Friday, July 09, 2010

LEBRONICUS MAXIMUS: How will the Heat fill out their roster?

Well well well, we finally have learned what has been expected for some time now. That Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James have some serious man-love for one another. That Dan Gilbert is an unqualified jerk (But we already knew that too. He who built his empire on the backs of dubious liar loans and HELOCs based on questionable appraisals). That Somebody will overpay for Amare (NYK). That Danny Ainge will pull off some deep value deal to extend the life of the Big Three, his greatest NBA accomplishment. And that yet again, despite the opportunity, Mark Cuban has done nothing quite remarkable to improve his team for championship success.

But those are some things we kind of already knew. What we didn't know was just how much pull Pat Riley still has in the NBA. Sure, he has merely copied the Ainge model to a certain extent. But in the Ainge case, he had to stockpile assets for years before making a move. Riley only had to do two things. 1) Draft D-Wade. 2) Fire everyone else.

The simplicity of this approach is singularly remarkable in the history of the NBA. No one has ever gotten so much for actually doing nothing. The absence of anything. Hell, he even gave away the #2 pick in the 2008 draft in a transaction completely unrelated to Bosh's Raptors or James' Cavaliers. Surely, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all those involved. And surely, this signals the death knell for the current CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) and the beginning of the new CBA (Countdown to Ballers Absconding).

Oh well, at least we will have this one glorious year of waiting for the Finals to happen. It should come down to Game 7 in the Staples Center once again. Lakers vs. Heat. We know about the New Big 3 in Miami, but how about the rest of the roster?

Let's take a look at the starting lineup:

PG Mario Chalmers
SG Dwyane Wade
SF Mike Miller
PF LeBron James
C Chris Bosh

I know. Everybody hates Chris. But you will have to play center for the Heat despite your claim that somehow you are "not a center." I'm sorry that Dwight Howard plays center in the Eastern Conference, really I am. But face it, you play down low, you bang the boards, you fight fight fight through the trees. You are a center. We have dealt with this for the past decade with Tim Duncan, a practice which started similarly - because we didn't want to deny TD an All-Star berth just because he played in a Western Conference with Shaq. Ok, fine Chris, we'll put you on the All-Star Ballot as a PF so Superman Jr. won't steal all your starter nods. If we did it for Timmy, I guess we've got to do it with you too. Especially since you've gone and made yourself a big deal and not the next Air Canada.

Assuming the Miller deal goes through (reported at 5 year $30 mill), the Heat will have exceeded the salary cap just for their starting roster. They can do that because they owned the Bird rights to Wade and will likely engineer sign-and-trade deals to acquire both James and Bosh, basically because who wants to be the GM forever known as the guy who lost James/Bosh and got absolutely nothing in return?

So, who else can we put on this roster? Assuming that the full mid-level exception was used to acquire Miller, that leaves only the bi-annual exception (for a deal around $2m per) and the rest minimum contracts for 2nd rounders or veterans subsidized by the league.

So, who are the rookies that Miami has the rights to currently who will probably make the team just because there is no one else. These guys must feel like they just won the lottery:

PG Patrick Beverley 6'1 180
SF Da'Sean Butler 6'7 225
PF Jarvis Varnado 6'9 220
C Dexter Pittman 6'10 300+

The good news? These guys are all 22 years old or younger and will earn the minimum salary for rookies next year (around $700,000). The bad news? That's still only nine players. NBA rules dictate a minimum of 13 players on a roster. So, much like the Celtics after their twin acquisitions of Garnett and Allen, we are left to ponder who will be the remaining components of this championship roster?

Question #1: Who will get the bi-annual exception?

Rumor has it Derek Fisher is seriously considering it. Why? Do you know that despite entering the league at the same time and sharing five championships together, D-Fish has never ever even been to Kobe's house? Do you think that WBJ will be hanging out together like all the time? Maybe people should start asking if Kobe can win a championship without Fisher. If Fisher doesn't get the bi-annual, do they go after Shaq? After all, he can still handle Superman Jr. and he does have a history with Wade and LeBron. If neither of these guys gets the bi-annual I'd be surprised.

