismal AL Central before they could we could even reach mid season.  The white flag was not allowed to be waved by Indians GM Mark Shapiro right away, but we knew it was coming.  Cleveland has been easily one of the most unpredictable teams of the year and I mean that in the worst possible way.  The Indians would win a game 10-2 just as easily as they could lose 10-2, but unfortunately for them the latter has been the case more often.  They tried to convince themselves that they would just need to have all world talent Grady Sizemore back in the lineup and all would be well.  Alas, this ship was one that had more then one hole to fill and when they sent Garko to the SF bay for youthful reinforcements for 2010 and beyond, the other 29 teams took notice of the impending fire sale.

When a fire sale occurs so close to the deadline from a team that has pieces of true value (not you Pittsburgh), the big fish jump into the pool.  The rich get richer as they say and that’s what the top tier teams hoped for in grabbing Roy Halladay.  With  Toronto holding on to their top gun in the arms race, attentions were turned to the last years AL Cy Young Award Winner Cliff Lee.  I know that I mentioned this in my last column but Lee was so dominant last season going 22-3,  it was a wonder when he even lost a game.  ABANDON SHIP! ABANDON SHIP!  CLEVELAND DOESN’T ROCK!  TAKE OUR GARKO,  MAKE LEE FLEE FOR THE RIGHT PRICE…  Philadelphia had the assets to get the 30 Year Old lefty stud and they stepped up and got him.  Thus making the strong, stronger.

It is an undeniable fact that pitching wins championships but the Red Sox appear to want a starter unless he is Roy Halladay.  As it stands now, they have too many pitchers and would really need to give up a truck load to get their man, and the closer we get to the deadline, the less likely a Boston/Toronto trade tango seems for various reasons.  It could be the prospects involved are too talented, that they share a division, or that the Blue Jays feel they can compete in 2010.  Luckily for the Red Sox, there is a red hot fire sale going on in Ohio and another 30 Year Old stud is available for the right price.  The talent in question is none other then Catcher/First Baseman, All Star,  Victor Martinez.

Victor Wants To Make You #1... Won't You Let Him?

Victor Wants To Make You #1... Won't You Let Him?

The way that Martinez was touted coming up through the Indians farm system, one would assume that he would be a man to hold on to for as long as humanly possible, but this does not seem to be the case anymore.  The Red Sox are foaming at the mouth at the chance to add his dynamic bat to a lineup that has had it’s stuggles at times.  Jason Varitek is long past his prime, Youkillis needs to be anchored at third with Mike Lowell being incapacitated, and Adam LaRoche is a platoon player at best for a Championship caliber team like the Red Sox.  Victor Martinez can play both Catcher and First Base well, adding flexibility to Terry Francona’s roster and would give the Sox some additional firepower to a lineup that already knows how to scrap together runs.  If Halladay is not traded and the Red Sox get Victor Martinez,  they are going to the World Series.

You can’t spell Victory without Victor, Boston and you better act quick because it looks like the same rambunctious Rays that knocked you out in the ALCS last season, think as highly about Martinez as you do.  Championships are won in October, but what happens at the end of July can change the season.

Have a happy day from your blogging buddy,

Jordan


Cliff Lee in Philly

July 29, 2009
Can The Phucking Phillies Come Out On Top Again?

Can The Phucking Phillies Come Out On Top Again?

Cliff Lee is not Roy Halladay. But what he is, is the reining AL Cy Young Award Winner, and the defending Champion Philadelphia Phillies were just able to acquire him without trading their top two pitching prospects.  It boils my blood to think that the Phucking Phillies have a great chance to defend their title this year AND go for another next season with their current roster.  We all know about that they are an offensive juggernaut, with a stellar bullpen, but it was their starting pitching that had the city of brotherly love itching for a trade.

A move was always inevitable for a top of the line starter in Philly.  They had the prospects, and the title in their hands, so this is all on house money.  With Cliff Lee as their No. 2 starter behind Cole Hamels, it gives them a 1-2 punch to be reckoned with in the playoffs and solidifies them as the favorite to be the National League representative in the World Series this October.

