Tag:Heat
Posted on: July 29, 2010 8:24 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 11:13 pm
 

ESPN releases statement regarding LeBron party

Posted by Matt Moore

ESPN has released a statement to explain the series of events surrounding the phantom LeBron story which appeared briefly on ESPN's servers before being yanked. The story has come down that the problem lies not with James, nor with ESPN.com's editorial staff, but with the writer, Arash Markazi.

Rob King, Vice President and Editor-In-Chief, ESPN Digital Media released a statement today:

ESPN.com will not be posting the story in any form. We looked into the situation thoroughly and found that Arash did not properly identify himself as a reporter or clearly state his intentions to write a story. As a result, we are not comfortable with the content, even in an edited version, because of the manner in which the story was reported. We’ve been discussing the situation with Arash and he completely understands. To be clear, the decisions to pull the prematurely published story and then not to run it were made completely by ESPN editorial staff without influence from any outside party.

We knew the story was going to get complicated. James was clearly unaware that his actions were going to be reported on. The question was whether he was unaware Markazi was a reporter or if he was aware Markazi was a reporter but believed he was off-record. Now we have the official position regarding that.

So was what Markazi did unethical?

If this were a drug ring, Markazi could not identify himself as a reporter. He couldn't ask if people involved in illegal behavior were on-record without jeopardizing both his safety and the story. There are a number of illegal stories broken where a reporter has had to refrain from revealing both his position and intention.

LeBron James did not do anything illegal. He has done nothing against the law, nothing that would warrant this kind of deception. There's no crime in being an egotist, no fault that goes against human decency is partying like a rock star. He simply comes off looking bad. And that's not enough to warrant such tactics. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding. But the onus is on Markazi to notify James or one of his representatives that he is a reporter, and that he is writing a story on the night's events.  LeBron James has every right to be whatever kind of person he wants to be at a private event held for him, among friends.

For his part, Markazi also released a statement, though I would not particularly call it contrite:

I have been in conversations with ESPN.com’s editors and, upon their complete review, understand their decision not to run the story. It is important to note that I stand by the accuracy of the story in its entirety, but should have been clearer in representing my intent to write about the events I observed.

ESPN takes a lot of flack for not being responsible with their coverage, and will of course take flack for protecting James' PR theoretical rear. But Markazi leaves little option by admitting he did not specify that what he saw that night would end up in front of the eyes of millions. Their hands were tied when Markazi did not approach the story with the right set of practices. We live in an age where the media seems to know no bounds. At some point, those lines have to be drawn by those with the most reach.

None of this makes any part of this story any less funny.
Posted on: July 26, 2010 12:58 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2010 9:34 pm
 

The LeBron effect on Chris Paul

Posted by Matt Moore

The words are not weak. Chris Paul, a young man that has brought himself to be not only arguably the best point guard in the National Basketball Association, but an important member of both the social and business communities in New Orleans and his home of North Carolina, is being regarded as weak. This behavior as of late, the trade demands , the partying, the sulking, it's not like Chris. This isn't who he is. At least, that's how it's being regarded in the media. In reality, nothing about his behavior seems out of order for a young point guard on a struggling team. So naturally, the wheels of blame have begun to turn. We like Chris Paul too much to make him into an egotist. There must be something else at play. Let's see... charitable, no... hyper-competitive... no, can't blame that, that makes too much sense... ah! I got it!

LeBron James DID IT!

But even as the idea sounds ridiculous and fabricated, there are good reasons to head in that general direction. Nowhere has that been as explicitly outlined as in Adrian Wojnarowski's article that all but drew scepters and pentagrams around James and his marketing firm, LRMR. That was then followed up by James tweeting :

"Best of luck to my brother @oneandonlycp3 . Do what's best for You and your family"

Which is a nice sentiment, but still seems like James intruding into matters which are not his business. And if that's a wee bit of tampering, we can only imagine what went on this weekend when the two were partying it up in Vegas . In the midst of all this is a report that Paul himself has not  signed on with James' marketing firm , LRMR. This contradicts a July 8th report saying just that, along with the indication that Paul has joined CAA, which also represents LeBron James and the other two super-friends. 

