Obviously, this is a New Jersey Nets blog, however, the NAS crew absolutely love the NBA in general. So, every week, Sebastian, Mark, Devin, and myself will answer questions regarding the L.
Sebastian is off the table this week as he heads to Blogs with Balls in the Windy City. He’ll also be running a covert operation to ruin the Bulls’ chances of signing LeBron… oops, did I just write that?
1) LeBron James told CNN’s Larry King that the Cleveland Cavaliers have “the edge” to re-sign him. Does this make sense for LeBron or should he get away from that under-performing situation?
I have thought, dating back to two summers ago when the summer of 2010 was first becoming something for Nets fans to look forward to, that it made too much sense for LeBron to stay in Cleveland. And while being bounced in the second round is a major disappointment, Boston took care of the Magic in similar fashion – so maybe their run has more to do with their pieces coming together at the right time (along with some great defensive schemes from Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau) rather than the Cavs underachieving. With Mike Brown now out of the picture, LeBron could hand pick his own coach while staying in his home state. The idea that he has to come to the NY area for more marketing exposure is a myth. No one is going to care about LeBron if he’s leading the Knicks to an 8 seed or helping the Nets rebuild. If he stays in Cleveland, he’s all but guaranteed to be playing for a title contender, even if it hasn’t worked out that way the past two springs.
As a Nets fan who is infatuated with LeBron James, I’m obviously inclined to say, YES, YES, LEAVE. It also makes me inclined to say that the “edge” he is talking about is purely financial – the Cavs can re-sign him for more money than any other team can offer due to the nature of the free agent market. As a basketball fan, though, I’m not so sure it would be good for his legacy to leave. Look at the great players in the history of the NBA. Kobe will be a lifelong Laker. Magic too. Jordan was a lifetime Bull who never played anywhere else, ever, not even four years after he retired. Russell and Bird were Celtics their entire careers. If he shows loyalty to Cleveland, it could potentially be exactly what the doctor ordered – the FA cloud looms over them no more, the focus is finally on basketball, and a championship could be soon on the horizon.
However, LeBron, Harris, Lopez, and Favors/Cousins/Turner would be an awesome combo…
Previous to the Cavs getting tossed out of the playoffs by the Celtics, I thought LeBron would bolt Cleveland unless they won the championship. However, while the Cavs didn’t win the title, they lost in such a bad way and a lot earlier than expected, I quickly changed my train of thought. There was no way that LeBron would stand to leave his legacy in Cleveland after that horrible series where the team seemed to give up, LeBron was not being the attacking LeBron, and his leadership seemed to dissolve right before our eyes, both on the court and off. I thought at the very least, he would opt for the one-year in 2010-11 and become a free agent again after that season. That said, I do think he’ll re-sign with the Cavs and does make sense in a lot of ways – the team should contend again next season while teams like the Knicks and Nets won’t. The Bulls possibly could, but geting back to legacy, I don’t think he’ll want to be in the Land of Jordan. So, if he really believes what he’s saying about his hometown and the fans, as well as winning a title in that mix, he should re-sign. Plus the Cavs can offer him $30 million dollars more than any other team. Money always seems to talk.
2) After signing a big contract last offseason, Hedo Turkoglu is on record saying that he doesn’t want to go back to the Toronto Raptors. Your thoughts?
Turkoglu’s a clown, but shame on Toronto for giving a contract to a guy last summer that everyone and their mother thought was insane and misguided. While Turk should hypothetically be a good employee and shut up and get paid, these are professional athletes we’re talking about here, so the rules are different I guess. I doubt if he gets traded or bought out that he’s going to find a career revival somewhere.
I’d love to feel bad for the Toronto club, but I just can’t. Year after year of giving mediocrity to their fans is finally catching up with them. They failed to put a halfway decent team around their two greatest franchise players (Vince Carter and Chris Bosh) and now it’s gotten to the point where a middling, aging point forward with an awful contract (for everyone, but himself) coming off his worst season ever is willing to potentially walk away from it all. I just wonder if they’ll treat him with the same kind of vitriol that they do Vince now, and if not, what that means.
Too bad, so sad. Someone bring me a violin, as well as some cheese. I really don’t know what’s up with the Toronto organization because it’s a great basketball city with some really die-hard fans and they deserve better. Instead, they have to deal with a bad contract given to the Jerome James of point-forwards (one great playoff run = big money after it) one offseason and, in all likelihood, losing their best post player ever the next. I don’t feel bad for any of the parties involved besides the great fans in the T-Dot.
3) With the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, aside from Kobe Bryant, which player do you take from either franchise to start a team that wins multiple championships moving forward?
I always love a good point guard, so I’m taking Rajon Rondo. I know his offensive game has some major flaws, but there’s no question in my mind that the Celtics are not in the Finals this year without Rondo carrying that team on his back – and given the Celtics have three bona fide Hall of Famers, that’s damn impressive. Last summer, the Celtics reportedly entertained trading Rondo for Devin Harris. A year later, I wonder if any Nets fan wouldn’t pull the trigger on that deal and I also doubt the Nets would have entertained having the worst record of all-time with a fireplug like Rondo at the helm.
The obvious answer is Rajon Rondo, who has absolutely destroyed everything in his path for the last season and a half and is changing the Celtics’ identity from “The Big Three” to “The Biggest One.” He made Jameer Nelson foolish, Jason Williams childish, and the Celtics relevant. Not exactly an easy feat. However, since my two NAS counterparts (whoops, just gave away DV’s answer) have deconstructed what makes Rajon Rondo so awesome, I’m going to throw another hat into the ring: Andrew Bynum. The Jersey boy has looked absolutely dominant when he’s not clutching his knees in pain, and if he can stop having these freak accidents he could develop into the next great center: a guy who puts together an excellent combination of fluid post movement and body strength down low to produce excellent results. It’s easy to forget that he’s still only 22-years-old and has been consistently awesome when he’s on the floor. If he can put it together for a full season, he’ll be tough to ignore as a potential franchise player.
How can you say anyone, but Rajon Rondo? Okay, a case can definitely be made for Andrew Bynum, but that’s on the condition he can actually stay healthy. I just wouldn’t bet on it as much as I would with the continued evolution of Rondo’s game. When he first joined the Celtics, he seemed timid at times, but now he plays with a ridiculous amount of confidence like he can do whatever he wants on the court… he basically can. His teardrop shot is deadly and if he ever found a consistent jumper, he’d be downright illegal. It seems like, as Rondo goes, so goes the Celtics and considering he led them to the NBA Finals, I’d easily take him to start a franchise.