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The Latest Sports News
Monday, 19 July 2010 22:00

What Would Jordan Do? Who Cares?

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Imagine Michael Jordan at a grocery store on July 8th. Jordan purchases a comb for his wispy mustache along with a three pack of Hanes tidy-whiteys while Charles Oakley peruses a few aisles away, lifting cold medication. Jordan's eyes dart upward to the television monitor above a clerk's head as LeBron announces that he is taking his talents to South Beach.Would you require a public statement from Jordan to know or understand what he was thinking at that moment? Of course you wouldn't, because you know exactly what MJ would have done in that situation. In fact, you know everything about His Airness. You know about his legendary drive, his indominable will to win. You know the way he turned every perceived slight into fodder for his anger. You saw him measure his greatness against every other played in the league, attacking them with relish and in nearly every possible big moment. These are the things that make up his legend as the greatest player of all time.So when Michael said, "There's no way, with hindsight, I would've ever called up Larry (Bird), called up Magic (Johnson) and said, 'Hey, look, let's get together and play on one team,' " he was only stating the obvious.Allow me to return the favor in kind and roll out another obvious statement. LeBron James is not Michael Jordan, he is LeBron James. So why does it matter whether or not Michael Jordan would call up Larry Bird? The only thing relevant to this discussion is whether or not LeBron James would go play with Dwyane Wade.But really, this isnt even about LeBron. It's about the lingering stench of Jordan burning up the nostrils of the league. If Kobe makes a decision that Michael would have made, he is criticized for trying to imitate Jordan. If LeBron makes a decision that MJ would not have made, he is criticized for not being Jordanesque. It's time to free current players from the shackles of these comparisons.It's easy to forget that part of what made MJ was his commitment to doing things his way, without looking to walk directly in another person's footsteps. And in that sense, LeBron is emulating Jordan perfectly. Should he be preparing to take a few years off to play minor league baseball, or should he decide where he wants to play despite the fact that everyone hates him for it.I have been as critical as anyone over the manner in which LeBron made his decision, but ultimately the decision he made was his call. He chose Miami because he felt it provided him the best opportunity to win as much as possible. You know what is a horrible crime? Loitering. Wanting to win has traditionally been seen as a positive.But Jordan would never have done it. You know who might have considered it, though? Bill Russell. For the sake of discussion, allow me to propose a hypothetical. Suppose that Russell had been drafted by a non-competitive team instead of the Celtics and at some point in his career was given the opportunity to play with the champs. Do you mean to tell me that Russell, obsessed with winning and unselfish to a fault, would not have considered sacrifice to take a smaller role with a more likely winner? I guess it can never be said definitively, but it sure seems to be within the realm of his character.Further, suppose that LeBron finds himself driven more in the manner that Russell was driven than that of Michael Jordan. We sit back and expect everyone to want to be exactly like Jordan and we forget that it takes an almost pathological desire to prove yourself that is probably unhealthy outside of the realm of basketball. Trying to emulate him will never work if that is not a part of who you are as a person. Instead of being like Mike, what do you say we let LeBron be like LeBron.
Monday, 19 July 2010 21:21

Tmac to Boston?

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Celtics are among the few teams that are interested in former All-Pro Tracy McGrady otherwise known as T-Mac. Bleacherreport.com reports that the Celtics are among the few teams that are interested in former All-Pro Tracy McGrady otherwise known as T-Mac. McGrady spent half of 2009-2010 in Houston where he sat out most of the period prior to the All-Star break recovering from Micro fracture surgery.Strangely enough McGrady was among the leading vote recipients for this years All-Star game despite playing in only 6 games at the time of the break. McGrady was acquired by the New York Knicks prior to the trade deadline in a cap clearing move. Now a full season removed from knee surgery, one would imagine that McGrady hopes to be on a contender for his first real shot at a ring after stints with Toronto, Orlando, Houston and New York. Prior to his knee injury McGrady was averaging 15.6 PPG, 5 AST, and 4.4 REB but since has averaged 8.2PPG, 3.3 AST, and 3.1 REB.Mcgrady would fill the void left by Tony Allen as well as giving the Celtics another vet off the bench playing with a chip on his shoulder much like Jermaine O'Neal's situation where many had counted him out and hungry to prove them wrong. Mcgrady could likely be had for a one year Vet Minimum deal and it will likely come down to where he sees himself fitting in best when his decision is made.
Monday, 19 July 2010 21:09

The West is Weaker, But No Layup

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The East is gaining strength, while the West is retracting some. So the Lakers should just walk to the finals, right? No. Young teams are getting better and more talented every year and teams are retooling to come at the Lakers. Still, Kobe and crew are the clear cut favorites. The Thunder, Nuggets and Jazz are all formidable competitors. Los Angeles will surely face one or two of these squads barring injury. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Serge Ibaka. The Oklahoma City Thunder have a stacked, youthful team that will progress a ton next season. Finishing eighth in the conference last season, more experience for the team and a more wide open Western conference spell home-court advantage. Durant should continue to lead the league in scoring while increasing his efficiency, role players will provide all the intangibles and Westbrook will captain the ship better than ever. Not to mention they're well coached by Scott Brooks. The issue that their team will still face when playing the defending champs is their lack of experience. They will be in their second post-season experience. All that said, there's still a strong possibility they could push the Lakers to seven games again. Denver has a lot to prove this season. They looked to have quit at the end of their playoff run last season. Without their regular head coach, George Karl, their performance and focus faltered dramatically. Karl should be back when it matters this season. The health of their big men is in question also. Nenê and Birdman are key to their defense and they must be there for them to be competitive. Though it's been a quite off-season for the Nuggets, they made two recent additions to their depth that could really help them next year. Al Harrington and Shelden Williams were brought in. Harrington could be similar to a former Nugget, now Raptor, Linas Kleiza. Harrington will not provide much on the defensive end, but he's a streaky scorer. Harrington is similar to J.R. Smith, in that he could shoot a team out a game easily. With a diminished sixth man role in Denver, Karl and Nuggets fans can only hope that that will be minimized. Williams is a guy who is a solid backup if Nuggets bigs are hurt. I doubt he is a regular in Denver's rotation, though. The Nuggets can give the Lakers a jolt, if their minds are in the right place and the entire team is pretty healthy. With Carmelo on the floor, they could even surprise the world and knock them off. Initially, it looked as though the Jazz were going to take a step back this season. After practically stealing Al Jefferson from newspaper-reading David Kahn, the Jazz are once again competitive. Their frontline could use stronger depth, but they still are a talented team. There probably is one other move they have up their sleeves. They are in need of a shooter and that's where there pursuit to beat the Lakers will fall short. They will claw and fight, similar to how the Rockets do every season, but depth will plague them. In some cases they have better weapons than the Lakers (at point guard), but the Lakers have taller, more versatile weapons. Sloan's team will try, but, on paper, there's just not enough to get it done. Two other teams that can make some noise in the West next season: the Spurs and Mavs. Lots of people, including me, count out the Spurs at some point in the season. As old as they are, they still have some hall of fame talent and a great organization to lead them through the season. This could the last real run for them though. The Mavericks have nice pieces also. They could use some more defensive minded guys, but they can compete with LA well. Despite the West losing talent and some spice this summer, it's still an intriguing conference that will not be won easily. The Thunder, Nuggets and Jazz have the most chance to knock them Lakers off at this point. Yet even that seems unlikely!
You can find more articles from Alex and NBATipoff
Alex also host's a weekly segment on the Celtics Late Night Show called "Around the Hardwood."
Saturday, 17 July 2010 14:32

