Death Row Pardon: Forgiving LeBron

I am about to do something that very few people have had the gall to do as of late.

I am going to defend LeBron James.

And yes, I realize more than half the people that begin to read this article will now stop because I am going to do so.

I don’t care.

This is a transcendent sports start that has never committed an “actual” crime while so many other of today’s “role models” have been in trouble with the law or have seen the inside of a courtroom at one point or another.

First, we need to if not agree on at least get a couple things out of the way.

One: the “Decision” was a mistake.

His ESPN Special with Jim Gray was a spectacle for all the wrong reasons. And LeBron did himself an even greater injustice when he accepted last season’s MVP award and did nothing but show love for Cleveland, his teammates, fans and his hometown of Akron.

Had he even hinted that he was unhappy and was ready for a change, which was completely apparent after Game 6 in Boston when he didn’t even make it to the tunnel before ripping off his jersey; this whole ordeal may have been minimized.

Two: For once it is not about the money.

For so many years stars have left their teams to chase a bigger contract. It happens all the time. But, James didn’t chase the biggest contract. He actually took less money.

Three: If it’s not about the $, it has to be about rings.

The reason that LeBron left for South Beach was to chase a ring. He realized that in Cleveland, his chance to win the Finals would be significantly less than going to team up with Wade and Bosh in Miami. It meant leaving his adoring fans (which would become his biggest detractors), family and home for the first time in his life, but he did it to win a Championship.

Try and remove yourself from hating this man for just a moment and think abut what he has done.

You have a genetic marvel that plays the game in a way no one else has. He has been told since he was 16 years old that he was “The Next Jordan.” He was the number one pick and the savior of a franchise that had just two Eastern Conference Finals appearances since its inception in 1970.

For seven years, “The Chosen One” showed why he had draw such comparisons to possibly the greatest player ever and in 2007 he helped the Cavs shock the Detroit Pistons and took Cleveland to their first NBA Finals ever. Granted, they ran into a much better Spurs team, but the world appeared to be at LeBron’s fingertips.

Unfortunately for Cleveland, they ran into Boston in 2008 but in 2009 they appeared primed to coronate the King.

They finished with a record of 66–16, the winningest season in the franchise’s history. The year marked other notable franchise records including a 13-game winning streak, and road and home winning records. The Cavs entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the NBA with home court advantage throughout the playoffs. They finished the season 39–2 at home, one win short of the best all-time home record. Head Coach Mike Brown won NBA Coach of the Year honors and LeBron finished second in the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award and won the NBA MVP. (And he did all of this without Wade and Bosh.)

LeBron was on the top of the sports world.

Just two years later he is the most vilified athletic figure on the planet. (Even the healing process with Tiger has begun.)

Tonight he returns to where it all began and will face 20,562 people at Quicken Loans Arena that want LeBron to know exactly how they feel.

I can’t say I blame them, but at the same time I can understand why LeBron left.

LeBron James may be the most talented player this league has seen since Jordan left the league and there is very fine line between “leaving home” to chase your dream and scorning your hometown fans to go live in South Beach with your friends.

To truly be in the conversation of best ever, you have to win championships. This is why Kobe Bryant will be discussed and players like Charles Barkley and Karl Malone will not.

There is no way to predict how tonight will go down, but I am fairly certain I will be one of the few rooting for a mutual breakup.

The Cleveland fans will boo every time LeBron touches the ball, but if he can feed off of the negative energy and play well while leading his team new team to victory, is it possible that some of this pain and anguish could be washed away?

Far-fetched I know. But crazy things have happened. Just ask Michael Vick.

The Miami Heat are a Joke

I would like to preface this post by saying that I am fully aware the regular season in the NBA means absolutely nothing and I also fully expect the Heat to get a top 3 seed in the playoffs.

I really want to avoid writing about the Miami Heat.  I swore I would do my best to not care what happens in South Beach all season. But with all that has unfolded 17 games into the season, I am like a kid in a candy store that simply can’t help himself.  I have made no bones about my dislike for LeBron James.  Maybe because he is also 25 years old and he gets to play basketball for a living and I get to come home from a day of work and write about him.  I, also, like Cleveland and the rest of America love that the Heat aren’t exactly off to a smooth start.  Back in July when this “team” was first assembled, many thought the Heat would win 73 games and cruise to a NBA title.  Now they are three losses away from ensuring that one of Michael’s greatest records stays intact at least for another season.

