Archive for the ‘NBA’ Category

By Phil Bausk

“The Cold War isn’t thawing; it is burning with a deadly heat. Communism isn’t sleeping; it is, as always, plotting, scheming, working, fighting.”- Richard Nixon

It is kind of weird to think that the late Richard Nixon’s words referring to Communism bare such an eerie resemblance to the current events of the National Basketball Association and its 2011 Trade Deadline.

Over the past couple days, both the Knicks and the Nets have made Rasputia (First Norbit reference!!) type splashes at this year’s deadline. The Knicks were first to dive in by trading a sizable amount of their roster (Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, and a few picks and cash) for Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Corey Brewer, and others. Usually after such a big splash, there are ripple affects, and these were expected to occur throughout the league over the next few days. Instead, the Nets made an even bigger splash, sending Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, 2 first round picks, and cash to the Utah Jazz for disgruntled PG Deron Williams, among other smaller pieces.

While both of these deals are good for each franchises on an individual level, it is hard to ignore the idea that the Knicks and Nets are going to now be in direct competition with one another, not only on the court (maybe a year or two down the road), but also in the war rooms, fighting for players to help fill their respective rosters. This is all assuming that Deron Williams agrees to some sort of an extension, keeping him in NJ/Brooklyn for the next few years.

While the Knicks are helped by their location and the team’s history, it has been let down over the past decade by management, and rumblings that Isaiah Thomas was involved with the Carmelo Anthony trade only further proves that perhaps the culture in the front office, while shifting, isn’t completely out of  the woods quite yet.  On the other hand, the Nets have Mikhail Prokhorov, as Bill Simmons calls him, the “Russian Mark Cuban,” or as I will refer to him from now on, RMC.

RMC has struggled in his first full year as the NJ Nets owner. He was unable to lure any big name name free agents this summer, though The Akron Scammer said his presentation was one of the best he saw. Along with the Scammer, RMC whiffed on Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh, and ended up paying Travis “Where’s my GED” Outlaw $7 mil. a year over 5 seasons, perhaps one of the worst contracts in the league. He was then unable to get Carmelo from the Nuggets, even though his Nets had the sexiest package to offer to them.

This has a  remarkable parallel to the first half of the Cold War. While post-World War II Europe was being both reprimanded and reassembled, Russia and The United States proposed different approaches on how to go about this process. Russia wanted to spread its Communist influence, while the U.S. wanted to rebuild the democratic governments in Europe. This caused much tension between both parties, resulting in roughly a decade of speculation, with many skirmishes along the way, including the Koren War and the Warsaw Pact, which were significant moments, but in the long run, were ultimately unsuccessful, much like the Travis Outlaw and Anthony Morrow signings.

It was at this point that RMC duped us all and pulled his own version of the Cuban Missile Crisis, by swooping in out of nowhere and acquiring Deron Williams. By doing this he has moved his artillery in position, much like Khrushchev did in Cuba, and is pointing his ammo right at the heart of Manhattan. The next question is whether RMC will push the proverbial button, by signing a Dwight Howard type, or if he’ll emulate Khrushchev again, and become unsuccessful not only in signing another free agent, but in retaining Deron Williams.

It would be harder pressed to make James Dolan and Co. into looking like John F. Kennedy and any other U.S. presidents, but if I am going into this analogy, I really don’t have much of a choice. Dolan and GM Donnie Walsh have done a good job putting NYC basketball back on the map. Much like the American presidents, they have done well, but still have their critics, though I don’t think anyone is going to be gunned down at a state school over the ‘Melo trade. Their next task is to bring in one more piece to finalize the NBA trend of having 3 All-Stars to fill out a starting lineup, and banking on someone else to step up and play well (There will never be another Rajon Rondo, or at least a man who can capture my heart like he has).

As of right now, RMC and his Nets have the upper hand in managerial/political decision making, but the Knicks, much like America at the time, has a better product on the court. They have history on their side as the NBA superpower, and will use whatever resources it may take to keep it that way. We all know how the Cold War turned out, as things in Soviet Russia dissolved, and America was back on top of the world. Does RMC have what it takes to make this Cold War end differently? Or is he going to be remembered as that crazy Russian owner whose money meant nothing in a league where the salary cap is going to be at an all-time low?

