LeBron's legacy and the new look of free agency

LeBron's legacy and the new look of free agency

Once again, the world rallied together and rooted for "Not Miami" in the NBA finals. Not nearly as strongly as when "Not Miami" won in the form of the Dallas Mavericks, but the sentiment was still there. This time, the San Antonio Spurs blew out the Heat. Embarrassed them in three straight wins where Miami looked, slow, unathletic, and lazy.

Now it's time to think about the outcome.

What happens with LeBron's legacy?

This is an interesting question to me. I've heard and read about how LeBron can never pass Jordan after losing for the third time in the finals. I don't think finals losses really mean anything to me though. Does Jordan get extra credit for losing to the Pistons a bunch of times instead of making it to the finals more?

I don't see how you do. I don't like the ring argument for the greatest player ever, or else Bill Russell should grace everyone's top five list and should be seated at #1. That said...

The overall point is correct, it just wasn't made last night. It was made when he lost in Dallas or the final two years in Cleveland where his team had the best record. When he joined up with Wade who was a top five player at the time in the first place as well as another top 10 player in Chris Bosh to stack the deck.

Those things already ensured that he'd never pass Michael Jordan. To many moments chocking in the clutch were already in his resume. We forget how great the past players were when watching the present.

These finals didn't cement him below Jordan, they now bring up the question as legitimate in terms of how does he compare to Magic, Bird, Shaq, Kareem, and the other guys you'd want to put in the top five. LeBron's legacy now is to fight for #2. I've long thought he was the second best player in the NBA, but his tendency to get lost in big games for huge stretches makes me wonder.

In these finals, you saw a LeBron James who couldn't sustain greatness for any period of time.

He had quarters like Game four Q3 or Game five Q1 that were dominant, but then he was empty the rest of the night. The Heat needed some 50 point type games out of him, and he couldn't deliver. No one else could do anything, and the Spurs weren't really throwing the kitchen sink at him on defense either, they were still covering up everyone else well.

He had match up chances but either couldn't hit shots or inexplicably wouldn't take them. He kept on "playing the right way" when his team needed him to dominate individually instead. I don't blame LeBron for passing so much, it's part of his DNA as a player. He was the only one on the Heat playing well, but simply didn't assert himself enough.

That said, even if he did, it likely wouldn't have been enough to stop three straight blow outs, just enough to possibly keep the games close. Which brings us to...

What the .... happened to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh?

No seriously? WHAT THE?

Dwayne Wade single handedly doomed the Heat in this series. He lost all his athleticism. He looked fat (by NBA standards, I'd kill to look that 'fat') and slow out there.

He was awful defensively, and on offense, the Spurs were able to single cover him with pretty much anyone on the roster without any negative impact. The fact that Dwyane Wade couldn't win any one on one match ups really eliminated the Heat's chances of doing anything.

My guess is that Wade had some type of injury problem. Most likely his chronically bad knees simply couldn't hold up to playing all those games in a row in the playoffs when he wasn't afforded regular rest. If that's the case, then it means there's simply no recovery for him in the future either. His body can't stand the wear and tear anymore.

Wade had a fairly poor playoffs in general. He scored sub 20 in two thirds of his games, but it wasn't until he played the Spurs where his shooting percentages simply fell apart. It's odd, because while the Spurs are certainly good on defense, they aren't as good as Indiana whom he played much better against.

Chris Bosh had nice percentages in the finals. He shot the ball at a 54.5% clip, but he had low volume, averaging only 14 points per game. The Heat simply needed much more from him, but he has been slowly Spoelstra'd out of being a star.

Maybe Spoelstra's seen something the rest of us haven't and already knows Chris Bosh is the next Carlos Boozer, but other wise trying to convert him from a stretch four instead of trying to convert him into a more physical guy who plays in the paint seems like a colossal mistake.

Yeah, maybe it opened up a little space, but when you needed Bosh to create his own shot and run offense through him, he was well out of practice. LeBron needed a number two out there, and four years ago Chris Bosh could have been a number two. Now he looks like a glorified role player making superstar money, and it feels like that's been coaching mismanagement unless his game has gone all to hell and is being covered up.

