Congratulations to Pat Riley and the Miami Heat. You have put together a very competitive team that should be fun to watch in the coming years.

Lost in all the hype is the fact that The NY Knicks have been part of a public corporation — the incompetent Cablevision (CVC), an $8 billion dollar telecommunications and media firm. They are also the largest holder of MSG Inc. (MSG), which now controls the Madison Square Garden arena, and the New York Knicks, along with the TV rights. (MSG was spun off from CVC in February 2010).

There may be no more hapless, pathetic, incompetent owners of any team since MSG was founded in 1874. Long suffering Knick’s fans have be watched the team mismanaged into basketball irrelevancy. Since the Patrick Ewing era ended, incompetent management has been unable to field a competitive squad, retain a top flight coach, achieve any success in the playoffs, been unable to attract and retain all-star talent. The inability to attract Lebron James to New York is merely the cherry on a failure cake.

CVC/MSG must pay for their sins: Cablevision’s credit ratings should be downgraded, their bonds sold, their stock shorted. Merely having their senior management resign in disgrace is insufficient; their gross failures should result in Seppuku, their disemboweled bodies buried in a pet cemetary. Season ticket holders should be given free grief counseling. MSG and the Knicks should be sold to some organization that is actually familiar with Sports.


~~~

One last note: Cleveland Cavalier owner Dan Gilbert turned an absurd media spectacle in a competition to see who could demonstrate the least poise and class. Congratulations, you won.

As to your boast that you will win a championship (without Lebron) before Lebron does, I have a $100,000 on Miami over Cleveland. Care to put your money where your mouth is . . . ?

Category: Corporate Management, Sports

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

52 Responses to “Congrats to Miami; About the NY Knicks . . .”

  1. wally says:

    Hell knows no fury like a loser sports fan. Hey, welcome to Vikingsville.

  2. Invictus says:

    What BR said — every last word of it. I’ve been a long-suffering Knicks fan — and reluctant Cablevision customer — for many years. Many years ago, via Usenet groups (anyone remember those?), I got friendly with Larry Coon, who ultimately put together the definitive FAQ on the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. When I came to understand exactly how badly mismanaged the Knicks franchise was (and still is), I could take it no more. The Dolans may be the worst owners in the history of organized sports, along with being poor managers of their own cable/media company. I happily gave up my share in Knicks season tickets. Have not missed it a bit. No longer watch. Harbored zero illusion that Lebron would come to work for them. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Furthest thing from my mind. There is, of course, the larger story of what’s happened to the NBA in general, but that’s another thread. Bottom line — I’m on strike until the Dolans sell to a legitimate owner.

    And, @Wally, I happen to be a Vikings fan, too.

  3. EAR says:

    Gilbert is a tool of the highest order. That letter was a disgrace. How much money did he make you again, moron?

    About the Knicks…

    Sports can be a fluid thing, but, unless they have a cunning and stunning (Frazierism) Plan B, they’re dead.

    Lebron wants to be a billionaire. He considers himself a shrewd businessman. From what I hear, this is a possible plan which will stretch the misery of Knicks fans (myself included) for another decade…

    In order for the Lebron brand to be legit, the needs a title or two. Lebron signs a 5 year contract with the Heat with an opt out in 3. He, Wade, Bosh, a 3 point shooter, a shot blocking/rebounding big man, and 7 NBDL players win 1 – 3 titles in 3 years. Lebron opts out and heads for the Nets, who are majority owned by a russian multi-billionaire to whom money is no object; part owned by Jay Z, a Lebron buddy and a marketing machine with street cred; and will be in Brooklyn (!!!) in a new arena that makes MSG look like Shea.

    So, what shall we write on the Knicks tombstone?

  4. JustinTheSkeptic says:

    The NBA sucks ever since they threw the rule book out and let Marketing take over!

  5. louiswi says:

    Unless LeBron has the necessary surgery, he won’t be a billionaire or won’t be one for long. What surgery you say? The one where they sever the nerves between the brain and the penis.

  6. Transor Z says:

    Sometimes the best trade is the one you DON’T make. Not that Knicks management deserves any credit one way or the other. You guys SERIOUSLY want Lebron on your team — cap issues, lack of guts and all?

    Red Sox fans were bullshit when they couldn’t sign A-Rod for the 2004 season. How did that work out?

  7. abkaplan says:

    And you’re coming to this conclusion now? As a native New Yorker and Knicks fan, the team has been dead to me ever since Dolan brought in the “brilliant” Isaiah Thomas to coach – then manage – the Knicks to destruction.

    On the actual financial side, Cablevision’s days should be numbered. The Yankees, Mets, Jets, Giants, and Nets all host their games on other networks, leaving MSG with the bottom of the barrel. Their cable service is mediocre at best, and they are bleeding customers to Verizon FIOS.

    How do they make money, then? I can only speculate:
    a) The Knicks are still NY’s basketball team, and NY businesses still have clients to entertain. How else are they still selling tickets? Once the Nets/LeBron move to Brooklyn, that might change…
    b) Cablevision retains customers by force. I myself live in an apartment that doesn’t allow satellite dishes to be permanently attached, and Verizon still hasn’t hooked up our building to FIOS. Even without TV, I still rely on them for internet (the only alternative is DSL – enough said). Thank you FCC for still allowing localized monopolies like this.
    c) MSG network doesn’t cost much to run, so even low ratings pull a profit.

  8. rktbrkr says:

    God, I hope this means this Lebron story is over, Lebron ad nauseam!

  9. rktbrkr says:

    I guess the ultimate conclusion to this is to have Lebron pull a Plaxico Burress in a Southbeach club.

  10. Chief Tomahawk says:

    Wow!

    Isiah Thomas blew up in their face to be sure, and he left the organization’s “hands tied” with the moves he made for several years.

