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Signing Goran Dragic To A Five-Year, $80 Million Deal Would Be A Mistake For The Miami Heat

Goran Dragic has been offered a lucrative five-year deal by the Miami Heat. But is this the right decision for Miami? (photo courtesy of www.sun-sentinel.com)

Goran Dragic has been offered a lucrative five-year deal by the Miami Heat. But is this the right decision for Miami? (photo courtesy of http://www.sun-sentinel.com)

Goran Dragic was not happy in Phoenix last season. He was heading into a free agent year and could not come to an agreement on a new deal with the Suns. Couple that with his unhappiness with how things were going on the court with the team and it was inevitable that he and the Suns were headed for a divorce. It wall came to a head in February of last season when Dragic and his representation essentially informed the Suns that he had no plans to re-sign in Phoenix after the season. It was almost immediately after this statement was released that the Suns unloaded Dragic. The Suns shipped him to the Miami Heat via trade along with his brother Zoran Dragic. The Suns, who had an abundance of point guards, could afford to get rid of Dragic because they had just signed guard Eric Bledsoe to a big deal before the season and he was more than able to play the point guard position exclusively. But for Dragic, the trade showed him that the Heat were seriously wanting his services and that he could potentially get an offer from them in this upcoming offseason. Dragic, who is seeking a max contract, is expected to be wooed by a few teams that have some deep pockets this offseason. In what could be a bidding war, the Heat took the first shot at the veteran guard. Miami reportedly is offering him a five-year deal worth over $80 million. Dragic reportedly is seeking the max amount he can get and that could potentially not be enough for Miami. If his agent is smart, he will take this offer and use this as the minimum amount Dragic makes. But if you are Miami and Dragic does accept this offer, is this really a sound investment?

Goran Dragic has been in the NBA for some time now. He started his career in Phoenix as the backup to star point guard Steve Nash. And over time, Dragic has received more playing time and grown as a player. However, his biggest jump was when he came back to Phoenix for the second time and played under head coach Jeff Hornacek in the 2013-2014 season. Under the fast-paced style he implemented, Dragic was on fire and playing the best basketball of his career, averaging 20 points and six assists a game. He may not have been happy with a few things in Phoenix when he left, but one thing he missed was the fast-paced style he played in. When he got to Miami, the pace was slower and that was not conducive to how he liked to play. Well, the Heat have made some assurances to Dragic that they would speed up the tempo should he return. The style of play may fit Dragic well, but there is some issues with running that style of offense all the time. Power forward Chris Bosh and center Hassan Whiteside should be fine in adjusting to the changeup. But there will be two players that may have a tougher time adjusting to the new style should they stay in Miami. Both Luol Deng and Dwyane Wade have player options for next season in Miami. And although Wade has indicated he is going to opt out of his deal, Deng has been non-committal so far. Hypothetically, let’s say these two come back to Miami next year. These two are not the spring chickens they used to be. And increasing the tempo for them would mean a lot of wear and tear on their bodies. With Wade, that would be an issue due to his injury history. At a fast-paced tempo at this stage of his career, he probably would be lucky to finish 50-60 games. As far as Deng, he has had some issues the last couple of seasons with injuries also and has missed some games. The Heat would end up having to dig into their bench, which as it stands, will not be as solid yet again. Miami could be exposing their team to something that they are not prepared for as a whole.

Another issue with Dragic signing in Miami long-term is the competition he could be facing. Dragic is a good guard and has had some great moments in his career. But let’s take a look at the point guards he would be facing in the East: Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls (when healthy), Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers (when healthy), Jeff Teague of the Hawks, Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets and that is not even including the young point guards that are coming up in the East. Dragic is solid, but he may be in for some trouble defensively when he sees any of these guys out there taking him on. Dragic is crafty and makes some athletic plays, but he would have some problems trying to keep up with the athleticism of some of the points guards listed in the East. And essentially, he would give up all that he scored. The best thing for him when he was in Phoenix was he had a young guard in Eric Bledsoe to take some of the defensive pressure off of him. In Miami, he may potentially have Dwyane Wade or some other guard that may not be as tough defensively as Bledsoe can be. And with having to extend himself more defensively, that may began to wear down Dragic and reduce his numbers. And with his numbers not the same as they once were, he would not be impacting the team as much as they need him to.

Signing Dragic would be something that would make some Heat fans happy, but it would not make as much as a difference as the signing would suggest. The Heat want to save face in the trade they made to bring in Dragic and by signing him, they will do so across the league. But they also will be signing a player that is asking them to change to something they may not be fit for going into the 2015-2016 season. And that could ultimately hurt their team.

