Posts Tagged ‘LaMarcus Aldridge’

Are you use to Christmas day being an NBA day? There are five games on the schedule and the third one featured the San Antonio Spurs getting a 119 to 100 win over the Chicago Bulls. San Antonio improves to 25-6 with the win while the Bulls fall to 14-16. This was the Bulls sixth loss in seven games and it’s also the fifth time in those six losses that they’ve been beaten by double digit points.

The Bulls where in trouble right from the start as the Spurs scored the first 8 points of the game as well as scoring 17 of the first 19 points scored in the game. San Antonio seemed to make every shot they took in the quarter as they built the lead to 20 points at 30-10. The Bulls spent the rest of the quarter trying to cut the lead down. By the end of the quarter the lead was down to 11 as the Spurs led 36-25 after one.

After being down by 20 points early in the game the Bulls used the 2nd quarter to try and get themselves back into it. They got very close after  jimmy Butler dunk with 1:34 left in the quarter capped a Bulls 24 to 16 run and cut the Spurs lead to just 3 at 52-49. The Spurs where able to add a few more points back onto there lead and they went into halftime up 55-50.

The Bulls went on another run this time of 13 to 8 and believe it or not the game was tied at 63 all. Then Jimmy Butler actually gave the Bulls their first lead of the game when he hit a 3-pointer to make it 70-67 Chicago. The lead didn’t last long as the Spurs went on a 20 to 6 run to end the quarter. San Antonio took a 87-76 lead heading into the 4th quarter.

The Bulls didn’t have another run in them in the final quarter as they could only cut the lead to seven points on two occasions. Once the Spurs got a double digit lead the Bulls could only bring it under that one time. The Spurs lead got to 20 points with just under a minute to play, but a Bills free throw made the final 119-100.

LaMarcus Aldridge was the games leading scorer with 33 points Aldridge went 15 of 20 from the field in the game. Kawhi Leonard added 25 points and grabbed a game high 10 rebounds. Tony Parker scored 13 points and had a game high 8 assists while former Bull Pau Gasol had 10 points.

Dwayne Wade led the Bulls with 24 points and handed out a team high 6 assists. Jimmy Butler had 19 points while Taj Gibson scored 12 points and grabbed a team high 7 rebounds. Nikola Mirotic came off the Bulls bench to score 11 points while Robin Lopez scored 10 points.

The was the start of a three game home stand for San Antonio. The Spurs will get a few days off before hosting the 9-21 Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night. Chicago is in another one of those scheduling quirks like earlier in the season. Chicago is in the middle of a three games in four days stretch as they’ll return home for a game tomorrow against the 15-16 Indiana Pacers.

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A lot of free agent talent has already come off the board early this NBA off season, but there are still some quality players out there that can help your team win next season. Now I’m not talking about players like LeBron James and Marc Gasol who look like they’ll be returning to the teams they played with last season. That would be the Cleveland Cavaliers for James and the Memphis Grizzlies for Gasol. The biggest free agent left appears to be LaMurcus Aldridge. Aldridge has had a couple of meetings with the Los Angeles Lakers; it was reported that the first meeting didn’t go well. Even though Aldridge had those two meetings with the Lakers it seems that the Phoenix Suns and the San Antonio Spurs have the best shot at signing him. Damian Lillard is doing what he can to get Aldridge to resign with the Portland Trailblazers. Aldridge’s decision will have an effect on what a lot of teams do with their cap space. Once Aldridge makes his decision there will be a bit of a drop off in free agent talent, but there will still be some players that can help teams out there. Tobias Harris is a restricted free agent and he averaged 17 points and six rebounds and is only 22 years old. Restricted free agency might be scaring teams away, which means there’s a chance the Orlando Magic retain him for less than expected. Reggie Jackson showed the potential to be a solid starting point guard late last season. Since he’s a restricted free agent it’s very hard to imagine a scenario in which he leaves the Detroit Pistons. Lou Williams is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, but has not received heavy interest from any team yet, not even the Toronto Raptors a team for which he scored 15 points per game last season. As soon as the big names are off the market, Williams will appear as a solid player for any team looking for some bench scoring. Kosta Koufos is the odd man out in Memphis now that Brandan Wright is in the fold and as one of the few good big men still available, he could get serious money from one of the teams that fails to land Aldridge. He’s a big body who can defend and every team needs one of those. David West has made it clear he wants to play for a contender and his list reportedly includes the Spurs, Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards. At 34 years of age, he’s still a serviceable player who could help any team he joins but he will likely have to leave a lot of money on the table to land in one of his preferred destinations. Those are just a few of the players who may still be available for teams in free agency once Aldridge signs with a team. While they may not the superstar type of name you’d want your favorite team to sign every team needs those guys to come off the bench, play defense and find other ways to contribute.

