Sports Agenda for Monday (7/2/12)

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(Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

Miami Marlins

Big Story:
The Marlins have an All-Star who should be in the game for years to come. Plus, NBA free agency is underway and I’ve got a pick for the worst person in the NBA. And, the SEC officially has two new members.

Quote of the Day:
“I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures.” – Justice Earl Warren

Miami Marlins: (@ Milwaukee Brewers, 8:10 p.m.)
Don’t look now, but the Marlins have won four straight, including three straight to close out a horrible month of June.
If they get hot in July, it’s going to be an interesting season because they theoretically will go cold in August and hot in September when the pennant chase is on.
So what spurred the winning streak?
Easy, the Marlins finally remembered how to hit the ball.
There’s a funny line in the baseball movie Bull Durham the marlins should remember.
“You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball.”
That sums up baseball better than anything else I’ve heard.
But the bigger news out of the weekend was Giancarlo Stanton was named to the NL All-Star Team.
Stanton’s power is becoming a thing of legends, and his 424 shot on Saturday just adds to it.
He’s been selected to the home run derby squad captained by Matt Kemp.
Let’s just put it this way, if he’s on that night….I have no doubt he can win it.
No doubt at all.
But before that, the Marlins have seven straight road games against the Brewers and Cardinals.
The road trip starts tonight with Carlos Zambrano going for Miami and Zach Grienke going for the Brewers.
If the Marlins bats stay alive, it could be a fun month of June.
The Fish have to be saying, thank goodness interleague play is done for a bit.
I do wonder though, has Ozzie Guillen blown up on the team yet?
If so, I really hope Showtime’s cameras were there to catch it for their show, “The Franchise.”

NBA Free Agency:
Let’s start with the Miami Heat.
Their first target is Ray Allen.
If Allen is healthy after ankle surgery, there’s almost no player who is as deadly a spot-up shooter as Allen.
Yeah, he’s 36, but if his ankle is healthy, that Boston-Miami series may have turned out completely different.
If Allen isn’t available, they may turn to Jason Terry. (Guh!)
Allen’s got a bunch of suitors, but I think it’s down to Miami and Boston.
Speaking of Boston…
They have re-signed Kevin Garnett for 3-years. That could get Allen to re-sign to keep the band together, so to speak.
Boston has reportedly offered Allen, 2 years at $12 million.
The best Miami can offer is $3 million per.
Advantage Boston.
The Atlanta Hawks are making waves…
They want to get out from under the god-awful contract of Joe Johnson and have been trying to pawn him off on the Brooklyn Nets.
But, the Nets don’t want to give up a young guard which Atlanta wants, so you have a stalemate right now, but both teams are talking.
Houston signed Omer Asik to a 3-year, $25.1 million offer sheet. The Chicago Bulls can match, but the contract was structured to pay Asik $15 million in the last year, which will likely be a poison pill the Bulls, who are loathe to paying the luxury tax, can’t swallow.
Roy Hibbert, last seen giving the Heat fits, signed a four-year max contract with the Trail Blazers.
Indiana can match, but that will hamstring Indy when they need to get other guys signed long-term which they may not opt to do. If Indiana lets him walk, they return to being an average Eastern Conference team.
Steve Nash is out there, and the Heat, Mavericks, Suns, and anyone else with a pulse would like to have him.
Don’t get excited heat fans, he’s going for the money pure and simple. He equates money with respect, not rings with respect. Oh well, tell us how that turns out Steve.
Finally, we get to the elephant in the room.

Dwight Howard:
I’m officially nominating Dwight Howard for the scumbag of the NBA award.
He’s treated the Magic franchise and every single Magic fan with the utmost disrespect after they’ve given him everything the last several years.
He’ll ask for a trade, then retract it.
He’ll sign an extension, then say the Magic blackmailed him into doing it.
Look, LeBron could’ve handled his exit a little better…but why do people hate him and still haven’t turned on Dwight Howard?
Seriously.
By the way, the NBPA listened to Howard and essentially told him you’re full of it man.
But this is how petulant he has become.
He only wants to play for one team, the Brooklyn Nets.
He’s trying to force the Magic to trade him to the Nets by saying he won’t re-sign with anyone else.
Now, for me there are two things that could happen that would make me smile.
One is the Nets acquire Joe Johnson’s massive contract and re-sign Deron Williams.
Guess what Dwight, you’re out of luck then buddy.
Or, if I’m Orlando, I call up the Charlotte Bobcats and say, what will you give me for him and dump him on them.
Let him play for the worst team in the NBA and have the Nets have no salary cap space and let his see what it feels like to be in that position.
Seriously, I really hope the Nets avoid him and he’s left to stew in whatever city the Magic can pawn him off on.
Wherever he goes, Orlando will be much better off without him there.

SEC:
Yup, after more than a year or two of movement, the SEC has two new members.
The Texas A&M Aggies and my MISSOURI TIGERS.
Texas A&M got the short end of the stick by having to play in the SEC West with Auburn, Alabama, LSU, and Mississippi State and others.
Missouri will be in the SEC East with the likes of Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina.
I see Texas A&M tucking in just behind LSU and Alabama and maybe Auburn.
I see Missouri, at least this year, landing just behind South Carolina and Florida in the SEC East.
I know I’m going to be told I’m dreaming, but if Mizzou can knock off Georgia in the school’s SEC opener.
I’m just saying, they have a shot.
Lose that game, well, better luck next year.
At least we’ll be able to pull out wins over Vanderbilt, Kentucky, and probably Tennessee.
Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia….yeah, those are gonna be TOUGH!!!
Trust me too, if you watch one defensive player this year in college football remember this name….
Jadaveon Clowney.
He’s got top 5 NFL pick written all over him.

That’s it for today. Follow me on Twitter @timkephart33

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