LeBron’s new Nike commercial — what do you think?

I’m sure the marketing folks over at Nike dreamt this one up, but it seems like he’s complaining about the criticism he’s had to endure for his own actions. What should he do? He should not break up with the city of Cleveland after seven great years by holding an hour-long special on ESPN. That’s what he should NOT do.

Love the Don Johnson cameo though!

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CNN interviews LeBron & Maverick Carter about “The Decision”

July 08, 2010 - Greenwich, CONNECTICUT, United States - epa02241974 Handout photo from ESPN showing LaBron James (L), NBA's reigning two-time MVP, as he ends months of speculation and announces 08 July 2010 on ESPN 'The Decision' in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA, that he will go to the Miami Heat where he will play basketball next 2010-11 season. James said his decision was based on the fact that he wanted to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

In a relatively short interview with CNN, LeBron James and Maverick Carter were asked whether or not race played a role in the backlash after “The Decision.”

O’BRIEN (voice-over): According to industry insiders, James and Carter have done just fine, striking multi-million dollar deals with State Farm, Nike and McDonalds. But those deals were overshadowed by this summer’s decision and negative headlines which seemed to tarnish LeBron James, the athlete, and the brand.

CARTER: It’s just about control and not doing it the way it’s always been done or not looking the way that it always looks.

O’BRIEN (on camera): Do you think there’s a role that race plays in this.

JAMES: I think so at times. It’s always, you know, a race factor.

CARTER: It definitely played a role in some of the stuff coming out of the media, things that were written for sure.

O’BRIEN (voice-over): LeBron James and Maverick Carter say what does bother them is that lost amid the controversy is the fact that “The Decision” TV program raised $3 million for Boys & Girls Club of America.

CARTER: We own the advertising time. We went out and sold it to brands and we took every dime and donated it to charity.

FRANK SANCHEZ, V.P., BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF AMERICA: LeBron was using a significant moment in time to benefit young people. And a lot of people can take those opportunities and make it about them. He really was — his goal was to make it about kids and make it about giving opportunities for kids.

JAMES: For me to have an opportunity to give back to the Boys & Girls Club of America, that I would never change that. And if I have to take heat to give back to kids, I would do it the same way every single time.

I included the bit about the Boys & Girls Club because it is admirable that they donated all the advertising revenue to charity, but it still doesn’t change the way that LeBron ripped the heart out of his fans in Cleveland during an hour-long, primetime special. Again, it’s not the fact that LeBron left Cleveland that non-Clevelanders have a problem with, it’s the way he did it.

To be fair, Carter said that race played a factor in “some of the stuff coming out of the media,” but “The Decision” was such a big blunder that had it been Steve Nash or Larry Bird (in his day), the backlash would have been brutal.

It’s a free country and LeBron has the right to do whatever he wants, as long as he’s willing to deal with the consequences.

Nets working on new deal for Carmelo

Per Adrian Wojnarowski…

New Jersey and Denver were moving from including Utah’s Andrei Kirilenko and Charlotte’s Boris Diaw in the trade packages, front-office sources said, and trying to find trade partners in both the Eastern and Western conferences. Denver and New Jersey were trying to line up new scenarios that still would result with Anthony in New Jersey and Derrick Favors and Nets draft picks in Denver, sources said.

The four-team trade fell apart when Denver kept trying to include more of its players in deals to spare themselves a bigger luxury-tax bill that would’ve come with the arrivals of Kirilenko and Favors, sources said. The proposed trade would have added $4.5 million in salary to their payroll plus another $4.5 million in luxury tax.

I understand the reluctance of the Nuggets to take on an additional $9 million in expenses as a byproduct of trading their best player away. It would seem like including a medium-sized contract (Chris Anderson, J.R. Smith) in the deal would solve that problem, though the Nets need to be the team absorbing that extra salary since it’s doubtful that the Jazz or Bobcats are going to want to take it on.

Four-team trades have a way of falling apart and the Nuggets aren’t doing anyone any favors by dragging their feet. I can’t really blame them, though. They’re just doing their due diligence and seeing if a) they can convince Carmelo to stay or b) they can get a better deal.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — if Carmelo starts the season with the Nuggets, it’s going to be awfully tough to trade him away when the team is sitting in the #3 or #4 spot on the West and Nugget fans are daydreaming about a deep run in the playoffs. With Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer changing conferences, the Nuggets have a great chance to win 50+ games again, and that’s going to make it tough to trade away a superstar in the middle of the season.

Carmelo disingenuous when talking about potential trade

Denver Nuggets Carmelo Anthony (C) breaks free from San Antonio Spurs Matt Bonner (C) and Ime Udoka during the second half in a matchup between division leaders at the Pepsi Center in Denver on February 3, 2009. Denver beat San Antonio 104-96 as Spurs Tim Duncan and Tony Parker did not play. (UPI Photo/Gary C. Caskey) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

Carmelo Anthony showed up at the Nuggets’ media day on Monday and fielded a few questions.

“I’m here today. Whatever the future holds, it holds,” Anthony said Monday. “I’m leaving my options open right now.

“At the end of the season, I’ll sit down with my team, I’ll sit down with the Nuggets, and we’ll talk about it. This has been a long summer. I’m just excited to get back to the court.

“I’ve never said I wanted to be traded. I never once said anything about trade talk.”

While that may technically be true, I’m waiting for the follow-up question where some capable reporter asks him if he directed any of his representation to tell the Nuggets that he was interested in being moved to another team. Reports have run rampant for the last month that his agent, Leon Rose, has been pressing the Nuggets to make a move quickly.

By using his agent to make behind-closed-doors trade demands, Anthony has been able to keep his image pretty much intact, since he’s not out running around talking to the media about how he’d like to play elsewhere. It’s a savvy strategy, but to stand there and say that he hasn’t talked about being traded is disingenuous.

Nuggets dragging their feet in the Carmelo deal

Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony scores against the Utah Jazz during the fourth quarter of the first round playoffs game two at the Pepsi Center on April 19, 2010 in Denver. Utah beat Denver 114-111 to even the series at 1-1.  UPI/Gary C. Caskey Photo via Newscom

According to the New York Post (a bastion of honest, sober reporting if there ever was one), the Denver Nuggets are taking their sweet time committing to the four-team trade (discussed here in more detail) as they see if there are any better offers out there. As it is currently constructed, the Nuggets would received Derrick Favors, Andrei Kirilenko and two first round draft picks, which isn’t a bad haul all things considered.

Marc Stein of ESPN is reporting that the deal is in neutral and that the Nuggets are going to hope that Anthony shows up to the team’s media day on Monday and “beg him to stay.”

It’s not even clear if Anthony has signed off on the Nets by agreeing to sign the three-year extension required to get New Jersey to give up Derrick Favors and Devin Harris to acquire his rights.

Rumored four-team trades have a way of falling apart, but this story seems to have legs, so I’d peg the chances of this getting done at around 40%. This week should be interesting as the Nuggets’ camp opens and Anthony has to decide whether or not he wants to report to work.

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