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A Stocking Worth of Sports Stories

December 27, 2010 1 comment

Well, the big Holiday is over and with it the little holiday as well, which makes this something of an exhale slowly moment. Between the end of the school term and preparing for the arrival of the Jolly Man in Red, it seems like a thousand sports stories have passed me by without an opportunity for me to yodel on their significance. So, I think we’ll blast through some stories, stocking style. Small sweet little packages, which include some underwear, socks and, probably, a little coal…

LeBron wants to return to the 80s:

Hopefully the league can figure out one way where it can go back to the ’80s where you had three or four All-Stars, three or four superstars, three or four Hall of Famers on the same team,” James said. “The league was great. It wasn’t as watered down as it is [now].”

So, LeBron wants to return to the 80s, why? I don’t know, maybe he’s a fan of Wham? Seriously, I love the King’s comments on returning to 1980s basketball when the league had two or three Hall of Famers on every team. There’s so many levels of absurdity on this topic, so let me just pick a couple off the top: I guess most obvious that I haven’t seen anyone else discuss, is that the notion that there were three or four all stars (let alone Hall of Famers) on the same team is ridiculous. In 1986 Boston had three all stars, as did the Lakers. Of course, last year Boston had three all stars and the Lakers had two, so… yeah, the league has really altered drastically over the last 25 years.

The Hall of Famer thing seems different, I mean we all remember those Celtics and Lakers teams. Bird, Magic, Kareem, McHale, Worthy, Parish, Dennis Johnson, Bill Walton… They were loaded, but two teams does not a league make. Most teams were not so fortunate. The 76ers of course had three Hall of Famers, but one was a 35 year old Dr. J in his second to last season and the other was a 22 year old Charles Barkley in his second season. The Milwaukee Bucks won 57 games that year. They had no Hall of Famers. The New York Knicks lost 59 games that year and they had a Hall of Famer. Granted, Patrick Ewing was a rookie, but you get my point. It’s easy to think of the Lakers and the Celtics and believe that the 80s were a time when every team had an overwhelming abundance of talent that made the NBA a richer, better league, but that’s the sort of hyperbolic nostalgia that makes people think that the 1950s were a better time for everyone.

The real difference between the so called Golden Age of the NBA and the league today isn’t the number of players, or a watered down product. The growth of the game in other countries (namely Spain and Argentina, but also Russia and Eastern Europe) has seen an influx of foreign talent that ably fills in the rosters of those seven extra teams.  No, the real difference is free agency and salary caps. The Lakers and Celtics might be able to draft and assemble a team with as much talent as their mid-eighties teams, but they’d never be able to keep them together any longer. James Worthy, picked number one in 1982, would play out his rookie contract and want to be paid as the number one pick he was, only the Lakers already in the luxury tax because they’re paying max money to Magic and Kareem would have to watch as he took the big offer from Golden State. In 1986, the NBA was only in the second year of the salary cap era and the effects had yet to be fully realized. Now, however, it looms over every basketball decision. So, perhaps instead of politicking to contract teams, LeBron should try campaigning to get rid of free agency and the salary cap…

Speaking of James, his statement is so outstanding coming from a man who dubbed himself “The King.” Like most monarchs, LeBron clearly is unconcerned with how a return to the 80s might affect the NBAs commoners. Sure, LeBron, like his princely friends Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh might love combining their principalities, but what of the peasants? NBA teams have 15 players on their roster. That means that if he went back to the 80s, when the NBA had 23 teams, 105 players would be out of work. Of course, they could probably find someone in Europe or Asia who wanted to pay them to play basketball, but players aren’t the only people employed by teams. There’s also administrative staff, coaches, trainers, scouts, communications, public relations, dancers, financial officers, and oh yeah, hundreds of arena workers.

