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The Sports Feen's Dose

My dose of opinions on all things sports...and pro wrestling!

Thoughts on Hating LeBron, Possible Reyes/Mets Reunion, Roman Reigns’ Suspension, and CM Punk’s UFC Debut

"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thoughts on Hating LeBron, Possible Reyes/Mets Reunion, Roman Reigns’ Suspension, and CM Punk’s UFC Debut

Hating on LeBron

I never considered myself to be a hater of LeBron James but I wasn’t a fan of his either.  I respect his game and talent immensely but have never been fond of him for three reasons:  switching teams, his flopping (and being so animated towards refs without getting a tech), and most importantly, his fans (aka his “Stans”).  I have many friends who are fans of LeBron who tell me to get over the fact that he didn’t join the Knicks in the summer of 2010 but that’s not where my “hate” stems from.  I don’t hold any ill will towards LeBron for not coming to NY but I did (key word 'did') because he joined up with Dwayne Wade, who at that time (and prior to injuries) I considered as great as LeBron.  It just seemed like he was taking the easy way out.  He played just seven seasons at the point and people (AKA his "Stans") make it seem like he was wasting his whole career in a hopeless situation as if he wasn’t supported by really good players before his departure.  Sure, his talent made them better players but he wasn’t exactly playing with scrubs either.  But that’s what his fans do, they try and downplay his supporting casts to try and build him up to be even greater than he is (and he is GREAT, all-time GREAT maybe top 5 all-time GREAT but just not JORDAN GREAT) but again I’ll never respect the “decision.”  And then after winning 2 rings in Miami, he returns to Cleveland but let’s be real, Cleveland was already building a solid foundation before his return and he saw it as another opportunity to move on to a better situation going forward (basically he saw Kyrie Irving as a better bet as a side-kick than an aging/fragile Wade).

With all that being said, you can’t argue with his production, his success, and now his three championships, his most recent one being his greatest accomplishment to date.  He was the Finals MVP and simply played on another level.  Critics will say that Irving was the closer for them and LeBron wasn’t but if you don’t know by now that it's not his style and that’s okay.  I’ve only made the comparison to Jordan because others would bring it up but if you take that away and just look at LeBron for the great player that he is, what’s there to hate about?  I’ll continue to say that Jordan is greater because that’s my personal opinion and as I did with my seven blog series last year, I went out my way to point out their numbers at their absolute peak and given one game to win, I’ll take Jordan on my team than LeBron, which is no slight to LeBron at all.  That’s just my personal opinion and preference.  The fact that there is a conversation at all says a lot about LeBron who is still building his case.

In closing, I never liked Jordan while he was playing either.  He killed my favorite teams, the New York Knicks who only sniffed the Finals because he decided to play baseball.  I never truly liked Kobe Bryant either.  It’s not “hate,” though.  It has more to do with rooting for underdogs.  And no matter how much more talented teams might be, any team that has LeBron James on it will always be the favorite because when you’re the best in the world you are never an underdog, I don't care what Vegas says.  So it’s the same deal with LeBron.  Nothing to do with choosing MIA over NY, it’s just how I am as a fan.  And let’s not forget to mention, the flopping and theatrics towards the refs.  You’re 6’8 and 260 pounds, no need to be flopping or crying about calls.  And yes I know MJ and Kobe did the same, and like I said, never liked it when they did it either despite respecting their game.  Again, there is nothing wrong with rooting against LeBron but “hating” on him, that’s a different story.  Personally, his recent postseason made me respect him more, made me even like him a bit (especially because he’s been rocking wrestling T-shirts *shout to Kevin Love too*) but there’s no way that I’ll root for him. Sorry, but that's just something as a real Knicks fan that I just can’t do.

Jose Reyes-Mets Possible Reunion

I originally was against this move from the moment it was announced that the Colorado Rockies would release Jose Reyes.  However, the way the Mets have struggled lately offensively has made me more open to a reunion but with tempered expectations.  Reyes is a shell of his former self.  He doesn’t have the same range on defense or speed on the base paths.   At the same time, the Mets have NO speed on team whatsoever and he would help there. He’s played shortstop his whole career and some second base but the best possible position for him to get playing time would be at third base, which is ironic considering he would be taking over his good friend David Wright’s position.  A few reasons to like this move if it happens would be that it would be low-cost, low-risk high-reward (on the field), and Reyes is known to have an energetic personality which could ignite the team and give it a spark which it needs.  At the time, I don't want him to be a starter going forward, rather I prefer him a super-utility infield and late-inning pinch runner.  If he's willing to accept that role, then I'm all for signing him (which seem inevitable at this point according to reports).  With that being said, I hope the word is true that Reyes will finally address his domestic violence incident from last year.  Better to address it than to ignore it.  I understand why some people would be upset if we sign him given his off-field issue but I am not the moral police and I can't act like I know exactly happened between him and wife. Not condoning what he did but we don’t know what led to that incident but if his wife forgave him then maybe we can too if he owns up to it, of course.

