The On Deck Circle

The unofficial home of Real Talk

“Travis Diener Goes to Jail” and Other News from the Week in Sports

Posted by Blake Murphy on March 8, 2008

Wow, what a slow news week. It’s a good thing professional athletes and general managers keep doing stupid things, or we wouldn’t have much to talk about at all. On with it, I guess.

“Diener Next Pacer Headed to Jail” and Other NBA News
*Pacers’ owners Mel and Herb Simon have decided they’ve had enough of the Pacers’ on-court troubles and off-court shenanigans, promising wholesale changes to fix this “crisis.” I say anything they do will be too little, too late, since they’re bogged down with bad contracts and nobody is going to take on emerging bad boys like Tinsley, Shawne Williams, Marquis Daniels, David Harrison, and yes, even black alley gambler and professional dice player Travis Diener.

*Sam Cassell is officially a Celtic now, but he knows he’s Rondo’s back-up, he says…until crunch time, when he’ll no doubt be looking for his own shot. The biggest flaw in the Celtics’ championship potential right now is that none of their three top guys are proven crunch time guys – Pierce loves it but is not exceedingly effective, Garnett is happier dishing it out late in games, and Ray Allen seems to have lost some of his ability to create his own shot. Throw in Sam I Am, a guy who likes taking the big shot but isn’t necessarily the best suited for it, and Doc Rivers finally has a reason to actually coach this team – who is getting the ball late in playoff games?

*Outside of Indiana, Miami’s Alexander Johnson was suspended for mugging Andrea Bargnani and Dirk received a one-game penalty for his clothesline on Andrei Kirilenko. Mavs fans weren’t happy, but AK-47 hasn’t played since.

*Miami and Atlanta throw down 51.9 seconds of their game from earlier in the season tonight. With no more Shaq, the reasoning isn’t really there, but whatever. Funny thing happened when ripped off J.E. Skeets’ Yahoo article, right down to the title.

*The Rockets have won 17 straight games, thanks largely in part to the re-emergence of The Finger Wag.

*Chris Andersen has returned. The Birdman flies again, indeed, and the Hornets are happy to have him, though coach Byron Scott says he will have to earn his minutes. The Hornets really need this depth in the paint, and it’s also a great story for the league.

*LeBron James was spotted talking to Jay-Z at a recent Cavs/Knicks game, getting the basketball world in an uproar. Well guess what, folks, LeBron is going to be a Net when he hits free agency in 2010. New city, lots of cap space, huge media market, and a good friend and media mogul owning the team…how does LeBron not make that jump?

*The Raptors have faltered terribly, losing to Charlotte, Orlando, and Washington this week with a monster win against the Heat stuffed in there. They have Seattle on Sunday before an ugly west coast trip starts. I know the playoffs aren’t far off, but with this team seemingly not poised to leave the 2nd round, it may be time to look to the offseason, specifically with respect to Carlos Delfino, who I wrote about in an article that was also up at Raptors Talk.

“9 Years and $26M for Two More Mediocre Running Backs” and Other NFL News
*Yup, it’s free agent time in the NFL. I won’t get into too much detail, both because the movement isn’t even close to done and because my Jags have been pretty quiet outside of getting Jerry Porter and losing Marcus Stroud. The Seahawks gave TJ “Mad Ducketts” Duckett a five-year deal worth roughly $14M and Julius Jones a four-year deal worth roughly $12M, posing the question – if you have three running backs averaging 3 yards per carry, how often will you get a first down? For the rest of the free agent coverage, just check ESPN’s tracker. Oh, and the Jets are spending way too much guaranteed cash to overrated or completely unrated players, but if it gets them the protection they need for Darren McFadden, I’m all for it.

*Brett Favre retired, as if you didn’t hear already. I’m breaking the news right now, though, that the reason is different than what most stories are reporting. Favre is heading back to Hollywood to continue the acting career he started with There’s Something About Mary, book it. Warren Sapp followed suit by retiring, though he’s more likely to head to WWE than Hollywood.

*Is Moss a Patriot? Is he not? Will he sign with whatever Arena League team signs Culpepper? Stay tuned in to “I Guess I’ll Never Shed This Attitude” for more.

*Additionally, Ben Roethlisberger got way too much money. How much too much? Well, looking at his eight-year, $102M contract, I’m going to guess in the $75M too much range. Rumor has it he’s already spent a good chunk of his guaranteed money on motorcycles, sky diving equipment and, of course, a Russia Roulette parlor for his basement. Steelers fans can rest easy knowing that at least they didn’t give a monster contract to a notoriously awful coach in Tom Coughlin.

*Uhh, Mike Vick, you may want to start that drug program soon. Apparently he hasn’t begun his drug treatment program that could see him released to a halfway house in time for the 2009 season yet, meaning he could lose yet another year off of his career. I’m confident a team will take a gamble on him, even as a backup, but only 15 NFL cities have major prisons and therefore, halfway housing.