Yes, I realise that it’s unfair to criticize LeBron for not thinking about the thousands of people who would be out of work if the NBA returned to the 80s, he was after all making an offhand statement, but the perception problem that LeBron created for himself with “The Decision” is only exacerbated by his voicing an opinion on contraction. LeBron is battling an image as a narcissistic, self involved, prima-donna with a king complex. I’m not saying it’s fair, I’m also not saying that it isn’t fair, I’m merely saying that talking about eliminating thousands of jobs for people who aren’t part of your principality is not going to help you sell sneakers.

Phil Doesn’t Want to Play on Christmas

It used to be two (games),” Jackson said Tuesday. “It used to be Phoenix and LA and New York and Boston, or New York and Philly or somebody on the East Coast… Now I see they’ve got like six games on Christmas. (It’s actually five, with the first at 9 a.m. PST and the last at 7:30 p.m.) It’s like Christian holidays don’t mean anything to them anymore. Just go out and play and entertain the TV. It’s really weird… But it is what it is. We’ve got to go to work and we’ll do what we have to do to make the best of it. I don’t think anyone should play on Christmas Day. Soccer teams don’t play. They take a break. No hockey. I don’t understand it.

Yes, until recently, the NBA only had two games on Christmas Day, which meant that only four teams actually had to give up their Christmas days, so this isn’t really an issue that affects most teams. I mean, Lionel Hollins and the Memphis Grizzlies don’t really have to worry about going to the arena on Christmas Day. Of course, unfortunately for Phil, he’s only coached two teams in his NBA career and they existed in the second and third largest markets; plus, in ten of those seasons he was coaching the defending champions, so yeah, I can see how he might want the occasional Christmas day off, but…

I don’t really have a lot of sympathy for Phil. He is paid a lot of money because he’s in entertainment. I’m not breaking any new ground here. Sport is entertainment and athletes are paid millions of dollars for playing games, because they play them in front of people who want to watch. And amongst all the other things people do with their families on Christmas Day, a lot of people want to watch basketball. You know what else thousands of people like to do for entertainment on Christmas Day? They like to go to the movies. Amazingly enough, those movie theaters don’t just run themselves. And I think we can be fairly certain that the people who run them aren’t being compensated quite as well as the Zen Master.

Of course, Phil is complaining on religious grounds, which seems to make his case stronger, except that something about that strikes me as disingenuous. I mean we are talking about the Zen Master. A man who named his book “Sacred Hoops” and who to this point has spent most of his career presenting himself as a spiritually enlightened Native American warrior crossed with a Buddhist monk. Even if he is a practicing Christian worried about missing out on his prayer time, this isn’t a new trend. When he was a player, Phil’s team played on Christmas Day ten times. As a coach, he’s now coached 18 Christmas Day games. So, while I can see that he might want to take a Christmas Day game off for once, his proclamating that the NBA “It’s like Christian holidays don’t mean anything to them (the NBA) anymore” is just asinine. Of course, this is Phil Jackson we’re talking about, so he probably was just trying to keep David Stern’s blood pressure from getting too stagnant.

The Pats Are Awesome:

I know this isn’t breaking any news or anything, but… God Damn is Tom Brady good. Last year I couldn’t imagine anyone playing quarterback any better than Peyton Manning. He just had so much command of the game and he was making heroes out of guys who’d basically walked off the street look like Marvin Harrison. Yet, this year (albeit with slightly more talent around him), Mr Gisele is reminding me of why he is actually the best quarterback of this generation.

Likewise, in his column this morning, Peter King posed a question to his readers about who he should choose as coach of the year. Maybe I’ve watched too many Patriots’ games over the last month, but this really was a D’uh moment for me. Sometimes I think that with coach of the year awards, we try to get too smart. Awarding the coach of a team that we expected to be bad, who finished .500 or better, instead of someone who actually is the best coach in the game. It’s why in the NBA Mike Brown, Byron Scott, Sam Mitchell, Avery Johnson, and Mike Dunleavy combine to have as many coach of the year awards as Pat Riley (3), Phil Jackson (1), Greg Popovich (1), and Jerry Sloan (0, or “WTF” as it’s also known). Unlike an MVP award, where writers generally try to award the best player (sometimes errantly, but that’s another issue), with Coach of the Year awards, they often award the best “story.” It’s why Todd Haley and Raheem Morris will get a lot of consideration for the award this year. And yes, they’ve done a phenomenal job in coaching Kansas City and Tampa to 10 and 9 win seasons job, but there truly is only one answer to this question.

