12/7/10

"NBAz in 7 Dayz"

LeBron James is right. He is right to believe the Cleveland Cavaliers can learn a lesson from the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. Here's why. Before Thursday night's game in Cleveland, the Miami Heat were preparing for LeBron's homecoming unlike anything they've seen before. Extra plain clothed and uniformed officers everywhere. The level of intensity surrounding this game was comparable to a game seven NBA final, yet we were only 20 games into the regular season. All this over him leaving Cleveland for Miami. Have whatever opinion you want about him leaving in the matter in which he did but at the end of the day, he did just that - he left. And to put it bluntly, jilted Cleveland fans need to get over it and move on. The anger and bravado towards LeBron is doing nothing for the cause. Go ahead and pursue legal action against him for leaving if you think it is warranted. But he is over it and the 38 points he put up Thursday night shows that. The Cleveland Cavaliers have the potential to be something great. If they don't get on the right path soon, the dream of winning an NBA championship before LeBron James does, won't even be on the radar. Many things on my radar today: the NBA making a historical purchase, Allen Iverson putting on a happy face and George Karl going for win number one thousand.

Shopping for a Bargain

Let's start with the facts. NBA Commissioner David Stern has officially announced the NBA is going through with the purchase of the New Orleans Hornets. The sale has to be approved by the NBA's Board of Governors by a vote which will likely take place next week. Minority Hornets owner Gary Chouest decided not to buy out majority Hornets owner George Shinn and in the absence of any viable purchaser, here we are. I have a real problem with this. While I feel for the City of New Orleans and Hornets fans, I don't understand how it has gotten this far. The outgoing owners are singing the praises of the organization and the Hornet's management team but it must not be all sunshine and roses if they are saying this on their way out the door. Realistically, how can the league afford to do this when they asking players to take a pay cut so the league can remain viable, as they put it. We are on the verge of a lockout and the source evidence of why is already being seen. There are many questions which need to be answered: How long will the NBA own controlling interest of the New Orleans Hornets? Will they remain owners once a buyer is found? What will happen the next time an NBA club dips into financial ruin? What does this say about the league and the amount of say or control of how NBA clubs are run? I really hope the NBA Board of Governors discuss these questions when making their decision next week.

All Smiles and Giggles for Allen Iverson

According to Allen Iverson, he is happy with his new career in Turkey. Knowing how much he wanted to be playing in the NBA just a few months ago, this is just as much about convincing himself as it is about convincing us just how happy he really is. He told his followers on Twitter: "I am very happy here in Istanbul. My family and I are making this our home". But let's pretend an NBA club comes knocking at his door. Don't think for one second he will ignore the doorbell. He is trying to make the best of a challenging situation. He is a talented player in a tough spot. His two year, 4 million-dollar contract with Besiktas came after no NBA team offered him a contract. That has got to hurt. To make matters even more challenging, Iverson's start in Turkey hasn't been all that impressive. After five games so far, He has averaged 9.6 points and 3.6 assists per game. In 2001, he was the NBA's Most Valuable Player. I hope he is really happy over there and is successful in whatever he defines as success. Let's pretend again there IS an NBA lockout and there is no basketball next season. Allen Iverson has one year left on his contract with Besiktas and is playing basketball when his competition isn't. Sound like a good time to start positioning for a spot on an NBA roster? Time will only tell.

George Karl Looking for Win Number 1, 000

The Toronto Raptors will be cheering for the Denver Nuggets tonight. I am sure they will be since they don't want to host a team this Friday whose Head Coach is on the verge of 1,000 career wins. The Denver Nuggets will be in Charlotte tonight taking on the Bobcats and chasing a dream for their Head Coach, George Karl. This is an important win on so many levels. The 'one thousand career wins' club is exclusive and has only a half a dozen members like Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan, Lenny Wilkens, Don Nelson and Charlotte Bobcats' Head Coach Larry Brown (a good friend of Karl's). George Karl has coached over 22 seasons in the NBA and wants this win for practical reasons so he can get out of the spotlight and back to the business of building his Denver Nuggets team. On a personal level, this win is important since just after a few years of battling prostate cancer, he underwent treatment for throat and neck cancer. He's been given a clean bill of health but continues to monitor his recovery. "He is a terrific coach. He's overcome a lot. I think we're all proud of what he's accomplished, and I think he is going to win a lot more before he hangs it up" (Charlotte Bobcats Head coach, Larry Brown). Before joining the Denver Nuggets in 2005, George Karl coached the Cavs (1984-86), Warriors (1986-88), Sonics (1991-98) and the Bucks (1998-03). In 1996, his Seattle Super Sonics won the Western Conference title but lost to Michael Jordan and the Bulls in the NBA final. So imagine what a win tonight will mean with his good friend and rivals in opposition.

It will also make it easier for me to cheer for the Raptors on Friday when they host the Denver Nuggets. The DNB will be hosting some lucky fans of the blog to boxed seats at Friday's game - I am really looking forward to it.

Thanks for joining me today. See you on Thursday for more "Behind Enemy Lines".

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