Odds & Ends-Volume 171

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cousinsupsetWe begin Odds & Ends this week with the big story of the Sacramento Kings trading superstar center DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway,and a first-round draft pick and a second-round draft pick. Evans and Galloway are likely to be bought out and waived. A 2019 first-round pick from the Pelicans is also involved. Kings forward Matt Barnes is also likely to be waived.

Throughout the day and before the All-Star Game on Sunday there were rumours that Cousins would be moved and that the Pelicans were the front-runners to acquire him. The Lakers and Suns were also rumoured to be interested. Cousins was in Sunday’s game,but only played three minutes in the game and wasn’t heard from in the second half.

This is in contrast to previous reports that the team was ready to sign him to an extension worth over $209 million over the summer. Cousins had repeated his desire to stay in Sacramento.

“That’s home,” Cousins said of Sacramento in a radio interview earlier this week. “I’m loyal to the city, I’m loyal to the fans and I’m loyal to the organization. This is part of my legacy and I want to bring us back to the promised land.”

Meanwhile,as recently as two weeks ago, Kings general manager Vlade Divac publicly stated the team’s commitment to Cousins and wishes for him to stay with the team, stating “We’re not trading DeMarcus … we hope he’s here for a long time.”

I honestly am going to miss Cousins in Sacramento. I really am. He was a productive player for this team for many years,but beyond that, he was and is a great person for the community. However, he was a basket case on the court,getting technical fouls one after another,and after all this time his behavior never got any better which in turn was a problem in terms of keeping coaches employed there and even players from coming there to play with him. As a result, the Kings haven’t won more than 33 games in a season with Cousins on the roster.

It was,to me,a matter of time before this happened. I think that in years to come the team may come out of this stronger. I think the Pelicans won this trade handily,without question, but the Kings do benefit in getting an additional draft pick this year in a loaded draft and they get a player back in return that they wanted all along in Hield. I’m also happy for Cousins. He’s getting out of a situation that,for him,isn’t a good one. I think him going to the Pelicans offers him a chance to make the playoffs for the first time in his career and I can’t help but think that this is going to happen for him and the Pelicans, barring major catastrophe,of course.

Remember when the Warriors traded Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut and how much outrage the fans had about the whole situation? How did things work our for them after that trade?

I’m not saying the Kings will be champions of the NBA in a few years solely because of the Cousins-Hield trade,but this may end up being an addition by subtraction move in the long run. Overall,I’m trying to look at the bright side of what happened and I hope that Kings fans over time can do the same should this work out in the team’s favor.

What this trade reminds me of is a trade that took place not too long ago. It involved a halllarssonsuperstar player who was drafted high by that team and was traded to another team for a lot less.

That trade sent Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson. Immediately the trade was chalked up as one that the Oilers lost. Many fans criticized the move and wondered what they were doing. Two days later,the Oilers signed Milan Lucic to basically replace Hall at the left wing.

Hall was a popular player despite the team not winning very much with him on the roster. While productive on the ice, Hall was, at times,a cancer in the dressing room and part of what was hindering any kind of success or a winning culture for that particular team.

When Hall was traded, I as a longtime Oiler fan wasn’t the least bit surprised. I had been haring that either him,Jordan Eberle,or both may be on their way out. I think with this team, a franchise that hasn’t been to the playoffs in over a decade, something had to be done and Hall being moved was part of that plan. I wasn’t glad that Hall was traded, but I wasn’t unhappy,either.

Fast forward eight months later and while yes,some fans are still bitching about the trade, the Oilers have been successful this season with 72 points as of press time and have been in a playoff spot all season long. The Devils are near the bottom of the standings in the Eastern Conference.

All I’m saying is that one team wins a trade in its immediacy, but sometimes in the long run is when a team really triumphs in a questionable deal.

maroonmanningContinuing on with what was the lead story before the Cousins news came out with the Edmonton Oilers and their continued lost love for Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning. If you don’t know,Manning is the player who slammed Oilers centreman Connor McDavid into the boards last season,causing the then rookie to miss 37 games with a broken collarbone.

