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…

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– N.D. Face

 

 

Michael Beasley’s Redemption Song


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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.

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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

MCW Ballin’ On A Budget


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

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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

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– N.D. Face

#SummerisSerious…


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Here at Tragic Johnson, we take a lot of pride in our basketball knowledge. We don’t think we know it all, by any means, but we believe we know enough to want to spread that knowledge out in the blogosphere.

The other thing we talk pride in is our actual basketball skills. We don’t just write about hoops, we can actually play and I think I’m pretty damn good.

So when Nike Basketball started the “Summer is Serious” campaign and gave us ballers a chance to show off our skills, with the hopes of being chosen by Kevin Durant and James harden for the ultimate pick-up game….we had to jump in.

I just submitted my video via my twitter account @ND_Face and lets see if my video gets chosen.

Shoutout to my cousin for coming out and filming this. He did an amazing job on the editing as well. Make sure you guys follow him on twitter @Dannylo_3Seven

I’ve posted it below for your viewing pleasure. I hope you all and KD and The Beard like it!

Let me know what you think…..

Also, big up to Dade County artist Ghostwridah for letting us borrow his track for this endeavor, good looking out Hometeam!

– N.D. Face

NBA Finals Game 6…Best Ever?


hatesChris-Bosh1And with that block, one of the greatest games in NBA Finals history came to an unbelievable end.

So many twists and turns through this epic 53 minute game. I bet the reporters covering on site had to change their storylines multiple times as the in-game roles and narratives changed seemingly every quarter. Kinda the way Magic Johnson’s thoughts on who will win change just about every 5 minutes.

Think about it, Bosh went from Goat to Hero. Duncan went from Beast to Old Man. Pop went from Genius to Dumbass. And Lebron went from Choker to Hero to Choker then back to Hero again. Amazing how that happens, right? If the Heat lose, all anyone is talking about are the 2 late turnovers LBJ had. But they won, so now LeBron is clutch once again and Magic now has the Heat winning it all, until halftime of game 7 I’m sure.

Any basketball coach worth a damn will tell you, to win a championship, you’ve got to do the little things. Had the Spurs done those little things like boxing out, taking care of the ball, and making freethrows, they very well may have been NBA champs last night celebrating at Applebee’s.

But instead they’re stuck wondering how it all went wrong and looking at the unenviable task of winning a game 7, on the road, vs LeBron James. Keep in mind that NO team has EVER won a game 7 on the road in the 2-3-2 format. Then again, Miami hasn’t won 2 straight since the Bulls series and the Spurs haven’t lost 2 straight since late in the regular season. Which trend is going to end?

I was so geeked up after the game, I couldn’t sleep. So I was trying to compile a list of the best NBA Finals games in recent history. So what makes a game a candidate for “Best Ever” status? You need great players, making great plays and at least one signature moment.

So which games come to mind?

Game 4 2008 – Boston Celtics vs LA Lakers. Colossal Collapse at Staples Center….

Game 6 1998 – Chicago Bulls vs Utah Jazz, MJ’s greatest moment as a player….

Game 4 1987 – Boston Celtics vs LA Lakers, Magic’s Baby Hookshot…

All of these games had great players, making great plays. Some questionable officiating calls and no calls, plus signature moments that have gone down as some of the greatest moments in NBA history. Magic’s hook, MJ’s crossover/pushoff, Kobe pissed off to no end, thats classic son! Game 6 2013 gave us the Ray Allen backpedal corner 3…

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Are you serous? 2 days later I’m still amazed. Moments like this are the reason why Ray Allen came to Miami.

I don’t know if people comprehend how difficult that shot was. The moment was huge, it’s the season on the line when that ball is coming to him and he knows it. Plus he’s going backwards, to the corner. How many times have you seen players in these NBA corners step out-of-bounds? Not only did he get behind the line and stay in bounds, he had the presence of mind to peek at the shot clock down on the other end to see how much time he had left, then he drains it…no rim.

If you still don’t think its hard, how bout this. Next time you go to your local court, you and your boys/girls need to reenact this play. Try to backpedal to the corner, catch the ball and make a 3 point shot. If you don’t trip and bust your ass, you’ve won half of the battle.

Now we come to game 7 and I have absolutely NO CLUE what’s going to happen, but I can guess like everyone else. Will the Heat have a hangover after expending so much energy and emotion fighting back to win that game? Will the Spurs be too devastated to offer up a real challenge? Will the bandwagon Miami fans (not the TRUE fans) stay long enough to see what happens? I don’t know!

All the commentators seem to think the series is over and Miami will take it easy, but if any team can bounce back from that type of heartbreak, it’s the Spurs. That team is never too high or low emotionally, so I see them giving a great effort.

