I wanted to write about Luis Scola today, I really did. I wanted to talk about how good Daryl Morey has to feel that he was able to lock in Scola for an annual number below $10 million per year in a goofy free agent market that has seen $6 million and $7 million per year deals for guys about whom we know either too little (Amir Johnson, Wesley Matthews) or too much (Drew Gooden, Quentin Richardson, who are both seemingly in a race to occupy a spot on every NBA team's roster at some point in their respective careers).
I wanted to talk about how stressful it must have been for Scola (and he all but confirmed said stress level, saying he was borderline "heart attack" at various points during the process) watching the guys above him in the power forward pecking order get max or near-max deals (Bosh, Amar'e, Boozer, David Lee) and the guys below him set up their grandkids' kids for life (Amir Johnson, Tyrus Thomas) despite resumes and skill sets that are barely cooked to medium rare.
I wanted to talk about the risk of giving a guy who is 30 years old and has some international wear on his tread a five-year deal, and the percentage chance, albeit a small one, that we could be referring to him as "Luis Scola's expiring contract" in a few years.
I wanted to discuss all of these things. Really, I did. But LeBron won't go away.
Actually, this time LeBron's only appearance in the story is via pendant -- yes, pendant as in piece of jewelry. As in piece of jewelry encrusted in diamonds and adorned with a design that says "KING 23" on it. The story goes like this ---
Vaneisha Robinson is an amateur boxer from the Cleveland area. At a recent yard sale, she found the aforementioned "KING 23" pendant (presumably in a box that also had a bunch of Sega Genesis games and orphaned Legos) and was able to purchase it for the tidy sum of $5 (LeBron "Q" rating plummet alert!).
Doing what any enterprising, rummaging amateur boxer would do, she took it to get it appraised and, lo and behold, the cubic zircons were real diamonds! The pendant was worth $10,000! Cinderella lives! Finally, Vaneisha would be able to open that boxing gym she's always wanted to! Immediately, she put it on eBay, and I'd love to say that's where the story gets weird, but weird left the house about $10,000 ago.
Anyway, after putting it on eBay, Vaneisha got a call from Katherine Powers, the mother of Maverick Carter, who is the CEO of The LeBron James Paper Company. Powers told Vaneisha that LeBron James was at their house and he was (and you can't make this stuff up) "going to make her an offer she couldn't refuse."
Clearly having seen none of the Godfather movies, Vaneisha and her mother got in the car and giddily drove over to Wadsworth to get what they thought was going to be a big score ("LeBron is gonna buy the pendant back from us!!)...but what they got (and now I feel like I should be talking in "daytime scandal show host" voice) .... was an experience that would scare the diamonds off of a "KING 23" pendant!! (cue dramatic music...DAH DAH DAAAAHHH)
Vaneisha and her mom arrived at the house, were immediately blocked into the driveway by another vehicle. From there, about eight or nine of Maverick Carter's thugs proceeded to threaten them, accuse them of stealing the pendant, and held them hostage until they gave the pendant back (or until they gave Johnny Fontaine a part in their next movie, whichever came first).
Not surprisingly, exactly zero of the thugs were Maverick Carter himself, as he was probably meeting with ESPN to see if they would broadcast LeBron live from a children's cancer ward peeing on a map of Ohio. (But all the money will go to cancer!)
Eventually, a 9-1-1 call was placed by a neighbor who heard a commotion, but by the time the Wadsworth police showed up, Vaneisha and her mom were gone, and the "KING 23" pendant was back where it allegedly belonged -- safe and sound at the bosom of one Maverick Carter.
Ok, those are the highlights. After having a chance to digest it, I have to admit that it's hard to find anything in that story that does NOT fall into the "AWESOME" category, but I'll do my best to pick out the handful of things that I think best perform the dual function of simultaneously amusing me and yet gradually eroding the "KING 23" pendant that is my faith in mankind, diamond by encrusted diamond....
1. The pendant says "KING 23." Not "LEBRON 23", not "BRON 23"...but "KING 23." So once we get past the initial homoerotic overtones of a grown man wearing a pendant as a tribute to another LIVING man ("Dead Relative Pendant," I can even get with...but dude is Mav's supposed BFF, and he's very much alive), which are both disturbing and hilarious, we're left with the content -- "KING 23." So either LeBron gave this pendant to Maverick as a sign of his love and affection for...well, himself, I guess. OR, Maverick thinks so highly of another man that he not only purchased and rocks his jersey on a pendant, but mixes in a nickname that is, at best, a nod to that man's narcissism and, at worst, an homage to a layer of the LeBron-Maverick onion we never want to get to.
2. Ok, let me caveat this by saying that if she has some sort of medical condition that requires Carter's help, then all bets are off. However, if not...um, Maverick Carter lives with his mom? Does this make him the only CEO in America that leaves his laundry on the floor for his mom to do? Does this mean that the offices of LRMR are really just a room in Mav's basement and he spends most of the day tossing cheese puffs across the room into LeBron James' and Dru Joyce's mouths? Does he have to put a sock on his doorknob if he has a girl over? Maverick Carter living with his mom probably deserves its own post.
3. If Vaneisha had managed to escape the shakedown in Wadsworth with the pendant still on her person, and then sell it for the $10,000 appraisal price, that would have represented a capital gain of $9,995. How much of that would she have claimed on her taxes? And how do you pronounce "Vaneisha"?
4. How awesome would it have been if Chris Bosh were one of the eight or nine guys that trapped Vaneisha and her mom at the house, like he's some low level, Luca Brasi-like soldier in the SoBrono mob family now that he's third banana with LeBron and D-Wade? Until he makes himself useful scoring 14 points and getting 10 rebounds a night, LeBron decides to make Luca Boshi useful by farming out shakedowns and hits to him. I like this angle.
5. I'll admit it -- I immediately went to eBay to see if there was a discarded, diamond encrusted "CP 3" pendant for sale anywhere just to see if I could get Maverick's heavies to invite me over, or at least see if I could wake up next to a severed head of Emeka Okafor.
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I don't know a lot of sports agents, and frankly calling Maverick Carter a "sports agent" feels a little like calling one of those kids who does viral, crystal-meth addled YouTube videos of themselves a "producer" or a "director." The only sports agent I know a little bit is Houston-based agent Jeff Nalley, one of the really good guys. He represents, among many others, Texans tight end James Casey.
Wake me up when Nalley has eight or nine of his goons try to shake down some teenage girl for his "THOR 86" pendant that she bought at the flea market on Hillcroft.
Until then, just another day on Planet LeBron.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the "Sean & John Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.