Welcome to the NBA Roundtable, and this week we have David, DJ and Bill taking LeBron and the NBAPA, Brandon Jennings, Detroit’s future and who wins first, Kobe or Howard?
David: I’m not sure to be honest with you, I think he might be, if he’s looking to do something even better for his sport. The problem is, the NBAPA is NOT for the Max player guys, its NOT for the minimum guys, its for the rotation guys.
EJ: I think LeBron has serious concerns with the future of the League, and by all accounts he is a savvy business man but I do not believe he’s being serious about being the President of NBA Players Association. Is it a job I can see him holding in the future? Absolutely but now is not the time for that.
Bill: There’s no telling what his true intentions are, to be honest. While LeBron is an outstanding player, I don’t necessarily believe he’s the right person for the job and feel a veteran with more tenure and league wide respect might be better suited for the role. That’s not to say LeBron isn’t respected, but I think there are a select few who might fill the position and make more of it than just another title to add to some collection.
Tomas: Not right now. He still has a lot to prove on the court if he wants to be known as the greatest ever. This would distract him from that.
David: See above. Will he take the time to care? But bottom line, its not like there will not be an ARMY of people helping him. Its not like David Silver and LeBron are going walk into a room with a blank sheet of paper and write out the agreement.
EJ: Yes he would be a good President. Once he’s retired from the League and has the time to dedicate himself fully to player issues. LeBron is a business man, and LeBron is a brand but I absolutely believe that he cares about the future of the League.
Bill: I’m not sure. While I’d like to believe his intentions are genuine, I’m more apt to believe that he cares more about those in his generation and widely recognized across the league rather than the bulk of what the NBA constitutes, which is guys who contribute in a less glorified role and occupy the bulk of the roster. Does he care as much about his fellow league mates or more about himself and the others like him? Time will tell, but I’m not all that confident in him assuming such a role.
Tomas: Very hard to predict. Jordan, is not a very good owner/President of the Bobcats but he is not a businessman he is a BUSINESS MAN! Lebron is the same.
David: Forget him, what happened to Jeff Teague? I think it was just his agent was an idiot. He should have had a plan in place months ago, the Bucks seem almost like they had the plan in place. The only way Jennings was getting even a 75% Max dead was to sign early, teams are worried about the Tax, and most teams have a Plan A and a Plan B, and most dumb teams just don’t have cap room for Jennings right now.
EJ: Jennings might have some issues with his agent, but his biggest issue should be with his game. Great athlete but he’s a horrible shooter and he can’t finish around the rim. So, he thought being an athlete with handles was going to bring him a max deal? Delusional. The contract he signed with the Pistons is just about right. A short term deal with manageable money on the cap.
Bill: Jennings is more about flash than substance and this off season has made that clear as teams have shied away from bringing him onto their roster. Sure, he dropped a double nickel during his rookie season, but he was wildly inconsistent for the remainder of that season and those that have followed. As has been mentioned, just because you’re an athlete doesn’t mean you’re going to get paid unless you can bring it each and every night and be a complete player. Jennings is not to that point and thus not a max contract player in anyone’s eyes but his own. His agent isn’t the one to blame for that and firing him was more a reflection of Jennings’ overinflated self worth and lack of perspective. Seeing as how Joe Dumars has a cool yet all business demeanor about him and Chauncey Billups returning to provide veteran leadership, we may see Jennings turn the corner while running the show in Motown.
Tomas: Jennings reminds me of a Tracy McGrady, very talented but will never live up to expectations. Flashes of brilliance years of mediocrity.
David: To me it comes down to Greg Monroe. If his scoring takes a major hit with the changes, then they are screwed. If it stairs flat, or even improves. I can see a 7 seed fairly easily, I don’t see them having the record of the Heat, Brooklyn or even the Knicks, but in the slowdown style of the playoffs- they could be a bit scary- especially if Jennings is running a 2:1 Assist to Turnover ratio.
EJ: A contender for the 8th seed in the East. I like the Pistons. I think Drummond is a beast in the middle, and Monroe is a power forward that can play a bit in the high block and facilitate the offense. I’m hesitant to see how Josh Smith plays at small forward, and how Chauncey Billups fits but I think the Pistons are taking the right steps back to respectability.
Bill: I think the eighth spot sounds about right, but they could potentially go as high as sixth if they can put it all together. DET has a young core upon which to build and it’s only going to get better. Drummond is an aberration and just scratching the surface of his potential. Josh Smith is a high flyer who will have an opportunity to shine and may have found the perfect running mate in Jennings. Monroe is a gamer who helps to stretch the floor. KCP might also get a chance to showcase his talents during his rookie season and might help to solidify the unit. With a roster filled with other solid contributors, I don’t see how they miss the playoffs.
Tomas: As I like to say we won’t know until we see them on the court. It’s so difficult to predict how a team will do once the season starts team chemistry is so important. In the Eastern conference only the top 5 positions are guaranteed not in any particular order Knicks, Heat, Pacers, Nets, and Bulls. 6th – 8th will be up for grabs between Pistons, Cavs, and Hawks I even feel 76er’s have a great chance.
David: Lets face it. If I’m betting on any team to win a title, its the Heat as long as LeBron is there, then the Lakers. You can run all the scenarios you want and complain about the cap restrictions, but If you told me in 2018 one of these two things were real, the Hornets made the East Finals, or the Lakers have Irving, LaMarcus and Kevin Love- I’m not going to be making vacation plans to Charlotte.
EJ: I’ll go with the Lakers. I’m not one of those fans that thinks the Lakers will sign LeBron (because I don’t think LeBron leaves a situation in Miami where the Heat can rebuild around him), but I do think they have a fair shot at Carmelo. However, even if the Lakers miss out on Carmelo I still can’t see how they blow all that cap space they will have after next season. You’d have to think they’d entice one or two big name free agents in what should be a loaded free agent class to come to LA, build a team around Kobe, and allow the Mamba to take one last shot at his 6th ring.
Bill: I’m going with HOU. For the most part, the Lakers are done. Bryant is as determined as ever to show all the naysayers he’s right where he left off, but that’s still not where they need him to be. Bryant is on the wrong side of 30 and doesn’t seem ready to relinquish his total control over the Lakers quite yet. That stranglehold may have hurt the Lakers more than he cares to acknowledge, especially seeing how far they are above the cap without any room to get better. Losing Howard definitely hurt and I always felt that the deal to acquire him would come back to haunt them. Now they’ve got no Bynum and no Howard. Sure, they’ve still got Gasol… but how much does he have left in the tank? What about Nash? Hell, what about anyone else? There have been no significant roster moves made by the Lakers this off season to show that they’re prepping for the future (which is quickly approaching) and so long as Bryant is on it… they’re hosed financially. HOU, on the other hand, is primed to shine and adding Howard to the mix only helps to strengthen that. There are plenty of games yet to be played, but picking the Lakers solely on their history of always making it work is a sucker’s bet. Once Bryant is gone, they’re done for a long time.
Tomas: LAKERS with a gun to my head and knife on my throat, Houston will never win a title with Dwight Howard and James Harden. Bring back the Dream and they may have a chance. Lakers in 5 years.
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