NBA Roundtable: Free Agency, Sterling, NBA Mid-Season Tournament?

The NBA has been the talk of the entire sports world recently. In the midst of this year’s free agency period, you really never know what to expect. Thus far, we have seen LeBron James take his talents back to his hometown, and Carmelo Anthony take money over the opportunity to win. The Donald Sterling saga is still ongoing, which is damaging to the league’s reputation. The possibility of a mid-season tournament is also being considered by commissioner Adam Silver. For this discussion, we will be hearing from Tracy Price (@tpriceLWOS), Sean O Brien (@seanneutron), Satbir Singh (@satbirsingh), and Chris Spisak (@chrisspisak).

  1. LeBron James has decided to leave the Miami Heat and go back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Do you think James made the right choice?

Sean O Brien: I think LeBron did make the right decision-not only for the fans of Cleveland or himself, but for his family. When you look at the Heat, that version simply ran its course. The potential the Cavs had at the time of Decision 2.0 allowed for The King’s new team to have a far higher ceiling. It’s a win-win-win situation for all involved.

Tracy Price: As a person and a basketball player, I believe LeBron made the right decision. Basketball aside, he, by returning to Cleveland, ultimately did what he really wanted to do, not what he felt obligated to do. On the basketball side of things, however, LeBron couldn’t go wrong in joining the young supporting cast that the Cavs have built with Kyrie Irving, Andrew WIggins, and Tristan Thompson.

Satbir Singh: As much as James wants to be as good as Michael Jordan, James also needs to retire as a good guy. Everyone has always questioned if James will ever win six titles like Jordan did, but if James never returned to the Cavaliers to make up for what he did in 2010, he would never be in the same category as Jordan. A players legacy is looked by stats, championships and popularity. Although James is one of the most popular athletes in the modern day, he was never a good guy after leaving Cleveland. Therefore James made the right choice in returning to Cleveland, because he saved his legacy. A championship in Cleveland would only be icing on the cake.

Chris Spisak: LeBron is going to be criticized no matter what he does: the price of being arguably the highest profile athlete on the planet. That said, I think he made the right call. He’s doing something that’s never really been done before, and honestly, I think that factored into his decision. He seems very aware of his legacy, and I think this will help cement it.

 

  1. We all know the Cleveland Cavaliers are the biggest winners of free agency. Besides the Cavs, who else are your winners in free agency?

Sean O Brien: The Mavericks getting Parsons from a divisional rival is huge. He may not be the superstar that Cuban has so long desired, but can spearhead a new generation in Dallas. Other winners include the Jazz keeping Hayward and Charlotte getting Lance Stephenson.

Tracy Price: While the Bulls missed out on Carmelo Anthony, they mightily improved an already-good roster with the additions of Pau Gasol and 6-foot-10 European phenom Nikola Mirotic. With Gasol’s offense, Joakim Noah’s defense, and a supposedly healthy Derrick Rose, the Bulls have all the pieces to contend for a title in the Eastern conference next season.

Satbir Singh: The big free agency winners beside the Cavaliers is simply the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks took the champion San Antonio Spurs to seven games in the 2014 playoffs. It was the toughest series the Spurs were part of and through this years free agency the Mavericks got better. As much as the Mavericks have weakened themselves at the point guard position by trading Jose Calderon and bringing in Raymond Felton, they got stronger elsewhere. A trio of Felton/Tyson Chandler/Chandler Parsons is a better look than Calderon and Vince Carter.

Chris Spisak: I really like the Bulls getting Pau Gasol. They had to be considered one of the favorites in the East already, and Gasol fills a huge need for them. Some might disagree since Carmelo Anthony turned them down and chose to stay in New York, but Gasol is a solid consolation. The Mavs snagging Chandler Parsons was a nice move, but I feel they overpaid.

 

  1. Unfortunately, some teams missed out big this free agency period. Who are your losers?

Sean O Brien: The Rockets – despite all the hype- are the far and away losers so far. Bosh’s change of heart threw a monkey wrench in their plans of having him and Parsons. Now they not only missed there…they traded away both Lin and Asik. Houston has a lot of dealing to do, and the Ariza signing is only scratching the surface. On the flipside, the Heat paying Bosh 5 years/$118 million cannot be a victory. He is a secondary player at best and not a max level superstar, despite fielding two max offers. The panic mode Reilly was in made Miami desperate to keep Bosh…and it could be an issue down the road.

