Feb. 9—This isn't so much a fake headline, but a not-likely-to-happen future headline.
Main head: Hawks forward Saddiq Bey wins NBA Most Valuable Player Award
Subhead: By default
Dateline Atlanta — National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver, with a slight hint of a 'You didn't think I was serious, eh?' tone in his voice, announced prior to the start of the Finals series between the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings that Saddiq Bey, playing his third season with the Hawks and fifth overall, was the unanimous winner of the Michael Jordan MVP Trophy. The reason why? He was the only player eligible in this, the first year with the new rule that an award winner must play in no fewer than 65 games.
Silver said so many players through the first week of February were on their way to the magic number of 65. Players like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of Oklahoma City, Jalen Brunson of the Knicks and Paolo Banchero of Orlando, were having great seasons and ushering in a new wave of young talent about to take over our league. But somehow — it happened after Valentine's Day and the All-Star break — that bug started to hit. Not the flu bug, but the 'I've been playing too much; it's time for some load management' syndrome.
The commissioner then reminded everyone about the new rule as he also called Bey the Defensive Player of the Year. He further defended the choice, citing Bey's 'decent' stats consistent through the year, 13 points and 6.5 rebounds leading the Hawks to a record-tying third-straight successful run through the play-in tournament. Even with All-Star Trae Young taking one of those extended breaks, they upset both the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat to get that eighth Eastern Conference spot and took the Celtics to five games in the opening round.
----Ryan Day has to be the only major college football head coach who sees no problems whatsoever with the current state of the game.
More on that further down. It will punctuate my points now about the coaching casserole that, despite what was said with the hiring of Dan Quinn by the Washington Commanders, didn't end (somehow I am craving tuna with noodles and green beans).
Think about it. When a new coach is hired for a National Football League franchise, that means a whole new staff is likely to be hired (did Raheem Morris retain anyone from the Arthur Smith regime upon taking over the Atlanta Falcons?). Coordinator jobs open up when people like Morris and Quinn get hired as head coaches. Or, a franchise retains its head coach, who then terminates a coordinator.
When a new coordinator — offensive or defensive — is named, that opens up yet another job, maybe as a position coach be it quarterbacks, defensive line or special teams.
These changes can have as much of an impact on the new season as the new head coaches. That doesn't just involve the professional league.
To me, the most significant move at the coordinator level took place with the Green Bay Packers. That's because they hired a new defensive coordinator from the Power 5 college ranks. A head coach no less. Yes, just when you thought everything in college football coaching circles was settled with Michigan transitioning from the expected departure of Jim Harbaugh to the NFL, Jeff Hafley leaves the Boston College job open.
This happens less than a week away from the next National Signing Day. It leads me to another fascinating point about where we have come with the college game and the call for player empowerment.
Let's go back to when Nick Saban retired at Alabama. Crimson Tide players already had a five-day transfer portal of their own after the semifinal playoff loss to Michigan. Saban's historic announcement gave them 30 days, which are granted when a head coach leaves. That's when safety sensation Caleb Downs hit the open market and landed, not at his home state of Georgia, but Ohio State.
Michigan players had the same windows both after winning the national title game and when Harbaugh left (don't know if anyone left Ann Arbor as a result). Now, here it is February, and BC Eagles will have that same month-long opening.
Let's go back to Alabama since we love it there so much. A quarterback, Julian Sayin, signed with the Tide in December, but he too was eligible to transfer right away, and did, to Ohio State, run by Mr. Day. I'm not sure about the timeline, him enrolling at Alabama (if he ever did), attending a class, Saban leaving, Saylin leaving, but something just doesn't seem right about that.
Point: Seems like he would owe Alabama something. Counterpoint: So what if he lost all desire to play there, why should he have to stay? Counter: He doesn't have to stay, but leaving right away? Wait until the end of the semester, then go where your heart (if that has anything to do with it) really wants you to go. Counter: What about ...? Counter: Hey, there may be the need for a sacrifice, like one spring practice. Give or take seems to be going all in one direction. Counter: Well, it was going all in the other direction before. Counter: Maybe the 30-day window shouldn't apply if a coach retires, only if he takes another job.
Meanwhile, Day must have been loving life ... until he heard his new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien will be filling that Boston College opening after zero games serving the Buckeyes. All this means is that now UCLA is now looking for a head coach and will open up another job. Yes, out goes O'Brien, in comes Chip Kelly. So say bye bye to some Bruins.
(If at all possible, give pet adoption a try through the Animal Rescue Foundation in Milledgeville. Donations of any kind are also in great need. ARF is a little red building at 711 S. Wilkinson St., and more information is available at animalrescuefoundation.org.)