Playbook

Shea Weber Signs Massive Offer Sheet with Flyers

July 19th, 2012   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

UPDATE: The Predators have matched Philadelphia’s offer sheet, making Weber a Pred For Life as well as giving him the largest contract in franchise history.

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For Nashville Predators GM David Poile, this offseason can’t get much worse. Only two weeks after losing top defenseman Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild, Poile could potentially lose the other half of his first defensive pairing, Shea Weber, to the Philadelphia Flyers. Per a press announcement released by the Flyers this morning, the Flyers reached an agreement with the 3 time All Star and Team Captain that would pay him $100 million over 14 years. Poile and the Predators have 7 days to match. The Flyers were known to have previously been in discussions with the Predators for Weber but after no agreement was reached, they decided to sign him to an offer sheet. It seems that Poile has reached the crossroads as to which direction the franchise will head in. If Poile matches the offer, Weber remains a Predator practically for the rest of his career (the contract ends when he turns 40). The Preds will still have enough cap space to get things done even with Weber’s new contract on their books. If Poile lets Weber go however, the team will no longer be contenders and will enter a rebuilding phase. Four first round compensatory draft picks from the Flyers will help ease the pain even if they will probably be late first rounders. The problem with letting Weber walk can also be seen from a merchandise/ticketing standpoint. As it is, Nashville is a rather small hockey market and the team will have a tough time selling both Suter and Weber’s departures to the fans. It will be especially tough for the fans as they just came off of a conference semifinals run the previous season. The deal could also possible make the Flyers a very dangerous team in the Eastern conference and while that isn’t Poile’s problem, we could see a drop in parity around the league. Poile will defenitly have a lot of thinking to do over the next seven days as the decision he makes might not only change the face of the Nashville Predators but will also reshape the NHL landscape.

Written by:
Ori Sanilevich

Did Knicks Make the Right Choice by Letting Lin Walk?

July 18th, 2012   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

It’s official. As of 12:00pm Eastern Time, Jeremy Lin is a Houston Rocket. The Knicks refused to match the Rockets’ big-time offer which will pay Lin $25million over 3 years. Signs were pointing to the end of Linsanity in New York when the Knicks reacquired point guard Raymond Felton from the Portland Trail Blazers. Felton, who played with the Knicks before being shipped to Denver as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade, was having a career year while playing under Mike D’Antoni’s high-paced system. He did struggle however, since the trade. Many people believe the Knicks should have matched the Rockets offer sheet but I believe the Knicks made the better of the two choices in letting Lin walk. No one should be awarded such a massive contract based solely off a 25 game performance. Let’s not forget that prior to blowing up with the Knicks, Lin hardly managed to claim a spot on an NBA roster. The media-hotbed that is New York is known to overhype things (Steve Novak, anyone?) and if Lin had his streak anywhere else, he wouldn’t get half the coverage. Another big issue is his turnover rate. Lin’s season average for TO’s per game is 3.6. That’s a lot for someone who is supposed to be running a team. For every two assists, he had nearly just as many turnovers. Felton, as a Knick, also had better season averages than Lin, showing that while he wasn’t capable of blowing up like Lin, he was more consistent. Lin however, was a media darling and sold everything from jerseys to shoes to, most importantly, tickets. He also raised MSG’s stock and made them some significant revenue during Linsanity. MSG’s stock value inversely took a sharp drop shortly after Lin received Houston’s offer. Felton, however, might not flourish under Mike Woodson as he did with Mike D’Antoni, whose run-and-gun system is known to largely benefit point guards. Lin’s departure also makes the signing of Jason Kidd slightly irrelevant as he was signed in order to mentor Jeremy Lin. Felton, who is heading into his 8th season, might benefit from some pointers from a future Hall of Famer but has already come into his own and doesn’t have the same amount of potential as he did when he was drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats. On a slightly smaller note for the Knicks, Lin’s departure solidifies Deron Williams of the Brooklyn Nets as the top guard in New York. Most, if not all, of these issues will be resolved next season as the Knicks and Rockets will both find out whether their choice was the right one.

