Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com rightly points out the stupidity of the Saints for brazenly associating with a guy named Mike Ornstein. An agentmarketing repproblem-fixer (creator), Ornstein'scheckered past should have made him radioactive to anyone in the NFL. Yet he's often inside-the-ropes and behind-the-scenesat league events like the Super Bowl and NFL Owners Meetings. He's a name-dropper of the highest order and he drops the most powerful names you can imagine.E-mails from Ornstein to Saints coach Sean Payton showed Ornstein paying into the Saints bounty kitty on more than one occasion. A former league employee convicted of defrauding the league of more than 300,000 in 1995, he worked in NFL Properties and as a league VP of Marketing. He was also Reggie Bush's marketing agent, cutting deals that led to Bush forfeiting the Heisman Trophy. Ornstein served prison time for scalping Super Bowl tickets from 1998 to 2006. Of this individual, Payton said in his book, "We agreed: If we were going to Miami, Ornstein would oversee the non-game logistics. Room assignments. Travel plans. How many tickets Reggies family might need. If you think issues like those cant erupt into major catastrophes . . . I dont know all the details of what Mike Ornstein did. But I do know the players and their families were extremely well taken care of."Freeman also cites the passage in Payton's book "Home Team."I had Mike Ornstein running special ops. Mike had no official title with the Saints. His name appeared nowhere on the team payroll or organizational chart. But he played an absolutely crucial role in the Saints Super Bowl victory, and hardly anybody knows what he did . . . More than anyone else I know, he understands how to get things done in the pro-sports world. He also has a taste for mischief Now he was a close friend of mine and a great asset to the team, flying into Miami and softening up the off-field for us.Read thisto get more of a flavor for this person. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if there's a lot of people at very high levels sweating bullets about the involvement of Ornstein and whether that day will come where he sings like a canary.Local hook? Bill Belichick's nobody's angel but the guy surrounds himself with football guys, not scam artists.
Celtics fans aren’t the only ones thinking of ways Kyrie Irving could end up in Boston.
Even though it would be hard to imagine last season’s No. 2 seed in the East trading one of the best players in the league to last season’s No. 1 seed in the East, ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote Monday that the Celtics have indeed called the Cavs about the 25-year-old point guard.
Most teams, including the asset-rich Celtics, have placed the obligatory call letting Cleveland know they would like to be kept in the loop, sources say. Boston could offer Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and one of their golden picks -- Brooklyn's pick next season, or the Lakers/Kings pick they got from Philly in the Markelle Fultz deal. It's unclear if they would dangle all of that, but those picks could represent the young stud Cleveland needs. Regardless, a deal between the East's two best teams seems unlikely.
While nobody’s counting on Irving joining the Celtics, a trade of Irving elsewhere could still swing the balance in the East in Boston’s favor depending on what Cleveland gets back. Irving reportedly requested a trade from Cleveland earlier this month.
The figures and briefs are in for the Bruins and Ryan Spooner for their arbitration hearing Wednesday, but both sides are still hoping that a deal can be reached prior to it. The Bruins have submitted a one-year contract offer for $2 million. Spooner’s camp countered with $3.85 million, creating a sizeable gap of almost $2 million between the two.
Spooner, 25, has averaged 12 goals and 44 points the past two seasons with the B’s, including 35 power-play points while working the half-wall for a Boston PP that’s been ranked seventh overall two seasons in a row.
- What's left out there in free agency for Bruins?
- Haggerty: Touting Bruins' defense as "strength" of the team is a tad premature
Spooner is coming off a two-year contract worth $1.95 million and his is a complicated situation for the Black and Gold. Spooner holds significant value as a trade piece and has been an important part of a very effective power play, but he also finished the playoffs as a healthy scratch after going quietly the past few months of the season.
Spooner was one of the major pieces discussed in trade talks with the Minnesota Wild around the draft prior to the Wild shipping Marco Scandella to the Buffalo Sabres and he's been involved in trade discussions with several teams the past couple of years.
The Bruins have prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson waiting in the wings if/when the B’s decided to spin Spooner to another team, but they also enjoy his speed and playmaking when he’s on his game. There’s clearly a scenario where the Bruins start the season with Spooner installed as their third-line center and perhaps explore more trade discussions while seeing if a full season under Bruce Cassidy can unlock his significant offensive potential.
If that's still in the plan, they’d be wise to come to an agreement and avoid the hearing Wednesday where they’d ostensibly be bad-mouthing a player they’d want back on their team. The Bruins have the right to walk away from Spooner should he be awarded the full $3.85 million by the arbiter. Still, it’s hard to believe they’d do that given that he’s a homegrown asset with trade value.
The feeling at this address is that there’s a deal to be made between the two sides for something around the $3 million mark. That’s something that would be worthwhile for the Bruins if they have any designs on continuing on with Spooner.