Archive | June 22, 2010

NBA Draft Rumors 6/22/10

10:30 p.m. Eastern
-Chad Ford’s Buzz: Wes Johnson at 3 to the Nets is not a done deal and Derrick Favors is still in it. Minnesota would take Favors at 4 and like Jon said in the 9 p.m. update, Sacramento is leaning to DeMarcus Cousins at 5 though Greg Monroe is still in the conversation. Golden State could like Ekpe Udoh at 6 if Cousins and Favors are gone. Detroit would choose between Ed Davis and Al-Farouq Aminu at 7, with Aminu guaranteed to go no later than the Clippers at eight with Davis in the lead for the Jazz at nine followed by Luke Babbitt and a host of others. Memphis will take Paul George at 12 if he’s there (he could go to Indiana at 10) or take Babbitt. The Cavs, Mavs and Wizards want to trade up and there’s serious talk that the Bucks could trade a 2nd round pick to New Jersey for Chris Douglas-Roberts.
-Cleveland is looking to trade into the first round for a big man like Craig Brackins or a PG.
9 p.m. Eastern
-My man Jon Rothstein brings us his latest rumors: So far DeMarcus Cousins looks like the Kings’ choice at 5 over Greg Monroe. If the Nets draft Wes Johnson, they’ll look to trade either Terrance Williams, Courtney Lee or Chris Douglas-Roberts and sign a power forward in free agency. Al Jefferson and Kevin Love are both on the block. It looks like Al-Farouq Aminu will go to the Clippers at eight. Memphis could have a tough choice between Gordon Hayward and Paul George at 12. Kansas coach Bill Self loves Xavier Henry. People love Ekpe Udoh and could get taken as high as 7th by Detroit and won’t go past Indiana at 10. Utah wants Monroe but will be happy with Luke Babbitt at nine to replace Kyle Korver. A lot of people like Damion James, Patrick Patterson and Hassan Whiteside and word is that Avery Bradley won’t go past Toronto at 13.
-Charlie Bell’s 15% trade kicker will cost Golden State an extra half million after he was acquired from Milwaukee in today’s Corey Maggette trade.
7:30 p.m. Eastern
-Yahoo! Buzz: Portland really likes Elliot Williams and are trying to trade into the 20′s to get him. They would prefer to use the 22nd pick on someone else. The Blazers could give Memphis as much as $3 million for the 25th or 28th pick.
-Minnesota has discussed sending Corey Brewer and the 23rd pick to Toronto for Hedo Turkoglu and 13. Either this is a Wolves offer or Turkoglu has really hit rock bottom.
-It seems like the Knicks could buy their way into the latter part of the first round if someone they want is there.
5:30 p.m. Eastern
-Houston has an offer to move into the top 10 and Miami has an offer to move into the lottery. Minnesota has offers all around. 
-It could be Ed Davis or Ekpe Udoh for the Pistons at 7.
-It’s a dead heat between Luke Babbitt and Gordon Hayward at nine for the Jazz. Utah believes that Babbitt would improve defensively if drafted
-Xavier Henry, Cole Aldrich and Patrick Patterson are in the Hornets‘ top three for the 11th pick.
-Alan Hahn doesn’t take too much stock in reports of the Knicks trying to move into the first round.
4:30 p.m. Eastern
-The Grizzlies-TimberWolves pick swap is a possibility but not definite.
-Apparently a couple of weeks ago Portland rejected a retarted Minnesota offer of Nicholas Batum for the 4th pick. Wow.
-New Jersey is leaning towards Wes Johnson at 3 (thinking they could sign a PF in free agency) and will make Minnesota pay with picks if they really want him. This may also be an excellent bluff by the Nets but Minnesota may not bite.
-DeMarcus Cousins likely doesn’t go past Golden State at 5 and Ed Davis will probably go 7th to Detroit.
-Are the Clippers leaning towards Gordon Hayward at 8? Reports say Al-Farouq Aminu has a promise from the team and he doesn’t want to go to Detroit, who pick 7th.
-Washington has picks at 30 and 35 and are looking to move up, with Miami and Atlanta teams that may want to move on down.
2:25 p.m. Eastern
-Memphis is close to sending the 16th pick to Minnesota for the 25th and 28th picks, according to Andy Katz.
Morning Rumors
-Yahoo! Buzz: The Nets are considering picking Wesley Johnson 3rd (he would go no later than Minnesota at four) to be their SF and signing a PF in free agency rather than pick someone like Derrick Favors. New Jersey is still contemplating DeMarcus Cousins. No power forward wants to work out for Minnesota since they already have Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. Minnesota could package 16 and 23 along with Jonny Flynn to Indiana for the 10th pick, which they could package with the 4th pick to get Evan Turner at number two if they trade with Philadelphia. Daniel Orton’s stock is dropping (there are reports that Oklahoma City has promised to take him if he’s there at 21), Miami’s 18th overall pick is available, Washington is looking to get more picks and Ryan Richards may not go past Sacramento at 33.
-Despite yesterday’s report, multiple sources say that New Orleans is not looking to move Chris Paul. Orlando, New Jersey and Memphis among others have shown a lot of interest.
-There could be a Dan Gadzuric-Corey Maggette trade in the works and Milwaukee is also shopping Michael Redd. James Anderson will work out today for the Bucks. Detroit will likely take Ekpe Udoh with the 7th pick. The Clippers may try and trade out of the number eight spot.
-Minnesota turned down the Jonny Flynn for 10 offer “in a second“. The Wolves and Warriors had preliminary talks about Anthony Randolph.
-Avery Johnson may like Cousins with the 3rd pick, but he reportedly weighed in at 289.
-The Knicks may try to trade into the first round to select Greivis Vazquez with Darrington Hobson and Craig Brackens also of interest. OKC is willing to deal 21 or 26 and Chicago may deal out of 17.
-Dallas also wants to move into the first round and has a $2.4 million trade exception to use.
-Daniel Orton will work out for Indiana on Tuesday.

