Tag:LeBron James
Posted on: July 27, 2010 6:12 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 8:30 pm
 

Offseason Reviews: Central Division

Posted by Matt Moore

With only a handful of free agents left on the market and with summer league over, we thought we'd take a look at how teams in the Central Division did over the summer in negotiating their moves.

Chicago Bulls

Added: Carlos Boozer (sign-and-trade), Kyle Korver (free agency), Ronnie Brewer (free agency), Kurt Thomas (free agency), C.J. Watson (trade)
Lost: Kirk Hinrich (trade), Hakim Warrick (sign-and-trade), Brad Miller (free agency)

Philosophy: "Why have excellent when you can have above-average?"

Well, hey, they didn't get LeBron. Or Dwyane Wade. Or Chris Bosh. Or Amar'e Stoudemire. But they got Carlos Boozer!

And sure, they didn't get Anthony Morrow. Or J.J. Redick (though they tried). But they got Kyle Korver!

And that's pretty much the Bulls summer. The Bulls swung out on the big boys and got the next best thing they could rustle up. Boozer's numbers are good, and he certainly solves a lot of their needs. That's really what it comes down to. All of the Bulls' signings were exactly what they needed, they just weren't the best guys they could get. Carlos Boozer gives them a low-post power forward with offensive versatility. He's just not Amar'e Stoudemire or Chris Bosh. Kyle Korver adds three-point shooting,and was a better option than even Anthony Morrow would have been. Ronnie Brewer may have been their best signing. They essentially took Kirk Hinrich, a defensive combo-guard that can't really shoot anymore (I'll never figure out where his shot went), and his considerable salary and moved him for Brewer, a defensive combo-wing that can't shoot.

It's hard to knock the Bulls, since they did at least stay aggressive, and did make moves. And trying to grade them based on expectations in this competitive of a year is tough. But with one of the biggest markets, cap space, and a handful of advantages, you still have to look at their moves and ask "Really?"

Grade: B-

Cleveland Cavaliers

Added: Ramon Sessions (trade), Ryan Hollins (trade), Christian Eyenga (draft)
Lost: LeBron freaking James (sign-and-trade), Delonte West (trade), Sebastian Telfair (trade), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (free agency)

Philosophy: "Not with a bang, but with 'The Decision'"

Yeah, I think this pretty much sums it up .

How do you judge them for this? How do you evaluate them after losing the most important player in franchise history in one of the most embarrassing ways possible? Can you blame them? Can you exonerate them simply because of James' classless behavior? At the end of the day, it's the responsibility of a front-office to make the team the best it can be. And in this case, it didn't. Whether there were forces beyond their control or foresight is irrelevant. We are judged by our performances, and the results sadly speak for themselves.

Sessions is a great pick-up, though, and Hollins has some potential outside of the triangle.

Grade: F+

Detroit Pistons


Added: Greg Monroe (draft), Terrico White (draft), Ben Wallace (re-signed)
Lost: none

Philosophy: "Running in place is good for the soul."

Such a wasted opportunity. Rip Hamilton, out there to move, with teams who missed out on the Big 3 needing impact players. Tayshaun Prince, same deal. Rodney Stuckey, conceivably expendable. Instead, Joe Dumars and company elected to simply do nothing. No additions, no trades, no moves. Just the consistency of mediocrity. Perhaps the idea is that things could not go as badly as they did last season. And it's hard to argue against that, with all the injuries. But the problems remain with an ineffective frontcourt and an inconsistent backcourt. There was still a lot Dumars could have pursued, he's pulled off those moves before. But instead he seems convinced that this roster as constructed can get the job done.

The shining light? Greg Monroe looks good. Really good. The kind of low-post player they've needed for years and have been getting by with Kwame Brown for. The wasted opportunity docks them, but their draft was solid enough to save them to a degree.

Grade: C-

Indiana Pacers


Added: Paul George (draft), Lance Stephenson (draft), Magnum Rolle (draft)

Lost:
none

Philosophy:
"The vague semblance of a plan."

The Pacers did the same amount of stuff that the Pistons did, so they get the same grade right? Sadly, no. Fair is not always equal. The Pacers get a much improved grade from years past thanks to their willingness to go away from what has been their calling card. Instead of opting for big-resume players from major programs in college and veteran marginal free agents, the Pacers went with talent. Best talent available. And now? They have a roster with movable veteran pieces (Ford, Murphy, Foster), with replacements in place for them, and have managed to get involved in multiple talks for Granger without losing leverage.

