Free Agency Bullets: Thursday I’m in Love (with Luke Ridnour)

Benjamin Polk —  July 8, 2010 — 5 Comments

Photo by lint machine

  • Things are happening everybody. Did you guys know that Lebron James was a free agent this summer? Wow, he’s probably going to make a lot of money, almost as much as Joe Johnson even! In any case, it seems that Lebron’s decision will have an effect on David Lee’s eventual destination. And although Golden State is evidently the front-runner in this little game, nothing is decided at the moment. Chad Ford reports at Truehoop:

Once LeBron announces his intentions tonight at 9 p.m. on ESPN, Lee should know pretty quickly where he’ll land. League sources tell me that the Warriors are in the lead to land Lee in a sign-and-trade with the Knicks if New York doesn’t win the LeBron Lottery tonight…If the Knicks do land LeBron tonight, they’ll have to renounce their rights to Lee in order to fit in LeBron under the cap. That will kill any chances of a sign-and-trade.

Good to know, except that the Knicks are not going to land Lebron tonight, so.

  • Speaking of the salary cap, Marc Stein at ESPN tells us that the cap for next season is actually $2 million higher than expected.
  • Which is great news because it means that the Wolves can now go right ahead and sign Luke Ridnour. Problem solved!
  • Ups, not quite. Nothing is settled until the porcelain Rick Rickert joins the Wolves’ Summer League team. There, that should do it.
  • Don’t worry, everybody, Jonny Flynn is not being traded (although now how will the Wolves find playing time for Ridnour? Right?).
  • This last thing has nothing to do with the Wolves, but Joey from Straight Bangin’ so perfectly captures my feelings on the whole Lebron/Wade/Bosh  Event (assuming, of course, that Lebron does go to Miami, as it looks like he will) that I’ve got to show it to you (although its chock full of dirty words). His points, in brief: It is cowardly; it is lazy; it is boring for basketball; it undermines the NBA; it insults history. True on all counts:

If Miami wins two, or three, or four titles, I hope that no self-respecting fan anoints LeBron as a historical equivalent of Michael, Magic, Larry, and them. Those are NBA greats who sacrificed, who struggled, who worked to impose their will, believing that ultimately they would find a way to emboss the designs for a title with their unique signatures. LeBron has chosen otherwise, shrinking from the obligations of true greatness. This is a herb move for a man who will remain lost despite a new direction.

Good use of the word “herb,” dude. Two more bodies I’d add to the pile: 1) For a man who claims to love his home state, he doled out some serious torture to the people who’ve supported him his whole life. 2) Culminating in this one-hour television special–which I’ll watch if I can find the stomach–this whole hubristic fiasco has done more to turn everyday life into a vacuous, preening spectacle than a thousand episodes of The Hills. Thanks everybody.


Benjamin Polk

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5 responses to Free Agency Bullets: Thursday I’m in Love (with Luke Ridnour)

  1. Good for basketball: OKC vs. Miami in 2 years will be worth watching, and everyone loves a villian. The Wolves will never contend if basketball continues to go the route of baseball, where the midwest acts as a farm system for $ on the coasts. Wolves only chance seems to be developing a bunch of young talent at once… Beasley, Love, Flinn probably isn’t enough for the playoffs – maybe we need another 21 year old in exchange for Al. When is Beasley’s contract up?

  2. Umm… Magic was drafted by a franchise with a Hall of Fame center already in place, and other hall of famers were added along the way- He did not “struggle” to rebuild a franchise, he did not go through any losing seasons. Magic may have been the leader of the Lake Show, but he was their #2 option on offense until the late 80’s when Kareem began to slow. Larry Bird joined the greatest franchise in NBA history at the time, and was surrounded by hall of famers for his entire career. Only Michael took a previously moribund franchise and rose it to new heights, and even then, he had to be joined by another top 50 all time player to make it happen. LeBron’s legacy will be cheapened by playing with Wade and Bosh in the same way that Bird’s legacy was tarnished for playing with McHale, Parrish, Walton, Johnson, and Ainge

