A Decision Will Finally Be Made

Darius Soriano —  July 8, 2010

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Sources tell me there’s an announcement special airing tonight and in this program a famous basketball player is going to decide where he wants to play basketball for the foreseeable future.  This was confirmed by me checking my cable box and actually seeing that it will be on tv. 

Honestly, I’ve avoided writing about Lebron because I really don’t have much to say on the matter.  I think he’s a fantastic player who happens to be a highly sought after free agent.  In this regard, he’s no different than Shaq in ’96.  And just like Shaq, his decision is newsworthy as I think Lebron’s decision will have a big impact on the league (hence a post at this site about him).  Again, he’s one of the best players in the world (and arguably the best player if evaluating solely on physical ability and statistical dominance) and whatever team he joins will be vastly improved if only because he’s now on that roster.  He’s one of the few players that instantly makes a team a contender.  You can talk about his playoff flameouts or the limitations in his game, but in the end this is a player that took the Cleveland Cavs from the cellar to a championship level team.  And while James has not reached the peak of the sport, he’s done very well in working his way up the mountain.

So, tonight I’ll be watching where he goes and doing so with interest.  Because whether he joins Wade and Bosh in Miami, Amar’e and D’Antoni in New York, or stays home in Cleveland, some team is getting (or keeping) a fantastic player tonight.  A player that the Lakers may actually see in an NBA Finals in the next year or two.  A player that I like to watch, even if I may not enjoy the circus or the spectacle surrounding his persona. 

And I have a feeling that a lot of you will be watching too.  This should be interesting if only because this has been the biggest NBA story this entire season – outside of the Lakers winning their second consecutive NBA championship (it never gets old typing that) – and tonight it comes to a head with a decision.  On a related note, there have been some very good pieces on Lebron today, but few are better than what David Thorpe told TrueHoop about the potential success of a Heat team with Lebron, Wade, and Bosh or the piece that Andy Kamenetzky wrote at Land O’ Lakers on the focus, after tonight, now shifting from Lebron’s free agency to his success in winning titles.  Give them both a read as they’re both worth your time.  And let me know if you’ll be watching in the comments.


Darius Soriano

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222 responses to A Decision Will Finally Be Made

  1. “Riley’s teams have yet to play the kind of D similar to Phil’s teams or Thibideau’s teams”

    Uh, did you entirely miss the 1990’s?

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  2. I think there’s a real possibility this super team won’t win more than 1 maybe 2 rings tops. If we’re looking at a 5 year window and most everyone is accepting that they won’t do it next year, that only leaves 4 years.

    I’d argue, you knock out the last year of that window too because Wade will be 33 at that point and I’m not sure his athleticism and body holds up all the way through all those long seasons of banging especially for his style of play.

    That leaves only a 3 year window. If they slip up even one of those years, that only leaves 2. Sure they get their rings, but it isn’t going to be like there’s going to be a decade of dominance.

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  3. I am presuming the NBA doesn’t have any anti-collusion regulations regarding players?

    It is obvious now that the rumors from the Olympic team in 2008 were actually true, and that Wade, James, and Bosh all made a pact for the 2010 free agency period.

    In fairness, Artest and Kobe had a similar (if FAR more surreal) conversation in the showers… but that is Artest. Hard to collude with someone who shares your reality only sporadically…

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  4. Man, am I glad we didn’t get Bosh. Here’s a guy who claims that he should merit that Alpha Dog status for the team he signs with. Now he is the clear # 3 option, and as SVG put it, Dwade’s “lap dog.” (there is another dog reference that could be used but I abstain).

    LBJ has conceded that his time in Clev. was a wanton failure. Clev. fans, like Obi Wan Kenobi, view their “Anakin” now as “Darth Vader.” He was “supposed to be the Chosen one…” and was preordained to bring that championship to Clev. I’m waiting for Pres. Obama to immediately declare greater Ohio as a federal emergency zone, appoint a new “Czar” (the “czar” Fratello would be a good start) to revitalize the franchise. Keep your head up Clev. fans, at least you have the Browns. Actually, strike that last statement.

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  5. I’m pretty sure Bosh realized he wasn’t an Alpha Dog at some point this free agency.

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  6. @Sean P – I did see the 1990s Knicks. They played good D, but it didn’t compare with that of the Detroit Pistons, 90s Bulls, Thibideau’s Celtics, or even that of the Lakers such as this last title run. The year they made it to the Finals, they had more talent than Houston but still managed to lose. And Riley’s Lakers in the 80s were great offensively but not known for their defense. It was LA’s offense vs. Boston’s defense.

    @Needle – What’s funny is that Bosh said just a week or two ago that he wanted to go to a team where he’d be “the man”. Now, he’ll have to play the role of third wheel.

    Also, interesting how Miller turns down a $30 million offer to play for LA and looks like he’ll take the same offer from the Heat. Not much playing time at the SG/SF spots behind Wade and Lebron there. Plus, it’s obvious which team Miller would have had a better chance to win a ring.