Only time can really tell us how this NBA feud is going to conclude, but one thing is for sure, there is a renewed hatred of those over in Jersey, and you can be the feeling is mutual. Better yet, does this Cold War turn into a Civil War when the Nets make their way over to Brooklyn, and start referring to themselves as the Brooklyn New Yorkers.

There is so much left to be answered, and so much time for it all to be answered in. This tension between both clubs is going to last for a few years, and it is going to feel like a few decades. Perhaps Russia would still be the Soviet Union if RMC were around 50 years ago.


By Phil Bausk

All-Star weekend in Los Angeles and all eyes are on an LA Clipper?!?!?! Donald Sterling is rolling over in his grave…Well maybe not yet,but I am sure a lot of Clips fans have already combined funds to buy him a cemetery plot as far away as LA as possible.

Blake Griffin will be the main attraction this weekend in Saturday night’s Slam Dunk Contest, though the buzz around Justin Bieber’s Celebrity game debut may overshadow all news, including that revolution going on somewhere in Africa. (I say the over/under on “Never Say Never” commercials tonight is 8.5.)

Griffin, who has been spoiling fans with highlight reel dunks all season long, will be going against himself Saturday night. Serge Ibaka, Javale Mcgee, and Demar Derozan do not offer much competition (though maybe someone can sneak a W past him), and Griffin is expected to perform a one man show, as The Akron Scammers of the league continue to shy away from the Dunk contest (Lebron, remember when you said you guaranteed you were going to be in it? We should’ve seen “The Decision” coming from that point on.)

While the Dunk Contest has struggled in recent years, mainly because Gerald Green is playing somewhere in Russia now, there is still a certain amount of excitement that surrounds it. While odds are nothing crazy is going to happen, there is a certain theatricality that we hope to experience when it comes in each Saturday night of All-Star weekend. Dwight Howard offered us with some excitement for a bit, but then he claimed he was done with the contest as well, yet he still contends he is a better dunker than Blake Griffin. So let me ask you Dwight, How are you NOT in  this year’s contest to prove your point? I don’t care about the dunk counting graphic ESPN throws up once every few weeks. I would much rather see you prove your point on the floor Saturday night. Sure you have won a dunk contest, but again, the competition wasn’t too stiff.

Either way, our expectations as fans for Blake’s performance tomorrow night are extremely high. Will he meet those expectations? Who knows, but the fact that there is enough excitement to generate interest in this year’s dunk contest is definitely a step in the right direction. Maybe Blake will ask Timothea Mozgov to come help him with a dunk, where Blake ends up breaking Mozgov’s face and spirit, and Griffin is standing triumphantly on top of the backboard being showered with roses. Either way, now that the spotlight is off of Kobe Bryant in La La Land, I am sure he can cheat on his wife without any repercussions. (Does that huge diamond ring he bought her in Colorado a few years back count as a repercussion?)

Outside of the Dunk contest, there are a few other intriguing events that will take place this weekend. Tonight, there is the Celebrity basketball game followed by the Rookie-Sophomore game. I think the time line of events for those things unfold pretty predictably. Jimmy Kimmel and Bill Simmons, the two coaches for this game, will get thrown out for being super annoying, while Justin Bieber brings in the 12-17 year old demographic to cheer him on every time he touches the ball. Michael Rapaport will do his best Brian Scalabrine impersonation, missing corner three pointers, and annoying everyone who comes within 20 feet of the basketball court. The final score of the game won’t matter, but the fact that we will get to see Jason Alexander stand right next to Bill Walton will give the older crowd a flashback of that Danny Devito and Arnold Schwarzenegger flick, “Twins.”

Moving forward we have the Rookies against the Sophomores. This game is a pick up game with some of the most athletic guys in the league and has created some exciting moments. I remember Jason “White Chocolate’s” Williams’ elbow pass to Raef Lafrentz, and no Nuggets and Celtics fans, Lafrentz didn’t dunk the ball, and I am pretty sure he never has dunked a ball in his adult life. Kevin Durant’s performance a couple of years ago was memorable, as well as David Lee’s 14-14 from the field exhibition. I expect to see a lot of nice alley oops with the amount of talented big men in the game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if John Wall doesn’t break a few ankles on the way to the MVP award for the game.

