Three’s a Crowd in South Beach? The Big Three’s Addition by Subtraction Dilemma

It’s tough to keep a trio together.

Larry and Moe had to go through Shemp Howard, Curly Howard, and Joe Besser before finally ending up with Joe Derita. Jack and Janet had the change from Suzanne Sommers to Jenilee Harrison. So, with the wrong-colored confetti falling down on the Miami Heat Sunday night for the first time in three years, a question arose: would the trio of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh get green-lit for another season, or has the time come for a 6’9” version of Jenilee Harrison to enter stage right?

Whether this group stays intact or splits apart largely depends on a human trait that is seldom, if ever, associated with the modern athlete: unselfishness. Miami is old and needs to get younger and more dynamic quickly. With picks stacked at or near the back of the draft, their ability to replenish their ranks through this month’s player selection meeting is nearly impossible. In order for this team to improve they can only do so by adding explosive and dynamic players through the free agency process.  

So, what’s the problem? The NBA is a salary-capped league and Wade, Bosh, and James are on the books for over $61 million dollars next year. The projected NBA cap falls just over $63 million. So, clearly neurosurgeon-like science is not required to see that if Miami’s Big 3 all commit to stay in South Beach, they’re all going to have to opt out of their current deals and sign newer, more team-friendly contracts.

For LeBron and D-Wade, this problem is pretty elementary. LeBron has a net worth most recently valued at $185 million dollars. He recently made $30 million without so much as lifting a finger when Dr. Dre sold Beats to Apple. Meaning, at this point in his career, LeBron has made his money and he stands to make far more still. If LeBron values championships more than money, then he will need to prove this to enter the rarefied air of Kobe, Jordan, and Magic in the 5- and 6-ring club. So, if winning rings, in South Florida, is as important to LeBron as I think it is, then his financial security makes him the perfect candidate for taking a pay cut to improve the roster.

This math is simple for Dwayne Wade as well. Wade looks to make $20 million dollars next year. But, he also missed 29 games during the regular season, had a postseason so forgettable that he was best known for a flop, and he showed so little effort that someone was actually able to make an 11-minute video of Wade playing awful defense. There is no market for D-Wade outside of Miami, and he knows it. Whether Wade plays at the $20 million he’s on the books for, or whether he opts out and takes a pay cut, Wade is the least likely of Miami’s trio to leave next year.

Which brings us to Chris Bosh. For the last four years Chris Bosh has been the Shemp Howard of the Miami Heat Big Three: funny faces, awkward screen grabs, and the question of what his contribution to the overall operation really is; and there are other critical differences between Bosh and his co-stars. For example, as opposed to D-Wade, there’s a market for Chris Bosh. As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported months ago, Dallas is very interested in making a run at Bosh, who has Big-D roots and starred at Dallas Lincoln High School as a kid.

Unlike, LeBron and Wade, though, Chris Bosh doesn’t have multimillion-dollar endorsement deals to fall back on after taking a pay cut. In other words, the money that Chris Bosh makes right now from his NBA salary is virtually all the money he’s going to get, and it’s going to have to last him and his family a very long time. LeBron and Wade’s salaries are pot-sweeteners, Bosh’s salary is the pot.

No doubt most of the talk this offseason will center on James. Will he stay? Or, will we be treated to “The Decision” version 2.0, where this time James takes his talents to Hollywood or Broadway? As tantalizing as that would be for the sports networks, I think James is the least likely to go. He already left a team once and it almost destroyed his reputation–a reputation he cares deeply about. Why do you think the LeBron bad-boy image campaign, when he told us he wasn’t going to be a role model, was quickly replaced by self-deprecating McDonald’s ads where he took jabs at himself for not winning the championship in 2010?

LeBron tried the villain thing and it didn’t work for him. The last thing he wants to be seen as is some kind of rootless hired gun jumping from super team to super team on a quest for championship gold. LeBron will have options, but unlike the last time he won’t be looking to make a splash. He’ll be looking for ways to stay put.

If Lebron remains, and with Dwayne Wade’s choice already made for him, if anyone leaves Miami this offseason, it will most likely be Bosh; and most likely headed back home where it all began. So, don’t be surprised if there’s a new third amigo in Miami next year.

Dylan Gwinn is the host of The Mighty Gwinn Show heard on Yahoo! Sports Radio every Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 EST. Follow him on Twitter @themightygwinn.

Photo credit: Gustavo Caballero




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Elon Musk’s Short-cuts for the Solar Industry Really Stink

Elon Musk is the kind of crony capitalist that gives businessmen a bad name. Watchdog.org has the story: The solar energy industry, led by billionaire Elon Musk’s SolarCity, has been dictating the building codes of a Silicon Valley city hell-bent on being the greenest city in America, a Watchdog investigation has revealed. This was spurred on by the powerful solar lobby, which threatened to withhold a Green Power Conference award from a top Palo Alto city official unless something drastic was done to change its permit process, according to emails between city officials and the solar industry. During the past six months, the city of Palo Alto has started signing off on solar panel building inspections with lightning speed after removing an electrical expert from those duties and replacing her with an inspector with less expertise, a former employee said. All of this was done to placate the solar energy industry, which complained of cumbersome inspection processes. “Is this dangerous? Absolutely,” said Rick McManus, who worked as a Palo Alto building inspector before resigning in November and going to work for the city of East Palo Alto. “It was such a disaster and they had so many complaints, they pulled in another inspector.” McManus said the complaints came from other building department employees who felt the permits were just pushed through with no thought, and even a few customers who said the critical onsite inspection lasted only a few minutes. Read the rest here: http://watchdog.org/154579/solar-groups-rule-city/



