A couple of administrative notes

First, as I tweeted earlier in the week, I’ll be writing for Forbes.com now, primarily about Houston Rockets salary cap matters. My first piece was about Morey’s decision regarding Chris Paul’s free agency. I plan to write a couple of times per week, so I hope you’ll check out my work over there.

Secondly, you’ll notice that comments are back on Red94. It’s been a long and confusing road on that end over the last 9(!) years. In the early years, I just used the standard commenting system that came with this site’s software. I experimented with a few other third party platforms here and there (one of which is the one I’ve gone back to), but ultimately wasn’t happy. What I never liked about the blog form, from Day 1, was the temporal nature of discussion. Any time I published a new post, I was essentially killing off whatever was being discussed in the comments section of the previous post. You could never establish long term debate on topics that I viewed as macro-level in the scope of team building. To that end, I installed the forum that is still running today. But the forum software was an entity separate and apart from the software running the blog. There was no out-of-the-box “bridge” to connect the two.

About five or six years ago, I spent something over $1,000 of my own cash to develop a mechanism that would connect the blog to the forum. Some of you all might remember it. I hired a third party developer to contemplate a plugin which essentially mirrored the comments section of the blog back into the forum. Users could post from either location; discussion threads from blog posts stayed housed back in the forum. I sometimes tied new posts to existing discussion threads for longer-term topics like “Who should the Rockets keep between Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic?” It was what I had envisioned when I first identified the problem.

But this “bridge” got costly. The software was a load on the server. And it required continued maintenance for which I had to pony up. Eventually, the developer I had hired folded his business. I was on my own with a costly proprietary product that I couldn’t handle. I killed it off sometime in the last two years. You may remember that too because comments have been closed since then while I tried to figure out the next step.

I’ve now brought back Disqus comments, which you can access at the bottom of any new post.

You can log in with your Twitter account, which is nice. And the forum is still up and running for those of you who are inclined towards starting your own threads.

I wanted to address all of this in a post because I’ve seen some confusion in recent years, and more recently as I have begun writing again, as to why comments were not enabled on Red94. They are back, and I think we are going to keep it this way. Sorry for all of the confusion.

in from the editor

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Lebron James is the greatest basketball player in the world. Some might argue he’s the greatest of all-time. On the merits of his abilities, Lebron is a no-brainer pursuit for any general manager with aspirations of winning. But Lebron James has baggage. He left Cleveland the first time around, and will be leaving them again, in complete ruins, largely in part due to his overbearing influence (or stranglehold?) on team personnel decisions. Win now moves mortgaged the team’s future both times around. And there were numerous reports regarding issues involving accommodations for Lebron’s associates while he was with the Heat.

This all leads to Daryl Morey’s agency dilemma. Like so many other top men in various industries, Morey is on the verge of building something that might have gotten too big for him to handle. I think back to the days in the wake of Yao Ming’s final injury when Morey couldn’t even get Marcin Gortat to commit. Houston had sort of become something of a punchline in the commentariat, with Morey’s desperate attempts characterized by iPads and fan minivans. But the James Harden trade changed everything, and subsequently, Morey landed two top-10 superstars in Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, both of whom were in their primes at the point of acquisition. This summer, he’s in the discussion for Lebron James, and according to Vegas, may be a lot more than just “in the discussion.”

But is he entrenched enough to win a power struggle with James if it came to it? There’s no doubt in my mind that Morey is willing to take on that risk given what James would do to increase the odds for ultimate glory. It also helps that Lebron will be 34 and Morey has a younger superstar in James Harden already in his corner. In fact, in the league today, you could probably argue that there is no more robust GM-coach-star ecosystem than Morey, Mike D’Antoni, and James Harden. The Rockets have the infrastructure in place to mitigate whatever risks Lebron may carry. Chris Paul as a liaison doesn’t hurt, considering the success the team already enjoyed this season.

This would be the first time in Lebron’s career that he would not have total control over his team’s personnel decisions. But Lebron himself most likely knows that he’ll have to be a mercenary if he hopes to dethrone Golden State.

in essays

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Let’s just start this up right now because we’re going to get here anyways once the Finals are over. Why wait? The Houston Rockets intend to pursue Lebron James in free agency despite the financial obstacles which may seem apparent. We’ll dig into all of that later. But I’ve been of the opinion that the greatest challenge to acquiring Lebron is not getting him to sign but rather the cap gymanstics which would be involved. I’m not basing this off of anything beyond just a burning desire to make a bold take on the matter. Just kidding – this is just basic logic here. I’ve compiled a list below with some thoughts:

  • I keep seeing the argument tossed around that “he wouldn’t want to leave the East.” Why? Why does being in the East present some advantage to Lebron? His goal is to beat the Warriors. It’s not to just have the right to face them and get demolished.
  • Now while he may not need to stay in the East, the East does present a good option in the 76ers. Lebron clearly seems to think highly of Ben Simmons so one has to wonder how enticing the prospect of directly mentoring his near-mirror image might be. But while Philly clearly made the jump this year, and Joel Embiid is the game’s best center, how far away are the 76ers? Will they waste a year needing to get through growing pains? I don’t know that mentorship is a life goal when one is running out of time in the way Lebron is. The Houston team is already ready to go, having pushed the Warriors further to the brink than any other team in the Kevin Durant era.
  • I’m so grateful the media has finally calmed down on pushing the preposterous Lebron to L.A. prediction. The notion that, even with Paul George, Lebron and a team of guys at least three years from their respective primes could push the Warriors was absurd.
  • Chris Paul seems like he could be a very convincing dude. I can imagine him calling Lebron endlessly until the latter finally gives in. Paul knows his legacy is at stake as well and like Lebron, Paul is running out of time. He’ll probably be approaching this summer as relentlessly as he does everything else.

in musings

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