    Beyond that, many teams were competing for the same small pool of talented players this offseason. It’s not just the Knicks who came up short. Besides, Miami has weather and a travel destination unlike New York, New Jersey, Cleveland, Chicago, etc.

    ESPN took the pulse of their NBA writers and the early consensus is the Lakers are still a better team than the Heat is now. With the Heat now against the cap, how do they acquire a player or two more to make them better than the Lakers?

  11. BTUR says:

    “There may be no more hapless, pathetic, incompetent owners of any team since MSG was founded in 1874.”

    Now, obviously NY is the center of the known universe, so of course only things in NY are important….but I hope you’re aware of the exaggeration here. Otherwise, you’d really be trying to argue that their ownership is worse than say, the Warriors or Clippers….

    Not saying Knicks ownership is good or anything, just trying to throw out a little perspective here.

    “You guys SERIOUSLY want Lebron on your team — cap issues, lack of guts and all?

    Red Sox fans were bullshit when they couldn’t sign A-Rod for the 2004 season. How did that work out?”

    @Transor Z – you should probably keep your analysis to the sports you [may] know. Basketball isn’t baseball. Wins are fungible in baseball – lose a superstar, you can replace their wins in a variety of ways, and a win is a win on the free agent market (in terms of prices). Basketball isn’t like that. Your top 2-4 players determine how good you are. Superstars win in the NBA, there are very few of them, and Lebron is, far and away, the best player in the league. Especially given that there’s a cap on superstars salaries in the NBA so they aren’t even paid their worth (that’s what they mean when they say “max deals”)….yes, anyone that knows anything about basketball realizes that Lebron is the single most valuable asset in the NBA. The Knicks would be a whole lot better off right now if they weren’t wasting all that money on a one-dimensional injury waiting to happen who isn’t even better than David Lee….

    There were 3 true superstars on the market this year. One of them is an all-time superstar. The Heat walked away with all 3 of them. All the other teams making a play for them lost out big time.

  12. BTUR says:

    “ESPN took the pulse of their NBA writers and the early consensus is the Lakers are still a better team than the Heat is now. With the Heat now against the cap, how do they acquire a player or two more to make them better than the Lakers?”

    Well, ESPN is selling TV. They’re no different than political/financial pundits. Simply put, they’re wrong. Objective research suggests role players have very little impact on how good your team is – it’s all about your top players. The Heat are now the best team in the NBA, and probably the best team since the Bulls. Lebron, Wade and Bosh are all bonafide superstars, and all 3 are possibly better than any player on the Lakers (though Gasol is probably slightly better than Bosh).

  13. Bokolis says:

    Leaving aside all the other bungling, that they’d been planning a run at LBJ for 2 years, yet couldn’t put together a game plan to make a legitimate run at him, should tell you all you need to know about the Knicks organization.

    Running a cable company hardly prepares you for running a legitimate business, much less a sports franchise. Unlike Dolan’s cable territories, sports fans, no matter how rabid, are not a captive audience.

    It’s no coincidence that, historically, both Garden teams have been among their respective sport’s less successful franchises.

    That said, chasing the ring is something you do when you’re on the way out, not at 25. But, LBJ figures he’s got nothing better to do while he waits around for the Nets to build an arena in Brooklyn…good luck getting that to happen.

  14. Cynic_FA says:

    Never a real chance that Lebron was going to the Knicks, so I don’t understand the outburst of frustration. You did get Isaih thomas from our Piston legacy team, all we got was Jow Dumars and six Eastern Division championship competitions in a row.

    You cannot mention incompetent professional team owners without mentioning the Detroit Lions. This pathetic imitator of an NFL team had the perfect 0-16 winless season in 2008 and went 33 wins and 111 losses since the last winning season in 2000. The Ford family who owns the Lions can only be considerred succesful in business because they did not take a government bailout and file bankruptcy like GM. Ford stock return from a peak of $64 in 1987 to $10.67 today is a clear loser relative to the CVC move from $6.66 in 1987 to $25.63 today.

    When it comes to who is the worst, New york teams are not the best. For really stinky NBA teams I usually think of the Dallas Mavericks and LA Clippers of the 80′s and 90′s.

  15. jack says:

    as a native and current clevelander, all i can say is that this was a kick in the gut. i had a lot of respect for lebron up until about 4 days ago. until then i was of the opinion that he had every right to make the career decision he had earned. and, even though i wouldn’t be happy about a decision to move on elsewhere, i would have respected that choice. but the way he turned up the hype in the last few days, and the way he chose to inform a city/region that has been very supportive of him….well, that will leave a bitter taste that may never go away. i have only slightly less respect for gilbert. his point that this delivers the wrong message to the fans, particularly young ones, could be equally applicable to the tone of his letter. i am done with this franchise and the nba for the near future.

  16. Transor Z says:

    @BTUR: How is the Heat 4-12? Easy on the ad hominem. It’s not like I’m alone in questioning whether the Heat has the depth to win. When you say Lebron is the single most valuable asset in the NBA, I don’t disagree. Key word is “single.” We’ll see what happens.

  17. catman says:

    With the exception of one brief shining moment the Knicks have sucked for as long as I have been alive. Looking back fondly on the Ewing (boring ball hog) and Starks (head case) era is a measure of their ineptitude. And the front office has been even worse.

  18. BTUR says:

    “How is the Heat 4-12?”

    Well the point is it’s almost entirely irrelevant. If it was Lebron alone, questioning the supporting cast is completely legitimate. Wade and Bosh is the difference. Those 3 don’t need a supporting cast, they’re all among the very best players in the game. Your core determines how good you are, and Miami’s core is so much better than every other team that role players and backups just aren’t going to be the difference. Basically, when your top players determine something along the lines of 85% how good you are, and your top players are that much better than everyone else’s (which the Heat’s are), the last 15% really doesn’t affect the outcome. Plus the supporting cast only has to fulfill a couple of very specific roles, and it’s easy enough to find limited players who can do 1-2 things, which isn’t enough for a normal team, but is plenty for a team like the Heat.

