Monthly Archives: August 2016

The Bosa saga is a standoff that no-one wins

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What a difference a few months can make. Source: San Diego Union Tribune

Have you ever seen a Mexican standoff where the two opponents wait an age to make any kind of move and just as the sun begins to set, they both draw and simultaneously ping each other between the eyeballs?

Well that’s exactly what is happening between the San Diego Chargers and Joey Bosa right now. It’s quickly becoming a sour, bitter situation that will result in no one winning and everyone coming out a little less rosy on the other side.

The Chargers first round draft pick is yet to sign his first contract with a team over a dispute of how his signing bonus would be paid. The team wants to offset a certain amount, which started at a heafty chunk but their final offer was 15%, while the Bosa camp wants that paid upfront right away.

The reason behind the team’s offer is due to two things, the first they want to save cash if they have to cut Bosa before his rookie contract expires and he joins another team. The second is so that it doesn’t disgruntle the group as a whole as they may have not offered full bonuses to veterans on the team already signed.

That 85% of his bonus would be more than anyone in the last two drafts other than Carson Wentz. Some have been offered their full bonus in the past, including former third overall picks and that’s where the Bosa camp is coming from, they want to guarantee that cash up front.

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President of Football Operations John Spanos has not minced his words during this spat. Source: San Diego Union Tribune

There are plausible arguments on both sides but there are also stronger ones that curtail their pity dispute. The Chargers need all the talent they can get, Bosa fills a big need and the Ohio State defensive lineman has already missed camp and crucial game time.

It took a real turn for the worst on Wednesday when the Chargers went public with their offer and essentially tried to sway public opinion while also revealing future offers will take what he has missed into account. Bosa’s agency replied, stating that it hasn’t exactly helped their relationship and that they will fight for what they believe is right.

The argument against the Chargers is that they are wasting his rookie year, where he’s predicted to do almost nothing with the missed time, and they risk losing a vital pick. This team was awful at times last season and while there are shoots of green in areas, any team in the NFL should be getting all the help they can, especially when they draft that high.

Bosa and his entourage start looking a little silly once you realise that there’s not a case of him not earning his full bonus. Veterans on several teams have told him to get to work and while some will be gleefully pleased at his standoff, none of the owners will be and he can expect an incredibly rough road if he does not join up with the team sooner rather than later.

This wasn’t supposed to happen under the new CBA and while it makes both sides look bad, it will be a footnote when he does sign on the dotted line. Coach Mike McCoy is desperate to get him on board and once he starts to perform and click with the group, this absurd matter will be completely forgotten.

However, don’t be surprised if something like this crops up again. If it does and it gets messy again, then it could be another interesting time once the renewal of the CBA comes around again

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Oklahoma City Thunder will benefit from a Russell Westbrook scorned

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Westbrook can carry this team and he looks ready for the challenge. Source: newsok.com

In a terrific piece by Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical, Russell Westbrook did not dither or waste any moment worrying about a future without Kevin Durant. All he cared about was what would be next.

What looked like coming was a trade away from the Oklahoma City Thunder, with a number of clubs willing to take his services. The team needed an answer now, not content with losing another superstar for nothing next summer and if Westbrook gave them the indication, they would find him another basketball franchise.

Instead, Westbrook did what many did not expect him to do, including myself. He took Durant’s want away attitude personally, dusted off the news and showed his loyalty to the team that had crafted him into a special point guard.

On Thursday, he signed a three-year deal that includes a player option in that final season, potentially worth $85.7m if he completes the contract. It does inflate his pocket but at the same time, Westbrook has taken the baton to be the heart and soul of this team and he is planning to run away with it.

NBA: Playoffs-Oklahoma City Thunder at Dallas Mavericks

This will be an interesting meeting, which reportedly will take place in November. Source: nesn.com

It’s the kind of loyalty we rarely see, especially in smaller market teams, but Westbrook has a sense of belonging in OKC. He doesn’t have a great number of friends on other teams, he feels responsible for those around him in the team and it’s clear that he does not want to let them down the same way he feels Durant has.

To say he hit another level without the small forward back in 2015 may be putting a bit lightly. He bumped his average points per game to 28.1, posting career-best averages in both rebounds and assists and while it wasn’t quite enough to get him team into the playoffs, it made everyone stand up to take notice.

This season he continued that form, except from his points average took a dip along with his shots per game with Durant back in the starting five. However, he was a triple-double machine that even improved on last year’s averages in rebounds and assists, reaching double figures in the latter for the first time.

It really showed his evolution as a player and he excelled in the post-season as well, almost lifting OKC to the NBA Finals. A humbling fightback from the Golden State Warriors halted that run but that will just be another burn that will fire up Westbrook to go one stage further.

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Still the greatest Halloween costume, which just highlights his loyalty to his teammates. Source: CBS Sports

With the additions his team has made, it’s hard to see the Thunder as contenders but whenever you have someone of that quality, you always have a chance. Almost like a saiyan in Dragonball Z, Westbrook grows in strength with every heavy blow he’s faced and his desire to succeed will frighten many teams to death this upcoming season.

The NBA should be wary of a Westbrook scorned. Already at an elite level, this could be the extra motivation to push himself to be the best of what he can be and could elevate him to an MVP he feels he deserves.

Step in front of this runaway freight train if you dare.

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