I am rarely shocked in sports – O.J. Simpson thing shocked me, Andre Agassi did meth was shocking as well – caught me off guard. What the NBA did last night is egregiously bad. I am a fan of the league and David Stern, but he made a humongous blunder last night. If you didn’t hear, the Lakers, New Orleans and Houston pulled off a deal. But David Stern – as a commissioner, thinks he knows more than 3 GM’s in this league, who have spent a combined 60 years scouting talent. “Oh but Andrew, the Lakers would get Chris Paul…” yeah, cause stars guarantee titles right? The Miami thing worked out perfectly right? Did you watch the NBA finals? Where Tyson Chandler and J.J Barea were borderline MVP’s.
“Oh small market teams…” yeah, when the Knicks sucked for a decade…do you know who ran this league? San Antonio!! Boston was awful, the Clippers are awful yet Orlando is good, Oklahoma City is good. Small market fans….stop it!!! I grabbed this morning the NBA standings from last season. Do you know that 7 of the worst teams in this league: Philadelphia – huge city, Toronto – 4th biggest city in North America, Detroit, Washington D.C., Houston, San Francisco/Golden State…these are all “throw up in your mouth teams!” All huge North American cities.
By the way, do you know who’s viable? Indiana! The Pacers gave Derrick Rose and the Bulls a punch in the gut. You know who else is viable for the last 8 years? Orlando!! Sacramento now has the “Tebow” of the NBA in Jimmer. Oklahoma City, Phoenix…all legitimately viable teams with young stars and getting better. Don’t tell me that all the big cities dominate and all the small cities don’t. Don’t listen to low self-esteem basketball owners and fans. If Dan Gilbert owned the Lakers, he’s an opportunist…he’d love this deal
Here is a guy who got rich off high risk mortgages, quicken loans…he’s in the gambling business. You bought a franchise in Cleveland – declining population, declining business, declining economy…you rolled the dice Dan. For 7 years, you got Lebron…but the minute it turned; now you’re against domination in the league and getting star players. The Dallas Mavericks won a title with one star – a German, and a bunch of guys past their primes…that you’d never heard off. The Lakers – big city and the Knicks?…wacked early in the playoffs! If you don’t let Chris Paul go now…then New Orleans gets nothing?? Really?? That’s a better long term for the team and the league?
Listen, we do have – in the U.S and Canada, issues with smaller towns. Young pediatricians, young surgeons who graduate from medical schools, they come out with huge huge student loan bills and they don’t want to go to Mississippi…they want to go to Dallas, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Seattle and make money….that’s the U.S. and Canada for you! You have the right to choose. Players don’t…they get drafted into places, sometimes with bad and under-funded teams. So when they eventually can go…get out of their way!!
This is a horrible move!! And what’s funny about it – the mere idea that it was a bad move for New Orleans and Houston…no it was not!! You were getting draft picks and very efficient players. New Orleans was going to get Kevin Martin – who rolls out of bed and can drop 20 points, Luis Scola – who statistically is one of the most efficient bigs in the league. Lamar Odom…first round picks? Now the deal is squashed…you get nothing!! Houston was getting Pau Gasol, despite his post-season vagaries, he is an excellent big guy…is one of the best Europeans in the history of this sport! I mean, it’s ridiculous!! It is a terrible move, its an arrogant move…it’s a dictator move to some degree. David Stern and Stu Jackson don’t know more than GM’s!! all these teams did very well in this deal…absolutely shocking…horrible!! Stephen A Smith said on Thursday to not say to him that this deal was being blocked because of “basketball operations”
“New Orleans Hornets got a really really good deal in terms of the plays they received in this deal, so to make the argument that it was a basketball decision…I mean, that’s just flying in the face of common sense. There is no way on Earth that this was a bad basketball decision for the New Orleans Hornets. Bad PR maybe, because your losing a marquee guy. But in terms of guys on the basketball court – actual bodies and what they could do. Lamar Odom is not a superstar, but definitely he’s talented. Martin and Scola can ball…no way you can make that argument from a basketball standpoint” He’s totally right!! You can’t make that argument. So what you’re saying is that “you know more” as a league front office guy, than the people who’ve been scouting and running the teams for years!
By the way, this was a conflict of interest from the very beginning…the league owns New Orleans. It’s a Senator giving business to a company he owns. Phil Jackson, former Head Coach of the Lakers, said that when the NBA moved Charlotte to New Orleans and took over the franchise, he said “I’m not happy about it. I don’t know if New Orleans can support a team” Jackson went then onto say “well, what’s going to happen if Chris Paul wants a trade? Who’s going to pull the button on it?” When Chris says he has to be traded, how is that going to go? Somebody is going to have to make a very non-judgmental decision on their part and that is not going to irritate anybody else in the league” Big mistake…gigantic mistake!
Dan Gilbert – again, made his fortune in the high risk mortgage business. For 7 years he hit the lottery! He didn’t have any problem dominating the East with Lebron James if he could’ve. He didn’t have any problem if Chris Bosh or Dwayne Wade could’ve come to Cleveland! He didn’t have any problem with that! He tried to acquire both!! But high risk billionaire Dan Gilbert is now upset that he didn’t do due diligence when he bought this franchise that Cleveland was a declining population, a declining city and a declining economy. Like a Milwaukee 30 years ago, it was much more glamorous…it’s not today though!
This also begs the question – and I not only blame David Stern but all these owners in the NBA, like I think we have too many pro teams, even in the big cities. Like Phoenix has 4? Salt Lake City is one of the only places in the U.S. that has got it right, 1! St. Louis has got it about right… but Pittsburgh has got 3? Have you seen the demographics? The population? Pittsburgh? Major university, NFL, MLB and NHL…really? It’s a one or a two pro sports town in my opinion. Nothing against Pittsburgh…do you really think New York needs the Islanders? Like even New York and LA have too many teams. But you know what happens? Guys like Dan Gilbert – to feed their ego’s, they desperately want in-leagues and then when they get them, they invite other expansion teams in…why? Expansion fees!! They get $30 million dollars when they allow somebody else in, so they love this. But then they are shocked, when like 9 years later, stars don’t want to go to these franchises with no tradition, under-funded that have been wedged into the league and the Dan Gilbert’s have made a fortune out of them.
It doesn’t reek of parody; it reeks of hypocrisy and jealousy. This isn’t a pro-Laker rant; it’s a pro-commerce rant in North America. Wal-Mart started in Arkansas…not New York City. Microsoft didn’t begin in New York, London or Zurich…it was north of Seattle in Redmon, Washington. The U.S. and Canada are filled with unbelievable stories from Target to Pepsi to Wal-mart to Microsoft to Apple starting in a garage…they don’t all start in big cities, they start with dreams in small towns and David Stern is listening to low self-esteem owners and fans…it’s baloney!! God Bless America…Occupy the NBA!! It has no place in this league because I am fighting for the little man today…wow, I’m soo ticked off that I’m sweating as I write this rant. The Knicks were terrible for a decade and when they were…San Antonio ran this league! God Bless Lamar Odom and his Juju B’s.