Okay, so I understand that some of us SB Nation Gangstas consider ourselves basketball purists, and would watch any game, any time. I am here to explain to you why this year's NBA Finals should be an exception to that rule.
As Suns fans, boycotting the NBA Finals could be construed as many things to the outside world: childish, whiny, petty, ignorant, or just plain wrong. To prove that skipping the Finals is none of these things (except some of them), after the jump are the top 10 reasons I will not be tuning in this year:
1. Lakers-Celtics is boring. Yes, I said it. The two best teams pitted against each other is just plain boring to me. Nothing new. Didn't this happen a couple years ago? Didn't I skip watching it then? ESPN has been hyping the matchup relentlessly as the "two most storied franchises" pitted against one another (hell, Lakers v. Celtics even has its own Wikipedia page). They are relying on the two teams' history to make this exciting, but honestly, I couldn't care less whether the Celtics or Lakers win their 18th or 16th title, respectively.
"The Lakers Big 3: Kobe, Odom, Farmar?" via thelakersnation.com
2. Nobody to root for. For me, this is even worse than Spurs-Celtics as far as good guy-bad guy scenarios go. I like to root for my teams and underdogs. Neither is present here. My hatred of both teams is difficult, given that I would constantly be rooting for both teams to lose. Which would be awesome.
3. Media buildup. Seriously, the 24/7 Lakers-Celtics coverage has put me over the edge. Given my addiction to ESPN, SB Nation, and ESPN Radio, this has been a difficult week for me. There's nothing better worse than having Cowherd's nasally voice praising the greatness of this rivalry. Consider my nausea exacerbated. Case in point: too much media focus on one event turns into stories like this.
4. I am a Suns fan. Don't get me wrong, this doesn't mean that any decent Suns fan can't watch (and enjoy) a Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals. Oh wait, yes it does. YOU ALL DISGUST ME.
5. Arguments about rooting for either team are silly. At best. Look, the idea that any Suns fan would be OK "losing to the champs", or wants to see the Celtics "take revenge for us" against the Lakers is preposterous. It's not good sportsmanship to root for the team that just beat you. It's humiliating. So take some pride in not rooting for the Lakers or Celtics, please. Obviously the best outcome for the Suns would be playing in the Finals, but that didn't happen. So let's sit down and watch NCIS re-runs.
7. General health. I won't have to worry about my brain exploding because of rooting for both teams to fail. Think of how much extra time I'll have, too! I'll be able to exercise more, catch up on reading, or spend more time hanging out with friends who couldn't care less about basketball. Maybe I'll even write a fanpost.
So remember that one time my boy keify34 put up that post inviting us to throw up pictures of obscure former NBA players? And do you further remember how it was a Bright Side of the Sun sensation that swept the nation (word play) unlike anything you'd ever seen before?
Well this is going to be kind of like that - or at least I hope it's going to be. The title pretty much says it all so feel free to post pictures of your favorites in the comments. Basically you want a player who was on the roster of an NBA Champion and was well....awful at the sport of basketball in the NBA sense. I'll start - from the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (for which he only played one game during that season)....Jack Haley!
Can we recapture the keify magic? Yes we can!
More photos » Tony Gutierrez - AP
Why would you even want this crazy looking German on your team when you could have that cool guy with the goggles?
In his postseason review of the Suns, Yahoo's Kelly Dwyer goes to great lengths to debunk the idea that Dirk could come to Phoenix as a replacement. In the process, Dwyer gets some key details wrong and misses on a main point - trade exceptions.
First, in theory, I totally agree with Dwyer that Dirk won't end up in Phoenix mostly for the reason he also cites - Mark Cuban will overpay Dirk and max him out if he thinks there's a chance that Nash and Dirk could reunite in Phoenix. Cuban is not going to let that happen.
That said, there's a few important details to clarify because they apply to the Suns overall cap situation and other options for the summer.
1) Grant Hill and Channing Frye both have player options for next season and it is pretty darn clear at this point that Hill is staying (he already told Kerr that) and Frye is going to test free agency.
That gives the Suns a salary of $42.8m for 8 players assuming no Amare, no Frye, no Amundson and also no Jones or Griffin who both have non-guaranteed contracts for next season. With the salary cap at $56.1m, that gives the Suns $13.3m (again w/ no Frye, Lou, Dwayne or Taylor or new 2nd round picks).
2) Dwyer thinks that LB is not tradeable. I totally disagree. There will be a LOT of teams with cap space burning a hole in their pockets and Barbosa is a proven scorer that a few of those teams could add without having to take on a long term commitment. Two years isn't much and especially if you consider that in his final year, he becomes a valuable expiring contract. That's another $7.1m off the cap if he gets moved, so now we are talking about $20.4m in cap space, although there would have to be cap holds for those open roster spots and any 1st round draft picks the Suns got back. So figure about $16m in available space.
