Thursday, August 8, 2013

One (Not So) Angry Man

According to this story, LeBron James reported for jury duty in Akron, Ohio today.  He was not chosen for the panel and went home after a couple hours.

His summons for jury duty suggests, based on Ohio policy for selecting jurors, that James has likely maintained his voter registration, or driver's license, or both, in Ohio since "taking his talents to South Beach" in July of 2010, over three years ago.

Actually, we can drop the "likely" qualification: a search of registered voters at the Ohio Secretary of State's website (type in LeBron James and Summit County) indicates that he is still registered to vote there.

James should have surrendered his Ohio driver's license and obtained a Florida driver's license within 30 days of establishing FL residency in 2010, according to this Florida DMV document (see Section 2.3 on Page 8 of the document / Page 9 of the PDF, and pay attention to criteria (d) and (e) there).  While James still owns property in Ohio, he spends at least nine months per year with his fiancee and children in his $9 million house in suburban Miami, and he is employed by a Florida business entity, viz. the Heat.  Particularly in light of Florida's lack of state income tax, it is likely that James has taken every step to establish Florida residency

Hopefully James is not so brazen as to vote in two states, so let us assume that he is registered to vote in only Ohio, and that he has voted by absentee ballot in 2010 and 2012.  Is it possible that Florida considers the King a resident for driver's license and tax purposes while Ohio accepts him as a resident for voting purposes?  Ohio's voter registration form defines residency as "the location that you consider to be a permanent, not a temporary, residence . . . the place in which your habitation is fixed and to which, whenever you are absent, you intend to return."  That is a heck of a mouthful, but a clever barrister could argue that James considers Miami to be only a temporary residence, and he still intends to eventually return to the Akron area when his pro hoops days are done.  James's Family Foundation, which focuses on needy youths in the Akron area, suggests he has enduring ties to the Buckeye State. 

Alternatively, James may have registered to vote in Florida after moving with his family there following "The Decision."  In such case, James should have filed a request to cancel his Ohio voter registration.  Perhaps James neglected to cancel his Ohio voter registration as he should have; under this scenario, when he received the Summit County, OH jury duty notice at his Akron house, rather than protest it based on his Florida residency, which would be entirely legitimate, he decided to acquiesce out of a mix of civic pride and public relations concern.

Still, while residency is not clearly defined and is not necessarily consistent under state and federal law, it cannot be denied that James's appearance for Ohio jury duty undermines any claim he may assert to Florida residency for tax and other purposes.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How A Shark Makes Investments

Last week Mark Cuban took to his blog to write a long defense of his roster-building strategies over the past two years. He discusses his decision to let Tyson Chandler sign with the Knicks during the December 2011 free-agency period following the lockout, arguing that the compressed 2011-12 schedule would've made success impossible for the aging Mavs team. He also mentions his failure to persuade Dwight Howard or Chris Paul to join the Mavs during the July 2013 free-agency period. Yet, curiously, not once does he mention Deron Williams, a Texas native whom many thought would join Dallas during the July 2012 signing period. Even Williams's close friend and former Olympic teammate Jason Kidd thought D-Will would join Dallas! As we know, Cuban chose to attend a taping of his TV show (which I enjoy a great deal, incidentally) rather than attend the pitch meeting with Williams and his agents. Not surprisingly, Williams chose to re-sign with the Nets after his putative new boss couldn't be bothered to meet him.

Additionally, Cuban's suggestion that retaining the 2011 championship roster would've been too onerous in light of salary-cap rules was a bit of a strawman. In the event, Cuban brought back most of 2011's key players for the 2011-12 season, including Nowitzki, Kidd, Marion, Terry, Haywood, Mahinmi, and Cardinal (yes, Brian Cardinal, who made a couple timely passes and screens in the 2011 Finals). While Cuban did allow Deshawn Stevenson, J.J. Barea, and Caron Butler to leave as free agents, they were replaceable; Butler did not even play in the Finals. Cuban also acquired Vince Carter that offseason using the mini-mid-level exception. The only missing step to bringing back the band was to recruit their defensive anchor, Chandler, to re-join the team.   Had they brought back Chandler, it's easy to see the team scaring Oklahoma City in 2012's first round; the Thunder won their four games by an average of just six points (2.5 points if you exclude Game 3) and lived on forays to the hoop by their three perimeter stars.  Had the Mavs squeaked by OKC, they would've next seen the Lakers, whom they thumped the previous spring, the old Spurs, and the Heat, whose number they had decidedly nabbed in 2011.

Cuban could have easily inked Chandler, who went on to be the 2011-12 Defensive Player of the Year, to a multi-year deal and still had salary-cap space (with some creative roster moves, e.g. an amnesty of Haywood, a trade of Shawn Marion and Mahinmi to teams with salary-cap space, and a decision to let Kidd and Terry leave after their contracts expired on 6/30/2012) to sign Williams for the 2012-13 season. Why he didn't do this (as well as why Oklahoma City passed on a chance to acquire Chandler way back in 2009) is beyond me.