What a difference in two years, huh? On this very date in 2010, on July 8, LeBron James made The Decision that changed the NBA and Miami’s place in it. Heat fans likely can recall exactly where they were watching live on ESPN as LeBron dramatically revealed he’d be taking his talents “to South Beach.”
Two years later, the newly minted champion Heat has far fewer needs and much less to spend, and so free agency has gone from a mega-sweepstakes to shopping the bargain bins.
Don’t take that personally, Ray Allen.
It’s just that landing LeBron (oh, and Chris Bosh, too) was like winning one of those multistate Powerball lotto jackpots, whereas landing Allen is comparatively closer to winning $5 on one of those scratch-off cards.
I mean, c’mon! Ray won’t be a starter here and he turns 37 this month. He is the team’s targeted offseason prize only because Miami can spend only about $3.1 million per season on whomever it signs, which is an awful lot of money to me but closer to loose change under the sofa cushion to an NBA star.
That’s why, in addition to Allen, Miami also was to meet this weekend with Rashard Lewis Marcus Camby, and is pursuing Marcus Camby, both a combination of aging and/or injury plagued, and thereby cheap.
This is closer to the feel of last year’s post-LeBron free agency, when fans heard the big addition was Shane Battier and immediately Googled his name just to make sure he still was in the league.
Modest needs and little to spend: the residue of NBA success.
Sure it’s more exciting elsewhere, with Steve Nash going to the Lakers and trade-bait Dwight Howard still out there as the big prize.
But it’s hard to complain too much about how dull free agency has become for Miami when we’re still picking parade confetti out of our hair.
• Answer: WSVN erroneously reported Allen had signed with the Heat based on a tweet from a fake Yahoo! reporter. Question: What is the latest example of the slow death of journalism?
• The website Bleacher Report ranks the Dolphins 30th of 32 NFL teams in its new offseason power rankings. Cannot confirm HBO’s training-camp reality series Hard Knocks will this year be called Hard To Make The Dolphins Seem Interesting.
• Answer: Dolphins receiver Chad Ochocinco married trash-TV’s Evelyn Lozada, and he tweeted continually during the ceremony, which was recorded for the upcoming VH1 reality series Ev and Ocho. Question: Why do so many people around the world seem to hate America?
• At the NFL rookie symposium, Adam “Pacman” Jones related how he once blew $1 million in a weekend of debauchery. Isn’t Pacman Jones giving lifestyle advice to NFL rookies something like an arsonist preaching fire prevention?
• There is something unseemly about accused Saints players and the NFL swapping lawsuits over the bounty scandal. I pine wistfully for the good old days of players being busted at strip clubs.
• The Tampa Bay Rays debuted “Turn Back the Clock” retro uniforms. New rule: Franchises born in 1998 are not allowed to have retro uniforms.
• Nationals phenom Bryce Harper million. You can buy the fire department.
• Farewell, newly retired Dontrelle Willis. He should sign a one-day contract and retire a Marlin. D-Train was a fan favorite here back when the stadium barely had fans in it.
• Tiger Woods won his third event of the PGA Tour season last week but he knows it better than anyone: His comeback won’t really start until he wins his next major.
• Overshadowed by new doping charges against seven-time champ Lance Armstrong, the 99th Tour de France continues. Winner used to be first one to pass the finish line. Now it’s first one to pass a urine test.
• The 20th annual ESPY Awards are Wednesday. Are you like me? Do you constantly marvel at how ESPN wants absolutely nothing to do with self-promotion?
• Evander Holyfield is marketing “Real Deal BBQ Sauce.” Pairs well with pork, beef, chicken and human ear.
• University of Pittsburgh signed a kicker named Chris Blewitt. I guess Al Wideright wasn’t available.
• Has there been a recent sporting event more anticipated but a bigger letdown than Spain’s 4-0 rout of Italy in the Euro 2012 soccer final?
• With the London Olympics now only 20 days away, former gold-medal sprinter Michael Johnson said runners descended from slaves have a genetic advantage. Somewhere, a vindicated Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder is smiling.
• South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, the “Blade Runner,” is the first amputee to qualify for an Olympics. I don’t think those springing blades give him a competition edge. But those jet packs don’t seem real fair.
• Last night’s UFC 148 card in Las Vegas headlined by the Anderson Silva- Chael Sonnen fight was supposed to be the circuit’s biggest pay-per-view event of the year. Which only underlines how MMA still can’t bring nearly the heat that a Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao boxing match would.
• I Googled “meek shall inherit the Earth” and saw that the Minnesota Wild had somehow landed both top NHL free agents in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
• Crowd favorite West Indies beat New Zealand in Lauderhill in the first international cricket match on U.S. soil. To whomever first proposed a cricket stadium in Lauderhill goes the last laugh, apparently.
• Midseason report: Fort Lauderdale Strikers sixth place in eight-team NASL. Updates as warranted.
• The X Games were going on in L.A. This is where ESPN keeps trying to convince us that adults in their 30s skateboarding isn’t the least bit pathetic.
• UCLA has given a football scholarship to the son of rapper Snoop Dogg after earlier signing the son of Sean “Diddy” Combs. The school is now a betting favorite to lead the Pac-12 in postgame parties.
• Groupama won the Volvo Ocean Race. I don’t wanna say that race seemed to take forever, but when it began one of the early leaders was the Mayflower.
• Parting thought: Joey Chestnut downed 68 hot dogs to win a sixth consecutive July 4 eating contest. My sons have a word for one man eating that much in one sitting: “Dad.”
Visit Greg Cote’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com, and follow on Twitter @gregcote.