James Piercy, Sport360 Editor, SAYS YES
Boston’s Danny Ainge isn’t one of the best GMs in the business for following the crowd, but Toronto’s acquision of Serge Ibaka last week should be enough to convince him to make a move by Thursday.
Ibaka gives Toronto possibly the second-best starting five in the East without the Raptors having to lose too much of their depth in making the trade.
Cleveland are No1 but this is a Cavsteam with Kevin Love and JR Smith injured, playing LeBron James 37.5 minutes and who still lack depth at guard. The time is right to strike and Toronto, Washington and Boston have legitimate claims to become top dogs in the East, and then who knows what happens in the playoffs. Isaiah Thomas has performed offensive miracles but asking him to sustain that is unfair.
The Celtics need someone who can get buckets at key times, from nowhere. Step forward: Jimmy Butler, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. All to varying degrees are gettable for a Boston team who can offer packages along the lines of a combination of Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley or Marcus Smart plus high-level draft picks. Butler’s position at Chicago seems uncertain. Yes, he’s the franchise cornerstone but also a divisive locker room presence, frustrated by their decline who, at 27, may be approaching the wrong age to build around long-term.
If the Bulls want to push the reset button, offset by Dwyane Wade’s veteran presence, Boston’s picks are considerable currency.
The Knicks are in stasis on Phil Jackson’s watch and need something to help kick-start the Kristaps Porzingis era. With a top pick and Crowder, they don’t hurt their roster too much, free up cap space and can prepare for an enticing draft.
Something is not right with George, as one of the NBA’s best two-way players has slumped. Perhaps, Indiana will let him go for some of Boston’s jewels to construct around Myles Turner.
Ainge doesn’t have to give the lot, but he certainly has enough. And all those picks start to become superfluous when you consider the calibre of player they can get now, against the potential quality of those they might draft in the future. The time is right.
Jay Asser, SAYS NO
As we approach the NBA’s trade deadline this Thursday, there’s no team to watch more closely than the Boston Celtics.
General manager Danny Ainge can go a myriad of ways with the assets he has at his disposal, which includes what could be two top-three picks over the next two drafts thanks to Brooklyn, as well as young, contract friendly players.
But what makes Boston’s situation so unique is the fact they’ve been the second-best team in the Eastern Conference through the unofficial first half of the season.
They continue to steadily improve under Brad Stevens and Kevin Love’s knee injury and timetable could open the door for them to overtake Cleveland in the standings by season’s end.
That doesn’t mean they’re championship contenders. At least not yet. As long as LeBron James draws breath, he’s unequivocally the favourite to reach the Finals year-in and year-out.
So if the Celtics, as currently constructed, aren’t good enough to get past LeBron and the Cavs, naturally the move would be to cash in on their assets and land a star to put them on close to equal footing with the team standing in their way, right?
Not so fast. As great as it sounds to plug Jimmy Butler into Boston’s roster, you have to take into account what the Celtics will have to surrender to Chicago in return.
A 27-year-old star in his prime like Butler doesn’t come cheap, and while you can argue the whole point of stockpiling assets is so you don’t have to worry about overpaying, there’s not much incentive for Ainge to do anything other than remain patient.
Obviously if the deal is right, like it was with the Nets or with Phoenix for Isaiah Thomas, you strike. Waiting for the perfect deal may mean Ainge never gets his big fish, but even in that situation, the worst case scenario could be adding back-to-back number one overall picks to a young team on the rise.
If even one of those prospects turn into a star, you’ve set yourself up for major long-term success instead of going all-in while LeBron and Golden State still have a vice-like grip on the NBA. Patience is a virtue and Ainge
knows this better than most.
“I’ve been an underdog all my life, all my career, this just the beginning for me”.
That’s what Glenn Robinson III said when he won the 2017 Verizon Slam Dunk Contest.
Robinson brought out some outrageous dunks against and cruised to what was a dream come true.
Watch his dunks in the above video uploaded to the official NBA YouTube channel.
Which one is your favourite?
On February 5, 2014, David Beckham had a big announcement — he was bringing Major League Soccer to Miami.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star had negotiated a clause into his LA Galaxy contract that allowed him to purchase a franchise at any time for a set fee of $25 million, and after retiring in 2013 he decided ownership would be his next step.
Clad in a tailored suit and speaking with a mix of ambition and humility, Beckham said, “We don’t want public funding…we want to create a stadium, we want to create a soccer team — a football club — that is a people’s football club, it’s as simple as that.”
Unfortunately for Beckham three years have passed since that day with little progress to show for it. Given that the league is said to be growing impatient with delays, rumours surfaced in December that he may be considering a switch to Las Vegas. but is it a good idea?
Should David Beckham’s MLS franchise eventually spawn in Miami, it will be operating within a competitive market for football.
