The Lakers Spend Big… But Not On a Superstar

A few days ago, it looked like there was a chance the Lakers could snatch Carmelo from the Knicks. Whatever the Lakers and Kobe pitched to Carmelo, he was buying. Maybe it was the Lakers history of excellence. Or the beautiful weather. Or playing with Kobe. Just kidding about the last one. But word on the street was that Carmelo was seriously considering the Lakers now, as well as the Knicks and Bulls. Then it seemed like a sure thing that ‘Melo was coming back to New York. But then something happened and he had second thoughts.

This isn’t about Carmelo, though. It’s about the Lakers, and their efforts to keep Kobe’s last few years in the league somewhat relevant. They’re just trying to complete a short-term roster that can stay relatively competitive in the West. And that’s no easy task.  Continue reading

Dominos to Fall From LeBron’s Signing with Cleveland

Over the next 24 or 48 hours, there will be a flurry of moves in the NBA as a result of the LeBron signing. LeBron altered the landscape of the NBA in one day, and there will be ripple effects felt for a long time throughout the league. Here are just some of the things that could happen over the next few days:

Chris Bosh signs a max deal with Houston.
This is almost sure to happen. The Rockets were Bosh’s backup plan all along, and they offer him the best combination of winning and money. The Rockets have to first move Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin to make the requisite space, so that they can sign Bosh, and then match the Mavs’ 3 year/$45 million offer sheet on Chandler Parsons. Everyone will rush to anoint the Rockets as one of the title favorites, but a Big 3 of Howard, Harden, and Bosh is still far away from a title. Where’s the toughness in that trio?

parsons_lhuofKevin Love trade rumors EXPLODE and he probably winds up in Cleveland somehow.
Of course Kevin Love is ‘intrigued’ by joining the Cavs, and then signing there long-term. The Cavs will probably try to offer Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett, and some 1st round picks for Love. And the T’Wolves will say no to that. The Cavs will have to think long and hard whether they want to give up top pick Andrew Wiggins to create a Big 3 of LeBron, Kyrie, and Love. Continue reading

Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers Makes Zero Sense

Let’s make one thing clear first: the Lakers are the marquee franchise in the NBA. They have a history of attracting the league’s biggest stars, and will probably do so in the next few summers. Carmelo Anthony is already 30 years old though. He might be one of the most talented players in the league, but he hasn’t shown the ability to lead a roster far in the playoffs.

This just doesn’t make sense.

Not for the Lakers. Not for Carmelo Anthony.

A few days ago, it seemed like it would be a safe bet to assume Carmelo was going to end up either in New York, Chicago, or maybe even Houston. He would meet with the Lakers, the NBA’s premier franchise, more as a sign of respect, it seemed, than as any indication that he might sign there. And then something happened. A day after Carmelo’s visit, rumors swirled that the Lakers had vaulted their way into serious contention for Melo. Who knows what it was. The allure of LA? Perfect weather? The banners at Staples? Kobe putting a gun to Melo’s head? The last option would be the most likely, except we know Kobe wasn’t there.  Continue reading

Day 1 of Free Agency Is Every NBA Fan’s Worst Nightmare

In the NBA, free agency is supposed to be the time of delusion. The time where bad teams convince themselves if they can just sign that one guy, they’ll be contenders. Those teams rear their ugly heads and leak out rumors that their aim is to sign LeBron and Carmelo, with promises of multiple titles. Teams make ridiculous sales pitches that will obviously never happen. But it’s really too entertaining to dismiss. The crazy rumors. The ridiculously overpaid contracts. The insanity of it all inevitably leaves indelible stains on some franchises’ futures. Just ask the Magic, who were still paying Gilbert Arenas over $20 million last season for him to sit on the couch and troll Roy Hibbert.

Imagine how crazy free agency can be. Now magnify it a couple million times. That’s what happens anytime LeBron is a free agent. LeBron is good enough to make whatever team he’s on a contender. So, when he’s a free agent, the league collectively loses its you know what. Hell, Vegas won’t even put up its 2015 title odds, until it knows jersey LeBron will be wearing.  Continue reading

Top 75 NBA Trade Value (Part 4)

Here’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the series.

