The morning after LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers were bounced from the NBA Playoffs — an exit that very well may have also punched the superstar's ticket out of Cleveland, since he can opt out of his contract June 30 — Jay-Z, one of his closest friends (and part owner of the New Jersey Nets), phoned in to Stephen A. Smith's Fox Sports Radio program to weigh in on the situation.
While Jay didn't say where he thinks James will end up next season (though, thanks to his friendship with the King, and the salary-cap room the Nets have to work with, New Jersey seems to be a logical fit), he did give his take on the Cavs' elimination at the hands of the Boston Celtics — which he didn't find all that shocking, to be honest.
"The first thing I would say is, never really underestimate the heart of a champion," Jay told Smith. "Like, Boston just won a championship two years ago, and it was a great story for everyone to dismiss them and just say, 'This is going to be an easy series.' I think LeBron and the Cavs — because they're basketball players, they're not into media sensation — they knew this was going to be a war and a tough series.
"I think Boston got healthy at the right time, and I think the fact that a lot of them were out a lot of the year, it kind of worked in their favor, because a lot of them are rested," Jay continued. "They're rested and they're healthy at the right time, and this is a champion just two years ago. ... So this is not like a 16 seed; this is a real team. And [Celtics point guard Rajon] Rondo is playing like [onetime Celtics star] Nate Archibald or somebody, man. Who is this guy?"
Smith also grilled Jay on his relationship with new Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, an eccentric Russian billionaire who bought controlling interest of the team late last year (a deal that was approved by the NBA earlier this week). Jay said that he's already met with Prokhorov and that he plans to play an "active" role in the rebuilding of the franchise.
"I sat down with him, and we had a fantastic conversation, and there were things that I really wanted to make clear: that I wanted to be an active owner and this is something I really care about. It's not just a name cachet for me," Jay said. "It's just a thing that I love. I love sports. Everybody was happy about what I was saying, so it looks like I'll be taking a more active role in what's going on. ... Should be fun."
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