Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Inside look at Lebron's Free Agent Coup

Here is the beginning of my post.

Realist: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Asisw0B7dxxElRE6rxc2p.C8vLYF?slug=aw-heatfreeagency071610

Waldini: you will LOVE this...


Realist: I find it ironic what Barkley said when he scorched the earth in an effort to get out of Philly because....he wanted to play with more talented teammates. Went to Phoenix and immediately won the MVP and went to the Finals. He didn't have a problem teaming up with KJ, but I'm to believe he would have had a problem teaming with D-Wade for a chance to win a title?

The criticism that Lebron is taking is ridiculous. I'm talking about the decision, not the way he made the decision. Sure, that's Wade's city and has been his team but he is no longer the best player on that team. People are looking at the wrong thing. Basketball should be about winning, not trying to be Michael Jordan. That's why I can't stand watching 85% of the season. Everything about the game is geared toward the player and not the team. The Lakers are in the Finals? Who cares? Let's talk about Kobe's legacy! The game is too individualistic.

Playing with great players is a talent, too. Winning with little help shouldn't be the only way we evaluate players. That's why Larry Bird is so underrated -- because he had great teams surrounding him. But today's fans miss his true talent -- being able to blend in and make all that greatness work. I think Lebron is the same way.

For the truly great players, the only way we see the full depth of their talent is by seeing them play with talent. How great of a chef can you be if the only thing you have to work with is discounted food and cheap appliances? Anybody can make mac & cheese. Michael Jordan was great when he had no talent but we only saw 80% of what he was capable of because he was pulling so much weight. When Scottie and the rest of the Bulls started playing well, we were able to see that other level. Is it a coincidence that most people consider 90-92 Jordan's absolute best years? Nope.

Let's give Lebron a chance. We don't know what he's capable of when surrounded by talented players. Maybe now that Lebron doesn't have to score every point, grab every rebound and block every shot, we'll see his mind pick apart weaknesses in the defense, know when to attack, when to set up, when to do the dirty work, when to take over and when to relax. We may see Lebron's true game come out and we got so many people writing him off. It's ridiculous. If Lebron is capable of that other level, we all win -- except for the teams they will be facing. Maybe Lebron is the one who gets the bigger picture and the rest of us are behind.

Waldini: Good point on Chuck. I didn't even think about that and you're right. Pretty much held the Sixers hostage until he got traded. Nice analogy on the chef too :-). Also Wade made a good point when he said "Didn't he try to form a super team with Dream, Pippen, and Drexler?" Just saying....

What I don't understand is how folks are now saying "He'll never be Jordan now". So if he stayed in Cleveland, would he have had a shot?? Absolutely not. Lebron's weakness is purely off the court. The people that he keeps close to him are helping him in making publicity blunders. But that has NOTHING to do with on court play. Drives me crazy when people do that. Ok so he and his boys are immature? They're young, it happens. Barry Bonds was a complete dick off the playing field. But on it, good lawd, you could count on 2 fingers how many players you would want on your team instead of him in his prime. Same with Lebron.

Realist: LOL

It never gets old :-). Oct 30 can't get here fast enough nor can the release of the 2010-11 schedule. I truly am going to consider League Pass.....

Realist: Don't get it twisted. I've always liked the bad guys. Always been a Decepticon. If Lebron embraces that role, he's my new favorite player.

Waldini: And as soon as I sent that, you know what I thought about. Monopoly...LMAO

Realist: Here's something I just posted on a message board about Lebron.

I think people, even NBA legends are looking at this the wrong way. He's being made out to be a second-fiddle player with no competitive drive, when it's the opposite. First, you have to understand that Lebron is the best player in the league. By far. Only Kobe and Wade fanboys would consider them close at this point. Sure, Wade won a title in 2006. But what's happened since?

2007 -- First round exit
2008 -- Did not qualify for playoffs
2009 -- First round exit
2010 -- First round exit

This includes being outplayed by Lebron in nearly every contest between them. Are you SURE Dwyane Wade didn't need Lebron more than Lebron needed him?

So, if Lebron is the best player in the league, then why is this move considered to be Lebron's way of bowing to Dwyane Wade? Why would Lebron consider going to Miami when he's a better player than Wade? Is it friendship? Is it South Beach? Is it to escape that nasty rumor that deals with his former teammate? May be all of them, but I think it's something else.

