And I was just saying how slow this week felt...
Loaded Sporting News column today:
As you know, I'm slightly obsessed with the Brandon Jennings story. He's officially giving up on the NCAA/NBA system in favor of Europe, and I say mazel tov, young man.
Now, Europe wouldn't be MY choice -- I would have done the shoe deal and the documentary deal and trained individually in the U.S. to get ready for being a Top 3 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.
But I appreciate his intention here: Opting out of a system designed not help the "one-and-done" players reach their pro potential, but to either exploit it (NCAA) or quash it (NBA).
Anyway, I hope other players follow him next year (this year would be too much to ask for), and it forces the NBA to turn the D-League into a pro development arm for the players who need it most (and the ones who will do the most for the league) -- the "one and done" candidates.
Meanwhile, I love that on July 8 -- not even at the All-Star Break -- the Cubs and Brewers are in an arms race. The Brewers get CC Sabathia (who won his debut yesterday, naturally), so the Cubs get Rich Harden, who -- if healthy (big if) -- is every bit the ace that Sabathia could be.
And in the NBA, Elton Brand signs with the Sixers -- and (again, IF healthy) the East suddenly has one more pretty potent team. Not just "potent for the East," but very good by any measure. I think it locks Philly in as a playoff team. I'm not sure about Thaddeus Young's development curve, but you could do a lot worse than a duo of Brand and Andre Miller.
Meanwhile, the Warriors -- oozing desperation -- gave Corey Maggette a 5-year deal. With Baron gone and Brand off the table (and apparently -- mystifyingly -- no interest in Josh Smith), they had to do something, and Maggette goes from "MLE" to more millions.
Josh Smith is now a bit screwed: The Sixers were his top suitor, and are presumably out of the FA market. The Warriors don't want him. The Hawks do, but now no longer have to deal with a competitive bid from Philly. If Memphis was smart, they would sign him with all their cap room -- imagine Conley, Mayo, Gay and Smith. (Memphis isn't smart, though.)
NBA Summer League: Um, so about Michael Beasley... meanwhile, Kevin Durant makes a summer league appearance!
I have no idea what Ted Thompson is thinking. The Brett Favre story isn't about whether or not the Packers want him -- it's pretty obvious they don't. The Packers' real issue is how they handle the p.r. -- currently, badly.
It's not like they're in a good position: Not bringing him back will anger fans. Ticking him off will anger fans. Letting him go to another team (wear another team's jersey) will anger fans. Those fans won't hold it against Favre for being a traitor to his franchise and playing for another team -- that idea is 20 years stale -- but they will hold it against the team execs for letting it happen.
And, yet, Thompson does precisely the wrong thing and blunders his way through the story. Instead, he should be forcing Favre to publicly shun his Packers fan base. ("Brett, don't you want to do what's best for the Packers and their fans?")
Anyway, the full column is here.