Traded, you are: Is the Dwight Howard Saga finally over?

According to ‘sources’ on ESPN.com a four-team trade deal is in place that will send Dwight Howard to none other than the Los Angeles Lakers.

In the deal, Howard will go to the Lakers, Andre Iguodala will go to the Denver Nuggets, the Philadelphia 76ers will receive Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson and finally the Orlando Magic will acquire Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington,Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless along with ‘protected’ first round picks from each of the three other teams. Um. Exqueeze me? The Magic will get 671417 (a.k.a three in addition to their own) first round picks over the next couple of years is what you’re telling me? Is that even legal? Talk about complex. Next time a man gives me flack about women being complicated I’m just gonna pull up the Laker roster and point at Dwight Howard.

Is it me, or was this completely anti-climactic? Anyone else want to see Howard have to stay in Orlando and begrudgingly play out the season before becoming a free agent? I didn’t not want to see that, I can tell you that much.

So the story is over? Ha, if only. Allow me to venture the next chapter in the saga… the debate. You’ve got Kobe, Nash and Howard- the latter two trapped in their own version of Lord of the Rings trying to capture that first ring to no avail so far, making up the new Big Three in LA. Then, you’ve got LBJ, DWade, Bosheraptor and Jesus Shuttlesworth himself becoming the Big Four in Miami. Just resign yourselves to the fact the NBA championship will be the Lakers and the Heat in the Finals this year… and the next… and probably the next after that.

Now Howard has said already that if he were traded to the Lakers he would sign a long-term deal. He is still ultimately a free-agent after this season. He did have an interest in going to the Dallas Mavericks, and according to the article on ESPN the Mavs are waiting on him. But you have to think after playing with Kobe and Nash, nothing else is going to compare. At the end of the day, while Howard wants that money- I think he wants those rings more.

I now have to wonder if this is ultimately good for the league? If this predictability will hurt ratings and revenue? Granted, growing up I thought the B in NBA stood for Bulls because I thought it was their league and the Finals were made up of teams competing to play them. Come to think of it, that wasn’t really that far off base. I loved that era. It’s still talked about today as not only the Bulls’ golden years, but the league’s as well. That’s how I viewed it anyway. But now that the tables are turned and two teams who aren’t my home town team are the new age dynasties, I’m starting to understand how Celtics fans must have felt.

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Are You Not Entertained?

Patience is a virtue I will readily admit I do not have. When I get something in my head, I want it done. Like, right now. You can bet that if my neck and millions of dollars are on the line, I’m jumping in faster than LeBron’s hairline is receding. For this reason (among others), I wouldn’t be a very good franchise player.

However, this same ‘patience’ got quarterback Drew Brees a record-breaking $100 million dollar contract with his beloved NOLA Saints. It got Matt Forte a deal right before the deadline of his franchise tender expired with the Chicago Bears. It got the hungry Ray Rice the compensation he is worth.

Maybe I should get some of this patience stuff after all.

I have to wonder though, is this all necessary? As I have mentioned before, professional contracts have gotten out of control, see What Happened to the Nice Guys? Allow me to venture the idea that maybe, the teams, leagues and even we as fans, are actually responsible for all of this.

I mean, didn’t Drew Brees know that the Saints would do whatever it took to keep him? Didn’t the Bears know they didn’t have a fighting chance without Forte, even with Chicken Cutlet healthy? You gotta think the Raven’s knew that Rice’s contributions allowed Flacco the flexibility of a 9-year-old Chinese gymnast offensively.

In situations like Brees, Forte and Rice, these players made it blatantly clear they wanted to stay. When you as a team, know you are gonna give the players what they want anyway, why all the hoop-lah?

I have an answer for you: because it keeps people interested. At the most basic level, sports are just entertainment. Sorry to say it, but it’s true. While you men may think women are crazy for being so consumed with 50 Shades, is your constant monitoring of ESPN and NFL Network really any different? Three words guys: Dwight Howard Trade. Hashtag: #thingsmorecomplicatedthanwomen… can I get a trending topic??

Yeah, it’s patience alright, if patience is spelled D-R-A-M-A.

Maybe if we stopped and smelled the Old Spice we’d all realize that sports would exist without all the twisting plot lines and insane amount of money because of the simple fact sports are a love affair. But they build bonds, they forge new friendships and subsequently break relationships (if only on Sundays). The athletes themselves love to play and we as fans, love to watch. So in the end, that little bit of drama makes it all worth it, God help us all.

Just next time your girlfriend is on the phone catching up with her friend about the latest happenings of The Bachelorette instead of rolling your eyes, think about you and your buddies convos at the bar. You might just be surprised that with a few name changes and metaphors, the nature of the conversation isn’t so different after all.

The Time I Was at the Bar as Miami Won the Championship and No One Cheered

The End.

