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Vikings Say Sam Bradford is the Piece

The Arm and the Brain
Just need one piece for glory
Here comes Sam Bradford

Minnesota sent a clear message today when they traded 2017’s first rounder and 2018’s second rounder. They said from what we see available, Sam Bradford is the answer to the question of “What do we need for this year?”

FYI, the Eagles also sent a message which is no matter his status now, Carson Wentz is our future and the future is now. Sam Bradford is the past.

The Vikings clearly said that they feel they are still contenders if they can fill Teddy’s two gloves. They also told their fans that they will not settle with a new stadium.

They also said, they don’t believe Bradford’s injuries are a concern today. Overall, they said a lot!

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Sam Deserved Better

Fired before the season ended. He couldn’t even enjoy the win without the vultures circling. Sam was wronged.

Sports Haiku:
He filled in as asked.
He leads this young squad to wins.
Why punish him so?

Look, I’m no fool. I get it. Sam Mitchell was a caretaker; He took over when a death in the family changed everything. Flip announced he was fighting cancer and has to focus on that.

So the organization asked Sam to step in. In September, he was labeled “interim” head coach and stayed “interim” for the entire season. Yes, the entire season. So it was clear there was no long-term promise.

So Sam stayed interim until the last game of the season. Oddly enough, the team was informed before the final game. #TooSoon?

So what did Sam do? He kept the team going. He led a team to 29 wins (one less than the final opponent, New Orleans). With so much youth, they overachieved to me. Sam was the ‘interim’ for too long. In short, he did his part. He earned a proper thank you.

Instead, he’s told to walk away and the players are told as well.

This is a young squad. These are kids playing a man’s game. And yes, these kids are becoming solid men. They are learning the Association and the Minnesota Timberwolves are trying to create a solid foundation for the future. #DontMessWithThem

So before these young players go home – many of whom liked Sam – why would you put a bad taste in their mouth by firing Sam before the season is even over? Is that how you treat someone who worked for you? For me, it’s too soon for a team that competed on many nights. Compare the Wolves to other building teams and you can clearly see the Wolves are indeed on the rise.

Let me be clear – I’m not saying the Wolves needed to keep Sam. I’m saying the timing was poor. It feels rushed and disrespects everyone involved. The move disrespects Sam who did his job. I’m more worried that it sets a horrible example for the future head coach and sends the players a clear message. Thanks, but “buh-bye” is not a message to tell a twenty-one-year-old player. #IsThatHowYouTreatGuysYouLike?

Look, I completely understand it’s “business”, but since everyone is in the “business”, there has to be something that makes your franchise special & attractive. Firing your interim coach before the final game is not classy. Having it leak pre-game also makes me wonder. And when the owner doesn’t attend the game, I have to wonder how much the organization cares. Don’t you think the players wonder the same thing?

I pay careful attention and I believe the Wolves need to be attractive to free agent players and coaches. The Wolves are smaller market, but a great place to live. We have a winter people fear so we often overpay for free agents. I think you can balance the negatives with good ownership & good culture #YeahImNaive

The Wolves’ head coaching position has to be appealing. I know Sam is well compensated for his trouble, but as an incoming Coach, do I wonder if I, too, will be getting the same Sam treatment? If I have a choice of positions, why sign up for the Sam treatment? #ClassyIsGoodRecruiting

But what I see is a jerk move & I expect more from Flip’s team. I expect more than people that spend all year wearing “WE” shirts. “WE” means “WE” finish the season. “WE” finish what we started and “WE” talk afterward. #WeExpectBetter

I’d be fine if we enjoyed the 144 points and the victory. Then, today (the day after the season), the Wolves can meet, talk to Sam about the future changing, and everything can happen today. You ask the players to stay in town one more day (if they didn’t already) and you talk about wanting a new coach for the future.

Since no one was hired today. I would say the Wolves gained nothing by “pre-firing” Sam. In fact, I noticed George Karl was let go today. One day after their final game. It can be done.

Yes, the building blocks are in place, but to build something special, you have to do it right.


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Time Expiring…The All-Star Shoots…And Misses

It’s Staples arena. Time is expiring. The All-Star Has the Ball. He Shoots…And Misses

Five four three two miss
Horn sounds. Fans cheer. Overtime!
Dwyane Wade doesn’t win.

No, Kobe didn’t have the ball. He didn’t get a chance. While Kobe sat out with shoulder soreness, Dwyane Wade did not. Wade said publicly that if Kobe’s in, I’m in! Well, Kobe started, but his shoulder finished him off. Wade played on.

And Wade played well! He scored 26 points and collected 10 rebounds. But he was undone by 17 turnovers (thx NBA.com). Despite 17 turnovers (and I believe I heard 30 point by LA off those turnovers), the Heat still had a chance to win.

The game is tied. All-Star and future Hall of Famer Wade has the ball. The clock is ticking. Wade measures the time. He rises and strokes a shot. He misses. Overtime!

The OT was classic. After misses by each team, the man in the news – D’Angelo Russell makes a deep three bringing the fans to their feet cheering. Lakers score first in OT. Miami responds and later takes the lead. All Kobe can do is watch…and cheer.

