Why The Aldridge Extension Is A Good Thing

Aldridge

Photo Credit: Basketball Wiki, http://basketball.wikia.com/wiki/LaMarcus_Aldridge

On Monday the San Antonio Spurs surprised people as they signed LaMarcus Aldridge to a three year extension worth $ 72.3 million. Aldridge had a $ 22.3 million option for the 2018-2019 season but the Spurs choose to extend him. Aldridge signed with the Spurs in free agency two years ago and has underperformed a bit in San Antonio. Aldridge spent the first nine years of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers and made five all star teams while averaging 19.4 points per game along with 8.4 rebounds a game. Things in San Antonio have not gone as well for the big man and there are a couple reasons why.

In Aldridge’s first two seasons in San Antonio some of his averages are down compared to his time in Portland. Aldridge is still a very productive player however over the last two years hes averaged 17.6 points per game while pulling down 7.9 rebounds a game. in San Antonio he has been the number two option behind franchise icon Kawhi Leonard. Aldridge’s decrease in numbers hasn’t been the only problem as at times the Spurs have been unhappy with him and he’s been unhappy with the franchise. The Spurs were disappointed with his conditioning however this year he came to camp in better shape and formed a better relationship with head coach, Gregg Popovich. Regardless of his struggles Aldridge has become more comfortbale with the Spurs and the franchise still wanted to keep him long-term.

The deal works out for both sides as Aldridge wouldn’t have received a bigger deal in free agency and the Spurs didn’t have any better options to replace him. Aldridge is also key for this team as they try to compete with the Warriors in the West. Surrounding Leonard with talent is the only way they can knock of the Warriors and even though Aldridge’s numbers have slightly dipped he’s still a player many teams would like to have and the Spurs will have him for the foreseeable future.

#Spurs

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David Price Proves His Critics Wrong

 

david

Photo Credit: Jason Miller/ Getty Images

In December of 2015 the Red Sox signed David Price to a seven year contract worth 217 million dollars. The deal at the time was the largest contract ever given to a pitcher. Since signing that deal Price has received heavy criticism and clashed with the media in Boston. He hasn’t put up the spectacular numbers he did prior to arriving in Boston and has continued to struggle in the postseason until this past week. This year Price has dealt with elbow problems which placed him on the disabled list for the majority of the second half of the season forcing the Red Sox to use him as a reliever for the playoffs. In the opening round against the Houston Astros Price is pitching like the pitcher the Red Sox thought they were getting. As a starter Price is 0-8 in the postseason and in his only  postseason start last year against the Cleveland Indians he did not pitch well. Yesterday Price changed the narrative and saved the Red Sox season.

So far in this series against the Astros the Red Sox starting pitching has gotten destroyed. That didn’t change yesterday as the Red Sox starter Doug Fister only lasted one inning. Price entered the game in the fourth inning after two scoreless innings of relief from Joe Kelly and stunned the Fenway faithful. Facing the most potent offense in baseball Price delivered four innings of scoreless relief. The Sox bats followed suit as they came alive for the first time of the series and scored ten runs. The offensive explosion included homeruns by Jackie Bradley  and rookie Rafael Devers. The Red Sox needed some sort of jolt and it came from Price.

Many people have been critical of the starter this year. He needed a defining moment in a Red Sox uniform and he got that yesterday. Price may never pitch again this series depending on if the Red Sox can complete a comeback and win this series. Regardless of how this series ends Price stepped up when the Sox needed him the most and finally began to justify the contract Boston gave him.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#MLB #RedSox

Patriots Make A Statement

Brandin Cooks, Corey Moore

Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Michael Dwyer

This past Sunday was unlike any other both NFL players and fans have ever seen. As most people have heard last week President Donald Trump was very critical when asked about players who were sitting during the national anthem to raise awareness for racial inequality in the United Sates.  Trump said that players who kneel during the national anthem should be pulled of the field and fired. This is not a political blog nor a political post however Trumps comments were both uncalled for and wrong.  when moments on Sunday occur such as the solidarity that was shown it can’t be ignored. On sunday NFL teams showed that they stood by each other with displays of unity. The Patriots players and team staff linked arms as some players kneeled during the national anthem. Many team’s did something similar as it varied throughout the league. Even though sundays are for football for a brief few minutes on Sunday these players reminded fans that they are more than just athletes.

