Charles Oakley had his day in court last week. Now we’ll see how he fares on the court.
The 53-year-old big man will make his playing debut in the Big3 Sunday in Los Angeles, taking the court at Staples Center alongside Killer3s teammates Stephen Jackson and Reggie Evans. Oakley had been serving as the team’s coach, but Chauncey Billups will take over those duties Sunday.
Oakley’s debut will come a little over a week after he agreed to a deal that saw him accept a one-year ban from Madison Square Garden in the wake of a Feb. 8 arrest there during a Knicks game. Criminal charges filed against Oakley in connection with the incident will be dismissed and excised from his record if there are no further incidents for six months.
Oakley last played in the NBA in 2003-04 for the Rockets, appearing in seven games.
This does not preclude the Cavs from a championship run next year, though. They still have James, and they are still the favorites in the East. They were far more competitive in the last three games of this year’s finals series than the first two, giving some indication that they can play with the Warriors. Golden State is just a strained hamstring or twisted ankle away from being vulnerable to Cleveland in a seven-game series.
But there has been harm done to the relationship between James and his team this month. There are plenty of players who go into their summers, disappear for a tropical vacation, return to begin offseason training and prepare to rejoin their teams without taking meaningful looks at the machinations of their organizations.