It’s been a busy couple of weeks.
The MLB All-Star festivities came and went here in South Florida.
Free agency opened in both the NBA and NHL, causing the usual midsummer frenzy that we see every year.
While Pat Riley and the Miami Heat kept busy, the Florida Panthers and new/old GM Dale Tallon seemed interested in addition by subtraction.
With all the young talent waiting in the wings for the Panthers, the strategy could end up working out quite well for Tallon.
As we enter the lull of the summer, here’s a review of what’s happened recently.
MIAMI FISH MARKET
The biggest story surrounding the Marlins this season has been the sale of the franchise by universally-disliked owner Jeffery Loria.
To his credit, Loria continues to be his usual, sullen, carefree self as he makes jokes to the media while refusing to answer questions about the process.
Reports on Wednesday are indicating that a sale could be coming in the near future, with three different groups of investors bidding for the Marlins.
It was nice to see Jose Fernandez’s memory alive and well during the All-Star Game festivities.
Several players and fans spoke about Fernandez, with some players showing tribute to the former Marlins pitcher that almost certainly would have been playing on Tuesday night.
IN RILEY WE TRUST
The Heat may have missed out on Gordon Hayward, who ended up signing with the Boston Celtics, but there is still plenty of excitement surrounding the roster that Pat Riley quickly put together following Hayward’s decision.
Miami brought back Dion Waiters and James Johnson on a pair of four-year contracts.
They surprised everyone by signing versatile big man Kelly Olynyk, also to a four-year deal.
Wayne Ellington will be back, too.
Add Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and youngsters Okaro White and Bam Adebayo to the mix and it’s easy to see Miami as a top three team in the Eastern Conference.
JAGR’S BIG OFFER
Perhaps the biggest splash the Panthers made during the offseason (so far) has been from a move they didn’t make.
Future Hall of Famer and fan favorite Jaromir Jagr was not offered a new contract by Florida, with team officials saying they want a younger, faster squad moving forward.
Jagr remains without a new job and it’s unknown how much interest there is from teams around the league, and if any of that interest is reciprocated by the man who will turn 46 during the upcoming season.
One offer that has been extended to Jagr seems too good to ignore, except for one major detail.
It’s not in the NHL, or even in the league directly below it.
The ECHL’s Florida Everblades have extended an open invitation for Jagr to join the team, and the perk-package is actually pretty impressive.
Benefits for Jagr include an option to skip weekday games (the ‘Weekend Warrior’ playing option), $2 Wednesdays ($2 hot dogs, beer & wine) and a “sleeper bus for road travel stocked with Diet Coke and muffins.”
It’s hard to imagine Jagr taking such a big step down from the NHL.
Should he decide to take the Everblades up on their offer, I’m sure there will be plenty of Panthers fans making the trip up I-75 to cheer on Jagr in Estero.
PAY THE MAN
The one big looming issue regarding the Miami Dolphins is the inevitable contract coming for wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
Still on his rookie deal, Landry is going to get paid if/when he becomes a free agent.
Miami would be wise to lock him up before he hits the market and a bidding war can begin, and they’ll likely be doing just that in the coming months.
Landry has kept busy during the offseason, mostly training and preparing with his Dolphins teammates.
He did find some time to enter the design industry though, and the results are pretty solid.
Looks like Landry is preparing himself for the upscale lifestyle that his new contract should provide.
The limited-edition Landry bags are available at www.sprayground.com but once they’re sold out, they’re gone forever as Sprayground bags are never re-released.