Kevin Durant Should Go to the Wizards, But Not Because It’s Home

What I’m going to say will not be popular. And I will probably be derided as a deluded homer, just rationalizing fake reasons as to why Kevin Durant should sign with the Wizards in two years. But I’ll say it anyway: Kevin Durant should sign with the Wizards in a couple of years, and not because he is from Washington D.C. Of course, that it is home adds to the allure, but plenty of basketball reasons are more responsible for why Durant should come to D.C.

The Wizards will make a strong push to sign the hometown hero Durant.

The Wizards will make a strong push to sign the hometown hero Durant.

Mind you this could all change relatively quickly if the Thunder win a championship this upcoming season. Before explaining why Durant should sign with the Wiz in a few years, let’s first remember how unlikely that is, and how many things would have to go right (or wrong, for Thunder fans) for KD to end up in Washington. With LeBron out of South Beach, the pecking in the NBA looks like this: 1) Spurs, 2) Thunder, 3) Everyone else: Clippers, Warriors, Grizzlies, Mavericks, Blazers, etc. The Thunder may even be 1B, ever so slightly trailing the Spurs. During the regular season, the Thunder were 4-0 against the Spurs, and if not for Serge Ibaka’s injury, the Thunder may have ended up hoisting the Finals trophy instead. Which is all to say, there is a very good chance that the Thunder win the title this season. And if that happens, there is just about a zero percent chance Durant leaves. Just for the sake of argument though, what if Russell Westbrook gets hurt again. Then what? Supremely talented as he is–easily one of the ten best players in the NBA–Westbrook has undergone three knee surgeries already at the tender age of 25. Each time, Westbrook has returned from injury just as effective as before, but how many more blows can he take?  Even if Westbrook does stay healthy, that’s no guarantee that the Thunder are going to win a title. It’s not like Westbrook and Durant are natural fits next to each other. There’s the constant subplot of whether they can coexist, always present just below the surface, adding tension after failed fourth quarters. Continue reading

Cavs Make Right Decision and Are Now Willing To Trade Wiggins For Love

The Cavs have finally stopped lowballing the Timberwolves in their pursuit of Kevin Love. No longer are the Cavs only offering Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett, and a first round picks for Love. The Timberwolves have held out, with the hope of getting Andrew Wiggins in return, and it looks to have paid off. Despite having little leverage, as Love only has a year left on his current deal, the Wolves may get their guy Wiggins. This being after Cavs rookie head coach David Blatt recently shot down the chance of a potential trade involving Wiggins, saying:

“There’s no reason or cause for worry on his part because Andrew’s not going anywhere, as far as I know and as far as the club has expressed”

Apparently the Cavs changed their mind on Wiggins, and then LeBron reached out to Kevin Love on the possibility of playing together. Or maybe, LeBron reached out to Love, and then the Cavs changed their mind. That makes a little more sense. LeBron gets what he wants. His two year deal, with the player option after year one, may be a way of maximizing the money LeBron earns, but it’s also his way of keeping leverage over Dan Gilbert and the Cavs. It’s a way of putting pressure on management to be proactive and improve the team. Continue reading

Shabazz Napier’s Social Media Breakup With LeBron

Remember a couple weeks ago when the Heat selected Shabazz Napier with the 24th pick in the draft to appease LeBron? Shabazz wasn’t going to be the reason that LeBron would stay in Miami, but making the effort to trade up and get Napier would be a small gesture to LeBron. Not a big shiny anniversary ring or anything, but a small little gift as a token of their appreciation for what LeBron had done–just an example of the commitment they had to LeBron and his vision of the team. Pat Riley claimed he was a fan of Napier’s game anyway, and that the move was not purely to appease LeBron:

“I know LeBron tweeted something out in the NCAA [tournament] about him. Why not. If LeBron and I have the same taste in talent, so be it. But he didn’t call me on the phone, or he didn’t make a point to me about it.”