  19. mbelardes says:

    Lakers > Celtics > Magic > Bulls > Miami

    See a problem with this? Miami isn’t even the best in the East. I wouldn’t bet $100,000 on LeBron simply because if they can’t get out of the East, he could potentially never win one. The guy has another 7-14 years left while the Cavs potentially have eternity to win one. You also are seriously miscalculating the risk of injury to Wade, Bosh, and LeBron and its impact on the team or a career ending injury to LeBron.

    HOWEVER, God Himself hates Cleveland Sports so I would say that the odds are on your side that Cleveland will never win one … ever … in any sport. Maybe that fact alone makes the bet a wise move.

    As for Dan Gilbert, he is well within his right on this. Barry, if you hired me to work for you and I said two years ago that once my contract is up that it will be a huge day for everyone and then I gave up on you a few times when you needed me most, wouldn’t you have a right to publicly call me out if I held a 1 hour press conference to announce to the world that I gave you my best but would be taking my talents to the Vampire Squid because of how hard I work and I want to win?

    LeBron suffers from a serious case of hubris. Someone should slap some reality into him. If he thinks going to Miami will land a trophy in his lap and a ring on his hand the way he gave himself his own moniker, he has another thing coming to him.

  20. john6pack says:

    @BTUR “Superstars win in the NBA, there are very few of them, and Lebron is, far and away, the best player in the league.”

    The second part of this sentence is not consistent with the first. If he was that much better than everyone else, he would have won at least won one NBA finals. Instead, he’s only made a couple of appearances. I’m no Kobe fan, but he’s the best player in the league if you combine stats with rings.

    So you say you don’t just need a superstar but a good second banana to win the finals? Agreed. And that’s what Lebron is. Potentially the greatest 2nd banana ever. He just doesn’t have the heart and mind of a champ, that ruthless will to win. Wants to be loved. Spends too much time practicing half court shots and dusting up talcum powder. He needs DWade, who will be the leader of that team. Lebron is Arod and Dwade is Jeter.

    The Cleveland owner’s outburst lacked class, but it didn’t lack accuracy. Lebron quit on that team.

  21. mbelardes says:

    @BTUR

    “Miami’s core is so much better than every other team that role players and backups just aren’t going to be the difference.”

    Ridiculous comment. I’ve never seen a team that won a championship by the efforts of 3 players alone, especially not in basketball.

    This is insulting to every team that has won an NBA Championship in the last decade … possibly ever. As a Laker Fan that has watched us win 5 of 7 appearances in recent history, even I can tell you that the reasons we won those wasn’t ONLY thanks to Shaq/Kobe and Kobe/Gasol.

    Fisher and Artest won 2 of the 4 for us this last one.

    Role Players and Backups and Defense is what wins Championships in the NBA.

  22. john6pack says:

    “Role Players and Backups and Defense is what wins Championships in the NBA.”

    I could not agree more. Robert Horry has more rings than anyone. Your core players get you there, but this is what wins them.

    Maybe the Heat get lucky and find some unexpected gems when they sign their role players. Maybe not. Will be interesting to see.

  23. The Curmudgeon says:

    Have a 6pack on me John. Kudos. Lebron’s not only not the best player in the league, he won’t even be the most valuable player for the Heat.

    Kobe’s the best right now, and the real MVP, and I’m a Celtics fan.

    And until the Heat win it all w/ Dwade and his big sidekick, Lebron, the best team in the NBA is the Lakers, then the Celtics. Gotta do it on the court before it counts. All the rest of this speculating is just fantasy basketball.

    And quit whining New York. For Christ’s sake, root for your other hometown team if you don’t like the Knicks, unless you’ve got something against Russian oligarchs. The city owns baseball and is hardly an also ran in football. Get over it if you have a lull between your good seasons.

  24. BTUR says:

    “The second part of this sentence is not consistent with the first. If he was that much better than everyone else, he would have won at least won one NBA finals. Instead, he’s only made a couple of appearances. I’m no Kobe fan, but he’s the best player in the league if you combine stats with rings.”

    Well, if you’re not interested in being objective, sure. If you are, go to basketball-reference and look at what the Lakers did when Kobe didn’t have serious talent around him (Shaq/Gasol on the Lakers were legitimate superstars and the best player on the team), and think about how much weight your argument actually carries. Lebron is the best player in the league. He’s not good enough to win on his own against teams with multiple superstars, nor is anyone else. Kobe’s stats, by the way, really aren’t as good as people make them out to be. Things like scoring efficiency matter a lot to winning basketball games.

    “Lakers > Celtics > Magic > Bulls > Miami”

    Laughable.

    “This is insulting to every team that has won an NBA Championship in the last decade … possibly ever. As a Laker Fan that has watched us win 5 of 7 appearances in recent history, even I can tell you that the reasons we won those wasn’t ONLY thanks to Shaq/Kobe and Kobe/Gasol.

    Fisher and Artest won 2 of the 4 for us this last one.

    Role Players and Backups and Defense is what wins Championships in the NBA.”

    Defense is half the game. No doubt. It’s also something I consider when pegging someone as a “superstar” (and why the likes Amare or Boozer aren’t close to being a superstar). Any sort of objective study on this has demonstrated that your top players determine how good you are. Don’t confuse a couple of big 3′s by Fisher for actually winning the game – in a 100 point game, 2 shots really aren’t what win it. It might appear to make the difference, for instance if two teams cores (which usually determine around 80% of how successful you are) are evenly matched, then yeah, the last 20% the rest of the team makes the difference and might “look” like it won the game….but what the core did still made a much bigger impact. Just looking at Artest and Fisher, did you see what happened when guys like that joined the Warriors or Kings? Yeah, not much for those franchises. Just remember – Top 3 players 80%, rest of the roster 20% (I pegged the Heat at 85% since their 3 are so good).

