Shanoff's WUC: LeBron's Loss Is Knicks' Gain

Today's Calls: LeBron vs. Oblivion, Celtics vs. Cavs, Cliff Lee vs. Barry Zito, Tom Glavine vs. Derek Holland, Jim Delany vs. Expansion, Brian Cushing vs. AP NFL Award Voters, Charlie Davies vs. Bob Bradley, Tiger Woods vs. Hank Haney, Mikhail Prokhorov vs. the NBA, Steve Lavin vs. New York, Dallas Braden vs. Celebrity and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Welcome to New York, LeBron! ↵

↵

↵Remarkably, that is the meme of the morning: ↵

↵

↵That the Cavs' Game 5 loss at home to the Celtics -- the most humiliating moment of LeBron's career -- was so definitively deflating that not only will the Cavs fold in this series, but also LeBron is as good as gone to NYC. ↵

↵

↵Forget the fact that LeBron picked the biggest game of his career to have the worst game of his career. Every superstar player faces a crucible in the playoffs -- usually, multiple versions. An MVP doesn't entitle you to anything, let alone a ring. ↵

↵

↵This is not a referendum on LeBron as a talent. It is, however, a referendum on the talent around LeBron -- and that, of course, is ultimately a referendum on whether LeBron should stay in Cleveland or carry a new team elsewhere. ↵

↵

↵As long as LeBron isn't going to win a championship in Cleveland -- and those were the "win-or-fail" stakes in Cleveland this season, no matter how ludicrous it looks in hindsight -- he might as well try to win (or not win) a title somewhere else. ↵

↵

↵At least, that is the conventional wisdom today. There is still time for LeBron to carry the Cavs past Boston in Game 6 (like he did in Game 3), setting up a moment of redemption in Game 7. ↵

↵

↵But, suddenly, that seems like more ludicrous of a fantasy than the idea that LeBron will sign with the Knicks this summer. ↵

↵

↵MLB Talking Points: ↵

↵

↵• 1st W of season: Cliff Lee. ↵

↵

↵• 1st L of season: Barry Zito. ↵

↵

↵• Retired Number Watch: Glavine's 47. ↵

↵

↵• Today's Start to Watch: Derek Holland. ↵

↵

↵NHL Playoffs: With a quick check at the latest playoff bandwagons ... it's going to be a Blackhawks-Habs Stanley Cup Finals, right? ↵

↵

↵CFB Conference Expansion: Predictably, the Big Ten denies any specific offers being made ... for now. I can understand their interest in controlling the story, but it cuts both ways: Someone is strategically doing the leaking about the league and Mizzou, Nebraska, Rutgers and Notre Dame. Don't want to talk about it today, Jim Delany? No problem. We can wait a few months. ↵

↵

↵NFL Offseason: JaMarcus Russell to the Bengals? That would be too much fun. (Meanwhile, the Redskins continue to try to stockpile the ultimate backfield ... for 2005.) ↵

↵

↵Cushing Scandal: If you were an AP NFL Awards voter, what would you do? (Well, I probably wouldn't vote, but that's beside the point.) I just think it's way too thorny to make these historical revisions after the fact. And so I would protest the ludicrousness of a re-vote by casting my vote for Cushing -- again (presuming I voted for him the first time). ↵

↵

↵Related Read: Florio on the NFL's PED policy. ↵

↵

↵World Cup Watch: No Charlie Davies, no Freddy Adu on the U.S. roster. Unsurprising, but also a little disappointing -- those are two of the most intriguing players in the system. Coach Bob Bradley can do what he wants, but it isn't without pressure: Anything less than a trip to the knock-out round should put Bradley off the team. ↵

↵

↵The death of the LPGA's Erica Blasburg gets more murky: She was packed for a tournament. Maybe I watch too much crime TV, but does that seem like the action of someone who wants to take their own life? ↵

↵

↵Tiger Watch: From this description, it sounds like Tiger treated Hank Haney with way more respect than he did his wife -- when it wasn't working out, he ended it fairly swiftly. ↵

↵

↵CBB Offseason: Steve Lavin, smartly, is going to surround himself at St. John's with one assistant who is an Xs and Os specialist and, possibly, another who is completely tapped into a murky NYC AAU system that totally stymied former coach Norm Roberts. With help like that, Lavin can afford to kick back and focus on PR, his coaching specialty. Mike DeCourcy has a great reported analysis of the situation in Johnnie Land. ↵

↵

↵Business: Mikhail Prokhorov was approved as the new owner of the New Jersey Nets, setting the stage for one of the most fascinating ownership stories in sports -- a billionaire Russian oligarch buying into major U.S. team sports. He has the potential to make Mark Cuban look demure. ↵

↵

↵First order of business: Will he be at the NBA Draft Lottery to represent his team? Between Prokhorov's money and attitude, the potential they may get John Wall, the oodles of money they have to spend on free agents and the lure of being part of the team's move to Brooklyn in the next few years, the Nets become a team with cachet. ↵

↵

↵Guerdwich Montimere Update: Yup, he's actually 22. ↵

↵

↵The Last Word: "You have to move on, have a quick memory, good, bad or indifferent, no matter what. Got to go pitch against the Angels in four days. That's what I'm thinking about." -- Dallas Braden, on his post-perfect mentality. ↵

↵

↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.