Now what for the Heat? For free agency?

Do these guys all opt in? Do they opt out and ask for new long term contracts? Does the loss convince them to try and bring Melo in to create a big four? I think it will be awfully interesting to see how this plays out.

Wade is owed about 41 million over the next two years if he opts in. Bosh is owed 42. Neither of these guys are getting more money by opting out over the next two years.

Maybe some team would give Dwyane Wade 4/60 so he might make more in total, and he might not be able to get much of anything in two years when his knees might force him to retire, so it's possible he could come out ahead. Miami could do some salary cap circumvention here if Wade and Miami both feel this is the case by offering Wade a five year deal knowing that he'll only play two of it.

Chris Bosh won't make up that money if he opts out, and he's likely to still be worth a decent contract in two seasons as well, so it's definitely a financial loser for him to opt out. Adding Melo also likely cuts into his playing time, forces him to play center full time, and further marginalizes him as a scorer.

I'm not sure if I'm Chris Bosh how interested I am in this big four and being pushed out even more. Bosh doesn't need to win more rings for his legacy, and winning them as potentially the fourth best player on his team wouldn't do much to improve it anyway. If he gives up huge money in order to bring in Melo then he should win the all time unselfish award.

LeBron, meanwhile, needs to decide if he wants to continue on with these guys. The whole bench will need to be reworked as well, and Miami won't have any money to really do so unless all three of the big three take significant pay cuts, not just the 1-2 million dollar type they took before, but we're talking 5-6 million dollar per year cuts.

LeBron could jump to the West and possibly sign with the Rockets if they can somehow free up enough space. This would give him a new big three where he gets to play against the best much more frequently and has teammates that fit him better than his present ones do. He could jump to Chicago, but if he's scared to bank on Wade's knees it's unlikely he'd want to bank on Rose's.

He's probably in a position where rolling the dice with Bosh/Wade is better than any other viable alternative other than Houston, but these finals make you wonder if LeBron is in play.

It wasn't the loss. It was the complete and total annihilation. It was how Miami didn't stand a chance in three of the five games and how the Spurs had double digit leads in four of the five.

It's probably not likely, but free agency could get awfully interesting if the Heat break up and go their separate ways. Not 2010 interesting, since Wade and Bosh aren't nearly as attractive now as in 2010, but if the best player in the world has a shot at changing teams? It's a pretty big year for the NBA.

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  • I think Wade and Bosh do opt out and take something like 4 yrs/50 million. Bosh is not thinking about legacy. Heck, he would prefer to be the 4th wheel. He has said in interviews that Riley is like his father, his teammates like his brothers, and he will essentially do whatever they ask to stay in Miami.

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    Dan LeBatard just said on Mike and Mike what I had written here previously. He said we will know soon enough (6/23). If they all opt out, we will know they are working together and staying in Miami. If some but not all opt out, then everything is up in the air.

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    That's a pretty good point. Things are probably only crazy if some opt out and some don't.

  • As one of the few Heat fans on this blog, I just want to make a few points in response to Doug’s article:

    First, it would be a big mistake for any team (including the Heat) to offer Dwyane Wade a 4 year contract worth $60M.

    Second, as Doug stated, the only way the Heat can build on their past successes, is for Wade and Bosh to take significant pay cuts. The only argument I’d make is that $5 to $6M/year may not be enough of a cut. Pat Riley needs to get Wade and Bosh in a room and show them the salaries of Parker ($12.5M), Duncan ($10M), and Ginobili ($7M). If anyone can do it, it’s Pat.

    Third, as much as I like Eric Spoelstra, I agree wholeheartedly with Doug about Spoelstra’s misuse of Chris Bosh. I cringe when I see Bosh hanging out at the 3-Point line. With Toronto, he had an inside presence, and is being grossly underutilized offensively with Miami. I’ve been saying this for 3 years, not just now. To his credit, Spoelstra’s done a great job with Bosh on the defensive end.