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  7. DY, LOVE the Star Wars analogy! LeBron’s image has certainly taken a beating during this free agency period, but winning does heal all. I’m very happy to see the vitriol against the Heat already building. I checked out a few blogs from other teams and it’s shocking to see Celtics blogs and Blazer blogs even have the conversation that they may hate the Heat worse than the Lakers. I LOVE it!

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  8. If rumors are true Miller could very likely be starting. LeBron is supposed to run the point.

    I’m predicting this Miami things blows up. Name me another time when two, true, 1A alpha dogs teamed up in their prime..and it worked out. When Kobe finally became an alpha dog in L.A. the ego’s were to much to handle between he and Shaq. In Boston, it took three guys who were in their 30s to admit they needed help. How long before Lebron wishes for the days when the fans worshipped him and he was the go-to player? How long before he wishes he was the lone top dog and leader? I say 1, 2 years tops before the egos can’t handle it anymore.

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  9. We have seen this played out before. Sorry for the Star Wars analogy, but I can’t see anything more apt than this analogy.

    Anakin Skywalker is noticed from a young age as someone with spectacular skills. He is regarded as the “Chosen One” who will be some sort of saviour. Anakin has certain flaws, that are noticed when he is young: fear of loss, attachment to his mother, and later, his forbidden romance with Padme. All this is known but the Jedi condone it, simply because of Anakin’s great abilities and “Chosen One” status. Fast forward and we see that these flaws have consumed Anakin to the point where he joins the reviled enemies of the Jedi, who not only condone Anakin’s previous “flaws” but allow him to tap into it for greater power.

    That in a nutshell is Lebron. At a young age, he was already groomed the King, the Chosen One, etc. Cavs’ owner Gilbert knew of LBJ’s sadistic narcissim, yet condoned it. When push came to shove, LBJ wanted something greater since he could not get what we wanted in Cleveland. He was the chosen one who was supposed to break the Clev. curse, but now, he is joining Miami’s soon-to-be-reviled empire. We have now witnessed the transformation of him from lovable Anakin to the hated Darth Vader. Sorry for the nerdy and lengthy analogy but I can’t think of any other example.

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  10. It was all a SCAM!!! Lebron was lying through his teeth!!!

    The whole deal was decided many months ago between Wade, Bosh and Lebron. His story about only making a decision after waking up yesterday is a total lie and it showed on his face!!! Sooo obvious.

    When Bosh went with the Heat after posting twitters which amounted to taunts, that should have tipped everybody that the fix was in.

    The fact that all three players are getting less than max money is another tip off, because that doesn’t happen overnight. Negotiations were aimed to achieve this arrangement and contracts had many pages of detail. It was all done well ahead of yesterday. Believe it!!!

    NBA fans were just strung along in an attempt to make it look like it was a difficult decision for Lebron. It was a total, cynical SCAM!!!!

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  11. @207

    If anything, I think LeBron’s willingness to go to Cleveland signifies that he is willing to acknowledge that he’s not #1. Miami is Dwyane’s team period and he has to know it.

    Regardless of how successful these three are, “King” James is gone for good IMHO.

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  12. This is funny – jadande LeBron in 07 Finals got a 6.2 RT @slmandel LeBron’s decision got a higher TV rating (7.3) than 95% of actual NBA games (via @chengelis)

    I don’t like the way LBJ handled his business, but looking at this team objectively, it’s going to be very good. They have two top 5 players and 1 top 10 (?) top 20 (?). Realistically, that’s a great foundation that any rebuilding team would want to start with.

    They may not win it this year, because they don’t have any other players or a system, but Riley and the Heat are making a long-term investment. They’ll be good this year even with scrubs. They will have the MLE next year and if there’s a lockout, they may be able to get even more for their money. Supposedly LBJ, Wade, Bosh are willing to take even less in order to enable Miami to sign some other players (e.g. Mike Miller), but we’ll see about that.

    We’ll see how their deals ultimately workout, but LBJ and Bosh left significant money on the table because they didn’t do a S&T deals.

    In terms of who is the alpha dog, it’s Wade and I don’t think LBJ or Bosh has a problem with that. Bosh doesn’t have it and he doesn’t want it. I think LeBron experienced what it’s like to be the Man and realized that it’s nothing without a title.

    This isn’t Kobe vs. Shaq where both clearly wanted to be the alpha. LBJ would never have gone there if that was the case. He had it in CLE and would have gotten more money too.

    The LBJ spectacle was revolting, but the reaction now is funny. The Heat have become the most hated team overnight. Most pundits are skeptical that they win it all.

    Dan Gilbert, WTF? I sort of get it, but you’re acting like a high school QB who got dumped by the head cheerleader. I can’t ever imagine Dr. Buss acting like that in public. Even when Shaq pulled his “pay me!” BS, I imagine Buss was PO’d, but he didn’t act like an 18yo.

    I don’t think anyone would care about this team if they didn’t feel like the Heat are a huge threat to dominate the league for some time. Look at the reaction when we traded for Pau. Everyone outside of the Lakers hated that trade. Popovich couldn’t contain himself because he knew what that trade meant for the Lakers.

