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

 

 

TJB Presents: The Snubbies


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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.

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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.

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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 

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

Where Brooklyn At???


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Man, what’s going on with the Brooklyn Nets?

Most experts figured they wouldn’t light it up in the regular season, due to the maintenance program that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett would be on. “This team is built for the playoffs” is what everyone was saying, but will they even make the playoffs?

Sitting at 3-10 and currently on a 5-game losing streak, its time to hit the panic button.

There’s a lot of things wrong with this team, but since we all have short attention spans, I’m heading straight to the lead problem…Deron Williams is not a franchise player.

I hate to put all of this on him, but when you’re a max salary player, you get max blame when things go array. Billy King and the front office traded away their future to bring this guy in and build around him. The 1st sign that he wasn’t the one was when he complained about the offense and ended up getting Avery Johnson fired.

The 2nd sign was his inability to beat a shirt handed Chicago Bulls team at home…in the playoffs…in a GAME 7. He needed to step up and lead this team, but he blew it and was outplayed by Mighty Mite Nate Robinson.

The 3rd sign for me is his lack of leadership this year. Jason Kidd was supposed to bring out his A-game and I just havent seen it. I know he’s injured and you can’t do anything about that. But even before he sprained his ankle, I just saw a reluctance to take over games from the guy who was supposed to lead this big named roster past the Miami Heat.

Its like he’s sitting back, waiting for someone else to do what his salary commands that he should do. I’ve said this before, with Max Money comes Max Responsibility.

In order to turn it around, this team needs the D-Will who was in the conversation for best point guard in the game. He needs to put his stamp on this roster and on this organization. Otherwise, they’ll be the NBA equivalent of Dan Snyder’s Washington Redskins. Big names, Big dollars, NO rings.

GM Billy King will most likely be the fall guy if this thing doesnt get turned around soon. I have a feeling the big Russian has had a couple of heart to heart meetings with King already. I’m sure Mikhail Prokhorov didn’t invest all of this money for some paper champions.

Looks like Jay-Z knew what he was doing when he sold his ownership stake in the squad…

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Yep, this guy is still winning.

– N.D. Face

It’s just business…


I am just going to come out and say it.  Jason Collins is the best unsigned big man right now.

C’mon son, you say? Crazy, you say?  Perhaps.  But I say yeahhhhhh, sonnnnnnn crazy like a fox.

Collins has a career average of 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game over his NBA career.  Those statistics are not setting the league on fire.  However, Collins has always been a rugged post presence and gladly uses his 6 fouls to fill up the stat sheet in ways that his limited offensive skills do not.  He has a wealth of playoff experience.  He has also shot 70% from the free throw line in the last few seasons, so you do not have to bench him to hide him from the “Hack-A-Shaq” defense.  Yes, I know that Big Aristotle has been retired for a few years now, but none of the TV talking heads have come up with a better name than “Hack-A-Shaq”.  Collins has never been a locker room cancer.  He knows his role and embraces it with a smile.  Lastly, his salary should be barely over $1million for the season.

Let’s compare him to the available players on the market.  The first candidate is Eddy Curry.  He is a talented, but overweight center with a faulty ticker (both literally and figuratively).  Curry is definitely not one of those players who makes you believe that he would be playing basketball if it paid like a pizza delivery guy.  Curry has been overweight and undermotivated for his entire career. Let’s leave him on the big man scrap heap where he belongs.

Next up, we will evaluate Joel Przybilla and Darko Milicic.  Przybilla has been an injury prone player his whole career and played up to the low expectations that basketball fans had for him at Minnesota.  Przybilla has averaged 7.0 points over his 14 year career, but he has never played for a championship contender.  Further, he has only played a full 82-game season an amazing 1 time for his whole career.  Milicic’s woes have been well documented over the years, so no need to dwell on them any further.  He was a victim of the hype machine that continues to follow European stretch fours and fives.  He never should have been drafted in the lottery (#2 pick in 2003).  Despite Joe Dumars’ brilliant career as a Hall of Fame player and successful tenure as general manager, he ensured that Detroit would not build a dynasty by picking Milicic over Melo, D-Wade, Chris Bosh and David West.  Don’t accuse me of having crystal clear vision because I have the benefit of hindsight.  The Milicic pick was a “WTF?” choice at the time among the baller community.  I watched Melo destroy guys during March Madness.  I knew that he was going to be a star.  Nuff said, I have already given Darko more ink than his career deserves.

If you look at power forwards, there is only one who merits discussion — Lamar Odom, affectionately called “Lam Lam” by his Kardashian in-laws.  You knew that it was curtains for a power forward from Queens who allowed himself to be called “Lam Lam” on national television.  It is like getting dropped off at the North Pole without a compass or cell phone.  There was no way back.

Teams for the past few seasons have tried to manage the media circus that comes with having a Kardashian family member in the locker room.  Even if you ignore the bizarre season that Odom had in Dallas, it is hard to ignore the fact that his Mavericks’ teammates showed him no pity when they took his playoff bonus money.  Odom earned a roster spot with the Clippers and then developed an unconfirmed crack habit.  As a GM, I think that you’d rather have Odom take some time to get his life together rather than have to worry about him trying to steal the team’s championship trophies or medical supplies from the training room for crack money.  C’mon, you know that everyone would suspect him as soon as the owner’s Rolex goes missing at the team facility.  Okay, poor joke.  I am sorry.  Seriously speaking, you cannot have a guy who is unstable in your locker room.

So where does this  lead?  Back to Jason Collins.  He works hard.  He could mentor your team’s young bigs on the fundamentals of post defense. He’s no Big Fundamental, but he can get the job done.  He would sell thousands of jerseys and put fans in some seats as you know the LGBT community is extremely well-capitalized.  He would generate a lot of good press and Collins is intelligent enough to handle the spotlight.   Signing Jason Collins is good basketball and good business.

PSA: GMs of the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, NY Knicks, and Cleveland Cavaliers, I hope that you are reading this blog.

-GPABaller

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