Tag:Dwyane Wade
Posted on: April 8, 2010 11:11 am
Edited on: April 8, 2010 7:59 pm

Bosh: Done in Toronto?

Chris Bosh is out for the rest of the regular season after undergoing surgery to repair a facial fracture suffered on the other end of an inadvertent elbow. No, you are not the only one wondering if the All-Star power forward has played his last game in Toronto.

First of all, the Raptors will have a tough time making the playoffs without Bosh, so the remaining four games could be all that's left of their season. Of more concern is the fact that team executives I've spoken with recently continue to believe that Bosh is the most likely of the highly regarded free agents to change teams this summer.

Like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Bosh signed his most recent extension with the intention of testing the unrestricted free agent market this summer; each has a player option for the 2010-11 season. All three turned have turned down extension offers since last summer, with Bosh the most recent prospective free agent to say no. The Raptors relayed an extension offer in January, and Bosh's position was that he wanted to play out the season and deal with the contract afterward.

Injury aside, Toronto's inability to make significant improvement this season despite the addition of free agent Hedo Turkoglu has frustrated Bosh to the point where people close to him believe he is the most motivated of the Big Three to seek a new address this summer. In all likelihood, the Raptors would try to accommodate his wishes via a sign-and-trade so they can avoid losing him and getting nothing in return.

It has been long speculated that Bosh, a Texas native, would seek a return to his home state. Conveniently, there are three teams located there, all of which might be enticed to explore a sign-and-trade. The Rockets are in desperate need of star power, the Spurs are aging, and the Mavericks are always game for splashy, big-ticket moves.

One thing's for sure: It's gotten a lot easier over the past 48 hours to imagine Bosh wearing another uniform next season. 

As for the Raptors' battle for the eighth playoff spot in the East with Chicago, the Bulls got another break Thursday night -- also at the hands of the Cavs. LeBron James was inactive for Cleveland's game in Chicago, giving the Bulls a chance to move ahead of Toronto with four games to play for each team. The Raptors hold the tiebreaker and have the easier schedule: at Atlanta, at Detroit, and home to New York in addition to hosting the Bulls on Sunday. Chicago is at New Jersey Friday night and finishes the season against two playoff teams: home to Boston and at Charlotte.
Posted on: April 4, 2010 1:13 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2010 1:36 pm

LeBron doesn't respect Colangelo's threat

BOSTON -- After LeBron James and Dwayne Wade both strongly hinted in the past week that they're considering skipping the World Championships in Turkey this summer, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo responded with a warning: Such a decision could jeopardize their spots on the 2012 Olympic team.

LeBron lobbed his own response back to Colangelo on Sunday: He doesn't think that's fair.

The war of words is on.

"I think everyone in the U.S.A. knows what type of commitment these guys have made, including myself, since 2003," James said before the Cavaliers played the Celtics. "I'm not trying to bash Jerry or anything like that, because he's a good guy and I respect him. I don't respect that because of the commitment we've all given to the U.S.A. Right off the bat, we didn't second guess it at all. If we're jeopardizing being in London, what can we do?"

In recruiting members of the 2008 Olympic gold medal team to return for the 2012 Olympics in London, Colangelo has consistently presented to them his desire for a two-year commitment: Win the 2010 worlds in Turkey to earn an automatic Olympic berth, and they get the summer of 2011 off.

But the summer of 2010 is more complicated for James, Wade, Chris Bosh and other 2008 Olympians who will have a chance to be unrestricted free agents on July 1. James also has plans to participate in the filming of a movie; the combination of on-court and off-court responsibilities would seem to make it difficult at best for him to travel to Turkey.

Last week, Colangelo told Yahoo! Sports, "There are no free passes to London." He has since backtracked somewhat, acknowledging that he doesn't expect free agents to practice with Team USA until their situations are resolved. It would be almost inconceivable for Colangelo to punish James for skipping the worlds by leaving him off the Olympic team for London. But in the meantime, he has to maintain the appearance of consistency; if James and Wade bow out, others could follow.

"If that is the case, we'll have to see when it happens," James said. "There's a lot that goes on with being a professional athlete other than just basketball."
Posted on: April 2, 2010 4:58 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2010 5:53 pm

No Kobe in 2010

Forget about Kobe Bryant joining the 2010 free-agent frenzy. The three-year, maximum extension he finally agreed to Friday with the Lakers put an end to that.

