Posts Tagged ‘Dallas’

Rockets GM Morey meets with Bosh (AP)

July 1st, 2010
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey sure knows how to make a first impression. Morey met with coveted free agent Chris Bosh in Dallas just after midnight Thursday, making a pitch to an available player at the exact moment free agency opened for the second straight year. The Rockets are considered long shots to land the 6-foot-10 Bosh, who has averaged a double-double in three of his seven...

Fantasy Baseball By The Numbers: Week 13

July 1st, 2010

The recent rash of perfect games and no hitters has many people scratching their heads. Some are calling it the “Year of the Pitcher,” while others think it’s due to the eradication of steroids in the sport.

But for all the analyzing and debating, everyone seems to be forgetting one thing: sports are notoriously unpredictable, and can be more random than a clueless crossword puzzle. I mean, who could have predicted three major players all going down on thumb injuries within the same short time span (four if you count the recently returning Aramis Ramirez)?

While we still haven’t invented a reliable injury-predicting machine (looking at you, scientists), we do have stats at our disposal that can help us figure out (or at least get a ballpark estimate) of a player’s future production.

These two stats basically work by separating luck from a player’s actual skill. BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) is a major one for pitchers and hitters which tells us how many balls are dropping for hits.

.300 is the traditional average, so anything way above that number for hitters or way below that number for pitchers means they are getting favorable plays on balls hit into the field. As BABIP regresses towards the median, it almost always results in a drop in production.

FIP (Fielder Independent Pitching) is pretty self-explanatory, but more important for pitchers than BABIP. It tells us how much help a pitcher is getting from his defense and how much of his ERA is for real.

ERAs tend to go in the direction of their FIP, and when it’s close you can usually count on them staying steady for a while.

I use those two stats frequently when assessing a player’s future value, so make sure those are two stats you look at first. Here’s some other random numbers I’ve come across recently.


Number of times the Tampa Bay Rays have been no-hit in the past 12 months, most recently by the Diamondbacks’ Edwin Jackson .

I don’t know how one of the best offenses in the league can have this happen to them so frequently. Many people benched Dallas Braden for his Mother’s Day start against the Rays, not the worst idea had he not thrown a perfect game.

Again, this should be regarded merely as a quirky aberration, and you can definitely bank on the Rays’ lineup going forward.

Still, it’s mind boggling to think how this could happen. Did the power go out in their hotel room? Was there a particular meal they ate on the plane? Who was mixing the Kool-Aid that days? We may never know…



June BABIP for emerging ace Tommy Hanson , whose been hit pretty hard lately.

In his last two starts he’s allowed 14 earned runs and been knocked around for 21 hits, only two fewer than he allowed all of April.

But his FIP is a very healthy 3.44, a full run below his ERA, and as we see in his BABIP, he’s definitely in line for a huge rebound and will continue to have a stellar season.

Consider this a minor bump in the road.



Stolen bases over the past five games for Chone Figgins , including three last Friday.

Even for a stat like steals where many times production comes in bunches, this is a huge number. Anyone who has kept the faith with Figgins won that category last week.

While his batting average and run totals have been a major disappointment this season, he’s still on pace for 40+ stolen bases, and he’s batting an encouraging .276 for June.

A player with a .300 average over the past three seasons doesn’t dip this bad for an entire year.


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NHL Free Agents 2010: Predicting Who Goes Where

July 1st, 2010

We are hours away from July 1st, and in Canada this day is one of the biggest of the year. It's Canada Day, but it's also on July 1st that the window opens for NHL teams to sign free agents. Of course we could just wait and see where each player signs, but where is the fun in that?

Paired with rampant rumors and logical fits, I will be predicting where some of the big free agents will find a home for next season. All predictions are the bolded teams in the respective players analysis.

Forwards :

Ilya Kovalchuk: The biggest free agent of the 2010 class, the New Jersey Devils have reiterated desire to re-sign the 40 goal scorer, but it really looks like Kovy is going to wait until July 1st. The Kings tried to acquire his rights, but as I said the Devils are trying to tie him up. He turned down a ten year one hundred million dollar contract from the Thrashers. He want's money, but he may take a slight pay cut to go to a team that he wants. Another very possible option could be the KHL with some big money contracts reportedly being readied for Kovalchuk.

