Cleveland Looking like LeBron’s Destination

The round-the-clock Tmz-style stalking of LeBron James’ life has hit an all-time high in the past few days. The entire NBA free agency pool had basically stalled waiting for LeBron to make his decision, but things seem to be picking up steam now. The Cavs completed a massive three team deal earlier today to clear the requisite space so that they can offer LeBron a max deal. It’s a gamble considering the Cavs gave up several valuable assets just for the chance at LeBron. Don’t get me wrong. If the Cavs get LeBron, it’s obviously worth it. But that’s a big if.

A few hours after the news of the Cavs deal, a flurry of signs pointed toward LeBron returning to Cleveland. There were rumors that the Cavs were targeting Mike Miller and Ray Allen, two free agents that LeBron has a history with. Then there were the moving trucks outside LeBron’s house in Miami. And then there was the next-level stalking, spotting LeBron’s kids at the airport en route to Cleveland. Continue reading

Joel Embiid’s Twitter Recruitment of LeBron Is The Most Exciting Thing In The NBA Right Now

Someone needs to make things interesting this free agency, and it sure isn’t LeBron or Carmelo. The most we hear from LeBron comes indirectly from his lapdog source Brian Windhorst. Will he stay, or will he go? We can only listen to all of the ramifications so many times. And Carmelo is no better. Do I really care if Mitch Kupchak opened the door to Carmelo’s limo? Or if Carmelo sat up attentively? It’s all much ado about nothing. For Carmelo, he’ll probably do the least fulfilling thing possible: just take the money and stay in New York. As for LeBron, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen.

So leave it to Joel Embiid to provide us our free agency entertainment. Who knew Embiid was such a funny personality? In the past week, Embiid has decided to accelerate the Sixers rebuilding process. What incredible leadership skills! Unlike Derrick Rose’s ‘too cool for school’ approach to attracting free agents, Embiid is a more persistent charmer, it seems. Continue reading

NBA Draft Losers

This year’s NBA draft didn’t see as many crazy picks as usual. The lottery went as scripted, for the most part. And then by the middle of the first round, things got interesting. The Raptors took some guy named Bruno, who no one had heard of. And he was called “the Brazilian Kevin Durant!” Then the Thunder took a big man, who hadn’t played in over a year due to back surgery–a guy that we only know about because of two or three games in the NCAA tournament two years ago! The Grizzlies then took a shooting guard who may or may not be able to dunk. That was just the beginning of the madness. Here are the players, fans, and teams that lost the NBA draft.

Toronto Raptors
That’s what you get for drafting a guy 20th overall that wasn’t even on one of Chad Ford’s ten big boards. Bruno Caboclo could be really good. In like four or five years! For a team that finally turned itself around, winning 48 games, you’d think the Raptors would be looking for a player that is NBA-ready and could be in their rotation next year. Caboclo might never make their team. Continue reading

Let the LeBron Speculation Begin

As you’ve heard by now, LeBron opted out of his final year with the Miami Heat. So every team desperate and deluded enough is clearing cap space with the hope that they’ll be able to convince LeBron to join their team. The thing is, there are only really five teams with legitimate chances to get LeBron. Zach Lowe mentioned the Hawks and Suns as other unlikely candidates, but all he is saying is that they have the requisite cap space to get LeBron. He’d never go to either of those teams, even if they’re not that bad. Who really has a chance at getting LeBron?

1) Miami Heat
They’re still the most likely scenario for LeBron. He knows their management, respects Pat Riley’s judgement, and still made the Finals last season with its weak roster. LeBron opting out is merely a ploy to motivate the Heat and get Micky Arison to spend more money. It’s a move to push Wade and Bosh to restructure their deals and take much less money. This is the least exciting move LeBron could make. The Heat would need to show LeBron they’re going to completely alter the bench and add some real contributors and fresh legs. Let’s all hope he leaves Miami so that the bandwagons fans in Miami can disappear again. They don’t deserve a good team. Continue reading

Is Carmelo worth a max contract?

Of course he is, right? What a silly question. Or is it? Carmelo is one of the most prolific scorers in the league and has been for the past decade. At 30 years old, Carmelo is at a crossroads for his career. He has reached the Conference Finals once in his career, but never further. If not for his title run at Syracuse, it’d be worth pondering whether Carmelo is a winner or not. This is not a Skip Bayless exercise in superstar trolling, but given the fact that Carmelo is often his team’s highest-paid player, and gets to take upward of 20 shots per game, his team’s failures will fall on his shoulders. He maneuvered his way to the big city in hopes of rejuvenating the Knicks in the post-Isiah Thomas era and bringing a title to New York City. As ESPN’s Beckley Mason points out, aside from last year’s 54 win season, ending in a second round loss to the Pacers, the Knicks have remained a laughingstock in the lousy Eastern Conference. At what point do we begin to question Carmelo and his worth? He had his career year two seasons ago, when he led the team to 54 wins, but that was also the year J.R. Smith won sixth man of the year. Continue reading

One Free Agent could save the Heat (Hint: His name is not Carmelo)

