Posted on: August 18, 2010 11:28 am
Edited on: August 18, 2010 12:22 pm
The Heat star talks about coming home, being portrayed as a villain, and handling the ball among the Miami Triad.
Posted by Matt Moore
Dwyane Wade isn't Public Enemy No.1 in the NBA, but he may be No. 3. As the inciting member of the new Miami Triad, he's taken a lot of hea... I mean, flak for how "The Decision" and formation of the new Heat came together. And that was before the response to his Twin Towers comment . But the negative attention hasn't slowed him down at all... either in terms of personal engagements or from his multiple charity commitments.
In fact, Wade has become quite the force when it comes to NBA charity work. He now has the Summer Groove event he does in cooperation with Alonzo Mourning, and the event he will host this weekend; The Wade's World Charity Weekend in Chicago. The event features benefit dinners, a bowling party and basketball workshops, but the focus is on communicating with underprivileged kids in Chicago about the importance of education.
Not exactly the nefarious work of the villain Wade's been made out to be, along with LeBron James and Chris Bosh. I spoke with Wade by phone today about the weekend, being portrayed as a villain, and oh yeah, who's handling the ball in Miami?
Matt Moore - CBSSports.com: So you're heavily involved with this charity as well as Zo's Summer Groove. Why is this one so important to you, is it just the element of being home?
Dwyane Wade: Yeah, just being home, you know? I'm honored to be involved with Summer Groove in Miami with Zo and the work we do there, but this is where I'm from. I know what these kids go through, because I went through some of the same things. I see myself in some of the youth here, and that's why it's so important.
Moore: We live in an era where athletes of all types and sports do very real, very explicitly illegal acts, and little is made of it. On the other hand, your business decisions of the past three months have led people to vilify you and your teammates to a degree. Is it frustrating to see the kind of negative attention you receive, despite being a great player, a good teammate, and a positive force in the community?
Wade: Yeah, I don't think the world focuses on the positive things enough. I understand being the villain is what people like. People play to that. They want to know about the villain. They don't want to know about the good. They say they do, but statistics show that they don't. The thing is, I don't do these things for recognition, being a good teammate, being a positive member of the community. I do them because those things make me whole and complete. A lot of that negativity? It's just speculation. You've gotta deal with it and move on. I've learned that not everyone's going to be 100% DWade. Hopefully the ones that do get to know me more and the things that I do and that's what they make their opinions from, from who I am. Everything else is just speculation.
Moore: What event specifically is the best part of this weekend?
Wade: The Saturday where we focus on the kids. That's when we have the Youth Summit, dealing with major issues. Specifically, violence and education in Chicago. And that's when I get to hear their stories and what they've been through. The talent show that night, giving them a platform, letting the community know these kids are out there and giving them a voice. That's a really big part of this weekend, giving the community to really check these kids out. We need more support from the community for these kids.
Moore: Doing these events, seeing these kids first hand, all the work that you've done, does it make you want to be involved at a higher level? Does being so involved make you think about being involved in a political or more advanced level when your playing days are over?
Wade: Yeah, actually. My focus is on right now, my goal is to start now and do things now. Then, to build a platform when I'm done playing basketball. I try and do these things, not just in Miami or Chicago. I do things in every city we go to, like during All-Star Weekend. I just want to make a difference as much as possible. At the end of the day when there's no more DWade, I want to have made a difference.
Moore: With the new Heat coming together, you've got more weapons, obviously, but there are going to be questions about how it's all going to work on the court. Do you see yourself handling the ball more coming up the floor more, less or the same as in years before? Are you going to be playing more of a point-type position, or will it be business as usual in Miami?
Wade: The same pretty much. You know, I handled the ball a lot last season in Miami. I also played off the ball a lot. I don't think that changes a lot. I'm a playmaker, and I'm going to score. At the end of the day, my job is to put the ball in the basket. I'm also going to create opportunities for my teammates, and that won't change.
Posted on: August 17, 2010 3:37 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2010 8:14 pm
As Ken Berger reports on the latest developments in Carmelo Anthony's exit strategy, a familiar pattern is forming, one that we saw played out over the past year in Cleveland.