"Golden Girls" of Miami: The New Model of the NBA

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Remember the days when the league was just nasty. Remember the ’80s when the basketball court was a war-ground and a players skill was a testament to his manhood. The NBA used to be defined by its toughness, physicality and dominating players. It seems year by year that image fades away.
This article is take from our partner site, NBA Primetime
July 16th, 2010 / by Ross Boulware
Remember the days when the league was just nasty. Remember the ’80s when the basketball court was a war-ground and a players skill was a testament to his manhood. The NBA used to be defined by its toughness, physicality and dominating players. It seems year by year that image fades away.Words like grimy and toughness have been replaced with words like style and grace. Dunks are flashy and pretty instead of ferocious beat downs. Elbowing and brawling regressed into “chippiness”. Back then, if players wanted to win they stuck with their guns and stuck with their army until they got the job done.The motto used to be “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” but it has now changed to “if you can’t beat em, join em”. Jordan, Bird and Magic followed the first motto. Apparently, Wade, James and Bosh prefer the second approach. It is as sports writer Michael Wilbon suggested, the “new model”, for winning it all.Until the Miami Heat, it was somewhat hard to put a face, or rather a team, toward defining this new era of basketball in which everything is softer, high-maintenance and more Hollywood. In the old model, players got beat up until they finally won the ring. In the new model, sign three fat contracts and buy the ring.The new model is defined by joining together rather than doing it as the clear leader. The concept is taking the best players from different teams and stock-piling them into a super team. The supporters say its commendable and admirable. Players are taking less money in order to win a championship. They don’t complain about making the most money because they just want to win. A team with multiple all-stars clearly has the best chance at being world champions. Teamwork is valued most in this system.The opposition say it’s the easy way out. Even the best players are supposed to fail before they succeed and fall before they rise. Losing builds character. Learn from mistakes and eventually rise to the top and become a respected winner in the league. Teammates are a part of a brotherhood and when things get rough, players don’t desert each other and run off to the best opportunity to win. There is an integrity to winning by climbing the top of the mountain with your bare hands rather than taking the elevator.Wade, James and Bosh are indeed taking the elevator and Pat Riley shed out all the money and cap space to build it. Some may view it as a short-cut for LeBron to jump ship to Miami, but will he really care if he has his shinny championship ring? Regardless of opinions, the Miami Heat are considered front-runners to win the NBA title. Their mentality is certainly different than those that came before them.Jordan certainly never thought about joining up with Bird when struggling against the Pistons. None of the Detroit “Bad Boys” thought about whom they could go join up with to beat the Celtics. Back then, the big three was the best three players on an already-made team. Today, it’s who the GM’s can pay to come join their struggling squad.Back then, the big three wasn’t as flashy as it is today. Now there is more glitz and glamour like the entourages following diva-like Wade and Bosh for their precious documentaries. The big three of Bird, McHale and Parish wasn’t glamorous; it was more like a “three-headed monster” with bumping, pushing, and flying elbows. The Miami Heat’s big four of Riley, Wade, James and Bosh are more like the “Golden Girls” with entourages, beach sand and a whole lot of hair gel.The NBA is a part of pop culture now more than ever. The players are celebrities now more than ever. Entertainment spectacles like “The Decision” may only be just the beginning for the Miami Heat. Today, the NBA is defined by its glitz, glamour and player lifestyle. The NBA is more than willing to accommodate these players with additions like the touch foul to protect and pamper its stars. Everything about the league today seems a little bit softer and the new look Miami Heat certainly fit the fold of a league gone Hollywood.“Its unprecedented in all the build-up, all the hype… A lot of people are going to say its just too much, its over the top,” said ESPN anchor Stuart Scott on Mike and Mike in the Morning in regards to LeBron’s decision. “Is it over the top? Yes. But what in our culture isn’t really over the top now the way the tweets, and Facebook, and Myspace, and the internet…everything is over-the-top so I think it was just true to form.”The Miami Heat are true to form and over-the-top. However, there is nothing wrong with the Miami Heat’s approach. After all, they are ready to be a dynasty in the making. The new model puts winning above everything else. Players are willing to sacrifice both money and their legacy all for the sake of being champions.So while the Golden Girls may be labeled as prima-donnas who took an easier way out, they likely won’t be able to hear their critics from all the way at the top of the mountain and certainly won’t be able to see them with the blinding shine reflecting off their multiple championship rings. On the other hand, they could fail miserable in which case you will be able to hear the laughs all the way from Cleveland.How do you feel about the approach of the Miami Heat to win a championship? Would you find it more respectable if LeBron James tried to win the title on a team where he was “the guy”?
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Saturday, 17 July 2010 10:06

