One of the earliest DeadBall posts, over 18 months ago, was Henry’s advance look at a scenario right on top of us right now: the battle for LeBron, and his only slightly less talented friends Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. With that in mind we thought it worthwhile revisiting the topic via google chat. Here’s the result of Duncan and Henry’s wild conjecture based on other wild conjecture.
Duncan: So after listening to the Chad Ford/Simmons podcast, are you sold on the Chicago scenario?
Sent at 9:05 AM on Wednesday
Henry: I am pretty sold actually. The only problem is that all 3 of those guys: LBJ, Rose and Bosh play best with the ball in their hands and there is only one ball after all. But the Bulls have given themselves a chance to get 2 guys without completely gutting their team, which has to put them in the lead
Sent at 9:07 AM on Wednesday
Duncan: I just liked that story about LeBron going to the same restaurant as Jordan, sitting at the same table with the same waiter. It feels kinda obsessive, almost to a spooky level. And then you get kinda caught up in the signs, like his ditching 23 for this coming season was because you couldn’t wear that number in Chicago. But mostly, as you say, it gives him the strongest supporting cast, and therefore best chance at a championship.
Sent at 9:09 AM on Wednesday
Henry: I think the Knicks screwed it up so I have no pity for them, but I would have hoped that either the Nets or the Clippers would be hotter on the heals of the Bulls/Heat.
It’s going to be great to see how these teams pan out on a whole. Can Miami get three All-Stars and then what? Beasley and a bunch of minimum wagers?
Sent at 9:12 AM on Wednesday
Duncan: The Knicks are in such a bad hole, right? They just look utterly desperate, and I can’t imagine why a decent player would ever want to go there. I think that Rudy Gay scenario looms ever larger for them. It’s weird about the Clippers and the Nets. Like the Nets look like they’ve got one of the great owners now, plenty of cap space (you see Yi went to the Wizards overnight?), Jay-Z, and with Brook Lopez and Devin Harris, they’re not devoid of talent. But they just not in the conversation. The Clippers have an even better bunch of players, but the most loathed owner in the league. And I think that stuff matters to all those guys.
Sent at 9:15 AM on Wednesday
Henry: I hope David Geffen buys the Clips and Larry Ellison buys the Warriors. It’d be great to have some more dynamic money in the league.
Sent at 9:19 AM on Wednesday
Duncan:The Larry Ellison thing looks pretty likely right? Whereas Sterling looks like his claws are fused with that sorry organisation. It’s funny how the deeper into this thing you get, the more GMs and Owners loom as the best game-within-the-game.
Sent at 9:20 AM on Wednesday
Henry: Yeah, on draft night, there was a sense that OKC are either the best franchise (rather than team) at the moment, or they’re just ADD and can’t decide on what they want. If the Cavs had done with LBJ what OKC have done with KD, they’d be dominating the decade. Instead they got Mo Williams. The only good addition they made was Varejao. I like the hometown hero thing to a point, but I really think they deserve to lose him.
Sent at 9:24 AM on Wednesday
Duncan: I’m torn with the Cavs. Because they seem to adore LeBron to a near fetishistic level, and they have been out there making moves non-stop (Shaq, Jamison)… Some of those looked better on paper than they turned out. But ultimately, the not turning out is what you’re judged on.
Sent at 9:27 AM on Wednesday
Henry: I think they gave him too much. Pandering to your star rarely pays off. Teams where players want to be GMs tend to make more moves rather than good moves. The Suns were killing themselves to get rid of Shaq and it seemed like the Cavs thought ‘Well a guy is available so we have to take him’. Which leads me to my next bad strategy: building a team to beat only one other team. This is only valid if there are two teams dominating the league, and this just wasn’t going to be the case the last few years (though it might be now if all these FAs cluster).
Sent at 9:32 AM on Wednesday
Duncan:All good points. I guess what I mean is that there was something sweet and old-fashioned about their eagerness to please their star. Ultimately it ruined them, but I still found it touching. But the more I think about it, the more Chicago seems like a lock. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/sports/basketball/27draft.html
Rumours swirl on ESPN, but when the Times weighs in it feels pretty authoritative.
Sent at 9:35 AM on Wednesday
Henry: How do feel about the hypothetical Bulls team? I love it as a team. I have really liked them a lot since they got Rose and am a huge Noah fan, but part of me feels like I am already a fan of one front runner in LA, and having two in my portfolio may feel wrong.
Sent at 9:39 AM on Wednesday
Henry: I did like Del Negro though and firing him was a mark against them in my books
Sent at 9:41 AM on Wednesday
Duncan: I think I’d find myself rooting for them. I don’t really have a front-runner, so I feel like I’d be comfortable with Portland as my main squeeze, Utah and OKC as teams I follow, and Chicago as the one there at the sharp end of the season. But then there’s something a bit gross about it too. Like all those Johnny-come-lately Chelsea fans in London who are just blindly following the money around. The Del Negro thing was a bit nasty, but who knows, maybe LBJ doesn’t like him? Teams are plotting this thing so deep, that would in no way surprise me.
Sent at 9:42 AM on Wednesday
Henry: Yeah, it’s going to be hard not to like them. For me, the same is definitely not true for the Heat. There’s just something I don’t like about them. Things even – plural. I don’t care who they get – am rooting against them. And we could now see a Heat/Bulls conference final for the next three years if this pans out a certain way.
Sent at 9:45 AM on Wednesday
Duncan: I sorta feel like it’s all or nothing with Miami. They either get the big three, or end up with Joe Johnson and Carlos Boozer and just aren’t that much better off. Or rather, they’re better off, but not enough to stand in the way of the unstoppable force from Chicago. You imply that the Celtics and Magic are done in that statement too, you see a future for either franchise’s vitality?
Sent at 9:48 AM on Wednesday
Henry: I think for Boston to remain relevant, they need to take some potentially unpopular risks. They’ve been blessed with Wallace retiring so that will open up some space or a decent piece in return for a dead contract. Have to see what Ray Allen does, but if the Big 3 continue to decline, Rondo will have to learn how to shoot over the summer, both from the line and from 15 feet, for them to stay a contender. As for the Magic: VC proved every one of his critics right in that series. If he had an ounce of drive Magic would have won that series. It’s weird to even think these words but the guy is just not a winner. I think ’09 was the ceiling for the team as it stands.
Sent at 9:56 AM on Wednesday
Duncan: I’m kinda with you on the Magic. Boston worry me. Because I think Ray goes, KG is happy as a role player and Pierce can call on it when it counts. Rondo looks like a worker, a guy who’ll keep improving. So if they get one unfashionable piece out of this thing, like a Hyena on the scavenge, then they can keep their jalopy on the road. So in short, I’m handicapping the race like this:
Sent at 9:59 AM on Wednesday
Henry: Yeah, that sounds right to me. If LBJ can’t win with that Bulls team by the 11/12 season, he’s just not a Championship guy. One thing I wanted to add was about the globalisation of the NBA, and in particular China. This guy was explaining how Kobe is still more than two times as popular as LBJ in China becasue he wins championships. To the general public in the USA, being a celebrity is the most important thing to being sellable. In China, the guys who wins the most sells the most. LBJ wants to sell the most.
Sent at 10:05 AM on Wednesday
Duncan: I think he’ll win championships. Lotsa great guys take a while to get that thing in their blood. But we’ll know in a couple of weeks.
Henry: Looking forward to it. Here’s to the start of a new age in the NBA.
Sent at 10:07 AM on Wednesday
– Duncan & Henry