Masai Ujiri Confirms He’s Staying In Toronto

Toronto Star- Raptors president Masai Ujiri says he appreciates the interest from other NBA clubs, but his roots are in Toronto.

Ujiri held an end-of-season news conference Thursday, in which he talked about his future in Toronto, winning an NBA championship and the growth of basketball in Africa and Canada.

Reports surfaced shortly after the Raptors won their first NBA title that the Washington Wizards were preparing a lucrative offer to lure Ujiri out of Toronto.

Ujiri’s wife is from Washington, and the Wizards were reportedly offering an ownership stake in the team.

 

This is obviously a huge blow to the Washington Wizards, who have yet to name a replacement to former GM Ernie Grunfeld. Ujiri was the name most talked about online and in the media when discussing front office candidates. Ujiri’s added NBA Champion to his resume this Summer to go along with a track record of helping franchises make the next step. He briefly worked as a scout for the Denver Nuggets before being hired by the Toronto Raptors in 2008 as assistant GM. He returned to Denver as GM and VP of Basketball Operations and won the NBA Executive of the Year award in 2013 before returning to Toronto as GM and President of Basketball Operations.

It is obvious why Ted Leonsis wanted Ujiri to run the front office. During his Toronto tenure, he took Toronto from 4th in the Atlantic to 1st in his first year, ending a five year playoff drought, won 5 division titles (including having the best record in the East in the 17-18 season), and ECF in 2016. He took a huge risk in firing Coach of the Year winner Dwane Casey and pulled off the steal of the year (and maybe century) by trading for Kawhi Leonard AND Danny Green without giving up any young pieces and just one protected 1st rd pick. The Wizards wanted him so badly, they were willing to give him ownership stake.

Washington Post- For several weeks, speculation has persisted about the Wizards’ interest in Ujiri. By late Thursday night, various news outlets detailed the proposed offers: close to $10 million annually, six years for $60 million or even a percentage of ownership and control over other Monumental Sports & Entertainment properties. The Post also reported on the Wizards’ link to Ujiri and that “a potential offer would have to include a pathway to an ownership stake.”

$10 million a year is a huge pay day, not to mention the ownership stake that was reportedly offered. Leonsis has since denied that any offer was or would be made, stating that he would “take his time” in forming the new front office. With the 2019 NBA Draft already in the books and free agency starting in five days, it seems that Leonsis is content to wait this out until the right candidate comes along.

 

Wizards 2019 Draft/Off-Season – (Chase Hughes)

We are joined by NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes to talk about the Wizards 2019 Draft Picks, Salary Cap implications and more! Take a listen for some great content!

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Episode 35 – (Nationals)

A shortened episode focused on the Nationals as they just concluded the biggest week in their season with a (4-2) record with one game against the Phillies being postponed until September. Trevor Rosenthal has been released and the bullpen lost two of three against the Braves…

Go check out our interview with NBC Sports Washington’s Wizards Insider “Chase Hughes!” We discuss Wizards draft picks, salary cap numbers and even get into a bit of food discussion…

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Episode 34 – (Capitals, Wizards, Nationals)

The Capitals have made some moves and the Wizards are in a standstill whether or not Masai Ujiri will become the next President of Basketball Operations. Meanwhile, our Nationals have yet to make their run with the biggest home stand of their season this week! Plus, the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) demolished Thailand last week as we get into the criticism of our ladies by the media. Take a listen!

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Capitals Off-Season Moves – (16:00)
  • Wizards Draft Talk – (31:15)
  • Nationals Huge Week Ahead – (53:20)
  • “What Grinds Our Gears” – (1:07:25)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

Clip of the Week – (USWNT beats Thailand)

Check out the article by Serone on DCCrossover.com on his reaction to the United States Women’s National Team’s win over Thailand and the backlash thrown the teams way. We discuss everything about the score differential and celebrations in our “Clip of the Week!”

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Patriotism or Abashment

First off, I want to acknowledge the opinions of anyone reading this. You have every right to not like what transpired just a few days ago.