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Dwyane Wade, The Miami Heat And The Summer Of 2015

Dwyane Wade is potentially going to be n the market. But does he really leave Miami? (photo courtesy of www.halestormsports.com)

Dwyane Wade is potentially going to be n the market. But does he really leave Miami? (photo courtesy of http://www.halestormsports.com)

Dwyane Wade has been a staple of Miami Heat basketball ever since he was drafted there back in 2003. Back when he was selected 5th overall in the infamous 2003 draft, some thought he wondered how good he would be. Well, a few years later, he has churned out a Hall Of Fame career and is closing in on retirement with each passing day. He has also been able to do something that many have not been able to do in their careers: stay in one place. Through the years, he has been very visible on the court for the Heat along with part of their community. The dynamic shooting guard has also been very unselfish as well, taking less money to help the team over the last five seasons. And to his credit, the team was able to bring in superstar forward LeBron James and perennial All-Star Chris Bosh to help make the team better. The results were four NBA Finals appearances in the first four years and two more NBA championships for Wade, adding to the title he won with Shaquille O’Neal in Miami in 2006. But after the fourth year and a disappointing loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals, Wade, James and Bosh all decided to opt out of their current deals for new ones. In the summer of 2014, Wade agreed to a new deal worth $31.1 million over two years with a player option for the second year. Being that Wade had two years and $42 million left on his deal, Wade took a $5 million per year paycut to stay in Miami. And although LeBron James decided to go back home to Cleveland after four years in Miami, the Heat still had money to re-sign Chris Bosh to a max deal (5 years and $118 million) and LeBron James’ replacement, Luol Deng (2 years and $20 million with a player option for the second season). Unfortunately, taking less money did not work out for him or the team this time. Wade and the Heat missed the playoffs and were not as successful as some thought they would be. Of course, the absence of Bosh due to blood clots in his lungs for the second half of the season was a costly injury to their success, but the Heat were still fighting uphill to make the playoffs with him. During the season, the Heat traded for point guard Goran Dragic even though he was expected to be a free agent this offseason. And many though that he would be the one person to watch with this team this summer. Would they sign him or would he take a deal form another team? Well, all that talk about Dragic has been silenced by one Dwyane Tyrone Wade, Jr.

Recently, word began to matriculate out that Wade may opt out of his current deal with the Miami Heat. There are rumors out there that he wants to get paid more money in a longer-term deal. Well, apparently the Heat do not have the same feelings and in some circles, there are people that think the threat of Wade leaving Miami is real. Honestly, this would be something that many would not have seen coming. It was thought that he would retire a member of the Miami Heat and potentially land a job with the team in the front office. But this isn’t about loyalty this time. This is about business. Wade is 33 years old now. He is a veteran that knows time is limited in the NBA. Whether he values more money, winning or both are things that have yet to be answered by him at this point in his career, but it can be assumed he would like to win and get paid more at the same time. So, the question now falls on the Miami Heat and what they are willing to do. Do they pay him more money or do they let him walk? On one hand, they cannot let him walk. Like mentioned earlier, he is the face of Miami basketball and has made many sacrifices for the team over the years. The Heat could take a public relations hit if they let Wade walk considering all he has done. And if he walks, Dragic could potentially leave with him. That would leave the Heat with Chris Bosh and a bunch of players that are not prepared to step up in Wade and Dragic’s absence. And at that point, the Heat would probably either get players one-year deals in hopes of attracting Kevin Durant in the 2016 free agency class or they could take their shots at some free agents out there on the market this offseason. Either way, there is some decisions that Miami has to make and this season, they all hinge on the decision of Dwyane Wade and not LeBron James as it did last summer.

