Friday, June 01, 2007

LeBron Rules, Kobe Fools, Donovan Drools

Yesterday, I was glued to ESPN and TBS, to get my fix of baseball & NBA playoffs. I watched the new MJ/EarvinMagicJ work his wizardry on the hated Pistons, who mugged the Cavs pretty thoroughly in what the NBA commentators called Detroit's "stellar defense." I remember the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs against the same type of stellar defense before MJ hit full stride. Rasheed Wallace had to be restrained at the end of the game last night and led off the court before he disqualified himself for games six and seven.

Kobe meantime is off his meds. Yesterday morning he told ESPN he wanted to be traded "anywhere"[evidently because Mitch Kupchak was not being replaced as GM by Jerry West.]
That afternoon he recanted, and had a quick phone call/meeting with owner Jerry Buss last night Kobe has already removed the Lakers from even being the best team in LA, let alone the highly competitive Western Conference, with his high-handed tantrums driving Shaq to Miami which resulted in last year's NBA championship.

Kobe appears to be lacking one element of leadership that LeBron possesses, and that is selflessness. His mysterious "alleged rape" in Colorado has been airbrushed from NBA annals as surely as Trotsky disappeared from the Soviet Encyclopedia after 1928. But his mental unfitness remains.

And after last night's performance by LeBron, Kobe is no longer "the best player in the NBA," as the sycophant crew on ESPN keep braying [one of whom, Dan Patrick, has Keith Odorman as his bosom buddy.]

Let's hope LeBron can get the Cavs into the finals Saturday night.

Finally, Billy Donovan succumbed to the sirens of the NBA, and will not even have to move to coach the Orlando Magic, a team that seems poised to return to its former first-rank status. Can Billy avoid the NBA jinx that kills top-rank college coaches?
$5.5 million/year for five years makes him want to try and see. Plus he was an actual pro point guard for the Knicks for a couple of years, so he knows a bit about the crazy schedule and ceaseless heartaches of an NBA season.

Lastly, the BoSox play NYY at Fenway, and I'm just wishing Clemens had been scheduled to face Schilling, who credits the Rocket with giving him advice back in the day that turned around Curt's career. Perhaps later this season.

UPDATE: Bill Simmons over at SI has the compleat precis of possible deals for Kobe, including a nugget about Kobe going to the Phoenix Suns:
The most selfish player in the league (Kobe) playing with the most unselfish player in the league (Nash). What a fascinating sociological experiment. If Nash can turn Kobe into a team player, I'm voting him for our 2008 president even though he's Canadian.

Born in South Africa, yet.
Two potential problems: First, it's unlikely that the Lakers would be dumb enough to trade Kobe within their own division, although with Kupchak involved, anything's possible. And second, assuming that Nash has a say in front-office decisions at this point, would he really want to green-light a scenario that has him managing two enormous egos in Stoudemire and Kobe?

Well, lemme throw this at you: What if the Suns then swapped Stoudemire to Minnesota for KG, as I proposed in a May 14 column? That would give them the following crunch-time lineup: Nash, Kobe, Bell, Diaw and KG. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2008 World Champions! Just send them the trophy right now.

So that's my vote: Black Mamba, you're going to Phoenix to play with KG and Nash. And if it happens, I can guarantee that the 2008 playoffs will be more entertaining than the 2007 playoffs.

My guess is something that Simmons has earlier in his column:
First, Kobe has a complete no-trade clause and is too image-conscious to play in a small market. He's not going to Memphis. He's not going to Milwaukee. He's not going to Sacramento. Kobe will want a big market that keeps him in the national limelight. Second, he'd want to play for a team that could contend right away; there's no way he'd agree to shepherd another rebuilding project or youth movement. And third, as much as a mega-deal makes sense with Kobe and Carmelo as the principals, you'd see O.J. move back to Brentwood before you'd see Kobe accept a trade that puts him in Colorado......As Shaq and Kareem proved, NBA stars will always want to play in Los Angeles if they can pull it off. Between the weather, the women, the wealth and the Hollywood scene, the Lakers have an enormous free agency advantage over every NBA team but New York, Phoenix, Orlando, Miami and maybe Dallas. Keep that in mind.

Can't wait to see how Bill Simmons puts LeBron in HIS place!


Evrviglnt said...

As a fan of the lakers for 25 years - I'm glad that Kobe shook it up with his threat about wanting to be traded. Nothing was happening over here - Our GM is a dud, and Buss is busy undressing bikini models - everyone in this organization forgot about the season we just had. Kobe - the best player in the NBA - has refocused everyone wearing a suit in the Laker head office. Is there anyone else on that team that could demand better from his bosses?

Jesus Christ! Kobe Bryant is passing the ball to...Smush Parker? WTF?

The petty hatred for Kobe from sport's columists is pathetic and predictable. Here's a situation where the man is trying to shake up a somnabulant system and all you guys can talk about is rape and arrogance. Can you blame Kobe for backhanding the columnists that slander him? Can anyone around here think beyond their prejudices and see the chess match before us?

Lastly - Kobe didn't force Shaq out of LA (I suspect most people know this but it satisfies a malicious itch), we know more about what went on in that situation just in the last 24 hours than we have over the last two years blaming Bryant. Buss made the choice to send Shaq packing (for good reasons) and it was the incompetence of the front office that soured the potential of that trade. Kobe was promised that they would retool rather than rebuild. He was lied to.

And that pisses me off too! So my advice to Kobe - if things are so ass backwards over there that you have to use that kind of leverage to move Jerry Buss, then do it. I'm smart enough to see what you're doing - to hell with the rest of the clowns making a living off of you!

unkawill said...

Dave,I like your fantasy of; So that's my vote: Black Mamba, you're going to Phoenix to play with KG and Nash. And if it happens, I can guarantee that the 2008 playoffs will be more entertaining than the 2007 playoffs.

Hell, WHO wouldn't want to see that!
I'm stuck down here in San Antonio with the boring and dull Spurs,whom I might add, are fixing to make it three outa five, by whooping up on LeBron and the Cav's.
OBTW I stole your Post on Glowball wrmg. Thanks for the legwork, so to speak.

unkawill said...

Looks like the Spurs are going to sweep. 39-34 at the half.