The Times-Picayune is one of the oldest newspapers in America.
Established in 1837, it's won Pulitzers, it's employed William Faulkner, and it's documented and influenced the rises and falls of presidents, of eras, of a nation. It played a critical role in covering perhaps the most tragic natural disaster in the history of the United States, its reporting team refusing to evacuate for Katrina until the very, very last and in doing so, emblematizing Henry Grunwald's first tenet of journalism: "It must speak and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air."
The Times-Pic's online edition was, if not born from, significantly burnished by its reporting on Katrina; with print coverage no longer an option, blogging became the de facto method of breaking news. Four staff reporters were awarded the Pulitzer in 2006 for the news they broke and covered, representing the first instance of a Pulitzer awarded for online-only journalism.
Basketball, we can freely admit, ranks lower on the totem pole of life. Nonetheless, that a T-P sports reporter might consider henself above what the rest of the internet perceives as "blogging," is perhaps understandable against the backdrop of the Times-Pic's history of excellence. Newspapers may represent a dying industry, but through the limited funding they yet have access to, their status as respected American institutions, and the enterprise of their associated, experienced veteran reporters, newspapers still have the means to do deep research and to write far-reaching pieces that the average blogger, however skilled, simply cannot.
The background for this, you'll have gathered, is today's Jimmy Smith column, wherein he throws a bizarre jab at both this site and our friends over at Bourbon Street Shots. I've never met Smith, though I imagine based on experience alone, he's forgotten a lot more about journalism and covering sports in general than I'll ever know. I don't mind saying that.
But what I would recommend to Smith in firing shots is directness. Calling detractors "fans" or "amateurs" convinces your readers of nothing but your own desperation. And it's easy!
For instance: Jimmy Smith, your column is awful, tells us nothing, and is riddled with errors.
Let's FJM it:
One week into the NBA's annual crazy season, followers of the New Orleans Pelicans, as well as the league, would seem to have cause for concern.
I say let's ignore weird opening line comma usage to see where this is going!
Unless you live in a market megalopolis such as Los Angeles, or Chicago, or New York, or Houston, or even a smaller place such as Miami (the league likes to think of the South Beach area as a small market),
The league "thinking" of South Beach as a small market isn't some kind of conspiracy; in terms of television markets, it ranks right above Cleveland (not a market megalopolis) and right below Minneapolis (not a market megalopolis).
you should realize that unless the team for which you root is willing to spend lavishly on free agents and approach or surpass luxury tax range, there's not going to be a great deal of excitement this time of year.
We're off to a pretty bad start here already, Jimmy. The team that you cover has made some pretty exciting moves for two straight years now at this, heh, exact time of year! Without spending lavishly or coming close to the luxury tax.
So no, you shouldn't "realize" anything.
It has been eerily quiet around the Pelicans this week as they toil stealthily in the underground network in search of cap space that will facilitate the proposed trade to acquire center Omer Asik so that the swap can become official when the league's moratorium ends on July 10.
The acquisition of Asik has probably been the most notable instance of player movement thus far in the offseason. To turn around and call the completion of said deal "eerily quiet" is highly disingenuous.
Also: "toil stealthily in the underground network"? What?
This impediment would seem to be hindering the team's ability to lure a free agent who could be a difference maker at, say, the small forward position.
Here's a complete list of potentially "difference making" free agent small forwards.
New Orleans was not signing any of them, regardless of the Omer Asik trade. The rest of the currently unsigned scrap heap includes Evan Turner (nope), Marvin Williams (nope), Xavier Henry (you get the point).
Those who passionately study the league's salary cap and the Pelicans' current financial situation, for reputable news gathering organizations not ubiquitous amateur fan blogs, indicate the surest way for the team to clear enough space to fit Asik under league rules would be to renounce all of its cap holds on players... while trading Austin Rivers.
Ah yes, here's the infamous paragraph.
"Ubiquitous amateur fan blogs." "Those who passionately study the cap... for reputable news gathering organizations." You're talking about yourself in the third person here, right? It either has to be that, or, wait is John Reid the one passionately studying the cap?
