Kobe-LeBron Will Have To Wait

Bobby Curran
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Friday - June 10, 2009
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Kobe Bryant

The world will have to wait at least another year for the Kobe-LeBron matchup, but we may get to see a reasonably entertaining series anyway. The ever-affable Dwight Howard is the newest mega-star and has supplanted Shaq as the NBA’s best center, and the rest of the Magic love to shoot threes. Most pundits are picking the Lakers, but they may not be able to afford to take some nights off as they’ve done throughout the playoffs.

LeBron James is under fire for not shaking hands and ducking the media after the Cavs were eliminated. If it were someone whose behavior had been previously marginal, I’d probably jump all over him. But James has built up some goodwill and I’m inclined to write this off as an aberration. It was a human and emotional reaction, but not worthy of someone who has accepted his status as role model to his young fans. I suspect James will be less defensive in the future, and I don’t think we’ll see a repeat. And NBAcommish David Stern has to fine him for skipping out on the media because, as he likes to say, the rules are the rules.

 

three star

The upcoming major league baseball draft is remarkably different from how it used to be. You only have to go back about 15 years to when the baseball draft was shrouded in secrecy. Even drafted players often had to wait days to find out who had drafted them and when. Few players had agents, and there were few if any financial details available when a player did sign.


Well, times have changed. All the top prospects will have agents, and the player expected to go first to the Washington Nationals, San Diego State pitcher Steve Strasberg, is expected by one baseball insider to receive a contract worth north of $30 million. Not bad for a player who may not pitch in the majors until 2010 if contract negotiations last until the Aug. 15 deadline. Unlike the NBA and NFL, baseball’s draftees usually serve an apprenticeship in the minors, and not a single position player is thought to be ready for The Show now.

 

three star

New NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith is already asking NFL owners to open their books in order to know what to ask for. He says that shouldn’t be a problem if they are full partners. You know some owners, maybe most of them, regard the players as readily replaceable parts, and believe they get too large a piece of the pie as it is. But if they can’t come to an agreement, causing 2011 to be an uncapped year, it will allow owners to spend as much or as little as they like.


The danger here is that well-heeled owners like Jerry Jones in Dallas and Washington’s Daniel Snyder will spend freely to upgrade their teams, while other will be overjoyed not to have a minimum expenditure and in short order the NFL could become divided into haves and have-nots - which would make it a lot like major league baseball.

 

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