Kevin Durant to the Warriors

I had thought recently that Kevin Durant leaving the Okahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors or the San Antonio Spurs was a very real possibility so it didn’t surprise me when I saw on Twitter that this happened

I absolutely love this move. Kevin Durant absolutely made the right move here. It was too big g of a risk for him to stay and watch Russell Westbrook leave next year and break up the team. Of course there is a possibility that Westbrook has already told him that he has thought about leaving at the end of next year. 

So many people make a lot of stupid points about athletes in team sports needing championships to solidify their place in history. Why is it that so many of those same people get mad at athletes doing whatever they can to increase their chances of getting that championship? I don’t want to see anyone in Oklahoma City question his loyalty. Need I remind you that the city took a franchise from another fan base? The team has been smart in its response. No Dan Gilbert style silly letters. 

It is so hypocritical to knock someone who leaves for a better opportunity. The great Richard Deitsch rightly took Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith to task for their stupidity and hypocrisy on this subject. 

Saw this interesting tidbit from Erik Koreen . Perhaps the extra year and more money doesn’t appeal as much when they are already making ridiculous money. 

Would love it if ESPN/TNT forced NBA to schedule Warriors games earlier

Boston’s domination of the sports landscape

Congratulations to the Boston Bruins on ending their three decade long drought for the Stanley Cup. Remarkably the teams representing the Boston area have won championships in each of the four major sports in the last 7 years. Is there another city that has done so in such a short time frame?  I can’t think of one.  Remarkably the Patriots now have the longest championship drought in the Boston market. On twitter we came up with a few who had 3 in short period of time.

Jets, Mets and Knicks won in 69-70.
Oakland had Warriors, Raiders,A’s 74-77.
Mets, Islanders, Giants did it 83-86.
Yanks, Giants and Rangers from 91-96.

Any others?

Darren Rovell of CNBC points out that up until 1993 the longest drought Canada had was five years but now they haven’t won one since 1993.

Darren Pang of Versus had to get creative on the post game show to get a microphone up to Zdeno Chara who is 6’9″. Yes, that is a hockey stick attached to the microphone.

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Mark Cuban will pay for Mavericks parade

As I mentioned two weeks ago, Mark Cuban was a major reason why I didn’t have a problem with the Mavericks winning the NBA championship this year.

He is the kind of owner I would love all of my favorite teams to have. He is a real fan and isn’t afraid to act like it. In an era when we have gotten used to rich men owning sports teams just because they can and not because they’re passionate about the game Mark Cuban presents a refreshing change of pace. He’s not like other owners sitting upstairs in some luxury box (when they actually show up to the games) he is sitting in the stands and actively involved in the game the way any fan would be. His habit of being outspoken has gotten him in a lot of trouble with the league over the years but that hasn’t made him back down one bit.

I really wanted the visual of David Stern handing him the NBA trophy but Cuban had something else in mind. He honored the former owner of the Mavericks Don Carter and let him accept the trophy on behalf of the team. Cuban wasn’t done making news though as he announced that Mavericks would not be getting championship rings but he wouldn’t reveal what else he had in mind. Is there any doubt that it will be something big?

His announcement today regarding the parade is what led me to write this right now. Mark Cuban announced that he will pay for the championship parade instead of the city of Dallas which like most of the country is facing a budget crunch. Again, what a refreshing change of pace. We’ve gotten used to billionaires hosting cities and states hostage so they will help them build stadiums and arenas off of which the owners will get richer. Has there been another sports owner who has done something similar? I honestly can’t think of one.

You should follow Mark Cuban on twitter @mcuban and read his blog “Blog Maverick“.
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Can we please not use “classy” and Jason Kidd in the same sentence?

I don’t think it is an unreasonable request. Can we please use other adjectives for Jason Kidd and not call him a class act? Has everyone really forgotten him pleading guilty to assaulting his wife?

Credit to The Smoking Gun

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Some thoughts on LeBron James and the NBA Finals

The moment a large chunk of NBA fans were dreading has arrived. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh are playing in the NBA Finals in their very first season together.

LeBron James became public enemy #1 in the eyes of many in the aftermath of “The Decision” but as I said it then I find that stance from people quiet funny. I said back in July that I had no problems with LeBron leaving for Miami and remains true to this date. Unlike most I always wasn’t rooting against them in the playoffs. What do you think of his decision to leave Cleveland now? Is it the same as it was back in July?

By the way how much crazier does Dan Gilbert’s rant sound now? Unless you count University of Virginia’s lacrosse title the Cavaliers will not win a championship before the Heat.

