10/19 Cavaliers @ Timberwolves Rapid Reactions

Timberwolves and Cavaliers

Final Score: Timberwolves: 131, Cavaliers: 123

Timberwolves:

  • What a night at Target Center. It was an electric atmosphere inside, but also awkward. The night started with Jimmy Butler and Tom Thibodeau being HEAVILY booed. However, those boos quickly became cheers for Butler as he dominated every facet of the game.
  • Wolves get bench production. The Wolves got 42 points from their bench unit, a huge boost. Tolliver was 3-7 from three, after not attempting any deep balls in the season opener on Wednesday. The Timberwolves also got a productive Derrick Rose, who recorded 12 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns is looking very active on defense. KAT may still not be the most physically talented defender, but the effort seems to be coming around. Towns racked up 4 blocks tonight, including a crucial stuff at the end of the game.
  • Andrew Wiggins is looking energetic. Maybe it was because the Cavaliers were in town, but Wiggins has been playing with more energy and effort in the two games so far this season. If that keeps up for the remainder of the year, it will be a big step forward for Wiggins.
  • Jeff Teague didn’t play his best game. Teague was aggressive in Minnesota’s opener against the Spurs, but he struggled tonight. Teague had some nice passes, recording 7 assists, but the aggression wasn’t there.

Cavaliers:

  • Kevin Love will fill the stat sheet. With LeBron out of town, it’s Kevin Love’s turn to put up numbers for Cleveland. While it may not result in wins, similar to his days with the Timberwolves, Love will put up numbers. Tonight’s 25 points, 19 rebounds, and 7 assists proved that.
  • Collin Sexton is fun to watch. Sexton plays with a ton of heart. His energy on the court is noticeable. With 14 points on 6-9 shooting from the field, Sexton showed flashes of why the Cavaliers used their top pick on the Alabama product.
  • It appears Cedi Osman could have a breakout season. After working out with LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard over the summer, it appears to be paying off for Osman early in the season. With 22 points and 8 rebounds, Osman was the Cavaliers’ second-highest scorer, behind Love.
  • Although the Cavaliers’ bench produced 45 points, every bench player was a negative plus/minus. For the Cavaliers to be successful this season, they will need to gain leads on teams with their bench, since their starting lineup isn’t full of firepower.
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Five NBA Stars that won’t be on the same team next year

NBA Stars

The NBA landscape is always changing. There was clear evidence of that once again this summer. LeBron headed to the Lakers, Cousins joined Golden State, and Anthony Tolliver returned to Minnesota. This trend seems to be picking up steam in the NBA, rather than losing momentum. Next offseason will provide more changes in the NBA, but it could be a historic amount of star players swapping teams. Here’s five NBA stars that won’t be on the same team next year.

 

Jimmy Butler

What a rollercoaster ride it is being a Timberwolves fan. That’s right, I’m a Wolves fan. Possibly the biggest mistake that I’ve ever made, but I love it. The Timberwolves just ended a decade-plus playoff drought last season. Now, it looks like they could be in for another long run. While Minnesota is positioned to make the playoffs in the West with a healthy Jimmy Butler, if the team doesn’t advance past the first round come April, things will get even uglier than they already are.

It’s no secret that Jimmy Butler is a free agent next summer. It seems he’s made it known himself. This summer has been full of storylines about the Timberwolves with Butler not being happy with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Butler is seemingly unhappy with the young guns’ work ethic. So, now the entire Wolves fanbase is panicking about whether Butler will leave after just two years with the team. While the issues with the Wolves can be worked out with a solid season, it appears Jimmy Buckets is headed to the exit doors.

 

Kevin Durant

Surprise, surprise. Kevin Durant isn’t going to finish his career in Golden State. Sure, he could be taking one-year deals with the team to maximize his future earnings, but Durant is also keeping the door open to leaving the team he’s won two rings with. Durant seems to be taking a LeBron-like path in his career. He left a team that he never won a championship with to join a championship-caliber team. Now that he has two rings, maybe three after this season, Durant could look to try and win elsewhere, much like LeBron did returning to Cleveland.