Saturday night is really where the fun beings. Due to the fact that the team shooting competition is really just a time filler, I am going to move on to the Skills Competition, brought to us by the classy people of Taco Bell. I love this event because it tends to have the most overall talent than all of other competitions. Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, John Wall, and Russell Westbrook will square off against one another, going through an obstacle course that would probably take players like Sebastian Telfiar and Howard Eisley the entire weekend to complete. I believe Stephen Curry is going to come out on top of this one because his team has the nicest jerseys, and his eyes can make you forget all about life’s troubles (It doesn’t hurt that he could be mistaken for Miles Austin’s son).

Up next is the 3 point competition, where defending champ Paul Pierce will try to fend off teammate, and new 3-point King, Ray Allen and repeat, which would put him in a class with the infamous Jason Kapono, something I am sure Pierce has been spending his entire career trying to do. Also participating is Kevin Durant, along with James Jones, Dorell Wright, and Daniel Gibson. Gibson may be auditioning for other teams this weekend, while Wright and Jones may just be looking for a little more cash to spend at the strip club. At the end of the day, I think Ray Ray will take it, as this has been his year so far, and in a year where he passes Reggie Miller for the most 3-pointers of all time, how can he not win this event?!?!?

Last, and certainly not least, is the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. Now the easy thing to do would be to just pick Blake Griffin, put the bet in on, and forget that you even made that simple of a bet. Well I think Blake, who has everything going for him, is going to LOSE tomorrow night’s contest. I think Washington Wizard’s Javale Mcgee is going to pull off the upset, and be the Justin Morneau to Blake Griffin’s Josh Hamilton in the 2008 Home Run Derby.  Mcgee plays for the Wizards, a team that clearly doesn’t spend much practice time going over plays and defensive assignments. Mcgee, an athletic 7 ft Center out of the Dwight Howard mold, has probably been practicing a few dunks, and will have John Wall there to assist him. I think Mcgee will surprise everyone by  taking this contest, and then much like past champion, and former high school crush Gerald Green, he will be forgotten about as soon as March rolls around.

By Aaron Tobinhess

As you may recall, last Wednesday night at MSG, the Knicks laid a major egg against a Clipper team that was 3-18 on the road entering that game. They looked lifeless, played no defense and, in typical Knicks fashion, shot poorly from the three-point line, and didn’t stop hoisting.  They were down as much as twenty points at one point in the third quarter.  Did I mention, this was a game against the Clippers?  It was just downright embarrassing and every player and coach should feel like crap because of the way this game unfolded (I know they made a comeback in the fourth but that doesn’t make me feel any better and it shouldn’t to any Knick fan out there).

Late in the forth quarter, as the fans grew more and more upset with the team’s performance, they chanted “WE WANT MELO, WE WANT MELO.” Fans at MSG never hide what they feel, nor should they, and hell, the Knicks fans should want Melo.  Stars win in the NBA and the Knicks have a chance to land a Star, a bona fide star for that matter, and scoring machine, in Carmelo Anthony.  Melo wants to be a Knick.  That much is clear.  So I ask the question, WHY THE HELL IS THE DEAL NOT DONE ALREADY?!!!! And if it’s not done, there should already be serious strides to get the deal done.

Carmelo Anthony sent the Knicks a wake up call this week.  He said if he is not traded than he will “strongly consider” singing the three year 65 million dollar extension because of the potential lockout and change in the CBA.  Here is the thing though, he isn’t signing that extension.  That deal has been on the table for 5 months now and if he wanted to sign, he would have done so by now.  The same logic goes for the trade to the Nets.  If he wanted to be a Net (and I don’t know why anyone would want to be a Net), it would have been done.  He wants to be a Knick.  That’s it.  The report with the Lakers is crap; same with the report with him resigning.  All of that chatter is designed to do one thing, to get the Knicks to sweeten their offer to Denver.  So I now pose the question (and at this point getting exceedingly frustrated), what is holding the Knicks back? (I would do the bold caps lock move again but it’s getting old)

