Saturday, July 30, 2005


The Mariners have made two trades tonight ending the Mariner careers of Randy Winn and Miguel Olivo.
Winn was traded to the San Francisco Giants for right handed pitcher Jesse Foppert and defensive minded catcher Yorvit Torrealba. Foppert, 25, has started 23 games in his major league career with the Giants. He missed almost the entire 2004 season after “Tommy John” surgery. Torrealba, 27, has played just 34 games with the Giants this season. He looks to be a light hitting catcher, but his defensive numbers are outstanding. His career fielding percentage is .996 and he has allowed just 3 passed balls in 206 MLB games.
The Mariners gave up on the corner stone piece of the Freddy Garcia trade sending Olivo to the Padres for two low level prospects. The Mariners received Miguel Ojeda who is soft hitting 30 year old catcher. They also got a AA pitcher from the Padres, Nate Mateo.
Leftfield can not be filled by Chris Snelling as he must spend 10 days in Triple A after being sent down last week.
Neither of the catchers acquired seem to be long term answers.
The real story on these deals is that within one year the Mariners have given up on the key piece of the Freddy Garcia trade. Olivo’s stay in Seattle has been a total disaster and showed no signs of turning itself around. You have to wonder how the Mariners could have missed this badly on a player that they presumably scouted before trading Garcia for him. On the day of that trade we were told Olivo was one of the premier young catchers in baseball. Instead the Mariners now only have Jerremy Reed and Mike Morse for the Freddy Garcia deal.
On the Randy Winn side of the deal the Mariners are banking that Foppert will re-gain his arm strength a year removed from Tommy John surgery. At 6 foot 6 inches tall Foppert has an 8-9 record with a 5.00 ERA in his major league career.
Bottom line, there is not a lot of substance coming to the Mariners in these deals. They said if they made a trade they were going to acquire players that could help the team at the big league level next season. I will be surprised if this does that.

Friday, July 29, 2005


We just had Mike Harmon on Yahoo Sports on 950, KJR about the trade deadline.

Here is a quick summation of what he said.
1) That Jamie Moyer has been approached about waiving his 10/5 rights. The Yankees and the Rangers are the suitors.
2) The Carl Pavano for Randy Winn and Joel Pineiro trade has heated up again.
3) He believes the Mariners should get something done and that Winn is the most likely to be moved.
4) The Red Sox have gotten involved in the Randy Winn talks.


Here is what Mike Sando just placed on his blog. Check out the link to Sando on the left hand side of the page.

Time is short here so this will be a bit hurried.

Notes from the morning practice:

Top two picks are close to deals, Holmgren said, but neither player was here at practice. Shaun ALexander could be back as early as Sunday. ... Marcus Trufant is working at RIGHT cornerback, which is new for him. This is because the other guys are more comfortable on the left said. They'll see how it goes. ... Ken Hamlin should be back for the third preseason game. That is the plan, anyway. ... Not practicing: Ryan Dutton, Ken Hamlin, Shaun Alexander, Christian Mohr, Cornelius Wortham, Lofa Tatupu, Chris Spencer, Alex Bannister, Cedric Woodard. Players who have returned to practice after missing minicamps: Rashad Moore, Trufant, Steve Hutchinson, Ryan Hannam, Marquand Manuel.

Posted by mikesando Jul 29, 2005 11:00 am


Do the Mariners have any plan at all? It sure doesn’t feel that way. Here is what the plan seems to be. Bavasi and his boys are in the office and they are saying “Hey lets bring up all of these shortstops and then we will throw them around the diamond and see which one plays the best.” “Hey let’s bring up three different catchers and then we let each of them play and little but we will let a 42 year play the most.”
Any reasonable decent organization would know which one of these guys is the guy that they believe is going to be the shortstop or catcher of their club. Good organizations don’t have tryouts at the big league level. That is what the minor leagues are for, to evaluate and know your talent. That should know the guy who is going to play SS and who is the catcher.
They are talking about Betancourt that he reminds them of an Omar Vizquel.
If that is true then why is he possibly being moved to second base. Moreover, the idea that he can go play second for one night at Tacoma and then be ready to come to the big leagues and play second sounds like the biggest seat of your pants disorganization miss run garbage. It is laughable. Let me quote Hargrove directly “Jose is a good player and he's going to get better," Hargrove said. "It's just that sometimes the big-league level is not the best place to work on your game." So why then is a SS working himself into a 2B at the big league level Have a plan. Have an idea. Have an intention.

