Monday, August 01, 2005

Around the horn and on the court 

Really quickly, just wanted to note that the Arizona Diamondbacks have caught San Diego for first place in the pathetic NL Worst (West, whatever). Both teams: Three games under .500. That is disgusting. That is embarrasing. Hell, San Diego can't buy a win lately. They're the coldest team in the majors... and they're still in first place!

But forget those loser teams. I want to brag about Oakland some more. A's remain the hottest team in baseball. We've only dropped three games since the All-Star break. Shazam! Hot! And now only are 1.5 games behind the Angels for first! Whoo! They're playing like the best, right now, but watch Joe Blanton lose tonight in Minnesota. He was, after all, on the mound for two of those three losses. No matter, though. A's will take at least 3 out of 4 against the Twins.

Joe Johnson is headed to the Atlanta Hawks... and happy about it? WTF? With Johnson leaving, Phoenix is reportedly in the hunt for Michael Finley who is soon-to-be released. In the short term, that'd be a great pick up. Having Finley, Boris Diaw, and newly acquired Raja Bell, as well as Jim Jackson could replace Johnson quite nicely. It'll be interesting. Plus they're getting future first round picks from the Hawks which is a gift.

Johnson, by the way, is an idiot. Professionally speaking, of course. I understand that Atlanta is closer to home, but this was a poor career choice. Robert Sarver said time and time again that he'd match any offer for Johnson, so it wasn't a question of getting the money. It's ego. Joe Johnson would rather be the star of one of the worst teams in the league than be a pivotal player for a championship contender. Tell me that it isn't about ego. ESPN columnist, Ray Ratto, sums up my position perfectly.

And it's too bad for the Suns because they really could have used JJ in the coming years. But if he doesn't want to be there, why stick with him? If anything, the positive for the Suns is that they won't have to worry about having four players (JJ along with Amare, Nash, and Marion) comprise $50 million in payroll. That is definitely a plus.

Finally, I'm fed up with all this Larry Brown hoopla in New York. I think Brown is losing friends and allies by the boat-load. The clear reason he left Detroit - and we all know how good Detroit is (read: Champions in '04, one game away from repeating this season)- is because there wasn't enough attention focused on him. That's what Joe Dumars implied and it is exactly what Detroit's team owner said. It is hard to imagine since Brown was constantly in the limelight there. Now he goes to the mess that is the Knicks after having screwed things up royally in the last couple months for Cleveland, Indiana, and Detroit; teasing all of them with interest in commanding positions at their organizations while derailing the focus of all of those clubs at the same time. And we all know how this movie ends, don't we? Larry Brown has had somewhere in the neighborhood of infinity coaching stints around the country, both in college and the NBA, and he never stays at one place for too long. The Knicks will only improve over the next 2-3 seasonswith a massive overhaul of the roster. He's really interested in sticking around for that? Great coach, but you can't count on him to be there. If the Pistons aren't good enough for him, how long before he gets tired of the Knicks?

It could be the challenge that drew him to New York. Sure. Forget for a second that he'll be paid $10 million a year (!!!!) and that New York is the epicenter of all media and that would sound pretty convincing. But if you're a Knick fan you must be having an incredibly hard time believing that Brown will see this thing through. In no way is it coincidental that the coach seeking more spotlight landed in New York. I think the move has as much to do with vanity as it does the challenge and it is no secret that the circus surrounding Brown the last several months is entirely self-perpetuated. There is no end in sight. Chalk another one up for the incomparable Isiah Thomas: the most self-destructive general manager in professional sports.

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