  • In reply to RichG:

    You also have to question the use of Beasley. For someone who has been rarely utilized all season, to get time in the second half of a key game 5 playoff game is ridiculous - especially because he looked like he belonged if given the shot based on his play.

    Why couldn't the offense flow through Beasley here and there? It's one thing if you are going to run the 2nd unit through Bosh, but that didn't even happen in these finals!

  • In reply to Granby:

    I’m not as upset about Beasley, because he’s a knucklehead who doesn’t grasp the defensive concepts. San Antonio’s sophisticated offense would have confused him mightily. However, he at least should have been in uniform for most of these games, and let Greg Oden wear the suit and tie.

  • In reply to RichG:

    There were a number of articles out there over the weekend that examined the pay cut. Basically, if they all get equal salaries, the Heat can pay them between $12 million & $13.8 million. That is mostly but not entirely dependent on whether or not they can convince Haslem to opt out of his final year @$4.6 million.

    So, the pay cut is $7-9 million per player on the low end and $9-11 million on the high end. One analysis ran all the numbers on how much total money(over the life of the contract) they would be giving up under several different scenarios. It was $30-40 million on the low end, and $60 million on the high end.

    None of those guys is taking that kind of a discount, nevermind all of them. One of them has to go and the only guy that makes sense is Bosh, just not for basketball reasons(that would be Wade).

    The only other scheme that Miami might try is giving Wade some kind of crazy lifetime contract that covers 20-25 years so that he only makes $1.5-2 million the first year. That would allow them to pay the other guys something in the high teens, but still less than the $21-22 million that they are entitled to.

    It is shocking to see how little the Spurs big 3 are playing for, but really none of them are in their prime. In fact Parker being the youngest is about Wade's age who is the oldest amongst the Heat big 3.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Lebron shouldn’t have to take a pay cut, and Wade gets a pass because of the 3 championships he’s directly responsible for. I don’t think Bosh is going anywhere, because he and his family love the Miami lifestyle, and he has opt outs in each of his remaining two years, which means no team is going to trade for him unless he agrees to sign with the Heat or that team long-term. That’s why the Heat can’t trade Bosh for Kevin Love right now.

    To your other point, the Heat could get in a lot of trouble with the league, if Riley and Wade were to make a wink-wink deal, where Wade gets the majority of his money after he retires.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    The crazy lifetime contract isn't legal, so that's not going to happen.

    I agree it's unlikely that everyone agrees to the pay cuts, but their personal relationships make it somewhat possible.

    Only thing is even after that you've still got no bench.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Yea, I forgot about the 35-6 year old rule in the current CBA. I was thinking back to when Magic signed a 20 year deal with the Lakers, although, I believe he renegotiated out of that one anyway.

  • In reply to RichG:

    In their primes, these guys are all radically better players than Parker, Ginobili, and Duncan, so it's tougher to sell them on that, but you're right that it's what Riley will have to do.

    The question is whether or not they care enough about an incremental chance to win to give up the extra money. You're likely talking about giving up 40 million dollars for these guys, and there's really no guarantees even if they do it.

    I agree with you on Wade, but I think he'd get it, particularly from Miami if he agrees to opt out of his deal now. Miami gives him two extra years to save them cap room this year.

    Worth noting in 2 years the salary cap will rise massively when the new NBA TV deal hits, so contracts will look much different.

  • In reply to RichG:

    The one gigantic difference with the Parker/Duncan/Ginobli salary comparison and reasoning is this number line: 32/38/37. Their respective ages. The only one underpaid in that power three is Parker, but I would say not by too much ($2-3MM). I doubt James/Bosh/Wade would command much more than those salaries (maybe more than Ginobli) at that same age range and mileage. Should remember Ginobli played in 94 reg season games for 2011-12 and 2012-13 season, so the $7.5MM price tag for him is reasonable all said and done.

  • In reply to Cheese:

    Wade at 37 would be worth less than the bozohole at 29, and by worth I don't mean what the Bulls paid him.

