Friday, April 25, 2008

NFL Needs a Rookie Salary Cap to Curb Outrageous Contracts

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, appearing on ESPN Radio Thursday, expressed his desire to change the current rookie salary structure. Goodell described a rookie salary cap as a good thing, noting the issue would eventually be taken to the owners.

As recently as February during his "State of the League" press conference, Goodell discussed the problem of ever-rising rookie salaries. He told reporters the league has discussed the issue with the NFL Players' Association and that the owners are open to the idea of redistributing the money. Ideally, the overall salary cap would be left unchanged, though a larger portion of the money would go to veterans who have proven their worth over a period of time.

Under a perfect system, the proven players would always make more money than players who have yet to step foot on an NFL practice field. As things are work not, players who are chosen in the top half of the draft often make more than the most accomplished players in the NFL at their positions. Even more, they rarely play up to their paycheck.

Need some proof? Look no further than last offseason's veteran and rookie signings.

2007 NFL Signings
  • Adalius Thomas (2-time Pro Bowl selection) signed a 5-year, $35 million contract
  • Troy Polamalu (3-time Pro Bowl selection) signed a 4-year, $33 million contract
  • Nathan Vasher (2006 Pro Bowl selection) signed a 5-year, $28 million contract
  • Travis Henry (3-time 1,200-yard rusher) signed a 5-year, $22.5 million contract
  • Marc Bulger (2-time Pro Bowl selection) signed a 6-year, $65 million contract
  • Dre Bly (2-time Pro Bowl selection) signed a 5-year, $33 million contract
2007 NFL Rookie Signings
  • JaMarcus Russell (1st overall pick) signed a 6-year, $64 million contract
  • Calvin Johnson (2nd overall pick) signed a 6-year, $54 million contract ($64 million with incentives)
  • Adrian Peterson (8th overall pick) signed a 5-year, $40 million contract
  • LaRon Landry (6th overall pick) signed a 5-year, $41 million contract
  • Gaines Adams (4th overall pick) signed a 6-year, $46 million contract
  • Joe Thomas (3rd overall pick) signed a 6-year, $42 million contract
While players like Adrian Peterson and Joe Thomas have earned their pay, others have not. Should LaRon Landry be making as much annually as Troy Polamalu? Should Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long, who signed a $57 million contract with the Dolphins on Tuesday, be the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL? Long So far, the answer is no.

The Problem
The entire idea of the draft is to help improve losing teams by giving them first dibs on the best talent. Bill Polian, the president of the Indianapolis Colts, believes the combination of rising price of rookie salaries and the hit-and-miss nature of the draft is actually placing bad teams in even worse positions.

"The idea that the worst team would get help from a good player or players is out the window because you are saddled in salary cap hell if the guy is anything but an almost immediate Pro Bowler."

The result: bad teams dread high picks. More and more, teams desperately search for a way to trade down. In most cases, no team is willing to take the hit.

A Solution?
The NFL should look to another professional league, the NBA, for some advice. A rookie salary cap would work well for the NFL.

The NBA rookie salary systems, based off of draft position, works like this: Players earn a set salary as determined by the league for each draft slot. The first overall pick receives more than the second pick, the second more than the third, and so on. Each contract is for two years, with a team option for the third and fourth seasons. Built-in raises are added every year to compensate for increases in the average salary.

NBA Rookie Salaries
From 2005-2006 Season; Data in Thousands
Pick 1st Year 2nd Year 3rd Year 4th Year Increase Qualifying Offer
1 3,617.1 3,888.3 4,159.6 26.1% 30.0%
2 3,236.3 3,479.0 3,721.7 26.2% 30.5%
3 2,906.2 3,124.2 3,342.2 26.4% 31.2%
4 2,620.2 2,816.8 3,013.3 26.5% 31.9%
5 2,372.8 2,550.7 2,728.7 26.7% 32.6%
6 2,155.1 2,316.8 2,478.4 26.8% 33.4%
7 1,967.4 2,114.9 2,262.5 27.0% 34.1%
8 1,802.4 1,937.5 2,072.7 27.2% 34.8%
9 1,656.8 1,781.0 1,905.3 27.4% 35.5%
10 1,573.9 1,691.9 1,810.0 27.5% 36.2%
11 1,495.2 1,607.3 1,719.5 32.7% 36.9%
12 1,420.4 1,526.9 1,633.5 37.8% 37.6%
13 1,349.4 1,450.6 1,551.8 42.9% 38.3%
14 1,282.0 1,378.1 1,474.3 48.1% 39.1%
15 1,217.8 1,309.1 1,400.5 53.3% 39.8%
16 1,157.0 1,243.7 1,330.5 53.4% 40.5%
17 1,099.1 1,181.5 1,264.0 53.6% 41.2%
18 1,044.2 1,122.5 1,200.8 53.8% 41.9%
19 997.1 1,071.9 1,146.7 54.0% 42.6%
20 957.3 1,029.0 1,100.8 54.2% 43.3%
21 918.9 987.9 1,056.8 59.3% 44.1%
22 882.2 948.3 1,014.5 64.5% 44.8%
23 847.0 910.5 974.0 69.7% 45.5%
24 813.0 874.0 935.0 74.9% 46.2%
25 780.5 839.0 897.6 80.1% 46.9%
26 754.7 811.2 867.8 80.3% 47.6%
27 732.8 787.8 842.8 80.4% 48.3%
28 728.4 783.0 837.6 80.5% 49.0%
29 723.1 777.3 831.5 80.5% 50.0%
30 717.8 771.7 825.5 80.5% 50.0%