I also think the Heat will be energized knowing they have a chance to make history and go down as an all-time great team with back to back titles.

Prediction? I think its a relatively close game throughout and one team will pull away in the 4th qtr. That team will be the Miami Heat.

Hide ya kids, hide ya wife, cuz Chris Bosh pouring champagne on err’body…

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Whatever happens tonight, I’ll be planted in front of my TV applauding the effort, but bitter that this incredible series has to come to an end.

– N.D. Face

The NBA Finals: Rest vs Rust


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The NBA Finals tipped off last night and all I heard in the buildup to game 1 was ‘Rest vs Rust’. How would the Spurs handle all of that time off?

Round 1 goes to Rest.

9 days off seemed to have the Spurs rejuvenated, while battling the Pacers to 7 games seemed to wear Miami out. At least that’s what Heat fans are hoping for. Miami played well for 3 quarters, well enough to win. But they turned in a disastrous 4th quarter and Tony Parker made a miraculous shot, allowing the Spurs to steal game 1 and take over the homecourt advantage in this series.

I got the feeling all night that Miami should’ve been up by more. They seemed to be playing well, making shots, Tony Parker wasn’t killing them. Yet every time I looked at the score, it was Heat by 4-5 points. The Spurs just hung around and made a late run that Miami just couldn’t answer.

A lot of Heat fans are going off on Chris Bosh today for taking that 3-pointer late in the game. On Facebook, the chatter was all about how Bosh shouldn’t be shooting 3’s.

So to those who say Bosh shouldn’t have shot that 3 pointer, I present to you the following….

A lot of you are playing the result. If he makes that 3 everyone is celebrating, screaming “good shot!”. I didn’t like the amount of 3’s he shot during the game, but I can’t be upset at a guy for shooting a wide open three who has history of making some timely ones. If anything, get mad at LeBron for not attacking Tim Duncan at that moment.

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He came down the lane and should’ve gone right at him. Where’s the killer instinct???

So enough about the Heat. Lets talk Spurs and how exceptional that team is. All of the guys who needed to play well for them did. Tony Parker was giving kids the blues in the 4th quarter. I thought Popovich did an excellent job with subbing, having Parker fresh for that 4th qtr run.

Tim Duncan also found out what Hibbert found out, Miami is soft inside. The Big Fundamental took Miami’s bigs to school. Helping the Spurs to 20+ 2nd chance points.

Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green definitely didn’t look afraid of the moment either. Making big plays and shots all night.

The one thing Miami now knows is this Spurs team is not going to make a lot of mistakes. To beat them you better execute and be disciplined down the stretch, because they’re going to do what they do.

It’s boring to some, but its beautiful to me. The Art of Basketball at its finest.

Despite the lost, I still think Miami wins this series in 6 games. Miami has to up the tempo to offset the Spurs defense and LeBron needs to be in attack mode.

If we can get 5-6 more games like game 1, we’ll all be happy. We’ll be sleepy as all hell too, but we’ll be happy.

So who do you think is going to win? Comment and let us know.

– N.D. Face

Hey Wade, Where You Been???


Wade-Hello

Looks like the search party that was out looking for The Real Dwyane Wade found him in time for Game 7. Just when you’re ready to say this guy is done, he’ll never be an elite player again, he goes and plays like he did in game 7.

The zig-zag eurostep was back, he actually used a crossover move for the 1st time all series, and he had one of the plays of the night, looping the ball over Stephenson’s head before going in for the two-handed slam.

I’m willing to bet this was the song he had bumping in the highly equipped luxury vehicle he drove to the arena…

A lot of people were predicting the Heat’s downfall last night. Stephen A Smith proclaimed the Big 3 era over. But once again, Wade proved them wrong and bought himself some time in the sunshine until he has another bad game.

The opinions on Wade seem to change like the ever flowing tide on the South Florida beaches.

dwayne-wade-twitter-3When he plays well, people are screaming “Yeah baby, Wade County!!!”.

When he plays like he did for most of this Indiana Pacer series, its “His ol’ tight pants wearing ass needs to be on the bench!”.

You’d think Wade would be untouchable in S. Florida. He brought the Heat their 1st NBA title. He was the mastermind behind the Big 3 assembling. He’s one of the most popular sports figures in S. Florida history, right up there with Marino. You’d think he’d get a pass, but it seems clear that he’s been surpassed by LeBron.

I wonder if that had anything to do with his lackadaisical play.

The ego is a powerful thing. We all know Wade is a sensitive dude. In fact, they all are. I’ve gotta think he’s a bit annoyed hearing about how great LeBron is and how he’s an aging sidekick.

