And another fan favourite is heading out
Well this ought to get a few of you going.
While I took the night off, it seems they’ve agreed to send James Johnson to the Sacramento Kings for a second-round draft choice. The deal’s not done but it could be today and it will come as no surprise whatsoever.
Hardly a windfall, right?
Now, I know Bryan is looking for whatever financial relief he can get – even miniscule like the $2.8 million or so that Johnson was due to make this year – so maybe he could have gotten a player back but that wasn’t the plan.
I’m going to put James up with Julian Wright, Antoine Wright and maybe even Pops as guys who fans tended to like an awful lot more than coaches.
As we mentioned a couple dozen times last year, James would have a tendency to go rogue, especially on offence; he had the bench episode with Dwane that resulted in a de facto two-game suspension (they didn’t actually suspend him because they didn’t want to take money away from him, which is an honourable thing to do in many ways) and, frankly, his effort – according to people who saw him in practice every day and watched games more closely and analytically than you or I – was too inconsistent.
So he’s gone, or will be in the next few hours, and while many will lament what could have been or what he did, they don’t seem to have nearly the same opinion.
Maybe they’re wrong, I believe they’re right and the departure does nothing to swing the balance of power in the East. Nor does it lessen what this team is or will be.
Things that happened on the weekend that we missed:
Woody Guthrie would have turned 100 and who didn’t sing this in some school music class way back in the day when (a) they had music classes in all schools and (b) teachers were able to embarrass everyone into singing.
Okay, Tuesday ends the amnesty period and if Bryan uses it – and he continues to say it’s a last resort and there’s no plans right now – I’m thinking it’s a big mistake.
Especially if he does it for Jose, which, according to the last time I spoke with Bryan, was not in the cards.
No matter what you think, Calderon is an asset as much as anything, a solid guard with a big contract and to limit your moves with him – if there are moves to be made – by giving him away for nothing makes no sense whatsoever.
It leaves you with no backup point guard and there aren’t an awful lot of proven NBAers floating on the market; there’s no indication there’s a $10-million player out there that they’re interested in adding; why not wait, use the player in the season to see what’s up for trades and, at worst, have that money next summer.
No, it’d be the dead wrong thing to do.
Other candidates? Not sure there are any. The Kleiza piece was interesting but now maybe there’s a role for him at the three; I think if you need to divest yourself of either Amir Johnson or Ed Davis, it’s better to explore trades than giveaways.
In a moment of entire weakness, got home from my gig at the ballyard on Sunday (this and this came out of a relatively easy day) and Super Son’s got the Raptors-Heat summer league game on and I figure I’d watch some.
In that game there were 61 fouls called in 40 minutes, the winning team shot 32.4 per cent from the field, the losers shot 35.3 per cent from the field and teams combined to go 4-for-28 from three-point range.
I resisted a terrible urge to stick a pin in my eye but when it was mercifully over, the vow was made again to never, ever watch a summer league game. Even if means painting a wall somewhere and watching it dry; that’d be more entertaining.
This is classic.
In an interview yesterday about Jeremy Lin and the back-ended “poison pill” offer sheet from the Houston Rockets, these words tumbled out of Carmelo Anthony:
“It’s not up to me. It’s up to the organization to say they want to match that ridiculous contract that’s out there.”
Now, I’m not sure about the levels of solidarity between members of the players association but shouldn’t one guy want his brother in arms to get as much money by whatever means as possible?
Isn’t that the deal? Maximize your value, rightly or wrongly or however it impacts one team or another?
Look, sure it’s a big, potentially arduous contract that Lin might sign off a career that’s spanned all of 25 starts or so. But he got it, not sure I’d want a potential teammate to be telling everyone how ridiculous it is.
So I’m a Seamhead for one day and it’s a big one since the iconic Bob Elliott gets to throw out the first pitch and I am really, really glad I was there to see it.
Big Boy, as he’s known in some circles, gets the J.G. Taylor Spink Award from the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown next weekend and Sunday was the last Jays home game and they decided to honour him with the first-pitch thing and a video tribute before the game.
Now, I’m not sure how many of you know Bob but if there’s a more connected, respected, hard-working beat grunt in North America, I’d be surprised.
He is the epitome of what our craft should be: Fair, even-keeled (I don’t know that I’ve read him “scream” in a column in the almost 30 years I’ve known him) and readers would be far better served if more of us were like him.
He is a baseball guy – sandlot, national team programs, minor leagues, major leagues – and he treats the game and the men and women in it with respect.
He helped me along this path an awful lot of years ago when I was first breaking into the big leagues of beat writing and I’ll never forget it.
Not a better guy in the business and even if he bounced the first pitch into the right-handed hitter’s batters box, it doesn’t matter.
Fine tribute to a fine man.