Group H: “He’s Young, Puts Up Great Stats, And Isn’t A Winner. We Hate Ourselves For Listening To Your Deal”

24. DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins should be in the top 10. He has that much talent. How many 23 year old centers averaged 23 and 12, with a PER over 26? If only Cousins could be surrounded by well-respected vets. The Kings made the poor decision of building their entire team around Cousins. He’s good enough to build around, but at this stage in his career, he needs other All-Star caliber vets to show him the ropes. Despite Cousins’ attitude problems, he’s still one of the best players in the league. Cousins needs to be on a good team with good players. Liken him to Zach Randolph. Cousins is more talented and a little crazier than Randolph. Remember though: Randolph had his share of issues when he was on the JailBlazers. It wasn’t until he joined the Grizzlies that he really turned his career around. Cousins could do the same if in the right situation. Continue reading

The makeover the Bulls need

The Bulls somehow managed to win 48 games this year, despite losing Derrick Rose again to injury. Joakim Noah finished fourth in the MVP voting, becoming a triple-double machine in the second half of the season. But the Bulls’ scoring woes were glaring when they faced the Wizards in the first round of the playoffs. It was clear to anyone who watched that the Bulls lacked a scoring punch. They were counting on Taj Gibson, Mike Dunleavy Jr., and D.J. Augustin to consistently contribute offensively. It was an overachievement for the Bulls to win 48 games with their depleted roster. No one knows if Derrick Rose will ever be close to the player he was, and the Bulls are finally looking to upgrade its roster to give him more scoring help. While this may be typical NBA summertime speculation, there have been a few rumors that, if true, could see Chicago transformed into a legitimate contender in the East. Granted, it does not take much to qualify as a ‘contender’ in the NBA’s inferior conference. Regardless, the Bulls look poised to rejuvenate its roster this offseason. Here are a possibilities for Chicago this summer: Continue reading

Is Carmelo worth a max contract?

Of course he is, right? What a silly question. Or is it? Carmelo is one of the most prolific scorers in the league and has been for the past decade. At 30 years old, Carmelo is at a crossroads for his career. He has reached the Conference Finals once in his career, but never further. If not for his title run at Syracuse, it’d be worth pondering whether Carmelo is a winner or not. This is not a Skip Bayless exercise in superstar trolling, but given the fact that Carmelo is often his team’s highest-paid player, and gets to take upward of 20 shots per game, his team’s failures will fall on his shoulders. He maneuvered his way to the big city in hopes of rejuvenating the Knicks in the post-Isiah Thomas era and bringing a title to New York City. As ESPN’s Beckley Mason points out, aside from last year’s 54 win season, ending in a second round loss to the Pacers, the Knicks have remained a laughingstock in the lousy Eastern Conference. At what point do we begin to question Carmelo and his worth? He had his career year two seasons ago, when he led the team to 54 wins, but that was also the year J.R. Smith won sixth man of the year. Continue reading

Summer Outlook: Heat

From dynasty to broken up? That may be the harsh reality for the Heat. The Heat were not just beat by a better team. They were embarrassed. They may have been propped up by one of the weakest Eastern Conferences in NBA history, but they were exposed in the Finals, and unless something drastic happens, it’s hard to imagine the Heat winning another Finals. The Heat were no better than the 2007 Cavs this year against the Spurs. LeBron came to Miami to get more help, but it looks like that time is over. It’s simple: Wade is washed up and Bosh is overrated. With an aging Dwyane Wade and a hardly Robin-worthy Chris Bosh there to help out LeBron, the Heat struggle to score. It gets worse. Their bench was a non-factor this postseason. Amnestying Mike Miller proved costly. Shane Battier hardly played when it mattered. Greg Oden and Mike Beasley turned out to be a whole lotta nothing. And the point guard by committee of Chalmers and Cole was arguably worse than Mo Williams and Boobie Gibson. Taken as a whole, it’s not inconceivable for LeBron to leave Miami. There aren’t a whole lot of options for him, but Miami is a year away from being an NBA barren wasteland, unless Pat Riley completely retools the roster. Continue reading

What would it take to Challenge the Heat in the East?

As everyone knows, the Heat are 45-3 in their last 48 games. That’s an unprecedented streak that not even the 72-win 1995 Bulls matched. At this point, it’s hardly likely that anyone will stop the Heat from repeating as the champs. Unless Wade’s knee problems flare up to the extent that he can’t play, there’s no reason to think the Pacers and then Grizzlies/Spurs will beat the Heat four times out of seven. The Pacers won’t be an absolute cakewalk, but they’ll be lucky to end up with more than two wins in the Eastern Conference Finals. Injuries have riddled many teams’ hopes this season, as D-Rose (and just about every other player on the Bulls), Danny Granger, Rajon Rondo, and others missed the playoffs. While the Heat probably would have reached the Finals either way, these injuries only further paved an easy path for Heat. Not only are the majority of the teams in the East weaker, but also the Heat are considerably better this season with improved depth, notably the additions of Ray Allen and Chris Anderson. With the current state of the East, would an all star team made up of the Eastern Conference playoff teams be able to beat the Heat? Let’s play a game to find out.paul-george-lebron-james-elite-daily-600x300
Let’s pick one player from each Eastern Conference playoff team to create an all star squad and assess its chances at beating the Heat in a seven game series. The only catch is that we can only pick healthy players, so we can’t select Derrick Rose from the Bulls, for example. Without further ado:

Continue reading