Links To The Present: April 16, 2010

April 16th, 2010 by Tom Pestak

“There were indications Friday that West’s attorney and the Maryland State’s Attorney were in negotiations for a plea agreement ahead of West’s trial.” [Brian Windhorst on Delonte West]

“Just as the Cavaliers embark on a playoff run that has many followers daring to dream of a first-ever NBA championship, we’re all beginning to bubble over with that intoxicating, but distinctly Cleveland cocktail of faith and fear.” [Michael Scott – Dundler Mifflin The Plain Dealer]

LeBron James didn’t smile or crack any jokes. This wasn’t the time.  “I am serious,” James said about his sober demeanor. “This is the playoffs.” [ESPN Chicago]

“Stern talked this week about teams and coaches having to look fans in the face. The Cavaliers want to do exactly that — in a parade, with confetti in their eyes. Holding a trophy means never having to say you’re sorry.  And the fans who crave an optimal performance anytime they buy a ticket, even if it might threaten a larger purpose? They can go to the theater.” [Gwen Knapp]

Simmons on Tim Povtak: “There is definitely another Fred Hickman out there. I would bet anything. Just know that LeBron was the best player on the best team. He had the best stats. He was the most dominant from night to night. His best game was better than anyone else’s best game. He meant the most to his team. He owned the 2009-10 season. I could prove these things to you with 6,000 words or 500, but that’s the point: I shouldn’t have to. In this case, any dissenting opinion is just wrong.”

“And in the bigger picture, there’s the little matter of Cleveland not having won a crown of any sort in 46 years. The last Cleveland team to win a championship was the 1964 Browns, making this the longest drought for any city with three major sports teams (actually, this city briefly had four). That can end this year, as the Cavaliers enter the playoffs with the league’s best player and the league’s best record … but Cleveland fans will be waiting for the worst the whole time.” [John Hollinger]

“Yes, the Bulls have a 3% chance of knocking off the Cavaliers, according to science. So overmatched does Chicago appear, there’s a better probability Cleveland will lose Game 1 and reel off four straight wins (4.3%) than the Bulls will win the series.” [Tom Ziller]

“”It’s April … May, June … we got a couple months left,” James said. “We’ll see what happens. But … I’m really excited.”  Let the record show that he was referring to the playoffs.” [Patrick McManamon]

“You see it. I know you do. Joakim Noah is Varejao’s evil cousin who got beat up one too many times in school and ended up liking paintball too much. They do the same things. Here’s the only difference: Noah doesn’t know subtlety. And that’s what Varejao needs to do in order for the Cavs to earn a sweep. Varejao, off the bench, needs to quietly steal Noah’s ability to sneak around players for rebounds. No Noah rebounding, no 2nd chance points for the Bulls.” [P.D. Parr]

“For as scrappy as the Bulls have been, they just aren’t very good. They are 28th in offensive efficiency, easily the worst of the 16 playoff teams. Poor offensive efficiency against Cleveland’s top-notch defense isn’t a recipe for success.” [Colin Zvosec]

“(Scott) …if they realize very early that despite starting Shaquille O’Neal, it will not be in their best interest to keep him on the floor for more than 20 minutes per game.  Chicago loves to draw opposing bigs away from the basket – Brad Miller is an exceptional shooter for a center – and this will do nothing but  open up pick and roll opportunities.  The Cavaliers defense on middle drives and PnR’s has been suspect at best over the last month, so avoiding these mismatches will be vital.  And, as referenced above, Mo Williams will need to defend Derrick Rose to the best of his abilities.  I have no concern about the Cavs on the offensive end, this one will be all about defense.” [WFNY Roundtable on Cavs vs Bulls]

Tweets To The Present: (follow me @tompestak)

“I need advice. My wife’s due date is in 9 days. Should I wear my “get that weak stuff out of here” shirt to steel her resolve during labor?[The_Danny_Fairy]

“Also, today David Stern raised salary-cap projection to $56 million. Still a reduction but more than $54 million I heard two months ago.” [Brian Windhorst]

“@rickwfny The Shaqken is pretty amazing. It goes on my short list.” [Dan Labbe]