    “Robert Horry has more rings than anyone. Your core players get you there, but this is what wins them.”

    Well, yeah, generally when you reach the Finals the other team has a very good core, too, often comparable to yours. It happens. In a way I guess this statement could be in agreement with what I’m saying. That said, nobody has a core comparable to Lebron/Wade/Bosh.

    “Kobe’s the best right now, and the real MVP, and I’m a Celtics fan.”

    Well, in a world where what’s good for Wall St is good for America, sure. If you want to take ESPN more seriously than you’d take all the financial pundits out there, go for it, but there’s really no objective argument for this whatsoever.

    “Lebron’s not only not the best player in the league, he won’t even be the most valuable player for the Heat…And until the Heat win it all w/ Dwade and his big sidekick, Lebron, the best team in the NBA is the Lakers, then the Celtics. Gotta do it on the court before it counts.”

    Well, he’s the best player on the Heat, I’d guess he’d be the most valuable, but it depends on the roles each player takes. Wade and Bosh are both good enough that they can take a bigger role than Lebron and the team will still thrive. So sure, it could happen. As for the second part….well, until the subprime bubble collapses, it’s great for America, right? That we haven’t reached the point where they win it yet doesn’t disqualify them from being the best right now.

    @mbelardes

    I understand you’re upset, rightfullly so, but come on….a little over the top bitter? Lebron is marketing himself. As they say in the celebrity world, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. He was expanding his image. I didn’t like it, nor did I care to watch, but no need to hate on him for it. As for the “quitting” part….really? He gave you guys 7 great years while your management failed to give him any sort of a supporting cast, he carried that franchise by himself to pretty successful levels (though no championship, obviously), made the owner tons of money, and you’re going to treat him like that?

  25. [...] And here's another fellow disgusted customer of the NY Knicks franchise, Barry Ritholtz, on the failure to attract LeBron… There may be no more hapless, pathetic, incompetent owners of [...]

  26. john6pack says:

    @BTUR you make some good points but I’m not buying it. “He gave you guys 7 great years while your management failed to give him any sort of a supporting cast, he carried that franchise by himself to pretty successful levels”

    That no supporting casts claim is hindsight. At one point people were talking about Danny Ferry for executive of the year because of the talent they put around Lebron.

    http://www.recordpub.com/news/sports_article/4781154?page=0

    It was only when they failed to win the championship that people resumed the “no supporting cast” argument. True I’d rather have someone else than Mo Williams and Jamison but they looked like good moves at the time. They had the best regular season record two years in a row for chrissake!

    But then they fail in playoffs, with their superstar player quitting on them, and somehow he is free of blame and it’s the sidekicks and management’s fault?

  27. Machiavelli999 says:

    LOL, when did this become a sports blog??

    Anyway, as someone who has actually lived in Cleveland, I must tell you the people of Cleveland are 100% behind Gilbert right now. Yes, Lebron didn’t own anything to Dan Gilbert and he was free to do what he wanted to do.

    But the way he did this and the way he dragged it out, well Bill Simmons put it best:

    “What a week for LeBron’s brand. I just hope he remembers to wipe the blood off the knife after he pulls it from Cleveland’s back.”

  28. Machiavelli999 says:

    Lebron’s supporting cast these past two years were better than any supporting cast Jordan ever had.

  29. apollo_creed says:

    @ john6pack
    “So you say you don’t just need a superstar but a good second banana to win the finals? Agreed. And that’s what Lebron is. Potentially the greatest 2nd banana ever. He just doesn’t have the heart and mind of a champ, that ruthless will to win. Wants to be loved. Spends too much time practicing half court shots and dusting up talcum powder. He needs DWade, who will be the leader of that team. Lebron is Arod and Dwade is Jeter.”

    This is such BS. Arod is far and away a better player than Jeter. Offense. Defense. Career. Postseason. However you slice it. Look at the numbers.

    Jeter should have moved from SS because Arod was probably the best defensive SS in the league when he came over. Instead it was defer to “The Captain” and all sorts of other bull. This crap has been going on for over five years now. You’d think NYC would be happy to have one of the 10 best hitters of all time, but instead they’d prefer to slobber over Jeter.

  30. jack says:

    i am sure this was not the primary factor, but i am sure it didn’t hurt:

    Florida has no state income tax and Ohio’s is six percent. James would have to pay out-of-state income tax for most of his 41 road games per season, but none of his home games. That is a difference that could save James millions over the next five years when also including his endorsement earnings, which are believed to be about $15-20 million per year.

    another rust belt job moving to the sun belt.

  31. The Curmudgeon says:

    Hmm. No objective argument for Kobe being the best in the business right now? Five rings mean nothing, I suppose. And that finals MVP thing should be ignored? The Celtics shut down Lebron. Not so Kobe. How much more objectivity is necessary?

  32. BTUR says:

    Still not buying the arguments centered around ideas that simply don’t hold up to close scrutiny. The supporting cast around Lebron thing is not purely hindsight, it was easy to see upon close analysis that most of the moves simply weren’t that good. Jamison is the exact type of player the press loves to overrate – shoots a lot to get his points, but doesn’t score efficiently and doesn’t contribute in any other ways. He can’t guard 3′s, he can’t guard 4′s, he isn’t a good rebounder, not a good scorer, doesn’t create for his teammates….in short, he doesn’t play winning basketball, and that was apparently at the time, but people love to look at PPG….so whatever. Mo Williams is a solid enough player, but hardly a #2, or even #3 for a good team. Shaq is still good in spurts, but is obviously old, has injury issues, can’t effectively play both offense and defense (often has to choose between one or the other), and can’t give you substantial minutes. Good addition to deal with guys like Dwight, but again, just not the #2 or #3 guy you need next to Lebron. They’ve been good because of Lebron. Lebron is that good. Danny Ferry for executive of the year? Nah. Not upon real analysis. I will note the Cavs have been a good defensive team, though, so he does get some credit for that (as does Lebron, since nobody else has to spend much energy on offense and can commit to D instead). At least next year will support my stance when the Cavs suck really, really bad and the Heat dominate…..