If Wade is to opt out and seriously go somewhere else, where would he go and get the money he wants? There are only a select few teams that have the deep pockets to pay him what he wants. One team that does have money to spend are the Los Angeles Lakers. But the thing that would hinder him going there would be one Kobe Bean Bryant. Wade and Bryant both play the same position and both are getting up there in age in their careers. This would be the most unlikely of scenarios for the Lakers and something that isn’t what they would want to begin with. The other team that has cap space this summer would be the New York Knicks. Of course that would mean he would leave to go play with Carmelo Anthony in New York. That combination and the Triangle offense would not necessarily be a good fit at all either. Melo is a scorer and needs the ball in his hands. Wade has gotten better playing off the ball, but that pairing would be mean that the Knicks are giving up on Tim Hardaway Jr. and that they are not going to take that money and sign a point guard and big man they need more than another shooting guard. There are surely other teams out there, but these two can offer Wade the most money to finish off his career. And for those that are thinking it already, there is little to no chance that the Cavaliers can bring Wade to Cleveland, pairing him with one of his best friends, LeBron James. The team is already over the cap for this season and they have their own decision to wait on from Kevin Love amongst other things to figure out in their offseason. And there is also the chance that LeBron James could opt out of his deal as well, making him a free agent again. The situation with James is unlikely being that the cap goes up in the summer of 2016 and that would position him to be paid in the neighborhood of $30 million per season, but there were many that thought he would never leave Cleveland in the summer of 2010 and that happened. Many things are on the table for Wade at this time, but thinking that he will get more money from another team this summer is something that is not very realistic when looking at the entire picture.

The battle between Wade and the Miami Heat has begun. One wants more and the other wants to keep building towards contention. In this battle of the face of the team versus the team, it should be interesting to see who comes out on top. But be for sure Dwyane Wade saw the contract extension Kobe signed with the Lakers for two years and $48.5 million. He envisions himself as second to Kobe at the shooting guard position, so we can guess he feels he should get something near that amount of money. Which side blinks first on this one will be something to watch going forward.

The Bulls Face An Old Nemesis In The Conference Semifinals

Is this the year the finally conquer a LeBron James-led team in the playoffs?(photo courtesy of sports.yahoo.com)

Is this the year the finally conquer a LeBron James-led team in the playoffs?(photo courtesy of sports.yahoo.com)

The Chicago Bulls have finally dispatched of the Milwaukee Bucks and are headed to the conference semifinals. Their opponent has a familiar face starting right at them. The Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Boston Celtics to cruise into the second round of the playoffs. But the game the Cavs had to clinch the series was anything but smooth. The Cavs lost versatile big man Kevin Love to a separated shoulder during a fight for a loose ball with Boston’s Kelly Olynyk. And later in the game, Cavs guard JR Smith took a wild swing at Celtics forward Jae Crowder while boxing him out. The result was Crowder sprawled on the ground from the force of the blow. Smith received a Flagrant 2 foul and was ejected from the game. And the news came down on the fate of each player for the their matchup with Chicago. Kevin Love has been ruled out for the rest of the playoffs after surgery to repair damage from his separated shoulder and Smith has been suspended two games for his hit to Crowder’s head. In all actuality, Smith should have been suspended even longer than he was. The only reason he wasn’t suspended longer is due to it being the playoffs. But nonetheless, both will be out come Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals and will be watching their team face off against the Bulls.

Given the state of the Bulls and the state of the Cavaliers, it would be easy for many to say the advantage goes to the Bulls for this series. After all, they are the deeper and healthier team at this point in the season. But over the years, one man has always stood in the way of the Bulls and their path towards a seventh championship. Who’s that man you may ask? None other than LeBron James. Back in the 2010-2011 season, the Bulls had an outstanding regular season. They were the top seed in the East that season and many picked them to go to the NBA Finals on the strength of good defense and the play of MVP point guard Derrick Rose. The Bulls would make it all the way to the Finals and they would face the team that many wanted to lose so badly, the LeBron-led Miami Heat team. After the first game of that series, many who projected the Bulls to win the series were feeling really good about their projection. The Bulls handled the Miami Heat 103-82 and at that point had beaten the Heat four straight times including the regular season that year. But after that game, the Heat and LeBron owned the Bulls. The Bulls would not score over 90 points the rest of the series as Miami smothered them with suffocating defense and big-time play from LeBron. At that point, it just seemed like he could do no wrong against the Bulls and he was at their mercy. And just like that, the best chance the Bulls had to beat the Heat and LeBron had just went away, or so they thought.

Over the years, the Bulls have been struggling with being healthy at the right time. It seems like every year since that series, the Bulls have been bitten with injury at the wrong time, especially with Derrick Rose. Ever since that series, the injuries have mounted for him and his absence has sabotaged the Bulls’ seasons. When Rose got hurt again this season and had to have knee surgery, many thought the Bulls would be headed down the same path they always do. But surprisingly to a lot of people, Rose was able to battle his way back in time for the playoffs. He has been off at times and spectacular at others, but the team around him is considerably better than it was in the past. As a result, the Bulls have the best team they have ever had around Derrick Rose. With Cleveland suffering the injuries and suspensions, the upper hand seemingly is with the Bulls this time around. But what has to be mentioned is the Bulls have been in this position before. They have been the favorite by many to win a series against a LeBron-led basketball team. And in each time they have failed to make it happen and capitalize. For the Bulls to keep their championship aspirations alive, they have to take advantage of this opportunity. The Cavs are there for the taking if the Bulls want to take it. But they also have to take away the will of a team that is led by the best player in the world.