Back and forth, then forth and back. The game ends up tied again. Then, the pretty-much-rookie Julius Randle spins and scores to take the lead. The youngster gives the Lakers the lead.

Again, a veteran has the ball. Joe Johnson, another All-Star, gets the inbounds pass and is behind the three-point line. He takes the deep three for the win…and misses. It’s the future’s night. Lakers win.

Kobe watches and cheers. Wade has to say goodbye to Kobe and walk away with a loss. A loss that hurts the Heat’s playoff seeding. (It’s tight in the East!)

Meanwhile time is expiring….. (Thx to NBA TV for broadcasting this game! I love it!)


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Is KG Quietly Gone?

He’s known for his mouth
“Anything is Possible”
Now Quiet Goodbye

He’s a catchphrase, but not a cliché. He’s the hard-working player who talks a lot on the court, but doesn’t really want to talk off it. He’s a ritual and a new ritual is coming. Knowing that, is he also gone?

He’s a bit of a contradiction. He’s a nice guy who curses regularly. He’s famous for talking, but really only in his circle. He verbally pushes teammates; he physically and verbally antagonizes opponents. He quietly brushes by fans.

He’s “Da Kid” and he’s done it for 20-plus years. He has earned league-wide respect. And when he talks about it all, he doesn’t talk about himself.

If you’re a fan waiting pre- or post-game, you see a different guy than on TV. You see the contradiction. He’s a quiet guy who looks down as he goes by. He’s his own man walking quietly by in a black suit covering a simple black t-shirt. That’s “The Franchise?”

Is he shy? You might think so. But it’s really more about being private. So he’s an all-star sports star who wants his business personal.

We all remember his public moments. I was there when he jumped on the table to celebrate a game 7 victory. It was a public display of a private man. I was watching when he was speechless, then preaching.

Now, I still watch him. I still ponder the contradiction of KG. And I watch him quietly walk into the locker room wondering if he will return.

 

Special KG Moments:


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Kobe and KG – The Career, The Endings

Work Leads to Wins, Rings
Hoisting the Trophy. Now time
for the next youngsters.

#KB20 is trending. You can buy shirts and hats with the logo celebrating his final season. KG21 shirts and jerseys are still available, celebrating his return to Minnesota.

Kobe and KG are two great players who are “starting” on young squads, but nursing decades of intensity-causing injuries. And I think both are retiring. It’s so strange how they are so similar, yet so different.

One of the strangest items in my sports collection is a reversible KG and Kobe jersey. It’s blue on one side and yellow on the other. When it came out, I was amazed. Two young high schoolers who had successfully “made it” in the NBA. Now many years later, I’m amazed how similar their careers actually have been.

Both players made an insane amount of money and both won titles (Kobe has 5, but KG has the honor of taking one from Kobe – which might’ve motivated him greatly afterwards).

Now both are the ‘face of the franchise’, but both can clearly see in their rear view mirror that ‘next’ is truly visible and imminent.

Kobe is playing games in-between rest for his shoulder. He’s embarking on a farewell tour and suddenly, the villain is being cheered as a hero. ESPN SportsCenter covers his goodbye moments nightly.

KG is out. He hasn’t played since January 23rd in a win over Memphis. Since then, he’s been quietly “inactive.” There’s  a great tribute song about his 2016 season by Timberwolves The Podcast at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYW0qiEde_E. I hear that song today and feel blessed to have been there.

Now, it seems both are bowing out at the same time, though in very different ways. Both will have their numbers retired and that reversible jersey will have great significance for me. Did I see KG and Kobe’s last games in Minnesota in the same year? It’s strange, but possible.


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Keep the Family Together

We’re losing; change things! That’s the yell. “Stay the course” is the quiet reply.

Minimal change. Keep
the family together.
Shake it up later.

I don’t know the locker room, very few do. But I’m watching; I’m listening; I thinking.

It’s crazy for me to see the results in Minnesota and compare them to Los Angeles. The Wolves have the 4th worst record and are often playing teams tightly. They are young and fighting. The Lakers meanwhile have the 2nd worst record and have a tendency to be blown out. The announcers are not afraid to say the defense is lacking.

Both squads have a base of youth supported with aged vets. Both have a superstar on their way out. Both have fans yelling to fire the head coach.

But no one has been fired. I guess is both teams have an agenda: gain experience, create good habits, and win later.

Now we wait for later.


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Patience….

Whether it’s life, work, or sports, Tuesday is a great day to remember that you must keep driving, keep working until the week (or sports season) is over. The weekend / off-season seems too far away and a promotion / playoffs seem too far away.

The Patience Haiku:
Patience grasshopper.
The sun rises tomorrow.
Empires build slowly.
(originally written Wed, Mar 01, 2006 01:49 PM)

These thoughts resonate with me as the NBA’s second season start. As I plan to attend games, I will look at the small improvements each day and not worry about the glory.

I know the future is bright. The youth will learn now and hopefully by next season, some veteran help will join the kids and the playoffs won’t be so far away.

Until then, patience.