We begin this week’s Odds & Ends with the news of Kawhi Leonard being traded to the Toronto Raptors along with Danny Green in exchange for DeMar Derozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first round pick.
Leonard’s time in San Antonio ended on a sour note when his season was very injury-plagued and there were many disagreements between him and the team regarding his rehabilitation process for his injuries and in June he had requested a trade. He has one year left on his deal and it’s likely he won’t remain in Toronto past this season and would prefer to be with the Los Angeles Lakers when 2019 arrives,though the Raptors are desperately trying to find a way to sign him long-term.
Leonard’s departure,along with Tony Parker going to Charlotte,is starting to signal an end of an era in San Antonio where the team has had 20 consecutive playoff appearances resulting in five championships. While the team does still have talented pieces in LaMarcus Aldridge and Derozan,but Pau Gasol and Manu Ginobili are senior citizens and one has to wonder hwo much those those two lave left. Unless they get younger pieces to fit their successful system sometime soon, this looks like the end of the Spurs’ reign under Gregg Popovich.
The Sacramento Kings finally signed somebody. Make that two somebodies.
The team signed point guard Yogi Ferrell to a two-year $6.2 million deal. Ferrell played in all 82 games for the Mavericks and averaged 10.2 points per game last season. He joins a Sacramento squad that might be needing help at point guard after all as Frank Mason,Jr. didn’t look so good in summer league and may be fighting for his minutes.
Ferrell,25,brings quickness and efficient scoring to the Kings and is a scrappy player who worked his way up from the G League to be where he is now.
Ferrell will be joined by former Timberwolves forward Nemanja Bjelica who signed a three-year, $20.5 million contract to join the Kings in lieu of returning to Europe. Bjelica,30, was underused in Minnesota and is hoping to bring his A-game from his time in the EuroLeague to Sacramento. His paltry 6.8 points per game was highlighted by his 41-percent three point shooting.
I think both signings are smart ones in the sense that they are low risk,high reward. Ferrell and Bjelica are there to play a role in helping this team get better and to play with an up-and-coming young core.
For those who say the Kings should’ve done more,I get it and understand the frustration.
However, this team isn’t going to be able to sign a more marquee name until they start winning again. Look at the more successful teams like the Warriors. They had to rebuild their team from within the organization and when they started winning the likes of guys like Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins came to play there. It’s going to take some time for that to happen. I think the team is somewhat on the right track and I hope there’s more to come.
If there’s anything the Bay Bridge Series taught us it’s that one team is surely on the rise and the other is looking less and less like a playoff team. I think we know which is which at this point.
The A’s walked-off with the series and the Bay Bridge trophy (which is lame,by the way) on Sunday with a 6-5 win over the Giants in front of a large crowd in Oakland. The A’s won four of six games against their crossbay rivals and now sit at 57-43 and are one of the hottest teams in baseball. They do,however,sit in third place behind Houston and Seattle in the division and are three games back of the Mariners for the final Wild Card spot. They did make a move to bolster their bullpen when they traded for Jeurys Familia from the Mets as they hope to make an extra push towards their first postseason berth since 2014.
The Giants,meanwhile,while still alive in their own playoff hunt are looking nothing like a postseason team. They currently sit at 51-50 and are five games back of the Diamondbacks in the NL West and are 4½ games back of the Braves for the final Wild Card berth.
However,what troubles me about this team is that they aren’t beating the best teams in baseball and even come up short against teams they should be beating fairly easily and often. Not to mention the frequent call-ups and send downs with the minor leaguers. Either keep them up here on don’t. Unless this team makes a move that can seriously help them clinch a playoff berth, I don’t see it happening for them. They’re too inconsistent and look way too much like pretenders and have most of this season. Look for them to be around 81-81 and hope that next year is better than this one.
Finally this week,is there anyone out there who hates these split A’s-Giants hats as much as me?
They’ve been around since 1989 or so and they’re hideous. These hats are for people who want to give love to both Bay Area teams equally when,in fact,that shouldn’t be happening at all.
I was always taught that once you pick a team to like in sports,that’s your team and that there’s no such thing as a second favorite team. That would be like marrying more than one person and saying “This is my other favorite spouse”, I doubt that very few people would do that.
Not only that,but what if your two favorite teams met in a championship,who do you root for? You would be screwed! Don’t ever let yourself be screwed. Pick a team,Giants or A’s,you can’t be a fan of both,nor should you be!
I’m usually not a fan of burning sports merchandise,but I’m more than willing to make an exception for these unnecessary lids. Let’s get that bonfire going!
That’s all for this edition of Odds & Ends,see you next time!