Connor McDavid was the #1 overall pick in the NHL draft by the Edmonton Oilers. McDavid has been touted as the next great player and some are calling him the next Sidney Crosby or Wayne Gretzky,. Edmonton and McDavid did agreed to terms on his three-year, entry level contract with the Oilers. McDavid’s contract is worth approximately $11.3 million in total; $925,000 per year plus bonuses; the maximum allowed for an entry-level contract. Like all can’t miss prospects will actually have to wait and see how McDavid does against NHL competition before we know if he’s the talent that people think he’ll be. If McDavid is the next Crosby or Gretzky will he be able to lead the Oilers back into Stanely Cup contention?

I was a little surprised to see the St. Louis Blues, trade forward T.J. Oshie to the Washington Capitals in exchange for forward Troy Brouwer, goaltending prospect Pheonix Copley and a third-round pick in the 2016 draft. I think most casual NHL fans remember Oshie as the hero for the United States during their 3-2 shootout victory over Russia during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but he has scored at least 50 points in each of his past three full NHL seasons. Oshie arrives with two years left on his current contract, which carries an average annual value of $4.175 million. Brouwer will attempt to fill Oshie’s role with St. Louis. Brouwer has one year remaining on his deal, worth $3,666,666 per season. A veteran, big-bodied winger with 531 career games and 255 career points, including a Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010, Brouwer leaves Washington after four seasons with the Capitals. He registered 43 points in both 2013-14 and 2014-15.

The Columbus Blue Jackets took a chance last week acquiring Brandon Saad in a 7 player deal with the Stanley Cuo champion Chicago Blackhawks last week. Saad was a restricted free agent at the time of the deal and any other NHL team could’ve signed him to an offer sheet and there was a chance the Blue Jackets would lose him. Columbus solved that problem signing Saad to a 6 year $36 million dollar deal on Friday. The deal, which carries a $6 million salary-cap hit, will pay Saad $4 million this coming season, followed by $5.75 million in 2016-17, $6.25 million in 2017-18, $6.75 million in 2018-19 and 2019-20 and $6.5 million in 2020-21. Saad has played in 208 NHL games, totaling 52 goals and 74 assists. Last season was his best, with 23 goals, 29 assists and 12 penalty minutes, while playing in all 82 games. He had eight goals and three assists in Chicago’s playoff run.

Maybe the Seattle Mariners are looking to shake things up. It’s being reported that they’re sending pitchers  Roenis Elias, Vidal Nuno, and Tom Wilhelmsen to their Triple-A team in Tacoma with  no corresponding moves. yet. It does appear that Hisashi Iwakuma and David Hollins are about to take 2 of those spots on the Mariners roster. Iwakuma is just about ready to come off of the disabled list while Hollins who was a selection by the Mariners in the 2015 Rule 5 Draft. He has been serving an 80-game PED suspension from Major League Baseball but is now ready to make his debut with the team. If the Mariners do not add him to the 25-man roster, the team will lose him to either waivers or the Houston Astros. That leaves 1 open spot on the Mariners roster. Will they use it to add a hitter like Jesus Montero who is putting up good numbers in Triple-A. The Mariners were thought to be contenders in the A.L. West find themselves 6 games under .500 at 37-43 and 10 games behind the 1st place Astros. Getting Iwakuma back will help, but it might be too little too late for Seattle this season.

