Monday, September 15, 2014
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LeBron, the day after: A bad taste for most

A cardboard standup of LeBron James is consigned to the wastebasket in this Cleveland restaurant after James announced he was going to Miami.
A cardboard standup of LeBron James is consigned to the wastebasket in this Cleveland restaurant after James announced he was going to Miami. JOHN KUNTZ / Cleveland Plain Dealer
A cardboard standup of LeBron James is consigned to the wastebasket in this Cleveland restaurant after James announced he was going to Miami. Gallery: LeBron, the day after: A bad taste for most

ORLANDO, Fla. - Maybe it's a seismic shift in the NBA landscape. Or it's just a little wave washing up on South Beach.

One way or another, LeBron James has the league's attention.

Around the NBA on Friday, everyone was talking about the impact of James' decision to spurn the Cleveland Cavaliers and form an all-star trio with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.

"It seems everybody has a bad taste in their mouth, unless you're in Miami," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said at the NBA's Orlando summer league. "Just the way the whole thing was handled, on TV and everything, it really leaves a bad taste in everybody's mouth."

More coverage
  • Gallery: Sixers Summer League
  • Video: Sixers looking up
  • LeBron, the day after: A bad taste for most
  • Cavs owner says James betrayed fans
  • Now that the show is over, 76ers coach Doug Collins actually likes the view in the Eastern Conference. For the Sixers, itching for a chance just to get back in the playoffs, two more playoff spots might have just opened up.

    Instead of James in Cleveland, Wade in Miami, and Bosh in Toronto, now there's only one team with such competition.

    "It's interesting because with a team like Orlando that's fighting for a championship, it affects them a lot differently than it does us because you start putting [Miami] in the championship mix in the Eastern Conference," Collins said. "For us, the decision of Bosh and LeBron helps us because it weakened Toronto, it weakened Cleveland and LeBron didn't go to a New York or New Jersey that's in our division.

    "For us, it took a few teams out."

    Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn is just glad to be out West.

    "I'm hopeful that there are no realignment plans in store for the league in the near future, certainly not for the next 10 to 15 years," he joked.

    But it's still not determined just how good Miami will be.

    There's precedent for star-powered trilogies, but three young, budding stars in their prime? Maybe never.

    "I think we just kind of witnessed history," Phoenix Suns center Channing Frye said. "I was like, 'Who knows what's going to happen?' "

    Other players, too, were wondering how their teams will keep pace.

    "A lot of people are saying they have to make up a whole team, but when you have three superstars, you can throw in a janitor in there, you can throw in a chef. It really doesn't matter who you throw in there," Minnesota's Jonny Flynn said.

    The Heat essentially inherited three key members of the U.S. Olympic team. And while Orlando still has Dwight Howard, and Boston's aging Big Three - Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce - are still trying to defend the East, it has certainly sent shockwaves around the league.

    "There's no question about it. They become the favorites along with Boston to win the East," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.

    The Celtics, who won the NBA title in 2008 and lost in the Finals this year, aren't ready to fade away.

    "We're still the Eastern Conference champions," Boston president Danny Ainge said.

    Yet all the hype is in Miami.

    Along with all the questions.

    "There have been a lot of teams that have had three great players and haven't won a title, and there have been a lot of teams with three great players who have won titles," Collins said. "So we'll have to see how it plays out. That's the beauty of it. We can't look into any crystal ball. It's going to take time."

    Where to live? What piece of prime South Florida real estate is fit for a king?

    James landed in Miami on Friday, and the local real estate circuit was abuzz with questions of where the multimillionaire athlete would live.

    According to analysis by Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors, James will have plenty of multimillion-dollar properties to choose from - 355 Miami-Dade properties were listed for sale at prices above $4 million in May.

    On Thursday, Miami-based luxury Realtor Alex Shay began hearing whispers from other agents that James had put in a $49.5 million offer on a Gables Estates, Fla., home being sold by auto tycoon Alan Potamkin.

    The home in Coral Gables, Fla., features 20,088 square feet of living space, eight bedrooms, 11 bathrooms and 800 feet of water frontage.

    MSG stock dips. Now that James has decided to play basketball in Miami, shares of Madison Square Garden Inc., owner of the New York Knicks, have gone south as well.

    Madison Square Garden shares had risen as much as 11 percent this month as a nationwide fervor mounted over which team the superstar free agent would pick.

    The two-time league MVP's announcement Thursday in an hour-long ESPN special that he would leave Cleveland to play in Miami instead of New York, Chicago, New Jersey or any other bidding team's cities sent the company's stock down 94 cents, or 4.6 percent, to close Friday at $19.44.

    That was below the low reached two trading days before the start of the free agency shopping spree began on July 1. The shares had hit a two-week high on Wednesday of $21.91.

    Discount prices. Even Benedict Arnold has been dragged into James' decision to leave Cleveland.

    A company held by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert - who Thursday night called James' decision an act of cowardly betrayal - cut the price of James memorabilia to $17.41, echoing the year of Arnold's birth.

    Gilbert's Fathead L.L.C. had sold life-size wall stickers of James in a Cavaliers uniform for as much as $99.99. Arnold was a colonial army officer who offered to surrender West Point to the British for money during the Revolutionary War.

    Gilbert said in a letter to fans posted on the team website that James' decision was a "shocking act of disloyalty." "You simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal," wrote Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans Inc. "This shocking act of disloyalty from our homegrown 'chosen one' sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn."

     

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