Maybe next summer is too soon for Durant to bolt the Bay Area, but with the reported tension in the Warriors’ locker room last season, I think Durant will be in a different uniform come next season.

 

Kemba Walker

Poor Kemba Walker. As one of the top-tier point guards in the NBA, Walker has made the playoffs just twice in his seven-year career. Walker hasn’t been surrounded by great talent in Charlotte and it’s time for him to leave next summer. Kemba is an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019, and he needs to go someplace with a better supporting cast. Walker has the talent to lead a team to the postseason and do some damage, but it’s not happening in Charlotte.

Kevin Love

Kevin Love just signed a huge contract to supposedly stay in Cleveland with the Cavaliers. Love signed the contract because he got a great financial deal. What we aren’t sure of is why the Cavs offered Love the contract. Is it because Cleveland views him as an important piece of their future? Is it because Love would be easier to trade on a long-term contract? We won’t get a true answer until the next two-three years play out. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t take a guess.

If I was a betting man, I think Kevin Love was signed in Cleveland to be traded. The Cavaliers have the potential to make the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but they aren’t contending for a title anytime soon. The Cavs are bound to go into a rebuild and that would mean unloading Love for future assets. That is exactly what I think will happen next summer in Cleveland.

 

C.J. McCollum

If the Blazers don’t do any damage in the playoffs this season, it’s time to get some scenery changes underway. The Blazers are stuck in the middle of the pack in the West and can’t seem to perform in the playoffs. If similar happenings occur this season, the Blazers will shift their attention to a different gameplan. Switching that gameplan would involve trading Lillard or McCollum. I can’t see the Blazers trading Lillard, so McCollum would be the option.

McCollum is a high-tier shooting guard that is a very valuable player in the NBA. However, with Lillard and McCollum paired together, the Blazers haven’t been able to do much damage in the postseason. It will be time for the Blazers to make a change and trading McCollum is the gut-wrenching move that they will need to make.

 

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Who is the next NBA Star to be Traded?

Kemba Walker

After the Kawhi Leonard trade that sent him to Toronto and DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio, the Thunder dumped Carmelo Anthony on the Hawks in order to lighten their luxury tax bill. With free agency for the most part behind us, teams will start revving up trade talks before training camp starts. The question is, now that Leonard has been dealt, who is the next star player to find himself in a new city.

 

Kevin Love

Possible trade partners: Blazers, Wizards, Pacers

Best trade offer: Love to the Blazers for Evan Turner, Anfernee Simons, future first-round pick (top 10 protected).

The Blazers are over the luxury tax and need to make a deep run in the playoffs to make it worth wild. The western conference has gotten stronger this offseason and the Blazers are being left behind. Adding Love, who grew up in Oregon, would give the Blazers a third star to pair with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Turner hasn’t been an ideal fit with Lillard and McCollum and has negative trade value. Pairing him with the high upside Simons and a first round draft pick should be enough to get the Cavaliers to trade away the 30 year old, injury prone Love.

Just because the Cavaliers recently signed Love to a contract extension, that doesn’t mean they won’t trade him if the right offer comes along. The extension is a win-win for Love and the Cavaliers. For Love, he has locked up an additional $120 million dollars. For the Cavaliers they have a star player on the roster long term if they choose to do a quick rebuilding. However, if the team struggles and they decide to take the long term rebuilding approach, a new team will like that Love is locked up through the 2022-2023 season. Assuming the Cavaliers trade Love, the Blazers can offer back a solid package. Turner has only two years left on his deal and is a good locker room guy. Simons is a 19 year old kid with some athleticism and upside to him, that should get plenty of minutes on a rebuilding team. The first round pick would give the Cavaliers another asset to help rebuild around Simons, Larry Nance Jr., and Collin Sexton.

Kevin Love
USA Today Sports

 

Kemba Walker

Possible trade partners: Knicks, Nets, Suns

Best trade offer: Walker, Jeremy Lamb, Frank Kaminsky to the Knicks for Joakim Noah, Kevin Knox, future first-round pick (top seven protected).