The actual contracts would have to be adjusted to work for the NFL, mainly for these reasons: the NFL has a different draft structure, the average NFL career is shorter, and the average salary is lower in the NFL.

In the NFL, draft picks are more valuable. First round draft picks in football would be the equivalent of players drafted in the top ten of the NBA draft. As a result, the late first round salaries would be increased. Additionally, the NFL would have to decided how to deal with important second and third round picks.

The average NFL career, due to the physical nature of the sport, is shorter and the risk of serious injury is always there. At the same time, the average NFL players earns half as much as an NBA player. An acceptable amount for a signing bonus would have to be determined.

The Only Thing Standing in the Way
The only thing preventing the NFL from moving to the rookie salary cap is the Players Association. According to NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw, the rising price of rookie salaries only works to help veteran players in their negotiations.

"Those rookie contracts play a role in what a veteran gets," Upshaw said. "Because if the top guy in the draft just got paid $35 million in guarantees and he hasn't even proven himself, and if your contract is up as a veteran, I think it has an affect on what you're going to get. You think Peyton Manning isn't looking at JaMarcus Russell's contract? Of course he is."

In practice, the NFL rookie salary cap would curb the outrageous amounts that teams hand to unproven players. Players would earn a set salary as determined by the league for each draft slot. The first overall pick receives more than the second pick, the second more than the third, with the process continuing as far into the draft as the NFL sees fit. The system would free up more cap space to spend on the veterans that have shown over several years that they are quality players.

Unfortunately, the NFLPA sees the problem, agrees that it is absurd, but believes it is a benefit for their veteran players. ("Hey, look at that nobody making as much as me, a Pro Bowler. I want more money," the vets say.) Until something is changed, players like Jake Long will go from a college lineman to the highest paid offensive tackle in a league full of high-priced offensive tackles.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

George Karl Screams, Chest-Bumps Assistants

George Karl, show the world how you and your staff prepare for a big playoff game.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bosh and Howard Xbox Live Rivals

While playing on the U.S. Olympic team, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh became good friends. Later, they became video game rivals.

"I remember during the summer, there was one video game we played and the first couple of times I beat him like crazy," Howard said. "He bought the game and practiced and practiced and practiced and he came back and he beat me. We really enjoy the rivalry."

Bosh, who averaged 33 points against Howard this season, wants to confine their rivalry to the XBox Live and basketball courts. Howard: not so much. He said they would wrestle occasionally but that Bosh avoids any and all physical confrontation.

"I wouldn't say that," said Bosh. "I might grab him and mess with him, but as soon as he gets for real, I back off. He's too strong."

Bosh will stick to Xbox LIVE, where he is practicing up on his Halo 3. He is just "okay" right now, but he is guaranteeing he will be pretty good soon. It is only a matter of time before Bosh battles Gilbert Arenas, the accused cheat. ("Sorry to all my friends and family who believed in me. I disgraced my Halo friends' names. LOL. I'm a beast in Halo 3.")

How does the online gaming community treat you when you claim you're an NBA player? "One dude was saying 'you're a fake!!!', and it really made me laugh. Sometimes I want to say something, but some people online say crazy stuff so its no telling what I'd hear."


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Soulja Boy Offended by LeBron's Comparison

After LeBron James missed a game-winning 3-point shot against the Wizards, DeShawn Stevenson told reporters that James was overrated.

James responded, saying, "With DeShawn Stevenson, it's kind of funny. It's almost like Jay-Z [responding to a negative comment] made by Soulja Boy. It doesn't make sense to respond."

How did Soulja Boy feel about these comments?

Soulja Boy said: "I looked and didn't really think much about it. LeBron said something like he was Jay-Z and DeShawn [Stevenson] is Soulja Boy. I took that as [disrespectful]."

LeBron said the statement was not meant to be disrespectful to Soulja Boy.

If he wanted to offend him, LBJ could have been honest. Unlike Soulja Boy, DeShawn Stevenson is at least serviceable at his craft. Soulja Boy is more like Stromile Swift: they might fool you into thinking they are decent, but then you remember they are stupid and suck.