Makes you think, was Wade getting his Kobe on? Trying to prove a point on the court by doing much of nothing? Basically saying, ‘yeah LBJ is great, but you still need ME to win and I’m going to show you how much’.

You’re looking at your computer screen thinking “this guy is nuts!”, I can feel it.

Call me crazy, I know its a bit farfetched, but I’m sure Heat fans were sitting in front of their televisions last night wondering…”where the hell has this been all series?”. Honestly, I have no clue how he went from Super Scrub to Superman in 48 hours.

There were no strategical adjustments Spo made for Wade. He got the the ball in the same spots he’d gotten it every other game. The difference…he brought some passion and energy on both ends of the floor. Where did this burst come from?

Maybe the trainers did a special tape job on that knee.

Maybe he ditched the xtra-smedium pants.

Maybe he put some special insoles into those cheapass shoes.

Or maybe he said ‘ok, let me stop playing my little game and play forreal’.

Whatever it was, it worked. Now the question is, will he bring that energy into The Finals.

If I’m Coach Spo, I pull him to the side and say “point taken, don’t do that again” and begin preparations for the Spurs Thursday night.

What do you guys think? Am I thinking too much into this or is there a C-O-N-spiracy going on? Let us know how you feel about it.

– N.D. Face

NBA Playoffs: 20 Second T.O. Eastern Conference


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Alright, its damn near time to go back in the cave to resume the playoffs. But we gotta talk about the eastern conference. Both of these series have been so different from game to game. It’s rare that you see two games be so different in both series. The two western conference games have pretty much followed the same script, but these two games were night and day.

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Heat (1) vs Bulls (5)

Talk about a two different games. The Heat had a long layoff after they mopped the floor with the Bucks. The “rest vs rust” theory was definitely in effect in game 1. The Heat were just out of sync, sloppy, and couldn’t hit a shot to save their lives. You’ve got to give the Bulls credit though. That team just doesn’t back down and you know they’re going to execute and defend. That’s why I picked them to beat the Nets.

They were trailing late in game 1 and Might Mouse Nate came to the rescue again. You can say Miami let it slip away but I think Chicago just took it from them. It was a great win for Chicago and they now have homecourt advantage. This is why the NCAA tourney is so exciting. In a one game scenario, anything can happen. Anyone can get beat. But this isn’t the NCAA’s, there’s more games to played.

Game 2 was a totally different story….

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Two

It was a beatdown of epic proportions. Miami came out in attack mode and stayed in it for 48 minutes. They were up by damn near 50 at one point! There really isn’t much analysis needed but I do want to point one thing. Say what you will about D-Rose having no personality, his calm demeanor is missed, just as much as his play on the court. Think about it, you have some of the most emotional players in the NBA on one team. Nate, Noah, and Gibson. All of these guys play on emotion and their emotion really got the best of them in game 2. Rose’s ho-hum attitude resonates on that team, he keeps everybody calm. Those guys would still play on emotion, that’s what they do. But Rose would help to balance all of that out.

The scene shifts to the Chi. They’re going to be really geeked and the fans are going to be as loud as they’ve ever been. But they just don’t have the firepower to hang with the Heat. You can try to be physical but the refs aren’t letting all of that extra curricular stuff after the whistle take place. I think the Heat are passed being bothered by that. I don’t believe Chicago gets mollywhopped like that again, but I think this series is going to be over in 5.

They’re all heart, like Nate says but you’ve got to put up points to beat Miami. Plus Rose is NOT coming back. You see how physical this series is? You really think he’s mentally ready to crash to the hoop and get hammered? I think not. Game 3 might be the best game of this series. Miami knows they need to get one and Chicago will do all it can to maintain the homecourt.

Lots of respect for the Bulls, but they don’t win another game.

 

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Knicks (2) vs Pacers (3)

The Knicks got manhandled in game 1. Indiana played them perfectly, plus the outside shots weren’t falling. Knicks fans know, when them J’s aren’t falling its blowout city. The Heat showed last year that in order to beat the Pacers stout defense, you’ve got to do 2 things 1) put Hibbert in pick and roll and punish him with midrange J’s when he doesn’t step up 2) move the damn ball.

This iso ball that the Knicks play, falls right into what the Pacers want you to do. Go back and watch the tape from game 2. Melo shot a lot of contested shots. He missed them in game 1, they got bamboozled. He hits them in game 2, they win. But seriously, if you’re a Pacers fan those are the tough shots you want them taking.