For the Knicks, this is the kind of move that pushes all the chips all in for a chance to make a run as the top team in the eastern conference starting in 2019. Finally being able to shed Noah’s contract for the 2019 offseason, the Knicks will have a projected $46 million dollars in cap space with the cap holds for Walker and Kristaps Porzingis. Both Lamb and Kaminsky are free agents after the season and should be renounced. The Knicks can use the cap space to add a third star in free agency and still have enough room left over to add another starting caliber player, then resign Walker and Porzingis using their bird rights. While giving up the first round pick and the promising Knox is a tough pill to swallow, getting rid of Noah’s $19.3 million dollar salary for the 2019-2020 season is critical.

Given all the bad contracts on their roster, the Hornets best course of action might be to trade Walker for young assets, bad contracts and rebuild long term. Taking back Noah’s contract isn’t ideal but they could work towards a buy out in order to save some money. Like Knox, Miles Bridges had an impressive summer league and looks like a future impact player. The Hornets would likely have two lottery picks next year to go along with Malik Monk, the 11th pick in the 2017 draft, Bridges and Knox that can help jump start their rebuilding process. The best part about this deal for the Hornets is it keeps them out of the luxury tax; which is critical for a rebuilding team.

 

Jimmy Butler

Possible trade partners: Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Nets

Best trade offer: Butler to the Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, future first-round pick (top three protected).

With the reports that Butler is frustrated with the young Wolves players and won’t resign with the team this coming offseason, they should look to move him for the right package. So, who wouldn’t love to play on the wing with LeBron James in Los Angeles. If the Wolves fear they will lose Butler next summer they could look to trade him for a younger player and an expiring contract given their long term cap issues. With both Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns up for contract extensions next season, the Wolves will be very deep in the luxury tax penalty in 2019. Caldwell-Pope is a 3&D guy who can help this season and is on an one year deal. Ball is only 20 and while his rookie season was a disappointment to some, maybe a change of scenery will help. For the Wolves, Butler didn’t really fit their long term plans while a trio of Ball, Towns and Andrew Wiggins (all 23 or younger) could turn into the next great big three.

Now the James is a Laker, the team’s mindset has totally changed. Ball is no longer the focal point of the team. The Lakers can finally have enough with LaVar Ball and ship Lonzo off to Minnesota much easier now; especially if it lands them a star player. Butler would be able to play off the ball better than Ball and guard the other team’s best player. The Lakers would now have two star players and several of their young players still on the roster, setting them up for a big summer in 2019 where they could add a third star.

Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns
USA Today Sports

 

Karl-Anthony Towns

Possible trade partners: Celtics

Best trade offer: Towns, Jeff Teague for Kyrie Irving, Aron Baynes, Robert Williams, Kings 2019 first-round pick (top one protected).

Reportedly, Butler wants to team up with Irving, his best friend, this offseason. Also reportedly, Butler has grown frustrated with the young Wolves players. If the Wolves want to keep Butler long term, getting Irving would certainly help. While giving up Towns is tough, the Wolves would get back two big men in the trade, a likely top five pick and the multi time all-star Irving. Baynes would provide some size and veteran leadership, while Williams is a raw and athletic 20 year old kid. If the Wolves can resign Butler and Irving next summer and add a nice prospect with the Kings 2019 first round pick, this trade will be a steal for them.

The report that Butler wants to team up with Irving next season has to be concerning for the Celtics as well. However, the Celtics won 55 games and went to the eastern conference finals last season despite Irving missing 22 games in the regular season and not playing a minute in the post season. The combination of Teague and Terry Rozier would give the Celtics solid enough production to replace Irving. The biggest factor for the Celtics is they would have control of Towns as he is a restricted free agent next season. The Celtics have struggled at times rebounding the ball when Al Horford is playing at center. Meanwhile, Towns’ has averaged 11.7 rebounds per game for his career. Lastly, Horford can become a free agent after the season and at 33 years old, the Celtics may not be so inclined to give him a long term deal at a big salary given they have to think about locking up Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum in the coming years.

 

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Cleveland Cavaliers Trade Options

Kevin Love

Now that LeBron James is a Los Angeles Laker, the Cleveland Cavaliers have a long term rebuilding process ahead of them. The quickest way to turn the franchise around is to turn their older proven players into young players and draft picks. While the Cavaliers have a lot of players on the roster with negative trade value, the two players they have with plus trade value is Kevin Love and Kyle Korver.

