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Tag:LeBron James
Posted on: July 15, 2010 11:32 am
 

Delonte West and the Cavs at a crossroads

Posted by Matt Moore

It's important from time to time to take stock of how quickly life can turn. How it can go from roses to ruin, and that's certainly the case with Delonte West.

West arrived in Cleveland in 2008 in a trade as what was considered an expendable piece of the puzzle the Cavs were trying to put together. But almost immediately, he and LeBron James developed an on-court rapport that was exactly what James needed. Someone to get out and run with, who could hit from the outside, and was always looking to find James to finish in transition. He fit in with the culture in Cleveland, was close with his teammates, and seemed to be gelling. Delonte's career was looking up like it never had.

But then, those same dark forces that bring down so many people in our world began circling West. West had previously admitted he suffered from bipolar disorder, a serious mental condition that inherently creates mental instability and mood swings. Before the 2009 season, West was arrested on gun charges while driving a three-wheeled motorcycle. After being pulled over, he was found to have a 9MM Beretta, a Ruger .357, and a shotgun in a guitar case. All loaded. The jokes were out of control from the media and blogosphere. Mad Max , Rambo . My personal favorite was Once Upon a Time in Mexico . But it wasn't funny. West's intentions were never made clear as to why he was driving with that much firepower, but things became even scarier when he skipped Cavs' training camp while dealing with "personal issues ."

West was in need of help, but wasn't accepting it, and his team and teammates were focused on a championship.

Quietly, West slipped back into the Cavs. The season began, the Cavs were winning, and all the troubles seemed behind West again. Then a second-round exit paved the way for a LeBron James exit. There were salacious rumors not suitable for post here that insinuated West was partially to do with James' departure. Then Thursday, he pled guilty to those same gun charges he was brought with a year ago. He faces electronic monitoring and extensive counseling, though his plea deal did help him to avoid jail time.

Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports this morning that David Stern is likely to follow up on that sentence with a 3-6 game suspension for West. Windhorst also reports that he's not expected back with the Cavaliers.

West has shown so much promise, and his problems have not been sourced by simple bad decisions (though there have been many) or a laziness on the floor. By all accounts he's been a good teammate and someone that coaches tend to like. He was a pivotal part of the East's top seed's playoff run. And within a matter of months, it's all gone, along with LeBron James.

Life can turn on you in an instant if you make the wrong moves and don't watch out for yourself, or if someone's not watching out for you.

Hopefully someone is watching out for Delonte West right now.


Posted on: July 14, 2010 12:12 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2010 12:17 pm
 

Shaq headed to Atlanta?

Posted by Royce Young

David Aldridge of NBA.com reports through league sources that the Cavaliers and Hawks are discussing a deal involving Shaquille O'Neal and Marvin Williams.

The deal would be a sign-and-trade sending Shaq, now 38, to Atlanta for Williams, a promising tweener that just hasn't had it click yet. As Aldridge wisely points out, the move would line up with new coach Byron Scott's intent to play at a higher pace next season.

Another thing from Aldridge of interest: "Scott has already indicated that J.J. Hickson will be the full-time starter at power forward next season, and said during Tuesday's NBA TV Las Vegas Summer League game between the Cavaliers and the D-League Select Team that he is contemplating bringing veteran forward Antawn Jamison off the bench." Aldridge also mentions that Atlanta is interested in veterans Kurt Thomas and Brad Miller as well.

With the Hawks dishing out a bunch of money to Joe Johnson, the budget is tight. However, Atlanta has a trade exception worth about $3 million, when it agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that will send forward Josh Childress to Phoenix for a future draft pick. The Hawks can use that exception to get a player making that much money. Shaq made $20 million last season in the final year of his contract but obviously knows he's going to have to take a paycut to keep playing.

But for the Cavs, life goes on after LeBron. Filling his void with Marvin Williams surely won't sooth the pain from LeBron's departure, but it's something for Cleveland to get for Shaq. The Cavs have been busy, inking guard Kyle Lowry to an offer sheet late Tuesday . However, indications are that Houston intends to match.

But all that is not what's important here. What's the nickname going to be if Shaq goes south? The Big ATL? Shaqlanta? These are the answers we really need.

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 9:37 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 9:38 pm
 

Gilbert fined $100,000 for using Comic Sans

Posted by Royce Young

Just kidding. But David Stern did say late Monday in a press conference that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has been fined $100,000 for his ranting letter about LeBron James' departure from Cleveland. Not for using the font though.

Stern called Gilbert's letter "extreme" and clearly didn't find the humor in the fact Gilbert wrote it in such a hilarious font.