You can’t ask kids to come to the big adjust to a new high-pressure life and oh by the way would you please learn a new position while you are at it. This is absurd. Who is the SS of the future? Which guy do you think can catch? They should know, they should have decided It makes you wonder if there is any plan at all.


Last week in the Seattle-pi, I wrote about the Sonics keeping their core together. In response their was a lot of discussion of why I included Radmanovic in the core. I think people are forgetting how valuable Vlady Radmanovic is for the Seattle Supersonics. What has been forgotten in Vlady is what makes the Sonics unique.
Vlady does things that no power forward in the NBA does. He runs like a deer. He is dramatically more athletic then anyone realizes. In fact, he may be the best athlete on the team. He stretches the floor with his three point shooting. His post defense is better then he is given credit for.
His floor presence opens up the game for Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. I would argue that Allen and Lewis’s big years were directly related to their time on the floor with Vlady.
Interestingly enough the player that has to have Vlady around is Reggie Evans. If Evans is on the floor with another big most of his game is negated. His presence clogs the offense when there is another big on the floor and his rebounding dips because the other teams has three or four players around the boards. However, when he is on the floor with Vlady he has one on one rebounding match-ups because the floor is spread.
Numbers tell the dependency on Vlady for Evans. charts the +/- rating for playing pairs. (How the team does when two players are on the floor together).
Evans is a negative with every big except when on the floor with Vlady they are the best playing pair on the roster (ignoring the limited time James and Fortson played together only 5 minutes).
Using more of the playing pairs data and Radmanovic’s importance to the Sonics is even clearer. Allen’s best playing pair is Radmanovic. Lewis’s best playing pair is Radmanovic. Ridnour’s best playing pair is Radmanovic. Collison’s best playing pair was Radmanovic. You get the point.
In 59 games when the Sonics had Lewis, Allen and Radmanovic on the floor together they outscored their opponent in 42 of those. That is the triumphant that makes the Sonics a unique team.
Vlady needs to improve on two areas of his game. He needs to be a better rebounder and he needs to get to the free throw line. The rebounding can improve, but I doubt it will ever be a strength. I would envision a Rashard Lewis type rebounder. The increase at the free throw line will come. It is inevitable as he understands the game, improves his ball handling and starts to get a better reputation with officials.
There is no doubt the Vlady is a part of the core of this team. Most importantly he is what makes the team unique.


Thanks to all of you that have been so active on this blog. We have shattered any expectation that I had coming in to the project. One of my hopes was to create a Locked on Sports community outside of the show. That is exactly what has taken place in the comment zone. The comments have been amazingly astute, knowledgeable and on point. I strongly suggest even those that are not making comments to check out the discussion. Great work everyone. I have gone through the comment zones and here are some of my thoughts after reading all of them.