What does passionate cap studying even entail? Personally, I'm hoping it's John Reid hunched over his laptop at 3 a.m., bursting uncontrollably into tears as he scans Section 47 of Larry Coon's Salary Cap FAQ.
Since we don't know what next year's salary cap figure will be - and won't until the league releases it sometime next week - there's uncertainty as to how much money the Pelicans might have to spend on a freeagent
Yeah, no. We actually have a very strong idea due to the work of NBA reporters that are actually doing their jobs.
I must admit I'm troubled by the current NBA landscape that has players such as James and Anthony conspiring to create championship teams by manipulating the system and potentially skewing the competitive balance in the league.
Random meaningless tangent alert!
And don't even get me started on Anthony. Pau Gasol and Carmelo Anthony? Playing together? Why, there oughta be a law! Maybe even a collective set of rules, bargained and agreed upon by both players and owners that delineates what players can and cannot do in free agency. Why doesn't this exist yet?
...every celestial being in the galaxy would have to align perfectly for New Orleans to be a relevant championship contender under the current fiscal philosophy.
No real comment on this part, but for the love of Pelicans, won't all sentient life in the Milky Way please just hurry up and form an orderly single-file queue please so Anthony Davis can win a championship.
People will correctly point to the San Antonio Spurs as evidence that small market, non tax-paying teams can, in fact, be enormously successful.
Uh oh. This hopefully will not go where it seems like it wants to go.
It helps when the team is built around a humble superstar such as Tim Duncan who is willing to work financially with management and structure a contract that gives the team the flexibility to identify and sign complementary players while others in the core group such as Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili also are willing to be financially flexible.
Oh, no. No, no. no.
Same in Dallas where Dirk Nowitzki just took a pay cut to remain with the Mavericks, giving spendthrift owner Mark Cuban the opportunity to acquire the necessary pieces needed to stay competitive in the West.
They care only about winning.
This point is so glaringly idiotic that I'm rather dismayed to have to refute it in writing. But alas.
Tim Duncan signed his first max contract in 2000. He was 24. Tim Duncan signed his second max contract in 2005. He was 29. In 2010, the peak of his second max, Duncan was making in excess of $22M. He made this because he deserved it, was worth it, and demanded it. In 2010-2011, as a 34 year old that had made approximately ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY MILLION DOLLARS over the previous decade, he took a paycut down to NINETEEN MILLION DOLLARS. The next season, his cut-rate contract paid him $21.2M, the third highest figure in the entire NBA.
Dirk Nowitzki signed his first max contract in 2001 and his second max contract in 2006. Like Duncan, by the time he took his first paycut in 2011, Dirk had made approximately ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS over the course of his career. Like Duncan, despite taking a paycut, Dirk still managed to be the second-highest paid player in the NBA this last season.
In conclusion: do not make the conclusion this is all building to, because it is monumentally ludicrous.
The Pelicans' franchise player, Anthony Davis, appears to be driven by collective success.
Nonsensical, non sequitur phrase done! Insane point conclusion go!!
For Davis to remain satisfied in New Orleans, it's imperative the Pelicans improve. There have been plenty of comparisons of Davis to Duncan.
Hopefully economic unpretentiousness is also part of Davis' DNA, as it is Duncan's.
Nope. NOPE. NOPE.
This is as fallacious a logical fallacy as has ever existed. Unless the implication is that in 2028, a 35 year old Anthony Davis should knock a few million off his price to make sure that New Orleans can sign superstar free agent small forward Michael Larbon, this is a massively foolish sentence that never should have been typed.
How the Pelicans spend their money, if they spend their money, in free agency once the pace picks up in the coming days, could either enhance the Pelicans' chances to become a winning team or doom them
"I don't know a single thing whatsoever about what they'll do, but if the Pelicans do decide to do something, they will either become better or worse!" - Jimmy Smith, NOT A Ubiquitous Amateur Fan Blogger, Thank You Very Much, Good Day.