The best coach in the NFL this year, last year, the year before that, or for most of the last decade was Bill Belichick.

Who is the coach of the team that is 13-2 and looking like it might be more dominant than the undefeated 2007 Patriots? Who’s the coach whose team has now gone seven games without a turnover (and have only turned it over nine times all year)? Who’s the coach whose playing two undrafted running backs, guys who by the way have rushed for nearly 1500 yards on an average of 4.79 per carry. Who’s the coach who saw trouble brewing in his locker room and decided that he didn’t need one of the five greatest receiveers to win games? Who’s the coach who got better production out of Deion Branch the rest of the season than the traveling Randy Moss show? Who’s the coach of the team that has won seven straight by an average score of 37.3 to 16.9? Oh and by the way that stretch of games included wins over the Steelers, Colts, Jets, Bears, and Packers…

The answer, the only answer, is Bill Belichick.

The NCAA Suspends Six Ohio State Players for Rules Violations… Starting Next Year.

And there it is, the coal at the bottom of the stocking. Thank you NCAA for once again wearing your greed and hypocrisy like a crushed velvet suit for all the world to see. You guys are special, and coal might actually be too good for you this year.

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NBA Preview Part 1 – It’s Getting Hot in Here, or at least Stuffy…

October 23, 2010 Leave a comment

The most anticipated NBA season since Jordan retired is set to kick off with an absolute must-see game on Tuesday night, which makes this the perfect time to begin some sort of NBA preview. Of course, I also have an assignment due for my Art Education class, so maybe this is actually the perfect time to write that…

Nah.

There is no way around the reality that this offseason was the most hyped in NBA (and possibly sports) history. It was talked about basically from the moment that LeBron, Wade and Bosh signed their post rookie contrats, with the momentum swelling like a tsunami as the Summer of 2010 approached. For the NBA, the penultimate outcome of all that hype really couldn’t have been any better. After weeks of front page speculation, the “big three” free agents joined forces and, in so doing, became wrestling style villains. There have been millions of words spilled on The Decision and I don’t really have anything new to add, so I wont bother… much.

Suffice to say that we want our sports heroes to choose things like people, place and the pursuit of titles over the largest possible payday, but then when they do, we criticize them anyhow. If I had been LeBron, I wouldn’t have taken my talents to South Beach (I would have taken them to New York, where the Garden could have become the ultimate throne), but I can’t really begrudge him wanting to play with his buddies in a city that’s always hot, and always HOT.

Will this affect his legacy? Perhaps, but as Chuck Klosterman so wisely pointed out during his BS Report appearance back in July, sports is the only avenue where we criticize public figures for not thinking about their legacy. When actors, musicians, or politicians are seen chasing their legacy we tear them to shreds. When Jordan suits up for the Wizards, Emmet plays for the Cardinals, or LeBron chooses to take his talents to Miami, we criticize them for ruining their legacies. We, the public, are a hypocritical and conflicting audience, which is why LeBron made the absolute right choice (albeit in the absolute wrong way): he did what he wanted. That’s all that really matters, he’s the only person he needs to satisfy. The rest of us? Well, we’d have found a way to criticize him no matter what he did.