If not Fisher, there will still be a need for Cool Hand Luke veteran backup PG type player. And for that role I also nominate these current unrestricted free agents:

Eddie House
Jason Williams (but not for the BAE)

That still leaves somebody to step in the middle and slide Bosh over to the 4 for 20-25 minutes per game. And for that role (this one is easy), I nominate Zydrunas Ilgauskas. After Dan Gilbert just blew his top on friend LeBron and especially how management treated Z during the run-up to the Jamison trade and how the coaching staff treated him all year but particularly during the playoffs when he didn't even find the floor despite his obvious chemistry with James and ability to knock down 18-20 foot wide-open jumpshots made possible by his buddy perpetually slashing to the hoop (you think the Heat will be collapsing the lane this year?), my guess is that Z will realize his loyalty is to the Gund Era of the Cavaliers and hightail it out of town. He still wants a championship just like anybody else.

That leaves two roster spots. They still need size and probably a bench scorer. It's likely they will figure out some way to bring back Udonis Haslem. Because they own his Bird rights, that shouldn't be too much of a problem. He's the glue guy that they'll need to perk up the second squad and to take some of the minutes at the 5 away from CB. If they can't get him or need to use him in one of the sign-and-trades, they should target Louis Amundson, an unrestricted free agent who fulfilled largely the same role for the Suns last year.

But we still need one more player just to get to the minimum! Not to mention if somebody gets hurt... Who will it be?

Q Rich is a boarding shooter who could back up the injury-prone Miller. Trenton Hassell or Jarvis Hayes could be brought in as defensive stoppers. It just depends on who loses out on the bigger contracts available out there from the teams that lost out on LeBronathon. Who will fall through the cracks? Who might un-retire a la PJ Brown just to make a run with these guys? Is there yet another All-Star out there at the end of their career who cares to make a run at it as wingmen a la Gary Payton & Karl Malone in 2004?

Enough speculation. "What's the skinny?" you say. Well, if I were a betting man, I'd say the 2010-11 Miami Heat roster will probably look a lot like this, give or take one or two elements:

PG Mario Chalmers
SG Dwyane Wade
SF Mike Miller
PF LeBron James
C Chris Bosh

PG Eddie House
PG Jason Williams
SF Da'Sean Butler
SF Quentin Richardson
PF Jarvis Varnado
PF Udonis Haslem
C Dexter Pittman
C Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Monday, September 22, 2008

30 days

Get on board playas for the 7th season of competition. The 7th Serious Playas league is formed at Sportsline for 2008-2009. If you did not recieve an invite from me, please check your email OR let me know (shaman at shanemoore dot net). The live draft is set for October 10/22/08, 10:00 PM ET.

Steve, Justin, Phil and I are already signed up... join in before we have to start scrambling for playas. Kloos? Miguel? Nicky? Dan? Reed? McCoy? Doc? Ryan? That'd make 12. Get signed up NOW!


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Celtics Win! A Surprise? No, but how will this reshape the League?

To the surprise of virtually no one except for those damn Hawks who almost pulled off a stunning 7-game upset in Round 1 of this year's NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics heaved their seventeenth piece of hardware this year behind the inspired play of their veteran triumvirate - KG, Jesus, and He Who Walks. As was so emphatically preminisced right here last year, GM Danny Ainge engineered this most magnificent NBA turnaround by counting on the fact that stragglers and other hangers-on would be willing to jump aboard the history train riding the coattails of this Big 3 to an NBA title. And what do you know? Posey and House signed for less than they could have got elsewhere, PJ Brown and Cassell come over for the vet min, et voila!, Beantown has all the veteran leadership and role playing grit to compete in playoff hip-to-bone competition, not to mention the moxie bestowed by the vets onto the lucky young ones Perkins, Rondo, and Big Baby Davis, who consistently played above their heads throughout the playoffs.

So Ainge's formulas have been proven correct - How long will it take for other GMs to adopt this approach? My guess - Not long. It may even perhaps have already happened what with B-Diddy and Agent Zero accepting less per-year dollars ostensibly to allow their teams to sign other top-tier talent and a pathetic hope to mimic our SC Boys' success (Note: Both Garnett and Ray Allen played their high school ball in the Cack and won titles there.) That's the impact from the player side. As Gilbert has already stated: "What can I do for my family with $127 million that I can't do with $111 million?" How gracious this new breed of NBA baller claims to be.