Did anyone know the Women’s World Cup was starting this week? I love sports and I wasn’t even aware that it was going on. Who do we blame? Media? No. The media only focuses on what “moves the needle” and not what the minority of people want to hear. But one thing that did move the needle this week, the United States Womens National Team (USWNT) absolutely punishing Thailand in the World Cup 13-0. Now, when this game was airing, I was at work and saw a 3-0 score at halftime. My first thought, “Okay, we got this game in the bag and that’s great!” Come to find out just a short hour later, our girls kicked them in the teeth and added another TEN…..TEN GOALS to make it 13-zippy. You would think the American public would be ecstatic because our Men’s team can’t even seem to beat the easy countries nowadays. And yet, the big defeat of the Thai women brought on more scrutiny than ever. Most were not upset about the score, but more so about the celebrations after each score. Here are my thoughts on the goal amount and celebrations.

Background of this video, that same panel (TSN in Canada) had a different, immediate reaction video following the game that said things such as:

  • “If you’re going to blow away a team, do it with humility. They did not.”
  • “…this was disgraceful from the United States. I would hope they could’ve won with humility and grace, but celebrating their 8th, 9th, 10th goals the way that they did was really unnecessary.”
  • “As a Canadian we would never, ever think of doing something like that.”
  • “For me, it’s disrespectful and disgraceful. Hats off to Thailand for holding their heads high. Their first time on a World Cup stage….I would love to be there to just hug them all.”

What a joke telecast. First off, they are comparing Canada to the United States which is completely unfair, especially to the American young women who scored their first goals in a World Cup. “I would love to be there to just hug them all” has to be the most idiotic thing ever said on television. What are you going to do? Hand them orange slices and Capri Sun’s for their effort? If you want respect, you earn it. The Thai women earned their respect by showing up against the USA and playing a full match. Yes, they got the doors blown off in an embarrassing fashion but that doesn’t mean they want you to send them well wishes as if a natural disaster just struck their country. This is the WORLD CUP. The tournament of all tournaments. Welcome to the best of the best Thailand. You got an unlucky draw and got the best team in the world in your first game, tough luck. You know who else in women’s sports got tough luck? (All American’s for the record.)

  • Lindsey Vonn. One of the favorites in multiple skiing events and was injured or banged up for the 2006 and 2010 Olympics.
  • Kerri Strug. Vaulted her way to a Gold Medal in the team event after busting her ankle in the 1996 Olympics.
  • Mary Decker. One of the best track runners in US Women’s history. She was too young for the 1972 Olympics. Got hurt before the 1976 Olympics. Couldn’t compete because of the United States boycott from Moscow in 1980. And finally collided with another runner in the 1984 games and was unable to finish the race.

Kerri Strug

I am not one of the Thai women that participated in the game. So honestly, I do not know if they want sympathy or not. But competing on the World Cup stage is a huge accomplishment. (Again, ask the USA Men’s team how their last World Cup on their couches felt.) For the people who say “why didn’t you let up?” The United States was not going to let Thailand receive a beat down then let up in the last 20 minutes. Why let the Thai women wallow in their defeat during the game while you pass back and forth? That would be the most disrespectful thing ever. Those takes from media members are absurd. Everyone is there to compete and win the tournament. This isn’t a recreational game you see down at the local sportsplex. You’re not going to let up whatsoever to make sure the feelings of your opponent are suffice. Did the Seahawks start taking a knee to run the clock in the 2014 Superbowl up 36-0? No. Because that is the cream of the crop, and to win a Superbowl is the ultimate achievement in the worlds most popular sport. So if your argument is to “lighten up” or “pull back on the reigns,” you are as soft as a My Pillow from Mike Lindell.

My Pillow

Now on to the last point which is where the most outrage was brought up: The Celebrations. I did not agree with some of the women’s celebrations. Let’s get that out of the way right now. Head Coach Jill Ellis needed to tell her players to not let up but be respectful after scoring. Ripping her for “losing control of her team” is out of line in my opinion. If you put yourself in her shoes, do you tell the young women to tone it down after scoring the goal of their life? Absolutely not. But Megan Rapinoe? Come on. What the hell was that leg kick thing? I don’t like how you are 33 years old, have scored many goals on this stage and have to rub it in the faces of your opponent with a choreographed celebration. Mallory Pugh is 21, Rose Lavelle is 25. You are 33 and scored the 9th goal of the game. Go ahead and do your airplane thing and head back to your position.

I disapprove of “excessive celebrations” when up by a huge margin. That is something that I agree with most people on. If you are the Monmouth basketball team of a couple years ago or the Iceland National team who are having fun during the game after a good bucket or nice goal, cool. But those celebrations were not during blowouts. If you want to use the term “act like you been there before” go ahead. But some of these ladies haven’t been there before so I won’t go to the full extent and call these women “classless” or a “disgrace” like the Canadian women did on that telecast.