    The Heat haven’t won anything yet, but they are the biggest threat out there.

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  13. “I did see the 1990s Knicks. They played good D, but it didn’t compare with that of the Detroit Pistons, 90s Bulls, Thibideau’s Celtics, or even that of the Lakers such as this last title run. The year they made it to the Finals, they had more talent than Houston but still managed to lose. And Riley’s Lakers in the 80s were great offensively but not known for their defense. It was LA’s offense vs. Boston’s defense”

    Riley’s Knicks led the league in defensive efficiency (per Basketball Reference’s DRtg) for 3 straight years and finished tied for 2nd in his only other year there (his first).

    The Knicks may have held a talent edge but let’s not go overboard. Otis Thorpe, Vernon Maxwell, Robert Horry, Sam Cassell, Mario Elie, & Kenny Smith could all play. More importantly, Houston had home court and Hakeem, who killed Ewing in the series outscoring Ewing by a full 8 ppg and holding Ewing to a horrendous .363 fg%.

    Showtime could play some D too, finishing in the top 10 in defensive efficiency in all but Riley’s first year. People forget, but those fast breaks were fueled by stops.

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  14. Going back to that one remark above re all the Heat needing is a PG that can handle the ball and shoot the jumper, the good news then is that until the Heat add a truly worthy PG via the MLE, the Lakers won’t have to worry about DFish and Blake getting torched. And the ball handler/jump shooter otherwise won’t be Ray Allen. Thank God for small miracles.

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  15. I am fascinated by the idea that LeBron quit against the Celtics this year. That evisceration in game 5 was mind-boggling. LBJ posted for a corner three for like half the game!
    Now I am wondering: Was that a setup? Was he afraid to win and not have an easy out of cleveland?
    His team had the best record in the nba for two straight yeas and lost, so he gives up? It’s not cool to play armchair psychologist, but as someone who has competed for national championships in an individual sport, I can say: I never forgot the people who beat me, and exacting revenge was the best part about winning. LBJ doesn’t seem to have that mentality

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  16. @beyondblue28

    I’m skeptical if he purposely tanked the game to get out of CLE. He may have given up, but it’s hard to take Gilbert seriously right now. Why would Gilbert push so hard to sign some guy to a max deal if he thought he was a quitter?

    However, your point about LeBron’s mentality is interesting. Maybe he doesn’t have that type of mentality that Kobe and MJ have. I think DWade has it. Perhaps he realizes it and that’s part of why he’s willing to be a sidekick to DWade.

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  17. With Bosch and Wade, Lebron might catch up with Adam Morrison’s two rings.

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  18. Whatever respect I had for the guy as a player, is all gone now. He just proved in 60 minutes on ESPN how much of a coward he is. Kobe, Jordan, Bird, Magic, Isaiah, Duncan and the REAL greats would never have chickened from a challenge. As they have all shown, they worked harder when they got knocked down at one time or another in their careers. They persevered, and earned their stripes to become “True champions”.

    James just proved he’s no leader, not a #1 guy, a real quitter, a self centered person who can’t believe in himself and his abilities. He was presented with a challenge, and he ran away as far as he could. Even if he wins 10 titles with Wade and Bosh, he might just be ranked with Kerr, Horry, and Fish…

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  19. It’s just not going to work in Miami. Two alpha-dogs in their primes who love attention aren’t going to co-exist. I’m sure they TALKED about it, great. Wonderful. They even played a few Olympic games too, awesome.

    82 games, a couple of season in, it will fall apart. Ether LeBron steals the spotlight in Wade’s city, or LeBon starts to miss the spotlight that he had in Cleveland. Promise. Go watch the LBJ reaction video on youtube after Wade won the All-star game MVP. LeBron was very, very clearly upset and jealous. Plz tell me how over the course of a couple of seasons he’s gonna manage to keep that hidden. He won’t.

    This isn’t KG going to the Celtics…because none of those players were 2 of the 3 most popular players in the league. And unless you truly believe a couple of 20 somethings are ready to share the spotlight, then this thing will end in failure.

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  20. If I’m not mistaken, the Heat have only Mario Chalmers under contract (aside from the impending signings of Wade Bosh and James). Now, with those four players, I think they will be left with 2-3Mil under the cap (or if not capped out). Aside from the MLE $6M, and Bi-annual Exception $2M, (which will be worth3-4 players max. Do you think they’ll be able to lure 6-7 players for the league minimum? They still need a starting center and PG, a 6th man, and 3-4 role players. Maybe bring Mourning, Malone, Stockton, Barkley out of retirement while they’re at it!

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  21. As I understand the Heat do not have any exceptions as they are currently under the cap.

    All they have is whatever space the Big 3 don’t take up and then minimum contracts all around.

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  22. Looks like LeBron took the easy way out to me. Taking on the challenge of winning a title for his hometown in Cleveland would have been worth several championships with the new, stacked “Big Three” in Miami. He should have stayed the course in Cleveland, and his popularity would continue to soar, which automatically increases his income with more endorsements!

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