Too bad Soulja Boy can't get passed his false sense of importance ("When I first came out, there [were] a lot of people that did my dance from football players to basketball players to soccer players so this makes me feel like a very important individual.") and realize it was a compliment.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Tony Romo Not Always Smooth With the Ladies

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has had his fair share of young starlets, having been linked to Sophia Bush, Carrie Underwood, and Jessica Simpson. He hasn't always been so gifted with the opposite sex. Now, he tells you about his first date and kiss (attempt).


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Top 5 Scrubalicious Stat Lines in NBA History (That I Can Remember)

Two great tanks collided on Tuesday night as the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks, both lottery-bound, combined to give up 286 points(or score, if you want to "glass half-full" about it). Like Chris Duhon said, "it was kind of like an All-Star game out there; no defense was being played." Of course, short of the All-Stars.

Thriving in this defenseless game was Bucks rookie point guard Ramon Sessions. Sessions set a franchise record with 24 assists. Adding 20 points, Sessions posted the first 20 points and 20 assists game in franchise history. Needless to say, this wasn't a typical game for Sessions. He spent most of the season in the D-League and has played in just 16 games.

With Sessions in mind, here are the Top 5 Scrubalicious Stat Lines in NBA History (That I Can Remember).

5. Milwaukee Bucks guard Ramon Sessions
April 14, 2008 against the Chicago Bulls
Stat line: 20 points, 24 assists, 8 rebounds

4. Memphis Grizzlies center Lorenzen Wright
November 4, 2001 against the Dallas Mavericks
Stat line: 33 points, 26 rebounds

3. Washington Wizards forward Tracy Murray
February 10, 1998 against the Golden State Warriors
Stat line: 50 points, 8 rebounds

2. Orlando Magic forward Bo Outlaw
April 17, 1998 against the New Jersey Nets
Stat line: 25 points, 10-11 FG, 13 rebounds, 10 assists, 5 blocks

1. Phoenix Suns guard Tony Delk
January 2, 2001 against the Sacramento Kings
Stat line: 53 points, 20-27 FG, 13-15 FT, 6 rebounds

With apologies to Willie Burton and Dana Barros, those were the Top 5 Scrubalicious Stat Lines in NBA History (That I Can Remember). And yes, we used the term scrub loosely.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Isiah Fired by Knicks!

Maybe not now, but he will be by Friday.


Why Michael Beasley Will Never Become a Superstar

Kansas State power forward Michael Beasley has spent the weekend with family members and advisers, coming to a decision on whether to turn pro. At a news conference Monday, the 6-foot-10 Beasley is expected to announce he is entering the 2008 NBA Draft. Most likely, Beasley will be taken with the first pick; at the very least, he will go second.

There is no doubting his NBA potential. He has a lethal combination of quickness and strength, making for a difficult guard. Beasley had the second-most rebounds and third-most points of any freshman in NCAA history that past season. Beasley is a lock for superstardom, it seems to most.

However, Michael Beasley will never reach his potential or become a great NBA player. Like Vince Carter, he will be stuck in very good. Here are three reasons.
  1. Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett are good offensively, but what places them among the best power forwards ever is their defense. Beasley is a one-dimensional, offensive player. (Admittedly, he is very good with that dimension.) To be mentioned among the league's elite, Beasley will have to improve on the defensive side of the ball. On the rare occasions that he puts some effort in defensively, he looks to be doing his best Drew Gooden impersonation. Too often, Beasley finds himself lost, out of position and gambling for steals.
  2. What separates a very good player, like Vince Carter, from an all-time great player, like Michael Jordan, is work ethic. In high school, Beasley stopped lifting weights because he worried about catching a cold in the school gym, which he said was poorly heated. Can you imagine a high school-aged Michael Jordan using that excuse? Work ethic can be improved, but the chances of Beasley's going from poor to anything more than average are slim.
  3. Does Beasley have a winner's mentality? Watching Beasley at Kansas State, the answer was typically no. The best example might be the Wisconsin game. He was focused and played well to start the game. Then, in the second half, Beasley began to lose his poise and almost seemed disinterested. He forced too many plays, either driving into waiting defenders or settling for low-percentage shots. Unlike many of the basketball's best, who look to make their teammates better when they are struggling, Beasley was helpless. He as much to work on if he hopes, ultimately, to develop into a winner.
Some say Beasley is too small to play power forward and that is what will limit him in the NBA. However, you probably noticed the three factors I listed as to why Michael Beasley will never reach his potential are all controlled by Michael Beasley himself. All three are tied into one major, overriding factor: his attitude.

Michael Beasley with a good attitude is a very good defender. Michael Beasley with a good attitude works harder to develop his game. Michael Beasley with a good attitude leads a team.

Right now and until he shows otherwise, Michael Beasley doesn't have a good attitude.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Greece a Possibility for Koufos

Ohio State center Kosta Koufos is thinking about a key decision in his basketball career. He has two logical choices: Koufos can either stay in college or enter the NBA Draft.