 

Trade One

Kevin Love to Pacers for Thaddeus Young, Darren Collison, future first-round pick.

When many expected the Pacers to be tanking for the number one draft pick last season, they surprised everyone and finished with the number five seed in the playoffs with a 48-34 record, while pushing the Cavaliers in a seven game series. Victor Oladipo made his first all star appearance and the team played well around him. However, the Cavaliers took him out in their playoff match up and forced the roles players to try and beat them. Adding Love would give the Pacers a second scoring option and a dangerous pick and pop game with Oladipo.

Ideally the Cavaliers would like to avoid any bad long term contracts but still bring in veterans that can help the team. Both Young and Collison are in the final year of their respective deals and can help the team this season. Any trade involving Love should return the Cavaliers a first round pick. Like many expect, if the Cavaliers are clearly out of the playoff picture by the trade deadline, they could unload both Young and Collison to playoff contenders or teams looking to remove bad contracts in exchange for more draft picks.

 

Trade Two

Kyle Korver to the 76ers for Jerryd Bayless, future second-round pick.

After having a successful season last year, the 76ers are determined to build off of that and make a run at the finals. After losing Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova in free agency they need to add shooters to space the floor for Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Korver is former 76er who could easily fill Belinelli’s role in the rotation, no problem. Bayless is out of the rotation and the 76ers have plenty of future second round picks they can afford to give up to add an excellent shooter.

Like Korver, Bayless is on an expiring contract and the Cavaliers could look to buy him out. Korver has value around the league but he has limited value for the Cavaliers. The minutes Korver would be playing could go to younger players. Unlike any trade for Love, the Cavaliers won’t get back much draft capital for Korver but a future second round pick for a team that lacks youth and draft picks is a solid return for a 37 year old player.

 

Trade Three

Kyle Korver to the Wizards for Jason Smith, Jodie Meeks, future second-round pick.

Much like the 76ers, a large part of the Wizards offense is based on spacing the floor with three point shooting. Otto Porter and Bradley Beal are two of the better three point shooters in the league but with John Wall, the Wizards can never have enough shooters. Meeks was suppose to help provide shooting but last year he had a down season and is suspended for the first 19 games of the 2018-2019 season. Like a lot of teams in the eastern conference, the Wizards view the conference wide open and are pushing all the chips in. Adding Korver at the cost of a second round pick and two players out of the rotation is a steal for the Wizards.

For the Cavaliers this deal is similar to the one with the 76ers in terms of return value. Both Meeks and Smith are in the last year of their respective deals and would be buyout candidates. Their combined salary is a tad less than Bayless’ contract so the Cavaliers might favor this deal over the 76ers one in order to save some money. Korver should fetch the Cavaliers a second round pick and getting back expiring contracts makes the deal all the better.

Kyle Korver
Getty Images

Trade Four

Kevin Love to Thunder for Carmelo Anthony, Terrance Ferguson, two future second-round picks.

Obviously this would be a huge shocker if it happens. Anthony has a no trade clause he would have to waive in order to be traded but if the Cavaliers promise to buy him out he will waive it. The Thunder have a payroll with the luxury tax penalty of over $300 million dollars. If they can trade Anthony for nothing, they could save about $100 million dollars. However, if the Thunder want to add a third star player, using Anthony’s contract is the best way to do so. The Thunder don’t have a first round pick they can trade till 2022 so they would have to get creative in their negotiations.

In any Love trade, the Cavaliers would want back a future first round pick. However, with the Thunder’s limited future draft picks the Cavaliers could accept last year’s first round pick, Ferguson and a pair of second round picks. While it’s not an ideal package, moving Love to the western conference would be preferred. The Cavaliers could give Ferguson the minutes he needs to develop that he isn’t getting in Oklahoma City. Swallowing Anthony’s almost $28 million dollar salary is tough but the Cavaliers are better offer doing that and getting back assets verse keeping Love on a rebuilding team.

 

Trade Five

J.R. Smith to the Pelicans for Alexis Ajinca, Emeka Okafor, Darius Miller, DeAndre Liggins.