Of course, the Heat will be villains this year. In the aftermath of The Decision, I heard Simmons alternately compare LeBron to Hollywood Hulk Hogan and to Alex Rodriguez. Both were (are) despised, but that’s fine, because it allows the Heat to play the proverbial US against the World card. Perhaps even more importantly, it allows the NBA to market a super villain and believe me, every league wants a super villain. There can’t be a Superman without Lex Luther, Spiderman without Green Goblin, or a Professor X without Magneto. And, there certainly cannot be a Dark Knight without the Joker, so the Heat will play 41 games this year in their liar where they are protected by their fans (at least the ones who arrive on time) and they will play another 41 where the fans want their blood. Every team is going to bring the best version of themselves with the intention of knocking the Heat off a perch to which they’ve yet to climb. It will be great theatre and it will be great basketball. I, for one, can’t wait.

Mike Brown Given the Tuna Treatment…

May 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, it was sort of inevitable wasn’t it? I think Mike Brown’s a solid coach, perhaps even a good coach, but you cannot waste two playoffs as the number one seed, with the number one player, and survive to talk about it. Not unless said player comes out visibly and vocally in your defense.

When the Cavs lost, the rumor that Brown had been fired, was passed like a beer bong at May long camping trip, but Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said then that no decision had been made. Given what transpired this morning, I can only assume that Gilbert meant that a decision had been made, but that the team had yet to clear it past James. I know that the King might flee, but trust that had James categorically said, “I will absolutely not return if Mike Brown is fired,” then Brown would still be the coach of the Cavs.

Of course, that’s what will make the coaching search for the Cavs so absurdly difficult. Who will they bring in that satisfies James? And, on the flip side, who will take the job until they know whether James himself is onboard. With James, the Cavs’ job is one of the three best in basketball, without James… Ughhh…

Thus, expect this to be a long, slow convalescence for the Cavs coaching position. With the penultimate decision tied to James himself. If LeBron goes to the Bulls or Knicks, then the Cavs will find some cheap sap, who’s just psyched to get a top job. If the King stays, then expect the Cavs to promise handing as much money as they need to, to the coach of James’ choosing. So, say that the Lakers are sincere when they say that they are only going to pay Phil Jackson 5 million a year, and say that James says he wants to play for the winningest coach in NBA history, would Gilbert cough up 12 or 13 million for the Zen Master? Faster than it takes Griffey Jr to fall asleep in the clubhouse.

As for Brown, he joins the list of coaching casualties, which shouldn’t really be too troubling, because as Philly just showed with Doug Collins, there’s always a team willing to hire a retread coach. Brown will get another job, he’ll have another chance to show that he can fail in the playoffs. And then he’ll get fired again… and then he’ll get hired again…

How the Celtics helped the Knicks…

May 14, 2010 2 comments

Could you feel that? That moment last night? The moment when the history of basketball in Cleveland, in New York, in Chicago, and in the NBA at large, shifted? It was seismic. If you had asked me a week ago, I would have placed the odds on LeBron returning to Cleveland next year at well over 60%. If they made the finals, I would have bumped that up to over 90%. Win or lose. Now…? Wow. It’s a whole new game.

The blame for this debacle is going to be sprayed everywhere. It’s the elbow. It’s the supporting cast. It’s Mike Brown. It’s the shitty teammates assembled by Danny Ferry. Or, it’s LeBron himself. Maybe he just doesn’t have “it,” maybe he’s more Karl Malone than Michael Jordan. Or… maybe he’s just 25 and has yet to win it all. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. A guy just “doesn’t have the right stuff to lead a team to a title,” right up until the point where he leads his team to a title. It’s not a magic power. If Jordan retires after the ’97 season, then the Jazz likely win the ’98 title and, well… then history judges Malone differently, but understand that he’s the same dude.

We tend to think of these things as black and white, because, well sport seems like a black and white issue. You win or you don’t, but of course sports is like life. And life, has shades of grey. It’s a veritable rainbow of cascading grey. Yes, there is a bottom line, you’ve won or you haven’t won, but that doesn’t mean that another outcome couldn’t have occurred. Or that it wont occur in the future. Right now, it seems like the taint of losing is beginning to cling to LeBron. That the foundation of his jump amongst the top ten players of all time has cracked, but wait, wait patiently, because his legacy is far from complete.