“$700,000 Not Enough to Pay Text Messaging Bills” and Other MLB News
*Nick Markaikas, Jonathan Papelbon, and Prince Fielder all voiced their displeasure with their one-year contracts signed this week. Uhh, guys, none of you even have three years of service yet. I’m sure you’ll make a killing next year when you’re arbitration eligible, but in the meantime, how are you going to spend $700k in the course of a baseball season? Note to Prince Fielder: vegetables are expensive, so I understand your gripe. By the way, you Red Sox fans almost have to steal my fantasy baseball name from last year and go with The Papelboners, it’s a must.

*Bonds’ record breaking home run ball will probably be in the Hall of Fame this year, as it should be. They’re also considering a steroid exhibit, which makes no sense at all. Whatever, I’m over it.

*Spring Training continues, and I’m starting to feel it more and more. Erik had a funny running diary of a spring training game and followed it up with some fantasy tips, while I interviewed John Gibbons. Then we both teamed up for an all-baseball Podcast.

“Yup, the NHL is Still Going On” and Other NHL News
*Oh, you forgot? Let Kevin remind you why you should keep watching this year, other than the fact that the Leafs are just 6 points out of a playoff spot! If you just can’t get up for hockey, maybe Ian’s suggestions for the “New NHL” will please you.

*Ovechkin hit the 50 goal mark, Crosby came back, Forsberg finally played, and Gino Malkin is making a strong MVP push. Stu prefers the ‘everyman’ player, though, introducing Gary Roberts Wednesdays.

“Oh You Didn’t Know? Your Ass Better Call Somebody” and Other Sports News
*It’s conference championship time, and ESPN has what you need to follow it all, meaning it’s almost March Madness. For less obvious and bland coverage, though, check out the non-BCS teams that have impressed Stu, and learn a bit more about yourself with Trevor’s excellent piece on The Duke-UNC rivalry.

*A lot happened in the past two weeks in the mixed martial arts world. Luckily, Kyle Norton has that on lock down, reviewing UFC 82 here, and introducing This Week in Mixed Martial Arts here. Not covered yet, though I’m sure it will be in TWIMMA on Sunday, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua tore his ACL for the second time this year, removing him from the highly anticipated showdown with Chuck Liddell. No replacement has been named yet.

*The Champions League Round of 16 is going on right now, and for you non-soccer fans like me, the debuting Michael Cascone did a good job reviewing it thus far. In other soccer news, Liverpool owners turned down a $800M offer for the team. Wow.

*I’m skipping my WrestleMania hype bullet point this week because nothing really happened on Raw or SmackDown. They’re really dropping the ball with the Floyd Mayweather storyline.

*As usual, I have to throw down the last few links from this week that I left out. With perfect timing considering I have nasty chops right now, Alex Jackson looked at sports’ greatest mustaches. Trevor did another bang up job on his weekend hangover and even laid off on elaborate Kobe talk, saving it for Tuesday, no doubt. Finally, the The $100 Challenge is still going on and Stu and Alex are separated by a dollar with two days remaining.

Photobucket“Only Because It’s Been a Big Week Here” and Other On Deck Circle News
*The biggest news this week, obviously, was that we took off a bit. My Mutombo article got linked by Deadspin, Ball Don’t Lie, and a few others. That made me proud. Sorry, needed to pat myself on the back for that.

*I’m writing on two other sites now, too! I’ve signed on to write for Hoops Addict which is a huge deal to me. I wrote my first piece for them here on Thursday. It also made Ball Don’t Lie. Additionally, Raptors Talk will be co-publishing some of my Raptor articles.

*Stu also had a big day, for the second time, getting linked by The Pens Blog for the G-R-Wednesdays idea.

*The On Deck Circle writers have come together for a fantasy baseball league with bragging rights on the line. Our draft goes down next Sunday, and I’ll lightly cover it with an article sometime the following week. Be sure to check the Sidebars for updates as the season progresses, and put big money on me walking away with the crown.

*This coming Tuesday, March 11, is Kobe Bryant Blog day, as organized by Hardwood Paroxysm. Trevor and I will be taking part here at ODC, so if you love or hate Kobe, holler at us Tuesday.

*One new addition to the week in review is that I’m going to post a few of my favorite links from other sites from the past week. Here’s a small batch for this week just to start us off:
Odenized has shocked me with how quickly he gets YouTube videos up after games. If you ever need a basketball YouTube fix, there’s your hook up.
The Hardball Times has a lot of great fantasy baseball resources, not that I want any of you to get a leg up on me.
With Malice is just as tired of the same repeated stories as I am.
Now Watch Me Jock disagrees with Bill Simmons’ stupid plan for Sonics fans to try and save the team. My idea? Why save the Sonics when you can Shave Our Sonics?? In a Vitaly Potapennko-like display, I think Seattle fans should organize a mass head-shave both to raise money and awareness of the issue. It would no doubt be noticeable, peaceful, and garner attention, and it could even include Mickael Gelabale!
Drunk Jays Fans have me excited to watch some live baseball…soon!

That’s all for this week, holler back youngin’, y’heard?

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