That being said, a return to college seems logical. Heading into the year, Koufos was considered a top-five pick. Koufos averaged 14.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks and was named the NIT's Most Outstanding Player. Overall, a solid year for a freshman center, but he was not as good as expected. Another year at Ohio State would help his draft stock.

Or so it would seem. According to DraftExpress' Jonathan Givony, the arrival of fellow seven footer B.J. Mullens could hurt Koufos. Givony said, ''They can't really play together, especially under Thad's system; he values defense so heavily. It's going to be a little bit difficult for (Koufos) playing with B.J. Mullens. B.J.'s a highly touted guy, and you'd think he would be one and done himself.''

Looking at the NBA Draft, Koufos has to like his chances since height always seems to rise on draft day. As a legitimately-skilled seven footer, teams will be interested. But Koufos is hardly ready for the NBA: he isn't much of a defender, rebounder, or physical presence. If he entered the draft, he would likely be drafted in the bottom half of the first round.

Where does all of this leave Koufos? According to his mom, Kathy Koufos, playing basketball in Greece is a possibility. He is a citizen of Greece and played for the Greek national team. When he decided to attend Ohio State, Koufos turned down contract offers to play professionally in Greece, some reports said.

Playing in Greece would benefit Kosta Koufos in several ways.

  1. Koufos would make a good chunk of money.
  2. He would continue his development before entering the NBA.
  3. The European playing style better suits his game, allowing Koufos to make a bigger impact on the court.
  4. Koufos would receive more playing time than he would if he went to the NBA immediately.
  5. Connect with his heritage, I guess?
Of course, there are downsides to Greece in comparison to the NBA or college.
  1. He can still develop while being paid by an NBA team.
  2. What if he goes to Greece and his deficiencies are unmasked against the competition?
  3. Nothing can improve a player's draft stock more than a good NCAA Tournament run. That possibility would be gone.
  4. Koufos would appear to be crazy to chose Greece over the NCAA and the NBA.
Most likely, his mom just threw the idea out there and there is little likelihood of Koufos actually leaving for Greece. In which case, this was all for naught.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Tim Duncan Drinks Bad Gatorade

This Gatorade tastes like urine. Sips again. No, really, this is urinze. Looks around; spots Gatorade-man. Hey, you. Did you urinate in this? Told no. Bull.


Rays Push Back Evan Longoria's Payday

Evan Longoria, a highly-touted prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, was recalled from Triple-A Durham. He is expected to make his debut today against the Baltimore Orioles.

Longoria, the third pick in the 2006 MLB Draft, will be stepping in for injured third baseman Willy Aybar, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list after missing his second game with a hamstring injury.

With an outstanding spring, Longoria showed he was the Rays' best option at third base. He was both offensively and defensively superior to Aybar. Accordingly, the Rays sent him to the minors to start the year, where he hasn't had the best of starts.

“We’ve been decimated by injuries. It’s not necessarily the ideal way that we wanted to call him up,” Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said.

“But we’re confident in his ability to adjust at the plate, and what he brings to us defensively is something that we felt was very important to where we’re going.”

If Longoria can contribute at the plate and is that something the club has been searching for defensively, why did Tampa Bay start the season with Aybar?

The answer is simple: money. By spending just 13 days in the minors to start the year, this season will not qualify as a full season of experience for Longoria. Longoria will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2014 season. Thus, the Rays will have the third baseman on the cheap for an extra year.

The problem comes in the system. Players with three years of service or less essentially have their salaries controlled by the club. If a player doesn't like the team's offer, the team can just renew to player's contract for even less. For example, Prince Fielder had 50 homers and was second in the NL MVP voting, yet will earn $670,000 this season--a fact he wasn't too happy about. Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, among the league's best at his position, is signed for $439,000 this year.

In Longoria's case, the Tampa Bay Rays will have him dirt cheap for what amounts to four seasons.

Then, after the 2011 season, Longoria will be eligible for arbitration and receive market value. In 2014, he can become a free agent and get his revenge. Still, an extra year he will wait.

Wouldn't it be fitting if the Rays turn it around with Longoria, only to missing the playoffs by a game? If only he was here from the beginning, they say.


Friday, April 11, 2008

40-year-old Man Mike Gundy's Lastest Critic: The QB He Defended

Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy's rant about an article criticizing his former starting quarterback was controversial. Football fans were divided on the issue. Some thought that Gundy over-reacted. Most thought that Gundy did the right thing by sticking up for quarterback Bobby Reid. (The only real consensus was that the video was funny.)

While many journalism organizations were busying Jenni Carlson, the journalist who was the target of Gundy's attack, nobody asked Bobby Reid what he thought of his coach and the emotional reaction. That is, until ESPN's Tom Friend decided to tackle the issue.

I recommend reading the entire article, but here is an excerpt dealing directly with Reid's reaction:
Reid was caught off guard. Here was a coach who'd been burying him and now he was going to war for him? It didn't add up. "At first, everything [Gundy] was saying sounded real and true," Rajika says. "But I'm a believer where there is smoke, there's fire."

