I usually loathe to write "X-team should do this, this and this and all their problems will be solved!" posts. For one, it's shoddy analysis by a guy who doesn't know jack shit about how professional sports transactions truly work. For two, such "analysis" can become outdated in a matter of minutes or seconds. Such was the case with Wednesday's post about the Braves, as soon as Rafael Furcal's agent decided to break an unwritten rule in a sport where unwritten rules run the show.
As for John Schurholtz and Frank Wren's subsequent outrage and promise to cut off all negotiations with Arn Tellem's Wasserman Group of agents, I understand their frustration. It's easy to point the finger at Wren, who has had a rough go of it in his first full offseason as Braves' GM, and certainly has some egg on his face as the Braves head into the 2009 calendar year with Javier Vazquez as their #1 starter and no new bats in the lineup.
However, by all accounts (both agents and GM's), this was indeed some shady dealings completely on the side of Kinzer and Furcal. It seems that once the Dodgers matched the Braves offer financially and agreed to allow Furcal to stay at shortstop, rather than moving to second like the Braves had suggested, they completely changed course. Tellem initially put all the onus on Kinzer, according to the AJC on Wednesday, but since then has publicly stated that everything was handled legally and he hopes the Braves' embargo on dealing with his clients will not hold.
The Braves don't have much of a choice at this point. Scott Boras, who Schurholtz/Wren have been extremely hesitant to deal with in the past, and The Wasserman Group are two of the biggest agencies out there for top-notch MLB talent. While I admire their principles, it's not completely realistic or intelligent to simply shut out acquiring certain players because their agent is a douchebag.
I'm sure the anti-Tellem-client thing will stick for this offseason, and that's fine. But, damn, where do the Braves go from here? Paul Maholm, Zack Greinke, Rick Ankiel, etc.? Those are the names being thrown around? The inability to land Furcal likely made acquiring Jake Peavy harder, so that even looks like less of an option at this point. The likelihood of the Braves grabbing roster-changing talent appears dubious at best at this point; and that doesn't bode well for a team that won 72 games last year.
I went to the Hawks game against the Celtics on Wednesday, which in blog years was six months ago, so I can co-sign on everything that has been mentioned at numerous better Hawks blogs. The crowd was indeed awesome, the officiating in the third quarter was inexplicable, since when did Paul fucking Pierce start getting the Kobe-MJ treatment, it just felt like Joe was going to miss that free throw, etc. etc. etc.
One thing I have noticed while watching and reading the fine blogs above is how the same issues about this year's Hawks keep popping up over and over, with seemingly no end in sight. Flip Murray takes too many shots, Acie Law/Solomon Jones need more PT, everyone loves Josh Smith but please for the love of God stop settling for so many damned jumpers, give Horford more touches down low, we need to stop the Joe Johnson vs. the world crunch time mentality, and so forth. I'm not exactly breaking Watergate wide open when I declare that damn near all of these issues, with the exception of maybe Smith's, can be fixed with coaching adjustments, of which I haven't seen any this season. Not a good sign.
Of all the issues above, the one that bothers me the most is the refusal to give Acie Law any run whatsoever. I understand that winning this season is the highest priority. However, Mike Bibby is a free agent after this season and unlikely to be re-signed, and it's not as if there are any better options at backup PG on the roster. I don't see any reason why Flip Murray should ever be bringing the ball up and running the offense. I believe Law can equal Flip's offensive output (or at least be more efficient on the offensive end) and would be a better distributor. Play him. Just, as CoCo points out, not at the same time as Flip.
Still, the Hawks are proving they can play with the best in the L and are now 17-10 following impressive wins against the Warriors and Pistons (held off writing this paragraph until the 'Stons game ended for jinxing purposes). That's currently good for 4th in the East...very few teams in the NBA have a more complete starting five than the Hawks, and those guys are carrying the team right now.
"(Joe Cox) got a bunch of skill and with guys around him he can get them the ball. He's a really accurate passer. I think he could run this offense just fine."
“(Whatever team has the first pick) won’t affect me,” Stafford said Tuesday. “You can’t control where you’re going to get picked or what team is going to take you, so you’ve just got to do the best you can do and see what happens.”
Just go pro, man. Nobody would blame you, we're talkin' bout like $40 mil here. But quit acting like you don't have a clue what you're doing.
(Worthless/Useless) Question for Georgia fans. You have a choice to have Stafford OR Moreno back next year. Just one. Who ya got?
I'm going with Knowshon. As Stafford so eloquently points out, Joe Cox will have plenty of talent around him and has been in the program for four years. We've seen him win a game for us. And I'm not sure I'm prepared for the idea of Caleb King, Richard Samuel and a bunch of green freshmen getting all the carries, though I should probably warm up to the idea fairly quickly.