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Happy 4th of July

NBA free agency has started and before it got going all I heard was that everyone was signing with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now the Lakers are a storied franchise, but with the shape the team is in right now why would a high profile free agent want to sign with the Lakers instead of a team that is contending for the title. The 3 big names that I heard come up on signing with the Lakers were Chicago Bulls guard, Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade and Portland Trailblazers center LaMarcus AldridgeButler is a restricted free agent; so the Bulls can and plan to match any offer he receives. Butler has already pushed back some meetings with teams as he negotiates with Chicago. I’m not sure what the reasoning was the Butler was going to the Lakers, but maybe his agent leaked that story to try to get some leverage with the Bulls. The theory behind Wade signing with the Lakers was that his wife (Gabrielle Union) is an actress and she’d like to live in California. This rumor has never been addressed

. Wade is looking to get back some of the money he gave up when the Heat brought in Chris Bosh and LeBron James. If Wade did sign with the Lakers would he and Kobe Bryant ever play a game together with their injury history. Aldridge may be the guy who ends up in a Lakers uniform. Aldridge is one of if not the top big man on the free agent market; so there will be many teams interested including the San Antonio Spurs. While I’m sure Los Angeles is a fantastic city to live in; is that reason enough to sign with the Lakers or do you go to San Antonio and contend for an NBA title?

There were 6 signings as free agency got underway.  Al Jefferson signed with the Charlotte Hornets for 1 year at $13.5 million. Roy Hibbert signed with the Indiana Pacers for 1 year at $15.5 million. Brook Lopez signed with the Brooklyn Nets for 3 years at $60 million. Al-Farouq Aminu signed with the Portland Trailblazers for 4 years at $30 million. Thaddeus Young also signed with Brooklyn for 4 years at $50 million and  Kawhi Leonard signed a 5 year $90 million dollar deal to stay with the San Antonio Spurs. Luol Deng also used his player option to stay with the Miami Heat for next season at $10.1 million. 

Besides Butler, Wade and Aldridge there are a couple of other big men who are free agents that should draw some attention. Kevin Love has said that he’d like to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but will LeBron James want him back. Yes I know James is a free agent as well, but he’s looking for the kind of money in a contract that only the Cavaliers can give him. James will pretty much be able to act as the Cavaliers general manager and get them to sign the players he wants until he resigns with them. Then there’s DeAndre Jordan the Los Angeles Clippers have said they’d like him back and have enlisted the help of actor Jamie Foxx to get Jordan to resign there. While the Clippers can give Jordan that extra year and more money than anyone else it still looks like he’ll leave as he wants to be a bigger part of a teams offense. Early in the free agenxy period it looks like the Dallas Mavericks are the front runner to sign Jordan. I don’t know why his name doesn’t come up as much as some of the other free agents is Marc Gasol. Gasol is a true NBA center who can score which is becoming rare in the newer NBA style. You have to think that the Memphis Grizzlies will do everything they can to resign him. You’ll have to keep an eye on the wire as some more free agents will probably come off the board today and we’ll have to see if and when the bigger names sign.

As soon as the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup the talk started on who would be back with the team next season. It started with the minor move of trading back up goaltender Antti Raanta to the New York Rangers for  Ryan Haggerty. The Blackhawks then signed defenseman David Runblad to a 2 year contract. Yesterday the Blackhawks finally made a bigger trade, but the main player dealt might not of been the player people thought it would be. Brandon Saad was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets along with Alex Broadhurst and Michael Paliotta. In return the Blackhawks received  Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin and Corey Tropp plus a 2016 fourth-round draft pick. This may be the first of a few moves the Blackhawks may make to work with the NHL’s salary cap. There has been a lot of talk that Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell may be dealt this off season as the Stanley Cup champions get set to defend their title.