Olli Jokinen: Jokinen has definitely seen better days (Florida) as his tenures with the Coyotes, Flames and Rangers were sub-par to say the least. A team with a desperate need at Centre could try and see if Jokinen can find his form again. Minnesota could fit Jokinen, they do have two great Finns in Backstrom and M.Koivu already. A return to the Panthers could also be on the books, but for the right price. If Dallas are indeed planning on trading Mike Ribeiro, he could fit there as Modano is leaving and Richards is a UFA next year.

Matthew Lombardi: It seems as though Lombardi won't get signed by Phoenix, and he should be a hot commodity come July 1st. Due for a pay raise, Lombardi had a breakout year and could be a really good second line centre or borderline first liner. Don't rule out a return to the Flames, who will be looking for some offensive help. Toronto could also be a destination for Lombardi. Once again, the Wild could be an option.

Alexander Frolov: He could very well go to the KHL . Unlikely to get offered a huge contract from an NHL team, a KHL team will most likely step up and overpay. The Rangers could go after him as well. They do love their free agents.

Paul Kariya: Could return to the Ducks , it would be a nice story. Maybe the Flames could be in play.

Ray Whitney: Ended up not getting dealt at the deadline. A team that was close to acquiring him, the Penguins, could be a landing spot. A return to Carolina can't be ruled out, and the Kings could be a player as well.



Sergei Gonchar: The Penguins would like to re-sign Gonchar but it seems talks are breaking down, though there is still a chance he could return. San Jose have been thrown out there, and a false rumor reported they had acquired his rights earlier, but with Rob Blakes' retirement the Sharks could be a good fit. A surprise team could arise. In my opinion, I think he could fit with Ottawa or St.Louis .

Anton Volchenkov: A shot-blocking machine, Volchenkov has been in very, very high demand. A report surfaced near the end of the playoffs that the Capitals were going to sign him, but it seems that cap issues could prevent them from doing so. If the Penguins do indeed lose Hamhuis and Gonchar he could be looked at. Anaheim could be big players too. There are a lot of suitors for Volchenkov though, and he could virtually sign with any team willing to give him the money he wants.

Dan Hamhuis: Looking likely to test the market, Hamhuis wants guaranteed top four minutes, with some powerplay time. This is usually unheard of, but a team could very well guarantee him those minutes and the money he wants. He has been long rumored for the Canucks . Maybe he could even sign with the original team that got his rights, the Flyers. Washington could be in play also.

Willie Mitchell: Suitors for Mitchell will most likely be the five to seven teams that miss out on Volchenkov's services. Washington, Anaheim, St.Louis, etc.. could woo Mitchell. He is a great defensive guy with a big stick to block passing lanes, and he could put a team like the Capitals over the top.



Evgeni Nabokov: The Flyers were interested, but couldn't come to terms. They signed Leighton this morning, so it's unlikely they will be in the market for a goaltender now. Other than Philly, not much has been speculated about Nabby. I think that we could see him in Atlanta . They seem like they want to make a splash next year and he could be a great mentor for Pavelec. Washington could be a destination also, but they might not have the money and would be more interested in a defenseman. The KHL could be an option, but doubtful.

Marty Turco: Also coveted by the Flyers, they couldn't come to terms. The Sharks could be players for Turco. Maybe even a place like Detroit , where he could play sort of a super back up role to Jimmy Howard. The Red Wings have shown a tendency to go after veteran netminders.

Chris Mason: Mason has been linked to the job in Tampa Bay. Yzerman has said he's not going to chase a big name UFA, but I'm not sure Mason is really a huge name player. After Steve Mason's struggles, the Jackets could look to bring in the vet Chris Mason. They would most likely need to move Ty Conklin though to do so.

Jose Theodore: Theodore will be looking to win a number one job. He will most likely not get a massive contract, but a team looking for a guy who can win that starting position will look at Jose. Maybe Ottawa could show interest, he could end up in Dallas fighting Lehtonen for the starting job.

Nowitzki coming to Dallas to talk deal (AP)

July 1st, 2010
Dirk Nowitzki saved the Dallas Mavericks a trip to Germany, a sign the team's all-time leading scorer and rebounder might not be a free agent for long. Mavericks president Donnie Nelson said he was moments away from boarding a plane for Nowitzki's homeland Wednesday when the former MVP's adviser called to say they were flying to Dallas instead.