    “Lebron’s supporting cast these past two years were better than any supporting cast Jordan ever had.”

    I’ll take this part as sarcasm, if for no other reason than Scottie Pippen. As for your other point, well, fair enough – as long as you recognize that the whole media thing probably did grow Lebron’s brand, but you still don’t like it, I guess I don’t see a problem with that. :)

  33. BTUR says:

    “Five rings mean nothing, I suppose. And that finals MVP thing should be ignored? The Celtics shut down Lebron. Not so Kobe. How much more objectivity is necessary?”

    So because he has a talented team that means he’s the best? That’s supposed to be an objective argument? Finals MVP for the most popular player on the winning team? No way! The Celtics didn’t shut down Kobe? Did you watch the Finals? Scoring efficiency matters, and it matters a lot. Kobe almost shot the Lakers out of the series. Shooting a lot is not the same as scoring well/effectively.

    Just for those pesky objective facts, Lebron averaged 26.8 points per game on an efficient 55.6% TS% with 9.3 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game against the Celtics. Kobe averaged 28.6 points per game on an inefficient 52.8% TS% with 8 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game against the Celtics. Basically, you’re equating team success (and the Lakers are a very, very talented team, Gasol is one of the best players in the game, and Bynum, Odom and Artest are all very good players as well, better than anyone on the Cavs) with individual performance. Once you get past giving Kobe credit for his teammates talent, there really isn’t an argument left in his favor. Hurray for turning TBP into a sports blog!

  34. [...] And here’s another fellow disgusted customer of the NY Knicks franchise, Barry Ritholtz, on the failure to attract LeBron… There may be no more hapless, pathetic, incompetent owners [...]

  35. john6pack says:

    Lebron signed off on all those trades. They might have had a better chance of luring top free agents to join the Cavs if his last contract hadn’t been so short and he hadn’t openly fueled speculation that he’d be leaving the team in 2010. This was his plan all along. His lame act in the conference finals the last couple of years just made it that much easier to walk out.

    Go back to the 2008 Olympics. Who took over the game while all the other superstars deferred? Kobe.

    This is not the kind of thing that shows up in stats.

    My teams is the Mavs. As much as I love Nowitzski and think he is a great player, I fear that he doesn’t have the makeup that it takes to lead his team to a championship. DWade does and that’s part of the reason they beat the Mavs in the ’06 finals. I bet Lebron wins a championship in Miami, but it will be with DWade’s leading his team through the fire, not LbJ. The stats won’t show it but it will be plainly evident, just as the true nature of the self-professed “King” James is.

  36. drey says:

    Sorry, Curmudgeon, but 6 for 24 shooting in game 7 does indeed constitute a shut down of Kobe by the Celts. Finals MVP? Debateable…

    Good points cvienne on how we shouldn’t be too quick to anoint the Heat. I would add the general observation that the eastern conference is so loaded with Bulls, Magic, Celts, and Heat, that you can’t assume anything about which team will make it to the finals, let alone win ‘em.

    Team chemistry and mental toughness are the intangibles which have been missing from this discussion. Of the four teams above, only the Celtics have proven they have it.

  37. john6pack says:

    @drey “mental toughness are the intangibles which have been missing from this discussion”. Dude you’re certainly not obligated to read my posts but that statement with respect to Lebron pretty much sums up every post I made in this thread.

  38. aarondf says:

    I generally agree that the Heat are now the team to beat, although we’ll have to see. Lakers are only ones who should be in the running against them but until we see some games thats not definitive. However, saying that all of LeBron, Wade, Bosh are better than all the Lakers players is just out there. Best 5 players in the league right now are probably LeBron, Kobe, Durant, Wade, Howard, probably in that order. No way Bosh is in that class. Bosh about equal to Gasol and way less than Kobe.

    The biggest issue for the Heat, assuming they have reasonable chemistry and coaching, is going to be that if either Wade or LeBron gets hurt, they could be in deep trouble given how mediocre the rest of their lineup is going to be.

    By the way, I am a Celtics fan. The two players in the league I am most scared of in the last two minutes of a game are Kobe and LeBron and then a big gap after them. I rate Kobe higher as, although I think LeBron has more potential, I don’t think he has the same drive and desire to win as Kobe does. I’d still of course draft LeBron first.

  39. BTUR says:

    “Go back to the 2008 Olympics. Who took over the game while all the other superstars deferred? Kobe.”

    Are you referring to the Olympics where Wade and James were the leading scorers, both on ridiculous efficiencies? 16 ppg for Wade on 72.7%(!!!) TS%, 15.5 on 66.3% TS% for James, compared to 15 for Kobe on 54.9% TS%….where Lebron and Wade both dished out more assists per minute, both Wade and Lebron outrebounded Kobe (by a lot), where Wade dropped 27 (on ridiculous efficiency, of course) in the Gold Medal game….yeah, doesn’t show up in the stats. Because it doesn’t hold up to actual scrutiny, especially since the stats are just recording what happened….

    “Intangible” qualities DO show up in the stats, especially if you know where to look. If you can’t find it, there’s a good chance it isn’t there and you’re grasping at ghosts. Most arguments in favor of Kobe’s “intangibles” tend to fall into that “we give a guy credit for shooting a lot, regardless of how much those shots actually help the team” category of players who are often overrated.