If you don't recall, not long after LeBron's national television announcement, Gilbert popped off a heated letter on the official Cavaliers website , declaring LeBron an enemy of the state. Gilbert called LeBron's decision "narcissistic" and "cowardly." And as a cherry on top, he guaranteed the Cavs would win an NBA title "BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER 'KING' WINS ONE." All caps Gilbert's emphasis, not mine.

Stern, who doesn't take these sort of things lightly, said it wasn't just the letter though that brought down the 100K hammer. Gilbert gave an interview to AP radio shortly after The Decision and called LeBron a quitter. Stern said that also played a factor in the number against Gilbert.

Gilbert also responded earlier in an official statement to Rev. Jesse Jackson's comments that basically compared Gilbert to a slave owner. Gilbert said, "I strongly disagree with Rev. Jesse Jackson's recent comments and we are not going to engage in any related discussion on it." 

Posted on: July 12, 2010 12:30 pm
 

Mark Cuban wants re-evaluation of tampering rule

Posted by Royce Young

If you recall, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined $100,000 for comments he made back in May in regards to LeBron James. The league determined his comments fell under the anti-tampering policy.

So with word out about Pat Riley and the Heat's escapades to bring Dwyane Wade, LeBron and Chris Bosh to Miami, Cuban is obviously peturbed .

"I'm going to bring it up to the league that we really do have to re-evaluate the issue of player tampering," Cuban said. "Who knows what will happen? But I have to suggest it to them because there has to be more definitive rules ... It’s not just the Cavs. It could be any team. It could be the Heat in a couple years. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. But there has to be a way to keep these guys away from each other for the last week anyway.”

It's obviously possible that Cuban will file his own charge. But with the deals already done, it's unlikely the NBA will take action right away anyway.

I'm sure the league just can't wait to talk to Cuban. But he's got a point. Cuban is fined six figures for a seemingly harmless comment in a newspaper. Riley is meeting with players. Wade is organizing summits. Discussion about moving teams is reportedly happening mid-season and in the playoffs for crying out loud. There's some real gray area in the rule and Cuban doing what he does best : making some noise
Posted on: July 9, 2010 3:35 pm
 

Heat trying work sign-and-trade with Cleveland

Posted by Royce Young

And you thought this whole LeBron thing was over, didn't you?

Ira Winderman, who reported the Heat were signing Mike Miller, drops what appears to be fairly massive news: Miami is working on a sign-and-trade with Cleveland .

What does that mean you ask? Well, it opens the door for more possibilities for the Heat. This would give Miami the resources needed to re-sign Udonis Haslem, Quentin Richardson and Dorell Wright. And as Winderman points out, this tactic would allow the Heat to retain its mid-level salary-cap exception for 2010-11, which it then could utilize to complete its planned signing of Miller.

But this move neither affects the Miller signing, nor the LeBron one. It's just another scenario in this ever-evolving situation of LeBron going to Miami. Winderman says Miller will sign with Miami either way. But if this is pulled off, it will just allow the Heat a lot more wiggle room, because Miller could sign for the mid-level exception.

And plus, with a sign-and-trade, LeBron also makes more money. Which is an interesting dynamic. All that goodwill talk about LeBron taking less money to go Miami goes out the door, because now he'll make the same he would've in Cleveland (six years, about $125 million). But on the flip side, by the Cavs helping themselves in getting something in return, even if it's just a draft pick or two, they also help LeBron make more money. Which is something I have a hard time seeing Cavs owner Dan Gilbert be a fan of. You know, because of the whole crazy letter thing .

Winderman also says the Heat have contacted Matt Barnes for a spot on the SuperFriends roster. It's all taking shape for the Heat right now and if the sign-and-trade happens, Miami might avoid having a roster full of minimum salary guys, but instead, a pretty legit contender. Kind of scary to think about.
Posted on: July 9, 2010 12:25 pm
 

More misery in video form from Cleveland

Posted by Royce Young

Warning: This video might possibly cause light depression, even if you don't like the Cavs. Watch at your own risk.



That's some raw video from the AP from some establishments around Cleveland. As soon as LeBron mutters the words, "South Beach" you can literally see the air sucked out of the place. It was like someone shut the power off in the entire city. A couple people in the background appeared to be laughing in disbelief. You can even hear one fan shout out, "Turn it off! Turn it off! after the announcement. Somebody else yells, "Yeah, go jump on Wade's back!"

Yeah, I'm thinking this didn't go over that well there. On the other hand though, looks like the folks in Miami are happy .

 
 
 
 
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