It’s time for another installment of “Good Idea/Bad Idea”, where I present a number of recent stories in the world of sports, and I tell you whether I think it was a good idea or bad idea. Simple, right?
You’re all nodding your heads. Good. Then, let’s get started.
Issue: Philadelphia Eagles trading Pro Bowl RB LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills
It is as shocking now as it was when the news first broke – All-Pro RB LeSean McCoy is no longer a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The team that drafted him in 2009, according to multiple sources, traded him to the Buffalo Bills for third-year LB Kiko Alonso, late on Tuesday. Philadelphia will be parting with a versatile backfield weapon that averaged over 1,500 all-purpose yards in his six years with the team. While the deal cannot be finalized until the new league year begins on March 10, it is all but done, and the Pennsylvania native is reportedly displeased.
I can only imagine what the fan base is thinking right now. After all, one would be hard-pressed to comprehend why the franchise would let go of, arguably, its most talented offensive asset for a linebacker who sat out the entire 2014 season. Additionally, this move comes off the heels of the Eagles releasing veteran LB Trent Cole and CB Cary Williams. So, what exactly was the franchise thinking?
One need only look at the numbers for the answer. And I don’t mean the statistics.
The Eagles are one of many teams who are hard-pressed to work with small salary cap space. And, despite McCoy’s invaluable production on the field, perhaps the front office was wary of the money they were going to pay him over the next three seasons – particularly the over $11 million he was going to count against Philadelphia’s salary cap had he stayed on for 2015. You add the $11.625 million and $8.17 million that Cole and Williams, respectively, would have counted against the team’s salary cap, the Eagles now have an extra $31.745 million this offseason. That’s a lot of money to work with.
Furthermore, the Eagles can easily look to this year’s draft to replenish the ranks at RB. Even with utility runner Darren Sproles at their disposal, they will have the opportunity to draft a running back with the 20th overall selection in May’s draft. Projected to be at that spot are Georgia stud Todd Gurley and Wisconsin workhorse Melvin Gordon.
Additionally, the franchise might have been thinking to cut ties with their prized runner, sooner rather than later – at age 26, McCoy could be considered still in the prime of his career. However, franchise RB shelf lives are pretty short – another 3 years, and the one they call “Shady” will start to hear whispers of “over the hill.” As cold-blooded as it sounds, the measure of franchise loyalty only extends so far – especially to the position of running back.
As crazy as this sounds, the Eagles were actually Crazy like a Fox in pulling off this trade.
Issue: Sacramento Kings hiring Vlade Divac to front office job as VP of Basketball and Franchise Operations
One of the most beloved players to ever don a Sacramento Kings uniform has made a comeback. Ironically enough, he will be joining the team in the same realm as one of his most bitter rivals.
Former C Vlade Divac, who helped usher in the only era of prosperity and success in Sacramento’s short history of Kings basketball, was recently hired as Vice President of basketball and franchise operations. From 1999 to 2004, Divac was literally at the center of “The Greatest Show on Court”, as part of a fast-paced, run-and-gun offense that brought entertainment and success to ARCO Arena. He finished his playing career in 2005 as one of only four players in NBA history to record 13,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists, 1,200 steals and 1,600 blocked shots.
Now, he is tapped to help bring that success back to Sacramento, as a member of the front office – a place he will now share with former Los Angeles Lakers rival Shaquille O’Neal, who is a minority owner with the team.
As was described in the Kings’ recent press release, Divac’s role will be no figurehead position:
Divac’s responsibilities will include advising the Kings front office and coaching staff, assisting the organization’s global branding efforts, augmenting fan outreach initiatives and oversight of player development programs. Additionally, he will facilitate talent evaluation and help foster relationships between the team and a growing pipeline of European athletes.
But what made GM Pete D’Alessandro and owner Vivek Ranadive think to give him such a big responsibility? After all, Divac has no formal front office experience. And despite his humanitarian efforts, aiding in the team’s growth is an entirely different animal. Could the former player be in over his head?
Ranadive, in fact, praised Divac for his philanthropic efforts in the years following his playing career, and said that his penchant for global outreach made him a perfect fit for the franchise’s “NBA 3.0 Philosophy.” Furthermore, his extensive playing experience on the court – as well as his mentoring of younger European players off the court – will be a major asset for the team’s attractiveness to foreign talent, and its global brand, moving forward.
After all, Divac was among the pioneers of international basketball in the NBA. Once upon a time, Divac was an All-Rookie Team member for the Lakers in 1990, and helped players like Toni Kukoc and Peja Stojakovic transition into the NBA. If anything, he could help the Kings usher in a new era of fast-paced, international basketball with an influx of European talent that could take the global Kings brand to new heights – something not even Ranadive could have imagined.
You add all that to the fact that Divac is considered an unofficial Patron Saint of the Sacramento Kings, did you really think for a second I would consider this a bad idea?