Instead of exercising his early termination option after the season, Bryant is signing up to finish his career in a Lakers uniform. With a $24.8 million salary next year, Bryant is eligible to make $27.4 million in 2011-12, $30 million in '12-'13 and $32.6 million in the final year of the extension.

This is splendid news -- and not only for Bryant and agent Rob Pelinka, who will get a nice chunk of that $90 million as a commission. It's splendid because it promises four more years of Lakers drama -- the annual questions about whether Phil Jackson will be back to win one more title, and what Kobe will do/think/say if Phil ever does decide to ride off into the sunset with Jeanie Buss and never look back.

It's also splendid because it may offer a glimpse into the decision LeBron James will have before him three months from now. Granted, they are at very different stages of their careers. But if Bryant just laid down the blueprint for LeBron -- hey, if they've given you everything you want, you might as well stay -- then there will be a handful of extremely disappointed general managers standing around with cap space and nothing to spend it on come July 1.

Bryant's extension offer has been on the table since July, when he decided not to exercise the first of two straight termination clauses. It was widely believed that he would follow that good-will gesture by quickly signing an extension, but it took months to finalize.

In addition to eliminating Bryant from a free-agent class that is expected to include James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and others, his decision to commit to three more years with the Lakers suggests that Bryant believes Jackson will be back for at least one more year as coach. Jackson, 64, told NBA.com last week that he expects to be back, barring any surprises in his annual post-season physical. Jackson later backtracked, saying he wasn't leaning one way or the other. Bryant, it would appear, believes otherwise. 

Bryant's decision will come as a surprise to several GMs I've spoken with recently who are in the planning stages for this summer's free-agent signing period. They had begun to expect Bryant to make himself available to the highest bidder -- that Bryant was the free agent everyone kept forgetting about. It was never assumed that Bryant wanted to leave L.A., but rather that uncertainty over Jackson's future might compel him to keep his options open.

With four titles and another one possible this June, what better options could there have been? Apparently, according to Kobe, none.

The last time I saw Bryant, he was walking toward the loading dock at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, sunglasses on and head hanging after a particularly humiliating loss to the Thunder. Minutes earlier, Bryant had gotten more of the rubbish he gets in every NBA city -- more of these comparisons to players who haven't won anything yet. It would stand to reason that Bryant put the LeBron comparisons to rest last June, when he hoisted his fourth championship trophy, and first without Shaq. James hasn't won any yet, and Bryant is within two of tying Michael Jordan, and yet all anyone can talk about is LeBron, LeBron, LeBron.

Bryant can take that; there is no denying James' talent and no telling how many titles he'll ultimately win if he puts himself in the right situation, starting this summer. But now Bryant supposedly has been passed in the NBA hierarchy by Kevin Durant, according to the great basketball publication Rolling Stone

"Whoever said that is a little bit over their head with that one," Jackson said.

Asked that night in Oklahoma City if he "got caught up" in the head-to-head matchup with Durant, Bryant smiled and said, "That's a silly question." With nine turnovers in the loss, Bryant also was asked if the player defending him -- Thabo Sefolosha -- had become one of the better defenders in the league.

"Sure," Bryant said, with about $90 million worth of sarcasm.

Bryant could have joined the new generation chasing him in the chase for dollars this summer. On Friday, the best player of his generation decided to sit that one out. Let's compare the resumes in four years and see if he was right.

Posted on: March 5, 2010 1:02 am

Kobe: Wade needs help

MIAMI – After the Lakers sleep-walked through another in a string of sluggish, disinterested starts and lost to a Heat team just happy to be back at .500, did Kobe Bryant think it was panic time?


Did he think the Lakers needed anything dramatic to shake them from their doldrums on the road, where the defending champs are a pedestrian 9-8 this calendar year – with 10 of their next 13 games away from Staples?

Not really.

After scoring 39 points and hitting the overtime-forcing jumper in his sixth game back from a five-game absence with a nagging assortment of injuries, Bryant’s most astute observation was not about his team, but about the opponent.

The guy who needs a little help was wearing a Miami Heat jersey Thursday night.

“He had 14 assists, but there’s still too much on him,” Bryant said after Wade did it all – 27 points and 14 assists – in Miami’s 114-111 overtime victory over the Lakers. “He literally had to make every play, had to try to penetrate and pitch in. That can wear you down. So hopefully, he’ll get somebody who can step up and make plays and give him a couple of plays off.”

This is a sensitive topic in these parts, and also in a certain city on the Cuyahoga River where free agency D-Day looms. Every crucial Miami basket Thursday night came from Wade or resulted in a play he set up with his play-making dominance. You watch him will his .500 team to a victory over the defending champs, and you wonder: Damn, how good would he be with some help?

