Posted on: December 8, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 7:35 pm
Posted by Royce Young
It was inevitable. Chris Paul wasn't going to start the 2012-13 season in New Orleans. The only question there was how much of the 2011-12 season he'd spend there.
The answer came late on Thursday, just a few hours before training camp and free agency officially opens: Chris Paul, pending a deal going through, will be a Los Angeles Laker.
Whoa. I mean, whoa.
The Hornets had to act quickly and swiftly in order to maximize the return on their franchise guy. The longer Dell Demps waited, the lower the asking price he'd have to slap on CP3.
So, what do they get in exchange for the guy that been been their face for the past six seasons? Is it anything close to equaling Paul's value?
Here's the breakdown: Chris Paul goes to L.A. with Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic and Luis Scola going to New Orleans. With a pick getting tossed in on the back-end of it (Knicks 2012 first-rounder).
So really, the Hornets did pretty well. Not just well, actually. As good as they probably could possibly do. Chris Paul is a more valuable player than Carmelo Anthony, but in comparing this trade to that trade, the Hornets did far better than the Nuggets did. The Hornets get Odom, a player with a ton of trade value that they can flip for a young talent and a draft pick from Houston to help rebuild with. Or deal Martin and Scola as well to blow it all up and get a heap of talent and picks. Scola's not young at 31 and Martin is 28.
But here's the thing: If the Hornets wanted, they could just stick with this group for this season and probably make a postseason run. Dragic isn't the best point guard in the world, but he's certainly serviceable. And besides, Odom might be playing that more than anyone else in the end, if they so choose. Scola is a talented 4 and Martin is the posterboy for efficient scoring.
Dragic, Martin, Trevor Ariza (or Odom), Scola and Emeka Okafor. With Odom (or Ariza) off the bench. That's a pretty good group of six, no? This team could conceivably be a playoff contender for the next two seasons and then figure out where to go from there after that when they presumably have new ownership.
Considering the circumstances, it's hard to imagine how the Hornets could've done better outside of baiting the Clippers into giving them Eric Gordon and that unprotected pick from Minnesota. And even still, New Orleans has options right now. Lots of them. They can stick with the current roster, maintain a level of flexibility (Martin expires in 2013, Scola in 2014 and Odom after this season), and look to rebuild in the coming years.
Replacing a player like Chris Paul is pretty much impossible. He's meant everything to your franchise and taken you to unseen levels of success. But he wasn't staying. And the team wasn't going anywhere this year with him anyway. Demps did the wise thing and cut his losses. It's just a matter of how well he did and in this case, I'd say his return is just about as good as it could be.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 11:44 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 6:13 pm
By EOB staff
So there's kind of a lot going on right now in terms of Chris Paul. It's extremely likely that he'll still be a Hornet when camp starts Friday, and very likely that he'll still be one when the season starts on December 25th. But there has been such a deafening cacophony of intelligence (or absence thereof, depending on your view of the media) regarding who is in the Hunt for Paul, that we need to keep an eye on things.
Yahoo Sports reports Chris Paul to the Lakers
Ken Berger confirms a Yahoo Sports report that the Hornets have begun informing teams they are sending Chris Paul to the Lakers for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom in a straight-up deal.
More on this as it develops.
Hornets still exploring Celtics offer, might go without third team
Yahoo Sports reports that the Hornets are starting to get past the idea of needing to bring in Indiana for a three-way deal with Boston and are instead exploring the idea of going straight up and taking the Celtics' offer of Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green via sign-and-trade, and the Clippers first-rounder. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that a possible hang-up would be Jeff Green having to agree to the deal, which he may not if he's going to what would certainly seem to be a lottery team. It would be a great deal for the Celtics. For the Hornets, everything would come down to how that Clippers pick worked out, but at least they get two young above-average players and a quality pick, which is more than they would pull from the Lakers or in the three-way with Houston.
Speaking of, David Aldridge of TNT/NBA.com reports more details. The Rockets would send Martin and Scola (as outlined below), along with Goran Dragic and multiple first and second round picks. That's quite a haul. But considering the age of the two bigger names in the deal (31 and 28 for Scola and Martin respectively), the question is if the Hornets want to stay in the playoff race right now to ensure ticket sales and to stay competitive, or go young. The Hornets are still looking for the perfect deal, or at least the best one, and as of yet, that deal has not come available.