Posted by Matt Moore
CBSSports.com's Ken Berger brought news last week that Carmelo Anthony was angling for a move to New York, that the situation was (according to a close source to him), "perfect for him." Now ESPN's Ric Bucher has echoed that report, stating that Carmelo is "likely" to go , and that it is a question of when, not if, Anthony will depart the Nuggets. Denver fans are holding themselves to the same mantra we heard from Raptors fans last summer and Cleveland fans as recently as June, that no reports can be trusted and that their star player can't find a better situation than the one he's in now.
But the situation is gaining steam , not dying down. The Denver Post reports today that the Nuggets are starting to evaluate options in parting ways with Melo and getting some level of return. And it would appear those avenues are starting to open and become more varied as well.
Today KB reports the following to the F&R Blog via email in the evolving Melo-camp discussions:
Anthony's hesitation to sign a three-year, $65 million extension with the Nuggets goes beyond his desire to enjoy the major-market exposure and pressure that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade turned down this summer. Melo would accept other destinations as well, and the Magic are believed to be at the top of his list along with the Knicks, according to a person familiar with his strategy.
The short-and-long? Melo wants out of Denver, and onto a title contender, and wants it now. Not in free agency. Now. And any questions as to whether that's the case don't need to be answered by off-record sources. The evidence and a little deductive logic speaks for itself.
The most prominent response from skeptics as to if this is really Melo's desire is "Why hasn't he just said so?" And the answer is pretty simple. He already has. Just because he hasn't publicly demanded a trade, costing himself fine money and damaging his image, doesn't mean the evidence isn't right there. There's a three-year, $65 million offer from the Nuggets just waiting for him to sign it. The lack of Carmelo's signature on the dotted line isn't in and of itself a declaration that the Nuggets are off the table. But if they were what he wanted, why not just sign it? The money's there. He's been there, has friends there. It's hard to believe the Nuggets are actually holding out in offering Anthony something he wants. Whatever he's looking for, they'll oblige.
So what's he waiting for?
It's the same question I asked myself last year as Cleveland fans repeatedly told me that James had no interest in leaving. That he loved Cleveland and there was no way he would depart, would abandon them. I always walked away from these exchanges with the same question.
"Okay, then, so why hasn't he? What's he waiting for?"
A simple public statement "I look forward to finishing my career in Cleveland." Or, "We'll sit down with Dan Gilbert and Danny Ferry and get to work on the deal . It may take some time, but it'll get done." He could have still entered free agency to maintain leverage to make sure he wasn't short-changed in any regard (who's going to short-change LeBron James?). All he had to do was make those kinds of public commitments and the media wouldn't have embarked on the 100-ring circus we set up. Don't put the goat in the exhibit and expect the T-Rex will stay out of sight.
And just as James never provided those kinds of assurances, always dancing around the subject, saying "We're going to go through the process" and "I love the fans in Cleveland," Anthony's embarked upon the same careful footwork. "There is no timeline" is the new "Cleveland has the edge." And the parallels don't stop there. The Cavaliers panicked when it looked like James was unhappy with Cavs management over their ability to build a roster around him, and fired head coach Mike Brown and came to a separation with Danny Ferry. Sound familiar? Denver dropped both Mark Warkentian and Rex Chapman, both of whom were held in high regard in NBA circles.
Oh, and who is Anthony's agent again?
Oh, that's right. Leon Rose. LeBron's agent and representative for CAA, which also employs William Wesley. If we were in the Matrix, the cat would have walked by twice by now and asked for the Nuggets to fly to New York to pitch Anthony using PowerPoint.
I'm not the first to say there's smoke in regards to this here fire. Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post laid out the remaining circumstantial evidence , including Anthony's sale of a Colorado estate and his East Coast upbringing (though Anthony was raised in Baltimore, he was born in New York; you're going to be hearing that fact about seven hundred zillion more times in the foreseeable future). But there's one more factor that seems to tie this whole mess of speculation and prediction together.
