The NBA Trade Deadline was supposed to be relatively quiet, with the possibility of a few trades. And it looked like that would be the case leading up to last Thursday’s deadline of 2 p.m. However, the league saw a number of trades come in at the last minute of the deadline. The trades came in fast and furious, but not all were as good as they seemed while others were better than you might think.
Starting from the first and possibly the most overlooked trade was Portland acquiring Arron Afflalo from Denver. With Afflalo, Portland bolsters their bench with a player who was averaging 14.5 points per game and is an excellent defender. Portland had to give up Thomas Robinson and Victor Claver plus a future first round pick, but I still think this was a huge win for Portland. A team who advanced to the second round in last year’s playoffs, returned their core group of guys, and are third in the Western conference added a veteran guard who can defend multiple positions and shoots the ball well. I’ll go ahead and say this trade puts Portland as a dark horse in the West. Why? Because they have a star point guard in Damian Lilliard, not to mention he might be a little pissed off for being an All-Star snub. Granted he was chosen as a replacement, but I still expect Lilliard to play with a chip on his shoulder the rest of the season. And let’s not forget Lamarcus Aldridge is playing at a high level despite his thumb injury. So with a healthy Robin Lopez and Afflalo coming off the bench, this team stacks up well with the West’s best.
The blockbuster trade that got way too much attention in my mind was Phoenix shipping Goran Dragic to Miami. Don’t get me wrong, Dragic is an excellent point guard, and he knows how to produce. But let’s not get carried away here. He isn’t going to help Miami contend for the title this year and most likely not anytime soon. Dragic is posting 16.2 ppg, 4.1 apg, and 3.6 rpg while sharing the point guard duties with Isiah Thomas and Eric Bledsoe. However, I don’t think he is worth the max contract he will be offered this offseason or the two first round picks Miami gave up on top of some rotational players. He can’t lead a team by himself and essentially that’s why you pay a player the big time money. That’s what scares me for this Miami team, Dwayne Wade is in the latter half of his career, and Chris Bosh isn’t the same player he was in his prime. (There is a serious concern in Miami that Chris Bosh may miss the entire season due to blood clots in his lungs. It is a very serious issue, so we wish Chris Bosh the best in recovering.) Having said all this, Pat Riley is a genius when operating his teams so I might be completely wrong in saying Miami was on the losing end of this trade.
The trade I liked the most came from team that desperately needed help. And that was the Oklahoma City Thunder. A few days ago, I wrote about how they might acquire Brook Lopez but honestly, he wouldn’t be a fit for a team that runs lots of isolations for their guards and perimeter players. Lopez is a back to the basket type player and I don’t know how he would have gotten his touches in the OKC offense. But that trade didn’t surface out instead the Thunder acquired Enes Kanter from Utah and DJ Augustin and Kyle Singler from the Pistons. In my opinion, Oklahoma City got better overall value than getting Lopez. Kanter is a legit 7 footer averaging 14 ppg and 8 rpg this season. Not to mention he’s only 22 years old. He will slide right into OKC’s rotation with Adams out with injury and Perkins no longer there. This allows Serge Ibaka to play his natural power forward position and stretching the floow out with his perimeter shooting improving. Plus Augustin can fill Jackson’s role as backup point guard and Kyle Singler has proved he can be a solid bench contributor.
On the other hand of this trade, I love what Detroit did. Stan Van Gaundy quietly got himself a steal in Reggie Jackson. Detroit gave up next to nothing for a player who is about to get his chance to be a starter on a playoff contending team. But let’s forget about this season, and look to the future. Detroit has two great guards in Jackson and Brandon Jennings, and arguably the best young frontcourt in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe moving forward. If they can convince Monroe to sign long term after his contract expires after this season, watch out for the Pistons. Van Gaundy has done a great job in his first season operating the team and I look for him to continue to build momentum for the franchise.
Those are the trades that had impacts on contending teams making a final push for playoff jockeying. Oklahoma City and Portland solidified their roster needs to contend in the wild wild west. But there were was one trade that caught my eye and can have a huge impact for a franchise.
The trade that had every NBA fan reminiscing the old days was Kevin Garnett being sent back to Minnesota for Thaddeus Young. Obviously Minnesota is going nowhere this season, but Kevin Garnett could be a valuable pickup for them in terms of leadership and locker room presence. Minnesota might have the best core of young players in the league. Andrew Wiggins, Zach Lavine, Shabazz Muhammad, Anthony Bennett, and Gogui Dieng are all young talented players still learning their way in this league. The Timberwolves were lacking a veteran leader who can mold these young players into stars. That’s where Kevin Garnett comes in play. KG could be the perfect mentor for these kids since he was thrown into the same fire of the NBA right out of high school. He knows what it takes to become a perennial All Star and win NBA championships. So kudos to the Minnesota front office for making this happen.
