Posted on: December 18, 2010 3:27 am
Edited on: December 18, 2010 3:29 am

Report: Rashard Lewis involved in trade talks

As Wizards and Magic continue trade talks, Rashard Lewis' name has entered the discussions, according to one source. Posted by Matt Moore

Hot on the heels of reports that talks between Orlando and Washington are stirring, a number of other developments have occurred. Orlando Pinstriped Post, the blog that first reported talks had resumed between the Magic and Wizards on December 1st is reporting that a source has indicated Rashard Lewis has been included in trade talks with the Washington Wizards in the Magic's ongoing pursuit of Gilbert Arenas

Internet reports (yes I realize they're all internet reports) have started cropping up regarding the possibility of a deal being done, but a source tells CBSSports.com's Ken Berger that no deal is "imminent" though talks are ongoing. 

Moving Lewis would be a huge move for Orlando, bigger than Vince Carter. It would mean taking their biggest anchor of a contract off their books, though they'd have to add on something equally laborious. The Wizards do have newly-extended Andray Blatche who seems to have worn out his welcome, alongside Arenas'  massive contract. There's also the possibility of a third team getting involved with talks, with Portland, Charlotte, and Houston all heavy in trade discussions of the past week. 

The Magic are aiming for something big to remake the team and get them to the next level, the one Boston currently perches atop like Zeus on the mountain. Debate will rage should they choose to add Arenas if he is the kind of player that can get him there. As it stands, Arenas is a better facilitator than Carter, but a less efficient scorer, and one with a higher usage. According to Synergy Sports, Arenas has been the superior defender this season, allowing .83 points per possession to Carter's 1.00. 

Of course, all of this discounts the immeasurable intangible questions associated with Arenas. It's hard to find a player with worse recurring injury issues than Vince Carter, but Arenas fits the bill. This is all before the whole "bringing firearms to his place of work" thing. 

Lewis has been a staple of the Orlando offense, and was a huge part of the 2009 Finals run for the Magic. But as he's gotten older, he's become an even worse rebounder, and has lost his ability to create his own shot. As a result, the offense stagnates under him. Moving him would be a boon, even if they took back someone limited. If they were to get a more traditional power forward, perhaps, it might be a win for the Magic. 

We'll keep you posted. 
Posted on: December 17, 2010 9:37 pm
Edited on: December 18, 2010 12:04 am

Previously discussed Arenas deal getting closer

Report suggests Magic moving closer to previously discussed trade for Gilbert Arenas.
Posted by Matt Moore

Gilbert Arenas could be headed to the Magic. This is breaking, stunning news in the basketball world.

Except when Ken Berger told you about it in October . And then there's this headline from Magic blog Orlando Pinstriped Post from December 1st, a whole two weeks ago:

Huh. So maybe this isn't breaking news after all.

Regardless, Yahoo! Sports is reporting that now the Magic and Wizards are involved in "serious" discussions regarding a trade of Arenas to Orlando. This is opposed to previous discussions, which featured whoopie cushions, puns, and rubber chickens. Specifically advancing the story, Woj reports that Arenas has let the cat out of the bag to people close to him:
Arenas has privately told people for days that he believes a deal will soon send him to Orlando, where he’ll be reunited with Magic general manager Otis Smith, a friend and mentor from Arenas’ days with the Golden State Warriors . Sources said Orlando has escalated its pursuit of a deal in recent days. After losing five of their past six games, the Magic have shown more urgency to find a perimeter scorer who can help them stay a viable contender in the Eastern Conference.
No indications yet if it was Arenas' gun club he was speaking to. Speaking of bad jokes.

Orlando has to make a move and soon if they want to try and capitalize on the Dwight Howard window. Howard has indicated of course that he likes Orlando, but has been very clear about not verbally committing to a team that may not be contending. The Magic have taken steps back each season since their Finals appearance, starting with the decision to jettison Hedo Turkoglu for Vince Carter. Lately they've become not only mortal, but predictable. Frustrations have boiled over, and the time to make a move is now.

The teams are still debating assets to send back to Washington but Vince Carter and Marcin Gortat are likely being discussed.

Adding Arenas is a calculated risk. If he can stay healthy and play to his ceiling, he could be a better version of Jameer Nelson, alongside him. The question is whether that's enough to make a difference for the Magic versus the elite teams in the East. But with only so many stars available, you have to make a move when you have the opportunity.

