|'LeBron Is Dirk': 12 Mavs-Centric Takes On LeBron James|
|by Mike Fisher||Fri, May 14, 2010, 08:47 AM|
Friday Morning Mavs Donuts … baked fresh over at DallasBasketball.com ... and you won’t mind if I bow to the NBA Story of the Day … the NBA Story of the Month … the NBA Story of the Year … the NBA Story of …
I offer up what I believe are this morning’s 12 Best Mavs-Centric Takes on LeBron’s loss at Boston on Thursday, a playoff ouster that could have a ripple effect that extends far beyond Lake Erie – but again, these LeBron Takes will all feature a Mavericks slant.
But before we get to those 12 Donuts, a set-up from our old friend Avery Johnson, prominently featured in ESPN’s postgame coverage, who defended the King’s failure thusly:
“LeBron was in a no-win situation,’’ Avery said.
Well, yes. “No-win.’’ Unless, you know, he would’ve won.
These Donuts are good – and good for you:
DONUT 1: Dirk is LeBron.
Consider Cleveland’s run with LeBron: An NBA Finals appearance but a failure. The best record in the NBA in back-to-back regular seasons. The MVP on its roster. And premature exit after premature exit. Seven long years of … too little.
So does this mean LeBron James … “Can’t lead a team to a championship?’’ “Can’t be the best player on a title team?’’ “Is missing something mentally or physically?’’ “Isn’t a winner?’’ “Isn’t a leader?’’
Because that’s what the world often says about Dirk Nowitzki. If it is nonsense with Dirk, it is nonsense with LeBron. Now, in Games 5 and 6, James often looked so lost and disinterested that “LeBron isn’t a leader’’ or “LeBron is selfish’’ has some traction. Still …
Dirk is LeBron. LeBron is Dirk.
DONUT 2: James insisted in his press conference that all he was thinking about was how Cleveland lost this series. But that’s a fib. Because he later noted, “Me and my team, we have a gameplan that we’re going to execute.’’
Teams can begin official conversations with the Cavs starting right now. They cannot technically woo LeBron himself. But the machinery will soon be in place … and it is time to see which agents are friends with which coaches and players and GMs. Who can cut which deal? Who can get whom hired and fired? Is Kentucky’s John Calipari part of LeBron’s “team’’?
And yes, I know what you’re thinking (even Rick Carlisle’s mom has to be thinking this): If LeBron James and John Calipari are some sort of package deal …
DONUT 3: Was part of “the plan’’ dramatically ripping off his Cavaliers jersey while being followed by cameras as he strode through the tunnel and into the locker room, where he discarded the shirt onto the floor? Surely James is calculating enough to have comprehended the symbolism of it all.
DONUT 4: Mavs followers love our conspiracy theories: The NBA hates Dallas! Stern will never let Cuban win! Dirk doesn’t get superstar treatment! But the TV draw of LeBron James is gone and the possibility of a Kobe-LeBron Finals is gone and the certainty of James remaining in Cleveland (the commissioner’s stated preference) is gone and so while all the anti-Mavericks conspiracies are not gone, they should probably at least take a nap.
DONUT 5: So can “the gameplan’’ include the Mavs?
It is riotous this morning to take note: Media outlets in almost a dozen cities are “seeing signs’’ of James wanted to land in their laps. My belief? There is one reporter who is locking James into Chicago because the Bulls have the resources to sign him, because the Bulls could also acquire another star, and because the Bulls and Derrick Rose represent a “championship foundation.’’ And if those are the reasons to include a team as a contender for his services?
The Mavs have the resources to sign him. Unbeknownst to many, the Mavs have the resources to acquire another standout. And the Mavs and Dirk represent a “championship foundation’’ that, honestly, is on a higher plane that Chicago and most others.
But I do not believe “the gameplan’’ has any franchise locked in. “The gameplan,’’ I think, is about what LeBron wants – but doesn’t yet define exactly the “who’’ or the “where.’’
DONUT 6: The biggest NBA story in forever, and who does ESPN assign to the case? Former Mavs player Jamal Mashburn and former Mavs coach Avery Johnson.
Where was Barkley? Oh. He doesn’t work for ESPN. Never mind.
So The Worldwide Leader brought out the Big Guns … Mash’s greatest insight was that he, too, used to face double-teams in the NBA. And Avery? He talked all night without saying anything, with one exception: When he talked of potential LeBron destinations and praised the Cleveland organization and then absolutely raved about the Nets, it seemed like Avery was really discussing potential Avery destinations.
DONUT 7: LeBron scored 27 points and netted a career playoff high of 19 rebounds and 10 assists. But – and I think we all realize how outrageous it would sound if it wasn’t true -- it was a “bad’’ 27/19/10.
It was almost a quadruple-double because he also committed nine turnovers. He shot just 8-of-21. And if you watched the final minutes of the game, you are disturbed: Cavs coach Mike Brown ordered his team to foul. It did not. The circumstances demanded the Cavs hustle the ball up the floor. They did not. They – led by LeBron – looked like quitters.
And of course, if he leaves Cleveland, that city (and maybe beyond) will think of him as a quitter.
DONUT 8: “Who the hell would want to live in New York?' Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic tells the New York Daily News. 'I think what he has here is a real connection to people. I hope he always remembers that, because there's a lot of things in life that are more important than an extra million or two.’’
A charming thought. LeBron grew up in Akron, still has a home there, is (or was, until last night) Ohio’s favorite son.
But this has nothing to do with flowers from fans or or well-wishes from mayors. In fact, this sort of thing is so about money and negation and leverage and politics that not even a politician can understand it.
DONUT 9: You are reading this everywhere but just in case you need a refresher course: While it is true that “The Cavaliers can likely offer James a six-year, $125.5 million contract, while other teams can give him a maximum of five years and $96.1 million’’ … that’s only if LeBron leaves via free agency without a sign-and-trade.
But that is NOT how he will depart Cleveland, if he indeed does so.
He will depart via sign-and-trade.
And his new team will give him that same “six-year, $125.5 million contract.’’
Keep that filed away. Remember it. And you will be way ahead of the game when you discuss Dallas’ bid for LeBron and where James ends up.
DONUT 10: You, Dallas fans, are not jinxed. Or cursed. There is no such thing … but if there is, the Jinx-and-Curse Gods are way too busy in the last 35 years gigging Cleveland to deal with Dallas.
DONUT 11: I do understand the sentiment of Mavs fans who say, “It’ll be too heartbreaking to go for it here … so I don’t even want to dream about it.’’
But you do want the organization itself to overcome that sort of self-defeating mindset, right?
DONUT 12: When it comes to free agency criteria, James insisted late Thursday, “I want to win. … That’s my only thing … my only concern.”
No. It is not.
He and his “team’’ have a “gameplan.’’ And there are myriad concerns … some of which the Mavs will work toward answering.
written by Richard NBA fan , May 13, 2011
Dallas Mavs are playing great right now...should be interesting to see if they can beat OKC...The Bulls Heat series should be awesome...here's my take on it
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