1. I'm not going to rehash a forgettable afternoon of basketball but I think everything we learned can basically be boiled down to this: The Cavs do not match up well with the Lakers and if they're serious about winning a title, and not just one of the conference variety, they're going to have to add a piece. Even with West defending the perimeter and freeing Lebron to defend Odom, the matchups just aren't any good. The Cavs need a big man....check that...the Cavs need a talented big man. Joe Smith and Brad Miller need not apply. For the Cavs to be favored in a seven game series with the Lakers, it would take someone of the caliber of Camby or Amare to push them to the top. I don't know how optimistic I am that a deal like that will get done. Could the Cavs win a title even if they can't make a big acquisition? Of course. They're a very good basketball team. Are the odds in their favor? Nope. Right now there are four teams that could win it all (Cavs, Celtics, Lakers, Spurs). The Lakers are clearly the favorites and I wouldn't put the Cavs any better than about 5-1.
2. I'm not going to get on Lebron's case after one bad game. Everyone has a stinker once in a while. All I will say is this: Can we please stop blowing Chris Jent for whatever he's been doing all year with Lebron? Obviously, however many hours they've been spending in the gym together, it hasn't been enough to teach Lebron how to square up and shoot in balance. He's still a crappy shooter with crappy mechanics. That doesn't change the fact that Lebron is still the best player in the league. Just please studio commentators, spare us the Chris Jent platitudes.
3. Someone please explain to me what's going on with Donald Sterling. Is he serious about holding on to Camby until his awful 12-39 team is healthy enough to be slightly less awful? I'm sorry but I just don't believe that. You don't earn a reputation for being the cheapest owner in the league for 28 straight years and then just randomly up and decide to put winning first in the midst of a recession. Camby will be available. The Cavs MUST get him.
4. Count me among those who believe that the Suns might be blowing a little bit of smoke regarding Amare. Really? Robert Sarver lets Steve Kerr trade for the contracts of Shaq and Jason Richardson in the same year and now, all of the sudden, he's so deathly afraid of the luxury tax that he's going to trade away his best asset for expirings, picks, and a decent young player or two? That sounds like a smoke screen to me. My guess is Phoenix is pretending to undervalue him in the hope that the massive number of interested teams will drive the price up into a more reasonable range. They're not going to get full value for him but I doubt they'll be trading him away for cap relief alone.
Two more points while we're on this topic: 1) I've read that the only player off limits in Phoenix is Steve Nash. I guess I shouldn't expect anything less from the most poorly managed franchise this side of Chicago. Instead of trading away an aging defenseless point guard for full value, they're going to hold onto him for another year until he hits the wall and becomes worthless. Didn't Steve Kerr watch the heist that New Jersey pulled off with Kidd last year? If Phoenix had a lick of sense, they'd trade Nash, bring in a real defensive coach, and rebuild around Amare. Idiots. 2) I love it when people like to talk about how Amare can't play defense. Let's clarify this a little bit. Amare doesn't play defense. Is that surprising given that his only coach up until this year has been Mike D'Antoni. Didn't we hear the same thing about Mo Williams before he came to Cleveland? And last I checked, Mo Williams wasn't 6'10 250 with absurd athletic ability. I'm pretty sure, if put on the right team under the right coach, Amare just might be alright on the defensive end.
Final word on Amare: The Cavs should offer Szczerbiak, Hickson, and two number 1's and call it a day. That isn't going to be enough to get it done but at least they'll have put together their best available package for him. And for any of you out there that don't want to give up on Hickson's upside for a malcontent like Amare, I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you're an idiot. You don't want Amare and Lebron on the floor together at the same time? You don't think it just might cause a problem or two for other teams if the Cavs had 2 of the 3 greatest athletic specimens in the NBA (Howard being the 3rd) on the same line? Does Amare have some baggage? Absolutely. He has a serious tude and a microfracture operation under his belt. Still, it doesn't matter. If, and this isn't going to happen so I shouldn't even fantasize about it...but if Amare were to become a Cav, our televisions might explode. That's how insane it would be to see him and Lebron on the floor at the same time.
