- - Wednesday, February 22, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION

Once again, it’s time to check off some items on my “TIDU List” — Things I Don’t Understand:

How the Wizards snuck up on everybody: Hard as it is to believe, Washington is a bonafide contender in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. The metamorphosis happened right before our eyes and we never saw it coming during a wretched 2-8 start under new coach Scott Brooks. But the Wizards are 32-13 since, among the league’s hottest teams and a popular pick to make a deep run.

Regardless, GM Ernie Grunfeld still deserved a pink slip before now.

Why Magic Johnson seems perfect for his new job: Running the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office must have been Johnson’s birthright. He was the face of “Showtime” and helped the NBA to new heights in the ‘80s. Then he became a successful businessman while dabbling in sports. He has a daunting task with the dreadful Lakers, who haven’t won more than 27 games since the 2012-13 season.

At least he can’t do worse than when he coached the team (5-11) in 1994.

Why Matt Wieters was still available: It’s not like four-time All-Star catchers hit the market every year. In eight seasons with the Orioles, Wieters batted .256/.318/.421 with 117 homers and 437 RBI. He’s an upgrade over Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, even if slight. Now GM Mike Rizzo can use Norris to perhaps acquire bullpen help. And the Nats’ owners can relish in tweaking Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos.

The Nats would be set if agent Scott Boras represented an unemployed closer.

How Sacramento could’ve traded DeMarcus Cousins for less: In trading Carmelo Anthony, Denver netted four starters and two first-round picks. In trading Deron Williams, Utah acquired two starters and two first-round picks. In trading Cousins to New Orleans on Sunday, the Kings got a starter and a first-round pick. GM Vlade Divac said he had a better deal two days earlier. Instead, the trade’s value can drop whether New Orleans does well or poorly.

That’s impressive in its own right.

Why Kirk Cousins would forsake tag for a cheaper deal: The deck is stacked against NFL players in many instances, but Cousins had held a winning hand the last two offseasons. The $20 million he earned last year under the franchise tag becomes $24 million if he’s tagged again. Eschewing the tag for a long-term deal that pays less per year makes no sense. If Washington balks, San Francisco likely won’t.

Indecision will cost the team, one way or another.

How Tony Romo could do better than landing in Houston: In the game of “Where Will Romo Go?” the best scenario for the Cowboys’ erstwhile starting QB is in-state. The Texans boast a top defense, solid ground game and dangerous receivers. The team plays in the lackluster AFC South, which Houston won the last two seasons with stiffs under center. A healthy Romo instantly makes the Texans Super Bowl contenders.

Plus, they can make history: neither one has a divisional-round victory.

Why the Clippers thought they could steal Otto Porter: Maybe the Knicks’ attempt to nab Kevin Love for Carmelo Anthony spurred LAC to make a crazy offer, too. According to ESPN, the Clippers asked about Porter but wanted to retain their core. Ha! The likes of ancient Jamal Crawford, uninspiring Austin Rivers and a distant first-rounder isn’t enough. “Otto-Pilot” is a key cog, playing his way to a big contract.

The offer deserved a finger wag from fellow former Hoya, Dikembe Mutombo.

How the lack of a clear closer hurts the Nats right now: It’s the biggest storyline in camp, a question mark at the end of the bullpen. Lots of possibilities means there’s no definitive answer. The price was clear in San Francisco last year, as the Giants led the majors with 30 blown saves. But they also reached the postseason … where they blew a three-run, ninth-inning lead and were eliminated.

The Nats have seven months to avoid that fate.

Why the Knicks gave Carmelo Anthony a no-trade clause: For all of Phil Jackson’s blunders as team president — too many to list here — he’s choking on just one right now. For some unbeknownst reason, Chief Zen included an unnecessary sweetener when he re-signed Anthony in 2014. No other team could pay more and Anthony didn’t want to leave, anyway. But Jackson gave him veto power over any potential trade.

The Knicks should trade Jackson’s 11 championship rings for one competent executive.

How speeding up MLB is a bad thing: The players’ union sounds like Kyrie Irving claiming the earth is flat: “The pace of baseball is fine.” But Sports Illustrated reports that dead time has risen significantly in the last 10 years; a ball is put into play just once every 3 minutes, 25.2 seconds. So Commissioner Rob Manfred is moving toward unilateral changes in 2018 after the union balked at any for 2017.

Unlike players’ bank accounts, fans’ attention spans are dwindling.

Brooklyn-born and Howard-educated, Deron Snyder writes his award-winning column for The Washington Times on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Follow him on Twitter @DeronSnyder.

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