• Two players I would be intrigued with Sonics trying to acquire. Atlanta’s Al Harrington. He is a very good complimentary player and would rebound after an awful year. In Indiana Austin Croshere has been buried. However, I like him and while he earns too much money their might be some way to make it work. He is Vlady but a better rebounder and not as good a shooter.
• Will Conroy is a nice college player and I believe he has enough intagiables that he could make the league. However, he is just another nice college point guard. The idea that he is on par at this moment with guys in the NBA is flat out laughable
• If the Sonics go with a traditional point guard and use Flip as a back-up two guard then Brevin Knight might be ok. Knight is a solid no mistake player. Though he can’t shoot a lick.
• Maurice Evans is going to be available. The Kings don’t plan to re-sign him. However, he may get a fairly decent deal.
• On the mock drafts the Spurs did draft some French power forward. It was not Petro it was the guy they drafted.
• Gadruzic just signed a big deal with Milwaukee. I would love him on the Sonics he is a tall version of Reggie Evans. Equally dysfunctional on the offensive side, but a great rebounder. He is better because of his length.
• At the current time the Sonics don’t have the low level exception to use because they used it last year on Ibo. However, with the new collective bargaining agreement there is a chance that everyone will get to hit the re-set button and the Sonics will get it back. Yes, that hurts.
• I am not sure what the Sonics think of Francisco Elson but that is the player, not Nene, you would get in a sign and trade.
• The Sonics make a lot of decisions based on their computer program that evaluates players. And emphasizes different things for different types of players. Brevin Knight seems like the type of player the Sonics would have valued higher then most via their programs. The concern is Knight’s numbers are skewed from playing in Bernie Bickerstaff’s system which promotes no turnovers and easy point guard assists. Notice both Brevin Knight and Jason Hart had better numbers then they usually do in that system.
• I side with the majority of you on Flip Murray as the replacement to Antonio Daniels. However, AD didn’t move my meter when he arrived.
• Antonie Walker is not a player that usually fits any of my qualifications of what a good player in the NBA stands for. However, I am intrigued that it might work here in Seattle.
• I don’t think Rashard’s upcoming numbers are having much impact on the Valdy negotiations. The Sonics are stricter then most teams at keeping things in line with money to performance and that is why the Sonics are holding ground on Vlady.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


950, KJR'S Locked on Sports has learned that Damien Wilkins turned down a $16 million dollar deal from the Portland Trailblazers. Therefore, there must be another team that is offering Wilkins a big money contract.
The popular opinion around the league is that Atlanta may turn to Wilkins. The Hawks have made inroads to Joe Johnson, but the Suns have altered their roster to make sure they can pay Johnson what offer sheet he receives.
The Sonics are positing themselves to make sure they can match offers to Wilkins.


950, KJR and Locked on Sports has learned that free agent guard Juan Dixon has accepted a 3 year contract from the Portland Trailblazers. According to Dixon's agent Calvin Andrews the deal is for just under 3 million dollars per year. The Sonics had heavily pursued Dixon in free agency.
The Sonics never made an offer to Dixon. It is believed that the Sonics were a bit hamstrung with the amount of moveable parts they have at the current time. In addition, any offer to Dixon would have allowed the Blazers to offer Wilkins and the Sonics no ability to match Wilkins. It could be said the Sonics choose to keep Murray and Wilkins rather then sign Dixon and Murray.
This still leaves the Blazers with just over 2 million dollars of their mid-level exception available for other players. The Blazers had intended to extend an offer sheet to the Sonics Damien Wilkins. However, Wilkins turned down a $16 million offer .

This increases the likelihood the Sonics will turn to Flip Murray as their back-up guard.


There seems to be a lot of confusion on the Sonics cap situation let me try to clarify. The Sonics have not fully determined if they are going to be under the cap or over the cap. However, in all likelihood they will re-sign Radmanovic and stay above the cap.
Therefore, they have the $5 million exception to use to acquire talent. The Sonics current players, Radmanovic, Murray, Evans and Potapenko, can re-sign without using any of that $5 million. This is called having Bird rights.
However, if the Sonics re-sign Wilkins his money must come from the $5 million because he doesn’t have Bird rights since he has only been in the league for one season.
A few other notes. Players that are restricted free agents can have their contract matched by their current club. That is why the Sonics feel comfortable they will be able to keep Radmanovic, Evans and Murray. It also means that any thoughts of the Sonics getting Tyson Chandler or any other restricted free agent are pie in the sky.
I hope that makes some sense.


In the comment zone we were having a discussion about shooting and who is really that good.
These are the numbers I use to evaluate players offensive ability. One is their true shooting %. This accounts for free throws. This is why a player like Vlady comes out very average.
The other number is close to John Hollinger's brick %, but basically it accounts for time on the floor. It tells me in the simpliest form whether or not this player helps his team score. Basically, Chris Weber scores but it takes him so many shots and so many shots considering his minutes on the floor that I believe he hurts his team.

League Average is TS%- 53% and Good/Bad nummber average is ..01

TS% -- G/B
0.68 -- 2.00 -- fortson,danny
0.57 -- 0.82 -- lewis,rashard
0.58 -- 0.64 -- potapenko,vitaly
0.55 -- 0.59 --- allen,ray
0.57 -- 0.52 --- collison,nick
0.56 -- 0.43 -- daniels,antonio
0.51 -- 0.13 -- evans,reggie
0.53 -- 0.07 -- radmanovic,vlad
0.53 -- 0.05 -- james,jerome
0.53 -- 0.01 == LEAGUE AVERAGE
0.50 -- -0.22 -- swift,robert
0.50 -- -0.31-- ridnour,luke
0.50 -- -0.39 -- wilkins,damien
0.41 -- -1.12 -- cleaves,mateen
0.43 -- -1.71 -- murray,ronald

Just a note Juan Dixon was a .52 -- -.19

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Locked On Sports: Sonics in strong position to remain solid at the core

Locked On Sports: Sonics in strong position to remain solid at the core: "Nate McMillan, Jerome James, Antonio Daniels and now possibly Damien Wilkins. The Sonics exodus continues, and with each departure, the panic meter has crept up.

Now take a step back and relax."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


I have confirmed with the Seahawks that they have signed Shaun Alexander to a one-year contract. Alexander will report to camp on Friday.
In exchange the Seahawks agreed not to franchise Alexander in 2006 and not to trade him without his permission.
This is a brilliant move on both sides. Alexander had nowhere to go and had no leverage to negotiate. Moreover, the Hawks had not shown any interest in signing Alexander to a long-term deal.
From the Hawks standpoint you are seeing the influence of Tim Ruskell. Having a football guy in charge of football, Ruskell understood that he had to have his full compliment of players in camp on Friday. In addition, if Ruskell is going to set this increased standard of behavior you can’t go into your first camp with one of your stars playing by different rules.
It is huge to have Alexander in camp. Ruskell has never seen how he reacts day to day in the locker-room, at practice and on game day. At the end of the year, Alexander becomes a free agent. However, between now and then the Hawks can negotiate a long term deal if the two sides can agree on a price.
Overall, a terrific move for the Hawks and a clear sign that Tim Ruskell is changing the Hawks.


RAY ALLEN – Signed deal with Sonics 5 year deal with incentives up to $80 million. Will become official whenever the signing period starts.
Chance of Return: 100%

VLADY RADMANOVIC -- The Sonics have offered a 6 year 39 million dollar deal for Radmanovic. Talking to Radmanovic agent's Dave Bauman he said they do not have any offer sheets at this time. However, he also says they will not accept the offer the Sonics have made. They want a deal in the line of Bobby Simmons, 9 million a year, and Kwane Brown, 8 million a year or the new Samuel Dalembert deal. The market for restricted free agents has been very quiet. Radmanovic's agent has said that they will take a 1 year tender at 3.2 million rather then accept the Sonics offer. That would make Radmanovic a free agent next year. Radmanovi's agent also says that if they have to take the one year tender it will be the first step out the door for Radmanovic. The Soncis can't trade a player who signed a one year tender.
Chance of Return: 100%.

ANTONIO DANIELS -- No surprise Daniels will not be returning. Daniels has agreed to a 5 year deal with the Washington Wizards. Chance of Returning: 0%

JEROME JAMES The sucker has bit and his name is Isaiah Thomas. The Sonics had decided that they were willing to go to three years at the mid-level to keep Jerome, but Thomas put 5 years on the table and James has a new home. Wow what a mistake by the Knicks. This is why you draft 7 footers like Swift and Petro, because getting a center is almost impossible in the market.
Chance of return: 0%