Roman Reigns’ Suspension

Am I surprised?  No, I’m not but that’s because as a fan of sports you become numb to finding out your favorite athletes are using drugs to help them perform at a higher level.  Am I curious to find out what caused Reigns to get suspended?  Of course I am.  I would like to think it wasn’t any PEDs and I’m willing to guess it was probably some sort of pain killers he was taking considering that he’s one of the top stars of the WWE and has been for the past several years which means traveling a lot and bumping all over the world (no pun intended).  News came out that the WWE found out about Roman’s failed test prior to the last PPV which lead them to switch the world title to Seth Rollins (who beat him cleanly which was a shocker to me) and then to his boy, Dean Ambrose.  The next night they announced the main event for the next PPV will be a triple threat between the three former members of the Shield, which conveniently takes place a few days after Roman’s suspension is over.  It will curious to see how strongly the WWE books Roman as he’s long been considered their “next John Cena” but as we saw with Randy Orton (the biggest name to be suspended prior to Reigns), he could end up being a top guy but ironically, not “The Guy” anymore.

CM Punk’s To Debut at UFC203

I briefly spoke about CM Punk’s upcoming UFC debut on Jim Wrestle’s “Choked Out Radio” podcast last week:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/chokedoutradiolive/2016/06/16/choked-out-radio-live-returns-this-wednesday-615-at-9pm

Basically I said, I don’t have high expectations for Punk’s first fight or for his career in UFC period.  As an MMA fighter, Punk is green as goose sh*t (a wrestling saying) still.   His announced his signing to UFC at the end of 2014 and he’s had several setbacks injury wise which I’m sure hasn’t helped. However, there have been reports that he hasn’t held up too well in sparring match ups while training which to me doesn’t even matter.  At the end of the day, I’m a professional wrestling fan first and I became a fan of the UFC because of Brock Lesnar (who I also spoke about on the podcast) and I’ll be anxious to see Punk in the octagon.  His opponent will be Mickey Gall who’s 24 years old and holds a professional MMA record of 2 and 0.  Not exactly lighting the world on fire but at the same time, I’m sure he’s been training MMA a lot longer than Punk has.  While I admire pro wrestlers for being tough, the octagon is a different animal and I don’t expect Punk to have a successful UFC debut or career.  Lesnar had an amateur wrestling background prior to WWE/UFC and is just a physical beast.  So I’ll be watching in September to see what happens because whether Punk somehow wins or loses by knock out, the winners at the end will us, the fans.

The Knicks Future Just Got A Little More Rose-y

“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. “ – Gertrude Stein

The Knicks Future Just Got A Little More Rose-y

I read and heard the rumblings about the Knicks potentially looking into making a trade with the Chicago Bulls for Derrick Rose but I didn’t think it was real possibility.  A day prior to the trade happening I had posted on my Facebook account talking about being “all-in” on the idea of the Knicks signing Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley even if it meant signing him to a max contract.  The reason being that we were desperate for a major upgrade at PG and that Conley was the best PG available through free agency and we had to do whatever it takes to get him signed even if meant having to overpay him to pry him away from the Memphis.

The next day I was busy at work and my girlfriend messaged me that the Knicks acquired Rose.  I didn’t know what to think.  I should’ve been more excited but I wasn’t.  The Knicks have had one good season in the past decade and they were going to acquire a former Rookie of the Year and former MVP (and the youngest one ever at that) and yet I couldn’t bring myself to get too excited.  Some of my friends started teasing me by posting many “Rose is injured” memes (some quite funny).  Rose injury history is why I was initially in favor of signing Conley (and of course stay away from Rajon Rondo at all cost) but then the more information about the trade came out, the more I grew to not just like it but love it.  And no I’m not overreacting to the trade and all of a sudden expecting that the Knicks to be championship contenders.  With that said, getting Rose means we should at least have a shot at being a playoff team with potential to be more (depending on what we do the rest of the summer).  But there are several other factors why I love this trade:

Low-Risk High Reward

The Knicks are only committed to Rose for one season, essentially making this a one-year gamble.  Rose has more to lose the Knicks do.  Rose will be 28 when the upcoming season begins and will be on a mission to not only help the Knicks win I’m sure, but for his sake, he needs to stay healthy and be productive in order to cash in heavy as a free agent next summer when the cap will once again rise.  Rose will be motivated to prove his doubters wrong by trying his best to stay healthy and show that he’s still an All-Star but if Rose doesn’t stay healthy or isn’t effective then the Knicks can just move on after one season.

