Sorry bro, but the idea is ludicrous. In all honesty, it doesn’t make sense at all. This will be a long response so it has become a blog post.
First, the idea that LeBron is not a “closer” is the most annoying thing the media puts out there and people believe without doing any research. People want to conveniently forget his first seven seasons in the league, in which he led a terrible Cleveland team to win totals of 50, 50, 45, 66 and 61. He led them to the NBA Finals with people like Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Sasha Pavlovic and Eric Snow. He led the NBA in 4th quarter scoring in multiple seasons during that time. How can you not “close” and lead the league in 4th quarter scoring and be one of the best teams in the league, despite an atrocious supporting cast? It doesn’t make any sense. He had a terrible NBA Finals last year. That’s it. It doesn’t mean he can’t close a game. Somehow the general mentality of fans and media has become the misconception that you have to take the last shot to be the closer. What needs to be realized is that to be great, you just need to make the smart basketball play. I discussed this in a blog yesterday, even Michael Jordan passed to open players at the end of NBA Finals games. Why? Because it was the smart play, the right play, the play that will give you a better chance to win the game! For those who say that he shrinks in all big spots, enjoy these two videos and leave me alone.
I know that you believe Kobe Bryant is the epitome of a closer, but stats tell us otherwise. I want you take the time to really dive into these numbers. His shooting percentage, his lack of assists and high turnover rate doesn’t paint a good picture. Has he closed in his career? During the regular season, yes. In the playoffs? His first three rings were the result of big shots from Robert Horry and Derek Fisher. He was a 3rd or 4th option. Let’s also not forget game 7 of the Finals against Boston recently where he shot 6 for 24 and was carried by Pau Gasol. Quite frankly, we can skew the numbers and opinions however we see fit. The truth is the concept of a closer is a media fabricated idea. Basketball is a free flowing sport that goes on the feel of the game. True closers are coaches who put their players in the correct spots to succeed.
Now on to the proposed trade; the idea that New York would part with Carmelo Anthony doesn’t make sense right now. He is clearly the guy to build around out there. You are proposing that they build around Amar’e Stoudemire, which they tried two years ago to no success. The problem with Stoudemire is he is unreliable from a health standpoint. He also would mesh with Wade as well as you think because he needs the ball to go through him. His success was largely due to the pick and roll offense masterfully run by Steve Nash (who I will mention later). Wade will dominate the ball, in a similar manner that Carmelo does. Given Stoudemire’s inability to stay healthy (he’s only played a full season twice in his career), do you want to match him with Wade…who also struggles with injury (he has never played a full season)? That’s a dangerous thought and one they shouldn’t even consider. Dwyane Wade is 30 and has much more wear and tear on his body. Carmelo is only 27 and hasn’t had any real injury issues. He’s reliable and not a chip you give away.
What style do you think they want to play in New York? Woodson is an isolation play calling coach. Wade would run that, but it doesn’t help Amar’e in any way.
I don’t think that Riley will come back to the bench, nor do I think he should. I don’t think that Spoelstra should be fired either. He has done a remarkable job given the lack of depth on that team. He deserves a chance to make this work. He had them two wins from a title last season. It wasn’t coaching that lost them those games. It was LeBron playing poorly. It was Wade taunting the Dallas Mavericks. It was Dirk going crazy and putting up historic numbers. He’s a good young coach that should retain his job.
Now here’s where things get interesting. I agree that if the Heat can’t pull this off, and after last night it doesn’t look good, they should do something. The Big 3 will have to be broken up and the piece that has to go is Wade. He’s older. He’s struggled with injury. It’s clear that this has become LeBron’s team. It’s time to give him the keys to the kingdom and build around The King and Bosh. Here is how I would propose things shake out:
- Trade Dwyane Wade and Joel Anthony to the Orlando Magic for Dwight Howard.
- The contracts match up.
- Orlando flips a bad situation into an All Star guard and a back-up center for Glen Davis.
- Miami gets a dominant big man, which allows Chris Bosh to play the mid-range game he absolutely thrives in.
- LeBron doesn’t mind because he gets another friend on his team and gets total control, like he had in Cleveland but no is surrounded by pieces that fit his style better.
- Sign Steve Nash to run the point.
- Your starting line-up turns in to LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Steve Nash and Mike Miller. Bringing Mario Chalmers off the bench would be a great spark for the second unit and gives you a good back-up for Nash. Nash will need games off so having Chalmers is an easy plug in.
New York Knicks
- Sign Jeremy Lin to an extension under the pretense that he will be traded (hang with me).
- Work with Deron Williams on a sign and trade.
- Deron Williams wants out of Brooklyn, but he does live and like the New York area. He would love to be with the Knicks and team up with Carmelo, who was a great Team USA teammate.
- The trade would be Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin for Deron Williams. The Knicks rid themselves of a bad contract and a piece that doesn’t fit in the direction they are going. The Nets, who have no star power and know Williams is likely gone, get two proven commodities to sell tickets and improve their team. Lin and Stoudemire play well enough together to make them relevant. I don’t think this makes them a playoff team, but it improves them greatly.
I have just improved the situations for four Eastern Conference teams. Miami gets better and improves in the places they need to. New York gets a cohesive team that Mike Woodson could elevate. The Nets get the ability to sell tickets and win more games with a Lin, Stoudemire, and Gerald Wallace tandem. Orlando rids themselves of a huge headache and brings in a guy who immediately helps (and is loved in the South Florida region). Simply put, Carmelo isn’t going anywhere. His style would clash with LeBron’s the same way it is with Wade.
The funny thing is you said that you don’t think the LeBron-Wade dynamic can win a ring, which is a prevalent thought in the media. How do we forget that they were 2 wins, 2 WINS, from the NBA title last season? They were learning to play together and this year has been even better. Wade took a step back because he knows LeBron is the best player on the planet, plus he’s getting older and more run down. It can work but the Bosh injury is major. You can’t be without Bosh and then have Wade give you as many turnovers as points. No team can overcome that level of ineptitude, even with LeBron carrying the weight. The sad thing is, if they don’t win the title, no one will mention Bosh’s injury. The media won’t point to Wade’s terrible play and argument with his coach. It will all get heaped on LeBron’s shoulders. He could average 30-15-10 during the Finals, but if they lost, it’s his fault. It’s a sad state of affairs.