The reported deal from this past weekend, involving the Knicks, the Nuggets and the T-Wolves, had the Knicks giving up Wilson Chandler, Fat Eddy Curry’s expiring contract plus his tabs at Wendys, McDonalds, Burger King, Subway etc. and Anthony Randolph (going to the Wolves for a first round pick, which would in turn, be sent to the Nuggets) for Carmelo Anthony.  Now I know he wants out but if I am Denver, why the hell should I even consider that?  That trade is garbage.  Denver needs to get something back in return or they hold on to him and hope money ultimately will win out (and it usually does) and he will stay.  Reportedly, the Knicks are unwilling to deal two of these three players to get Anthony; Landry Fields, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari.  Read those names again and tell me it doesn’t make you want to punch something knowing that not giving up two of three, not all three but two of three, is holding this up.  It makes me sick.  I have news for you Knicks fans, Carmelo plays the same position as Chandler and Galo.  Chandler is a restricted free agent this summer and Galo the next.  If they sign Melo, Chandler is gone and Galo is gone too because the Knicks envision forming there own trio involving Chris Paul or Deron Williams in the summer of 2012.  So why are they so reluctant to trade Chandler and the Retarded Chicken? As much as I like Landry Fields (my favorite Knick right now), even he is replaceable.  Ama’re needs help.  D’Antoni is running him into the ground right now and the results (a .500 team) isn’t good enough to justify the youth movement and the Knicks standing pat.  Now I know the trade deadline is 2 weeks away and deals have a tendency to get done at the last minute, but this deal needs to happen to give the Knicks energy for the rest of the season and to keep the dream of their own mega trio in tact.

If the Knicks fail to get a top 10 player who genuinely wants to be there (unlike The Akron Scammer), heads should roll in the Knicks organization.  Now Anthony will not help the Knicks most glaring weakness, defense, but he rebounds very well for a small forward and is money in the fourth quarter.  The Knicks will have there closer and Ama’re will be free to roam the high post and drive to the basket knowing he won’t be triple-teamed anymore.  He will be fresher at the end of games and in the playoffs. This doesn’t make them a serous threat for a title now, but it puts them in place to be and it would scare the shit out of anyone who would play them in the first round.

I have never been a fan of James Dolan, but if he feels he needs to get involved to make this happen, he should.  The Knicks need to get this deal done because I have a strange feeling that if Melo isn’t traded here, he isn’t going to be here at all and that would be a disaster.  The Knicks have a chance to build something great for the next five years that will put them and the Miami Heat battling for titles (the Celtics and Lakers will both be too old.  Same with the Spurs).  You can find role players through the draft and via free agency to compliment stars but make no mistake, the stars need to be in place and if its the Knicks are unwilling to part with Danilo Gallinari in addition to Wislon Chandler, well then Donnie Walsh has really lost his mind and the ultimate disaster will happen when Isiah Thomas returns to the front office (just the thought gives me a migraine).  As a Knicks fan, I am waiting anxiously as the trade deadline approaches hoping and praying this gets done because if not, it will set the franchise back another decade.

By Aaron Tobinhess

Thursday night, February 3, 2011, the NBA All Star reserves were named before the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic contest.

No real surprises for the Eastern Conference as all four Boston Celtics deserved to be selected; even the biggest tool and third wheel in the league deserved a nod as well. I am a big Knick fan but any one who really thinks that Raymond Felton is more deserving than Joe Johnson is crazy. Look at Felton’s numbers for the last month. To quote Denise Green, he is who we thought he was. (an average point guard whose numbers look better playing in D’antoni’s system).

After a commercial break, the Western Conference reserves were named. Manu Ginobili, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams,  and Dirk Nowitzki were all very deserving. That leaves only three spots left.  Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol and Tim Duncan. WTF? Really? No Kevin Love? Is that a joke? The only guy since Moses Malone to average 20 points and 15 rebounds a game (that happened 25 years ago by the way) not being selected by the coaches? Really?

