With the 2013 NBA Finals on our temporal doorsteps, with the present and past colliding like fists two Chuck Norris fists, with silent power and grace slamming into furious flash, with the Obi-Wan battling the Anakin, of course all I can think about is the New Orleans Pelicans.
All Pelicans, all the time . . . hmmm . . .
Here’s the question:
Does the Spurs or the Heat winning the Finals benefit the Pelicans the most?
I leave it to the readers to sing the detailed praises of these franchises, these philosophies, these very states of matter, but here’s the tinderbox for the ensuing conflagration:
- Should the Spurs win, the time is ripe for Duncan to retire. Think I’m nuts or sensationalist here? Check out what 48 Minutes of Hell (Spurs blog) says. Then, Pop is set to retire at the same time. With their salary, they can nearly immediately begin the rebuild by having Tim Duncan and Manu off of the books and Tony Parker as a trade chip for picks. On the other side of the court, the Heat will become the USC of the NBA (too soon?) with their little one-peat to go with their participation ribbons. As the tax rules slam down on tax payers like an iron door on a rancor, the Heat may look to change things up to get LeBron James and Dwyane Wade some help, as the superkids these days are fond of saying, and avoid the repeated rate in 2014-2015. Their books are clear of guaranteed salary in that season, but their inner cord will be making over $61m, putting them over the cap once cap holds are included, and over the projected tax without even a full roster if they keep the 8 guys with contracts. With the Lakers set to possibly rebuild that same year, could LeBron decide to take his talents to Venice Beach?
- Should the Heat win, the “big three model,” or “hope superstars find you useful model,” persists, quality free agents avoid small markets offering fair deals in favor of smaller contracts to gain a better chance of losing personally to the Heat. Maybe the Heat go on to win each title for 6 years under the new CBA, triggering a new lockout that institutes rules that keep the ready-to-contend Pelicans from keeping their core corps together. Oh, this keeps the title out of the Pelicans arbitrary division in which they have nearly 10 entire years of history, as if San Antonio is more odious than Dallas and their stinking title, for whatever good that does. At least the Hornets beat the Spurs once this season.
As you can tell, I just couldn’t see any real positives for the Heat winning, at least for the Pelicans. Sewing the seeds of eventual destruction of these two frustratingly beautiful things that are the Heat and the Spurs is what is best for the Pelicans. It’s not best for the general NBA fan, but choices like this must be made, just as Bill France, Jr. did with T-Rex.
The Pelicans won’t instantly rise to the top of the division once the Spurs are ousted, but all rivals must be cleared for the Pelicans to rise. More teams rebuilding means more player circulation which will lead to more changes for the Pelicans to grab the players they need to ascend. The only thing stopping the Spurs is seemingly the Spurs, and the same applies to the Heat. These two need to take each other out like TIE fighters, plain and simple.
And you don’t know how it pains me to say this.
I haven’t said much about it, and maybe I’ll go into detail soon, but the Heat players getting together in spite of all Billionaire Bridge Club really appeals to the imp in me. Irritating as it is, they laid their plans, took the pay cuts, won their title, and are a-rollin’ still.
More than that though, the Spurs, Tim Duncan, and Gregg Popovich are held in high regard by your humble narrator. I’ll take the minority opinion that Timmy is the best player of his era. That means better than Kobe for those thinking that I’m tap-dancing. Beyond that, these three are points of inspiration. Almost any player, coach, or franchise should aspire to be the the appropriate one of these three. The ones that do not have to aspire (Kareem, Magic, Michael, Bill, Jackson, Auerbach, Riley, Lakers, Celtics) certainly respect this list.
When it comes down to it, the Spurs are, in some sense, a vision from the past, a remant of a dying day, a fading redness that can now be clearly observed once it’s mostly obscured, that is also a vision from the future of the Pelicans . . . maybe. To root against them is to root against the only real hope New Orleans has to bring up an O’Brien trophy.
Sports writers are meant to be unbiased. I’ve been told time and again, if silently, that I’m not sports writer. Well, newsflash: I’m a mathematician. It’s a prestigious line of work with long and glorious tradition. Plus, as long as the data and logic supports you, you get to be as biased as you want to be. Ergeaux: Geaux Spurs!
To start this season off, I wrote the What to Expect When You Are Expecting article on Anthony Davis that focus on Tim Duncan. (Go read it). Unlike most `player pieces’, I opted-in rather than being drafted, replying only
When Duncan goes, and he will, perhaps this season regardless, the NBA will be a worse place. He will take some greatness from the sport, some grace, and some of the light of the world, frankly. Some of what makes sport glorious and worthwhile, some of what makes it a badge of honor to crush your beverage cup in excitement, drenching you and yours in a splash of living. The game changed to accommodate Duncan in that the concept of “Center” has been refined, with the other positions around it, because he stepped onto the court instead of diving into a pool. That’s a real The Decision.
How will it snap back when we steps off?
I don’t know, but it’s going to hurt.
That pain, however, is immaterial. He and the Spurs have got to be cleared out of the way for the Pelicans to have a chance. The greatness, the goodness, the rightness, the justice, the beauty . . . they are in the way. They must be cleared. They must make way.
Life feeds on life, and that is the cruelty of this world.
Let the games begin.
Let the era end.
In the end as my soul’s laid to rest
What is left of my body or am I just a shell?
And I have fought, and with flesh and blood I commanded an army
Through it all I have given my home for a moment of glory
In the end as you fade into the night
Who will tell the story of your life?
And who will remember your last goodbye?
Cause it’s the end and I’m not afraid
I’m not afraid to die
I’m not afraid
I’m not afraid to die
– Black Veiled Brides, In the End
Photo from gothicginobili