Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Blazers will keep Cheeks during the lean years

Sometimes the real story isn't readily apparent. Sometimes you have to look a little deeper. Here's a look between the lines at a couple of recent stories:

nTrail Blazers give coach Maurice Cheeks a contract extension.

Yeah, I know it makes no sense to retain the guy, but you have to analyze where this team is going in the next couple of seasons. Really, it's going nowhere.

Just because most of the major pieces of this franchise are still here, don't forget that a major rebuilding job is in the offing. While this team is still good enough to make the playoffs and approach 50 wins this season, that's likely to be the high-water mark for the next few years.

Next season, Rasheed Wallace will be gone with nothing coming in return except $34 million worth of payroll breathing room. Other players will be gone when the opportunity presents itself. When this team gets a chance to dump further salary, it will. When it gets a chance to dump players of questionable character, it will.

But keep in mind most of that will be in the context of a team that needs to slice a lot of salary to get back down to the NBA's cap. Even then, there's no guarantee that anyone is going to entice a major free agent to come to Portland.

Before the franchise can move forward, it is going to have to take some steps backward. With that in mind, there's really no point in going out and finding a new coach to take all those losses. Cheeks will take them. He'll seldom be able to explain them, but he'll take them.

When this franchise is remade with solid young players and a brighter future, the team will go out and find a coach more appropriate to the talent on hand.

nMore than 5 percent of major league baseball players test positive for steroids, triggering mandatory testing for two years.

This is an incredible thing when you take a closer look. The players' union had an agreement that if fewer than 5 percent of its members tested positive, there would be no mandatory testing next spring.

Now here's the amazing part: Prior to last season, the players all knew there would be a test. This was no pop quiz Ñ they had warning. Just about everyone associated with athletics knows that if you're using steroids, there are all sorts of masking agents available to hide it. And, by the way, this test didn't even screen for the new designer steroid that's been developed in the San Francisco Bay Area. You know, the one Barry Bonds is being called to testify about.

With all that, nearly 7 percent of the players still tested positive. Wow, how dumb are these guys?

Seriously, if that many players were caught, then I can't imagine one statistic Ñbaseball's total on-steroids percentage.

Contact Dwight Jaynes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .