While We’re Waiting… Vintage Gumball NFL helmets? Yes, please.

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Wow. Really Danny? “Which is why the Atlanta Hawks could be in a whole lot of trouble. As a fan and member of the media, I can point out that the Hawks began clearing cap space for a run at Howard and Paul last summer. New general manager Danny Ferry made quick work of the above-average ceiling so happily clung to by his predecessor, but because of that smart decision the team and its fans are facing an uneasy future that could result in a Howard and/or Paul-less training camp. That’s a hard sell to season ticket holders, which is why the Hawks reportedly sent out a letter to potential ticket buyers talking up a future that specifically mentions Mssrs. Howard and Paul.” [Dwyer/Ball Don’t Lie]


“Listen, it’s a player’s league,” Popovich told me on the eve of his last banner raising. “I think it’s very important for a coach to make sure that his players believe 100 percent – and not with lip service – that it’s about them. Coaches are going to do everything they can to create that environment for them. It’s not about creating an environment for us. It’s a privilege to be able to coach these guys. We make enough money. The other stuff is just a waste of time as far as talking about quality of life.” [Wojnarowski/Yahoo]


“I expect Nerlens Noel to be one of the most dominant defensive players of his generation. He has all the tools to be a stopper like the Cavs have never had inside. I’ll go as far as saying that Noel could very well end up leading the league in steals AND blocks. He can defend all the way to the three point line. Has mesmerizing quickness off his feet and quick hands as well, and under the patronage of Mike Brown I have no doubt he’ll become such a good pick & roll defender that he will make Kyrie Irving look good on defense. Having such a player is a game changer in the NBA. The Milwaukee Bucks are one of the best defenses in the league just because they have Larry Sanders inside. Noel will be even better than Sanders at protecting the rim.

As a defensive anchor, and a guy who will lead by example, Noel will not be a star the way NBA players usually become stars (by scoring an insane amount of points) but will make watching Cavs basketball that much more fun. When it comes to the 2013 Draft, I think Nerlens Noel will be the best player in this class ten years from now. There is sort of an uncertainty around him (only played 27 games, torn ACL, no offensive game at this point) but I think he will overcome that and be remembered as the consensus number one pick he should be today.” [Jackson/Stepien Rules]


Ebay item of the month. You’re welcome. [Ebay]


“Ah, but what about the difficult reception Swisher received last fall from fans, when he struggled in the postseason? Back then, it wasn’t awesome. It was “really tough.” But Swisher didn’t even let a reporter get that question out.

“Oh, man? Live in the now, bro! You’re just trying to stir it up again,” Swisher said, and he was smiling, but his words weren’t. “That was something that happened so long ago, you know, I thought we kind of handled that, kind of squashed that as-is, but to put it in that terms… are you asking me am I nervous about it?” The reporter said he was. And Swisher was back on familiar ground, projecting limitless excitement about the future.” [Megdal/Sports on Earth]

  • Harv 21

    Nice choice of articles, Rick (read: they all interested me).

    Re Ferry, First-World Executive Problems: “I’m overseeing the freakin’ draft and setting up the FA that will make or break us. I have 8 people under me – can’t just one of you vet the marketing letters written by 25 year olds for obvious violations of league rules?!”

    Re Popovich, how does anyone not love that guy, crustiness and all?

    Re Noel, yes, I do think of Oden as far as injuries, and premature predictions of immediate and complete dominance by a better-rounded players like Anthony Davis. And the Larry Nance comparisons are a little awkward, even if restricted to shot-blocking, because Nance played the 4 and sometimes the 3 and had no strength disadvantage. Nance was flying everywhere for blocks and harrassment. Noel will have to get his in the paint, like Dwight Howard.

  • Natedawg86

    One more: Why did the ump toss Aviles after the game ended last night. What was the point of that? Or was he just telling him to go to the locker room lol

  • maxfnmloans

    MLB has an Umpire problem

  • boomhauertjs

    If the NBA is so tough on tampering, why didn’t the Heat get punished for Pat Riley’s tampering with LeBron in February of 2010?

  • Natedawg86

    I wasn’t sure if somehow he got tossed today, he would be suspended (like techincals in NBA)

  • Harv 21

    There’s a great recent book that gives an inside look at umpiring, called “As They See ‘Em,” by Bruce Weber. Permanently changed my perspective about umps, including the worsening attitudes they have with major league players/managers.

    Found it a little depressing, butentertaining and highly recommend it. NY Times review here:

  • mgbode

    Noel will play the ‘4’ (at least initially). See Anthony Davis along with most other ‘light’ centers drafted. Larry Sanders (as noted above) was actually not good at defending centers. He was great at defending PFs though.

    It’s not a bad thing, but it’s an important distinction to make as we set expectations.

  • mgbode

    man, that review captured everything that is wrong with umpiring with their quote (as the strike zone sure shouldn’t be changing on every pitch though we all know it can/does):

    “The strike zone isn’t, nor has it ever been, set in stone, or even sand,” he writes. “It’s set in air, a concept, not a thing. It can’t be transported from one ballpark to another, but like the memory of a secret code it has to be formulated by each umpire each time he squats behind the catcher, every game, every pitch.”

  • mgbode

    2 #1 overall selections to the Cavs instead?

  • Thanks Harv.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I remember something similar to the little mini bubble gum helmets from when I was kid. That and the sticker books for baseball and football.

  • Harv 21

    that was a money quote, but the book itself goes into wonderful detail how technically difficult it is to call pitches and plays with masks and constantly shifting positioning as the ball and players fly around, how talented the umps are to survive the Darwinian ascent even just up to AA ball, and also how the two major umpiring schools that feed the majors breed this us v. them abrasiveness that isn’t really there in basketball or football. [Actually I think one of the ump schools, the Jim Evans one, has been booted after a racially-tinged social event]

  • mgbode

    I definitely agree that umpiring and refereeing is an incredibly difficult and sometimes impossible task. I just don’t understand the complete resistance to help in their task.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    In other words, don’t expect division rivals Carlos Boozer, David West, Greg Monroe, and Ersan Ilyasova/Larry Sanders to walk all over the Cavs 3 years from now! Boo yah!