NBA Trade Deadline Does Not Dissapoint

It’s easiest if we start with the two blockbusters that went down this week.  The Knicks finally closed on a deal to score NBA elite scorer Carmelo Anthony. The deal actually involved three teams, although Minnesota had a minimal part in the deal and is currently being overlooked.

New York received: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Renaldo Blackman, Anthony Carter, Corey Brewer and Sheldon Williams

Denver received: Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, 3 million in cash considerations, 2014 first round pick (NYK), 2012 and 2013 second round picks (GSW).

Minnesota received: Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph, and 3 million in cash considerations.

Why and what is gained?

For Denver: Melo was clearly unhappy and after turning down an extension it appeared relatively evident that he would leave this offseason. In addition Denver has struggled to make a serious playoff run with a similar cast over the past few years. In my opinion Denver despite losing a superstar got a fantastic haul. Wilson Chandler is having a career best year averaging just over 16 points per contest and contributing an additional 6 rebounds. At 23 he could still become an even better player and potentially fill a large part of the scoring void created by Melo’s absence. Danilo Gallinari is a similar story averaging 16 points this season, also a career high and he is only 22 years old. Raymond Felton was flourishing in Dantoni’s fast paced system; Felton is currently enjoying career highs in points, steals, and assists. Felton while a bit older (26) than his two teammates is still 8 years younger than Chauncey Billups who Denver also gave up in the deal. The Nuggets also acquired 3 million cash, 3 picks and 24 year old rookie Timofey Mozgov a 7-1 center. Denver may have given the best player in the deal, but I believe they won the trade due to the high amount of quality starters along with the young prospects they gained. When you consider that had Denver stayed put they may have lost Melo for nothing in free agency this dealer must have been a no brainer.

For New York: Though I don’t entirely agree management felt they needed a superstar duo to compete with the top teams in the east. Stoudemire and Melo offer arguably the best offensive duo in the NBA. However both have taken criticism at times for their defense. Along with the two offensive dynamos’s New York received Mr. Big Shot, Chauncey Billups. Chauncey could be huge for the Knicks supplying championship experience and distributing the ball efficiently and evenly to the two scorers. In the NBA, superstars hold the greatest value out of all professional sport; in basketball one player is often the difference maker. And one has to believe that is the philosophy the Knicks are following after dealing 3 starters a young prospect and 3 picks to Nuggets. New York should now have the fire power to match even the Heat.

For Minnesota: Perhaps the unsung hero in this trade, Minnesota sent Corey Brewer a decent role player who had struggled in Minnesota.  In return they received Curries 11 million dollar expiring contract, and high potential prospect Anthony Randolph. The T-Wolves will have a little over 11 mill to spend this offseason and gained a very high ceiling player in Randolph. Anthony has yet to pay off for any franchise despite his high potential but perhaps the change of scenery could do him good. Michael Beasley was all but discarded last summer before joining the Wolves and he has definitely impressed in his new home.

Jazz/Nets

The other blockbuster saw arguably the leagues best point guard shipped out to Jersey. Mikhail Prokhorov pulled off just an enormous move and perhaps one of the better tactical management moves of the decade. First the Nets were bidding on Melo and raising the price for division rival New York. Then in a quick and sudden strike went in a complete other direction snagging Deron Williams.

The Jazz received: Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, a 2011 first round pick (Nets), a 2012 first round pick (Warriors), and cash considerations.

The Nets received: Deron Williams

 Why and what was gained?

For Utah: There are rumors that Deron was becoming a bit of a distraction in Utah, along with allegations that had him playing a major part in the resignation of Jerry Sloan. Sloan resigned after 23 years as Utah’s head coach earlier this year. Not unlike Melo, Deron’s future was uncertain in Utah. So the Jazz shipped him for this year’s 3rd overall pick forward Derrick Favors. Former all-star Devin Harris and what could be do good prospects in New Jerseys, and Golden States picks. Aside from the young package and off court rumors, the Jazz weren’t playing very good basketball and even with Deron may not have reached the playoffs. It appears along with Sloan’s departure the Jazz were ready to shake things up.

For New Jersey: Superstars are extremely valuable in the NBA, they put fans in the stands and can carry franchises single handedly to the playoffs. Prokhorov has already confirmed that this is his thinking. He believes that his team will still win a championship in the next 5 years; and he believes having Deron is the key. He may be right as a point guard of Deron’s caliber could easily elevate the play of his teammates.