This might be that time for Orlando.
Posted on: December 11, 2010 5:27 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2010 5:28 pm

Lockout future impacting Melo's decision?

With Melo "thinking" about the Nuggets' extension offer, could the CBA pressures of a lockout be forcing Anthony to consider staying in Denver?
Posted by Matt Moore

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Carmelo Anthony has told told Nuggets management that he's "thinking" about signing their long-term extension which would keep him in Denver for the majority of the remainder of his career. It's a striking change in direction from Melo's behavior and statements over the past six months, all of which has led him away from Denver and towards the bright lights of another, bigger market.

So with that in mind, why the change in heart? Melo maintains that this has been his approach the whole way through, but multiple reports have indicated he was most likely done in Denver. So what has pushed him back towards the shade of the Rockies?

There are multiple options. The struggles of the Miami Heat have to be considered, even as the Heat start to get together. The fact that a deal with New York, his preferred destination, is unlikely even if they manage to get a first rounder in return for Anthony Randolph probably has to dishearten him from the idea of moving. The fact that the New Jersey Nets are locked into Newark, NJ for two years instead of Brooklyn, and that they look so far away from contending has to factor in, as they are the most likely destination for a trade at this point. But the biggest reason is probably relatively simple.


Since this whole bizarre non-standoff-standoff started, the CBA talks have only headed faster towards a lockout brick wall. The owners won't even respond to the Union's latest proposal. A lockout is 99% probably according to Union head Billy Hunter. And considering the drastic changes being presented by the owners' contingent, big changes could be in place before Melo could sign a new deal. With that in mind, Anthony could be thinking he simply needs to go ahead and commit to the deal to get in place.

KB also clued us in recently that the owners are seeking rollbacks to current contracts . That would mean that any deal Melo signs now could be revamped to something lower in total dollar amount. But that's an issue of contention and there's at least a reasonable chance the union could fight off that attempt. So signing the extension now rather than carrying out his threat of not signing without a trade and risking a significant loss in salary.

A source told Berger in October that Melo wasn't afraid to test the new CBA . It could be that the way the talks have gone have Melo convinced the smart play is to at least heavily consider getting his deal locked in now.

But of course, that's conjecture. The facts still remain that Melo has not signed the extension, nor has he given any indication that he intends to, only that he'll think about it. And in the meantime, he's put more pressure on teams interested in him to up the ante on their offers. The disclosure is good news for Denver, but doesn't get them out of the woods. They still have to win games this year, convince Melo they have a plan to win in the future, and get his name on the dotted line.

This thing's far from over, but at least Denver has reason to feel more positive about their odds of avoiding a long-term rebuilding project.

Posted on: December 9, 2010 1:25 am
Edited on: December 9, 2010 1:27 am

Does Amar'e need Melo?

Melo's on the market. But has MSG got something too good going to disrupt in order to pull him to the Big Apple? The answer lies with the man called STAT. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Back in July ... you remember the NBA back in July, don't you ? It was a sweeter, purer time in July, 2010 BD (Before Decision) ... Anyway, back in July, Amar'e Stoudemire was talking about convincing Tony Parker and Carmelo Anthony to join him in New York, before he'd even joined the Knicks

Since then, there has been constant talk of Anthony trying to get his way to New York, by trade, free agency, whatever it takes. Those efforts have been rebuffed by the Nuggets at every turn due to New York having no assets to interest Melo. Even with Ken Berger's report that the Nuggets are finally willing to go ahead and move Melo, they're not nearly desperate enough to work a deal with the Knicks. But right now, the question should not be can the Knicks get Melo. The question might be, do they need to?

The Knicks beat the Raptors 113-110 Wednesday night, for their sixth win in a row, and ninth out of ten. They are, quite simply, en fuego. It's at least the first real version of the vision Mike D'Antoni has had for the future of the Knicks. And at the helm is most definitely Amar'e Stoudemire. 

