Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Some Garnett to Boston Links

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

  • TheSports Guy thinks that after the blockbuster trade, Kevin McHale is still a Celtic at heart. I think he's an idiot at heart.
  • Cass at Dime reluctantly praises the deal. Damn these childhood allegiances.
  • Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald says the deal is already finalized and that Garnett is on the way to Boston for a physical.
  • Marc Stein continues his stalkerish coverage of the trade.
  • Miss Gossip, on the Fanhouse, says Michael Olowokandi is the big reason for KG coming to Boston. I say Olo is the reason no one from Colgate will ever get drafted again.

UPDATE: It's official. KG is a Celtic.

And finally, for your viewing pleasure: The Answer at Georgetown, in all his rawness.

Monday, July 30, 2007

KG To Beantown?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Word on the street (internet) is that the Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics are near a deal that would bring Kevin Garnett to New England.

SI.com is reporting that the deal would send Garnett to the Celtics in exchange for promising young forward Al Jefferson, third-year swingman Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff and a number 1 draft pick. C's forward Ryan Gomes and guard Sebastian Telfair are also rumored to be included to match with Garnett's massive salary (He's owed $22 million next year).

Of course, the deal is contingent on Garnett not only agreeing to sign a contract extension (KG can opt out of his deal next summer), but him backing off of his desire not to play in Boston, which he publicly declared through his agent earlier in the summer.

This trade, if it comes to fruition, is definitely the blockbuster NBA fans have been waiting on. One of the greatest franchises in sports history (Celtics) possibly recovers from an embarrassing downspin since its last title (1986) to return to elite status by picking up a definite superstar and future Hall of Famer in Garnett.

Minnesota, on the other hand, can finally stop lying to its fans about trying to compete for anything other than the first pick in the draft and can start rebuilding. They'll also have some nice pieces to start with. This trade needs to happen like, yesterday.

But, of course, no NBA trade is ever perfect. Usually one team usually gets screwed over in an effort to (A. unload salaries; (B. appease to impatient; or (C. prove their incompetence. And most times it's option C. We'll do a breakdown of the rumored trade for both teams, starting with Boston.


1. The Eastern Conference. I'm sure every player and every GM in the league watched and salivated at the mouth as the Cleveland Cavaliers made their way through the downtrodden East last spring. The prevailing thought after the season ended was: The formula for getting to the Finals in the East was to ride a superstar through the playoffs. With the addition of Ray Allen and possibly Garnett along with Paul Pierce, the Celtics now have three stars.

2. Less pressure. KG never was at his best as a player more than when he had All-Star talent around him to help alleviate the pressure. In 2004, The Big Ticket captured his first MVP and the Wolves made it to the Western Conference Finals - with Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell helping to carry the load. And last I checked, Garnett, Pierce, Allen > Garnett, Sprewell, Cassell.

3. Defined direction. For the last 3 seasons, GM Danny Ainge has collected more young talent than pretty much any other team in the league. But with veteran Pierce still the man on the team, the C's have been left with no direction (or too many directions, whatever). Do they keep the ball in Pierce's hands and continue to build around him? Do they ship Pierce sometime in the near future and make Jefferson the focal point? Do they keep the rock in second-year pg Rajon Rondo's hands and go run-and-gun? With Garnett in the fold and Jefferson in the Northwest, the direction is clear: the Celtics are a veteran club ready to win now.



1. Supporting cast. Or lack thereof. After the proposed trade, the Celtics will be left with a starting lineup of Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Garnett, Perkins (damn that's nasty), but pretty much nothing else. They traded away Delonte West and Wally Sczerbiak along with the 5th pick (which turned to be Jeff Green) for Allen and a second round pick (Glen "Big Baby" Davis). They also got USC guard Gabe Pruitt in the draft. Fourth-year guard Tony Allen is coming off major knee surgery; the team cut '06 second-rounder Allan Ray (probably out of confusion with Ray Allen); and their's role players Leon Powe and Brian Scalabrine. Not exactly a championship-caliber roster. But, this is the East.

2. Doc Rivers is still the coach. Enough said.

3. This trade doesn't leave open many options for future if the team doesn't start off well next year, or if Rondo doesn't develop quick enough as the floor general the Celtics have been desperately clamoring for. There's also the issue of the salary cap, which the team is already over, and the luxury tax hit Boston is surely going to have to face. This deal is strictly for the short-term. Speaking of which....

4. KG can still opt out after this season, that is, unless Ainge convinces him to sign an extension before the season starts. If he can't convince Garnett, and he trades for him anyway, there will be immense pressure for the Celtics to win and win right away. Anything short of the conference finals might cause Kevin to belt out of Beantown. And that would be the blow that could cripple the franchise for at least another decade.