In fairness, he got more than usual Thursday night – 25 points from Quentin Richardson, who along with Wade had Ron Artest’s head on a swivel all night. Q-Rich made 7-for-11 from 3-point range, including one off an assist from Wade that gave the Heat a 99-97 lead with 11.1 seconds left. Instead of that being the game-winner, Kobe casually accepted the ensuing inbounds pass, dribbled the length of the court, and drilled the tying jumper over Wade with 3.3 seconds left.

Wade also didn’t have to make the two defensive plays of the night. Those were turned in by Jermaine O’Neal in the final minute of overtime – a chase-down block of Jordan Farmar and a drawn charge against Bryant with 18.7 seconds left. But in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime, nearly every one of Miami’s baskets and scoring opportunities came from Wade. Of course they did. Who else? 

“He’s a fantastic player,” Bryant said. 

Despite Artest’s interesting comment that the Lakers won’t see Miami again “until June” – what, June 2011? – Wade will have to settle for being fantastic player happy to get the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. And there are no guarantees about that. 

“When I had the ball and gave it up to Q to hit that three, that shows my teammates that I’m about winning,” Wade said. “I’m not about, ‘I need to hit this shot because Kobe just hit a shot.’ To me, it’s not about that.”

No, Wade doesn’t want or need Kobe’s pity – and that’s not how Kobe meant it, anyway. Hey, not every superstar has the good fortune of playing with two 7-footers, one of the most dominant shutdown defenders in the league, and a guy named Lamar Odom coming off the bench. 

Not every team is so good it can sputter around for three quarters against one of the top three players in the world and still have a chance to win at the end. Cognizant of all this, the Lakers were appropriately nonplused by the evening’s events. The postgame comment that most closely approximated concern was this from Artest: “Unfortunately, I think we took this game lightly. … We have to start winning some games on the road. We have to.” 

The only other perceptible bristling in the Lakers’ postgame routine came from Phil Jackson, who just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tweak the referees and invite a sizeable fine for the good of the team. With 29 seconds left in regulation and the Lakers leading 97-96, Bryant air-balled a 20-footer. Only neither Bryant nor Jackson thought it was self-induced. 

“Kobe shot an airball, but I’m sure he didn’t shoot an airball,” Jackson said. “It’s unconscionable that that call can’t be made at that point in the game.”

Informed of Jackson’s description, Bryant said, “That’s a good term. A good term. I actually stopped playing for a second. I thought I didn’t hear the whistle, honestly.” 

For Bryant, there’s always the next game, with plenty of reinforcements at the ready.
Posted on: February 15, 2010 1:26 am
Edited on: February 15, 2010 2:09 am

Amar'e: Joining LeBron could be 'great'

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- Amar'e Stoudemire said Sunday he'd heard "nothing solid" on his fate with the trade deadline looming, even with the Suns engaged in talks with multiple teams about trading the five-time All-Star.

Asked about the possibility of playing with LeBron James in Cleveland, Stoudemire said it was "great" playing with him on the 2004 Olympic team in Barcelona, but that a trade with Cleveland was "not done yet."

Once again, Stoudemire leaves the All-Star Game wondering if he'll be changing teams the morning after.

"Gotta stick with what I know," Stoudemire said. "Right now, I'm a Phoenix Sun, so until anything changes I'm going to play the same way. ... I'm planning to travel to Memphis (Monday) to play the Grizzlies."

Several league sources told CBSSports.com that the Suns remained in discussions with at least three teams -- Cleveland, Miami and Philadelphia -- in a poker game that features Stoudemire as the grand prize. Two of his would-be teammates were on the court with him in the All-Star Game Sunday night -- James and Dwyane Wade. Another, Shaquille O'Neal, sat courtside and watched.

While the Suns brass were weighing which team could offer them the best combination of cap relief and assets, Suns owner Robert Sarver roamed the rotunda of Cowboys Stadium, watching Stoudemire and other All-Stars walk from the mixed-zone interview area toward the locker rooms.

"It's definitely an important decision," Sarver said. "I don't have any more comment." 
Posted on: February 13, 2010 10:25 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2010 11:10 pm

Stern: Cut expenses, but only the players'

DALLAS – NBA players simply make too much money, commissioner David Stern said Saturday night, and salaries must be curtailed to keep the league afloat. 

