Sportige The Sports Know-It-All Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:45:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 FC Barcelona – Marquinhos Will be the Next Centre Back They Try to Sign Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:45:47 +0000 More ]]> Marquinhos FC Barcelona   Marquinhos Will be the Next Centre Back They Try to Sign

One centre back isn’t enough to complete the revolution Barcelona are trying to accomplish when it comes to their defensive players. Marquinhos of PSG, the young Brazilian centre back they’ve tried to sign in the past, might be the one coming next.

Barcelona have just completed the signing or Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia, paying €20 million for the 30 year old defender who has played more and more as a centre back in recent seasons. Considering the problems Barcelona had in recent seasons when it comes to finding capable players for their back four, more than just one signing will be enough, as the club is heading more and more towards the direction of filling their needs in the transfer market instead through their own youth system.

Marquinhos has made quite an impression in Europe over the last couple of years. He had a great debut season with Roma in 2012-2013, earning him a €31.4 million signing by PSG. With the French champions he never got consistent playing time in the starting lineup, usually playing behind Thiago Silva and Alex. Still, this is a player that most regard to be one of the biggest young talents in Europe.

While PSG would like to keep him – their starting central defenders aren’t getting any younger, Marquinhos is unsettled at the club, and with financial fair play bearing down their necks and more signings they’re intending to preform this summer, first and foremost Angel di Maria, selling him becomes more than a luxury but something they might actually be forced to do in order to open up the opportunity to make other big signings.

Barcelona, according to Cadena SER, will have to pay around €40 million in order to sign Marquinhos, which will bring their spending to more than €150 million this summer. They have sold players for quite a lot of money, and yet this still remains a huge expenditure that might be difficult for them to complete or agree to, unless another arrangement can be reached.

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Frank Caliendo as Morgan Freeman Reading the LeBron James Letter Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:34:01 +0000 More ]]>

Maybe this is just ESPN promoting Frank Caliendo harder than they should, but it doesn’t make his brilliant reading of the LeBron James letter in the voice of Morgan Freeman any less brilliant or funny.

Unlike Kevin Durant’s MVP speech, James didn’t get too much flack or memes made about him after his ‘return’ letter about his growing up, understanding and becoming ready to go back to Ohio and win with the Cleveland Cavaliers got published on SI.

As with everything Morgan Freeman says or does, it gives James’ letter a tone of vast importance and magnitude. Even awesomeness. Caliendo is truly one of the best impersonators around, and while he might not be most famous for his Freeman impression, it was spot on and quite flawless.

According to some people who tuned into this on the radio (Mike & Mike show) without hearing the proper introduction, they actually thought this was Morgan Freeman reading out the LeBron letter instead of a comedian doing a bit.

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Manchester United – Louis van Gaal Shows Just How Bad David Moyes Was Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:15:18 +0000 More ]]> Louis van Gaal e1406207864485 Manchester United   Louis van Gaal Shows Just How Bad David Moyes Was

One win is nothing. A preseason win is even less. And yet Manchester United seem to be heading into a completely different season with Louis van Gaal in charge at the manager position, already looking like the perfect man for the job after the mess and shambles left in the wake of David Moyes not even finishing the season.

Manchester United beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 7-0 as part of their preseason United States tour. Van Gaal made nine changes at half time but it was hard to ignore who good Manchester United looked all throughout the match against the MLS side, which shouldn’t explain why everything went so smoothly for them.

One of the big differences between Van Gaal and Moyes is the willingness to talk tactics. Moyes used slogans and repeated lines that showed how uncomfortable he was at his new job, and how he felt the pressure closing in on him. Maybe that day will come for Van Gaal as well, but the confident and accomplished Dutch manager, leading the Netherlands to the World Cup semifinal and eventual third place, seems like someone from a completely different profession.

We have four number 10s, so the selection is not balanced in my eyes. When we play 4-3-3, I have three strikers on the bench and that is not good because I want to play with two strikers. When I am introducing a new system, every good result helps in confidence. It is better to win 7-0 than to lose and the players doubt the system. Now I don’t have that problem.

Suddenly, there’s a thought process on the sidelines behind the decisions for Manchester United, instead of someone who thinks about how well he did for Everton, trying to emulate the exact same thing in a club with very different players, mentality and expectations. Things got ugly very quickly for Moyes, who didn’t realize where he landed and what was needed for him to get out of a jam. It didn’t help that Ryan Giggs did everything in his power, along with the class of ’92, to dispose of the Scottish manager, who didn’t turn out to be the heir that was promised.

