Happy Birthday America! The United States of America celebrates 238 years of Independence today, and it’s a Friday so it’s a three day weekend for us working folks. Hell yeah! So, what up world and welcome to an Independence Day edition of The Blog About Nothing. I’m listening to The Weeknd’s new jam Often and I feel like Captain Steven Hiller about to propose to my stripper girlfriend. Yeah, y’all seen the Will Smith movie Independence Day. You have to look at that movie today. Have to. In this week’s edition I’ll discuss Jason Kidd’s departure from Brooklyn, why I understand how Jeremy Lin feels but it’s still a business, my beef with LeBron James, and my predictions for the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Let’s do this!
A bizarre transaction went down this week. A man with money decided to leave Brooklyn, and it’s cool factor, for Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Never heard of that before. Who leaves Brooklyn? LOL. Sorry hometown bias, for my borough is clearly shining through. I’m a Brooklyn boy, now and forever, and Jason Kidd leaving the Nets for the Bucks just feels wrong to me. The story is that Kidd approached ownership and asked for a bigger hand in making personnel decisions for the Nets. Doing this after one season just felt awkward. Now, this power play likely was motivated due to the fact that head coaching newbies Steve Kerr (Golden State) and Derek Fisher (Knicks) receiving deals that will pay them more than Kidd. Jealousy is a green eyed monster and now Kidd will see plenty green in Milwaukee.
Kidd is trading in a playoff team with the Nets, for a Bucks team that had the worst record in the NBA. The Bucks are a mixture of young, ill fitting pieces, that needs a makeover ASAP. If there is any good news with the Bucks they have two building blocks in Giannis Antentoumpko and Jabari Parker. The Greek Freak is about to enter his second season, and he had a better season than even I hoped for as a rookie (I had him as my dark horse for Rookie of the Year before the season started). Giannis is a legit 6’11” and he ought to be the starting small forward for the team next season. Jabari Parker was the #2 pick overall in last week’s draft and the uber-motivated rookie should be the team’s starting power forward come opening night. At least Kidd has two good pieces there, but does he really trust Larry Sanders, John Henson, Ersan Ilyasova, and Brandon Knight? Those four players aren’t very good and in Sanders you have a player that has had some issues in Milwaukee.
If Kidd can turn this motley crew into a playoff team within the next two years, then I would be able to forgive him for this ego trip he pulled on the Nets. By pulling this stunt, negotiating with the Bucks when they already had a head coach, has sullied Kidd’s name with the NBA coaching community and with fans, but if Kidd were able to turn these losers into winners, I would actually give him a pass for his fuckery. Problem is I can’t see it. My prediction? Instead of making the playoffs in two years, Kidd will be out of Milwaukee in three years and out of the head coaching business all together once he’s fired. Just how I see it.
NBA Free Agency kicked off on July 1st. Teams can negotiate contracts with players, but players cannot sign with them until July 10th. This is the wine and dine, recruitment period. A player that is getting wined and dined is the New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo set up visits with the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, and the Los Angeles Lakers. On one of those visits, he visited the Rockets who plastered pictures of Carmelo in a #7 jersey all over the Toyota Center. Funny thing is the Rockets already have a #7 in Jeremy Lin. The same Jeremy Lin that left the Knicks, after the birth of Linsanity, because he didn’t mesh well with Carmelo Anthony. Lin, whose ego was clearly bruised, responded on Twitter with a Bible verse that basically said, when insulted turn both cheeks to your insulter. He was hurt. His brother also responded with some unfavorable tweets towards the organization, especially after the Rockets insisted that they had Lin’s permission when in fact they did not.
I understand a bruised ego. We’re all human, and I’m sure every last person who reads this blog has experienced a bruised ego at one point in their lifetime. However, this is a business and in a business no man is irreplaceable. Jeremy Lin was a fine story when Mike D’Antoni was the head coach of the Knicks, and Linsanity swept the World but fact is, he’s a rather ordinary point guard. He’s nothing special. Carmelo Anthony? He’s special. He’s a stretch four that Houston desperately needs to play alongside Dwight Howard. The only player that would have been a better fit alongside Howard is Chris Bosh, and for reasons I’ll get into later, that ain’t happening. So, get over it Jeremy. If the Rockets do land Carmelo, you’re going to get traded. You’re number #7 becomes his anyway. Actually, he should want to be traded regardless of Carmelo coming to the Rockets and I got a spot for Jeremy Lin: Philadelphia. The Sixers have a ton of cap room to take on the remaining year of his deal, and plenty of second round picks to offer Houston. The Sixers also play at a fast pace and that is something Lin excells in. Who knows? The City of Brotherly Love might embrace him and we can have a Linsanity Part Deux. A man can dream.