Just kidding. I was trying to decide what angle to take writing about the Miami Heat winning- no, winning’s not the right word- demanding the NBA championship. That wasn’t just a win that was, as LeBron put it, an “ABOUT DAMN TIME.”

I believe part of loving the game and being a good sports fan is knowing when to concede your opinion for the purposes of giving respect, which is what I’m going to do. As much as I didn’t want to see LeBron get that ‘elusive ring’ (who is he, Frodo?), I can’t deny that he, and the Miami Heat deserved it after that performance. I mean, that was ridiculous. LeBron averaged 30 points in the playoffs. He single handedly gave the Miami Heat their legs against Boston by scoring 45. I don’t necessarily agree he deserved league MVP, but he absolutely deserved Finals/Postseason MVP.

However, he is still far from ‘shutting all his haters up.’ Just because he won one championship doesn’t make him the greatest to ever play the game. His legacy has yet to be determined. I believe his most crucial year now is next season. How he responds to his first championship will be what makes or breaks his position as one of the greatest athletes to ever play the game.

I hate the comparison of him to Jordan. Oh well LeBron won his first championship at a younger age. Yes, but LeBron went straight into the NBA instead of going to college, therefore was in the league longer than Jordan before he won his first. Jordan won all of his championships with the team that drafted him, he didn’t need to change teams. Yes, but Jordan had a support system of Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman most years, LeBron needed to leave in order to get that same support system in D Wade and the Dinosaur. For every conditional for Jordan, there’s another for LeBron. There are so many reasons Jordan was special. A fair comparison can never be made. Period. Unless of course Jordan comes out of retirement… *crosses fingers*?

As for the Thunder, as I said in my post when they first made the Finals, there is no way there isn’t a dynasty budding there. They are led by three guys ages 23, 23 and 22. They will be a force to be reckoned with again next year and I quite frankly am not looking forward to my Bulls meeting them in the Finals… ya see what I did there?

Congratulations to the Miami Heat, you won it fair and square.

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Westbroke

I would like to start by first reiterating something very important. This is an opinion blog with sprinkles of analysis thrown in. These are my thoughts and my thoughts only. I am not affiliated with any teams currently and am therefore taking advantage of my hiatus by freely stating my own, absolutely biased opinions. I am not trying to be objective. I am not trying to be politically correct. I am just expressing my views. Everybody on board? Good. Great. FANTASTIC.

Moving on. Ahh Game 4. I had such high hopes for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Game 3 was ugly. I’ll admit it, they didn’t play with as much heart as the Miami Heat. Kevin Durant was useless in the fourth and James Harden committed the fatal foul to solidify the Heat victory. Ok fine, first game in Miami is a tough one, they’ll learn… right?

Wrong.

I found myself screaming at the end of Game 4- WHY WESTBROOK WHY?! similar to my WHY HARDEN WHY?! the previous game. Russell Westbrook puts up 43 points- nearly half of the team total- and then down three, FOULS as the Heat inbound the ball with 20 odd seconds left thinking the shot clock had reset. Newsflash Westbrook, it hadn’t. Stupid, stupid, STUPID.

Not to mention, James Harden seemed to lose his confidence come the fourth quarter. Never have I seen him lose confidence ever. I was there for his ASU career, working in the media relations department. I have seen some great comebacks with him as our leader. The guy is clutch. He’s been a solid 6th man the entire season for the Thunder, including the postseason. Why now? Like Jalen Rose suggested James, cut the beard- maybe that will provide enough of a distraction for you guys to catch up. Maybe.

With the knowledge that Durant was rendered ineffective in Game 3, where were the adjustments to get him open in the fourth quarter, Brooks? You can’t have Russell Westbrook be the one putting up 43 points. Those are KD’s shots to take.

The series’ leading up to this OKC had managed to banish the criticisms of being too young and too inexperienced. They had shut all the critics up. Was it too good to be true? They make it to the Finals, demolishing teams that had taken the title 11 of the past 13 years only to look like an AAU team against the Heat. What. Happened.

Is it perhaps that the Big Three have learned to close? Is this really their year? And if it is? If LeBron finally gets a ring? What does that change?

In my mind, nothing. Sure the jokes of LeBron having no rings will die, but in reality he will only have one ring. He still won’t be up in the category with the likes of Kobe and Jordan. It will be one measly ring. Not six, not seven, not eight. One.

Will this series go back to OKC? The odds are probably against it. And in all honesty, it would likely only prolong the inevitable agony, giving Thunder fans hope they can pull through. If there was ever a time for an NBA ‘miracle’, it would be now. Too bad it’s not Herb Brooks coaching the Thunder.

