Tonight at 9:30 ET, LeBron James will take over ESPN for a half hour to announce his big decision. The decision will be aired from the Greenwich, CT Boys and Girls Club. What a fitting place to illustrate to youngsters how selfish and arrogant one adult can be.
Greenwich Officials have reported that they are very excited to air the sports world's hottest event and have hired 10 off duty cops, just in case. This is going to be a big damn deal, people.
Said First Selectman, Peter Tesei:
"I'm excited that he's chosen our town to make this monumental announcement and also that he's doing it at the Boys & Girls Club, one of the finest institutions. Greenwich is at the epicenter of sports activity."
Evidently a selectman is some sort of town official. I'm not sure what a town official does, other than somehow broker a LeBron appearance and world wide media frenzy via ESPN.
Personally, I find this kind of self-centered, ridiculous, preposterous, "event" absolutely abhorrent on many levels. At least Amare only tweeted a bunch of information. Before Kobe signed on with the Lakers again, he didn't make this big of a deal over himself. In fact, I don't think anyone in the history of sports has made the decision about his next employer into such a spectacle. I suppose, though, in this day and age, nothing should surprise any of us.
LeBron had/has indicated that his whole free agency was to be filmed as an NBA documentary. Of course, centered around him. So more of a LeBron documentary about LeBron than an NBA one.
In LeBron's defense, there seems to be some philanthropic aspect to the whole thing. The advertising proceeds for James' announcement will go to the Boys and Girls Club of America. And for that, perhaps we should applaud him or his inner circle, ESPN, or whoever made that decision.
For those of you who would enjoy a more eloquent and longer criticism of Lebron, check out Wojo's thoughts.
I now step off my soapbox to ask:
What do we all think about LeBron and his "Big Decision Special" tonight?
SB Nation sites (pilfered from Rufus on Fire)
Fear the Sword -- Full-fledged meltdown is not out of the question.
SBN Cleveland -- Where, sadly, turning to the other teams in the area doesn't do much good.
Blog-a-Bull -- Still maintaining hope that LeBron sees the light and joins the best team available.
Posting and Toasting -- Knicks fans see the dream slipping away and suddenly find themselves rooting for a turnaround sparked by a guy who Bill Simmons astutely points out has "a bad knee and a bad eye [and] who hasn't played defense in six years." Ruh-roh.
SBN New York -- Having lived in Manhattan, if LeBron decides to go elsewhere, I can assure you a good chunk of New Yorkers will convince themselves they're too good for him and that he was afraid of all the "pressure" they'd put on him.
Peninsula Is Mightier -- Just don't remind them that the NBA plays with five men on the court, not three.
Today's discussion on free agency, specific to the Suns's situation, centers on cap space and the use of exceptions to exceed the salary cap.
We talk about Amare, Lou and what the Suns can do this summer through next spring to bring in more top-level talent. The Suns are now a team with one star (Nash) and whole bunch of winner-type role players. This type of team gets into the playoffs, but doesn't go far because there's not enough high-end talent to finish off four wins before the other team does.
So, what can the Suns do now?
Higher Salary Cap
The new salary cap has come in higher than expected, at $58.04 million. The luxury tax line (where the team has to pay dollar-for-dollar tax for every dollar spent over this line) in about $70 mil.
This gives every team that was under the cap another $2 million to play with.
However, because of the next item on my list, this higher cap has NO IMPACT on the Suns.
Amare's $16.5 million Traded Player Exception (or TPE)
With the news that the Suns will sign-and-trade Amare to the Knicks today, we know that the Suns will receive a $16.5 million "traded player exception," or TPE, in return.
This TPE can be used to acquire talent via trade while giving LESS or nothing back to the other team. Kinda like the beloved Kurt Thomas trade, except in reverse this time. Teams use this (or equivalent cap space) a lot.
But now that the Suns have this TPE, they are considered "over the cap" for NBA free agency purposes. An excerpt from Larry Coon's FAQ on the salary cap.
If a team is below the cap, then their Disabled Player, Bi-Annual, Mid-Level and/or Traded Player exceptions are added to their team salary, and the league treats the team as though they are over the cap.
So, contrary to what's been reported lately, the Suns DO NOT have $4 million (instead of $2 million) to spend in free agency after counting Frye and Warrick's deals. The Suns can only use EXCEPTIONS to the cap.
BUT THIS IS A GOOD THING! A very good thing.
First, Frye will be signed using the Mid-Level-Exception (MLE). Second, Warrick will be acquired via his own sign-and-trade from Chicago using a portion of the massive Amare TPE.
That leaves about $12.5 million left from Amare's TPE to use on any combination of players via trade.
There's yet another benefit to the Suns being "over the cap" thanks to the Amare TPE.
Since Lou Amundson has played for the Suns for two consecutive seasons, he qualifies for the Early-Bird Exception. This means the Suns are allowed to sign Lou to a contract up to mid-level ($5.8 mil), with 10.5% raises. This is in addition to Frye's MLE and Warricks' TPE.
This does not mean the Suns want Lou for themselves anymore. They've already committed to Warrick, Frye, Clark, Lawal and Collins to spend some time at PF. There's simply no room for Lou. But if something happens to one of them (in summer league?), Lou is still a fallback option.
But even so, this is yet another bargaining chip for the Suns. Lou's been contacted by a dozen teams already. He is in demand.
Option 1: Re-sign Lou for any value up to $5.8 mil a year and keep him (like, 3 mill?).
Option 2: If he wants to sign with another team who does not have the cap space available, the Suns can do another sign-and-trade with him and acquire equal-paid talent in return (like, Ronnie Brewer from the Griz in a mutual sign-and-trade?).
Option 3: Package him in a trade along with LB and get someone back at higher salary (up to 12 mil?) and not even use Amare's TPE yet.
Option 4: Sign-and-trade him to a team who is "below the cap," take back lower-paid or no talent, and get yet another TPE to use at a later date.
Lots and lots of options...