Thursday was the Flyers’ return to Edmonton since the incident and the Oilers made sure to not let Manning forget what they did to their superstar (and even any hopes of the playoffs last season). Patrick Maroon was seen skating near the Flyers’ side of the ice during pregame, lurking to make sure they knew he was coming. Then once the pucked dropped, forward Anton Slepyshev delivered a hit to Manning to the delight of the crowd at Rogers Place who responded by showering Slepyshev with cheers. Then defenseman Matt Benning of Edmonton slashed Manning and somehow the two players were sent to the penalty box.

But the fireworks finally went off when Maroon and Manning engaged in fisticuffs with the larger Maroon delivering the best of the blows and both players got five minutes each in the penalty box.

The Oilers not only sent a message to the Flyers to not mess with their star player, but also got the most important thing on Thursday, the win. They won the game 6-3 and the man who scored the final goal in the game was the same person whose rookie campaign their sixth defenseman ruined, that’s right,Connor McDavid.

I’d say the Oilers got their closure, now let’s move on!

One thing I thought was classless and pathetic was seeing a Flyers fan wearing a jersey collarmcbrokenthat read “Collar McBroken” in reference to the injury of McDavid last season and below the nameplate was McDavid’s number,97.

I don’t care if it was a Flyers fan wearing this or whoever,it could be a Winnipeg Jets fan wearing this,it’s not okay to celebrate or make fun of another player getting hurt like McDavid did. He’s still a kid. He has a mother and father and a family who I’m sure were horrified to learn that their family member was hurt in the manner that he was hurt.

I get the culture of sports in Philadelphia and how savage and even scathing their fans can be,but this was over the line and lacking of class in ways I can’t even begin to describe. I don’t hate sports fans over there,but I hate some of the things they do sometimes. You can be passionate about your teams and their successes and failures and still not have to resort to wearing a tasteless jersey like that man did in Edmonton on Thursday night,it’s absolutely shameful.

vermetteAnaheim Ducks centreman Antoine Vermette received a 10-game suspension for whacking linesman Shandor Alphonso on the back of the leg with the stick after being upset about the puck was dropped before Vermette was ready. He was ejected for his actions in Tuesday night’s game, a 1-0 Anaheim win over the Minnesota Wild.

After the game,Ducks coach Randy Carlyle insists that Vermette’s actions weren’t malicious,but that he was trying to get the attention of the official after what he viewed as a bad face-off. Carlyle did acknoweledge that contact with an official of any kind is strictly prohibited.

The suspension may hurt the Ducks,who sit tied with Edmonton in second place and are five points back of San Jose in the Pacific Division as of press time,and who are eyeing a fifth consecutive Pacific Division title with 22 games left on the season.

Vermette’s suspension was absolutely warranted. You can’t strike an official like he did,regardless of the intent or how malicious he did it. If you have a problem with the face-off, then eother have your captain or coach address it or address it yourself during a stoppage in play,prefferably a timeout. My only complaint is that a suspension of this length is almost never applied to players who strike other players in the head or face like when Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist speared Minnesota’s Jared Spurgeon in the face and only got a six-game ban for the incident. I think that there needs to be a level of consistency when it comes to disciplining players for violent actions like the ones of Vermette and Nyquist.

So,while I was on vacation last week in Southern California, one of my friends asked me therrienwhy the world the Montreal Canadiens fired their head coach,Michel Therrien,when the team was in first place at the time he was let go.

The answer? The team was sputtering after their strong 13-1-1 start to the season. They’ve gone 18-18-7 mark since.

“I came to the conclusion that our team needed a new energy, a new voice, a new direction,” Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said in a statement. “Today we hired the best available coach and one of the league’s best.”

That coach? Former Bruins coach Claude Julien,who was fired himself by Boston earlier this month. This isn’t the first time Julien has replaced Therrien in Montreal,the first time he did it was in 2003.