Onto Minnesota.


1. Let's face it. The Timberwolves weren't going anywhere anytime soon (except the lottery). Not with that roster. Not in that market. Not with Kevin McHale running the team. KG was Minnesota's only asset to improve, and he's not exactly a spring chicken. It's been time to start over. And plus, if KG would have opted out next summer without the Wolves getting anything in return, the city of Minnesota would have re-enacted the death of Sonny Corleone with McHale at the nearest tollbooth.

2. Al Jefferson is a bonafide future All-Star and Gerald Green has potential to blossom into a special player. Not only will Minnesota be starting over and moving on, they'll be doing it with a good core of young players. Don't forget about '06 first round pick Randy Foye and '07 pick Corey Brewer. And hey, maybe Telfair will finally develop into a real NBA point guard. Maybe not. Let's move on.



2. The Wolves would be severly lacking in veteran leadership. Is Foye going to step up and lead? Will Jefferson make the leap to the next level? Will Juwan Howard finally become the dominant forward we've been waiting for since his days at Michigan? Well, maybe no one's thinking the last one.

On the outset, it looks like a good trade for both teams, a rarity considering 89% of GMs in the NBA are completely inept at making even decent decisions. As always, time will tell.

One hunned...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Guilty Until Proven Innocent, Huh?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Am I in the wrong country or something?

Since when did the court of public opinion become more vital than the actual judicial system? I've watched Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick being publicly convicted and his good name (well, kinda good name) tarnished before he's even stepped in a courtroom.

Are you sure we're not in Russia? Bulgaria?

Even those currently living under a rock know what the situation is. Vick and three other co-defendants are currently under indictment by the federal government (who obviously have nothing better to do like, you know, fix world hunger, pull troops out of foreign countries, rebuild an American city. Little stuff) for allegedly being involved in illegal dogfighting.

The alleged dogfighting took place in a home Vick owns and that he claims he bought for a family member. He said he has/had no knowledge of any wrongdoing in the house. Vick also owns Bad Newz Kennels, a dog breeding company that is run through the home in Virginia and in Georgia.

Those, however, are the only facts in this case against Vick. He pleaded not guilty to the federal charges last week in a courtroom in Virginia. Outside the courthouse were protesters, including PETA, those animal-loving attention seekers. Since Vick's indictment, PETA has protested outside of the Falcons training camp facility (where the QB has been banned from participating) to courthouses, even outside of Nike stores.

Nike (Vick's top sponsor) pulled his soon-to-be released signature shoes after the indictment. In case anyone forgot, Nike is also the home of once-alleged rapist Kobe Bryant, who they supported (though limited) after he was charged with a heinous crime.

Now, don't get it confused. I'm not guaranteeing Vick's innocence. I don't know what the hell happened in that Virginia and I don't know who was involved. But where was PETA when former Blazer Qyntel Woods was charged with dogfighting? Why don't they protest outside of McDonalds, who put bullets in the head of some millions of cows worldwide to provide us with those delicious burgers? Why can't Vick get his due process?

Why? Because this case not only features a celebrity (who have different rules from regular folk), but it features a black celebrity athlete (who have a different set of rules from regular celebrities). Simply put, this case is not so much about dogfighting as it is about persecuting a rich, spoiled athlete that people don't think deserves that celebrity status, for whatever reason.

Hey, if Vick is guilty and he did all the things that were said about him in that 18-page indictment, then he deserves whatever punishment he gets. But until he's found guilty or innocent, for the sake of Thomas Jefferson, dig up Vick's bad name that has been buried.

In the words of Jay-Z, "I thought this was America, people."

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Guess Who's Bizzack

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

In 1999, back when I was a freshman in high school, the city of Houston was on fire. The Astros were a playoff squad, the music scene was led by the legendary Screwed Up Click, and my favorite (old) team was reinvigorated by the arrival of rookie point guard Steve Francis, a high-flying, explosive powerball out of Maryland.

The Rockets landed Francis after he was drafted number two overall by the Vancouver Grizzlies in the '99 Draft and publicly showed his disdain for playing for the Grizz (who already had taken point guard Mike Bibby the year before). I couldn't believe our good fortune after we got "Stevie Wonder" in the huge record-breaking (at the time) three-team, 11-player deal. Good times all around.

The Rockets, at the time, were somewhat of a stone-age group of old All-Stars and veterans, led by former MVPs Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley. They had just beaten by the Lakers in the first round in five games. It didn't look pretty for Houston's future.