Boston Celtics Off-Season: 30 Day Review

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It’s hard to believe a full month has gone by since the Celtics were outshot 21-5 at the FT line of Game 7 of the NBA Finals, ultimately causing them to fall just short of winning the 2010 NBA title.In some regards, it feels like it was just a few nights ago that I was sitting at a table in The Greatest Bar completely dejected with a bottle of Dom Perignon in front of me at the end of Game 7; wanting to chuck it across the bar at the big movie size projector screen television to my left.(Last call came somewhere around the start of the 4th qtr, so I took a gamble in ordering the champagne that the C’s would hold on; I know… I know… I was the jinx.)A lot has happened in the 30 days sine then. The league and competition has received somewhat of an identity makeover, and the Celtics –after a couple of tense weeks- have decided to bring the band back together for one last tour, and pursue Banner 18 with the current core unit.In case you may have been distracted by the circus show that has been the NBA this off-season, here is a look at some key moments in the last 30 days surrounding decisions and personnel moves the C’s have made in shaping up this last push for glory in the new “Big Three” era:June 18: The day after the Finals end, Boston blog sites and sports talk shows are running wild with speculation that Rasheed Wallace is retiring. This would free the Celtics of the final two seasons (and $13 million) on his contract, giving the team a potential tradable asset (in the form of Sheed’s contract).June 23: Celtics are believed to be heavily shopping the 19th pick in the draft. The rumor is, Danny Ainge does not like any players that will be available at that time, and the C’s would be better equipped using the money a first-round player would cost on a veteran player that can contribute immediately. June 24: Ainge decides to keep the 19th pick and selects Texas guard Avery Bradley. Bradley is a tremendous defensive guard (along the lines of Tony Allen) and was actually the top rated player coming out of HS a year earlier. With their 2nd round pick, the C’s go with Notre Dame All-American and undersized forward Luke Harangody. (Lee Herman’s reaction: “Just what we need in Boston, another undersized power forward!”)June 25: It is first reported that Kendrick Perkins has a torn ACL and is likely out until the all-star break. Big blow to the Celtics upcoming season.June 27: Reports start flying that Ainge is looking to nab Bulls center –and Rondo- nemesis- Brad Miller to fill the void in Perk’s absence. (Calvin Chamberlain comforts Celtics fans by telling them: “Everything will be all-white!”)June 29: Paul Pierce opts out of the remaining year on his contract and becomes an unrestricted FA. At this point, the Celtics have: lost Tom Thibodeau, are not sure if Doc Rivers is returning, have lost Perk for half the season, and are looking at both Ray Allen and Pierce on the free market. Celtics Nation is panicking a little bit.June 30: Doc’s back! Rivers announces he wants to make one more run at it with the core group and decides to return to the bench. This sets the direction in motion for what the 2010-2011 Boston Celtics will look like.July 1: Ainge has good initial discussions with Knicks FA forward David Lee. Most feel this would be a great fit for both Lee and the C’s if the two sides can get the money to work.July 2: Pierce re-signs! Although it ultimately takes a few more days to iron out the details, Pierce makes it clear he is staying in Boston. The deal ends up being for 4 years/ $61 million. Pierce gives the team a little bit of financial room for the upcoming season in return for a long-term deal and the chance to retire a Celtic. I think it is a fair deal for both sides.July 3-10: Orlando Summer League: 1st round pick Avery Bradley has ankle surgery, so unfortunately is out of action. Bad start… 2nd round pick Luke Harangody though is the star of the team exhibiting a nice outside touch, a nose for the ball, and a will to win… 2010 late season pickups Oliver Lafayette and Tony Gaffney also contribute as does local Northeastern product Matt Janning who plays so well and hard that Danny Ainge personally asks him to stick around telling him he has a shot at making the varsity.July 5: Ainge is shopping around Sheed’s contract. Two possible scenarios have Leandro Barbosa of Phoenix and Rudy Fernandez of Portland as players the Celtics could land in a deal.The Celtics sign Semih Erden, a 7 foot-240 lb center, who is widely considered the top prospect in all of Turkey and was the C’s 2nd round pick (60th overall) in 2008. Erden is awarded a guaranteed contract for 2010, but looks like an absolute stiff in Summer League action.July 6: Both Ainge and Rivers plan on meeting with former top overall pick and FA big man Kwame Brown. Brown is widely considered to be the strongest player in the NBA (that’s physical strength, not basketball strength- btw)In addition, there are reports from ESPN that there could be a mutual interest between the Celts and… Shaq! O’Neal is believed to be on the market for something in the neighborhood of 2 years/ $8 million. My lord, stay tuned for more on this one!July 7: Miami Heat (soon to be renamed the “CHeat”) FA forward Jermaine O’Neal expresses interest in coming to Boston. Although dismal in the playoffs against Boston many –among them Larry Bird- feel that O’Neal still has some very good years left in him.July 8: Ray’s back! Allen agrees to a 2-year/ $20 million deal, ensuring that the Big 3 will remain together through the 2012 season (pending lockout).North Station Sports signs Celtics enthusiast and Aztec Gino protégé Nick Sannicandro to an unspecified deal. “Aztec Nick” breaks the ice by writing his first piece on how the Celtics potentially match up in the “new look” Eastern Conf.July 9: TA’s back! Greg Dickerson announces that Celtics swingman and defensive stopper Tony Allen will sign a deal returning to the C’s, thus keeping the Celtics entire 2010 Eastern Conf Championship nucleus together (less Sheed).The rumor circuit is also buzzing that Eddie House’s agent has contacted the C’s to see if there is any interest in bringing the 3-point specialist back to Boston.July 10: Jermaine O’Neal signs with the C’s. I like the move. This gives us a serviceable starting center in Perk’s absence. I am among the believers that O’Neal can once again flourish in the right system.July 11: Whoa! TA signs with Memphis?? WTF! Looks like Dickerson jumped the gun on that one. Allen wanting the chance to start and showcase his offense more, bolts the C’s offer for the Grizz. You owe us one Chris Wallace!July 12: Celtics express interest in Wizards and former Mavs swingman Josh Howard. Howard, although oft-injured, had shown flashes of being a big-time NBA player while with the Mavs. He could easily fill the void left by TA. Perk finally undergoes surgery on his knee, which is reported to be a success. His rehabilitation timeline is set at 5-6 months.July 13: Brian Scalabrine confirms that the Celtics have reached out to him. When asked if he has been in discussions with any other teams, Scal acknowledges that Boston is the only team in the league with even remote interest in his services.Scal’s agent comments that trying to find Scal a job in the NBA is similar to the challenge Lloyd faces on Entourage in finding Johnny Drama work…. (Okay, I made that last line up, but he might as well have said that!)July 14: Ainge appears on WEEI in what turns out to be –for him- a very candid interview. In it, he reveals that: the reason TA left was not money, the Celtics are close to re-signing Nate Robinson, Shaq most likely will not be wearing Green next season, the C’s are still actively pursuing a big man and possibly multiple swingmen, and Ray Allen played through the entire NBA Finals with a badly bruised thigh.The “Shelden Williams Era” in Boston is officially over with the announcement that Mr. Candace Parker is signing with Denver. Good riddance! For what it is worth, I consider Williams the dumbest and worst player in the history of the Celtics franchise. Yes, he tried; but the man is so effn’ dumb that no amount of effort can compensate for that!July 15: Rajon Rondo is added to the USA national basketball team and will likely be named the starting PG.The Celtics, with just the veteran minimum and Sheed’s contract in their arsenal, continue to talk to potential FA’s that could fall in their lap. Among them: Bucks forward Kurt Thomas, CHeat swingman Joel Anthony, Grizzlies swingman Ronnie Brewer, and perhaps the most intriguing of all: Magic swingman Matt Barnes. The aforementioned Brown and Miller, and to a lesser degree Shaq also are believed to still be possibilities as well.In what, in my mind, is as big of move as any made this off-season by Ainge, the Celtics bring in Lawrence Frank to replace Tom Thibodeau as Associate Head Coach. I love this move! Frank is a defensive minded, tireless working coach cut from the same granite as Thibodeau and Jeff Van Gundy. This allows Doc to continue in his role as master motivator, while handing over the x’s and o’s to Frank. I am completely comfortable with this.July 16: Paul Pierce echoes the thoughts of Celtics Nation when he voices his concerns about the “waiting game” in the FA process. He notes that a lot of players are signing each day and that the C’s “still have a lot of work to do”. Pierce is so concerned that he even txt messages Sheed and asks him to “stay in shape” because the team may need him for the upcoming season.Donkey’s back! Cross back-up PG off the list of Celtic needs as Nate agrees to a 2-year/ $9 million deal. Again, I like the signing. Although not a natural at any position, he is a natural basketball player, and brings a lot of energy to the 2nd unit.Ronnie Brewer turns down the Celtics offer of what is believed to be 3 years/ $12 million to sign with the Bulls. He says having the chance to start and reuniting with former teammates were the key motives in his decision.Meanwhile, Matt Barnes –expected to announce where he was signing on 7/16- says via twitter that there was a “new development” in his decision and will hold off deciding for another couple of days. Interesting.That brings us current! With the signing of Robinson, the Celtics now have 11 players under contract for 2010-11. They are allowed to carry 15.Obviously, there is still a gaping hole at back-up Center and a combo 2-3 player. Here is a look (with salary) at the current C’s roster:Guards: Rajon Rondo ($9.1 million) Ray Allen ($10 million); Avery Bradley ($1.2 million); Nate Robinson ($4 million)Forwards: Paul Pierce ($15.3 million); Kevin Garnett ($18.8 million); Glen Davis ($3 million); Rasheed Wallace ($6.3 million)Centers: Kendrick Perkins ($4.1 million); Jermaine O’Neal ($5.9 million); Semih Erden ($473,604)And while the last 30 days have been somewhat of a whirlwind with a lot to keep track of; it’s the next 30 days that could make or break the Celtics aspirations for Banner 18 in 2011. Stay tuned!
Friday, 16 July 2010 23:02

Ladies and Gents, Rondo's Backup Will Be...

