Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Answering the question no one cared about...

Fuck Cleveland.

Fuck basketball.

Fuck LeBron James.

But just so we're covering this... the next few months are going to be dominated by talk of James going to Chicago; not New York.

I'm not even saying he's going to Chicago. I'm saying the talk of him going to Chicago is going to get to the point where you'll try to kill yourself with a cigarette lighter.

Here's why:

1) Nike rules the world of top-tier athletes and agents. LeBron James' retail value goes up if he's in a big market, and it goes down if he doesn't win a championship. Cleveland is not a quality market, but it's been a legit contender in the last four years. New York is a great market but it's completely gutted of talent, and would require at least three years to even look competitive in the playoffs. Chicago is a quality market, and almost put Cleveland on tilt this year in round one. If writers want to talk marketing conspiracy theories, they'll look to Chi-town.

2) The way the NBA salary cap works is kind of solid: no team can exceed the cap in their initial offer to a player they don't already control, but they may exceed the cap when they're extending a contract which outbids an outside offer. Cleveland is at the limit of their cap because they have both LeBron and Shaq. But! they can retain them indefinitely. However, they can't bring in outside talent. New York has NO ONE on their payroll, so they could afford at least two A+ talents. This free agency class has, perhaps, three or four blue chip players in it, so best case scenario has New York or another gutted team walking away with two of them. This is best case scenario and not actually a lock-down reality. Chicago has enough cap room for a top-tier guy, and a complimentary player, and, unlike Cleveland or New York, already has a developed A+ man, in 21-year-old point guard, Derrick Rose.

3) John Calipari is this dick who won some championships as a coach at the college level. Why is he a dick? Not because he strangles his players , but because he walks out on contracts, and brings with him all his prior recruits. He also kind of cheats. His most recent scandal was sneaking Derrick Rose (the same one who plays for the Bulls) onto Memphis State's roster, despite the fact that Rose couldn't come close to the NCAA minimum on standardized testing (Memphis State ended up being retrospectively stripped of the championship Calipari and Rose won, on account of the scheme). Anyway, he's actually a pretty good coach, and his system would be ideal for someone like LeBron James. He also shares the same agent as James and is a personal friend. Furthermore, he's rumored to be in talks with Chicago and New York, despite being under contract. Two nights ago, he sat court-side, watching LeBron, between their agent, and Dan Gilbert, the Cavs' owner. Gilbert would not be entertaining a guest like this unless he perceived him as a legitimate future-partner for LeBron. While I see it being entirely likely that Cleveland could land him, I see the media connecting Calipari-LeBron to Rose in Chicago.

4) The number 23. LeBron James currently wears it. He has gone on record as saying no one should wear it in honor of Michael Jordan, and that he'll be wearing number 6 next year. Actually, he had to go a step further than that, and file papers with the league to change his number in the case that he stays with Cleveland. This I take to be a ploy by Nike: if the Cleveland market is saturated on a product, then reinvent the product. Simple as that. I actually don't think there's anything more to it than that, but sportswriters will soon be connecting the dots, that LeBron's interest in wearing not-23 has to do with his interest in playing somewhere where 23 isn't available.

5) A lot of people say LeBron wants to go to New York because he loves New York and his celebrity friends are there. That's true... New York is a great fucking place to be if you're rich, young and awesome. But so is Chicago, and for as much as LeBron gets sentimental about Madison Square Garden and the New York Yankees, he's always said his favorite team was the Bulls.

Big name coach, big market, top-tier teammate, and franchise prestige... expect these dots to be connected. Over. And over. And over again. Expect this shit to be shoved down your throat by everyone. Despite the fact that you haven't lived anywhere near a basketball since DeJuan Blair declared. Expect LeBron mania, everywhere... except on this blog.

Never again.


schuyler101 said...

I'm not so sure. I think Chicago will be bandied about as one of the possible destinations but I don't see it becoming the "it" destination for Lebron that the Knicks have been for the past 2 years. The Clippers have a great young nucleus and share the 2nd biggest market after New York. They will be certainly be highlighted as a potential destination in spite of Sterling. The Knicks obviously will bebut I expect the Nets to draw lot of attention because they were purchased by a very interesting Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov (Think Mark Cuban with about 10 times more money). There is also the Jay-Z connection with the Nets and a 25% chance of landing Kentucky stud PG John Wall in the draft lottery. If the Nets win the lottery expect the hype machine around them to grow, along with the actual chance of Lebron going there.

Sorry I don't see the media going out of control crazy about Lebron going to Chicago. He'd never be identified as the face of the franchise and also Dwyane Wade is the much more logical media choice to head to Chicago, him being a local and all.

College coaches have high failure rates in the pros, even the great ones (see Pitino, Rick.) Calipari could get some media hype for a pro job but I don't see the "Lebron-Calipari package going to Chicago" idea taking off.

Schuyler's Media Hype Rankings for the Lebron Sweepstakes

1. Knicks
2a. Nets
2b. Clippers
3. Bulls
4. Miami
Tied for a distant 5th (iow no shot) - Sacramento, Washington, Minnesota

Finally, it's the University of Memphis, not Memphis State. They haven't been Memphis State since Anfernee Hardaway was there.

FRANCOfranco said...

My dad's from Memphis. All our family went to Memphis State. They still call it Memphis State. I had no idea they were so behind the times.

Rest assured: They will be corrected.

Also, I completely agree with your reasoning, I'm just assuming a lower common denominator for our national sports media.