Citing $400 million in operating losses this season – and an average of $200 million annually in previous years of the current collective bargaining agreement – Stern issued a challenge to the players’ union to come back with a proposal that would develop “a sustainable business model.” 

“At our current level of revenue devoted to players’ salaries, it's too high,” Stern said. “I can run from that, but I can't hide from that, and I don't think the players can, either.” 

In a state-of-the-league address that was alternately witty and biting, Stern ridiculed union chief Billy Hunter’s assertion that the owners’ initial proposal was taken off the table during a contentious bargaining session Friday during All-Star weekend. 

“I don't know what that means,” Stern said. “We are talking semantics, and everyone around here knows that I am not anti semantic.” 


“I don't know what to say,” Stern said. “If they don't like it, you know, that's what counters are about. Speak to me, that's all. Off the table, on the table, under the table; I don't even understand it. The answer is, it's for them to make a proposal.” 

While Stern was in rare form on those topics, he artfully dodged three of the most important issues related to avoiding a lockout if the two sides can’t reach an agreement by June 30, 2011:

1) The 2010 free-agent class: Though Stern professed no urgency to reach agreement on a framework of a new economic system by July 1 of this year, the owners need cost-certainty by then in order to plan accordingly for spending on the biggest free-agent class in NBA history. Since the players like the current system, they’re in no hurry to speed up the process. So owners will have to risk committing max money to free agents this summer and having it come back to haunt them if the cap falls as far as the union predicts under the owners’ proposal – from $57.7 million to about $43 million.

2) Revenue Sharing: Stern said he’s committed to revamping the revenue-sharing model to help low-revenue teams compete. Despite saying it would be done “in lock step” with collective bargaining, Stern also said, “We can’t do it until we complete the negotiations.” Asked to explain why, Stern said, “We are going to do it all at once. It’s going to be when we have the new collective bargaining agreement.” According to internal NBA documents obtained by CBSSports.com, 12 teams averaged more than $1 million per game in ticket revenue during the 2008-09 season, with seven of those teams making the playoffs. Six teams made less than $600,000 per game, and only one – the Hawks – made the playoffs. “When we get to where we need to get to, there will be a very robust revenue sharing where teams will not be in a position to decline to compete because of money,” Stern said.

3) Other Ways to Reduce Expenses: While there have been cutbacks at the league office and on the team side, Stern admitted that his precious expansion to international markets has been a drag on the league’s financial picture. Stern referred to investments in such countries as India and China as having “not great margins.” But he refused to concede that reducing the league’s global efforts would be another way to rein in expenses. “We think that this will be a large payoff for future players that the present players are benefiting from because of investments that were made previously,” Stern said. But it seems to me that present players aren’t benefiting if the owners are asking them to accept less money while the league plans to open offices this year India, Africa, and the Middle East, with exhibition games planned for Mexico City, Barcelona, Paris, London, Beijing, Milan, and Guangzhou.

“Other expenses squeeze us,” Stern said, when pressed on the issue, “but player expenses are too high.”

Stern relished taking shots at what he described as the union’s “theatrics” during Friday’s negotiating session, though he later said, “I would have to plead guilty to participating a bit in such negotiations as well.” He accused union attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who also is handling CBA negotiations for the NFL, of “threatening us.” One such threat, Stern revealed after his news conference, was that the union would decertify and sue the NBA for anti-trust violations. Coincidentally, the league recognized during All-Star Saturday night festivities Spencer Haywood, the first player to challenge the NBA's eligibility requirements. Haywood's anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA went to the Supreme Court in 1971, and Haywood won the right to join the league although he didn't complete four years of college.

For the second straight day, a story published by CBSSports.com was raised in a news conference on the subject of labor talks. According to sources, Stern was referring to a Jan. 29 story in which a team executive ridiculed LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, saying James could “play football” and Wade could “be a fashion model” if they didn’t like the drastically reduced maximum contracts owners were proposing. Other news outlets published similar swipes, including Yahoo! Sports, which quoted an anonymous team executive who characterized the owners’ proposal as “a photocopy of Stern’s middle finger.” 

Stern said he was “offended” by the comments, calling them “cowardly,” and he apologized to players’ negotiating committee and the 10 All-Stars who were so enraged by the stories that they showed up at the bargaining session Friday. 

“Some of our so called team executives have been quoted – as you might expect anonymously – in the media, and saying disparaging things about our players,” Stern said. “If you know me, and you know our owners, that’s not what we do. That’s not us. And the players were upset with those quotes, which I find cowardly, if they were actually said. And if I ever found out who said them, they would be dealt with; they would be former, former NBA people, not current. And we assured the stars of that.” 

