Monday, June 29, 2009

Random links

"Scottie Hottie" -

The ladies like to call him "Scottie Hottie" for his rugged good looks.

The Cubs, on the other hand, might have a few choice words for White Sox leadoff hitter Scott Podsednik.

Unprintable words at that, as Podsednik was a one-man wrecking crew Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field against the visiting North Siders.

Even though it was Gordon Beckham's single that knocked in the game winner in the Sox's 8-7 ninth-inning win, Podsednik had one of his biggest games not only since he was re-signed from Triple-A Charlotte on May 1 but of his entire major league career.

Podsednik, who leads the Sox in hitting with a .319 batting average, went 4-for-5 Saturday, with two singles, a double and a home run, added two RBIs and scored twice.

NBA trades to watch for. (None involve the Bulls).

Is the NBA broken?? -

For everyone who cares about the NBA, this will not be easy, so I will do my best to get through this uncomfortable discussion as fast as I can. I love the NBA as much as the next person, and I believe that it houses the greatest collection of athletic talent on the Earth, but there is one gargantuan problem with the Association:

The league is so incredibly broken that the only thing that can save it is a lockout.

I know that this is an uneasy discussion for most, and those who feel sickened by this realization, I understand your pain. This agonizing truth came to light on Feb. 1, 2008, when the Memphis Grizzlies gave up a top 12 player in the NBA in Pau Gasol for four Mexican jumping beans and a pack of Bubblicious.

Just kidding folks, the trade was actually Pau Gasol and a second-round pick for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittendon, Aaron Mckie, Marc Gasol, and two first-round picks.

Looking at the actual trade makes the former trade seem less absurd. Now soon after this exchange, Memphis General Manager Chris Wallace became the laughingstock of the league and everyone wanted to see if he would trade them a dollar for 30 cents.

For all of you who think that Mr. Wallace willingly executed this trade, I have some swampland in Louisiana that I would like to sell you. The owners of basketball teams are having an increased role in day-to-day operations, and as the economy worsens, their purse strings will tighten on these teams.

How else can you explain the attempted trade of 26-year-old defensive stalwart Tyson Chandler to Oklahoma City for Joe Smith, Chris Wilcox, and DeVon Hardin?

How about the versatile All-Star Richard Jefferson going to San Antonio for the corpse of Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, and Fabricio Oberto?

If you are still not convinced what are your thoughts on the Cavaliers acquiring Shaquille O'Neal for Sasha Pavlovic and Ben Wallace? (Note: Wallace admitted that he is giving serious thought to retiring months before this trade was completed).

The list of lopsided trades in the NBA is so long that the recently Vince Carter for Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee, and Tony Battie looks like the steal of the century next to any of these stinkers.

What's next for the Bulls? -

No need to read too much into the Bulls' two draft picks, 6-8 forward James Johnson and 6-10 forward Taj Gibson.

The Bulls simply fulfilled their strategy of taking the best players available (in their opinion, of course).

This was not a message to Tyrus Thomas. Gibson is the 26th pick, for goodness sake - he's not being brought in to replace Thomas. Neither is Johnson. With his long arms, Gibson probably has more in common with ex-NBA journeyman Chris Gatling than anyone on the Bulls' roster.

And there was no reason to expect a blockbuster trade on draft night, because there is time for that later. The Bulls need more help, but it's reasonable to think they can bring back the same nucleus next season and challenge for a top four seed in the East.

Recent history has shown there are two ways to reach the NBA Finals - be lucky enough to draft a superstar (Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki) or execute a big-splash trade that brings in a player ho can put a team over the top (Pau Gasol, Kevin Garnett, a younger Shaquille O'Neal, Rasheed Wallace, Jason Kidd with the Nets). Notice that the Lakers and Heat struck in both categories.

The Bulls got lucky by winning the Derrick Rose lottery. Now they need a big-splash trade, not a roster tweak.

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