This Weeks Notable NFL Cuts

Will Selva’s latest blog post.

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2/23/2015

Indianapolis Colts: Released DT Ricky Jean Francois

Francois, the 28 year old former 7th round pick out of LSU has been released. While never dominant, he has proven to be a contributor to both the 49ers and Colts. He may find himself work this off-season.

Arizona Cardinals: Released WR/KR Ted Ginn Jr.

Ginn Jr. has not been known much as a WR so the Cardinals let the 29 year old go in hopes of finding a new and younger kick returner. Ginn should be able to find work as a returner and number 4 WR elsewhere.

2/24/2015

New York Giants: Released DE Mathias Kiwanuka

Kiwanuka, drafted in the 1st round of the 2006 draft, has been released. The 31 year old DE/OLB has compiled 38.5 sacks during his time with the Giants. He may be looking to join a team as a reserve/pass rush specialist.

2/25/2015

New York Giants: Released RB Peyton Hillis

The Giants have not had the best of luck with running backs of late and this looks like the end of the line for Peyton Hillis in New York. Hillis, who once dawned the cover of the ever so popular Madden video game, has not had the career that he thought he would have. This could be it for his career.

Green Bay Packers: Released LB AJ Hawk

This isn’t the first time, but the Packers have released AJ Hawk. Hawk was cut and immediately re-signed back in 2011 so that the final year worth $10 million did not become guaranteed. Hawk has not been known to be a 3 down linebacker and at his advanced age, he may be looking to become a key reserve.

Detroit Lions: Released RB Reggie Bush

The Lions released the 29 year old running back after signing him to a 4 year deal in 2013. Bush ran for 1,000 yards in his first season but ran for just 297 yards this season. Bush is an asset out of the backfield catching passes and should catch on with a team relatively soon.

Baltimore Ravens: Released WR/KR Jacoby Jones

The Ravens released former Dancing With The Stars contestant Jacoby Jones. Jones has primarily been a number 3 WR with the Ravens but has proven to be a great kick returner. He should catch on with another team this year.

2/26/2015

San Diego Chargers: Released LB Jarret Johnson

The Chargers terminated the contract of LB Jarret Johnson and this comes as no surprise. The 33 year old announced his intent to retire earlier in the week. Johnson spent 9 years with the Baltimore Ravens and the last 3 years with the Chargers.

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Lost Caracter

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

imgres-6Derrick Caracter grew up in Fanwood, New Jersey and got into basketball at an early age. Born with great size, he knew he could go far with basketball. He was so talented that heading into high school he was regarded as a can’t miss prospect. Caracter could not get comfortable in high school and he was constantly transferring. His freshmen year he attended New Jersey basketball powerhouse St. Patrick High School. He then went to Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School for his sophomore year but then decided to return to St. Patrick High School for his junior year. For his senior year, he transferred to Notre Dame Prep to help get his academics in order.

Regarded as the #25 best prospect in the 2006 high school class according to Rivals.com, Caracter attended the University of Louisville. Although a freshmen, standing at 6’8 275 pounds, Caracter was ready to contribute right away. However, during his time at Louisville, Caracter had trouble controlling his weight, a bad attitude, and was constantly just going through the motions at practice. A player so gifted was beginning to waste away all the potential that once had him as a can’t miss prospect. After two years of ups and downs at Louisville, Caracter entered the NBA Draft. However, once Caracter realized his draft stock was 2nd round to undrafted, Caracter pulled his name out of the draft before the deadline. Caracter was left in a tough spot. Head coach Rick Pitino gave Caracter’s scholarship away to senior guard Will Scott. Caracter was unable to return to Louisville. He found himself in limbo again, just like in high school.

Derrick Caracter found himself at UTEP the next year. Per NCAA rules, Caracter was required to sit out his first season as a transfer. He was eligible in the second half of the 2009-2010 season for UTEP and averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds. He would re-enter his name in the NBA Draft and stay entered. Caracter was selected with the 58th pick, the third to last pick, by the Los Angeles Lakers. After going through injury, stints in the D-League, and times of not seeing the floor with the Lakers, he was waived in 2012. He averaged 5 min in 41 appearances with the Lakers and did not catch on with any other NBA team. He has been playing overseas with various teams located in Lithuania, Brazil, Israel, Puerto Rico, as well as the NBA D-League in the states.

A can’t miss prospect squandered potential and can’t find the NBA floor. It just goes to show you that while talent and size mean a lot, it’s not everything.

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Last Weeks Notable NFL Transactions

Will Selva’s latest blog post.

2/17/2015

Buffalo Bills: Released LB Keith Rivers
The former 2008 1st round pick was released following a season that saw him play in 12 games with just 16 total tackles. He has certainly underwhelmed but should catch on with his fourth NFL team.