Posted on: February 12, 2010 8:20 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2010 10:18 pm

LeBron, Wade join CBA talks; owners pull proposal

DALLAS -- In a stunning development, 10 All-Stars including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony joined the collective bargaining talks Friday, standing in defiance of commissioner David Stern and the owners' negotiating committee during what was described as a "contentious" and "heated" bargaining session. The owners, according to union chief Billy Hunter, agreed to pull their current proposal off the table, relinquishing ground after hitting the union with demands for a hard salary cap and drastically reduced salaries.

Overreaching with a hard-line initial proposal submitted to the union on Jan. 29 may have backfired on the owners, whose demands for reducing the players' share of revenue, eliminating Larry Bird exceptions, reducing the length of contracts, and virtually eliminating guarantees got the attention of the league's stars. The murderer's row joining Hunter and the players' executive committee also included Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Joe Johnson, Amar'e Stoudemire, Chauncey Billups and Al Horford. The players skipped their obligations at the NBA's annual All-Star "day of service" charity events to stand with Hunter and send a message to the owners.

"The players came in there and said, 'We don't want a fight,'" Hunter said. "'But if we're not given any other choice, we won't run from a fight.'"

Calling the owners' proposal "shock and awe" and a "non-starter," Hunter said the players would submit their own proposal in the "near future," but did not provide a date. He described the league as "eager" to get a deal in place by July 1, which marks the beginning of the biggest free-agent signing period in NBA history. The economics behind that impending bonanza are now seriously clouded with the owners and players back to square one in their negotiations.

The current deal, ratified in 2005, expires after the 2010-11 season. The owners, citing massive financial losses they have documented to the union over the past few months, already have notified the players that they will not exercise their option to extend the current deal through the 2011-12 season.

Adam Silver, the NBA's deputy commissioner, issued a statement late Friday disputing Hunter's account.

"While we do not agree with the Players' Association's characterization of today's meeting or the status of the NBA's bargaining proposal, David will address the subject of collective bargaining during his media availability prior to All-Star Saturday night," Silver said.

A year ago at All-Star weekend in Phoenix, Hunter joined Stern for a joint address as an indication of unity heading into the bargaining process. On Friday, Hunter said he had not received a similar invitation for this year and didn't believe one would be forthcoming.

In his first public comments on the owners' proposal, Hunter cited a Jan. 29 story by CBSSports.com in which a source detailed the owners' strategy to drastically reduce the length and amount of max contracts in the new CBA. The report, in which a team executive with knowledge of the bargaining process detailed the owners' belief that the players "need us more than we need them," only served to "inflame" the players, Hunter said. A particular quote from the article was read to the owners' negotiating committee and Stern during Friday's negotiating session at the Sheraton Hotel in Dallas.

“If they don’t like the new max contracts, LeBron can play football, where he will make less than the new max,” said the team executive, who spoke to CBSSports.com on condition of anonymity for the Jan. 29 article. “Wade can be a fashion model or whatever. They won’t make squat and no one will remember who they are in a few years.”

The article, and others written on the topic by other media outlets, was circulated to the players -- resulting in the 10 All-Stars going directly from All-Star media day interviews to join the bargaining session across town.

"What it really did was, it really inflamed a lot of the players," Hunter said.

The owners "sensed that this thing had gotten out of control a little bit because of the nature of the proposal that was sent, sort of like when you go for the jugular," Hunter said. "And then when we read stuff ... that they’re going to decimate the union and they’re going to do all these things, I kind of read that back to them and said, 'These are the kind of things that inflamed the players. You can't talk about how you’re going to destroy the union, you’re going to impose the same system that happened in the NHL. And the players came in and said, 'We don’t want to go that way.'"

Hunter said the owners "maybe underestimated the response, the blowback they were going to get from the proposal."

New details of the owners' proposal and their posture -- including their desire to agree to a deal before free agency begins July 1 -- emerged from Hunter's press conference, where he was joined by executive committee members Derek Fisher (president), Adonal Foyle, Theo Ratliff, Roger Mason, Maurice Evans, and Keyon Dooling. Committee member Chris Paul, on crutches as he recovers from knee surgery, attended the bargaining session but not the press conference.

