Tag:Amar'e Stoudemire
Posted on: August 10, 2010 1:32 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2010 5:03 pm
 

The Chanukah song changed for Amar'e

Posted by Royce Young

Amar'e Stoudemire's trip to Israel and quest for Judaism has been fairly well documented. Stoudemire has been looking into his Jewish roots to figure out exactly how Hebrew he is.

But it doesn't matter anymore. Because Adam Sandler has officially knighted Stoudemire a true Jew, in the best way possible. Or at least a one of Sandler's songs has been altered to include Stoudemire. Same difference.

Everyone knows Sandler's famous Chanakuh song. Jimmy Shapio of Sports Radio Interviews has helped make an adendum to it, including new Jew, Amar'e Stoudemire. The updated verse goes like this:

David Lee Roth lights the menorah
So do James Caan, Kirk Douglas, and the late Dinah Shore-ah
Guess who eats together at the Carnegie Deli
Amar'e Stoudemire and Arthur Fonzerelli


The NBA features two Jewish players: Israeli Omri Casspi of the Sacramento Kings and Jordan Farmar of the New Jersey Nets. When Farmar joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2006, he became the NBA's first Jewish player since Danny Schayes -- son of Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes -- retired in 1999. And since Amar'e is officially in the club now thanks to slick audio editing, that makes three current Jewish NBA players.
Category: NBA
Posted on: August 3, 2010 7:44 am
Edited on: August 3, 2010 10:15 am
 

Shootaround 8.3.10: Pau Gasol has clown shoes

Posted by Matt Moore

All the news that's fit to sprint... get it? Get it? Okay, I'll just get to the bullets now.

  • New Suns head of basketball ops Lon Babby is looking for a "basketball genius" for his GM position. Oddly, Kevin Pritchard is not on his list of candidates. But Washington Wizards exec Tommy Shephard, along with former Hornets GM Jeff Bower and Cavs assistant GM Lance Blanks are on the list. So a guy involved in an expensive operation that resulted in one of the biggest firesales in recent memory, the man that orchestrated the run that drove CP3 to a trade demand, and a guy whose franchise is pretty much akin to smoldering ruins are on the list. That said, often these contexts hide genuine talents, so these candidates may reveal genuine success in their midsts.
  • Amar'e's search for his roots continue . This is a pretty culturally relevant escapade, and one that doesn't feel disingenuous, based off of what we know of Stoudemire. This is the same player who reads Sun Tzu and ponders philosophy while writing poetry. STAT's a deep dude, and his new ties to New York are pretty exciting in terms of what he could bring culturally as a basketball player, even if his "Hebrew" ties are overstated.
  • Mike D'Antoni will miss Team USA's trip to Turkey. He'll be replaced by Raptors head coach Jay Triano. Which is only slightly like going from a Lamborghini to a Volvo. Does Triano really have the experience needed to.. you know what? On It should bshort notice, with Coach K at the helm? We'll be okay with what we can get.
  • Kyle Weaver won't be scrapping for an NBA roster, he's signed in Israel . Weaver had the talent, but after scraping by at the bottom of OKC's roster, likely wanted the security of an overseas deal. Maybe he'll bump into Amar'e at some point.
  • The decision of what to do with Erick Dampier is a complex one for the Cats, and not one that will likely make Damp feel very loved. The options according to Bobcats Baseline are trade him for a roster-need at point guard or some other position, or waive him to take the sting off the salary. Waiving Damp makes the most economic sense. No deal the Cats will make with Dampier will really net them assets to ensure the playoffs or a deep run. These are hard times. The Bobcats need to make sure their finances are in order before they start building towards a championship. Moving Tyson Chandler was a good start. Waiving Damp would give them even more flexibility.
  • At The Hive discusses three Chris Paul misconceptions. As they want to wrap up talks on Paul since he doesn't look to be moved before the season starts, they do close by adding that New Orleans looks to be in trouble regardless of how things turn out. The one thing that could turn this whole mess around is if Dell Demps can develop Marcus Thornton and trade Peja Stojackovic's contract for high return. A move to make the Hornets contenders again could quell CP3's big dreams.
  • It should be noted as we approach the Nike Summit that Austin Rivers, Doc Rivers' son, was very impressive last weekend in AAU Play. Daddy done right with teaching that kid. He's got range, good athleticism, and great confidence on the floor. Probably understands self-motivation, too.
Posted on: August 2, 2010 9:54 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2010 10:09 pm
 

