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More on Lebron to Houston, Hollins

  • I’ve been writing about Lebron James now since last week, and the unlikely scenario which would bring him to the Rockets.  I’ve decided to continue this crusade until Houston is dismissed outright by The King.  Because…why not?  Why is mere discussion of the topic deemed so outlandish?  How is it any more of a long shot than Chris Bosh was a few years back?  He probably won’t come, but just because he is on path to end up the greatest player of all time doesn’t make the discussion of his pursuit any more meritless.  
  • Inception is a beautiful concept isn’t it?  We’re now seeing more and more mentions, over the past few days, of Houston’s intent on pursuing James.  A tweet from Bill Simmons, several mentions from Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski on various medians, and then the Sam Amick USAToday piece which read more like a Rockets sales pitch than a news story.  Houston doesn’t need the whole world to know they want James.  They will approach him on their own and through the back channels only power players in this industry can navigate. But the media game has purpose.  Get everyone talking and you can plant a seed.  Perception often truly is reality.  Wheels start turning.  If enough people, or the right people, become convinced of the plausibility, it becomes plausible.  And ultimately, if you exude confidence from the get-go, you aren’t as likely to be seen as a long-shot and intrigue is built.  ”Why do they think I’d want to go there…there must be something.”  This principle probably works with women as well.

  • As I ranted on Twitter, on Tuesday, for almost an hour, in a diatribe which spanned tens of strings of 140-characters, why is Houston seen as such a longshot?  I get that it’s unlikely he leaves at all, and thus, by extension, any other team is considered a longshot, but that doesn’t seem to be the tone surrounding Houston.  Rather, the dismissal is intrinsic upon the desirability of Houston itself rather than upon the unlikelihood of James’ departure.  But the Clippers are considered a possibility?  I don’t think I get it.  If James came, the team would immediately be considered the favorite to win not just next year’s title, but the next few after that until Dwight Howard broke down.  They’d boast a lineup of Patrick Beverley, James Harden, Dwight Howard, Chandler Parsons, and Lebron James with a bench featuring whatever diamond Daryl Morey unearths for 2015.  That is, bar none, the best lineup in basketball.  But Houston’s a laughable possibility?  Man, the rest of the country must really think this place is a complete dump.
  • I think you could begin to make the argument that the triumvirate of Harden, Howard, and James is superior to the one of Bosh, Wade, and James four years ago.  Four summers ago, everyone was soiling the bed over the latter prospect.  But nothing of the potential Rocket trio?  And as for the comparison today, it’s not even close, with how hard Dwyane Wade has fallen off the map.  James Harden is a workhorse who can carry a team into the West playoffs on his own; Wade can’t even suit up for more than 60% of his team’s games.
  • Another thing: it’s always thrown out that James “trusts Pat Riley to fix things.”  Why does Lebron even need to wait or have trust when he can just come to Houston and a ready-made situation?  It’s like if a woman has some handsome, kind and caring anesthesiologist ready to marry her, but everyone thinks she’ll stay with her abusive boyfriend–who happens to work at Waffle House–because she trusts the latter can fix things.  (Okay, not exactly the best analogy.  I get that emotions are involved here and in such a case, it’s hard to just pick up and leave someone and start a new….which leads to the next bullet…)
  • Are emotions involved?  Is Lebron thinking, “man, I can’t just screw over D Wade and leave” or “man, I’d hate to find a new place to live” or “man, everyone is really going to hate me even more if I leave yet again.”  I really don’t think so.  This is someone who I think has resolved any doubts about whether he gives two cents about what any of us think.  And you know what?  He was right.  Had James “done the right thing” and stayed in Cleveland “like Michael would have”, he’d still be The Ringless King or whatever idiotic memes the internet would have come up with.  Instead, he has two titles and no one criticizes his decision.
  • It comes down to two things, really: the East and the city.  Lebron is no doubt aware he has a free pass to the Finals every year that he stays in the East.  Indiana, the lone threat of this past year, might not even be together next season.  And while I’ve never been to Miami, it apparently is one hell of a place to live.
  • Finally, of perhaps just as much significance, Marc Spears reported earlier in the week that Houston holds interest in Lionel Hollins to fill the role of “associate head coach.”  First, I’m not entirely sure what the hell an “associate head coach” is, but if its anything like a defensive coordinator, sign me up.  I’ve been vocal about the Rockets’ need for improved coaching, particularly on the defensive end, so this news comes as extremely comforting.  It signifies that 1) the team is aware and in agreeance about the problem.  That’s huge.  But moreover, Hollins openly expressed disagreement with analytical principles during his tenure in Memphis, even clashing with front office heads.  One might surmise that perhaps the Rockets are changing their thinking about the application of these tenets to the oncourt play.  You could also say that maybe the numbers don’t hold as much value on the defensive side of things.  Whatever the case, this is very, very good news.  The Rockets at times against Portland last month looked as if they had not even practiced defense.

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About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.