Written by:
Ori Sanilevich

Team USA Uniforms to Be Made In China

July 17th, 2012   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

While it isn’t an athletic event, the opening ceremonies at the Olympics are truly a grand sight to behold as each participating nation parades its athletes in a showing of pride for one’s country. A big factor of the ceremony is the respective country’s attire. Many, if not all, countries go with colors and styles that represent their home land. Some even go so far as to wear the traditional old-world clothing of tribes and peoples long gone from their countries. Team USA will take no exception to London Games, teaming up with Ralph Lauren to design a uniform that strikes close to home. The result is a very military-esque uniform consisting of a blue blazer and a matching headpiece with white pants (skirts for female athletes). While many believe the designs to be a success, there is one problem: Ralph Lauren has opted to have the suits manufactured in China. Ralph has decided to give Team USA the ultimate irony as they will represent their home country by wearing clothes made by a competing nation. Mr. Lauren has also snubbed the American economy by spurning American manufacturers and going to China to save a meager sum of money. Many agree that Ralph Lauren’s actions are unacceptable as his worldwide brand certainly makes enough money for him to be able to afford the uniforms to be made at home and have even called for the athletes to boycott the uniforms. As of now, however, no such plans have been made public by the athletes. While they weren’t a complete strike-out like Stella McCarthy’s Team Great Britain uniforms, Lauren’s uniforms can never be taken seriously and instead might represent an entirely different aspect of America: corporate greed.

Written By:
Ori Sanilevich

Dwight Howard Mega Deal in the Works

July 10th, 2012   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

 

UPDATE: With the resigning of Brook Lopez to a 4 year maximum contract, the Nets have officially pulled out of trade talks with the Orlando Magic for the time being. Due to the current CBA, Lopez cannot be traded until January 15th

                                                                                                                                                   

The Dwight Howard saga, which has plagued both the Orlando Magic and NBA fans everywhere, might finally come to an end within the next few days. Multiple sources are reporting that the Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, along with an additional fourth team, are working on an 11-13 player blockbuster that could finally land Howard with the new-look Nets. In the proposed deal, the Nets would land Howard, point guard Chris Duhon, combo guard Jason Richardson and big man Earl Clark from Orlando. The Nets would ship Brook Lopez, Damion James, and Shelden Williams to Orlando along with three first round picks. Cleveland would receive Orlando’s Quentin Richardson and Brooklyn’s Sundiata Gaines and Kris Humphires. They would also receive another first round pick and $3 million from the Nets. Cleveland would also send Luke Walton to Orlando. The only problem hindering this deal is the need for a 4th team to which the Nets could trade rookie Marshon Brooks to in order to receive an additional first round pick to send to Orlando. Rumors going around the league say that the Los Angeles Clippers or the Minnesota Timberwolves might be the answer. Orlando is also reluctant to pull the trigger on the deal as they are keen on acquiring Andrew Bynum from the LA Lakers although he is reluctant to sign an extension with Orlando. The deal would most likely benefit all four parties involved as it turns the Nets into a true championship contender, gives Cleveland some much needed veterans and big men, gives the fourth team an on-the-rise scoring guard in Brooks and gives Orlando a young scoring center and a treasure trove of draft picks to help ease the pain of rebuilding. If Brooklyn completes this trade however, they will be seen as the big winners as they catapult from Eastern Conference basement-dwellers to perennial championship contenders.

The deal would look something like this:

Nets Receive: Dwight Howard (C), Jason Richardson (G), Chris Duhon (G), Earl Clark (F)

Magic Receive: 3-4 First Round Picks (Via Nets), Brook Lopez (C), Damion James (F), Shelden Williams (F-C)

Cavaliers Receive: Kris Humphries (F), Sundiata Gaines (G), Quentin Richardson (G-F)

Additional 4th Team Recieves: Marshon Brooks (G)

Written by:
Ori Sanilevich

Tiger Woods Puts Himself into Contention at AT&T National

June 29th, 2012   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

In his second round at the AT&T National, Tiger Woods shot a solid 3-under-par 68 to put himself three shots behind the leaders, Jimmy Walker and Brendon de Jonge.

Congressional’s Blue course, where the tournament is taking place, is currently playing especially difficult and fast.  Also, the extreme heat in addition to the quick greens and thick rough are creating very tough scoring conditions for the players.  The harsh playing conditions of the course had a usually over-achieving Woods saying, “I thought my 68 was a very good score today.”