The discussion has been hard and heavy that Anthony's torn between the allure of a new team in free agency and wanting the financial security provided under this (presumably more player-favorable) CBA agreement. The idea was simple. Anthony wants the money, first and foremost, and for that he needs to stay in Denver. But that's only if he enters free agency. If Anthony were to be traded to a new team, that team could then extend him under the current CBA. And that feeds into the last connection between Anthony and the Miami Triad. The allure of getting everything you want, how you want it. With a trade, Anthony can find himself in a new location in title contention, and get the extension he wants. It's the best of all worlds.
The age of players having to simply accept their respective situations may be ending. If Carmelo Anthony can find a way to escape to a major market, joining a top team to contend and get the financial security of the current CBA, we'll have seen the latest manifest of the players' power in the modern NBA.
It's Denver's move. And how the next six months play out could speak volumes as to the fate of their franchise. It will also reaffirm the impact of what went on this summer in free agency, and how the landscape has changed.
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Posted on: August 16, 2010 8:49 am
News and links to set the NBA table, brought to you daily...
Posted by Matt Moore
Lance Stephenson's impressive performance in Summer League was enough to make you think maybe all the talk of him being a knucklhead was overblown. Whoops. Stephenson allegedly threw his girlfriend down a flight of stairs Sunday. The question of whether the acqusition of Darren Collison by the Pacers now looks like a savvy move or if Stephenson's realization that he's been bumped down the depth charthelped contribute to the incident is a lot like the chicken and the egg. Only with guys that throw their girlfriends down stairs. Not cool, if true.
Dwyane Wade feasts on the tears of children. No, seriously, there's video evidence and everything .
Mike Miller is no longer on the list of "guys you should mess around with." He's been training with MMA fighters .
Owners-media relationships are one of the more interesting developments in new media, as owners have been at both ends of the spectrum. Michael Hiesley has done interviews with blogs before. James Dolan, on the other hand, doesn't even speak up when he needs to make sure everyone knows the house is in order.
J.J. Redick was one of the most efficient players in the NBA last season, which is particularly difficult from the perimeter. With his new nifty $20 million contract, you have to wonder if he'll be given more opportunities to showcase that efficiency.
The Warriors sold for $450 million, which isn't a bad price tag in this economy. The Detroit Pistons, with multiple championships and a much greater basketball legacy, but in a decisively lower bargaining position, are on the table and close to a deal, but the leading bidder's not willing to go over $400 million . Whether this is the kind of driving force behind the failing economy of a symptom thereof, is, naturally, another chicken-and-the-egg deal. As long as the Pistons don't move, everything should be cool.
O.J. Mayo is arguably the second best player on the Grizzlies, depending on who you talk to. And there are six spot-on reasons why he doesn't have a place on the Grizzlies roster. This has "how the Grizzlies screw up a good situation, again" written all over it.
Josh Childress, on if he can be a lockdown perimeter defender on the Suns, a team not known for its defense, even marginally acceptable defense: "That's the plan."
Andrea Bargnani isn't the worst rebounding seven-footer in the history of the league. But it's really close .
Finally, I'd like to nominate the following as our official slogan for the 2010 FIBA World Championships: "Please do not get hurt, Tyson Chandler." Really? Eric Gordon goes with the team on the next leg, and JaVale McGee, for all his issues one of the true legit bigs on the roster, and Jeff Green go home? In Coach K we trust, but....
Tags: Andrea Bargnani, Detroit Pistons, Dwyane Wade, Eric Gordon, FIBA World Championships, Golden State Warriors, Heat, Indiana Pacers, J.J. Redick, JaVale McGee, Jeff Green, Josh Childress, Lance Stephenson, Magic, Miami Heat, Mike Miller, MMA, O.J. Mayo, Orlando Magic, Pacers, Phoenix Suns, Pistons, police blotter, Raptors, shootaround, Suns, Toronto Raptors, Warriors
Posted on: August 13, 2010 11:41 am
Edited on: August 13, 2010 11:42 am
Posted by Royce Young
Nike has a small history of trying to protect LeBron James' image. Most recall Dunkgate from last summer where Jordan Crawford dunked on LeBron and a Nike official confiscated a couple recordings from an observers. Nike said it was because no cameras were allowed at the event, but most saw it as Nike trying to shield LeBron from humiliation.
