Just a bit outside

NBA 2K14-15 SEASON PREVIEW: Celtics Get Smart

If it’s any consolation to Rajon Rondo, he’s going through a Celtic Icon initiation rite that began with Paul Pierce. 

To win you must first face defeat. And suffer. 

Like a class act who refuted ESPN’s news that he had asked for a trade, Rondo goes all in with Danny Ainge’s rebuilding an by breaking his hand. 

Cool You don’t need me to be good now, I get it. 

For better or worse, Rondo remains the only Celtic that proves the team isn’t going rock bottom the way the Sixers have gone. 

As long as Rondo remains, the specter of a winning season looms over the short horizon. 

Take him out, and it’s going to be a long slog. 

Boston didn’t lose enough to get Wiggins, Parker or Embiid, any of which would have facilitated Kevin Love’s arrival. Instead Love is playing with LeBron, after making it publicly clear he didn’t mind going to Boston. 

Like a wrecking machine the Celtics must soldier on. Despite the Eastern Conference’s relatively lack of strength left even more wide open by Paul George’s injury, expect this ship to miss the playoffs, and struggle to win 20 games. 

There will be close losses as head coach Brad Stevens establishes a system. As polished as top rookie Marcus Smart is, letting him play alongside Rondo full-time is somewhat of a revolutionary concept that could fail. James Young could make Avery Bradley expendable. 

There’s a lot of guards and potential at the wing positions, but no one’s expecting anything more than positive development from the whippersnappers that must surround Rondo. 

Ainge has asked for the sky in Rondo talks, waiting stone-faced for another franchise to call his his bluff. One year removed from free agency in what’s now a discount rated rookie extension, the Celtics will own the right to give him one more year at the league maximum. To wit, his franchise credentials have been in doubt. Phoenix (with Goran Dragic) and Toronto (with Kyle Lowry) proved you don’t have to pay a premium for a non-All Star all star at the position. 

Both teams almost made it to the playoffs as the best players on their young teams. The Lakers with Kobe and the Celtics with Rondo didn’t. 

Half of that isn’t fair, as both stars spent 2013-14 recovering from injuries. Their front offices had clearly punted, and have resulted to patching up Dwight Howard’s hole with Carlos Boozer. 

Rondo will be surrounded by rookies, playing for a coach he hardly got to know last year. He came back in part-time duty but save for a handful of games, Boston wasn’t any better. 

The Celtics’ meager per-game shot at winning actually depended on Jeff Green, who foreshadowed 40-point games with eye of the storm eight-point outputs. 

Green’s $10 million per multi-year deal is one-year shorter, and he could hold the most value as a trade candidate. Ainge may not get a choice first rounder, though teams have gotten desperate in the past.

Green’s deal would have been an absolute deal in a future of increased TV revenues and rising cap spaces. For now Green remains a potential cap killing move, for a potential short-term gain, in exchance for a lottery or mid first rounder. 

The Sixers traded the only semblance of rotation players it had mostly for second round picks. Where Thad Young goes, so does Green. 

It’s also unfortunate that expiring deals aren’t as valuable. Teams are hesitant to pare cap space down by taking on a one-year $10 million commitment to someone like Gerald Wallace. That’s a potential cap hold that’s been offset by the increasing use of non-guaranteed deals, usually awarded to second rounders and undrafted talent.

We’ll see. But I see a giant tank on the horizon. Stevens’ coaching and the kind of young talent will at least make it bearable. Lots of close losses. Eh. What’s one more year.  

#EvenYear

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No one would have given away Thursday night’s ending. 

Former Giants castoff Travis Ishikawa smashed a three-run shot to break a tie game in the ninth inning of San Francisco’s clinching win, once again at the expense of the Cardinals. 

Bam. Hashtag that shit #EvenYear. 

Ishikawa’s final stroke sealed the inevitable coming into Game 5 of the NLCS. The Kansas City Royals were comfortably in the World Series. The Giants however illogically were a win away. 

The Cardinals hit. Matt Adams, Kolten Wong and Matt Carpenter showed that in spurts. Randall Grichuk, acquired as a throw-in who was nevertheless the Angels’ best prospect, homered when it counted. 

C Tony Cruz would have been the playoff hero in the absence of Yadier Molina. Adam Wainwright, a stand-in goat, was vintage Halladay, commanding his curve and cutter, while mixing in a moving four-seamer. He had the Giants stymied. However much he sucked in two previous 2014 postseason appearances, Wainwright was himself again. 

Not a sacrificial lamb to Madison Bumgarner, the embodiment of a Mad Dog, and a Dirt Bag and a Gamer with huge marbles.

It almost seemed like Ishikawa hadn’t left, the 31-year-old as much a fixture of the Giants, where he won a World Series ring as a part-to-full-time-as-needed first baseman. But Ishikawa had actually missed two seasons from 2010 to 2012 before emerging as a comical farce of the continuing trope that the Brewers’ inability to replace Prince Fielder. Ishikawa didn’t stick there, and neither did he hold with the Yankees or O’s. 

After 15 games in Pittsburgh and not even out of April, Ishikawa would find a circuious path with the Giants. After extreme desperation, the excellent no-hit first baseman had to play left field, which really wasn’t as bad as Michael Morse in first. 

In a series it defined by its supernatural ability to manufacture runs without hits, the Giants outlasted a Cardinals team who was not only hitting, but having the benefit of a re-animate ace in Wainwright. 

Mike Matheny was doomed by his inaction, sending Pat Neshek and then Michael Wacha before even dipping into the lights out Trevor Rosenthal, when St. Louis was protecting a lead — in regulation. 