As soon as the Heat were on the ropes against the Spurs, rumors began to circulate that Carmelo Anthony could possibly come to Miami and create a Big 4. If Carmelo joined the Heat, they would immediately become the title favorites, at least according to Charles Barkley. Off talent alone, many would jump to anoint the Heat as favorites to win the title, but then again, lots of people rushed to claim that the Nets would challenge the Heat for the Eastern Conference when they got Pierce and KG.  Carmelo would add a much-needed scoring punch to the Heat, but he wouldn’t fix what doomed them: poor point guard play and lack of rim protection. Rather than go after Carmelo, the Heat would be better off targeting arguably the second best unrestricted free agent this summer, Kyle Lowry. There is apparently mutual interest on both sides. Lowry was one of the biggest All-Star snubs and seems perennially underrated, but perhaps no more, after leading the Raptors to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Anyone who watched the Raptors take on the Nets could see that Lowry is better than Deron Williams, despite not receiving nearly as much attention as the other top point guards.

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Favorites to win it all next year

It’s never too early to take a look at next year. We don’t know what jersey the best player in the league will be wearing, where the biggest chucker will be ball-hogging, or what will happen in the most over-hyped draft ever, but we can still make some safe predictions, if we make a few assumptions that we shouldn’t. Let’s assume the Big 3 stay in Miami, Duncan and Co. play another season, Carmelo ends up in Chicago, and Cleveland remains the most cursed sports town ever (we can make that last assumption VERY safely). Let’s run down the title favorites.

Poorly Owned, Delusional Expectations

Knicks
Not in 100 years. Continue reading

What should LeBron do?

12 days. That is how much time LeBron has before he must decide if he will opt in for one more year with the Heat. If he was to opt in, LeBron would have one year left for over $22 million, but money is not the issue. Or it is, but not how you might think. Recently, there has been speculation that the Heat are interested in signing Carmelo, but that would require the Heat’s Big 3 to each take paycuts. Usually, players of LeBron’s caliber, at the age of 29, would never take a paycut, even in the name of winning. Maybe in the twilight of his career, LeBron would take a paycut, a la Tim Duncan, but now. MJ would never take a paycut. Kobe didn’t exactly take a paycut at age 35. Their ego won’t allow it. It’s especially difficult to imagine LeBron taking a paycut when he said just a few months ago, that he is severely underpaid. If the Big 3 all opt in, then the majority of the Heat’s nucleus will be relatively similar next year. But the supporting pieces could be drastically different. Shane Battier retired right after Game 5. Rashard Lewis is a free agent. Mario Chalmers is a free agent. Ray Allen is a free agent and might retire. Mike Beasley and Greg Oden are free agents. But Miami might not be able to make significant improvements rounding out its roster if the Big 3 all opt in, and are owed over $60 million together. So, what if LeBron opts out. Yes, LeBron, Wade, and Bosh could each opt out, take substantial paycuts like the Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili did, and then try to lure Carmelo or Kyle Lowry to South Beach. Miami could also do a sign and trade with LeBron. Or, he could simply opt out and leave Miami. Here are a few possibilities, some more realistic than others. Continue reading

Summer Outlook: Heat

From dynasty to broken up? That may be the harsh reality for the Heat. The Heat were not just beat by a better team. They were embarrassed. They may have been propped up by one of the weakest Eastern Conferences in NBA history, but they were exposed in the Finals, and unless something drastic happens, it’s hard to imagine the Heat winning another Finals. The Heat were no better than the 2007 Cavs this year against the Spurs. LeBron came to Miami to get more help, but it looks like that time is over. It’s simple: Wade is washed up and Bosh is overrated. With an aging Dwyane Wade and a hardly Robin-worthy Chris Bosh there to help out LeBron, the Heat struggle to score. It gets worse. Their bench was a non-factor this postseason. Amnestying Mike Miller proved costly. Shane Battier hardly played when it mattered. Greg Oden and Mike Beasley turned out to be a whole lotta nothing. And the point guard by committee of Chalmers and Cole was arguably worse than Mo Williams and Boobie Gibson. Taken as a whole, it’s not inconceivable for LeBron to leave Miami. There aren’t a whole lot of options for him, but Miami is a year away from being an NBA barren wasteland, unless Pat Riley completely retools the roster. Continue reading

The LeBron Age

Thank God the Heat won. Those words probably haven’t been said by anyone outside of Miami, but we are lucky that the Heat did what they were supposed to do: win the Finals. If the Spurs had pulled out the upset, we all would have had to deal with an entire summer and NBA season about how the Heat need to break up the Big 3 and how LeBron isn’t who we thought he was. Thankfully, LeBron dominated Game 6 and 7 to cap off his second straight Finals MVP. His legacy path is a little clearer for all of us now. He’s on track to be one of the greatest to ever play the game. If the Heat had lost and LeBron was 1-3 in the Finals, with two so-so performances (’11 and ’13), his legacy would have been muddled forever. 130604100019-lebron-james-miami-heat-san-antonio-spurs-nba-finals-single-image-cutHis accomplishments would be overshadowed by his inability to come up big when it really mattered. Last year’s Finals would have been seen as a fluke, the only time he came up huge in the clutch. Now, we can all agree with certainty that LeBron is the greatest player in the world, and the greatest player we’ve seen since MJ.Magic Johnson said it after Game 7. LeBron has the best chance of anyone we’ve seen to surpass Jordan.

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