It's been confirmed that Paul has left Octagon, but not that he has joined LRMR. He's hanging out with LeBron, but we don't know if they talked about business at all. 

The question we need to be asking ourselves is if Chris Paul is really that easily "corrupted" or "influenced" or whatever term you'd like. Is this player who has shown a tremendous amount of maturity in his short time in the NBA really being "turned to the dark side," or whatever overblown phrase you'd like to use, by a marketing firm that has yet to land a marquee client or business deal and a player that has yet to win a championship? There's no doubt LeBron is powerful, arguably the most powerful player in the NBA. And there's no doubt the two are friends. But in all of his dealings, CP3 has never come across as the type to be railroaded or to do as he's told. He seems much more like a motivated individual that keeps track of his dealings and has a clear set plan for establishing his legacy.

Turning his back on New Orleans doesn't seem like it's in his character, that's true. But for a guy who's known as one of the most competitive players in a hyper-competitive environment (ask Julius Hodge about that), a trade request from a team that's been spinning its wheels doesn't seem out of line. The most logical conclusion is that LeBron James definitely did have an impact on this, but not in pressuring Paul, but by leading by example, even if that example is currently being spit on by most of the free world. 

James' decisions in the last two months have been driven by an athlete-centric decision tree. He's not putting the fans first. Not putting the teams (and thereby their owners) first. He's putting himself and his brand first. And in doing so, he's helped increase the arms race that started three years ago with the Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen trades that made Boston a champion and pushed the Lakers towards the Gasol acquisition. This is how you win championships, by playing on loaded teams, not by shouldering the burden. Paul has watched three of his best friends become a superpower, while he is playing for an 8th seed in the West with an aging core and two young Bucks, one of whom plays his position. 

Paul can't stand to be left behind. That's what James has shown him. That if he wants to keep up with the tone of progress, he's going to have to take matters into his own hands. The question is if the Hornets are going to blink first.

Posted on: July 18, 2010 4:42 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2010 4:46 pm
 

Report: James Jones to sign with Miami

Posted by Royce Young

Free agent forward James Jones told the Miami Herald on Sunday he will rejoin the Heat.

Miami bought out the final three seasons of Jones' contract June 30, but he told the Herald he believed there was a possibility he would return.

Jones will earn the $1 million veteran's minimum this season, combined with the $1.5 million buyout sum he is owed for the upcoming season. Not a horrible deal for Jones. Also, reportedly, Jones passed up more money elsewhere. San Antonio was reportedly looking to give him part of its $6 million mid-level exception. But he turned it down to stay in Miami. Ah, the siren song of the new-look Heat.

Why? Jones gives his reasoning:

"I still feel I have unfinished business here," Jones told the paper. "The opportunity to win a championship was too much to pass up. Hopefully, the minutes will be there and I will make teams pay."

Jones, 29, is a situational shooter by trade. He shot 41 percent from 3 last season and in seven seasons he's a career 39.5 percent shooter from distance. Obviously a ton of minutes won't be available for him playing behind Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Mike Miller, but as a specialist off the bench, he'll definitely have value for the Heat. In the report, it's noted Jones understands that is just looking for a spot to contribute.

With Jones, center Jamaal Magloire and point guard Carlos Arroyo all expected re-sign with Miami, the Heat will have 13 players under contract, making them a legal NBA team. That group includes Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, rookie Dexter Pittman, Joel Anthony and Mario Chalmers. Free agent Juwan Howard is also expected to sign. Not a bad looking roster by any means. Especially for a group that had two players under contract just over a week ago.
Posted on: July 16, 2010 11:49 am
Edited on: July 16, 2010 12:56 pm
 

Penny Hardaway to Miami? What?