The truth is no one wants Smith, well maybe that’s not true. The Pelicans have gone under a major transformation this offseason with the loss of DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo in free agency while adding Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton. However, the Pelicans have yet to add some scoring along the wing. While Smith is a headache at times, he can score and shoot. While Smith is owed $15.7 million dollars next season, the Pelicans can save about $11.8 million dollars if they waive him before June 29th.

The Cavaliers would love to move on from Smith at the cost of the nothing. All four players the Pelicans would send back in the trade are either entering a contract year (Ajinca and Miller) or have non-guaranteed contracts (Okafor and Liggins). The Cavaliers can waive the non-guaranteed contracts of Okafor and Liggins immediately, while they could try to buy out Ajinca. Keeping Miller would be a solid addition for the Cavaliers. Miller is a good wing defender and shot a career high 41% from three last season. For the Cavaliers to dump Smith without taking back any long term salary is a perfect trade for them.

 

In the end, with James moving on to Los Angeles the Cavaliers are facing a long rebuilding process. Any player on the roster other than Collin Sexton is reportedly available for trade and the Cavaliers should move anyone else for young players and draft picks in order to jump start the rebuilding process.

The most untouchable player for every Eastern Conference team

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons

This is it. We can do this, ladies and gentlemen. Free agency is winding down, the NBA draft has been done for what seems like ages, and summer league is wrapping up as well.

Now more than ever, we need thought provoking NBA content. Well, say no more fam.

 

1. Atlanta Hawks – Trae Young

When I first glanced at this roster, I threw up a little in my mouth. But then I took a deep breath, dry heaved some more and decided to look again. Things aren’t as bleak as they seem.

Trae Young, John Collins, Taurean Prince, Kevin Huerter. The Hawks have the start of something promising or at the very least, intriguing. Is anyone on this roster truly untouchable? Probably not. Still, with management trading back and still drafting Trae Young, all signs point to him as being the least likely to be traded.

 

2. Boston Celtics – Jayson Tatum

The rookie standout is the obvious answer here. Do the Celtics want to trade any of their core? Nope. Still, I cannot imagine Danny Ainge trading Tatum for any realistic option out there right now. (Anthony Davis cannot come to the Cs via a DPE rule.)

Tatum’s duel with LeBron in the game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final is something we could see in a 30 for 30 one day. The kid is that special.

 

3. Brooklyn Nets – Jarrett Allen

Just when I thought I was done throwing up…

All jokes aside, the Nets are finally headed in the right direction. They own their future picks and have acquired then developed some good prospects. Spencer Dinwiddie revived his career in Brooklyn, and other reclamation projects await.

Jarrett Allen has looked like a good gamble so far. There is a reason he only played 20 minutes per game last year but, his per-36 minutes suggest a bright future lies ahead.

Per 36 Minutes Table
Season Age Tm G FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK PTS
2017-18 19 BRK 72 5.8 9.9 .589 0.1 0.4 .333 2.8 3.7 .776 9.7 1.2 0.7 2.2 14.7
Career 72 5.8 9.9 .589 0.1 0.4 .333 2.8 3.7 .776 9.7 1.2 0.7 2.2 14.7
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/16/2018.

4. Charlotte Hornets – Miles Bridges

So this is the question: What makes Miles Bridges more untradable than Malik Monk?

Monk had a disappointing rookie season. Sure, he showed flashes during the last month or so of the season. Yet, Monk proved to be more of a project than what scouts originally thought.

Bridges may not project as the safer long term prospect however, he has a two-way ceiling higher than Monk’s. Offensively, Bridges looks to be equally as dynamic as Monk, despite these two having different skill sets. It is on the defensive side of the ball where Bridges separates himself, as he has the potential to defend four positions on the court.

 

5. Chicago Bulls – Wendell Carter Jr.

I struggled with this selection as well. Lauri Markkanen set rookie records for three-pointers last year. Plus, Coach Hoiberg ran a bunch of the offense through him, something that displayed Markkanen’s playmaking ability. So why did I side with Carter Jr here?