Lakers looking at a three-way deal with Houston to bring CP3 to L.A.?2:19 p.m. -- Could the Lakers and Celtics be going head-to-head for Chris Paul now? Accoding to SI.com, the Lakers, Hornets and Rockets are engaged in a three-way deal that would send Paul to Los Angeles.
We've heard this story before, but getting a third team involved is interesting. And what do the Rockets have to gain by jumping in? The Lakers have the pieces needed, I'd think, to pull off a trade with New Orleans. Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom -- those are serious pieces. But Houston could ramp it up with extra picks and assets which could make this a very real scenario.
According to Yahoo! Sports and confirmed by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, some of the names being floated in this deal are Paul to L.A., Pau Gasol to Houston and Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and picks to New Orleans. That right there, is a blockbuster deal.
And if the Lakers were to manage this, they could conceivably put together a deal using Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom to acquire Dwight Howard. It really is possible. Scary thoughts right there. -- Royce Young
Celtics back in the mix for CP3?11:33 a.m. -- The Celtics are back in the action. Yahoo! Sports reports that with the Clippers and Warriors both unwilling to give up players who are not as good as Chris Paul (Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon) to get Chris Paul due to fear he will depart in free agency, the Celtics have re-emerged as a viable candidate despite Paul's reluctance to be traded there or sign long-term. It should be noted that the current reticence by both Golden State and Los Angeles completely overlooks the fact that under the new CBA, there is literally no financial incentive for Paul to sign an extension versus entering free agency and re-signing with their team once they prove they can win. And if they don't win, then the experiment is a failure and it's time to start over anyway. Considering both franchises won a combined 68 games last year, it's a bit odd. But the fear of a true rebuild is too devastating for them. Now on to the Celtics.
The Celtics situation goes something like this. Being Boston, they don't have the same fears as most franchises do in regards to players abandoning them. If they can win the title, then have the cap space in 2012 to make a run at Dwight Howard, that might be what it takes to sway Paul's mind and convince him to stay, so the risk would be worth the reward in trading for him without an extension or assurances he'll re-sign. Yahoo! reports a deal being offered involves a three-way-swap with Indiana, in which the Pacers get Rajon Rondo who the Hornets aren't gaga over, and the Hornets get Darren Collison, who they traded in 2010 to Indiana, back, along with Tyler Hansbrough, Brandon Rush, and draft picks. The Hornets want Danny Granger, but there's no indication if Indiana is open to that deal, despite Granger having been on the block for years. That's an awful lot for the Pacers to give up just to get Rajon Rondo, despite Rondo being one of the best point guards in the league. In short, he's not Chris Paul.
Meanwhile, a small note in the Yahoo! report says Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul have spoken by phone this week as the Lakers continue to try and land the ultimate coup of both Paul and Dwight Howard as well. So the heavy hitters are very much in the room on this.
The Boston Herald reports that a source close to Paul says the Celtics' window is too short, having only one year of contention. But if the Celtics were to immediately land Dwight Howard in free agency, that might convince Paul to re-sign, especially with the lure of the extra year available to the Celtics under the new CBA. Other teams would only be able to offer a four-year deal, vs. Boston's five. That might add even more incentive for the Lakers to pull of a trade for Howard, since it would block Boston from being able to put the two together, as well as, you know, giving the Lakers the best center in the league.
ESPN.com reports that the Lakers are offering Pau Gasol as the centerpiece of any deal, while wanting to keep their best asset, Andrew Bynum, as a trade chip to attempt to acquire Howard. Gasol is 31 with three years and $57 million left on his deal, so it's hard to see the Hornets opting to take in Gasol, which would leave the Lakers trying to pull in a third team to make a deal with.
Finally, the Knicks are reportedly seeking a third and/or fourth team to try and trade for Paul but aren't having much luck. Isiah Thomas' involvement in the Melo saga last year is the gift that keeps on giving.