Now I understand that teams with the best records will get multiple All-Star selections. Teams should be rewarded for having great seasons and, in the end, sports are all about wins and losses.  Shitty teams will not get recognized at the NBA’s mid season classic. That’s just the way it is. However, when a player, no matter how garbage his team may be, does something so extraordinary, he must be rewarded. This season, that man is Kevin Love. He is averaging 21 points and 15 rebounds a game and has had a double-double in every game since early November. In addition, he is shooting 40 percent from three-land this season; just ridiculous.

The Western Conference is loaded with talent this season, and guys like Monte Ellis, LaMarcus Aldridge, Steve Nash, Tony Parker and Zach Randolph are all having great season and would have been all-stars in the Eastern conference, but Kevin Love is having a better season than all of them. His biggest problem is that he plays in Minnesota, the Siberia of the NBA, according to Bill Simmons. The team is so bad, and the fact that he goes out and busts his ass every night for a shit team that has no chance to win is pretty amazing. It is not his fault his GM drafted two point guards back to back in the draft; neither of which were Steph Curry or Brandon Jennings and signed Darko for 20 million dollars (the outrage). It is not his fault that his second best player is a druggie castoff exiled from Miami. It is not his fault that his team can not seem to play a full four quarters and actually close out a game.  It is not his fault the Wolves have about 6 average small forwards on the roster that can not hit threes. What Kevin Love is doing this season is remarkable.

The only argument against Love is that he gets sick numbers for a bad team. That might be true for scoring numbers, but definitely not rebounding numbers. Rebounding, something that I am allergic to, is all about smarts and hustle. He would put up monster rebounding numbers on any team.  He would grab 12 rebounds a game if he played for the Lakers. His rebounding numbers since he has gotten into the league have been off the charts (over 13 rebounds a game per forty minutes each of his first two years where he didn’t get nearly enough minutes). Lastly, why doesn’t that argument hold true for Blake Griffin?  The Clippers suck too and Love has better numbers than Griffin (for the record, I think Griffin is the one of the five best power forwards in the NBA and definitely deserves to be in the game, but so is Love).

In addition to his sick rebounding stats, his offensive game has gotten better. He has nice post moves and has a great pick and roll/ pick and pop game. Did I mention he is hitting forty percent from three this season?  He has three 30 point-20 rebound games. No one else in the league has one, and still this guy isn’t an all star?  In Reggie Miller’s voice, are you kidding me?

Love’s candidacy begs the question, who on the Western Conference should you knock off? The Spurs are 40-8 going into tonight’s game so they have to have 2 guys right? Parker loses out because the plethora of great points guards in the West, even though he is the second most deserving Spur.  Tim Duncan doesn’t even play 30 minutes a game. He is averaging 14-9 this season.  He is not an all-star this year; and I don’t care how good the Spurs are this year and how great Duncan has been over his career. You can make the argument that the Gary Neal, DeJuan Blair, George Hill combo is just as valuable as Duncan this year (I do not believe that but still). Anyone playing under 35 minutes a game isn’t an all-star.  As Charles Barkley says, “this isn’t a lifetime achievement award”.  Cynics would then argue, but KG and Duncan have the same numbers and no one questions KG’s selection. KG ISN’T BLOCKING A GUY AVERAGING 20+-15 FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1982-1983.

The second guy I would question is Pau Gasol.  Let me be clear, Pau Gasol is tremendously skilled.  He has all the tools, but he is so grossly overrated this season. He plays like such a pansy and disappears in the fourth quarters of games.  Gasol defenders will claim that Kobe dominates the ball way too much. Watch the tape of the most recent game against the Celtics. Gasol was getting pushed around by Kevin Garnett all afternoon.  If you are a superstar, you don’t get pushed around in a big game.  Superstars impose their will and are aggressive.  If Gasol was really a superstar, he would demand the ball late in games.  And, this is for all the Celtics fans out there; if KG doesn’t get hurt 2 years ago (an injury that takes two full years to heal) and Perkins doesn’t get hurt in game seven last year, The Celtics could have easily gone for a three-peat, which means Gasol is just another talented, all-star level player and not a “superstar” (which he has proved he isn’t). Plus, he hasn’t been the Lakers second best player this season.  That honor goes to Lamar Odom; another all-star snub. Back to Love though. There is no doubt he would still grab 11-12 rebounds a game if he played for the Lakers or the Miami Heat.  Now if he played with either of those teams, he would not get as many shots and score as many points, but he would still average 17 a game. 17-12 is better than Gasol and Chris Bosh this year.

