HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
The Culture of Entitlement in Sports
By Travis Heath
“I’m taking my talents to South Beach.”
The outrage was palpable after LeBron James uttered the following words during a one-hour cable special to announce his imminent signing with the Miami HEAT. While fans in Cleveland felt like they had taken a kick to their collective gut, the whole production didn’t sit well with most across the country.
Out of touch.
These where just a few of the words or phrases used to describe how people viewed LeBron after “The Decision.”
Thing is, we as a sports culture helped to create the very TV special that we claimed to hate so much. In other words, LeBron likely did not emerge from the womb as an arrogant human being. He was celebrated from such a young age that the people around him fostered a sense of entitlement in him.
This same sense of entitlement played a role in Lance Armstrong’s defiant lies that were finally exposed (at least officially) last week and is what allowed professional baseball players to tell blatant lies about the use of performance enhancing drugs when testifying before Congress.
Nash: Lakers Don’t Know Who They Are Yet
By Stephen Brotherston
The Los Angeles Lakers are a very popular visiting team these days and it’s not because they added two of the game’s best-known players during the off season. These Lakers just can’t seem to win on the road and their two-time MVP point guard Steve Nash isn’t enjoying the type of season he expected.
“It’s different in that we haven’t been playing well and that’s disappointing,” Nash said. “At the same time, there’s been constant change. Whether it is coaching or injuries, whatever have you, we haven’t had a chance to figure out who we are yet.”
The Lakers were first in the Pacific Division with a 41-25 record last season and adding Dwight Howard and Nash should have made the team Western Conference Finals contenders. The first half challenges the Lakers have experienced were definitely not expected.
“I think that’s one of the things that I didn’t expect when I came here,” Nash said. “But, it’s great, I’m always up for a challenge. We just have to keep working on getting better, fighting every day and trying to turn this thing around.
The Houston Rockets’ Trade Scenario
By Bill Ingram
“When we’re on a losing streak like this, I can’t even think about All-Star honestly.”
That was Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin’s response when he was asked recently what he thought about being a part of the festivities that will take place in Houston mid-February as the NBA takes a few days off to stage their annual All-Star game.
Lin wasn’t voted in by the fans, but since the game is in Houston there’s a chance that he could be selected by coaches to play in the big game anyway. He was the third-highest vote-getter among Western Conference guards, but it seems far more likely that James Harden will be Houston’s appointee given his outstanding season.
“We knew he was going to be good, but we didn’t know how good,” Lin says of his new backcourt mate. “I think he’s surpassed everyone’s expectations in the entire organization and he’s been incredible for us, been a big part of our success.”
NBA Salary Now, Salary Tomorrow
By Eric Pincus
Economics are often a driving force in the NBA. The Memphis Grizzlies just traded three players and a first-round pick to acquire Jon Leuer from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Leuer was the player the Grizzlies got in return but the true purpose was to dip below the luxury tax threshold.
As teams approach the February 21 trade deadline, finances will help dictate moves. Some teams will make moves to open up cap room this summer. Others will look to avoid the tax.
The cap for the 2013-14 NBA season won’t be set until July but a reasonable projection is $60 million. With that number in mind, which teams will have spending power this offseason?
What’s Next For The Grizzlies?
By Yannis Koutroupis
The Memphis Grizzlies have been bracing for a trade with core players like Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph’s names constantly involved in rumors as new ownership and management tried to get the team out of the luxury tax.
Today the trade to get them out of the luxury tax came and both Gay and Randolph are still Grizzlies.
Josh Selby, Wayne Ellington, Marreese Speights (and a 2015 first-round pick) are no longer with the team, though. They are now Cleveland Cavaliers, with Jon Leuer coming to Memphis in exchange.
Now the Grizzlies are $2.2 million under the luxury tax threshold, so the big question is what’s next?
Would The Celtics Trade Paul Pierce?
By Steve Kyler
Where Does Boston Go?: Celtic’s coach Doc Rivers said recently that major changes would be coming if things did not improve.
It not a huge secret that Celtics president Danny Ainge and his staff have been kicking the tires on their options for most of the past month. The Celtics have always been aggressive about shopping the marketplace, but despite rampant speculation that Boston might move one of its core pieces like say a Paul Pierce, Celtics sources say that unless it returned a bona fide All-Star of Pierce’s stature in return moving him was not in the cards.
Pierce is an attractive trade chip because only $5 million of his $15.55 million owed next year is guaranteed. The problem is the Celtics might want to keep that option for themselves rather than deal Pierce away.