Puigmania! But is he an All-Star?

By: Evan

Courtesy of ESPN.com

Yasiel Puig was called up to the Dodgers on June 3 and has since swept the baseball world. His batting average is an insane .442 with 7 home runs and 14 RBI’s. He has dazzled fans with spectactular plays in right field as well as his Bo Jackson like cannon for an arm. With the MLB All-Star Game rapidly approaching there has been much speculation about whether Puig deserves a spot on the NL roster. Managers Bruce Bochy and his manager Don Mattingly have both said Puig needs to earn his place as an All-Star. I for one believes he deserves a spot, Puig brings energy to any game he plays in and his tremendous stats give further evidence to my argument despite the small sample size. But the decision is not mine and it will come down to fan votes.

All stats from ESPN

Top NBA Free Agent’s Destination

By: Jonathan, THE Brooklyn Nets Fan

15. JR Smith – New York Knicks

JR Smith
JR Smith

After a break out regular season where JR Smith scored a career high, 18.1 PPG, he experienced a nightmare post-season. His horrendous post-season probably cost him millions of dollars. The Knicks cannot afford to let him go as their offense cannot thrive without another scorer besides Carmelo. After he opts-out of his current deal for $ 2.9 million, the Knicks will probably sign him to a deal ranging from $5-7 million a year.

The Nets would not have much interest in Smith as they already have Joe Johnson and Deron Williams who frequently shoot the ball.

14. JJ Redick – Oklahoma City Thunder

JJ Redick
JJ Redick

After a solid season with the Magic and Bucks where he scored a career high, 14.1 PPG, his shooting and scoring skills will be in high demand. As seen in the NBA Finals, every champion needs a reliable shooter that can stretch the defense and spread the floor. If Kevin Martin leaves the Thunder, Oklahoma City will need another scorer who can spread the floor for Durant and Westbrook.

The Nets should not have interest in Redick. Although they need shooting, he will probably be out of their price range.

13. Jose Calderon – Detroit Pistons

Jose Calderon
Jose Calderon

The veteran Spanish point guard has many different options this offseason. After another consistent season, Jose will be in high demand. I believe that Jose will return to Detroit because he has a lot to add to the team. The pass first point guard will drastically improve the game of big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. He can also teach young point guard Brandon Knight how to be an effective player.

The Nets have no interest in Jose Calderon. They have Deron Williams who played like the best point guard in the league after the All Star break.

12. OJ Mayo – Minnesota Timberwolves

OJ Mayo
OJ Mayo

The former Dallas Mavericks shooting guard has hit free agency for the second time in his young career. After signing a one-year deal with the Mavericks last offseason, he should be looking to cash in on a multi-year deal. The talented 25 year-old shooting guard had a comeback season. He will probably wind up with Timberwolves who would be able to boast a strong starting five (Rubio, Mayo, Williams/2013 pick, Love, and Pekovic). He can provide some valuable scoring to a team that can become stagnate at times.

The Nets should make a run at OJ Mayo this offseason. If he could be had at a discounted price, he would be a valuable 6th man playing at SG or SF.

11. Manu Ginobili – San Antonio Spurs

Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili

The two time All-Star will either re-sign with the team that drafted him or retire this up coming offseason. After a forgettable finals, Manu will not make anywhere near the $14 million he made this year with the team. If he is willing to take less money, the Spurs will be able to possibly sign another valuable player who could lead them to the finals once again.

The Nets have no chance of signing Manu nor do I want him. He is a washed up star who has played a year too long.

10. Tyreke Evans – Utah Jazz

Tyreke Evans
Tyreke Evans

After winning the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 2010, Tyreke’s production has steadily declined. Although a restricted free-agent, Tyreke will be leaving the Kings “toxic” organization. Evans has never been able to show off his true ability because of the constant fluctuation of the Sacramento Kings. With the Jazz, he will be able to grow with the young nucleus of Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors and under the veteran tutelage of Mo Williams.

Evans would be useless with the Nets as the already have Johnson and Williams.

9. David West – Indiana Pacers

David West
David West

After an impressive playoff appearance, David West will be in high demand during the NBA offseason. After pushing the Miami Heat to a seventh game of the ECF without their best offensive playmaker, Danny Granger, the Indiana Pacers have a legitimate chance of knocking off the Heat next year. Indiana was able to expose the Heat with their physical play. This is why the Pacers MUST re-sign David West if they want any chance of upsetting the Heat. He can provide physically along with consistent rebounding and scoring.

