Lebron to Opt Out


31f76-dad2527s2bback2band2bbrought2bhis2bbeltSo LeBron has advised the Heat that he’s going to exercise his early termination clause in his contract and become a free agent.

This is not a surprise. If you’re a Heat fan, you should’ve expected this. The bigger surprise would have been if LBJ opted into the deal. That would’ve been a shocker and bad for business.

In order to “retool” the roster as Pat Riley stated in his rant the other day, the Big 3 all need to opt out and take less money to get better players.

But if the players are going to take less money, owner Mickey Arison has to be willing to venture into the luxury tax zone. The meetings between the Big 3, Riles, and Arison are going to be critical to the Heat’s future.

All of these guys took pay cuts to get guys like Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller on the team. When push came to shove, Arison and Riley cut Miller because Mick didn’t want to pay any luxury tax. If I’m part of the Big 3, LeBron especially, Arison is going to need to assure me that he’s all about winning and not making a profit.

They took pay cuts to win and Mick got cheap and let a key member of the team go in order to save money.

If I’m LeBron, that decision flies in the face of all of the rhetoric Riles was spittin’ the other day about sticking it out and having guts. Don’t talk about family, having guts, and sacrifice when the owner cuts a key player to save some cash.

Arison is going to have to put up or shut up in order to keep this trio together.

In the end, I believe LeBron will stay in Miami and the team will do all possible to build a winner.

But I also never thought LeBron would sit on TV and utter the now infamous phrase “I’m taking my talents to South Beach”, so take that for what you will.

Its all a guess, but I’m guessing the King remains in South Florida, otherwise Heat fans will be falling out on Ocean Drive and not from the alcohol…

tumblr_lpq4ce9J0J1qjnfl4

 

– N.D. Face

 

 

Guess I’m Not Going to Be a Billionaire


 

Buffett

Damn you Warren Buffett! I really thought I had a shot at that billi. I guess I’m like most folks whose shot at Buffett’s money went out the window when Ohio St lost to Dayton.

Or maybe you were feeling yourself when you picked that one AND North Dakota St, only to be blindsided by Mercer beating Duke. The Dayton/OSU game was really a toss up in my eyes, but who in the name of James Naismith picked Mercer over Duke? I bet even the Mercer players picked Duke in their brackets.

So I looked at my brackets today and they had so much red on them, they reminded me of when Ricky got shot by Rondo in Boyz n da Hood

Ricky

My saving grace is that 6 of my Elite 8 are still alive, so i’m winning one of the pools I’m in, but no billion. Guess I’ll have to keep my day job.

This is truly the greatest time of the year in sports for me. I love the NBA playoffs, but the better team usually wins in a 7-game series.

In the NCAA tourney, all it takes is one hot shooting night and David can beat Goliath.

I love seeing a team start the game hoping they can win. As the game goes on and they’re still in it, that hope turns into belief. That belief breeds confidence and you actually see the underdog begin to play free. Next thing you know, Mercer is beating Duke.

Dayton has carried their belief to the Elite 8 after beating Stanford last night. Cinderella has arrived at the dance and March Madness has once again lived up to its name.

march-madness-viewing

So what upsets will we see tonight? I’m intrigued by 2 games. Kentucky vs Louisville and Virginia vs Michigan State. The questions I have about tonight’s games…

Can the kids from Kentucky take out defending champ Louisville? They’re both peaking at the absolute right time, but can UK sustain this high level of play? The UK/Wichita State game was THE best game of the entire tourney. They’ll need a similar performance tonight.

Will anyone be able to score in the Virginia/Michigan State game? Two extremely physical, strong defensive minded teams. Hopefully, the refs will let them play because this has classic written all over it.

I got you next year Buffett, mark my words. That billion will be mine (insert evil laugh).

Enjoy the games!

– N.D. Face

TJB Presents: The Snubbies


Lance

All-Star reserves were announced last night and there were some guys who finally realized a dream. They’re officially an NBA All-Star.

They’ll be in the big game on All-Star Sunday night, showing the world their skills in the best pick-up game you’ll ever see.

For others, last night was about that bullsh*t. There were some serious snubs last night and I’m sure there were more than a few guys at home feeling rather salty.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the 2014 Snubbies…(Orchestra begins to play).