    As for Dirk, yeah, he’s a great scorer (better scorer than Kobe – efficiency matters!), but his problem is that’s most of what he brings to the table. He’s not a bad passer, but he’s not that good, either – I’d say he’s average at best at creating for teammates, he’s not a good rebounder, he doesn’t play defense…that’s only going to get you so far. Ever since Josh Howard regressed the Mavs have been lacking the other top tier talent they need (let’s face it, Kidd just isn’t that player anymore, even though he used to be) to make a serious title run. They just don’t have a good the defense/rebounding in place around Dirk, and don’t quite have enough offense to complement him to make up for it. It’s also amazing to me how someone has such a great playoff run to get his team to the Finals – indicating he’s a “winner” or has the “makeup” or whatever…and then he just loses it in the Finals? Did you see what he did against Phoenix and San Antonio that year? I’m not buying it – simply put, it was a bad coaching job (Avery Johnson, and he followed it up with a worse playoff coaching job next year to my Warriors), and a team (Heat) and a player (Wade) going through a good stretch, and just a bad matchup that beat the Mavs. Ever since the Mavs have been getting worse as a team.

    “I bet Lebron wins a championship in Miami, but it will be with DWade’s leading his team through the fire, not LbJ. The stats won’t show it but it will be plainly evident, just as the true nature of the self-professed “King” James is.”

    I bet they win because of contributions from Lebron, Bosh and Wade. All 3 are excellent players that bring a lot to the table. All the “fire” stuff is just ESPN marketing their product to you. And whoever’s leading the way, the stats WILL show it. They have a funny habit of you know, recording what actually happens. As for Drey’s comment, I think chemistry and mental toughness will be the biggest issues for how good the Heat become (though either way they’re going to be exceptionally good). Will they play team basketball together? Will they defer to each other/play unselfishly to get the best possible shot for the team like the Celtics did? Commit to defense at the expense of their individual offensive counting stats (after all, there’s only one ball and all 3 of them are capable of doing great things with it)? I can’t answer those questions now, but you can bet the stats will tell the story of how they answered those questions.

  40. BTUR says:

    “Best 5 players in the league right now are probably LeBron, Kobe, Durant, Wade, Howard, probably in that order. No way Bosh is in that class. Bosh about equal to Gasol and way less than Kobe.”

    Well, if shooting a lot qualifies you, I guess you could include Kobe. I’m more interested in guys that do the things that win basketball games. Lebron, Howard, Wade, Paul is the clear cut top 4 – they score, they rebound, they create for teammates, they play defense….next tier is probably Bosh, Gasol, and Durant (in no real order), and if someone wants to argue Gasol > Bosh, I think they’d have a pretty legitimate argument. Then you get guys like Deron Williams, Kobe, Brandon Roy, Dirk, etc. At least, if you want to judge by what they do on the court to help win games, rather than perceptions and aesthetics….just remember, shooting a lot does not make a player good, and how much it helps a team win is largely dependent on how efficiently you score when you do shoot (TS% is the best measure of efficiency).

    “The two players in the league I am most scared of in the last two minutes of a game are Kobe and LeBron and then a big gap after them. I rate Kobe higher as, although I think LeBron has more potential”

    Kobe has taken something like 3 times more game winning attempts than anyone in the NBA over the last few years. Basically – in the last 2 minutes, he’s almost guaranteed to shoot. The problem is, he doesn’t score very efficiently when he does shoot (if you watch, it’s easy to see why – he constantly settles for long 2 point jumpers in those situations, the worst shots in basketball), and given that’s what he’s going to do….meh, not that much of a concern. I’d be more worried about guys like Wade, Nash, Durant and Lebron, and another guy who performs very well in the clutch is Melo. Kobe = clutch is one of the bigger myths out there. It just looks like it because he takes so many shots in clutch situations.

  41. john6pack says:

    Clearly, I’ve been been drinking too much of the Bill Simmons (who generally hates Kobe) espn marketing kool-aid:

    Bill’s take: “Third, for most of the Games, Team USA had an alpha dog issue. Was this Kobe’s team or LeBron’s? Fast-forward to 8:13 left: Fernández’s three cuts the lead to two; the crowd is going bonkers. Spain’s bench reacts like a euphoric 15-seed during a March Madness upset, and the U.S. calls timeout. All along, my biggest fear had been a tight game and multiple USA guys saying, “I got it!” Instead, everyone deferred to Kobe, who made some monster plays to clinch it. Know that in the history of the NBA we have never had the best-player-alive argument resolved so organically. Incredible. Kobe, you have the Lord of the Flies conch. Use it wisely.”

    I think BS has a point. And the counter-argument to “Kobe shoots too much at the end of big games” is “Lebron passes too much (or settles for long threes) at the end of big games”.

    I just remember Dirk, normally a money free throw shooter (as I’m sure you know), bricking a couple near the end of the game that would have finished off the heat. I guess it’s time for me to get over it.

  42. BTUR says:

    Ha, no worries john6pack. I always feel a little bad when I go on my anti-Kobe rants, I guess I feel a little like Invictus railing against the whole “CRA/Fannie/Freddy were responsible for the crisis!” idea pundits throw out since I see pundits do the same with Kobe when the evidence just doesn’t back up many of the claims, so I gotta go a little overboard trying to dispel some of the myths. Always like a sensible basketball conversation, though, and I think you (and everyone else) have been reasonable enough. Honestly, for the Olympics thing, maybe Kobe did takeover – there are stats that will tell the story, but not necessarily the stats I looked at, and I didn’t see any of the games personally so I don’t know.

    Overall I’m really not a fan of Simmons. He’s the ultimate pundit – very interested basketball fan that follows it closely and has some great knowledge of its history, but doesn’t have a great understanding of the game itself. I’m thinking an analogy to someone like Robert Samuelson might be appropriate?

    “Lebron passes too much (or settles for long threes) at the end of big games”

    Maybe that will serve him well in Miami, given he’ll finally have Wade/Bosh around him? I dunno. I also hate when he settles for 3′s, especially since it’s Lebron. Other than Wade, nobody is even in his stratosphere going to the rim, and we all know the closer you get to the hoop the higher your shooting percentage is. Especially with Lebron’s vision, SOMEONE is going to get a good shot. No need to settle for a jumper unless you really have to.