Whatever else comes of this, I feel strangely certain of two things: First, LeBron will win a title (or more) one day. And two, that day wont come in Cleveland. It just seems like something changed this week. We know that the running joke as the Cavs fell to pieces was that the Knicks, not the Celtics, were winning. To whit, from John Hollinger’s Twitter on Tuesday night:

One of biggest playoff wins in KNICKS history.

There’s almost nothing left to be done in Cleveland, but pick up the burnt down rubble and send it to the landfill. The LeBron era is over. Done. Finished. He’s gone. New York, New York it’s his kind of town…

The Summer of LeBron…

February 16, 2010 Leave a comment

This is a column that Cleveland Cavalier fans will hate and, frankly, I can’t blame them. For the better part of two years, they have had to deal with every Tom, Dick, and Nancy postulating about where their superstar will land this summer. Column after column, question after question to broadcasters, the barrage of “LeBron is leaving” commentary has been enough to make most Clevelanders yearn for the safe quaint days of the Drew Carrey Show. And yet, the hits just keep coming, for while there have been engaging storylines in the NBA over the last two years, none of them have had the staying power or importance of the Summer of LeBron.

Look Cleveland, I understand, really I do. When the Jays started taking offers for Roy Halladay last summer I spent a solid week vomiting into my mouth. It was awful then, it was awful this winter when the talk resumed, and it was awful when they finally moved him. After reading the package that they received for Doc, I spent another solid week hitting my head against anything hard in hopes of numbing the pain. So yes, believe me Cleveland, I get it, I really do, and while I love Doc with an unholy masculine passion, even I acknowledge that there’s two differences between that situation and Cleveland’s.

First, LeBron leaving Cleveland would be a ‘NBC adjusting its late night schedule’ level disaster for the Cavs, while the Jays trading Doc was probably the best thing for both him and the team. Second, while Doc’s arguably the best pitcher in baseball right now, LeBron might soon be the best player in basketball, well… ever (calm down, calm down, I’m not saying he is, or will be, better than MJ, I’m merely saying it’s possible). So, I understand how this is a thousand times worse for Clevelanders, with the situation only exacerbated by the fact that LeBron’s a local boy.

Unfortunately, all that empathy and five dollars will get you a frothy, whip cream covered, burnt coffee drink from Starbucks, because it doesn’t change the fact that in four plus months LeBron James will be a free agent. Unlike any other great player in the history of the game, LeBron will have the opportunity to control his destiny at the age of 25. Imagine that, the chance to sign the best player in the game before he enters his prime. That’s what makes this the single most important story line in the NBA.

Of course, it’s not just LeBron, there’s also Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer (and potentially Dirk Nowitzki, although he’d have to leave 21 million on the table – it’s more likely that he’ll sign an extension with Dallas), but the piece teams are angling for, the piece New York fans have been enduring two years of Larry Hughes and Al Harrinton in anticipation of, is LeBron James.

That’s why this is the Summer of LeBron and that’s why this column is a breakdown of his potential landing spots. Remember that the percentages attached to these destinations have been carefully determined by me after hundreds of hours in conversation with LeBron himself… and by LeBron himself I mean some serious smelling salts and his puppet from those Nike ads… and by his puppet from those Nike ads, I really mean an old sock of mine that I sowed some buttons on… Too much information? Ahhhh… Uhhmmm… lets just move on.

These cities know that they have no chance:

Memphis, Toronto (right now I’d peg the Raptors’ chances at 40% that they keep their own superstar), Sacramento, Milwaukee, Indiana, Minnesota, Golden State (How poorly run are the Warriors? They are in one of the most beautiful regions in the U.S., they have one of the largest markets, and, well, even the Clippers got themselves half a percent, know what I’m saying?), Denver, Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington (if they’d actually been able to void Gilbert’s contract and traded the rest of their roster for cap space, they might have been an intriguing option for the James Gang), Charlotte, Atlanta, Utah.