  • The west is stacked with good teams it would seem for that stand point lebron should stay in the east...melo as well.. but no team would seem enticing to lebron I don't think.

  • Not much of a legacy for LeBron compared to MJ. MJ never lost a Finals in 6 tries! Plus he had two 3-peats. Miami and LeBron were fortunate to win two in a row - last year was a gift more than earning it. The were fortunate not to get swept this year!

    In the last quarter of a century plus, only two teams got 3-peats, and both were the Chicago Bulls. It's not easy. Even the Spurs never won back-to-back titles.

    I think LeBron moves on, but to where? An interesting summer ahead. Hope the Bulls FO earns their money.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Cleveland. Three number one picks in four years + LeBron coming back could make them a very dangerous team.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I agree with you on the Lebron v MJ part of the debate.

    However, Doug has a point that losing in the finals shouldn't be viewed as worse than not getting there at all. Also, many of the all time greats lost multiple times in the finals, Magic was 5-4, Bird 3-2, Kareem 6-2, Kobe 5-2, Wilt 2-4, Jerry West 1-8 and Elgin Baylor 0-7.

    footnote, the Lakers 3 peated to start this century

  • The Lakers did it.

  • Thanks to the anti Thibodeau (Greg Popovich) the Miami Heat were finally exposed for what they are. An over hyped core of three with no point guard, no center and a weak bench. A team that could be dominated by any team with a deep bench and a head coach capable of utilizing the bench.

    Miami should send Thibodeau two rings posthumously, because it was Thibodeau who allowed the Heat to make it out of the eastern conference the first two years of the Heatles.

    As far as free agency, I hope the Bulls sign Melo outright or at the most give the Knicks one of the draft pick to take Boozer's contract.

    If Derrick Rose's workout buddy Kevin Love wants to come to Chicago after signing Melo, only then do you entertain packaging Taj and drafts picks. Nothing more, not Butler, not Mirotec.

    The goal is to become the Spurs not the Heat.

    I'm not 100% convinced Kevin Love would work on a Bulls squad with Carmelo better than Taj Gibson. Also, the way Gibson has developed, I'm not sure Love would be enough of an upgrade to trade away all of the assets Gar/Pax have accumulated.

  • In reply to Roscoe63:

    Thibs is a top 3 coach in the entire NBA wouldn't say he is the opposite of Poppovich. Roster makeup had a lot to do with their success all the offensive players they have on their team and all the three point threats had a ton to do with their success. Last I checked Thibs wasn't the GM. Maybe if GarPax stopped stuffing the roster with one way defensive players and started hitting on some of their draft picks maybe we wouldn't be the worst offensive team in the league.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Do you mean top 3 regular season coach?
    Because Thibs has absolutely nowhere near the playoff results to qualify as a top playoff coach. Look how Thibs' Bulls blew 4th quarter leads in games 1 and 2 at home in the Washington series, while making absolutely zero adjustments.

  • In reply to Edward:

    To be fair, Thibs had very little in the way of adjustments to make. He was already working with a 7 man rotation. Other than removing the bozohole from the rotation altogether and making it a 6 man rotation what could he have done. Noah and Taj would have had to turn into Wilt and average over 48 minutes per game. This Wiz just had more everything than we did, talent, athleticism, length, youth. Once the series started it was painfully obvious.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I have to echo Edward's comments of "top 3 regular season coach" and "zero adjustments."

    Apparently Gar/Pax have long been seeing what most novice Bulls fans have awakened to. Thibodeau is not a championship type coach.

    Patty Mills would've been just as buried on Thibodeau's bench as Jimmer Fredette. So we have no clue how effective the Bulls bench could've been under a real head coach such as Popovich.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I think the Bulls inability to advance is both on Thibs and the FO. The FO didn't acquire or retain the quality depth that SA had and Thibs didn't trust anyone beyond the normal rotation. My biggest problem with Thibs was his inability to play Jimmer when clearly the team needed a spark. The same way I couldn't understand why Spoelstra didn't go to Beasley earlier in the series.

