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1. a secret agreement, esp. for fraudulent or treacherous purposes; conspiracy.
2. Law . a secret understanding between two or more persons to gain something illegally, to defraud another of his or her rights, or to appear as adversaries though in agreement.
The definition of collusion is pretty clear, and it appears LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Pat Riley and the Miami Heat all are guilty of committing such an act.
NBA Commissioner David Stern should have a monumental decision before him come Monday because the biggest story of the NBA offseason just took a turn toward the Land of Broken Laws.
According to this report from the Cleveland Plain Dealer , James has been quietly working toward this deal with Miami since at least 2006.
The article speaks for itself, so there's no need to quote from it here. The fact that players from different teams were having discussions prior to the end of the season about their free agency alone is something Stern needs to address.
It's already on the books owners can not do this, so why the players would get a free pass is something that doesn't make a lot of sense.
Add in the "James quit in the playoffs" factor, and this plot starts to look nefarious. It begins to look like the fix was in, and Stern really should be very concerned about those kind of allegations.
There's already a huge contigent of sports fans who believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that the league determines ahead of time who will be in the playoffs, in the finals, and the eventual champion.
The possibility James, Wade, and Bosh were working deals with Riley and the Heat does nothing to change that particular opinion.
If an owner were caught in collusion with some players or another team, that owner would face immediate and serious repercussions, so this situation should be treated no differently.
James, Wade, and Bosh should be given hefty fines and lengthy suspensions. I mean in the millions of dollars and at least 20 games.
These are the game's biggest superstars, and an example needs to be made. A good start is by hitting their wallets, they WILL notice that.
As for Riley and the Heat, I'd recommend taking away draft picks in addition to hefty fines, but the Heat already pretty much dumped any draft picks they have for the next few years in the sign-and-trade deals with Cleveland and Toronto.
This is why Stern is paid the big bucks—to determine the appropriate punishment.
Whether any of this will happen, though, will depend on if this story gets some "legs" and stays relevant. If the story just shows up in Cleveland papers and is ignored by the rest of the media, then nothing will happen.
But if an angry New York media decides to run with it, and the general anti-LeBron sentiment, which is present just about everywhere in the country except for South Beach, continues to roll, Stern may end up with little choice but to do something or look foolish.
Worse, he could look subserviant to James. Since James now has made himself subserviant to Wade, Stern might not like being considered the third man on the totem pole.
For those hoping this story would go away, don't get your hopes up; it's probably just beginning.