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Am I the Only One?

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Sometimes I think there's something wrong with me.  

  • Did anyone else see LeBron's game winner against Portland last night?  As it happens, I was able to switch over to ESPN at halftime of the Clippers-Hawks and catch the last minute.  On the Cavs final possession, down one, LeBron got to the rim for the go ahead score.  Dan Shulman and Jon Barry were predictably effusive in their praise of the king.  They showed the replay about a dozen times, and each time they oohed and aahed like the NBA wants them to.  But there was one little detail that they never mentioned despite the fact that it slapped me in the face every time they showed the play.  HE TRAVELED!  He took three effing steps.  And frankly, it makes it easier to get to the rim when you are not bound by those pesky rules.  I mean, I know it happens all the time, but are we to the point where no one even notices it anymore?  Am I the only one?  Did anyone else see it?  Am I going crazy?  The Emperor has no Clothes!  Or, in this case, the King took three steps!
  • Along the same lines, this Sam-Cassell-Buyout seems to have taken on a life of it's own.  In the Daily Dime on ESPN.com, Marc Spears goes into great detail about all the ins and outs of the buyout.  There's a picture of Cassell and KG on the front of the NBA section, a huge picture of Sam's yoda head on the Dime page, and a big ol' 'analysis' of the situation.  But the thing is, as far as I can figure, there is no situation.  Here's what Spears had to say... I'm excerpting the whole thing cuz it's all just so strange.
    Don't get the Boston Celtics wrong, they quietly had interest in Damon Stoudamire. But it seems like the reason they didn't make that move is because they were intrigued by the possibility of landing LA Clippers guard Sam Cassell.

    Cassell has two championship rings from early in his career with Houston, is a former teammate of Celtics star Kevin Garnett, is a bigger guard than Stoudamire and could be a mentor to young Rajon Rondo. Adding Cassell's size and experience could help in guarding a crafty veteran guard like Detroit's Chauncey Billups in a possible Eastern Conference playoff matchup. All of which makes him very attractive to the Celtics.

    The problem however is the Celtics don't have the attractive pieces to make a move via trade. The struggling Clippers would like to drop salary. So with that being said, the only way it seems Cassell will come to the Celtics is if he is bought out by the Clippers. Therein lies the problem.

    Cassell didn't make big money early in his career, so it would be hard to walk away from a contract paying $6,150,000. Also keep in mind, as cheap as the Clippers are, they would try to squeeze as much money as possible out of Cassell especially now that he's their starting point guard looking at an opportunity to make a break for utopia. A source told the Boston Globe that the Clippers would be interested in a buyout if Cassell would give up major money.

    So basically it comes to this: what's more important to Cassell, playing for a potential championship or getting paid?

    The answer to that question will likely determine whether he will be reunited with Garnett.

    First of all, Sam Cassell is going to help guarding Chauncey Billups?  REALLY?

    Then there's this line: 'as cheap as the Clippers are, they would try to squeeze as much money as possible out of Cassell.'  The implication being that other, not so parsimonious teams, would gladly pay Sam every penny of his contract to watch him walk away.  I asked before, but no one has really answered the question - what exactly is in this for the Clippers?  Other than the money Sam leaves on the table that is?  So for all of those Celtics fans out there, thank FSM that the Clippers are so cheap, because LA's supposed penny-pinching is the one and only factor that might enable this to happen.  Seriously, it's not like Cassell is taking minutes away from the Clippers future point guard.  Who would that be?  32 year old Brevin Knight? 29 year old Dan Dickau?  

    Spears' conclusion was my favorite:  'So basically it comes to this: what's more important to Cassell, playing for a potential championship or getting paid?'  As if Cassell and Cassell alone will decide this.  Um, excuse me, the Clippers actually have a say in the matter as well.  Look, I get it.  Everyone loves the Celtics, and their resurgence is a great story.  A Cassell-KG reunion would make it an even better story.  (No one talks about the Cassell-Ray Allen reunion, even though they played together twice as long and had just as much success.)  But if Boston can't get him in a trade that gives the Clippers something for their trouble (which, as it turns out, they probably can't) then it ain't gonna happen.  

    Cassell has value - beyond the million or so dollars that might be saved in a buyout.  A buyout does not help in any way from a basketball standpoint and the Clippers owner recently implied he cared about basketball.  A buy out doesn't create additional flexibility under the cap (his contract would still count against the cap until the end of the season, when it comes off the books whether or not he is bought out) and it doesn't bring any assets back to the Clippers.  And this isn't a Tim Thomas in Chicago or Steve Francis in Portland situation - Cassell is the starting point guard, a team leader and by all accounts a positive influence.  He's in the last year of his contract, so there's no future money to be saved in a potential buy out.  He's not getting bought out.  Period.  They'll trade him for expiring contracts plus a prospect and/or a pick.  If Boston doesn't have those assets because I dunno, they already traded for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, that's just the way it is.  Get over it Boston.  Watch the Super Bowl.

Am I the only one who thinks this is all pretty obvious?