Sean recently posted Michael Jordan commercially slapping LeBron James in the face.  In that very commercial, Jordan is quoted as saying, “Maybe this is my fault. Maybe I led you to believe it’s easy when it wasn’t.” Jordan basically says that he worked every single day, as hard as he could, to be as great as he was.  The Heat clearly aren’t from the Jordan blueprint.

This is a direct contrast to what Chris Bosh recently said about the Miami Heat as a team.  When asked about head coach Erik Spolestra, Bosh said, “He wants to work. We just wanna chill.”  Really Chris? Has anyone who ever wanted to win a title ever uttered those words?  After a loss to the Celtics on their home court, LeBron told the media, pointing to the stat sheet, “For myself, 44 minutes is too much.” Granted my basketball playing days are limited to CYO basketball but I can never remember saying I played too many minutes. Seriously LeBron? You played too much? Do you want some cheese with that wine? Over the course of a year you have gone from an icon to nothing more than a baby who, in all honesty, is yet to really do anything notable when it comes to the game of basketball.

Even Dwayne Wade has joined Wine Fest.  After getting out to a 5-4 start, Wade was quoted as saying, “We are the best 5-4 team in the league.” Is there such a thing as a good 5-4 team?  I found myself most disappointed in Wade as I expect more out of him.  I have always viewed Wade as a hard nosed player who worked hard on his game going back to his days at Marquette.  LeBron gets no such sympathy from me as he is a diva in the worst way.  And Chris Bosh? Well, he has shown that he should have stayed in Canada where he flourished because nobody was paying attention.

LeBron has continued to make news for all the wrong reasons.  The other night in Dallas after a timeout LeBron bumped his head coach on the way to the bench.  He is quickly gaining the reputation as an uncoachable player.  It is only a matter of time before LeBron will have gotten 2 head coaches fired in less than a year.  At the time of this writing, news broke that “the Heat are frustrated with Erik Spoelstra.” Chris Broussard of ESPN broke the story, the same guy who broke the news that LeBron would sign with the heat.  The same guy that is from Ohio and covered LeBron since his high school days.  Basically, this is a move by LeBron’s awful public relations crew looking to pass blame onto someone else.  Are you surprised?

This debacle is nowhere near Spolestra’s fault.  Wade and James are the same exact player in that they both need the ball in their hands to be productive.  Chris Bosh is not willing to mix it up in the paint.  The Heat don’t have a big man, a point guard, or a bench.  They have three diva superstars that admit they don’t want to work on their games and would rather “bring their talents to South Beach and chill.”  LeBron has complained that coach Spolestra isn’t letting him be himself after Spolestra chewed out LeBron for not taking pre game warmups and practices seriously.  Spolestra is essentially Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking. Everything is going against him and none of it is his fault.  Every team needs a glue guy and the Heat’s (Udonis Haslem) is done for the season.

People will argue that LeBron never asked for all this attention.  At that notion I laugh like Heath Ledger in the Joker role.  LeBron proclaimed himself as King James as a freshman in high school.  Everyone loves to compare him to Jordan whether it is fair or not.  But LeBron asked for that.  The problem is he is not even close to being in the conversation as the greatest to play the game.

The Heat may be the most interesting team in the NBA. They have the big names, the glamour, and the huge target on their backs.  The problem is that don’t have what it takes to be contenders.  Until they put all their personal agendas aside, they will continue to be the car accident you can’t look away from. The Heat will continue to hang onto mediocrity in the Eastern Conference and face an untimely exit in the second round of the playoffs.

Jordan Steps Up And Gives Lebron A Media Facial

The only thing better than this would be to have Jordan actually putting Lebron in a “timeout” and scolding him like the child he is.  Nobody disrespects Jordan and something tells me when Jordan saw this whole Lebron saga soap opera that showed him picking Miami on live primetime TV that it made MJ a swirling dervish and when the Lebron’s commericial aired #23 went even more ballistic.  Normally I’m not a fan of people getting back at each other through the media but I have to say job-well-done to Jordan here.  I hope he is just as disgraced as I am that the NBA has become full of a bunch of pre-madonnas and overall just a ridiculous square dance.  The NBA and Lebron sucks….Long live the real king!

