Kyrie Irving needs to be traded to one place, and one place only

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USATI

Kyrie Irving needs to be traded to one place, and one place only

The only way this Kyrie Irving trade request story makes any sense at all is if he demands to go to Houston. And gets there.

Yes, Houston. Home of James Harden. Potential future home of Carmelo Anthony. The Place Where Passing Goes To Die. The Antidote To Everything Warriors.

I mean, Irving reading the tea leaves and knowing the Cavs are about to enter a very dark period in their history is not the news here. Dan Gilbert no longer caring about running a basketball operation without empty offices has been the catalyst for LeBron James looking forward to life on the West Coast. The Cavs are a sinkhole collapsing so fast that the assumptions of them cakewalking to the 2018 NBA Finals are heading directly for the earth’s core.

But it’s where Irving goes that is fascinating, and Houston is the perfect place because (and we are presuming Daryl Morey can pry Anthony from the joke shop that is the New York Knickerbockers):

1) It would turn Golden State’s version of cap hell into a slight checking overdraft by comparison
2) It would make the Rockets’ offense a high-powered mess of glorious proportions
3) It would subject the Warriors to a direct stylistic showdown – namely, whether rapid, smart-minded ball movement is just a fad to be replacing by 21st century offensive stagflation.

Oh, Harden can pass, and Irving can pass, and Anthony . . . well, okay, Harden and Irving can pass. But they all function almost entirely with the ball, which means that at any given moment 66 percent of the Rockets’ most important players will be unhappy.

Thus, this is what we need, and what we need now. Trading Kyrie Irving is just satisfying his whim. Trading him to a place where we can put competing basketball styles to the test – now that would make the Western Conference playoffs worth caring about again.

And the Eastern Conference? Well, we’ve always wanted a relegation system in American sports, and now we’ve got it. Just fly toward the sun and hold your nose.

 

Uh-oh: Is Kyle Shanahan going to be Harbaugh-tastic in his timing?

Uh-oh: Is Kyle Shanahan going to be Harbaugh-tastic in his timing?

Until now, Kyle Shanahan’s hiring by the San Fracisco 49ers looked great because of his two-and-a-half predecessors – the last days of Jim Harbaugh, the misplaced concept of Jim Tomsula and the couldn’t-make-chicken-marsala-out-of-old-Kleenex problems surrounding Chip Kelly.

But now, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has told us all that Shanahan has a gift we in the Bay Area know all too well. Specifically, that Shanahan took too long to call plays to the Super Bowl the Falcons vomited up to the New England Patriots.

Now who does that remind you of, over and over again?

Yes, some things are evergreen, and too many options in this overly technological age seems to be one of them. Data in is helpful, but command going out is what bells the cow. Ryan said Shanahan was, well, almost Harbaugh-tastic in his timing.

“Kyle’s play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in,” Ryan told Bleacher Report. “As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you’re talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, ‘There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.’ You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

“With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You’re not being aggressive not running it there.”

And the reason this matters is because the Atlanta Shanahan had multiple good options on every play. In San Francsco, at least in the short term, he’ll be dealing with minimal options. That could speed up his choices, as in “What the hell, we don’t have Julio Jones.” But it could also mean more delays, as in, “Okay, him . . . no, maybe not . . . no, he just screwed up that play last series . . . oh, damn it, time out!”

In short, it’s growing pains season here, children. On the field, on the sidelines, and maybe even in Kyle Shanahan’s head.

The real issue that lingers now that OJ Simpson is a free man

The real issue that lingers now that OJ Simpson is a free man

O.J. Simpson is free. The system as it is defined by those who run it in the case of the Nevada Parole Board, worked.

But the issue that lingers is whether we can free ourselves of him. That system is far more amorphous, arbitrarty and essentially unfair. And in its own revolting way, it works too.

The O.J. market has always been bullish. The old cliché that people can’t get enough no matter how much you shovel at them is more true for him than for any other sports figure of the last 50 years. More than Tiger Woods. More than LeBron James. More than Michael Jordan. More than all of them.

And now his parole hearing, televised and streamed by every outlet except Home & Garden Television, proved it again. He will never not be O.J.

But he is also 70. He is also planning to go to Florida and be with his family, based on what he told the parole board Thursday. He has assiduously avoided the media in his nine years in Lovelock, and if his family is providing the support it pledges, it will do its utmost to keep him from our prying eyes as he enters his dotage.

There is nothing we have that can do him any good. We have eaten all the forms of O.J. there are, culminating in the Emmy-award winning documentary on him, and finally, his release from prison. If he is wise as well as smart, here’s nothing left of his life but re-airs.

So the question becomes not so much whether he can leave fame alone, or whether fame can leave him alone. Our national appetite is poor on the topic of leaving people be, let alone deciding enough is enough. The fame we make for people gorges, purges and gorges again, in a hideous cycle that demeans all involved.

In sum, O.J. Simpson can, if he is paying attention to the value of normalcy, end his addiction to fame. I have far more serious doubts about fame and its addiction to him.