Lance Stephenson, even if Summer League was a complete mirage, has long-term value to be able to invest in at both the point guard and combo-guard position. George has long-term development potential. Roy Hibbert has been given opportunities to develop and showed signs last year, and they didn't do anything in the draft or free agency to interfere with that. Even Magnum Rolle looks like a decent backup prospect.

I don't really know how to live in a world where I'm about to give this grade, but I'm going to.

Grade: B+

Milwaukee Bucks


Added:   John Salmons (re-signed, Drew Gooden (free agency), Corey Maggette (trade), Jon Brockman (trade), Keyon Dooling (free agency), Larry Sanders (draft), Darington Hobson (draft), Tiny Gallon (draft)
Lost:   Luke Ridnour (free agency), Kurt Thomas (free agency), Royal Ivey (free agency), Charlie Bell (trade), Dan Gadzuric (trade), Darnell Jackson (trade)

Philosophy:
"LOCK AND LOAD."

I love what the Bucks did. I hate what the Bucks did. I totally understand what the Bucks did. I'm completely baffled by what the Bucks did.

Okay, here's what we know.

John Hammond believes this roster can contend. Andrew Bogut, when healthy, can be the cornerstone. Brandon Jennings will only get better. They have movable assets of value. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is versatile and talented at multiple positions. They needed scoring. A high-volume, high-usage, efficient shooter that isn't named Michael Redd Who Has No Legs. So they got Corey Maggette. Nice. That works. Sure, Maggette's a defensive question mark, but we've seen terrible defenders become semi-decent in good systems, and the Bucks have one of the best around. They re-signed Salmons, for a lot less than I thought he would garner in this market. They now have offense and defense.

But in addition to that, the Bucks got gluttonous. Drew Gooden, for the amount of money he was signed for is fairly unforgivable. Three days later, Hammond got Salmons back for a quality price. It was like every move they made, they followed with one on the other end of the sense spectrum. One thing is for certain: the Bucks are good at power forward. After watching Larry Sanders look fairly incredible at Summer League, I'm ready to commit to a bet that the Bucks will lead the league in blocks next season. With Bogut, Gooden, Mbah a Moute, Sanders, and whoever else gets in on the act, I think they have a good shot at that.

The question is if the unbalanced nature of their acquisitions (all high-usage players) will maintain a balance with their defense to ensure they reach last year's performance and exceed it. And on that front, it's a mixed grade.

Grade: B-



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 23, 2010 1:47 pm
 

Wade talks to Jimmy Kimmel on how it went down

Posted by Royce Young

Dwyane Wade appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night and talked a lot about the whole situation in Miami. Well, actually Jimmy Kimmel just pretty much prodded Wade a bit, and made fun of the Knicks. It's good stuff. One interesting note: Sounds like Wade's eight-year-old son is actually the architect of all this.





Via PBT
Posted on: July 22, 2010 2:36 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2010 9:47 pm
 

LeBron advises Chris Paul on his "decision"

Posted by Royce Young

Nobody is blaming Chris Paul for wanting out of New Orleans. The roster is a wreck, the Hornets fired a coach he liked, fired their general manager and ownership is changing hands. There's no direction and really, no immediate success on the horizon.

And today, CP3 got an endorsement for someone that may sour some on Paul's demands. LeBron James tweeted: "Best of luck to my brother @oneandonlycp3 . Do what's best for You and your family." At this point, LeBron endorsing CP3's idea to leave his club is like Bernie Madoff recommending the next Secretary of the Treasury.

Brian Windhorst of the Plain Dealer put it rather brilliantly in just 140 characters : "These days 'brand management' & 'doing what is best for your family' apparently means turning off as many of your fans as possible. "

It's almost getting to the point where someone could commit armed robbery or sell meth and it would be justified as long as they precluded it with a, "I'm going to do what's best for me and my family." Wait, actually that's the plot of Breaking Bad and honestly, within the context of that show, it makes total sense.

But this isn't life or death here. This is basketball . If I were being careless with words, I'd make some sort of comparison to the World Trade Center or poverty in Africa here. But that's the point - this line of looking out for number one is getting old, because we all really know it's just an excuse to get what you want. It's not about the greater good, it's about numero uno. Doing what's best for "me and my family" really just means, "Where am I going to have the on-court success, get the glory I feel I deserve and make bunches of money?"

What's interesting is that LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul all just made a trip out to Vegas to talk to Team USA as they prepare for the World Championships. So it's clearly interesting that LeBron wanted his encouraging note to CP3 to be public. He could've just leaned over and told him while out in Vegas together. And no one is so naive to think that Paul hasn't talked to LeBron and Wade about all this anyway. Maybe that's where the original seed was planted. Paul is repped by the same agent as LeBron so the people that orchestrated the King's departure from Cleveland could surely manufacture the same for CP3 and New Orleans.

