Things just got dicey for Suns fans on the Atlanta Hawks “draft watch.” Just one game from the third-worst record in the league, Atlanta now might have to go the rest of the season without Joe Johnson, who has a deep bruise in his calf.
From the trade that sent Johnson to the Hawks, the Suns get Atlanta’s first-round draft pick this year, but only if it’s not one of the top three picks.
With Michael Redd back on the court in Milwaukee and Philadelphia on a late-season surge, the Suns have to hope Charlotte can outstink the Hawks the rest of the way so they don’t have to rely on lottery balls to change the draft order.
Following the money
How come the Cardinals are always focused on being in great financial shape for next year, yet content to be awful on the field this year?
Instead of signing players who can help now, the Cardinals would rather spend money to protect themselves from the prospect of bad moves. As a result, injured or underachieving starters have rookies or developmental players behind them instead of NFL players who can provide reasonable roster depth.
If the Steelers and Colts choose to be fiscally responsible with the salary cap, more power to them. Their track records earn them that opportunity. But when a team that visits the playoffs about as often as comets visit the Earth constantly plays “Three-card Monty” with its payroll — that’s just plain being cheap.
• A round of applause for the Suns’ Jalen Rose, who has donated $100,000 to the 300-bed Biamb Marie Mutombo Hospital and Research Center that Dikembe Mutombo is building in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rose’s contribution will fund an operating room in the hospital, which is scheduled to open in July. “My heart is touched today by this contribution from Jalen,” Mutombo said.
• Joe Horn will have plenty of chances to haunt his former team in New Orleans after signing a free agent deal with Atlanta. Horn was a wonderful spokesman and face for the Saints franchise in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy, and management thanked him by cutting him while he was still a productive receiver. One of the NFL’s underrated rivalries just got even better.
• It would be hard for Wayne Gretzky to ask former agent and close friend Mike Barnett to step away as Coyotes general manager. But it’s much easier after Barnett’s fat contract extension — which will make for a nice parachute.
• As if the Indiana Pacers didn’t have enough trouble with their players running afoul of the law, now the team and its mascot “Boomer” have been sued by a fan who was tackled after a free-throw shooting contest two years ago. The plaintiff claims he told team officials he was recovering from recent back surgery.
Where’s that ultra-protective sumo suit when you really need it?