The reality is that Yao Ming was voted by the ten million Chinese people who don’t watch basketball and is out with an injury.  That opens a spot for another All-Star selection. David Stern can rectify the situation by selecting Kevin Love as a replacement and start Duncan (legacy) at Center. NBA, please show this man some Love.

By Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez

For the first ever installment of the weekly Mustache Awards… Phil, please put your pants back on,. I said mustache awards, not mustache rides… I feel that no introduction is needed. My nom de plum is Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez and I will use this name from here on out as a way of masking myself from this close-friend orgy of self-proclaimed sports writers. I may be the first to admit that sports are not something that sculpted my childhood. I do not remember talking about games with my brothers or throwing the football with my dad. I grew up in a home with an uncoordinated father, three flamboyant sisters, and a compassionate mother. I am very happy to say that I was able to somehow find sports. I do remember seeing some of the greats thanks to my father taking me to games; however, he would bitch that he hates sports the whole drive home.

I discovered sports on my own. First came the pre-90’s lockout NHL (hockey has never been the same), then the NBA years when loyalty meant something,  and then the NFL, which is my personal favorite. I am slowly trying to catch up on MLB, but that is a boring, uphill battle through over 100 years of statistics. As a perceptive reader, you may be asking yourself, “If all other sports aside baseball found their way into the Jets’ heart, why choose an iconic BASEBALL figure from the popular Hollywood film “The Sandlot” as his alias?”

Here is the list of reasons, not in any specific order:

1) Baseball is a sport that all Americans should love! and i almost feel sad that i don’t have a passion for our nation’s greatest past time.

2) I love his Mexican Mustache!

3) The re-imagination of the  movie as “The Sandy Slot”. At the end, instead of the epic chase scene that we all remember, Benny pickling the beast became Benny and Smalls (who did not live down to his name) running train on James Earl Jones (the Beast was in J.E.J.’s trousers).

But enough of me for one week. Here is what you will be getting from me… A few short facts about my life, and more importantly, I will be handing out awards to the astonishing, annoying, incredible, frustrating, miserable, shocking, and everything in between that occurs in the sports related world.

Enough banter, here is this installment of The Moustache Awards:

The “Genius” Award- Andy Reid

In a press conference on April 1st, 2010, Andy Reid stated that Donovan McNabb would remain the starting quarterback in Philadelphia for the 2010 season. We know that was not the case. As quickly as April 4th, the Eagles traded McNabb to the Washington Redskins in return for a second-round pick  (Nate Allen) in the 2010 NFL Draft and a
conditional third- or fourth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

When I first saw that McNabb, AKA Mr. Philly (outside of A.I. when he still had cornrows and the fictional, retarded boxer Rocky) was traded, neigh, traded to a division rival, I had to ask what the hell Andy Reid was thinking. The start of the season for the eagles supported my gasping questions. Before I had the time to realize that Andy Reid was not only a strong branch that stems from the tree of NFL coaching life known as the Great Walsh Tree, or that Andy was also the quarterbacks coach under Mike Holmgren in Green Bay, The Redskins started to crumble and Reid started to look like a wizard.

After finishing 6-10, the noise around McNabb getting benched for Rex Grossman made it seem like they finished 1-15. It looks as though Mcnabb is one and done in our nations capital. Andy Reid gets to sport two beautiful, bushy upper lips with one of this week’s mustache awards!

