So This is Christmas: NBA War is Over

So This is Christmas: NBA War is Over

I could only look at HoopsHype.com this morning with one squinted,
hesitant eye open, mere seconds after stirring from bed after
remembering that there was the slightest of chances that the greatest
pre-Christmas gift of ever could have been waiting for me on the
internet. My dad, forever the voice of reason on sports-related matters
(as in most other things), had cautioned me the night before that if
resolution was to be reached in this new round of last-ditch lockout
discussions, it probably wouldn't be until after the weekend, and he was
probably right—but still, before I went to sleep I had read some
anonymous source quoting some anonymous source saying that some other
anonymous source had said that both sides really wanted to get a deal
done tonight. Could it be?

And then as I opened my eyes this morning to confirm, there it was:
DONE DEAL. (This was similar but much more affirmative than last night's
extremely misleading headline, "DEAL DONE," as in, "Players and owners
would like to have a ______.") The settlement deal still needs official
approval from both sides (15 of 29 owners, 226 of 450 players), there
are still some minor issues that need resolving (drug testing, D-League
assignments) and some owners and players are still not feeling the deal,
but consensus opinion appears to be that the deal will pass, and that
basketball action should officially tip off on December 25th. ("There
will be a significant number of players who will not vote to approve
this deal, but there won't be a majority," tweets NBA scribe Adrian Wojnarowski. "The deal will pass.")

So
what does this mean for the Sixers? Well, with a shrinking salary cap, a
more punitive luxury tax, and a reduced mid-level exception, all of
which appear to be conditions of the new CBA agreement, the Sixers are
going to have even less elbow room for team re-building than the
salary-tapped Liberty Ballers did before. (No official word about
whether there will be an amnesty clause included in this agreement, but
if there is, the Sixers would get the advantage of possibly being able
to waive the remainder of Elton Brand (2 years / $35 million) or Andres
Nocioni (1 year / $6.5 million) from their books.)

Meanwhile, with free
agency projected to only be a week-long period this off-season, starting
in early December, and with a number of teams likely gun shy over
dealing in the new CBA, it seems less probable that restricted free
agents Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young will end up jumping ship, for
better or worse.

But only one thing really matters at this
point: There will (probably) be a Sixers season after all. We don't know
exactly where or when—the first game scheduled after Christmas would be
in Sacramento on the 26th, but in all likelihood they'll have some
earlier games squeezed in before that—but as long as 'Dre, Elton, The
Villain and the Damaja (not to mention Couch Dougie in his second year)
are involved, we'll certainly be watching.

It's the best
Thanksgiving/Christmas present we could have possibly asked for.

Howard Smith-US Presswire

Report: Nigel Bradham arrested for involvement in Miami assault

Report: Nigel Bradham arrested for involvement in Miami assault

Another Eagle is in trouble with the law. 

According to NBC6 in Miami, linebacker Nigel Bradham was recently arrested after an incident on Miami Beach. 

Bradham, 26, turned himself into Miami Beach Police on Monday, "charged in the beating of a worker at the Hilton Bentley hotel," according to the report. 

The Eagles released the following statement Tuesday afternoon: “We are aware of the recent incident involving Nigel Bradham in Miami. We have been in contact with Nigel and the proper authorities. Due to the ongoing legal process, we will have no further comment at this time.”

Per the NBC report, six people began arguing with the employee about "the length of time it took to bring them an umbrella they had paid for" and the argument became physical. The victim sustained cuts and was allegedly smashed in the back of the head with a bottle. The report continues to say the six people got in a vehicle and sped away. A phone found at the scene allegedly revealed Bradham paid for the umbrella with his credit card. 

The Eagles signed Bradham to a two-year deal worth $7 million ($4.5 million guaranteed) this offseason. 

The linebacker is expected to be the team's starting strongside linebacker, next to Jordan Hicks in the middle and Mychal Kendricks on the weak side. 

Bradham's best season came in 2014, while playing under Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in Buffalo. That season, he had 104 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks and an interception in 14 games. 

