Before the season began, I predicted a Spurs-Heat Finals, with San Antonio winning and giving Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan their fifth World Championship since 1999. I still think the Spurs will defeat Miami, but both teams have a lot of work ahead….
In the West, the Grizzlies are big on the inside, quick on the wings, have an underrated and athletic point guard in Mike Conley and the confidence of having taken out San Antonio in the first round two years ago. But in the end it will be the Spurs advantage in experience and coaching which will get them through….
In the East, the Pacers are really up against it, for reasons on and off the court….
Without their best player, Danny Granger, it’s going to be very tough for Indiana. Sure they have a lot of size inside and Paul George is blossoming into a star, but it’s LeBron James they’re going up against….
So even if the series were on the level, I’d give Miami a slight edge; because of the great LeBron and the Pacers missing Granger….
But the biggest reason Indiana is going on vacation is the prospect of an all small market Finals of either the Grizzlies or Spurs against the Pacers….
Despite the fact San Antonio has always been a good offensive team, averaged over 100 points per game, extremely well coached and fun to watch, their Finals appearances have been among the lowest rated in NBA history….
Which means David Stern will never allow the Pacers to win their series….
With ratings guarantees to sponsors and a huge new television deal to be negotiated in the off season, a Pacers-Spurs/Grizzlies series would be financial Armageddon for Stern, the owners and ABC….
The Pacers making the Finals would literally cost the NBA tens of millions of dollars and it can’t happen….
This year’s playoff ratings have fallen off the cliff, down at least 25% cross the board; which means the NBA desperately needs Miami and LeBron in the Finals….
If the Pacers go up 2-0, or 3-1, maybe we’ll see Stern playing the Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart role; running around the court cheering for the Heat and screaming into his megaphone. And if we’re lucky, maybe Stern distracts the referees, runs onto the court and cracks one of the Pacers on the back of the head with said megaphone….
As I said earlier, without Granger I’d pick the Heat anyway; even if things were fair and square. But with the amount of money the NBA could lose, any chance the Pacers have is gone….
The Pacers players should make their Jamaican reservations now, because they’re going on vacation in about 10 days….
With rumors continuing about Albert Pujols being at least three years older than he claims, an interesting legal question arises….
If Pujols really is 36, instead of his stated 33, can the Angels void his contract and save themselves about $200 million over the next eight years?….
I said when the Angels signed Pujols it might go down as the worst contract in baseball history; because Albert has been in decline the past few years and in the steroid testing era you do not give 10-year deals to 32-year-olds….
But if Pujols was really at least 35, it makes the contract even worse; if that’s possible….
So can the Angels legally claim fraud and void the deal, or was it up to them to exercise due diligence and make sure everything was official?….
Maybe one of you lawyers out there can clear this up for me….
I keep hearing Magic Johnson is a great businessman, but you couldn’t tell by the way he’s run the Dodgers so far….
In the first major move since purchasing the team, Earvin got suckered by the Red Sox, who unloaded all of their bad contracts on him in a trade last season….
Now, with hundreds of millions owed to the former Red Sox players, the Dodgers have a firm grip on last place, while the financially unburdened Red Sox have been in first place most of the season and currently a game behind the Yankees….
So the Magic Man took on a few hundred million in salaries and sits in last place, while the team who pawned them off on him fights for first place….
Sounds like Magic got bamboozled….
Speaking of bad business decisions, how about the Angels spending $250 million on Pujols, who’s hitting .241, and $125 million on Josh Hamilton, who’s hitting .214?….
And the team who wisely allowed Hamilton to walk, the Rangers, are running away with the division and already 12 games ahead of the Angels….
And the Cardinals? They brilliantly allowed Pujols to leave via free agency, found a pigeon to give him $250 million and are in first place in their division….
Remind me to call the Angels or Dodgers the next time I want to unload a bad investment….