LeBron will undoubtedly be fired up to go against the Bulls. After all, he has owned them in the playoffs. As the Bulls have been suffering injuries at the wrong times over the years, LeBron has been enjoying the most successful stretch in his career and you can be sure he is going to fight to continue his successful run. You can expect he and Joakim Noah to get into some kind of talk or skirmish with each other. The two just don’t like each other that much and that will add to the excitement of this one as well. But the Bulls have a golden opportunity ahead of them and the King is the only thing standing in their way. We shall see what happens when the two collide soon.

Michael Beasley Down To His Last Chance

Beasley is down to his last chance(photo courtesy of www.fansided.com)

Beasley is down to his last chance(photo courtesy of http://www.fansided.com)

In the 2008 NBA Draft, many wondered what the Chicago Bulls would do with the first pick of the draft. The team was in need of a post threat at that time and many thought they would take the uber-talented forward out of Kansas State, Michael Beasley. He could score in the post, had a solid midrange jump shot and he also had three-point range. He could do almost anything he wanted on the court and had the handles to make it happen as well. But instead of taking him with the 1st pick that season, the Bulls decided they would take Memphis point guard Derrick Rose. The hometown kid became the 1st pick for a franchise he grew up watching. As for Beasley, his star-crossed career began in Miami. The talented big man was thought to be a permanent staple as a sidekick to Dwyane Wade. But unfortunately, he ended up being a player that would have glimpses of great play and then moments of disappointment. Beasley could never hone into consistently producing like his talent said he could. And just like that, the star power that many thought Beasley had would began to wane as time would go by. He was eventually shipped out of town as the Heat traded him to form the trio of Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade for a championship run.

Beasley would go on to have more inconsistent stops with the Minnesota Timberwolves, where Miami traded him, as well as the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat again after his contract was terminated in Phoenix after an incident off the court. After last season, he was not looked at by anyone. Surely someone would take a chance on the now 26 year old forward who was still as talented as when he first came in the NBA. Beasley would sign with the Memphis Grizzlies, but he would leave the team and head to China and sign with Yao Ming’s Shanghai Sharks. There Beasley would play and play well, but he knew he longed for another shot in the NBA. And on February 26th, he got a chance again to revive his career in the NBA. The Heat signed Beasley to a 10 day contract. And he again got another chance to make it happen. When asked about the opportunity, Beasley said: “ I’m definitely blessed and humbled to have another opportunity.” And with that comment, you can definitely understand what Beasley may be feeling with this third chance with the Heat. After they did not re-sign him following their playoff loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals, they ended up coming back to him when the injuries mounted and pieces did not pan out the way they thought they would. And now Beasley is in position to make a difference in Miami while realizing that this could be his last chance.

Beasley has not been getting the regular minutes off the bench for Miami. In fact, he has had times where he does not play and other times where he has a hot streak like he did versus the Chicago Bulls in the first half Thursday night (13 points in the half). But what you can tell is he is doing some things that he had not done earlier in his career. Beasley is bringing it a little bit more on the defensive end of the court. You can see him actually in a stance these days, trying his best to defend his position as well as help his teammates. Earlier in his career, you would see Beasley sauntering down the court after making a play or giving up on closing out to a shooter. Another thing that you can notice differently is Beasley being more within himself while on the team. He has emotion, but he also is not causing disturbances and being difficult as he can be provided his past. He is pretty much a guy that knows time is running out on his career. No longer is he the guy that teams will be lining up to try and resurrect. He know is the guy that teams are beginning to give up hope on and he knows he has to remake his image in that aspect or risk no longer be a viable option in the NBA.

Who would have thought that a guy as talented as Beasley would be barely hanging on in the NBA? He is playing well when he gets his opportunities to contribute. But unfortunately he is still inconsistent at times. Even with that, you can realize that something is different though for Beasley this time around. And for his sake, hopefully he showed enough restraint and poise along with ability this time around. Michael Beasley is a very talented player and should be in the NBA. And at 26 years old, he still could have much to offer. It seems like this time around he is trying to actually help himself more than any time before. And in turn he tried to help Miami in whatever way he could. It looks like something is clicking mentally for Beasley despite the inconsistencies on the court. Hopefully that maturity can be something that can help him be on someone’s roster if he is not in Miami next season. But if he is not on a roster next season, he cannot do anything but blame himself. He set the precedent with his past and now that past continues to haunt him like a ghost. But hopefully with his showings in Miami, he squelched some of those memories and made teams more comfortable with him.