    As to the FO, I have long been on the record stating that there is nothing special about GarPax. (Exhibit 1: Tony Snell. I rest my case.) Not that they are the worst FO out there, just that they have not delivered the goods to put them in the same category as Buford and some others IMO. Of course, having Rose and Boozer eat up about $33M in cap space doesn't help. This summer will certainly be a turning point in the current Bulls' FO legacy. I wish them well.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Let's wait until halfway through next season before we bury Snell. I agree, though, it's not looking like he'll be anything special.

    He does shoot well and has good size - giving him potential defensively. It takes most guys 2-3 years to get comfortable in the NBA these days.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I think the same about snell, give him some time, for a rookie, he played a lot (with thibs).
    Maybe he gets better this season

  • In reply to Granby:

    Unless there is a pill to cure mope a dope syndrome I don't think that waiting half a season will make much of a difference, but you are right, we can't call him a total bust just yet.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    While I wholeheartedly agree with your points, I've been an avid Bulls fan since Bob Love and Tom Boerwinkle were still productive players. And I must point out that Gar/Pax isn't the worst front office past, present or future.

    With the exception of Lamarcus Aldridge, Paxson, for the most part always took the best available players when the Bulls were on the clock. Even then, Paxson corrected the mistake by getting a draft pick (#16) in return for the semi bust.

    When Gar/Pax selected Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler over more hyped college players, I wasn't excited over either selection. I now know that Gar/Pax and their scouts know more about player evaluation than me and most of the NBA. If there were a redraft of the Gibson and Butler drafts both would be top ten selections.

    The only recent draft miss is Marcus Teague and Teague was so over hyped, I don't think Gar/Pax even worked him out prior to the draft. Bet that never happens again. As for Tony Snell - like Jimmy Butler's first year under Thibodeau, no one has seen enough to give an intelligent opinion on whether or not he'll pan out.

    We'll have to wait until an injury to a starter forces Thibodeau to play Snell meaningful minutes. That's how Asik, Gibson and Butler finally got off of the bench. That being said, indicates we never really know how effective the supporting cast Gar/Pax assembled is until injuries forces Thibodeau play his bench.

    Gar/Pax does appear to be having the same lack of success attracting top flight free agents to Chicago as the past Bulls front office. However, that's more a hit on the city of Chi and not Gar/Pax. Lower or eliminate the state taxes (Good luck with that) and then the Bulls can compete with the Houston's and Miami's during free agency.

  • In reply to Roscoe63:

    James Johnson was also a bust, but we recovered that one also as we traded him for a pick that eventually evolved its way into Mirotic.

  • In reply to Roscoe63:

    I disagree with your characterization of the Heat as a team that only advanced because of Thibs' ineptitude and that they could be "dominated by any team with a deep bench and head coach capable of utilizing the bench." If it was that simple then every team would do it. The Heat are the two-time defending champs, meaning they had to beat the West twice, including the Spurs and a talented OKC team. The Heat have a great collection of talent, even if it not distributed throughout the roster. You aren't giving enough credit to the Spurs team with one of the best coaches ever and a uniquely constructed team. I also disagree with the Bulls trying to become the Spurs. You win with superstars in the NBA. The Spurs and the '00s Pistons team were exceptions to the rule.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    When you say "If it was that simple then every team would do it."

    You miss the point that "every team' wasn't put together specifically to beat the Miami Heat. Every team didn't have the Bench Mob. The Bulls were the only team in the East capable of beating Miami in a four game series - if properly coached.

    Gar Pax assembled a team around D. Rose with size (Noah, Asik, etc) Shooters (Korver, Butler,etc) and defense. The roster was under utilized and mismanaged - especially during the playoffs.

    As far as "You aren't giving enough credit to the Spurs team ..." Let me take this moment to say, I fully credit the Spurs and especially Coach Popovich's masterful handling of his roster (No one played over 30 minutes during the season) and tactical moves during the playoffs.

    I'm simply saying that with a tactician type of coach would've propelled D. Rose and Noah past the Heat in 2011 - easily.

