Bean: Should the Bruins have just signed Kovalchuk?

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Bean: Should the Bruins have just signed Kovalchuk?

The games aren't played on paper, but roster-building is. 

And on paper, the Bruins felt a pretty big need for another top-six scorer. If they hadn't, they wouldn't have made pushes for Ilya Kovalchuk and John Tavares. 

Now, having seen both go elsewhere, Don Sweeney faces the difficult task of deciding whether to trade one of the best offensive defensemen in the league, Torey Krug, in order to get that help up front. It begs a very fair question: Why didn't he just sign Kovalchuk? 


Kovalchuk, who re-entered the NHL waters this offseason after a five-year stint in the KHL, proved to be too rich and/or risky for the Bruins' blood; the 35-year-old signed a three-year deal with the Kings worth $6.25 million a year. From a total money and term standpoint, it's identical to the deal Patrick Marleau signed with the Leafs last summer at age 37. 

It's not a good contract and it's a massive risk considering how long Kovalchuk's been away. That the Bruins did not want the player for that long is completely understandable. What's less understandable is the idea that doing something like trading Krug is a better alternative. 

Of course, that's an unfair shot to take because the Bruins have not traded Krug. They have made trading a defenseman likely, however, by signing John Moore. Krug, who finished three points behind Erik Karlsson last season and has two years left on a reasonable contract, would be a very appealing asset for other teams. 

Know why he would be appealing to those teams? Because he's really good. He's not great in his own end and he's by no means a top-pairing player, but he's also the third-best blueliner on a team that only has three really good blueliners. Whether a trade would be good or bad obviously depends on which player the B's would acquire, but trading Krug for a scorer would be robbing Peter to pay Paul when you could have just signed old-ass Russian Paul while leaving Peter the heck alone. 


Having not landed that right wing (or Tavares, whose signing would have triggered some sort of roster shakeup that would theoretically have also gotten them some help on the right side), here are the Bruins' potential alternatives:

- Trade Krug as part of a deal for Artemi Panarin, a 26-year-old two-time 30-goal-scorer who will be commanding a big raise from his current $6 million mark after next season. 

- Hope that Rick Nash decides to keep playing and get him for a high cap hit on a one or two-year deal. 

- Hope one of the kids seizes the right wing job on David Krejci's line, though Anders Bjork, Danton Heinen and Ryan Donato are all lefties. 

- Hope David Backes finds the fountain of youth and goes back to resembling a top-six forward. 

Three of those four include the word "hope" and the other includes shelling out a ton of money. Signing Kovalchuk would have also included that word ("hope this doesn't end up an absolute disaster"), but at least you wouldn't be losing Krug. 

Of the options remaining, standing pat may be the best alternative unless Panarin is feeling generous in contract talks. Kovalchuk is far from a safe bet, but signing him would leave the Bruins with less of a dilemma today. 



Everyone has a theory about the Celtics' trade interest in Kawhi Leonard

Everyone has a theory about the Celtics' trade interest in Kawhi Leonard

The Celtics and the Lakers are reportedly in trade talks with the Spurs centered on Kawhi Leonard, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. 

Now, we all know that Leonard, who can become a free agent next summer, wants to play for the Lakers and most likely will not give a team like the Celtics any sort of assurance of him staying beyond the coming season. That led every single user on to raise an interesting thought: 

In all seriousness, everyone arrived at this thought for a reason: The Celtics don't need to trade for Kawhi. The Lakers might need to in order to land LeBron James. The Lakers, should they end up with a trio of James, Kawhi and Paul George, would be a threat to the Celtics' title hopes in the coming seasons. It would be in the Celtics' best interests to do whatever they can to weaken that supporting cast. 


DJ Bean: 'Uncle Drew' is silly . . . and fun

DJ Bean: 'Uncle Drew' is silly . . . and fun

This Friday (or Thursday if you're a veteran movie-goer), a film called "Uncle Drew" will hit theaters. It's a movie about Kyrie Irving and his friends harassing Lil Rel and getting chased around by Lisa Leslie while Tiffany Haddish and Nick Kroll act like monsters. 

So it's great. 

You see, the only thing that will make you not like "Uncle Drew" is if you go into the movie hoping to validate your assertion that Kyrie Irving is better at basketball than he is at acting. Of course he is, dummy. Kyrie Irving is better at basketball than he is at anything else. That doesn't mean that his movie is garbage. 

The movie is all of these things: silly, campy, ridiculous (which is also the name of an absolute heater from the soundtrack) and funny. That second one might scare you off, but campy is exactly what I wanted out of "Uncle Drew." It's a movie about a bunch of elderly people playing in a street ball tournament. If it were even five percent serious, that would be too much.  

After an opening centered around a "30 for 30" discussing the legend of Uncle Drew's Rucker Park dominance, a street ball coach named Dax (Lil Rel), is trying to prepare his team for a tournament at Rucker Park. In order to do it, he'll need to defeat a team coached by Kroll. There's also a looming threat of his girlfriend (Haddish) leaving him. 

But before Haddish can do it, Lil Rel's best player (played by Aaron Gordon LOL) leaves him for Kroll's team. Yada yada yada, Lil Rel becomes real homeless real quick. 

While scouting replacements for Gordon's character, Lil Rel comes across Uncle Drew, a Rucker Park legend who now mostly likes to bully younger people. After some light sexual harassment of a player who was seemingly minding his own business, Uncle Drew shows off his chops and leaves Lil Rel smitten. 

Dax knows that he needs Uncle Drew, but the only way Irving's character will play is if he gets all of his former teammates. It's at this point that the viewer is glad they opted against a mass email, as driving around in a van and picking up Reggie Miller, Chris Webber, Nate Robinson and Shaq one-by-one is way funnier. They are all outrageously mean to Lil Rel the entire time. 

Though the team is stacked, they have unresolved issues from back in the day, specifically between Uncle Drew and Big Fella (Shaq). This is because Uncle Drew shtupped Big Fella's wife, who is played by nobody because she's dead. 

Pressure mounts on everybody, as Lil Rel needs the money from the tournament and the players are fighting off both Father Time and the constant threat of Lisa Leslie maybe murdering them. Leslie's character, a devout Christian, spends much of the movie trying to "get" them because her husband (Webber) went to play basketball. 

Eventually, after a terrific dance scene, the tournament takes place and the squad is fantastic. Leslie has since caught up to them and is now on the team. She's amazing, as is Robinson, who steals the show. It should be noted that the actors are in no way apprehensive about making references to some of the less flattering moments of their actual basketball careers. Also, the movie worth seeing for the visuals alone. Shaq and Robinson look hilarious, while Irving says he lost 10 pounds shooting the movie because of how much having all the prosthetics and makeup on him made him sweat.

I won't say the outcome of the tournament, but the hint is that I said it's a campy movie. You do the math. 

This movie is more "Mighty Ducks" than it is "Remember the Titans." Yes, it will teach kids about being a team player and not shtupping your teammate's dead wife, but it's mainly just a fun, silly time. If you can't enjoy that -- to quote the actor who plays Big Fella -- there must be something wrong with you.