REGGIE EVANS Evans is a restricted free agent. Evans's agent is Dan Fagan who his one of the toughest in the NBA. The Evans camp is upset right now because the Sonics are placing the foucs on Radmanovic rather then Evans. The Cavaliers have been very active in pursuit of Evans but have not presented an adequate sign and trade option. The issue for the Sonics is how much time is avaliable for Evans. Nick Collison is ready to take the next step and Radmanovic is likely to return. There are 96 minutes to spread out between small forward and power forward. Lewis gets 38 a night and both Collison and Radmanovic are ready for around 30 a night. That leaves 6 other minutes. Then the question is how much center can Evans and Collison play. Chances of Evans return are increasing due to a limited market, but he may have to sign the one year tender.
Chance of Return: 75%

FLIP MURRAY -- The outside market for Murray is drying up. The rest of the league is aware that the Sonics are likely to match any deal for Murray with Daniels singing in Washington. The Willie Green deal in Philadelphia may be the benchmark for Murray. The Sonics believe that is in Weiss's up tempo game he will be more of the 2004 Murray rather then the 2005 Murray. The Sonics are talking with Juan Dixon. Murray and Dixon may be a bit redundant. If the Sonics sign Dixon, Murray could be a good sign and trade candidate. However, the Sonics are very high on Murray.
Chance of Return: 75%

DAMIEN WILKINS As we anticipated all signs are pointing to Wilkins going to Portland. Accorsing to sources in the NBA the Blazers are ready to extend an offer sheet to Wilkins that could be as much as 18 million dollars over 5 years. Wilkins has a very intense loyalty to Nate McMillan and would be interested in playing in Portland. Wilkins is a restricted free agent. This means the Sonics can match any offer. If this offer sheet is extended the Sonics have to decide what they are willing to lose to keep Wilkins. Juan Dixon or Damien Wilkins? Damien Wilkins or Flip Murray?
Chance of Returning: 35%

VITALY POTAPENKO The Sonics are still talking to Potapenko, but in an ideal world would like a center with more length. That is why they are talking with Dale Davis and others. Potapenko has a market as does any big. If the Sonics fail on Davis, Potapenko becomes a much more viable option.
Chance of Returning: 25%

Monday, July 25, 2005


Updated: July 25th at 4:30 pm.
According to sources in the NBA the Portland Trailblazers will extend an offer sheet to the Sonics Damien Wilkins. Contract details are not clear, but word on the street is that deal is significant. Translation the Blazers are over paying Wilkins in order to make sure the Sonics don't match the deal. I talked with Wilkins agent on Monday and he said they have not signed anything yet and they are looking at their options.
The Sonics had Juan Dixon in town all weekend and are hoping they can get him signed. The issue is whether or not Flip Murray and Juan Dixon would be redundant. Murray is a restricted free agent.
Last season Wilkins averaged just 6 points per game in only 29 games played. In the playoffs he got extended time due to the injury to Rashard Lewis. In the playoffs he averaged 5.6 points per game in 19 minutes per game. Wilkins shot 44% from the field and 27% from three in both the regular season and the playoffs.
If the deal is substantial the Sonics should let him go.


