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

 

 

Throwback Thursday: The Day Brad Miller Almost Died


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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


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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


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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

Basketball 101 with Professor Mamba



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Kobe Bryant is days away from making his return to an NBA court. As a fan of basketball and the NBA, I’m ecstatic. No matter how you feel about the man, the game is better with him in it.

As an observer though, I’ll be watching his return to see if there’s a change in his leadership style.

We’ve seen Kobe go from 17-year old rookie to all-time NBA legend. But there’s one thing we’ve never seen Kobe do and that’s be a teacher. With the way this team is setup, there are a lot of young, unproven, but very talented players on this roster. For the 1st time in his career, the Black Mamba has to become Professor Mamba.

There’s a reason great players are never great coaches. They don’t have the patience to deal with the mistakes, lack of passion, and low bball IQ’s of lesser players. We’ve seen this from Kobe as recent as last season in his failed relationship with Dwight Howard. I hope he’s learned that approach will not work with this youthful cast.

Now more than ever, Kobe needs to grab Nick Young, Xavier Henry, and Wesley Johnson and take them under his wing and TEACH these guys. He has to instill confidence and trust in these guys. He can’t go out there and do it all on his own, that’s how he ended up with a popped Achilles.

With the Lakers signing Kobe to a 2-year $48 million extension today, it’s imperative for their future that KB24 handles these young guys the right way. After riding the pine his whole career, Henry is finally flashing the goods that had him ranked as the best high school player in the country only a few years ago.


So much talent, looking for the right hand to guide them. My eyes will be glued on LA to see if class is in session.

– N.D. Face

The Crossover: NFL to NBA


I don’t know about you, but I’m always thinking about basketball.

Even in the offseason, I’m reading about it, talking about it, playing it. Not so much writing about it (forgive us for being so damn lazy).

But you’d think with the NFL season in high gear and me having two gangsta fantasy football squads, that my full attention would be on football….not so fast my friend.

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I was watching this past weekend’s games and I got to thinking, there are some amazing athletes playing football, I wonder how many of them could probably hoop.

Looking back at retired players, you probably know about Randy Moss and his basketball history. He played high school ball with former NBA guard Jason “White Chocolate” Williams in West Virginia. Peep the clip and see Moss in action…

Deion Sanders looked like he was able to play some ball as well, rocking the A.C. Green jheri curl in his appearances in the old school Footlocker Dunk contests. Terrell Owens’ hoop dreams are pretty well-documented. Even Cris Carter showed out one year, making this one hand reverse dunk look quite easy

But the athletes of today’s NFL are bigger, stronger, and faster….so which NFL players from today could play in the NBA? Not considering those who hooped in college (Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, Jimmy Graham, etc.), we already know about their bball exploits

My Top 3 NFL to NBA players….

1. Calvin “Megatron” Johnson – If you’ve ever seen this guy snag a touchdown out of the air, you already know he’s a freak of nature. 6’5″ + 45″ vertical leap + long arms + huge hands = Grown Ass Man. I see him being a shooting guard, playing above the rim. Not a bad player to have on your squad.

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2. A.J. Green – Green is arguably the best WR in the NFL. He makes amazing catches look routine. In high school he was an all-state performer and played in one of the most memorable games in that state’s championship history. I see the 6’4″ Green, who boasts a 35″ vertical leap, being a D-Wade type of 2-guard. Slasher, using his agility and quickness to get to the hoop. And yes, he will bam on your head if you aint ready. Plus, with his long, wiry body type he probably would’ve been a great defender as well.

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3. Andre Johnson – If Calvin is Megatron, Andre is Optimus Prime. 6’3″, 230lbs, 41″ vert, he looks more linebacker than wide receiver. Being from Miami, I saw him hoop in high school at Miami High and have played against him a few times. He’s one of the most explosive athletes I’ve ever seen on a basketball court, getting eyebrow/nose high on alley-oop dunks in games. Dre would’ve been a nice SG had he focused on hoops.

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4. Dez Bryant – At just over 6’2″, weighing in at 224lbs, Bryant is built like a Chauncey Billups style, power point guard. But is faster and has a higher vertical. Not sure why he chose to risk his career by attempting to jump over a cameraman’s head (Dumbass!!!) but what the hell, Y.O.L.O. right???

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Did I miss anybody? Who do you all think would be good NFL to NBA crossovers

– N.D. Face

Throwback Thursday: Allen Iverson


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Multiple media outlets are reporting that Allen Iverson will be officially retiring from basketball this week. Its a pretty uneventful end to the career of one of the toughest, most influential, and controversial athletes to ever play any sport.

Say the name Allen Iverson and the reactions you get will vary greatly.

Ask one guy and he’ll tell you he was pound for pound, the toughest player to ever play basketball.

