Ray Jr. on Sports

  1. NBA Trade Deadline passes: Well, well. It’s my favorite time of year for sports who have this official deadline: When contenders add talent from non-contenders who wish to unload salary in exchange for less salary and draft picks. And this time it’s the NBA’s turn to do so as they made several moves before the clock struck 3 pm.
  2. The biggest trade of the day went to the OKC Thunder who sentCameron PayneJoffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow to the Chicago Bulls for Doug McDermottTaj Gibson and a 2018 second-round pick. They’re doing what contenders do when they need help, and to be honest, All-Star G Russell Westbrook needs all the help he can get, because he’s just one person and I think he’ll burn out by playoff time if he didn’t get any help.
  3. Apparently, the Thunder hasn’t forgotten how they faded against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Final last year. They were up 3-1, and eventually, the Warriors came back & won the series 4-3, so they’re doing all they can for a possible rematch. Time will tell.
  4. The other major deal of the day went to the Dallas Mavericks who added C Marlens Noel from the Sixers for F Andrew Bogut. And then the Sixers plan to buy out Bogut because apparently, he doesn’t fit into their plans, whatever they are these days.
  5. The Biggest deals of the past week went to the New Orleans Pelicans and the Houston Rockets who traded for F DeMarcus Cousins and Lou Williams, respectively. The Rockets have the 3rd-best record in the NBA, but the Pelicans have an outside shot at the 8th playoff spot in the West, but I can’t see that happening. They’re apparently looking at next season.
  6. Now the moves that didn’t happen: Indiana Pacers G Paul George and the Bulls Jimmy Butler who were rumored to be traded, but remain with their teams. Espn.com reported that George was possibly headed to the Denver Nuggets in a monster deal, but talks fizzled or the Pacers turned chicken. The Celtics were reportedly interested in George as well, but talk is cheap to come trade deadline time.
  7. Defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers also stood pat at the deadline, which was a bit surprising to me because they need help after losing All-Star F Kevin Love for up to 8 weeks due to injury, and of course, I wanted them to get NY Knicks F Carmelo Anthony, but not so.
  8. The Cavs apparently feel they don’t need any more star power, but they still need gaps to fill, and after trading Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen last week to create a roster spot, you’d figure they would fill a spot, but they’re looking at picking up a player from the waiver wire.
  9. Reportedly the Cavs could be looking at G Deron Williams who was released by the Utah Jazz, former Milwaukee F Larry Sanders or Bogut after he gets bought out. I figure Williams and one of those big men will do, but I’d take Bogut over Sanders because Bogut has played this season.
  10. Also, congrats to Magic Johnson who was hired by his LA Lakers as the President of Basketball Operations, replacing longtime GM Mitch Kupchak and Executive VP of Basketball Operations Jim (Son of Jerry) Buss. I think Magic will instill life into this once proud franchise, but it will take some time.
  11. Magic has proven that he’s just as useful in the front office like he was on the court, something that Michael Jordan just doesn’t have, and it’s OK. But Jordan seems to be just fine as the Charlotte Hornets majority owner, but when he was a GM, he was not. Just think about Kwame Brown, and you’ll see my point.
  12. Now onto College basketball, as we talk about the Pitt Panthers and another disheartening loss, this time to Wake Forest in a 63-59 letdown. What’s even worse is the fact that Pitt led by 19 to begin the first half. This is their response after their impressive win vs. Florida State?
  13. So what happened this time? Well, it wasn’t F Mike Young, who did all he could with his 24-point night. Apparently, my theory about Young has been proven wrong yet again: (As Mike Young goes, so does the Panthers)Yes, Young ‘went’ but the rest of the Panthers did not.
  14. The next leading scorer was Jamel Artis with only 11 points. I mean kid, what happened to you after that 43-point outburst a month ago?? Oh, it gets worse. Cam Johnson and Sheldon Jeter combined for only 18 points and then there’s Chris Jones, who couldn’t buy a free throw after making all of them vs. Florida St. He finished with 3 points.
  15. The bottom line is this: Pitt is 15-13 and 5-12 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) They may have had a flicker of a chance at the NCAA Tournament a week ago, but not now. It’s over. And yes, they can still win the ACC Tournament, but I could also play point guard for them as well, and you know that’s not happening.
  16. Dig the buzzer-beater that Syracuse had against Duke on Wednesday. That was pretty impressive. Now the Orange is a team that deserves to get to the Big Dance, and that win vs. Duke might’ve punched their ticket.
  17. As for Pitt football, RB James Conner who missed most of 2015 with Hodgkin lymphoma, received a clean scan and will be ready for the NFL Combine. Good for him. He’s a true warrior and inspiration. I think he’ll be a late first-round/early second-round pick.
  18. QB Nate Peterman also grabbed some headlines as he will be part of Gruden’s Camp hosted by former NFL Coach and current ESPN Commentator and QB guru Jon Gruden. That’s good news for Peterman, who continues to make impressions with his offseason workouts. It says a lot if he’s caught the attention of Gruden.
  19. As for the Steelers, they made a small move as they’ve signed TE Ryan Malleck to a future’s contract. What does that mean? More roster spots. Free Agency hasn’t even begun yet so that signing isn’t that significant. But they also signed TE Xavier Grimble to a 1-year deal too. I like that dude, and he did a good job in 2016. His skill-set reminds me a little bit of Shannon Sharpe.
  20. Baseball is truly in the air as the Pirates will begin their exhibition schedule Saturday vs. Tampa Bay. I may have my concerns about the Pirates and my issues with their front office, but I am curious to see how this team will be this season.

 

 

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

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