And now the fun really begins
Anyway, before I go off to figure out who’s going to win these next two series, let’s take a look at history.
The repercussions from what we witnessed in Boston on Thursday night are going to be felt across the NBA for months to come, and I think you can make the case that that one single game could shape the league for its next era.
Overstatement? I don’t think so.
(I will preface everything to follow with this: I do not know what LeBron James is going to do as a free agent and neither does anyone else but when he talked about “his team” having a game plan, he was not referring to the Cleveland Cavaliers).
So let’s go on the premise that James is going to leave the Cavs after seven seasons and given the way things ended, and the fact he’s failed to deliver a title, I don’t think that’s a stretch.
His move, should he make it, is going to cause seismic shifts in the league and not only in Cleveland and wherever he next calls home.
For the Cavs, do you think they’ll be anything more than a run-of-the-mill franchise for years to come, even if they get 10 cents on the dollar in a James sign-and-trade. Gone, I bet, are the sellout crowds that gave them a decided home court advantage, gone is any kind of intimidation factor or swagger. They will be no better, or no worse, than, say, the Raptors.
Now, let’s say James throws everyone a curve and doesn’t go to New York (and why he’d want to join that sorry lot still mystifies me). What do the Knicks do with all the money they’ve hoarded? Give it Chris Bosh and hope he becomes a true leader in the biggest media market in the world and does he take it, knowing that he’ll be eaten alive at the first sign of weakness in his play? Do they go after Joe Johnson and let him shine in the regular season and disappear should they even make the playoffs.
And what happens to the team that wins the James sweepstakes? Do they automatically become good enough to challenge Orlando in the East or the Lakers in the West? And how do rivals of that team react when they have to make moves to match the addition of James?
I’m telling you, that elimination – and utter capitulation in the final two games of the series by Cleveland – is an era-shifting moment in NBA history.
And we won’t know for months the breadth and depth of what it’s done.
Oh and wasn’t it fascinating when the Cavs all but quit on that game, standing around in utter bewilderment in the final two minutes or so, not fouling, looking askance at the bench, seemingly disinterested in even trying to mount some miracle comeback?
That was shocking in itself and an indictment of everyone connected with the team on the floor, the coaches and players alike.
Shocking in many regards.
Kinda looked like they didn’t even want to be there, didn’t’ it?
Last kick at the mail can, folks. Send the queries here and we’ll take a look this afternoon and tomorrow.
I’m on my traditional early-morning pilgrimage in search of the morning quad vente non-fat latte (Hi, Starbucks at Hurontario and Harbord!) when news comes on the radio that Sidney Crosby has eschewed an invitation to play for his country at the world hockey championships.
Who’s he think he is, Steve Nash?
I’m sure there’ll a huge hue and cry over that, right?
There was a question, or a comment, during the in-game blog thingy last night (attendance well over 700, best of the post-season and thanks for that) about Doris Burke, who was doing the sideline stuff for ESPN.
To me, she’s the best new voice to come on the national basketball scene in years, insight, good questions and an intonation and delivery that makes it easy to listen to her.
And when I made that point, someone asked where she’d come from.
Well, she was a standout player at Providence and is a member of that school’s Hall of Fame and has been working in and around professional basketball on TV since she did WNBA games in New York in 1997.
It’s not real often that we get a relatively new face and voice on national broadcasts who aren’t former NBAers and maybe that’s why she stands out even more.
What are you doing at noon?
Well, if you’re me, you’ll be here answering questions for an hour or so about the two conference finals and whatever Raptors stuff pops into your little minds.
Feel free to join in.
May as well get this started now: The Mighty Yankees open spring training Sunday, we hope. I’m sure you’ll all be anxious to know what kind of squad we’ve got after the first workout.
You know me and speculation about off-season free agency and moves the Raptors should or should not make and how I really don’t revel in it, right?
Well, here’s a change and it’s kind of out there and I don’t think it can happen but what the hell.
One of Bryan’s first calls this summer should be to Ray Allen and he should dangle a three-year, full mid-level contract in front of him.
Guy makes big shots, has been in big games and is precisely the kind of old head I think this team really needs.
Now, there are three rather significant problems with that idea so don’t think it’s going to happen for sure.
The first would be that, given his druthers, I’m sure Allen would prefer to remain in Boston and I have no idea if the Celtics feel the same.
The second would be that to eat up the mid-level exception on him – as opposed to a sign-and-trade deal for maybe a package of Antoine Wright and, say, Jarrett Jack or Reggie Evans – would cut into money available for Toronto to sign other bits and pieces, although there are always trades and draft picks to take into consideration.
And the third is whether, if there’s no real interest in Boston, Allen would have any interest in joining a less-than-glamourous team that’s been out of the playoffs for two years.
Anyway, something for you to think about.
One last kick at the Cavs?
How’d that whole Shaquille O’Neal thing work out?
Not so well, eh?
Didn’t think it would.