NBA

Armstrong: Five thoughts on LeBron, Bosh, Raptors and more

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Jack Armstrong
7/11/2014 7:45:52 PM
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1. LeBron James (Cavaliers): Great news for a city that truly needs it and for a small market/non-destination franchise.  James will be a better and more mature player and leader than when he left Cleveland four years ago.  The Cavaliers have lots of really nice assets to move if they want to acquire Kevin Love, yet if youngsters like Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett & Tristian Thompson get a chance to play with the king, they will thrive. Fun times on Lake Erie. I'm happy for them.        

2. Chris Bosh: I'm on my way to Houston if I'm him. He has to get it done quick, so they can match Dallas' offer sheet on Chandler Parsons. The Rockets are a great fit for him there basketball wise and a great payday. I understand he can stay in Miami and get a fifth year and more money, yet his better opportunity to win is in Houston. Interesting decision to have to make, but it's a positive problem. Overall, a nice spot to be in but joining Dwight Howard and James Harden with a sound roster, coach & organization should make it a no brainer in my book.       

3. Chicago Bulls: The Bulls will be playing for the fourth Seed and final home court in first round of playoffs due to Cleveland's presence in their division. It's time to take action, can they swing a move(s) to get Carmelo Anthony (they have to find more money) or maybe make a run at declining Dwyane Wade (a risk/not sure if this is even an upgrade at this stage than Luol Deng) but if they sit back, they run the risk of watching opportunities slip away.      

4. Pat Riley (Heat): Tough day for him, Mickey Arison & Erik Spoelstra. This is a first class organization and they'll find a way to figure it out in time. I truly feel this is an example of what is to be the norm and not the exception (Spurs) in today's NBA. The salary cap & luxury tax work and the free market society allow players greater leverage. You need to have a three-to-five year window in mind and then strike. It's becoming harder and harder to keep great players and teams together.     

5. Toronto Raptors: The Raptors have had a solid off season getting their free agents locked up and notably picking up Lou Williams & James Johnson (fingers crossed he's matured since his last stint - he's a talented guy that can help them lots at the three-spot – it's time for him to produce, no excuses). Still, probably another move to make to upgrade front court if need be. Slow and steady wins the race, though. As you can see by their cap structure, they'll have cap flexibility the next two summers to add that critical defining piece(s) to take you from solid team to Eastern Conference contender. You build to put together the group that gives you that three or four-year window to truly challenge.  In the meantime, internal competition and development in a winning playoff environment creates growth, interest, expectations and results in the future. The Raptors got to first base this year, now they need to work to get to second, and beyond ahead.  This is a good environment for Coach Dwane Casey and his staff, they're good teachers and sound basketball men who won't allow anyone to try and cheat the process. The key? Realism. This team is not a championship contender at this stage and lots more improvement and a few defining moves will have to come, but they're getting there step by step. Let's not put the cart before the horse, do the right things. In the words of the great Bill Walsh, 'the score always takes care of itself'.  Be sound, patient and smart, don't listen to the noise and hype. The smart strategic path - you're on it. Stay with it and rewards will come.  Better to be tactical than emotional, I like the mindset of Masai Ujiri - he gets it. 

LeBron James (Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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