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“Spoelstra hasn’t announced the choice yet, at least formally. But the writing is on the wall. Last week, five days before Spoelstra even clinched the spot, Heat owner Micky Arison tweeted about the history the Heat could make with Bosh in as the starter. When asked about it on Sunday, Spoelstra said: “I will tell you this, unequivocally, that my loyalties, first and foremost, are always with the Miami Heat.”
You see, there is already some wrangling going on ahead of James’ free agency that is scheduled for July 2014. One of the teams expected to have cap space and an interest in making a pitch to steal James away — at the peak of irony — is the Cavs. Their greatest recruiting tool will be the 20-year-old Irving, who has a bright future, a friendship with James and a deal with Nike. There’s an uncountable number of variables between now and next summer that make projecting James’ choice even more complex than back in 2010. But it is not too early to think about it.
So this question leaps out: Is there any way the Heat may not want to have James and Irving sharing the court and spotlight together?” [Windhorst/ESPN]
“But the lack of predictability of the front office decisions the team makes is obvious. And kind of fun. Team construction and fake trades on the Trade Machine are part of being a die-hard NBA fan. Less fun, for me, is stressing out over Dion Waiters. He looked awful on Friday, and pretty good on Saturday. Watching closely as every time out is called to see if Kyrie and Dion seem to be getting along. Watching Kyrie closely as Dion attempts a step-back 20 footer. I am picking on Dion a little bit, and I don’t really mean to. My point is that we have no idea what we are going to get out of any of these guys on a night to night basis. One day Kyrie Irving is in God mode making Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka look silly, when the night before he grew so frustrated with his teammates’ incompetence that he became “disinterested”. Tyler Zeller basically is what he is until he can get on a weight training program. Even then, all we can do is speculate that he will all of a sudden regain his confidence in the post. We have no idea if Tristan Thompson is a serviceable big, or potentially much more than that.
Some of this stuff is fun. We get to see Kyrie go nuts. And we get the satisfaction of Tristan Thompson improving before our very eyes, and then being able to say I told you so. I really need to stop telling people I told you so about Thompson. I probably will, in 2016 or something. And while I am tough on Waiters, easily the most underrated fun thing about this season has been him pickpocketing dudes and coming down the other way with ferocious dunks. If Kyrie dunks, its a little two handed motion where he basically just drops it in the basket. Dion is having NONE of that. And it is pretty awesome. Oh, look, I just found another radical divergence in the personalities of the two guards in whom so much is invested.” [Zavac/Fear the Sword]
“Everyone from Obama to Goodell to the $5,700,000,000/year TV networks are conspiring to construct a talk track about awareness and concern but without meaningful action. We hate being spun. It’s the height of disrespect to assume we can’t figure this one out without the help of more (NFL sanctioned) experts inveighing on the subject for us. Because the solution couldn’t be easier: you can either make targeting heads illegal or require players to sign waivers accepting that they’ll have some level of brain damage after leaving the game.” [Kanick]
“Cleveland-Akron is now ranked the 18th-highest market in the US. In other words, had baseball started a century later in the United States, Cleveland probably wouldn’t have been one of the initial 16 franchises. But because Cleveland was an important population and cultural center back in early years of the 20th, we have inherited one of the finest art museums in the country (Cleveland Museum of Art, 1913), one of the finest orchestras in the world (The Cleveland Orchestra, 1918), and one of the original American League teams (Cleveland Blues/Naps/Indians, 1901).
I don’t bring this up as part of a post on the economics of baseball, but in terms of how this decline feeds into the Cleveland sports mindset. No one really much cares (or even remembers for that matter) that Cleveland used to be one of largest and most culturally important cities in the United States, but somehow that fact has seeped into the Cleveland sports fan’s view of things. Things are always getting worse, and if things are going well there’s always a disaster around the corner. And the sports teams have fed into that view to the point where disappointment is what everyone expects.” [Let’s Go Tribe]
“We look the other way when baseball teams win World Series even though they probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs without significant help from steroids cheats.
We look the other way when NFL players are allowed to create any excuse they want for a four-game drug suspension (usually Adderall), or when David Stern tells a reporter that he doesn’t see how PEDs would help NBA players (yeah, right).
We look the other way as the NBA keeps its own little Santa Claus streak going: Of all the running-and-jumping sports that feature world-class athletes competing at the highest level, only the NBA hasn’t had a single star get nailed for performance enhancers … you know, because there’s no way hundreds of overcompetitive stars with massive egos would ever cheat to gain an edge with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.” [Simmons/Grantland]