By mW on July 21, 2010
Well, for better or for worse, the Jeff Bower era is over in New Orleans. It’s 2010, do you know where your general manager is? No doubt Bower was a conservative force, but a prudent one too. He brought in Tyson Chandler for almost nothing. When it was obvious Tyson was hurt, he remedied a potential mistake in giving him back away, by getting Okafor for him. People bitch, but Tyson played 51 games last year; Okafor 82. Bower also made sure to lock down Chris Paul through at least 2012. Oh, and he drafted those Collison and Thornton Kids, First and Second All-Rookie Team picks. Plus, Quincy Pondexter and Craig Brackins looked pretty good this year in Vegas.
Was Bower a good coach? Did he want to coach for longer than most of last season? I thought so. But it seemed Chris wanted it to go another way. Regardless, him firing Byron was a tough call that had to be made. Anyone watching our first 9 games knew that everyone but Chris had quit on Byron. So let’s hope Bower getting the boot as coach or as GM had nothing to do with Chris. Not because I care if CP feels that way, but because I don’t want my team giving into him.
Sure, I recognize CP is the greatest player the Hornets have ever seen. But a team can’t just give a player everything he wants and expect him to respect it. Look at the Cavaliers. On the flip side, did the Lakers acquiesce to Kobe’s one-time trade demand, or his call to trade Bynum? No, instead they told him to suit up and went and got Gasol. Now, three more championships later, the Lakers’ GM, Mitch Kupchak, looks brilliant.
So the Hornets went out and got a Coach, one CP supposedly lobbied for over Bower’s choice of Tom Thibodeau. Now they have a young GM from the Spurs organization, a team we keep hearing that Nola has modeled itself after. So let’s hope those moves were made for the right reasons, because I’m already sick of the Era of the Lebrons. In this modern era, it seems like too often it is all about what can be done easily, cheaply, fastly. Spare no adverb. Market big teams, play up their stars and start rumors of all small market stars jumping ship; easy revenue. Can’t build a team of your own through trades and draft, just sign all the best players to the same team. Why earn anything when you can be given it? Why become a champion when you’re already King?
Unfortunately, the last question is what worries me most. CP has joined forces with LRMR, Lebron’s management company, ditching his long-time agency, Octagon. Not one person I’ve spoken to via any medium in existence has thought this a good move. LRMR has only embarrassed themselves and Lebron this summer. I’ve yet to hear from anyone that they were competent or have any idea what they are doing. They are hangers-on of Lebron who are blowing through his money long enough to bamboozle, coerce, and sexually harass their way up the American corporate ladder. I have my sources too, and none report anything good out of this camp. Then, there are the media credentials snuffed by Lebron’s camp for bad press, and the dunk videos suppressed. Are these are today’s role models for young kids? Be friends with someone who is rich and act like you’re in a rap video. But let’s berate those nerds who actually paid attention in class or had the audacity to go to college, or gasp, graduate school. Those are the *gasp* “academic elite.” Yeah, let’s put down people that work on their brains as much as NBAers work on their bodies and game. Too bad we don’t respect those people as much as professional athletes.
Anywho, CBS is reporting Chris Paul has played his last game as a Hornet. So say “people close to him.” Close how? His mother? His cousin? His mailman? The guy he met at Barnes & Noble? It says he wants to go to the Magic, Lakers, or Knicks. Unsurprisingly, the article also mentions LRMR as a reason he will “fight his way out of New Orleans.” Weird, yesterday’s Times Picayune, said that Chris was “likes the current changes under way.” This only highlights how much the CBS article is pure speculation, which, of course, is all the media is anymore. Gone are the days of objective journalism. Whether you’re FoxNews, MSNBC, CNN, whatever, you’re more likely to hear about Paris Hilton than genocide in Somalia. You’re also not as likely to hear the pros or cons of President Obama’s policies as much as one channel will tell you he’s a Nazi-Socialist guarded by liberal elites, while the other will tell you he’s a brilliant consensus-bringer that has majority support and is hampered by feet-dragging bottom-feeders. It’s like the world’s controlled by some evil genius who controls all information in a plot to make us all dumber. All I want is CP back on the court doing his thing. Is that so much? I mean, can we leave the gossip alone and talk about how he’s preparing, how is injury recovery is coming, what strategy he’s talked over with Coach Williams? Let me know.
If you don’t know, New Orleans is an extremely loyal town, but we’re also extremely protective. We know what we have, we love what we have, and we protect it against all who would take it away from us or disparage it. We love our cultural icons, whether Huey Long, Louis Armstrong, or Marie Laveau. Take now the Saints’ Drew Brees? He’s a permanent hero. A Super Bowl Champion. Brees and Co. are also useful in the NBA context, proving the glaring lie that most media outlets have espoused this summer: Chris Paul must leave because New Orleans can’t support a world champion. Um, February? Saints? Super Bowl? Ring a bell? I’m finding it harder to be a gentleman. In fairness, though, Brees came here after being rejected by his former team. He had his chip. Chris’ has always been being picked after other guards, being told he was too small. He used those things to push him. But does he need to feel the love from some other team too? I hope not. Look at the greats before you, CP: Russell, Magic, Bird, Jordan, Kobe, Pierce. All their legacies are defined by playing for a single team. Learn from them, not Lebron.
I say show us something, Chris. Prove to us you can win anywhere. Jason Kidd’s been to two Finals. Nash has been to the Conference Finals three times. They both have you. Prove you’re the best floor leader in the League. Show us you’re the best on the floor, show us you have the desire to win because it’s inside you, and that you don’t need to find it in some symbiotic celebrity collage. Michael didn’t need Magic. Magic didn’t need Bird. And you don’t need whoever. You have David West. You have Peja. You have Marcus Buckets. No, they’re not Wade, Bosh, or Lebron. But Michael had Pippen and Grant; Rodman and Kukoc. Magic had Worthy and Scott. This team, if it stays healthy, can compete. The world has forgotten, but David West carried this team at times, as did Peja; but when injuries piled up, the results were mediocre. But with a healthy Chris Paul et al., the Hornets can contend. We just need CP3 to be out there giving it his all, instead of worrying about getting out of his contract. So, Chris, leave LRMR at the door and show us your heart. Or did choosing LRMR show us precisely that? I hope not.
Bower built this team. He built it to win. That’s why @snavetrebor calls him Bower Robotnik; he’s an evil genius, planning on worldwide domination. Y’all reading this post can look at the pictures above and tell me if they are one and the same. But my real question is whether this Hornets team be Bower’s legacy, or that of the Lebrons? That is, will this team built to win now disintegrate in the wake of a selfish star demanding a trade? CBS thinks so. But I’ll believe it when I see it. As for now, it’s all conjecture and madness. Come fall, I think Chris Paul will remind the world why he should have gotten an MVP award before Lebron. I think he’ll show the world what 50+ wins looks like. And he’ll do it in a Hornets uniform. Book it.