Carolina Panthers: Released S Thomas DeCoud
DeCoud signed a 2 year deal with Carolina in 2014 but won’t see the second year on that deal. After being inserted as a starting safety for the Panthers, his lack of playmaking had him benched in December. He finished with 50 total tackles and 1 interception. At age 29, he should have a little bit left in the tank to offer another team, perhaps as a reserve.

Kansas City Chiefs: Released WRs Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins
The Chiefs completed the 2014 season without completing a touchdown pass to any WR. While some of that has to do with the conservative approach Alex Smith plays with at the QB position, it’s also a testament to the skill level the WRs had. The Chiefs ultimately let former 1st round pick Jenkins, who has been labeled as a bust and Donnie Avery, who has shown some flashes throughout his career go.

2/18/2015

Indianapolis Colts: Released LB Shaun Phillips
After a great 9 year career with the San Diego Chargers that saw him record 69.5 sacks, Shaun Phillips has had trouble finding consistent work. He spent 2013 with the Denver Broncos, 11 games in 2014 with the Tennessee Titans and 5 games with the Colts. Phillips, known as a edge rusher failed to record a sack in limited time with the Colts and was released. Unfortunately, this could be the end of the road for 33 year old Phillips.

Minnesota Vikings: Claimed TE Brandon Bostick on waivers from Green Bay
Many now know Brandon Bostick as the guy who botched the onside kick allowing the Seattle Seahawks to advance to the Super Bowl. Bostick was eventually cut by the Packers but has now found a new home with the divisional opponent Minnesota Vikings.

2/20/2015

Green Bay Packers: Released LB Brad Jones
Brad Jones, a 2009 seventh round pick with the Packers defied odds lasting 6 seasons and even at times starting for the Green Bay Packers. At age 28, Jones figures to have a few years left in him. He should be able to catch on with another team as a key reserve.

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Coming Home

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

imgres-3Two players were traded at last weeks NBA trade deadline. One was a bit of a surprise while another was expecting a buyout or trade to a contender. I’m talking about forward/center Kevin Garnett and forward Tayshaun Prince. The Brooklyn Nets dealt Garnett and his expiring contract to the Minnesota Timberwolves, where his career began, for 26 year old forward Thaddeus Young. Tayshaun Prince, who was already traded once this year from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Boston Celtics was dealt to the Detroit Pistons, where he won a championship in 2004, for forward Jonas Jerebko and guard/forward Luigi Datome.

Kevin Garnett returns to Minnesota where he was the 5th overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft. He spent 12 seasons in Minnesota until he was ultimately dealt to the Boston Celtics. He was the 2004 NBA’s Most Valuable Player and a perennial All-Star for much of his time there. As Garnett approaches the age of 39 in May, many expect him to ride off into the sunset for the rest of this season on an expiring contract with the franchise that gave him his start but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Rumors say Garnett is expecting to sign a two year extension with the Timberwolves. He’s obviously not the franchise player that he once was, but how much left does Garnett have left? Garnett has plans in the future to buy the Timberwolves, possibly along with current head coach and President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders. Perhaps is Garnett sticking around due to his love of basketball and the paychecks needed to make such a purchase?

Tayshaun Prince was hoping to work out a buyout with the Boston Celtics and join a contender like the Los Angeles Clippers or Portland Trail Blazers. Instead he was dealt to the Pistons, where he was drafted in 2002 23rd overall. Prince spent just under 11 seasons with the Pistons but they’re currently in 9th place in the weak Eastern Conference playoff picture. With Chris Bosh now out of the season in Miami, there may be room for Detroit to make the playoffs but the bottom of the East playoff picture don’t really stand a legitimate title chance. Prince had really hope to land with a top 4 team in the Western Conference. The Detroit Pistons have made it clear they do not plan to buyout the final year of Prince’s contract.

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Recapping the NBA Trade Deadline

Will Selva’s latest blog post.

The NBA trade deadline came and went yesterday and boy were teams active. Over half the league (17 teams) were involved in a deadline deal. The NBA saw approximately 37 current players swap teams while many draft picks and rights to players overseas were moved as well. Lets take a look at some of the biggest moves that happened yesterday.

Detroit Pistons Acquires: PG Reggie Jackson

Oklahoma City Thunder Acquires: C Enes Kanter, F Steve Novak, PG DJ Augustin, SF Kyle Singler

Utah Jazz Acquires: C Kendrick Perkins, F Grant Jerrett, rights to Tibor Pleiss, Draft Picks

Jackson, Dragic, Garnett, and Afflalo all were moved

Jackson, Dragic, Garnett, and Afflalo all were moved

The Thunder walk away with a deep bench after this trade. After already acquiring Dion Waiters earlier this year, Reggie Jackson became expendable and Perkins was declining in production. Add in younger more talent in Kanter, Novak, Augustin (who played with Durant at Texas) and Singler and the Thunder now have a much deeper rotation.

