There was a sign held up in the crowd on Sunday night in big blue letters by four different fans, each holding one letter. “T-E-A-M” it spelled, and a team is what won the 2011 NBA Championship. One team paid close to three max contracts to try to win an NBA Championship; and the other team built their roster with players who wanted to win it all, and who each knew their roles. Dirk Nowitzki was the player who was their leader though. He had his team’s back whenever anyone needed him. 102 degree fever? Not a problem. Torn tendon in his middle finger? “Child Please” as Chad Ochocinco says. Granted Dirk, who’s one of the most humble players in the NBA would never say anything like that, it’s my job as the blogger to say it for him. He’s a stud, a future Hall Of Famer, and the most underrated player in the NBA.
But as much as Dirk was the Mavs leader, he also got the support from his role players and good friends also. Jason Terry started quietly in the 2011 NBA Playoffs, but turned it up to a different level when they needed him. He drained probably the biggest shot of his career to end game 5, over top of none other than Lebron James, and then ended game 6 with an incredible 27 point performance. Jason Kidd hit big shot after big shot, protected the basketball, and consistently hit the open player as he’s done his whole career. And what about J.J. Barea? He’s generously listed as 6 feet tall, when in reality he’s probably about 5’10 in shoes. But he spent the entire series weaving in and out of the Heat defense, and he was the Mighty Mouse of this team. Tyson Chandler and Shawn Marion were just consistent game in and game out. Offensive rebounding, defensive rebounding, blocking shots, they just dominated the inside for the Mavs. Even Deshawn Stevenson and Brian Cardinal played their roles incredibly well. Stevenson hit big shots when they needed them, and Cardinal came in with intensity guarding guys that left the announcers “ooe-ing” and “aww-ing”. This was team basketball at it’s finest.
To be honest, I’m not sure if any team in any situation could have taken down the Dallas Mavericks in these NBA Finals. They were the team of destiny, and were humble the entire time. Dirk Nowitzki has been humble since he came into the league 10 years ago. When Dwayne Wade called out Dirk for not being clutch back in 2006, and saying that was the reason that the Mavs lost; Dirk didn’t respond, he just waited for his shot to prove Wade wrong.
I refuse to blow up this article about the Dallas Mavericks with too much Lebron James talk, but something has to be said. Through game 5, Lebron James averaged 2.2 points in the fourth quarter of the 2011 NBA Finals. He’s been called out for his play, but no one seems to know the real answer of what is wrong with Lebron. He refused to take over in the fourth quarter of any game when his team needed him. He passed the ball off like it was a hot potato, and didn’t have the killer instinct of the Michael Jordan’s or Kobe Bryant’s of the game. Only time will tell if he has that killer instinct, he’s a gifted player and one of the most physically gifted athletes that I’ve ever seen play any sport; but none of that will matter if he can’t dominate during the Finals, when all eyes are on him.
In the end though, a world of congratulations goes out to the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, and so many more players, coaches, and fans of the Dallas Mavericks. You deserve to be 2011 NBA Champions.
Since last week, when opening bids for the Cubs were submitted, it has been learned that Tribune Co. cut the # of bids for the Cubs, Wrigley Field, and the team’s 25% stake in ComCast Sports Net Chicago down to 5 from the original 10. Among those 5 bids, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was one of them, and John Canning, considered by many to have had the inside track due to his ties to commissioner Bud Selig, was not. Additionally, it has been learned that Cuban’s bid was the highest at $1.3 Billion.
According to sources close to Canning’s group said that due to the fact Wrigley Field needs anywhere between what they estimated $300-400 million in repairs, any bid over $800 million would make the investment unprofitable, which probably explains why Canning’s group didn’t make it to round 2.
Grade A columnist Jay Mariotti, of the Chicago Sun-Times believes that Sam Zell would have rejected Canning regardless, saying:
It’s tough for Cuban to go on the record these days, particularly with me, a frequent critic of the lords [Bud Selig and Jerry Reinsdorf]. But a source close to the situation reminded me of the underlying story: “MLB can’t be involved until after the Cubs pick someone.” Meaning, Zell and Cuban could bond like long lost brothers, and Cuban’s group could bid a trillion zillion dollars for the Cubs — and it still wouldn’t matter if Bud and Jerry drive the political wedge and opt for their kind of peeps. There is a precedent, by the way. It happened in 2002, when the lords rejected the highest bid for the Boston Red Sox and went with the lower, $660-million bid of Selig’s dude, John Henry.