  3. Well first I think that, although Bird and Magic were drafted onto teams with established stars and traditions already in place, Lebron’s move here is basically unprecedented. I mean McHale/Parrish/Ainge/Johnson is just not in the same ballpark as Wade and Bosh. I guess I don’t really begrudge Lebron his choice necessarily–I mean he can do whatever he wants, basically. My feeling, and it seems like Joey’s too, is just that its boring and bad for the game to have so much talented concentrated in one place. It just would have been so much more fun and interesting if Lebron had gone to Chicago and started a vicious rivalry with Miami rather than joined up with the other cool kids in the cool kids club.

  4. I don’t believe it’s necessarily bad for basketball. We are about to witness something that hasn’t been seen in the NBA. This is clearly bigger than any ‘Big 3′ that Boston has ever had. Also, with just these 3 stars it may be difficult to surround them with great role players considering they only have one other man on the roster right now (Mario Chalmers). They will surely generate a lot of money for Miami and the NBA. Heat games will be played on TNT and ESPN on Thursday and Friday nights all season long bringing more attention to an already great league. Plus, with a team as great as they’ll likely be wouldn’t it be exciting, not “boring” and “bad for the game” if another team like the Magic or even still, the Bulls, knock Miami out of the playoffs? Or what if they make it to the Finals and Kobe’s Lakers still take down the new ‘Big 3′ in game 7 for his sixth championship? I don’t know, just something to think about I guess…That would be pretty exciting and would truly draw some of the highest ratings in NBA History. Either way I think I’m pretty excited.

  5. Barkley made a good point in a recent interview and I think he points at something that many of us find disappointing. I don’t dislike Lebron (I love watching him, and was neutral to favorable about his personality prior to the playoffs), I’m not from Cleveland, and I think it is at least interesting what is happening in Miami. But he showed something this summer, which we didn’t necessarily see before and it’s nothing that good.

    Barkley said he just doesn’t understand how Bron is wired. Forget all the playing in Miami with his buddies stuff which is all well and good, has any other great or would-be great NBA player (and Lebron is definitely great) at age 25 ever thought anything other than “I am the man, I just need a couple of pieces and a fighting chance, and I will lead any team to the title”? Barkley says yeah, at age 30+ you might realize you were wrong, but at age 25 you should absolutely believe you are right. For all the talk of being the King and saying things like in last year’s playoffs like “of course we can win, we have me.” Lebron for whatever reason doesn’t have that belief in himself. We know that now. He could and should, but he doesn’t. You can defend him all you want and say the circumstances were different or whatever, but the bottom line is that Bird, MJ, Magic (or even T-Mac, KG, Payton, Dirk, Reggie Miller, etc.) never once seemed to believe, let alone acted, at the age of 25 on the desire of “I’m cool with being carried to a title, I just want a ring so people can’t give me shit about it anymore.”

    The thing with Lebron is as complex as the modern sports business. He has good reasons for thinking what he does, even if it isn’t the most admirable of attitudes. People will say he isn’t a winner, he is a winner, he is a good guy, he isn’t a good guy, he is smart, he is a front runner, he isn’t a real champion, the rings speak for themselves. And they will all be true and all be false, because it’s all relative anyway.

    But to me, Lebron will always be a guy who put winning ahead of actually competing, who wanted a ring more than he wanted to win a ring, who wanted the championship belt more than he wanted to be the baddest man on the planet. I am told he is a big fan of the movie “Gladiator.” He fancies himself Maximus no doubt, but to me he proved this summer he is a lot more like Commodus — he wants the throne and the adulation and the symbolic victory in front of the masses, but what doesn’t care about as much is beating anybody in a fair fight. And to me, that makes him a less interesting player and a less admirable champion, even if he wins a title or two or three. Your mileage may vary.

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