Hornets/Kings

Hornets received: Carl Landry

Kings received: Marcus Thornton, cash considerations

Not a huge deal and it didn’t turn to many heads. Kings shed even more salary going into the offseason, and the hornets gained another quality big man to throw around in their rotation. However on a side note, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban seemed to be upset that along with the leagues other owners he would be paying the difference in salary as Landry makes over 2 million more than Thornton.

Warriors/Nets

Warriors received: Troy Murphy, 2012 second round pick (Nets)

Nets received: Brandan Wright, Dan Gadzuric

Another small deal the Warriors suck up Murphy’s contract in order to attain New Jerseys pick. And the Nets get 11 million in expiring contracts.

Hawks/Wizards

Hawks received: Kirk Hinrich, Hilton Armstrong

Wizards received: Mike Bibby, Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans, 2011 first round pick (Hawks)

The Hawks upgrade the point guard position as they look to stay competitive with the East’s elite squads. Washington adds another first round pick, hoping to add more valuable young pieces to this squad obviously in a full rebuild mode.

Clippers/Cavaliers

Clippers received: Mo Williams, Jamario Moon

Cavaliers received: Baron Davis, 2011 first round pick (Clippers)

I like this deal a fair bit for the Cavs, despite taking on a worse contract in Davis they gain what will likely be another lottery pick. Mo Williams is signed through the 2012-2013 season and could be a decent role player for the Clippers. However as the team is currently still not ready to compete and is stocked with young players I don’t know why they didn’t just keep their pick and hope to add another young stud. Perhaps it was the 4-5 million they will save on the Mo and Baron swap that enticed them.

Celtics/Thunder

Celtics received: Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson

Thunder received: Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic

Last year the Celtics struggled mightily in the finals when Perkins got hurt. This may be the riskiest trade of the week as they basically are placing their faith in a far past his prime Shaq and injury prone also past his prime Jermaine O’Neal to get things done down in the post. I believe the Celtics made this trade in the interest of the post big 3 era. It’s interesting that Jeff Green has come full circle originally drafted 5th overall by the Celtics before being traded with other pieces for Ray Allen. Jeff Green will bring an explosive offensive spark off the bench and could potentially start at PF if the Celtics go small. The Thunder have not been a very good team defensively and have lacked a true big man to get down and dirty. Perkins should help them in that department. Jeff Green could be a star in the future, and already has shown great prowess as an offensive weapon but with Westbrook and Durant already in the lineup Oklahoma didn’t really need Jeff to take shots away from those two. I think this was a good deal for Oklahoma who didn’t really have a role for Green in the future. I think this is a dicey trade for Boston currently but could pay off in the future if Green signs long term and stays around to play with Rajon in the new Boston era rapidly approaching.

Celtics/Cavaliers

Celtics receive: 2013 second round pick

Cavaliers receive: Semih Erden, Luke Harangody

Not a very good trade in my mind for the Celtics. They basically give up 2 cheap members of their post depth for a second round pick in 2013. Neither of them looks like a star but both Harangody, and Erden look like they could be solid rotation players. The only advantage to this trade for the Celtics is that it clears roster space. One may speculate that they will pursue some free agents.

Rockets/Grizzlies

Rockets received: Hasheem Thabeet, future first round pick

Grizzlies received: Shane Battier, Ish Smith

Shane is headed back to Memphis to help this young Grizzlies team make the playoffs. Battier is still one of the best wing defenders in the game and should bring some leadership to a relatively undisciplined Grizzlies squad. The Rockets got a good haul acquiring a future first and the raw but still promising Thabeet. Hasheem looks like he could be a good defensive, rebounding big and fill in a spot off the bench, for a future rotation. However his offensive game needs a lot of polishing if he ever wants to be a starter.

Thunder/Bobcats

Thunder received: Nazr Mohammed

Bobcats received: D.J. White, Morris Peterson

Small swap in which the Thunder get another experienced defensive minded big to add to their rotation. The Bobcats get Morris Petersons 6 million expiring and a prospect in White.

Rockets/Suns

Rockets Received: Goran Dragic, Future first round pick

Suns Received: Aaron Brooks

The Rockets are rebuilding and did a great job adding two good prospects and 2 future first rounders. Brooks was struggling to find his groove with the Rockets after getting hurt this season, and Lowry had stepped up into the starting role. Phoenix gets last year’s most improved player in Brooks who only a year ago was putting up just under 20 points per contest. Dragic has looked good in limited time behind Steve Nash and could move into the starting role for Houston in the future.

Trail Blazers/Bobcats

Bobcats receive: Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks, 2011 first round pick (Hornets), 2013 first round pick, and cash considerations.