    With Kobe, I think his biggest problems in clutch situations is he settles and he doesn’t take many shots that come within the flow of the offense, it’s all 1 on 1 (and usually against the other teams best defender), which just isn’t a good situation. Kobe has all the skills of a truly great player, but his decision making turns him into something more resembling Clyde Drexler than Michael Jordan, and something less than that in clutch situations.

  43. BTUR says:

    (Thanks for the convo, by the way, just hope I haven’t come across as too unreasonable or anything!)

  44. john6pack says:

    I enjoy Bill Simmon’s work, but he’s far from an expert. He relentlessly trashed Doc Rivers for years, and thought Danny Ainge was incompetent, heaping particular ridicule upon the Rajon Rondo draft pick. He’s been eating crow for 2 or 3 years now (to his credit).

    When it comes to arguing about sports, no one is right anywhere close to 100% of the time. I enjoyed the exchange too.

  45. Cynic_FA says:

    @ mbelardes

    “Role Players and Backups and Defense is what wins Championships in the NBA.” – must be kidding!

    What a ridiculous statement. I am a Detroit Pistons fan and the Pistons made it to six conference championships with role players and defense and no superstars. I don’t know anyone else who has ever done that.

    The NBA formula for championships is to have 3 players good enough to make the all star team and two young players who break out or become recognized for greatness later. Perfect example is
    Rondo and Davis of the Celtics.

    The Miami Heat will have the luxury of signing two veterans as role players using salary cap exceptions. If Karl Malone would take a pay cut to play for the Lakers and a shot at a ring, there will be five players just as good waiting for a chance to play with the Heat. After signing Mike Miller, all the Heat needs to win is two centers who can play defense and one player to guard the 1/2 spots(something like Lindsey Hunter but ten years younger) Lebron and DWade provide so much offense and drive to the hoop threat that any three point specialist will get open(if he can get the ball)

  46. Andy T says:

    cvienne.

    All that stated, I’ll still backstop BR’s 100,000 bet on the Heat over the Cavs for the next championship. The Heat will win a championship in the next few years.

    The Cavs are really screwed…

  47. LeBron James Surrenders King Moniker to Another: Pat Riley

    King resides in Miami, all right.No, no, no, not him. LeBron James doesn’t deserve the sobriquet. Not anymore. Consider his royalty revoked.As of 9:27 New York time last night, when James told the world he was leaving Cleveland for Miami, Heat President Pat Riley became the king. If anyone will rule over the National Basketball Association for years to come it’s him, not James.“Gonna take my talents to South Beach,” James said in an hour-long special on ESPN.By choosing to pursue a championship, make that championships — plural — alongside Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, the two-time Most Valuable Player has positioned himself as nothing more than a piece of the puzzle.

  48. cvienne says:

    @BR

    I’m going to go deadpan AGAINST your opening line here…

    “Congratulations to Pat Riley and the Miami Heat. You have put together a very competitive team that should be fun to watch in the coming years.”

    To be fair… You don’t ELABORATE on that thought very much… Instead… Guiding the discourse on a criticism on THE KNICKS organization (where your observations are accurate)… And on a criticism of Gilbert (where you are probably correct from the perspective of STYLE POINTS – It’s simply not classy to vent frustrations like that from a highly elevated public podium – regardless of whether or not you had the right to)…

    Of course, someone like ME can do that… Because I’m just a schmuck… :-) But Gilbert, you’re right… NO…

    As for the HEAT? I’ll drop off my “pre 1983 penny” (that is, my 2 cents) and be done with it…

    Frankly… I’d SUMMARIZE my opinion on it as “a BAD GAMBLE”…

    I don’t want to turn this post into a long lecture (so I’ll “bullet point” some question marks I’d have in initiating a constructive outline on the deal)…

    - Putting 3 “superstars” on paper SEEMS like a good idea, but I have some problems with it
    - Chris Bosh? Since when is he a SUPERstar? His Toronto stats were “padded” due to extended minute playing, and , frankly, his blatant attempt to PAD THOSE STATS (which he and his agent were in collusion with so as to enter this years FREE AGENT market in the way he did)… It’s highly unlikely that you’ll see those numbers out of Bosh again…
    - Despite salary reductions, it’s going to be very difficult for the Heat to surround these 3 with the right balance of talent you actually need to win a championship… THEY’LL PHYSICALLY BREAK DOWN…
    - The Lakers didn’t win just because of Kobe & Shaq (or bringing in Pau Gasol)… They won with the “Horry’s”, “Fishers”, and “Artests” that filled important needs… The same way “Rondo” emerged from the shadows of Allen, Pierce, & Garnett for the Celtics… That is a BIG HOLE yet to fill…
    - NOW add…
    - What if LeBron, Bosh, or Wade get INJURED for stretches during the season (and you’re trying to fill minutes with low salary players)?… WADE is 28, and already has a history of injury problems… Fill those minutes…
    - THE MIAMI HEAT now have a target painted square on their ass… Every team they face next year (and for years to come) is going to bring 110% to try and defeat them… WORSE, except for the city of Miami, the NEGATIVE reaction to this deal has been tremendous… These guys have gone from being “loved” and “adored” to being “hated”… This is like THE SQUID… They’re going to face a chorus of BOOS everywhere they go… Playing under that night after night after night after night will wear them down…
    - The MINUTE the team starts to underperform now an INTENSE spotlight is going to fall upon them (by the national media and their fans)… Watch your step…
    - LeBron is already being characterized as a “quitter”… (he quit his team, in the playoffs; now his City)… He decided to BUY his way into a championship (by going to Miami)… He doesn’t want to WORK FOR or RISK trying to pour out blood & sweat for a championship, he just wants it bought and manufactured for him…

    Good Luck LeBron!