Report: Bulls-Knicks Christmas Day

Posted by Matt Moore

When the NBA decided to try out this whole "let's make revealing the schedule a big event on NBATV!" thing, there were a few things they were going to have to manage. The biggest of which was trying to contain leaks of the schedule to reporters, considering the massive number of people the schedule will arleady have been released to. So far, the league has not exactly shown itself to be an impenetrable fortress of information.

After today's slip of the Orlando-Heat game for October 28th, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News has our first Christmas Day release . Isola reports that Bulls-Knicks will play on December 25th, with LeBron James' first trip to the Big Apple with the Heat on December 17th.

The sheer number of people that already have access to the schedule means that keeping a hold on its release was highly unlikely. But they, they did a pretty good job. They managed to keep it under wraps for an entire weekend in which no one was working. It took reporters more than twelve hours to start getting information...

Yeah, not exactly NSA here.

The Chicago-New York match is interesting. It's a rivalry day, and building a New York-Chicago rivalry is pretty genius. Both teams feature improved rosters, and counter each other well. And by that I mean, Chicago will stomp them because Derrick Rose is much, much better than Raymond Felton. But two big markets back in the spotlight on Christmas Day? That's just what the league thinks is best.

Update: Isola also reports the Knicks will open play against Toronto on October 27th. An interesting note, this means the Orlando game againt the Heat will NOT be the season opener as previously reported. This likely indicates that the season will begin as it has s the past few years on a Tuesday, the 26th.

Posted on: August 2, 2010 5:26 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2010 5:35 pm
 

Offseason Reviews: Atlantic 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.


 

Boston Celtics

Added: Ray Allen (re-signed), Paul Pierce (re-signed), Marquis Daniels (re-signed), Jermaine O'Neal (free agency), Nate Robinson (re-signed), Von Wafer (free agency), Avery Bradley (draft), Luke Harangody (draft)
Lost: Tony Allen (free agency), Shelden Williams (free agency)

Philosophy: "Ain't broke. Ain't fixing."

We thought they were too old to win last year, and they pushed the Lakers to seven games, and had a lead deep in the second half. Shows what we know. So the Celtics have rolled the dice with the same core again, another year older, another year slower, another year wiser, and for all intents and purposes, have changed almost nothing about their approach in a year.

Sure, adding Jermaine O'Neal gives them a fourth big to slot in, and will give Kendrick Perkins the time he needs to recover from surgery. But after dancing with the idea of trading Ray Allen, the Celtics re-signed the sharpshooter, gave Paul Pierce a new contract and for better or worse, have decided this is the ship they're going to sea with. It's had a ton of success, and obviously they feel that if they were able to go as deep as they did this year, there's no reason to believe they can't do the same this year.

The critics will add that Chicago, New York, and most especially Miami improved, but the Celtics will respond by saying those teams haven't proven anything. There's only one team that matters to Boston, and that team has the ring. Until then, they will consider the rest of the East nothing but pretenders. As long as they stay healthy, they have that right.

Grade: B

New Jersey Nets

Added: Derrick Favors (draft), Damion James (draft), Anthony Morrow (free agency), Jordan Farmar (free agency), Travis Outlaw (free agency), Johan Petro (free agency)
Lost: Tony Battie (free agency), Keyon Dooling (free agency)

Philosophy: "In search of the meaning of Plan B'"

Man, what a letdown. They thought they had a shot at it all. Drafting John Wall. Signing his good friend, LeBron James. Building an empire in Brooklyn. Capitalizing on new owner Mikhail Prokhorov's wealth and power, minority owner Jay-Z's fame, and LeBron's game. It was all set up perfectly. And then one series of disasters after another occurred, and the Nets fell flat. Didn't even walk out with Carlos Boozer. Whiffed on every single one of the top flank free agents.

