Branding, pay cuts, and Lord Stanley

Who knows where's he going?

I haven’t written anything sports-related for a while. It’s a good time to get back into it as the Stanley Cup finals are set, the NBA are having their conference finals, baseball is motoring along, and the World Cup is looming.

Let me preface that I have no idea where LeBron James is going. I should say that I don’t care where he goes, but I will offer my idea on where he could go.

NYC or bust.

James’ priority should be about winning the NBA title, not spending time branding himself as a market. If that was the case, then he would have walked into GM Danny Ferry’s office at the NBA trade deadline, and demanded Ferry to broker a deal to get Toronto’s Chris Bosh, or a top-of-the-line NBA player. LeBron didn’t do that.  Instead, Cleveland ended up getting Antawn Jamison via trade, re-signed Zydrunas Ilgauskas who have seen better days, and no formidable veteran who could have helped him get to the NBA Finals.

LeBron’s all about his brand, and Cleveland is too small for him to promote it. The New York Knicks will clear enough on their salary cap to go after Bosh and James. GM Donnie Walsh is no slouch and, in contrast to Ferry, has been around the block long enough to put a team together that will compete. Not clown around and use their hands like they’re snapping a camera.

The Zen Master likes the laid-back life in L.A.

There has been rumors that Los Angeles Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson might return to Chicago, where he won 6 NBA titles with. It’s no secret that Lakers’ owner Jerry Buss wants Phil to take a pay cut, in the hopes that they could pick up a big-name player during the free agent season (Chris Bosh).

The Zen Master isn’t going back to the Windy City. First of all, in case the sports talking heads failed to remember history, Jackson and owner Jerry Reinsdorf never got along. Yes, former Bulls’ GM Jerry Krause was the guy everyone on the team hated and is vilified for breaking up the Bulls after their 6th title, but it’s Reinsdorf who wasn’t keen at all about Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Phil Jackson getting all of the credit.

If anything, Phil won’t be using the Bulls as leverage in dealing with his girlfriend’s (Jeannie) old man. He’ll either leave, or take a smaller pay cut and stay with the Lakers.

The Stanley Cup playoffs has been nothing short but fun and exciting.  The Philadelphia Flyers and the Chicago Blackhawks will face-off for Lord Stanley’s Cup later this week.  The expected carry over from the Winter Olympics have worn off, but it’s no excuse not to sit and watch the top-seeded Blackhawks and their young team led by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, and the Flyers, who had to win their season finale to qualify for the post-season.

I can’t wait to watch the Flyers’ veteran enforcer Chris Pronger and the ‘Hawks’ young enforcer Dustin Byfuglien (buff-len) go after each other like mad men.

The re-emergence of Chicago is good for hockey.  They’re part of the “original six” teams that started the NHL, they have the best jerseys in the NHL, and the best goal horn in sports.

So, to give a shout out to Juice’s Tim Paluch, this one is for you:

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