In other words, Bobby and Rajika Reid felt info in Carlson's column came indirectly from Gundy or his staff. ("I'd have a hard time agreeing with that," Gundy says.)

In other words, they felt Gundy's rant was fake.

"Honestly, the way I took it, I felt like it was all a front," Reid says. "That it was all a big show. It didn't feel genuine."

Rajika: "It wasn't the truth. If it was the truth and this kid does everything right, why wasn't he back on the field?"
Most would agree that Gundy could have handled the situation better with a more thoughtful response. Still, it did seem that his rant was for the right reasons; a college player shouldn't be called out in such a way by media personnel.

The accusation that Gundy gave Carlson the information that she then used in her article is serious considering his reaction to those very facts. If true (and, at this point, I need to believe Reid more based on Gundy's responses in the ESPN article), all support for Gundy should be withdrawn. It is one thing to take a business-like approach as a coach, but it is something else to lie with so much adamance.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

E-mails Prove Clay Bennett is a Lying Jerk

Last April, Seattle Sonics owners spoke of keeping the franchise in Seattle. They just wanted a new arena, they said. Most NBA fans knew the truth: Clay Bennett and his Oklahoma City group were more eager to find a way out of their lease.

E-mails obtained by Seattle city officials show the owners of the Sonics were privately talking about moving the team to Oklahoma City. In an e-mail exchange from April 17, 2007, Seattle Sonics co-owners Clay Bennett, Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward joked about moving the team to Oklahoma City as soon as possible.

"Is there any way to move here [Oklahoma City] for next season or are we doomed to have another lame duck season in Seattle?" Ward wrote.

"I am a man possessed! Will do everything we can. Thanks for hanging with me boys, the game is getting started!" Bennett replied.

"That's the spirit!! I am willing to help any way I can to watch ball here [in Oklahoma City] next year," Ward wrote back.

Seattle city attorney Tom Carr said the e-mails make it clear that Bennett's ownership group, which bought the team in 2006, never had any intention of keeping it in Seattle, despite Bennett's public statements committing to keeping the team there. Bennett had committed to working with city and state officials through October 2007 to keep the Sonics in Seattle.

"We all believed [the new group always meant to move]. We didn't know it. Now we know it," Carr said, according to the Times.

Interesting, since for months later--in an e-mail dated Aug. 17-- Bennett told Commissioner David Stern, "I would never breach your trust. As absolutely remarkable as it may seem, Aubrey and I have NEVER discussed moving the Sonics to Oklahoma City, nor have I discussed it with ANY other member of our ownership group."

What does all of this mean? Well, Clay Bennett is a lying, greedy kerl who deserves to have 5 cc's of orange juice injected into his blood stream. The reason being that it throws off the pH of the blood and systematically causes every organ to fail, one after the other, while his insides feel like he's being burnt alive from the inside out. Or so I hear.


Pujols and Backe Fight Before Game

Astros pitcher Brandon Backe and Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols confront each other on the field prior to Wednesday's game in Houston. As the Astros were wrapping up batting practice, Backe said Pujols approached him coming off the field. The two were seen near first base having an exchange before Houston manager Cecil Cooper stepped in to separate Pujols and Backe.

Why were the two upset? In the eighth inning of Tuesday's game, Pujols collided with Astros catcher J.R. Towles in the Cardinals' 5-3 victory. Pujols called the Astros' clubhouse after the game to apologize to Towles.

Backe said he did not have a problem with Pujols' apology, but was offended when he was confronted on the field. According to Backe, Pujols was upset that he "kept pressing on" about the situation.

"I felt violated. I felt he confronted me at the wrong time," said Backe. "I don't think it was very professional on his part. Cooper was there and heard everything. He had to say his peace to me, and I said my peace to him and that's it."

"I already apologized and it's over with," said Pujols. "He had a problem with me calling over there (to the clubhouse). You guys don't need to make this bigger than it is."

As for Tony La Russa's take on the slide:"I thought Albert did a fantastic job sliding to take his legs out," La Russa said. "The kid is not giving anybody room to slide, so that's what we teach. He's going to get blasted one of these days."


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Mets Get RickRoll'd

The New York Mets were looking for a new song to play in the eighth inning. Instead, they got RickRoll'd.

The Mets invited fans to vote for their favorite song to replace Sweet Caroline. An problem arose when readers bombarded the Mets with votes for a write-in candidate: Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up.

The Astley tune actually won. Listen and watch to the fans' reaction.

The Mets will play the top six selections once apiece during the first six games of their home stand since the current song doesn't reflect the fans' sentiments. The one that draws the largest crowd response will stick. By that standard, Never Gonna Give You Up might have won with boos.


And Your National Champions Are...

The Tigers should have fouled at the end of the game. Calipari should have called a timeout. Dorsey should not have fouled out. Boy, Memphis should have made a few free throws.