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Thunder doesn’t do ‘quietly’

Not like the Miami Heat does quietly either. I purposely waited til after the second game to voice my opinion to avoid people that have overreacted one way or the other. Oklahoma City has been dominant at home the entire season- winning the first game did not set anything in stone. Sure enough, the Heat come back with a vengeance and claim game 2- the first team to win on the road against the Thunder the entire 2012 postseason.

You can bet OKC has something to prove now.

As usual there is controversy over the Heat win. Fourth quarter Durant seemed like a different player- playing through the foul trouble he’d had all game. He’s driving in the paint, posting LBJ up, coupled with Westbrook for a couple clutch threes and just like that the Thunder are within two. LeBron goes for a selfish three with 12.3 seconds left and suddenly the Thunder have a shot. KD goes up for the fadeaway jumper, misses, but gets fouled. It’s on now right? Wrong. Lo and behold- the ref doesn’t blow the whistle.

It comes down to this though. The game is not won on one (trying saying that three times fast) possession alone. The foul trouble for Durant, Westbrook missing easy opportunities, and all but taking Harden out in the second half were all factors. Those three need to play together in order to beat this Heat defense. This one on one clearly doesn’t cut it. Especially when the Heat are on their game offensively.

And what did Kevin Durant do post-game speaking to reporters? In true KD fashion, when asked if he was angry about the no call he simply says ‘I missed the shot.’ Taking full responsibility. Realizing the game didn’t have to come down to that had the team played more cohesively. Another commendation KD, what a stand up guy.

Unlike game one, Miami found themselves a bit more. Not only did we see DWade and LBJ driving the lane and scoring in the paint, when that didn’t work, Shane Battier was there to back ’em up, knockin down three’s like it’s his job- oh wait, it is his job. LBJ was fired up though. We all know he’s a great player, he’s got super star talent, but to finally see him emotional, with a sense of urgency, that was the difference. Moral of the story Thunder: Never let LeBron get emotional. When he does, the Heat actually close.

Better believe the Thunder are going into Miami with a chip on their shoulder. Like I said before, this is the first time they have lost at home all postseason. They will not go quietly.

Sick of this ‘Heat’

The Miami Heat have made it into the NBA Finals. Shocker.

First off, I want to address the fallout after their game five loss. Every analyst, every announcer, every fan for crying out loud all but entirely lost faith. They were calling for Spo to be fired and the big three to be dismantled. Then game six comes along- Bron Bron puts up 45 points and all of a sudden a game seven doesn’t even exist. Miami ‘fans’ are shouting from the tops of their Twitter pages as loud as their social media lungs can manage that not only will they go to the finals but they will win it all. Every part of my sports-loving soul prayed that the Boston Celtics could finish them off in game seven- but the big three predecessors all of a sudden decided to show their a…ge. Go figure.

Maybe it’s that same age however, that made them such class acts as the game ended. Not only did Doc Rivers personally congratulate LBJ with a genuine hug, but Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were dishing out praise like it was Old Country Buffet. This is the epitome of sportsmanship. This is the respect the foundation of the game is based on. And subsequently, just like chivalry, it seems to be dead.

Do you think had the roles been reversed Baby Bron Bron, D ‘Yes the Y is before the A’ Wade or the Velociraptor would have extended the same courtesy to Boston? The answer is hell to the no. You’ve seen Lebron’s fits over the years when he or his team inevitably chokes come clutch time; the refusal to shake anyone’s hand, the storming off the court, and the post game rants. For that reason the fact that Miami is advancing physically makes me ill.

Multiple times on my Twitter page I’ve said that the Oklahoma City Thunder will win it all this year, and for my sports sanity I sincerely hope this ends up being the case. Nothing would make me happier than to see Lebron-Self-Proclaimed-King-James retire with not five, not six, not seven, not eight but NO rings.

Thunder up.

Thunder Rolls Right into NBA Finals

Let’s pause for a second to recall the fact that the Western Conference playoffs started out as a contest to see who could eventually ‘beat the Heat’ come Finals time… my, my how things change.

The Miami Heat are facing yet another elimination tomorrow night by the ever-present Boston Celtics while the Oklahoma City Thunder have rolled over the San Antonio Spurs to claim the Western Conference spot. OKC came back from being down 2-0 to the Spurs and most analysts counting them out to win four straight games and advance. So you can take those ‘inexperience’ and ‘too young’ excuses and shove them up your… well you know.

At this rate, even if the Thunder don’t win it all, which I suspect they will, there’s no way there isn’t a dynasty budding. They are so young, so cohesive and so marketable thanks to the ferret on James Harden’s face (see @HardenBeard on Twitter) they have all the tools to be considered with the likes of the Lakers in the Western Conference. Easily.

Led by a man like Kevin Durant who I believe deserved league MVP over Lebron any day, they have some real staying power, provided management is willing to spend. Congrats to the Western Conference Champs.

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