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Bucks Acquire Maggette From Warriors

With John Salmons opting out of his contract, Milwaukee needed a scoring forward to accompany Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut and got one from Golden State, acquiring the 44th pick and Corey Maggette for Dan Gadzuric and Charlie Bell, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.

Maggette has three years and $30 million left on his deal, but he ensures Milwaukee will have a scorer in the lineup. Golden State has so many big men on their roster, so Gadzuric (with a year left on his contract) could either be released or moved elsewhere. Bell is a decent option off the bench that Don Nelson may like.

The offer was on the table for weeks, with the ball in the Bucks’ court. With the announcement that Salmons was going to bolt, Milwaukee pulled the trigger and got themselves Maggette. Golden State is happy because they got rid of Maggette. Looks like smiles all around. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was first to report the deal.

Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2010 Predictions

Yesterday, the NHL announced this year’s candidates for entry into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and to be honest, it might take a while to make the final picks.

Of the 12 players (11 men and one woman – but she can enter regardless of how the men are voted on), only four will make it. After looking through this list, it’s not going to be easy.

There are team leaders, Stanley Cup winners, captains and non-captains, goalies and fighters and no definite shoo-ins.

The finalists are (in alphabetical order):

Dave Andreychuk
Tom Barrasso
Pavel Bure
Dino Ciccarelli
Doug Gilmour
Cammi Granato
Eric Lindros
Kevin Lowe
Sergei Makarov
Joe Nieuwendyk
Adam Oates
Mike Richter

The committee has until November to decide, but they might need even longer than that. There can only be four who go through, so these are my picks.

1. Joe Nieuwendyk

Joe Nieuwndyk, shown here after winning gold with Canada at the 2002 Olympics, probably is the closest to a for-sure pick for this year’s Hall of Fame class.

He finished his career with 1,126 points, three Stanley Cup victories, a gold medal in the Olympics and a Conn Smythe trophy.

I think he should be the first guy with a check mark next to his name because of his great play, and besides for his stats, what he did for the game.

Joe was a solid leader and team player on each of the teams he played for and deserves this honor.

2. Pavel Bure

Bure was one of the most dynamic players to ever play in the NHL. A lightning-quick goal scorer, the Russian Rocket is the last player to score 60 goals in back-to-back seasons.

Bure was one of the best international players to break into the league and take over so quickly. He scored 779 points in 702 games, and netted 50 goals in his rookie year. You can’t argue with those numbers.

Bure was a great player and who knows how good he could have been if his career wasn’t cut short by injury. It’s scary to think about.

3. Doug Gilmour

I have to admit that this pick is a little biased, since I am a huge Leafs fan. However, Dougie’s career speaks for itself.

Gilmour finished with over 1,400 points, a Stanley Cup ring, and a Maple Leafs’ franchise record of 127 points in a single season (he was nominated for the Hart trophy that year).

He had the unfortunate job of captaining a mediocre Leafs team in a city that scrutinizes every move that its players make, and yet Gilmour is one of the most beloved of past Leafs’ leaders.

He may be a sleeper pick for this year’s Hall of Fame class, but he is certainly deserving.

4. Tie: Tom Barrasso and Mike Richter

The two great American goalies have done a lot for the game, and both had solid careers between the pipes.