    Maybe you're giving too much credit to Thibodeau (the anti Popovich) instead of Gar/Pax?

  • In reply to Roscoe63:

    You really think the Bulls could have beat the Heat with better coaching? You've definitely lost me there.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yea, I think he meant Bill Russell as a player coach like he was at the end of the Celtics run.

  • In reply to Roscoe63:

    Wade was a top five player when the Bulls played them. Bosh was a much better player. Their bench was much younger. Even LeBron was more in his prime.

    The Spurs beating htem now says nothing about the Bulls beating them four years ago. In fact, the Spurs failed to beat them last year.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Even a year ago, the Heat got significant contributions from Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem that they didn't get this year. Mario Chalmers looked like an actual NBA player then too. I don't know what happened to that guy.

  • Thibs is probably one of the biggest head coaching frauds in the NBA. I say this not because he's a bad head coach (he's probably top 10) but because the contrast between perception and reality is THAT divergent. Most look at the regular season wins and the effort his players give and they laud him for his greatness. While those characteristics are important, they achieve regular season championships but no real championships.

    A real assessment of Thibs would lead anyone to believe that Thibs is far more a great assistant head coach or in football terms, a great defensive coordinator than a true head coach.

    Whether his lack of offensive creativity, his player minute mismanagement, his grind-it-out, play all out in every game style (which leads to injuries), or his stubbornness in not playing rookies or blaming his defense EVERY single time they are struggling offensively, or not being able to see the bigger picture. It all points to major failure points for Thibs as a head coach. He really would be better suited as an excellent right hand man to guy like Doc Rivers. Its no surprise that they had success together.

    Simply put, if the Bulls didn't have so much regular season success because of the all-out style of play, the Bulls players all would have turned on him and he would have been gone by now. Thibs is the farthest thing from Popovich. He has completely contrasting philosphies and beliefs and the overall management and results show it.

    If I'm the Bulls and everyone is on the table, that includes Thibs. If I can get a top draft pick or an all-star talent out of it, then I do it in a heart beat.

  • In response to your comment that "If it was that simple then every team would do it."

    I submit that every team didn't have the roster (bench mob) the Bulls had. The Bulls were constructed to beat Miami and with a tactician type of head coach such as Popovich - what the world witnessed this past week - should've/would've happened in 2011.

    So, as far as your statement that "they had to beat the West twice, including the Spurs and a talented OKC team." The point is without the help of the anti-Popovich, they wouldn't have made it out of the Eastern Conference especially in 2011.

    Bottom line is you are giving far too much credit to the anti Popovich and not enough credit to D. Rose, Noah and Gar/Pax.

  • In reply to Roscoe63:

    You wrote a bit ago, "The roster was under utilized and mismanaged - especially during the playoffs [in 2011]." I agree. Thomas and the guard the Bulls signed for the playoffs, I forget his name, both should have been used a lot more!

    However, The players simply did not show up in the ECF. Deng, Rose, Noah, Boozer, all had so-so performances. Ditto Korver. Playoff teams turn up their intensity in the playoffs, but the Bulls could not do it. (That happened this year also.)

    Two reasons for that - overworked in the regular season plus they needed a couple more really good guys to share the load. Should have gotten Mayo instead of Hamilton, for example. So, the FO, the coach, and the players all were at fault, IMO.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Mostly mismanagement. Korver only appeared not to "show up" because Thibodeau inserted him into the ECF games to defend point guards. If you re-watch those games, on offense Korver is bent over gasping for breath in the corner and unable to contribute because he is a natural forward being forced to (unsuccessfully) chase point guards when he should have been defending Mike Miller.

    Good coaches always put their players in the position to succeed, Thibodeau always put certain players in position to fail and look awful. Korver and Boozer were two of the anti Popovich's biggest victims. Thibs secondary victims are Gar/Pax.

    When Thibodeau mismanages the roster, the average fan and announcers automatically deduce that the bench isn't any good. However, every time there is a major injury we find out that not only was the next man up was quite capable of contributing meaningful minutes, but also capable of being starters i.e Gibson, Asik, Butler.
    As far as Mayo, Gar/Pax signed the best players they could sign, only problem was the head coach didn't play or mismanaged the hand that was dealt to him.