Now for the GMs to make their move. Will Chris Mullin or Kevin Pritchard decide to trade a handful of their young sought-afters for a veteran cog? How many other vets will be willing to sacrifice dollars for potential rings a la GP and the Mailman in 2004 or Posey/House/Cassell/Brown in 2008? Much like the seachange wrought by the Phoenix Suns small ball experiment (RIP 2004-2008), how will the Celtics' championship re-orient the perceived goals of GMs league-wide. Who's going to go for it and who's gonna stockpile talent? And how much would you pay for James Posey's unique combination of lock-down defensive versatility and sharpshooting?

The week ahead will answer many of these questions and we're sure to find more than a few surprises once this year's NBA free agent market opens on Wednesday. For now, the focus has been on teams trying to dump payroll in anticipation of luring LeBron in 2010. Though this is a lot less likely to happen than teams think (as Freedarko explains here), teams like the Knicks, Nets, and Heat, the cream of the Eastern Conference now turned into the grounds at the bottom of your coffee pot, are betting their whole franchise on the chance. That slim hope coupled with the floundering American economy's impact on a team's patriarch's willingness to pay the luxury tax should lead to some very interesting, if not historical, trades this year. Like the recent trades for Pau Gasol and Richard Jefferson, the newest trade paradigm seems totally unconcerned with the heretofore undisputed NBA trade maxim: equal value gets equal value. Now, it seems as if the league is operating on a "Big Star = Economic Relief = Very Small Chance at Salvation in 2010." It's as if the League is bequeathing the next two Finals series to the Lakers/Celtics, tanking their next two seasons like they were trying to move up in the Lottery.

This unique situation of players willing to play for less and GMs looking to pay less (as long as there is Hope) could lead to some interesting transactions. Here's a few thoughts: Brand and Davis could easily be switching teams - or not? Ron Artest - a bargain at $7.2m this year and an expiring contract to boot - will probably be moved for picks and cash (Kupchak: Hey! We don't have to trade equal value any more do you want a case of whiskey in that trade too, Maloofs? We'll even throw in Pau's 14-yr-old brother - we hear he just had his first growth spurt!). Corey Maggette will probably end up somewhere and it probably still won't matter and he'll probably average 20 ppg doing it. Some 2nd round pick (Mario Chalmers, Chris Douglas-Roberts, DeAndre Jordan, Bill Walker) is gonna make a lot of teams look really stupid and he'll be called this year's Carlos Boozer. James Posey will make a lot of money this year and it regrettably won't be with the Celtics, but chances are he'll earn another ring sometime in the near future for his clutch playoff services a la Robert Horry. More point guards (some of them not even really PGs) will be paid way too much money a la Chris Duhon. And somebody, somebody will try out Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis and the whole rest of the Ballhog Gang and decide that their team is the one that can get them to pass more often.

Bring on the Intrigue.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Why You Suckas Got to Do What is Right

I am telling you now and how. What you need to do is sign up for your league. The draft has been set for 10/17 at 8:30 PM Eastern Standard. If there are any problems, this early date can be pushed back. The Season starts on 10/30. Let me say it now, so you'all can be sure you seez it with yours own eyes; What is right is as follows:

Serious Playas have been effect since the '02-'03 season. We have had some years without the Razor Sharp Shaman, and some years without the Gild Wisdom of the Dah Dock Surratt. But here comes the facts, so put on your spectacles and gaze:


We can experiment with, but for Nature's sake, Sign up for the cbs league. THE PASSWORD IS: presidio.

Do what is right. Do not be a fool. Time has no kindness for being a fool.
Da Kloos is with you all. Now, get with what he sez.

His Realness,
The Khwan

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Calling all playas!

With October fast approaching, time to sound the drums and call the band of bros to arms.

shaman, Cruel Bastion, Nicky, Demott, and myself have signed up. that's five.

Then we've got some AWOL cats.

The Kloos needs to sign up, in whatever incarnation, as well the good Dr. Surratt and the trusty, stoutly-named Concord Lynch. That would be eight. I've emailed the Kloos but I've misplaced the emails to Surratt and Lynch. We need to be in touch with them pronto.

