Nets Of the Round Table VI: Amar’e, Wade, Bosh, and That LeBron Guy

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.

Hey NAS readers, thanks for your support first of all.  Second, everything will be okay.  Finally, breathe.  In any case, it’s been awhile since the last NORT went up on here, but we had more important things to worry about, such as pondering why only the first two-thirds of Stripes is so good and the last third so boring in comparison?  Same sort of goes for Full Metal Jacket, except with the first segment in basic training versus the rest of it.  Oh, and there was also the NBA Draft and Free Agency that had to put NORT on the backshelf.  However, we’re back!

1) Thoughts on the Amar’e Stoudemire signing with the New York Knicks?

Sebastian: While Amar’e is on two bad knees with a bad eye, I think this is a decent signing.  Before the Amar’e signing, the Knicks had Danilo Gallinari and that is about it.  Amar’e brings star power and pairing him with a guy like Anthony Randolph will make the Knicks so fun to watch.  Not saying they are going to make the playoffs, but with coach Mike D’Antoni running the squad, it’s going to be interesting.

I also like the Stoudemire signing because it kept the Nets from signing him.  Stoudemire and Lopez together on defense is too much of a liability, and I think the Nets have a good enough core where they didn’t need to give Amar’e the max to be competitive.

Mark: Well, with no LeBron in NY, signing Amare to that deal just looks stupider and stupider. He’ll be good for another season or two, but he’s going to be the latest albatross for the Knicks, and I’m looking forward to him dragging that franchise down a few more years.

Devin: Without LeBron now, it really doesn’t mean much. He’ll sell tickets and put up a flashy dunk or two every game, but as they stand now the Knicks look like a lottery-bound team again. Amar’e is a nice piece, but he’s had both knee and eye problems and has a ton of problems defending on the interior. He’s a good fit offensively for D’Antoni’s style – we all know that by now – but who’s going to get him the ball? Is he going to play the 4 or the 5? If it’s the 5 since they have Gallinari, how do they expect him to compete with most centers?

It was a move that they hoped would bring bigger ones, and now unfortunately for New York it’s just a move. But they’ll regret it in 2014 when he’s making upwards of 26 million dollars in the new locked-down CBA with not much to show for it.

DV: The signing was a gamble that needed to be taken on the Knicks’ part because there was no guarantee that LeBron James would sign with them.  After many intimations and psuedo-promises of getting James, they couldn’t be shut out from the biggest free agency market ever or incur the total and wholehearted wrath of its fanbase (sort of how Nets fans are acting now for some reason).

While there are issues with Stoudemire’s knees and retinas, he seems to have gotten over each injury, individually.  Since knee surgery back in 2005, he has been healthy (eye injury aside) and he’ll be great in D’Antoni’s system again (even moreso if they sign Raymond Felton).  Will he be worth the $100 million over five years?  No.

2) Thoughts on the trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh joining forces with the Miami Heat?

Sebastian: Since the Heat decided they were going to make a play on Bosh, Wade, and LeBron I was convinced it wasn’t going to happen.  “None of these guys are going to want to take a $1 million paycut” I said.  “And even if they were willing to do it, they wouldn’t want to share the ball.” I added.  Well, I feel like a dope.  The Heat easily become one of the best teams on paper in the history of the NBA.  Think of it, you have 2 of the top 3 players and the best PF in the NBA (a top 10 player overall), as a NBA fan, this is exciting to watch, as a Net fan it sucks to see them not land LeBron.

Mark: This is going to be a fascinating social experiment in South Beach next season. They have a chance to go out and totally dominate wire-to-wire, but I don’t think that’s a slam dunk. There’s still the problem of who they’re going to surround the egomaniacs with, and if there’s no depth on that roster, one injury is going to cripple them. Granted, injuries could sink anyone, at any time, but I think it’s especially critical with this Heat team.

Then there are other obvious issues. Who’s the Alpha, and yes, it matters. Personally, I think it’s still going to be Wade’s team, but will they clash when it comes to games that matter? It’s not beyond reality.

I will say, LeBron’s decision does demonstrate that winning is paramount. You could call it a cop-out or a cheat, but I don’t think LeBron goes to South Beach unless he thinks he’s winning multiple rings there. It diminishes his “brand” as Mikhail Prokhorov would say, but he wins.

