Cohen 8-Ball: Correct or Incorrect
May 30, 2013
The Heat will trade Chris Bosh this summer if they don’t win title this year – CORRECT – Cohen’s Analysis: Bosh’s time in Miami has been a roller coaster ride. Sure, he has had some outstanding moments in his three seasons with the Heat. But those instances are practically indiscernible when you weigh in all the criticism. Bosh has been a disaster in the ECF vs. Indiana and with luxury tax penalties stiffening up this summer, it may be smart for Miami to dissolve the “Big Three” and instead complement LeBron & Wade with more appropriate role players.
LeBron James will leave Miami if the Heat don’t win another title before the summer of 2014 – CORRECT – Cohen’s Analysis: Cleveland is waiting with open arms and a plethora of salary cap space to welcome back its hometown hero next summer. It’s becoming more and more apparent that the once prized and esteemed “Big Three” is now a “Big One and a Half.” James is dazzlingly good, while Wade is dissolving and Bosh keeps disappearing. Yes, LeBron can single-handedly propel the Heat to more titles. But, this is not as “dominant” of a trio anymore.
Orlando is among the top five preferred destinations for NBA players – CORRECT – Cohen’s Analysis: An active player this past season privately revealed to me that he believes Orlando is third to only New York and Los Angeles as the most desired locations to play. He cited reasons including no state income tax, beautiful weather, a dazzling new arena and practice facility and the attraction of Disney and its family-oriented atmosphere. It’s no fluke that the Magic have stacked up on star-studded talent every time they have had a plethora of cap space.
Even if they don’t win a title this year, the Pacers will eventually be world champs – INCORRECT – Cohen’s Analysis: No disrespect to Indiana, but in 10 years we will reflect back on these Pacers and say they were good but several notches below great. Sure, Paul George is budding into a superstar and Roy Hibbert has become menacing in the paint. But unless they can replicate what the 2004 Pistons did when they won a title using a collection of second-tier star talent, it’s just not likely for the Pacers to be championship worthy. If they beat the Heat in the ECF, I think they lose to the Spurs in the Finals.
Nikola Vucevic must become more defensive-driven if he wants to become an elite center – CORRECT – Cohen’s Analysis: Vucevic was remarkable this past season, his first with the Magic. He is an unbelievably gifted rebounder and he has a solid offensive arsenal. When you glance around the league, however, you will notice that it’s generally imperative for big men to be stifling on the defensive side. Roy Hibbert and Marc Gasol, this year, proved that and in past years Dwight Howard powered teams deep into the playoffs because of his defensive prowess.
The Magic don’t currently have a future NBA All-Star on their roster – INCORRECT – Cohen’s Analysis: It is still a work in progress and don’t expect next season for there to be a sudden jolt to the league’s elite, but Maurice Harkless, Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic are all capable of being perennial All-Stars in the future. Harkless, for one, may ultimately evolve into another Paul George-like player. Vucevic cited he believes he could eventually be similar to Marc Gasol and Harris may turn into a 20-point, 10-rebound guy on a nightly basis.
Cleveland should skip over Nerlens Noel with the first pick – INCORRECT – Cohen’s Analysis: Let’s break it down like this: The Cavs are set at PG (Kyrie Irving), SG (Dion Waiters) and PF (Tristan Thompson). They need a SF and C. Well, we all know Cleveland is flashing its cash for 2014 when LeBron James can opt out and become a FA. There seems to be only two legitimate options for the Cavs, Noel or Otto Porter Jr., the best small forward available. Cleveland must clear room for James, even if it’s just a slight chance he does leave Miami. Imagine a starting lineup of Irving, Waiters, James, Thompson and Noel.
The Lakers should use the amnesty provision on Kobe Bryant – INCORRECT – Cohen’s Analysis: Here is what the Lakers should do: Don’t re-sign Dwight Howard to that five-year $117 million deal. If they can’t trade Pau Gasol, use the amnesty provision on him. Either keep Bryant but rest him until he is completely healthy or even trade him for young assets (difficult to do considering Kobe makes $30 million next year). Let next season be a “rebuilding” year in L.A. and hope to land a high lottery pick in a draft class that is expected to be one of the best ever. And then, by clearing up all those salaries, have plenty of cap space to sign free agents next summer and beyond.