The “Hideous” award- Al Davis

This basically isn’t sports related at all, but i do need to warn you: If you are eating or have a child in the room please do not click on this link. I found this floating around… I honestly did not even read this article because i could not get passed his photo. Al Davis looks like a child molesting, creepy old man … Or Michael Jackson in his thriller makeup. He looks like he slammed his head for every first round draft bust this decade. Here’s the real story, Al gave the herpes to Tom Cable, who then threw a right cross and busted open Al Davis’ head. Maybe that’s why Al sent Tom home without even enough courtesy for a reach-around. I’m ending this one short because I need to vomit. Hopefully this year with his 1st pick, he’ll take another Kicker and slam his head one more time so I can eat my dinner without the fear of vomiting. Al Davis gets the gross Mustache award!

The “Shit the Bed” Award- The Cleveland Cavaliers Front Office

It is no surprise to anyone that the Cleveland Cavaliers are a worse team now than they were at this time last year. With an 8-37 record, there are plenty of places to point fingers other than towards the beach (South Beach, not the shores of Lake Erie). For me, it is simple; no matter how good a single player is, the upper management still need to be able to have a plan. The way the season is going, it seems as if the front office is treating the season like a bad storm. Since that disloyal tool deserted his brothers, it seems the biggest transaction the Cavs were involved in was them exercising the fourth-year option on J.J. Hickson. I know it must be hard for an organization to recover after losing a player like Lebron, but wait… The year after Michael Jordan decided to strap on cleats, the Chicago Bulls went 55-27. I know this is not a bench mark for how a team must play, but at the professional level, a team with the best record in the NBA (2010 Cavs) should be able to lose their best player and still compete. Please do not tell me that losing a giant Lithuanian also hurt them. I put all of this failure on the Cavs front office. I also think Dan Gilbert handled the loss of Lebron like a pissed off 16 year-old girl, who discovered her boyfriend cheating. Maybe when the season finally ends, Dan will roll out of bed and cleaned all of that shit up. This Mustache is for you Cleveland Cav’s front office!

By Michael Goldberg

For the past 2 weeks I have been called crazy. Why is that you ask? I may as well the lead advocate for Blake Griffin as MVP.  I have heard things like: “no chance”, or “ he won’t win it as a rookie or playing for clippers” or “Gary Busey has a better chance of getting his life together than Blake Griffin does of winning MVP.” Even betting sites such as thought it was impossible, putting the odds of Griffin winning MVP at 200-1.

Here we are 2 weeks later, and after Griffin dropped an NBA season high 47 points against the defenseless Indiana Pacers, he has thrust himself to the forefront of the MVP conversation. Yes, Gary Busey is still insane and the updated odds now stand at 20-1. To all you haters: SUCK IT. Griffin is averaging 22.5 ppg 12.8 reb and 3.4 assists, while shooting while shooting almost 53% from the field. He has been getting better every month and is in the middle of a double-double streak that stands at an incredible 27 games.

Griffin is an amazing and rare talent in the league, with athleticism only matched by the Akron Douche Bag. What makes Griffin so special though, aside from his ability to shit on Timofey Mozgov’s face, is his hard work and dedication to be the best player he can be (picture Mark Madsen, but with elite NBA skills and athleticism). The “Poster Child” as he is now called, handles the ball with ease, passes out of double teams effortlessly, and goes hard after every loose ball and rebound.  He has also resurrected Baron Davis from the dead, making his contract tradeable. He has taken a leadership role with the very young and exciting Clippers team and has them headed in the right direction for the first time ever.

The Clippers currently stand 6 games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference; however, they have won 10 of their last 14 games including wins over the Heat, Lakers, and Nuggets. This team is on a roll and with the bottom half of the Conference looking wide open, they have a chance to sneak into the playoffs and make some noise.  If they make the playoffs , the man who has turned around a franchise in just his first year deserves the MVP for what he has accomplished.

Granted, the Clippers do need to make the playoffs for this argument to hold true, but the race is the most wide open it has been in years. The Heat’s gayer version of Three’s Company pretty much guarantees that none of them will win, Derrick Rose is putting up some great numbers but has been helped out with outstanding play from Starvin Marvin, the Ugliest Creature in Basketball, and lastly, the guy from star trek with the really weird forehead. Durant has made noise in OKC, but Westbrook has been playing almost just as well, and then you have the Hebrew Hammer in NY who has been playing well over his head, however the outstanding play of Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton have contributed almost just as much as he has. Lastly, there is Dwight Howard, the guy is an absolute monster who just dominates the paint, but the team was in a tailspin before the acqusitions of Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu.