Posted by Royce Young

The Orlando Sentinel brings us some interesting news about a new possible Heat addition. Penny Hardaway, yes that Penny Hardaway , announced he's interested in trying out for a spot with the Miami Heat.

On an internet radio show called The Bottom Line Sports Show , Hardaway said this: "Mentally I was retired and physically I was retired. I was playing recreational ball,' Hardaway said. "But when the decision happened with Chris Bosh and LeBron, I felt like I could really be good in that system."

Hardaway last played in 2007, coincidentally with the Heat. He'll turn 39 July 18 (hey, Shaq is 38), which isn't ridiculously old, but he did battle a handful of knee injuries which is what eventually led to his retirement. However, he says he's in great shape.

"I can understand where Michael Jordan was coming from coming out of retirement a couple times, I can understand where Brett Favre is right now," Hardaway said on the show. "When you still have something in the tank it's really hard to let it go."

Hardaway said he sent text messages to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and his former teammate Alonzo Mourning to express interest in trying for a non guaranteed, one-year minimal role shortly after The Decision aired.

Honestly, why not? The Heat still need to fill out a couple spots, Hardaway wouldn't require much money at all and all he needs to be is a warm body at practice and sit on the end of the bench. And who knows, maybe he can still play a little.


Posted on: July 13, 2010 11:53 am
Edited on: July 13, 2010 11:54 am
 

It's over! The Miami Heat are your 2010-11 champs

Posted by Royce Young

Well, according to rapper Flo Rida and friends they are. For instance, a choice set of lyrics from his new song, "We Already Won":

We already won
We already won
Ain't no need to play no more games

...


We already won

We already won
We got LeBron James it's already done




After listening to this song and watching the "welcoming" last Friday that looked more like a title celebration, you'd think the Larry O'Brien Trophy has already been handed out. Actually, are we completely sure it actually wasn't?

So go ahead and start printing shirts and hats, NBA marketing people. Have no fear about them winding up as an airdrop in a third world country. The Heat are your champs. You heard the man. Ain't no reason to play no mo games.



Posted on: July 12, 2010 11:05 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 11:22 pm
 

So... what exactly is tampering?

Posted by Royce Young

With information beginning to surface on how things went down in Miami, the first thing most likely thought was, "Wow, that's crazy stuff." And after that, some probably thought, "Hey, isn't all that like tampering or something?" David Stern said it was not, even though Ken Berger thinks differently .

You know the word. You've heard it. But what really is "tampering"?

Basically, teams can't talk about players on other teams until July 1, the day free agency negotiations begin. Some even dubbed this the "LeBron James Rule" because that's really where most the fines stemmed from, especially recently. However, some form of tampering goes back as far as 1984 , where the NBA investigated illegal contact between teams and college stars Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon. So while the current definition really involves the media, tampering is essentially teams talking when they shouldn't be.

For instance, a couple cases from this offseason: Mark Cuban was famously fined $100,000 for what some might have perceived as innocent comments about LeBron; former Phoenix Suns President of Basketball Operations Steve Kerr was fined $10,000 for comments he made in a radio interview with Dan Patrick about LeBron; and Atlanta Hawks owner Michael Gearon, Jr. was fined $25,000 for comments he made to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about James.

To spare you a Google search, here's what the three said:

Cuban : "Come July 1, yeah, of course. Anybody would be interested in LeBron James and if he leaves via free agency, then it’s going to be tough. If he does like I’m guessing … which is say ‘I’m not going to leave the Cavs high and dry,’ then he’ll try to force a sign-and-trade and that gives us a chance."

Kerr : "Well, if he'll take mid-level, we'll give it to him." "What's mid-level?" Patrick said, referring to the mid-level exception for teams exceeding the salary cap. "About five and a half million," Kerr said. "I think he'll take it, don't you think?"

