Taking a closer look at the, “Decision Part II”

(Cue lights, camera, music and …)

Welcome back to the, Family Feud.  If you’re just joining us you’ve missed a good one as the 2010 NBA fans take on your 2014 NBA fan base. To remind our listeners, who probably just switched over from, The Bachelor, our question is; why isn’t the sports world outraged with the LeBron James, “Decision Part II”? 2010 you won the coin toss so you get three chances to guess the right answer.

2010: “Well Steve we are going to go with he didn’t catch his teammates by surprise and leave them in shambles.”

Interesting choice, show me, “Didn’t catch them by surprise!”

Blake

Oh I’m sorry. The judges think he caught his entire team off guard, and the facts seem to support the case. We start with the point the Miami Heat traded two picks and cash considerations for point guard Shabazz Napier. The UConn graduate impressed the nation with his NCAA title run, but until LeBron James began campaigning for him on twitter he never seemed like an ideal candidate for Miami.

Pick the scouting site of your choice because they all said the same thing; Napier is a point guard who can put the ball in the basket, but is physically a step behind, and sometimes has trouble making the right pass. The scoring sounds great, but the Heat didn’t need another offensive weapon. If they wanted a guard they should have focused on a physical guy who could have chased around the likes of Tony Parker and Derrick Rose. Instead they went out and grabbed the exact opposite because their star player wanted him.

I’ll give LeBron James the benefit of the doubt because perhaps at this point he was still leaning towards Miami. Plus the team’s initial pick, PJ Harrison, is facing charges of assault and battery for allegedly punching a rising high school basketball star. Let’s agree to disagree and move onto the next point.

When Dwayne Wade entered the 2014 off season he was looking at a two year 42 million dollar contract. That’s when Wade and Chris Bosh followed in the footsteps of LeBron James and opted out of their then current deals. It looked like Miami was poised to keep their core group together, and still have the money to bring in top level free agents.  However, that plan quickly fell apart when James bolted for Cleveland. Chris Bosh was able to get a max deal, but the move cost Dwayne Wade 11 million dollars over the next two years.  The 32 year old shooting guard is not strapped for cash, but something tells me he would not have been so generous if he had known how things would play out.

Alright 2010 NBA fan base guess again.

2010: “Well Steve let’s try it’s because he didn’t leave to form a super team”.

Show me, “Super Team.”

No No No

Another swing and a miss! It appears the judges are going off the rumors the Kevin Love trade is a matter of when not if. The reported trade has the big man going to Ohio in exchange for two number 1 picks, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, and a future protected first rounder.

Don’t get me wrong, I (Kevin) love the trade if I am a Minnesota Timberwolves fan. You’re getting two potential super stars in exchange for a guy who made it clear he wasn’t sticking around. I’m just here to point out James left his team (again) in order to find a situation where he could hand pick an NBA star rather than working through the shortcomings of the current roster.

When LeBron James made his decision I thought we would see him build a contender from within.  Instead we got more of the same. King James took one look around before piecing off the team’s assets to bring in the new, “Big Three”. Perhaps I’m being too critical of the two time NBA champion, but if you want to be compared to Michael Jordan I’m going to hold you to a higher standard. I’m not saying he shouldn’t make his team better, but do it the right way by developing the guys you have.

Well team that’s strike two. Let’s hear your final guess.

2010: “Ok Steve we are going to say it’s because he didn’t hold the league hostage and make a show of it.”

Ok… Show me, “hostages”!

Will Smith

 

(Side note: I am a HUGE Will Smith fan)

Sorry team that’s your third and final strike.

LeBron James’ made it clear he was seeking a max offer back on June 24th. James then took his sweet time waiting until July 11th to announce the, “Decision Part II”. During those two weeks the 4 time MVP toured multiple cities, and took a vacation while NBA free agency came to a standstill. It wasn’t as flashy as his TV special back in 2010, but can we at least agree it’s not hard to draw multiple comparisons? The story became national news, James used the feature to simply promote his own brand, and one city rejoiced while another was caught with its pants down.

So why are things different this time around? Could it simply be that NBA fans, and sports fans in general, just like Cleveland better? It’s clear LeBron James has grown both as a person and a player, but I’ not sure he has cleared that final hurdle just yet. Remember he only penned a two year contract in Cleveland so there is a possibility of the, “Decision Part III”.  Everyone, including James, has said the move is strictly to cash in on the new TV deal, and I do believe him. However, just a month ago the entire NBA world also thought he was staying in Miami.

 

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Call the doctor I’m seeing double!

Before you rush to your typewriter to punch out an angry letter (people still write those right?) please read this next sentence; by posting this video I am in no way saying Kobe Bryant is Michael Jordan’s equal. In fact I am one of those people who believe MJ will forever be the best player to ever take an NBA court (but that is a topic for another day).

I stumbled across this video yesterday and wanted to pass it on to the Can I Be Frank audience. Apparently it’s the last installment of a three part series and you can scroll through all the videos and more (from what has to be a die hard Kobe fan… don’t worry we all make mistakes!) right here.

My two cents; it’s not a coincidence Kobe has almost identical footwork to number 23. Enjoy!

It’s time to get the NBA out of International Competition

The Indiana Pacers can’t seem to catch a break. They went from NBA dream team to having one of the most toxic environments in professional sports.  When Lance Stevenson left for greener pastures most thought things had hit rock bottom for Larry Legend and his squad.  Indiana fans will now likely refer to those as the glory years after Paul George broke his leg while training with team USA. (If you are a glutton for punishment search “Paul George injury”. Just make sure you aren’t eating!)

However, this is not a sob story for the Indiana Pacers. In fact I could care less if the team ever contends for an NBA championship. Instead this tackles the question; should NBA athletes be playing in international competition? The short and sweet answer, No!

The easiest explanation is the same reason why the NFL is once again looking to expand their schedule, and beer at the stadium costs you $8 a cup. Plain and simple everything in professional sports comes down to the bottom line.

Aziz

Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban came out last week championing the call for change when it comes to the IOC. Cuban had the stones to say what many owners are likely thinking; why should I risk the health of my players without cashing in on the rewards? New stadiums, corporate sponsorships, and lucrative TV deals have turned the NBA and other leagues alike into money printing machines. Throw in jersey sales, and the price of admission and you’ll realize Mark Cuban has a point. Basketball has become an international sport, and if you’re being truly honest with yourself what means more, a 15th Olympic gold medal or your team raising that championship banner?

It’s tough to find someone who will argue NBA owners need another source of income. So let’s move our focus to the games themselves. The 2012 London Olympics saw the, “Dream Team Round Two” and seemed more like a formality than a competition. Team USA went a perfect 8-0, set a single game record for points, and finished with a 32 point average margin of victory.

NBA Olympics

Want more evidence America is still hands down the basketball capital of the world? This year 92 players from 39 different countries will leave their family and friends to play in the NBA. The league still showcases the world’s top talent and uses other countries as a feeder system for undeveloped players. It’s time to tip our cap to the red, white, and blue and focus turning these international games back into a competition. People will still watch even without the NBA stars. I mean bird watching could attract a following as long as you pit countries against each other and name a clear cut winner.

The final hurdle lies now with the players. These are guys who live to play basketball, and convincing them to watch from the couch is not going to be easy. However, the NBA is a monarchy. You may have 30 owners and 439 players (Not that I’m counting), but every one of them still answers to a single man. I’m not going to try and hammer out the logistics, but if Adam Silver wanted to keep NBA guys out of these games he could do so. Plus if team USA ever saw an early exit we could always bring back the “Dream Team” part three.

Dream Team