We've joked about it before, we'll joke about it again. Like the owers said, this new CBA that cost the league 16 games will help improve competitive balance... for the top five teams in the league on both coasts. -- Matt Moore
Posted on: November 29, 2011 9:31 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 10:46 am
By Matt Moore
The Los Angeles Lakers have a championship core. This same group of players were responsible for two out of the past three titles, and even without the services of Phil Jackson, there's every reason to believe that this team as-is can win another title with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum as its engine. But what comes after? The Lakers have begun looking to the future. They don't just want to stay competitive towards the end of Kobe Bryant's career, they want to transition seamlessly into their next phase of dominance.
And that means acquiring one of the big free agents in 2012, Dwight Howard or Chris Paul. Except they don't want one of those two. They reportedly want both.
From Mark Heisler, who covered the Lakers as a beat writer before taking up with SheridanHoops.com:
When the NBA couldn’t get a full ban on sign-and-trades, it left his Lakers in position to pull off a coup they’re dreaming of, which would make signing LeBron James pale by comparison.via Lakers will look to acquire Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.
Just to review. We just had a five-month lockout because teams were upset about large market teams acquiring multiple stars, scavenging small markets and leaving them with nothing. And the Los Angeles Lakers and their 17 professional basketball championships are aiming for both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Glad we lost those 16 games over this.
There are a large numbrer of reasons why this is unlikely to happen. For starters, Chris Paul reportedly has New York as his first choice. Secondly, the biggest advantage the Lakers have is the assets to trade for Paul which the Knicks don't have. But the new CBA does have one new stipulation to prevent such dealings, the extend-and-trade adjustments. While sign-and-trade restrictions don't take effect until 2013, early reports indicate that extend-and-trade restrictions are immediate. The changes say that the same setup that Carmelo Anthony used to get his way to New York and get the extra year on his deal via Bird Rights is different.
The changes to the CBA suggest that teams that extend-and-trade a player can only extend him for three, versus the maximum four-year extension or five year re-sign he gets for staying with the home team. The only way around that is a six-month waiting period. The Hornets could re-sign Paul to the full Bird rights extension and then trade him, but they would have to wait six months. But a more likely scenario would see the following scenario: the Lakers can trade for Paul in the final year of his contract and then extend him, but that must be done after six months. Which means, they have to acquire him six months prior to his free agency beginning on July 1. Which means they have to acquire him by... January 1. With a season starting on the 25th. Not exactly a lot of time to pull that off.
All of these elements are in place for Dwight Howard, and Deron Williams (should the Nets just give up for some reason) as well.
The most likely scenario involves Paul entering free agency, and then signing a four year contract with Los Angeles or New York. But if the Lakers were to acquire Paul prior to free agency, it would give them an extra year to offer Paul, and it's hard to imagine him passing that up. Max contracts with bird-rights are five years, as opposed to the four-year counting option-year of an extension.
But if the Lakers want to acquire either player (or both, if we like fantasies), then they're going to need to trade some of that core. Specifically, Jim Buss would have to give up on his pet project, Andrew Bynum. Lamar Odom and pieces might be able to acquire Chris Paul, but there's no sense in bringing in Howard and pairing him with Bynum. Either playing power forward would be clunky and awkward. Where this leaves Pau Gasol is yet to be seen.
Hornets fans have to love all this. LOVE IT.
Posted on: November 27, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 1:55 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
It's over. The 2011 NBA lockout is finally, mercifully over. Let's hail the victors and pity the vanquished in this rundown of the NBA lockout's winners and losers.
Over the next six years, the owners succeeded in shifting more than 1 billion dollars into their pockets by negotiating their share of the Basketball-Related Income split from 43 percent in the old deal to a 49 percent to 51 percent band in the new deal. That number could grow to more than 2 billion if both parties agree to continue the deal through to its full 10-year length.
In addition to the players' 10-figure financial give-back, the owners received major concessions on virtually every important issue governed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Contract lengths are getting shorter from a maximum of six years to a maximum of five years for players who are re-signing and four years for other free agents, meaningfully reducing the level of financial security players feel while also reducing the burden of bad contracts on a team. The mid-level exception system is shrinking, which hits the middle class free agents hardest while helping to keep owners from overpaying for mediocre talent. The luxury tax system is getting tougher, which limits the very highest-spending teams’ ability to compete and/or set the market for free agents while theoretically creating a slightly more level playing field between large and small market teams.
Whether or not you agree with the logic behind these major changes, their collective impact combined with the clear financial victory makes this negotiation a strong-arm highway robbery. And all it cost: less than 20 percent of the games in one season (and some hurt feelings among die-hard fans).