With The New Additions, Can The Pacers And Nets Knock The Miami Heat Off Their Throne?

(Photo via Getty Images)

(Photo via Getty Images)


The Miami Heat are the reigning champions. They escaped sure defeat in Game 6 on the heroics of LeBron James and Ray Allen to come up with another championship. The veteran Spurs just could not muster enough to win in Game 7 as the Heat pulled away in the end. But going into next year, the Heat will not only have competition from the West but from teams in their own conference. Looking at the Heat as the barometer, the Indiana Pacers and the Brooklyn Nets made some interesting changes to bolster their team. But is it enough for them to beat the Heat come playoff time?

The Pacers pushed the Heat to the brink last season in the Eastern Conference Finals. But in Game 7, their youth showed up as point guard George Hill and wing player Paul George disappeared at the wrong time. The one thing the Pacers had that damaged the Heat a lot last postseason was their post game. Big men Roy Hibbert and David West were hitting the Heat with body blow after body blow and the Heat could not do anything with them. But the one thing that hurt the Pacers inside was they did not have that third big man to give the Heat problems. Well, the Pacers think they have resolved that issue. According to Yahoo! Sports, the Pacers have acquired veteran forward Luis Scola and sent forward Miles Plumblee, guard Gerald Green and a protected 2014 1st round draft pick to Phoenix. This move, along with the re-insertion of sharpshooter Danny Granger and swing forward Chris Copeland, makes the Pacers a stronger offensive team while still retaining the toughness that they are known for. Imagine if they would have had Scola, Copeland, Lance Stephenson and veteran point guard CJ Watson coming off the bench. They would have been even tougher last year.

But with the additions, the Pacers are still missing a lead guard to initiate the offense. George Hill is good, but he is not a point guard. And we all saw what happened with him at point guard when the pressure picked up against Miami. His uneven play cost them big time. They don’t necessarily need a star point guard, but a guard that won’t turn the ball over in crucial times. And other than Hill, the only other guy that can initiate that offense is the newly acquired Watson. If the Pacers could rely on a guy like Granger or Paul George to initiate the offense, then maybe they would be fine with Hill (who is really an undersized shooting guard) playing the point. But because of no solid addition at the point guard spot, the reservations are still there about the championship aspirations of this team. For the Pacers’ sake, they better hope Hill has learned from last year and will be better when the pressure comes his way.

In Brooklyn, the thirst of Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov for a championship is real. And to quench his thirst to make the Nets a serious contender, he has thrown money and caution to the wind. The Nets made a trade that brought them veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry from the Boston Celtics. Immediately the expectations of the team went through the roof as some touted them as the biggest contender to the Heat. The starting lineup they now boast will be Garnett and Pierce at the forwards, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams at the guard spots and Brook Lopez at center. But not only will they have those guys starting for them, the Nets re-signed backup big Andray Blatche, signed forward Andrei Kirlenko to backup Paul Pierce, brought in guard/forward Allan Anderson to backup Joe Johnson along with having the aforementioned Jason Terry to backup Deron Williams. This team has all the tools to make a run.

But one thing that has to be looked at is the age of their key additions. Paul Pierce has been an incredible player for Boston his whole career, but over that time he has broken down. Injuries have taken away some of his explosiveness and with that, some of his effectiveness as a player. Signing Kirlenko was a good thing, but if he is playing more than Pierce when it really counts, then the Nets basically wasted money to bring him in. Another thing that may be an issue with Pierce is how he fits in Brooklyn. After being in Boston so long and becoming a legend there, how will playing in a new city for a new team for the first time in his career affect him? It could be excellent, but it could also be something that goes like Joe Namath when he played for the Los Angeles Rams. Kevin Garnett has been very durable during his entire career, but last year he started to show signs of breaking down. He ended up missing 14 games last season and he also had the lowest rebound and point totals of his career last postseason. Garnett brings intensity and passion when he plays, but what happens when your body is telling you that it cannot produce like it used to? It seems like in the case of Garnett and Pierce they are battling two enemies: the Heat (as the defending champions) and Father Time. The Nets will need these two to be at their best to win the East. We shall see if they can get it going when the time is right.

