Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Wizards' Black Santa

Chanukah may have come a few hours early when word leaked that the Wizards and Magic are still discussing a trade involving Gilbert Arenas, aka the (2nd) worst contract in the league.

The Magic are tied for the best record in the East at 13-4 and appear to be a title contender as currently constructed, without making.......wait, I'll stop. Orlando feels the need to add another playmaker and apparently are leaving no stone unturned if they are considering a guy coming off of 2 knee surgeries and with 4 years and over $80 million left on his contract. Gil put on nice show against the Magic last week in what could have been his audition.

 Black Santa (aka Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith)

Let's be clear, the Wizards are in last place in the Eastern Conference, starting a rebuilding process, and need to get rid of Agent Zero Six Shooter Gilbert Arenas. Gil is not part of the future, is not a great mentor and/or leader for the youngsters, and his massive contract is a huge handicap. The problem is finding someone to take this albatross off of our hands. Almost any trade that involves Gil leaving DC would be a good one, as there is no contract (other than Joe Johnson's) that I wouldn't take back for his. 'Locker room cancer' Vince Carter and his contract with 1 year remaining for Gil? - Where do I sign up!?!

The rumored deal involves Gil and Andray Blatche from the Wiz, and some combination of Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, and Daniel Orton from the Magic. VC and Lewis cannot be in the trade together, as the Wiz have almost no way of matching both of their bloated salaries. The Wiz could take one of those 2 in any deal involving Arenas. Both have similar salaries, with the main difference being that VC has 1 year left on his deal, and Lewis has 3.

VC for Gil is a no-brainer. VC could be the worst possible player to put on a young team, and I would consider just sending VC home for the season to keep him away from the youngsters and then creating a pool of coins in the summer with the 3 years of savings from Gil's contract.

Lewis for Gil is a closer match, but again, something the Wizards have to do as it cuts 1 year off of Gil's contract. I do hesitate here though, as Gil is the superior player and Lewis is aging quickly so may be impossible to move before his contract is up in 3 years, whereas Gil actually could play well enough that we could get rid of him in under 3 seasons.

Then there is the twist with the Magic wanting Andray Blatche. 7 Day Dray hasn't had a great season, not taking the step forward we'd hoped for, and saying his defense has been disinterested would be kind. That said, he is still only 24 and has a very reasonable contract that runs for 5 more years. He does not look like a long term answer for the Wizards, but he still has trade value. Not only that, but his value is about as low as it can be right now.

Orton would be a nice young guy to add in the deal (I also would like Ryan Anderson), but Blatche is more valuable. If the deal is Gil and Blatche for Lewis and Orton, then we are basically giving up Blatche for 1 less year of Gil's contract, and I think that is a steep price. VC and Orton for Gil and Blatche is a much tougher call, with the bottom line being whether the Wiz are willing to give up Blatche to cut 3 years off of Gil's contract.

I think the Wizards have to make the VC deal, as there may not be many other chances to get rid of Gil's contract. But I hope the Wiz can find a way to do this without including Andray. From the perspective of the Magic, the extra years on Gil's deal may not matter much, as their roster is relatively set for the next few years. They also have little use for Blatche. Grunfeld will need to do some smooth talking to make this happen, or Black Santa will have to feel particularly giving.

While I wait for Black Santa to make my holiday season, I will do the rest of my shopping in Allen Iverson's eBay shop. 

(Image courtesy of, salary info courtesy of ESPN's NBA Trade Machine)

Gritty Hoyas Make a Statement - Are they Title Contenders?

College basketball's season is decided in March, but that didn't stop Georgetown and Missouri from playing an incredible game with a Big Dance feeling tonight. Fast-paced, close, intense, and well-played.

Despite the rankings (#8 to #16) and Vegas line (Tigers by 1.5) favoring Mizzou , this seemed like a favorable matchup for the Hoyas. A well-coached disciplined team with heady ball handlers should be able to handle the Mizzou press, and I think the phrase, 'A well-coached disciplined team with heady ball handlers' is exactly how I'd describe this year's Hoyas.

Now Missouri's ranking may be a little misleading, as they haven't beaten any half-decent team so far: 3 of their 5 wins have been against teams named the Ospreys, Leathernecks, or Explorers. That said, this is still one of the best teams in the country, and as I learned tonight, one with an amazing home court advantage. This was technically a 'neutral court' that just so happened to be situated about and hour and a half from the Mizzou campus, but the fans made it clear who's side they were on. Not only were the16,000+ fans loud, but Mizzou's aggressive defensive style put the refs in a lot of tough positions, and during a home game a lot of those 50/50 calls will go Mizzou's way.

