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Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers Could Mean Many Future Championships

Carmelo Anthony made it clear over the summer that he wants out of Denver and that he won’t sign a contract extension with the team. As a result, the Nuggets have reportedly been discussing a potential trade all season long. We’ve heard about 17-player deals that never materialized, a four-team trade that was supposed to go down, yet Melo is still in Denver and dropping 50 points in a game. On Tuesday, things changed when word emerged that the Nuggets were talking with the Lakers about a potential trade that would involve Andrew Bynum.

If the Denver Nuggets trade Carmelo Anthony to the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA has no hope of crowning a new champion. Miami? Done. Boston? Not a chance. San Antonio? Remember the Alamo, because it might bring a semblance  of solace. Imagine Kobe Bryant running the wing opposite one of the only players in the world who is as prolific in all-around offense. Then you have Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, two of the biggest match-up nightmares in the league, combined with a five-time champion point guard in Derek Fisher. Haters can hate all they want, but even if the Lakers declined to take the court on defense they would still be able to waltz into the Western Conference Finals.

The Knicks are waiting too long in the gun fight to draw their pistol, and it seems that the Lakers are a dangerous horse in the race. And essentially, all they would have to give up is an injury-prone (albeit talented) center in Andrew Bynum to a team who already has a quality center in Nene. LA has grown somewhat accustomed to life without Big Drew, so trading him would be just like losing him to injury for the season, a scenario they have already faced in 2007-08 when they STILL made the NBA Finals.

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Prince Fielder Gets $15.5 Million, Will Make Killing in Free Agency

If you’re Prince Fielder, Tuesday marked a time to rejoice. If you’re a Milwaukee Brewers fan, today is a time to remind you to start preparing for a future that does not involve the young slugger.

The Brewers and Fielder avoided the song-and-dance of arbitration by agreeing to a one-year $15.5 million contract for the upcoming season. What this means — other than the fact that Prince is now filthy rich — is that Fielder’s future earnings will be astronomical. Fielder made $18 million combined his first two arbitration years and now is pulling in $15.5 mil. That’s not a bad figure considering he’s coming off a down season where he batted .261 with 32 home runs, 83 RBIs, and an .871. This is far removed from his most productive seasons in 2007 and 2009, where he posted a 1.013 and 1.014 OPS respectively, clubbing 50 and 46 home runs.

The rising salaries for Prince despite the down year means the Brewers will have no chance at re-signing him. Even with another average season like 2010, the Brewers will NEVER be able to afford Prince. Given the high salary Fielder will command on the open market, it’s likely that the team will try to trade him, but that’s no certainty.

By acquiring Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum in the off-season, Milwaukee has made a commitment to winning now. As long as they’re winning and Prince is playing well, expect them to hang onto the slugger and to settle for the compensatory pick they’ll receive for losing a Type-A free agent in the off-season. And if the season doesn’t go as planned, expect Prince to be a goner shortly after the All-Star break.

Kansas, Ohio State, San Diego State, Who Will be Last Undefeated Standing?

With Pitt knocking off Syracuse at home Monday night, college hoops is down to only three unbeaten teams 5-6 games into conference play. Ohio State and Kansas are teams people expected to be in the top five, but the surprise squad is San Diego State which is 19-0 and ranked 6th. Which of these impressive starters will be the first to lose? We take a look.

Ohio State: The Big Ten has six teams in the Top 25 including the top ranked Buckeyes. Thus far, Ohio St. has played only one of the other five ranked teams from their conference — Minnesota. In the next seven days they will host Iowa (whom they beat by only five earlier this month), travel to #22 Illinois on Saturday, and then play 13th-ranked Purdue in Columbus. In February it only gets worse with five straight games against the other ranked teams from the conference. They will be a number one seed in the tourney, but may have a bump or two along the way.

Kansas: The Jayhawks are 18-0 and 3-0 in conference. They have a better shot at remaining undefeated compared to Ohio State, given that the only ranked opponent they face in their next five games is Texas in Lawrence. Their following challenge would be 14th ranked Missouri at home on February 7th. Beware of surprising Colorado which is 14-4 after defeating Mizzou and Kansas St.

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Key to National Championship is MLB: Josh Bynes vs Casey Matthews

Over the past few weeks, every college football analyst known to man has recycled the same old game preview: Oregon middle linebacker Casey Matthews will be a rover in hopes of containing Auburn star quarterback Cam Newton. And while this is certainly an area of emphasis for Nick Aliotti and his defense, almost everybody has seemed to forgotten about Matthews’ counterpart for the Tigers.

Auburn MLB Josh Bynes is no slouch himself and he anchors one of the best second-half defenses in the country. The senior has been in on a team-leading 71 tackles this season (34 solo). Then there’s this fact: in Oregon’s two closest calls of the season, both opponents featured one of the top middle linebackers in the Pac-10.

Against ASU, Oregon faced a challenge in Vontaze Burfict, who made 10 tackles and helped hold LaMichael James to only 94 net yards rushing — nearly 60 yards under his average, and the second fewest total he had all season. James’ worst performance was the 91 yards he racked up against Cal in a 15-13 squeaker. In the middle of all that action was Cal’s standout middle linebacker Mike Mohamed, who had 16 tackles in a stellar performance.

It is clear through this trend that a good middle linebacker performance can be the key to shutting down LaMichael James, and in turn the Ducks’ offense. ASU and Cal are far inferior teams to Auburn, outside of MLB, and neither had a Heisman QB to lead the other side. So if Josh Bynes can have an impact on this game like either Burfict or Mohamed did against the Ducks, it might be just enough to lead Auburn to a national title.

Andrew Luck Made the Right Call Staying at Stanford, Might Jim Harbaugh Follow?

Stanford sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck announced Thursday that he will stay at Stanford for junior season and pass on being the likely top overall pick in this April’s NFL Draft. Though Luck is returning for his junior year athletically, it will be his senior year academically; he will walk graduate with a degree in Architectural Engineering. In this day and age with a society that increasingly values the scheckle over the scruple, many fans — especially in Carolina — are calling Luck’s decision stupid. Before too many people crucify him for his decision, let’s examine the reasons behind his decision.

It’s become a trend for elite college quarterbacks to pass up the draft in favor of school. Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, and Matt Leinart all returned for an extra season with Leinart and Bradford likely passing up the top overall pick. This precedent has proven to work for many QBs, Bradford in particular.  At Oklahoma, Bradford was fresh off a Heisman win and a spot in the National Championship Game. Rather than leave and be (presumably) the number one pick in the 2009 draft, Bradford stayed, got hurt, and missed the whole season. Talk about worse-case scenarios: stay in college, get hurt, still get taken number one, and get paid accordingly. If Luck simply stays healthy and doesn’t have a Jake Locker-type disaster of a year, he will remain on top of team’s draft boards, this time armed with a degree from Stanford and possibly a Heisman Trophy.

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