Ask another and they’ll tell you he was too “street” and is the poster child for the “thug” image that swept through the NBA prior to Commissioner Stern implementing the current dress code.

Ask my sister and she’ll say that’s her baby daddy.

For better or worse, he always did things his own way. On one hand he was a trailblazer and on the other, him doing it his way may be one of the reasons why he was never welcomed back in the league.

A lot of people wanted to see A.I. take a lesser role with a contender and show he could fit in. But could you imagine Iverson being the human white flag like Tracy McGrady was for the Spurs this past season? Neither could I

He was quite the player and quite the lightening rod equally for criticism, praise, and adoration. I always loved watching him play, so today we wanted to pay homage to the legend by showing a few of our favorite A.I. moments. Defining moments that show you the enigma which is Allen Iverson…

1. The MJ Crossover

Crossing up the G.O.A.T. gets you instant props. He could’ve retired right there and been a legend.

2. The Destruction of Antonio Daniels

See, what you aint gon do is make me fall twice. You must go down…you must go down hard! The MJ cross is the most revered, but this one right here might be the best move of his career. Also, peep Arenas with the throwdown on the following possession…damn!

3. “We talkin’ bout practice….”

Sadly, this press conference will be used to sum up his career. He gave it his all on the court, off the court…not so much.

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I don’t have time to list all of my favorite moments, but feel free to comment and let us know what your favorite A.I. moments/plays are.

See you in Springfield Mr Iverson…

– N.D. Face

Anthony Tolliver Signs With Bobcats


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Yeah its been really slow this summer on the bball front and we apologize for being slackers, but my eyes lit up when I saw that Anthony Tolliver was signing with the Charlotte Bobcats.

Not because this is some monumental move that’s going to change the balance of power in the east.

Oh no, I got excited because this allows me to show you all why I even know who this journeyman is.

You see Tolliver, while playing for the Golden State Warriors, got BAPTIZED by Amar’e Stoudemire a few years back.

The dunk was so nasty, that Tolliver is forever etched into my mind.

To refresh your memory…..

Hell Yes Mr Announcer, you had it right…”That was SAVAGE!” indeed. Game of Thrones style savagery on the basketball court.

Good Luck in Charlotte Mr. Tolliver, Amar’e sends his regards.

– N.D. Face

Does Anyone Want Brandon Jennings???


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Brandon Jennings can’t be a happy camper right now. He hit the free agent market with the hopes of getting a lucrative, long term deal.

As I write this, he has yet to be signed. Aside from the qualifying offer Milwaukee made of 1-year $4.5 million, he hasn’t gotten a sniff from any other team. His own team went after another young pg in Jeff Teague rather than offer him a multi-year deal.

That would make me feel some kinda way. I can’t help but think of that episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when Will’s biological pops showed up, only to ditch him again.

I can see Jennings in his agent’s office teary eyed, lip quivering asking “how come nobody want me man?”

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Bballbreakdown has a thorough video that shows part of the reason why NBA execs just aren’t interested, check it out…

The numbers are pretty mindblowing. Coach Nick was on point and the numbers don’t lie. The fact that a player like Jennings, with quicks and sick handle doesn’t get more shots in the paint, shows he relies too much on his jumpshot.

Its one thing to be a volume shooter, its another to be a volume shooter of bad shots. Allen Iverson shot a lot, but he also got into the paint and went to freethrow line more than anyone other than Shaq.

Jennings needs to take a page out of the AI book. He should live in the lane. If he really made up his mind to attack the paint continuously, it would change the way the Bucks played ball. It would open up the floor for his teammates and create easier, more makeable shots for himself.

These days, with more and more teams hiring numbers people, rather than basketball people to make decisions, the name of the game is efficiency. Teams are looking at PER and +/- numbers more than ever. Its a metrics driven league now. If he drove more and settled less, his percentages would rise and he’d be a much more attractive option.

The guy has all of the ingredients to be a really good lead guard in the NBA. What he makes with those ingredients is entirely up to him. At this point, he’s definitely not a candidate for Top Chef, but he’s young and he’s far from a finished product.

This is your wake-up call Mr. Jennings. The NBA has spoken and they don’t like how you play ball.

Now stop crying, go hug Uncle Phil, and go get your game in order.

– N.D. Face

 

UPDATE – It turns out Joe Dumars wants Brandon Jennings. The Bucks and Pistons pulled off a trade last night and Jennings is heading to Detroit, while Brandon Knight is heading to Milwaukee. With the recent signing of Chauncey Billups, Dumars must believe Billups can help mold Jennings into the star point guard some people expect him to be. Oh and he got a 3 year $24 million deal in the process. What looked like a disastrous summer for Jennings, has turned into a breath of fresh air and a new beginning. No one is happier than his agent right now…whew, that was a close one!