Don't get me wrong, Anthony Morrow is the steal of the summer. Great shooter, has upside, physical tools to be a better defender than he was in Golden State (like every Warrior). But Jordan Farmar means almost nothing to them. Derrick Favors is so raw he comes with a side of wasabi and ginger, and Johan Petro is... Johan Petro. Even with Travis Outlaw it's hard to see a plan in place, much less the execution of that plan. This team won't be as bad as it was last year, because it's almost impossible for them to. But it's hard to see them being much better.

Grade: F

New York Knicks


Added: Amar'e Stoudemire (sign-and-trade), Raymond Felton (free agency), Kelenna Azubuike (trade), Anthony Randolph (trade, Ronny Turiaf (trade), Timofey Mozgov (free agency), Andy Rautins (draft), Landry Fields (draft), Jerome Jordan (draft)
Lost: Chris Duhon (free agency), Al Harrington (free agency), Eddie House (free agency), Sergio Rodriguez (free agency), David Lee (sign-and-trade)

Philosophy: "Express yourself."

Stylin' and profilin', the Knicks are coming to town. This isn't the super-team Knicks fans hoped for, not even the contending team many expected given their cap space and market availability. In the end, the damage done by Isiah Thomas was just too severe (and sending him as your final LeBron pitcher? What's up with that?) But the Knicks' failures to land one of the Big 3 did mean they were able to concoct this roster, which is inconsistent, underdeveloped, and absolutely 100% interesting.

The idea of an Anthony Randolph-Amar'e Stoudemire pick and roll set is enough to send nouveau basketball philosophers into some sort of apoplectic shock. Meanwhile, Kelenna Azubuike gives D'Antoni the shooter he's been missing, and Turiaf brings some punch. This roster isn't perfect, far from it, but it's stocked with interesting, fun players, who can get up and down in D'Antoni's system. New York basketball may not be contending again, but it's going to be interesting. And that's enough to give Knicks fans what they want, to be relevant again. The real rebuilding starts here, and it's all around Amar'e Stoudemire. We're finally going to learn just how good Stoudemire is without Steve Nash.

Grade: B

Philadelphia 76ers


Added: Evan Turner (draft), Tony Battie (free agency), Spencer Hawes (trade), Andres Nocioni (trade)

Lost:
Samuel Dalembert (trade)

Philosophy:
"Making fusion with carwrecks."

If Evan Turner isn't a Top-5 player in the NBA in five years, this year looks way worse. Switching coaches, the Sixers still held back from a complete blow-up, not moving Andre Iguodala or Elton Brand over the offseason. Brand's value is non-existent, but he's going to have to go if the team wants to completely start over. Meanwhile, Ed Stefanski changed coaches to Doug Collins, who's been broadcasting for quite a while, and traded Samuel Dalembert for Spencer Hawes and Andres Nocioni, or "the Big White Cap Blanket." The Sixers may have hit a home run when they lucked into the No.2 overall pick in Turner, but if the lack of explosiveness he showed in summer league is more than just a lack of offseason conditioning, things could get worse before they get better in Philly.

Grade: C

Toronto Raptors


Added:   Ed Davis (draft), Solomon Alabi (draft), Linas Kleiza (free-agency), Amir Johnson (re-signed), Leandro Barbosa (trade), Dwayne Jones (draft)
Lost:   Chris Bosh (sign-and-trade), Antoine Wright (free agency), Hedo Turkoglu (trade)

Philosophy:
"No way out."

The temptation will be to grade Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors organization for the mistakes of last summer, which came to hurt them last season and this summer. But that's not our goal here. Losing Bosh was a foregone conclusion, but they still have to take a hit for failing to convince him to stay, no matter how hard that would have been. But after that, Colangelo at least made the move that you have to make when faced with the destruction of everything you've worked for: set fire to the remains and collect the insurance. They traded Hedo Turkoglu and his massive new contract for short term contracts, and managed to get long-term assets in draft picks and trade exceptions from Miami for Bosh. They are committed to starting over, and though the money handed out to Kleiza and Johnson is not chump change, there's still a plan in place.