I wasn’t too upset with the Eastern Conference. Toronto and Atlanta deserved a player. Damar Derozan was a great choice. Atlanta could’ve gone with Teague or Milsap, but I think Milsap was the right choice.

John Wall deserved his spot and so did Chris Bosh, who’s been tearing it up for the Heat. But Joe Johnson??? Word???

Lance Stephenson, you deserve a Snubby. Anyone who’s watched the Pacers should know that one of the main reasons for their great season is Stephenson finally showing consistency. He’s not just out there making the occasional fancy play or breaking an ankle (Sorry Courtney Lee). Stephenson has turned into a major contributor on a championship contending team. He should’ve been an All-Star.

There were some other names in the east who were nominated for a Snubby like Jeff Teague, Kyle Lowry, Bradley Beal, Michael Carter-Williams, and Kemba Walker barely got in. But Stephenson was the only player in the east who should’ve been there and isn’t. Snubby for you dude!

Out west there were definitely some Snubby nominees. Goran Dragic, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Eric Bledsoe. All of these guys were worthy of All-Star selection.

But I’m giving out 2 Snubbies and they’re going to Dragic and Cousins.

Up until this year, Dragic was best known for being on a Derrick Rose poster…

Yeah I guess he didn’t get the memo. But he’s quietly turned into one of the best guards in the west. Early on, Eric Bledsoe was the motor for that Phoenix team. But once he went down, Dragic has stepped his game up and has allowed the team still thrive even with Bledsoe out. Goran Dragic, you get a Snubby my dude, you should’ve been an All-Star.

goran-dragic

There was a lot of deabte over this one, but I truly feel like DeMarcus Cousins should be an All-Star. His numbers are up and his technicals are down. Dare I say he’s maturing…hopefully so.

There’s so much talent mixed in with whatever the hell is going on in his head. But it looks like he’s found a nice balance and he’s been a beast on the floor this year for the Kings.

demarcus-cousinsjpg-c04685f246f7a427

I know my buddy and loyal reader, Flake Griffin, is going to disagree but look at the stats. Cousins averages more points, rebounds, assists, and steals. His player efficiency rating is also higher. Cousins, you get my Snubby. You should be an All-Star.

Hopefully with injuries, the NBA office, now led by new commissioner Adam Silver will right this wrong and get these two guys added to the West roster.

So who gets your Snubbies? Do you agree or disagree with me? Did the coaches/fans get it right? Let us know.

– N.D. Face 

Shaquille O’Sherman


RICHARD-SHERMAN-POST-GAME-INTERVIEW-RANT-DC-PI-CQ

We here at TJB watch all sports, well except hockey, so we watch almost all sports. So we were definitely tuned in to Championship Sunday and saw the Richard Sherman rant heard round the world.

My thoughts are that it was a raw and real moment. Every sport is trying to get you closer and closer to the game, to try and bring the viewers into the field of play. You want all-access, Sherman gave it to you.

You got a chance to see what Crabtree heard in his helmet for an entire football game. Dude was hyped and sans him using the N-word, I loved it.

But what else did you expect when you throw a mic into the face of a guy, minutes after he makes a game winning play on the guy he’s been trash talking with for a whole week, in the biggest game of his life?

Its like running up on a pride of lions after a kill, that’s not the place you want to be with a microphone trying to get someone to articulate their thoughts.

The reaction was rather surprising though. Sherman is not the 1st athlete nor last to lose it in a postgame presser. Shaquille O’Neal had a Sherman moment. It was one of the best postgame interviews ever in life back during the 2003-04 season after a game in Toronto…

You think Erin Andrews was scared, imagine being that guy interviewing an angry Shaq.

“Shaq we’re on live….”

"I DON'T GIVE A SH*T!!!"

“I DON’T GIVE A SH*T!!!”

“I know…and I’m sorry sir, please don’t dunk me”

If you want the postgame interviews and the all-access cameras/mics and sideline reporters, this is sometimes going to happen and I’m cool with it. Give me the truth, give me the emotion, bring me in. I can handle it.

Otherwise, the alternative is this….

– N.D. Face

Throwback Thursday: The Day Brad Miller Almost Died


shaq_fight_ap-01

I was watching some NBA games last night and saw Blake Griffin catch another hard foul as he went to the basket from Boston’s Jared Sullinger.