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Mr. Nate Robinson!

That's right! The Boston Herald is reporting today that Nate Robinson and the Boston Celtics have agreed to a 2 year deal for 4 million per year.The Herald also said that Robinson had made "unspecified concessions." I am speculating that Robinson wanted a third year on his deal and Danny would not concede. That was the case with Tony Allen who is now off to Memphis to play a "larger role" than just defensive stopper (lol).There had been rumors floating around that Nate joined Penny, Kareem Abdul-Jabber, Bill Russel, Bob Cousy, Reggie Miller, Derrik Fisher, Greg Kite and Caldwell Jones as players that were interested in joining the Miami circus. Glad to see that Nate decided to stay with the good guys and Lee didn't have to go back to calling him Nathan.Personally, I am thrilled about Nate coming back. He was great in the playoffs and had some very good moments in the regular season. He was relegated to Doc's purgatory on the bench during the latter months of the season and yet never cryed and was often seen standing, cheering his teammates.I believe, given the available free agents in our price range, Nate Robinson backing up Rondo will work out just fine.
Welcome back Nate!
Friday, 16 July 2010 22:24

Learning to Like Jermaine O'Neal

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Okay. I know how it is. As Celtics fans, we hate the enemy. We hated Rasheed as a Piston and, though it took time, we learned to appreciate his positives as a Celtic. Everyone in the world hated Danny Ainge when he played for Boston, yet when you hear any of the other team's he played for, they always sing similar praises of Ainge as Celtics fans did during his tenure in green.In similar fashion, I found Jermaine O'Neal to be a lazy, underachieving (sometimes) all-star. My impression of O'Neal only got worse during the 2010 playoffs when our meshing Celtics immobilized him and he didn't look too disturbed by it. I found myself, sitting at the Garden (actually standing and screaming), during game five of our first round series thinking, "I'd never want that dope on our team."As the Miami Heat were piecing together their super-team, the Celtics were regrouping their veterans for another championship run. Soon enough, questions surrounding our Big Three in Boston (the original one) soon emerged. People started to wonder whether or not Danny Ainge could find the cash to surround our aging three with a nice group of complimentary players.When I originally heard the Celtics' had signed Jermaine O'Neal, I'm not going to lie, I was not thrilled. I just never really liked the guy. Despite his 11 points and 7 rebounds per game averages, I have always kind of looked at the guy like an underachiever. Some one not really concerned about winning. Not a Celtic by definition.Paul Pierce disagreed with me today. He told the Boston Herald, "I think it was a great move by Danny (Ainge) to pick up Jermaine (O’Neal),” he said. “We definitely needed some inside presence. Danny has done a good job." Pierce also went on to mention that the Celtics have their work cut out for them. "We have to add a lot right now,” Pierce said in a conference call. “We have to add a whole bench, when you think about it. We need a backup point guard if Nate (Robinson) doesn’t come back, maybe another big, wings. We really need a lot." Though we can all agree with Paul that the C's need to add more pieces, I was not so quick to agree with him on the O'Neal signing.This evening my opinion has started to change. My friend, and NSS contributor, Alex emailed me an interview with O'Neal from WEEI yesterday. I listened to the 17 minute interview in it's entirety. As often the occurance when an old enemy joins our team, I am starting to soften on O'Neal.He was polite and respectful to Dennis and Callahan. He spoke about winning titles and how he felt his best option was with the Boston Celtics (bonus point). He even went on to say of the moves his former team has made, "I had an opportunity to sign back with Miami but I still think it's going to be a process with those guys. They're gonna have a good year, obviously because they have some of the best players in the world but you still have to play the game. The personalities, the chemistry-- everything has to be in place." Whether O'Neal is exaggerating his "opportunity" to re-sign with his former team or not, I like the way he approached the topic. He was honest, yet tactful.As I stated earlier, I was completely unimpressed with Jermaine's measly 4 points per game in the 2010 playoffs. Dennis and Callahan shed some light on O'Neal's subpar and distracted play, revealing that he was suffering from a pretty serious ankle injury. What was more impressive than O'Neal playing in pain was that he did not reveal it to anyone nor use it as an excuse. What's even more impressive than that was his admission of the injury on WEEI. O'Neal said, I'm a young guy but I'm an old school guy. I believe if you suited up and told your team your ready to go, no matter what's going on with you, you've got to be ready to play and if you don't play well, you have to accept the criticism that goes with it. Another interesting tidbit that emerged from this interview is that O'Neal was taking 'Sheed to dinner Thursday evening to try to to convince him the play one more season. By the way, I really think Rasheed will be back for one more go around.Well, though O'Neal's play will ultimately be the determining factor on whether I welcome Jermaine or not, he is definitely on the right track here.
Check out the interview in it's entirety
Friday, 16 July 2010 20:53