Both squads made perceived improvements. But in the end, it is still in question whether it is enough to defeat the Heat.

Follow me on Twitter @General_MP or hit me up on Facebook at Mike Patton The General for more conversations on sports and other things.

Yet Another Firesale In Miami

The Marlins were generating a lot of buzz going into this season. They were opening a new ballpark in Miami and changed their name from the Florida Marlins to the Miami Marlins. In addition to the change of name, the Marlins added players like Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle, Padres pitcher Heath Bell and Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano to ramp up the excitement even more. And for good measure, the Marlins brought in World Series-winning manager Ozzie Guillen to guide this team. The scene was set for the Marlins to make a run at another championship.

(Ozzie Guillen frustrated via www.fishstripes.com )

Fast forward to now and the Marlins are in fourth place in their division and everthing is looking like a disappointment. They just shipped shortstop/third baseman Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers for some minor league players. And before that, the Marlins shipped infielder Omar Infante and pitcher Anibal Sanchez to the Detroit Tigers for prospects. The vote is in. The Marlins are having another firesale. And just like that, the optimism in has quickly gone to disappointment.

After seeing the rebuild and unload method happen over and over again in Miami, I am sure that they find a way to build and contend again. But can they continue to do this at the expense of the fans? It seems like the fans get robbed more years than they get rewarded with this team. If you look at the team’s history, when they have won a championship, they have pretty much unloaded the team during the off-season or during the next season’s trade deadline. What team does that over and over again?

(An excited fan via www.photoblog.msnbc.msn.com )

The fans in Miami, although they do not show up a lot, do not deserve this type of treatment from the organization. In my opinion, two things must happen in order for this organization to survive on South Beach. The first thing that they must do is retain some of their  homegrown talents. Pitcher AJ Burnett, infielder Miguel Cabrera, first baseman Derek Lee and third baseman/shortstop Hanley Ramirez are all special talents that grew up in the Marlin organization. Fast forward to now and none are there anymore. The Marlins shipped these players out for other young talents instead of trying to build some familiarity with the players among their fans. This clearly shows me that the Marlins are a cheap team.  In order to get the fans to come out,  the Marlins must pay to keep their in-house talent in Miami so the fans can recognize the team that represents their city. Next, the Marlins must reach out to the city and try to be involved. Maybe they could learn from the Miami Heat and be more visable in the community. It seems to me like the organization is one that cries about the fans not coming but does not do much to persuade them to come or even become more endebted to them.

If these two things are not done, then it won’t be long before the Marlins are gone in Miami. And if they leave Miami, baseball may never come back to South Beach.

What do you think of the Miami Marlins? Thoughts on the newest firesale?

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Playoff Time Is The Chicago Bulls’ Time Too?

(Derrick Rose picture via http://www.bleacherreport.com)

The playoffs have finally descended upon us and now it’s time to separate the contenders from the pretenders. People have talked about the Miami Heat. People have talked about the Oklahoma City Thunder. But is anyone talking about the Chicago Bulls? And if people are, should they?

The Bulls once again had a big regular season. In this strike-shortened season, the Bulls finished with 50 wins, obtaining the best record in the NBA and locking up homecourt advantage for the entirety of the playoffs. But this year, they did it most unconventionally.

The Bulls brought in veteran shooting guard Richard “Rip” Hamilton from the Detroit Pistons in hopes of him being able to relieve some of the pressure on Derrick Rose. But what the Bulls didn’t expect was the injuries to pile up. Rip hasn’t even played 20 games this year, as he has dealt with a groin and shoulder injury. He’s been back in the lineup for a good stretch, but can we expect to see the old Rip Hamilton or will we see him continue to breakdown like he has all year?

Rip hasn’t been the only player with an injury this year. Derrick Rose suffered five separate injuries this year and missed a ton of the season as well. Luol Deng also is playing with a torn ligament in his wrist and has been toughing it out all year. He has missed some games as well. But despite all of this, the Bulls have made it through. And some may wonder why or how they have. They have made it through because of their bench.

At some point and time, Kyle Korver, John Lucas III, CJ Watson, Omer Asik, Taj Gibson and Ronnie Brewer have stepped in and picked up the slack for the Bulls. With this added experience, the Bulls have an advantage with depth and potency coming in off the bench.