Stoudemire had his sixth 30-point-plus game in a row, this time with 18 fourth-quarter points. He had everything going. The quick finds underneath the basket, the pump-fake and dunk, the mid-range elbow J, the little middle-key leaner he likes, the works. And he's had it going for games. What Stoudemire brings to the Knicks goes well beyond just the numbers. This was something that was sorely overlooked in the comparisons between Stoudemire and Bosh. Stoudemire has the unique ability to completely take over the game. You can simply give him the ball and say "go get us a bucket" in crunch time and rely on him to do so. The fact that he so often does it with such emphatic style only heightens the value and makes him that much more of a perfect fit for the New York state of mind. With his production this season, he's slammed the coffin shut on the idea that he needed Steve Nash to be great. Then he dunked on it. 

The Knicks don't really have a signature win in this stretch (with New Orleans bottoming out), but at 14-9, that's still much better than anyone had anticipated, especially after their horrendous start. 

So the question, then, is would trading for Melo be a good idea with how well this Knicks team, and in particular, Amar'e Stoudemire, is playing? 

It seems pretty simple, right? Carmelo Anthony is better than Gallinari, Fields, Randolph, Chandler, anyone that would be sent out in the deal. It gives you a bonafide scoring star to pair with Stoudemire. It's got to be pretty easy. 

Except when you consider usage. And for that, naturally, we return to the Miami Heat as always. The biggest problem with the Heat, at least early on, was their two starts kept deferring with the ball in order to not take up too many shots. Stoudemire and Melo may not have that problem, but the expectation that they would both want the ball so much might lead them in that direction. Furthermore, when you examine Mike D'Antoni's system, it doesn't lend itself to the same kind of ISO wing systems that Melo flourishes in. Even Stoudemire rarely is simply given the ball to work with. It flows through him while the offense continues to move. Melo is a stopping point. 

You've also got to look at the weaknesses on the Knicks and wonder if Melo helps them in those areas. He's not an elite rebounder. He doesn't work brilliantly in the pick and roll. He's not a hustle player. And he's certainly not a great defensive player. Adding Melo would be taking a bunch of mid-level players, taking their best ability without adding anything (and taking away Fields' defense which has been surprisingly good). 

All of this is besides the fact that Stoudemire certainly seems to stand tall and talented enough to take over games. He has the ability to put the franchise on his shoulders, and with a versatile skilled roster, take the Knicks to the playoffs. Forcing the issue with a superstar like Melo could fracture that dynamic, which could harm the chemistry. From the start, Amar'e has been the leader in New York. With the way he's playing right now, you have to think the Knicks at least in part want to give him the reins and let him show them how far he can take the team. 

Superstar power is always at a premium in this league. And as the Heat improve game by game you start to see the potential in loading up. But the Knicks have a long-term plan in mind, and you have to wonder if adding Melo, even if he were to become available to them by hook or by crook, would be the best thing for the future of the MSG kids. 
Posted on: November 26, 2010 1:53 am
Edited on: November 26, 2010 12:43 pm

Black Friday: Your NBA Shopping Guide

A list of NBA deals on the biggest shopping day of the year. Posted by Matt Moore

As we speak the hording masses are overrunning exhausted store clerks in a mad Turducken-leftover fueled crush of commerce that we call Black Friday. From sweatpants to hot pants to hi-def televisions and tablets with screens two sizes too small, the countryside is alive with the sound of financial transactions, and everything is on sale.

But what about in the NBA? Surely as your aunt is busy buying you long underwear that looks like it may have been part of Carrot Top's personal brand, there are similar discount deals available across the league, and indeed, we have some. If your team is looking for that perfectly holiday gift to complete their team, here's a few of the bargain Black Friday deals they can find on sale right now.

Expiring Veteran Power Forward, 50 cents on the dollar!
Troy Murphy is healthy. Troy Murphy has a good track record of production. Troy Murphy is not with the Nets. The Nets sent him home to "get in condition" even though he says he's good to go. It's partially because he's having trouble getting up to speed with his injury and partially because Avery Johnson is as temperamental as that dynamite they found on LOST . Just because it's not working out for him so far in New Jersey doesn't mean he wouldn't work fine. He's like that toaster with the beat up box that's sold as-is.