These cities might have been a destination for LeBron, but they just don’t have the money or assets to make it happen:

Boston, Phoenix (how great would Nash running with LeBron be?), San Antonio (probably never an option, but it’s a testament to the Spurs success that I list them here), Portland, Orlando, New Orleans (again, might be too small of a market, but there’s Chris Paul and the Post-Katrina hero factor).

The Not Bloody Likely:

0.25% – The Zombie Sonics – they have the cap space to sign him (or depending on the exact cap number, could easily get the space), they have a player whom I believe will be second only to LeBron over the next decade, and a solid looking core of Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, and James Hardin. So why only a quarter of a percent? Did I mention that the team is located in Oklahoma?

0.5% – LA Clippers – As Bill Simmons has noted in the past, the Clippers are almost the perfect location for LeBron. Obviously Los Angeles is a choice market and despite their history of ineptitude, the Clippers have a core of young guys (Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin), a savvy veteran to take some of the pressure of leading off the King (Baron Davis), and a caveman (Chris Kaman). The problem? How about Donald Sterling and the Clipper curse? Sterling’s been so bad that there’s really no chance that LeBron chooses LA’s alternate team.

So, why half a percent? Well it’s possible that after another season of ineptitude, a deranged Clippers fan will end up murdering Sterling in the middle of the team’s home finale. In that case, the NBA would be forced to take immediate action by auctioning off the team. It would be purchased by some cavalier young billionaire like Mark Zuckerberg, who would hire Simmons as GM. Simmons would immediately start changing the culture of the team by renaming them to the Los Angeles LeBroners, giving them new uniforms with a picture of LeBron’s outline, and, well… you get the picture.

1.00% – Houston Rockets – It’s really unlikely, but can’t be discounted because Houston is a big market and they’ve shown themselves to be a savvy organization who would be committed to winning. Plus, if LeBron is looking for global domination, you can’t discount the Yao factor.

2.5% – New Jersey Nets – At one time the Nets were considered a legitimate dark horse in the LeBron-stakes, but their move to Brooklyn is still in a state of flux, their owner is probably, possibly(?) an unknown Russian billionaire, and their current roster is setting an all time pace of ineptitude. So, while they have bundles of cap space, there’s not much drawing LeBron to New Jersey except maybe the chance to hang out with Jay Z’s wife.

2.75% – Dallas Mavericks – The Mavs can’t be completely discounted, because Mark Cuban is such a dynamic, popular owner that Dallas has become a popular free-agent destination. While they wont have any cap space, the Mavs do have assets that they could offer Cleveland in a sign and trade were LeBron determined to leave.

4.5% – LA Lakers – Some have floated the possibility of the Lakers acquiring LeBron in a sign and trade in which Kobe goes the other way. That’s NEVER happening. You might be able to identify the warts in Kobe’s game, and I can definitely identify the warts in Kobe’s game, but Lakers fans? They would riot if he were swapped, even for LeBron. But, I have to give it 4.5 percent, because if James decided that he wanted to pair with Kobe, then the Lakers could make a reasonable sign and trade package that starts with Andrew Bynum. Unlikely, but possible.

The Contenders:

14% – New York Knicks – If the Knicks are able to drop Jared Jeffries’ contract in the next two days, I would bump this up considerably. As things stand now though, the Knicks will have trouble adding LeBron and forming any sort of strong team around him. They have the space for him, but even if David Lee re-ups, who plays the point? Who plays center? Who plays shooting guard? LeBron will always attract talented aging vets hunting a ring, and thus willing to sign for the veteran minimum, but that’s a lot of starters, let alone bench pieces. Now, if they clear the space for a significant running mate, then get back to me.

14.5% – Miami Heat – The trendy pick right now, and it’s possible, but… I don’t know, I just don’t see it. The problem is that if James goes there, it will always be Wade’s team. I don’t mean that like I don’t think the two of them would be phenomenal teammates, I do. It’s just that I think for that to occur, they’d have to join forces in a neutral site (see below). Otherwise, why would James want to join a mediocre fan base in a marginal sports city. Yes, players love visiting Miami, but it doesn’t do much to push LeBron’s global image, especially if he’s Wade’s running mate, as opposed to the other way around.