The Eagles seem to have three decent starters, but if Bradham misses any time, it could be a big blow. The team doesn't have much in the way of depth, with players like Najee Goode, Deontae Skinner and Joe Walker as the backups.

Want to play corner for Jim Schwartz? Must worry about more than deep ball

Want to play corner for Jim Schwartz? Must worry about more than deep ball

The Eagles might not have any top-flight cornerbacks, but they certainly have a lot of guys with some talent.

Many of them are young, and all of them are battling for just several roster spots.

That hodgepodge of talent has made the corner position one of the more intriguing spots at this year's training camp. We're not sure how it'll all shake out, who will be the starters, who will be the depth players.

But one thing's for certain: Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz wants all of them to be aggressive.

"It's going to be fun to watch the corners compete," Schwartz said after practice Tuesday. "We have some guys that can cover. We have some guys that have a great opportunity here. If they'll get up and they'll challenge receivers, like I said before, if you can cover — you can't cover many people if you don't want to challenge guys. That's God's honest truth. I could play the deep ball. I'd get my ass 50 yards deep and you couldn't get one over the top of me, but I couldn't cover anything else.

"There's a fine line in there. And the fine line is you obviously have to play the deep ball in this league, but if that's the only thing you're worried about, you're not going to cover anything else."

Schwartz said he's happy with the blend of veteran and young players on the roster, before rattling off five names: Nolan Carroll, Leodis McKelvin, Ron Brooks, JaCorey Shepherd and rookie Jalen Mills.

The one notable omission from that list of names is second-year player Eric Rowe, who finished last year as a starter, but has been somewhat of a forgotten man this spring and summer. On Monday, head coach Doug Pederson mentioned some "hiccups" Rowe encountered learning the new defensive scheme (see story).

Even with Rowe buried on the depth chart for now, there are still plenty of talented, young corners fighting for jobs.

Carroll, on the other hand, isn't young. He's 29 and a returning starter from last year. Schwartz praised Carroll's smarts and said he's been a resource for younger players. But Carroll is also coming off of a fibula fracture and subsequent surgery. That's why he's one of the select vets that reported to camp early.

"This is important for him now," Schwartz said. "It's a good opportunity for him to come back before the full club gets here, just to sort of test it out and see how he's feeling. You don't want to judge too much. He might need a day here or there. It helps that he's a veteran player."

It seems Carroll, on a one-year deal, has a decent shot of being a starter opposite McKelvin. During the spring, Brooks worked outside in the base package and moved inside to the slot. At times, the rookie Mills also played in the slot.

Schwartz said corners in the slot need a different set of skills than the ones outside. They need to have the "courage" to take on big-bodied running backs and the occasional pulling guard. They also need to cover differently.

"It's very rare that you're getting the same routes," he said. "You're not getting the same routes from the slot as you are from the outside. So there's a different skill set. Some guys can play both, some guys can't. So it's our job to determine over the next six weeks where all the guys fit in that."

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts; Ichiro in CF, 4 hits away from 3,000

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts; Ichiro in CF, 4 hits away from 3,000

Ryan Howard is in the Phillies' lineup Tuesday night, batting fourth against Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler. 

It's the second start in three games for Howard, who has actually been productive lately when he's gotten a chance to start. He went 2 for 3 on Saturday and had a homer in three of his previous five starts. Over that span he's gone 6 for 21 with three home runs and five RBIs as the Phillies' starting first baseman.

One of those homers was against Koehler last week at Citizens Bank Park, a two-run shot.

Howard's struggles this season have been well-documented and he's still hitting just .165, but he and Tommy Joseph have produced from a power standpoint. The only team in the majors that has more home runs from its first basemen than the Phillies (24) is the Cubs (26).

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Cameron Rupp, C
6. Cody Asche, LF
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Peter Bourjos, RF
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P

And for the Marlins:

1. Ichiro, CF (four hits away from 3,000)
2. Martin Prado, 3B
3. Christian Yelich, LF
4. Giancarlo Stanton, RF
5. Chris Johnson, 1B
6. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
7. Jeff Mathis, C
8. Miguel Rojas, 2B
9. Tom Koehler, P