I actually wouldn’t have had a problem with any of the conference finalists from this year winning the NBA Championship. I don’t know if I am cheering for the Mavericks or the Heat because I honestly wouldn’t have a problem with either of the two winning. A Miami win would be fun because of uproar it will cause from hypocritical NBA fans. I call them hypocrites because very few of them would have had a problem with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh signing with their teams. Now I’m supposed to buy into their arguments for hating these guys? I have encountered plenty of Knicks fans here in the NJ/NY area who have knocked LeBron for his decision to sign with Miami but I can guarantee not one of them would be saying a thing. It becomes even more laughable when many of those same Knicks fans are fans of the New York Yankees who’s entire business model revolves around signing the big free agents from around the league! I’m not trying to make this into a New York thing at all. Most of the people knocking LeBron happen to be Kobe Bryant fans. Yet again though they don’t see the hypocrisy in their views. For whatever reason they have chosen to forget that Kobe basically forced his way to the Lakers after being drafted by the Charlotte Hornets. LeBron James honored his contract and took the franchise to heights it had never before seen.

Dirk Nowitzki has been one of my favorite players in the league for quiet some time. I definitely would like to see him win a championship and that is why part of me leans towards the Mavericks this year. The three guys in Miami will have plenty of chances to win a title, this could very well be the last time Nowitzki has a shot. Plus, how cool would it be to see David Stern hand the trophy to Mark Cuban? I couldn’t care less about Jason Kidd though. I get that he’s a future Hall of Famer and generally well liked player but that doesn’t change that he is an idiot.

Have you heard about the “Cavs for Mavs” fan group?

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Miami Heat players are crying?

Erik Spoelstra, the head coach of the Miami Heat told the media that a couple of players were crying in the locker room after the loss to the Chicago Bulls. What was he thinking? Is he trying to get fired? Why would you feed the media something like that? I’ve watched a lot of press conferences over the years but this one surprised me.

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Blogging Lebron vs Cavs.

Earlier today I blogged about Lebron’s return to Cleveland. I figured I’d keep a running entry.

  • Lebron boos drowned out when starting lineups were announced because Big Z got cheered
  • I mentioned earlier today that Lebron needed to be the better man, bad call by him to do his powder ritual.
  • LeBron James will either get 60 points tonight or go 2-20 from the field. 
First Quarter
  • Nice to see Cavs fans booing Lebron every time he touches the ball. Toronto STILL does this when Vince Carter comes to town
  • Tweet of the night? h/t @heavenlyskyes 
    • The Heat/Cavs game will be showed on TNT because ‘They Know Drama’
  • I feel bad for whoever is handing the delay for TNT tonight. These chants are getting ugly. 
  • Just realized that 40% of the starting lineups tonight are former Raptors (Arroyo, Bosh, Graham and Parker)
  • “Akron hates you” chant with about 3:40 left in 1st
  • Marv Albert just said they are only selling beverages in paper cups because of safety concerns
  • Creative signs so far:
    • Lyin’ King
    • Witless
    • Quitness
    • We should have draft Darko
  • At the end of 1 Miami leads 31-24. Solid first quarter for LeBron who quietly got 10 points (4-8 FG) , 4 Rebounds and  5 assists. 
Second Quarter 
  • Long rest for Lebron. He’s sat out most of this 2nd quarter. 
  • This Kia commercial is very strange.
  • Best game yet for the big 3? They are playing at a faster pace then usual. Don’t know why they haven’t played at this pace a lot more this season. 
  • Crowd was much tamer here in the 2nd quarter with LeBron’s extended bench time and the Miami heat pulling away to make this a 19 point game. Lebron has 14 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists. Miami leads 59-40. 
  • Absolutely agree with Charles Barkley. He just called out Byron Scott for not having control over his bench. They’re joking around with Lebron while he is destroying them.
  • Ernie Johnson just said that the best chant of first half was “Akron hates you.” He obviously picked that one because it was the only he could repeat on TV!
Third Quarter 
  • Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times just made a good observation
    • Now we’re getting into the danger zone – game is becoming a blowout and the beers are still flowing.
  • They’re chanting “Scottie Pippen.”
  • This is just getting ugly now. Lebron is firing on all cylinders, he’s just toying with them
  • From Tim Reynolds, the Associate Press reporter who covers Miami Heat
    • 2nd time this year LeBron has embarrassed Cleveland on national television.
  • “Akron hates you” chant is back. 
  • 95-65 at the end of 3. Lebron has 38 points (15-25 from the field), 5 rebounds and 8 assists. That should be it for him. 
  • This is where things could get ugly. People who have been drinking all night sitting through a blowout. 
  • For ESPN’s streak for the cash game my pick tonight was LeBron total points over Cleveland field goals. It is 38 to 20 at the moment. I win!