Woods started the second round from the back nine where he started off on a roll, making four consecutive pars.  On the 14th hole, Woods saw his first bit of trouble as he drove his tee-shot into the thick rough giving him a tough second shot that he left 76 yards short of the green.  From there, however, Woods would hit a good approach shot to put himself within scoring range of the hole, and one-putt to save par.

After a similar up-and-down par on the 15th hole, Woods had a highlight moment on the 16th where he sunk a 48 foot putt to make eagle and put himself 1-under par for the tournament.

Woods concluded his first nine holes at one under par, but would remain there only very shortly as he made his first bogey of the day on the first hole of his back nine.  However, he would not stay at even par for much longer either as a couple of birdies on the fifth, eighth, and ninth holes put him at a contending position, 3 under par for the tournament.

The grueling conditions of the golf course made the tournament just as much a mental contest as it was a physical one, given how the six to seven hour outings called for incredible focus and stamina, areas in which Woods is known to be deadly.

“Certainly running all those miles and lifting all those weights comes into play when you have weather like this on consecutive days.”

With two rounds of strenuous golf remaining, the tournament is still any player’s to take, but with years of experience and a dominant mind in situations like these, Tiger Woods is definitely one to keep an eye on.

Article by
Julian Choi

 

Larry Bird steps down as president of the Indiana Pacers

June 26th, 2012   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

Three time former NBA MVP and Hall-of-Famer Larry Bird has is expected to step down as president of the Indiana Pacers as of Tuesday. The announcement came as a surprise to the media as well as the basketball organization considering how Bird had told the Associated Press just last month that he would remain as the Pacers team president for at least a few more years.

After serving as the Pacers head coach from 1997-2000, Bird returned to the front office as president of basketball operations in 2008 and this year was awarded as the season’s NBA Executive of the Year, after his success in building a young, talented roster that gave the eventual champions, the Miami Heat, a run for their money in the playoffs.

The New York Daily Times has reported that Donnie Walsh, former General Manager and CEO of the Pacers, will reunite with the Pacers and take charge of the team’s efforts to sign new free agents. From 2008 to 2011, Walsh had been positioned as New York’s president and general manager.

Details regarding the reasons for Bird’s resignation as the Pacer’s president are still unknown, especially considering the relatively successful season that Bird and the Pacers had. It is implicit; however, that team owner Herb Simon had something to do with the decision.

Article by:
Julian Choi

Miami Won the NBA Championship

June 22nd, 2012   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

 

An historic evening took place at the American Airlines Arena in Miami on Thursday night.  After two long years weighted with disparagement and doubt, LeBron James and his Miami Heat team were finally able to rise above the resistance they have faced since the “Big 3” was formed, and deliver on their promise of a NBA championship.

Although a year late on this promise, considering how the Heat managed to make it through key games without an injured Chris Bosh, and how they were able to come out on top against a super-talented Oklahoma City team, you can hardly ridicule them for a little tardiness.

Game 5 may not have been the closest of finals series games, but it was without a doubt an exciting one.  With star players making spectacular plays, and supporting players also doing their roles, it was an overall great performance by these two talented teams, but one was simply just the better squad.

With each of its players contributing and the team executing successfully as a unit, the Miami Heat played almost as perfect as a game that can be played.  Their leader and finals MVP, LeBron James, led the way with a well-rounded triple-double adding 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists to the board.  The rest of the trio, Bosh and Wade, also played a strong game scoring 24 and 20 points, respectively.  The big spark of the game, however, came from an unexpected place as Mike Miller came off the bench and went on fire to drill 7 out of 8 three pointers and finished with 23 points.

OKC’s star Kevin Durant, who scored a game high 32 points, received a little less support from his teammates as Westbrook and Harden both put up a mediocre 19 points each.  The disappointment that Durant felt after being so close to the championship was evident as he was captured on camera being very emotional as he hugged his mother and father in the locker room after the loss.

As for LeBron and the Miami Heat, on the other hand, the excitement they felt could not be contained as they began to celebrate on the bench even before the final buzzer was rung.  “This is the best day of my life!” said an ecstatic LeBron James afterwards in the locker room.  “I can’t even explain it.”

With the massive burden of their first championship finally lifted off of their shoulders, the rest of the NBA should be in fear…who knows how many more titles are yet to come for this championship Miami Heat team.