Free Agency Free Fall

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Maybe I had unrealistic high hopes for the Celtics heading into free agency. They obviously weren’t in the market for Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson or the Great Decider but I have to say, I’m a little underwhelmed here.Lacking any sort of a splash reinforce the bench at any meaningful position and the letting your number one on the ball defender defect (Tony Allen) isn’t exactly the winning formula I was looking for after being eight minutes or so away from Banner 18.No real gain in the draft although I’m really trying to talk myself into Avery Bradley. He’s supposed to be a great defender but played the two guard with a weak shot who is expected to play the point. Uhh, ok, I guess. I feel like he will be too heavily relied upon early and/or not develop into the pure point to back up Rondo. Yes, Doc was a good point but I’m not sure how he can really develop a player for this new style of game. OK, Rondo is doing well under his tutelage but really, you can’t teach a lot of what Rajon is doing since he relies heavily on instincts.Luke Harangody? Wow, way to shore up the gaping five hole, Danny. I’m sure he is a nice player and all but the C’s needed a legit big man to play center, not another undersized power forward like Baby being your tallest player on the second unit. I realize that ‘Sheed is kind of holding Boston hostage with that $6.3 million but come on. Someone needs to flush Wallace out or really move on trading his contract, he is getting to be Favreian in his retirement planning.Ok, so that covers the draft acquisitions so Ainge must have made up for it in free agency, right? Meh.[caption id="attachment_7980" align="alignright" width="360" caption="I'd rather these dudes"][/caption]Jermaine O’Neal as the replacement center for the injured Perkins. I actually don’t hate it. I’m not in love with it, either. Call it a strong feeling of ambivalence. I’ve seen good JO (Pacers) and bad JO (everywhere else) but it sounds like he is ready to accept the fact that he isn’t a starting player anymore. He already said that he knows when Perk gets healthy; it’s his role no matter how well he (O’Neal) may be playing. At least he’s on board with riding the pine, I guess. Yay, Jermaine.So who else is coming in to play with Paul, KG, Ray and Rondo? How about…I’m sorry, who? Sema…Semi…Semih Earden? Erden? Is he any good? Apparently he was Turkey’s top prospect according to NBA Draft. Well, he’s a legit seven footer I’ve been crying about, right? One that will help assuage the rebounding woes that beleaguered the C’s all year long, yeah? Well, let’s see here…reading…reading…reading…hm. Weaknesses: poor mentality and rebounding. Awesome. Awesome.That brings us to my personal favorite, one Mr. Nathan Robinson. He’s back and so is my anxiety. That one game against the Magic got him two years and $8 million. Really? Ugh, Jesus. I know Nathan has is fan base. Hell, I’m all for rooting for the little guy; Muggsy Bogues, Spud Webb, Earl Boykins, all great little guys. So what’s my beef with Nathan? I actually can’t quite put my finger on it but it’s like this; you know when you go to a party or other social event and you see a dude from across the room and immediately hate him for absolutely no good reason? That’s why I hate him.But wait, there’s more, if you act now you can sign a 5’ 9” (in heels) point guard with no defense, streaky shooting and questionable decision making combined with strings of DNPs for an exorbitant amount of a roster spot and $4 million a year. It’s more commonly known by the Scalabrine Special.I know, I know, I never like anything that Danny does. It’s hard, though. TA was my boy and the bench has been a carousel of suck the past two seasons. It’s hard to get excited for second hand players to compliment three Hall of Famers, one up and coming all star and Kendrick Perkins. I have a hard time wrapping my head around not being able to get quality players for the bench (salary cap be dammed, as it has been the last three years) and the inability to get any sort of value for ‘Sheed’s contract.It’s unclear on if the front office is going to pull something out of their ass or rely heavily on developing players in the D League to sign future players on the cheap like Tony Gaffney. One thing is for sure, I’m anxious to see what the team is going to look like come October. I just hope it doesn’t look like a train wreck when the second unit comes in.
Thursday, 15 July 2010 10:08

ESPN Makes Poor Decision for True Hoops Fans

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For those of you that do not know I am a die hard Tar Heel, I bleed Carolina Blue, I love UNC, and because of that (and maybe because of my Italian hard headed attitude) I have had plenty of heated discussions protecting my school and its players over the decades. For those of you that listen to the Celtics Late Night Show I am the one that calls in every time the hosts begin to attack Rasheed Wallace. But if I had to say, over the years the two that have come out the most are: Dean Smith vs John Wooden and Michael Jordan vs LeBron James. And while both of the those arguments have always been passionate there is a big, big difference... John Wooden was a winner, his numbers speak for themselves, his legacy is as good as it gets when you talk about college basketball. When he died last month at the age of 99 ESPN did a lousy job in the coverage of it. A man who won on a constant basis, who put so many players into the next level, who after so many years was still loved and cherished by all, got very little coverage. As I said before, I am a Heel, but there is no way you can change my mind on the fact that ESPN should have done a special on the man that people called "The Wizard". In his last 12 seasons at UCLA coach Wooden won 10 titles, and I could go on with numbers, awards and things that can back up my statements but I doubt I need to, the legacy is there for all to see. Like him or not (and most did), John Wooden built something with the Bruins, something that will never be done again. And yet when he died the way that ESPN celebrated his career was way below par for a company that was established to make sports shine. On the other hand, when someone who has won nothing, and now has proven what I wrote on this very site as a guest writer a bit back, he needs to become a Robin in order to have a shot at winning, ESPN felt the need to make it into a soap opera like atmosphere. Did LeBron James really need all of this "housewife of ..." feel in order to make a decision? I think not. Ratings and sponsors drive the bus when it comes to all of this and both the self proclaimed King and the sports mogul decided to get as much of both as they could. "The Decision" was nothing but a bad replica of any other last episode of a reality show. Just like The Bachelor LeBron James picked his partner, which that alone makes me laugh. The King went to someone else's kingdom in order to win, and of course when he, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were introduced, the world leader in sport was there as well. As I said before I have had plenty of discussions about the two above mentioned people, the only difference is that the first one I still admire while the second one I do not. In a way James reminds me of the old days in boxing, or for those of you that do not remember the 40's and 50's, he reminds me of Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire, where the media built up their "giants" and then cut them down when needed or forced to. Wooden didn't need the hype, he avoided it. Wooden didn't have to leave UCLA, he built a winning tradition there. Had James done the same and stayed in Cleveland I might be inclined to believe that he could still be the person that so many believed he was when watching him on ESPN his high school years.Now I am going to thank North Station Sports for allowing me to write this post and take my services back to the "The Fifth Corner"!
Wednesday, 14 July 2010 07:35

Conspiracy of ‘The Decision’

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Over the past few years there has been plenty going on in the NBA that could be viewed at as fishy, at best. Namely the referee scandal with Tim Donaghy who was accused of gambling on games he was officiating. Once the news broke of this, fans immediately began questioning everything they saw in the league, whether games were fixed by the refs, was the gambling problem limited to just one official, and was commissioner David Stern calling the shots as to whom he wants to see win throughout the season based on generating more revenue. On Youtube, you will find numerous compilations of Lebron James taking over 5 steps without dribbling, Joey Crawford calling fouls that even Helen Keller could tell were clean plays, and the Kobe treatment. Look further on the web and you will even find statistics on each referee in the league in regards to their win percentage, fouls called, and a write up of past performances with specific teams. These are not the players we are talking about, these are the REFEREES! We should not know their names, nevermind these statistics.The league now, more than ever in its history is being doubted, even compared to Vince McMahons World Wrestling Entertainment and its staged drama and scripted storylines. But recently one occurrence within the league has risen more than a few eyebrows. In a report from Chris Tomasson, Senior NBA Writer for NBA Fanhouse on February 14, Tomasson reports that the NBA at the time of the NBA All Star break had lost $400 Million and that 25-27 of the leagues 30 teams would finish the season in the negative. At a minimum, that is THREE teams making money off an entire season. Think that these stats are just a one shot deal? Think again, Stern spoke during the All-Star break in regards to the losses the league has endured since 2005 when the new CBA came into effect, losses of at least $200 Million each season since 2005. So if you add those numbers up, since 2005 there has been 5 seasons including 2005, with the league losing $400 Million this year and at a minimum of $200 Million in the previous four seasons, that’s 1.2 Billion dollars lost in a five year span.What does this all mean though? What is fishy about losing money? Well if the league is losing all of this money, how is it that the Salary Cap actually rose this year to $58.044 Million for the 2010-2011 season. How can teams that have lost money for the last five years afford to pay MORE in salary? Sound a little crazy? I think so. I think it is just a little suspicious that the salary cap may have been risen just enough for a few teams to fit three max contracts on their payroll. It is odd that ESPN was the only media outlet claiming that Miami could really do this and that they were the ones to hold the ego-fest otherwise known as “The Decision” which completed the assembly of the trio in Miami. Even more questionable is the fact that Chris Bosh, one of the three, slipped up during their “Pep Rally” and admitted that this had been in the plans for months. Could Lebron have influenced Stern to raising the cap so the trio could come together, could have told Stern that this would solve the revenue problems in the league? You can’t really put it past Stern to do something like this with his history in a star favored league where there is a separate rulebook for you depending on what your last name is and where you play. So is this all a conspiracy with Stern at the helm? Or do you think it is just a coincidence? One will never know.

