The wake of “The Decision” is still wreaking havoc on multinational corporations, professional basketball franchises and itinerant announcers: Months after LeBron James’ one-man lottery played out on live cable TV, ESPN remains embarrassed, NBA teams keep retooling and Jim Gray’s it’s-my-mike-or-you- hike broadcasting career continues to spiral.
Today we will concentrate on the NBA ramifications because, quite frankly, Couch Slouch can only focus on one thing at a time.
By taking his talents to a solitary, sandy beach in south Florida, LeBron has reshaped the NBA landscape, causing a sudden continental drift and reversing generations of Western migration. If Horace Greeley were alive today, he undoubtedly would exclaim, “Go east, young man,” or, at a minimum, book a three-day cruise to Staten Island.
With a flurry of trade-deadline activity, here is a look at your new, post-“Decision” NBA:
• In Miami, the Three Tenors – LeBron, Dwyane Wade and the other guy – perform one show nightly to standing ovations, but the show might close before the NBA Finals.
• With the assistance of Isiah Thomas from a thousand miles away, the Knicks have united the song-and-dance act of Amar’e Stoudmire and Carmelo Anthony – a.k.a. “Shoot First, Ask Questions Later” – for a tragicomic run at the world’s most famous arena.
(More on this later, in our special “Kourtney & Kim Take New York: NBA Version” section.)
• From Knick to Nugget, poor Danilo Gallinari just went from a city full of Italians to a city full of Olive Gardens.
• The Celtics made just one roster addition (Jeff Green), figuring they can still rely on Kevin Garnett’s trash-talking, finger- pointing, groin-grabbing antics to secure another championship.
• Kendrick Perkins is now in Oklahoma City, where his signature scowl will become the latest cow tipping sensation.
• Deron Williams is now with New Jersey. The deal included an EZ Pass.
(Former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan reportedly was sitting in a Ramada Inn lounge, sipping a scotch- and-water, when news of the Williams trade flashed across the big screen. “WTF!?!” he said. He immediately paid his tab, hailed a cab and told the driver to make double time to EnergySolutions Arena, but halfway there thought to himself, “I don’t need this … anymore,” and asked the fella to take him back to his bar stool. You made the right choice, Jerry.)
• Kirk Hinrich is now in Atlanta. The Hawks did this just to keep up appearances, because in the larger scheme of things, Hinrich plays never affect the outcome of any NBA contest.
• Mo Williams, left LeBron-less in Cleveland, was given a choice of a witness protection program or the Clippers. Sadly, he chose the Clippers.
• The Clippers traded Baron Davis, because they could.
• To their credit, the Wizards – irrespective of where LeBron ended up – budgeted and game- planned for a 60-loss season.
OK, let’s revisit that Knicks-Nuggets- Timberwolves deal. It was a remarkable, broad-daylight heist for Denver, aided by Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov baiting Knicks management with an offer- he-knew-Melo-would- refuse tactic. Heck, if the Nuggets had held out 12 more hours, the Knicks would’ve thrown in Willis Reed, Walt Frazier and the Statue of Liberty.
This is what I can tell you about Knicks czar James Dolan: If he were to ever stumble upon the formula for Coca-Cola, by the time he was done with it, it would taste like cough syrup.
Of course, some Knicks fans think they are primed for a title run. To which I will say – pairing Amar’e and Melo means the Knicks clearly now are the fourth- or fifth-best team in the Eastern Conference. Congratulations.
Amar’e and Melo aren’t going to lead you to the promised land, they’re going to lead you to Foot Locker. They both are prodigious scorers and prodigious non-defenders. Melo couldn’t stop a bus if he were at a bus stop.
The Knicks’ idea of pressure defense is having Spike Lee heckle you.
In an unrelated development, Jim Gray hopes to end his career slide with a YouTube interview of a Charlie Sheen rant.
Ask The Slouch
Q. You’ve been known to throw a punch or two against the NHL on TV, yet your column often includes two intermissions – just like a hockey game. Care to comment? (Greg Hanrahan; Arlington, Va.)
A. The primary reason for two intermissions in hockey is to allow spectators extra time to purchase beer. My column operates off the same business model.
Q. Which is the more interesting profession – proctologist or bracketologist? (Peter Basista; Centreville, Va.)
A. At first glance, proctologists have a darker, more singular pursuit than bracketologists, but upon closer inspection, there’s really little difference.
Q. The “Star Wars” saga originally started with Episode IV. Does that mean you plan to have three prequel wives? (Michael Mael; Potomac, Md.)
A. Working on it.