Lebron may be the only one who understands who the true rival is -- the Los Angeles Lakers. Not Wade. Not Kobe. He kills them both individually. His true rival is the best team in the league. The team that has Kobe and a lot of young, talented players that will keep them in contention for the foreseeable future. Kobe may be getting older, but his team isn't. There is no way Lebron and a few stepchildren were going to beat LA. They have a hard enough time getting by Boston.

Bird said a few things but his rival was not Magic Johnson, it was the 80's Lakers. The reason he wouldn't have considered joining with Magic was because his *team* was good enough to compete with Magic's *team*. MJ was just spouting off about this, but remember...his team kept getting better and better. Scottie started to really become one of the best players in the league. Phil Jackson and his staff were the best coaching staff in the league. MJ knew he didn't have to go anywhere because his team was going to catch up.

Imagine. Let's say free agency was the same in the early 90's as it is today. Detroit just whipped Chicago's butt 2 times in a row and Scottie just left to play for Houston through free agency. MJ knows Doug Collins is not going to get the job done AND Detroit just added some young pieces that will keep them in contention for at least 5 more years. All the pressure in the world is on his shoulders to win. Magic has 5 titles. Bird has 3. Isiah just won 2 and has the best and youngest team heading into the 91 season. MJ's contract is up after the season.

All season long, MJ's best friend Barkley wants out of Philly. KJ wants them all to join him in Phoenix. MJ thinks about it hard. He could golf all year long. He's a short flight away from Vegas. Barkley has all but committed to playing with him. His family would love to get away from Chicago winters. ... Later in the year, Barkley falls on his sword in the first round and MJ loses AGAIN to the Pistons. This time facing even more scrutiny than ever before AND he's starting to realize his time is almost up to start collecting rings. Isiah gets to play with 2 other all-stars. Magic has Showtime. Bird still has the best frontline in the league. Houston has Hakeem and Pippen. MJ has...Sam Vincent. Meanwhile, Phoenix has championship experience in their front office, a good quality coach and they are quietly building a young team that will contend for years.

Do you honestly think MJ wouldn't have made the same choice in that situation? Not because he is bowing down to Barkley or KJ, but because he's so damn competitive that he wants to win RIGHT NOW. That's exactly what Lebron just did. Dude wants to win. That's what it's supposed to be about. He didn't join the Lakers or the Celtics, he joined a team that just lost in the first round 2 years in a row and 3 out of the last 4. He joined a team with one great player and added a good one on the side. How is that any different than teams that won back in the day? Hell, how is that different than last year's NBA Finalists???

Waldini: Seriously, when are we going to start working on "3 wisemen!" Its' comments like these that will have the people in line to sign books....

You know one analogy that gets lost in this is Moses Malone. Before he joined Philly. He won a MVP, had been to a Finals, and was arguably the best big man in the game. But after the '81 Finals appearance, the Rockets became a joke. And they were not looking to improve anytime soon. So what did Mo' do? He forced Houston to trade him to a contender. The best big in the game telling folks I want to play for a contender or else. And we know what happened in '83. That team scared the shit out of everybody. And if they had not suffered from key players (Dr J, Toney, Bobby Jones) either getting hurt or playing on their last legs, they would have been even more lethal. Shoot they got Barkley for crying out loud in the '84 draft.

To your comment about the bashing, I think more people are trying to tie how he made the decision to the actual decision and are blowing everything out of proportion. How many times do you hear non athletes complain about athletes being only concerned with "getting paid? Lebron would have made more money had he stayed in Cleveland. But he opted to win a championship. He took less money with a shorter contract. Joe Johnson is making more money than him. Amare Stoudemire is making more money than him. Chris Bosh is making the same amount of money than him. And he's better than all 3 of them combined.

This is gonna sound crazy but this started last year when Artest took less money to play with LA. He had bigger deals on the table. No, I'm not putting Ron in the same category as Lebron b/c he's not, I'm just saying what he did was a big move on his part to realize I don't have much time left and I want to go out as a winner. Lebron's just trying to go out as a winner and then some (some meaning more titles). If he peers felt the same, I would expect 'Melo, Paul and other All Star players to be "talking" now about forming their own Superfriends team :-)

Realist: I didn't think about the irony in my example. LOL Can you imagine Jordan and Barkley together that close to Vegas? They'd win titles, but they wouldn't have won 6. Golf and Gambling would be competing with the NBA on a daily basis with those two. Glad MJ stayed in Chicago. :-)

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