With Politics aside once the Patriots and Texans game started fans were in for a wild game that reminded us why Tom Brady will apparently never age. So far this season the problem for the Patriots has been their defense and on Sunday it was the same. The Texans Rookie Deshuan Watson threw for over three hundred yards including two touchdowns. The rookie Quarterback was known for his elusiveness in college and on Sunday the Patriots had no answer. Even when the Patriots defenders got pressure on Watson he was able to avoid it giving his receivers more time to get open.  Heading into the last five minutes of the game it looked as if the Patriots were going to lose the game making them 1-2 and creating doubts about this team after an offseason which brought talk of an undefeated season. The Patriots however still had one more chip to play and that was Brady. Like he’s done so many times Brady rescued this team. The Patriots quarterback threw a 25 yard touchdown pass to receiver Brandon Cooks with 23 seconds left to put the Patriots up by 36- 33.

It was Brady’s fifth touchdown of the game as he also threw for 378 yards. Had the Patriots lost this game this team would be viewed very differently today. So far this season Brady leads all quarterback’s in yards and he doesn’t look like he’s slowing down a bit. Eventually Brady will start to show his age however at this point at 40 he looks better than ever. The decline that everyone is talking about with perhaps the greatest quarterback ever seems to be far away. As Brady showed on that last drive people should not doubt him or his team.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Patriots #NFL

Bruins Change The Narrative

Boston Bruins v Ottawa Senators - Game Five

Photo Credit: Chad Zimmermann

Today the Boston Bruins made a move that has been taking them all offseason to complete. The Bruins resigned forward David Pastrnak to a six year deal worth 40 million dollars . At the end of the deal Pastrnak will still be only 28 looking for an even bigger deal. Called Pasta by many in New England the young talented forward is coming off a breakout season in which he scored 34 goals while dishing out 36 assists in 75 games. This shows a shift for the Bruins as an organization. For many years and rightfully so the Bruins have gained a reputation for letting their young stars walk rather than extending them. They have traded young players such as Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton, Phil Kessel, and Joe Thornton back in the early 2000’s. All these players have had very productive years since leaving the Bruins while the Bruins haven’t received a player in any of the deals that’s made the impact those players have on their new teams.

Last summer the Bruins extended Brad Marchand after he had a breakout year to a eight year 49 million dollar deal. Now with the Bruins extending Pastrnak they have two impactful forwards committed to the Bruins for at least the next six years.  They also did not have to break the bank for either of these players as both deals leave the Bruins with plenty of cap room to improve this team in the coming years. This helps the Bruins who have many young players in the minors who could be worthy of extensions in the near future such as Charlie Mcavoy.

Extending Pastrnak shows that the Bruins may be changing the narrative when it comes to keeping their homegrown players. It may only be two but for the second straight offseason the Bruins decided to keep their young star rather than trading him.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Bruins

Takeaways from Patriots week one Loss to the Chiefs

NFL: AFC Divisional-Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots

Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots opened their season on Thursday with an embarrassing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots were dominated in every aspect of the game. Their defense was picked apart as the Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith finished with 368 yards and four touchdowns. Alex Smith has always been considered a solid quarterback but he rarely has games like this. In Smith’s ten year career he has thrown for more than 300 yards in just five games. Smith was not the Patriots only problem as rookie Kareem Hunt ran for 148 yards in his NFL debut. As the Patriots defense struggled the offense did not do much to help as although the Patriots put up 27 points the offense rarely got in synch. The Patriots scored just 10 points in the second half while the Chiefs scored 28. Brady did not play up to his normal expectations and the offensive line struggled to protect Brady.

