Blog Entry

Finals over, now time for main event

Posted on: June 18, 2010 6:33 pm
Edited on: June 18, 2010 8:00 pm
LOS ANGELES – At the risk of looking ahead before the party at Ron Artest’s house is over, it’s time to consider how different the NBA landscape will look the next time someone hoists the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Everyone but Gregg Doyel seemed to enjoy the epic, seven-game series given to us by the Lakers and Celtics. In fact, the series was ABC's most-viewed Finals and Game 7 was the most-watched NBA game since Michael Jordan's last championship shot in 1998 against the Jazz. At a time when owners and executives are understandably nervous about what the future will hold under a new collective bargaining agreement, it didn’t hurt for the sport to put its best foot forward for two weeks in June.

The momentum will carry right into the draft next week, when the NBA welcomes its next potential superstar, John Wall. Then, the main event: free agency, beginning July 1. The decisions and alliances that will be made during the first week of July could shift the balance of power and change the sport for the next decade.

Will LeBron James stay in Cleveland, to be joined by Chris Bosh or another high-profile free agent in a sign-and-trade? Will he form an alliance with Dwyane Wade in Miami, Derrick Rose in Chicago, or a superstar-to-be-named-later in New York? Will Kobe Bryant, fresh off his fifth title, push for a sign-and-trade scenario that would add Bosh to the Lakers’ embarrassment of riches?

The possibilities are endless, though Bryant was in no mood to contemplate all of this after celebrating his second straight title Thursday night. Asked by an enterprising reporter about the daunting possibility of facing a team with, say, LeBron and Wade in next year’s Finals, Bryant shot back, “What is it with you? You want to just emotionally drain me? I don’t want to think about that. Those guys, I’ve seen those guys up close and personal. I don’t want to think about playing against both of them at the same time. I want to enjoy this for a little bit.”

Not for long.

Once the free agency dust settles, the focus will shift from the Summer of LeBron to an army of lawyers, actuaries and accountants who are wrestling with the 800-pound gorilla in the room: the collective bargaining agreement. As thrilling as the Lakers-Celtics series was, it only underscored how concentrated the power – and titles – are among the big-market, high-revenue teams. Despite the fact that the players will include a plan for changing the league’s revenue-sharing model when they submit a proposal to the league in the next two weeks, sources indicate that NBA negotiators remain adamant that revenue sharing will not be part of the bargaining process. Months after getting an early start on negotiations, the owners and players still disagree on the validity of $400 million in losses stated by commissioner David Stern. Any way you slice it, it’s going to be a long, ugly fight with the goal of preventing a work stoppage when the current agreement expires on June 30, 2011.

Which brings us back to how things will look the next time the confetti is falling as Stern hands over the championship trophy 12 months from now. Stern’s NBA could be embarking on the most impactful era of basketball since Jordan retired, with big stars in big markets and world-wide interest in the sport perhaps even surpassing the Jordan era. And this could also be true next June: The NBA could be days away from a lockout that would kill all the momentum.

These are important times with a lot at stake, and with no time to do what Bryant pleaded with reporters to let him do: Enjoy it for a little bit.


Since: Apr 7, 2010
Posted on: June 19, 2010 11:17 am

Finals over, now time for main event

lebron wants to play with john wall.  he wants wall to feed him the ball, wants to go where he is going.

Since: Mar 29, 2007
Posted on: June 19, 2010 10:47 am

Finals over, now time for main event

Actually matthew111, that's incorrect.

The reason people mention a sign and trade is because Cleveland can offer him the most money, so he can get the most money and get sent elsewhere, it helps both parties (Cleveland and Lebron). Lebron gets his the most money that he can only get with Cleveland, and then gets traded, while Cleveland at least gets some talent in return.

Since: Sep 6, 2008
Posted on: June 19, 2010 10:44 am

Finals over, now time for main event

After reading my initial post I figured I should respond by saying that caring more about life than the game is the way it should be. It's a job ( a very fun, high paying job), but a job none the less. He needs to do what he feels is best for himself and his family. Plain and simple. He's going to be leaving Cleveland high and dry either way if he leaves, but that is his perogative. No one gets all pissy and upset when a team lets a former star go past his prime (San Diego Chargers/ LT situation for example). Yet, when a player leaves via free agency hes the most unloyal person on earth. Double standard that never has made sense.

Since: Sep 6, 2008
Posted on: June 19, 2010 10:37 am

Finals over, now time for main event

LeBron is one of those guys that cares about his life just as much as, if not more than, the game itself. The reason you hear the Chicago/Miami/New York rumors is because LeBron would live in one of those places. Nothing against Dallas, but it just doesnt seem to be a great fit for LeBrons lifestyle. Cleveland is home to him, so seeing him stay would be cool. As far as endorsements and lifestyle though, I think LeBron would want an Urban diverse city like the aforementioned Chicago/Miami/New York.

Also, if LeBron leaves Cleveland in anyway, he's going to be flipping them the bird. The ONLY reason Bron would do a sign and trade is for a bigger contract. Why in the world would Cleveland participate in letting him go somewhere else? Nobody has the talent to make the trade for LeBron even without completely gutting their team (in which case LeBron would veto it).

What is Dallas going to package? Shawn Marion, Caron Butler, Jason Terry and draft picks (first rounder for the next few years)? I mean I guess I would take it if I had to, but I'd still take the LeBron side in that.

Since: Feb 8, 2008
Posted on: June 19, 2010 10:20 am

Finals over, now time for main event

Bosh 2 LA 4 Bynum = fatality

Since: Jun 19, 2010
Posted on: June 19, 2010 10:09 am

Finals over, now time for main event

"Dallas has the talent to offer Cleveland a nice package"

What do you mean Lebron is a free agent...he is not going to sign with a team so they can trade him to another team. That is just foolish!
It is not flipping Celeveland anything it is called business, as Lebron owes Celevland NOTHING

Since: Feb 21, 2007
Posted on: June 19, 2010 10:05 am

Finals over, now time for main event

Dude, Dirk isn't going anywhere, he simply opted out in order to renegotiate his contract and to be able to add some clauses in it that he can now get that he wasn't able to before, like a no-trade clause, etc. and to get another longer term deal.

Since: Dec 13, 2006
Posted on: June 19, 2010 9:48 am

Finals over, now time for main event

Lebron and Dirk are the perfect fit.

You forgot one major component there Giostar, DIRK OPTED OUT! He is not even a member of the Mavs at this time. Hell for all you know, James may resign and Dirk will sign in Cleveland.

Since: Mar 31, 2008
Posted on: June 19, 2010 9:22 am

Finals over, now time for main event

We didn't "enjoy" the epic, seven-games series.  We all got sucked into ESPN's Hype Machine.  We tuned in to each game to see Where Amazing Happens.  Unfortunately, not only was the series unamazing, it reminded fans of how unskilled and undisciplined today's professional players are - even at the top of the heap.  It also reaffirmed belief that the referees play much too large a part in important games and that David Stern is pulling the strings on something that doesn't smell right to Joe Fan.

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: June 19, 2010 6:49 am

Finals over, now time for main event

This will be interesting. Each one of the "max" guys will be looking to get their max contract plus put themselves in contention to win now- not in 3-5 years. Any GM talking about a championship 5 years down the road is eliminating themselves from the competition.

We will see some interesting "pairings" as two superstars join forces. I think you will see the Lakers make a big move; back to back championships make them a hot ticket. There will be winners and losers- in the end the whole league could be reconfigured.

Exciting times!

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