In came Francis. He was more than your average rookie. He went at dudes every game. He almost out-trashtalked Gary Payton in his trashtalking prime. He tried to dunk on anybody and everybody every game. He became the city's answer to Allen Iverson. And this was just the preseason.

Francis was that guy in Houston. He almost single-handedly made the 1999-2000 season for me. Classic dunks, crossovers, big games against big players, he was everything for Houston. Of course, "Wink" (along with teammate Cuttino Mobley) and his new-school style clashed with Hakeem and Charles' old-school slow-it-down trademark style, but we didn't care. Especially since we as young people favored the run-and-gun Rockets anyway. The 2000 Rockets only won 35 games, but we didn't care. We were too busy rooting for Steve to upset Vince Carter in the Slam Dunk Contest, which was like betting on Kelly Rowland to sell more records than Beyonce. The Dream and Sir Charles were are their last leg (literally for Barkley, if you remember him tearing up his knee in Philly), but we didn't care. We had the new "Franchise", and the city suddenly was ready for the old guard to move on.

Francis never seemed to disappoint, unless the subject was getting to the playoffs. He made the All-Star game twice, put up great stats, showered Sportscenter with countless highlights, appeared in a Reebok commercial with the legendary Scarface, and his name even showed up in a Jay-Z line ("I'm the franchise like a Houston Rocket"). When Jigga shouts you out, you my friend are big time.

But his alleged selfishness and immaturity wore on not only the team, but fans alike. After five years with the Rockets and only one playoff appearance (2004 vs. the Lakers; loss 4-1). Francis had butted heads with new coach Jeff Van Gundy all season long, with things coming to a head when Francis skipped a team flight to attend the Super Bowl at Reliant Stadium. The time had finally arrived; it was *sighs* time for Stevie to leave.

Three years since his departure - with brief stops in Orlando, New York, and Portland - "Stevie Franchise" has returned home. This time around, however, he's no longer the franchise player he was expected to be when he was traded to Houston. Hell, he stopped being the franchise player when Yao Ming was drafted number 1 overall in 2002.

Now he's presumably the number 3 (look at the irony) option behind Tracy McGrady (who he was traded for) and Yao. He's no longer the uber-athletic guard bouncing off defenders in mid-air, or the guy expected to lead the Rockets back to the promised land (or at least to the second round). He signed a one-year deal with the option for two. We already drafted pg Aaron Brooks with in the first round (26th overall) of this year's draft. So if it doesn't work out with Francis this year, he may be gone. Again.

But, at least he's back. He still will be able to defend the likes of Steve Nash, Tony Parker, Jason Kidd, Deron Williams, Baron Davis, and Chris Paul. He'll still possesses the uncanny ability to penetrate the lane and create at will. He'll inject the team with some much needed fire ('cause Lord knows we lacked that before his re-arrival). And the bottom line is, like Ne-Yo and Fab, Steve Francis makes us better.

Does it feel like '99 again?

Allow Me To Introduce Myself My Name Is....

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Trey, co-founder of the new sports-knowledge site, I Ball For Real. IBFR was created to offer another perspective into the wide spectrum of the sports world, locally and nationally.

I and my brother from another, Justin (aka Blaze), hail from the great city of Houton, TX, home of our beloved Rockets, our sometimes loved Astros, and the stepchildren Texans (*sigh*). We admittedly claim to have an extensive knowledge of these teams (a little too much sometimes) but we damn sure operate knowledgeably about any team in any major sport. That's just how we get down.

For those that wanna know (or those who don't know), Blaze (one of the most NFL-smart dudes I know) and I have been homeboys since the 10th grade where we played basketball together. We also both represent the Southside of H-Town to the absolute fullest.

So basically, we're on a mission to lock down this section of the sports universe. Me, I'm going to mostly fill your brain on the many hoops topics going on, Blaze is going to be mostly hitting you over the head with that gridiron sh*t. Get down or lay down.

Anything else you wanna know about me (or us), hit us on the e-mail. But I'll tease you with a few details about yours truly:

  • My favorite rapper is Mr. Shawn Carter (the author of the quote that inspired the title of this here blog.)
  • Favorite team is the Rockets.
  • I think Michael Vick is innocent.
  • Kevin Durant should've been the number 1 pick.
  • I can't wait until Barry Bonds breaks the home-run record.
  • Favorite athlete is Allen Iverson.
  • Steve Francis will be the best offseason acquisition in the NBA. Hands down.
  • The Rockets will win the 2008 NBA title.
  • If they don't, let's pretend we never had this discussion.

One hunned.....