The Philadelphia Phillies have hired Andy MacPhail as team President. MacPhail will take over the job next season when current team President Pat Gillick retires. Until that happens MacPhail will serve as a special assistant to Gillick. Obviously with Gillick retiring, the Phillies had to hire someone to take his place, but shouldn’t MacPhail’s first move be to relieve general manager Ruben Amaro of his duties. Ryne Sandberg resigned and  Pete Mackanin will manage the team the rest of the season. Who in their right mind would want this job. You have to think that the Phillies will end up with a first time manager in 2016. There have been a few names mentioned and they would all be first time managers; no surprise there. I wonder how the Philadelphia fans would react to Raul Ibanez, Jim Thome or Pat Burrell being named Phillies manager. Ibanez was a finalist to manage the Tampa Bay Rays last year. Thome joined the Chicago White Sox organization in 2013 as a special assistant to the manager and expressed interest in one day becoming a manager. Burrell hasn’t expressed any interest in managing or this job, but he’s a former Phillies player; so you never know. Maybe the best choice would be David Bell. Bell is currently the bench coach for the St. Louis Cardinals and was formerly the manager for the Triple-A Louisville Bats and the former Double-A Carolina Mudcats in the Cincinnati Reds organization. Philadelphia is currently 27-52 and 17 games behind N.L. East leading Washington Nationals. 

@Burketime

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So it turned out to be the New York Yankees who signed Masahiro Tanaka. It took a seven year contract for $155 million to get the deal finalized. Then of course there’s the $20 million posting fee that the Yankees now have to pay to Tanaka’s Japanese league team the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. It had been reported that Tanaka had narrowed his choices to the Yankees or the Chicago Cubs. There was actually a report that another team had offered Tanaka more money than the Yankees did but they never said if that team was the Cubs. A lot of scouts have been saying that Tanaka is a #2 rotation type of pitcher but the Yankees paid an awful lot of money for a guy to be a #2 starter. Of course we won’t know anything until the regular season starts and we see how Tanaka matches up against major league hitters. After the Tanaka signing it was being reported that Matt Garza had signed a four year, $52 million dollar deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers came out and said they hadn’t signed Garza and he needed to pass a physical before they could agree on a deal. We’ll see if the Brewers end up with Garza or if it turns into a Grant Balfour type of situation. Balfour by the way agreed this week to a two year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays for $12 million dollars. Now we start to look and see where pitchers like Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez end up signing as we get closer to the start of spring training.

The NBA announced the starters for the All Star game. The Eastern conference starters are LeBron James and Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat. Paul George of the Indiana Pacers. Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks and Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Western conference starters are Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers. Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Stephen Curry of the Golden State warriors and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. This is the fan voting and these are the players voted to start by the fans. Bryant is injured and probably won’t play; so he’ll be replaced as a starter. You also have to wonder if wade will be ready to go by the All Star game as he has missed the last four Heat games with a knee injury. With every All Star game where the starters are selected by fan voting there was some complaints about the starters. For me I think the biggest omission from the starting line up is LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trailblazers. While I’m sure Aldridge will make the All Star team it would’ve been nice to see him get the fans votes to start the game. Aldridge is an M.V.P. candidate and the Trailblazers are 32 – 11; two games behind the Thunder in the Northwest division. I’m sure you have your own snubs. Who do you think should start the All Star game?

It’s the NFL’s week off before the Super Bowl and this season they’re playing the Pro Bowl on the week off. They had a draft to pick the teams and I tried to watch it and just couldn’t. It’s an idea they stole from the NHL where two captains pick the teams. In this case it was Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders picking the Pro Bowl teams. While the NHL has stream lined their draft and it runs quickly and smoothly the NFL’s was a lot of fluff and way, way too much time between draft picks. I hope the NFL noticed the issues with this set up and can get it corrected by the time they do this next season. I doubt it will make any difference at all in the Pro Bowl itself as the game isn’t taken seriously by the players. Oddly the Pro Bowl still does very good ratings. While I’ll flip over to the game from time to time, but can never watch the entire game. Do you watch the Pro Bowl?

So how was your week?

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