Issue: Dubbing the San Antonio Spurs as the best NBA team ever (based on franchise winning percentage)
Congratulations, San Antonio Spurs! You are now considered the best NBA team ever!
What are you going to do now?
Wait a minute, say WHAT?
Well, according to a report from the San Antonio Express-News’ Dan McCarney, the Spurs – defending NBA champions and winners of five of the last 15 Larry O’Brien Trophies – are now the winningest franchise in NBA history.
Technically, at least.
At the moment, the Spurs are 36-23, and are likely to win their game tonight at home against the Sacramento Kings. But it was only a couple weeks ago when Greg Popovich’s squad went ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for highest franchise win percentage in NBA history.
With their 15-season streak of winning 50 games or more, coupled with teams like the Lakers and Celtics struggling as of late, the Spurs (since 1976, when they joined the NBA from the ABA) are 1,920-1,207 (as of March 2) – that’s a winning percentage of .614, while the Lakers – at 3,213-2.050 since their inception in 1948 – are mere percentage points behind (.610). The Boston Celtics, since 1946 are in third place all-time with a .588 winning percentage (3,156-2,155).
I suppose that the Spurs have something more to brag about. After all, they have boasted the most consistently good American sports teams of the 21st century (save for, maybe, the New England Patriots). And five championships in 15 years is nothing to sneeze at – especially when your only consistent components to all five championships are your head coach and your power forward – albeit the Big Fundamental, Tim Duncan. In fact, the last time the Spurs didn’t finish a season with a winning percentage of .610 or higher? The 1996-97 season, when they went 20-62, and – surprise! – they got the No. 1 pick in the draft. Who did they take with that pick?
With all that said, is it REALLY fair to say they’re the best?
Granted, they’ve had an unprecedented 15-year run of success, and no one can take that away from them. Certainly not this insignificant sports blogger.
But, at the same time — the best ever? We’re talking better than the Bill Russell/Bill Walton Celtics; better than the Showtime Lakers of Magic and Worthy; the Celtics of Bird and Parish; better than Kobe and Shaq; better than the Jordan/Pippen Bulls?
And even if you’re talking the franchise as a whole, as a team, you can’t call them the best ever when they only have five titles to their name. The Bulls (6) have more – and even then, you can’t call them the best. That would be a toss-up between the Celtics (17) and the Lakers (16).
Hell, even if you wanted to go with the highest winning percentage, I’m not sure that’s even fair. After all, the Spurs have only been an NBA franchise for 39 years. The four teams behind them have been in the league for at least 8 years more – the Celtics, in particular, have been around for almost 70 years. Bottom line? The Spurs have a smaller sample size than the other teams.
Ultimately, it’s all relative and subjective. If you want to base their “greatest ever” title on win percentage, no one can argue with you. But don’t let that be the be-all, end-all argument. It’ll be one you just won’t win.
Issue: The idea of Gina Carano stepping into the UFC ring with Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey
Former Women’s MMA star Gina Carano hasn’t squared off in the ring since losing to Cris “Cyborg” Justino via TKO in 2009. It’s been almost six years since that fateful bout.
But some respectful words from another MMA fighter may lure her back from the bright lights of Hollywood.
While Carano has spent the last few years starring in major films like “Fast & Furious 6” and “Haywire”, the world of Women’s MMA revolves around current Bantamweight Champion, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey. At the moment, it doesn’t seem as if Rousey has anyone left to fight in her weight class, after dispatching of “Cat” Zingano in 14 seconds last Saturday. Her last two bouts lasted a total of 30 seconds, and she ends her opponents with stone-cold efficiency.
With that said, Rousey respects her place in the realm of Women’s MMA, and understands she wouldn’t have the platform for fame she has if it wasn’t for the efforts of Carano – the combination of beauty and aggression that helped put Women’s MMA into the mainstream. So, as she said recently, she would happily fight Carano if she were to ever return to the welcome arms of mixed martial arts:
If you have a problem with Gina, there’s a problem with you … If she wants to be done, and she’s done so much to change my entire life that I’m eternally grateful to her, she doesn’t need to do anything else. If she wants to fight, I would be happy to oblige her if that what she wants. I never want her to be pushed into doing anything that she doesnt’ want. If she wants me to play the role of an opponent … or as cast mate or anything I would be happy to help her or be there for her.
Not so fast, Ronda.
Lest we forget, Carano has been out of the fight game for almost six years. It’s not an easy undertaking to just step back into the Octagon, let alone against a fighter with the pedigree of Rousey. Assuming Carano would even think about making any sort of comeback, does anyone really believe it would be smart for her to do it against someone who can do this?
Granted, that was against an idiot who didn’t know any better (albeit staged), but that’s a Ronda Rousey on an off-day. In street clothes. When she probably wasn’t even trying very hard.
Would I love to see the two of them square off someday – as well as the “megafight” hype that would proceed it? Hell, yes, I would. But, it’s probably not the best idea right now.