Now it is on the Los Angeles Dodgers to prove that they are a true powerhouse in the National League after coasting with the best record in the league for the majority of the season.  The Cubs/Cardinals duo has the bats and the pitchers to make some noise in the playoffs, the Giants have the arms but are not built to run with the thoroughbreds. And watch out for those Rockies, their roster is very deep.  As far as the Braves/Marlins/Brewers/Mets(I hope they prove me wrong)/ and Astros go,  in the end, will most likely not be there year.   The road to the championship will lead through L.A. because the baseball season is a marathon and not a mad dash to the finish, (unless you are the ’07 Rockies, but I don’t see that occurring this year), and the Phillies are team to beat.  Can Dodgers GM Ned Coletti get a deal done for Halladay and up the ante in what is shaping up to be one of the greatest post seasons in recent memory?  Doesn’t look like it. Or will the Phillies championship experience lay the smack down on Manny and his mates when it’s all said and done?  The tolling of the clock come deadline day will give us some answers, and we will stack things up from there…

Keep enjoying the boys of summer sports fans!

Best from your buddy blogger,
Jordan


Centers Swap Cities

July 29, 2009

The trade of Emeka Okafor to New Orleans this week for Tyson Chandler sends a clear statement to Hornets fans, and Chris Paul, that the team will not be placed on the chopping block just yet.  The rumblings that Chris Paul could or might be traded are bogus.  New Orleans faithful would tear Jeff Bower to pieces. He knows that, so instead he went out and finally dealt Tyson Chandler, 6 or so months after dealing him the first time.

Center Swap Meet- NBA Style

Center Swap Meet- NBA Style

Back at the deadline, Bower acquired 2 expiring contracts last year, for Chandler, in order to take his nearly $12 million off the books for this season, and get under the luxury tax.  However, since that deal fell through at the deadline,  New Orleans no longer had the opportunity to use Chandler to cut salary.  The only team with the cap space that would allow them to do that, was the same Thunder team the nixed the trade in the first place.  So Hornets GM, Jeff Bower did the only thing he could do, which is try to get real value in return for Chandler.  Chandler has a lot of admirers around the NBA despite his offensive limitations, and while the deal for Okafor,  returns a reliable big at the same position,  I’m not so sure he’s the right player for the Hornets.  Okafor can be counted on to rebound, and block a few shots; but is a marginal upgrade over Chandler offensively. Since being the 2nd player selected in the draft behind Dwight Howard, he has progressed at a glacial pace,  if at all in 5 seasons in the NBA. While I understand the need to replace,  Chandler at Center,  I believe that had NO gotten Chandler back on the court next season, and his value back up, he would have netted more in return than Okafor.

Doesn’t Chris Paul need a more dynamic offensive player alongside him then Okafor? I mean there is no one on that roster with the all around shooting, play making and athleticism, that Paul can use to take the constant pressure off him.  Since a few big time performances in the playoffs two years ago, David West has come up small, and his presence on last years all-star team was a joke.  Peja is a rotting corpse, and as for James Posey…that’s what happens when you convince yourself you are a 1 piece away from an NBA title team, when your actually about 4. Outside of Paul, this roster is sneakily one of the least talented in the league. You know somethings wrong when Rasual Butler starts looking really good.  But well get to that when the season starts…

I am not going to go too crazy at this point in time,  and it should be interesting to see how much Chris Paul elevates another offensively challenged Center’s game. He should be able to make him a 15 and 10 guy, but as I said, Is that what they needed?  Okafor,  should fit nicely alongside West’s perimeter skills, but for another 5 years and almost 60 million?  There are a lot of players in the league I’d rather be paying nearly 12 million a year to.  And yes, thats about going rate for a half decent Center, but with Peja and Posey locking up so much money,  they couldn’t afford to put those dollars into a player that doesn’t bring much to the table offensively.

The 1st rounder next year, which likely will fall in the 10-16 range or so, makes the deal look a little better. A small bonus for taking on a big contract. They certainly need to add talent to this roster,  which is as thin as CP3’s patience seems to be growing. Unfortunately for Paul,  I really don’t know how much better that made his team.

I’ll be back in later on to talk about this trade from the Bobcats perspective.  I wouldn’t call them winners per se, but I’ll tell you why it makes a lot of sense for them…

Hope your enjoying  the work of my good friends Ryan Mojo/Berg The Basher and as always Jordan and myself.

Your devoted chunky junky,

Bdon