Lauri Markkanen may learn NBA defensive spacing but, he simply lacks to physical tools to be an effective two-way player. With the game getting quicker, I can imagine future playoff scenarios where Markkanen gets played off of the court. Who does Markkanen guard when a team like the Sixers trots out Embiid, Simmons, Redick, Fultz and Covington. Carter Jr won’t ever get played off of the court. His three-point stroke and playmaking look to be just as good as Markkanen’s as well.

 

6. Cleveland Cavaliers – Collin Sexton

Has anyone made an “I wanna Sexton you up” meme yet? No? Great.

Cleveland has players that are the opposite of untouchable. They should be looking to gain value for Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and others. Yet, Sexton remains untouchable. The former Alabama guard is a locker room blessing. Sexton can reset the culture in Cleveland while becoming their point guard of the future. Cedi Osman was in contention here as well.

 

7. Detroit Pistons – Andre Drummond

If I were the GM of the Detroit Pistons, Andre Drummond would not be untouchable. That does mean I would be looking to unload him however, I prefer my centers to be able to switch pick and rolls, as well as space the court. Yet, Drummond is probably the most unlikely player Detroit is willing to part with.

Blake Griffin was a Stan Van Gundy guy, not someone new management particularly wanted. I am not suggesting his trade value is high enough to warrant a move but, crazier things have happened. This summer, Drummond has posted videos on his Instagram account draining threes. Perhaps he will bring this skill to the Pistons this year, and truly earn this hypothetical untouchable title.

 

8. Indiana Pacers – Victor Oladipo

I won’t get into too much detail about this because Josh Eberly of HOOPmag already did it for me:

9. Miami Heat – Josh Richardson

Why not first time All-Star and former All-NBAer Goran Dragic? Dragic can opt out of his contract after next season and will be a 33-year-old point guard. If anything, Miami should be tryingto ship Dragic off to a fringe contender looking for that next piece.

Bam Adebayo came to mind here but, paint protecting rim runners are becoming easier and easier to find nowadays. 24-year-old defensive wings who drain 37% of their threes and hit 45% from the field are not easy to find, however. Throw in Richardson’s cheap contract and Miami has a piece they should hold onto.

 

10. Milwaukee Bucks – Giannia Antetokounmpo

Ask Tim Hardaway Jr to explain this one.

11. New York Knicks – Kristaps Porzingis

Want to know how many NBA players shot 39% from deep last year while also blocking 2.4 shots per game? One. Don’t overthink this one, people. Kevin Knox will be an awesome player and is on a cheap deal. Frankie Smokes is already an elite perimeter defender with promising offensive development. Still, KP is the way to go here.

 

12. Orlando Magic – Mo Bamba

Rookies seem to be dominating this list, and I do not know if I am comfortable with that.

Aaron Gordon took a step forward with his three-point shooting ability last season yet, he still has so much more to develop if he wants to truly take advantage of his elite athleticism. With both Bamba and Jonathan Isaac looking great in summer league, I would move off of Gordon for a top-20 pick.

Jonathan Isaac has shown promise lately however, he does not have the ceiling that Bamba has. Bamba is the most boom or bust player of this bunch, but Orlando needs a star and Bamba is worth making untouchable.

 

13. Philadelphia 76ers – Ben Simmons

Let the debate begin!

I love Embiid’s game and potential. In my opinion, he has a higher ceiling than Simmons. Embiid could be an MVP and  DPOY winner. Yet, I like my untouchable players to be on the court. Out of 328 possible regular season games, Embiid has played 94 of them. Folks, he has only played in 28 percent of his games. Unfortunately, 7’1″, 260 lbs centers tend to progress towards injuries, not away from them.

Ben Simmons has an MVP ceiling as well. At one point during his career he will be the best passer in the game. Defensively, he can be elite too. Simmons has all the tools to be transcendent and a gambling man will bet that Simmons will find a way to fix that jumper. Factor in his health, and Simmons is my pick here, although I would not trade either.

 

14. Toronto Raptors – No one

Why should anyone on this roster be untouchable? Toronto is at a crossroads. With LeBron out of the East, they need to take a risk and go all in.