It however is not time for Patriots fans to panic. The Patriots entered the season as the defending champs and many experts have picked them to repeat. The Patriots had a tremendous offseason in which they added star receiver Brandon Cooks, Cornerback Stephen Gilmore, and a number of talented running backs. These additions have had many people thinking the Patriots could go 19-0. That will not happen but that does not mean that this Patriots team wont be very good. It will take time for this team to form an identity as many of these starters did not play much during the preseason.  Even though Brady did not play to his normal standards he also was not horrible. Patriots fans may be frustrated but this is not how this team will look at the end of the season. They will be one of the best teams in the NFL and this opening night loss will could be considered a wakeup call when all is said and done.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#NFL #Patriots

Bills Begin Rebuild

sammy

Photo Credit: Matthew Fairburn

On Friday the Bills surprised the world as they traded two of their top players. The Bills traded talented but often injured receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams and cornerback Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles. Both these players were arguably the Bill’s best players at their position for the Bills .The Bills received more draft picks in both these trades as well as receiver Jordan Matthews from the Eagles. No matter what the Bills say this upcoming season is not one in which they will make the playoffs. The Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor now must prove himself without one of the games top receivers at his disposal. Although this was a surprising move it is one that needed to happen. The Bills have the longest streak without a playoff win in football as entering this season it has been twenty one years since the Bills last won a playoff game. That streak will continue but after years of futility the Bills now at least have defined the direction this team is going in.

With these trades finalized the Bills received Matthews to replace Watkins and cornerback E. J. Gaines from the Rams to replace Darby. The Bills also received draft picks which was essential. The Bills now have two first round picks in the next two drafts and could receive more depending on any additional moves they make. The Bills receiving corps now consists of Mathews, Anquan Boldin, and rookie Zay Jones. That is not a horrible group but replacing Watkins with Matthews makes this group less dangerous. Next season will be a tough season for Bills fans. The front office has made it clear that improving this team in the long-term is more important than this upcoming season. If the Bills can hit on the picks they received then this trades will receive good reviews in the future and for the Bills hopefully some playoff wins . If the Bills however fail to draft the right players than their playoff drought will continue as the players the Bills gave up flourish.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#NFL #Bills

Dodgers The Best Team in Baseball?

 

Cody Bellinger, Yasiel Puig, Justin Turner

Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Mark J. Terrill

Last night the Los Angeles Dodgers won their 80th game of the season. The Dodgers have lost only 33 games this season and now have a 15.5 game lead over the Rockies for first place in the National League West. The Dodgers have the best record in baseball because of their young stars and talented veterans. At the trade deadline this team only got stronger as they acquired Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers. Darvish joined an already formidable rotation that included Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood. This team has been the best in the majors because of it’s depth and the moves made during the season to improve this team.

One big storyline for the Dodgers this season has been the production they’ve received from their young stars most notably Cody Bellinger. The young first baseman has taken the league by storm in his rookie year. Through his first 345 plate appearances in the majors he already has 33 homeruns and is on pace for 43. That means that Bellinger will fall six short of the rookie record which is held by Mark McGwire who hit 49 in his rookie season. The Dodgers are also receiving stellar performances from other young players such as Corey Seager  who is becoming one of the best young shortstops in baseball.  Seager is unique because he is not only an above average fielder but also an above average hitter.

The Dodgers have not only been an offensive force but their pitching has been equally impressive. Kershaw is having another great year but the biggest surprise has been Alex Wood. He was once a promising young starter for Atlanta but has yet to reach his potential as he has dealt with injuries that have hindered his career. So far this year Wood has been healthy and a difference maker as through 20 starts he has 14 wins and 1 loss. With Wood’s emergence and the addition of Darvish the Dodgers have a formidable top three and don’t have to put any pressure on fellow starter Hyun- Jin Ryu who has is 2-1 since returning from an injury.

Before the season the Dodgers were the favorite in the National League. They have the deepest rotation in the majors and if the playoffs were to start today their fifth best option would be Rich Hill who has 8 wins and only four losses. They have a great mix of veterans such as Justin Turner and Chase Utley to guide their young studs. Their biggest strength however is their young stars who are making major league pitching look easy. This team is built for a deep run and it seems like the only question is who they will play in the World Series

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Dodgers #Baseball #MLB