So, what about Reed "Green Wave" Edwards, Bad DNA, and Mike "Showtime" McCoy? That would bring us to eleven.

Those of you sitting on emails for these fellows, give them a heads up! Direct them to the blog or to shaman, or send them an invite directly.

If any of these guys is going to sit the season out for whatever reason, which I hope is not the case, we should know ASAP so that we can enlist a knowledgable fellow to take a slot.

Let's get these guys in the league sooner the better.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Weekly Lineup Rules!

Inevitably a daily transaction league favors those who can devote the most attention to it and thus does not accurately reflect a hierarchy of acumen that I think the Serious Playas has always been about. "Who is the most serious playa?" as distinct from "Who is the most active player?" Clearly, active players can better navigate the NBA winds of PT and injuries, but who must they ditch in order to play the hot hand. For myself, I always think I'm overly active as a manager and consciously try to curb my transactions each year, but each year I always drop someone I should have kept or fail to pickup someone I should have dropped someone for. And this propensity will only be magnified by a league that allows daily transactions. I always like to believe that a cool and steady handed manager (The Cruelest comes to mind as someone who truly sticks with his drafted guns for better or for worse) always has a chance to do well in this league while i think in a daily transactions league, shaman most likely will school us all or that, in a vain attempt to keep up with him, each of us becomes so involved with daily NBA flutterings that girlfriends start getting jealous, dishes pile up in the sink, sleep is lost, etc. I mean you don't want LeBron to chew his fingernails down to the nub and you lose him for 3 weeks.

So, i vote "yea" for weekly lineups. And damn that Sportsline default Verdana font just looks so damn good.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Uh Oh

Draft order will be determined by the order we sign-up??? Not sure how the folks are gonna feel about that, shaman. Daily transactions? I'd like to hear what the word is there. I know guys like Kloos piss and moan ad infinitum when they se-up their line-ups nd then someone gets hurt, but christ, the season is long, and lord knows that half of the owners are not going to be assiduous about tweaking their line-ups every single day, or well enough in advance that they don't even think about complications from when they drop a player and stuff. agh. weekly ersus daily transactions. you got guys like cruel bastion and Doc Surratt, the one flies business trips and the other treats the infirm. How are they gonna stay on top of daily transactions? I'm starting to feel the stress about moving way from the cozy familiarity of Sportsline. I can't even change my owner handle, or leave the league and re-sign up! hm.

Hey, Ladies!!!!

What's happening, fellows? This NBA offseason has been as crazy as ever, what with the Celtics poised to return to some measure of glory, the referee score-fixing scandal, Stephon Marbury going on about how he happily screws MSG interns in his SUV, and Greg Oden being introduced to us and then unceremoniously shelved for the season after microfracture surgery. Sigh. As one close friend of mine recently put it, it's as though Eddie Griffin's tragic passing in an August car accident was somehow allegorical. A crazy offseason indeed, which only promises further craziness once the season gets under way.

Our man Shane "shaman" Moore has taken the initiative to set something up at's fantasy station:

The game is called NBA Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner, and I have to admit that on the face of things it looks like it kicks ass. It's apparently "fully customizable" and free. I wonder if shaman has taken any liberties with the customization.... and if not, whether he should. Here's some of the features they indicate on the site:

FREE Keeper Leagues (Private only)
Rotisserie, Points-Based or Head-to-Head
Free Live Scoring
Five draft types, including Live and E-mail
Fully customizable rosters and scoring
Co-Owner option
Six waiver types, including Auction

"Auction"?? I even read someplace that we can even trade picks? That sounds far out. I wanna hear it from the mouth of shaman, whom I hope will soon be posting here, along with all y'all.

Bottom line: let's bring it in and discuss, fellas. And once we've determined everything is in order.... well, we all know it helps to have everyone signed up well in advance of the draft, right?

Shaman has set the following up, FYI:

League Name: Serious Playas at
League Password: presidio

You can sign in here:

Hey, shaman, any word on the featrures? Is there anything to discuss, or have you already set-up the league for maximum mayhem?!?!?!

One love,

P.S. I'm gonna have to change my handle this year, mix it up a bit. Don't be concerned if you don't see the Concatenation signed up for the league, I'll be aboard 100%.