Anybody remember Grandmama?
Finally, my beloved Chicago Bulls have made a decision on whether to pay Ben Gordon or Luol Deng. it looks like Gordon is the odd man out. Deng has agreed in principle to a 6 year deal worth up to $80 miliion ($71 million base + $9 million incentives). Deng was hoping to get a deal done before he left for the European Championships to play with with Team Britain. Last year he averaged 17 ppg and 6.3 boards which is down from his previous year numbers of 18 ppg and 7.1 boards. Even still, Deng was the one player that they could not let get away under any circumstances. I like Ben Gordon, but if I had to choose a player to stay it would have to be Deng.
Let me put this out there…I hate Duke University and I hate Duke players. Corey Maggette and Sean Dockery are from Chicago…I disowned them after they signed with Duke. My biggest beef with Duke players is that they are products of a “system” that doesn’t develop them into being good pros. I don’t care if he is a Chicago guy or not, Coach K is probably the most overrated coach of all time. Every year he attracts the best HS players in the country and once they land in Durham, they become bums. Not only that, but with Coach K attracting the talent that he does, you would think they would have more than 3 National Championships right? I only make an exception for four Duke players: Deng, Carlos Boozer, JJ Redick and Shane Battier. With the exception of Redick these guys are solid pros and I respect their games. I only like Redick because to me he is the greatest shooter in the history of college basketball and I used to love to watch him light guys up. I say all that to say this: if we have to have a Duke player on the squad, I’m glad we have Deng. Remember when Kobe Bryant said he wanted to play in Chicago? Well, one of the stipulations was that Deng had to be a part of the team. Kobe is a free agent in 2010 and if he still wants to come to the “Chi”, Deng will be here and I’m glad the Bulls decided to spend the money to keep him. Go Bulls!!
Didn’t see this one coming (yeah right). Ron Artest said recently that he should’ve opted out of his contract with the Sacramento Kings and that he regretted not doing so. Two weeks later the Kings sent him packing. In another something for nothing deal similar to the one the Nuggets made with the Clippers for Marcus Camby, the Rockets give up Bobby Jackson and rookie Donte Green, a first round draft pick and cash for the new millenium Dennis Rodman. I remember during his rookie year in Chicago he popped up in Cabrini Green one day to kick it. Who just shows up in one of the roughest housing projects in history just to hang out with people he doesn’t know…by himself? Don’t get me wrong, Cabrini appreciated the love he showed and he was pretty much safe while he was there, but when I heard this I was thinking, who does that?! I knew then something about the boy wasn’t right.
Anyway, with this addition the Houston Rockets have to now be considered major players in a tough western conference. Artest brings a defensive presence and the ability to score. The only problem is that there isn’t a single person in that organization who can control him and just like everywhere else he’s played, it’s only a matter of time before he does or says something that’s going to eventually get him shipped out of there. Still, I like this move on the part of the Rockets. It gives them some sort of insurance because they have the two most fragile superstars in the league and if you look at that roster, “soft” is the first thing that comes to mind so toughness was definitely what they needed. Also, between Artest and Shane Battier you have two of the best defenders in the NBA and that two headed monster is going to make it tough for opposing teams best perimeter players. The question is, how long will it take for him to wear out his welcome in H-Town? Southern hospitality only lasts for so long Ron-Ron…you’ll see.
With the exception of Michael Olowakandi, Kwame Brown has to be the biggest bust to be picked #1 in the history of the NBA draft. Obviously not taking that bit of information into consideration, the Detroit Pistons signed him to a 2 year deal at $4 million per. Once labeled a “can’t miss” prospect when he was drafted out of HS in 2001 by Michael Jordan when he was running the show for the Washington Wizards, Kwame has been an NBA journeyman ever since. Over his career he’s only averaged 7.5 ppg and 5.7 boards, but to his credit when playoff time comes around his numbers improve to 11.3 ppg and 6.1 boards. Still, for the first overall pick in a draft that included Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol (who he was traded for), Eddy Curry, Jason Richardson, Shane Battier, Joe Johnson, Richard Jefferson, Zach Randolph, Tony Parker and Gilbert Arenas…those numbers suck. I guess the Pistons felt like he was worth an $8 million gamble because he’s still only 26yrs old. Maybe the culture of winning in Detroit will change things around for him. But in my opinion…once a bum, always a bum.
Coach K didn’t refer to what happened Friday night as a game; he called it “practice”. And that’s exactly what it looked like. OK, I’ll give Canada a break, they only had one player on the squad with NBA experience…and he’s a D-League call up from Miami. That being said, a snowball on the Las Vegas strip had a better chance for survival. It was close after the 1st quarter when Team USA only lead by 6pts and I’m sure TC felt good about itself. But by halftime they were down by 23 and at the end of the game when they looked up and saw that they’d just gotten blown out by 55pts (without LeBron James), whatever positive vibe they had after quarter one was already on the plane back to Canada.
In his first taste of competition since March 8th, Dwyane Wade put up 20pts, along with Carmelo Anthony and Michael Redd who torched TC for 6 treys. Team USA shot 66% from the field – at one point hitting 16 of its first 20 shots – but they also committed 19 turnovers which is something they need to work on as the competition gets stiffer once they get to Beijing. They did force TC into committing 24 turnovers which led to 43pts, but they also had some lapses defensively, but with another 13 days of practice to work all the kinks out those little things should go away by the time Olympic competition begins. All in all, this team looks like it’s ready to re-establish us as the world basketball power we once were. We should all be proud.
And 1 ran the ad asking “Who Is Monta Ellis?“; well, I’ll tell you. Monta Ellis is now a very rich kid from Jackson, MS. He just signed a 6 year extension with the Golden State Warriors that will pay him $67 million (last year he made $770K, this season he’ll make $11 million). With the departure of Baron Davis to the Los Angeles Clippers, Monta became the teams starting PG and the Warriors had to pay him starters money, but it wasn’t just that though…Monta earned his cheese. Last year he averaged 20ppg while shooting 53% from the field…that ranked him 14th in the league overall, and he’s only 6’3!! You can expect that 20ppg to jump up to about 27ppg now that he’s the full time starter at PG. ‘Ta could mess around and be an All-Star this year. He seems to be on the Gilbert Arenas career path, and not just because they both started their careers in Golden State. Gil is probably the highest paid 2nd round draft pick in the history of the league; and Monta just might pass him up one day. The future looks real bright in the Bay Area…