But is this more experienced bench going to be able to help the Bulls make it to the next level? The answer is no. The Bulls will only go as far as the star power of Rose and the veteran leadership of Rip will lead them. When Rose gets doubled, Rip is their best threat and playmaker and he has to be effective. Another huge factor will be the play of Carlos Boozer. The Bulls brought him in to help lead their team and now it’s time for him to step up. He disappeared in the Miami series last year and has played uneven against them this year. He has to give them something in the post so they can at least have a little bit of a semblance of a post game. In the end, defense can only carry you so far and the offense has to step it up. It should be interesting to see if they are ready or if they are just following the same path they did last year in their Conference finals’ embarrassment versus the Heat.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the Bulls are ready to take the championship this year or do you think their regular season was Fool’s Gold?

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The Everyday Mailbag- 12/28/11

Basketball season is here! The NBA just cranked up. Sadly, the NFL is gearing down. But in between the excitement for the beginning of a new NBA season and the movement towards the NFL playoffs, there are plenty of questions that arise. Let’s see what the Sports World wants to know!

Q: Do you think 35 bowl games is too many?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I do think that 35 bowl games are too many. I believe that going to a bowl game has lost its specialness and that eventually, there may be some bowl games cut. I think that’s only right.

Q: What’s the more impressive record breaking season? Marino in 1984 or Drew Brees in 2011? Obviously the year they set/broke passing records.
-Andrew V., Frederick, MD

A: I think that Marino’s was more impressive. Marino played in an era where DBs could hold and grab and physically assault receivers out there and he still put up numbers. Brees breaking the yardage record is impressive, but the game is built more for the offensive to succeed and succeed he did.

Q: What’s your Pacific Division predictions for NBA?
-Bobby C., Sacramento, CA

A: I think that in the Pacific division, its gonna be interesting. The Clippers are good. The Lakers, even though they are not up to their usual level, are also good. The wildcard in this division is Sacramento. They are talented but young. Now that youth can either help or hinder them. It should be interesting to see which it does. And lastly, the Suns are just bad all the way around. I don’t see them making the playoffs this year. As far as the order of the division this year, I have the Clippers, then the Lakers, then the Kings and bringing up the rear, the Suns.

Q: What should the Jets do with Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez?
-Dallah S., Manhattan, NY

A: I think that the clock is ticking on whether or not Mark Sanchez is the future at QB for the Jets. I think that next year is the make or break point for his career in green and white. Also, Rex Ryan’s act is starting to wear thin on the league. It seems to not have as much of an effect as it did to start his tenure. Maybe its time he did more coaching than talking. I think he’s ok right now, but the tide could turn going into next year. Its quite possible.

Q: Who impressed/ disappointed you in the NBA this weekend?
-Kareem H., Chandler, AZ

A: I think that the Mavs disappointed me this weekend. I knew they would lose, but they looked so listless and disinterested out there on the court. They aren’t the same team as last year and it shows. Two straight home blowouts. The Wizards also were disappointing. When you have a big lead, you have to finish a team. They are young, so hopefully they will learn that. As far as impressive teams, I think the Heat were very impressive. They throttled the Mavs. I also would say the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony was impressive. He carried the Knicks to the finish line like a star is supposed to do.

Q: ‎​How do u think the T-Wolves will do this year?
-Joey K., Los Angeles, CA

A: I think the Timberwolves will be better this year. With all that being said, they will still miss the playoffs, but I don’t think they will miss the playoffs by much.

Thanks to all who sent questions and remember, if you have sports questions, I have answers.

#SportsBlogMovement

The Everyday Mailbag- 12/21/11

The week was certainly entertaining in sports. And I know with all the entertainment, some great questions are also birthed as well. Without further adieu, here is this week’s Everyday Mailbag!

Q: Will Urban Meyer’s successes in recruiting in the south put pressure on SEC coaches?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I don’t think that Meyer will put recruiting pressure on the South more than what pressure is already on each and every Southeastern Conference coach already. Sure, Urban will get some kids from the South to go Ohio State, but I don’t think he will get enough of them to threaten SEC schools.

Q: Why hasn’t the head coach of the Chicago Bears, Lovie Smith, been fired?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I believe Lovie has done a good job with what he’s been given. I don’t think he deserves all the blame for his team’s production on the field. Also, Lovie doesn’t pick the players on the team, the GM does. But, like always, the coaches get too much credit for wins and too much blame for loses.

Q: What other pieces are needed to make the L.A. Clippers a legit contender?
-Kareem H., Nashville, TN

A: What the Clippers need is good big man to come in off the bench and give them good minutes, rebounding and possibly some scoring. The Clippers also need a backup combo guard/forward that can backup Caron Butler, who is coming off a serious knee injury.