Losers: NBA Players
Any time you leave a negotiation thinking, “Well, this is bad, but it could have been worse,” you lost that negotiation. National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter even admitted that a recent NBA offer was “not the greatest proposal in the world", yet he and the players tentatively agreed to a deal very similar to the one he bashed publicly. This happened because the players never had real leverage or good alternatives. They were squeezed and had no escape route.
But, it could have been worse. The mid-level system in the agreement provides more spending power for teams (and thus more money for free agents) than in previous proposals. The luxury tax system is significantly tougher than the one in the previous CBA, but not as draconian as a hard cap – something that the owners maintained that they wanted for the longest time – and not as punitive as earlier reports indicated it might be. The NBA also increased its spending floor for all of its teams, providing additional suitors for free agents and theoretically helping to prevent players from getting stuck on teams that totally slash-and-burn their rosters with no intention of actually competing.
Losers: Miami Heat
Despite the salary cap good news, the Heat are also short-term losers. The 2011-2012 season now officially bears the historical taint associated with an abridged schedule. The 2012 Finals winner, no matter who it is, will bear the asterisk of being “lockout champions.” That’s fine if you are the Dallas Mavericks defending your 2011 title or the Los Angeles Lakers adding to your stockpile, but if you’re James, Wade, Bosh and company, your first title needs to be clean or critics will mercilessly work to invalidate it. Winning in 2012 will require Miami to win future titles to prove that their triumph wasn’t a short season fluke. In other words, James and company will carry a burden into the 2012-2013 season even if he finally wins his first ring.
Until a recent minor knee tweak by Fernandez, all four NBA players made it through their international excursions in good health. No NBA player made more money playing hoops during the lockout than Williams, who took a risk in broadening his family’s horizons and staying active that paid off in game checks and lack of boredom. Parker and Batum returned home to France, garnering a hero’s welcome, while Fernandez did the same in Spain, where he is extraordinarily popular. All three put up big numbers and gave their fans a chance to see them during their peak years rather just a victory lap when their NBA careers are through. That’s got to be an incredibly fulfilling feeling.
Losers: Anyone that gets stuck in China
The Chinese Basketball Association insisted on preventing NBA opt-out provisions in its contracts, theoretically tying any player who signed with a team in that league through March, when the regular season ends. Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, Yi Jianlian, Aaron Brooks, Patty Mills and others agreed to play in China and now their future is uncertain. Best case: their Chinese team agrees to release them so they can return to the United States. Worst case: they remain stuck until March, when finding a good NBA landing spot, not to mention salary number, could be significantly more difficult. The major consolation here is that Chinese teams were reportedly offering seven-figure deals, so guys that are trapped until March won’t be leaving empty-handed.
Saving The Season
We’ve been saying for months and months that no player needs a 2011-2012 season more than Kobe Bryant. At 33, losing a year of his career would have been a disaster, and not just because he would have lost more than $25 million in salary. Bryant is embarking on dual epic quests: passing Michael Jordan in total number of championships and passing Michael Jordan on the all-time points list. Salvaging a season gives him a much better chance at both goals.
Loser: Greg Oden
The Portland Trail Blazers center has not appeared in an NBA game since Dec. 2009 and is now a full year removed from his most recent microfracture surgery. Even so, The Oregonian reports that Oden still doesn't have a firm timetable on an expected return to the court and hasn't yet been cleared for basketball activities. Oden is a restricted free agent and now must enter contract negotiations without the ability to prove he can play again. Contract aside, a lost season would have helped delay the return of the enormous pressure he faces as a former No. 1 overall pick; now, Oden will likely come back to Portland, where expectations are still gigantic, after hiding out for most of the lockout, only to face another round of jokes and barbs about his health.
The best way for a player to improve his standing with basketball die-hards is to show off his own unrequited love of the game. James, Durant and Jennings stood above the crowd in their dedication to playing in organized events across the country, connecting directly with fans and providing hope even when the lockout turned ugliest. Twitter and savvy sneaker campaigns – “Basketball Never Stops” and “Are You From Here?” – helped keep the positive momentum going. There’s no question all three guys made lifelong fans with their actions over the last six months.