Numbskull Wing, Buy 1, get 1 pick free!
Speaking of Avery Johnson and his endless spring of patience, Terrence Williams is also at home , after being suspended for violating team rules. Now, Ben Golliver thinks Williams is just a knucklehead , and that's certainly possible. But this is the NBA. Knuckleheads make millions of dollars and wind up winning championships. Williams is talented but apparently doesn't have a spot in Averyland. Teams looking to snag a rookie contract with some talent can likely get Williams for a kind word and low first round pick at this point. Throw the Nets a bone with some actual talent and you can likely swing Williams and one of the Nets' picks. That is if Avery doesn't let him go on Black Friday all together.

Slumping Sub-Star, 75 cents on the dollar! O.J. Mayo is in a slump. He hasn't hit a wall, he's not regressing, he is still the third best player on the Memphis Grizzlies. But he's hit a slump. And instead of the endless amount of patience spent on Mike Conley over the past four years (which is working out brilliantly for the Grizzlies, despite my being a moron and blasting him as the worst point guard in basketball which is no longer true), apparently all those games O.J. helped win them mean less as he's been jerked to the bench. Lionel Hollins says it's just because he wants scoring punch off the bench . But Xavier Henry is now starting, despite him being approximately as prepared as a 9th grade pothead for organic chemistry. With Mike Conley's (totally reasonable!) extension, and Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph also due extensions, moving Mayo would simplify matters significantly for the Grizzlies. But they have to do so while he's in a slump. Trading a brilliant scrorer while he's lighting it up just won't do. Get 'em while the Mayo's... nevermind.

"Off-Limits" Superstar, Super-Secret Bargain Find! Denver's 8-6. Which ain't bad. It's also not great. And while there have been times when Denver looked decent, there have also been times when they look like they're inches away from utter implosion. and still... Melo doesn't have an extension.

And without an extension, he's still on the market. Denver's holding out hope, but they're also swaying. It just takes the right set of pressure applied to the right time to get a crack. And from there, you've got Melo. The idea of needing him with extension is fading as teams start convincing themselves they can convince him at season's end. So the trick is to apply the pressure and get Ujiri at the right moment before the offers start increasing, driving the value up. Melo's not off the table. And as long as he's not locked down, he's for sale.

Mega-Star Up for Grabs, Inquire For Availability
. Chris Bosh can't be on the market. Right? I mean, he can't be. He just got there. But if there's one member of the team that best represents the failures of the team's promise, it's Bosh. Bosh, who never waned to play center specifically because he's not made of steel and brawn, has been seen as a failure because he isn't those things on a team that needs it. He's less of a power forward and more of a grace forward. At least LeBron's got the numbers; Bosh has a few nice games and that's all.

Moving Bosh would be nearly impossible even if the Heat wanted to, due to the fact that right now he looks like a weak-willed third wheel with a massive contract. But if some team really wanted a superstar and had a package of talented bigs to offer, it's hard to see Pat Riley not at least writing the figures down on a notepad to kick around later.

Vintage Antique, Will Accept Best Offer. Juwan Howard is easy to make jokes about at 37 years old. But he got it done for the Blazers last year and wasn't the worst Heat player this year. If your team needs a big with experience, Howard's got it in spades. Just make sure you wipe the dust off the bottle.

Posted on: November 22, 2010 1:57 pm

Chris Paul is feeling pretty good about things

Hornets guard feeling better about things with team thriving.
Posted by Matt Moore

Seems like only yesterday that Chris Paul was unhappy with management and working to extricate himself from New Orleans in order to make sure his prime isn't wasted. Now, with the Hornets 11-1 and the toast of the NBA, Paul's feeling a lot better about things. As he told NBA FanHouse:

"Yeah, I'm happy," he said with a smile after a gritty 75-71 win in which he shot just 2 of 12 from the field for four points but had 14 assists despite the Hornets shooting just 32.2 percent. "I'm happy. We're good to go."

Most interestingly, FanHouse reports that part of Paul's newfound contentment is due to the near-sale of the Hornets to Gary Chouest. Apparently Paul was concerned about current owner George Shinn's commitment to spending for a winner. Helping things has been Dell Demps' shrewd maneuvering (depending on who you ask ), and Monty Williams' coaching, which Paul raves about.

