3 for the weekend: an infuriating Carlos Beltran point, Lebron James, and the ages of past NBA Finals MVPs might surprise you
The Kansas City Star
You shouldn’t care about this, but yesterday I had a delicious burger at Swagger for lunch, a delicious-er burger at Westport Flea Market for dinner, and then a few delicious-est Tank 7s for a night cap.
An awesome day, obviously, but here’s the kicker:
I woke up this morning feeling like I did an ab workout and am now considering the possibility that I just discovered the most awesome path to a six-pack ever.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Today’s column is on Carlos Beltran, who returns to Kansas City for the first time almost exactly eight years after that crappy trade. He’s got a budding Hall of Fame case, which I get into in the column, which also covers some interesting ground on what Beltran accomplished here and one particular story I wanted to expand on a bit.
From the column:
This is the superstar willing to go behind his superagent’s back to negotiate an incredibly below-market deal, only to hesitate when the team would agree to only $23 million over three years, instead of $24 million.
That story, for my money, should be the absolute most infuriating story of any for Royals fans. It is the best symbol of the inept, embarrassing, no-real-care-for-winning way the franchise was run from Ewing Kauffman’s death to David Glass’ sea change best marked by the hiring of Dayton Moore as GM six years ago.
Think about that, if you have the stomach. Beltran, an absolute superstar at the height of his powers, was willing to go behind Scott Boras’ back to sign a WAY below market extension worth $24 million over three years and the Royals’ answer was, basically, “make him bend over a bit more and take $23 million.”
Kansas City is still waiting for the results to show up on the field, but that way of thinking is mostly grainy video by now because think about this: without a single exception, since Moore’s hiring in 2006, the Royals have signed every worthy homegrown player to a contract extension before free agency.
Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Joakim Soria, Sal Perez, and Zack Greinke. Alcides Escobar isn’t technically homegrown, but he signed to stay, too.
The big ones, of course, are coming up with Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. They’re both Boras clients, and, well, let’s just say they aren’t likely to go behind his back to sign for three years and $24 million.
A lot of you misunderstood what I meant^ on Twitter yesterday when I pointed out that Lebron is (now) 27 years old with three MVPs, three trips to the Finals, one championship and a Finals MVP while Jordan at 27 had one MVP and no trips to the Finals.
^ I consider it my fault if there’s a miscommunication. My job is to write clearly. There are exceptions if I think people are intentionally arguing off-points, and Twitter makes things more difficult, but for the most part, if the thought’s not articulated clearly it’s on the guy who’s paid to articulate clearly.
One more time: in no way am I saying Lebron is or will be as good as Jordan, or defending The Decision (or even the decision, for that matter). All I’m saying is that there is plenty of time. Definitive judgments on what his career will look like 10 years from now are as premature and ridiculous as they would’ve been when Jordan was 27 without any titles if people stuck with the “selfish underachiever” label.
But I did a little something here that you may or may not find interesting. Here is every player and his age when winning his first NBA Finals MVP award in the last 25 years:
1988: James Worthy, 27.
1989: Joe Dumars, 26.
1990: Isiah Thomas, 29.
1991: Michael Jordan, 28.
1994: Hakeem Olajuwon, 31.
1999: Tim Duncan, 22.
2000: Shaquille O’Neal, 28.
2004: Chauncey Billups, 27.
2006: Dwyane Wade, 24.
2007: Tony Parker, 25.
2008: Paul Pierce, 30.
2009: Kobe Bryant, 30.
2011: Dirk Nowitzki, 32.
2012: Lebron James, 27.