On a final note, and to act like an old fart for a minute – here’s another case of what’s wrong with the NBA. Could you imagine Jordan, Bird and Magic playing on the same roster in 1989? Of course not. They all wanted to kill each other. The camaraderie and chumminess amongst players has reached ridiculous levels.  This move damaged the NBA much more than it helps it. I don’t know what the answer is. A salary cap should hypothetically eliminate situations like these, but I guess not. The thing is, David Stern has a failing product on his hands and a lockout looming next season. LeBron in Miami is only another nail in the coffin.

Devin: I get that it’s the decision everyone was reporting, but I’m honestly stunned. I’m shocked. I think it’s the worst move he could possibly have made for himself. It’s creepy. It feels like an instant championship, but one that wasn’t won, just negotiated. As a Nets fan, I’m not even mad about him not signing here. Well, that’s a bold-faced lie, but my sadness about not getting LeBron is overtaken by my complete confusion at why he thought this was a good idea and my anger at the mockery that was just made of NBA competition. I’m flabbergasted.

I get that teaming up with Wade and Bosh brings him a great chance – perhaps his best chance – at a championship, but it’s at the cost of his legacy. If they win a championship, he will have done so on someone else’s terms instead of his own. He will never be considered the top dog in Miami; Miami is “Wade” County and always will be. LeBron will have proven to all his detractors that he doesn’t want to be the definite first banana; that he didn’t have the desire be the unquestioned top dog on a championship team. It will have been a championship that was bullied, not earned. More importantly, if they don’t win a championship, LeBron becomes the most high-profile loser in NBA history, someone who gambled his own future to play with his two all-world buddies and still couldn’t muster the killer instinct to get it done. At least if he’d stayed in Cleveland, or gone to Chicago, New Jersey, or New York, he would have given himself the risk. He would have put the burden on his shoulders. He would have said, “I am going to define my own legacy.” This, though? This is a cop-out of his own destiny.

LeBron will never be in the same discussion as MJ ever again. Ever. That’s a fact. He might as well have handed his “I want to be thought of as the greatest of all time” card to Jim Gray as he said the words “South Beach.” His desire to play with the best is now clear as day, but his desire to be the best – or lack thereof – is clearer. The all-time greats have never treated competition like this. Seriously, can you picture Jordan making a pact with Malone and Gary Payton that they’d all get together in 1996 on the Sonics? Absolutely not. Michael wanted to beat the hell out of everyone in his path. LeBron has proven he doesn’t.

Maybe I’m just bitter. I don’t know. All of my thoughts on this are reactionary and emotional and tangential. But I can’t shake this feeling that this is horrible for the NBA. Sure, Heat games will be fun to watch – they’ve got two of the best three players in the NBA and the best power forward, too. Plus I’m sure they’ll get some veterans interested in playing with them for the minimum, and they’ll probably have a tiny bit of cap space now that Michael Beasley has been traded to the Timberwolves.

But the whole concept just makes my skin crawl.

I’ll leave you with this analogy. If the NBA was “The Office,” LeBron James is Josh Porter leaving Dunder-Mifflin to take a senior management position at Staples. & to quote Jim, “Say what you want about Michael (Jordan-)Scott, but he never would have done that.”

DV: First off, my condolences to the Cavaliers fans that are taking this really hard, as well as the city of Cleveland itself.  However, you can’t blame LeBron for wanting to win (PLUG – wrote more about it on Fanway), although he did do the organization and its fans wrong in a big way.

That all said, the Heat are going to be fun to watch.  I do think that the new Big Three of LeBron, Wade, and Bosh can play together because they’re all focused on winning titles.  A degree of concession is needed for success here and if LeBron playing for less, as well as (potentially) Bosh isn’t the first sign of that, what is?  This is still going to be Wade’s team mostly, afterall he is the one with the ring.  But, collecting this amount of talent on one team with all three in their primes has never happend before in the NBA.

Will they win the title next season?  I don’t think so… I still think that the Los Angeles Lakers with their big men, Kobe Bryant, and Phil Jackson will.  However, they’ll get to the Finals and tell me that isn’t going to be fun to watch!