Gearon : "If somebody came to us tomorrow and said you can have LeBron for max money and it puts you in the luxury tax, I'd do it in a heartbeat. But am I going to do that for Ilgauskas? Am I going to do it for Jermaine O'Neal? I don't think so."

All three didn't seem like much. Kerr's were very clearly a joke. But that's exactly what the NBA anti-tampering rules try and prevent: whimsical, supposedly innocent comments to the media about potential free agents still under contract with another team. The rule appears simple. But as seen with Cuban's recent frustrations over the policy , it's not so black and white.

In 2008, the league sent a memo to the 30 NBA teams detailing specific guidelines when discussing potential free agents with the media.

The memo read: "If a member of your organization is asked by the media about a potential free agent prior to the July 1 following the last season covered by the player's contract, or about any other person under contract with another NBA team, the only proper response is to decline comment."

Penalties outlined in the memo could include suspension, prohibition of the offending team from hiring the person being tampered with, forfeiture of draft picks and individual and/or team fines of up to $5 million. But obviously, tampering extends past the media. It's about messing with other team's players period, whether that's through the media or through direct contact.

Other owners clearly feel like what Miami did was tampering . Meeting with players to talk about the future, mid-season, even if it's just supposedly about uniform numbers, feels like a violation of the rule. Or players meeting with players to discuss the future for that matter, though Stern said differently on Monday. But even if the league determined it was and levied the maximum $5 million fine against the Heat, I'm thinking Pat Riley would write that check with a big grin on his face. Small price to pay for the King I suppose.

(Read more about the theoretical case against the Heat from Ken Berger here .)

Posted on: July 12, 2010 4:53 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 4:56 pm
 

Haslem back with the Heat

Posted by Royce Young

Ira Winderman of the Florida Sun Sentinel reports Udonis Haslem will be back with Miami next season. Evidently, as Winderman says, Haslem even turned down bigger offers from Denver and Dallas to remain with the Heat.

Haslem sent a text message to the Sun Sentinel: "
Turned down full mid level from Dallas and Denver. See u next season." The Sun Sentinel reports that Haslem is expected to sign a four-year deal and take about a third of the potential $34 million over five years he would've earned elsewhere.

Whether it's the no state tax thing, the playing with three superstars thing or in general people in Miami just feel incredibly charitable, it's pretty wild that Haslem was willing to take considerably less to stay with the Heat.

The Heat definitely have work to do still though. While Haslem surely shores them up some inside and adds much needed depth, currently Miami doesn't have a starting center. There are still some veterans out there like Etan Thomas, Shaq, Jamaal Magloire and Zydrunas Ilgauskas or they could just throw second-round pick Dexter Pittman into the fire.

Whatever Miami does, Pat Riley and company deserve a tip of the cap for building a quality roster thus far around the three stars on the cheap. Mike Miller is expected to sign soon and now plus Haslem, the all-important role players are starting to take shape.

Category: NBA
Posted on: July 12, 2010 1:15 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 1:16 pm
 

Knicks to form own Big 3?

Posted by Royce Young

Typically wedding toasts include a funny story about the groom, some crude comment, some marriage advice or all of the above. Most times however, they don't include proclamations about new NBA superteams.

The NY Post's Marc Berman reports that at Carmelo Anthony's wedding this past weekend, Chris Paul grabbed the mic and started tossing around talk of a new Big 3, this one in the Big Apple.

Berman writes: "According to a person who spoke with wedding attendee Amar'e Stoudemire, Paul made the reference during a speech of a potential union of himself, Stoudemire and Anthony, saying, 'We'll form our own Big 3,' Paul allegedly said."

Of course "our own Big 3" refers to Paul, Anthony and newly signed Knickerbocker, Amare Stoudemire. And it goes without saying, some random wedding toast that may or may not have happened doesn't actually mean the Knicks can plan on their own Super Trio. But then again, who would've thought free agent summits and a supposed handshake deal in Beijing would give the Heat theirs?

A strange and unpredictable world, this NBA free agency is.
 
 
 
 
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