The Nets would love to have a player like David West. The Nets have a desperate need at the power forward with the struggling Kris Humphries and the offensively challenged Reggie Evans. He can be like Reggie Evans except with the ability to put the ball in the basket.

8. Paul Millsap – San Antonio Spurs

Paul Millsap
Paul Millsap

Similar to David West, Paul Millsap is an undervalued, undersized power forward for the Utah Jazz. After being beaten by Miami down low repeatedly without Tim Duncan on the floor, San Antonio must reevaluate their power forward position. Millsap can be a great find for the Spurs as he would provided added toughness, rebounding, and scoring.

The Nets would love to have a player like Paul Millsap. Although there were rumors about him during the trade deadline, the trade never went through. He can be like Reggie Evans except with the ability to put the ball in the basket.

7. Brandon Jennings – Milwaukee Bucks

Brandon Jennings
Brandon Jennings

The Bucks cannot allow the extremely talented 23 year-old Jennings walk without gaining something in return. Luckily, he is a restricted free agent so they will have the power to match any offer. Unless the Mavs or Hawks swoop in and offer Jennings the max, I believe he will return with Milwaukee. If the problem arises again, they can always trade him during the trade deadline. Since it looks like Monta Ellis will not be returning, the Bucks must make it a priority to re-sign Jennings.

The Nets have no need for the inconsistent Jennings with Williams on the team.

6. Andre Iguodala – Denver Nuggets

Andre Iguodala
Andre Iguodala

Andre Iguodala will almost certainly re-sign with the Denver Nuggets this offseason. Although he opted out of his deal, there is mutual interest between both sides so a deal will probably be complete. Iguodala is a perfect fit for the team as he is extremely versatile and allows them to play small and fast with his great defensive ability.

The Nets believed they had someone like Iguodala when they traded for Gerald Wallace. However, they have been badly mistaken.

5. Al Jefferson – Atlanta Hawks

Al Jefferson
Al Jefferson

With Josh Smith most likely leaving this offseason, the Hawks will have a need for a big man to complement Al Horford down low. Big Al will allow Horford to return to his natural power forward position and could create a lethal combination of size. The Hawks will have more than enough money this offseason and hope they can make a splash, like Jefferson, Howard, or Paul.

If the Nets had Big Al they would become extremely dangerous down low as him and Lopez could average 40 and 17 nightly.

4. Andrew Bynum – Charlotte Bobcats

Andrew Bynum
Andrew Bynum

Probably the most interesting free agent we have had in a number of years, Andrew Bynum has the potential to be an extreme steal or bust. When playing, he is a walking 20 and 10 who could be considered the best big man in the game. The Bobcats will have money to spend this offseason. Since they cannot attract big name free agent routinely, they should gamble on Bynum this offseason. If it is a success, he can possibly lead them to their first post-season win in franchise history.

The Nets had their chance of having Bynum, but did not want to Kidd for him.

3. Josh Smith – Dallas Mavericks

Josh Smith
Josh Smith

This offseason the Mavericks plan on making a huge splash in free agency. With millions in cap room, they have the possibility of landing two big free agents. Although Josh does not deserve a max contract, he will definitely be paid handsomely in the range of $12-15 million per year. If the Mavericks want to make a lot of noise, they can sign Smith and offer Jennings a max offer in attempt to pair them with Dirk. The Mavericks need to make the playoffs next year after the poor showing this past year.

The Nets attempted to trade for him this deadline. He could be incredibly useful for the Nets who need massive amounts of help on power forward and talent.

2. Dwight Howard – Houston Rockets

Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard

Hopefully the “Dwightmare” will finally end this offseason. For the past three years different teams, such as my Nets, have tried to lure the talented big man onto their team. (Magic made huge mistake not trading to Nets. Instead of having Aaron Affalo, they could be pairing vucevic and lopez down low, more salary cap relief, and more future first round picks). This past season Dwight hit rock bottom as the Lakers barely made the playoffs and he was constantly scutinized for his play and attitude. By going to Houston, he will be able to escape the media pressure of Tinseltown without losing too much money. Since Texas has no income tax, their standard of living is a lot less than LA, Dwight Howard would probably opt-out of the last year of his deal, the money issue is a non-factor. Howard will have his best chance at winning in Houston because of their young nucleus. The Lakers are a bad fit for Howard: bad coach, aging team, little room for improvement, and he does not like being in the spotlight. With James Harden, Chandler Parsons, and Jeremy Lin, the Rockets can form a solid inside out style.

