Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Nagle: NBA Trades Bring Fresh Beginnings

NBA Trades Bring Fresh Beginnings

By John Nagle

“Please don’t write another column about the basketball team, Nagle.”

I have been hearing comments like this from all kinds of people this week. Friends, colleagues, professors, bartenders, pizza delivery men – you name it, they are sick of hearing me write about the mediocrity that is our beloved men’s basketball team.

Which is nice, because I have run out of things to say and they have not played all week anyway. It would hardly seem timely.

Given that development, I am in a bit of a bind, since I have just been falling back on that old stand-by for a few months. Now I don’t know what to write about. I would love to write about the beginning of spring training, a time when I actually read the newspaper every day to pick up the little bits and pieces that SportsCenter does not give me. Unfortunately, I think someone else turned in their column about baseball before me, and I don’t get to explain to you the meaning of Griffey to the Reds. Yet.

I am mildly interested in writing about the Bills unceremonious dumping of Bruce Smith along with a few other NFL personnel moves, but that would almost certainly involve a discussion of salary caps, and I know that there is nothing more boring than analyzing the NFL salary cap. Damn shame.

If only Tiger had won last week at La Jolla, I would be going on and on about witnessing greatness that we may never see again. He came pretty close, and it was the best run of golf I have ever seen, but I think the best is yet to come from him. It just would not seem right if he broke Byron Nelson’s record playing a bunch of events Nelson never got to play in the middle of winter, even if it was against better competition. I look for him to win at least two majors this year anyway. Yes, I know I am really going out on a limb with that prediction.

The NHL season has not started yet. The playoffs don’t begin for two months, and until then, I could care less. The games are still fun to watch, but for me to try to give any insight there would be pointless. All I know is that my team, the Boston Bruins, seem to tie every single game, unless they lose badly. I think they need to skate more to the left.

For a while, I thought I would write some self-indulgent column about intramural sports and how great my teams are. Then we lost a basketball game and a wiffleball game Tuesday night, blowing a 17-point halftime lead to a bunch of sophomores in the former and getting shut out for the first time in my career in the latter. Self-indulgence may have to wait until softball season.

There is always the possibility of writing about another sport at Georgetown. Unfortunately, winter is a pretty fallow season in that regard. Track is nice, but they don’t even compete on campus, so its tough for me to come up with much. Ditto baseball. Women’s hoops sounded like a good idea for a while, but now they are getting trounced worse than the men. There might be other teams that play in February at Georgetown, but I don’t know about them. I guess I will just have to wait until sailing season starts.

This leaves me with no choice but to write about NASCAR. I mean, this is Daytona 500 week.

Yes, I am kidding. I refuse to give more than two inches of column space to a sport that starts its season with its biggest event. That is probably because it is dominated by rednecks.

So, I guess I will write about the NBA. Briefly, now that I have already wasted all this space “not writing” about all of that stuff. Pretty neat trick, huh? The big news in the NBA after the All-Star game is the trade that sent Toni Kukoc to Philadelphia, Larry Hughes and Billy Owens to Golden State, and a likely lottery pick plus John Starks and Bruce Bowen to Chicago. Sadly, analysis of that trade will be the topic of discussion for the rest of this column.

If I am a 76ers fan, this trade is really good news. Hughes showed some talent, but Kukoc could be the player they need to take the next step toward being the Eastern Conference’s sacrificial lamb in the NBA Finals. Seriously, the East is bad, Iverson is good, and Kukoc can score, even if his defense is about as tough as France. Good move, Sixers.

If I am a Bulls fan, I could care less. I knew I should go into hiding once Jerry Krause and Jerry Reinsdorf decided to dismantle the team. Two lottery picks to go along with Elton Brand and Ron Artest plus salary cap (those damn words again) room to sign someone big this off-season make this trade look pretty good. Just get rid of Starks (don’t worry, they will).

If I am a Warriors fan, what am I thinking? You guys just got stuck with Larry Hughes and Billy Owens. Hughes will score more in Oakland than he did in Philly, but do you really think you would have been included in this deal if Hughes were that good?

The Bulls and Sixers could have done this deal without you, an even swap of Hughes for Kukoc. Instead, Krause decided he would rather have the pick. Whatever you might have to say about Krause’s personal skills, his nose for talent is pretty good, and if he does not think Larry Hughes is better than taking his chances in the draft, I don’t like his chances for being a star in this league.

Two lottery picks is not a sure thing in this league. Just ask Rick Pitino, a man still bitter that the ping-pong balls did not go his way and give him Tim Duncan. Look at what he has to show for the number three and six picks in the 1997 draft – Kenny Anderson and Danny Fortson, a player he would give away for a clean pair of shorts.

Regardless, I think we will see the Bulls back in contention before the Warriors, and probably before Pitino’s Celtics as well. The Warriors, never very good even during the days of Run TMC (that would be Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin) have been going downhill since trading for Billy Owens the first time (giving away Richmond). It was about that time that Manute Bol started working on his three-point touch. Then they hired P.J. Carlesimo, and we all saw how that worked out.

Take heart, though, Warriors fans, wherever you are. There will always be the Clippers.

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