 

 

Article by:
Julian Choi

 

Miami Heats Up Against Thunder in Crucial Game 4

June 20th, 2012   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

The Thunder came out with a vengeance on Tuesday night and took an early lead against Miami in a crucial game four.  Oklahoma seemed to understand the importance of getting a win to tie the series at 2-2, going into game 5 at home on Thursday.

However, despite Oklahoma City building a comfortable 33-19 lead by the end of the first quarter,  Miami struck back in the second and third periods to overcome the deficit and establish a four point lead going into the final quarter.  In a neck and neck battle in the fourth, the focus of the game revolved one player: none other than OKC’s explosive point guard Russell Westbrook.

After demonstrating one of the greatest finals performances that the NBA has seen in years, Russell Westbrook made a late-game decision that may have arguably cost his team the game, and has since become the center of controversy in the basketball world.

With 40.5 seconds left in the game and the Thunder only down by 3, James Harden and Udonis Haslem got tangled up for a jump-ball call.  With five seconds remaining on the shot clock, the jump ball was tipped by Harden where Mario Chalmers of the Heat was able to scoop up the loose ball.  Considering that there were only 5 seconds left on the shot clock, the Heat would be rushed to get off a shot and pending a miss, the Thunder would regain possession of the ball with an opportunity to tie up the ball game.  However, out of sudden impulse, or purely bad decision-making, Westbrook decides to run up and intentionally foul Mario Chalmers.  Chalmers, being an excellent free throw shooter, gets a free trip to the charity stripe to knock down two clutch free throws and essentially seal the deal.

Did Russell Westbrook commit a terrible foul?  Yes.  Did he cost his team the game?  No.  While all the haters will be quick to point fingers at Westbrook for his questionable decision making down the stretch, the fact of the matter is this: Russell Westbrook scored a game-high 43 points including 17 of which came in the fourth quarter to put his team even in contention, and even if Westbrook had not committed the foul, the Thunder were still looking at slim chances to win the game.

Headed back home to Oklahoma City for a much-anticipated game 5 on Thursday night, the Thunder must figure things out quickly if they are to have any hope of extending this series.  And with there being no team in the NBA’s past to ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the finals, history is definitely not on their side.

Can the Thunder re-write history?

Article by:
Julian Choi

Miami looks to close out the Thunder

June 19th, 2012   admin  Uncategorized   No Comments »

The Miami Heat are just 96 minutes, or two games away from earning their first NBA title since the “Big 3” era.  Leading 2-1 in this Finals series against the Oklahoma City Thunder and going into game 4 tonight, the Heat are in a very familiar position. In last year’s finals, Miami similarly held a 2-1 lead over the Dallas Mavericks going into their fourth game.  Miami would fall short, however, as they would allow the Mavericks to take over for the remainder of the series and earn three consecutive wins for the title, proving that Miami had yet to become a championship caliber team.

 

Don’t let Miami’s poor showing last year fool you, because this year’s Heat team is not the same.  The season’s MVP and also Miami’s leader, Lebron James, is walking proof of this idea.  Averaging 30.3 points and 10.3 rebounds so far in the series, he is already showing a huge improvement from last year’s 17.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game averages against Dallas.  But these increases are only the most negligible of changes.  The real change in the Miami team comes from its newest ability to attack the paint and draw fouls from inside.  James’ 29 free throw attempts so far in the series, as well as Miami’s 31 out of 35 points from the charity stripe in game 3 is confirmation of the Heat’s efficiency inside the key.

 

Despite trailing one game, Oklahoma City is all but defeated.  After coming back from a 2-0 deficit in the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, the Thunder demonstrated that if any team can come back to win a series in the playoffs, it’s them.  In a nerve-racking game 3, the Thunder failed to play strong interior defense allowing Miami to penetrate into the paint too easily.  Also, the league’s leading scorer, Kevin Durant, getting into foul trouble in the third quarter significantly hurt the Thunder’s offense, as Harden and Westbrook were left with the scoring burden.  However, if the Thunder can make some adjustments and come out in game 4 with a collapsing zone defense that packs the middle, Miami will be forced to shoot more jump shots, which will change the pace of the entire game.

 

While the Heat are only two wins away from putting an end to this highly physical, nail-biting series, the Thunder’s striking morale is nothing if not an indication that this series is far from over.

 

Article by:
Julian Choi