Well, it’s official. We figured in October that we’d get a Cavs/Warriors Finals, and that’s exactly what we’re getting.
On the surface, you’d think the NBA would be thrilled. The best players in the world, the biggest stars, a rubber match – what’s not to love?
Well, as it turns out, a lot.
“They’re very concerned,” The Vertical’s Chris Mannix said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I have these conversations with league officials all the time. They hate it. The anti-climactic nature of the postseason, the uncompetitiveness of most of these series, the fact that it seems like more of a coronation than a competition, these conference playoffs, they can’t stand it.”
Golden State and Cleveland are a combined 24-1 in the playoffs. In addition, the NBA Finals will feature seven current All-Stars for the first time since 1983, when the league had just 23 teams.
“(The NBA knows) that there’s absolutely nothing that they can do about it,” Mannix said. “The spike in the cap created what Golden State became, and LeBron’s desire to go back home to Cleveland – the team that was bottoming out in the four years that he was gone and carried all these draft picks and assets – it’s a game-changer. The NBA has done everything they possibly can to make situations like this unpalatable for players. But when a guy like Kevin Durant wants to leave money on the table, when a guy like LeBron James wants to go home, there’s nothing the NBA can do about it. So we’re stuck with it this year.”
And, potentially, for several years ahead.
“If you gave me an over-under of five consecutive Warriors/Cavaliers Finals at this point, given what we know about the landscape,” Mannix said, “I’d probably take the over.”
That’s right. If the Las Vegas over/under was 5.5, Mannix would take the over. He thinks that six consecutive Cavs/Warriors Finals is more likely than “only” four or five.
“I would say yes,” Mannix said. “The people that I talk to around the NBA who disagree with me, their counter argument is kind of bogus. It’s basically, ‘Well, anything can happen.’ So my response is, ‘So you’re waiting for a LeBron James ACL tear? Are you waiting for Kevin Durant’s Achilles? Steph Curry with the ankle?’ If you are requiring some sort of catastrophic injury to prevent these two teams from playing each other year after year, I’ll take that bet with you any day of the week.”
The Finals begin June 1 in Oakland, with Game 2 to follow on June 4. Tip-off is at 9 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET, respectively.