And then there was the random swap of point guards that took place. Milwaukee sent Brandon Knight to Phoenix, Phoenix sent Isaiah Thomas to Boston, and Philadelphia packaged reigning rookie of the year Michael Carter Williams to Milwaukee. Brandon Knight was playing very well this season, so I was particularly surprised that the Bucks let him go and brought in Michael Carter Williams. I’m interested to see how Jason Kidd and company can mold the young Carter Williams into a legit PG. Brandon Knight could be a good compliment to Eric Bledsoe down in Phoenix so that could be something to watch for. As for Isiah Thomas in Boston, I just don’t get it. Boston should be in full rebuild mode, and Marcus Smart was their draft pick who could use some playing time at the point guard position so why trade for Thomas who can only play point guard. Thomas also is owed plenty of money after signing a lucrative deal just this offseason so that’ll take a hit on Boston’s cap room. These teams all made the headlines for acquiring players but I’m not sure any of them actually won their respective trades. I guess time will tell with them.
But wait, that’s not all! There have been reports Kendrick Perkins will be bought out by the Utah Jazz and the front runner to sign him is, you guessed it, the Cleveland Cavaliers. He would be a great fit for Cleveland, coming off the bench and giving them valuable minutes defending and rebounding the ball effectively. A few other potential bought out players include Tayshaun Prince and Thomas Robinson who could both be a great addition to any team. So the deadline might have passed, but a few teams could still be adjusting their rosters here in the next few days to gear up for the postseason.
Senior Elizabeth Begley and junior Lina Padegimaite defended their home turf in doubles play Sunday, a week after they were shut out in Portland, Ore.
They advanced to the finals of the Longhorn Invitational after receiving a first-round bye and defeated two Wichita State tandems.
The two played against Rice’s Natalie Beazant and Stephanie Nguyen in the finals. After taking a 6-5 lead in the match, they broke Rice’s serve and held their own to win 8-6.
The win followed Saturday’s matches, which set Begley against Nguyen in the consolation singles round and Padegimaite versus Beazant in the singles quarterfinals. Begley won her match, while Padegimaite lost hers (3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6)).
At the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, sophomore Breaunna Addison and freshman Pippa Horn lost 8-5 to Louisville’s Julia Fellerhoff and Rebecca Shine in the first round.
Addison also dropped a top-ten matchup against No. 9 Julia Elbaba of Virginia after she made the singles draw as a wildcard.
Both events end the fall season for the Longhorns, who will begin the spring season mid-January at the Miami Invite.
The Longhorns brought four players to Portland for this weekend’s USTA College Invitational but failed to win a match.
On Friday, senior Elizabeth Begley and junior Lina Padegimaite lost in doubles to UCLA’s Courtney Dolehide and Catherine Harrison (8-5).
Padegimaite contested Duke’s Alyssa Smith in singles but lost 7-5, 6-7 (6), 7-5. Junior Annat Rabinovich and sophomore Lana Groenvynck lost in straight sets.
Saturday was the same for Texas. Of the four matches the Longhorns competed in, they won only one set, which Padegimaite earned, giving her two for the weekend.
Begley was the only Longhorn to compete on Sunday and dropped a 6-2, 6-2 decision to Texas A&M’s Anna Mamalat.
The team will have to regroup in time for the Longhorn Invitational this week. Texas will also send two players, sophomore Breaunna Addison and freshman Pippa Horn, to New York on Thursday to compete in the ITA National Indoor Collegiate Championship.
With only a few weeks remaining in the NBA’s regular season, the race for the 8th seed, or the last spots in the Western Conference playoffs has heated up.
The Los Angeles Lakers are currently holding on to the 8th seed by a half a game lead over the Utah Jazz, and behind the Jazz are the Dallas Mavericks who are only a game back. The Portland Trail Blazers have also quietly made their way in to the picture and are only three games back for the number 8th spot. Here’s how it looks.
8. Lakers 37-36
Some very important games remain on the schedule for each team as well.
The Lakers host the Mavericks on April 2nd in a game that will be very important for both team’s playoff chances, and the Lakers also travel out to Portland on April 10th. The Lakers odds of making the playoffs may have gotten even slimmer with both Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash going down to injury last night against Milwaukee.
The Dallas Mavericks travel to both Portland and Los Angeles before seasons end, giving them a great shot at sneaking their way in to the 8th spot. They’ve quietly worked their way in to the picture, and now it doesn’t seem so far-fetched that the Mavericks will make the playoffs.