Those facts lead to the inevitable question: did Memphis lose the NCAA Championship or did Kansas win it? That's debatable (and probably a combination of the two), but one thing is for sure. These guys are your national champions...
Now, Bill, parlay this big win into a fat contract extension.


Monday, April 7, 2008

Van Gundy Says Psycho T and Big Ben are Overrated

Did you know that Tyler Hansbrough is overrated? It's true. The media just loves him. Some of Psycho T's critics say it is because he is white. That obviously means he is a less-talented player who must work harder to maximize his potential.

Would the qualities assigned to Hansbrough be assigned to him if he were black? Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, on his radio show, addressed the question.
"Well probably not. But I think there's two things going on there. Well three. Let's give the guy his due. He plays the game well and he plays it hard okay. With no hyperbole he does do that so let's start there.

"But then the second and third factors I think definitely you hit on it there's the racial thing. People go crazy over white players. They tend to assign character qualities to them rather than just good play. And then the third thing is the emotion. He plays with a lot of emotion. You know, he's jumping up and down, he's all over the place and for whatever reason when fans see that they think that equates to a greater desire to win than a guy let's say that plays like Tim Duncan played even in college. Who just sort of pretty even keeled, doesn't show a lot of emotion but just keeps playing well and getting the job done.

"For whatever reason fans, media whoever equate the show of emotion with a greater desire to win and I think it's B.S. But I think it happens so I think there's that on top of the racial issue."

Van Gundy was then asked about the double standard of a black athlete like Chad Johnson demonstrating a show of emotion and he's denounced versus a white athlete like Hansbrough who is praised.

Said Van Gundy: "That's a great point. I mean I do think that happens a lot. The black guy has no class but the white guy's playing with fire. I don't think there's any question about that.

"But I will say at times you know it does go the other way. Like I always think that Ben Wallace, I've always said, is a good player in this league but if his hair was different he wouldn't have been thought of as highly as he is with his hair flopping around. People go crazy. It's amazing what people latch on to. They talk about his tremendous effort and everything else but if he cut his hair and played like that he'd just be another guy playing hard."
What can I say? Van Gundy is right on all fronts. He is taking the Hansbrough debate past a black versus white issue. There is more to the Hansbrough hype than simply race. Hansbrough is fawned over for the (somewhat perceived) energy he plays with. Nothing seems to blind fans and commentators like the hard-nosed, energy-filled players. Ben Wallace, with his afro, was a perfect example.

Fortunately, people saw past Wallace like they soon will Hansbrough. Stan Van Gundy has.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

That Game Put Me to Sleep!

Though the World Baseball Classic was underway, I chose to watch the Chicago Cubs spring training game. Any player of any significance was playing in the World Baseball Classic. Nobody even had a chance of making the opening day squad.

Talk about a sleeper!

Speaking of which, for those that do not know, I was having trouble sleeping. My body was sore and overall, I felt pretty poor. That is, until I went to a Florida sleep study center. I explained my situation with the time constraints. They listened to what I had to say and worked with me. I was tested and the results were analyzed. I was put through a customized and comprehensive sleep study that was carefully designed and structured for me.

Within a few days, I had a machine in my home and was using it. I was able to return to work and take the equipment with me. I am already feeling better as a result. They helped me increase my productive sleep and improve sound sleep practices. Effective therapy for sleep related disorders can helped me improve my health.

Looks like I won't have to watch any spring training games. The sleep disorder center is for me! Yeah!


Woman Needs MJ to Lift Restraining Order for Third Paternity Test

Lisa Miceli wants a judge to lift a temporary restraining order.

You see, she wants Michael Jordan to take a paternity test. Unfortunately for her, a judge imposed a restraining order on her after MJ filed a harassment suit.

Oh, and this might be as equally unfortunate for Miceli: Jordan took two paternity tests in 2005. Both tests proved he is not the father of her now 4-year-old son. Nonetheless, Miceli lives in a false-reality and claims the restraining order prevents her from negotiating the child-support agreement with Jordan, a deal her gold-digging-self (oh, and her son) rightfully deserve.

Jordan's attorney Frederick J. Sperling might just have to dash her hopes. "There is not going to be a settlement," Sperling told the judge. "Mr. Jordan is not the father of her child, and we're not going to engage in any discussions on that."

Ms. Miceli: please resign to the fact that your son was not fathered by MJ, but by the next-Jordan, Harold Minor.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Arizona Guard Jerryd Bayless Enters NBA Draft

Another day, another prospect. Arizona Wildcats guard Jerryd Bayless will enter the NBA Draft after his freshman season. Athletic department spokesman Tom Duddleston confirmed Bayless' decision Saturday.

