Obama compared Mitt Romney to Jeremy Lin. I don’t get it.


For a guy known for his oratory skills, this Barack Obama shot at Mitt Romney looks like an Andrew Bynum three pointer.

Obama is out on the campaign trail this holiday weekend, firing up his supporters before heading to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. A city where he might not want to compare his record to the local NBA squad (just a little free advice, Mr. President).

On the campaign trail he said something… odd. From the New York Times (via Zach Lowe of Sports Illustrated, at least this week until he moves to Grantland soon):

No matter what moves Mr. Romney made, the president said, he and his team were going to cut him off and block him at every turn. “We’re the Miami Heat, and he’s Jeremy Lin,” Mr. Obama said, according to the aide.

Um… bad analogy.

I get what you are going for, at least I think I do — that you have the better team who can shut down this overhyped newcomer. Like the Heat did to Lin.

But part of Lin’s appeal is he is the American dream — the kid is not the most athletic guy on the court but he worked hard, played smart, got the most out of the talent given him, played for free at the most prestigious academic institution in the nation (there are no scholarships at Harvard), fought to make an NBA roster and when really given a chance in the right setting exploded on the scene. He parlayed that into a big contract and success.

Part of Jeremy Lin’s appeal is we can all see ourselves as Lin in a way we never could with LeBron James or a big man like Dwight Howard. None of the rest of us were gifted like that. Lin, we can relate to him.

Let me try to help, Mr. President. I think the analogy you want is “We’re the Miami Heat, he’s the Brooklyn Nets.” That’s a team put together by a billionaire with most of his money locked up overseas, a team that has some talent but is unproven, a team that was put together on an old-rules model not really thinking through the long-term consequences (in the Nets case the new luxury tax costs and restrictions mixed with Joe Johnson’s contract). I think that is more what you were going for.

Just trying to help, Mr. President.

LeBron James posts photo with Tristan Thompson, sends message to Cavs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.

Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.

But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.

LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.

However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.

For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.

Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.


Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.