The Nets have almost no chance of getting Dwight Howard. Although many people hope that there is still a way we can do a sign and trade, the chance are slim to none. At least we have lopez who can average 20 and 7 nightly.

1. Chris Paul – Los Angeles Clippers

Chris Paul
Chris Paul

The best player this offseason as well as the best point guard in the league will remain in the City of Angels with the Clip. With the addition of Doc Rivers, the Clippers now have a legitimate leader of men who can bring the best out of his stars. Along with Blake Griffin and a solid bench, the Clippers have the possibility to reach the Conference Finals and maybe even the Finals, with Spurs getting old and a recovering Westbrook. Unless Paul can find a way to join with Howard in either Atlanta, Houston, or Dallas, his best destination is Los Angeles where he can with a budding star and a top level coach.

5 Ways Yankees Can Improve

By: Jon

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1. Trade Phil Hughes and Outfield Prospect for Michael Cuddyer

The Yankees are in massive need of a first baseman as well as a right handed power hitter. After the Yankees lost Mark Teixeira for the second time this season, the Yankees were left with a massive hole in the middle of their lineup. Especially against left handed pitchers, the offense is absolutely dreadful. Currently, the Yankees are forced to put Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay into the lineup even though they have massive struggles against lefties. Cuddyer can also play outfield in case the Yankees experience even more injuries to their outfield. Cuddyer is having a stellar season this year batting .339 with 11 homers (Baseball Reference). The Yankees currently have little use for Phil Hughes as he is inconsistent and the Yankees have options behind him. Since Michael Pineda is about to be called up and after Ivan Nova’s impressive outing this past weekend, the Yankees should be optimistic about their ability to replace Hughes. It is also highly unlikely that they will be able to re-sign him after this season as they want to remain under $189 million. If there is one position the Yankees have depth in their farm system, it is the outfield. With Zolio Almonte, Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, Ramon Flores, and Tyler Austin in the minors, the Yankees can afford to give one up in order to improve the major league team.

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2. Trade for James Russell

The Yankees have an immediate need for a left hand specialist. Currently Boone Logan is not getting the job. This is evident by his last outing against the Rays where he surrendered two runs, which broke the tie. Although he has a relative low ERA, 2.29 from Baseball Reference, he has allowed 10 of the last 28 inherited runners to score. If the Yankees want to make the playoffs, their bullpen cannot lose any of the leads they gain because of their paltry offense. One possible candidate for the job is James Russell from the  Chicago Cubs. James Russell is having a solid season for the Cubs, 2.22 ERA from Baseball Reference. Along with dominating lefties, he is reliable against righties. However, he will not be cheap as he is under contract until 2015. They could possibly trade a prospect like 2B Angelo Gumbs or a pitcher like Rafeal DePaula or Brett Marshall.

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3. Trade for Michael Young

Along with a need for a first baseman, the Yankees have needs on the left side of the infield. Although Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez may be returning within a month, they cannot be expected to play a lot of games. The Yankees are entering a difficult part of their schedule and need someone other than David Adams manning the hot corner. Michael Young is having an okay season batting .282 with only four home runs (Baseball Reference). He would not be an expensive addition. They can possibly trade Joba Chamberlain for Young. Joba’s value has major fall this season and he will probably not be re-signed this offseason. The Phillies are currently experiencing problems in their bullpen and Joba may be able to return to his dominant form with a change of scenery.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Milwaukee Brewers

4. Trade for Yovani Gallardo

Although the Yankees have a decent depth in the rotation, the Yankees can always use more solid pitching. The Yankees could possibly trade for Gallardo without giving up much of their farm. Yovanni has started the season slowly but recently has rebounded and has been known has a second half pitcher. Gallardo could be a solid number three starter behind CC and Kuroda. The last four years he has won double digit games while maintaing an ERA below 3.85, Baseball Reference. The addition of Gallardo would better prepare the Yankees for a playoff run. The Yankees could use him next year as well with the probable loss of Kuroda and Andy. Yovanni will come cheap for the Yankees. If the Yankees are able to get him for Hughes, DePaula/Marshall, one of their talented outfielders/ a lower level prospect.

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5. Call up Gary Sanchez

Even though he is extremely young and only in class A, he could definitely improve the Yankees catching situation. Before the season, he was voted the top Yankee prospect, MLB.com rated him as the 36 best prospect, and Baseball America said he was the 57th best prospect. After a dominant beginning of the season, he has recently cooled down. He is currently batting .270 with 11 homers and 48 RBI. He is known for his batting, which the Yankees desperately need from their catching position. If not the majors, he should definitely be promoted to AA.