 

EDIT: I’ve been informed that this commercial came out before Lebron left Cleveland.  Sue me.  Either way, anyone who likes to smack Lebron in the nose deserves praise.  Who’s next on the list that consists of Jordan and Delonte?

The NBA = LAME: Technicals & Predictable

Alright, here’s the deal.  I have never been an NBA guy.  I am a self proclaimed “pink-hat” Celtics fan and only watch when NBA rings are on the line.  Even when the Celtics lost to the Lakers in that crucial game 7 last year, I simply turned off the TV and fell asleep.  I lost more Z’s when I found out Michael Scott was leaving The Office after this current season.  Anyhow, my point is that the NBA is more lame and predictable than white rice.

As if the NBA weren’t obnoxious enough, the powers at be decided that it would be a good idea to give someone a technical foul for disrespecting a referee.  You know what, for someone who has reffed and umpired I think this a great idea.  If you curse out a ref, blow the whistle.  Make inappropriate contact? I pity the fool, get Mr. T ready.  Whip a chair onto the court or touch Lebron’s mom?  Well, you get it…

Cracking down on this kind of stuff will keep the hooligans at bay, I love it.  Is this what “Donald” (thanks Mr. Mayor) Stern and the NBA suits talking about?  Surely no.  I feel that this NBA decision was derived by way of the manatee in the South Park episode that made fun of how Family Guy gets their material.  Here’s a portion of the new rule:

“We’re going to expand the universe of unsportsmanlike actions that will be penalized,” said NBA vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson. “They will include air-punching at an official. Waving him off as a sign of disrespect. Running up to an official from across the court to voice a complaint. Flailing arms in disbelief. Jumping up and down and pirouetting in disbelief or clapping sarcastically at an official. Those are some of the types of actions that really have no place in our game.” (SI.com)
Really? If you can’t handle a pirouette then turn in the zebra shirt.  The first time I heard this portion of the rule I literally thought it was a bad April fool’s joke.  I kept thinking to myself that there is no way a professional sports organization would resort to something as trivial as the above.  Boy was I wrong.  After I found out about this I vowed not to watch the NBA this season.  I’m going to stand true to this as best as humanly possible.  Tonight, I’m watching because I hate Lebron and if anyone can ruin his cute little parade to Miami, I want it to be Boston.  After tonight, who cares?
Tonight, I watched “an unnamed assistant coach” from the Miami bench get a technical because he stood up and turned his palms toward the sky after a travel call against Dwayne Wade.  Technical fouls should be reserved for game altering scenarios that are negative in nature.  Did that assistant coach change the tempo of the game?  No.  The NBA is run by a bunch of nerds who were picked on when they were in high school and now they are taking it out on bigger people “because they can.” Get real.
I’m also watching tonight to see how many Delonte West masks are in the crowd to taunt Lebron James.  This is an absolutely hilarious stunt put on by Toucher & Rich on the morning show for 98.5 the Sports Hub.  Off topic but, if you haven’t switched over to 98.5 from WEEI, do yourself a favor and get with the program.  All four programs exceed WEEI’s by leaps and bounds.  I do miss Dale and Holley a little bit but I’m over it.
To close things out, the NBA is beyond predictable.  At the beginning of the year you can pick out the top 4 teams that will contend for the title.  How many people thought back in April that Texas and San Francisco would be competing for a World Series?  Who’s the team to beat in the NFL this year?  Who is going to bring home the Stanley Cup?  Exactly, the answer to the previous questions are no one, no clue, and no clue.
The NBA can go suck eggs for all I care.  I’ll get my basketball fix from the NCAA as I prepare for March Madness glory/losing to that chick at the office who picked Butler to go a long way because her friend’s cousin’s boyfriend has a bulldog puppy and they are just the cutest thing.

The Event is Here

I have had today’s date marked on my calendar since approximately July 8 of this year.  On that night LeBron James made “the decision” to leave Cleveland and sign with the Miami Heat joining Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.  It is well documented that his move to broadcast his decision on ESPN in primetime might be one of the most laughable public relations gaffes in history.  A few days later the NBA released the 2010-2011 schedule with the Boston Celtics hosting the Miami Heat to tip off the season.  The day has finally arrived.  This is The Event, not to be confused with the sci-fi television show on NBC with poor acting.