Well, here we go again.
At last night's Team USA's showcase at the World Basketball Festival (presented by Nike) at Radio City Music Hall, multiple members of the Redeem Team were interviewed during the scrimmage. Players like Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Amar'e Stoudemire were put up on the big screen throughout. One wasn't. You guessed it - LeBron.
A Nike official said it didn't want its World Basketball Festival to get littered with boos. "We wanted to stay away from that," a Nike official said.
At least they're honest. Because Knicks' fans certainly would have been fairly brutal if LeBron's face has been flashed on screen. And it would've been even worse, had he spoken. Though, it's hard to really blame Nike from wanting to prevent a boisterous crowd soil its event.
Of course, Nike can't save LeBron from the booing and heckling this season, because the Heat's road trips will really turn into a 41-game boo-tour. But according to LeBron, that's exactly what he wants.
Posted on: August 12, 2010 6:00 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2010 6:00 pm
Posted by Royce Young
We don't really have an official ruling on anything in the NBA until Charles Barkley speaks on it. So after LeBron's tweet about his mental hit list and all the talk coming from Miami, Chuck weighed in on ESPN Radio 103.3 with Galloway and Company.
"I heard about LeBron's little tweet today that he's remembering everybody who said anything bad about him," Barkley said. "And he said 'everybody.' Well, I want him to make sure that he puts my name on that (list) ... I thought that his little one-hour special was a punk move. I thought them dancing around on the stage was a punk move, and I thought he should've stayed in Cleveland. Him joining Dwyane Wade 's team was very disappointing to me."
See, that's why everyone loves Chuck. He tells it like it is, or at least, how he sees how it is. Barkley continued:
"He's got enough people kissing his ass with his family and all the people who work for him," Barkley said. "We don't have to tell him what he wants to hear all the time ... That one-hour special, them jumping around on stage like punks, that wasn't cool to me. From a basketball standpoint, I wish he had stayed in Cleveland, and if he takes that as criticism, so be it."
It's hard to disagree with anything there. Everything turned quickly into a spectacle which only made the new trio in Miami that much easier to dislike. And it doesn't sound as if Chuck is exactly terrified about landing on LeBron's mental list of death. As he put it towards the end of the interview, "He knows where I'll be, I don't run. I'm on TV every week, I'm easy to find."
Posted on: August 9, 2010 10:22 am
Posted by Matt Moore
The entire move was bungled. Let's be clear. There were ways to orchestrate the formation of the new NBA superpower that would not only have lessened the devastating PR hit and public resentment, but actually sold the public and media on these players as heroes. After all, it's not like the public is generally poised to reject its favorite athletes over ownership, particularly those athletes that sacrifice money and spotlight time in the pursuit of a championship.
But that's not how it went down. Instead, a public revulsion that is deafening in its retch has spread throughout the land. The Miami Heat have built themselves a new empire, one that is being regarded with terms like "evil," "pompous," and "classless." So surely, where the opinion goes, the dollar goes, right? The money is probably flowing away from South Beach like rats from the sinking ship.
Yeah, so, it turns out, that's not really what's going on. Kind of the opposite, actually. And by kind of, I mean completely.
Reuters brings us an interview with Michael McCullough, the Heat's chief marketing officer. In it, McCullough doesn't deny the existence of a villain's image in the media and among vocal fans. But by hook or by crook, the results are leading to the only thing businesses carry about, the allmighty dollar. McCullough claims that the Heat are now number one in retail sales and that LeBron James' new No.6 jersey is tops in the league. The numbers released last month back up that assessment.
There's also been a lot of talk about tickets for the Heat on the road skyrocketing in preliminary orders, as well as the hyper-covered sell-out of the Heat season tickets (and their release of the ticket sales staff ).
So while people gnash their teeth about how this all went down (and no one thinks it went down well), the bottom line is still coming up Heat. We tend to act like there will be some sort of populist rejection of the Heat because of how arrogance they've come off in public. But already, the sheer starpower has helped build the Heat into a financial supermachine. A few championships, and all the talk about the Big 3's tarnished legacies will be reformed into praise for their sacrifice. We like winners, and we're not particularly stuck on how those wins are made.
