A bit of a rant and a bit of Bosh as the storm clouds gather
Remember when the guy said "fasten your belts?" Well, the time has come to make sure they're done up.
You know what?
I’ve been kind of hinting at this for the past little while but since the day’s here, I want to make this point:
This whole idea that two or three or four free agents can get together and conspire to become teammates, demand whatever they can get from their existing teams so they can go and play together violates much that is right with sports.
The heart of sports needs to be competition:
“I’m better than you, I make my team better than yours, we play hard, we play fair and may the best man win.”
The heart of sports should not be:
“I’m not quite as good without you, it’s easier to join you rather than try to beat you and, to hell with making my own way in this world, I’m taking the easiest possible way out.”
I guess it’s simply a sign of the times and I know it’s business first and all that blather. I understand that players have earned and negotiated this right to determine their future and all the power to them for having done that.
But, and this is the big but, this smacks of taking the easy way out and that’s not what I want from the highest-paid players on my team.
I want them to be leaders not followers, I want them to forge their own way, not sit around some posh hotel lounge and say, “hey, if you go here and I go here, we can win.” I want them to say: “I’m going here and my team’s going to beat your team.”
Way back in the day, there is no way in the world that two or three of the top players would ever, ever, ever consider going to join someone else. It wasn’t the way the very best did things.
Now, maybe LeBron goes to New Jersey, Bosh goes to Chicago and Wade stays in Miami and all this palaver of the past few months will have been nothing more than an exercise in futility and frustrating. But I doubt it.
I’m not going to get that, I don’t think.
And that’s too bad.
I think you’ll see at least two of ‘em conspire to join each other somewhere, maybe three, and we can all sit around hoping against hope that it doesn’t work out for some reason or another.
End o’ rant.
Now, Chris Bosh.
I know the hype’s all about Miami and Chicago – people in each city are certain he’s going there, which will be quite the feat unless he’s sending that used car salesman alter ego somewhere while the newly-shorn dude goes to the other place – but I do think there are other teams he’ll listen to.
And should listen to and, who knows, he might even like what he hears.
If he’s looking purely for fit and to be one of the leaders, I think he’d have to listen quite seriously to the inevitable Houston pitch and I think if San Antonio called he’d be a fool not to take them seriously.
I know there are people in the Raptors organization who hope that, too, trying to pry one of Houston’s best assets (Luis Scola in a dream scenario for Toronto) or some key player in San Antonio (Tony Parker would be the priority target if the Spurs really are in love with George Hill) and that’s what the Raptors hopes happens.
The point is this: People I talk to in the Raptors organization think the list of suitors is far longer than just the three or four cap teams we’ve been hearing about for months.
It may indeed turn out that he decides on the Heat, Bulls, Knicks or even the Nets but don’t at all count out some other franchise getting into the fray and making things interesting.
Now, I’d love to tell you how many teams he’s planning to visit with or entertain but his agent hasn’t returned an e-mail in a week from up here. We’ll try again this afternoon but I don’t hold out much hope.
Pretty good game, no?
That was like a game of keepaway for long parts of the second half, wasn’t it?
But two days off from play now until the Black Stars continue their inexorable march to destiny? What’s a guy to do?
Oh, wait. His job.
But first, there’s this.
As much as there is wrong with FIFA – and Calamity Kelly and C Young have been all over it all tournament – the thing that maybe irks me the most is the two-yellows-one-suspension thing.
Man, if you thought the seven-technicals-in-a-playoff-year NBA program was draconian, how about that soccer stuff?
There has to be a better way, no?
Maybe three? Or even four? Or the slate gets wiped clean every two games, meaning you get one in one game, none in the next and start over in the third? There you go, solving the world’s sporting problems one basketball blog digression at a time.
You’re welcome, Mr. Blatter. Tomorrow we’ll do video replay if you like.
Oh, that Dastardly Doc Rivers Offspring got ‘em.
Check this one out to see the latest on the Canadian junior men down at the worlds qualifier in San Antonio.
Seems Austin Rivers lit the Canucks up big time in the semis; Canada’s already qualified for next year’s worlds and gets Argentina this afternoon for third place.
Back to Bosh for a bit, we’re on Bosh, here’s one for you:
All we’ve heard for months is the Bosh-to-NY-for-David-Lee-sign-and-trade stuff, right?
Well, how about this?
If Lee doesn’t want to come to Toronto, it isn’t going to happen.
Lee, who made $7 million last season, is an unrestricted free agent and is sure to be pursued by any one of 10 teams who would be able to offer him a raise. Or he could ask for a sign-and-trade deal to any team he wants.
The Knicks really have no control over him whatsoever after midnight tonight; that he’d be included in any Bosh deal with New York – if there is one – is far from a slam dunk.
Mail? Pretty full yesterday but a whole lot of fancy-schmancy free agent questions about specific players that could very well be moot before I get around to finishing off the weekend file.
Take another shot by clicking here if you like.
One word of caution as we get into the meat of this free-agent frenzy and it’s as much a defence of this space as anything.
If we learned one thing last summer, it’s that nothing is done until it’s done. You will hear reports trickle out that this is a done deal or that’s a done deal, according to various sources and many of them will be absolutely correct.
But some won’t be and it’s a difficult time for all concerned. It’s hard to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong; I can’t do it with 100 per cent accuracy and I don’t think too many of us can.
Here? Here we will use an appropriate measure of checks and counterchecks.
I’ll say this now so it’s out there: We in this business should be far, far, far more concerned with getting stuff right than we are with getting it first.
Now, in the first football-free day in I don’t know how long, there’s stuff to do that may keep me away from here for chunks of the morning and early afternoon. It will, in some way, keep me sane because it won’t be another eight hours of incessant comments but I will get to them. Promise.