LeBron James and the champion Heat are rolling impressively through the NBA playoffs, but it was the Dolphins dominating local conversation this week — the Dolphins, who once owned the Miami sports market and are acting like they mean to win it back.
I cannot recall the Dolphins ever having a busier offseason week.
And it wasn’t just the focal point, the NFL Draft, although Miami was the talk of the first round in boldly trading up from 12th to third to select Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan to lead a three-day bounty. Jordan is the highest-drafted defender in franchise history. He also is the first player ever drafted by the Dolphins who at 17 sustained burns on 40 percent of his body in an explosion when some friends were siphoning gas from one car to another in a buddy’s garage.
Beyond the draft, the Dolphins also traded receiver Davone Bess, continued talks to acquire Chiefs tackle Branden Albert, and officially introduced redesigned new uniforms.
Even owner Stephen Ross was making news, saying on 790 The Ticket that former coach Tony Sparano “damaged the whole organization” because “he could never put it behind him” after the team had tried and failed to hire Jim Harbaugh. (Yes, how dare Sparano be upset because his own club publicly embarrassed him!)
Looming over everything for Ross and the Dolphins right now is the May 14 referendum vote on stadium-improvement funds. Proponents launched a major ad campaign this week, and Ross conducted a media tour of the stadium to point out its shortcomings and dilapidation.
I thought Ross arranging for those dramatically collapsing beams was a particularly well-timed touch. I also give him credit for the symbolism of conducting the driving tour in Jed Clampett’s rattletrap truck.
• Hurricanes point guard Shane Larkin, whose father already said his son would enter the NBA Draft, will hold a Sunday news conference to announce what is already known. Beside him, coach Jim Larrañaga will be forcing a smile even though the decision means Jim’s Sweet 16 team will return zero starters.
• Two big names not taken in the NFL Draft’s first round, linebacker Manti Te’o and quarterback Geno Smith, finally were drafted by the Chargers and Jets, respectively. We can presume that Te’o’s imaginary girlfriend was a lot happier than Mark Sanchez.
• Bulls fan Matthew Thompson, 25, is suing Derrick Rose, saying Rose missing the season with an injury has caused him mental breakdowns and emotional distress leading to obesity issues. I would think Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau might have a better claim on all that.
• The Knicks and Spurs can join the Heat in winning first-round series with sweeps Sunday, but the NBA’s big news of week was Russell Westbrook’s knee surgery that could shelve the Thunder star the rest of the playoffs. That sounded like good news for Miami, but the Heat would rather face OKC than San Antonio in the finals, so be careful what you wish for.
• Bucks problem against the Heat is talent disparity, but Milwaukee does lead the series in one category: Odd names. Miami has no answer for Ekpe Udoh, Ersan Ilyasova, Ish Smith or Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.