Hello. I am back.
After a few days off for family reasons, I wasn’t sure what to lead with this morning. So I figured I would just offer up this snack pack of morning items. Let’s call it, “Quick Hits.” The NBA trade deadline is at 3 p.m. today and I plan to speak to Hawks general manager Rick Sund about the Hawks’ plans (which is expected to be to do nothing). Which leads me to the first item:
♦ 1.) The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Antawn Jamison from Washington Wednesday as part of a three-team trade with the L.A. Clippers. Great trade for the Cavaliers. It now gives them a front court of Jamison (power forward), LeBron James (small forward) and Shaquille O’Neal (center). The Cavaliers also had a chance to get Amare Stoudemire from Phoenix but it’s hard to argue with this deal, which gives them a 6-9, 235-pound forward averaging 20 points and nine rebounds. They’re clearly the team to beat in the East.
Question: Are you OK with the Hawks’ standing pat, or do you think they need to make a move to try to keep pace with Cleveland and Orlando?
(UPDATE: For what it’s worth, Sund, who had been open to speaking this morning, now has passed along through a spokesman that he would prefer not to talk until after the 3 p.m. trade deadline. Read into that what you like. If there are any worthy developments Hawks-related, I’ll pass them along.)
(UPDATE II: The Hawks will go after former Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas if he is released by the Washington Wizards, which is expected. Here’s why it’s a good move.)
♦ 2.) When I left town, I expected Johnny Damon to be signed by Detroit by the time I returned. Hasn’t happened. If the reported numbers are accurate, the Tigers have offered by far the most dollars (two years, $14 million or one year, $7 million), far north of the Braves and Chicago White Sox. So why hasn’t Damon signed? There have been reports that his wife, Michelle, doesn’t want to live in Detroit. I would say that makes her fairly human. She prefers something more “cosmopolitan.” Hey, Michelle — how about Atlanta?!? I’m posting a picture of Michelle Damon. I figured that would be the best way of starting a write-in campaign for Damon to sign with the Braves, even if the letters come from mostly dirty old men.
♦ 3.) Speaking of letters: Got an email a week ago from somebody wanting to know if I thought the Thrashers-to-Winnipeg rumors were true. Never had a chance to answer before my time off. But I see where the rumors mutated to the point where the team felt the need to respond. For the record, only half the rumor would shock me: It’s easy to see the Atlanta Spirit putting the team up for sale, but the relocation part doesn’t make sense — at least not yet. Commissioner Gary Bettman reaffirmed he wants the franchise to work in Atlanta. He presides over a league with a number of weak
markets already. Do you believe he really would be open to swapping Atlanta for Winnipeg? The Phoenix Coyotes went into bankruptcy and were taken over by the NHL. That puts them far ahead of the Thrashers as a candidate for relocation. This doesn’t mean the Thrashers aren’t in danger of being moved — they are. But I don’t believe it’s imminent. Bettman wants to make sure all avenues of possible strong local ownership are exhausted first.
♦ 4.) Tiger Woods has announced he will end the silence on his personal problems and sex scandal Friday. He will meet with the media but only a select few members. (The Count has not received an invitation.) He will read a statement but will not take questions. I understand the whole “this is between my wife and I thing,” but I’m not sure this is the way to go about it either. This saga has grown far beyond the usual celebrity marriage infidelity story. Fortunately, Nike has a lot of skilled speech writers.