The question is if Paul will still feel this way if the gap between the Hornets and Lakers is revealed to be as wide as it's considered to be. If Paul can win but not win a championship, is that enough for him? Likewise, best buddy LeBron James' current struggles in Miami have to put Paul a little off on the idea of ditching his team for a super-team-up in New York or elsewhere. Paul was talked about as part of the toast at Carmelo Anthony's wedding reception this summer. But Paul's under contract, has publicly supported New Orleans, and now that the Hornets are winning, you have to wonder if all that's behind him.

Then again, check back in February and things may be dramatically different, even if he does have good buddy Jarrett Jack to hang out with (at a hefty price for a backup). But for now, Paul's happy to be winning, happy to be in New Orleans, and happy with how things are going. Things have changed awful fast. Hopefully for Hornets fans, they won't change again that quick.
Posted on: November 20, 2010 11:27 am
Edited on: November 20, 2010 2:14 pm

Report: Hornets and Raptors close to trade

Trade being discussed to send Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless to Toronto for Jarrett Jack, David Andersen, Marcus Banks. Posted by Matt Moore

UPDATE 2:07PM: CBSSports.com confirms the trade is done, talks with the league will occur this afternoon. Bizarre.

Ken Berger confirms that the Hornets save $4.6 million immediately, which gets them off the cap and allows them to look at options at the deadline. The Raptors, in addition to getting Peja's expiring contract they can move before the deadline, save $4.7 million next year.

We'll have more analysis in a bit.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune , a bizarre Euro site via HoopsHype.com , and ESPN are reporting that the New Orleans Hornets are close to a trade that would send Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless to the Toronto Raptors for Jarrett Jack, Marcus Banks, and David Andersen. It is a baffling trade from about a hundred angles. We'll go over some of them here while the two fight over how much money the Hornets have to send the Raptors.

  • The Hornets are 10-1, not exactly in need of a bump-up, and having Bayless as a change of speed, dynamic scorer off the bench was a good thing for them. Getting Jack gives them a veteran defender and solid backup point guard in a more traditional mold, but it also means they get a B+ point guard in salary and talent for a spot they only have about 15-20 minutes or less for a night due to them having the best point guard on the planet.
  • Moving Peja right now means they lose the ability to swap him at the trade deadline, when his $14-million-plus expiring contract is likely to have more value than it does now. That kind of expiring change can help you fill in a lot of holes when teams decide they need to cut payroll dramatically. Teams will also know more about how the CBA talks are headed after the All-Star break. 
  • For the Raptors, it's just as puzzling. Bayless is a terrific young talent and having Peja's expiring are both good things. But this puts Jose Calderon firmly in the starter's role for point guard, and he's a defensive sieve. They get smaller at the guard positions, and just try and imagine a Jerryd Bayless and Leandro Barbosa backcourt. They would represent the Lollipop Guild for crying out loud.
  • As Bayless can't be moved until December 23rd, Bruce Arthur of the National Post reports via Twitter that the deal may be set up as one of those "agreed all together, executed in parts" type deals where the Raptors would use part of their Chris Bosh trade exception to acquire Bayless.
  • Andersen's not a terrible center, he's really not in a league that has so few good ones, but he's redundant with Aaron Gray on the roster.
  • Marcus Banks is barely alive in NBA terms.
  • The Raptors will at least be fun to watch, and with Willie Green becoming the entrenched backup to Marco Bellinelli (who saw either of those things happening this year?), Bayless and Peja were expendable. This isn't really about losing vital assets for the Hornets, it's about not capitalizing on bigger opportunities. But at 10-1, I guess Dell Demps and Monty Williams have earned the right to bet with House money a bit. 
  • ESPN also reports via Twitter that Jack is a close personal friend of CP3, which could explain this as a further move to make the superstar happy.

Posted on: November 12, 2010 1:35 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2010 1:40 pm

Friday 5 With KB: KG the Jerk, Heat fail, and BRI

Posted by Matt Moore

1. Kevin Garnett is not exactly the most popular guy in the world right now. Garnett seems to be the kind of guy who is loved by his friends and close circle and is abrasive to everyone else. Do you have any thoughts on his evolving legacy from lovable lunatic lose to hated psychotic champion?