I have been home from work all of ten minutes and have already changed into my Paul Pierce jersey.  Yes, I have fallen hook line and sinker for all the hype that tonight’s game brings.  I am mindful that in the grand scheme of things the game means absolutely nothing, yet I feel I am more excited for this game than I was Game 7 of last year’s NBA Finals.  Okay, maybe that using a bit of hyperbole.  But my hatred of LeBron James is well documented and there is nothing I’d like to see more than for the Celtics cool the Heat tonight.

Tonight starts the last run for the group of Celtics in their chase for Banner 18.  Their nucleus is aging but they still are among the elite in the game.  All reports out of Boston are that the guys are the healthiest they’ve been in a long time.  Paul Pierce is playing pain free, Garnett is running the court well an jumping through the roof, Shaq even looks to be in good shape.  The excitement is a mix of squaring off against a new rival and the realization that this is the beginning of the end for the Celts.

Last year we learned that the regular season means absolutely nothing in the NBA.  With that being said I still fully expect the Celtics to be “up” for games against the likes of the Heat and the Lakers.  Tonight is Miami’s first test.  Many questions will be answered.  Can the new big three co-exist?  Who’s team is this, LeBron or D-Wade?  Will the Heat be able to keep up with a roster as deep as the Celtics?  Did Gloria James (LeBron’s mom)  sleep at Delonte West’s house last night?

With about two hours until game time I am like a three year old after drinking a gallon of Mountain Dew, more excited than Jessie Spano, and am filled with adrenaline. The Miami Heat will begin and end their season in Boston.  That road starts tonight.   At long last, October 26 is here.  The NBA season is about to begin.  Tonight we will witness The Event.

LETS GO CELTICS!!!

Sorry Cleveland…You Just Couldn’t Get It Done

I’m just off of a great trip with my buddies down in Myrtle Beach.  Apparently no one decided to hold up the blog while I was gone, so I apologize for the gap in posts but now I’m back in action.

Dear Cleveland Cavaliers,

LeBron James provided you a seven year window to provide him the necessary level of talent to win an NBA Championship.  But, instead of giving King James a bit of support, you decided to try and let him prove that he was the best player in the NBA by attempting to win a championship on his own.  Now don’t get me wrong, LeBron by his lonesome got you guys pretty close, but the supporting cast was never present.  Throughout LeBron’s seven years in Cleveland, his best co-stars consisted of Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Larry Hughes, Mo Williams, an old Shaq, and half of a season with Antawn Jamison.  If you put all of those players on a team with LeBron at one time, then you have a realistic shot at winning an NBA Championship.  But, spreading that motley crew out over a seven year span really provided James with barely any supporting cast in his quest for a title.

That being said, I believe that the new super team formed in Miami is an amazing thing for the NBA.  Not only will fans be interested in the Miami Heat throughout the entire 82 game season, but can you imagine how many people would tune in to watch a Miami vs. Orlando or a Miami vs. Boston Eastern Conference Finals series.  I don’t know if one could even predict the television ratings a Miami vs. Los Angeles NBA Finals would receive.  I personally am looking very much forward to seeing the fourth quarter of a close game with the Heat this upcoming season.  LeBron, D-Wade, and Chris Bosh have all shown the ability to dominate games when time is winding down and the score is tight, but putting all of those players on one time is going to make for some very exciting basketball, and some astonishing fourth quarters.  I am very supportive of LeBron’s decision and actually believe that it is a rarity in today’s sports world.  All players say that they want to win, but if that was true, then why don’t more players make decisions like this.  Why wouldn’t MLB/NFL/NHL players take a bit of a pay cut and join fellow All-Star’s to create super teams?  When it comes down to wins or paychecks, the vast majority of the time players choose paychecks.  LeBron is one of the few superstars ever to ignore the biggest paycheck and make a decision based solely on the opportunity to win championships.  Good job, LeBron, your decision is a good one in my book.

On a side note, the Trail Blazers traded for Ryan Gomes on draft day, and to free up some cap space have recently waived him.  If Gomes does not end up back in Boston, the men in green have officially lost me as a fan forever.  Not to mention they drafted the biggest bitch in Notre Dame history.