I guess it is time to turn on NFL Nework?
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LeBron James returns to Cleveland

It is one of the most highly anticipated yet meaningless December basketball games in recent memory. Tonight, LeBron James will “take his talents to Cleveland” as a member of the Miami Heat.

As I said at the time, I have no problems whatsoever with the three of them deciding to team up. I was in the minority and didn’t really have a problem with the concept of “The Decision” prime time special. I also seem to be in the minority as far as their 2010-11 season is concerned. So many people have already written this team off. They are hovering around the .500 mark but why are people forgetting that the season isn’t even a quarter of way done yet? Would people really be shocked if they went 48-15 the rest of the way? This team has more than enough time to put together a good season and have a great playoff run.

I am not a Miami Heat fan, as a matter of fact I despise Pat Riley and never really liked Alonzo Mourning. I am a Raptors fan who lost Chris Bosh to this team. Yet, I find myself rooting for this team just because everyone else isn’t.

Even Barack Obama was asked about tonight’s game. 

How will the Cleveland crowd react tonight? Lets just hope they take somewhat of a high road and not embarrass their city. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see them boo LeBron all night long for the rest of his career (Vince Carter still hears boos in Toronto) but don’t disrupt the game. Keep your expletives to yourselves and don’t humiliate yourself on national television.

How will LeBron react tonight? He could go a long way towards calming things down today if he doesn’t come out in a confrontational mode. He needs to just let his play do the talking or it could get really ugly tonight. Who knows, if he goes off for 50 points tonight in a masterful performance he might even get some of the crowd back on his side. Regardless of the crowd reaction LeBron MUST act like the better man or he will face a major backlash from the media and possibly the fans around the league. He can not let the crowd get under his skin. LeBron James will either drop 60 points on the Cavs tonight or go 2–19 from the field. There is no middle ground.

There will be a heavier security presence tonight at the Q. How ugly do some in the league think tonight will be? The Heat travel plans for this have been kept secret.

In Cleveland, LeBron is now known as “Queen James”

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is on twitter. Looking forward to read what he has to say tonight. He did make a plea to the fans,

CavsFans: Remember 2 most import things 2nite: 1. That City, Fans, & all of us be our ‘finest’ w/eyes of world watching. 2. We get the WIN!

Who can forget his letter to Cleveland when LeBron left? 
Sports Illustrated provides a flashback to some recent “homecomings.” How about these pictures from Cleveland?
Any predictions for tonight? ESPN’s Streak for the Cash asks if LeBron will have more points tonight then the  Cavaliers will have field goals. I certainly would not rule that out as a possibility. It will be the first time this season that I will tune in to the start of an NBA game. The game tips off shortly after 8 PM Eastern on TNT. 

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Bryan Colangelo’s letter to Raptors Fans


What a spectacle! What we have all just witnessed is something unprecedented in professional basketball and possibly even in professional sports. In a year where multiple NBA teams positioned themselves for the ability to sign a “maximum” contract player (or players) in free agency, three of the NBA’s bright young stars are teaming together in an attempt to win an NBA Championship. Kudos to the Miami Heat for pulling off such a feat.

I’m sure that there is frustration and disappointment, possibly even resentment, upon hearing the news that Chris Bosh is leaving Toronto to join forces with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in South Beach. Well that certainly is the feeling from this vantage point as we lose a player that has been the centrepiece of our franchise for the last several years. I can assure you every move/investment made in the last four years to improve our basketball team was designed with the belief that putting the right pieces around Chris would get us closer to our goal of winning an NBA Championship. In fact, Chris actively participated in that process as transactions and changes were contemplated because I have always believed that a franchise player experiences a sense of ownership in team building. Unfortunately, we fell short of that goal and must now move on to a post-Bosh era in Toronto.

In completing a Sign-and-Trade transaction with Miami, we were able to extract a very valuable Trade Exception and future draft picks that will serve as building blocks in the process of re-tooling our basketball team. The Trade Exception can be used to acquire players under contract with other teams via trade, or it can be used to leverage the acquisition of additional future assets. Speaking of the future, I can’t tell you how energized we all feel to see the positive growth and development of so much young athletic talent on our roster including re-signing Amir Johnson and the recent first-round draft selection of Ed Davis. While more changes to the roster are possible, even likely, we can promise you now that this team will compete every night they take to the floor.

We believe we have the best fans in the NBA and we believe in the city and country that we play in. Your passion, pride and support has been tremendous no matter what the circumstances, and we cannot thank you enough for that. We all share a commitment to winning both on and off the floor and MLSE/Toronto Raptors ownership and management will do whatever it takes to WIN while also making the community a better place. Our franchise will evolve and emerge stronger than before, and I assure you that our combined efforts will produce the WINNER you are hoping for.  

Sincerely,

Bryan Colangelo

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