Ken Berger: I think your evaluation of KG is spot on. He is like the crazy uncle that everyone is wary of and constantly nervous about what he might say or do next. But he's family, so you tolerate him. You know, the old, "He's a jerk, but he's our jerk." At this point, Garnett could care less what people think about him or what his legacy is. He's perfectly content to continue yapping and thumping his chest and winning another championship. And I don't see anything wrong with that, as long as he doesn't care that he'll never be named man of the year or Mr. Congeniality. To me, the funniest aspect of this whole episode recently was Joakim Noah calling Garnett ugly. Hey, Jo, I don't think GQ is putting you on the cover any time soon.

2. Not exactly a banner week for the Heat. Scale of 1 to 5. How much should fans  (if there are any) be pushing the panic button?

KB: I'd say 3.5. On one hand, some of this could have and should have been expected, given that basketball is a team game and you can't just plug talent into the equation like in baseball and automatically win 70 percent of your games and waltz to the championship. I know that you know that in basketball, how the pieces fit together are every bit as important -- if not more so -- than the talent itself. Eventually, the talent will shine through, and LeBron and Wade will become as deadly a combination as we thought they'd be. But there are several areas of concern that need to be watched closely: The misuse of LeBron's and Wade's best attributes when they are on the floor with a point guard, meaning neither one has the ball in his hands for too many possessions. This can (and should) be solved when Mike Miller comes back. Instead of a point guard, you put Miller on the floor with LeBron and Wade acting as interchangeable wings who take turns initiating the offense. In my mind, LeBron fits this role best. Two, the lack of size is becoming a major issue. Erick Dampier, please pick up the white courtesy phone. Three, Erik Spoelstra struck a chord when he lectured the team at halftime Thursday night about ego. It has been a real wakeup call for these three free-agent darlings who came together so effortlessly. Winning in May and June is going to prove a lot more difficult than winning in July.

3. In the Post-Ups you alluded to the improving situation in New Orleans. Now that the team looks like it's ready to compete in the playoffs again (though it's still early), is it time to start looking for what can get them to the next level, and what is that?

KB: I think it's a positive sign that the Hornets are trying to get someone CP3 would consider to be a top-tier running mate. But they're a little stuck in that regard, and here's why: Peja Stojakovic and his $14.3 million expiring contract could be easily deal to a team trying to get off a lot of future money, and if one of those pieces coming back is an elite 3-point shooter, New Orleans is better in the short run. But they future money they'd have to take back in such a deal would hamper their ability to make moves next summer -- or whenever the lockout ends and under whatever new rules exist. The most valuable asset on the NBA market right now is cap flexibility heading into the uncertainty of a new CBA, especially for low-revenue markets. So the Hornets can't allow themselves to be tempted by the prospect of getting better in the short term at the expense of hampering their flexibility heading into a new deal. 

4. You also wrote in the Post-Ups that Kevin Love is garnering offers. Why is it that the Wolves are so reticent to trade him if they won't play the man?

KB: Ah, this is a question that goes straight to the heart of the most mysterious figure in the NBA, David Kahn. I'm told in recent days that Love isn't the only player who wants out of Minnesota. Corey Brewer does, too -- but Brewer isn't making any noise publicly, or even privately. Love is doing both. Right now, the Wolves like Love's talent but are disenchanted with his attitude. I think if the right deal came along, they'd move him. Because that locker room is too fragile right now to risk keeping a malcontent on board. Maybe Kahn can trade Love for a few more point guards.

5. BRI up 3 to 3.5%, record ratings across the board. Selling the NBA store for $300 million. The league is booming. Are owners really going to walk away from the most prosperous time in recent history to prove a point? Really?
KB: Yes sir-ee-bob. A hearty contingent of owners see this as a once-in-a -lifetime opportunity to change the economics of the sport in their favor. They also know the vast majority of people will side with them, because of their inherent biases against "greedy millionaire players." This is silly, of course, but it's just the way things are. There are a couple of reasons to be encouraged: 1) sources tell me numerous owners were impressed with the players' presentation of their proposal at a recent CBA meeting, realizing that the union was offering some creative ideas as how to make the business better for everyone; and 2) there's still a lot of time. The next key time-marker in this battle is All-Star weekend, when both sides concede significant progress will need to have been made. But as in all negotiations, the real progress doesn't happen until the 11th hour. Will there be a lockout? Yes, in my opinion. Are the owners and players short-sighted enough to let it wipe out an entire season, or even as much of the season as the '98-'99 lockout did? I don't think so. Both sides realize there's too much at stake.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com