Q: With Chris Bosh out, doesn't that take all the pressure off LeBron James?
-- Stuart, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A: To "have" to win a championship? Sure. But simply by playing alongside Dwyane Wade, it still means LeBron has a better supporting cast than any of the times he was supposed to win with the Cavaliers.
What Bosh's lower-abdominal strain does is force LeBron to become even more versatile, going from the Heat's best point guard in the series against the Knicks (while also defending Knicks center Tyson Chandler at times), to now being the Heat's best power forward.
NBA finals: Heat def. Thunder 4-1
Winderman: LeBron James has been a prodigy, superstar and villain. And now he's champion. The journey has left the league and Finals MVP humbled and happy for those closest to him.
Remember, LeBron, like Bosh and Wade, has an opt-out clause for the 2014 offseason. So if the Heat fail to win a title this season, it would leave him only two more opportunities for a ring before he has to consider his escape clause.
And that essentially has Pat Riley and Micky Arison in a much tougher spot than LeBron at the moment. If James doesn't secure a title by 2014, it would be surprising if he doesn't move on. It essentially is the unwritten portion of James' contract, that a championship extinguishes his opt out.
Who knows, perhaps the Curse of Dan Gilbert is real?
Q: I see Steve Nash will be a free agent and was wondering whether he might be an answer for the Knicks if they lose Jeremy Lin. Wouldn't he be a better choice for a team that has to win its first playoff series since 2000?
-- Steve, Westbury, N.Y.
A: First of all, the Knicks can't "lose" Lin unless they choose to. He will be a restricted free agent, with the Knicks allowed to use the "Gilbert Arenas Rule" to match any outside offer by forfeiting their right to instead use their mid-level exception.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
(The Arenas rule was adopted so that teams that unearth second-round picks or other free agents on one-year deals, players who therefore lack "Bird Rights," can retain those players.)
Of course, if a team were to significantly backload such a Lin offer, as the Raptors are reportedly considering, the Knicks might have to think twice, considering their standing against the salary cap (chalk that up to the curse of Amare Stoudemire).
As it is, even if Lin were to depart, the most the Knicks would be able to offer Nash would be the mid-level of about $6 million, which would be a considerable pay cut. Beyond that, the initial allure of New York for Nash was the opportunity to play in a Mike D'Antoni system under D'Antoni.
The Mike Woodson system does not favor a ball-moving point guard with an extended dribble (which is not good news for Lin, either), but rather isolation offense for featured scorers such as Carmelo Anthony.
Ultimately, it is difficult to envision James Dolan forgoing the marketing opportunities with Lin, with at least one more bid to reestablish Lin-sanity.
As for Nash, here's a thought that seemingly has not been floated:
What about the Lakers? Nash certainly is an upgrade on Steve Blake and Ramon Sessions. And beyond that, the Lakers could work it where Nash is on the court in a more equal-opportunity offense when Kobe Bryant is off the floor. Such a pairing would give the Lakers an off-the-dribble option on the court at all times.
Although the Lakers would be limited to the tax-payer mid-level exception, which is about half of what the Knicks could offer with their full mid-level, one would have to believe that such a move to the Lakers would at least intrigue Nash.
Nash. Kobe. Pau Gasol. Andrew Bynum. It is a dynamic for the ages and aged that could change the dynamic in the West going forward.
PBT: After it looked like Paul George's heroics would sink the Heat in Game 1, LeBron James stunned Indiana with a layup as time expired to lift Miami in OT.
Rotoworld: The Cavaliers won the draft lottery on Tuesday night, and the latest mock gives them the big man with the highest upside.
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