The thing is, it's not a bad thing at all to do what you want to do. Actually, it's a good thing! LeBron wanted to go to Miami. He didn't really hurt his reputation in my mind, he just hurt his legacy. And if he's fine with that, I have no qualms. Paul could escape NOLA and be the good guy. He wouldn't take near the blowback LeBron has received and CP3 will be seen as the victim. Nobody would blame him for leaving.

But Windhorst's point remains - just because you do what you want doesn't mean everyone is going to be behind it. Paul's efforts to get out of New Orleans has already surely hurt his standing with the Hornet fanbase. But it's not about that for CP3. It's about brand, about money and about what's best for me. And I'm not entirely sure that's really such a bad thing. Or is it?

Posted on: July 22, 2010 9:24 am
Edited on: July 22, 2010 12:40 pm
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Posted on: July 22, 2010 8:16 am
 

Shootaround: 7.22.10

Posted by Royce Young
  • Brian T. Smith of The Columbian with an update on Rudy Fernandez: "Blazers are actively pursuing trade for Fernandez. Team is willing to keep Fernandez, though, and will not give him away for "free." Blazers feel that situation with Fernandez has come to a head. His continuing talk about possible move has team wanting to resolve situation. If Fernandez chooses to play elsewhere, Blazers could place him on suspended list. Team doesn't think it will come to that, though. Only way Fernandez is not on Blazers' roster at start of season is if he is traded. Team will not release him or "sell" his rights."
  • The Painted Area, one of the very best places for international basketball commentary, thinks the US is sn underdog in Turkey : "I'm certainly not counting out the U.S., but to me as of today, the signs point to Spain being the favorites to win gold, and extend a remarkable national sporting run including Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam titles, Pau Gasol's NBA championships, FIBA gold medals at the 2006 Worlds and 2009 EuroBasket plus silvers at the 2007 EuroBasket and 2008 Olympics, and football championships at the 2008 Euro and 2010 FIFA World Cup."
  • ESPN's ombudsman looks at The Decision : "ESPN can brush off concerns raised about "The Decision," but it does so at its own peril. A major component of ESPN's appeal -- a value the network has cultivated for three decades -- is that the audience trusts what it's watching. Viewers want to believe the network is treating them respectfully, openly, fairly and honestly. If not, why should they bother watching."
  • An interesting dilemma for Cleveland: Should the Cavs retire LeBron's number ? On the one hand, no way! How could anyone forgive him in Cleveland for what happened. But on the other, he's clearly the best player the franchise has ever had and led them to the most success they've had. I say no, but it's close. (via TrueHoop )
  • More on the Shaq to Atlanta situation from Hoopinion : "Shaq for $2 million next season makes far more sense than spending the MLE for X number of years on Shaq. Not that it's any more realistic than Joe Johnson agreeing to a 4-year, $60 million extension last Summer, but, hey, it's worth a shot."
  • Rony Seikaly - yes, that Rony Seikaly - has a single out . It's titled "Come With Me" and as Trey Kerby of Ball Don't Lie says, "That's certainly something."
Posted on: July 21, 2010 11:42 am
Edited on: July 21, 2010 11:43 am
 

And Chili's responds via a comic sans letter

Posted by Royce Young

Last week at the ESPYs, Steve Carell made a decision .

After much deliberation, he decided to take his appetitie to the Outback Steakhouse. Of his decision to eat at Outback over long-time favorite Chili's, Carell said "Well I had a good run with Chili's and in a perfect world I'd be eating at Chili's constantly, but tonight there's no rules. Just right. Outback Steakhouse." The parody was one of the highlights of this year's ESPYs and frankly, all these parodies have almost made LeBron's one-hour annoucement special kind of worth it. I said almost.

But Chili's, not one to miss out on capitalizing on an opportunity, responded in the only way it should: in comic sans.

Chili's letter

Brilliant. Complete with random use of quotations and capitalization. Well played Chili's.

One ironic thing to note about Carell's decision: As Michael Scott on The Office, Carell's most famous role, he's an outspoken lover of Chili's . And yet he chose Outback. Just like LeBron, Carell made a business decision and strayed from his roots.

[Media Bistro via Yardbarker ]


Posted on: July 19, 2010 6:00 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2010 6:02 pm
 

Video: Offseason update

Posted by Royce Young

A quick rundown in video form of what's happening around the league:




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