And by the way Cleveland fans, I understand your bitterness, but are you seriously burning LeBron James jerseys?  This guy just left it all on the court for your city for the last seven seasons and you can’t be happy at the success he brought your previously dreadful team?  You drafted LeBron James because you were the WORST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE!  Your team had the best record in the NBA over the past two seasons.  If Tom Brady left New England, or Peyton Manning left Indy, or Albert Pujols left St. Louis I would never expect those fans to act in such a disrespectful way.  To all the Cleveland fans acting like BABIES, you are pathetic and don’t deserve to have a winning team for the rest of your lives.

Free Agency 2010

With the ever-anticipated (cue the movie trailer guy’s voice) “free agent summit” quickly approaching, I figured that it was only fitting to take my NFL mock draft expertise into the realm of the NBA.  The weight of several NBA franchise’s, and their success, are relying heavily on the destination of many top free agents this off-season.  With big-time names such as Dwyane Wade, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Carlos Boozer, Ray Allen, and oh yeah that guy James or something; underperforming teams with cap space are salivating over the possibility of luring one of these players to their lowly organization.

There are numerous teams that would love to sign any one of the aforementioned players, but there are a select number of teams that have the space (and/or players to sign-and-trade) to actually make some things happen.  Barring any unforeseen occurrences, the teams that should be big players in free agency are the New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, and the Chicago Bulls.  All of those teams have at least $18 million in cap space (with New York having a whopping $32 million and New Jersey $26 million).  Some wild card teams that could get in to the mix are the Dallas Mavericks (especially with the impending loss of Dirk Nowitzki), Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, and Los Angeles Clippers.  So, with that being said, here is how I see the summer of 2010 panning out:

Lebron James

Arguably the most coveted free agent of all-time (I actually have no idea if that is true, but he at least has to be in the conversation).  Lebron just completed his seventh NBA season and has yet to win an NBA championship (although Jordan didn’t win one until his seventh season).  James allegedly covets winning a title, but I believe that he is a bit more selfish than he lets on.  James has said that he wants to be the first billion dollar athlete, so money is obviously a driving force in James’ decision.  Unlike other players (see Dwyane Wade the last three seasons) the Cavaliers have done almost everything that they can to give Lebron players around him.  They signed Mo Williams when the Cavs didn’t have a point guard (although he is a terrible fit on that team), the traded for Antawn Jamison at the deadline this season to make that title push, and they acquired Shaq in the off-season to try and get Lebron what he wanted (although Shaq is also a terrible fit).  I expect Lebron to maybe wait for a bit when free agency begins to see what moves, if any, that the Cavaliers make.  But, I believe that the best fit for Lebron, the opportunity for him to make the most money, and where he is most welcomed by the fans is right back home in Cleveland.

Big Winner: Cleveland Cavaliers

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade was lucky enough to win an NBA Championship in his third season in the league (2005-2006) with the assistance of the Big Shaq-tus.  But, since that season, the Miami Heat have experienced very little success.  Former second overall pick Michael Beasley hasn’t lived up to expectations…and apart from him the Heat have no other big-time players.  Mario Chalmers is a decent young point guard, but he is not nearly enough to entice D-Wade back to Miami.  Allegedly, Wade has given Pat Riley a “wish list” of players that he would like to see in Miami, and almost certainly among those names is King James.  But, with James returning to Cleveland, the chances of Wade returning to Miami are diminishing.  Just imagine this…with ten seconds left in the game, All-Star point guard Derrick Rose brings the ball up the court and dishes to D-Wade for the victory…sounds good to me.

Big Winner: Chicago Bulls

Joe Johnson

I think that Joe Johnson has made his intentions pretty clear over the past couple of weeks, he wants to get paid.  If Johnson really wanted to win, he would re-sign with the best young team in the NBA.  But, after being stuck in Atlanta over the last five seasons (three of which they were terrible) you can understand his desire to money and the spotlight.  Johnson can certainly score the basketball, but his game has developed into more one-on-one play than team basketball.  That is why Johnson, reunited with his former coach in Phoenix Mike D’Antoni, would be a great piece for the Knicks to add alongside Danilo Gallinari.  This isn’t the Lebron James or Dwayne Wade that Knicks fans (really Spike Lee considering he is one of the few faithful Knicks fans) wanted, but Johnson would certainly contribute some more wins to one of the NBA’s worst teams.