Tracy Price: The biggest free agency loser so far has to be the Houston Rockets. The team entered the offseason with high hopes of signing a third star in Chris Bosh and retaining restricted free agent Chandler Parsons. They got neither, as Bosh signed a five-year deal to remain in Miami, and they opted to not match the Mavericks’ massive $46 million offer sheet with Parsons. Trevor Ariza is a great basketball player, but at 29 years old, he is a sure downgrade from Parsons.

Satbir Singh: We can point at the Miami Heat as losers for losing the best player in the game, but they still used their cap space wisely and could possibly still be a playoff team if Dwayne Wade stays healthy. The biggest loser is the Indiana Pacers. While the rest of the conference got better, the Pacers got worse with the loss of Lance Stephenson. They didn’t add any free agents to get better and after falling apart late last season and into the playoffs the east isn’t getting easier for the Pacers.

Chris Spisak: The Rockets. Without question. They gambled huge and lost by making Chandler Parsons a restricted free agent and then watching him walk after Dallas made an offer he couldn’t refuse and they couldn’t land a superstar like they had hoped. And any time you lose the best player on earth, that makes you a loser, so add Miami to the list as well.

4. Adam Silver has discussed the idea of a possible NBA Mid-season tournament. Is this the right move for the league?

Sean O Brien: The midseason tournament may work for soccer, but I see no reason for it in the NBA. The season would have to be shortened. Granted, people complain it’s too long or essentially a non-factor come playoff time…but adding a tournament in the middle of it would be incredibly pointless. Do players play as hard to win it, or save themselves for the rest of the season? If players don’t want to play in a one-night dunk contest for fear of injury, I doubt they’d want to risk it in a tournament.

Tracy Price: No. A league with an already-lengthy 82 game season and a two-month playoff system would only be asking for disaster by adding any more games to the schedule. The good news, however, is that Adam Silver is obviously keeping a much more open mind when it comes to improving the NBA than his predecessor, David Stern, ever did.

Satbir Singh: No! Simply no. Europeans love soccer, and they want as much soccer as possible. Making this big of change in the NBA’s is not worth it. The NBA needs to focus on making their 82 game season better. Sadly for the league their season doesn’t even rank in top three most interesting things. Most people prefer the NBA playoffs, free agency and draft over the season. A tournament mid-season is only going delay the start of the playoffs which is the best thing for the NBA. Forget the tournament and get us to the playoffs.

Chris Spisak: I have a hard time seeing how the players would be at all interested in this NBA mid-season tournament idea. These guys won’t even compete in something as simple as the Dunk Contest and now you want them to get on board for additional games that could very well wear them out during the stretch run? I don’t see it happening.

  1. Adam Silver also said that it is very possible Donald Sterling will still be the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers when the season starts. What should the Clippers organization and the NBA do in this situation to keep everyone sane?

Sean O Brien: The whole Sterling debacle is a mess that won’t be fully cleared up overnight. I myself in large part forget about it, but not to degrade the severity of his words and actions over the years. I do it because in the 24/7 news cycle, (especially ESPN), it gets tiresome to hear about. There’s not a lot more the league or Clippers can do that’s not already being done. Handle business in court as quickly as possible. The Clippers organization needs to pass a vow of silence about it. Players should refuse to discuss it to media in hopes of avoiding any controversial statements. The less the media has to work with, the faster the league can get past the stain known as Donald Sterling.

Tracy Price: I honestly don’t think it matters. Sterling is still banned from having any association with the team, and at this point, it has become obvious that one way or another, Sterling will eventually be forced out of the league.

Satbir Singh: This one’s tough because with the way the Sterling process is going there’s no doubt Donald will still be the owner of the Clippers once the season begins. It’s also tough to see the players boycott the season even though they don’t want Sterling as the owner and don’t want him making any money off games. The NBA could try and take all Clippers merchandise sales away from Sterling and make the Clippers play all road games so Sterling doesn’t make as much money. However, try convincing the players to play 82 games on the road, it won’t happen. There’s really no way of making everyone happy in this situation. It’s a tough time for the NBA but every league hits a big bump. The more important thing is how the NBA will act once Donald is gone.

Chris Spisak: The league is in a tough spot with the Sterling issue. There are going to be so many legal hoops to jump through before the issue is resolved that the NBA is more than likely going to be forced play “wait and see” until things get worked out. I’m curious to see if the league attempts to step in and assume ownership similar to the way they dealt with the New Orleans Hornets a few years back. I think that would be difficult to pull off from a legal standpoint as well, but it might send a message to fans that they’re doing everything they can to remove Sterling as quickly as possible.

 

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