Celebrando El Carnaval
Celebrate, if you have enough hair on your chest. Tuesday's mega-monstrousoutee seperates the pretenders from the contenders. And sadly, my esteemed colleague, Bethlehem Shoals appears to fall among the posers.
Love it. It isn't about winning. It isn't about parades. It isn't about taking down Big Shot Bobbie, Artest and the Wallaces.
Count it and 1.
Celebrate Riles and Randy Pfunds. Jettisoned is Eddie Jones, who will not be cursed in this column, as his rep is well established. Jettisoned is Qyntel Woods, o' of tantalizing size and potential. But Q did not heed my call for healing. Miami Seaquarium passes were forwarded to his address, calls to his mobile went unreturned. Jets away, he'll be cut by Ainge and land elsewhere. Qyntel's story has yet to be written, although the last chapter on EJ's is being edited for punctuation. It reads like, "Eddie would see no parade, his legacy was written in the battle scars of three new mercenary soldiers."
I wish to know of a more beautiful triumverate of power and chaos that was moved in such a brutal swoop.
On the new Point: Last month, during FreeDarkoCON 2005 in Bar Harbor, Maine a topic was broached. Who would be an ideal compliment guard to Dwyane Wade? I floated out El Blanco Chocolate, aka Jason Williams, and was quickly ridiculed. Mike Bibby was the safe choice. Yet, that conversation was a pipe dream. And now we have the real life alternative. He who was once traded for Bibby, whose upside was deemed as close. Lost to oblivion in Memphis. West/Hubrie/Fratello all tried to constrain him. But he is an artist. And in Miami we welcome refugees who exhibit rare talent and barbarian creativity.
What are the drawbacks? He needs his shots. He commits to many turnovers. I don't care, he has proven he can sink the long range jumper and the brightness will be brought out of him. Either by good friend Shaq's shaqnanigans or by the SVG/Riley shock treatmeant. Personal redemption for J-Will awaits. Its now a familiar story with this team.
On Posey: This trade had to have a straight man. Posey fits the bill to perfection. Only foot injuries lessened his value. A year earlier, he was a baller that any GM would love to have on his team. I pray that the Heat fitness routine will make him fit, both for his feet and his ability to stop the other team's best swinger. If not Posey, than who?
On Employee 8: He must be immortalized in plastic. His story is why this is pure poetry. Valued, criticized, discarded, loved anew. Antoine is a talent of nearly-epic proportions whose only recourse was a nomadic lifestyle prone to the habitual self destruction. I can think of others that were criticized in the same way, who came here and played team ball and succeeded. Bob McAdoo will shadow him. He will become his mentor. Antoine will fit such as Mac did on the Lakers.
So he can't be the third option. So he can't not have the ball in his hands at each possession. He has been - to date - a function of his environment, and its far different down here. Shaq and Dwyane will take them to a top three seed by of themselves. All we need is for Antoine's ignorance of reality to come out when it matters most. And its far more challenging to think that he will succeed than that he will fail.
We're not talking about the public enemies of the past few years. These are not the young: "The league of Ricky Davis, Baron Davis, the Knicks, Corey Maggette, Larry Hughes, Ben Gordon, pro Melo". (Quickly, how the fuck do the Knicks fall into that equation?) J-Will and Antoine are wild horses who many have tried to tame. Some signs have shown that they could be broken down and fit into the team system. But not enough. Thats why they're available, and thats why the communal power of Riley-SVG-Shaq-Wade-Zo will make them conform or they will be jettisoned themselves.
And that is why I'm both saddened by the melodramatic statement about "The Miami Heat fucking themselves."
Reality: More Cap Space flexibility has been gained by the so-call fucking. EJ's contract amounted to Walker and Posey. These are assets. More depth. Plus, the team still has the FULL MID-LEVEL EXCEPTION.
Philosophy: Everything we have known has set us up for this moment. I have railed against the innane boredom of the Spurs and Pistons. The Pacers opened the door for this new "hybrid", but Artest's extremeness tips the scales too much. This is beauty incarnate. Intrigue on one court not seen since the last true Dynasty. And, as mentioned, I could give a flying fuck whether this amounts to a championship or not. It amounts to pure, impossible to bottle excitement.
And what of these "wavelengths" mentioned below that put Wade and Shaq in a different realm than Walker and Williams. The last I checked there was still enough room in the electromagnetic spectrum for opposing wavelengths to collide for greater power.
As investors in the NBA, we look for high risk/high reward. And the same belief that took this franchise from obscurity, to mattering, to on the heels of the finals - that is to say, a trust and belief in Pat Riley - means that this is the risk you take if you want the ultimate reward. Because, as it stands, last year's squad was broken in enough ways that it would have been difficult to pass San Antonio. Either glorious success awaits, or intense failure.
Either you're along for the ride, or you're off. It's like Pat Riley sodomizing Larry Brown. Do you have the stomach for it?