It’s true. The title Kobe Bryant held for so long has been snatched out from underneath him. Long considered the spoiled brat of the NBA, Kobe may very well be sitting back watching Lebron get ripped by every fan, franchise, and media outlet in the nation, smiling uncontrollably. I know I would be. See, Kobe grew out of the bad boy stage a couple years ago. Somewhere, he realized he didn’t need to be a villain. Moreover, in order to be regarded with the Jordans, Magics, and Birds, he needed to be liked. I’m not saying he changed his personality, but he simply became tolerable. Many still hate him, but not as passionately as they used to. I actually came around a lot earlier than most. I think it was a combination of going to college with his cousin and the Kings fall from contention and no longer having to deal with him in the big moments. What really did it for me was that Kobe simply is THAT GOOD. I was a damn good swimmer all through high school, and somewhere along the line, I realized you had to KNOW you were that good to BE that good. That’s all Kobe was doing. You need your opposition to believe that they can’t beat you. Kobe has mastered this. Up until now, Kobe was the bad guy and Lebron was the good guy.
Not so anymore. Lebron James was a man among boys ever since he was in high school. Grown ass men were looking up to him because he seemed to have the world in the palm of his hands. Thursday night ended up being the biggest heel turn – to put it in WWF terms – the NBA has ever seen. It was almost as if Lebron ripped off his Cavs jersey to reveal an NWO shirt underneath. Now, it’s not like the Heat are a hated franchise or anything. They’re not the Lakers or the Knicks or even the Celtics. Had he gone to the Knicks, which was highly speculated, it would’ve been fine because it would’ve been HIS team. Instead, he goes and joins D-Wade’s team. Even if he wins a championship, it won’t be his. But clearly he doesn’t care about it. I don’t know if I’m going to hate the Heat as much as I’m going to root for the Cavs. Even though Cleveland is widely regarded as one of America’s shitholes…. the Mistake by the Lake, if you will…. I grew up during the Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, Craig Ehlo era. They were a solid franchise when I was young. They’re not really a poor hapless franchise like, say, the Sacramento Kings or Golden State Warriors, in my book. But on one fateful night, the Cavs became the biggest underdogs the NBA has ever seen. Can anyone really root against them? I mean sure, Daniel Gibson could go away and no one would miss him. But Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams deserve better. I was never much of a Dan Gilbert fan, and as much as he may have been going a little overboard, I am now. I avoided “The Decision” at all costs, but I’ll definitely be tuning in for Lebron’s first game back in Cleveland as a flamer. You can take that to the bank.
I wanted to post these yesterday, before Lebron made his decision…. but I guess I didn’t want to make it look like I was rooting for him to go elsewhere. Sure, the thought of a superstar going to a new team is always exciting, but I was hoping Lebron would be one of those One Team guys. Now that he’s one of those kids who transfers to another school district to play for a better program, I might as well revisit the “Hastily Made Tourism Videos” all about Cleveland. Because honestly, I hope they get some good players there. Maybe these videos will help. After all, at least it’s not Detroit! Scratch that…. I’d take Detroit over Cleveland. I guess the only place less enticing would be Oklahoma City.
Well, I just posted about David Lee’s jump to the Warriors, so I may as well dedicate today as Lee day, and talk about the Rangers acquisition of Cliff Lee. The Rangers are already 5 1/2 games up on the competition in the standings, and the Angels continue to slide, losing four in a row, and seven of their last ten without their main man Kendry. The power in the west shifted even more today, as Texas acquired Cliff Lee from Seattle for Justin Smoak (2008 first round pick), and four other minor leaguers. The Cliff Lee sweepstakes took a surprising turn when pretty much everyone had him going to the Yankees earlier today. He instead will be heading to Texas in a deal that had to make Nolan Ryan crack a smile. It’s a good move to do it now, so they can get an extra three or four starts out of him instead of waiting all the way to the trade deadline. As a rabid A’s fan, I’m not completely against making our current division leader better, because if there was a team I wanted to win outside of the A’s, it would be the Rangers. Maybe that’s why I picked them in our predictions at the beginning of the year. Their biggest weakness was pitching, and now they have a true ace of their staff that they’ve been missing for so many years. If they get back Rich Harden from the DL after the all-star break, and he is what he used to be with Oakland, they’d have a very solid top of the rotation with Lee, Harden, and Colby Lewis. They might get rocked here and there in the home run friendly confides of Arlington during the dog days of August, but all of these guys know how to pitch when healthy. Does this make the Rangers a contender to win it all? Most would say no, and I’d agree with that, but the way their offense is set up they can beat good pitching, and now acquired one of the best pitchers in the game that will surely give them a win every fifth night. As long as Ron Washington is there, I’ll be rooting for that club to do well, and with some pitching to back up that great offense this deal couldn’t have worked out better for them. Side note, it also feels good to be a Vlad supporter again after he spent so many years on the Angels.
I wonder if Spike is making a movie of David Lee's free agency experience?!?
Lost in the Lebronapalooza last night was a trade the Warriors made to acquire David Lee. It hasn’t gone through yet, but is supposed to later today. I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t really watched Lee play a whole lot. He was on the Knicks after all, and the Warriors have been more relevant in recent years than them somehow. We gave up Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azabuike, and Ronny Turiaf to get him. I think the Knicks got one hell of a deal on this sign and trade. It might be the first good deal they’ve made in awhile. I have very mixed emotions on the move since the Warriors always trade away their young potential guys, so we have to watch them flourish with their new team. I was VERY sad to see that the prospective new owners weren’t involved at all in this decision. It’s a tough one to swallow since Randolph is only 21, and although he’s turnover prone, gets overly emotional, and disappears at times, he is a fan favorite with limitless potential that anyone who watches him play can see. Plus he was only making $2M, Klenna was making about $3M, and Turiaf was only making about $4M. All are good players to give up that were very cheap to keep, and now we are left with a gaping hole at the 3, since Maggette already was shipped away now we gave up Buike. Are we going to roll with Reggie Williams at the 3? Maybe, and I was pretty high on him last year, but not really in the starting lineup. I was thinking he’d be a solid back up to Buike. It’s probably a fitting way to end the Cohan era, one more guy we lose that will possibly be a mega star in the league given away for a big contract that isn’t coming off the books for awhile that may or may not work out. Most of the players on the Warriors seemed shocked by the trade, but gave us the ol’ quote that “this is a business”. I hope this move wasn’t to try and raise the value of the team, because I don’t see it making the franchise worth more. Since last year was a lost season due to the record number of injuries they suffered, and since they are one of the youngest teams in the league it might have been made hastily. I personally wanted to see this team together for all of next year, and wanted to figure out what this squad had playing with a remotely healthy group for a whole year before we blew them up. We don’t even know what our big guys can and can’t do since they never really played together for an extended period of time, and weren’t healthy for 90% of the season last year. Our PF and C for the last two months were from the D-Leagues, so who even knows if they are good or not the way they were constructed. Continue reading