Hello folks. Hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful Sunday morning. Last week was a bit busy for me, so I spent a lot of time catching up this weekend on some blogosphere travel so that I could reconnect with the masses. It was a very enlightening trip; I picked up a number of gems (and no diseases) which I thought were worth sharing with you. Today they come to you in the form of answers to two of the most vexing questions for Knicks fans as we wait, wait, wait for the end of the post-season and the beginning of our real one. (Speaking of "real" let's welcome our new Bloguin cousin, The Real Shaq, which is not the Real Shaq anymore than Dwight Howard is the real Superman, but it looks like they're going to be really funny as they guide us through sports-twitterville). Anyway, the first question is. . . .Q. Who and what will have the most influence on LeBron's decision to leave Cleveland this summer?
Some suggest that Worldwide William Wesley's alleged effort to package John Calipari and LeBron James may determine where James winds up. Nevertheless, there seems to be a great case for not inviting Calipari into your locker-room even if James is included. Yahoo Sports.
According to gym shoe (sneaker) magnate Sonny Vaccaro and others Jay-Z will be more influential than Chris Bosh, agent Leon Rose, William Wesley (the man nobody knows but they want to get into his business anyway) or John Calipari in deciding where to land. New York Post.
Earlier this month, the Forbe's national editor suggested that the Knicks had an advantage in helping LeBron reach his billionaire dreams since he could buy stock in MSG and avoid violating the collective bargaining agreement. David Stern, who clearly supports the intent of the salary cap structure to give teams the advantage in keeping their players, did not like the implication and quickly shut down that loophole and forbade LeBron from obtianing MSG stock.
Apparently David Stern, who also persists on trying to financially bitch slap Mark Cuban, thinks what the Maverick owner says is far more influential and meddlesome than what Steve Kerr said about LeBron on behalf of the Suns. Kerr publicly offered his mid-level exception (a joke, huh) and Cuban suggested a sign and trade would give the Mavs a chance to throne a King. The Dallas Morning News and the New York Times Blog
Stern can't fine everybody though. President Obama is slyly putting his stimulus into the fray, but the last time there was presidential tampering of this magnitude we called it "Watergate." Lebrongate anyone? ESPN
One citing suggested that Chris Bosh had already let it be known where he wanted to go in a sign and trade scenario and his first choice is whereever LeBron goes; however, Bosh said there is no list although he did not deny he would talk with Wade and LeBron as part of his decisiomaking process.
Personally, I think Rajon Rondo is the new most fascinating man in the NBA, but according to one Bloguin author it is Mikhail Prokhorov, the new Nets owner, who is getting a ton of positive publicity, but at least one writer thinks Prokhorov is NBA dumb which may not be helpful in influencing LeBron to join him in the Newark-Brooklyn corridor.
Speaking of Mike D, next season is likely his last if he is unable to turn whatever ingredients he gets into winners. Despite the current bashing he is taking, he has some staunch defenders, in New York, who suggest that he will be better with better players and that really is a defensive-minded coach. They are also happy that the Lakers are beating Gentry's Sun's so badly -- for them it discredits the notion that the Suns were better defensively all season long than they were in the past.
Q. Has the regular season and post-season play of the Phoenix Suns proven that D'Antoni's defensive philosophy is for losers or have Gentry's Sun's simply redeemed Mike's offensive swagger?
The 2009-2010 Suns at least seem to talk about defense more than in the past and with the Lakers up 2-0 there is no doubt they need to:
No knock on D'Antoni (this time) but Gentry definitely brings something special to the table; not every coach has a player come back to him years later and apologize about his role in his firing. Gentry's response to an apologetic Lamar Odom, who felt bad about his immaturity and poor play in Clipperland, was "I could've been better as a coach, too." Even Gentry knew the team needed to add defense when he sought to recapture the Sun's up-tempo ideology in the post-Shaq era. Classic and classy guy.
Amare Stoudemire responded to criticism about his defense, including rebounding, against the long Lakers by shouldering responsibility but indicating that the defensive wrinkles put in to combat the disadvantages of going against three seven-footers in the paint were not working and hurting their overall game. ESPN.
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