Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Trade LeBron for Kobe

Before I get to the central premise of this post, I have two simple questions I'd like our four remaining readers to answer objectively:

1) How certain are you that someone who wants to be the richest man in the world and who wants to optimize his exposure on an international level will actually sign an extension to stay in Cleveland, Ohio?

2) In all honestly, who would you rather have in an NBA finals to help win you a title RIGHT NOW against a team that will flat-out not allow you to get to the basket? A 22 year-old specimen who lacks a mid-range game who would continue to "get guys involved" even if he was playing in a coed wheelchair basketball league, or a seasoned vet with rings and an ability to score 35 points a game on jump shots alone who refuses to let a weak supporting cast cost him games when they're not hitting?

My answers:
1: Not very
2: Kobe Bryant

We learned something very important during the playoff run: The Cavalier supporting cast is much better than they've been getting credit for. Think about it. LeBron's shooting percentage during the entire post-season was an unimpressive 41% - and that includes his fluky 48-point game 5 performance against the Pistons. (And by the way, LeBron was one of the worst three-point shooters in the NBA this season. Once the playoffs started, it got historically bad - he shot 28%. This aspect of his game just should just NOT be part of his arsenal. Keep in mind, that teams are giving him this shot b/c they are rightly terrified about his ability to get to the hole). Yet despite his poor shooting and equally bad decision making, the Cavaliers continued to win.

Now back to the alleged "bad" supporting cast. The same supporting cast that had a second round draft pick step up and outplay LeBron in San Antonio. How many rookies in the league have EVER done that in the NBA finals on the road?

How about an undersized power forward who shot over 50% and nabbed 6 rebounds a game while playing only half the minutes, while also shutting down Detroit's power forwards late in the series both mentally and physically? AV's pretty good, and when paired up with Drew Gooden, the Cavaliers get a very solid 48 minutes of power forward play a night.

While Larry Hughes' injuries clearly caught up to him, he outplayed LeBron in the Wizards series (each game was much closer than they should have been, and Hughes was the guy hitting shots down the stretch).

And don't forget about Z and how he single-handedly dismantled the Wiz and had his moments in the Detroit series while giving them fits on the boards.

So this team obviously has some talent and is closer to a championship than so many of us thought they were. LeBron is a huge part of this - if not the biggest (although I could write 5000 words on why Mike Brown was more important, but then you'll call me Skip Bayless and then I would threaten to fight you).

So given the fact that I'm not willing to risk losing LeBron b/c Cleveland isn't exactly a haven for "global icons," - LeBron's poorly chosen words, not mine, and given the fact that Kobe is still the best player in the game and the most annoying guy to defend in the league (other than the tuberculosis guy), I think the Cavs organization would be crazy not to pursue a LeBron James for Kobe Bryant trade, all salary cap restrictions considered. The Cavs could even throw in Gloria's yellow plates to make the deal work!

Think about it how unique this opportunity would be in the history of sports. When could you add the best player in the game to a team that just made it to the finals? I know the concept is sacrilege to Clevelanders, who are myopic enough to believe the city of Cleveland could actually be able to retain a young, talented employee. Continue Entry»