Trail Blazers receive: Gerald Wallace

With two of the best players in the Western Conference heading over to the East the Blazers jumped on an opportunity to compete. Brandon Roy should be back soon and adding Gerald Wallace should make this team even better. If healthy Roy, Wallace, and Aldridge might make the most balanced trio in the West. Gerald Wallace is an incredibly versatile forward capable of playing the 3 or 4 slots, he scores, rebounds and defends. Last year G-Force was a member of the all NBA first defensive team. The Bobcats grab another 7.5 million dollar expiring contract while also gaining 2 future firsts to improve their franchise.

Celtics/Kings

Celtics received: 2017 second round pick

Kings received: Marquis Daniels, Cash Considerations

The Celtics must be up to something clearing up another roster spot for a 2017 round pick which at the moment seems of little consequence for a team currently in a quest for the championship. The Kings grab some cash and get another expiring.

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The Return of the Packers

The Return of the Packers

“There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game and that is first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay and I never want to finish second again.”

–Vince Lombardi

            Green Bay has one of the richest histories and one of the largest collections of past NFL Icons in the entire league. They are known for their home the famous Lambeau field, and the extreme Temperatures reached their. During the Ice Bowl in 1967 temperatures reached −44°C with the wind chill. Even more famous then the arena are the stars who attracted fans to come out and watch on even the most chilling of days; of those stars none may shine brighter than Vince Lombardi.

Vince Lombardi is one of the most respected and famous coaches to ever appear in the National Football League. The Vince Lombardi trophy is now hoisted by the winners of the Super Bowl every year. Vince Lombardi led the Packers to 5 championships, in 9 years as a head coach. This year marks only the 3rd time that the Pack will play in the Super Bowl since his departure.

                In 1996 another famous Packer, by the name of Brett Favre left his mark forever in the National Football League.  Although now heavily criticized at that time Cheese head Icon Brett Favre led the Packers to their first championship since 1967. Under his watch the Packers also returned to the Super Bowl the following year but were defeated by the Denver Broncos 31 – 24. Brett may not hold the same place in the hearts of fans as Vince did, but there is no doubting his value to the franchise.

                In 2005 a Quarterback by the name of Aaron Rodgers was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the first round with the 24th pick overall. Shakiyl Payne a long time packers fan said to me in person “I remember when we drafted Aaron we immediately had such high hopes.” Aaron would sit, watch and learn patiently for 3 years while Brett painfully finished his tenure with Green Bay. In 2008 Rodgers got his shot to be the starting QB for the Green Bay Packers and he seized the position and league by storm. Posting hellacious numbers of 4000 yards, 28 touch downs, and a 93.8 QB rating the departure of all time great Brett Favre seemed like a trivial transaction. Aaron gave a delectable encore producing even better numbers in 09-10 and taking the Packers to the playoffs, although they would lose that game there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that a new regime of the Green Bay Packers had begun. Coming into the 2010-11 season many Experts had the Packers playing in this year’s Super Bowl, they were correct. Aaron is now well on his way to forever embedding his legacy into the hearts and minds of football fans everywhere. The stage could not be set more beautifully after being hidden in the shadow of Brett Favre the entire first half of his career Aaron and his packers find themselves the underdogs, playing against another of the NFL’s most historic franchises, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

                The Steelers have also enjoyed plenty of success and have numerous icons both past and present of their own. But the Steelers have always been known as the Steel Curtain, an oppressive, rough and tenacious team that strikes fear into their opponents. The Steelers play tough football based off strong defense and efficient offense that knows how to pound the ball. Unlike Aaron and his dark horseteam the Steelers are not new to the Super Bowl and should they win this year it would be the 3rd Super Bowl the franchise has won in just 6 years.

Many people find themselves disliking the Steelers and there controversial quarterback who only this offseason was being accused of an atrocious crime; Ben Roethlisberger was even rumored to be traded despite winning 2 championships in Pittsburgh. Their truly are many great underlying stories heading into this year’s most anticipated event in professional sport. Will Big Ben and his Steelers close the door on this young Packers franchise, and perhaps through a 3rd championship earn a chance at redemption from fans everywhere? Or will Aaron lead his misfit cast of teammates who started the playoffs in the 6th seed, into a new era of Packers football?

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2010’s top 10 Fantasy Football Clunkers

2010’s top 10 Clunkers

10.  Chris “Beanie” Wells – Last year Beanie was a great addition via waivers or in a late round of the draft. He supplanted Tim Hightower as the main man in the Cardinals backfield. With Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin leaving in the offseason, and a run oriented coach 2010 looked promising for Beanie. However an early season injury and an abysmal offensive year all around for the Cardinals left many owners disappointed Chris’s production. Carrying the ball 60 less times this season to the year previous Beanie fell nearly 400 yards, 5 TD’s and 7 receptions short of his rookie totals. Extremely disappointing as most thought he would surpass all previous totals this year.