Heading into college, Bayless was a McDonald's All-American and's second-ranked shooting guard. At Arizona, Bayless lived up to the lofty expectations, averaging a team-high 19.7 points to go along with 4.0 assists. The Wildcats--behind Bayless, but without coach Lute Olson--posted an 18-13 record before losing to West Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Bayless is projected as a top-five selection by both DraftExpress (#3 overall) and (#4 overall). Offensively, Bayless has everything NBA teams look for in a scoring guard: he is an outstanding shooter and a devastating slasher. Defensively, he shows a lot of potential due to his quickness and commitment on both ends of the floor. One of his biggest strengths is his "winner's mentality," a trait which has earned him comparisons to Gilbert Arenas. Like Arenas, Bayless is a combo guard at 6-foot-3 and will need to improve his point guard skills in the NBA.


Reviewing The Bad Guys Won! by Jeff Pearlman

Drugs, sex and groupies abound in The Bad Guys Won! by Jeff Pearlman, a reporter for Newsday. (Currently, Pearlman writes for Only the author isn't a rock critic chronicling the wild escapades of a band; he's describing the very successful 1986 season when the New York Mets won the World Series.

As remarkable as the team's performance on the field, the players' escapades outside the stadium are perhaps more memorable, in a far less flattering way. Pearlman, an unabashed Mets fan, offers a behind-the-scenes look at the team, including an insightful portrait of Frank Cashen, the general manager at the time. Pearlman discusses the trades, the players' abilities and unforgettable games.

But much of the book is about the difficulties and the unprofessional behavior of many of the players. For example, on one rowdy flight back to New York, United Airlines billed the team an additional $7,500 for damage resulting from food fights and other unruly antics and said the team couldn't fly the airline again. Cashen was upset, but the manager, Davey Johnson, laughed as he tore up the bill in front of the team.

The drug use that would become public later was not addressed at the time, though it was obvious to reporters. When asked whether Dwight Gooden was healthy, despite several minor car accidents, Johnson had nothing to say: "As long as Dwight Gooden was smiling and in good physical shape, Johnson required no knowledge about the pitcher's private time. Johnson was a manager, not a babysitter."

Pearlman's book isn't simple nostalgia-some of the players have virtually disappeared from the public eye-and much of the wild off-field behavior is still part of the game today. Baseball aficionados, especially Mets fans, will enjoy this affectionate but critical look at this exciting season.
Buy The Bad Guys Won!from!


Friday, April 4, 2008

CBA is a Big Deal for the WNBA

The WNBA and its players settled on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, a deal which will last the next six seasons. Players will see increased salaries. Some will even receive their own hotel rooms on road trips!

Here are the key changes in the WNBA's CBA

  • Last year the salary cap was $728,000; in 2008 the hard cap will be $750,000 with owners having the option of spending up to $772,000. The increase comes after the WNBA and ESPN signed a multi-year TV deal for an undisclosed amount that for the first time pays the leagues rights fees.
  • The maximum player salary in 2008 goes from $93,000 to $95,000. Any player designated a "core" player, which prevents them from testing the free agent market, receives an additional $2,500 in salary. Players become restricted free agents after four years in the league, unrestricted after six.
  • Rookie salaries also increased under the new deal, with the minimum in 2008 at $34,500; it was $32,400 last year. Though rookie contracts will continue to be three years with a team option for a fourth, the raises in years three and four amount to 25% under the new deal. Rookies previously received an 8% raise the last two years.
  • Players were concerned with the quality of life on the road. As a result, those with five years' experience will not having to share hotel rooms on the road.
What a coup for women's athletics!

"We made progress and that's what this whole agreement was about — making progress," said Indiana Fever All-Star Tamika Catchings, president of the players association. "The league is not really making money at this point, so for us to go in and say we want million dollar contracts would make no sense."

As for the separate hotel rooms on the road?

"That was a big, big deal," Catchings said, laughing. "Something that simple made a big difference. It sounds ridiculously silly, I know it does. It's like why are we even having conversations about this stuff. But it is what it is."

"Some deals players have to wait five years to feel the impact of the negotiations, the impact of this agreement will be felt immediately," said Pam Wheeler, spokeswoman for the WNBA.

Will the WNBA even be around for this year's rookies to reap the benefits, to feel the impact?


Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Knee to the Crotch, Down Goes Big #34!

Only thirty-six seconds remain on the clock. The game is no longer in doubt. Why not offer your opponent a hand or help up?
A knee to the testicles will do. Didja see that big boy go down?


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Benny the Bull is Out of Control

Like professional athletes, mascots are there to entertain the paying customer. With their soft coat of synthetic fur, plump underlayers of cotton fat, and fun-loving ways, the mascots even become favorites of America's youth.

When athletes make mistakes, they face the consequences. Former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson was thrown out of town after numerous gun charges. Likewise, Warriors guard Stephen Jackson and Titans cornerback Pacman Jones have found themselves in similar positions: connected to various legal problems, suspended by their leagues, and traded/will be traded from their respective teams.

In one American city, the same cannot be said for a mascot. Benny the Bull, the once-beloved mascot of the Chicago Bulls, has been given multiple chances to clean up his act. Last night, Benny the Bull was involved in another shooting. Unlike the players, he brought his violence onto the court.