Barrasso helped the Penguins to back-to-back Stanley Cup wins, and finished his career with 369 wins – second best for an American-born goalie behind John Vanbiesbrouck (374 wins).

Richter was the goalie who helped the Rangers end their 54-year Stanley Cup drought with a win in 1994, and brought some respect back to U.S. goalies after leading Team USA to a silver medal in the 2002 Olympics.

Both goalies had stellar careers and strengthened USA goaltending in the NHL and are deserving of a place in the Hall.

2010 NHL Awards Picks Pt. 1

With the culmination of this year’s NHL season coming tomorrow night at the Awards show in Las Vegas, many are interested to find out who will go home with the hardware. Most of the awards could be very close races, and as always there are players who should have been on those lists but aren’t. I know I’m excited for the results, so let’s get started!

1. Hart Memorial Trophy – Regular Season MVP

Finalists: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh

Alexander Ovechkin, Washington

Henrik Sedin, Vancouver

Right off the bat let me say that either Crosby or Sedin could win this coveted award for leading their respective teams to great finishes. Crosby led the charge while defending their Cup championship from last year, and had a great season finishing with 51 goals. Sedin, came out of nowhere to realize his potential as a huge scoring threat, leading the Canucks to a divisional championship and 3rd place finish. As much as I love watching Ovechkin play, and he is one of the most exciting players in the league, his spot should have Ryan Miller’s (goalie on Buffalo Sabres) name in it. Ovechkin was aided by defenseman Mike Green and scoring phenoms Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin to help their winning of the President’s Trophy for best record. He scored a ton of goals but wasn’t by any means an MVP this year. Miller was probably the one reason Buffalo had a hope of going anywhere in the post-season this year and he was their best player by far. But Miller didn’t make it so I have to add Ovechkin into my equation.

Pick: Henrik Sedin – He won the Art Ross trophy for most points in the regular season with 112, finished with a +36 rating and was the fulcrum of Vancouver’s great season. Crosby is solid, but the Pens have a much better overall lineup than the Canucks. I only hope that we are seeing the new Sedin of the future and not some wonder-year that will never happen again.

2. Vezina Trophy – Best Goalie

Finalists: Ryan Miller, Buffalo

Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix

Martin Brodeur, New Jersey

All three finalists had stellar seasons, Brodeur doing what he does best, Bryzgalov leading the Coyotes to a very surprising 4th place finish in the West, and Miller being the core of Buffalo’s great play. By the time that he retires, Brodeur will probably be considered the greatest goalie of all time, but he was not the best in the NHL this year. He had the most wins out of the three, and the most shutouts but I don’t think he was the Goalie MVP of the year.

Pick: Ryan Miller – The Sabres man is undoubtedly the best goalie in the NHL right now, and arguably the in the world. He narrowly missed taking Team USA to a gold medal finish in Vancouver, and were it not for injuries to the Sabres’ top guys, he would’ve taken them much deeper towards the Stanley Cup. He had the lowest goals-against-average of all three finalists, and the highest save-percentage and is the main reason for Buffalo’s successes. That pretty much sums it up.

3. Norris Trophy – Best Defense Player

Finalists: Drew Doughty, Los Angeles

Duncan Keith, Chicago

Mike Green, Washington

Once again we have two players who earned this honor by playing some great defense for their teams, while still scoring goals. Mike Green, the star defenseman on the Washington Capitals achieved this position by scoring like he was a forward. He is not at the level of Keith or Doughty, both of whom were named to Team Canada’s gold medal-winning roster for the Olympics (he wasn’t). Keith and Doughty both played in all 82 games this year, and were second and third, respectively in points after Green for blue-liners. It’s going to be one of them, but it’s also going to be very close.

Pick: Drew Doughty – my choice is based on the fact that Doughty is practically a rookie and the anchor of L.A.’s defense. Besides for the young American talent in Jack Johnson, Doughty is all the defense that the Kings have. He managed to play every game for them, finish with a +20 rating and put in 5 game-winning goals. I wouldn’t be surprised if the award goes to Keith because the voters might feel that Doughty has his whole career ahead of him, but this first Norris could be the stepping stone he needs to become a superstar.

4. Calder Memorial Trophy – Best Rookie

Finalists: Matt Duchene, Colorado

Jimmy Howard, Detroit

Tyler Myers, Buffalo

It’s interesting how this year’s Calder finalists each play a different position. Duchene finished third on the Avalanche in points, led the team with 10 powerplay goals, and played in 81 of the 82 games this season, very solid stats for a rookie. Howard, was given the starting role on a very expectant franchise and delivered, winning 37 games, posting 3 shutouts and his GAA and save percentage rival the Vezina finalists. Myers, the tall, baby-faced d-man on the Sabres played every game for Buffalo, and finished 5th on the team in scoring. Seeing as each of these finalists helped their teams in different ways, choosing is tough, but one stands out above them all.

