Archive for the ‘2010 Free Agency’ Category

In a world where technology exists to enter the human mind through dream invasion, a highly skilled thief is given a final chance at redemption which involves executing his toughest job to date: LeBron James’ “Decision.”

(via Basketbawful)


Bastard!

Just over a year ago, Rasheed Wallace signed a contract to play basketball for three seasons with the Celtics. This summer, he decided he’s had enough of the NBA scene and is retiring. I’m fine with that, and no matter how anyone feels about the polarizing ‘Sheed, the guy should not receive a buyout, as is being reported.

How the hell does this make sense? I don’t care if there’s guaranteed money involved or that he’s only getting a portion of the guaranteed dollars. Wallace gave the Celtics his guaransheed that he’d play until 2012 (and we can use the term “play” pretty loosely when talking about Wallace). Either way, he’ll still get his pension package, he’ll still be able to shine his ring, and he’ll still get several YouTube mixes celebrating his spastic moments.

According to this CBA rule, if the Celtics wanted to be hard-asses about it, they could likely get out of every dollar they owe him. But they don’t owe him anything! He owes them at least one more year of half-assin’ it (year three of the contract is reportedly a player option). But, the Celtics are a forthright organization and they wouldn’t pull off a move like that. Dan Gilbert on the other hand …

Am I being hard-headed, stubborn, or just plain old school? Rasheed Wallace should be playing for any money given to him based on the future. And, don’t tell me needs money to feed his kids. It’s Ramadan. He’s likely saving money while fasting with his children. (I know, I didn’t know Rasheed was Muslim either.)

On December 7th, 2009, when Allen Iverson pulled on the Sixers jersey for the first time (again), a rare packed house in Philadelphia gave him oodles of love. Hearing Tracy McGrady signed on with the Pistons today, it was hard not to see the connection between the two moves. No, this future Hall-of-Famer isn’t going back to a former stomping ground where he won a scoring title or two, but this is purely a PR move.

T-Mac doesn’t make a bad Pistons roster much better at all. This team will engage in an epic battle for the 12th or 13th spot in the East and whatever T-Mac has left isn’t worth adding to an already heavy-loaded wing position. Jonas Jerebko, Austin Daye, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, DaJuan Summers and Ben Gordon will all lose minutes to a 31-year-old trapped in a 35-year-old’s body. Save the speech that he’ll help the team; T-Mac hastily autographed the only contract placed in front of him.

If I’m McGrady, I want to continue playing basketball, so I can’t blame him for retracting his “I’m in good enough shape to be a starter” comments and moving on to his fifth NBA team. I was actually fine with the way he conducted himself in New York, but you wanna take on a player on his last legs who thinks he’s actually improved after 13 seasons of ball? Pistons management must not have been watching when AI got frustrated with the organization and eventually skipped out of P-A. But they were surely watching those once empty seats being filled in the Wells Fargo Center (yeah, that’s what they’re calling it these days).

Just like December 7th, 2009, we’ll watch Tracy’s Detroit debut. He’ll probably have a decent night, and then we’ll lose interest. But the negative consequences for his teammates will live on, and they’ll likely sell less tickets than they did in Philadelphia.

Just when the Pistons roster gets back to full strength and they can finally take a look at what they assembled last summer, they add a man who’ll cause more pain than pleasure.

LeBron James. Chris Bosh. Dwyane Wade.

Three of the brightest stars in the NBA scheming to play together in South Beach, changing the landscape of the league and the free agency frenzy in one fell swoop. The craziest thing about this news? This wasn’t even that strange, considering the rest of what went down during the 2009-2010 NBA offseason.

Here’s a list of some of the more oddball moves that have happened … with more than two months still remaining until preseason tips off again.

