Nobody would have predicted this. It wasn’t really that long ago when Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady were neck-and-neck in the debate over who was the most talented player — Shaq and Tim Duncan were still the most dominant — and explosive offensive weapon in the NBA. Today, Kobe and T-Mac are both 31 years old, but while Kobe is still pretty much in his prime and leading his team to championships, T-Mac is like a classic car running on fumes and still hasn’t been on the court in the second round of the playoffs … There have been plenty of “Damn, T-Mac is old” moments over the last couple years, but the final dagger may have happened over the weekend, when we heard McGrady (at Ron Artest‘s urging) would be open to signing with the Lakers this summer for a reduced role and a big pay cut. In other words, T-Mac has entered the Glen Rice/Mitch Richmond/Gary Payton zone. He’s the old guy trying to snatch a ring on his way out even if it means being less Alpha Dog and more Adam Morrison. It’s crazy enough that we’re going into a summer where nobody cares that Shaq and Allen Iverson are free agents, and now this … You probably noticed the Dallas Mavericks were not on LeBron‘s short list of free-agent destinations. But they want in anyway. The Mavs have reportedly been trying to squeeze into LeBron’s schedule of team meetings, even though they could realistically only get him via sign-and-trade and we can’t see Cleveland going for that. On one hand, the Cavs would hate to lose LeBron for nothing, but at the same time, you can’t make it look like you agreed to let LeBron walk away by engineering a sign-and-trade. The Cavs just have to take the risk; either LBJ stays home or he signs somewhere else. Make it look like you gave your best effort, and maybe the fans won’t hate you forever. (Although taking a collective nap during the Draft didn’t help the Cavs look good as far as trying to impress LeBron.) … If the Bulls get LeBron (kind of a big deal at Nike) to play alongside Derrick Rose (kind of a big deal at adidas), does the sneaker industry have to relocate to Chicago for the next decade? … Question for Knicks fans: Let’s say LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh all turn you down. Would you by happy signing Joe Johnson and Amar’e Stoudemire this summer, then bringing Ricky Rubio into the fold via trade next summer? You’d have Amar’e back with Mike D’Antoni, Johnson playing for a coach that has some semblance of offensive creativity, and Rubio playing the part of Young Steve Nash, feeding Amar’e on those pick-and-rolls … The Cavs still need to find a coach. By all accounts it’s coming down to Byron Scott and Brian Shaw, who could also be the top two candidates for the Lakers job should Phil Jackson retire. The Lakers almost have to pick somebody to replace Phil who’s already well-respected in the organization. Otherwise, he’ll automatically be seen as the Mike Brown to Kobe’s LeBron, and Kobe will end up coaching the team by mid-season of Year 1. You know who’s definitely not getting the job? Chucky Atkins … Undrafted rookies update: Scottie Reynolds (Villanova) is going to play with Phoenix in the summer league, while Sylven Landesberg (Virginia) is headed to Sacramento … Now that they have Greg Monroe, the Pistons are said to be trying to trade Chris Wilcox and/or Jason Maxiell. If it’s an either/or thing, Wilcox has to be the guy you send packing. Sure, he’s taller than Maxiell, but Maxiell busts his ass every night while Wilcox shows up about once a week. Plus Wilcox is 27 years old now; the “potential” thing was done and over with a while ago … And speaking of wasted talent, Stromile Swift wants back in the NBA. Our favorite one-note dunker was banging on dudes in China this season. At 30 years old, maybe he’s old enough now to care about getting better … We’re out like Stro Show …
Smack / Jun 28, 2010 / 12:10 am
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