What a quiet day/evening/night, wasn’t it?
No news, no games, nothing really going on at all.
Makes it tough to be, um, insightful. But you gotta do what you gotta do so …
We are witnessing something quite fascinating as we watch the goings-on with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
For the first time I can remember in the seven years James has been in the league, there are many questions being raised about his abilities as a leader and some questions being raised about his abilities as a player.
There is no debate that he was less than good in the season’s most important game to date, a rather desultory, detached performance in Game 5 against the Boston Celtics.
And that has caused people to sit up and wonder if James has it in him to help the Cavs overcome some tremendously adverse circumstances – and being down 3-2 going into Boston tonight and having played horribly, for them, in a large part of the series these are dire circumstances, indeed.
Can he drop 50 on Boston and force a Game 7 by himself?
Can he summon the intensity out of his teammates that great leaders do and get his supporting cast to play well enough to force a Game 7?
Or does he wilt like we saw him wilt the other night at home in what was the most embarrassing Cavs game of the James era?
I’m not suggesting that this is really a watershed moment in a career that’s so young but I do think tonight will be a moment of truth for the guy considered in some corners the best player in the game today and potentially one of the greatest of all time.
This is the moment where guys who aspire to those lofty heights, or guys placed in those heights, have to come through by hook or by crook.
You know what?
It’s not good enough that he play well in a losing cause.
This is one of those games where “doing your part regardless of the outcome” isn’t good enough.
This is a game where the true greats win, somehow, some way.
And if he doesn’t?
Well, it won’t tarnish him forever, he’s far too young and has loads more to accomplish, but it will be a blemish, a big, ugly blemish on what to this point has been a blemish-free career.
I’m going to answer about a dozen questions already in the mailbag with one fell swoop here:
Yes, Joe Johnson is a pretty good player – excels in the regular season, as a matter of fact – but, no, I don’t see how he fits here unless it’s in a sign-and-trade transaction for Chris Bosh.
And, no, if Bosh walks, Toronto does not have enough money to make Johnson – or any other significant free agent – an offer.
And here’s why:
If Bosh goes for nothing, Toronto will still be over the projected salary cap, leaving them nothing but the mid-level exception with which to add players. So the best – outside of Bosh re-signing here, which I still think would be the best thing for the franchise – they can hope to do is get something back for him.
In the case of Johnson specifically, since that’s the guy so many of you have asked about, not only would have to tell the Hawks he wanted to come here, Atlanta would have to be interested in some kind of salary-equivalent sign-and-trade package and I don’t see one.
But, who knows, maybe there is but it’s the only the way the Raptors can do something and I doubt (a) Johnson’s dying to join Toronto; and (b) the Hawks want much of the Raptors roster.
A bit of catching up:
They’re dancing in the streets of Fenerbahce (although I don’t think there actually are “streets of Fenerbahce).
That’s because the women’s team – with Toronto’s Tammy Sutton-Brown – swept the Turkish league title in three games over Galatasaray.
Just thought you’d like to know since I mentioned it the other day.
Oh, and I also mentioned there wouldn’t be much time to celebrate. And there won’t be because Tammy’s Indiana Fever opens its WNBA season on Saturday.
I’ll have to check but I believe the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns are in the Western Conference final, right?
Yep, quick glance at the interweb shows they do have to play a series which will start soon.
Hope you all remember to check in when it finally gets under way.
Speaking of mail, if you promise not to send “Can the Raptors get Joe Johnson” questions, I’ll gladly accept queries if you click here to send them.
A little scheduling note:
Yes, we’ll be here tonight for an in-game blog thingy if anyone cares to show up around 8 and we’ll do one of those hour-long question-and-answer things Friday at noon if you’re interested.
Until then, I have to spend today trying to make sense out of Vince Carter for a weekend piece and I guess it’s about time to figure out who wins Lakers-Suns, whenever it starts.