I had planned to relax and enjoy today, spending time with family. If yesterday was any indication, that likely will not happen.
I was out of commission yesterday for three hours during a commute that kept me out of reach from Twitter. (Why does radio not report on breaking news from the Twitterverse? It’s not even an old-school/new-school issue like the one where the mainstream pretends that blogs and other alternative media sources don’t exist. If guys like Marc Stein, Adrian Wojnarowski, and Sam Amick–the three most respected newsbreakers in the industry–are recognized as mainstream, which they are, does it not make sense to make mention of breaking reports on air rather than blindly speculating for hours on stuff that was reported a day ago? I will never, ever, ever understand this industry known as journalism, thus thankfully, I’m a lawyer in real life.)
When I reached home, I was greeted by the remains of what appeared to be a fake Woj bomb which had done great destruction while I was out. Apparently a fake Wojnarowski account reported that Lebron James’ preferred destination was the Houston Rockets, the tweet was retweeted by several reputable accounts, and hell broke loose for what appears to have been a few minutes. Surveying the debris, I thanked the Gods I was not around at the time. I was lucky this time and may not have made it.
A lot of other stuff happened as well. Reports had surfaced earlier in the morning that Carmelo Anthony would be on hand during Pau Gasol’s meeting with the Knicks to pitch the Spanish star on a union. One wonders how Anthony could truly believe that an aging Gasol could lift the Knicks into contention, but I’m out of answers.
The real fun was just beginning. News broke later that Houston was one of a select group of teams that had already met with Rich Paul, the agent for Lebron James, earlier in the week. Later reports indicated that the Rockets had merely been given a phone call and were lasered in at the time on Anthony. It then later broke that if Houston were to strike out on Anthony, they would turn their attention towards Heat forward Chris Bosh. In the meanwhile, the Jeremy Lin crazies continued their onslaught upon my timeline. It was quite a day.
What to make of all of this? Initially, it was fairly odd to grant Houston a phone call and not a full-fledged meeting. The thinking would be, if you’re going to allow communication, why be restrictive? I assumed that news lent weight towards the aforementioned rumor circulated that Lebron James and Dwight Howard held a mutual dislike for one another. Cleveland made sense, Phoenix too with its ability to pair James with Anthony and hell, even L.A. would have as well due to their “storied franchise” status. But why Dallas and not Houston? What did Dallas have to offer that the Rockets didn’t?
Several readers surmised the theory that perhaps the contact restraint was from Houston and not James. It would seem to make sense. If you’re James, even if not interested in the Rockets, you at least take the meeting for no other reason than that they are a viable suitor – on the open market, you can’t have enough of those to make Pat Riley sweat into decisive action. But more importantly, if you’re Morey, and you feel you are closing in on Anthony, you might not want to jeopardize that progress.
Let’s step back and consider what I just said. What may be unfolding is the exact scenario I’ve tossed around numerous times on Red94 since the end of The Finals. James is the greatest player in the world, and might go down as the greatest ever. This is rare. An event such as the free agency of a player of this status, right in the prime of his career, just does not happen. Jordan was not unrestricted until his 30’s. Kobe was unrestricted once and, sorry Laker fans, Kobe Bryant is no Lebron James. We throw around the phrase “shift the balance of power in the NBA” around rather lightly – we did it last year upon Dwight’s signing, but in reality, it didn’t really shift anything. Houston got better, but there wasn’t exactly a power surge. James’ departure from Miami to any destination would legitimately destroy the league’s current competitive structure. How huge this is cannot be underscored enough.
And James is undoubtedly preferable to Anthony. That point is not in dispute. But if you feel you’ve legitimately closed in on Anthony, I don’t think you can abandon that effort and turn your attention to James, especially when James might still be a longshot. Anthony is not Kyle Lowry or Luol Deng. He’s a big enough fish in his own right that I think you take that bird in the hand. If they never win the title, with Anthony, Morey might have sleepless nights, wondering what might have happened had he held out for James. But I think he plays the odds here. It’s the ultimate game theory determination.
Think of it this way. Is Lebron really interested? (Note that this is all assumptive of Anthony’s sincere interest. If he’s just using us too, this is a moot point). James is like the ’10’ who has no real interest in you but keeps teasing you with flirtatious glances every few weeks. Hell, we’ll go further: she might let you take her out to a fancy dinner here and there. But if Anthony’s interest is sincere, that’s wife material. You go with the woman that actually likes you back and you don’t risk losing her on a pipedream. That’s how I feel on this anyway.
To Bosh: had you asked me, anyone, ten months ago, Chris Bosh would have stood at the top of the list as ideal Rocket power forward target. For some reason, the perception of him has altered. He’s considered washed up. Is he really? If he isn’t, why was he so underwhelming in the Finals? I’m really torn. I know what Bosh brings. He’d be transformative on this team defensively, and has the range to fit perfectly on offense. But for some reason, I’d still much rather have Anthony. Maybe I’ve just convinced myself of what the latter’s offense would bring.
Love is another issue as well. I think Love is superior to Bosh, but getting Love would mean sacrificing Chandler Parsons and the Pelicans’ lottery pick. Getting Bosh would let you plug Parsons back in at small forward and add more fresh blood later.
As I said last night, when you’re fighting over who to pursue between Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, and Chris Bosh to be your third best player, times are good, man. Times are real good.