Speed Read: Trade Deadline All Hype, No Payoff

This was one of the more highly-anticipated NBA trade deadlines in recent memory, with names like Amare Stoudemire and Raef LaFrentz’ Expiring Contract flying all around. So, of course, it was a given that absolutely nothing of note was going to actually happen.

Raef LaFrentz

(2009’s inductee into the Expiring Contract Hall-of-Fame will continue to not play for Portland this season)

The most hilarious part of all of this is that ESPN set aside an entire hour yesterday afternoon to talk about all the big news that was going down. And then nothing happened, other than some blockbusters like Rashad McCants for Shelden Williams and Larry Hughes for Tim Thomas and The Contract Resulting From Jerome JamesFluky 2005 Playoff Run. So Mark Jones had to sit there and come up with crap to talk about with the likes of Jamal Mashburn and Chris Broussard, while all three looked like they would have rather been making out with Louis Amundson. They even had Marc Stein call in with some “breaking news” that the Knicks were thinking about trading Nate Robinson to Sacramento, then had him call back five minutes later to say it wasn’t happening.

So, what happened? Mostly, Portland decided that they’re OK with what they have, and will take the cap space from LaFrentz’ expiration and a trade exception they acquired for Ike Diogu into the offseason, instead of shipping a few parts to bring in someone like Vince Carter or Richard Jefferson. The Cavs showed some interested in bring in Shaq, but that never really got off the ground. And the Suns backed off on any Amare trades because they’ve scored 282 points in two games since kicking Terry Porter to the curb.

Meanwhile, everyone else seemed scared to make any deal that would add any payroll because of the current economic climate — and David Stern’s recent warning that the salary cap will probably be going down for the next couple of years.

I tuned in just after halftime of last night’s Celtics-Jazz tilt in Salt Lake, and noticed that Michael Rappaport was playing big minutes for Boston for some reason. What the heck was Scalabrine doing in the game? Then I realized that Kevin Garnett wasn’t out there. And while Celtics fans are probably upset about losing 90-85 to the Jazz, they’re much more worried about KG’s strained knee. He’s having it re-evaluated today, but a strained knee could mean anything from a slight hyperextension that will heal in two days to a torn ligament that could end a season. Could another Boston team be derailed by a catastrophic knee injury? New England holds its collective breath.

Kevin Garnett

So, now that we’ve found A-Rod’s drug-enabling cousin, it’s time to figure out what this “boli” crap is that the two were injecting for fun back in the day. Turns out that the substance, called Primobolan, was actually illegal in the Dominican Republic during the time Rodriguez says he and his boy Yuri were supposedly buying it from a pharmacy there. Still is illegal, actually, and all attempts by ESPNDeportes to buy some from different pharmacies were rebuffed.

ESPN cites a Dominican official who says that the drug would not have been for sale in a pharmacy, but could have been found either on the underground market or on the Internet. A-Rod also tested positive for testosterone, which is available over-the-counter in the D.R. So, it appears — and here’s a shocker — that Rodriguez might not be telling us the whole truth here.

Alex Rodriguez

(”Like I said, Yuri and I bought the Ebola from a guy named Manny who ran cockfights in Santo Domingo. It was all totally, completely legal. Manny just got it from the pharmacy and then gave it to us.”)

• Is there anything more simultaneously hilarious and tragic than a big, furry mascot seriously injuring itself? During NBA All-Star weekend, the Bobcats mascot made an impressive H-O-R-S-E shot that glanced off the, uh, groinal region of the Bucks mascot, who was standing on top of the basket. No, that wasn’t the injury. That came when the Buck tried some sort of Shawn Johnson-esque dismount that ended with a torn ACL. BALL DON’T LIE brings us the video from the L.A. TIMES:

Tom Glavine will be throwing 82-mph fastballs that are low and away but are called strikes anyway for at least one more year.

• A bus carrying the Albany River Rats AHL team crashed on the way home from a game in Lowell, Mass. early Thursday morning. Several players and the radio guy were injured, and some of the players might miss significant time, says the AP.

• The first women’s hammer throw Olympic gold medalist ever collapsed and died on Wednesday. What makes this really tragic is that it was only nine years ago that Poland native Kamila Skolimowska won gold in Sydney. She was just 26 years old, and the cause of her death is unclear.

• INSIDE WORLD SOCCER says that L.A. Galaxy fans are not happy that David Beckham is doing everything he can to not have to come back to the MLS. And, as you no doubt know, you do NOT want to make an MLS fanbase angry. That’s a mild displeasure that will haunt Beckham for minutes.

angry L.A. Galaxy fan

• THE ONION says that Nate Robinson is now just walking around jumping over Dwight Howard in his everyday life.

• The Lions needed a new offensive coordinator that would fit well into the Lions legacy. And, as luck would have it, fired Rams head coach Scott Linehan just happened to be available. Can you think of a more appropriate choice?

• FANIQ brings us a three-part video series featuring a guy waiting for a bus with Stephon Marbury. I guess he just happened to find Steph sitting at a bus stop, and asked if he could shoot a couple videos with him. Somehow, this totally makes sense. Here’s part 1:

• The LOHUD YANKEES BLOG says that not only are the Yanks trying to pull some shenanigans with their season ticket holders, but they can’t spell and/or use basic grammar correctly either. Really, this letter is pretty embarrassing coming from a professional sports organization. If George Steinbrenner was still alive, he’d be really angry.

• I swear, you can’t go five minutes without another huge controversy in the world of professional bass fishing. The L.A. TIMES has the story of Kim Bain-Moore, who is the first woman to ever fish in the apparently important Bassmaster Classic. The 50 male competitors are bent that she qualified on a women’s tour instead of the way they did. Because as we all know, a fish can totally tell which gender is holding the pole that destroyed its life.

• I don’t think there’s any really great way to die, but getting shot through the chest with a crossbow is probably not one of the best ways to go.

What Boston athlete injury would be the toughest for his team to overcome?

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World’s Top Women’s Tennis Pro Retires Abruptly

The world’s #1 women’s tennis player, Justine Henin, tossed her racket in her bag for the last time professionally, retiring immediately with a week before the French Open. We can think of numerous reasons to avoid France, but this is rather extreme.

Justine Henin

(And now there is.)

While some may choose to speculate about a Hingis-esque retirement party or a Jordan-like trip to field hockey, we prefer to compare it to yesterday’s news that Annika Sorenstam will be stepping out in her relative prime as well. We believe we’ve tracked down the reason for both women to bail on their respective sports at such an odd time.

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