    Maybe you shouldn't re-watch the 2011/12 ECF, it'll only tick you off.

  • In reply to Roscoe63:

    The Bulls played the Heat in the 2010-11 ECF, now I know why you think that Korver was guarding point guards, you imagined it while watching the Heat play the Celtics in the 2011-12 ECF.

    Maybe you saw the green uniforms and thought that for good luck the Bulls broke out their St Paddy's day uni's for the entire series.

  • Well after that remarkable(as in bad) Finals it may be surprising to learn that Miami's "Big Three" is getting bigger: if judging by the expansive jowls of superstar Dwyane Wade. In fact Wade's chipmunk cheeks could earn him the Alvin(of Alvin and the Chipmunks) award if there were one. The prize being a big red sweater with a big FAT A on the front for "Anonymous."

    Yes, old Floppy Flash has fallen, and he can't get up. At least his scoring average in the NBA Finals which ends mercifully at a whopping 15ppg on a scintillating .438 shooting. LeBron if he's shopping for a new team better be glad this one was a lease because the warranty has run out on D-Wade or better known as D-Fade.

    OK, OK, enough hyperbole. The truth is Pat Riley the aged wonder/exploiter could sell a used car to a blind man which would be befitting of conniving er.. convincing the Heatles to keep the band together. All I know is, after that flat tire of a Finals by Wade, if I were LeBron I would be thinking seriously about leaving the container(sorry crazy cult reference) for a better world. One with not one, not two, not three, not four, not five(Moons)...

    Question: where does a wayward "King" go after abdicating his throne? Houston? L.A.? Chi(ha, ha)cago? The world(media) waits with baited money/hype driven breath. Me, I'm just glad they got their asses kicked, and I mean big time. Who would have thought James and Wade would just get their asses handed to them on their home floor? Too much. Justice thy name is annihilation.

    Other then that though, Luuuvvv(the suit - Hannibal) LeBron. Luv ya D-Wade. You let the shadow of Hall of Famers beat your floppy, fan flogging asses. Well played sir(s)!!

  • LOVED watching SA completely destroy Miami. My heart almost stopped when I stopped in to pick up my wing order and saw the 19-6 score (by accident since I was DVRing the game).

    Justice has been served and we can all rest easy. Bums me out that LeBron got away with 2 titled on this Heat team when he should have only won against OKC in 2012.

    I really think he "held serve" on his legacy. He should have won at least 2 with Bosh and Wade. Like Doug said, the deck was stacked in his favor and he could not overcome. They never dominated a regular season either, aside from that 27-game win steak last season. Yes, they re-peated, but even Houston did that in the mid-90s. Magic and Bird went to 4 straight finals. The East was pathetic this year and watered down all four years - so it's not quite an accomplishment anyway.

  • Going to be interesting this summer. I don't think there's room for Melo in Miami - especially given that the rest of the roster would be horrible and LeBron just saw firsthand how going 8-10 deep is critical. Especially when Wade will "rest" 25% of the season.

    Unless Wade and Bosh take HUGE pay cuts. Perhaps Wade realizes that he's going to continue to miss games and is out of his prime and signs for 2/$20 mil. Bosh may realize that and do something similar, maybe slightly more. He knows that he can make big money in 2 years if the team wins and he shows enough.

    That's the only way Melo comes. And, Melo and LeBron would have to accept much less than max. Their bench would be horrible. If the Spurs can stay somewhat in-tact, I don't think Melo makes a difference - they would have still lost in 5.

    LeBron will NEVER be at the level of MJ if he keeps joining forces with super-teams. That's why I think he stays in Miami - or just goes back to Cleveland to rebuild that team. He may feel that he owes it to Cleveland and turning around the franchise could put him in the Jordan conversation, I guess.