Expect for the rest of the Raptors to be moved to whatever degree they can be, while the team sees if it can rebuild around DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems, who seem to hold a lot of potential under the radar. Colangelo did not take on massive contracts of a subpar free agent outside of Kleiza's swallowable deal, and the Raptors have flexibility to make the most of their future.

The only question is if Bryan Colangelo will be around to be a part of that future.




Posted on: July 31, 2010 1:29 am
Edited on: July 31, 2010 1:31 am
 

Five teams that could've utilized a franchise tag

Posted by Royce Young

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement due to be negotiated next summer will likely have some significant changes. And as Ken Berger writes , the NBA might find some advantage in adopting a signing bonus or franchise tag type system that the NFL employs. What is a franchise tag you ask?

Basically it's a one-year contract at the maximum salary tagged on an unrestricted free agent that prevents him from negotiating with other teams. But there are two types in the NFL:

Exclusive: Player cannot negotiate with other teams and his salary is the greater of 1) 120% of previous year's salary or 2) average salary of the top 5 players playing the same position from the current year.

Non-exclusive: Salary terms are the same except it's the average of the top 5 players from the previous year. Player can negotiate with other teams but current team reserves the right to match the offer. If it doesn't match the offer, it receives two first-round draft picks.

(It would work a little differently from the NFL because salaries don't vary between position in the NBA. There's often no difference between the value of a shooting guard and a center.)

So if the NBA adopted this type of rule, how would it have affected this summer's free agency apocalyse? Ken Berger points out how it could've forced LeBron to stay in Cleveland for (at least) one more year. So here are five teams that could've utilized a franchise tag to its benefit.

Phoenix Suns
This is the best example of how the franchise tag rule would've benefitted a team. The Suns are running out of time in the Steve Nash era. And with Amar'e Stoudemire's contract up, Phoenix had to make a tough decision. Instead of extended Stoudemire out, the Suns were only willing to offer a three-year deal. So New York came in and swooped Amar'e up.

Now if Phoenix could've slapped that tag on Stoudemire, the Suns would've bought at least one more year with him. They'd get at least one more year of Nash teaming with him and maybe one last hurrah at making a deep Western Conference run. Instead, the Suns weren't willing to go long-term on Stoudemire because of injury concerns and therefore he walked.

Memphis Grizzlies
Most agree, Rudy Gay was overpaid. Heck, even Rudy Gay agrees Rudy Gay was overpaid. But the Grizzlies were in a tight spot. If they didn't offer up max money for their 23-year-old star, someone else would. So Memphis tried to nip any other offers and lock up their man for multiple years. Did they jump the gun early? Probably. Gay might be a max player, but that's probably ot be determined. But their hand was forced.

So if Gay gets tagged a franchise player, he gets one year of max money, plus a chance to prove he's worth that. Memphis buys itself another year to figure out who to open its wallet to and potentially stops itself from overreacting based on what it thought the market would do.

Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks were in a similar situation to Memphis. They wanted to keep their star, but were they really ready to dump that kind of money on Joe Johnson. He flopped in the postseason and really had the look of a second banana rather than an alpha dog. Had Atlanta tagged Johnson with the franchise label, he gets another year to figure out if that's where he wants to be.

Plus Atlanta gets an idea if he's the player it needs. The Hawks didn't want to lose him while they have a competitive talented roster. But in four years, they may be really regretting the contract.

Toronto Raptors
The Raptors are probably the first team that comes to most folks mind other than LeBron. But that would've been interesting. Bosh had soured on staying in Toronto. He wanted to go somewhere where the lights are bright. So had Toronto locked down Bosh to try and buy itself one more season to sell its plan and coax a good season out if it, it may not have ended well in the first place.

