SportsNet - July 2012
If this NBA off-season has taught us anything, it’s how players have too much power in deciding what team they play for. Especially with an expiring contract, it’s too easy for players to say they won’t resign with a team to go somewhere else.
Yes, I’m aiming my criticism at Dwight Howard. I don’t know if Howard is aware of this fact, but he’s still under contract with the Orlando Magic. They still have his rights as an NBA player. He’s not a free agent and he shouldn’t be acting like one. Orlando should make whatever trade is good for them and not worry about Howard’s feelings on the team he goes to.
It’s obvious he made a mistake by opting into a one-year-deal to stay in Orlando. But his antics have been going on for over a year, which have handicapped Orlando from making a trade. Up to today, any team that wasn’t the Nets wasn’t good enough in Howard’s eyes for him to sign with. Reports are that he will sign an extension with the Lakers if he were to be traded there.
The AFC East wasn't particularly competitive in 2011. The New England Patriots demolished the competition, as the division's sole representative in the playoffs.
New defensive schemes for the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, as well as a regime change for the Miami Dolphins, might make the Patriots job tougher in 2012.
Here is the one major weakness that could undermine each AFC East team during the 2012 NFL season:
Buffalo Bills: Offensive Line
The Buffalo Bills have revamped their suspect defense and have plenty of playmakers on offense, including skilled flanker Steve Johnson and talented runner Fred Jackson.
However, their quest for a first playoff berth since 1999, could be derailed by the offensive line. The Bills lost left tackle Demetress Bell in free agency and rookies Cordy Glenn and Zebrie Sanders must make an immediate impact.
Miami Dolphins: Wide Receiver
New Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin will need all of his acumen to energise a passing game that has issues at quarterback and a lack of credible options at wide receiver.
Manchester United won their first pre-season tour game 0:1 against South African side AmaZulu. They finish their tour of South Africa on Saturday after they meet Ajax Cape Town. They then go on to China and then Europe to finish the tour. But what did we learn from United's first game since they lost the Premier League title in May?
Jesse Lingard can break into the first team
This was Jesse Lingard's first start for United and boy did he impress. He showed that he has composure, vision and creativity. Some of the passes he made were stunning. Sir Alex must be impressed with the 20-year-old as he created a few goal scoring opportunities. Although he's not known by non-United fans, Lingard will surely make himself known if he plays in next season's Premier League. He is the perfect man to replace Paul Scholes once he retires.
Dimitar Berbatov should stay for another season
You may have forgotten already but the Boston Celtics were 12 minutes away in Game 7 against the Miami Heat, from advancing to the NBA Finals. Strong free agent acquisitions have these Celtics gearing up for a run at a championship in 2013.
According to ESPNBoston.com's Chris Forsberg, the Celtics have officially signed Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, and Chris Wilcox to deals. Together, along with NBA first round pick Jared Sullinger, will improve the Celtics' frontcourt production, which is arguably the one weakness that kept the Celtics from an NBA Finals berth last season.
Forsberg also mentioned that the Celtics have handshake agreements set with both Jeff Green and Jason Terry, but a few details must be worked out prior to finalizing the signings.
Boston is not only improving their squad with these top-tier talents, but they are also putting themselves a step ahead of last season as well.
Here are three major reasons why this new-look Celtics team will be a tougher, more feared championship contender than last season.
It's mid-July and the NBA free-agency period has died down as NBA teams are in the midst of inking up their final free agent targets and snatching up recently waived players. However, the best player available, Dwight Howard, remains a man without a team.
The Brooklyn Nets took themselves out of the Howard sweepstakes after signing restricted free agent Brook Lopez to a four-year $60 million contract. Thus their prime trade asset, Brook Lopez, won't be tradable until Jan. 15.
Howard has had his heart set on becoming a Net for at least a year, however, it's time to face the facts that even Mikhail Prokhorov and Jay-Z cannot swing a deal for Howard before Orlando trades him during the offseason.
Brooklyn cannot receive a player in a sign-and-trade in the summer of 2012 because the Nets are more than $4 million over the luxury tax.
The Magic finally seem ready to dump Howard in either Los Angeles or Houston.
If Howard is traded to the Rockets, Daryl Morey believes he can convince Howard to re-sign and would hold on to him until he finally becomes a free agent next summer.