This week has definitely been a great week in sports. Without further adeiu, here are the General Thoughts on sports for this week’s action.
The soap opera in Los Angeles just keeps getting more and more interesting. When the Lakers acquired center Dwight Howard, Los Angeles was thought to be a championship contender instantly. But instead of that happening, the Lakers have had nothing but chaos and turmoil as they have tried to make a run towards the playoffs. In the latest chapter, Dwight Howard’s father called out Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni and said that he should have more control over Kobe and his comments towards Dwight. If you missed Kobe’s comments earlier this week, he basically told Dwight that the team needs him and he needs to play through that injured shoulder for the team. Kobe also made it seem that he felt Dwight was not injured enough not to play. Well, D’Antoni’s response to Dwight’s father was that his team needed to be quiet. And for the first time all season, I agree with D’Antoni. This team has done more talking than playing and maybe they should focus on their play on the court instead of playing out a Hollywood drama off the court. It should be interesting to see what happens next, especially since the Lakers lost to the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon.
Along with the issues going on in Lakerland, there is also some drama going on in Atlanta. Forward Josh Smith will be a free agent this summer and he fashions himself to be a max-contract player. Only there is one problem: Smith is not getting that max offer from Atlanta. The Hawks met with Smith’s representatives and informed him that they will not be offering him a max contract. And as a result of that, the Josh Smith trade sweepstakes is now officially on. A couple teams that may be interested in Smith’s services are the Houston Rockets and the Brooklyn Nets. For the Nets, that would mean that they would be shipping Kris Humphries out of town to make way for Smith. In the Rockets case, they have a ton of young pieces that could be enticing to the Hawks. With whichever choice is made, one thing is certain: Josh Smith will not be in Atlanta very much longer.
In college basketball, the game of the week was definitely Louisville vs Nortre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. The game looked to be a win for the Louisville Cardinals in regulation, but the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Jerian Grant had other ideas. Grant scored 12 points in the last two minutes to send the game into overtime. And each and every time the Cardinals thought they had the game won, the Irish refused to die. Both teams fought on until eventually, the Fighting Irish outlasted the Cardinals 104-101 in five overtimes. Two things that stood out about this game was the clutch play of the Irish and the lack of closing ability from the Cardinals. The Irish kept fighting back and making the winning plays each and every time when they really needed it. And just like the Irish kept making winning plays, the Cardinals kept making losing ones. Veteran Cardinals guards Russ Smith and Peyton Siva kept routinely making mistakes that are unbecoming of them. For this team to reach their potential, both Siva and Smith have to live up to their ability and lead this team. If not, the Cardinals could be sitting at home when it is time for the Final Four in Atlanta this year.
The rest of the college basketball world has been in utter chaos all year long. It seems like no one wants to be the number one team in the nation. Every time a new number one team is named, they lose that very next week. I think this speaks to the mediocrity that is in college basketball this year. More and more, teams are gutted due to kids leaving early for the NBA draft. And not only is the quality of the NBA suffering, but so is the quality of the college game. Look forward to more top-rated teams losing as the season continues to go on because there is no team that stands out this year. And that is good in the sense of a more unpredictable tournament, but bad in terms of a mediocre product on the court.
In the NFL, the season has now ended and the posturing has begun for next year. Many teams are making their decisions as to whether or not to cut ties with players or bring them back for another run. No team has a tougher decision about that than the Baltimore Ravens. Receiver Anquan Boldin has been rumored to be getting released soon. And as a result of that rumor, Boldin has said that he may retire if he is released. Boldin was special in the Super Bowl run for the Ravens, but he was also inconsistent in his appearances on offense for the Ravens this season. Even with that being said, Boldin still is a guy that is needed on that team. But with the salary cap being the way it is these days in the NFL, the Ravens may be forced to cut ties with Boldin to make other moves on their team. And as far as Boldin retiring, I don’t believe that he will do so and that he is speaking off of emotion.
Along with Boldin potentially changing addresses this off-season, another wide receiver in the NFL could be heading to a new team soon. Word out of Minneapolis is that the Vikings are looking to trade wide receiver Percy Harvin. The oft-injured playmaker and management are not seeing eye-to-eye on an extension to stay with the Vikings. So now he will be on the move. As far as suitors, this one could be tricky. Percy would have to go to a team that has some cap room available and that would be willing to trade a pick or two for him. Teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns or the Cincinnati Bengals could use another playmaker in their systems but will they attempt to go get Harvin is the question. Only time will tell, but his days seem to be numbered in Minneapolis.
Finally, baseball is getting ready to get cranked up and the Mariners made sure to sign up their ace pitcher before he could entertain geing a free agent. Felix Rodriguez and the Seattle Mariners agreed to a seven year, $175 million-dollar deal just before spring training gets ready to begin. This deal makes Rodriguez the highest-paid pitcher in baseball. But at what cost will that be though? The Mariners have not been relevant in a long time and this season could be heading down that same path. If you look around their team, they just do not seem to have the pieces that are conducive to them competing this year. And all the while Felix will get paid. Get paid Felix, but as far as relevance in baseball for your team, it’s looking like you can kiss that goodbye.
These are my thoughts and these are my words. Until next time…..