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Hard Salary Cap Could Make Big Three Unaffordable for Miami Heat

When the Miami Heat’s Bermuda Triangle formed over the summer, skeptics overlooked that the team was going to have two of arguably the top five players in the League and found several reasons to doubt them. Would their egos be too big to work together? Do they have enough size? Who would take the final shot (ignoring that they probably wouldn’t need a “last shot” to win games)? Will they have enough money left to fill the rest of their team? Some of those arguments had validity, and I still have my doubts that Chris Bosh will remain happy as the team’s third option for the duration of his contract. But another concern was whispered then and remains an issue now.

When the NBA addresses its labor situation, what happens if a hard salary cap is implemented?

David Stern ruined the Heat orgy in Miami by letting out that loud fart prior to Game 1 of the Finals. The NBA currently employs a soft salary cap that many teams go over. The ones that go over pay a luxury tax, but that option would be eliminated if a hard cap were implemented. Currently the cap is around $58 million, but it could drop significantly if a hard cap were introduced.

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Boobie Gibson Unhappy with LeBron James’ Cavs Died in the Moment Comment

After the Heat beat the Bulls to advance to the NBA Finals, LeBron James was asked about his decision to leave Cleveland for Miami. In his response, LeBron said “I wanted to team up with some guys that would never die down in the moment.” You can read his full response here, but the point is he was taking a shot at his Cavs teammates for not being good enough to win in the playoffs. We made a big deal of his comments here at LBS but it seemed to be overlooked by most of the media (no surprise, they were too busy writing whatever cliche stories they had in mind).

On his podcast with The Dugout Sports Show via Marcas Grant at Black Sports Online, Boobie Gibson, who has played with the Cavs since ’06, took exception with the comment. He says great players don’t need to call out players who aren’t as good:

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Shaq Announces Retirement With Video on His Twitter Page

There are a lot of people who find Shaquille O’Neal’s self-marketing antics to be extremely annoying, and that is perfectly understandable.  When a guy becomes known for disturbing things like dressing up as a woman and confessing his love for Tom Brady.  Whatever your viewpoint, it would be tough to say that Shaq isn’t a master in self-promotion.

On Wednesday afternoon, WEEI.com drew our attention to the fact that Shaq had announced his retirement on Twitter by linking to a short video he posted on TOUT saying, “We did it, 19 years baby. I wanna thank you very much that’s why I’m telling you first: I’m about to retire. Love ya, talk to you soon.”

Rather than tipping off some ESPN insider or picking his favorite reporter and giving them a breaking news story, Shaq decided to make the announcement himself.  Assuming he doesn’t pull a Brett Favre and make an enormous deal out of himself only to return, you have to respect the way Shaq went about it.  Social media tools are his thing, so why not use them to make one of the most important announcements of his career?  It takes the rat race element out of everything and is a pretty refreshing change from what we’ve become used to.

Oh yeah, and it’s safe to say the guy had a pretty decent career, too.

Mark Jackson Does Not Think Brendan Haywood Is Worth a Home Recruiting Visit

The Dallas Mavericks have reached the Finals of the NBA Playoffs, and their depth has been a big reason why they’ve had so much success. Though they only have one superstar in Dirk Nowitzki, their strength is that they have eight other solid-to-good players on their roster. One of whom is backup center Brendan Haywood, who despite playing only 18 minutes per game is extremely valuable because he gives Dallas another sturdy defensive presence in the middle. Apparently ESPN analyst Mark Jackson doesn’t see it that way.

When starting center Tyson Chandler committed his third foul early in the third quarter of Game 1 against the Heat, Haywood checked into the game. Play-by-play man Mike Breen said it’s been a nice benefit to have a guy like Haywood available off the bench. He then related a story about how Heat exec Pat Riley made a recruiting visit over the summer to Haywood at his home in North Carolina. Haywood signed with the Mavs instead, thinking he was going to be their starter until they locked down Chandler.

