This and That

Each week I talk about the world of sports…

• Santa Claus came early for the San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers. Think about it ... Cleveland getting Shaq and San Antonio getting a veteran scorer like Richard Jefferson from Milwaukee means so much. Now future Hall of Fame coach Gregg Popovich has Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Jefferson as weapons. Shaq has two more good years left in him and he wants another ring. Remember, he got one with Dwyane Wade, so he will be fired up teaming with LeBron. Shaq reverted to his All-Star form at times last season. Giving Cleveland a big man inside is going to be a positive. To me, that spells C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N-S-H-I-P for the Cavs, baby! I think San Antonio and Cleveland will be the teams to beat next season. Sorry, Kobe.

• Then there is the deal of Vince Carter to Orlando. These big-name players being shipped out to hungry teams that were so close last season took away from the draft. It really overshadowed the college kids. Carter should help out Dwight Howard. The Magic gave up some talent in Courtney Lee, Tony Battie and Rafer Alston.

• Just remember I said this on draft night and I will say it again...Stephen Curry will be the Rookie of the Year and teams like Minnesota, Oklahoma City and Sacramento that went for guards will be sorry they passed on the son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry.

• What a heartbreaker for the US soccer team? After building a 2-0 lead against Brazil in the finals of the Confederation Cup, the American squad fell 3-2. The good news is, this was a positive experience which should help as coach Bradley's team prepares for World Cup qualifying matches ahead. The team must learn from this and they will be better for it.

• I don't feel Manny Ramirez should have been allowed to play rehab assignment games in Albuquerque prior to the end of his 50-game suspension. I know J.C. Romero of the Phillies had that opportunity, but to me, 50 games is 50 games. Ramirez was glorified by fans in New Mexico and they drew great crowds when he was there.

• Where is justice in the world when you hear these two stories. A person involved in the theft of Lance Armstrong's bike was given a three-year sentence. NFL wide receiver Donte Stallworth gets 24 days in jail for a drunken driving incident which led to the death of a man. I understand the stiff sentence in the Armstrong case had a long rap sheet, but Stallworth's sentence seems like a joke to me.

• Julius Peppers has to be a happy camper for now. It looked like the Carolina Panthers' pass-rusher deluxe was going to hold out, but he finally signed his tender offer for over $16.6 million this season. Hey Julius, I used to call your hoop games at North Carolina... can you give me a loan, baby!

• How about a salute to Red Sox starter Josh Beckett. How hot has he been? In his last seven starts, he is 5-1 with an ERA at 1.24. Beckett has 48 strikeouts and nine walks in that span. Then think about the job Tim Wakefield has done; he has already matched last year's win total (10). They are two reasons why Boston is in first in the AL East.

• One of the great stories during week one of Wimbledon was the surprising success of 17-year old American Melanie Oudin. From Georgia, she shocked Jelena Jankovic to make it to week two of the event. Come on, who would have thought she would go further than Jankovic or Svetlana Kuznetsova, the French Open champion? Are you kidding me?