  • The Wrath of Kahn. Yes, oh yes, I had to start this list off with Wolves GM David Kahn and the situation he’s creating in Minnesota. Giving Darko Milicic a $20 million contract. Picking up more point guards than I can count and then trading one of them away the night that it’s announced starting point guard Jonny Flynn will miss three months with hip surgery. In an offseason with what feels like a million questionable moves, no one has been behind more of them than Kahn.
  • Amar’e Stoudmire’s “enlightenment.” Not only is Amar’e moving on from Phoenix to play for the Knicks, he’s spent a chunk of his offseason studying the Jewish faith. In an interesting twist, Stoudemire’s mother claims to have Jewish roots and in an effort to learn about his heritage the new Knick went to Israel and is embracing all things associated with Judaism.
  • The firing of Kevin Pritchard. The NBA’s a business and we all know that anyone can lose their spot at any moment. But anyone that tells me they thought Kevin Pritchard would be unemployed in the summer of 2010 gets a skeptical glance. While in Portland, Pritchard earned the rep of being a drafting mastermind as well as one of the highest-profiled GMs in the league. Surely it won’t be long before he ends up working elsewhere.
  • Joe Johnson as max, max, max player. What’s more shocking here? That the Hawks throw all of their money at Johnson this offseason or that it takes him a few days before deciding he’d better jump at the opportunity?

  • The Green Giant. Shaquille O’Neal being spoken of in the same breath as Kwame Brown as teams debated on which veteran big they’d rather have. Not crazy enough? Anthony Tolliver will be making nearly twice as much as S. O’Neal this season, who signed on for two years with the Celtics. Yes, the Celtics. Purple and gold and green don’t ever go well together.
  • X (Ain’t) Gonna Give It To Ya. After selecting Xavier Henry with the 12th pick in the draft the Memphis Grizzlies still have not inked their rookie to a contract as the two sides are at odds to the specifics of the contract. Is money really that tight in Memphis? If so, yikes.
  • The disaster known as Dolan’s Knicks. You want crazy? How’s this for crazy: The Isiah Thomas-era in New York is one of the most embarrassing periods for the Knicks franchise. Besides his track record as a GM and coach, the Knicks lost $11.5 million in that sexual harassment suit filed by a former employee. So what does James Dolan do this offseason? Re-hire Thomas as a consultant with the team, naturally.
  • Dan Gilbert’s angry Comic Sans. In a move no one could have predicted, Cleveland’s owner vented with Cavs fans in the aftermath of LeBron James’ decision, posting a letter to supporters absolutely ripping LBJ to pieces. While the outburst may have felt cathartic in the moment, there may be a backlash to his madness as the bold move could scare off potential free agents.
  • The Decision. If Gilbert’s letter was crazy, James’ decision to announce his decision live on ESPN was certifiable. Choosing to be on live television to announce in front of millions that you are spurning your hometown team, breaking hearts all over Cleveland and embarrassing the franchise in the process … not a good way to leave town. Not a great way to say thanks for the support. Just not a classy thing to do.

I feel like that covers it, but fully expect you all to chime in with those that I may have missed. With all of the movement going on this offseason, I can barely keep up with who signed where, when and for what, let alone remember all of the other drama that has unfolded thus far.

The month of August is hot, humid and hellish for a basketball fiend. There’s nothing going on, no fresh news to cover and it’s hard to come up with things to write about. A lot of content depends on the ability to get players/front office peeps on the phone. Something that can be difficult during the season, in the summer it can be damn near impossible. So, what do I spend my day doing? Good question. Sometimes the reality of it hurts my heart because I come up with dead ends when I just want to find some news that I can pass along to you.

Here’s a brief rundown of how I’ve spent this past week:

— I spent a few days trying to track down Big Baby’s number after he graced us with his fantastic video teaching us how to dougie. I’m also slightly embarrassed to admit how much I’ve watched this video. This search for his contact info has taken forever and is considerably more time than I’ve ever spent trying to track down someone’s phone number. Maybe that’s why I’m not great at it. Alas, the search continues.

— I spend way too much time going through Getty Images, looking for things that could be good ideas for a photo post. My newest obsession is with track suits from the early 90′s. You know, the track suits that bring back glorious memories of Brent Barry in the ’96 dunk contest. 1996 was a damn good year for the NBA, wasn’t it?

— A good chunk of the day is spent texting and emailing with other writers/bloggers/agents and NBA peeps as we float ideas back and forth, exchange info and links and of course, track down phone numbers. I’m learning it’s all about the digits in this business. I already don’t like this part, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon.

— Watching NBATV replays of the best games from the past season is fun … until you realize just how much you miss the regular season and then you just feel depressed.

— A few times a day I feel inadequate when someone else posts a killer piece that makes me wonder: A) Why didn’t I think of that? B) What the hell am I going to write? and C) How many more days until preseason?