That's the drawback of the tag. In some cases, players want to leave. Bosh wanted to leave. Preventing him for that might've just made him mad and he likely would've demanded a trade.

San Antonio Spurs
Everyone was a little stunned when Richard Jefferson opted out of a deal in which he was owed $15 million for the next season. But he had a reason: He wanted a long-term contract. And while it worked out fine for the Spurs in the end, had they been able franchise Jefferson, they could've prevented giving him multiple years.

Jefferson was disappointing last season. He underpeformed in basically every category. Everyone knows he can play, but some worried if maybe he was washing up. San Antonio likely preferred not to give Jefferson four or five years, especially for a guy it can't be certain will return to form. If there were some sort of non-exclusive rule where Jefferson is paid no the max money but based on relative compensation, the Spurs could've franchised Jefferson, and let him earn a long-term deal this season. I don't think they would've picked that route of the one they got, but at least it would've been an option.

As you can tell, a franchise tag benefits the team and the owners moreso than the players. In a situation like Toronto, you'd have a lame duck season from Chris Bosh would be asking for a way out. It's a solution the NBA probably would never adopt in the exact same format as the NFL, but in some way, the league wants to keep players with their original teams. If anything else, this is an exercise in the "what if?" world of things.

Posted on: July 29, 2010 8:35 am
Edited on: July 29, 2010 9:57 am
 

Shootaround 7.29.10

Posted by Matt Moore
  • Those same Knicks fans need to be patient with Anthony Randolph. Randolph's major problems involve when he's defended or challenged. But the only way he's going to improve on those things is to play, which he seldom really got to in Golden State. Don Nelson's doghouse is the death of talent, and Randolph was in and out of it for two years. Not to the extent that Brandan Wright has been, but still fairly held back. D'Antoni doesn't sound like he'll be doing the same.
  • Mikael Pietrus was a huge part of the Magic's championship run a year ago. But when the Magic brought in Matt Barnes, he was put on the backburner due to defensive concerns. With Barnes on his way to La La Land, the Magic will need more from Pietrus, and SVG is cashing in on that need. He headed to Paris to "hang out" with Pietrus for a few days. No word if they had a romantic walk through Paris or not.
  • The Pacers are shopping point guard T.J. Ford and forward Mike Dunleavy. Dunleavy has always been protected on account of head coach Jim O'Brien's love of his work ethic. But after multiple injuries, and with the team finally taking steps towards a youth movement, Dunleavy has become expendable. In a point-guard needy league, Ford still has value, so the Pacers might be able to get good value out of a contending team looking for depth, or a rebuilding team looking for stopgaps.
  • In a Pro-Am in NC this week, projected #1 pick in the 2010-2011 draft Harrison Barnes didn't look dominant . Who knows if it was simply the atmosphere that gave Barnes pause, but expectations are certainly higher for the Iowa product.
  • The Wolves inked Serbian big man Nikola Pekovic, a move many say is the best one the Wolves made this season. Not that that bar is incredibly high.
  • Bloggers try and outbid one another to acquire Chris Paul from a Hornets blogger. The winning bid? The Detroit Pistons. Which just goes to show you how much talent the Pistons have and how perplexing it is that Joe Dumars continues to wait for the mood to be right or whatever.
Posted on: July 21, 2010 6:37 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 7:25 pm
 

Who's in the market for CP3?

Posted by Matt Moore

With Ken Berger's report that Chris Paul is adamantly requesting a trade , we need to start exploring the possibilities. The odds are substantially low that Paul gets moved despite his feelings, simply based on the extreme difficulty in packaging the necessary assets to convince Hornets management to pull the trigger. But with a player of Paul's stature on the market (whether his team likes it or not), we need to examine the possibilities. So who's a realistic candidate to make a move for CP3?