Not every team can have the benefit of Bruce Bochy, I guess. 

The revered all-time great manager inserted closer Santiago Casilla with the game tied 3-3. The closer wavered. Bochy didn’t. Casilla had yet to allow an earned run to blow the game before Bochy went to ol’ reliable — lefty Jeremy Affeldt against Oscar Taveras. 

The well-paid LOOGY smashed Taveras’ bid for early stardom with a forced out at first. After that, the Giants with baited breath waited for Morse to channel out another butt ugly home run. 

Didn’t happen. Didn’t need to. 

The Royals may look like the children of destiny, but the Wild Card World Series, a first, has all the magic of an even year for San Francisco. 

Ishikawa pulled an October miracle liker no other, and the inevitability of the Giants appearing in its third World Series in five seasons could never dampen that. 

Wainoh’s dealing like Halladay

Slider didn’t slide 

OHHHH JOE PANIK!!!

Tinkerer’s Bible Week 7 - Streaming Carson Palmer and saying BYE to some Eagles

I’ve released the Tinkerer’s Bible on a whim one Sunday morning, as a final roundup to tie in roster decisions going over a roster of games. Last week, I released it Saturday night. 

To try and give it a bit more breathing air and shelf life, I’m posting Week 7’s edition Thursday morning, right before the Jets-Pats short rest tiff. 

But before we categorically say start all your Pats and bench all your Jets*. it’s wise to lead with QB Carson Palmer vs. OAK.

*Except for TE Jace Amaro, covered in the desperation circle, is what I’m assuming is where I’ll decide to peg him. 

You have til Sunday to deide whether to that dance. The position has been deep, to the point of allowing me to draft Rodgers, acquire Luck and then trade Rodgers in good conscience because Peyton Manning was hanging out as a backup. 

Don’t sweat the small stuff, and a fantasy backup to cover a bye week is small stuff. Standard 10-team owners almost had no reason to streak quarterbacks, a cagey tactic in deeper pools, the monotony perhaps broken by teams who drafted Cam Newton and Brady, in an effort to sei-punt at the position. 

Up to this point no configuration that doesn’t involve RB DeMarco Murray will solve what ails that team. Feasting on scraps have worked on old reliables, with Ben Roethlisberger and Eli going through respectale weeks, followed by puncher’s chance points performances of Mike Glennon (Bye) and Brian Hoyer (vs. JAX). 

Owners who feel compelled to act could still find Palmer sticking out on the waiver wire. I have him in two leagues, making a play on another, and pending Sunday could start him over Matty Ice* in one league. 

*No way I’m benching him in two leagues, I don’t think. 

Palmer’s deep in the QB if you filter the wire through points production because he’s only had two games. But the Raiders, his former team, is easy pickings on defense, balky shoulder or not. He’s not a bad backup to have, and stashing him for a bye week isn’t a bad play, despite his potential health problems, because backup QBs are easy to ascertain on a weekly basis. 

There’s a ton of Shane Falcos out there. Palmer’s Elite Falco. 

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Dodgers Coup

When the Tampa Bay Rays opened its wallets, Andrew Friedman yielded Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez on what turned out to be a none discount. 

They weren’t terrible, because neither Damon nor Ramirez disrupted the team’s culture, and ability to grab the right prospects and develop the right players. 

Friedman gets credited for building the Rays from a limited budget, and coming from a pure background in finance, had guided Stu Sternberg because of his willingness to incorporate scouting into his decision making. 

Tampa Bay fans have nothing to cry about because Friedman had left them a parting gift — keeping some players long-term, so that the fans gain more attachment to the players. If they get a new stadium they could keep Will Myers forever. They don’t have to pay for Carl Crawford. Evan Longoria was willing to sign below market at a healthy $100 million plus to remain. It doesn’t look like new GM and Friedman cohort Matt Silverman now taking over as president. 

The road is set. The Red Sox had a relatively seamless transition when Ben Cherington took over Theo Epstein, who departed to Chicago. There’s a system. 

The headlines scream about the possibility of what Friedman’s genius can do with a $200 million budget, but he’s getting paid to A) not spend above $190 million, and maximizing perhaps a smaller budget. 

Team president Stan Kasten comes from the Brave system, and is intent on building a Dodger tradition of homegrown stars. Even without Friedman, the runup to reassinged ex GM Ned Colleti’s long reign resulted in lifetime extensions to Clay Kerhsaw, Zack Greinke, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig. They’ve drafted better than the Rays in recent years. Despite being a financial analyst brought by owner Stu Sternberg as a corporate analyst, Friedman has made his chops in the scouting department. 

He’s actually dispersed that money as good as anyone can, and the Dodgers are counting on Friedman to collect younger starting pitching, a wealth of hard throwing young arms who can do one to two inning shutdown while finding the right filler below Kershaw and Greinke. On the cheap. The Guggenheim group is putting a break on spending, though it could smell like a small bout of goodwill. 

Friedman will have all the money he wants on that one player, but he’s made his chops avoiding just that/ TH\he’ll be reunited with Carl Crawford in perverse way, because he could be tasked with moving that bogey contract. 

Friedman has run out of moves in Tampa Bay, and is capitalizing on that with the Dodgers. Relax, though. It’s not like Eric Bischoff with Ted Turner’s money sunk in World Championship Rasslin’. 

Friedman could get the money to go nuts, even though he doesn’t have to. He’ll have more resources for player evaluation, and that’s a third or less of a Robinson Cano post 30 commitment. 

la hermaphrodita lmao