Monday, 12 July 2010 19:39

My Abusive Relationship With TA

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I have made it perfectly clear that I am probably the biggest Tony Allen apologist this side of having half of my genetic code in his genes. The fact that he left the Celtics after finding his role and embracing it was like getting a boot to the face after being doubled over from the sucker punch that was Game 7.Well, to me it was.See, I had a love affair with TA that rivaled any abusive relationship. When he was drafted 25th overall in 2004 it was awesome. An explosive high flyer coming out of Oklahoma State that was going to be a dynamic swingman for the C’s that they desperately were searching for.Then the questionable play started, the crazy dribble drives and bad fouls. I defended them all. He’s just trying to make things happen. He’s pressing. He just got there a second too late. He beats me because he loves me. You know, things you say when people are attacking your bad relationship.The rash of injuries that TA has endured didn’t help my case at all, culminating with the after whistle dunk that left knee shrapnel embedded in the floor photographers’ foreheads has his ACL and MCL exploded. That…that was hard to defend. Yes, it was stupid but he was just trying to give a little something extra. At least that’s what I told myself.Everyone remembered the bad things about TA. Who remembers the ’06-’07 season? Probably no one because you’ve erased that season from your mind, as well you should have. Pierce was injury plagued and the Celtics were an atrocity on the floor. The only person that I watched (for 33 games anyway) was Tony Allen.About halfway through the season, TA started lighting up the net and making major contributions. Take the Denver game, for example. Allen played all 48 minutes and was on fire from beginning to end, scoring 30 PTS to go along with 8 REBS, 3 ATS and 3 STLS. Oh yeah, he also had a block for good measure. He was 11-13 from the field and that included two from distance. That was Good TA. No, that was Great TA. He averaged 51 percent from the field, 11.5 PTS, 4 REBS and 1.5 STLS before, you know…the dunk.To be honest, it was just another moment in a woebegone season that left me wondering what the hell was going on with my team. Paul Pierce had asked to be traded if he didn’t get any help. The Celtics posted the worst franchise record and people were leaving the team in droves, heading towards the Sox, Pats and even the B’s.Then another Allen stepped in from Seattle, and KG arrived as the entire starting squad and bench was wiped out except for Pierce and TA. People in Boston cried out, “Why re-sign Tony?! He’s a bum!” And they had good reason, since Tony would start the season on the DL. He was quickly forgotten about while the new look C’s piled up the wins with Leon Powe, James Posey, Eddie House and PJ Brown solidifying the nine man rotation. There wasn’t any room for TA with Posey on the floor. James was a defensive monster with an outside game, everything Allen lacked.TA was relegated to cheerleading duties at the end of the bench with Gabe Pruitt and Eddie House’s kid but he took everything in stride. Even though Tony saw (extremely) limited action in the playoffs, he still made the crowd jump out of their seats during Game 6 of the Finals when he converted an awesome reverse alley oop slam in garbage time. There was my guy, just like I remembered him. He had appeared in 75 games, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember a single one. I will always remember that reverse dunk, though.Posey left after the Championship along with PJ Brown retiring (again) with Sam Cassell. That left some gaping holes in the rotation that was never really addressed properly. It left the door open for Allen to make his mark, and he took his cues from watching the way Posey had embraced his role. Tony started working hard on his defense and tried just as hard with his offense, which led to mixed results. He was either spectacular or dreadful, often in consecutive plays.This year, though, TA seemed to put it all together. He was coming of an ankle injury and was dead last on the depth chart behind Marquise Daniels, Eddie House and even Brian Scalabrine. He didn’t complain, instead working hard every day to eventually crack the rotation. When he finally made his season debut against Milwaukee in December, his return was met with ambivalence since he was just seen as a stop gap among the rash of injuries to Glen Davis and Daniels.Eventually, he kept getting more and more minutes, often abandoning his offence in favor of all out, lock down defense. It was that commitment that led to TA becoming the first guard off the bench and a minor vindicating victory for me. “See! SEE! I TOLD YOU! TA is good, you ungrateful bastards!” The TA bandwagon was slowly growing from just me on a piece of corrugated tin roof being pulled by a sickly donkey to a full fledged Oregon Trail style wagon being pulled by strong ass oxen.Allen started locking down premier players and chipping in with timely buckets, letting the offense come to him. He wasn’t perfect, fouling a three point shooter or flat out molesting someone off a pump fake but those plays were coming fewer and farther between now. Boston had their LeBron stopper and Kobe blanket finally and it came from a much beleaguered player.After the season, TA expressed great desire to come back and play for the Green. He had found his role and fully embraced it, even relishing it after games where he played in their jersey defense on Wade, Kobe, James and the like.Now, all of a sudden, he’s gone. Lured away from the Hub to Memphis by the GM that drafted him and given a large (and mostly deserved) three year deal worth a reported $9.5 Million. Even his mother was surprised that he didn’t re-sign with the C’s. “It’s very unfortunate, him leaving, because I thought he would stay,” said Ella Allen. “I am very surprised, but my son makes his own decisions, and I support him 100 percent.” While I am still distraught over his decision, I can’t say I blame him. Loyalty to a team is rare these days ( cough, LeBitch, cough) but leaving a team that has stuck with him through his rash of injuries is kind of disappointing. While it’s no big coup for the Grizzlies to pry TA out of Boston’s grasp, it is kind of shocking that it happened when TA was so close to signing with the Celtics. It was all but a done deal at last check and now, poof.I’ll still follow TA and maybe now the Grizzlies will be my Western Conference team that I pay attention to. Just know this, TA, I was there from the start when everyone wanted you out. Now that you’re gone, the very same people are wishing you were still here. I’m currently in the bargaining stage of this sudden divorce but soon I’ll reach acceptance. I can only hope that when you come back to Boston wearing that Baby Blue uni and playing next to Marc Gasol and Rudy Gay, (both decent players in their own right) that you’ll look across the floor at Pierce, Ray, KG and Rondo and feel a pang of regret that you didn’t stay.I admit, I wrote this post for selfish/therapeutic reasons but I do wish TA luck. Odds are he’ll never make the Finals again playing with Memphis but maybe he can get his own personal victories guarding Kobe, ‘Melo and Roy in the Western conference. Take it easy, Tony, and watch your god dammed joints.
After a short vacation, Brandon and Nick are back at it tonight. We are thrilled to welcome Maurice Ager as our featured guest this evening.

The Celtics Late Night Show

Tonight

at

9 pm, Est

Featured Guest:

Maine Red Claws Forward

Maurice Ager

After a short vacation, Brandon and Nick are back at it tonight. We are thrilled to welcome Maurice Ager as our featured guest this evening.
Ager is a former Michigan State star and NBA first round draft pick. He has traveled from Dallas to New Jersey to Spain and now back with in the USA with the Celtics D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.
We will also be talking about Ray Allen and Paul Pierce's re-signing, Tony Allen's departure and the new Heat squad in Miami.
We will be taking your calls all night.