The Hoya start was reminiscent of the glory that was last year's Duke game. The Tiger press was hopeless and Gtown was knocking everything down en route to an 18 point lead. Mizzou got their act together, seized momentum, and chiseled the lead down to 7 by the half - which is about the time I started biting my nails. Mizzou seemed to carry momentum through the 2nd half, but only took their first lead more than midway through the 2nd half. The Hoyas seemed doomed at the point to a quality road loss, but managed the improbable with Chris Wright sinking a last second 3 to send the game to OT. 5 minutes more? Yes please. Jason Clark took it from there, sinking 3 triples in the extra period to make the last 2.5 minutes of overtime pretty comfortable.

I don't know that tonight taught me as much about the Hoyas as it reinforced several beliefs. The team was rudderless without Wright against the Mizzou D, which is why he played 45 minutes. Clark and Freeman put up the bigger numbers, but Wright was and has been the team MVP thusfar. You could almost predict the Mizzou runs because they happened as soon as Wright stepped off the court. It is times like this when I wish gameflows were available for NCAA games, as Wright's +/- has to be fantastic.

I also already knew that the bench is very weak. Fortunately, Mizzou plays a tiny lineup, so Gtown's preference for 3 guards, 1 very small forward, and a center was not a problem. Against a 'normal' team, Julian Vaughan, Nate Lubick, and Henry Sims could be roasted. And even though there are a lot of guards getting minutes for the Hoyas, there is a huuuge dropoff after the big 3. They all looked hesitant out there, and I am once again curious as to the +/- of the big 3. I wish I could say Starks and Lubick will suddenly 'get it', but I just don' think that's happening this year.

This team is 1 injury to any of the big 3 away from being pretty mediocre, but this was an awesome win. Standing up to a hostile crowd and top-10 team makes this one of the best wins in all of college basketball this season to date. The Hoyas cruised to the 18 point lead, but absolutely gutted this one out from there. Mizzou got away with a lot junk on defense, but the Hoyas didn't complain and got equally physical on their defensive side at the end of the game. Not only are there no teams in the Big East that particularly scare me, but there are no teams in the entire NCAA outside of Duke that appear definitely better than the Hoyas right now. 

If Wright, Freeman, and Clark can stay healthy and don't get worn-down from heavy minutes, this could be a season to remember in DC.

(Image courtesy of the AP, via

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Week 12: Vikings 17, Redskins 13: Knee Jerk Reactions

Football's regular season is heading down the home stretch! Before I let rationality cloud my judgment, here are my knee-jerk reactions from the eleventh game of the season:

 Not From Today, but Might as Well Be

Game and season. We need to go 5-0 and pray for a wild card spot. Our first drive was a thing of beauty, but everything else on offense was sad. Then, not being able to stop Toby Gerhardt on defense and give our offense one last shot was excruciating.

If the Packers pass the Bears for 1st place, and the Saints take the #1 Wild Card spot, we will need to pass that Giants, Bears, and Bucs to get a playoff berth. If things go well later this afternoon, we could still only be 2 games back, with 2 cracks against the Giants, and 1 against the Bucs. So start putting your energy into supporting whoever plays those teams.

  • Interim coaches in their first game seem to always win right? Unless it's Terry Robiske and the Redskins...we are always the exception....
  • I keep forgetting to plug this, but I have been doing a weekly livechat on A few Skins bloggers on there and not too crowded, so you can definitely get your voice heard.
  • So much for gold pants.
  • How does Joey Galloway go from being our '#2' receiver to getting cut? Shouldn't there be a backup role in-between? 
  • I can't get over the Galloway thing. Just an awful signing, reinforced by poor production, and then the stubbornness of keeping him in the starting lineup. He has been the 2nd worst receiver in the league, with the only bright side that we targeted him slightly less than other receivers in his ballpark of awful. Just about anyone would have been better, and we completely missed the opportunity to develop a young player or two wit hthe playing time/role.
  • Devin Thomas
  • Brandon Banks is still great, but was apparently limping during the week. I'm assuming he's taking his pain meds and toughing it out. I wonder if we will see him anywhere close to 100% before the end of the season. 
  • Banks is our only chance of scoring. 
  • Jeremy Jarmon doesn't exist. 
  • Our d-line sans Fat Albert cannot stop the run. If we cut him, we need to find some better guys up front this offseason. 
  • Not sure what else to say about the defense. Not a great game from 'Los, but he was hampered by a hammy. The faced a conservative game plan and stopped a Peterson-less offense, meh.
  • Silverback had a phenomenal game controlling Jared Allen, who is a monster. He's made his share of mistakes this season, but I think a pro-bowl caliber season is in store as soon as next year.
  • Santana Moss was awful. I see he was battling an injury or two, but dropping passes is not okay.
  • Cooley was awesome on that first drive and then...? Silence.
A Little Something to Cheer You Up - Found This Looking for a Game Shot
  • I don't even know how to get excited for the Giants game next week.
(McNabb image courtesy of, cheerleader image courtesy of