This might explain why Zell, in an impressive pre-emptive strike, rejected the bid of a big-clout group presumably supported by the lords. John Canning is a Selig guy, an 11 percent owner of the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s a Chicago guy, chairman of private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners LLC. He had men influential in Reinsdorf’s world — Aon Corp. chairman and Chicago 2016 chief Patrick Ryan, Chicago sports mogul Andrew McKenna and restaurant legends Rich Melman and Larry Levy. It’s hard to believe their bid was so low that Zell buried it. But then, given the Red Sox case, can you blame him? This could have been his message to the lords — you can’t politically favor Canning if he isn’t part of the process.
Well since we know what the numbers are, Mariotti is wrong on the front that Canning’s bid wasn’t a low one. But his analysis of it is still a very thoughtful one nonetheless, seeing how Selig and JR are only interested in getting their cronies in. Additionally, when Sam Zell took the Tribune Co. private last year in a heavily leveraged $8.2 billion deal, he took in $13 billion of debt. Next year, in June 2009, Zell has to pay off $750 million of that debt. He is not interested in helping install a crony. He is interested in top dollar, and he realizes that by throwing out the crony, that task becomes a lot easier. Let’s hear a shout-out to Mr. Zell for throwing out John Canning.
At long last, the on-going sale of the Chicago Cubs has finally started, with opening bids having been submitted on Friday. According to the article, 7 groups submitted bids for the Cubs, Wrigley Field, and the Tribune Company’s 25% stake in Comcast Sports Net Chicago. Sources say Mark Cuban was one of the bidders. Experts predict that the sale will fetch over $1 billion, helping Sam Zell knock off some of the $13 billion in debt he owes on the company, in particular, a lump sum payment of $750 million that is due in June 2009. Whether or not the deal gets done by then remains to be seen, and if it goes past that, what will happen when Cuban outbids Canning, but MLB accepts Canning remains to be seen as well. My personal wishes are that this sale drags beyond June 2009, making it more likely that if Cuban is to be rejected despite having the highest bid, Zell will sue saying he is entitled to the highest bid.
What the hell is Sam Zell doing!? Why the hell is he trying to sell the name of Wrigley Field?
I’ll tell you why. Zell doesn’t give a dam about the Cubs. After all, he is a minority owner in the White Sox, which if Bud Selig realized and decided to do things legally, would make Zell sell his shares in them. But he doesn’t care. His butt buddy Jerry Reinsdorf happens to own the White Sox and said he didn’t care. Very interesting. Isn’t this a conflict of interest?
Zell is just looking to make a buck while MLB sorts out the complications of blocking out Mark Cuban and installing John Canning, a crony who will just be another extension of the Trib.
The writing is on the wall: Zell is a minority owner in the White Sox. Jerry Reinsdorf said he doesn’t care that Zell has stake in both, saying the Cubs is temporary. He happens to be the right-hand man of Bud Selig, so Selig signs off on the waiver. They like John Canning and want to install him as the owner. They are going to do whatever they can to keep Cuban out, while they install this crony who is just an extension of the Trib. So they figure, in addition to screwing over the Cubs, why not piss them off as well, and let Zell make a buck. Unless they plan on adding another 20M a year contract, this money is going into Zell’s pocket. If JR is a man of high integrity as he claims to be, then why is he sticking his nose into the whole ownership situation with the Cubs? Isn’t that a conflict of interest?
While I think what Hitler did was a horrible thing, I wouldn’t mind it had Selig, Reinsdorf and Zell died.
To trade or not to trade? The long-asked question has finally been answered: To trade
Jason Kidd is finally going to Dallas (again) a week after the trade seemed to be in severe jeopardy, thanks to Devean George invoking his little-known no-trade clause to veto the deal, and Jerry Stackhouse implying that there was a pre-arranged deal for him to return to Dallas, albeit legal.
The new deal looks like this: Devin Harris, DeSagana Diop, Maurice Ager, Trenton Hassell, Keith Van Horn, first-round draft picks in 2008 and 2010 and $3 million going to New Jersey in return for Kidd, Malik Allen, and Antoine Wright. The Mavericks were able to lure Van Horn out of retirement and Van Horn will be playing for the Nets.
With the deal having been so close to completion last week, this is huge for Dallas that it got done. In the end, even though this will dent Cuban’s wallet 11M more than the original deal, Dallas will be better off this year, as they keep George instead of Hassell, and they don’t lose Stack for 30 days. New Jersey wins too with this deal. They clear cap room, and they get a young point guard to build around with in Devin Harris. With Kidd now, Dallas got one of the more loaded teams in the league, able to fly with some of the other elite team’s combos. This deal gives Dallas the mental toughness they need to contend for a title. With the West so wide open, I’m not going to crown the Mavericks, but look for them to be in the hunt.