Big Winner: New York Knicks

Chris Bosh

If there is one player that I am certain will not return to his current team, it is Chris Bosh.  Bosh has been stuck in Toronto for the first seven years of his career, and with a consistently bad team I’m sure that he is sick of Canada.  Similarly to all of the free agents, I’m sure that Chris Bosh is looking to get paid, but I also gets the sense that he values winning very highly.  What better way to win (and get paid pretty well) than to put two of the top ten players in the league on one team for the next 5-7 years?  Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are perfect complementary players to each other.  Bosh doesn’t need to touch the ball every possession.  The offense does not have to go through him.  He does a great job of controlling the paint, cleaning the glass, and then when you do throw it down to him he knows what to do with the ball.  He is also a great passer for a big man.  Wow, those traits sound very similar to Shaq in 2005-2006.  Dwyane realizes his need for a skilled big man, and has been dying for it in Miami.  Now that he is in Chi-town, he will do all he can to convince Bosh to head there too.  Don’t worry about cap space either.  The Bulls have several young players that have value and are tradable (for example Kirk Heinrich and Luol Deng).

Big Winner: Chicago Bulls

Amare Stoudemire

At the conclusion of the 2009-2010 NBA regular season, I though it was a sure thing that Amare would no longer be a Phoenix Sun after they were quickly bounced from the playoffs.  But, after a run to the Western Conference Finals, I am no longer so certain.  Why leave a team that has Steve Nash running the point and a good young nucleus around you (Robin Lopez, Channing Frye, and Jared Dudley)?  I’m sure Amare will think long and hard about this decision, but it wasn’t too long ago when Amare was disgruntled at not getting a contract extension and was asking for a trade behind closed doors.  Not to mention the fact that Amare has been playing like a man possessed since the trade deadline (averaging 26 points and 9 rebounds since), who is to say that he can play like that for an entire season?  Anyway, I think Amare is ready for a change of scenery, for the spotlight to be on him, and to be reunited with former coach Mike D’Antoni and newest Knick Joe Johnson.

Big Winner: New York Knicks

Dirk Nowitzki, Carlos Boozer, and Ray Allen

Why did I just couple three free agents together?  It would be in their best interest to return to their current team.  The Dallas Mavericks (or the Dallas Mark Cuban’s) have spent the last twelve seasons dealing with Nowitzki and his inability to show up in a big game.  Lets just get this out of the way…I despise Dirk Nowitzki.  There seems to be an overwhelming problem with European players flopping all over the court, and Nowitzki is the cover boy.  He’s either fading away onto the floor, complaining to the ref about being a bitch, or doing an awkward fist pump and smiling with a mouthpiece that is about three sizes too big.  Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but I can’t stand him.  The Mavericks have essentially invested the entire success of the team on Nowitzki, building around him for the last 6-8 years.  No other team, or fan base, would let Dirk get away with not winning a big game, and Mark Cuban knows that he needs to dole out some cash to keep the big German around.  Carlos Boozer has been rumored in trade talks over the last three seasons.  He has run into some injury problems, or has been the victim of Deron Williams being hurt and nobody being able to get him the ball.  Sadly for Carlos Boozer, I still see the Jazz being the best fit for him.  Jerry Sloan is a great coach, and knows how to work a PG-PF combination (do I even have to say it…Stockton-Malone).  Boozer will search for more money, but I fully expect him back in Utah for the 2010-2011 season.  There is no doubt in my mind that Ray Allen could get more money this off-season from a team other than the Celtics.  Consider a team like Houston that loses out on the big-name free agents, but finds it necessary to grab a player to appease their fan base.  Or maybe a team like the Los Angeles Clippers.  Anyway, if Ray wanted more money, he could certainly get it, but I still think he’ll end up back in Boston.  Ray seems comfortable in Boston, comfortable with his role in the offense, comfortable with his teammates, and most importantly comfortable with his family being here.  Expect Ray to abandon the $12 million he could pick up from a desperate franchise, and jump all over the $8-10 million that the Celts will offer him.

Big Winner: Current Team (Dallas, Utah, Boston respectively)

Big Losers: New Jersey Nets, L.A. Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards (although John Wall will help with the sorrow)

Maybe next time Jay…