The Utah Jazz and Portland Trailblazers play each other two more times before the end of the season, with one of those meetings being tonight in Portland.
All four teams have ample opportunity to earn the 8th spot and it could easily come down to the very last few games of the season. Since these teams are all set to play against at least one of each other, the tie breaker scenarios could end up getting very complicated come the end of the year.
The always tough Western Conference is holding up to its reputation, but for whichever of these teams does make the first round of the playoffs, the Spurs who are sitting at the top of the west won’t be a very friendly match-up.
The Dandy Warhols explores a new, darker sound with mixed results in their latest release. They will play at Emos on May 22nd (Photo courtesy of The Dandy Warhols).
The Dandy Warhols may be based in Portland, but as an alt-rock band with almost 20 years of experience in the industry and a large cult following, they hardly fit the hipster label that’s grown to be associated with the city. Unfortunately, it’s this very cult following that may be the only audience for the band’s latest album, This Machine. While it’s admirable that The Dandy Warhols are attempting to tread new ground with their latest release, they’re almost too ambitious in this endeavor. It results in an album of disjointed tracks that barely feel cohesive.
Lead singer and guitarist Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s vocals are often muddled and coarse, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it worked with many of the band’s previous albums, but they don’t quite seem to fit with the darker approach of This Machine. The opening track, “Sad Vacation,” is ironically indicative of what’s soon to follow: “The more I change/the more I feel like I have to stay the same.” However, the track itself is relatively inoffensive (if not a bit dull), despite the fast-paced drums that drive the song’s tempo.
This Machine isn’t quite sure whether it wants to be Elliott Smith (with acoustic, melancholic tracks like “Well They’re Gone”) or some sort of throwback to ‘80s synth-rock. If anything, the album is at its best when it avoids this dreary atmosphere. More upbeat tracks like “I Am Free” and “Rest Your Head” seem like they should be from a different album altogether. They are a surprisingly enjoyable change of pace reminiscent of the band’s earlier work in the ‘90s.
The rest, however, can’t be awarded the same praise. Aside from a few standout tracks, the bulk of the album ranges from filler to overly subdued, unmemorable riffs and disorganized attempts at branching out into other genres. From the accordion-driven “Well They’re Gone” to an oddly placed cover of Merle Travis’s “16 Tons,” nothing in this album quite seems to fit any kind of pattern that would urge listeners to give the album a complete listen. Rather, it seems more like a random array of tracks.
With “Don’t Shoot She Cried,” the second-to-last track, the album starts to go out with a whisper rather than a bang. At six minutes, the track overstays its welcome before leading into “Slide,” which matches the introduction’s distorted instrumentals and hushed vocals.
While This Machine as a whole may not be worth checking out, some of its individual tracks hint at potential that the final product ultimately fails to live up to. At best, the album is loosely reminiscent of The Velvet Underground (from which the band gets its namesake), and at worse, it’s a muddled attempt at musical growth that ultimately misses its mark.
Folk rock band Blitzen Trapper will be playing multiple shows at SXSW, including one on March 16 from 4-40p.m. at the Radio Day Stage benefiting the Shivers Cancer Center (Photo courtesy of Blitzen Trapper).
Portland, Ore., based rock/folk band Blitzen Trapper will be returning to South By Southwest this year, playing multiple shows throughout the week. The band is well known for their fourth album, Furr, and frontman Eric Earley owes all of his lyrical madness to everyday life and past experiences. The five members make up a band that’s a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, which results in a uniquely folk sound.
Earley spoke with The Daily Texan about where he draws inspiration for the music and plans for SXSW.
The Daily Texan: Could you tell me where the name “Blitzen Trapper” came from? Earley: Something to do with a Winnebago or something.
DT: How did y’all first meet? EE: Well, we grew up together. [I] met [guitarist/keyboardist] Marty down in Georgia about 15 or 16 years ago.
DT: Did you have part in any other bands before Blitzen Trapper? EE: I was in a few bands in high school. Me and Brian were in different bands and played house parties.
DT: What has been your greatest accomplishment since you first formed the band in 2000? EE: Not having day jobs is pretty nice. [Laughs] I worked on farms and factories, and kitchens for a while, that kinda thing.
DT: What’s the inspiration behind the song writing? EE: It’s just my life and where I grew up and the relationships I’ve had, I write from experience most the time.
DT: I know you draw some inspiration from Bob Dylan and Neil Young, are there any other artists that you admire? EE: Joe Walsh, I like ’70s hard rock stuff, Sabbath, stuff like that. Sonic Youth in high school, Wu-Tang Clan, I liked them a lot when I was young.