9.  Ryan Grant – unfortunate that Grant is so often underrated but it should be dually noted that the packers missed him this season. So much that they nearly made a move for a struggling Brandon Jacobs, and a burnt out Marshawn Lynch who’s only real play of value came in the playoffs. Fantasy owners unlike the general fan base did realize how much Grant was worth; since joining the league 2007-08 Grant has put up at least 1100 yards from scrimmage every year. And each year he had managed to increase that total until this year when he went down in his first game and didn’t return to play the rest of the season. On top of his 1100+ yards, fantasy owners in PPR leagues also probably missed the 24.3 receptions he has averaged out of the backfield thus far in his career. Can’t blame him injuries happen it’s a rough game, but that doesn’t change the fact many owners wasted an early round pick.

8.  Chris Johnson – I have to put him on here because of the huge drop in his numbers comparatively to last season. Was he still worth a first round pick yes, but due to the large amount of hype after his last season I feel we should bring him back to earth? After his record breaking season last year CJ fell 900 yards from scrimmage, 4 TD’s, and 6 receptions from his previous totals. Many fantasy experts tried to convey that CJ’s numbers would not even be in the same realm, but few listened as he still was the #1 pick in most standard leagues.

7. Ryan Matthews – For most people this first round pick was a first round pick. Man that’s a mistake. I think as a rule of thumb a rookie should never be a first round fantasy pick. Tolbert took most of the carries and rightfully so. Matthews the so called franchise back put up 800 total yards with 7 scores leaving several fantasy owners frustrated they passed on Jamal Charles, or Rashard Mendenhall.  

6. Carolina skill players – Despite what kind of football the club is playing overall as a whole; the last few years the names Deangelo Williams, and Steve Smith have been well respected by fantasy owners. Deangelo missed 10 games this season. Aside from his obvious drop in overall production, he was less efficient dropping his yards per carry from 5.2 to 4.1. Steve Smith a top wide receiver for years had his worst season since 2004 where he only played 1 game. Smith posted a measly 563 yards from scrimmage and 2 TD’s on only 46 receptions. All 3 totals are his lowest in 5 years.

5. Donovan McNabb – Though McNabb hasn’t been an elite QB in years many hoped that with the change of scenery he could be a solid back up or 2nd QB in multiple Quarter back leagues. On the way to being benched and replaced by Rex Grossman, Donovan put up his lowest overall TD total since his rookie season. Meaning that in his 13 starts he put up less TD’s then 3 seasons previous where he only started 10, 10 and 9 games respectively. He also put up a career high in INT’s despite again playing 13 games. McNabb truly had it worst of both worlds and somehow managed to score a contract worth at most a 78.5 million dollar contract.

4. Shonn Greene – A big part of this is due to the re emergence of the best RB of the decade (LaDainian Tomlinson). However for many owners Greene was a first or second round pick. After his solid playoff performance last year and the departure of Jones and Washington the backfield was supposed to be his to reside over. However he only started 2 games and didn’t even reach 1000 yards from scrimmage with a measly 2 TD’s.

3. Randy Moss – Randy was a headache for all owners this season including the Patriots, Vikings and Titans. His lack of heart was well rather disgusting and his total production was comical for someone who believes himself a top wide receiver of all time. Combined in his 16 games he still fell short of 400 total yards, he posted only 5 TD’s his worst since his days as a Raider. His 28 receptions were also a career low. My sincere apologies on behalf of Randy who really let down everybody this season; unfortunately Randy was amongst the top 5 WR’s drafted in almost all leagues.

2. Kevin Kolb – After his 2 starts the previous year the Eagles front office was so confident in this young man that they dealt their franchise QB of the past decade. Lucky for them Michael Vick would re emerge and even do his best to spoil Brady’s MVP season. However for owners who bought the hype on Kolb he was benched most of the season and in his 5 starts only put up 171 yards per contest, with both 7 touch downs and interceptions. Unless traded it is unlikely Kolb will even be drafted next year. 

1. Brett Favre – I begged friends to not draft Brett this year. I warned them that father time along with yet another surgery would have their toll on the oldest starting QB in the NFL. But the success of his previous year had many owners reaching for Brett in the draft over younger and more reliable options in Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, and Carson Palmer. In 13 starts Brett put up 2500 yards, 11 touch downs, and a total of 24 turnovers. Hopefully Brett commits to his retirement this offseason and spares us both the drama and disappointment on our fantasy teams next season.

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