Looks like this is becoming an every game occurrence. Normally, Blake just takes it and really doesn’t say or do anything retaliatory. But last night after the foul, he threw a mean elbow at Sullinger. It didn’t connect, but you can tell the frustration is starting to rise in the Drake-like Griffin.

Blake is getting his share of hard fouls, but no one got it worse than Shaquille O’Neal. I can’t recall anyone getting hammered on a nightly basis as much as Shaq. There were guys on teams whose sole purpose of being in the league was to foul Shaq.

Now before you call me a Shaq apologist, trust that I know Shaq dished out his fair share of abuse on people too. Just ask Dikembe Mutumbo, Arvidas Sabonis, or Chris Dudley.

I always wondered when would enough be enough. When would the Diesel get sick and tired of being sick and tired

Well one night in Chicago, Shaq had finally had all that he could stand. He finally snapped.

After getting mollywhooped by Charles Oakley and Brad Miller, Shaq went after Miller in a pure rage…Skip ahead to 1:19 in the video…

Here’s the fight in its entirety: Shaquille O’Neal Almost Kills Brad Miller

Sheesh!!! He missed but could you imagine what would’ve happened had this punch landed? I can. Brad Miller would have died people….I’m not joking. He would have expired right there on the court.

The wind force created by that whiff was enough to power California for 3 days. 2 ball boys needed to be hospitalized because of the sheer power of that right hook.

So will Blake ever snap like this? Does he need to snap like this? Will the constant hard fouls boil over or will he always do nothing and forever be known as Drake Griffin?

There’s only so much one can take.

– N.D. Face

Kyrie Irving vs Damian Lillard…Must See TV


Damian+Lillard+Kyrie+Irving+USA+Basketball+a4DKv6fdjK6l

If the NBA really wants to advertise their League Pass, all they’d need to do is show you clips of last night’s Cavs/Blazers game and say “Hey cheapo, if you had League Pass you could’ve watched this”.

What a game! Highlights can’t really explain how epic this point guard battle was, but you need to see how it went down…

Yeah, that really happened at the Q. You won’t find too many plays better than those last two buckets. Lillard is a grown ass man pulling up from that deep and I’m still trying to figure out how in the hell Kyrie saw Varejao on that pass. And if you didn’t live in those cities, the only way you saw that game was if you had the LP.

And this is where I have a bone to pick with NBA fans. Last night was Fan Night where the fans choose the showcase game for the night. These nitwits picked Thunder vs Nuggets…Really???

 

I feel your pain Marc Gasol, I really do.

How do you not vote for a match-up of the two best young point guards in the league? The last two rookies of the year going at it, that’s not attractive? I guess that Kevin Durant/Wilson Chandler match-up was just too juicy to pass up.

Last night was the perfect time for David Stern to use his veto power. I don’t even know if he has any, but the NBA needs this kind of showcase for their up and coming players. We need Kyrie vs Lillard every time it goes down Commissioner.

Maybe they can work that into the future television contracts

They meet again January 15th in Portland. Someone, ANYONE, needs to step in and put this game on tv for all us to see.

– N.D. Face

Michael Beasley’s Redemption Song


Beasley

There’s nothing more frustrating than wasted talented.

To see someone naturally gifted squander their gift is infuriating. But the most talented among us seem to always get a 2nd and/or 3rd chance, especially athletes.

But at some point, you will run out of chances. Who would’ve thought at age 24, Michael Beasley would be on his last chance at an NBA career.

The former “can’t miss” prospect couldn’t seem to stay away from that herb and was in basketball purgatory.

That is until Pat Riley pulled him off of the Island of Misfit Hoopers and gave him his chance at redemption. So far, the results have been pretty good.

He’s averaging 11ppg’s in only 17 minutes per game, shooting almost 55% from the field, including 53% on 3’s, and if you watch him on the bench, he looks to be having the most fun he’s ever had playing basketball.

The comfort level with his role is growing by the game and he’s starting to flash all of that talent that made him the 2nd overall pick in the draft.

The game is starting to look easy to him again.

Now comes the hard part. Handling success in Miami.