DT: What could you see yourselves doing if you weren’t making music? EE: I don’t know, I’d either be a preacher or a drug smuggler in third world countries or maybe both.
DT: What are some future plans that you have? EE: We don’t really make future plans, we usually just go on tour and have a good time. We’ll be in Australia in three weeks. I plan on enjoying the summer in Oregon.
DT: What are your plans for SXSW? EE: We’re playing a bunch of shows, parties, radio and stuff. We have a pretty full schedule, keeping busy the whole time we’re down there. It should be fun.
PORTLAND, Maine — A tent city in Maine that is among the longest-lived of the Occupy movement is being dismantled as part of a new round of evictions.
Demonstrators removed several communal tents over the weekend in Portland and the city extended Monday’s eviction deadline to give them time to remove 16 remaining tents.
Occupy Maine has an office and plans to continue the discussion about corporate excesses and economic inequality. One camper noted that “just because the occupation is changing form doesn’t mean it’s going away.”
But encampments are becoming scarcer. On Monday, a judge issued a final eviction notice for Occupy Pittsburgh. Over the past week, police began removing demonstrators in Miami; Austin; and Washington, D.C.
Fred Armisen, of “Saturday Night Live,” and Carrie Brownstein, formerly of the band Sleater-Kinney and currently of Wild Flag, don gender-bending costumes, floppy wigs and peculiar accents in their highly improvised comedy series, “Portlandia.” The show, the highest rated program network IFC has ever aired, just kicked off its second season. While the show is staged as a satire of the famously progressive city, Portland, its send-up of hipster culture, from farm-raised poultry to oppressively offbeat indie bands, elicits a striking sense of familiarity — “Portlandia” is just as much a comedy about Austin as it is about Portland. Below, we connect the hipster threads between “Portlandia’s” best sketches and their Austin counterparts.
In “Portlandia”: “I don’t have a driver’s license! I don’t need it!” This clip, of Armisen aggressively biking through Portland’s Pearl District as a gruff, punky bicyclist, is less than two minutes long, but is a precise skewering of the sense of self-importance huffed by some hardcore “biker’s rights” enthusiasts.
In Austin: Residents, namely UT students, are all too familiar with the bicyclists that zip across campus, some in every direction humanly possible. For everyone who has been cut off by, run into and made to wait in a long line of traffic for one of our pedaling classmates, “Portlandia’s” depiction is almost too dead-on to believe.
In “Portlandia”: Armisen and Brownstein play Toni and Candace, the incredibly judgmental and unhelpful proprietors of the fictional Women & Women First bookstore, where no one is able to leave without suffering one of their ill-conceived feminist barbs. In one episode, Toni (Brownstein) chastises Heather Graham’s personal journal: “That sounded more like a brag journal. A journal should be a document of misery.”
In Austin: Austin’s own feminist bookstore, BookWoman, is decidedly less vitriolic — in fact, it’s a pretty standard genre bookstore. However, the likelihood of finding booksellers as unhelpful as Toni and Candace isn’t at all specific to feminist shops. Really, what “Portlandia” decries is not necessarily the bookstores themselves, but the occasional pitfalls made by some in the name of feminism.
In “Portlandia”: Ordering a meal is comparable to the Spanish Inquisition, especially if you are to determine the methodological philosophy your chicken dinner was raised in — though it helps that the restaurant that Armisen and Brownstein are dining at keep a dossier on their entire meat selection. “His name was Colin,” their waitress says as she hands them a file on their main course. Unsatisfied with this level of information, they travel 30 miles outside of town to gauge the veracity of their food’s organic upbringing.
In Austin: While it’s hard to imagine any local eatery holding documents on all their meat, the occasional snobbery faced by shoppers of Whole Foods, whose headquarters serves as a mini-epicenter of downtown, can feel just as grueling and — at times — superfluous. Every shopping decision can feel rife with implications.
In “Portlandia”: As the Roving Singles, Armisen and Brownstein are the musical accompaniment at an acupuncturist’s office, and they’re hilariously out of touch playing their songs while a client is laying facedown with needles in her back. “Every time you hit a high note it drives the needles deeper ... it hurts,” she says. A perfect encapsulation of how some indie bands are so twee and quirky as to be insufferable — quite literally in this case.
In Austin: As the “live music capital of the world” with a mantra of “keeping Austin weird,” our encounters with offbeat local acts are about as regular as the sunrise. Plenty are silly, many are weird, but it’s all part of Austin’s sunny, hippie charm. You don’t live here without at least some appreciation for all things off-kilter.
Photo Credits: Danielle Villasana, Lawrence Peart, Trent Lesikar| Daily Texan Staff. Portlandia photos courtesy of IFC.
