Four Downs – July 3rd

FIRST DOWN – NBA Salaries are WAYYYY out of control and it’s going to get worse.

Who the hell came up with the idea to overpay the heck out of EVERY player? JJ Redick got $23 million on a one year deal from the 76ers. Paul Millsap got $30 million annually from the Nuggets. Blake Griffin will receive $35 million for each of the next five years from the Clippers. And Steph Curry will make more than $40 million each year from the Warriors. Seriously where does it end? Are we on pace to see $100 million annual contracts by 2030?

The solution to this is a difficult one – now that the bar has been raised, there’s no way to reform this salary structure. The NFL and NHL are two sports with a relatively fair salary cap and parity generally reigns supreme in both sports. In the NBA and MLB, a luxury tax is the only penalty for teams spending wildly. If your team has an owner with more money than he or she knows what to do with, paying the luxury tax doesn’t affect them whatsoever. And in the NBA especially, parity is completely non-existent.

The moral of the story here folks: raise your kids with a basketball in their hand. Even a veteran’s minimum contract for ONE YEAR will be more money than most of us every make combined in our lifetimes.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers
We agree, Blake, what the heck are the Clippers doing by paying you $35 million per season?


SECOND DOWN – The 76ers and Timberwolves are playoff locks, the Rockets and Suns are dumb but the Pacers aren’t.

Philadelphia adding veteran leaders JJ Redick and Amir Johnson to their remarkably young roster is exactly what the doctor ordered. In a weak Eastern Conference, I’d be borderline shocked if Philly doesn’t make at least the 6th seed if not higher.

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Minnesota added superstar Jimmy Butler from the Bulls, seasoned point guard Jeff Teague, and the underrated interior bruiser, Taj Gibson. On paper the Wolves have arguably the 4th most talented roster in the West behind Golden State, San Antonio, and maybe Houston.

I might be overrating Houston’s roster a bit. As I wrote on Friday, I don’t like the Chris Paul move and barring a trade of some kind, the Rockets depth looks scary thin at best. This team will underachieve and likely do no better than they did with a 2nd round playoff exit this season.

What the hell are the Suns doing and what is #TheTimeline? I get not trying to sign Blake Griffin for ridiculous money but Paul Millsap would’ve been exactly what this team needed. Instead they basically told their fans this weekend that the team is going to stink for at least two more years before they spend money in the 2019 offseason. I can’t wait to see the generous ticket deals they’ll be offering here soon. This strategy worked for the Cubs in baseball and quite possibly might have success for the 76ers, but is it truly fair to those paying top dollar for tickets?  No way.

Why are people bashing the Pacers so much for the Paul George to OKC trade? Because they didn’t get any draft picks? George is an elite player but he screwed up ALL of Indiana’s trade leverage the other week when he said he was definitely leaving the team at the end of this upcoming season. So realistically what could Indiana have gotten that was better than Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis? Both were former lottery picks with upside and considering he went to college at Indiana, I could see the Pacers building around him. With Myles Turner, Oladipo, and Sabonis, no they won’t be all that good…but I can still make a case that this is a playoff team in the wretched East in 2017-18.

As for OKC, enjoy your one year of fun with Russell Westbrook and Paul George before they both likely depart next Summer. Free agency next Summer will be absolutely wild and seismic in terms of the power shift in the league.

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THIRD DOWN – The Cubs finally did something right in 2017: Miguel Montero had to go.
At the rate he was going, Montero couldn’t have thrown me out if I tried to steal second base! He was ZERO for THIRTY ONE in throwing out baserunners this season.

But the last straw was publicly blaming former Cy Young winner, Jake Arrieta early last week for allowing the Nationals to run wild against him. You don’t call out your (World Series-winning) teammates in the media…it’s best to accept responsibility publicly and keep the bitching behind closed doors. Yes, Montero is correct that Arrieta doesn’t pay nearly enough attention to runners on base as he should. Then again, in his first outing after Montero’s comments, Arrieta threw a gem against the Reds on Sunday afternoon…and no, he didn’t allow a stolen base either. I wonder if having a better catcher behind home plate helped Jake a bit…hmmm…

A week after being released, Montero was traded to Toronto on Monday morning.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at San Diego Padres
The odds are that Montero wasn’t throwing out an opposing base stealer in this picture.


FOURTH DOWN – I have the perfect replacement for the potential football head coaching vacancies at Arizona and Arizona State. You ready for this one…Chip Kelly.

I know he’s a lousy NFL coach, 28-35, but at Oregon, Kelly was 46-7 (.868 winning percentage). With that record, you know the guy can seriously recruit and his track meet style offense works at the collegiate level.

Yet after his two NFL flops, with the Eagles and last year the 49ers, I wonder if Kelly is best suited for a non-high profile college job. Tennessee, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Auburn, potential notable open jobs at the end of 2017 = schools with too much pressure to win BIG immediately. At ASU and UofA, Kelly would have a grace period to bring the programs back to respectability. Odds are he would leave for a bigger job in a few years but if he could take either school to a Rose Bowl, would their fanbases be complaining?

Keep an eye on this one come late-November, early-December…especially if Todd Graham or Rich Rodriguez is fired mis-season.

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