How Are The 49ers Not Involved In This McNabb Business?

How Are The 49ers Not Involved In This McNabb Business?

Going back through our definitive list of teams that need quarterbacks, we see how much the landscape has changed since January. Teams we assumed wouldn't have much interest, such as Minnesota and Arizona, are standing firm, while organizations like Cleveland decided to take a different direction after showing some initial interest.

However, there's still one place where it makes no sense they haven't picked up the phone: San Francisco. With a young core in place and two first round picks, they seemed to be the most rational fit from the start, but remain adamant about their lack of interest in Donovan McNabb, even now that the price has dropped to a second round pick. Keep both firsts and acquire a franchise QB? How can they pass up that opportunity?

The 49ers are slapping destiny across the face. What doesn't that team have in their favor right now?

A power running game? Check.

A playmaker at wide receiver? Check.

A viable red zone option? Check.

An adequate offensive line? Check.

A strong defense that cam carry the offense? Check.

A first round pick to fill another need? Double check.

A quarterback who wins games? By now, we all know what Alex Smith and David Carr are. They were both thrown into a rotten set of circumstances as rookies which hampered their development, but if either of them was anything special, they would have shown something, anything by now. Unless absolutely everything falls perfectly into place, most people would agree neither Smith or Carr are capable of taking San Francisco to the Super Bowl.

Donovan can though. Say what you want about Five, we know he can lead a team at least that far. Why on earth would they not jump at the opportunity to acquire what easily could be the final piece of the puzzle? Let's presume the main hurdle would be reaching a contract extension, either because they can't agree on length, or they aren't willing to pay him as an elite player.

How long does a team realistically commit to McNabb? Maybe in the the neighborhood of five years. Now suppose the final year is voidable—a club option, or all base salary. The deal actually runs through 2013. Leaping ahead, the 49ers could draft their QB of the future in 2011. If he's ready to play in 2013 after spending two seasons learning on the bench, the club could trade or outright release McNabb, taking only one year's worth of cap hits, which could easily be planned in such a way so the amount is not overwhelming.

As for the dollars spent, well... can they really put a price on Donovan McNabb if San Fran represents the NFC in Super Bowl XLV and/or XLVI?

To be fair, the sudden change at general manager greatly reduces the chances this deal would ever happen. It's hard to make such a fundamental change in approach just one month before the draft. How often does a sure thing like McNabb come along though?

Even if Alex Smith takes another step forward this season, the 49ers are banking a lot on the improvement of a guy entering his sixth year, who prior to last year had been flat out awful. The thing is, their window is open right now, especially with Kurt Warner retiring from the division rival Cardinals. Stay the course any other time would seem like a wise move, but they are quite possibly this one player away from becoming legitimate contenders. You might even call it a golden opportunity.

NBA Notes: Chris Paul to undergo surgery for torn ligament in thumb

NBA Notes: Chris Paul to undergo surgery for torn ligament in thumb

LOS ANGELES -- Chris Paul will undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

The Clippers said Tuesday that their All-Star guard will continue to undergo treatment and evaluation by the club's medical staff.

Paul was injured on a first-half play involving Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook in Monday night's victory over the Thunder. Paul didn't return in the second half.

The Clippers are 26-9 in 36 games with Paul in the lineup this season. He is averaging 17.5 points, 9.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds, and leads the NBA with 2.25 steals per game (see full story).

Knicks: Anthony tells Jackson he wants to stay in New York
NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony still believes the Knicks can win and still wants to be in New York when they do.

Another January collapse makes it easier to wonder if either will happen.

The Knicks have fallen off the playoff pace, again proving they can win headlines but not games. It seems like the same old story in New York, even though Anthony still thinks they can change the ending.

"Yeah, we will," he said. "I still believe."

He reiterated that Tuesday in a meeting with Phil Jackson, telling the Knicks president of basketball operations that he wanted to remain with the team, according to a person with knowledge of the discussion.

The question is how much Jackson still wants him.

A Fanragsports.com piece by Charley Rosen last week was heavily critical of Anthony, saying his legs are "going, going, almost gone" and that "the only sure thing is that Carmelo Anthony has outlived his usefulness in New York."

