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Paul Pierce not a villain if he leaves Washington Wizards


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

*How anyone could be mad if Paul Pierce leaves.

The veteran forward can end his Hall-of-Fame career at home in Los Angles, with the coach he won an NBA title under. Even diehard Wizards fans have to see the storybook nature of that possibility. Hollywood and Doc Rivers are powerful lures. But the Clippers are in the more-rugged West and will be less formidable if DeAndre Jordan leaves.

Either way, “I called game” will make another wining call.

*Why Phil Mickleson can’t seem to stay inbounds.

A $3 million gambling debt isn’t a big deal if you make more than $40 million annually in endorsements plus your PGA Tour earnings. But when ESPN reports that $3 million is tied to a federal investigation of money laundering and illegal gambling – one year after the feds investigated you for insider trading – you might have a problem. Mickleson’s image is at stake.

Lefty needs to straighten up and fly right.

*How Mark Brunell knows RG3’s fate.

Plenty of us agree with the ESPN analyst’s opinion: Robert Griffin III “has gone backwards.” Going from Rookie of the Year to the bench is a clue. But Brunell went further Monday, asked if he thought RG3 was good enough to succeed again. “I do not,” Brunell said. “… Does he have the skill set? Yes. But we haven’t seen it in some time.”

Blame the unnecessary (and worthless) prediction on host Stephen A. Smith.

*Why Serena Williams’ slam attempt is so quiet.

Perhaps because she won four consecutive Grand Slam titles a decade ago. Perhaps because the sight of her holding trophies aloft has become routine. Perhaps because tennis doesn’t stir our juices anymore. Whatever the case, Williams is two tournaments shy of winning all four majors in a single year, which hasn’t been done by a male or female player since Steffi Graf in 1988.

History in the making should be a little noisier.

*How Max Scherzer is living up to his contract.

Washington’s starter in Thursday’s series finale at Atlanta, Scherzer is in the midst of a ridiculously dominant stretch. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his last three outings, twice with perfect games intact. At one point he retired 70 of 73 batters faced; his overall line for those three starts: 26 innings, six hits, 33 strikeouts, one walk and an 0.69 ERA.

At $210 million, he just might be a bargain.

*Why Dwyane Wade expects to be overpaid.

Wade left money on the table to improve the Heat’s financial flexibility as he wooed LeBron James and Chris Bosh to South Beach. The result was four trips to The Finals and a pair of championship rings. That was the trade-off. Miami isn’t obligated to thank Wade by giving him an above-market-value $45 million for three years. GM Pat Riley has to value the future more than the past.

Loyalty in pro sports is fool’s gold.

*Why Bryce Harper can’t be a Nat for life.

We have three more seasons to enjoy Bam-Bam before worrying about his possible departure. But when the Nationals visited Yankee Stadium, we got a taste of what to expect. The New York tabloids made pinstripes seem inevitable. Or maybe Dodger blue, closer to his native Nevada? With Scott Boras as his agent, Harper is likely to test the market.

But he can stay on South Capitol Street if the Lerners match any offer.

*How Phil Knight ‘just did it’ with Nike.

He went from selling shoes out of the back of his car to heading sport’s most ubiquitous brand – en route to becoming one of the world’s 50 richest people with a net worth estimated at $24 billion. “For me, Nike has always been more than just a company – it has been my life’s passion,” Knight said Tuesday in a statement that announced he’s stepping down as chairman.

His success story makes your head go “swoosh!”

*Why A-Rod shouldn’t be an All-Star.

Like most observers, I thought Alex Rodriguez would be a total non-factor – if not a complete embarrassment – coming off a season-long suspension at 39 years old. But, presumably, without any pharmaceutical assistance, A-Rod has played surprisingly well after struggling to stay healthy and productive since 2010. He’s been among the AL’s best hitters, seventh in OPS+, having reached milestones in hits (3,000) and home runs (660).

History notwithstanding, he deserves an invite to the Midsummer Classic.

*How Dan Snyder’s edict can last forever.

Defenders of his team’s nickname and the Confederate flag use strikingly similar language, tossing around “heritage, pride” and “respect,” rejecting logic that the symbols are offensive, dishonorable and racist. The flag is headed for museums and the nickname should follow. “We will never change the name,” Snyder told USA Today in 2013. “NEVER – you can use caps.”

A former owner once said the same about integrating the team; we see how that worked out.

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