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Will the Knicks Regret Letting “LINSANITY” Go?

Jeremy Lin with the Houston Rockets.
(Getty Images)

Last year’s breakout star Jeremy Lin was signed by the Houston Rockets earlier this week.  Lin signed a 3 year, $25 Million deal.  The Rockets had Lin in their training camp at the beginning of last season but let him go.  The New York Knicks had a chance to match the offer given to Lin but declined.  Houston took what many consider a gutsy move for the 23 year-old Point Guard.

Jeremy Lin busted onto the Sports Scene last February when he stepped into the starting PG spot previously held by the then injured Carmelo Anthony.  Lin made the most of his opportunity by becoming one of the teams leaders.  He dominated games and flat out won many for them during his strong 3 week stretch.  Lin was silenced quit a bit when the team started facing off against teams like the Miami Heat.  Lin suffered a season ending injury in March and the “Linsanity” in New York was put on hold.

The craze that Jeremy Lin ignited in New York was incredible.  Over night the city became crazy over this young and recently unknown star.  “Linsanity” was the name and it was popping up on signs and merchandise all over Madison Square Garden and New York.  The possibilities for marketing this type of a player were endless.

“Linsanity” has moved to the great state of Texas.  Will he continue to flourish into the superstar many feel he will be.  That is hard to say but if he does the Knicks made a bad decision.  At this point the Knicks need a star with the charisma and appeal that Lin has.  He has been replaced by a few players nearing the end of their career while he is just beginning his.

If Jeremy Lin’s star continues to rise the Knicks will never forget letting him go.  The New York fans will not let them forget what a grave mistake they made.  The Knicks have been toiling in obscurity for far to long and Lin had shown during the month where he dominated the sports media that he could be the spark the team needed.  The city of New York needed a star like Lin.  The level of regret rides on how well Lin develops and evolves his game.  As of this moment it looks like a bad decision for Knicks to let this player go.  Only time will tell and we should know a lot in just 5 months.

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It’s Time For The Magic To Trade Dwight Howard

The NBA Draft is coming up this week and that means many story lines for many teams will take a twist through trades and picks.  The biggest possible trade story leading up to the Draft is will the Magic trade Dwight Howard away for some great picks or even top level players.  I have no faith that the Magic will take advantage of teams wanting Howard and wanting him now.   Teams like the Houston Rockets are trading players and moving up in the 1st round with 3 picks in the top 20 as of Tuesday.  Howard’s contract is up in 2013 and the Rockets want him prior to his contract expiring.  The Magic might have a good opportunity to do something about their “Dwight Drama”.

Dwight Howard on draft day 2004 after being selected with the 1st overall pick by the Magic.
(Getty Images)

The Story of Dwight Howard and the Magic has been a complicated one.  The Magic drafted Howard out of high school in 2004 with the 1st overall pick.  Howard over the years has developed into one of the best big men in the game and has had some success with the team.  Howard led the Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals where they were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers in 5 games.  The Magic have been contenders in the Eastern Conference for the last few years in large part to Howard.  Dwight Howard has however also brought a lot of controversy to Orlando with his talent.  He had a very public feud with the Magic’s former Head Coach Stan Van Gundy.  It got really ugly during last season and Van Gundy was fired earlier this summer.  Howard also brought drama near the trade deadline when he was not signing his clause to come back for his final year of his contract.  He ended up signing hours before the deadline and the Magic did not trade him.  It was a smart move for the Magic to put the pressure on Howard and to not trade him at the time when a trade for him would not yield enough in return for the Magic.

I say the time to pull the trigger is on draft night.  The Magic could possibly be offered some really good deals and should strongly consider every one they receive.  The Magic need not look to far into their past to be reminded why they should get rid of Howard before his contract expires.

In 1996 Shaq left the Magic for the Lakers in a similar situation where the team was not willing to give him exactly what he wanted and headed elsewhere.  Shaq left and the Magic had nothing to show for it, they would have gotten a mega trade if they would have just looked around instead of fooling themselves that they could resign him.

Dwight Howard has made it no secret that he would like to play for the soon to be Nets of Brooklyn or for the Dallas Mavericks.  The relationship between the Magic and Howard is just too volatile for it to continue.  The Magic for a long time have been fooling themselves again that like Shaq that they can resign the star.  I think there is no way he would sign with the Magic again even if the money was right.  Howard is an awesome talent but he is just not going to stay with the team any longer than he needs to. The Magic cannot afford to have Howard leave and get nothing in return.  He is too good of a talent and a player of his caliber could yield players that could build this team for the future. The Magic owe it to the city of Orlando and their fans to send Howard packing.  So as the saying goes “THE TIME IS NOW!”

The MLB Draft, Do You Care?

Bud Selig at the 2010 MLB Draft
(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The 2012 Major League Baseball Draft starts today.  Many baseball fans with the exception of the die hard fans don’t care about it or even know it happening today.  This will be the fourth year the 1st round has been televised.  Much like the NFL’s Draft, MLB will hold the event in New York City.  It will also start in prime time at 7pm EST.  There is however a big difference between the MLB Draft and the NBA and NFL Drafts.

The NBA and NFL have both had televised drafts for many year.  Both leagues have been really successful with their drafts.  Building fan excitement every year when the NFL draft approaches.  The NBA also has a lot of fan attention leading to their June draft every year.  Baseball wants very much to bring the same excitement to their draft.

The MLB draft will not reach the level of the other sports drafts anytime soon.  There are many things baseball has going against it.  One of the blaring problems is lack of star power and players the fans can connect with.  Many of the top players come out of the high school level.  Unlike football,  high school baseball is not followed as closely by many fans and usually only the die hard fans keep up with that level.  The other players come from college baseball which like the previous topic is not followed by fans has much as football or basketball’s college level.  Nor does college baseball get the same media attention during their season. There have been a few players that carried a lot of attention going into baseballs June Draft.  Two of the most recent “big hype” national media type stars where the Washington Nationals Stephen Strasburg in 2009 and Bryce Harper in 2010. We won’t be seeing any baseball players going into the draft with the same media attention anytime soon.

When the stars are selected most don’t see the big leagues for at least a year.  Some players need 2 to 5 years to develop to be major league ready.  The NBA and NFL have the ability to excite fans with their drafts because the players will be on the field with the big clubs within months.  Many player go on to a lot of success even in their first year in the other leagues.  Baseball cannot do anything about this particular problem.  Its a system that has worked for many years, it just does not cater to the draft.

For decades baseball held their draft non televised.  In 2009 they started to air the 1st round on their MLB Network.  Many fans won’t watch because they just can’t.  The MLB Network is carried in far less homes than the networks that air the NBA and NFL Drafts.  If fans did tune in they would see a room with very charismatic (I am being sarcastic) MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and a bunch of team representatives and only a couple of players if any in attendance.  You would be better off just checking the internet to find out and not waste your time watching the broadcast.

MLB has a lot they need to work on to make the Draft watchable and to increase excitement for it.  The first thing they need to work on is getting more players involved in the event.  Having player in attendance would help the broadcast, with the players showing emotion and excitement when selected by the clubs.  The MLB needs to also work on getting the names and faces of the upcoming draft prospects out there.  They could broadcast high school games featuring top prospects.  Finally baseball needs to get a deal with a better network to air the event.  That probably won’t happen until they improve the first two problems I previously stated.

Baseball is a great game and the draft deserves just as much fan fare as the other leagues.  Until baseball can make the fans care we are going to have an event like we will see tonight, an unwatched and mostly unknown happening.

The Miami Marlins After 2 Months Of Baseball

It has been an interesting season for the Miami Marlins so far.  This team had a very new feel to it going into the season.  A new name came first, no longer are they the Florida Marlins they are to be know now as the Miami Marlins.  The new retractable roof stadium located in downtown Miami known as Marlins Park.  The new manager Ozzie Guillen, who was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the off season.  Also new were big time free agents in Short Stop Jose Reyes, Starter Mark Buehrle and Closer Heath Bell.  The team had not acquired free agents of this caliber since the 1997 season.  But the newest thing for the Marlins was hope of contending in the N.L. East and winning their first ever division title.