The owners sought to reduce the players' current share of basketball-related income from 57 percent to a figure estimated by union sources to be 37 percent. This would be derived by deducting $1 billion of expenses from the $3.7 billion in annual revenue and then dividing it 50-50 between owners and players. The result, sources said, would be a loss of $750 million for the players in the first year of the new CBA.

The maximum length of contracts would be reduced to four years if a player re-signs with his current team and three years for other free agents from the current length of six years and five years, respectively. Annual raises would be reduced to 2-3 percent, down from 8 percent and 10.5 percent, depending on the contract.

Salary cap exceptions -- such as the Larry Bird exception, which allows teams to go over the cap to retain its own free agents -- would be eliminated. Guaranteed contracts would be dramatically curtailed, allowing only 50 percent of the first $8 million and 25 percent of the rest to be guaranteed, sources said. Contracts would be retro-fitted to conform to the new deal. On balance, the changes would cut roughly in half the maximum salary a top-shelf free agent like James or Wade would be able to receive. Hunter said such a deal would create a system where only two players per team make max money and the rest of the roster would be filled out by minimum-salary players.

"Pretty much everything that they could ever think of, at least in the 15 years I've been here, was in that proposal," Hunter said. "And so our position that it was a non-starter. That was the posture we took from the moment we arrived."
Posted on: January 21, 2010 11:39 am
Edited on: January 21, 2010 7:48 pm

All-Star Starters (UPDATE)

Embarrassment averted.

The All-Star starters were revealed Thursday night on TNT before the nationally televised rematch of the Cavs' Christmas Day blowout of the Lakers.

Thankfully, Tracy McGrady wasn't one of them.

All hail Steve Nash, who passed T-Mac in the final weeks of voting and will start alongside Kobe Bryant in the Western Conference backcourt in the Feb. 14 All-Star Game in Dallas. McGrady, who has played all of six games this season, won't be faced with the inglorious decision of having to decline an invitation he didn't deserve.

In another fan-voting quirk that was less controversial than a T-Mac starting nod would've been, Allen Iverson will start alongside Dwyane Wade in the Eastern Conference backcourt. The other East starters: Dwight Howard, LeBron James, and Kevin Garnett (assuming he's healthy).

Joining Kobe and Nash on the West's starting five: Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tim Duncan, who passed Dirk Nowitzki in the final three weeks of voting.

"No Dirk as a starter?" Mavs owner Mark Cuban tweeted. "Time to change the rules for voting."

McGrady carried a 2,375-vote lead over Nash into the final three weeks of balloting, which was conducted by fans via paper, online, and wireless voting. If Nash hadn't passed McGrady, the right thing for T-Mac to do would've been politely decline.

It wouldn't have cost him a dime, either. A source with knowledge of the situation said McGrady has no All-Star bonus clauses in his contract, which pays him a league-high $23 million this season.

It's better for everyone this way. McGrady is trying to come back from microfracture surgery. More to the point, he would benefit immensely if the Rockets were somehow able to trade him before the Feb. 18 trade deadline. McGrady didn't need to risk his health or his already suffering reputation by trying to dust himself off for a few meaningless All-Star minutes.

I don't have a problem with Iverson starting; he's been a fan favorite his entire career, certainly deserves it based on his body of work, and -- this is important -- is actually suiting up for the Sixers, albeit at a remarkably reduced rate of effectiveness.

In spite of Nash's fortunate comeback, I agree with Boston's Ray Allen and would be in favor of tweaking the voting system to divide the say-so among fans, media members, and players. The players, more than anybody else, know who's deserving and who isn't. The coaches should retain their ability to select the reserves. 

On one hand, you don't want to take away the fans' investment in the game, which after all is at least partly -- or mostly -- for their entertainment. But the All-Star Game badly needs a dose of legitimacy. Gone are the days when Michael Jordan or Dominique Wilkins could dominate All-Star weekend with their exploits in the dunk contest. That exercise long ago became a farce, and once again none of the marquee stars will participate this year.

So instead of complaining, I offer a solution. Not the only solution, but a start. Instead of voting by position, the fans vote for any 10 players they want from each conference. The players do the same. Their votes are weighted equally, and the top eight in each conference make the team. All 30 coaches vote to determine the 10 starters. The East coach and West coach fill out the roster with four reserves each.

The media? I'm not sure whom to count as media anymore, so let's leave us out of it. We'll just write about what happens.

Perfect? No. Somebody will get snubbed; they always do. But it's better than people constantly texting the word McGrady until they almost succeed in making a mockery of what is supposed to be a serious honor.

If there are any better ideas out there, you know what to do.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com