Heat Having an Opt-Out Party; Decline of US Tennis is Troubling

How will Pat Riley proceed with all the opt-outs in Miami?

Like many, I think I jumped to conclusions regarding the future of LeBron James. Following his decision to opt out, speculation ran rampant that James could be on the move once again. Would it be back to Cleveland? Chicago maybe? What about the Lakers?

It looks more and more like James isn’t going to go anywhere and I’m not so sure that this isn’t a mistake on his part.

Fellow Heat teammates Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade opted out of their contracts yesterday and it is being reported that Chris Bosh likely will will do the same on Monday. With this unfolding the way that it is, it appears that following a meeting between James, Bosh and Wade earlier this week, that the plan will be for them all to take less and stay in Miami.

This would allow them to go after another fairly big-time player, maybe, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and still add another role player or two. Windhorst also reported the team may be looking to trade guard Norris Cole in the wake of obtaining rookie Shabazz Napier.

So why do I think this isn’t such a great idea? First we have to ask the question of just how much does Dwyane Wade have left? He was clearly less than the player he used to be and will he accept being a role player? Wade has been the rock of the Miami Heat foundation for over a decade. Going to the bench isn’t the easiest thing in the world for a player to take. Some can do it while others struggle with it.

Bringing back Haslem doesn’t do much for James’ goal of getting another title either. His minutes have declined rapidly over the years and I don’t see him returning doing much for the team.

James knows he will always be judged by titles and that the standard is six which Michael Jordan earned in the 1990’s. James is now 2-3 in the NBA Finals and I don’t see the current roster in Miami doing much to better that record. Perhaps Pat Riley and the front office have bigger plans ahead so we shall see.

Serena was bounced early for the second straight major as US tennis continues to slide.

Tennis on the decline in America

While America continues to bask in the glory of soccer which many think will finally have long-lasting acceptance in this country, another sport which we once saw dominance in is fading fast.

There was once a time when Wimbledon was ‘must-see’ television because of the myriad of US players that were worth watching. From Jimmy Connors to Chris Evert to Pete Sampras and to the Williams’ sisters, tennis in the United States was once dominant.

Yesterday, Serena Williams bowed out in the third round of Wimbledon leaving both she and her sister watching rather than competing. An up and coming US player, Sloane Stephens, was bounced in the first round.

The men’s side is even worse for US players as only one American man is ranked in the ATP top 60. Because of the decline, tennis has lost popularity in this country and it doesn’t appear to be getting any better despite many young people continuing to play the game.The problem is that they don’t stick with it as they get older.

While some of the international players are nice draws and create attention here in the states, the fact that there is no worthy American to root for hurts the sport. I wish I had the answers but I don’t and chances are, I won’t be watching the Wimbledon finals if I don’t have a rooting interest.