June 07, 2005

The Big Dilema.: Heat fans. Would you do it? Two years at $30 million? Lakers fans. Which superstar would you rather have now?

posted by Mike McD to basketball at 07:43 AM - 12 comments

It's tough to gauge the Laker effect after only one season. Kobe's got a lot of good years ahead of him, in the end, it might be the right choice. $30m is too much, 20 is a lot closer to his worth. If he were a lock for 82 games a season, 30 might be a lot more feasible.

posted by dfleming at 08:51 AM on June 07, 2005

It's clear that he's not worth $30M, and I'm guessing even he knows that now. The Heat need to find a young big man (sorry, Zo), and Shaq needs to be talking to David Robinson about how to transition gracefully out of the spotlight. [That said, with a healthy Wade this series would have been over in six. It's a shame it had to happen this way.]

posted by tieguy at 09:18 AM on June 07, 2005

I'd rather have Dwyane Wade than either one. I don't think the Heat can let Shaq go, but Wade's the real cornerstone of the franchise and the reason they can contend for the next five years.

posted by rcade at 09:49 AM on June 07, 2005

Shaq will hold steady next year and Wade will improve. Heat win it all next year, guaranteed, and all the Shaq nay-sayers will have to shut up for a year.

posted by mayerkyl at 11:24 AM on June 07, 2005

Shaq is almost done.$20 mill. is pushing it.He is sprinting lightyears away from his prime.Any team would keep or sign him to boost ticket sales.L.A. would have been better with Shaq this season then with out,they couldnt afford the both of them,plus they already have the ticket generator in Kobe.I feel L.A. could go 10 years without even making the finals.Look at K.G..Its been happening in Minn.for sometime now.Superstars dont win titles,its a teams chemistry that wins them championships.Spurs in 6.

posted by HOE.O.K. at 11:26 AM on June 07, 2005

I like how you've characterized it as either Kobe or Shaq, and how we're not discussing how Houston got more for McGrady than LA did for Shaq. That said, if I'm an LA fan I guess I'd have to swallow this and stick with Kobe, even though I still think Shaq is more immediately influential. Kobe's max contract is less than Shaq's and Kobe will be around longer. If it really is the case that you have to chose one and can only chose one, I'd choose Kobe even if Miami had won the title this year. I agree with Cuban's decision not to match Phoenix's offer for the same reasoning. As a GM you do what's good for the long term health of the franchise, even if that means you have a slightly lower chance to win a championship at any given year. I'd much rather be a Indianapolis Colts fan than a Florida Marlins fan, for example. I'd still rather have Shaq right now, even though his individual skills are declining. His effect on his teamates however, is still remarkable. I'm just not sold yet on Kobe as a great player, the spanking he gave to the Pacers a few years back notwithstanding.

posted by chmurray at 12:03 PM on June 07, 2005

chmurray, I have to disagree with your Colts/Marlins example. Teams play for titles, IMO, not to be very good but never great over the long run. Look at the 49ers before the salary cap took effect, they were able to plug in the right pieces and win five Super Bowls in just over a decade while the Colts haven't made it to the game in over 30 years.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:07 PM on June 07, 2005

Oh yeah: LAL and MIA both need to sign their stars but use their noggins and negotiate the BDP.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:08 PM on June 07, 2005

The Colts might not be the best example, but I'm a fan and they'll be in the playoffs for a long time, although they'll need to be lucky to win a Super Bowl. Probably a better example would be the Steelers - always strong, always competitive, never really dominant. The broader point is that I think franchises are more successful when they don't make rash decisions to try to win now. The Spurs are a good example. Or the Braves in the National League. In pretty much every professional sport there are the top tier of teams that are annually mentioned as contenders for the title. Teams can try to get lucky with a big midseason signing, or a blockbuster summer trade but it is rare for the contending teams to do this, or only for a short time (nash in phoenix, shaq in miami). It seems contradictory to me to assert that teams need to "play for a title" and "use their noggin", because I think that negotiating the salary cap successfully precludes a commitment to what I understand "playing for a title" to mean.

posted by chmurray at 04:19 PM on June 07, 2005

Shaq will hold steady next year and Wade will improve. Heat win it all next year, guaranteed, and all the Shaq nay-sayers will have to shut up for a year I would challenge that assertation. I would be terrified if I'm the Heat. If Shaq wasn't motivated this year, what's he going to be like next year? We know he'll be a year older. Let's remember what Simmons for example was saying last year: This was absolute madness. What were these teams thinking? This was Shaq! Still in his prime! A potentially ticked-off, ready-to-destroy-everybody Shaq!!!! For the first time in years, I think Shaq gets himself in ridiculous shape this summer. There's no other way. He has too much to prove, too many scores to settle. In fact, here's how the Vengeance Scale looks right now, with a "1.0" being Mike Piazza's reaction after Clemens threw the bat at him in the 2000 World Series. 8.5 -- Shaq (after finding out that the Lakers were trading him for Odom, Grant and Butler) Except it didn't work out that way. You know, I'd guess there's a 20% chance Shaq shows up at 400lbs next year.

posted by Mike McD at 04:36 PM on June 07, 2005

If Shaq wasn't motivated this year, what's he going to be like next year? We know he'll be a year older. Did you even watch the man play this year? He played the entire playoffs on 10 days rest with an injury that normal players take weeks to heal.

posted by dfleming at 04:49 PM on June 07, 2005

There was never any question about Shaq's motivation.

posted by mayerkyl at 10:17 AM on June 08, 2005

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