I’ve never been a fan of firing a coach when a team is unsuccessful as Montreal is,but it appears that Therrien has been on the hot seat for a while now. The Canadiens have had a lot of great talent on that team for some time now and it has yet to materialize into a Stanley Cup appearance let alone a championship. However,there is a team that fired a coach midseason and ended up winning the championship. That team? The 2015-16 Cleveland Cavaliers.

I’m not saying that the Habs are anything like the Cavs, but if they are,it may be the beginning of a trend.

morseMichael Morse is back with the Giants and is hoping that he can make the opening day roster and has vowed that he won’t play anywhere else if he doesn’t do so.

“This is an opportunity and the Giants have given me that opportunity,” he said. “It’s not something I’m not going to take seriously. I’m 110-percent in it to help this team, and I told Bobby (Evans) I don’t want to play anywhere else. I don’t want to play anywhere but for the Giants.”

In his lone season in San Francisco in 2014,Morse hit .279 and 16 home runs and had an OPS of .811, second best on the team. After leaving the Giants for the Marlins with a World Series ring in tow, he then landed in Pittsburgh where he was later designated for assignment.

He actually had a chance encounter with Giants general manager Bobby Evans at Hunter Pence’s wedding in the offseason,where the 34-year-old told him he wasn’t done and wanted to see what if he had anything left.

“If you want to see if you’re done or not, come to camp,” Evans replied.

“I told them to write up a contract,” Morse told the San Jose Mercury News. “I don’t care about the money part. …What other team would do that? That’s probably why I’m the luckiest guy here.”

I’m rooting for Morse to make it and I think he will if he can produce during Cactus League play. Bruce Bochy loves veterans and having a guy like Morse on your roster can only help your squad. I enjoyed having him on this team in 2014 and if he can make some noise in 2017, then I’m all for it.

Going back to basketball and I’m gonna come right out and ask it, was there anything more dumb than the mannequin challenge during the celebrity game during NBA All-Star Weekend?

During the third quarter of this game after Romeo Miller,a.k.a. Lil’ Romeo,missed a jumper,the game froze as the song “Black Beatles” came on by Rae Sremmurd.
Not only did the celebrities who haven’t been relevant since 2005 get in on it,but so did the audience.

However,not everyone was amused. Michelle Beadle,who did commentary on the game for ESPN,voiced her disgust.

“No,” said Beadle “…Okay,I’m gonna say something, if they dab next,I’m gonna flip this table over and walk out of here!”

I’m with Beadle,this mannequin challenge is such a waste of time,not only during a celebrity game,but overall for all of the people who either came out to see this crap and the people watching at home. Beyond that,these celebrities aren’t very good at basketball. At the very least,if you’re going to insist on having this game, can you have some celebrities that at least have some game?

glennrobinsoniiiI wrote about this seven years ago and I’m bringing it up for our last topic this week: The NBA Slam Dunk Contest needs to go.

Gone are the days of Michael Jordan taking off from the foul line to jam it home and Dee Brown covering his eyes for the jam and in its place are guys I have to Google to find out who they are (minus Aaron Gordon and DeAndre Jordan) who are trying to be original in a contest that has run out of steam for the most part.

From DeAndre Jordan jumping over DJ Khaled’s beer belly to Derrick Jones Jr of the Suns dunking over four people to Gordon and the drone, it just seemed like a yawner of a contest.

The bright spot,however,was Glenn Robinson III of the Indiana Pacers. He had probably the best dunk of the night where he jumped over teammate Paul George, Boomer,the Pacers’ mascot,and a Pacers dancer to wow the crowd. He certainly did that to the restaurant I was at on Saturday where the contest was being viewed.

Aside from that dunk,there wasn’t much to be desired with the dunk contest and if that’s the case, it should be done away with. Unless,of course,we get the superstars to participate in it.

That’s all for Odds & Ends this week,we’ll see you next time!

 

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