Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas trade places

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Published on : August 23, 2017

 

Breaking news out of the NBA is that the Cleveland Cavaliers have traded Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizec and an unprotected 2018 1st round draft pick (from the Brooklyn Nets). This is huge. We all knew something was brewing after Irving shocked everyone by asking to be traded. Since that announcement, it was only a matter of time before Kyrie found a new home but no one could have guessed the deal would be this juicy. This is everything you need to know about the big move.

 

The Cleveland fanbase has to love this trade. Kyrie Irving wants to leave but you want to get some value for him. The Cavaliers get the offensive spark in Thomas, a solid defender and scorer in Crowder and big men depth with Zizec. But the reason this deal looks so good from the Cleveland side is because of that draft pick. It could be the number one overall depending on where the Nets finish. This is the critical part. That pick is the future of the franchise. Maybe that future rookie plus the existing core will be enough to keep King James in town after next year. The Cavs might not be done adding pieces. Rumors continue to swirl. The most recent gossip is that D Wade could be joining his BFF LeBron for another title run. Maybe they get Melo too.

 

 

The folks in Boston are doing backflips right now. They traded in their 29-year-old guard with a hip injury for a 25-year-old superstar with a championship ring. The Celtics are getting younger. Their new roster will feature Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, Marcus Morris and rookie Jayson Tatum. That’s a ton of talent. Plus Boston has a stock pile of upcoming lottery picks so losing the 2018 1st rounder isn’t a backbreaker. You can see the plan here. Build the core that will eventually take over the eastern conference after LeBron James leaves or goes on the decline. It feels like the Celtics gave away a lot but they are really focusing on the long term. But don’t be fooled, this crew will be in the playoff mix from the jump.

 

The craziest aspect is that two teams who are direct rivals in the east agreed to a deal with each other. It’s one thing to ship pieces across conferences but to make a deal with your own road block? Seems perverse. Only time will tell who won this trade. It was a blockbuster to be sure. Cavs open their season at home versus the Celtics on October 17th. Should be a good game.

 

Changes.

 

 


Inter-sport Trading: The Dream of the Hometown Fan

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Published on : May 19, 2017

 

While there certainly are some exceptions, for the most part I think sports fans grow up rooting for their local teams, riding out the highs and lows while sticking with those teams no matter how bad the tough times can get. I mean, take it from me, I’ll devote every season to my Detroit Lions even after their disastrous 0-16 season.

 

I would venture to guess that most fans are like me in that sense. Growing up here in the Metro Detroit area, we are fortunate to have a franchise in all of the four major sports, and each one is the team I stand behind. If it’s the fall you can spot me wearing that Matt Stafford #9 jersey, in the winter months there I am hoping for the return of the glory days for my Red Wings and Pistons, and come summer you can find me enjoying a cold one while sitting behind home plate looking at a re-surging Detroit skyline while rooting for arguably the greatest hitter of my generation, Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers.

 

 

Being a Detroit sports fan has blessed me with a lot of great memories as I have been able to witness and celebrate multiple championships courtesy of the Red Wings and Pistons, and have been along for the ride on some close calls with the Detroit Tigers in recent years. However, I think the dream for any sports fan is for all of their teams to be at the top of their game every season, or at the same time, and with that wish came an idea that I envisioned many years ago — the idea of inter-sport trading.

 

Now, understand this about the idea, I do realize it is essentially impossible given the fact that these teams don’t in fact belong to the cities they represent. Owning a sports franchise is a business and all businesses of course are in the business of making a profit. Therefore, even though Detroit has four franchises, they are not owned by the same individual and therefore they would more than likely never be interested in my idea. However, we all can dream right? So here is my dream, the dream of the hometown fan.

 

With the NBA Lottery complete, the Boston Celtics are on the clock with the #1 pick and are in a prime position to remain a contender for years to come. Currently, the Boston Celtics are heading into the Eastern Conference Finals as the #1 seed and therefore in a great place going forward building around guys like Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford. Also in the Boston area, you have a perennial power in the New England Patriots, and even the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins have enjoyed recent success. All four franchises have won the championship in their respective sports in the past decade which is something to be really excited about if you are a Boston fan, and something that fans of other cities may wish to experience themselves.

 

 

In this example, seeing as how the Celtics are in a great spot contending for an NBA Championship, the Patriots are coming off a Super Bowl season and look to be ready to contend for another this season, and the Red Sox early on are hoping to be in the World Series conversation come October but currently find themselves in 3rd place in the AL East. If inter-sport trading were a thing, I would bet many Red Sox fans would definitely entertain the idea of being able to dangle that #1 pick that the Boston Celtics may not have much use for and trade it to another NBA franchise who could desperately use that #1 pick. Now the question is what’s the return for a Boston fan in this deal? Well, suppose the NBA team that receives the #1 pick is the Chicago Bulls. Chicago is rumored to be possibly facing a scenario where they move Jimmy Butler looking to shake their roster up and therefore a #1 pick would help that process. In return, coming off a World Series title, the Chicago Cubs are loaded with talent and perhaps could afford to lose a spare part in their rotation or lineup to give to the Boston Red Sox.

