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The big news of the day today came from our backyards as the Hornets made an free-agency splash and signed free agent forward James Posey to a four year deal worth $25 M.

Posey became relevant on the free agent market after having a solid NBA Finals in which he sunk several key shots for the Celtics and also did a solid job guarding Kobe Bryant down the stretch of games.

Posey will jump into the Hornets rotation and will probably take Bonzi Wells’ minutes at the 2 and the 3 as Wells is widely expected to sign elsewhere on the free agent market.

This is a good move for the Hornets, but it is hard to tell if it is the drop-dead, can’t-miss move that will put the Bees over the top in the West.

Posey had a solid last two weeks of the season, but let’s be real, who else even knew he was on the Celtics’ roster before then?  He will no doubt fit in, but I just see $6 million per season over four years a steep price to pay for a guy who is in his 30-somethings.

But what Posey will bring the most to the team is the perimeter defense that the team has lacked. The Hornets have all the offense they need. They have all the interior defense they need. What Posey will bring is that guy on the outside who is capable of taking on Kobe Bryant or Tracy McGrady or Manu Ginoboli and that defensive presence is something the team has lacked the past few seasons.

All-in-all, the Hornets could have done a little better with some of the other options as I see Posey as one of the most overrated players on the market, but they certainly could have done worse, too. Either way, the team is closer to the title now than they were 24 hours ago and that is a good thing.

Today is Football Thursday and we wrapped up the LSU offense last Thursday by breaking down the offensive line.

Today, we tackle arguably the deepest aspect of the 2008 team, the defensive line.

Right End:

Tyson Jackson 6’5 292 senior

Jackson could have gone to the NFL and been a first day pick, but like many Tiger greats before him with the same opportunity, he chose to return to school to anchor the LSU defense. LSU has tremendous defensive line depth, but Jackson is at the top of the food chain and figures to have a dominant season.

Left End:
Kirston Pittman 6’4 260 senior

There are certain players who I cheer for regardless of the team they play for and Pittman is one of those guys. After a stellar true freshman season in 2003, Pittman had every injury imaginable from 2004-06 before returning to the field this past season. Pittman is back for his sixth season after getting a medical exemption and will provide LSU with a good rush off the edge.

Others competing for playing time on the ends:

Rahim Alem 6’3 252 junior
Tremaine Johnson 6’2 273 senior
Pep Livingston 6’4 258 sophomore
Sidell Corley 6’4 275 freshman

Defensive Tackle:
Ricky Jean-Francois 6’3 281 junior

After missing all of the season because of academic issues, Jean-Francois returned with a vengeance in the National Championship game and blocked a field goal to help swing the momentum in LSU’s favor for good. Francois has the speed of an end and the strength of a tackle and can be as dominant or more dominant than Glenn Dorsey if things fall into place.

Charles Alexander 6’3 294 senior

Alexander missed most of this past season after tearing his ACL, and following his injury, the LSU defense never seemed to be the same as teams were able to more readily double team Glenn Dorsey. If Alexander returns to form, he and Jean-Francois will be a force to reckon with in the middle for LSU.

Others competing for playing time:

Al Woods 6’5 325 junior
Marlon Favorite 6’1 300 senior
Drake Nevis 6’1 285 sophomore

LSU has become D-Line U and this year is no different. Expect more great things from the front four for the Tigers.

We are now into the Top 3 of our stadium search and yesterday we visited the Swamp. We stay in the same conference today and coincidentally enough, the same division of that conference.

No. 3 stadium: Neyland Stadium (Tennessee)

Whether it’s 100,000+ screaming fans or whether it’s the famous orange and white checkerboard end zones, something about Neyland Stadium is special.

What started as just a 3,200 seat facility in 1921, Tennessee University and the taxpayers of Tennessee have approved 18 expansion projects in the last 90 years to push the stadium to its current capacity near 107,000.

The Vols have taken a bit of a step back in the SEC Upper Echelon in the past nine seasons, but with good play comes loud, rowdy fans, making Neyland Stadium one of the most rockin’ places in the country.

No. 2 on our list will be named tomorrow.

I will skip the headlines today and use the free space to break down the least talked about golf major in 10 years, the British Open.

Without Tiger in the field and without the hottest American player Kenny Perry in the field, things are wide open and anyone has a chance to take home the trophy.

Scratch Phil Mickelson off the list. Despite his status as the number two player in the world, Mickelson has had a sub-par season by his standards and has never played well across the pond, having just one Top-10 in more than 10 starts.

So with the three best American players out, I look at some of the Europeans. I like Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose a lot and their game suit’s the golf course, but I also like wind players like Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter.

Here is my short-list of eight guys with a real chance and then my short-list of five sleepers.

1. Ernie Els
2. Sergio Garcia
3. Justin Rose
4. Lee Westwood
5. Miguel Angel Jimenez
6. Vijay Singh
7. Anthony Kim
8. Adam Scott
9. Stewart Cink
10. Stuart Appleby

1. Colin Montgomerie
2. Hunter Mahan
3. KJ Choi
4. Mike Weir
5. Paul Casey

Sports Palace Official Pick: Robert Allenby- a long-shot, I know, but Allenby is a good wind player and I see him being able to grind out enough pars to outlast the competition.

YouTube Video of the Day:

There has been a lot of Olympic talk in the news recently as we are just three weeks away from the Games. So in spirit of Beijing, let’s look at what I consider the best slam of all-time.

Flickr Photos

July 2008
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