    (Personally, I think that Kyrie Irving-James-Embiid and the rest of the roster would have a long run and James could try to win one "the hard way" before he retires. In that case, James would be the one breaking down on them in 4-6 years.)

  • Interesting how the Spurs' win is causing fans to attack Thibs -- at least two here, and probably many more out in the world.

    Some believe Thibs is one of the 2-3 best coaches in the game. Others think he's a career assistant masquerading as a head coach. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle -- a very good coach who needs to adjust some things in order to become truly elite. Let's see if he can make those adjustments though it doesn't seem likely based on his personality so far.

  • Here is a question to ponder, if Jimmy Butler were a Spur, would he have become Kwahi Leonard? They are similar defensively, though Leonard is more athletic. The big difference is offensively, but Leonard didn't come into the league that way, the spurs made him into a better offensive player.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yes, that is a big question.

    And the other is, If Kwahi Leonard had been a Bull, would he have developed like he has? My guess is, No Way! The staff needs teachers and someone who has Thibs ear to help him be more balanced.

  • Here's the real key for the Spurs:

    Tony Parker - $12.5MM
    Tim Duncan - $10.4MM
    Manu Ginobli - $7.5MM

    Now let's compare the Bulls:

    Derrick Rose - $17.2MM
    Carlos Boozer - $15.3MM
    Luol Deng - $14.2MM and expecting a raise to $15-16MM, insulted by $10MM

    You can read the entire article:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/prishe/2014/06/16/san-antonio-spurs-fiscal-and-performance-selflessness-define-nbas-top-franchise/

    Luol Deng played hard for the Bulls but I will always think of him as greedy.

  • Two points: 1) I would not mind a former assistant head coach(Thibs) flaws and all IF I thought he formed the kind of relationships and offensive game development with players that one likes to see. Noah still says he "hates" him, and I think he means it. I never in game see the kind of one on one interaction of Thibs with his players that I see with a playoff winning head coach. Never. All he does is chew their asses. Socially the guy is a bit of a dolt. Cliche ridden beyond anything you'd see from an intellectually/socially developed leader of men aka professional coach.

    2) Thibs playing young talent to grow their game is not a strength of his let's put it that way. Let's say Rose comes back and plays fairly well and the Bulls are winning games at a fairly high rate with all the regs healthy. Does anyone really think he's going to give young guys from this draft any playing time? If so, where the hell have you been the past four years? It sucks that in a talent loaded(and character) draft that even if Gar/Pax actually draft exciting offensive talents(Snell, Teague, Johnson be damned) Thibs likely will give them little to no burn. The guy is a bit of a curmudgeon as in kill joy to be honest. I'll be glad when he's gone no matter it may take the Bulls decades to find a legit head coach.

    Finally anyone who thinks a different coach could have guided Derrick Rose and a bunch of offensive duds including Deng who can't shoot threes to save himself past an athletically and offensive talent potent team in Miami whose defense stifled the Bulls including Rose is kidding themselves. Not only did Chicago not have a Big Three, they didn't even have a Big Two or arguably even one playoff battle tested ECF/Finals success. Not one.

  • So glad Heat lost.....
    D-Wade is an arrogant A-Hole .....
    Miami Heat Fans are a bunch of New York Phonies who are really Knicks fans....
    If James does opt out...lets go after him instead of Carmelo.....but I think Carmelo will head to Hollywood.

  • We are all wondering just how aggressive will be the Bull FO this off season. Here's a Chicago Sun Times article suggesting Bulls will be very aggressive.

    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/basketball/bulls/28103289-419/carmelo-lebron-bulls-want-to-improve-at-almost-any-cost.html#.U5_Gk7EjSja

  • The thing I don't understand is why can't LeBron fans be content with what he actually is and what he will likely finish his career as? The best of his era, and one of the best to ever play this game. Maybe as high as top 5 all-time when all is said and done. At minimum a two-time NBA champion. Why can't that be enough? So he's not going to be better than Michael Jordan. So what? Nobody else has done it yet either. LBJ's career is still legit and worth watching and enjoying, even if he's already made too many mistakes to be the best ever.

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