347-215-7771

Listen/Chat Live

Monday, 12 July 2010 09:15

Tonight: Maine Red Claws Forward, Maurice Ager

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After a short vacation, Brandon and Nick are back at it tonight. We are thrilled to welcome Maurice Ager as our featured guest this evening. The Celtics Late Night Show

Tonight

at

9 pm, Est

Featured Guest:

Maine Red Claws Forward

Maurice Ager

After a short vacation, Brandon and Nick are back at it tonight. We are thrilled to welcome Maurice Ager as our featured guest this evening.

Ager is a former Michigan State star and NBA first round draft pick. He has traveled from Dallas to New Jersey to Spain and now back with in the USA with the Celtics D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

We will also be talking about Ray Allen and Paul Pierce's re-signing, Tony Allen's departure and the new Heat squad in Miami.

We will be taking your calls all night.

347-215-7771

Listen/Chat Live

Sunday, 11 July 2010 23:45

Follow NSS on Twitter

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Friday, 09 July 2010 18:13

Eddie House Back to Boston?

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Eddie was a key contributor to the 2008 championship and the run that fell short in 2009 where the Celtics fell to the Orlando Magic. Eddie is an electric bench player who is a tremendous leader who energizes his entire team with his exceptional hustle plays. Eddie signed with the Celtics in the Summer of 2007 after James Posey convinced him to sign after the Big 3 was assembled, after bouncing around the league for years having previous stints on the New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Bobcats, Los Angeles Clippers, and Miami Heat. Eddie is a graduate of Arizona State University who holds a school record for 51 points in a game during his stay there.
A Sherrod Blakely’s tweeted today a rumor that should excite most Celtic fans.
“You can add Ex-Celtic Eddie House to the list of players the Celtics have had discussions about signing this Summer” Eddie was a key contributor to the 2008 championship and the run that fell short in 2009 where the Celtics fell to the Orlando Magic. Eddie is an electric bench player who is a tremendous leader who energizes his entire team with his exceptional hustle plays. Eddie signed with the Celtics in the Summer of 2007 after James Posey convinced him to sign after the Big 3 was assembled, after bouncing around the league for years having previous stints on the New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Bobcats, Los Angeles Clippers, and Miami Heat. Eddie is a graduate of Arizona State University who holds a school record for 51 points in a game during his stay there. Eddie was a part of the trade that brought Nate Robinson to Boston in exchange for Bill Walker, JR Giddens, and Eddie House in March of 2010. Eddie will provide the Celtics with the sharp shooter they need as he still holds the Celtics record for 3 Point Shooting Percentage and is a career 39% from behind the arc. Eddie averages 7.6 Points Per Game and was averaging 7.2 prior to his trade from Boston.
Friday, 09 July 2010 08:02

Tony Allen Will Be Back in Boston

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Now that the LeBoshade nonsense is over, we can all get back to covering our respective team's. The off-season is usually a bit of fun in the blogoshere. It's fun to write historical pieces, roster news and various tidbits without the pressure of worrying about your team's W's and L's.LeBron James has robbed us of that through the first half of the off-season. He has haunted us with the ESPN coverage and made a mockery of his former team.Whether you loved or hated "the summer of LeBron," we can all agree it is now over. We can move on and thank god for that. So, now to the real news of the day, Celticsblog is reporting that Tony Allen will be back in green this season! The things that come out of my mouth regarding TA still amaze me. I am glad to have Tony back.
Click here's to get the story from Jeff Clark at Celticsblog
Good for you Mr. Gilbert! I was hoping you'd have an honest reaction! Good luck to the Cleveland Cavaliers in rebounding from this horrible blow. I am being honest here. I wish them the best in their rebuilding process. Click here for more LeBron reactions from NSS.

Open Letter to Fans from Cavaliers Majority Owner Dan Gilbert

Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight; As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier. This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment. Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us. The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you. There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you. You simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal. You have given so much and deserve so much more. In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight: "I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE" You can take it to the bank. If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our "motivation" to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels. Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there. Sorry, but that's simply not how it works. This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown "chosen one" sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And "who" we would want them to grow-up to become. But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called "curse" on Cleveland, Ohio. The self-declared former "King" will be taking the "curse" with him down south. And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma. Just watch. Sleep well, Cleveland. Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day.... I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only: DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue.... Dan Gilbert Majority Owner Cleveland Cavaliers //
We are now coming to you live from the North Station Sports newsdesk, in which our around the clock coverage of LeBron: The Decision comes to a head. The voice of a fake James Earl Jones comes over the ESPN feed and informs us that James is "the greatest free agent in NBA history." I guess that means all of the players better than LeBron in NBA history were stuck with lifetime contracts.A warmup panel of ESPN jobbers go over LeBron's resume as if he is a college athlete looking to be drafted. We've all heard of LeBron. Stop wasting our time with stats. Then they decided to show us what James would look like in various team jerseys, only they decided to use white every time with the same picture of LeBron, so apparently on any team he would look like a 6' 8" African-American in a white shirt.After promising that LeBron would make his decision ten minutes into the special, ESPN finally cuts to LeBron at 622 pm. Is there anything more strange than James deciding to make his decision in a Boys and Girls Club in Greenwich, Connecticut? I know he was trying to raise money for the club (although only in cities that wooed him and his own hometown), but why would you do that in one of the most affluent, least diverse cities in the nation? When they panned back to the kids in their "be great" t-shirts it looked like a Swedish children's choir. And Jim Gray? When was the last time he did anything? If George Michael wasn't dead we might have seen James get interviewed by the Sports Machine.LeBron: I've really enjoyed being recruited. But it's been a humbling process for me.Obviously you enjoyed being recruited. You sat in an office and made team representatives come to you while you reportedly sat around in a t-shirt and had them at your mercy. And I'm sure it was very humbling for everyone to tell you how much they wanted you.LeBron: <camera zooming in on his face...closer...closer...closer> This fall I'm going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat...I feel that this will give me the best opportunity to win...I want to win championships.That's great, LeBron. You're entirely about winning. Or you really wanted to live in Miami and play with your bestest friends while Dwyane Wade takes all of the pressure shots for you. I guess we'll never know, will we?LeBron: I never wanted to leave Cleveland...I wanted to follow Dwyane and Chris to a title...the process has been tough.Oh, has it been hard for you? People in Cleveland are burning your jersey and throwing themselves through plate glass windows. Besides, five minutes ago you just talked about how much you've enjoyed being wooed. You're like a bride who gets cold feet on her wedding day after pestering her boyfriend for years to "put a ring on it".Reaction shots in Miami and Cleveland. I love the guy in South Beach who bought a LeBron jersey even though the front of it reads "Cavs". In Cleveland even their disappointed "awww" is disappointing in its level of depression. They expect it: they're Cleveland.LeBron: I havent spoken to anyone about my decision other than my team...I just wanted to soak it in.Kind of disrespectful to your teammates, no? You remember them? Your actual team? Maybe you could have done them a favor on your way out and not refused to talk to potential head coach Tom Izzo. But what do you care, you're trying to win championships.LeBron: Cleveland shouldnt be mad at me...in seven years I've taken them to places they've never been before.I'm sure getting swept out by the Spurs in your lone final appearance will warm them on those cold and lonely nights without you.LeBron: To my real fans out there I hope you guys continue to support me. I'm all the way in Miami and I guess I'll see you guys this fall.The implication being that all of your fans in Ohio who have supported you since you were in high school aren't really your fans unless their new favorite team is the Heat? Most people have this thing called loyalty. I know, I know. "What's that", right? Well, loyalty is being an Indians fan because you're from Ohio and not walking around in a Yankees cap just because Derek Jeter was good while you were in high school.LeBron: I wanted to do what is best for LeBron James; LeBron James is going to do what makes him happy.LeBron just went double third person! Rickey Henderson would show more humility than that.Ultimately I'm not sure how this is going to play out. I don't even have a problem with James' decision to play for the Heat. He is a free agent. He can do whatever he wants. But when you schedule an hourlong special revolving entirely around you and what you are going to decide and then fill the time with an interview in which you come across as a pompous ass while ripping out the heart of your hometown, I'm going to call you out for it.
Thursday, 08 July 2010 23:13