Police hold a demonstrator at an encampment for the Occupy Wall Street movement in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Nov. 14, 2011. Police in Oakland began clearing out a weeks-old encampment early Monday after issuing several warnings to Occupy demonstrators.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Police decked in riot gear and armed with tear gas cleared out Oakland’s anti-Wall Street encampment early Monday, the latest law enforcement crackdown amid complaints around the country of health and safety hazards at protest camps.
The raid at the Occupy Oakland camp, one of the largest and most active sites in the movement, came a day after police in Portland, Ore., arrested more than 50 people while shutting down its camp amid complaints of drug use and sanitation issues.
Police in Burlington, Vt., also evicted protesters after a man fatally shot himself last week inside a tent.
Police staged a previous raid on the Oakland encampment on Oct. 25, but Mayor Jean Quan allowed protesters to re-establish their tent city. On Monday, however, Quan said officials could no longer ignore the problems posed by the camp.
“We came to this point because Occupy Oakland, I think, began to take a different path than the original movement,” Quan said. “The encampment became a place where we had repeated violence and last week a murder. We had to bring the camp to an end before more people got hurt.”
Demands increased for Oakland protesters to pack up after a man was shot and killed Thursday near the encampment at the City Hall plaza.
Protesters claimed there was no connection between the shooting and the camp. But police identified the slain man as Kayode Ola Foster, 25, of Oakland, saying his family confirmed he had been staying at the plaza.
Witnesses also told police that one of two suspects in the shooting had also been a frequent resident at the plaza. The names of the suspects have not been released.
Monday’s raid came as no surprise to protesters after the city issued its fourth order to abandon the camp. About 300 officers from the Oakland Police Department and seven other law enforcement agencies moved in around 5:30 a.m., arresting 32 people and tearing down about 150 tents.
Another man was arrested later in the morning for trying to break through police barricades and spitting on officers.
Protesters vowed to regroup and return.
“I don’t see how they’re going to disperse us,” said Ohad Meyer, 30, of Oakland. “There are thousands of people who are going to come back.”
Officials declared the operation a success, saying all arrests were peaceful and there were no reported injuries to protesters or officers. Police said those taken into custody likely will face charges of unlawful assembly and lodging.
“This had been a very difficult situation,” Quan said. “I’d tried to do what was right for the city and keep the most people safe at every step.”
Not everyone in Quan’s camp agreed with the show of force.
Dan Siegel, one of the mayor’s top legal advisers, resigned over Monday’s raid, saying officials should have done more to work with protesters before sending in police. Siegel, a longtime friend of Quan who worked as an unpaid adviser, has been a vocal critic of Oakland police and their handling of the Oct. 25 raid.
Video footage of a protest after the Oct. 25 raid showed officers using flash-bang grenades and firing bean bag rounds into the crowd, injuring a number of people and prompting cries of police brutality.
Marine Corps veteran Scott Olsen was left in critical condition after suffering a head injury during that protest. His case became a rallying cry for the Occupy Wall Street movement around the nation.
Olsen, 24, issued his first statement Sunday since leaving a hospital.
“You’ll be hearing more from me in the near future and soon enough we’ll see you in our streets!” he posted on his Google+ account with a photograph of himself with a neck brace and bruising around his left eye.
Protesters in Portland had been ordered to leave their encampment by midnight Saturday. However, in the hours leading to the deadline, thousands of protesters flooded two blocks of parkland where an Occupy encampment first appeared on Oct. 6.
Riot police retreated and by dawn most of the crowds had left the area but many of the original protesters remained.
Police moved in later, with an officer on a loudspeaker warning that anyone who resisted risked arrest and “may also be subject to chemical agents and impact weapons.” Demonstrators chanted “we are a peaceful protest.”
One man was taken away on a stretcher, He was alert and talking to paramedics, and raised a peace sign to fellow protesters, who responded with cheers.
Portland Mayor Sam Adams defended his order to clear the parkland, saying it is his job to enforce the law and keep the peace. Police finished cleaning up the area Monday, and officials reported no major disturbances.
In Vermont, protesters agreed to remove their tents from a Burlington park on Sunday in a resolution that Police Chief Michael Schirling described as “amicable.”
Police and city officials initially agreed to let the protesters stay in the park after a 24-hour protest began but changed their minds after Joshua Pfenning shot himself. Authorities said the tents had to be removed because police could not see what was going on inside.
Officials in Oakland, Burlington and other cities said protesters would be allowed to gather again at the site of their former camps as long as they didn’t spend the night.
Printed on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 as: Oakland is latest in Occupy crackdown