Shanoff's WUC: LeBron, Lance, Lakers, Rays

Today's Calls: Mark Cuban vs. LeBron, Lance Armstrong vs. Floyd Landis, USC 2004 vs. Auburn 2004, Lakers in Phoenix vs. Magic in Boston, Canadiens vs. Flyers, Rays vs. Yankees, AL East rivalries vs. Interleague rivalries, Santana Moss vs. Mike Shanahan, Andre Johnson vs. the Texans, Doug Collins vs. Philly fans, NFL vs. the Field and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: It sure looked like tampering when Mark Cuban said he wants to acquire LeBron James, his comments coming before free agency starts on July 1. ↵

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↵But everyone ELSE is speculating! ↵

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↵Think about how much more fun things could be if there was a one-time exemption for teams to talk about LeBron as much as they wanted between now and the end of June. ↵

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↵It's not like everyone else -- media, fans, other athletes, random people on the street -- aren't expressing their opinions (ad nauseum). It only seems fair that the most voluble owner in the league gets a chance. ↵

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↵Frankly, it will be worth the fine from the NBA. Cuban is too smart not to know exactly what he was doing -- sending a very public signal to the Cavs (and, of course, LeBron) that he is open to a deal. ↵

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↵In any event, I like Cuban introducing sign-and-trade into the equation. If the Cavs are to have any hope of not getting left high and dry by LeBron, they need to convince him that it's the "right" thing to do to agree to a sign-and-trade. ↵

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↵(If I'm the Cavs, I'm asking Cuban for Dirk, Roddy Beaubois and Caron Butler and giving up LeBron and any bad Cavs contracts I want to make it work. Non-negotiable.) ↵

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↵Obviously, LeBron would have to sign off on the trade partner. But if he cares at all about Cavs fans, he will try to help the team get some value back for him, rather than sending them into a decade or two of Lottery exile. ↵

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↵But, more important, it expands the potential pool of options from the already-exhausted KnicksBullsHeatNets to ... well, anyone. ↵

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↵If you can dream up a trade for your team that works as a salary match, you too can jump right into the LeBron Sweepstakes! ↵

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↵And as long as you're not an NBA owner, you can talk all you want about it. ↵

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↵Lance vs. Landis: Denial! It is impossible to know the truth. The closest we can come to clarity is knowing with certainty that Lance was going to flatly reject Floyd Landis' claims. The crash just added dramatic effect. ↵

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↵Reggie Bush vs. NCAA: Not only should USC be stripped of the 2004 BCS national title if Bush is found to have violated NCAA rules, but the AP -- given its recent interest in rewriting history with the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award -- should have its college football pollsters re-vote on the national champs, so they can rightly award their 2004 title to unbeaten Auburn. ↵

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↵NBA Playoff Mania: Here's how dull the conference finals are, with the Lakers and Celtics both seemingly guaranteed to advance -- the best story is the 1-game suspension of ref Joe DeRosa for throwing the ball at the (very rich, powerful) fan the other night. Otherwise, honestly: The only uncertainty is whether we will get the "double-sweep." ↵

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↵NHL Playoffs: Are the Canadiens the new Flyers? Down 2-0 in the series, was last night's win the beginning of a comeback? ↵

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↵Rays on a Roll: In case you needed any more confirmation as the season hits the quarter-turn, the Rays are the team to beat in the American League, and Tampa's sweep of the Yankees -- in New York, no less -- is the new leading evidence. (As if the MLB-leading .732 winning percentage wasn't enough.) ↵

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↵More MLB Talking Points: ↵

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↵• Comeback of the Year? Braves! ↵

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↵• Ubaldo rolls on: 8th W. ↵

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↵• Griffey wakes up: (Too petty?) ↵

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↵• Weekend's Best: Interleague! ↵

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↵World Cup Mania: The new Nike ad for the World Cup basically imploded the Internet yesterday, because it is so jaw-droppingly good. Folks are discussing whether it is the best Nike ad ever. (Speaking of best: If you're looking for a terrific way to earn your World Cup literacy, check out the "World Cup Companion," which will catch you up, give you cred and look pretty good on your coffee table in June and July.) ↵

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↵PED Scandals: Jose Canseco seems so desperate to talk to people about what he thinks, I suspect he will be glad to talk to the Clemens grand jury in two weeks. ↵

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↵More: Santana Moss just saw a revision to the first line of his career obituary. (Mike Shanahan, of course, is more willing to take a "wait-and-see" approach -- literally.) ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: Andre Johnson blinks. It was the right thing to do. The team should follow suit and re-negotiate in good faith with their biggest star. ↵

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↵NBA Awards Season: SN's All-NBA team is hard to argue with: LeBron, Wade, Howard, Durant, Kobe. Feels like we could have penciled that in at the start of the season. ↵

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↵NBA Coaching Carousel: Doug Collins is the new coach of the 76ers. We already know how this is going to end: In a season (or two or three), the Sixers won't like the progress and fire him. He will go back to TV. They will need a new coach, and they will find yet another re-tread. That's how the carousel works. ↵

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↵Rod Thorn the new Nets GM? It's not like he was going to say "no" to Mikhail Prokhorov. ↵

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↵The Last Word: And the winner is ... the NFL, which cleaned up at the Sports Business Awards, winning League of the Year, along with Event of the Year (Super Bowl), Stadium of the Year (Cowboys Stadium) and Owner of the Year (Jerry Jones). ↵

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↵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. ↵

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

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