Manchester United played with three centre backs, that was the big change. With the additions Manchester United made this offseason and those that are going to come, it is expected to see something very different compared to what we saw last season at Old Trafford. The squad Van Gaal is trying to balance in order to find room and playing time for everyone goes to show what a bad juggling job and balancing act Moyes did as he attempted to work through what Alex Ferguson left him to succeed with.

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Transfer Rumors 2014 – Chelsea Interested in Signing Rapahel Varane Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:45:56 +0000 More ]]> Raphael Varane e1406206881661 Transfer Rumors 2014   Chelsea Interested in Signing Rapahel Varane

Feeling unhappy at Real Madrid according to rumors, there’s a chance that Raphael Varane will be reunited with the manager who have him his first chance at first-team football at the club as Chelsea will attempt to sign the international French centre back.

Jose Mourinho has quite a lot of options on defense: Gary Cahill and John Terry manned the lines last season, while Branislav Ivanovic is a very good centre back when actually used at the position. Kurt Zouma is a very talented young Frenchman who is still waiting for his first chance at Stamford Bridge, but he might be loaned out before the season begins.

Where does Varane fit into all of this? You can never have enough quality players, and Varane is certainly not just young and full of potential, but also ready to contribute right now, as was showed during the 2012-2013 season with Real Madrid and with the French national team this summer.

Actually, when Varane broke out onto the scene, he looked like he’s well on his way to become one of the best centre backs in the world, pushing Pepe out of the lineup. An injury last season cost him dearly and halted his improvement and status, playing in only 14 matches, getting most of his starting opportunities late in the season.

The Independent is reporting that Varane is unhappy with his wages, and thinks he shouldn’t be the lowest paid of centre backs, comparing himself to Sergio Ramos and Pepe. He’s 100% a better defender than Pepe, and once he shakes off his fear of going into tackles which might have happened already, he’s just as good as Sergio Ramos, possibly without the influence on players around him.

Jose Mourinho and Chelsea would like to take advantage of this opportunity and sign the 21-year old, but it’ll cost them at least €25 million to sign a player who cost Real Madrid €10 million when they brought him over from Lens.

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Texas vs Texas A&M – Wishful Thinking, Nothing More Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:15:04 +0000 More ]]> Texas vs Texas AM Texas vs Texas A&M   Wishful Thinking, Nothing More

Charlie Strong wants to play the Aggies. Maybe it’s just a way to improve his popularity among fans even before the first game of the season has been played. It’s nice, wishful thinking, but it doesn’t seem like another Texas vs Texas A&M game is likely to happen in the near future, despite the rich history, which includes 118 games between them, including 64 times on Thanksgiving.

Listening to the Texas AD gives us a much better view of where things currently stand when it comes to the renewal of the rivalry.

I think the reality for us is A&M made a choice they felt was best for them to move to the SEC. That’s great for them. They’ve leveraged that well. For us, there has to be a real business or branding case made to play anybody that we play with our football games given the way our schedule is structured, playing Oklahoma every year in Dallas. Unless there really is a compelling business or branding reason, I see a hard time renewing that rivalry in football.

There’s no strong sentiment coming from Texas A&M officials about making it happen. The Aggies don’t have a loaded non-conference schedule, not to mention a very weak one as well. They’re playing Lamar, Rice and Louisiana-Monroe at home, while visiting SMU. Things don’t look that much tougher in the near future. They do have Arizona State in Houston, but there is also another FCS foe, Ball State and Nevada lined up. They will play UCLA in 2016, but have cancelled future series with Oregon and USC once they joined the SEC.

Texas have a much more impressive non-conference schedule, which is pretty much shut until 2018: They have (this season) nonconference games against North Texas and BYU at home and against UCLA at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Longhorns also have future home-and-home contracts with Notre Dame (four games), California (two games), Maryland (two games), Ohio State (two games) and USC (two games). The first available open date on Texas’ schedule wouldn’t occur until 2018, when the Longhorns are already scheduled to play at Maryland and home against USC.

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NBA Teams Over the Luxury Tax Line Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:45:10 +0000 More ]]> The king of luxury tax e1406205386586 NBA Teams Over the Luxury Tax Line

The Luxury tax is a dreaded word among NBA front offices, and yet there are four teams that enter this season going over the line: The Brooklyn Nets, the New York Knicks, the Los Angeles Clippes and the Boston Celtics.

As you can see from the list, paying a lot of money to players doesn’t make them better all of a sudden, and it doesn’t bring your team anywhere near contending for a championship.

Brooklyn Nets, $17.3 million over: The most wasteful team in the NBA, but with an owner who doesn’t care. Spending all this money on max contracts hasn’t really helped the Nets, making it to the conference semifinals this season and the first round of the playoffs last year. Looking at who left and who is signed, it seems like that is a peak for the next few years, as Kevin Garnett gets paid $12 million, Brook Lopez gets $15 million, Deron Williams is paid $19.7 million and Joe Johnson will be paid an incredible $23.1 million next season.