Not to say this list is void of deserving players, however, if Blake Griffin leads his team to the playoffs he will have done so with the least help and if his trends continue up like they have all season, he will end with the most impressive stats as well. He single handedly brings fans to the stadium and is the most exciting player in the league today. Blake Griffin for MVP!

By Jesse Schneiderman

We all love the ESPN trade machine; at least I know I do. As a lifelong Knicks fan, all I’ve thought about since the Akron Scammer took his talents to South Beach (and perhaps due to karma, lost to the Clippers), are potential trades to continue to improve my favorite team. Assuming the Carmelo mega-deal goes down and the “Nyets” become the “Bizarro-Should’ve-Been-The-2004-Pistons,” New York can stand to make a few moves to better themselves and prepare for a playoff run, which will likely start with the Bulls or the Celtics unless the Knicks can crack the top five. For this reason (and my own obsessions), I’ve come up with the following masterpiece, along with reasons why it should and shouldn’t happen:

Knicks Receive: Jason Thompson (C), Omri Casspi (SF), Charlotte’s 2011 1st round pick (top 10 protected)

Charlotte Receive: Danilo Gallinari (SF), Bill Walker (SG), Anthony Randolph (PF/C)

Sacramento Receive: Gerald Wallace (SF), Andy Rautins (Towel Waving White Guy, er, PG)

Why it Should Happen:

The Knicks need a center. They have made that abundantly clear. Ronny Turiaf is an all-around good guy who has played really well recently, but New York needs a bigger, stronger center to help take the burden off of both Turiaf and Amar’e. Ronny plays less than 20 minutes a game, because he lacks offensive prowess. With Thompson, they get that center, while Omri gives them solid help off the bench, as well as some defense (gasp!), and an Israeli to teach Rabbi Stoudemire some Hebrew. With Wilson Chandler’s impending Restricted Free Agent status, they’re going to need to save money somewhere, so cutting ties with Gallo and getting cheap help through Thompson and Omri is a definite plus. Also, they get a 1st rounder for more cheap help down the line.

Meanwhile, Charlotte receives the cap relief Michael Jordan so desperately craves (or at least he says he does in between holes), a young, potential star in Gallinari, an athletic swingman in Bill Walker, and the undying upside of Anthony Randolph. With this deal, the Bobcats can trot out D.J. Augustine, Walker, Stephen Jackson, Gallo, and Tyrus Thomas if they want a small-ball shooting lineup, or bring Walker off the bench and start Kwame Brown/Nazr Mohammed/Randolph (gulp) if they want a more traditional starting five. Sacramento also benefits here, getting the veteran leader that they desperately need in Gerald Wallace. He also helps to solidify Sacramento’s status as “The Most Hood Team in the NBA” by teaming with Tyreke Evans and Demarcus Cousins, which makes the addition of Andy Rautins to the deal even more comical (in the interest of full disclosure; that’s the only reason he’s in the trade). In Andy’s defense, he does have a fundamental understanding of the 2-3 zone, so that’s something.

Why it Shouldn’t Happen:

Until the Carmelo Anthony deal is done, the Knicks aren’t doing anything. That is a massive hold-up to any deal like this one. Along with that, Charlotte may not be looking to make any moves because they’re finally playing better with Paul Silas at the helm, despite needing to save cash. Sacramento should pull the trigger, seeing as they could use an elder statesman. They’re not playing Thompson or Casspi enough to justify not trading them, and they’re lineup gets a giant upgrade with this deal. With this trade, opponents face a starting five of Beno Udrih, Tyreke Evans, Wallace, Demarcus Cousins, and Samuel Dalembert. Not good by any means, but not bad. Despite that, introducing Cousins and Evans to the potential of more drama in the locker room is something that more than likely scares Geoff Petrie away from making a deal like this.

This trade would benefit all teams involved, however I can’t see it happening quite yet, at least while the Carmelo sweepstakes is still afoot. Hopefully the guys from the Dirty Jerz pull the trigger soon so the Knicks are free to look elsewhere.