Showing posts with label New York Knicks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New York Knicks. Show all posts

Friday, July 9, 2010

LeBron Bails on Cleveland

At least he didn't choose New York, right?

LeBron James just took his career south, literally and figuratively. He is signing with Pat Riley'sMiami Heat, and no, it was not the best option on the free-agent board.
If he was going to leave Cleveland -- and leave it LeBron James did in a staggering prime-time way -- the New York Knicks always made the most sense.
He would've won a couple of championships here with Amare Stoudemire and the third major piece the Knicks would've landed with LeBron in the fold, that piece arriving in the form ofCarmelo Anthony or Tony Parker between now and next July.
Those titles would've ended a Knicks drought of biblical proportions, and they would've belonged to the King and the King alone, just like the 1994 Stanley Cup was Mark Messier's for keeps.
First of all, no one thinks of the 1994 Stanley Cup as "Mark Messier's" cup because that championship was won in New York by a team, not a man. That's just bad sports writing right there, and the hoary image of an exited Messier hoisting the cup belies the reality that the entire '94 team was much beloved in New York, not just Messier. Hockey isn't about that. In Hockey, teams win cups, not players.
Second of all, this is just the sour grapes of a New York media market mentality that would have started tearing LeBron down the moment he landed. The Knicks franchise is a basket case, even today, and there's no questioning the fact that playing for a dysfunctional franchise is no way to win a championship. How, for example, does anyone really know how Amare Stoudamire would have handled playing second banana to LeBron James?
Third, if James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade win a championship, it'll belong to the three of them. Wade has a ring; James does not. Combining them is what the NBA does when it comes to championships. You need two or three superstar players to make a serious run at the title; Miami has that now. New York has Amare Stoudamire, and that's it right now.
Fourth, Pat Riley is not the devil. Pat Riley has a bunch of championships. No one in Cleveland or New York has what Riley has. Small wonder that that's what LeBron James gravitated towards.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Don't Do It, LeBron

Given that the New York Knicks are a terrible franchise, why would anyone want to play for them?

Forget cities and towns and arenas. Is the franchise worth a damn? If not, move on. Don't take their money to play for coaches who are routinely fired or undermined and don't play with second-rate overpaid free agents who are there to sit with phony injuries so that they don't "damage" their next payday by putting up terrible numbers in front of the country's biggest media market. You see, when a player goes to New York, they put up decent numbers, figure out how hard it really is, and then they sit. They coast on the swell numbers they put up elsewhere.

Rarely do you see anyone "step up" and do what they are supposed to do when they sign with a team in New York. So, let's say Le Bron shows up and signs a lucrative contract. Anyone who comes in to play for New York--or is already there--instantly knows that the media focus will be on LeBron and not them. So why show up and play? Why put up numbers that suck in New York when it would be safer to dog it in Washington or Portland and maybe be the number one or two guy on the team?

LeBron James will suit up every day and play hard. He will give the fans in New York what they want. But the likelihood that the other players on the team will fold up and look at the rafters is too great. This is the same franchise that bet on Starbury, and couldn't figure out how to solve that problem. The stain of Stephon Marbury taints the New York Knicks even to this day. That's their history. And it's a history of free agent debacles and lousy performances.

This is the problem with the NBA. No matter where LeBron goes, he will have to coax others to play at his level. The risks of failing will drive many players to Atlanta, Dallas, or Phoenix just to avoid that sort of scenario. And it's too bad. Five motivated players can go out and win it all every year. In the player-oriented, contract-ruined NBA, that can only happen once or twice, if that, and even then it takes a team like San Antonio or Los Angeles to pull it off. And how do they do it? Everyone shows up to play, no matter who the number one guy is. For every Tim Duncan or Kobe Bryant, there are other players who can and will play at the level necessary to win. Boston might still have that, but they're getting long in the tooth. How many seasons does Kevin Garnett have left? Does he play three more? Or two more? Or can he play for longer than that and keep Paul Pierce and Boston's new phenom Rajon Rondo with him?

Can that happen for LeBron in New York? History says otherwise.
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Friday, January 29, 2010

A Starbury No More

I had no idea things had gotten this bad for Stephon Marbury:
His New York fans may have deserted him, but Stephon Marbury is already winning new friends in this grimy coal city in northern China.

"Ma Bu Li," as he is now known, on Wednesday began an unlikely career with the Taiyuan Shanxi Zhongyu Professional Basketball Club, one of the worst teams in the league. He is the biggest National Basketball Association star ever to have played professional basketball in China.

Back home, Mr. Marbury's run-ins with coaches and teammates at the New York Knicks and other teams battered his reputation. After terminating his contract in New York early last year, Mr. Marbury played briefly for the Boston Celtics, and according to Zhongyu, he accepted an offer to move to China after he didn't get a satisfactory offer in the NBA.

But his falling out with the Knicks was not publicized as much in China as it has been in the U.S. Though die-hard Chinese fans say they are aware he has had less playing time in recent years, Mr. Marbury's reputation as a top-notch point guard is still relatively untarnished here.

The 32-year-old posted a greeting to Chinese fans on his blog Tuesday, attracting more than 4,000 subscribers within hours. One user posting under the name JohnLee7125 wrote a response to Mr. Marbury that said: "I think you can do better in China, because we love you."

Mr. Marbury is hardly a China hand. "I really didn't know that much about China other than what I've seen on TV" about Chinese NBA star Yao Ming, Mr. Marbury told reporters Tuesday night when he arrived at his hotel. "I thought this was the right place to be."

Once Marbury gets himself situated, he should be fine. All he has to do is pass and remember to praise his teammates and everything will be gravy for him. The rest of the world will move on, and I highly doubt whether he will ever play in the NBA again.