I have been a fan of the “DeMar for Kawhi” fake trades. Kawhi is simply a better player than DeMar DeRozan and would raise Toronto’s chances of winning. If the team can package Lowry and other assets for an upgrade, do it. Could they need to sell off OG and other young prospects for an experienced difference maker? Go for it.

If not now, when? Toronto has a very small window to win. If there is a move out there that makes them better for even one season, they must do it.

 

15. Washington Wizards – Bradley Beal

Surprised you, right?

Bradley Beal had a better year than John Wall last year, straight up.

Per Game Table
Rk Player Season Age GS FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% eFG% FT% TRB AST STL BLK PTS
1 Bradley Beal 2017-18 24 82 8.3 18.1 .460 2.4 6.5 .375 .527 .793 4.4 4.5 1.2 0.4 22.6
2 John Wall 2017-18 27 41 6.8 16.3 .420 1.5 4.1 .371 .466 .726 3.7 9.6 1.4 1.1 19.4
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/16/2018.

 

I will take Beal’s numbers here over Wall’s any day of the week. Plus, Washington should be looking to move off of Wall’s contract. John Wall will be paid $37 million dollars in 2019-2020. Compare that to Beal who will be making $10 million less! Remember when I was throwing up earlier…

…John Wall will be making $43 million when he is 31-years-old! That type of money cripples franchises from making other important acquisitions. The point guard position is the saturated one in the game today, making Wall expendable in the long term. Bradley Beal is the guy to hang onto.

Thank You LeBron

Thank You LeBron

Well, on the first day of free agency, the biggest free agent of 2018 signed with a new team. That big free agent was Ohio native LeBron James. James, who was a part of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the past four seasons just signed a massive four-year deal worth a whopping $153.3 million with the Los Angeles Lakers. The decision came the first day of NBA Free Agency, and it was way different from the production “The Decision” in 2010. Just like in 2010 and in 2014, basketball fans were on the edge of their seats awaiting where LeBron will go next. 2018 saw the destinations come down to staying with the Cavs, going to L.A., or trusting the process with Philadelphia. LeBron made his decision quickly and unexpectedly, something the fans aren’t used to from “King James.” But unlike the catostprohic change in teams in 2010, fans shouldn’t burn the King’s jersey again, but rather they should thank their hero for what he’s done for not only the Cavaliers organization but for the city as a whole.

 

LeBron first made the Cavaliers an attractive organization when he was drafted first overall by the team way back in 2003. Over the years, James made the city popular and buzzing again, and made the Quicken Loans Arena one of the most hopping places in Cleveland.  In his seven-year stint with the team, James managed to take Cleveland to the finals once in 2007, where they were swept by the Spurs. He was unable to bring a championship to “The Land” in his first stint, but seemingly was able to do everything else. In his last two years of his first stint he was named NBA MVP, a tough task to win once let alone twice. He was a six-time All-Star, where he won All-Star MVP twice. James was a four-time All-NBA selection, as well as the 2004 NBA Rookie of the Year. James was also selected to multiple other All-NBA teams as well as racking up other various awards in his seven-year stint.

 

Then LeBron James made a move that rocked the NBA forever, when he announced that he was taking his talents to South Beach to join Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Cleveland fans were furious and burned jersey after jersey in anger of seeing their hero leave. LeBron sought to be the greatest ever, and won multiple championships and garnered multiple MVP trophies in his time with the Heat.

 

But like every other human on this earth, James wanted to come home. In the summer of 2014 James did just that, as he joined Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in a mission to make Cleveland great again.

LeBron James Banner
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The highly anticipated return proved to live up to the hype as James took the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in all four of his past years. In 2016, James delivered on his promise to Cleveland and turned them into “BelieveLand,” as he won them a championship ending a 52-year championship drought for the city. Three out of the four times, James came up short to the powerhouse Golden State Warriors, but literally carried his squad through the playoffs each and every year. Since his return in 2014, James was a four-time NBA All-Star, an NBA All-Star MVP, an NBA Finals MVP, an NBA Champion, and a four-time All-NBA selection.

 

LeBron James gave it everything he had each and every night for the city of Cleveland over the past four years, and tried to unite a whole community over the game that he loved. James gave his state, his city, and his team an amazing 11-year run silencing the haters along the way. No matter his legacy, Cleveland will always have a giant impact on the King’s career.

