Ray Jr. on Sports



    1. The NBA has now taken center stage as they’re coming out of their All-Star Break and have finished their annual Trade Deadline. You know, when the contending teams acquire top players from non-contending teams in exchange for prospective players.
    2. Apparenly the top trade of the day is the The Los Angeles Clippers acquiring forward Jeff Green from the Memphis Grizzlies for Lance Stephenson. This one truly has the most star power of all the deals. Green helps a contending Clippers team, while the struggling Suns get the struggling Stephenson.
    3. The other top deal of the day involves the top team in the Eastern Conference as the Cleveland Cavailers Cleveland Cavaliers get: Channing Frye, F (from Magic), while the Portland Trail Blazers get: Anderson Varejao, C (from Cavs); conditional first-round pick (from Cavs) and the Orlando Magic get: Jared Cunningham, SG (from Cavs); second-round pick (from Blazers)
    4. The 6-foot-11 Frye is a ‘stretch’ forward who is averaging 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in his second season in Orlando. Not very impressive stats in my opinion, but he’s apparently the player that the Cavs have wanted.
    5. The Suns stayed busy as they received Kris Humphries, PF; DeJuan Blair, PF; protected first-round pick from the Washington Wizards who get. Markieff Morris, PF. the Wizards are desperately fighting for that 8th and final playoff spot.
    6. And the other notable trade was the Oklahoma City Thunder getting Randy Foye, SG from the Denver Nuggets for  Steve Novak, SF; D.J. Augustin, PG; two second-round draft picks. Foye’s stats are also not impressive, but the contending Thunder hope that he can help their title hopes.
    7. All in all, it was a decent trade deadline. I think fans have been spoiled over the years because we’re used to seeing huge names switch teams. It was rumored that the Houston Rockets were trying to deal C Dwight Howard, but those talks broke down when Howard refused to opt out of his final year of his contract.
    8. As for the standings, the Golden State Warriors (48-14) are the NBA best, with the 45-8 San Antonio Spurs right behind them. The Eastern leading Cavs are 38-14 and the 8-45 Philadelphia 76ers are the NBA’s worst team, with the 11-44 LA Lakers the worst in the Western Conference.
    9. Speaking of the Lakers, as you know, G Kobe Bryant will be retiring after this season, and the NBA is truly sending him out in style with presentations, etc and the All-Star Game really honored the 18-time All-Star. But what Michael Jordan gave him topped them all.
    10. Jordan gave Bryant 30 pairs of his signature Air Jordan shoes and they will be auctioned off to the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation for $100,000. Classy move.
    11. Now onto College Basketball where we see the Pitt Panthers (18-7, 7-6 ACC) who just ended a 3-game losing streak after ‘getting by’ the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (10-16, 1-13) 101-96 in Double Overtime.
    12. I give the Panthers credit for fighting for this win, but it’s truly a shame that they had to do so against one of the worst teams in the conference. When their minds are focused, they can beat anybody, but when they struggle and are clumsy, they will lose.
    13. I think the key to Pitt having a chance at making the NCAA Tournament depends on the performance of F Mike Young. When he’s on, they do well, but when he’s off. (as he’s been recently) the team struggles. Even in Tuesday’s win, he had absent-minded moves, dropping the ball on potential baskets and turning the ball over. He needs to get it together.
    14. As for the rest of the ACC, whoever said the Duke Blue Devils (20-6, 9-4) were struggling needs to retract that statement as they’ve been on a roll lately. First, they beat #7 Virginia on Saturday in a buzzer-beater, and then they got past #5 North Carolina Wednesday night. You can never count this team out.
    15. I honestly still can’t believe that the Villanova Wildcats are ranked #1. They are truly getting things done in the new Big East Conference. Kudos to HC Jay Wright who has this team pointed at a #1 seed in the Big Dance.
    16. As you know, Major League Baseball has begun Spring Training in preparation for the 2016 season. Hard to believe that a new season is near, I’m still thinking about the KC Royals winning it all for the first time since 1985. Can they repeat? I doubt it, but you never know. I can’t wait to see their championship rings.
    17. As for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who hope to capitalize off a 98-win season, they added another player to a minor-league deal in OF Matt Joyce, whose best years were with the LA Angels. I believe Joyce can be an effective 4th OF, replacing Travis Snider, who has joined the Royals.
    18. The Pirates also made news as they’ve went back in time and added their 1979 uniforms as they’re Sunday Alternates for home game. I love it. It’s the yellow tops, black pants and the pillbox striped hats. Why not keep wearing the uniforms of winners? They had worn the 1971 units on Sunday from 2013-2015.
    19. As for the NFL, apparently the retirements keep coming as Carolina Panthers DE Jared Allen made his announcement Thursday, ending a spectacular 12-year career. He’s the NFL All-Time sack leader with 136. New England Patriots LB Jarod Mayo announced his retirement after an 8-year career.
    20. One NFL player who won’t be retirement yet is Pittsburgh Steelers LB James Harrison who will be returning for his 14th season. He will be 38 years old.

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