 

So in this scenario, you have the Boston Celtics still playing at a high level with salary cap space and perhaps not much need for a high draft pick at this time and the Red Sox would boost their roster via the return from the Cubs. If you’re a Chicago fan, you just gained a #1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft and potentially still have a very deep roster where such a move wouldn’t affect the World Series chances for the Cubs.

 

 

However, this scenario does pose a difficult issue considering Chicago is one of many cities or states where two or more franchises reside in the same city or state. For example, South siders and North siders may both love their Bulls but will have very different opinions of the Cubs with the White Sox also having loyal fanbases in the area. Therefore, half of the city would not be in support of inter-sport trading.

 

In another scenario that ultimately inspired the idea for me, we have to go back to 2003. My beloved Detroit Pistons were on the cusp of greatness vying for an NBA Championship with a core group that featured Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, and Tayshaun Prince. The lottery balls that year fell in Detroit’s favor landing them the #2 overall pick. However, with LeBron James going #1, the Pistons faced a dilemma of who to take with that pick. Hindsight is of course 20/20 but they definitely struck out with their selection in the long run, but in the short run it may not have been the worst thing in the world.

 

The Pistons went on to select Darko Milicic, and he rarely saw the court during his tenure in Detroit but during his rookie campaign, that may not have been the worst thing. The Pistons had a great starting five and a good group of role players off the bench that seemed to form a perfect team, and it’s possible that even with future superstars in Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony available in that draft, their best chance to win an NBA title in 2004 was with a guy like Darko who didn’t get in the way by stealing minutes from the other Pistons.

 

Darko-2003-NBA-Draft

 

In the short run therefore, drafting Darko may have not been a horrible option, while in the long run it of course looks like one of the worst draft picks in this history of the NBA as Darko Milicic went on to retire from basketball at age 27. However, I think the best scenario would have been to trade the pick because quite frankly, the Pistons just didn’t need it. This is where I drew the inspiration for my idea of inter-sport trading. The Pistons could have found a suitor in the NBA who would have jumped at the opportunity to get guys like Wade, Bosh or Melo and in return another franchise in Detroit could have reaped the benefits from it.

 

Prime example being the Indiana Pacers. The Pistons went on to beat Indiana in the Eastern Conference Finals that year thanks in part to the block heard round the world when Tayshaun Prince ran down Reggie Miller swatting him at the rim. With Reggie set to retire, Dwyane Wade would have been a perfect replacement in Indiana had they traded for our #2 pick. Or imagine the frontcourt of Chris Bosh and Jermaine O’Neal with Ron Artest at the small forward position. Just down the road in Indiana, the Indianapolis Colts were riding high with Peyton Manning winning 3 straight NFL MVP’s from 2003-2005 and went on to win 12+ games in seven straight years beginning in 2003. The Colts went on to win the Super Bowl in 2006 and perhaps back when the Pistons could have traded that #2 pick the Colts would have been willing to ship their #1 and #2 or a pro bowl quality player to the Detroit Lions.

 

Again, the idea of inter-sport trading would never work, I get it. Unless teams became property of the cities themselves or owners bought the rights to every pro franchise in that particular city, no owner would sacrifice his own business by helping another business. But a sports fan can still dream right?

 

 


Sam Bradford is now a Viking

Written by :
Published on : September 5, 2016

 

 

When the Eagles traded up for NDSU Quarterback Carson Wentz in the April draft, Sam Bradford was not thrilled. Bradford, who finished the 2015 season with the Philadelphia Eagles in good fashion, demanded to be traded. Understandably, NFL teams balked at what it would cost to get Bradford, as NJ.com reported, it was going to cost, “more than a second round pick.” Fast forward to Tuesday, August 31st: The Eagles got more than they could ever bargain for by trading Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2017 1st round pick and a 2018 4th round pick.

 

Bradford has never lit up the league or taken any teams to the playoffs, but in his defense, the playmakers around him over his years with the Rams and his one year with the Eagles were rather non existent. The best name to come out of that group was Danny Amendola in St.Louis. Bradford now goes to a team with Charles Johnson and Stefon Diggs on the outside, Kyle Rudolph at TE, and Adrian Peterson in the backfield. There’s also Laquon Treadwell waiting in the wings to take over Charles Johnson’s starting spot.