Brooklyn Nets Acquire: F Thaddeus Young

Minnesota Timberwolves Acquire: F Kevin Garnett

The Nets get a younger (26 years old) forward in Young who can play both the 3 and the 4. He also is under contract after this year. For the Wolves, they bring home their once franchise player.

Miami Heat Acquires: PG Goran Dragic and SG Zoran Dragic

New Orleans Pelicans Acquires: PG Norris Cole. C Justin Hamilton, F Shawne Williams

Phoenix Suns Acquires: F Danny Granger, F John Salmons, two 1st round picks

The Heat get their guy in Dragic to sign long term in FA. Everyone else involved was involved just to make salary numbers work.

Phoenix Suns Acquires: PG Brandon Knight and PG Kendall Marshall

Milwaukee Bucks Acquires: PG Michael Carter-Williams, PG Tyler Ennis, and C Miles Plumlee

Philadelphia 76ers Acquires: Draft picks

The 76ers continue to compile draft picks as they’re in rebuild mode. This trade ultimately comes down to a shake up in point guards between the Suns and Bucks. Knight has played off the ball before and maybe that’s what the Suns are looking for.

Boston Celtics Acquires: PG Isaiah Thomas, F Jonas Jerebko, and F Gigi Datome

Phoenix Suns Acquires: SG Marcus Thornton and a 2016 1st round pick

Detroit Pistons Acquire: SF Tayshuan Prince

Isaiah Thomas just signed with the Suns in the offseason but he’ll be suiting up for Boston as of now for the duration of his contract. The Suns gain a 1st round pick and expiring contract in Thornton and the Pistons bring home a fan favorite in Prince.

For more on the trades that went down, check this graphic out here.

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The State of The Brooklyn Nets

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

It was not too long ago, that Billy King, General Manager of the Brooklyn Nets was able to pull off the unimaginable. During the their final season in New Jersey, the Nets finished an abysmal 12-70. However, during the 2012 offseason, King was able to lock up his very own “Big 3.” With Brook Lopez still on his rookie deal but playing like an All-Star, King convinced then All-Star point guard Deron Williams to stay and then traded for All-Star Joe Johnson by giving up essentially no big pieces. With Lopez, Williams, and Johnson all on the squad, it looked like Brooklyn was ready to make a run for an NBA title.

imgres-6After an unsuccessful attempt, Brooklyn moved even closer to all in sacrificing many future 1st round picks for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry who while all were close to the end of the line in their career, still had something to offer. During the 2013-2014 season, Terry tried rushing back from injury and ultimately his play suffered. He was shipped to Sacramento and once again the Nets had nothing significant to show for the season losing to the Miami Heat in the 2nd round of the playoffs despite taking care of Miami in the regular season.

Paul Pierce left via free agency and landed with the Washington Wizards and the Nets now find themselves in the 9th spot in the East with a record of 21-31. Even if the Nets end up in the playoff picture, it looks as though they won’t go far having been inconsistent all season long. Point guard Deron Williams has been injured and even when healthy, Williams has not played close to the All Star caliber level he once played at. Joe Johnson has been discouraged by a lack of effort from his teammates and Brook Lopez has been in head coach Lionel Hollins dog house due to his defensive efforts at times. With the trade deadline just days away, all three of these players have been made available. Former All-Star Kevin Garnett has hinted at possibly being bought out to play for a contender but he has since shot those rumors down.

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All Star Weekend Contests

Will Selva’s latest blog post.

This weekend some of the best players from around the NBA gathered in New York for All Star Weekend which is shared by both the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. Two contests that everyone looks forward to are the Three Point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest

This year participating in the Three Point Contest were Wesley Matthews of the Portland Trail Blazers, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, J.J. Redick of the Los Angeles Clippers, James Harden of the Houston Rockets, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, Kyle Korver of the Atlanta Hawks, and Marco Belinelli of the San Antonio Spurs. Regarded as one of the better showings in Three Point Contest history, ultimately Stephen Curry was crowned the champion after posting scores of 23 and 27 in each round. Take a look at his round here:

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Following the Three Point Contest was the Slam Dunk Contest. Participants in this years contest were Victor Oladipo of the Orlando Magic, Mason Plumlee of the Brooklyn Nets, Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. LaVine, the 19 year old out of UCLA dominated the competition recording a 50 on everyone of his attempts crowning him the dunk champion. Here’s a look at all of his slams.

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