- Josh Hamilton is a Los Angeles Angel (of Anaheim lol). 5 years and $125 million is apparently what it took to lock up the former Rangers OF, and that's a very, very steep price. Hamilton's upside is other-worldly, as we've already seen him post a 7+ WAR season, but the downside is pretty hefty as well. He hasn't reached 150 games played since 2008, and has seasons of 89 and 121 games played in recent seasons. In addition, there's inherent risk with his body having taken a beating (his words) due to past drug use, and while his on-field action has been rather limited for a 32-year-old, I wouldn't mistake that for fresh legs. At any rate, Hamilton will likely earn this money for 2 or 3 of the years, but I wouldn't bet on him earning it for 4 or 5 when he'll be into his age 37 season by the end of the deal.
- There are various reports out there that the 7 non-football schools in the Big East are set to leave the conference. Basically, this would be a huge wrench for the newly-formed creation of the league, and would effectively murder the basketball conference. Conference realignment is something that is slowly driving college sports purists (myself included) insane, but unfortunately, it isn't going anywhere. Stay tuned to find out where these schools end up.
- NBA Check - The Hawks cruised to a 113-90 drubbing of the over-matched Bobcats last night. Atlanta had 6 players in double-figures led by Devin Harris with 20, and after a 17-point halftime advantage, it was all downhill from there. Charlotte.... eesh. New York outlasted LA by a final tally of 116-107. The Knicks shot 53% from the field and 48% from three in this one, basically doing whatever they wanted on the perimeter against the porous defense from LA, but held on for dear life late thanks to a 58 point second half from LA. Kobe (31), Dwight (20), and Ron Artest (23) all scored big-time for the Lakers, but it wasn't enough to overcome 30 from Melo and the balanced scoring punch of Chandler, Smith, and Felton. And finally, for as much talk as the Lakers implosion is getting (and justifiably so), the biggest shock of the night was San Antonio going down in a heap in Portland by a 98-90 final. Portland was able to hold the Spurs to 45% shooting and caused 19 turnovers while getting a monster night from rookie PG Damian Lillard. 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists qualifies as the line of the night.
- Thursday Night NFL! Cincinnati trailed Philly 13-10 at the half. The final score was 34-13 Cincy, so you can infer how the 2nd half went... Philly committed 4 turnovers in the 2nd half and while only one of them (a fumble returned for a TD by Wallace Gilberry) netted direct points, they set Cincy up for easy scores and that was that. Andy Dalton threw for just 127 yards, which was shockingly low against a bad Philly D, but he did throw and run for a score, and AJ Green's fantasy owners thanked him for the late garbage TD. Philly is a mess, but Cincy just needed a win to stay alive and they did that.
What to watch for on Friday (chronological order)...
- 8:00 - NBA - Celtics @ Rockets (ESPN) - Kevin McHale coaching against the Celtics is still awesome/weird.
- 10:30 - NBA - Grizzlies @ Nuggets (ESPN) - Two of the better rebounding teams in the league face off here. This is the ultimate test for the Denver front-court, and the Mike Conley/Ty Lawson match-up should be wildly entertaining.
And a final note concerning one of my favorite writers, ESPN's John Hollinger...
If you haven't heard/read by now, the ESPN NBA writer has taken the position of VP of Basketball Operations for the Memphis Grizzlies. He's basically one of the founders of the advanced NBA statistical movement, and the creator of the most popular "advanced" stat in his Player Efficiency Rating (PER). He's been a must-read of mine for years, and is highly responsible for pushing me to learn more about advanced stats. His analysis has also been the model for incorporating this kind of data in my writing, both here and over at Soaring Down South. I will greatly miss his writing, but if anyone deserves a position like this, it's Hollinger, and I can only hope he'll maintain his status as one of my favorite Twitter follows, even though he probably can't be as upfront as he is now. Best of luck to him in Memphis. They got a steal.