It is my fault Jarrett Jack was traded. It is also my fault LeBron James left Cleveland. Oh and if the rumours are true about Steve Nash, you can blame that on me, too. I know it is a major coincidence but I feel as if I need to fess up and absorb some of the fall out. Starting with LeBron James. Earlier this year, I bought a LeBron James jersey for my nephew's 4th birthday. I was debating between LeBron and Chris Bosh but I had a stronger suspicion Bosh was on his way out and opted for the Cleveland jersey. LeBron bolts and my nephew will likely never wear that jersey since his father carries much disdain for Mr. James. So now, with Christmas fast approaching, I was going to redeem myself and purchase a Jarrett Jack jersey for my nephew. I'm thinking this is a safe choice, right? No dice. Good thing I waited. At least Steve Nash has been safe so far (that's the jersey I bought my other nephew this summer). All of the above is obviously my attempt at finding the humour in player trades because really, at the end of the day, it is all business. Something had to change with the Raptors and the move happened to fall on Jarrett Jack, Marcus Banks and David Anderson. Do we trust Brian Colangelo's decision to make this trade? We are going to have to whether the answer to this question is yes or no. I think Raptors fans have a special attachment to their team since they have personally invested their allegiance to the red and white through scoring slumps and lack of championships. You throw your support behind a team who lost their biggest star and made the decision cheer this team on and they lose another rising star. I am sure Jarrett Jack will be well received in the New Orleans Arena, along with Marcus Banks and David Anderson. I am also sure adding Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless to the Raptors' line-up will do more than add to this team's 'young core and increase this team's financial flexibility' as Brian Colangelo said on the viability of this trade. You have to believe it or else you will live with the unsettled feeling this team is rebuilding in what could be the last season until 2011-2012. Yes, an NBA lockout seems imminent. Let's talk about this, the Miami Heat and the safety of toddlers at professional basketball games.
A Looming Lockout
"I think it's highly probable that there will be a lockout and that's what I am preparing for because I don't see anything else right now" - NBA Player's Association Executive Director Billy Hunter on the probability of a lockout next year. What is he instructing his players to do? Save their money. I don't think with the salaries they earn they will end up on the streets or starve. Let's be realistic. The production staff, arena staff, those running concession stands are the ones who should be saving their money. These are the behind-the-scenes men and women who help put on the NBA show and this is their bread and butter. But Billy Hunter's job is to look out for NBA players' best interests and rightfully so. The league is asking for players to take a collective pay cut of $700-$800 million and wants a hard salary cap to replace the current one which allows for exceptions. However, the players are saying the current system works, evident in record revenue and ticket sales and strong TV ratings. The players also claim the total of negotiated salaries has dropped for three straight seasons. Both sides are claiming they want what is best for the game. Realistically though, if no movement is seen by either side come the playoffs, a lock-out is pretty much a done deal. Both Hunter and NBA Commissioner David Stern say they need to see something in the works by the All-Star break. However, at the rate they're going, they'll be swapping BBQ recipes instead of ideas.
More Heat in Miami
I feel very concerned for Miami Heat President Pat Riley. The coals on his coaching fire must be burning watching the drama unfold in front of him. On the other hand, talk about pressure for Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra. Think about it. You have the NBA coaching experience of Pat Riley looking over your shoulder and the 'three kings' trying to rally the troops in front of you. But his is where my sympathy ends. With 1:16 left in Monday night's game against Indiana, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James leaped for a defensive rebound. They missed and the ball went to Indiana. Not the kind of play you are looking for from a couple of guys who came out yelling and pumping their fists amidst fire works before the season started. This is how Coach Spoelstra explains it "Sometimes you have four or five games where nothing seems to go right". This is true. However, when the 'three kings' came out with guns blazing and in our face about being the best without even scoring a point yet, a 'things just aren't going right' explanation doesn't cut it. They got themselves into this mess and they need to dig their own way out.
A Toddler dies after falling at a Lakers game
This is truly a sad story and raises many questions. On Sunday night, the family of a two-year old boy was posing for pictures in a luxury suite at a Lakers home game. The parents allegedly paused to look at the photos snapped and two-year old Lucas Anthony Tang managed to climb over a clear safety barrier and fell about 30 feet to his death. I have been in a few luxury boxes in my time and most of them have a room for socializing and seats for watching the game - both of which are separated by a glass door which can be locked. So I am wondering how a two year-old manages to break free unnoticed and scales a safety barrier which is clearly bigger than he is. According to Michael Roth, owner of the Staples Center (home to both Lakers' and Clippers' games), the luxury boxes have tiers of seats. These seats are fronted by concrete walls and on top of these walls are glass barriers. He says the barriers vary in height but its lowest point sits about the the height of an adult's waist. Should there be an age or height requirement for these luxury boxes? Maybe. Should the parents have kept a closer eye on their child or even left them at home with a caregiver? Sure. Whatever mistakes were made though, it should not have been punctuated by a loss of life. Both the Los Angeles Police Department and the Staples Center are conducting their own investigation. Let's hope the Tang family can find some peace soon.
On this note, hug your niece, nephew, grandchildren or children a little tighter tonight - you just never know when tragedy will strike. See you on Thursday for "Behind Enemy Lines".