No one wants to see how the sausage is made. But the Heat ground out their team on national television, and people are still flocking to stores to buy it.
Posted on: August 6, 2010 11:37 am
Edited on: August 6, 2010 11:46 am
Posted by Matt Moore
Kevin Garnett is one of the most respected players in the NBA, with good reason. No one has shown more focus at both ends of the floor over the past decade than Kevin Garnett. Much of his trademarked intensity is show; the screaming, spitting, growling is revealed as little more than theatrics when you employ them as often as he has. But that doesn't change how he's constantly barking out defensive assignments, dressing down teammates, and blocking the ever-loving crap out of anyone that dares to challenge his authority (or dying trying). He's a 13-time All-Star, and has an MVP trophy, a Defensive Player of the Year trophy, and an NBA champion.
And with all that respect that he has earned comes a level of expectation, often unfair, mostly ridiculous, that he live up to what we believe is the model of a true NBA legend. Or at least, that's been the pattern for everyone except KG. And if you want proof of that, compare KG and LeBron James.
In 2010, LeBron James abandoned his team, the Cavaliers, and did it in a publicly humiliating and disgracefully opulent way on national television. Maybe you heard about it, here and there. Before we continue, let's be very clear on this point:
The primary reason for the backlash against James is the way in which he announced his decision ("The Decision"), the way he seemingly laughed and skipped out of town while the dreams he had given Cleveland fans burned to the ground. There is simply no way to defend or even deflect that criticism. You're not going to find anyone outside of South Beach who thinks this was in any way acceptable. KG has never behaved in such a way, nor did he embarrass Minnesota on the way out of town. The way the two left is simply not comparable. See, I put it in bold, just so we're all clear on this.
However, the secondary argument against James is that he has in some way compromised his legacy, lessened his greatness, by not being the sole elite player on his team. He is no longer considered able to reach the sport's summit because he has joined Dwyane Wade's team instead of building championship gold from the rubble he was drafted into. That by joining other elite players, he can no longer be considered elite.
Let's head on back to 2007.
Kevin Garnett has failed to reach the summit with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team that drafted him. Though there were a handful of very good teams, none of them even approached what you would call a "great" team. The Sam Cassell-Latrell Sprewell team rose and fell apart as fast as it came together, and Garnett has been losing consistently. It becomes known that he wants out, wants to be traded to a contender, does not want to waste his career any longer. He doesn't outright say he wants to be traded, after all, you're fined for such activity. But it's made pretty clear that his time with Minnesota is over. It's done. He winds up heading to Boston, joining Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, the captain, to form the first modern Big 3 and first relative superteam since the Lakers' 2004 crime against nature.
(It should be noted that the Spurs' combination of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili definitely constituted enough talent as to be considered a superteam, but more perhaps more impressively, they did it organically. They came to have three superstars by developing the talent they drafted. Not by acquiring the gold when the market was high on it.)
But KG was and is the leader, right? Well, I don't know. Paul Pierce is the captain, right? And the guy taking the game winning shots, most often? The face of the team? It's heart and soul? Isn't Pierce the one most often relied upon to rally the team? While Garnett is undeniably a leader on the Celtics, is he really considered the leader?
Oddly, what led me down this line of thought was a quote from, of all people, Rasho Nesterovic.
In an interview with rtvslo.com , and translated and brought forth by Project Spurs , Nesterovic talks about the difference between Garnett and Duncan. He discusses how Duncan won with the team that drafted him, and how Garnett made the smart move, but it was one to turn to the Celtics, who already had a leader in Pierce. This all leads to Nesterovic saying Duncan was the greater power forward of his time.
