By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season
I once started dating a very attractive girl with whom I worked in Cincinnati, going into the deal knowing full well that she was the poster child for red-flag dysfunction.
This was about a decade ago; I was a typically shallow guy blinded by how hot she was, and in the long run -- more than two years later -- I paid for it dearly on the emotional front.
I share these personal details with you because that's how I see the Cleveland Cavaliers' potential acquisition of Amar'e Stoudemire.
On the surface, he is definitely hot and trading for him would seem to be a great addition to an already strong lineup. Certain temptations are hard to resist.
But I think the temptation to do nothing, to stand pat, should get more consideration in Cleveland, and the logic is simple.
Nothing against Stoudemire, but the teams that win championships are teams rich in chemistry. And just because chemistry is an intangible that doesn't show up on the highlight reels or in the boxscore doesn't mean it lacks value.
Whenever I have the chemistry conversation, I tell people to consider the New England Patriots. They won three Super Bowls in four years, pretty much without any superstars. Tom Brady was more efficient than he was a superstar, and guys just did their jobs, filled their roles and at the end of each game, they had more points than the other team. Even if Brady was a star then -- and he sure is now -- he was the only one on those title teams, and in 11-on-11 football, if you win with zero stars or just one, you probably know a little something about chemistry.
Or, if you want a local example from the shores of Lake Erie, how about those Indians of the 1990s? They didn't win a World Series, but they got to that final round twice, bringing hope and excitement to a city perhaps more starved -- and still starved -- for a championship than any in the country. Guys like Carlos Baerga, Kenny Lofton, Jim Thome and Sandy Alomar were such facilitators of chemistry that Albert Belle's occasional meltdown came and went with little drama.
Trading for Stoudemire would strengthen the likelihood that Lebron James stays in Cleveland beyond this season, but it will also disrupt the chemistry enough to harm this season's championship chances. On the other hand, if the Cavs held on to J.J. Hickson -- who this year is starting to look like a rising NBA star -- and veteran center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, I think the chances remain strong for a title this season. And isn't a championship the ultimate case for the please-stay-Lebron argument?
Sure Stoudemire would bring a dominator's game, but Cleveland already has one of those in King James. The Cavaliers have shown twice this year they can beat Orlando, and twice more that they can beat the Lakers, and the longer the season plods along, the less dangerous the Celtics look. The Cavs are fine just the way they are.
Nothing is broken, Danny Ferry, so please realize there is nothing to fix.