You heard it right after LeBron James talked about where his talents were going — other older players jumped up and said they would not have done this. They would not have willingly joined forces with other superstars to chase rings.
Former NBA player and current Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin gets that.
He told the Deseret News the culture is different than when he played and says AAU basketball — the traveling high school All-Star teams that play through the summer — is the reason.
“Just thinking back in the day when I was younger in the league, superstar guys wanted to have their own show. It’s changed,” Corbin said. “These kids they grew up in AAU, being on all-star teams, and they’re used to playing with superstar guys. And they want that kind of team because … they have a chance to win big every night. They want to win championships and not have to be the only guy getting it done.”
Added Corbin: “I think it’s a change for this new generation of kid who’s used to being on these superstar teams from the AAU thing.”
So if you hate the Heat, blame AAU basketball. Which is fine, AAU gets blamed for a lot of things (the deterioration of fundamentals among younger players, isolation basketball, the lack of a midrange game in the NBA, global warming).
Also know what AAU spawned and what LeBron James did this summer resonates through the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. Small market owners see what happened with Miami, what Carmelo Anthony did with Denver, and they want their control back. (If they ever had it, but that’s another story.) You see Utah trading away Deron Williams before he can even think about becoming a free agent because they believe they can’t keep him after his deal is up. Small and middle-sized market owners want the ability to keep their stars, and that is going to be a big part of the subtext of the CBA talks.
LeBron James has said before that he regretted how “The Decision” went down, how it was perceived.
Wednesday night, after he was incredibly clutch, after he slayed some demons, after his Heat team knocked off the Boston Celtics, LeBron apologized for The Decision, as reported by Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
“I knew deep down in my heart, as much as I loved my teammates back in Cleveland and as much as I loved home, I knew it couldn’t do it by myself against that team,” James said.
“The way it panned out with all the friends and family and the fans back home, I apologize for the way it happened. I knew this opportunity was once in a lifetime. To be able to come down here and pair with two guys and this organization — in order for me to move on with my career, that team that we just defeated, we had to go through them.
At this point, an apology to Cleveland will fall on deaf ears there. Those that have hardened their hearts against him will not be swayed by this.
And a series between these Heat and the 2010 version of the Celtics that went to the finals may have been different (it certainly would have been a harder road).
Now, while sitting on top of the basketball world for a day, it’s easier for him to say this.
But he uttered the words. And he appears to mean them.
I know, I know. We’re all trying to move on forget the Summer or LeBron ever happened, just like we’re trying to forget that night we broke out the bottle of Mescal. Best if it just isn’t discussed anymore.
But Derrick Rose wants to make it clear that he did, too, reach out to LeBron. There were reports this summer Rose didn’t really want LeBron to come to Chicago, but Rose told Sports Illustrated (via ESPNChicago) that is not true.
In a Sports Illustrated article out this week, Rose remembers the message reading: “I’m just hitting you up to kill all the rumors that I don’t want to play with you. I’d like to play with you. I just want to win.”
Of course, in the same article Rose’s own brother undercuts him.
“He always told me he didn’t want to be on one of those stacked teams,” Rose’s brother Reggie told the magazine. “He wanted to be with an underdog.”
Maybe Rose made his pitch but too late into the game. Whatever. It’s kind of moot now. We all need to just move on. But we’re letting Rose say he tried.
Well, maybe everybody does hate Chris in Cleveland now.
Chris Rock pulls no punches. It’s why his stand up is so great — he tells you straight out how he sees it. And in an interview with Esquire Magazine (done by Scott Raab who is writing a book about LeBron leaving Cleveland) Rock says Clevelanders should have seen this coming. (via CBS’s Eye On Basketball)
Chris Rock: I don’t even see what the big story is. The owner’s an idiot. Why is the owner an idiot? I said it on television — you can look it up. I was at a Lakers game — they were probably playing the Knicks. It was on TNT, and Kenny and Mark Jackson and whoever interviewed me on the sidelines, they asked me about LeBron. I said, “They should trade him.” I said it, on national television.
Scott Raab: We thought he was coming back, Chris.
Rock: I said you should trade him. I said any owner, any big-ego owner would take this shot. You could’ve got any player — you literally could’ve got Kobe Bryant. You could’ve got any player you wanted. You could’ve gotten literally any player outside of Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard. Any player. You could’ve got any two or three players you liked. I said this on national television. You could look it up — you’re a writer.
I said that in the middle of the season. The day the season was over, I was doing press for Grown Ups, the movie I did with Sandler. They asked me again: “Where’s LeBron going? What’s going to happen?” I said, “Well, if he’s going to Cleveland, you will know within 24 hours, but if Pat Riley gets him in a room, it’s all over.”
Rabb: We thought he was coming back.
Rock: Why would you think he’s coming back? People move from Cleveland to Miami every f—ing day. They don’t move from Miami to Cleveland.
Hey, Chris, what do you think about Carmelo Anthony?
On the court, Cleveland is an unmitigated disaster. They’ve won one game since the start of December. They are losing big.
On the accountant’s ledger, the Cavaliers are winning big.
It’s the remnants of the LeBron James era — money committed before he was gone more than covers a post-LeBron payroll, as Jason Lloyd explains at the Beacon Journal.
The Cavs’ standard marketing plan, which forced season ticket holders to renew for this season before last year’s playoffs if they wanted postseason tickets, will ensure owner Dan Gilbert his best year financially despite the woeful product on the floor.
LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal and Zydrunas Ilgauskas combined to make about $50 million last season as the Cavs’ payroll hovered around $100 million the last few years. It is now about half of that.
In addition, Gilbert will not have to pay a luxury tax this season after writing checks totaling more than $40 million in cap penalties the last three years. Instead, he’ll now receive a portion of that money.
Big-money sponsorship deals with the likes of KeyBank, Kia and others were locked in before James departed and the team is in the midst of a $25 million deal with Fox Sports Ohio for television rights.
The Cavaliers consecutive sellout streak just came to an end a couple weeks ago based off old momentum. Payroll is down to $52 million. Those sponsorships will come down but are paying big now.
No doubt Cavs owner Dan Gilbert would trade all the profits back to be title contenders again. (And yes, his accounting is done in Comic Sans.) He may not be the ideal owner but he’s not Donald Sterling. He cares. He may not always be smart about it but he’s not in it just for a profit. He has been willing to spend, on players and on a beautiful new practice facility. That said, you can expect that payroll to stay low for a few seasons as they try to build through the draft and with youth.
The NBA is a business, not going to knock Gilbert for making some money either. So long as much of it gets reinvested in the team.