Benny was involved in a late-game trash talking session with Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and James Posey. With frustrations over the pending defeat mounting, Benny the Bull was unable to contain his anger. Benny loaded a T-shirt launcher with a projectile (presumably a shirt; you never know with bulls). The projectile was launched and struck Posey in the back.

Garnett initially had to be restrained by a member of the officiating crew as Benny looked on a safe distance away. Posey, a hated man in Chicago after several hard fouls against Bulls players, believes Benny the Bulls was ordered by his superiors within the Bulls organization.

“I don’t know - I feel threatened,” Posey said. “I don’t feel safe. They really have tough love here, but it was definitely an inside job. They made the mascot do it. I got hit in the back walking away. That spot on my back is sore. I might have to get treatment on it.”

Loyal fans of Benny the Bull know this is not a first time offense for the mascot.

In January of 2004, Benny was arrested on the 500 block of West Locust Street for "delivery of suspected cannabis," according to Chicago police spokesman Sgt. Edward Alonzo. Police officers saw him carry out three suspected drug deals from the trunk of his car. Benny the Bull then started walking down the sidewalk when the officers stopped him and found a little more than six ounces of marijuana in a brown paper bag he had been carrying.

On July 3, 2006, Benny the Bull was busted at the Taste of Chicago. Police reported Benny ignored an order to stop riding a motorbike. He struck an officer who tried to pull him over. Benny the Bull was charged with misdemeanor battery and cited with driving on a sidewalk.

There is no reason parents should have to worry whether their kids will befriend such a disgusting mascot-being. In addition, the Bulls organization must show they do not condone his actions. There is only one thing to do: Bulls GM John Paxson must trade Benny the Bull to the Dallas Cowboys for a 4th round draft pick in the upcoming draft.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Durant and Green to Go to Summer School

When their rookie season ends, Sonics rookies Kevin Durant and Jeff Green are going back to college to work on their degrees. Refreshingly, both realize there will be life after basketball.

"Even though I love the game, I can't play forever and you can't do nothing without the degree," Durant said. "So I got to get it sooner or later. It's going to take awhile, but I'd rather it take awhile than not having one."

Durant was never much of a bookworm and he laughed when describing plans to attend summer classes at Texas. "Man, if some of my teachers could hear me talking like this they would get a kick out of this," he said. "But I'm not going to lie. I miss school. When I left, I was glad that I didn't have to go to class anymore and study hall, but I kind of miss it a little bit."

Green declared for the NBA Draft after three years at Georgetown. He's excited to have the opportunity to earn his degree. "That's going to mean a lot to me and to my mother," he said. "She cried at my high-school graduation. I know my dad will be all in tears. That's something that he never did. I know he'll cry. And I will too."

Green is just twenty-four credits way from graduating with a major in sociology, but he might shift his focus to business. "I don't know yet, but I want to take some classes just to see how it is," he said. "I want to try to get in touch with Magic Johnson. He's a guy that I look up to, basketball-wise, and the things he did off the court. I want to just to start thinking about the future."

Durant and Green will not play with the Sonics summer league team in Orlando.


Breaking News: Florida Marlins Have a Low Payroll!!!1!

A shocking new report from the Associated Press uncovered some startling information: New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez makes a lot of money. And Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is cheap; he doesn't pay his players very much. What revelations!

Alex Rodriguez's new salary is the highest in Major League Baseball at $28 million. In comparison, the Opening Day roster and disabled list of the Marlins tops out at $21.8 million.

So, A-Rod, what do you have to say about about this? "The Marlins? It's amazing," Rodriguez said. "And they still seem to find a way to be very competitive. [...] To win two championships in 11 years, that's really admirable, and I'm very proud of that organization, being from Miami."

Since every time baseball salaries are mentioned, people seem to break it down into "per homer" or "per inning." (Any of those stats really.) Why not do the same now? Alex Rodriguez has earned roughly $170 million in his career. That is--refreshing my math rules for dividing by zero-- an undefined amount per World Series win. The Marlins, since their inaugural 1993 season, have paid $470 million to players, or $235 million for each World Series title.

So, to conclude, A-Rod is overpaid and Loria is a cheap jerk business-wise owner.


About the Undrafted Free Agent

Ron Crimson was the only player on the high school roster to not get in a game. He couldn't argue with the decision, because he sucked. Needless to say, yet stated anyway, when he entered the NBA draft following his sophomore season in college, he went undrafted. Now, Ron Crimson is the Undrafted Free Agent.

Contact the Undrafted Free Agent

Interested in informing the Undrafted Free Agent of his mistakes, advertisement opportunities, or a scoop on the latest sports scandal? (You can guess which is more likely.) Well, email him at undraftedfreeagent [at]

Look at This!

There's nothing here; I just needed to fill some space. Space eater! Space eater! Space eater! Space eater! Space eater! Space eater! Space eater! Space eater! Space eater! I also needed to balance it out a bit.

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