New York Knicks, $14.5 million over: The Carmelo Anthony contract brings them way over the luxury tax line as usual, as the Knicks are waiting for the summer of 2015 to arrive. Meanwhile, they’ll be trying hopelessly to get rid of contracts like the $23.4 million they’re paying Amare Stoudemire or the $12 million they’ll be paying Andrea Bargnani next season.

Los Angeles Clippers, $2.8 million over: If you’re worth $2 billion, it’s probably not too surprising to see the team “overpaying” players. They have two max extensions on the list with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin while DeAndre Jordan will be paid $11 million next season. They also have nine more players who are making at least $1.2 million a season, including five of them with at least $3 million in annual salary.

Boston Celtics, $2.1 million over: They’re going to be one of the worst teams in basketball for a second straight season, but the price they paid for Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce bolting wasn’t just the team’s quality dropping, but the bad contracts that came along. Gerald Wallace is paid $10 million a season. Keith Bogans, although not guaranteed, will be paid $5 million. The Celtics don’t have more than 1.5 players that other teams would like, and yet they seem to be capped for another season from making any meaningful moves.

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12 Best Memes of Jack White Watching the Chicago Cubs Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:15:02 +0000 More ]]> It was another disappointing day of Baseball at Wrigley Field, and no one conveyed the losing spirit of the Chicago Cubs better than Jack White, making a cameo appearance in the stands and getting a meme to scorch through the Internet thanks to his pissed off face.

The Cubs lost 3-8 to the Padres, falling to 41-58, which is the third worst record in all of baseball. Some say Theo Epstein is doing a good job of building the future for this franchise, but the present doesn’t seem very exciting nor successful.

No longer part of the White Stripes duo, Jack White isn’t doing too bad himself. Both of his Solo Albums have reached #1 in the United States, so there really isn’t that much to be angry about.

Maybe it was just a bad angle that caught him in a perceived bad moment, but it’s funnier actually thinking that what some of these memes describe was actually going through his head.

Wont Shut Up 12 Best Memes of Jack White Watching the Chicago Cubs At the Diner 12 Best Memes of Jack White Watching the Chicago Cubs Jack the Pirate 12 Best Memes of Jack White Watching the Chicago Cubs The Eyes 12 Best Memes of Jack White Watching the Chicago Cubs Black Keys T 12 Best Memes of Jack White Watching the Chicago Cubs Missing Meg 12 Best Memes of Jack White Watching the Chicago Cubs Seven Nations Army 12 Best Memes of Jack White Watching the Chicago Cubs Cubs fans since 1908 12 Best Memes of Jack White Watching the Chicago Cubs Tony Romo Mojo 12 Best Memes of Jack White Watching the Chicago Cubs D Rose Jokes 12 Best Memes of Jack White Watching the Chicago Cubs Lakers fans right now 12 Best Memes of Jack White Watching the Chicago Cubs Doesnt Want to go back to school 12 Best Memes of Jack White Watching the Chicago Cubs

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NBA Expansion – Seattle and Louisville are Next? Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:45:19 +0000 More ]]> Bring Back Sonics e1406202845414 NBA Expansion   Seattle and Louisville are Next?

While expansion isn’t the first thing on the mind of NBA executives, we’re going to see it sooner rather than later, with bringing teams to Seattle and later Louisville being on top of that specific agenda.

The NBA has bigger fish to fry at the moment: The Sterling ordeal and the saga of his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers, and the next TV contract the league negotiates with media outlets. There are some projections that say each NBA team will get close to $90 million from these deals, as the NBA is the only major league in North American sports to have its deal expire in the next few years, while the MLB and NFL are tied up until 2020 at the earliest. Right now each NBA team is making around $30 million from this new deal.

After all of this is over, there will be time to talk expansion. And to where? And how many?

Seattle is always on the books. It didn’t seem too far fetched to see the Sonics reborn in Seattle after seeing that team ripped away from them, relocated to Oklahoma City along with Kevin Durant and a lot of great memories from a franchise that has one NBA championship and reached the Finals two more times. And it will be once again, maybe as a first option, once Adam Silver, who recently said the NBA isn’t looking at expansion right now (wink, wink), has time to handle this issue.

But the NBA is thinking big. Not overseas. The time for an NBA franchise across the Atlantic still hasn’t come. Maybe it never will. There are teams and cities in the United States that want a chance. Canada, outside Toronto, probably can’t support an NBA franchise. But there are places crazy for basketball and an NBA team. Maybe a place like Louisville, who doesn’t have a pro team, but is a city with tons of sports culture and a thriving scene of college sports through the very successful Cardinals, who are in second in Men’s basketball when it comes to average attendance and lead Women’s basketball with their team, bringing in over 9000 fans each game.