Upon hearing the story, Jackson was incensed.

“What has this League come to?” Jackson opined. “I’m not going to see Brendan Haywood at his house to recruit him. Come back to me, Coach Riley.”

Jeff Van Gundy asked in surprise, “You don’t think he deserves a visit?” Jackson responded by saying Haywood should have to meet them halfway.

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Larry Bird Honored to be Compared to Dirk Nowitzki

Entering Game 1 of the NBA Finals, most observers agreed that Dirk Nowitzki had been the best player in the playoffs. During his games, announcers frequently debated his place in history. Coach Rick Carlisle stated he felt Dirk was a Top 30 player all time. Former coach and current analyst Jeff Van Gundy proclaimed during Dirk’s brilliant Game 1 against the Thunder that Nowitzki was a Top 10 player all time.

Inevitably, people began comparing Dirk to Larry Bird, suggesting Nowitzki may be the greatest white player ever. Even though their style of play is different, people thought the comparison was fair because of their skin color. By that logic, we should assume limes and broccoli taste the same because they’re both green. It’s a stupid debate, but it’s resulted in a response from Larry Legend.

“I’ve always admired the guy,” Bird told Marc Stein. “He’s had a great run (in the playoffs), but I’ve always been very impressed with him. His work ethic, his loyalty to his country. It’s really an honor for me to have people compare us.”

Bird added that “I understand (the comparisons). I’ve always felt it’s an honor when they compare anyone to me, because I haven’t played ball for 20 years.”

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Shawn Marion on Mavericks as Underdogs: ‘I Don’t Give a F***’

If Shawn Marion has hopped on LBS yet today (since we know he does every day), he would probably have a few things to say about our man Patrick’s guide for picking the winner of the NBA Finals.  While the guide is terrific and certainly worth a read, it would appear Marion couldn’t care less about what sports bloggers or anyone in the media has to say about the Mavericks chances against the Heat.

Dallas is currently listed at +155 on the sports betting website Bodog.com, so the consensus in the gambling world is obviously that the Heat should win the seven-game series.  A lot of people aren’t giving the Mavericks the respect they deserve after coming out of the West, but according to Marion the team doesn’t care.

“We really don’t care,” Marion said as told by Hoopsworld.com. “At the end of the day, this about what we’re able to do and what we’ve done. Are all of these people giving us credit? I don’t give a f***. It’s just that simple. We don’t care. What does it matter? We’ve shown what we can do and what we’re capable of, but we’re not finished yet. We made the Finals, but this not what we came here to do. We came here to take the trophy home with us.”

While Marion said the right thing (aside from the f-bomb), he is completely lying.  Do the Mavs think they’re going to lose because everyone is picking the Heat? Of course not.  Do they care that everyone is picking the Heat? Absolutely.  Everyone wants to be the underdog.  With the way he’s been playing, I’m not sure Dirk should be a part of the underdog squad.

Your Guide to Picking a Team in the NBA Finals: Miami Heat or Dallas Mavericks

Tuesday marks the beginning of one of the most anticipated NBA Finals matchups in recent memory. Miami vs. Dallas. The Heatles vs Dirk and The Boys. Pat Riley vs Mark Cuban. The Rematch Series (even though it’s really not much of a rematch considering how much the teams have changed since 2006).

Rarely are championship contenders as easily differentiated as the Heat and the Mavericks. They are complete opposites. Like tofu and steak.

Yes, the Lakers and Celtics had the whole bitter rivalry thing going on last season. But at their core they were more similar than they were different: two talented, versatile teams filled with veterans. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom against Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. Pretty even, right?

The same can’t be said for Miami and Dallas. They are different in almost every discernible way, from the way their talent is distributed to the styles of their offenses to their general world views.

This makes it difficult to pick a favorite in this series (personally, I’m going with Dallas in 6) but easy to choose a team to root for. If you’re not from Miami or Dallas and have yet to decide on a rooting interest, here’s your guide to picking a side:

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