LeBron James wants to play with Chris Bosh, sees him as the key to a team that can win titles. He’s reportedly trying to recruit him to Cleveland for that reason. Toronto has a sign-and-trade in place with Cleveland.
Dwyane Wade wants to play with Chris Bosh, sees him as the key to a team that can win titles. He’s reportedly trying to recruit him to Miami for that reason.
For all the talk about the Summer of LeBron, it is Chris Bosh controlling this free agent season. He is the lynchpin. Chicago understood this early on. His decision will determine so many teams’ futures. Wade wants to play with both LeBron — however not in Cleveland — and Wade — anywhere — but he is going to have to choose (the Miami trio idea is the longest shot on the board). If LeBron is willing to leave Cleveland for Bosh, that may be your winner. But it is not simple any way.
If Bosh heads to Miami with Wade, does LeBron stay in Cleveland? Does he decide to go to Chicago and team up with Derrick Rose or head to New Jersey to join their young core and build there? He may well stay home anyway.
If Bosh heads to Cleveland or Chicago (or NJ) with LeBron, what does Wade do? Amare Stoudemire is off the board, would Carlos Boozer be a good enough fallback that Wade stays in South Beach? Does he head home to Chicago, or become the star for New Jersey? Join up with Amare in NYC?
More questions than answers, and that’s just the two stars and they teams they are directly involved with. There is a lot of trickle-down.
And it all hinges on what Bosh really wants to do.
After years of feeling left out of the loop playing in Toronto — loved by the fans there but not seen on national television often in the states, not able to pull in the same endorsements as other stars — it is Bosh being recruited by the biggest names in the sport. It is Chris Bosh as the lynchpin in the Summer of LeBron.
And he is loving it.
The battle has, stupidly, raged on between supporters of Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Both sides seem to believe their preference is irrefutably the choice for the best player in NBA history.
And because they did not play in the same era, the question will never be answered. No doubt in 50 years they will write columns about Jordan vs. LeBron, just like their fathers, and their father’s fathers before them.
James has certainly seemed to take a bit of a leap in the eyes of the NBA community this season, likely because of his wonderful performance at age 33. He’s also single-handedly won two playoff series this year. It’s been incredible.
But LeBron rising above Jordan has also brought out some more reasonable takes. Former Chicago Bulls legend and Jordan running mate Scottie Pippen spoke up recently about the debate, giving a measured analysis that I think is pretty strong.
In short, Pippen basically said you can’t compare the two because of the eras, the style, and the fact they just don’t play the same position (if LeBron even has a position, that is).
That sounds right to me.
Chewbacca was at Game 3 in Cleveland Saturday. Sitting courtside.
Why? Because growing up on Kashyyyk he played a little hoop and admires LeBron James‘ skill? Because Drake gave him the tickets? Maybe. I mean, it’s not like that was just a clever little publicity stunt for a movie.
After the Cavaliers’ win, Kevin Love decided to make a little joke of it with noted humorist Kendrick Perkins, and it went over as well as expected (with Dave McMenamin of ESPN catching it).
That’s vintage Perkins.
Cleveland dominated Game 3 Saturday night. They played harder, to start. The Cavaliers’ defensive pressure on the ball was better, they were sharper rotating out to shooters and covering passing lanes. Cleveland’s role players stepped up and helped LeBron James.
Boston, meanwhile, wilted in the face of that pressure Saturday, something it has done a few times on the road these playoffs. The Celtics got away from the things that got them to the Eastern Conference Finals. Guard Terry Rozier put it more bluntly, via A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston:
“I feel like we needed this (loss) to get us back … to get us ready for Monday,” Rozier said.
Rozier later added, “We needed to get our butts whipped. Come back to reality and take care of business on Monday.”
Cleveland is a championship team — from LeBron James on down through the core guys, they all have rings. They have been down before, and heading home it was expected they would play with force. Cleveland’s back was against the wall and they responded.
From the Celtics’ perspective, they also got a little too fat and happy and were not ready for what the Cavaliers came with in Game 3.
Now the pressure is on Boston to push back, to get back to their level of execution and do it under pressure. Make the Cavaliers prove the improved defensive effort was not a one-off game. The Celtics must move the ball and play with some pace, then see if the Cavaliers can keep it together in the face of crisp play.
When this series heads back to Boston Wednesday, it will either see the Celtics in control up 3-1, or the series will be a best of three (with the Cavs still having to figure out if they can win on the road). At home, the Cavaliers are going to play with force again and have some depth. We’ll see if Game 3 was enough of a wakeup call for Boston.
Houston found its blueprint to beating Golden State in Game 2: Strong defensive pressure on the ball, quick switches and communication on defense, getting out in transition when possible, and starting sets earlier in the shot clock and attacking downhill with James Harden and Chris Paul.
Now can they do that on the road? Against a more focused and sharper Warriors’ team?
That will be the question in the next two games of the Western Conference Finals, and it’s what I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.