Speaking of dreaming, can someone please wake up LeBron James already! Thanks to social media, we know LeBron is on a fishing trip right now, and his agent is talking to teams interested in LeBron, but his current team the Miami Heat is patiently waiting on a decision so they can proceed with free agency. All we know about LeBron right now is that he wants a max deal (about $20 million for him) and he isn’t acting in concert with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade who according to their agent, are willing, and wanting to return to the Heat. So, the Big Three could easily agree to their deals and Pat Riley can proceed and prospective free agents that are considering Miami, knows what Miami has to play with. However, with LeBron essentially holding the franchise hostage, the Heat don’t know what to do. Assuming Wade and Bosh do stay (and both men love Miami, and appear happy to stay with or without LeBron), can the Heat chase a Pau Gasol and/or a Luol Deng and still be a title contending team? No. They could still make the playoffs, because the East is that bad, but Miami clearly takes a step back without LeBron.
So, what is LeBron James’ game here? Maybe he wants to go through with the Anti-Decision this time and make a low profile move to another team, but if his intention is to stay in Miami then he is making two big mistakes. One is asking for a max contract. Once again it’s about ego. LeBron has never been the highest paid player on his team, and now he wants to be paid like the man, but LeBron is rich as fuck. He’s got endorsement deals on top of endorsement deals, so I don’t know why he’s so locked in on this whole “max” thing. By getting the max he’s handicapping the Heat in the process of retooling the team. What the Heat need is cap space, so they can add one or two younger bodies, because what happened at the end of this past season? The Big Three were gassed, and they were beaten by an older team who’s coach new how to conserve his stars by utilizing a deep bench. That’s something the Heat didn’t have and won’t have if LeBron insists on eating up the majority of the cap space pie. That’s why I don’t get LeBron here. He’s not helping himself at all. Leaving Miami in chase of another ring only dents his legacy further, and staying for the max, could only hurt his legacy because the last thing he needs is to keep making NBA Finals and losing them. For a player that should retire as one of the all time greats, a 2-3 NBA Finals record to date isn’t a great accomplishment. He needs to think on that before he makes the Decision Part 2.
Switching gears the World Cup quarterfinals go down on Friday the 4th and Saturday the 5th. 8 teams are left, and two games a day will take place. We’ve got France vs. Germany and Brazil vs. Colombia on Friday, and Argentina vs. Belgium and Costa Rica vs. Netherlands on Saturday. This World Cup has been great, and as someone who watches soccer all year round, it’s been pretty satisfying to see the strong reaction this Cup has been receiving from the American public. I just hope the viewing public can keep this enthusiasm up after the Cup ends. Maybe they’ll identify with a player, and follow his exploits once his club season begins. As I said earlier, a man can dream.
On to the predictions. I like France over Germany. Yeah, I know the Germans always make the World Cup Semis but I really like this French team. Paul Pogba is a young star (damn you Sir Alex Ferguson for not realizing that when the youngin’ was with Manchester United!!) and he’s the engine that makes France go. Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud are the two strikers in the 4-4-2 formation and they’ve played well together. Also, I haven’t been that impressed with the Germans. They are there for the taking and I like France to do it. In the second match on Friday, I think the host Brazilians will ease past fan favorite Colombia. Now, I love the Colombians. I love the way they play and their enthusiasm, and Brazil has not looked good in this tournament but it’s still Brazil. They have to get their shit together, and a 2-0 win over Colombia would be a nice start. Star player Neymar is allegedly nursing a knee injury but I think he shakes that off and gets the brace (both goals) against Colombia.
If you read my World Cup preview you would know that I picked Belgium as my dark horse team, so I shed no tears for the United States when Belgium beat them in the Round of 16. The Belgians are young, led by big and powerful strikers, fast and technical midfielders, and some decent defenders. However, they are too young to beat Argentina. You’re going to see some sensational individual play in this match, but Argentina has won two World Cups in their history and they look well poised to get their third in this World Cup. Finally, Netherlands-Costa Rica. The Dutch wilted in the heat against Mexico, and it should be a hot day in Salvador when they face off the second darling in this tournament in Costa Rica. If it’s steaming hot, I think Costa Rica can pull off the upset, but I’ll go with convention and pick the Dutch. They have the elite talent, they have the history, and as good a story the Ticos are, they have never been this far. No one knows how they’ll hold up against the Oranje.
I’m done. Thanks for reading. Thanks for supporting www.7poundbag.com, I wish you a happy and healthy Fourth of July and peace.
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