    In “teaparty” America… that attitude only aligns you with groups of people who do most of their work in another area of the country…

    Maybe they should have all signed with the Wizards and joined John Wall…

  49. mbelardes says:

    @BTUR and john6pack, sorry I can’t read/respond to the essays. I guess I’ll end with, I’m in LA (not Cleveland BTUR) and a lifetime Laker fan (thanks dad) and solid Kobe supporter. History will judge LeBron.

    @Cynic_FA and all

    The “Role Player/Backups/Defense” line was in regards to CHAMPIONSHIPS.

    I’m not talking regular season play or playoff play. I’m talking best of 7 NBA Finals.

    Name me one best of 7 that was NOT won thanks to the significant and standout efforts of Role Players, Backups, and Defense.

    None exists. Because if you’ve watched enough NBA Finals you know that the guys hoisting the trophy at the end won it on the margins, not because of the sole efforts of 1 or 2 or 3 superstars.

    I’m an LA native and Lakers fan. Our last 2 rings and 1 EPIC defeat reflects my statement. IF NOT, why didn’t 2008 MVP Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol beat an aging Celtics and instead got their asses kicked? Because the Celtics had better Role Players, Backups and Defense. Why did the Lakers win in 2010? Because they had better Role Players, Backups and Defense.

  50. mbelardes says:

    Oh, and on the “Lebron had no one around him” idea. That shows a complete lack of actually looking at how his team played … ya know … as a team.

    You can say “this player sucks … that guy had that player …” but that doesn’t really matter.

    Cleveland had the most wins of any team. They were the best team this year. If you would bother to pull up the Celtics series when LeBron folded you would see that their team stats were up to par and comparative to the stats they had all year except for one guy: LeBron James. He gave up and/or choked. It’s easy to see except for the ardent LeBron supporters that still think he’s the greatest ever.

  51. VennData says:

    The WSJ says Lebron choose Florida for tax reasons….

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704075604575357232023445918.html

    …but since there’s a salary cap, so a fixed amount a money that all players in aggregate get paid

    …and since they make no mention of the players who move to high tax states of their own volition

    ….and since they provide no data for the outcomes ..of say the Lakers, the Celtics, and the Bulls with all those championships in high tax states

    .. and the page doesn’t give the detail of how payroll taxes are collected for away game, they just wave their magic right wing pen and it’s a non-issue…

    I guess it’s more GOP media machine lies from the Wall Street Journal Opinion Page.

  52. BTUR says:

    “Oh, and on the “Lebron had no one around him” idea. That shows a complete lack of actually looking at how his team played … ya know … as a team.

    You can say “this player sucks … that guy had that player …” but that doesn’t really matter.

    Cleveland had the most wins of any team. They were the best team this year.”

    Exactly. Lebron is that good. Yes, his teammates provide some defensive contributions, but overall, there just wasn’t much talent around Lebron. You’ll see what happens to Cleveland this year.

    “If you would bother to pull up the Celtics series when LeBron folded you would see that their team stats were up to par and comparative to the stats they had all year except for one guy: LeBron James. He gave up and/or choked. It’s easy to see except for the ardent LeBron supporters that still think he’s the greatest ever.”

    Well now you just aren’t even trying! If a guy can average 26.8 points, 7.2 assists and 9.3 rebounds a game on 55.6% TS% and be labeled a quitter, like Lebron did against the Celtics (again, significantly better than Kobe did)….give me that quitter any day of the week. Especially over a butthurt crybaby owner who can’t appreciate just how much Lebron gave him. Calling Lebron a quitter has no ring of truth to it whatsoever.

    “you know that the guys hoisting the trophy at the end won it on the margins, not because of the sole efforts of 1 or 2 or 3 superstars.”

    Again, 80% from the superstars, 20% from the rest of the team. When your superstars are even to the other teams superstars (as is often the case in the Finals, but again, won’t be the case with the Heat this year because theirs are so good, yeah, the role players at the margin might make the difference. Don’t confuse that with their contributions being more important, though. When Fisher hits 3 big shots its still 3 shots over the course of a game where a team scores on what, 40 of its possessions?

    ” Chris Bosh? Since when is he a SUPERstar? His Toronto stats were “padded” due to extended minute playing, and , frankly, his blatant attempt to PAD THOSE STATS (which he and his agent were in collusion with so as to enter this years FREE AGENT market in the way he did)… It’s highly unlikely that you’ll see those numbers out of Bosh again…”

    We know how to adjust for minutes and pace. Bosh is still a superstar when you do that. Bosh scores at a high volume (always has), scores efficiently (always has), is a good passer that creates for teammates (has been doing this since his third year in the league or so), rebounds (always has), plays defense, limits his turnovers….if that doesn’t qualify a player as a superstar, I honestly don’t know what does. Throw in the fact that he’s a big man (big men > wings for a variety of reasons), and you’re left with a Top 10 player in the league. As an aside, I realized I forgot to include Duncan in the 2nd tier of best players in the league with Gasol, Bosh, and Durant earlier. He’s definitely in that mix.

    “- LeBron is already being characterized as a “quitter”… (he quit his team, in the playoffs; now his City)… He decided to BUY his way into a championship (by going to Miami)… He doesn’t want to WORK FOR or RISK trying to pour out blood & sweat for a championship, he just wants it bought and manufactured for him…”

    Well, the quitter thing is obviously ridiculous. Second, pretending he doesn’t want to work hard or “pour out blood & sweat for a championship” is really discounting just how much hard work it takes to be the caliber of basketball player Lebron is. Yes, Lebron is the most physically gifted basketball playing human being on the planet. However, he (like every other superstar) also works incredibly hard. You simply cannot develop the skills he has without doing so. Don’t discount how much work it takes to get to the top.