The big news has finally hit, and the adage was right: where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and LeBron is back in Cleveland. A mere week ago this seemed like idle speculation and whimsy. Today, however, the news broke via an article by Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins.
Not only is this huge news for the league at large, but huge news for the Rockets, who have been waiting to strike at Chris Bosh. Bosh has reportedly expressed a preference to stay in Miami with James, but has also reportedly preferred Houston as a landing spot should that fall through.
It’a fallen through, now, and the first domino has fallen. Morey and the Rockets front office now have approximately two days to attempt to negotiate not only a potential Bosh signing, but also the requisite cap-clearing moves already lined up. This is only step one, but what a step one.
First, as, at the time of writing, it still shockingly hasn’t become outdated, check out our podcast from last night discussing the Chandler Parsons situation. I thought for sure news would break last night, rendering much of that conversation obsolete.
For now, we sit and wait. Would Lebron really leave for the World Cup without announcing his decision? I can see it. Why does he absolutely need to announce within the week? I get that he’s holding up the rest of the league, but should that really matter? He shouldn’t rush his own timeline just to convenience others who have hinged their decisionmaking processes upon him. And he hasn’t even made a spectacle of this. It’s our own fault for staking out at his house, interpreting the coding on his web site, and speculating upon his every move. This has only seemed to drag out because we’ve created that situation by holding our breaths. In reality, it’s been just a few days.
I went to bed last night, as I typically do, around 11:30 central standard time. I knew I’d awaken to the news that Chandler Parsons had signed the offer sheet extended to him by the Dallas Mavericks yesterday afternoon. Instead, I was rudely greeted by this pic of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, with Parsons, retweeted by just about everyone I knew:
Chandler Parsons’ offer from the Dallas Mavericks wasn’t the only surprising Rockets-related news of the day: Jason Friedman announced today he would no longer be with the team following this week.
We teamed up on numerous collaborations over the years (here and here, and I could’ve sworn there were one or two others but I can’t seem to find them), but I will always remember Jason in association with this post, written back in 2010 on my first day with Toyota Center media credentials. The phrase “showed me the ropes” is often thrown around by young writers/reporters. That person for me is Jason Friedman. I still remember stepping foot into the Houston Rockets lockerroom for the first time while Jason explained pre-game availability procedure. Not a single word that came out of his mouth registered – Yao Ming, in all his majestic glory, was sitting just a few feet in front of me. A week later, I emailed Friedman with the query “WAIT WE’RE ALLOWED TO GO INTO THE VISITORS TOO?!?”
I’m a lawyer by profession – I never went to journalism school. But Jason taught me the little things one wishes they knew before being thrown into the fire. When and where the coach speaks before the game, how to approach a player, why you should avoid Terrence Williams (okay, I learned that on my own).
Friedman lost a lot of the creative freedom he had previously enjoyed towards the end of his time with the team. That quickly became clear after his monster weekly roundups, replete with advanced stats, stopped appearing on the team’s web site. This was a loss to anyone following the team, even those like myself who also covered it. I admit to having just read Jason’s recaps numerous times when I didn’t have the time to dig into the numbers for myself. The behind-the-scenes video breakdowns he’d compile regularly some months back were pure cocaine for a Rockets junkie. Now, we’re losing his coverage altogether.
I don’t know what the future holds for Jason, but I wish him the best, and I hope for all of our sake, the team can find a passable replacement. I wouldn’t bet on it.
I will resume coverage of the Chandler Parsons situation tomorrow morning.