The End of the NFL?
The owners opted out of the CBA yesterday, for a variety of reasons that Pro Football Talk covered pretty well: the high cost of credit, a rookie pay scale and their inability to recoup bonuses when a player misbehaves. Now, they have until 2011 to reach a deal with the players union, so its not quite time to panic yet, but there are some warning signs on the horizon, including the players union's desire to get a greater percentage of revenue and the fact that the owners aren't afraid of using replacement players. The former is troubling because it shows a sticking point for negotiations, while the latter shows that the owners aren't willing to back down, which isn't a good sign when a compromise needs to be reached. There's a lot of time before this becomes an issue (heck, there's a lot of time before the uncapped year in 2010), but still, it's something to worry about, if you feel like worrying about something.
Let's hope that John Sullivan (or Dan Mozes) is ready to start next season, because this is Matt Birk's last season in Purple. He wants an extension and he's willing to skip workouts for it. The Vikings don't want to give him a long term extension because he's getting old. Even a Packers fan could connect the dots and see that Birk is gone after this year. That's not true of Chester Taylor, however. The Vikings have him signed for another two years and would be stupid to trade him, even with the emergence of Adrian Peterson. Taylor's an every down back, something the Vikings need in case Peterson gets hurt again or continues to struggle like he did at the end of last season. And the return for a running back would not be high enough to justify relying on Maurice Hicks to step in and fill the position.
Wolves Get the #3 Pick
I'll admit- I actually watched the lottery last night (only the part where they were slotting the teams, not the boring banter and introductions part). It wasn't on purpose, but once I flipped to it, I stayed with it. And I just knew that the Wolves were going to end up with the third pick once they ended up against the Dwayne Wade and the city of Chicago's television market. Now, the third pick has yielded some great players, and that's not even counting Michael Jordan. Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Pau Gasol, Baron Davis and Kevin McHale were all chosen #3 overall. Of course, so were Darius Miles, Mike Dunleavy and Christian Laettner.
And, like pretty much every other Wolves' fan, I immediately thought of Laettner and the 1992 draft after the Wolves got the third pick. And I think there are comparisons to be drawn beyond the Wolves draft position, but the depth of the draft was different that year. Now, I wasn't exactly paying attention at the time, being a little young for that type of thing, but it seems that there were three players that were considered top flight talent in that draft (ie, possible #1 choices), in Alonzo Mourning, Shaq and Laettner. This year, there are only two players, Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose and no consensus on the #3 pick, as the TWolves Blog points out. Personally, I think Brook Lopez would be the best pick for the Wolves, since he would allow them to play Al Jefferson at his natural position. I don't know enough about Danilo Gallinari to have an opinion on him, but if he's the best player available, Corey Brewer and his 19% 3 point shooting shouldn't stop them from picking him. O.J. Mayo and Jared Bayless were both gunners in college and neither one is a true point guard, which means they're basically the same player as Randy Foye and Rashad McCants.
No matter who the Wolves end up taking, odds are they won't live up to their billing. Of the Wolves draft picks under Kevin McHale, only Wally Sczerbiak (1999 draft), Kevin Garnett (1995 draft) and Stephen Marbury (1996 draft) have made an All Star team. And quotes like this from McHale don't exactly inspire confidence:
"It's supposedly a two-man draft. I love being third. We have eight players that you look at in this draft and you really, really like. It gives us a lot of flexibility at that third spot."
So yes, I fully expect the Wolves to add another guard that's too short to play the two spot but can't play the point. Or maybe they'll trade away their choice for Josh Howard or something. I don't know how they'll do it, but they'll do it. Which is why it's probably for the best that they didn't get the first or second pick, because I couldn't have taken it if they'd messed that up somehow (and rest assured, they would have).