The Summer of LeBron Officially Begins: Why James Is Staying in Cleveland

July 1st, 2010

Ah, we all remember 1969 — the "summer of love." Um, you neither? Well that's ok because we just might end up recalling 2010 for a much different reason: the "Summer of LeBron."

Gentlemen, start your engines and let the drooling begin. At Midnight ET tonight the official start of the NBA free agent frenzy is underway and there is only one star attraction, with everyone else falling in line after The King.

Unfortunately, in reality, this summer may just end up as the summer of disappointment, for LeBron James and the Heat's Dwyane Wade who will likely end up staying put, with LBJ signing a three year max and D-Wade staying for the long haul.

Although they're dreaming big in places like Chicago, New Jersey and Miami, the entire economic environment of the "mistake by the lake" is pinning its fragile hopes on the broad back of a basketball player.

And all that will be just too much for King James to walk away from.

Heck, James is Cleveland. Forget about having the key to the city — he can have the whole damn state of Ohio if that's what it takes to bring the big fella back.

From the southern shore of Lake Erie, to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, "The Forest City" will do almost anything, legal or otherwise, to convince its king to return. 

Speaking of the "summer of love," perhaps it is no coincidence that 1969 was also the year of the fire on the Cuyahoga River which challenged the city immensely.

Yet no challenge affects the hearts and minds of sports lovers and tourist bureaus quite like the free agency of LeBron James.

While rumors have been rampant about Chicago or Miami being the most likely destination for this gifted man-child, there is only one logical decision, and that is to stay where he's at.

Where else can LeBron play and call the city his own? Chicago will always be known for Michael Jordan. Miami has Wade and really, as great of a city it may be, there is only so much ball (and fame) to go around.

New Jersey and New York, with its assortment of unbeatable endorsement opportunities, not only isn't likely to get LeBron any closer to a ring, those places can be simply brutal when a player does not deliver the goods.

Just ask A-Rod before last year's Yankees title.

No, James is a hometown kid who loves the area and will leave the best legacy he could ever hope to achieve only if he stays in that city.

If it doesn't work out, he will only be 28 years old in three years and can do it all again.

It's not solely about the money; for if it was, Cleveland wins again.

But no, the money is not only similar everywhere he would go, it's got to be about the ring.

For James and his world wide entourage knows that unless LeBron wins a championship or three, he will never be in the conversation among the all-time greats. That's just the business of basketball in the NBA.

But don't discount how much LeBron craves the power and the fame and he will be a hero if he chooses to come back to the Cavs. 

Now, the Cavs don't appear to be championship caliber next season even if he does return.

But really when you look at it, even if James doesn't want to wait three years to win a title, why can't James have a similar chance of winning by staying put as opposed to going to Chicago, for example?

Sure, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah are nice compliments, but adding only a LeBron, as huge as that may be, no more guarantees the man a ring than if he stayed in Cleveland.

Plus, he knows if he goes to another city, he will be expected to produce a championship right away. Nothing short of a title in his first season will be acceptable.

Meanwhile, he has less pressure in Cleveland.

Now before you say what about Rose, Noah, James and Bosh…well, there are no guarantees, because Bosh is all about the money. It is far more likely he goes in a sign and trade deal, and the Raptors have already said they want no part of Luol Deng.

Miami is the current popular rumor, but again, if it's a choice between Chicago and Miami it would seem to make more sense for James to go to Chi-town because Rose would be a better compliment than Wade.

Also, one has to wonder how James would accept being Wade's caddy? The Scottie to Miami's Michael?

Make no mistake: Wade owns Miami.

Among other major free agent choices, Dirk Nowitzki is opting out of his contract with Dallas, but is 90 percent certain to re-sign with the Mavs. Likewise, it's hard to see Paul Pierce leaving Boston, especially now that their coach is back in the fold.

Look, the smart money says he is staying put, but we likely won't know until the final hour. You certainly shouldn't bet your house on it, but speaking of houses, only Cleveland can be called the "House of LeBron" in the "Summer of LeBron." 

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