Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Hoop & The Harm: Notes from the Hardcourt

Time for a Change

After LeBron James (we’ll get to him in a minute) and Chris Bosh (and him) joined Dwyane Wade in Florida this summer, there was talk among the NBA’s other high profile free agents and soon-to-be FA’s about forming similar ‘powerhouse pacts,’ if you will…

One of the players, of the ‘soon-to-be’ variety, that was frequently rumored to be making a move was Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets – and with the season underway, not much has changed.

It seemed like things had been smoothed over – ‘Melo came out and said that he had never asked for a trade, the speculation sort of stopped for a while and then everyone’s focus (once again) turned to LeBron and the Miami Heat as the season began. Well – unhappy with that, Anthony is back in the headlines almost immediately, and it doesn’t look good for the Nuggets!

Here’s what he told Yahoo! Sports after his club’s home opener:

“For me, I feel it’s a time for change. If I do nothing now, I’m never going to do anything. I feel like my time is now to make a decision if I want to leave or if I want to stay.”

To be fair, Anthony didn’t just say this out of the blue – I assume he was being asked about his future, or about the contract extension worth $65-million that the club has offered him. Isn’t it a little early on in the season to be talking about “time for a change” and “my time is now to make a decision,” or is it just me?

It could all just be a misunderstanding though – a couple of nights later, Anthony told reporters that his comments were taken the wrong way by some people. He says he just wants to keep his options open when it comes time for free agency, but I think we all know what that means. I smell a break up coming!

Euro Trip

I’ve got a theory on ‘Melo – I think he’s waiting to see if the NBA expands to Europe before he decides who he wants to shack up with…

Okay, maybe not, but the NBA is apparently thinking about European expansion in the next decade if you can believe it. According to ESPN, league commissioner David Stern told some people in Miami that he “envisions a five-team European division within the league sometime in the next 10 years.”

In some of his other comments though, he didn’t exactly sound optimistic:

“It’s a wonderful topic, because 10 years ago, I said ‘Oh, it’s inevitable, it’ll happen in 10 years.’ And now what I’m saying is, ‘It’s inevitable, it’ll happen in 10 years.’ But in terms of globalization, we’re going to see a desire for franchises in Europe and in about 10 years you’ll send me a postcard.”

So to recap: a decade ago, David Stern thought it was “inevitable” that there would be European clubs competing in the NBA, which didn’t happen, and ten years later we’re supposed to believe him when he repeats the exact same sentiment?

All this from a guy who just admitted this past week that the league might have to lose a few teams in order to be successful and turn a profit. I don’t know what’s crazier – that, or the idea that people will still be sending each other postcards in 2020!

Payback’s a Witch

Remember the time the city of Cleveland won’t stop crying about what a jerk LeBron James is for taking less money to go to a better team (in a nicer part of the world)?

Well, as expected, the start of the NBA season this past week opened up an old wound in Ohio, and some people found interesting ways to get over the pain of “The Decision.” Take “Rover,” for example.

He’s the local radio personality who brought a witch into the studio to place a curse on James the morning of the Heat’s season opener in Boston. According to 19ActionNews.com, who I trust because of their claim to be “Honest, Fair, Everywhere,” Samhain the witch and Lady Magick the assistant witch used bones, blood and a Heat jersey to place the hex.

Cleveland-area listeners were all asked to focus their negative energy towards James during the ceremony, which he probably blocked with a shield made of solid gold and Nike swooshes.

So what does “Rover” think/hope will happen to King James?

“A broken leg, hand or other debilitating injury would be the best outcome. At the very least a sordid sexual misconduct accusation against LeBron would be alright I suppose. The city of Cleveland has been cursed for decades with losing sports franchises. Now we’re going on the offensive to curse others. It may not help our teams win, but it will sure make us feel better.”

Are you kidding me? Sorry “Rover” but I hope that on December 2nd, LeBron James puts such a hurtin’ on the Cleveland Cavaliers that you can’t even look at a basketball without uncontrollably breaking into tears. I hope he makes it rain so hard that everyone at Quicken Loans Arena needs water wings and a scuba mask! I hope he wears out the mesh at the Cavaliers end of the court!

By the way, Miami lost 88-80 to the Celtics on opening night, but James put up 31 points in his debut…imagine the numbers he would have had without the curse!

Meanwhile – Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert says he stands behind the ridiculous comments he made in his comic(sans MS)al letter to Cavs fans in the wake of “The Decision.”

“I don’t regret it. I think that’s the feeling that I had and most of Cleveland had. I can’t back off on that.”

Gilbert also says he still thinks the Cavs will win a title before the Heat do, which to the rest of the world doesn’t seem likely. Sure, they opened up the season with a win over the Celtics, but the Cavaliers followed that up with a lopsided loss to the Raptors. I can’t say that they strike me as a championship caliber team just yet!

Other stuff…

Speaking of Cleveland, LeBron James and Boston…former Cav and current Celtic Delonte West, who was once rumored to be ‘seeing’ LeBron’s mom and is currently on probation, got in a fight with a teammate this week…

Current James teammate and former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh says playing in the NBA is really “all about being on TV,” which is why he left Canada apparently…

The NBA has banned – wait for it…upside down headbands! Yeah, I don’t really get it either.

Not sure what to get that hoops fan on your Christmas list? The original rules of basketball (written by a Canadian) are heading for the auction block on December 10th!

If Turkey is The Answer, what’s the question?

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