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Niall Ferguson: Thatcher Would Have Seen Off Radical Islam, Obama is the ‘Wobbliest President of Modern Times’

CITY OF LONDON, United Kingdom – Historian and author Niall Ferguson today delivered a speech at the Centre for Policy Studies’ inaugural Margaret Thatcher Liberty Conference, discussing the “wobbliness” of U.S. President Barack Obama, and noting how former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher would have dealt with the challenges the West faces today.

Speaking in front of a several hundred strong crowd in the historic and grand surroundings of London’s Guildhall, Ferguson said that NATO was no longer a credible force in the world, which has led to the resurgence of Russia as a global power. Prime Minister Thatcher, he noted, would have “striven to make NATO a force… and urged President Obama to make the red line [with regard to Ukraine] a real one”.

Ferguson, who is the author of ‘Civilisation: The West and the Best‘ as well as being a history professor at Harvard University, said: “We are in cultural decline too… In the wake of victory [in 1991] came a serious decline of the West.

“Who would have predicted in 1989 that by the year 2014 that at least on one measure, China would be the biggest economy in the world, and still under the control of a Communist party? What a defeat.”

“Imagine how Margaret Thatcher would have responded to the fiascos we have seen in Syria and with respect to Ukraine,” he said, before going on to note that the former PM would have supported freedom-loving dissident movements in both countries, the opposite of what modern leaders have done. 

“Have we made comparable efforts to support dissidents in the Middle east and North Africa, have we helped them in the way we helped the opponents of Communism? No, and not surprisingly their revolution failed and their revolution was hijacked by the enemies of freedom”.

Ferguson believes that a referendum on European Union membership would have been combatted by Thatcher, who would have fought to avoid a federal political union under Germany’s control. He said that “a British exit from the European Union would be a profound set back… but if the British voter is confronted with exit and being part of a German-led federal state – could you really blame [them] for voting for the exit?”

Lastly, Prof. Ferguson noted that the battle against radical Islam is perhaps the most serious issue the West faces today. He said: “It is the most rapidly growing threat to Western values,” and noted that Thatcher, who “stopped the leaders of the West – American Presidents – from going wobbly” would have her work cut out for her with President Obama, the “wobbliest president of modern times”.

“[Mrs. Thatcher] would have seen the vital strategic importance of the West [working] against the rise of radical Islam.

“That is the most important lesson we can learn from 1989. A fight against political Islam is the fight the footsoliders of freedom should be fighting today. Thatcher, were she with us, would support [this fight] whole heartedly”.




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O’Reilly: Border Situation ‘Creating an Underclass of People Dependent’ on Taxpayers

During his “Talking Points Memo” segment on his Tuesday broadcast, “The O’Reilly Factor” host Bill O’Reilly warned of the consequences of not getting a handle on the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border.

According to O’Reilly, Americans do have a duty to help the poor, but it is unreasonable to expect this country to help the entire world’s poor.

“[T]he harsh reality is we cannot support all of the world’s poor,” O’Reilly said. “It’s impossible. And since the Obama administration cannot control the southern border, the USA is now facing a crisis. Already, the states of Texas and Arizona are being hammered. They don’t have the resources to handle all of these children and many of their parents. Arizona may sue the federal government over the situation.”

He said, however, there was a more long-term problem with the influx at the southern border, which is allowing people in that are unable to contribute very little to society but are dependent on the American taxpayer.

“Look, most of these kids and their parents can’t speak English, have little education and few skills,” he added. “How are they going to compete in our competitive marketplace here? How? The answer is, they are not going to compete. And it will take decades for most of them to be self-sufficient. So we are creating an underclass of people, totally dependent on American taxpayers who are already under siege from every direction. The immigration crisis could very well damage the entire infrastructure of America. There is no question about it.”

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor




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New York City Being Overwhelmed By Illegal Immigrant Children

With some comparing it to a refugee crisis, New York City, among other areas, is struggling to deal with the explosion of illegal immigrant children brought about by the Obama administration’s failed policies.

The fallout is being felt most acutely in places with large immigrant populations, like New York, where newly arrived children and their relatives are flooding community groups, seeking help in fighting deportation orders, getting health care, dealing with the psychological traumas of migration, managing the challenges of family reunification and enrolling in school. “It’s almost like a refugee crisis,” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, an advocacy group.

And a lack of cooperation by Federal officials may not be making things any easier. They refuse to “reveal how many children they are holding, how many are being released or where they are being sent”. 

Advocacy organizations in the New York region are reporting “a stunning rise in the number of unaccompanied minors seeking help in the past several months,” kicking into what many view as an already overwhelmed system.

“We are trying to triage,” said Emma Kreyche, organizing and advocacy coordinator for the group. “I don’t think anyone really knows what the scope of this is and how to see what’s coming down the pike and figure out how to respond.”




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