Kevin's Take: New Meka in New Orleans

Former Husky Emeka Okafor Traded to Hornets

I can see it now:   A party night on Bourbon Street with Emeka Okafor oblivious to the noise, engrossed by a book.   But it's the next chapter of his story that intrigues me.

The former UConn legend, as renowned for his grade point average as his points per game numbers in Storrs, was traded from Charlotte to New Orleans Tuesday for fellow 26-year old center Tyson Chandler.

In a league that makes more trades than the New York Stock Exchange, this is one that actually mean something.

Okafor was a good player in Charlotte.  He averaged 13.2 points and 10.1 rebounds a game last season.  But he was never great.  He was never the dominating all-around force that helped lead the Huskies to the 2004 National Title. Bobcats Coach Larry Brown even questioned Emeka's passion for the game, saying that Emeka got an A for his yoga, Pilate's and stretching, but not for his basketball. 

Here's my take: Okafor keeps his fire, his passion and his drive hidden better than most. He cares.  He cares deeply about basketball and everything in his life.  Remember,  this was a young man who initially didn't want to take out an insurance policy for his junior year at UConn because he figured if he got hurt he was smart enough to make an honest living in something other than basketball.

His new insurance policy is Chris Paul. The Hornets All-Star point guard should automatically make Okafor's scoring average go up 3 to 5 points per game.  If Okafor stays healthy, he and Paul will flourish together.

I also think that Okafor will benefit from getting away from Larry Brown.  Is he one of the best coaches ever? No question.  But Okafor was not a Larry Brown guy.  New Orleans should be a much better fit.

Hey, what happened to Jonathon Papelbon last night? 3 runs in the 9th against the last place A's. It just shows no ones perfect and that living on the edge every game can eventually cost you.

But did Paps blown save really ruin the night?  No.  Seeing Jim Rice's no. 14 finally retired was special.  The best part, reuniting the best outfield I've ever seen of Rice, Fred Lynn and Dwight Evans.  If Fred Lynn hadn't gotten hurt so much, he'd be in Cooperstown too.  I wore no. 19 in high school and college because of Lynn.  In his prime, he was as good as anybody.  This no. 19...not so much.

Bonus thought of the day:  Omar Minaya's public attack of New York Daily News writer Adam Rubin was wrong.  Praise publically, criticize privately and most of all take some accountability.  Tony Bernazard deserved to be fired, period.  It wasn't Adam Rubin's fault.   Did Rubin challenge Mets minor leaguers to a fight? Did Rubin get into a war of words with K-Rod?  Tony Bernazard has no one to blame but himself and Minaya should know that.      

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