 

As “LAbron” adjusts to his new life of being a Laker, I ask you Cleveland to not tarnish your King’s name, but to honor it.

Free Agency Devastation

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NBA free agency is almost here and with it brings the anticipation of new players your team might bring into the fold. It provides the ultimate joy when the superstar player chooses your team. That feeling of being chosen by someone so talented and powerful is only trumped by the thought of what is to come next. Then, there is the other side of free agency. The emotions of agony and anxiousness as the pillar of your franchise faces that giant fork in the road. One turn, continues a familiar journey with the same team and fan base he has guided for so long and the other is leaving it behind for a new challenge and what he might deem to be greener pastures. Just like the exhilaration of being chosen by the star is powerful, the feeling of getting left behind is just as strong. While this mass player movement is a relatively new phenomenon in the NBA, in this article we are going to dive into the five most devastating free agency decisions ever.  

 

5. Carlos Boozer, 2004

Boozer makes this list for two reasons. First, this was one of the greatest double crosses in NBA history. Cleveland had decided to make Boozer a restricted free agent in order to sign him to a long-term deal the two sides had agreed upon. Reports are that Boozer and then Cavs GM John Paxson even shook on a deal, but then Utah comes with an offer the Cavs can’t match due to salary cap rules at the time. Boozer runs out of Cleveland and has a great run with Utah. Secondly, if Boozer had decided to stay, the entire NBA landscape might have turned out differently. People forget how good Boozer actually was. This is a guy who averaged 19 and 10 in his six seasons in Utah. Add Boozer’s prime years with those Cavs teams and they might have had more success therefore erasing LeBron’s departure.

 

4. Steve Nash, 2004

We have a second 2004 free agency appearance here as Steve Nash decided to take his awe-inspiring passes to Phoenix. Mark Cuban passed on giving Nash a long-term contract at age 30 and Phoenix swooped in with a six-year deal. While Dallas fans never loved Nash like Dirk, it has to be hard watching your star PG leave and win two MVP awards and steal headlines for years with his incredible passes. While some will point to Mike D’Antoni’s system in why Nash exploded I still think Mark Cuban would like to take this decision back.

 

3. Shaquille O’Neal, 1996

The Magic won 60 games and made the NBA Finals in Shaq’s last year. The team was looking ahead to a bright future with a then 24-year-old Shaq at the helm. The Lakers that summer had already made a significant move trading for the rights to someone named Kobe Bryant and then went out and outbid Orlando for the superstar center. Shaq signed a seven-year, $120 million contract and the rest is history. This plummeted Orlando into a sea of mediocrity for several years and then bottoming out in the 2003-04 season with a measly 21 wins before being fortunate enough to draft a young man named Dwight Howard. I would feel even worse for Orlando, but they have Disney World so I don’t feel as bad.

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2. LeBron James, 2010

While this was technically a sign-and-trade between Miami and Cleveland, it makes the list considering there was an hour long television show just for James to announce he was leaving “The Land.” This one stung. King James took those talents to South Beach and left behind a truly devastated fan base. You always know when a players departure hits home hard when the reaction upon their first return is as hostile as the one James endured. Not only that, but the letter from Dan Gilbert only fueled the fire in Cleveland’s agony. The Cavs immediately became one of the worst teams in the league and were unwatchable the next season.  

 

1. Kevin Durant, 2016

This one was truly crushing. This one tops the list because Kevin Durant’s departure meant not only pain for OKC, but for the entire league. The entire NBA world was disappointed in this decision and after the last two seasons we can see why. The NBA is as scripted as ever with Durant leaving to form the ultimate super team in Golden State, and they show little signs of slowing down. Durant left a title contending team with as passionate a fanbase as there is in the NBA to switch on to the squad who just came back down 3-1 to beat him. If that isn’t a gut-punch to fans, I don’t know what is.

 

There it is. That’s the list. As free agency soon begins, I hope none of you are devastated in the ways these five moves made their fans feel. However, it is free agency which spells joy for one and doom for another. Good luck, have fun and may the free agency gods be ever in your favor.