In conclusion, we all have to come to the understanding that this tournament is not like March Madness or a major sports playoff hunt. This tournament comes once every four years. These men and women have waited their whole lives to wear that American shield with the stars and stripes draped across their chest. If you want to celebrate like you just won the Superbowl, World Series or any other championship you can think of, go ahead! Veterans can act as role models as well. Rapinoe should have celebrated but in a different fashion being one of the veteran captains of this years squad.  I think I can speak for everyone, even non-sport fans, that we have an increased interest in the sports that have our nations flag involved. All eyes are focused in on you and that includes the youth in that respective sport. You can not know what the f*** is happening on the field and still go crazy when a goal is scored. It’s about our patriotism in the end and that is all their is to it. So let’s all put that game aside and root for our ladies representing our nation over in France. I’ll leave you all with a little song by the one and only Toby Keith…

After rough start, have the Nationals turned the corner?

By Jeremy Batka

This weekend marks the start of a very important 11 game home stand for the Washington Nationals. If the Nats have even the slightest hopes of post season baseball in 2019, they need to start beating the teams in front of them—but before we get there, how did the Nats get back to playing meaningful baseball?

Let’s think back to Memorial Day weekend- not the hamburgers or hot dogs, but the National’s record and sad state of affairs. Hovering around 10-12 games under 500, far from the first place Phillies, it almost seemed like Davey Martinez’ club was already out of playoff contention before the Memorial Day weekend charcoal had even cooled.

But since losing 4 straight in New York against the Mets, something unexpected has happened, the Nationals started to play better baseball. It started with taking 3-4 from the Marlins in an extended weekend series which led to the Nationals reeling off wins in 12 of their next 17 games. So, what changed so quickly?

Part of the reason for the Nationals underwhelming and downright ugly start to the 2019 season was a rash of injuries including Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman may not be the most shocking name to hit the injured list but you certainly don’t expect his backup, Matt Adams to join him there. Add injuries to Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, and Howie Kendrick and you’ll start to understand why the Nats fell so far below 500.

It wasn’t just injuries though- the nights when the offense provided a few runs they were most often givien back fairly quickly. The bullpen has by far been the greatest weakness of the 2019 Washington Nationals. Boasting the highest ERA in the NL for a long time in the early half of the season; outside of closer Sean Doolittle, they struggled to find an out. You had good starts from Corbin, Strasburg and especially Scherzer wasted due to the inability of the bullpen to get outs.

So as the Nationals enter their most important home stand of the season (so far) which includes matchups against the Phillies and Braves both of whom they are chasing, why should Nats fans have any faith that their winning ways will continue?

The truth is the Nats turnaround (or slight version of…) is a product of simply playing better baseball. The defense is not committing as many errors and the offense is providing timely hits. This, plus Strasburg, Sanchez and Scherzer having some great starting efforts without the bullpen giving the runs right back.

Turner took some time reaching 100% getting back from injury but he enters the long home stand on fire. Rendon is also hitting well lately and getting on base at an All-Star rate. Even the bullpen has produced some help for Doolittle as Tanner Rainey seems to be a strong 7th  or 8th inning option hitting mid to upper 90’s routinely.

Don’t pencil the Nats in the 2019 post season yet but they certainly have started to play better baseball since Memorial Day. Will they be good enough to make a run at the teams in front of them?

After this 11-game home stand, we may have our answer.

Episode 33 – (Redskins, Capitals, Nationals)

Behind the mics once more, we discuss McDonalds touch screens, Lunchables and the Trent Williams saga for the Redskins! Take a listen…

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Trent Williams – (15:00)
  • One-Year Anniversary from the 2018 Stanley Cup – (30:10)
  • Nationals Lately – (41:00)
  • “Pine-Pony Express” – (59:15)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

Clip of the Week – “Lunchables”

What is your favorite Lunchable? We are working to attain a sponsor for our podcast and hope that a flavorful snack product can be just that! Direct Message us on Twitter if interested: @Serone16 and @TheDCCrossover…We are happy to do business with any of you!

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Clip of the Week – (My 600lb. Life)

No sports on the tube? Turn on TLC. There is bound to be an episode of “My 600 lb. Life” on the television. Today, we get sidetracked watching “Holly’s Story”…

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Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill