Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Go on vacation, and come back to this?

A guy goes on vacation, and finds this mess in the world of sports.

Billy Packer leaving CBS is not the greatest thing since sliced bread (sorry to disagree a little with my counterpart WW here). While Packer has come off like a pompous jerk on more than one occasion, the man knows basketball. I actually enjoy his "remember whens," as he conjures up memories of Final Four's of the past. His departure clears the way for Clark Kellogg, and I hope CK realizes he has some big shoes to fill. I was not Billy Packer "fan," but I certainly wouldn't fall into the "hater" category either. I wish Billy well.

Emeka Okafor and the Bobcats are at an impasse? Huh? I read that this morning and almost fell out of my chair. How in the world are these sides at an impasse, and now Okafor wants a sign and trade? Has someone removed the mirrors from Okafor's home? Last I looked, Okafor is a guy that averaged a double-double, and does good things on defense. Was Okafor at the All-Star game? Was Okafor among the players invited to represent Team USA in Beijing? Was Okafor a key ingredient in getting the Bobcats into the playoffs?

No, no, and ummmm....no.

He turned down a big contract last season, and was able to prove he was durable, for the first time, to play 82 games in a season--that's the max without playoffs. Okafor has yet to prove he can be that guy year in and year out. He has yet to find himself among the elite bigs in the NBA. He turned down the big contract last year, and now he wants out? Not exactly the kind of "feel good" story this franchise needs to score points with its fan base.

If Okafor does sign and return to the Bobcats, it should be at their price, and not his, and that's how it should be, in my opinion. I understand the athlete perspective--they put out the effort, the sweat, the risk of injury, but when the athlete rejects a deal that could pay $12 million a year (reportedly the figure Okafor rejected), it's hard to be sympathetic to their cause.

The Panthers report to Spartanburg this Friday for the start of a shortened training camp session at Wofford College. I can't say I am unhappy about the reduction in Spartan-Vegas time, quite thrilled, actually. Certainly the players are even happier. GM Marty Hurney has bu 2 draft picks to sign, the 1st rounders RB Jonathan Stewart and OT Jeff Otah. Not hanging Marty out to dry on this one--the NFL rookie's generally slot themselves, and for Stewart (at #13) and Otah (at #19), there's no numbers to slot them with, which leaves the Panthers in a pickle. When I say slot, I mean that the 13th pick will generally get a little less than the 12th pick, and more than the 14th. As of this morning, the teens were a black hole of signings--nothing there. My guess is, Stewart and Otah will get signed, but it may not be until the first of next week. Hopefully, I am wrong about this, because I think the rookies need all the reps they can get, but Jon Beason was a late arrival last season, and he turned out just fine. I would hate to see either Stewart or Otah turn into Jamarcus Russell situation (QB in Oakland who missed all of camp, and preseason before signing).

Oh, and Marion Jones wanting her sentence commuted is like losing a bunch of money in Vegas gambling, knowing the risks, and then asking the casino to give you your dollars back. Laughable. I applauded here when she represented the USA in the Olympics, and all the good work she had done on the track, but her positive tests, followed by the lies, and then a check fraud scheme? It's a sad tale, and I feel pain for her 2 kids. Hers is a lesson in how not to handle yourself when the lights shine brightest on you.

I'll hop off the soapbox and be back with more "riveting" stuff for you on Tuesday. See you on Sports Night tonight at 10!

Mike Solarte

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been saying all alonge trade okafor. Try to get lamar odom, charlie villeneauva(sp), or rasheed...he aint worth the money.. we'll miss his defense but he's not the only shot blocker in the world...trade him now.