Thursday, May 27, 2010

David Stern picks on easy, convenient, usual target

By Rick Morris

So let me get this straight. David Stern titters and tee-hees about blatant tampering going on right under his nose with the mayor of New York and sitting American president begging LeBron James to sign with their teams (these politicians would accurately understand these pleas to be, in the parlance of their arena, a whopping in-kind contribution to the franchises). His use of the league rules as toilet paper prompted this May 17 tweet from The FDH Lounge account:

“Lebron James is property of the Cavs through June 30. Is David Stern going to have the nards to enforce the league's anti-tampering rules?”

As was further elaborated during my Opening Statement on Episode #103 of THE FDH LOUNGE (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT on, much like free speech rules that the ACLU claims apply to the most odious among us, so too do the anti-tampering strictures exist to protect teams still in the playoffs and unable to devote any organizational efforts to the chase – even the massively unsympathetic Celtics and Lakers. Players are considered to remain the property of their present teams through the full end of the postseason to prevent exactly this kind of anarchy when their teams are eliminated – to say nothing of the fact that the NBA playoffs have become a pathetic undercard to the circus-like speculation, a reality that likely won’t reverse itself in The Finals. If The Commish is OK with that, then the owners have one more reason to wonder about him.

But, inevitably, the big man chose to put his foot down … on Mark Cuban’s neck. Yeah, James Naismith saw that coming and he’s been dead for 70 years.

Cubes happened to engage in some idle speculation about Number 23 – rendered all the more idle, by the way, by the fact that his cap space actually keeps him from being any kind of player for The King’s services whatsoever – and Stern immediately slapped him with a $100,000 fine. He also levied a $10,000 fine against Steve Kerr for the same offense, proving yet again that because of past hostilities, nobody else can be deemed more than 1/10 as guilty as the Mavs owner under any circumstances.

Cuban, you see, committed the heinous crime of being too honest and upfront in his desire for LeBron. Unlike other organizations, he didn’t use any “cutout men” (in Cosa Nostra parlance) like the governor of Texas or Roger Staubach or anybody else to tamper for him. No, sensing the relaxed climate but failing to realize that it did not apply to him, he spoke his own mind and incurred the classic David Stern Pavlovian fine response. Something tells me that if Billy Bob from Waxahachie called into a talk show and said that the Mavs should sign James that Stern would find a way to twist that into a finable offense for Dallas.

I’d hate to see what happened if Jerry Buss ever ticked off the commissioner. That’d be a seven-figure fine for Mark Cuban for sure.

Ever since the 2006 Finals and the ref-worked outcome, people have been comparing the NBA’s credibility to that of the WWE.

What an insult to Vince McMahon.

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