Elton Brand is taking, to me, a surprising amount of abuse from pockets of the media regarding his decision to jump to the Sixers after opting out from his contract with the Clippers. Sure, he initially said he was intending to re-sign, but I don’t think he can be blamed in the slightest for what he has done. Here are five good reasons:
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That sound you hear is, I fear, the sound of floodgates opening. For a couple of glorious years now college basketball has been, in my mind, significantly better off for the presence of a few spectacularly talented young players – even if they only stayed for a year. The NBA’s change in minimum draft age meant that we got to see guys like Kevin Durant, Greg Oden, Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley make the college game their personal playgrounds. That has made the world a better place. Now that might all be threatened thanks to a guy named Brandon Jennings.
This can be a tough time of year for sports bettors. If you aren’t into baseball then there isn’t much to hold your attention. Golf is in an inter-Major lull. So is tennis. Basketball and football are technically on, but in versions that are far from captivating. Horse racing is in a lull until Saratoga and Del Mar get fired up. There is a bit of soccer, but not the thrilling international action of the spring and early summer. The Olympics are still a month away, and real football action is almost two months away. If you don’t like betting on baseball then you could be in some real trouble.
I’ve got a summer cold – the worst punishment for past sins imaginable. It’s a doozy, too. Given that, I’d love to be catty and dismissive to a few teams or players to make myself feel better. Sadly, though, there are a couple of big stories tonight that I really like and am quite enthusiastic about. That’s no fun.
Interesting social experiment coming out of Atlanta this week. Jeff Francoeur has boatloads of talent, but he has been truly terrible at the plate this year. He is in a slump that has been underway since late May. The team needs to snap him out of it, and they figured out a bold way to do so – they sent him down to Double-A without discussing it with him first. They said they may keep him down there for a couple of weeks to let him get his mind right and find his stroke again. In the end, though, he was only down for three games. There’s no doubt it worked in one regard – he went 7 for 13 in the three games, and had four hits on Sunday. Where it gets interesting, though, is that Francoeur is pissed. He says that he feels betrayed, and he is openly questioning management. The Braves’ management deserves some credit for making a bold move, but it is one that could backfire dramatically. It will be interesting t watch how it plays out.
It isn’t official yet, but it seems that C.C. Sabathia ia about to become a Brewer. Word is that he will be exchanged for a four player package that centers around Matt LaPorta, an outfielder who is tearing it up in AA this year after being the seventh overall pick in the draft last year out of Florida. A few thoughts on the deal:
Saturday was a very interesting day at Wimbledon. Venus Williams beat her sister, won her fifth Wimbledon title and second straight, and proved conclusively that she is without a doubt the best female grass player in the world despite her frustrating inconsistency. The sisters put their competitive differences aside a couple of hours later to cruise to an incredibly easy win in the doubles final. Finally, Canadian Daniel Nestor and new partner Nenad Zimonjic made their second straight grand slam final, but performed better this time around by winning in four sets.
I don’t know much about the Fourth of July, but the sense I get from watching from afar is that it is all about eating too much, drinking way too much, and trying not to blow yourself up with fireworks. Sounds like fun. It only makes sense, then, that the occasion is annually marked by the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. The thought of watching people cram that much processed mystery meat down their throats is disgusting to me, but it’s on ESPN, and more importantly you can bet on it, so it is worthy of a look.
It seems like there is a UFC card every weekend these days. This weekend is no exception, as UFC 86 comes to us live via pay-per-view from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. This is definitely a card for the avid fans and not the casual ones. Several of the fights have the potential to be very interesting, but none have the wide, exciting appeal of recent main events. The main event here has the look of a bit of a mismatch, and the two fighters like each other too much for it to be truly riveting. There are a few intriguing betting possibilities on the card, though. Here’s a quick look, with odds from 5Dimes.
This is shaping up to be a strange day full of somewhat surprising news. Only one item is truly shocking, but all are of interest.
First, the shocking one. Baron Davis is a Clipper. Huh? After saying repeatedly that he wasn’t going to opt out of the final year of his contract in Golden State that’s exactly what he did. The only theory that I can say makes sense is that his agent told him that the L.A. team that plays in the Staples Center wanted him, and he signed before he did more digging. Why else would he go to the Clippers at this point in his career. He is an elite player, but he’s not a youngster anymore, and he doesn’t really have the luxury of time to build a contender. And there is a lot of building to do in L.A. – especially sine Elton Brand and Corey Maggette opted out this week. Brand may be back, but that’s not certain. In Golden Sate he had a team that was returning its core and had won 48 games last year. They were in trouble because they were in the very tough West, but so are the Clippers. This is a step back. A giant one. Davis is in the movie business, and he is from So Cal, but I honestly don’t understand why the lure of home would be this strong. It says pretty strongly to me that winning isn’t as important to Davis as I thought it was. He traded proximity to the film business for 25 fewer wins last year, and he has joined one of the worst run teams in existence.