5. Please tell me you saw the Lebron/Kobe interview at halftime today. Watching Kobe pretend to be a decent guy is one of my top 10 favorite NBA related activities. Has there ever been a guy who is more desperate to be liked but is so obviously a total penis? Even when they showed the footage of Lebron busting Kobe's balls on the Olympic team, you could tell that Kobe wasn't fully in on the joke. As far as I'm concerned, the "Kobe is a good guy" ship sailed the day he outed Shaq for cheating on his wife just to take some of the heat off of himself. (Editor's Note: Any time someone claims that the day you officially became a bad guy was a day other than the one where you beat a rape charge or quit on your team in a playoff game 7, it probably means you're a really bad guy) I'm sure Lebron and Dwayne "Valtrex" Wade would just love to have a guy like that hanging around.
6. I feel bad for Mo Williams but truthfully, I'm glad he's not an all-star. What do you think would be better for the Cavs: Mo spending a few days partying and playing extra basketball in Phoenix or taking a few days or R&R followed by a return to work with a giant chip on his shoulder. I'll go with the latter.
1. I don't really have any serious Indians thoughts this week so I'll make one up: Did you ever wonder what the breakeven analysis would look like for the Indians signing Manny? Wait, before you navigate away from the page, I'm not advocating that the Indians sign him nor am I saying there is any more than a 0.0% chance that it would happen. All I'm saying is that just out of curiosity, I would love to know how many additional fans per game the Indians would have to draw to offset, say, a 1 year $30 million deal for Manny. I'll set the over/under at 10,000 extra fans per game assuming proportionate increases in concessions and merchandise sales. I'd love to hear your thoughts/guesses on this one.
2. Alex Rodriguez was roiding in 2003!? Shocking. You know who else I suspect might have been roiding that year? Every other power hitter in baseball. I wish these stories would just go away and that's coming from a guy who hates A-Rod.
1. One year ago this week, Derek Anderson and Braylon Edwards were pro-bowlers. Now, I wish they were both....(exercising restraint)...somewhere else. Although, since I heard that Savage fully guaranteed Anderson's $5 million roster bonus, maybe the odds of that happening aren't as good as I once imagined. It's only fitting that Savage tucked away one final hidden turd for us to uncover after his departure.
2. I heard someone on ESPN radio the other day (and I think it might have been Mel Kiper but I can't remember for sure) stumping for the Cowboys to hire Savage as a consultant because the two are friends. Two things: 1) How can a (somewhat) reputable sports network let one of its purported exports openly stump for a friend to get a job on the air. Isn't that a violation of some sort of journalistic ethics? 2) Given how badly he butchered the Browns, how can you make a straight faced argument for Savage to get another high-profile front office job?
3. I don't like all of this Malcolm Jenkins draft talk. Don't get me wrong; Jenkins is one of the few departing Ohio State players whom I actually didn't hate. I think he'll be a very solid NFL corner. That being said, a rookie corner isn't going to do the Browns much good because they'll still have no pass rush. In the NFL, if you can't rush the passer, the secondary is a moot point.
Ok, enough Browns coverage. I've already wasted 3 minutes of my life that I can never get back. I think we're going to start replacing the weekly Browns coverage with some hard hitting Lake Erie Monsters reporting or perhaps a few updates on how the Gladiators are dealing with the cancelled season. Those two things are probably more relevant than anything the Browns are up to. I wish there was a place that we could all go just to boo the Browns together. They should be forced to designate one player or team official each day to sit in a public place to receive lusty boos from fans. Maybe that's how they can start re-earning my respect.
That's all for now. My apologies for being absent from the board for a while. I'm sure we'll have more frequent updates with the trade deadline approaching.