The Marlins new home, Marlins Park
(Getty Images)

The Marlins finished April with just 8 wins and 14 loses.  Many of those loses were to N.L. East foes the Phillies, Nationals and Mets. The Fish ended April at the bottom of the division.  Not much seemed to go right for the Fish in April.  Manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended by the team for a few games due to some ridiculous comments about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.  The team also was not preforming well on the field.  Their production on the offensive side of the ball was horrendous.  Stars such as Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez not playing very well consistently.  Their young power hitter Giancarlo Stanton had no power to speak of.  The guy that was supposed to be saving games for the team Heath Bell was blowing leads and games left and right.  The team was in need of a restart when April ended.

They got their fresh start in May and boy did they take advantage of it.  The Marlins went on a road trip where they swept the Giants, Padres and took 2 out of 3 games against the Astros.  The fielding got better, the pitching was awesome and the bats came alive in May.  Giancarlo Stanton had an incredible month of May where he hit 12 home runs and had 30 RBI’s.  Stanton even had a walk off grand slam in a home game against the Mets.  Pitcher Ricky Nolasco got his 5th win of the season. Carlos Zambrano the loose cannon from the Chicago Cubs has pitched well and not lost his mind yet.  The Marlins also played a lot better against division rivals.  They took 2 out of 3 games against the Phillies, split a 2 game series with the Braves.  The Marlins finished the final series of May by sweeping the 1st place Nationals in a 3 game series.  The Fish had a record of 21 wins and just 8 losses for the month of May.

Marlins power hitter Giancarlo Stanton
(photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The Marlins begin the month of June with a 29-22 record.  It took the Marlins 2 month to make it to first place but they did it.  They hold a tie with the Nationals for 1st place in the N.L. East.  June is not going to be an easy month schedule wise.  They will play 5 games total against the Phillies and 3 games against the Braves.  The biggest challenge could be when they play a total of 6 games against their inter state rival Tampa Bay Rays.  The Rays are also tied for 1st place in their division and have played really well as a team this year.  So that series could be a tough one for the Fish.  The Marlins are hoping to finish June the way they are coming into it, very hot.

The rest of the season is going to be the real test of course.  The Marlins were looking bad in April but impressed in May.  The Fish play in the toughest division in baseball but have held their own so far.  I believe the Fish have a very good chance of taking their first division title.  This is a really good ball club that is finally playing as a team and are clicking on all cylinders.  The prospects look very good for the rest of the summer but we will know for sure what this team is made of by September.

The Spurs Are Boring, But They Are Good

The San Antonio Spurs are one of the least entertaining teams to watch in all of sports.   The Spurs are in one word “Boring”.  They have been that way for many years.  It is due to a combination of playing a methodical and a very non flashy style of basketball and the lack of charismatic stars.

They have one of the best centers in the NBA Tim Duncan.  Duncan has had a great Career and will be in the Hall Of Fame one day. The unfortunate thing is Duncan has no charisma at all and never says anything that is not obvious when being asked questions in interviews. Their other stars Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are not much better.

San Antonio Spurs Star Tim Duncan
(Getty Images)

There is one thing you cannot dispute though,  the Spurs are really good.  They have especially excelled this year in the playoffs.  They swept the Utah Jazz in the first round of the post season.  They continued into the second round where they swept the L.A. Clippers and their superstar Chris Paul.

On Tuesday night the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder by a score of 120-111. With that victory the Spurs are up on the Thunder 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals.  The Spurs are undefeated this postseason.  They have won 10 straight games and while they have not been exciting while doing so, it is an impressive feat.

Will we see the Spurs in the NBA Finals?  Probably but the NBA will not be happy about it.  The ratings for the NBA Finals have been declining over the last few years.  The Spurs will likely drive those numbers down.  Even with the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics as their opponents it could be a rather sleepy Championship Series.

For now I suggest you get your pillows ready.  The Spurs are not going anywhere for now, which means the boring brand of Spurs basketball is going to sweep across the nation and put viewers in a NyQuil type sleep state.