Finally, I can live my life again. Carmelo Anthony is a New York Knick after months and months of speculation, rumor, and a bunch of make-believe hogwash, according to sources. Overall, it’s an interesting trade as the Knicks have gone from entertaining fringe playoff battler to the toughest team to bounce out in the first round this year. The ‘Melo-Amar’e-Billups roster probably needs another shot to improve the roster as they’re probably built for the next few years, but they’ll score lots of points and they’ll be tough to play against, especially at MSG. I don’t care much for the particulars of the deal, though I think Daniro Gallinari is a very good player who can shoot, score, pass and he only happens to be 22. He’s not Carmelo in terms of offensive production, but the guy will be an All-Star more than a few times. Whether Denver can hang onto their playoff spot with 25 games to go with Gallinari, Nene, K-Mart, J.R. Smith, Felton, Ty Lawson and Co. is a complete unknown. A lot of cynical fans will be rooting for Denver to hold off Memphis (but not Phoenix because Steve Nash and Grant Hill are well-liked) for one of the last playoff spots while poor kids in third world countries will be rocking Carmelo Anthony jerseys from his Nuggets days. What a domino effect one trade can have on the globe!!!
(Lost under the radar: the Minnesota Timbeworlves were part of this trade as they acquired the young/talented Anthony Randolph along with Eddy Curry’s expiring contract by giving up an expiring contract year for Corey Brewer. The Wolves did very well and they now have a core of Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, and Anthony Randolph. Unlike Cleveland, Toronto or any of the other teams at the bottom of the league standings, Minnesota has a very promising young group of players and financial flexibility. This team that will likely be very relevant and very scary in a few years.)
We’ll know if this particular trade was a good one at the other end of the decade even if the sports media wants the reaction right at this very moment. ESPN even has articles ready to go called “Rapid Reaction” that rely on instant reactions as opposed to thoughts by human beings that may involve research and some actual fact-finding. Then again, I’m just an opinionated blogger who likes basketball, not some journalist chained to a silly page known as “The Heat Index” to chronicle the bathroom habits of Chris Bosh. I can’t wait for “Another Knick In The Wall” to debut next year like I couldn’t wait for the naked pictures of Bea Arthur that never materialized.
The Carmelo Anthony saga has sadly proven one thing: ESPN’s ticker is slowly destroying the intelligence of American sports fans. Being peppered with filler information every five minutes during a good college basketball game is not healthy for anyone. Television is a passive medium and the ticker is simply not conducive to presenting what’s really important: the game above, which takes up 90% of the screen. There’s a reason that NBA games on Friday night only show the ticker twice per hour (which is appropriate because it doesn’t inundate you with crap), the NBA and ESPN want you, me, and every viewer focusing on the actual product, the basketball.
In a rare burst of fairness, ESPN isn’t the lone culprit as other outlets covered the speculation and rumors as news while listing anonymous sources as this whole “experience” felt like the four-hour sequel to The Decision that wasn’t nearly as good as the original movie (even if The Decision proved to have little-to-no ethics by ESPN and it showed awful decision making on LeBron James’ part). As a staunch critic of Big Bristol in previous blog entries, I feel compelled to go after ESPN pretty hard for two reasons: 1) ESPN is the biggest juggernaut in America when it comes to presenting sports and 2) the quality of sports broadcasting, journalism, and analysis from past years was truly fantastic. It’s sad to see the current landscape of what the network has turned into (to name a few faults: a lack of actual game highlights during SportsCenter, the exclusion of the NHL in sports coverage, Stuart Scott’s sad fall, the overhyping of the NFL draft, the blatant overpromotion of Disney and other ESPN-related events as opposed to actual sport.) Similar to America, the top sports network has been less than stellar the last few years in comparison to such a rich past. We all need to look in the mirror and say: let’s get back to presenting sport on television and let’s get back to being real and to being really good at it.
The Next Big Storyline To Hear About Every Day that we all should be afraid of is the potential Albert Pujols 2011 Trainwreck. Essentially, the best player in baseball is playing in a contract year with zero negotiations until the end of the year. Yet, ESPN will likely have daily updates about salary figures, spilled coffee on Tony La Russa’s law degree, decreased batting averages, and whatever side angle that can be spun to keep people hooked on the television and the ESPN website, even if zero substance is being offered except: keep coming back, suckers!!!
***On a separate note, I’ll be at Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square this Friday night February 25th for a big fundraiser for The Cam Neely Foundation and Tufts Medical Center. The party is also doubling as a going-away party for one of CAC’s finest personalities, B-Fab, who is taking it down to Stamford, CT for his new job. It costs $40 for dinner, a raffle ticket for Red Sox tickets and numerous other prizes, and an open bar from 7-9 p.m. downstairs in The Lounge along with some live music upstairs from 9-12 with Garrett Tingle getting down on stage. Even if you can’t go, donations can made here:Cam Neely Foundation Donation. Come on out Friday night to TD’s in Harvard!!!