Bugging my rumored boyfriend (emphasis on rumored, no romance between Melas and myself) Tas Melas, J.E. Skeets, Scott Carefoot and crew over at the The Score by email/text/Twitter, trying to come up with story ideas. Shout out to them for putting up with me.

— Making more calls to try and track down the validity of Internet rumors that end up popping up every few seconds. While I’m thankful every day for this lovely world wide web, basketball rumors could drive a person crazy. Especially when they change before you get finished asking about them.

— Growing more thankful for Twitter. Before the days of social media, the NBA offseason was so much more quiet. I’m sure some media members are on the other side of the fence here, but for me, it’s a gift to be able to discuss withdrawal symptoms with fellow bloggers/journalists/fans/players while also feeling like I’m still in the loop reading about training and pick-up leagues and the like. Twitter, you own a piece of my heart forever.

— Checking Sham Sports and HoopsHype to try to get all of the offseason moves straight in my mind and to marvel over the fact that Rashard Lewis is making more money this season than every NBA player not named Kobe Bryant. Ooof. That doesn’t even seem possible.

— Splitting my time between NBA and Canada Basketball and then feeling guilty about not fully staying up on USAB. Spreading my wings a little bit and taking in some high school action that I don’t normally get time for during the regular season is fun, actually. Maybe the only plus to the offseason.

— Writing posts like these while I continue to hope and pray for some NBA news to break or for some of these players to call me back. I promise more entertaining content soon! Even if I’ve gotta make the news myself.

What’s important though, is that I wouldn’t change a second … except for getting players to call when they say they will and speeding up the wait until preseason.

Tell me, how are you all surviving the offseason?

Yesterday morning, the NBA world was momentarily flipped upside down when the news that ESPN had pulled a story staff writer Arash Markazi had written on LeBron James hit Twitter. Of course, being 2010, there were copies of the story in screen grab form, proving once again that when something goes live on the internet (cue the N.E.R.D. track), it never, ever really dies.

 

After reading the piece, it was tough to see what the pressing issues with the article were and how some thought it was a hit to the image James and his crew work so hard to manage. It was about a night in Las Vegas with LeBron James. Sure, there was alcohol, lots of money spent and an extravagant lifestyle that so many want and will never see (and one that some of us find a little too self-indulgent), but really, what was so damaging about the piece?

 

LeBron James is a 25 year-old man.

 

In Las Vegas.

 

At Tao, a Vegas hot spot.

 

On top of the world after pulling off perhaps the biggest, boldest move in NBA free agency history.

 

I was in Las Vegas last week, and trust me, the blogging men in their mid-20′s that I was rolling with were in no way, shape or form, balling like that and they had far more scandalous things to say than comments about women and their undergarments or lack thereof. Hell, I had worse to say. It’s Vegas. Sin City. Where sleep doesn’t happen, but shot after shot of Patron does. It’s not only normal to get messy, it’s almost expected.

 

And despite this, on the night when he is the man of the hour, the host with the most (money, at least), James ends the evening’s festivities by calmly leaving the nightclub when he is summoned by his manager, shooting imaginary jumpshots and dodging man-made columns that become stationary Jose Calderon-like defenders. Well, I’ll be damned. I might just be a bigger clubber than LeBron James.

 

Anyone who knows me and my stay-in-to-watch-league-pass-every-night-instead-of-having-a-real-social-life-with-real-people-in-real-life knows how ridiculous that last sentence is.

 

Seriously though, in our haste to find out who, what, when — and most importantly to our insatiable, info-hungry brains — why, let’s remember that this story really wasn’t about breaking news or deconstructing the image of James. An athlete goes to a club, pretty girls clamor, he celebrates, poses and then goes home, no harm done. Had the story remained online, it would have likely provided Twitter and water cooler conversations for the day and then, ultimately, should have been forgotten as we continue to find news in these dog days of the NBA offseason.

 

I don’t know why the story was pulled, but I kind of miss the days when guys were allowed to go out and be 25 without worrying about what it would do to their empire. And really, with the way his offseason has gone, being left with the image of him as a childish character rather than the prima-donna-y petulant caricature that we’ve seen in the immediate aftermath of his decision was a good thing.

 

A 25 year-old chilling with Jim Gray? Strange. A 25 year-old in Vegas enjoying his surroundings? Normal. Or, as normal as it can possibly get when you’re LeBron James.