I am not sure what I watched this weekend on the final day of the Tour de France. All I know is that I understood it was historical and that it was worth getting up early to see the same way that Wimbledon used to be when Borg played McEnroe.
Athletically I am not sure what I watched. Was it DiMaggio 56 game hitting streak, was it the Celtics of the 60’s, was it Jordan or was it Edwin Moses running the hurdles.
Really that might not matter. What I do know is that I was watching the first great sportsman of the 21st century. I was watching a man, who has changed the world, changed people’s lives, changed the face of cancer and changed the way we all face a challenge.
I was watching a man that started a phenomenon with the $1 yellow stay strong bracelet and now 50 million later the bracelet has become a way to have your voice heard.
I was watching a man who on Oct 8th of 1996 faced the microphones with less then a 50% chance to live and testicular cancer that had spread to his brain tell us that “I want you all to know that I intend to beat this disease, and further, I intend to ride again as a professional cyclist," Lance said at a news conference on Oct. 8, 1996, in Austin, his face steeled with determination. "I want to finish by saying that I intend to be an avid spokesman for cancer research and awareness, particularly testicular cancer, once I have beaten this disease."
And boy has he ever, and with such vengeance. He taught us to stay strong.
Athletically who he is and where he ranks may not matter. Instead, he has had an impact and he has touched real lives.
Over the past two years I watch a family down the street where their yellow bracelet as their young 8-year-old son battled cancer. I watched as the dad started bike racing as a release and way to reach out to the power of Lance.
Lance Armstrong has changed our world – he is why breast cancer survivors run marathons, why people under treatment still swim their daily laps, he told us you could beat the most evil of disease. He told us that the human spirit is the strongest in the world not some venomous evil diseases.
The most recent Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer it stated that the risk to U.S. citizens of developing cancer and dying from it was in decline. It added that survival rates for patients of many cancers were on the rise. The tens of millions that Lance’s foundation has raised have to be a part of it.
But you have to wonder if his power on a bicycle is most of it. Where Lance Armstrong ranks, where his achievement place him in the athletic sphere are irrelevant.
What we watched yesterday was a real life metaphor; we watched a faith giver.


The Sonics brass believes that Flip Murray can fill the role of the departed Antonio Daniels. After watching Murray last season it is hard to believe that is true. However, the Sonics contest that much of Murray's issue last year was uncertainty. He missed training camp and the first 20 games and by the time he was ready to return the Sonics were rolling and had no place for him. Therefore, for the rest of the year he pressed, never played in rhythm and suffered because of it.
The Sonics will tell you he can take it to the basket and draw fouls in a way no one but Ray Allen can do on this team. They believe that his ability to score off the bench is a game changer.
The detractors, of which I am apart, believe he is sloppy with the ball. He can't play inside an offensive structure and scores at the detriment of his teammates. Their is no way he can replace Daniles remarkable assist to turnover ratio. Murray averages 1.4 assist to 1 turnover. It is not his game to be that player. Moreover, as much as I believe that Daniels is overrated defensively Murray is a less good defender then Daniels.
Who do you side with?
The Sonics back much of their belief in numbers. And the numbers are impressive.
Over the past two seasons when Murray has played over 20 minutes he has produced.

Type ----G Pts Reb Ass --- FG% 3p% FT%
20+ min 58 15.8 3.1 3.0 -- 44.4 30.8 71.8
25+ min 40 18.5 3.5 3.5 -- 46.3 32.9 70.6
30+ min 21 21.6 3.7 4.2 -- 46.4 34.8 67

Type ----G Pts Reb Ass --- FG% 3% FT%
20+ min 20 13.6 3.6 2.2 -- 38.0 27.8 72.1
25+ min 16 14.8 4.1 2.5 -- 38.3 27.9 72.7
30+ min 9 18.0 4.0 2.9 -- 40.0 30.8 70.3

Last Two Seasons
Minutes Pts Rebs Ass -- FG% 3p% FT% A/T
20+ min 15.2 3.2 2.8 -- 42.8 30.0 71.9 1.4
25+ min 17.5 3.7 3.2 -- 44.1 31.4 71.1 1.4
30+ min 20.5 3.8 3.8 -- 44.5 37.2 67.8 1.4

Sunday, July 24, 2005

collects all the pre-season rags and puts together the pre-season consensus. Last year their #1 and #2 teams were USC and Oklahoma. Here is what they have for the nation and the pac-10 this year.
1 Southern Cal
2 Arizona State
3 California
5 Oregon
6 Washington St.
7 Oregon State
8 Arizona
9t Stanford
9t Washington
National Top 25
1 Southern Cal
2 Texas
3 Tennessee
4t Louisiana State
4t Michigan
6 Oklahoma
7 Ohio State
8 Virginia Tech
9t Florida
9t Iowa
11 Miami-Florida
12 Florida State
13 Louisville
14 Georgia
15 Purdue
16t Auburn
16t Texas A&M
18 Pittsburgh
19 Fresno State
20 Arizona State
21 Texas Tech
22 Boston College
23 California
24 Boise State
25 Virginia