Orlando Magic: This one's been out there for a while. The Magic have the right combination of talent, contracts, and assets to maneuver into position for Paul. They can send back a versatile shooting point guard to help with the transition of Darren Collison. They can send Vince Carter and his expiring contract, along with a significant player at shooting guard to pair with Marcus Thornton. They still have draft picks in the can, have expendable players with talent like Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass. It puts an elite player next to Dwight Howard and matches the upgrade the Heat have made, and potentially gives them an advantage over the Celtics in terms of talent. The question would be if Paul could function inside the unique spacing the Magic employ, which primarily functions on a series of swing passes. There's no question he'd be dominant in the pick and roll with Howard.

New York Knicks:
I know. I'm nuts. Hear me out. The deal could in no-way be cemented until December 15th, but the Knicks have Raymond Felton, Kelenna Azubuike, and a handful of prospects. They lack the ability to send draft picks thanks to the desperate firesale move they pulled with the Rockets, but the right combination of players might work. Wilson Chandler next to Marcus Thornton would give the Hornets flexibility on the wing, especially if the Knicks are willing to take on Peja Stojakovic's poison pill. That may be the Knicks' biggest asset: financial flexibility to take on the rest of the Hornets' ill-advised veteran figures. The pull for Paul? If the New York toast rumors were true, this would get him with the best player he's ever played alongside in Amar'e Stoudemire (with apologies to David West), in a major market, and would likely convince Carmelo Anthony to hold off on that contract extension. It's a pretty perfect scenario, which of course means it won't happen.

Portland Trail Blazers: If the Blazers want to get back into talk of being a title contender immediately, this could be their path to salvation. They have picks to move, a ton of flexible players at multiple positions, and Paul in Portland would be ridiculous. Paul, Brandon Roy, and LaMarcus Aldridge, with those centers down low? All of a sudden the Blazers would be within range of the title. The numbers, however, might be too much, especially with the massive amount of money they just tossed at Wesley Matthews. The Blazers would have to surrender most of the depth they've worked to acquire, along with at least one of their two top centers in order to facilitate a deal. But it would also mean a tremendous coup for the new regime.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Here's a stretch. Trying to convince Paul to go to the Ruins of NBA Pompei would be a tricky feat. But if you look at the roster, it might not be impossible. The Cavs do feature a team with depth, with Antawn Jamison and J.J. Hickson still on roster. They have some flexibility in the coming years. They need a hero, and they've shown they're willing to commit to spending. With Byron Scott on roster, who Paul has gone on record in support of multiple times, the Cavs could conceivably replace LeBron James with a new savior. They'd have to give up most of their most attractive assets and nearly everything they got from Miami. But somehow, if New Orleans was at all interested, I don't think they'd mind.

Los Angeles Lakers: Tremble, and be afraid, ye mortals of Earth. This is plausible, possible, and according to KB, one of the teams on Paul's list. The Lakers can send Andrew Bynum, a young stud center, and a handful of short-term contracts for Paul. Paul gets to play alongside the best team in the NBA in the most attractive market in the NBA. He takes the reins from Kobe and helps lead that team into what, three more titles? More? It's a terrifying possibility that would give the Lakers the one-up over the Miami-three. He and Gasol could work the two-man game, and in the triangle, well, okay, that's a downside. Chris Paul in the triangle is like binding a horse's legs. They're not meant to be constrained that way. Shooting corner threes is a waste of Paul's potential, and most of the ball handling isn't done by a point in the triangle. But somehow, playing next to Kobe and Gasol, Paul may not mind.

New Orleans Hornets: No, they won't be trading Paul to themselves. But you have to think this is still the most likely scenario (yes, we said that about LeBron James, too). Paul has been a major force in the community. That's going to tug at him. The Hornets just hired two representatives from the Spurs organization, who clearly have been part of winning environments. He can make the most money there, and has teammates he's gone to battle with. Mostly, though, it's hard to see new GM Dell Demps or head coach Monty Williams being willing to put themselves in a deep dark hole to start their run with the franchise. And trading Paul means a complete rebuild. Not the situation you want to embark on before you've even put your pictures up in your office.

But with the way Paul sounds according to KB, we may see the unlikely become reality once again this year.

So what is it that the Hronets need to get back? Royce Young tells us more on that one .



