Sports Talk: This and that

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I doubt either Kevin Durant or the Golden State Warriors saw this coming, back when they agreed to that contract last July. Durant was injured Tuesday night during the Warriors’ game with Washington when teammate Zach Pachulia fell into his knee. Initial fears were he was going to be gone for the rest of the regular season, perhaps even the playoffs.

Perhaps those fears were laid to rest when it was announced Wednesday Durant had a grade 2 MCL sprain and would be reevaluated in a month. With Durant, the Warriors were easily the best team in the league. Heck, they clinched a playoff spot four days ago. In February. Things will not be as easy without him. But they still have their best player and a strong supporting cast. I have read many theories about the Western Conference now being up for grabs, but I don’t see it. Yes, San Antonio is just four games back, but the Warriors have been the best NBA team in the regular season for at least the past two seasons. Don’t forget, they went 73-9 last year without Durant, so I don’t see them falling apart for a month this year without him. That said, if he does indeed miss the playoffs, then I think the Warriors have a much bigger problem — but we can cross that bridge when we come to it.

It appears Colin Kaepernick is officially done in San Francisco. Kaepernick is an interesting free agent and I am not talking about his politics or his hair. I am talking about the fact that he was once considered a good NFL quarterback and he is still not 30 years old. While he is certainly far removed from the time he led his team to the Super Bowl, he will still make for an intriguing possibility for some team starved for a good signal caller.

 Speaking of good signal callers, all indications are the New England Patriots will not trade Tom Brady’s backup. This is a smart move by New England. I know Brady is great, but he is also old. Jimmy Garappolo could wind up being their starter sooner than they hope.

It’s trade deadline time in the NHL and they delivered some good stuff. I love the trade deadline in just about every sport (it’s not that great in the NFL) so I am always on my toes when one approaches. The deal that caught my eye was the Red Wings sending Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers. The Red Wings appear to be headed to their first season in 25 years where they do not make the playoffs, so it’s not surprising they are dumping older players in exchange for draft picks. Vanek is the fourth guy they’ve traded this week. He may, however, be the best of the group. He has 38 points this year and 15 goals scored, so he adds a lot to the Panthers’ offense. Right now, the problem is Florida’s on the outside looking in as far as the playoffs go. They must be hoping Vanek can provide them the spark needed to jump a couple teams and get back into the group of eight who will make the postseason. It might be a risky move for Florida, but it seems to be one they felt they should make. Now they’ve got two months to see if it pays off.

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