There has been a lot of “news” in this NBA offseason regarding free agent movements and supposed tensions within the Cavaliers’ organization and GMs getting fired and the like. In the midst of all that “furor”, the fact remains that the NY Knicks remain a “fixer-upper franchise”. They have a new GM because they are paying their former GM tens of millions of dollars to sit at home in Montana to not generally manage the team. Now the new GM has made a move:
- The NY Knicks signed Michael Beasley to a 1-year contract at the veteran minimum.
- With that move, the Knicks have a full roster; they can only add a player if they drop a player.
Michael Beasley was a high school sensation and a monster at Kansas State in his only year there. He was drafted by the Miami Heat in 2008 and he played well for his first two seasons there. In 2010 – when Miami acquired LeBron James and Chris Bosh – Beasley was the odd man out as the Heat traded him to the Timberwolves. He stayed in Minnesota for 2 years before being traded to the Suns in 2012 where he was released in 2013 after an arrest involving marijuana possession.
Since his release by the Suns, he has played for the Miami Heat (again), the Shanghai Golden Sharks, the Houston Rockets and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Knicks will be his 7th team in 9 seasons which ought not to bring paroxysms of joy to Knicks’ fans; that is not the career arc one would have expected or predicted for Michael Beasley after his tenure at Kansas State.
I said that the Knicks are a “fixer-upper franchise”. If the Knicks were a house, they would need a new roof; new windows and a lot of interior remodeling. Michael Beasley seems to me to be a new azalea bush planted in the front yard.
Speaking of player moves that would fall in the category of “less than monumental”, there is an AP report that the Texas Rangers sold relief pitcher, Ernesto Frieri to the Seattle Mariners for $1. Yes, when I read the report, I thought for sure that was a typo just as you probably think it is a typo. However, that figure appears in several reports about this transaction so I guess it is correct. I would love to hear a transcript of the phone calls between the Rangers’ GM and the Mariners’ GM as they negotiated this deal.
- Did the Rangers start out asking for $10?
As I grazed through the channels of my cable TV package yesterday, I ran across a Little League game between teams from Tennessee and Georgia as part of the tournament that selects the teams from various regions to make up the field for the Little League World Series Tournament in Williamsport, PA. Indeed, ESPN continues to expand its coverage of Little League baseball in these summer doldrum days and you may be certain that they will provide blanket coverage of the games in Williamsport.
That means it is the time of year for me to remind everyone here that Little League athletes are even more exploited than college athletes. Whether you believe that collegiate athletes in the revenue sports should be paid or not, the fact of the matter is that collegiate athletes are given something in exchange for their services – the possibility of coming out of college with a degree and without a huge college debt that needs to be paid off. Little League players – for the most part – come away from their time in the Little League with memories and not much else. So, someone other than the players and their families are taking down the rights fees paid by ESPN for these television rights.
For the record, I am not “anti-Little League”. I played Little League baseball – not well, but I played. I very much enjoyed my time in Little League; one of my teammates from those days was eventually one of my fellow travelers on those baseball odysseys I used to take every summer – prior to his death. I am a proponent of Little League. Notwithstanding all the above:
- You cannot be a champion for “exploited athletes” without taking on the issue of exploitation of children between the ages of 9 and 12 in Little League Baseball.
With NFL training camps in full swing, I have read reports about two players signed as free agents in the offseason who have “weight incentive clauses” in the contracts they signed. Eddie Lacy reportedly has a series of “weigh-ins” with the Seattle Seahawks that he must have with weight targets to allow him to collect portions of his bonus money. According to this report at CBSSports.com back in May, Lacy earned his first $55K by weighing in at 253 lbs.
CBSSports.com also says that Falcons’ free agent signee, Dontari Poe, has a $500K weight clause in his contract. Last year, Poe was listed at 346 lbs and sometimes you would think that weight was before breakfast in the morning. This report says that the Falcons want him to “slim down” to 330 lbs in order for him to be “quicker off the line of scrimmage”.
Given those contractual clauses makes me wonder when we turned that corner. In the past, if a player was “overweight”/”out of shape”, the coaching staff had two choices:
- They could keep the player around and tolerate his being out of shape.
- They could cut him and find someone else who was in shape to take his place.
Today we pay professional players tens of thousands of dollars – even hundreds of thousands of dollars – to be in shape to play the game that is their profession. Somehow, this seems to confuse “change” with “progress” …
Finally, let me close with a comment from Brad Rock in the Deseret News:
“Michael Phelps’ highly anticipated race with a shark was a red herring.
“The Discovery Channel’s event ended up being Phelps swimming against a computer generation of a swimming shark.
“Still, it was more realistic than the NBA All-Star Game.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………