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March 05, 2014

Thu pm 3-6: Two reasons LeBron should avoid Cleveland event; plus WGC/Doral update, Luongo trade, Herald, SI's pimping & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): xxxxx. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.

Darkness ends incomplete first round at WGC/Doral: Severe weather this afternoon including a tornado warning suspended play at 2:22 p.m. in the World Golf Championship event at Doral, but it play resumed at 4:46 p.m. before darkness ended the round just before 6. Only six of 69 golfers completed the first round. Five golfers will be tied for the lead at 3-under when play resumes Friday morning. Tiger Woods was 2-over, five strokes off the pace.

WHY LEBRON SHOULD AVOID SATURDAY'S EVENT IN CLEVELAND: The Cavaliers are retiring Zydrunas Ilkgauskas' No. 11 jersey Saturday night in Cleveland, and his longtime teammate and good friend 

1aa1alebronbigzLeBron James is pondering whether to attend. He'd like to be there. (The Heat, on the road, are off Friday and Saturday but play in nearby Chicago Sunday). There is zero doubt in mind that LeBron wants to be there for all the right reasons: simply to honor and respect his friend. They're pictured in their one shared season in Miami after seven as teammates in Cleveland. Now here are two reasons LeBron should avoid that event: 1) It would make the night about LeBron and totally take attention away from Ilkgauskas. That's reality. The fan reaction and media coverage would be all about LeBron. 2) It would send the message, whether intended or not, of another olive branch from LeBron to Cavs fans. It would become the latest circumstantial evidence in what will be the increasing debate over whether James might leave Miami in free agency after this season, and where he might go. My solution: Take the day off Friday to quietly visit your friend in Cleveland, LeBron. Have lunch. See a movie. Go through old scrapbooks. Then, on Saturday night, let Ilkgauskas have his spotlight while you're with your team getting rest and preparing for the Bulls.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: PANTHERS' SMART TRADE FOR LUONGO: [Update: Panthers yesterday traded goalie Tim Thomas, 39, to Dallas, a day after Luongo's acquisition made Thomas imminently expendable]. Reacquiring goaltender Roberto Luongo, a Panthers fixture in 2002-06, no doubt is popular with fans, and it's smart -- even though it 1aa1aluongomight not appear to be at a casual glance. At a glance you might wonder why a team out of the playoff race and supposedly forward-thinking would make a trade for a 34-year-old goalie and in turn trade away a goalie, Jacob Markstrom, who just turned 24 and supposedly was your netminder of the future? Here's the answer: Luongo wanted to return here (his wife is local), is playing very well and has several years left. And it had become obvious Markstrom would not be the long-term solution they'd hoped. The Cats stil need to develop that long-term answer, but in the short term they'll have much better goaltending to augment a nuclues of young, rising stars including Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Dmitry Kulikov and Erik Gudbranson.

SHAMELESS SHILLING I: MIAMI HERALD SPORTS SCORES IN APSE AWARDS: The annual Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) 1aa1aheraldsportsnational awards announced this week are like the Oscars for sports journalism, and l'm pleased to say the Miami Herald for 2013 was named Top 10 in Daily and Special sections and honorable mention in Sunday sections. No other South Florida paper scored in any of those big-three categories. The Orlando Sentinel (Special sections) was the only other state paper to go Top-10 in any of the three. I'm honored to work on a staff of (mostly) great people led by our executive sports editor, Jorge Rojas.

1aa1aproseSHAMELESS SHILLING II: SI DEVOTES COVER TO PIMPING ITS OWN BOOK: Sports Illustrated's latest cover is on Pete Rose, on the 25th anniversay of his banishment from baseball. OK, fine. Slow news week. (Aside to SI: LeBron had a 61-point game). Not so fine? That the cover is a shameless pimp-job for a new book, "Pete Rose: An American Dilemma," coming out March 11. The author: SI assistant managing editor Kostya Kennedy. Tthe publisher: SI Books.

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