How 'The Decision' Impacts the Boston Celtics

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So the decision has been made. The smoke has cleared, and the consistent bickering on ESPN as to where “King” James will land is finally over. The Miami Heat will have three of the games biggest names in town. So now the real circus begins. Now we will have to bear months of predictions as to who will be the leader of the team? Will Dwyane Wade and Lebron James’ egos clash while fighting for position as the alpha male? And most importantly; will the Miami Heat win the NBA Championship?Lebron James has single handedly turned the game we all love into a carnival. The fact that he had to feed his ego by fielding an hour long special on ESPN tells us just how much he cares about the concept of “Team Basketball”. The fact that Lebron James strung along six different cities, giving millions of fans hope that he will be on their team, just to play with them as his puppets. He has now put an asterisk on anything further that he accomplishes in his career. From now on everyone will mention how he could never win on his own and had to get two superstars to bring him to the promise land. He is now public enemy number one in the cities of New York, Chicago, and especially Cleveland. The city of Cleveland not only built a team around this player, but also built an entire city around him. Lebron James has given the city of Cleveland the ultimate stab in the back. With all this though, he has gotten what he has always wanted, a superior supporting cast.So what does this all mean for our beloved Celtics? Are we in trouble now that there is a new powerhouse in the league? First of all, this may be the best-case scenario for the Celtics in a way. Look at the positives; he is not in our division, which is huge, when it comes to seeding in the playoffs. With us clearly being the dominant team in the Atlantic Division we hold the first tiebreaker when it comes to playoff seeding. Secondly, Lebron would have been much scarier had he gone to Chicago. With the addition of Carlos Boozer, Lebron on the Bulls would have given Chicago one of the best starting five in the history of the game. Noah, Boozer, Lebron, Deng, and Rose would have been lethal to say the least. With that athleticism on their side, the Celtics would have had nightmares facing that starting five. But back to reality, how do the Boston Celtics, the reigning Eastern Conference Champions match up to the Miami Heat? Where do the Celtics stand now in the Eastern Conference?With the addition of Chris Bosh and Lebron James to the Miami Heat, its an understatement that they will not be the same team we saw in the first round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs where they were clearly outmatched by our Celtics. I firmly believe though that this is not going to be a championship team. We can guesstimate that egos will clash and subjects of that nature but I see this as a reality check. For the Miami Heat to be successful they will need to bring in a good number of guys through years of MLE usage, sign and trades and things of that nature to have a solid top to bottom team. As of right now the Miami Heat will be a team of three very good players and a bench of scrubs and guys too old to be useful. Michael Beasley is the only other valuable piece on their team and there have been many doubts concerning his maturity. The Celtics Big Three succeeded in 2008 and beyond not only because of the Big Three but because of the key members of their bench. Miami will not have the money for a James Posey or Eddie House. There are no more PJ Brown and Sam Cassell’s of the league. The Heat do not have a bruiser like Kendrick Perkins and a young Point Guard to learn the ropes from experienced veterans; which in turn makes him also a superior player, like Rajon Rondo. I don’t see any way useful vets would be willing to put up with the Ego-Fest that will be going on in South Beach. I see scrubs like Mikki Moore, Chucky Atkins, and Joe Smith joining the team. You can’t play your stars all 48 minutes for 82 games. You have to have a decent bench to succeed and Miami will be lucky to field a bench at all with the money they have left over, nevermind getting good players.Despite all this, in the end I see the Heat taking the number one seed in the East. As we saw the last few years, a few good players can win you a lot of regular season games given the number of bad teams there are in the league. The Heat will win 67 games; with the Chicago Bulls in the fourth seed given the depth that Carlos Boozer gives them now. Now that Cleveland is Lebron-less, they will be a 24 win team so that opens up one more spot in the East and takes away one more contender from the Celtics. The battle for the two and three seed will be between Orlando and Boston. I see Boston taking the two seed in the end given Rajon Rondos continued progression and some good signings to fill needs such as Jermaine O’Neal and more to come. But as the story always goes, teams win championships, not players. I feel the Celtics and Bulls will be the best teams in the playoffs given their depth and one of those teams will represent the Eastern Conference in 2011.Lets hope it is the right team.
(photo courtesy of Yahoo! Sports)
Thursday, 08 July 2010 18:19

The Celtics Work Out Kwame Freaking Brown

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Yesterday, the but of many jokes worked out for Celtics officials. Danny Ainge said the magic words with, "He looked in good shape," and "He's a talented young player." No kidding, that's how he keeps getting jobs. I may look good with a surf board under my arm but put me on the waves and it would be a tragedy.When you are one half of a URL that ends in "sucks," that doesn't inspire confidence in potential suitors. Brown is probably most recognized as the player that was dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies in a highway robbery of trade that allowed Pau Gasol and his HD breaking face to go to the Lakers. Yes, the Grizz also acquired the rights to Marc Gasol, but that is irrelevant. The point is Brown was the main ingredient in that shyster pie when he had all the trade value of a rack of shoot around balls.I understand the desperation for a legit (serviceable) center but as I stated before, that should have been addressed in the draft. Semih Erden has already been signed but is probably only going to see limited minutes in his first year. Jermain O'Neal has been batted around the front office with Shaq and Brad Miller rumors mixed in but we have yet to see anything definitive.Ainge is definitely looking for a band aid on the cheap to fill the five hole but I can't say I'm too excited about any of the potential moves so far with Kwame Brown being the least savory of the group but most attractive salary wise. Brown will probably play for the league minimum if he gets signed at all since his career average is 3.3 PPG and 3.7 RPG in 10 seasons.Really? Ten years? It's been a decade since this draft bust was hand picked by His Airness first overall and somehow people are still looking to get on the Kwame bandwagon? Dude has played in 510 out of a possible 820 games, starting just 217 of them. Ew.The only other theory I can come up with is that the C's will sign him to a monster contract and trade him and the rights to Tony Gaffney to New Jersey for Brook Lopez. Hey, I can have dreams too, right? I wouldn't mind seeing Bro Lo in green and neither would you.Fantasies aside, I'm seriously going to send Ainge a hate letter if I see Kwame Brown suiting up in Boston gear anytime soon. He doesn't even come close to exemplifying the Ubuntu attitude that the team rallies around, plus he sucks my ass inside out. Don't do it, Danny. Don't you friggin' do it.