Perception

Perception is everything especially when it comes to All-Star players.  All New York fans love to assume that players want the bright lights of New York and all the attention that comes with playing in the media capital of the world but in the NBA none of that matters to players if your team isn’t any good (not to mention the higher tax rate in NY).  And I know some of you think that Phil Jackson was hired to do change that perception and you’re right about that but perception doesn't change overnight.  Last year, Phil couldn’t even get a meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge because the Knicks were still far away from being contenders.  This year, Phil will have Jeff Hornacek by his side, who happens to coach a style that players love to play (up-tempo) and also bring to the table three potential All-Star players (Rose, Carmelo Anthony, and Kristaps Porzingis).  No more getting spurn by the Greg Monroes of the world.

What We Gave Up

I’m big fan of Robin Lopez as I feel he’s a lot better player than his numbers indicate but when Lopez is the best player you’re trading away to acquire a player the caliber of Derrick Rose, then you make that deal in a New York second.  I was telling people last summer that the Knicks did great job signing Lopez and that his contract will look like a bargain a year from now and I was right (wait until you see how much Festus Ezeli gets).  While Jerian Grant showed some promise in his rookie season in NY and I would’ve liked to have seen him play under Hornacek, he didn’t exactly show enough to become untouchable either.  Jose Calderon was just a throw-in and I’ll leave it at that.  Most importantly, for the first time in forever, the Knicks didn’t trade away a draft pick!  All three players traded away were players Jackson himself acquired as President which may say something about his tenure thus far or shows his growth as a general manager to admit his mistakes and not be a stubborn old man as some said he was for believing in the triangle so much. By the way, a month ago Phil said he was going to hire a friend of his with triangle ties to coach and wasn’t worried about acquiring a top point guard. One month later, his coach is Hornacek and his point guard is Rose.  Zen-Master!

The Free Agent Market

The Knicks have about $30 million to spend on free agents this summer and while some will be gullible and fall for the Kevin Durant to NY hype, I won’t. With that said, Phil was wise to see that there’s more quality free agent centers than point guards so it was okay to give up Lopez knowing there was a better shot at finding a replacement at center than it was to keep and get a quality PG.  With Rose now on the fold, the Knicks already have scorers but still need to add more talent around them.  Somehow Phil is going to need to find and sign a starting shooting guard, starting center, a quality back-up PG (crucial with Rose as your starter), and try to retain Lance Thomas and Langston Galloway if possible.  With the escalating cap it’s going to be tough to sign those quality role players for a good price because so many will be overpaid which means Phil is going to have his work cut out for him trying to find pieces to build around his new big three without hurting his…

Flexibility Moving Forward

If anything Phil gave himself more flexibility than he had prior to the trade.  By trading Lopez and Grant, who were under contract past this season, he created an additional $14 million in cap space for the summer of 2017.  If Rose stays healthy and performs at a high level, the Knicks can talk extension with him next summer.  If not, the Knicks can pursue Russell Westbrook (and Durant if he stays in OKC for one year as many believe he will), Chris Paul, or another All-Star by adding them around ‘Melo and Porzingis, especially Porzingis.  The key will be how allocates his cap space this summer.  If Phil is wise, he'll find a way to get some players to sign two-year deals with an opt out after one year like he did with Aaron Afflalo and Derrick Williams last year in order to maintain flexibility.  Fall in love with the F-word Knicks fans because in order to stay consistently good moving forward, flexibility with your assets (cap space, draft picks, players, etc.) is the key.