Posted on: July 9, 2010 2:09 am
Edited on: July 9, 2010 2:53 am
 

LeBrocalypse: The losers are not taking it well

Posted by Matt Moore

We told you for days that someone was going to lose the NBA free agency arms race. That several teams were going to lose. And tonight, the final blows were struck. With LeBron James announcing his intention to sign with the Miami Heat, every team but the Heat will fall into the losers category. From here on out it's just a matter of degrees. Here are the losers, in order of degree by which this day sucked:

Level 1- LeBrocalypse Devastation: First four Black Sabbath albums


1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Go ahead. Let it out. You too, Dan. Get it out of your system . In Comic Sans, no less. It's bad. It's really bad. It's not just the emotional stuff. The deep connection people had to the kid from Akron, Ohio's native son, the local boy done good. It's the practical stuff. The city of Cleveland just lost out on what some estimates have put at $250 million in revenue to a South Beach heist. That's jobs. That's vacations. That's benefits. They weren't James' responsibility to watch out for, his obligation is to his family and his company. But it still deepens the wound. And that's not all. What about the practical holes in the roster? Who plays the small forward? They sacrificed so much, committed to bad contracts of veteran players in an attempt to build around James. And now?

It's a team poorly constructed. With little hope to remain in contention. Their best players are now Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams. There's no bright side to this. They can't bring in another player to put their hopes in. There's nothing but the sting of watching the media coverage for the Heat ramp up to levels the Cavs never saw. There's just nothing left. In a television interview, Brian Windhorst described the scene in Cleveland as if an atomic bomb went off. Kaboom.

Level 2- "Boom Goes the Dynamite"


2. Chicago Bulls:
Here's a bad sign for when your organization has probably thought too much of itself. New York looked humble and realistic next to the Bulls in this whole thing. When the most self-important set of zip codes in the modern world is showing you how to keep things in perspective, you may have overestimated your position. The Bulls played their cards strong to the point of bullying, challenging and charging at LeBron at every turn. In the end, it was the quiet, subtle Pat Riley who made the most effective pitch and converted the deal, while the Bulls come off as brash and overly confident.

The Bulls honestly expected that the attitude "You should want to sign here" would work. And by all accounts, they were close. But as usual, the Bulls organization fumbled an opportunity and now face a reality where their big "get" was Carlos Boozer. Hey, at least you're not paying him $20 million plus when he's 35. Wait.

Level 3 - "A Series of Unfortunate Events "


3. New Jersey Nets:
The Nets knew they were sunk before ESPN's camera's showed up at the Greenwich depot for coffee (they may not have a depot in Greenwich). They signed Travis Outlaw to a deal which slammed the door shut. The Nets are committed to a long-term approach using youth and growth. That's the new plan. Landing one of the top guys would have helped. But they fell out of favor almost as soon as they made their pitch. It's more that the Nets are looking at a longer rebuilding process than the other teams that lands them here. They have no Derrick Rose to comfort them, nor an Amar'e Stoudemire signing to take the sting off. But really, their fate was sealed when the lottery balls didn't go their way.  That's the way the cookie crumbles. Anybody know the Russian word for "Plan B?"

4. New York Knicks: Well, they did get Amar'e. And now have Anthony Randolph and some solid roleplayers. The Knicks wanted to become a legitimate force in the NBA championship picture. Well, that didn't happen. And so they wind up on this failures list, but in the end, the pain isn't as great as it could be. They did get a top flight free agent. And from there, D'Antoni has started to assemble a roster that may not be a championship contender, but is similar to some sort of mid-70's ABA underground club, playing in the back-arenas of New York. A running, striding, power team with point-forward capabilities and shooters that can get out and run with the best of them.

It's not the worst of fates for the Knicks, and unlike the Bulls they don't look desperate or misguided and unlike the Cavaliers, the franchise still stands with hope for the future. It wasn't a win, but it wasn't the end of the world.

5. Los Angeles Clippers: “Self-pity  is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.” - Helen Keller

Funny story, Helen actually had a better overall vision for a basketball organization than the Clippers do.
 
 
 
 
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