Olympics...what Olympics? As if that statement would get you very far these days. It's hard to talk NBA to the average person with all this excitement going on much less read about it in the paper - other than the NBA stats on the back page. Our athletes deserve all the accolades that four years and sometimes a lifetime of training will bring. Go Canada Go! Now that I have that out of my system, let's get down to business.
NBA Rookie of the Year - And the winner is...Tyreke Evans.
So I hope you all took my advice to think outside the box after last week's NBA trade deadline. Lots more to think about right? So here's what went down in a nutshell: Tracy McGrady and Sergio Rodriguez are now Knicks; the Rockets went shopping and came back with Kevin Martin, Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries, Hilton Armstrong and a first round pick; the Kings crowned Carl Landry, Joey Dorsey and Larry Huges. Oh and Tyeke Evans got Rookie of the Year. Woohoo! I know, I know - you'd think my first pick would be Derrick Rose because I have been extolling his virtues as of late but in all seriousness, Tyreke has the whole package and his move with Dejuan Blair and the Rookie All Star MVP trophy really solidified it for me - a class act all the way. I think it would be in the NBA's best interest to attach Tyreke's image to the award, too - sending a message that this is the type of young player they want to attract. Plus with the trades Sacramento has made, the ball will be in his hands more often, hence more opportunities to shine. We can't forget about BBJ (Bucks' Brandon Jennings) but the only way he'd knock Tyreke off the rookie podium is if he starts racking up the points in Milwaukee, thus moving the Bucks up in the East. So really, the NBA Rookie of the Year award is for Tyreke to loose - he really deserves it in my opinion.
Don't mess with a "Bull" in transition
So all this talk about trades, transitions and titles really boil down to this: you call have all the skill and pizazz in the world but if you don't have a good supporting cast around you, you won't be invited to the final show. Now insert the Chicago Bulls just for fun to illustrate. All I have been reading about the Bulls lately is they are in a transition year. Ok, that's fair. So then does this mean that Coach Vinny Del Negro is in transition too? If I were Bulls' management, I would be saying this with my inside voice since they have tickets and merchandise to unload. But think about it - the Bulls make some trades and free up some spending money ($20 million) and Chicago fans have every right to get excited. This doesn't mean that a playoff spot will mean anything more than a time for Rose and the rest to develop and gain experience. I think their goal now should be to work hard and build themselves up to seem more attractive to a big ticket player or at least someone than can help them get over the transition hump.
Speaking of big ticket, do you want to know what I read about Chris Bosh and why he should leave the Raptors? Take into account this journalist is writing for an american publication. So Sam Smith of the Bulls.com says a good reason for Chris Bosh to leave the Raptors is he's in Canada without ESPN. Seriously? This is the best you've got? Do we think Bosh would leave to help someone else win? He's a player who needs a team and a city behind him and that's what he has here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Mr. Smith. We stand behind our players and anytime you want to come north of the border to take in a game, you will see why.
This is why the trade deadline makes the offseason so interesting. Look at the free agency history in the NBA. Lebron James is really only approaching his prime years and can be compared to Michael Jordan. MJ was a free agent in 1996 but he wasn't expected to leave Chicago - like Lebron. In 2004, Kobe Bryant was also a free agent but quickly proved L.A. was where he needed to be. I've heard people talk about Lebron going to Chicago but he wouldn't be able to wear the number 23 so please, let's stop perpetuating that rumour.
I'm a new Denver Nuggets Fan
I think the best story coming out of all this wheeling and dealing, lies in Denver. God Bless George Karl for trying to battle the play-offs and cancer at the same time. Five years ago, he had prostate surgery and has been good ever since. Then doctors found a malignant lump in his throat six weeks ago and Karl keeps it to himself - only management knew. Imagine being in this position. You are in contract negotiations with your bosses and suddenly it doesn't matter how many millions you are making. So management supports a one-year contract extension for Karl and the rest of the Denver Nuggets family -the players- are told. I like how the NBA, friends and foes alike, have rallied around him. And how Denver Nuggets management got behind him. If I were him, I think the most difficult thing dealing with all this would be all the questions and pushes for updates on his condition in press conferences and daily dealings with the media. I don't know if I could deal with that and may have kept my mouth shut entirely. Or maybe not. I think the love and support of family and teammates will move mountains for Karl in the next few weeks. It's times like these that make you appreciate what's around you - my heart goes out to George and the rest of the Karl family - close and extended.