His name is buzzing in the 3-0-5 again. People are even asking if he’s better than Bosh. He’s not, but they’re asking. Inevitably, the Miami nightlife will come beckoning. Calling his name like he’s Pookie from New Jack City

I think the Heat have the structure and leadership he needs to reach his potential. The Big 3, Spo, and Riles are great influences for sure. But being around true professionals like Ray Allen and James Jones, plus having a hard nosed assistant coach like Juwan Howard in his grill daily will do wonders for him.

lebron-james-dwyane-wade-and-michael-beasley-the-miami_crop_exact

So will he stay on the path to basketball salvation or will he have another mug shot and be a candidate for ESPN’s 30 for 30?

What say you?

 

– N.D. Face

Quick Hits


From time to time, we like to do this quick hits section to log a few things that have our attention.   And away we go…

1. Drizzle

Fresh on the back of his latest concert in Portland, Oregon, it has been leaked that Drake and Jordan Brand have reached an agreement.  I think that it was confirmed on Michael Jordan’s Twitter feed.  I am going to be scratching my head about this one for a long time.  Last week, Kanye was burning up the airwaves shouting about how NIKE, Jordan Brand’s parent, wouldn’t pay him royalties.  So he was taking his ball and leaving to take his talents to adidas.

This week, Drake signs with Jordan.  I am not sure who made that decision, but Drake will never be the artist or the style icon that Kanye is.  We can also be certain that Drake is not getting any royalties in his deal.  Granted Kanye is a loudmouth loose cannon, but his NIKE Air Yeezy was one of the hottest NIKE shoes of the past few years.  Will Drake offer similar heat?  I think NOT.  I would love to be wrong about this one, but I am imagining a lot of lame Drizzy rhymes with Jordan Brand.

As a child of 1980s, I must step back and admire how far the art form of rap has evolved.  I am almost certain that Run-DMC got their adidas sponsorship many years after their mega-hit “My Adidas.”  Now, you have a Canadian artist signing with basketball’s only luxury brand and he is not even close to the hottest rapper in the game at the moment.  Get yours, Drizzy!!

2. If it is nice, do it twice.

The NBA marketing office must be salivating over this one.  Any time you put a basketball player next to the world’s #1 soccer player, it is a huge opportunity to attract a legion of soccer fans to the game of basketball.  Turkish Airlines decided to repeat their extremely successful ad campaign featuring Kobe Bryant and Soccer giant Lionel Messi.  Their first ad campaign got 105 million YouTube views alone.   The newest ad campaign, The Selfie Shootout, should be equally successful.  If you ever ask yourself why the NBA is playing pre-season games in Turkey, ad campaigns like this one by Turkey’s #1 airline show you just how popular the sport of basketball is in Turkey, a country of nearly 80 million people.

-GPABaller

MCW Ballin’ On A Budget


I guess Michael Carter-Williams won’t be waking up in a new Bugatti any time soon.

Bugatti_Veyron_16.4_–_Frontansicht_(2),_5._April_2012,_Düsseldorf

His management team aka his moms and nem, have his rookie salary being deposited into a trust that he can’t touch for 3 years.

As the father of an infant son, who’ll one day be a lottery pick (hey a brother can dream), I think this is absolutely brilliant!

Think about it. If all goes according to plan, MCW will be eligible for his 1st big contract extension after year 3. He’ll sign his extension for $50-60 mil guaranteed and finally gain access to the millions he stashed away, plus some interest. He’ll be much more mature at that time and having lived a semi-normal lifestyle to that point, he’ll have a greater appreciation of the money, and will be well on his way to financial security for the rest of his life.

It’s really a great idea, kudos to his mom for thinking ahead and making sure her son isn’t in the Broke sequel.

But the South Beach side of me, the poppin’ bottles side of me, the Liv on Sundays side of me, the ballin’ outta control, let’s make it rain on ’em side of me is livid!

3 years?!?! Mom and I would have needed a serious negotiation session. I’m talking fiscal cliff style negotiating.

“3 years?!?! Naw mom, we need to talk. I can’t live off of this $2 million from Nike. I got kids to feed!”…Oops, I accidentally slipped into Spreewell mode for a second, but you get the idea.

Hopefully, this begins a trend of the financially responsible athlete. Investing in their futures, rather than a shiny new Jesus piece or some other gaudy, pointless purchase

t-pain-chains

– N.D. Face