I held off this morning on Mike James' soliloquy in the papers this morning, saving it for lunchtime. Roughly translated -- and keep in mind, this is a boiling down of an excerpt highlighted by reporters out of a 30-minute conversation, so a fair amount of editing is going on -- James is basically saying 'I want mine':
|ALAN DIAZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS|
|Mike James: Money player.|
"The money that I make — the multi-year deal or whatever you guys want to call it — just give me what I deserve," he explained. "Don't underpay me.
I'm tired of being called an underachiever. I'm tired of being underpaid. And I've been underpaid since I've been in this game. Now it's time for me to get what I deserve.
The money don't motivate me. The money don't motivate me at all.
But the thing is, maybe I do want to wake up one morning and say, 'Baby, let's go to the Bahamas. Today.' That costs money. So what if I want to do that? Why shouldn't I have the ability to do that if for six, seven, eight months I give you my heart on the basketball court?"
So that's what he wants. If I'm Bryan Colangelo, I'm thinking another thing: Get it somewhere else.
I quite like watching James play, even if he drives me nuts. He has a fierce desire, he's not afraid and he's been a better teammate than the less mature, more volcanic Rafer Alston, for whom he was traded at the beginning of the season. The flip side of all that is he has no conscience with the ball in his hands, and tends to forget there are other players on the floor with him, including a certain cornerstone frontcourt player heading into a critical season in terms of his future here.
Look, I know whether to keep James or not when he walks this summer is best left to the pros. And I find it hard not to like the guy because of that fire he brings to the floor on a team that often appears a bit too cool for its own good. But the nucleus here is the duo of Bosh and Villanueva, and James' tying himself to Bosh's future, as if the two are connected, is a bit of a fallacy. If the Raptors can get the 30-year-old James at a price that suits them, fine -- and for a little insight on that, Doug Smith's latest Internet column tells us. And if not, if the meter on James' taxi runs over, thanks for stopping by.
In the meantime, I really don't want to listen to another athlete talking about what they "deserve". Mike James is making $3.4 million this season. He's made good money, even if it's not NBA good money, and he's had a good year, even if he's putting up numbers on a bad team -- always a bit chancey, those kind of figures.
What he's due is a matter for the NBA market to decide this summer. And however that works out, I have a feeling that waking up one morning and deciding to go to the Bahamas is going to be quite possible -- although I'd recommend Montserrat. It's a little more exclusive, befitting a legend in your own mind. And they have parasailing.
Oh, and with the Raptors heading into New York and Boston tonight and tomorrow, here's a little pregame show for ya.
Related: Scott Carefoot at Raptorblog: "I can't predict whether or not Mike James will re-sign with the Raptors after this season or the amount of money he'll sign for. But I am sure of one thing: it will be less than he thinks he's worth. And who among us honestly believes we get paid what we deserve? See, Mike James is just like us after all."
UPDATE: Dig deep, everybody!