Monday, July 19, 2010


A couple of quick notes on the Lebron *situation*...

Recall the best player in the NBA opted to take his considerable talents to Miami and team up with two other headline stars - Dwyane[sic] Wade and Chris Bosh - spurning other teams such as his hometown Cavaliers, the Chicago Bulls, and surprisingly the New York Knicks.

I very much liked what Michael Jordan said yesterday. It was a most trenchant jab that only he could deliver:

"There's no way, with hindsight, I would've ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said, 'Hey, look, let's get together and play on one team,'.... In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys."
Bam!!! You just know that was a tough line, a veritable *facial*, that pained Lebron to hear no doubt a hundred times yesterday alone.

I predict people will actually root against the Miami Heat going forward in much the same manner that non-New Yorkers root against the Yankees for simply out-paying the best free agents, annually. I know I will!

Now check this out:

2010-2011 NBA Title Odds:

Miami Heat: 2 to 1
Los Angeles Lakers: 4 to 1
Orlando Magic: 11 to 1
Boston Celtics: 12 to 1
Chicago Bulls: 25 to 1
New York Knicks: 45 to 1
Cleveland Cavs: 75 to 1

Miami Heat: Over/Under Regular Season Wins = 66
Wow! Favored over the two-time defending champ Lakers to win it all? By that margin?

Of course odds reflect *demand* as much, if not more, than accurate probabilistic outcomes.

I don't by any means think the Heat a shoe-in for anything.

First of all, they have no depth. Secondly, they have never played together so chemistry will take time to develop. Third, Lebron, Wade, and Bosh will have to share the ball more than they ever have in their playing careers. I'm right sure Lebron can become even more of a deferring playmaker, but what about the other two? Will Wade shoot the ball as well off kick-outs as he does after taking his normal 14 dribbles? Will Bosh, with his spindly frame, hit the glass relentlessly when the others are jacking it up? We shall see.

The bull argument, of course, is that Lebron has never had much of a team around him. Ergo he's got more *help*, by far, in just these two guys than he's ever had. If he can win 65+ games with Delonte West, Daniel Gibson, et al....

But I do want to throw something out there that I haven't heard among the talking heads of the sports world. Guess what, Chris Bosh IS NOT THAT GOOD. By no means is he a $20 million(?), max contract player. He's soft. So I believe the Heat absolutely overpaid him, to the detriment of the overall roster. And I'll throw out an analogy - remember Brian Grant? He was a power forward , a rebounder-type, that landed an eye-popping $86 million contract some ten years ago. How could a uni-dimensional player possibly be worth so much?

Guess who signed him....Pat Riley, the same guy who just signed Bosh and James!!!

Side Note - I believe when Larry Bird was drafted by the Celtics his agent and Red Auerbach had some problems negotiating his initial contract. Red argued that only centers and once in a great while point guards were worthy of max-level salaries. He said that *no one can really dominate a game from the corner of the floor*, i.e. a forward.

And that's all Chris Bosh really is, an outside-shooting type of power forward.

I personally, and perhaps I'm projecting a bit(!), think Lebron should have gone to the Knicks.

I think he and Amare Stoudemire would have been very complementary and had instantaneous chemistry. Whatever he would have paid higher in taxes would be offset by a just a slight uptick in his commercial endorsements. Rush Limbaugh's math is wrong on that count - though I am definitely in accord on the overall bane of income taxes.

I think it was clear that Lebron was if not afraid of, then at least uncomfortable in New York. After all, it's a tough place to live. And, having watched that show a bit, I've realize what Lebron probably well knows - he can't even buy a nice place for $10 million in New York. These guys don't care about the restaurants and *cultural offerings* in Manhattan. No, they'd rather have a phat crib of 10,000 square feet with a pool, grounds big enough for posses and parties, and garages that can accommodate a dozen tricked up rides.

So I do completely understand Lebron's rational decision to head to Miami. Heck, I just realized that I'll be down there myself, for a few overlapping reasons, this winter!

Though you watch, altogether this was an unpopular and much-scoffed-at *Decision* more serious public relations blunder and Lebron will become a font of schadenfreude a la Tiger Woods.

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