Free agency continues in the NFL and the Carolina Panthers signed one of the biggest names remaining.
Former Clemson defensive tackle standout Gerald McCoy surprised many by signing with the Panthers.
I see it as a risky move as productivity from a defensive lineman over the age of 30 tends to start decreasing. But I also see it as a possible upgrade for Carolina at that position.
McCoy is a six-time Pro Bowl and three-time All Pro. The former Buccaneer is now 31 years old and is likely starting the downturn of his career. He will still garner extra attention from the opposition which can only help fellow defensive tackle, Kawann Short. McCoy’s presence will also take immense pressure off of Short.
McCoy last reached All-Pro status in 2016 which means he has failed to make the Pro Bowl in the last three seasons.
NBA’s Forgotten Six
By advancing to their first NBA Finals, the Toronto Raptors have removed themselves from one of the league’s more embarrassing lists – Franchises that have never reached the Finals. Toronto’s departure from the dubious list now leaves six franchises that have yet to play in a Finals series, the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Charlotte Hornets.
I am not sure who I think will be the next team to come off the list. Here are some quick thoughts.
Smart money would lean toward Denver. The Nuggets came within one win of a trip to the Western Conference finals. They have two franchise-type players in Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. One more move and Denver may find a way to unseat Golden State in the West.
The Clippers have to be mentioned as their owner, Steve Ballmer, is the richest owner in American Sports with his net worth estimated to be $41.2 billion.
The Pelicans get to start all over with upcoming addition of Zion Williamson, the consensus choice at No. 1 in this year’s draft. They also have Antonio Davis on their roster but word has it Davis wants out. Trading him will add some talent to the roster. It may take a while, but New Orleans could be a contender in the next three to five years.
Let me close with the Hornets. Mediocrity has been the norm ever since Michael Jordan took over 15 years ago. Jordan’s teams have only two winning seasons and two playoff berths ending in first-round exits.
With many bad signings and poor drafts, it’s hard to imagine Charlotte sniffing the Finals anytime soon. The big decision this summer involves Kemba Walker, who made an All-NBA team for the first time, qualifying for a max deal that could put the Hornets on the hook for $221 million for five years if they want to re-sign their best player on July 1.
Walker has been their best player since he was drafted seven years ago. Still, he has not taken this team anywhere so many ask why keep him and pay so much? But if you let him walk, you likely slide to the bottom of the league. We will find out very soon.
Personally, I would like to see how Walker does elsewhere. But that would likely keep Charlotte on the before-mentioned list for a long long time.