The owners of the former ABA team the Kentucky Colonels, are waiting. If the next TV Deal is going to be as big as some banks and analysts project it to be, which is why Steve Ballmer was willing to pay so much money for the Clippers in a deal that still hasn’t been officially been completed.

Like every other major league – in College or Pro, expansion makes sense. More money from TV, more untapped markets, or at least an attempt to find out if there is such a thing. Seattle will feel like justice. Louisville will bring a sense of new and old. Some might say there isn’t enough talent to sustain an interesting league of 32 teams. Many think 30 is too much. But if there’s enough money to spread around, it’s going to happen.

Image: Source  Hat Tip: SonicsRising
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NBA Rumors – Dallas Mavericks Interested in Signing Jameer Nelson Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:15:03 +0000 More ]]> Jameer Nelson NBA Rumors   Dallas Mavericks Interested in Signing Jameer Nelson

In their continuing effort to build a contender for the first time since their NBA championship three years ago, the Dallas Mavericks are looking for a point guard they can trust, something they don’t have at the moment, but the potential addition of Jameer Nelson might take care of that problem.

By bringing back Tyson Chandler from the New York Knicks via trade, the Mavericks lost two point guards: Jose Calderon who was a starter last season and Shane Larkin, entering his second NBA season and didn’t play a very big part in the small success the Mavs can attribute to last season. The Knicks are trying to get rid of him as we speak.

Nelson, 32, has been with the Orlando Magic his entire NBA career, giving them 10 seasons of solid basketball since 2004. His best years are behind him, but he’s still a solid point guard and a smart distributor of the ball who also doesn’t let his small stature give him a problem of scoring on players. He averaged 12.1 points and 7 assists per game last season for the Magic, although he did miss 14 games.

His injuries are the worrying issue, although the Mavs do have Devin Harris and Gal Mekel in support. It doesn’t spell championship or All-Star team, but Mekel should do better in his second NBA Season, and Harris continues to be a valuable backup off the bench who can play in two guard positions.

There’s also Raymond Felton on the team, who just avoided some jail time. However, the Mavs don’t seem to be too confident about what they can get from him, and are willing to spend another $2-3 million a season on a point guard they feel more confident and comfortable with.

Mo Williams has also been in contact with them but unlike Nelson, who seems to be only entertaining offers from the Mavs and the Magic, Mo Williams is listening to plenty of offers and is probably a more popular choice if it comes down to picking one of the two.

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Houston Rockets – James Harden Isn’t as Good as he Thinks he Is Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:45:46 +0000 More ]]> James Harden e1406199474347 Houston Rockets   James Harden Isnt as Good as he Thinks he Is

Listening to James Harden makes you think that the Houston Rockets actually got better by losing Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons in this free agency period. Looking over their roster while ignoring his not so wise words, you see that the truth is completely different.

So far, although there is still time to make some moves, included some highly recommended ones (like signing Shawn Marion), it’s hard to shake the feeling that the Rockets got weaker. Yes, they have Harden and Dwight Howard as two All-Stars and maybe even franchise players each team would love to have, but they’re kind of thin around the edges, with the same problems they had last season as they bowed out of the playoffs in the first round.

Dwight Howard and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets. The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We’ve lost some pieces and added some pieces. I think we’ll be fine next season.

Harden can put up big numbers. He’s a 25-5-5 kind of guy since leaving the Thunder to get a leading role with the Houston Rockets. Dwight Howard might not be the defensive menace he used to be with the Orlando Magic, but he’s still an almost automatic 20-10 kind of player who has improved on the free throw line and generally seem happy. Yet all of that wasn’t enough last season. So why should a weaker supporting staff be enough this season?

One of the issues Harden and the duo of Kevin McHale and Daryl Morey fail to realize is Harden’s ability. Yes he can score, but he also hurts the team in so many other ways. His selfishness and lack of defense have become notorious during last season and especially during the first few games of the series against the Blazers. It hasn’t made him change his game, and I wonder if anyone within the organization has actually tried to make him change his ways.

The defense is probably a bit better with Ariza arriving, but the Rockets have a weak bench, no backup point guard and actually no real point guard whatsoever, while Daryl Morey is still looking for that ideal power forward he tried so hard to sign or trade for last season. The real way for the Rockets to improve is from within. Is for their star player to change his ways. Is for Morey to actually show he’s the ‘moneyball’ GM many think of him as. But from what we’ve seen up to this point from Harden, he’s not too open to changes. He likes being the guy, even if it’s one of the reasons the Rockets have been underachieving.

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