Q: Should rookie Cam Newton be a pro bowler?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I think Cam Newton has put up tremendous numbers this season. Definitely Pro Bowl worthy numbers. I don’t think anyone expected the numbers he put up this year.

Q: Who are you for in the East and who you got on Christmas Day, the Lakers or Bulls?
-Jason J., Memphis, TN

A: I think that the race in the East comes down to the Bulls and the Heat again. The addition of Rip Hamilton does help make the Bulls better, but its hard to go against LeBron and D Wade in year two of the Heatles. My heart says Chicago, but my mind says Miami. I think that’s a toss up on whichever team wins the East. And as far as the game on Christmas Day, I believe that the Bulls have the more sound team and they will win in Los Angeles.

Thanks for the questions and remember, if you have sports questions, I have answers!

#SportsBlogMovement

The Everyday Mailbag-12/6/2011

There was plenty of big news this week with the BCS, the Tebow craze and other things as well. And with those exciting events and players, there are also questions. Without further adieu, here are the questions the sports world wants to know!

Q: Who do you think will win the Shortened NBA Season?
-Brandon T., Nashville, TN

A: I think the logical choices for the title will be the Heat and the Lakers, but I also believe its too early to tell right now due to the pending NBA free agent and trade movement coming up. Once rosters are mostly set, then I could probably give a more accurate pick there.

Q: Is Cam Newton a sure pick for Rookie of the year after breaking the QB single season rushing record?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I don’t think Cam Newton is a surefire pick for rookie of the year. Even though Cam has broke records, Bengals QB Cam Newton has won games. Simple and plain, he has been one of the catalysts of this team, along with AJ Green and that Bengal defense.

Q: After what we’ve seen in Chicago since Cutler went down, question is does backup QB Caleb Hanie have a future role as a backup in Chicago?
-Lee L., Chicago, IL

A: I think that Hanie is done in Chicago. I understand that he’s a backup, but in this instance, he hasn’t shown he can fill in for Cutler when they need him and to be honest, the Bears need to look for more stability in that position because the backup QB is only one play away. Who knows when this situation could arise again for Chicago.

Q: Why is it so hard for Tim Tebow’s critics to give credit where credit is due? Yesterday, Cris Carter looked like he’d rather vomit than admit tebow is winning.
-JW, Lafayette, IN

A: I actually think that folks are afraid of what they haven’t seen. People haven’t seen a QB like him be successful and I think it bothers the “experts” a whole bunch that someone unconventional as Tebow is winning.

Q: Do the Colts draft Andrew Luck & deal Peyton Manning or do they pay two quarterbacks a lot of money? Or do they deal the rights to Luck & get a lot of draft pick? ?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I think the Colts, if they get the 1st pick in the draft (which seems to be a certainty at this point) will draft Luck and possibly keep both QBs. That’s a small possibility, but a possibility nonetheless. In the end though, I think that if Peyton proves he’s healthy, he will be traded. But he has to prove he’s healthy first.

Q: ‎​How will the Giants finish the season?
-Joey K., Los Angeles, CA

A: That depends on which Giants team shows up. If the one that played against the Packers shows up, they could win the rest of their games this year and win the division. If they appear like they did in New Orleans, they are done. I think the Giants will show fight and will make the playoffs due to the implosions of Chicago and Detroit right now.

Q: Do you think Jim Schwartz is on the hot seat in Detroit because of the lack of discipline shown by the Lions?
-Jeremy W., Winnepeg, Canada

A: I think Schwartz isn’t on the hot seat, but what he does need to do is make a statement with this team. A lot of times when these dumb penalties happen, Schwartz doesn’t discipline them about it. I would have liked Schwartz to have made a statement and send a player to the locker room or something. That would get the team’s attention I think that’s what has to happen.

Q: What do u think about the BCS title game?
-Jason J., Memphis, TN

A: I think the title game will be a hard-nosed, physical game and that special teams could make the difference again. On another note, a lot of fans are screaming that Oklahoma State should have been in the title game. To that I have one explanation. I believe they have one person to blame: Oklahoma State. They had their own destiny in their hands and then they lost to Iowa State. When that happened, doubt came into the picture and hope came into the picture for Alabama. In the end, doubt turned into reality for Oklahoma State and hope turned into jubilation for Alabama. I’m not saying the BCS is right or wrong, but what I’m saying is Oklahoma State should blame Oklahoma State first and not the BCS.

Thanks everyone for all the questions. And remember, if you have sports questions, I have answers.

#SportsBlogMovement

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