Friday, July 09, 2010

My Six Point Analysis of the LeBron James Incident

1. LeBron really did sully his reputation with this entire episode. I thought it was mostly cranky old white people who were hating on LeBron and calling him an egotist. But it turns out the sentiment against him is nearly universal. It runs the gamut from hating him and refusing to watch the NBA ever again to people like me who are marginally disappointed with the way he handled this thing. But I do think it is worth nothing that what LeBron did was better than a press conference to apologize for sleeping with 15 women, or explaining how that handgun got in your carry-on bag, or to refute rape charges. This was mostly a positive think but I think a lot of the negative reaction has to do with the way the special was handled.

2. The special was an outright disaster. First of all, he said he told only a handful of people. Maybe true, but they told a handful of people and they told a handful of people and so on and by the time he made the announcement everyone knew his decision. I think that was the first embarrassment. The second embarrassment was 15 minutes of Stuart Scott and his merry men (I love Wilbon don’t get me wrong) saying the same things we’d all been saying for months. And then a 15-minute interview of softball questions from Jim Gray. And why say the announcement would come in the first 15 minutes if that’s not what they planned to do? They should have produced some package of LeBron from the summer getting on and off planes (someone must have been shooting this stuff), showed him interacting with the kids at the Boys and Girls Club (wasn’t that the entire reason behind this?) then have him make the announcement, then take questions from the audience/twitter. Sure the ratings would have plummeted in the second half hour but that’s better than ruining your reputation.

3. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert may have also done some damage to his reputation. He wrote a letter ripping LeBron (and used a weird font to do it). He told Cavaliers fans they had been betrayed, called this a cowardly act and then in an AP interview ratcheted up the rhetoric even more saying LeBron quit on the team. I think he was just trying to act like a fan, to show he’s one of them, as he clearly runs the risk of losing his fan base this morning. The fact that he said he guarantees Cleveland will win an NBA title before the Heat is a perfect example of his attempt at a diehard fan’s eternal optimism. This morning Cleveland fans are devastated and setting fire to LeBron jerseys in the street. If Gilbert issued a statement saying something like “We thank LeBron for his years of service and wish him well in his new city” the fans would have been furious, thinking their owner doesn’t care as much as they do. I can see why some say it’s beneath a man of his stature to act like a common fan, but I also think LeBron probably owed him the courtesy of a phone call.

4. From a basketball perspective I think LeBron made a big mistake. He obviously realizes the only way to achieve basketball immortality is to win titles. And he’s willing to take less money and sublimate his ego (contrary to what he evinced with the Special) to accomplish that goal. But I think Chicago especially and possibly even the Knicks and Nets set themselves up to be long-term contenders if they could have added LeBron. Then he could have won titles (or at least competed for them) and had them be his own. It sort of seems like he is taking the easy way out by teaming up with Bosh and Wade. Sort of like when Gary Payton and Karl Malone joined the Lakers. Also, I have significant doubt that this will work out the way they all hope. It might be very hard for these three players to happily share the ball. And if they are not winning 60 games a year the talk with start and the fingers will point and this holy alliance could go south in a hurry. The key test will come late in games when you need one guy to take over. Wade has shown himself to be better in those situations so what if LeBron misses a couple of game-winners and Wade makes some? What if Wade ends up being Finals MVP the first time they win? Is that the type of title Lebron is pursuing with this decision?

5. I’m still not decided on what this means for the greater NBA. Over time history has shown that people like dynasties, so if the Heat become one I could see that being a positive for the league. I also don’t think it will be that easy for the Heat to become a dynasty. And even if they do, they will be like the Yankees, a lot of people will hate them. But there are a lot of teams that really have no chance before the season starts, and as Major League Baseball can tell you, the key to a successful league is competitive balance, and the illusion every team has a chance at the title.

6. As for the Knicks, they are royally screwed. Amare and only Amare with the rest of this roster (including the players acquired from Golden State for David Lee) is good enough to win about 25 – 30 games. Now Donnie Walsh has the choice: he can sign Mike Miller (ok, he signed with Miami, but you get the point) and Luke Ridnour or wait til next offseason and make a run at Melo, Chris Paul or Tony Parker. I think the latter is better because in the former you acquire players who really aren’t that great, for expensive long-term contracts, and that is not the model for success in the NBA. Getting LeBron was Plan A. It took a long time to formulate, and it failed. Plan B is to be bad for a really long time, but actually keep your draft picks. That may take even longer but it is probably the Knicks only chance to become a legitimate title contender capable of competing with Miami’s new juggernaut.


Nails said...

LBJ is an absolute pussy coward. This whole plan was obviously set long ago. This whole charade was ridiculous. He has lost all respect. Fuck Pat the Rat, Fuck D Wade loser Fuck I am worthless without help Bosh. I will even root for Boston against these fuckers. Michael Jordan would have never done this.

jleary said...

As Knick fans we will do this all agian next year as I am sure they arent going to make any crazy moves the rest of this off-season. During next off-season we will hope to get Melo and/or Parker. I am hoping to not be as disappointed this time next year (but probably will be)
On a positive note I think they got a good haul for David Lee. Randolph can be a very good exciting player given the chance.

King Concierge said...

Unlike Jordan who welcomed a challenge, Lebron runs away from it. Lebron admits this by stating that he chose the team that gave him the best chance to win, ergo, the place that he perceived who be the least challenging to win. I actually think he is wrong because if bosh or wade goes down and they have a load of shit on the rest of the team, they will likely lose.

Amare is the big winner financially, max contract and endorsements galore.

Randolph is kind of an unknown quantity but it is not a long term commitment so might as well give him a shot. I actually think Turiaf should start at center with Amare, Chandler, sign ridnour and let the two second round rookies play to see if they can do anything. Play Galinari and Randolph off the bench to start.

Reissberg said...

Fuck Lebron. Knick fans have a lot to be excited about now, in my opinion, for the first time in a decade. We have a lot more depth and athleticism today than we have in years, a true point guard in Felton who is signed for a reasonable amount of money, flexibility under the cap this season to make additional trades and we will probably be at least $23 million under the cap next off season when Curry and Azubuike come off the books to make a run at signing Melo and/or another free agent.

Freedo said...

The Big 3 in Boston had Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, PJ Brown, James Posey, amongst others....Who do the heat have? Mario Chalmers? P-lease.

This Miami experiment is going to add badly if they can't get some beef up front for the minimum salary (unlikely).

Anonymous said...

Just ordered my Heat wintercoat.

-Anonymous Hook-nosed Jew

Paul said...

1) I think regardless of their supporting cast there is no way this team doesn't win at least 2 NBA titles. Barring injury or a fractious incident.

2) Plan A for the Knicks was to get LeBron. Plan B is to go after Melo, Chris Paul or Tony Parker. That will fail too which will set them back to Plan C: suck for five more years, keep the draft picks (for once) and hope to get lucky in the lottery.

3) I still don't understand the anger. Yes, I think the special was a bad choice and poorly done, yes, I think he took the easy way out by going to a stacked team but I just can't get as angry as Nails does. But I guess it's just Nails being Nails.

4) And TallSkott being TallSkott