3) If the Suns were to trade LB to a team under the cap and only take back draft picks, they also get a trade exception which can be used to acquire other players without having to match salary. In the Amare situation, it is highly likely that the Suns would do a sign-and-trade with a team that wants him and entices him out of Phoenix with a max offer. That could give the Suns significant flexibility if they got back $15m to even $20m in trade exception.
So while I DON'T think it is likely, it is certainly possible that the Suns could get Dirk using these trade exceptions, although it would require the Mavs to in turn do a sign-and-trade with Dirk because trade exceptions can't be used to sign free agents.
The key thing to remember is that the Suns could use these trade exceptions to go over the cap and take back players and fill the space between the salary cap and the luxury tax with some talent. As we've seen over the past few years, teams with cap space and the ability to spend without going over the luxury tax have a lot of flexibility when it comes to making deals.
More photos » Elise Amendola - AP
Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett, right, doesn't quit just because he's injured. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
It has been often said, and often said by me and by a bearded bum-looking genius I know, that the best way to argue against something is to argue for it, but poorly.
I'm not particularly motivated by an interest to deny Phil Jackson ring number 11 nor appealing to some moralistic lobby that Kobe should not get number 5. Seth's 100% right about Kobe. I'm also not much into that "enemy of my enemy is my friend" philosophical mumbo jumbo either. I have plenty of room in my heart for 29 enemies.
However, after yesterday's serious offense on these pages, I felt compelled to shed my perennial disinterest in the NBA Finals and write about my Celtics.
Yes, my Celtics.
10. Losing to the chumps: If you lose to the NBA Champs, perhaps you don't really need to get much better. You are kidding yourself. You need to get a lot better. Sometimes you need to lose to the chumps to see that. I always lean towards taking some risk to get there rather than holding pat. I was a big fan of the Shaq trade for exactly that reason.
7. Western Conference Hos: The Spurs were dirty, but the Lakers are mean. I don't mean KG crazy-mean, I mean mean-mean. Phil Jackson is clever-mean. Phil Jackson enjoys abusing his own players egos like a sadist would enjoy torturing a caged, injured dog. Kobe is angry-mean with sprinkles of villainy on top. Artest is crazy-mean with a respect-hungry smile on top. Ok, Derek Fisher isn't really mean. He's dirty, sort of, in an elusive you-can't-see-my-dirt-clearly kind of way. Then the Lakers have had a long line of mean thugs: Rick Fox, Kwame Brown, Sasha Vujacic. That team has the kind of mean that they don't just share with their opponents, they share it with themselves.
6. Sasha Vujacic: I can accept Kobe Bryant as a force of nature. I can impassively admire those line-drive 30-foot chuckshots the way I can dissociatively admire the fine craftsmanship of the Henckel knife as my ex stabs me repeatedly with it. But Sasha Vujacic get another ring? I'd accept a trade Goran for Sasha just to get Goran a ring and to deny Sasha one. I'd suffer with Sasha on the Suns and Goran on the Lakers for that, although I'd hate for Goran to suffer with that bunch.
4. Lakers Fans Peed On My Rug: Seriously. They pee on my rug every year. The pee on it all over the internets. They pee on it when I watch TV and see their celebrity fans all over the place. They pee on it when I visit Phoenix. When are Lakers fans not peeing on my rug? That rug really held the room together.
2. Love KG: KG is like Chuck Norris, only better.
I love his schtick. So what if he taunts Jose Calderon? Did Jose even cry? Did KG knee Jose's groin? Or headbutt him? KG sells the Celtics to me. Sure I hate the Lakers, but that doesn't make me want to root for the Celtics. KG, and thinking of what might have been for the Suns, makes me want to root for the Celtics.
Every time I see KG, I see what could have been for this franchise. His neverending and overwhelmingly consistent passion is the antithesis of the enigmatic power forward on which the Suns fortunes rest. Yea, people get tired of his maniacal intensity, but I'd like knowing that he was cracking the whip for my team while I'm snoozing in my bed.
When I watch a Celtics game, I spend the whole time imagining how KG would play with the Suns. How things could work out. I get lost in my sideways universe.
With Kobe? I can't imagine Kobe in a Suns uniform. I simply can't, except perhaps at age 50, playing the way Jordan played for the Wizards.
I can watch Kevin Garnett commercials all day. You know this KG commercial in the youtube below. I feel this moment as strongly as any Suns moment, mainly because I imagined that this was us. Could have been us. Should have been us. In some sideways world, it was us. Instead, we got Lakers cast-off Shaq.
Shaq was a good citizen, but he didn't give me this moment:
And the number one reason to root for the Celtics?
1. Rooting for the Celtics is like rooting for Guinness. Who doesn't love Guinness?? Who doesn't love St. Patty's day?