Loser: Michael Beasley
Beasley got busted for marijuana, threw an "All-Star Classic" charity game in which all the All-Stars bailed, shoved a fan in the face during a New York City exhibition, and sued his former agent and AAU coach – his surrogate father during high school – alleging major NCAA rules violations. He also hired and was then dropped by a PR firm that was working to help improve his image. To top it all off, he spoke out against his players union, saying that it was "kind of retarded" for the players to be fighting over a few BRI percentage points. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves now bring to camp the No. 2 overall draft pick, Derrick Williams, who will be an instant fan favorite and figures to compete for his minutes.
HoopMixTape.com and other highlight-reel videographers saw major upticks in traffic and interest during the summer pro-am and fall charity league circuits. Their ability to take high quality, professional footage and cut it together seamlessly in a matter of hours feeding the hoops need for basketball's year-round global audience in nearly real-time.
Losers: NBA Online
The NBA’s decision to strip its websites of references to players and to start a Twitter account to aggressively push its labor message to media members, and even players, came off petty, heavy-handed and way too Big Brother in an arena that is supposed to be about fun, not business. The league has some serious fence-mending to do, especially with its core audience. It’s unclear whether the league knows that or not.
Posted on: November 22, 2011 11:01 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2011 11:07 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
In 2010, it was a world-beater. In 2011, it crash-landed into an after-thought. No, we're not talking about the Triangle Offense.
Power Balance wristbands, an obviously overpriced fad that took off for no apparent reason and generated tens of millions of dollars worth of sales last year, came crashing back to Earth this week, when lawsuits concerning sketchy marketing claims forced the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week.
This looked like just another tale of junk science passing for hip fashion only to crumble after its 15 minutes of fame were up until things got a bit more interesting, when Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant turned up in the company's list of creditors.
Somehow, the Orange County Register reports, the wristband maker's debt to Bryant runs well into six figures.
The company, incorporated in Delaware, has assets of less than $10 million and debts of $10 million to $50 million, according to court filings. Among the biggest creditors are the Los Angeles Kings Hockey Club, $250,491; Sacramento Kings basketball team, $100,000; and entities representing Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant, $400,000; pro skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, $25,000; Clippers center Blake Griffin, $20,000, among others.CNBC.com reports that Bryant, who was wearing the bracelets as recently as the 2011 playoffs, was just one of many NBA stars to sport them. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce, Shaquille O'Neal, Derrick Rose, Lamar Odom and Brandon Jennings all wore and/or endorsed the product.
With career earnings of more than $196 million in salary plus tens of millions more in endorsements and at least $57 million in future money (2012-2013 and 2013-2014 salaries) coming from the Lakers, the $400,000 is a drop in the bucket for Bryant. But surely there is an interesting "Behind The Music" special explaining how someone as coldly analytic on the court as Bryant could wind up dumping so much money -- money that he'll likely never see again -- on such a blatant gimmick.
The company, which holds naming rights to the Sacramento Kings' arena, plans to keep those rights according to a statement from the team posted on SacTownRoyalty.com. In a dream/nightmare world, a judge orders Power Balance to transfer that title to Bryant in a settlement so the Kings can play in "Kobe Bryant stadium".
Posted on: November 17, 2011 1:48 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 9:21 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
A few weeks back, we noted an excerpt from Shaquille O'Neal's new book, Shaq Uncut, in which the NBA legend described threatening to kill his former Los Angeles Lakers teammates, Kobe Bryant.
"If you ever say anything like what you said to Jim Gray ever again, I will kill you," O'Neal wrote that he told Bryant, after Bryant disparaged O'Neal's work ethic in a media interview.
On Thursday, O'Neal joined Stephen A. Smith on ESPN to clarify that death threat.
"That [threat] happened back then," O'Neal said. "It's well-documented. It's like an Ebonics statement. I've wanted to kill you many times, Stephen A., but we're still cool."
O'Neal said that he now thinks of Bryant as "one of the greatest Lakers" of all time and that the two clashed because of personality differences.
"Leadership styles vary when you're dealing with tasks or relationships," O'Neal said. "I was more task-oriented. With me being the leader of the team, me being the CEO, everything had to go my way. Sometimes when you focus on the tasks, the relationship dwindles. It was all a respect thing. The task was completed. We won three out of four [titles]. We were the most dominant, most controversial duo ever created. That's all that matters."