19.9% – Chicago Bulls – It has been a bleak decade for the Bulls post-MJ, but suddenly there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Chicago has the money to add a significant piece this offseason and if they can move Kirk Hinrich’s nine million salary this week, then they’ll have enough money to add two pieces. Some have speculated that LeBron wouldn’t want to follow in Jordan’s footsteps, but I think the statute of limitations on the reign of number 23 ended with the decade. If you look at the pieces that the Bulls already have in place (Derrick Rose, Joachim Noah, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson), and if they’re able to finagle the space to sign a major second piece (local boy Wade, Bosh, Joe Johnson, heck even Amare or Boozer would be insane) then you can see how this could become an exceedingly enticing place for James to choose.

Just for the sake of argument, lets assume that Boston gets desperate in the next two days and makes a rash trade with Chicago of Ray Allen and Glen Davis for Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich (for the record, I doubt Boston takes on that much money, but teams get desperate as the deadline approaches). If they then decline the qualifying offer to Tyrus Thomas and renounce their other free agents (Brad Miller, Jerome James, Lindsay Hunter, do you want to get rid of them? Gee, let me think, uhmmm… sure), then this summer they will have close to 40 million in cap room. If LeBron, Wade, and Bosh really do want to team up together (and they seemed to pair pretty naturally in Sunday’s allstar game), then this is their best situation. They would each have to take slightly less than the maximum contract (risky given that max contracts could drastically decline with the next bargaining agreement), but if they intend to join forces, that would be the case anywhere. After these unlikely, but feasible, moves Chicago has a roster that looks like this:

PG – D. Rose,
SG – D. Wade, J. Salmons
SF – L. James, J. Johnson
PF – C. Bosh, T. Gibson
C – J. Noah, G. Davis

I know what you’re saying, that’s only nine guys, how can you have a team with only nine guys? But, of course, if you have Rose, Wade, LeBron, and Bosh you’d find the other three guys on veteran minimum contracts P… D… F… (say, Luke Ridnour to back up the point, Adonal Foyle as some bench beef, and Kyle Korver for late game shooting… or maybe Ray Allen is ready to play out the string as the veteran presence on this team). Really, all that team needs is phenomenal offensive coach who can manipulate all this talent into an all-time combination. Oh, I don’t know, perhaps a coach like the one pulling his hair out in New York… Actually, who am I kidding, a banana wearing a top hat and a tie could “coach” this team to 70 wins.

The Champ:

40.1% – Cleveland Cavaliers – Relax Cav fans, I actually think you might be better than fifty percent, but either way you are prohibitive favorites. Why? Well, in the age of globalization and prolific information, it really doesn’t much matter what size of market you’re in. What’s holding LeBron back at this point is that small portion of the public that wont anoint him the best until he wins a title. So, I think he’s less likely to leave Cleveland for a bigger market, than for a better opportunity for championships. And where exactly can offer him that? Oklahoma and the Clippers. Yeah, ‘nough said. So, the Cavs have to watch out for the Bulls, but I think the other options out there don’t bring enough talent to the table.

Plus, there are solid odds that LeBron wins a title for Cleveland this year and if he does, I think the percentage that he re-signs with them jumps to over 80%. So, don’t pound your head into hard objects yet Clevelanders. Remember, it’s not over until the fat guy in glasses starts signing… and he’s still busy asking strangers to guess the price of consumer products.

Breaking News…

February 5, 2010 Leave a comment

You might not have heard this, but… that LeBron James kid is good. I mean, really good. We just upgraded the old TV at SotB Headquarters and LeBron christened our new system with the performance worthy of high def.

36 points, 9/16 shooting, 17/21 from the line, 7 boards, 8 assists, and… oh yeah… the win.

Outstanding.

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