Game 2 was a close game going into the 4th and then Melo went off. I want to see if Melo can keep the streak going. It was his 1st time shooting 50% or better through the entire playoffs. He’s a great scorer so he’s going to have games like that, but if he’s shooting contested shots. That’s all you can ask for.

If the Knicks want to win, they’ve got to move the ball. You make Indiana move, you can get whatever shot you want.

As for the Pacers, they need to pound the Knicks inside. Hibbert and West should get a lot of touches. Plus I’m waiting on Paul George to have that monster game. Hasn’t happen yet, but I feel like it’s coming. This is a tough series to call, but it really comes down to can NY make shots. I think they can. Indiana makes you take tough shots but NY has two of the best tough shot makers in the league with Melo and JR Starks…I mean Smith.

So I’m taking Knicks in 7.

Ok timeout is up. I’m going to go and kiss my family goodbye and head back to the cave for the rest of the playoffs…see you in a few days.

– N.D. Face

Melo = Beast Mode


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Ding Dong, the streak is dead! Nate the Great has done it again, giving Knicks guards Da Bizness to the tune of 35 points. The Bulls are going to be a tough out come the postseason, especially with the United Center rocking like the old Chicago Stadium.

I know it hurts Melo, but it was a good ride while it lasted. Granted, I’m not feeling any sympathy for the Knicks, you’ve got to be impressed with what they’ve done.melopout

So with the Knicks win streak ending at 13 games, we need to take a moment and look at how great Melo is playing in the month of April. Now last night was typical Melo volume scoring, with the 36 points on 34 shots (gunning!). It was the 1st time all month he’s shot under 50% from the field.

He has been NBA Jams style on fire for the whole month until last night. Starting with the easiest 50 point game you’ll ever see on April 2, Melo is averaging 39.8 ppg to go with shooting 56% from the floor. Did I mention he’s shooting 51% on 3’s during this span? The last player to score and shoot at this level was Jordan back in 91-92.

To go along with the avalanche of points, he’s also had 3 double figure rebound games during this 6 game stretch, including 19 last night.

He’s not going to win the league MVP, but I think he’s locked up the player of the month for April. It’ll be the 1st time all season someone other than Lebron will have won the award this season, so he can definitely take pride in that. Plus he and the Knicks are riding a nice wave going into the playoffs, where they hope to win a playoff series for the 1st time since 1999-2000.

So with Lebron having the league MVP award locked up and basically holding claim to the title of Best Player in the NBA, where does Melo rank?

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I think the 5 best players in the NBA are Lebron, Kobe, Melo, Durant, and CP3 in that order. Why isn’t Melo higher? Lebron and Kobe do more defensively and definitely are better passers.

Say what you will about Mamba being a ballhog, but he’s averaging 6 assists this season, which would tie a career high. So he can pass, he just feels contested jumpers over 2-3 defenders is better than passing to a wide open Jodie Meeks or Darius Morris.

But when it comes to pure scorers, no one does it like Melo and he’s shown the entire repertoire in April. All jumpers, including 7 3-pointers vs Miami for 50. The next night he plays bully ball inside vs Atlanta and gets 40. A couple of games later, he goes into OKC, on national TV and gives Durant, Sefolosha and whoever else wanted it that work for 36.

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Yes, Beast Mode is on and he’s definitely playing his best ball right now, but it’s yet to be seen if this will translate into a playoff series victory.

I’m hoping it does, because we need a Lebron vs Melo Conference Final.

N.D. Face

 

 

Andrew Wiggins vs Doug Anderson


Two dunk contests. Two high flyers. One sick dunk.

The question is, who did it better?

In this corner, we have prep phenom Andrew Wiggins. He’s the #1 rated amateur prospect in the world. He’s projected to be the 1st pick in the 2014 draft. The kid has silly hops and he lights up YouTube every time he takes the floor

Wiggins 6'7" 205lbs18 years old

Wiggins
6’7″ 205lbs
18 Years Old

In the other corner, we have Doug Anderson from the University of Detroit. He’s not as well-known as Wiggins, but he’s been on SportsCenter a few times, throwing down ridiculous dunks on people’s heads. He also just won the college slam dunk contest.

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Anderson
6’6 212lbs
22 Years Old

Both of these freak athletes did a dunk I’d personally never seen before. So instead of trying to describe them, how about I just show them to you….

Here’s Wiggins….As my NY peeps would say “Son got bounce yo!”

 

Here’s Anderson’s rendition…. As my Miami peeps would say “Buddy got dem thangs yo!”

Each one was sick, but which was better??? In my eyes, gotta go with Wiggins. His was the cleaner of the two AND he did more of a 360 than Anderson.

Feel free to chime in and let us know who you think rocked the reverse 360, between the legs dunk better

N.D. Face