Pick: Jimmy Howard - The Red Wings goalie was placed in the spotlight for a team (and city for that matter) that takes its hockey very seriously. After reaching the Finals in the last two seasons, and winning it two years ago, Detroit was a favorite to go all the way again this year. Howard remained calm and played the position perfectly, leading the Red Wings to a solid finish. His numbers are great, and he achieved them in a tough division. Howard, is the definite choice.

5. Lady Byng Trophy – Sportsmanship Coupled With High Level of Play

Finalists: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit

Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay

Brad Richards, Dallas

Pick: Martin St. Louis - This prediction needs no introduction. St. Louis was 6th in the league with 94 points, while playing a pretty terrible Tampa Bay team. With the exception of phenom Steven Stamkos, St. Louis was the top man on the Lightning, and did so with class, only receiving 12 penalty minutes all season. St. Louis is a great example of how hockey should be played and is very deserving of this award.

That’s it for this installment, check in tomorrow for the rest of the picks which will be posted only a few short hours before the picks are made live in Vegas.

MLB Thoughts & Theories 6/22

-AJ Burnett can be a fantastic pitcher at times, but is showing how awful he can be when his command is off and his balls don’t stay down. When he misses, he gets hit out. Arizona certainly confirmed that fact in the first inning, getting six straight hits (including three homers) in a 10-4 Diamondbacks win over the Yankees that decreased the deficit for Tampa and Boston to a half game in the AL East. Burnett has allowed a staggering 23 earned runs over his 20 innings in the month of June, seeing his ERA rise from 3.72 to 4.83. Acting pitching coach Mike Harkey need to do something before it gets more out of control than it already is, because with Phil Hughes being skipped in the rotation because of innings limit the Yankees could need a starting pitcher if their current guys don’t perform up to standards. It probably won’t happen, but I’m sure Brian Cashman is searching for the panic button just in case. Justin Upton showed why he’s a franchise cornerstone, going 3-3 with four runs, two homers and four RBIs. Miguel Montero has really given this team a shot in the arm offensively in his return, batting 13-32 (.406) since coming off the DL on the 12th.
-Cincinnati needed to break their three game skid and score some runs, and they waited until the 10th inning in Oakland to break out the bats, scoring four in the 10th and surviving a Francisco Cordero scare to earn a 6-4 win. Joey Votto and Scott Rolen each hit their 15th homers of the season as Rolen continued his amazing comeback season. Mike Leake allowed a run over six innings to continue to prove he didn’t need the minor leagues and the Reds lowered their NL Central deficit to a game behind St. Louis.
-Washington got just four hits, but two of them left the park off the bats of Mike Morse and Christian Guzman in a 2-1 win over Kansas City. Livan Hernandez allowed just a run over seven inning to earn the win.

Big Series This Week
Padres @ Rays- San Diego has surprised everyone with their season thus far and Tampa has a great young team. David Price, goes for his AL leading 11th win on Wednesday.
Tigers @ Mets- Both teams are hot and are very much in their divisional races as the teams begin a series at Citi Field. Justin Verlander battles Jon Niese on Tuesday night and Wednesday’s game is on ESPN.
Dodgers @ Angels- The Dodgers are struggling but anything can happen in the Freeway Series as it makes its way to Anaheim. A Clayton Kershaw-Ervin Santana matchup on Tuesday will surely be a crowd pleaser.
Cardinals @ Blue Jays- Toronto needs to prove that they’re still in the race and St. Louis needs to keep their NL Central lead. Chris Carpenter returns to Toronto on Wednesday to face a great young starter in Ricky Romero.
Braves @ White Sox- The NL Central leaders have won five straight. The White Sox have won six straight to get back to .500. Who will budge? Young pitchers collide on Tuesday when Tommy Hanson faces John Danks but a classic battle is on Wednesday as Tim Hudson and Mark Buehrle take the hill.
Red Sox @ Rockies- Boston has easily been baseball’s best team in June but will have to face the unbeatable Ubaldo Jimenez on Wednesday as the Red Sox send John Lackey to the mound.
Cubs @ Mariners- Both teams have been insanely disappointing, but the bright spot for the Cubs has been the acquisition of Carlos Silva from Seattle for Milton Bradley. Expect a large chorus of boos when Silva takes the mound on Wednesday against the struggling Felix Hernandez.

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