Last year, I wrote several blogs stating that the Knicks needed to focus on the future and not worry about whether the moves they made make ‘Melo happy or unhappy.  See blog posts on links below:

http://thesportsfeen654.sportsblog.com/posts/2507505/-melo-can-t-wait--phil-can.html

http://thesportsfeen654.sportsblog.com/posts/2807473/---melo-must-help-phil-change-perception-of-knicks.html

http://thesportsfeen654.sportsblog.com/posts/2716383/phil-did-knicks-right-by-drafting-porzingis.html

By acquiring Rose, the Knicks are not only making ‘Melo happier but also doing right by Porzingis' future by putting him around great talent who can lessen the pressure on him but also push to become greater.  By adding Rose you also send a message to ‘Melo and Porzingis that it’s time to start winning again.  A key development for Porzingis besides adding strength and working on his all-around game will be experience, specifically playoff experience.  While I’m hopeful that Rose can return to All-Star form, the biggest reason why I’m optimistic as a Knicks is because of Porzingis.  Everything the Knicks do today and moving forward should be with the idea that it’s best for Porzingis and the team not for 'Melo or "sell tickets."  So far this off-season, Phil has done that.

There is a whole summer ahead but in just a matter of days; things are going to get hectic.  If you’re one of those fans who love to get caught up in NBA rumors, go ahead but let’s clear about this:  the Knicks are Porzingis’ team going forward and for that you should be optimistic regardless of who the Knicks acquire this summer or not.  I tried to stay away from feeling too optimistic given the Knicks recent history but if you can let yourself hope a little bit and just think how great the Knicks can be if Rose and ‘Melo both stay healthy, then maybe next summer we’ll be talking who wants to come play for the Knicks and not who the Knicks desperately need to add.  Knicks fans have suffered enough but I truly believe good times are coming.  ‘Melo isn’t going anywhere, Porzingis will continue to blossom, and maybe Derrick stays healthy enough so the Knicks can make the playoffs and the Garden can become a little more Rose-y. 

Thoughts on Brock Lesnar on UFC200, CM Punk's UFC debut, and WWE's Money in the Bank

This past Wednesday night I was a guest on Jim Wrestle's "Choked Out Radio" podcast on BlogTalkRadio to discuss Brock Lesnar's involvement in UFC200, CM Punk's pending UFC debut, and gave out some thoughts and predictions on this Sunday's WWE pay-per-view "Money in the Bank."  Please check out the podcast using the following link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/chokedoutradiolive/2016/06/16/choked-out-radio-live-returns-this-wednesday-615-at-9pm

I will likely write a blog on the upcoming UFC200 card in the near future but for now here are some quick predictions for Sunday's WWE "Money in the Bank" pay-per-view:

Roman Reigns retains the title: I just don't see how Reigns will lose the belt so soon after WrestleMania even though Rollins' comeback story should end with him finally reclaiming the title he never lost.  But there's more to Rollins story that can be told and eventually have the fans rally behind him to officially turn him babyface in his quest to become champion again.

Owens wins the briefcase:  I'm torn between Owens and Ambrose but I think because the WWE teased that Ambrose will win it and cash on one of his former Shield members that they actually won't do it.  Plus, the briefcase is better suited on a heel and there's not a more entertaining heel at the moment than Kevin Owens.

Cena over Styles:  Billed as a "dream match," this is the match I'm most looking forward to on Sunday.  Not only do I expect this to be a great bout but I'm not sure about the outcome which is always good.  Cena has given newer guys victories in their first match up only to beat them multiple times in rematches (re: Rusev, Owens).  However, I just can't fathom the WWE allowing Cena to lose in this big "dream match" to a former TNA guy.  I just don't see it happening. I hope I'm wrong.

"The Club" wins the tag belts:  Like I mentioned on the podcast, I just think Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows need to regain some momentum that they've lost since their debut.  Winning the belts would be a start.

Crews over Sheamus; Corbin over Ziggler; Brooke/Charlotte over Natalya/Becky:  Beating Sheamus would be a nice feather in Crews' cap.  Ziggler's job is to make Corbin look strong who has lost a few matches but they've all seemed fluky so he's been kept somewhat strong since his debut at WrestleMania.  Ziggler needs to turn heel and is one guy that the brand split will benefit a lot.  And even though it's a tag match, I hope the WWE doesn't use it as a way to have Charlotte's team lose because she's been losing way too much on TV lately.  Sasha Banks is lurking in the background but SummerSlam seems more likely to be her "moment" and the women's division has been a disappoint since 'Mania and part of it has been the booking of Charlotte as a beatable champion.

Hoping the Golden State Warriors close the series tonight in Cleveland so I won't have to miss "Money in the Bank" this Sunday.  I probably won't miss it anyway but would prefer to have no distractions so good luck GSW and enjoy the PPV! 






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