Criticism of Anthony is nothing new, but this came from a longtime confidant and former assistant coach of Jackson, leading to speculation that those were the same thoughts as the Knicks executive (see full story).

Hornets: Clifford blames poor defense for Hornets' losing streak
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hornets coach Steve Clifford points to one factor when explaining his team's five-game losing streak -- a lack of defense.

Charlotte went 0-5 on its recent road trip, surrendering an uncharacteristic 109.6 points per game during that span. The Hornets return home Wednesday night to face the Portland Trail Blazers, part of a stretch of five-game home stand which Clifford hopes will help turn things around.

But Charlotte's fourth-year coach said nothing will get better until the Hornets start playing better man-to-man defense.

"It starts with our ability to guard our guy," Clifford said. "When you get blown by a lot on the perimeter where you are constantly in need of help, then you are going to give up 3s -- and that's what is happening."

The Hornets raced to a 14-9 start this season and were third-best in the league in points allowed through 23 games.

Since then, things have steadily fallen apart, culminating with Charlotte giving up at least 100 points in eight straight games. The Hornets have since dropped to 12th overall in points allowed (see full story).

Kings: F Omri Casspi out for up to 2 weeks with calf injury
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento Kings forward Omri Casspi will miss up to two weeks with an injured right calf.

The team said Tuesday that an MRI showed Casspi strained a tendon in his calf during practice on Monday.

Casspi is averaging 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game this season.

Another injury, another opportunity as Sixers' PG merry-go-round continues

Another injury, another opportunity as Sixers' PG merry-go-round continues

CAMDEN, N.J. — The camouflaged tape wrapped around T.J. McConnell’s right wrist couldn’t disguise the latest hit to the Sixers’ backcourt. 

McConnell suffered a sprain on Saturday in a play against John Wall and was in a splint on Tuesday. He did not participate in practice and is listed as doubtful for Wednesday’s game against the Raptors (see story)

“[I’m] trying to keep it stable and not move it around a lot. I should be good to go very soon,” McConnell said. “I’m leaving [when I play] up to the medical staff. I’ll just tell them how I feel. It’s getting a lot better each day.”

Add McConnell to the list of point guards who have battled injuries this season. Let’s start at training camp: Jerryd Bayless suffered a left wrist ligament injury that ended up requiring season-ending surgery. His absence bumped Sergio Rodriguez into the starting lineup, until Rodriguez sprained his left ankle in late December and missed three games.

That left McConnell as the team’s only healthy true point guard at that point. McConnell played so well as a starter while Rodriguez was sidelined that he remained in the lineup when Rodriguez returned. 

“I obviously want to get back quick, but I know me and my teammates won’t lose that cohesion together,” McConnell said.  

This time around, the Sixers are better equipped to handle the injury of a point guard. They signed Chasson Randle from the Westchester Knicks (NBA Development League) to a 10-day contract on Jan. 10. The team liked Randle for his combo skills that would allow him to play shooting guard in practices and give Gerald Henderson an opportunity to rest. Turns out, they need him at the one spot the most. 

Randle played 16 minutes off the bench in Monday’s win over the Bucks. He scored 10 points (3 for 6 from the field, 2 for 4 from three, 2 for 2 from the line) with two rebounds, an assist and five fouls. Randle took his first shot just 23 seconds after checking in for Rodriguez and made his first NBA bucket, a three. 

“He did a great job,” Rodriguez said. “He stepped up in the game, he made some shots, he got the rhythm of the team going. For us, it’s amazing … he’s just here for a few days and he’s talented and he showed [Monday].”

Now Randle could be the latest point guard to maximize an opportunity created by injury. The Sixers have been impressed by what Stanford’s all-time leading scorer can do on both sides of the court. 

“When you start looking at what we have access to, the physical measurements, his wingspan is elite,” Brett Brown said. “You sit him in a stance and he spreads out, he uncoils. He really can cover some ground with his width, his length, albeit from a point guard position. Some of the deflections he got and defensive plays he made, I thought were outstanding.”