Now, this is Rasho Nesterovic. We're not talking Bill Russell here. But the idea is one that deserves consideration. Did KG join the Celtics as a leader, or did he simply do the exact same thing that LeBron James did, only under better PR cover? The argument can certainly be made that James joined in free agency (which is apparently worse than bailing on your team while under contract with them), while Garnett was traded, so it wasn't really his decision. But if Garnett had told Minnesota management, "I don't want to be traded. I either win here, or I don't win at all," do you really think the Wolves would have said "No, no, Mr. Hall-of-Fame-Most-Beloved-Player-In
-Franchise-History, we want no part of you here"? Is that what you think would have occurred? Because I'm pretty sure Kevin McHale would have just gone back to figuring out ways to build the Wolves around KG (and failing miserably).
The argument could also be made that KG was on a "loser" while James was on a contending team. But there are two responses to that. 1. While this Cavs team was certainly better than any KG had, James has also been superior in terms of production (and playoff success if we're being honest) than anything KG had been. I'm simply pointing out that if you're going to say the Cavs were better, you also have to point out that James was better, and was a reason for the Cavs being better. And 2, is there really a difference between contender-but-not-champion and loser in our society? I don't subscribe to this. I think there are tons of brilliant players that simply were never fortunate enough to run into the blessed set of circumstances you need to win a championship (or play for LA). But if you're a results oriented person, KG and James had accomplished the same thing, and so to say that one needed to do what he needed in order to win a ring and the other needed to continue to struggle is a bit ridiculous.
We come to the crux of this, which is actually not that KG deserves more criticism or scorn for leaving Minnesota to fall into the void. Far from it. Garnett recognized that he needed to win a ring before his time was up, that it wasn't going to happen in Minny, and that Boston represented the best chance for him. He took it. He doesn't deserve to be slagged for that. Garnett has told other players not to let what happened to him in Minnesota happen to them. Now, that particular action is a little less likable. After all, there have been players that stayed "home" and eventually reached the promised land, and those championships are much more special to their small markets than the umpteenth championship for a storied franchise. This is nothing to do with the quality of the fans and just the simple fact that a lone championship means more than one of many.
But Garnett is simply passionate about being the best he can be. And for him, that meant joining a team with an established star, a veteran leader, along with another veteran leader, and winning a championship. That was his path. And it is not all that dissimilar from LeBron James' path (in terms of the end result; remember, the bold clause! The bold clause!). So if we're going to criticize James for not being "the man," we need to similarly disparage Garnett, Pau Gasol, and other players that did what they needed to in order to win a ring.
Garnett is no villain. He loved Minnesota. But in the end, he felt his best chance for achieving that ring was in Boston, alongside other stars. Those facts coincide with LeBron James' actions of the past three months. Even if you feel that Garnett was able to be a leader alongside Paul Pierce (the most rational and likely conclusion), you should at least recognize the same dynamic's likelihood in Miami. You don't have to like how James pulled off this career correction. No one does. But to question his legacy opens up a Pandora's Box that is linked throughout some of the greatest players in the history of the league.
Don't throw stones. The halls of NBA greatness are built of glass.
Posted on: August 3, 2010 4:21 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
As part of our continuing coverage of "the NBA can't keep a secret in any way, shape, or form..."
The NBA likes to save its most hyped games for Christmas. It's the first real holiday that it lays claims to each year. The last few years it has been Lakers-Celtics in the yuletide rumble. This year, the hype created by the LeBron James-Chris Bosh-Dwyane Wade trifecta has created a new mega-match. The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers will host the Heat on December 25th, according to Ira Winderman of the Miami Sun-Sentinel .
There's no "proving it" to NBA television marketing executives like there is among other players in the league. Those people know that people want to see the Heat, even with as sick of the Heat's PR trainwreck as they are. One mistake though is that Winderman's article mentions that the Heat won't play on MLK day.
The league has been pushing MLK day as an NBA holiday the last few years, and it's one of the few times when they have a number of people off work with no competing sports or family interests. The work they've done in highlighting that day with sextuple headers has worked well for showcasing the league. Omitting the Heat that day seems to take the holiday down a notch. But maybe that will give them the rare opportunity to show off the smaller markets that are likely to be even more overlooked than usual this year with all the superteams forming.
But for Christmas, you can expect a healthy feast of hype when Kobe-Pau-Odom-Artest-Bynum meets Bosh-Wade-James-Chalmers . And really, what says Christmas like hype?