No one argues that Miami’s large Hispanic population makes it a good place for a football team, but the presence of Miami FC — fronted by Alessandro Nesta — means Beckham has already lost out on a number of potential fans.
Perhaps the more galling aspect of this is that Nesta’s team was announced after Miami Beckham United. Furthermore, Miami FC has already completed one season in the rival North American Soccer League and are currently preparing for year two.
If Beckham was to move to Las Vegas he wouldn’t have any notable competition. Their closest rivals, the brilliantly named Las Vegas Mobsters, play in the amateur PDL and at present play in a venue that only holds 1,000 people.
That means he would be the dominant force in the region which will make it easier to cultivate a fan base.
A stadium in downtown Vegas is achievable
One of the major stumbling blocks for Beckham’s franchise has been securing land for a stadium. His ownership group failed on three separate occasions to secure land, and despite finally buying some land in Overtown, Miami, last year they still need an additional three acres.
Compare that with the situation in Las Vegas, where the city’s Mayor, Carolyn Goodman, actually backed a recent proposal from the Oakland Raiders. Interestingly, Beckham took part in the pitch, and discussed the idea of bringing European teams to the city for exhibition games.
However, it’s worth considering his own team for the stadium especially when you consider that its location on the Las Vegas strip will appease league commissioner Don Garber.
Garber has been keen for all new MLS franchises to have downtown stadiums for accessibility reasons, which makes sense. A stadium that is close to the city’s main attractions should make it tempting to Beckham, with public transport routes also advantageous.
It’s a better fit for his needs
Of the many stereotypes about Las Vegas few ring more true than the fact it is filled with money. A rich place full of people looking to spend money that is certainly something Beckham needs right now.
In recent months his stadium efforts have been hampered by what his people describe as a ‘need for further investment’. Realistically, Beckham is being smart and not looking to sink his fortune into a football club.
Regardless, he needs to persuade people to get on board and Las Vegas has a number of potential candidates that could be enticed by the chance to link up with him in the same way LAFC has a number of Californian celebrity backers.
Furthermore, the star power Vegas holds is also beneficial. Celebrities flock to the city year round, and that would help Beckham create the type of glitzy experience that seems synonymous with his name.
Overall, Las Vegas is a better fit for what he needs right now, and if he was to abandon Miami then Vegas has to be his first port of call.
It could further test the league’s patience
There was a time when David Beckham could do no wrong in MLS. In 2007 he was the league’s marquee name, and catapulted MLS onto a global stage.
However, things have changed. No longer a professional player, there is less of an appeal to his name, and when Garbrer spoke of deadlines approaching in December it was a subtle hint that he would not wait forever.
“There is a deadline on the Miami deal,” he told reporters while refusing to reveal just when that is. “We continue to work with the ownership group because we want a team in Miami. We continue to be very engaged there.”
If Beckham chooses to abandon the idea of Miami it could force the league to question the legitimacy of his plans altogether. MLS has already waited three years for a franchise fronted by Beckham, but it won’t wait forever, even for him.
It confirms his Miami plans as a failure
When David Beckham did make his announcement there were certainly skeptics voicing concerns. Miami was not primed for a team, nor a stadium, but the star power of Beckham helped dull those concerns.
Three years on those same pebbles of doubt now look like roadblocks. Atlanta United will play their MLS opener next month (despite being announced two months after Beckham’s franchise) and so the pressure starts to mount on Beckham again.
Everyone associated with the project has maintained a positive rhetoric in public. “Our partners are 100 percent committed to Miami,” spokesman Tadd Schwartz said in a statement.
“And we will continue working with Commissioner Garber and the league as we finalise the launch of our world-class soccer club. We’re making progress, and we appreciate the strong support of our fans as our launch draws closer.”
A sudden change of direction would confirm the plan was a failure, and Beckham is far from used to that. His time at LA Galaxy began with difficulties, but ultimately saw him ride off into the sunset with two MLS Cups to his name.
The same won’t happen if he abandons his team in Miami, with his pride taking as much of a dent as his reputation.
Vegas remains an untested market
One of the benefits of Miami is the city’s history as a football market. Granted, MLS has had a team based there before (the Miami Fusion, which folded in 2001) but that was a significantly different time for both MLS and football in America.
Tapping into the strong Hispanic market in Miami, there was talk last year that Beckham had headhunted Roberto Carlos to be coach of his team for that very reason. On the field, it would not be difficult to persuade some of South America’s best talent to relocate to Florida in the same way Kaka did with Orlando City.
For that reason, Miami is more of a known quantity. The same cannot be said for Las Vegas. The original iteration of the NASL did have a team there – Las Vegas Quicksilvers – containing by the late Eusebio, but the team folded after just one year of competition.