While the book excerpt certainly makes it seem as if O'Neal took Bryant's criticism personally, he tried to play it off, saying that the media blew up the situation into more than it actually was.
"I'm a businessman, I don't take anything personal," O'Neal claimed. "A lot of the stuff was you [media] guys trying to get in. He'd say something to one guy and he'd write it. I'd say something to another guy, they'd write it. At times it was fun for me. You have to understand one thing about me, I always knew what I was doing. Everything I do has always been calculated."
Despite the death threat, the endless squabbling, the forced trade to the Miami Heat, and the lost potential for additional titles in Los Angeles, O'Neal said he left the tumultuous Lakers chapter of his life with no regrets.
"I played 19 years and if I had to do it all over, I would do the exact same thing. Even though [Kobe and I] had media friction, if you look at the clip you just showed, when I won my first championship, who jumped in my arms? At the second championship, who was on stage laughing at me and Mark Madsen? After the third championship, who hung out and partied together?"
With the past firmly in the past, O'Neal sounded confident that his legacy is secure and that the Bryant beef only adds to his legend.
"We haven't played together in 10 years and you're still talking about it," O'Neal concluded. "And 20 years from now you'll still be talking about it."
Posted on: November 17, 2011 9:43 am
By Matt Moore
TMZ reports that Shaq showed up at a club looking like all ragged and the club wouldn't let him in.
TMZ has learned ... Shaq rolled up to nightclub/restaurant Mars 2112 on Saturday night wearing jeans, a sweatshirt, tennis shoes and a beanie (pictured above with random fan).via Shaquille O'Neal REJECTED from Nightclub -- You're Dressed Like a Schlub!!! | TMZ.com.
My question is who had the fortitude to tell Shaquille freaking O'Neal he couldn't come in? How big was this bouncer? Good news is that O'Neal didn't pull the "Do you know who I am?" because that would just be stupid in his case. Not like you can mistake Shaq for someone else. Also... going out in public at night in jeans, a sweatshirt, tennis shoes, and a beanie... so Shaq's a blogger. That's what you're telling me.
So many questions. Did O'Neal not have better clothes with him? Did he just not feel like it? Is this some sort of new style no one knows about? Is it like Derelicte from Zoolander? How did the bouncers stop him, exactly? Did they set up some sort of barrier using sandbags when they saw him coming? I've met some insanely tough bouncers before, but, I mean, it's Shaq. I'm surprised they didn't have to call in artillery.
Good thing no one called Kobe when this happened. He would have rushed across the country just to go into the nightclub wearing boxers and a flamingo pink smoking jacket just to prove he could one-up Shaq.
OK, I think I'm done.
Posted on: November 13, 2011 2:35 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Here's something that may shock you: LeBron James thinks LeBron James could take Kobe Bryant in a one-on-one showdown. He told the HoopsFix during his trip to London that he'd take himself in a one-on-one matchup with Kobe when he was asked about it.
Last year, Kobe was there and was asked the same question and answered the same way: Kobe was taking Kobe. And he'd do it "in my sleep," as he said.
I like the way LeBron answered it more. "I'm not going to not take myself against anybody." That's the correct attitude for anyone, but it's especially the correct one for a guy that most fancy as the top player in the league. I mean really, can you imagine LeBron saying, "Yeah, I'd have to go with Kobe."
LeBron's entirely correct though: He's not really a one-on-one guy. That's one of the strongest aspects of his game and it's also one of the weakest. LeBron's involves teammates, creates scoring opportunities and is extremely unselfish with the ball. He'd rather make a great pass than take his man off the dribble. It's what makes him such a nightmare. You have to worry about him scoring as much as you have to worry about him creating for his teammate. He makes the other four players on the floor with him equal weapons.
But at the same time, there are moments where LeBron really does need to evolve into a one-on-one player and take over. He's done it before -- the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals against Detroit comes to mind -- but it's not a consistent thing he does. The 2010 Finals are the obvious example. Instead of LeBron just taking over, he was too passive and deferred too often.
Again, it's what makes him great. But it's also what holds him back sometimes.
LeBron finished it this way: "We won't see it. Nobody will ever see it. So y'all can stop asking that question." OK then.