 

Several talking heads in the NFL considered the Vikings to be contenders for the Super Bowl with Bridgewater under center and now there’s no reason why Minnesota couldn’t have the same hopes and dreams. Mike Zimmer has built the Vikings to be a contender with an old school style of ball. Zimmer is going to grind Adrian Peterson to the bone with Jerrick McKinnon as a change of pace running back. It doesn’t hurt that the defense is filled with young studs (Barr, Smith, Floyd, Kendricks, Hunter) and savvy veterans (Newman, Griffen, Joseph) and were at the top of the league last year in points allowed (17.1 per game).

 

 

When news broke about QB Teddy Bridgewater’s injury last Tuesday, I immediately was banging the drum for Colin Kaepernick to get to Minnesota. The idea of Kaepernick, McKinnon, and Peterson coming out of the backfield and making people look foolish with their legs sounded really intriguing over potential vanilla veterans that Vikings’ offensive coordinator Norv Turner has worked with: Matt Cassel, Brandon Weeden, and Brian Hoyer, or current backup Shaun Hill. Most people around the league never thought that Vikings General Manager, Rick Spielman, would make such a bold trade to try and save the season. Bradford does’t need to put up elite stats for the Vikings to contend for a playoff birth. Zimmer is going to preach ball control and mistake-free football. It’s exactly how Zimmer wants Teddy Bridgewater to run the offensive unit. Bradford can do the same, and arguably push the ball down field a bit better.

 

Here’s an interesting fact from Pro Football Focus: “Last season, Bradford played with the worst receiving corps in the league, a group that dropped 7.6 percent of his passes to lead the league. He missed all of 2014, and while there was some early-season rust, he was one of the top-graded quarterbacks during the second half of the season. On the year, he actually finished 12th in PFF quarterback grades, at 85.3, one spot ahead of 13th-place Bridgewater at 82.6.”

 

Spielman was indeed bold with this move, but the Vikings are built to go deep into the playoffs now. It’s not so much that they don’t trust Shaun Hill to win a couple of games, but I don’t think the front office viewed him as a 16 game starter and remaining healthy. Bradford has been bitten by the injury bug since joining the NFL, but he won’t have to throw as much with the Vikings. My only concern is that the Vikings run the most plays with 7-step drop backs and frequently use the play-action pass. Getting Bradford up to speed on the playbook will be a priority for the Vikings and we’ll more than likely see Hill split reps with Bradford during practices.  Another thing to consider: Bridgewater may not be ready to go next season.

 

 

One major plus going for Bradford in Minnesota is that tight ends coach, Pat Shurmur, was Bradford’s offensive coordinator during his rookie campaign in 2010 with St.Louis and his offensive coordinator in Philadelphia last year. Although Shurmur doesn’t call the plays, I am guessing that Shurmur and Norv Turner can help Bradford with the playbook and the terminology at an accelerated rate. For me, this doesn’t stink of another Josh Freeman disaster.

 

One thing that the Vikings will miss with Teddy Bridgewater being out: mobility in and out of the pocket. Teddy Bridgewater has underrated wheels and elusiveness and the fact is Bradford just doesn’t match up with him there. I had the Vikings at 11-5 with Bridgewater as the QB, but I think they drop off a game to go 10-6, but still make the wildcard spot for the playoffs.

 

Take a deep breathe Vikings fans….it’s either going to be a really smooth or really rocky flight.

 

 


Jonathan Drouin Goes AWOL; Suspended Without Pay

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Published on : January 24, 2016

 

 

So the Tampa Bay Lighting have suspended Jonathan Drouin, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 Draft, without pay for failing to report to a game with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. This is just another odd turn of events in the whole Drouin situation.

 

For those of you that didn’t know, Drouin and his agent, Allan Walsh, went public two weeks ago with his trade request out of Tampa that was initially made back in November.

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 7.06.17 PM

 

However, the Lighting front office has yet to deal with that request with any sense of urgency. Instead, Drouin was sent down to Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, early this month to give him more ice time. Drouin has since appeared in 7 games with Syracuse, scoring twice, but his AHL assignment has apparently lasted longer then Drouin and his agent had expected.

 

 

In a separate statement made Wednesday, Walsh said he believed that Drouin’s AHL assignment was only for conditioning.

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 7.10.26 PM

 

Pretty bold move from a 20-year-old on an entry-level contract who has 40 points (6G, 34A) in 89 NHL games and is unproven at this point. But maybe that is not entirely his fault, as he is yet to have a solid opportunity while playing with the Lightning.

 

 

Drouin’s actions have put pressure on the Lightning but at what cost? With every distasteful action, fewer and fewer teams will show interest in trading for him. And whatever teams are interested in him, will want him at a heavy discount, something the Lighting will hardly be able to stomach.

 

Drouin clearly wants nothing to do with the Lightning and Yzerman definitely wants the same. There’s no doubt that there are teams out there that could benefit from what Drouin brings to the ice (Toronto, Nashville, Vancouver to name a few). The challenge facing both parties now is finding a team that is willing to take a chance on a holdout.

 

 


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