But everyone knew that was BS. Ever since the NCAA tournament, LeBron had been complimenting Napier’s game and ability to run a team. Napier seemed to be profoundly lucky. Not that he wouldn’t have already been selected in the first round of the draft, but to having the best player on the planet so fond of you is definitely good for pro prospects. Continue reading

NBA GMs are Wrong: The Cavs Should Trade Andrew Wiggins For Kevin Love

LeBron made what most people thought was an unforgivable mistake four years ago with how he handled his departure from Cleveland in the hour-long ESPN special, The Decision. It seemed unlikely that’d he ever return to play for his hometown. But he did.

And now that LeBron has returned to Cleveland, the biggest storyline of the NBA offseason will be whether Cleveland adds Kevin Love to the mix before the season starts. The Cavs would love to acquire Love, as long as they don’t have to part with last month’s top overall pick Andrew Wiggins. That’s where things get complicated. Minnesota is reluctant to deal the 25 year old Love, who averaged 26 points and over 12 rebounds per game last season. Even though Love only has one year left on his deal and is unlikely to re-sign with Minnesota in the offseason, the T’Wolves are still hesitant to ship off Love, unless they get a major haul in return. The hardest thing to do in the NBA, especially for a small-market team like Minnesota, is to land a superstar. And the easiest thing to do in the NBA, especially for small-market teams, is to trade away a disgruntled superstar for 75 cents on the dollar. That is precisely what Minnesota wants to avoid.

In a way, the T’Wolves have all the leverage. They know how badly the Cavs want Love. Yet, the Wolves also have zero leverage: everyone in the league knows that Love will be a free agent next summer, and has no interest in staying in Minnesota. Continue reading

LeBron Leaves, Miami Moves on… Quickly

You lose LeBron James. You have two options: wallow in self-pity, or shell out a max deal to Chris Bosh! That’s sort of like those annoying hypotheticals you’d hear in the 8th grade: “would you rather die of a shark attack, or a lightning strike?” There’s no right answer. There’s only two wrong answers, one maybe a little worse than the other.

Miami fans did their best Cleveland impression, showing no class after LeBron announced he was leaving.

Miami fans did their best Cleveland impression, showing no class after LeBron announced he was leaving.

That isn’t to rip on Cleveland fans. They’ve heard it enough, and yeah, they took the anti-LeBron stuff too far in 2010, but if I lived in Cleveland, I probably would’ve reacted similarly. As would any real sports fan. But it is to say that there is another way of dealing with the loss of the greatest player in the league. After LeBron announced his return to Cleveland, nearly every sports fan in the country cheered. And per usual, when Miami fans saw other fans cheering, they naturally joined in. (Cue clueless Heat looking around confused, seeing people clapping, and then slowly joining, and then grinning widely, having no idea why he’s clapping.) 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

Cleveland Looking like LeBron’s Destination

The round-the-clock Tmz-style stalking of LeBron James’ life has hit an all-time high in the past few days. The entire NBA free agency pool had basically stalled waiting for LeBron to make his decision, but things seem to be picking up steam now. The Cavs completed a massive three team deal earlier today to clear the requisite space so that they can offer LeBron a max deal. It’s a gamble considering the Cavs gave up several valuable assets just for the chance at LeBron. Don’t get me wrong. If the Cavs get LeBron, it’s obviously worth it. But that’s a big if.

A few hours after the news of the Cavs deal, a flurry of signs pointed toward LeBron returning to Cleveland. There were rumors that the Cavs were targeting Mike Miller and Ray Allen, two free agents that LeBron has a history with. Then there were the moving trucks outside LeBron’s house in Miami. And then there was the next-level stalking, spotting LeBron’s kids at the airport en route to Cleveland. Continue reading

Why Does Everyone Think Houston Is The Best Fit for Chris Bosh?

Amid speculation that LeBron may be seriously contemplating heading back home to Cleveland, there have been reports that the Rockets have intensified their courting of Chris Bosh. Born in Texas, Bosh would have a chance to chase a title with Dwight Howard and James Harden, forming a supposedly formidable, at least on paper, Big 3 in the West.

The move makes sense for Bosh personally. A few days ago, rumors swirled that Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh had no idea what LeBron would do in free agency. There is much less coordination on their part this time around in free agency. This time, LeBron, it seems, is keeping his cards close to the chest. He owes nothing to Wade and Bosh, and the LeBron’s only priority is winning. It was reported that Bosh came away from a meeting with LeBron with the feeling that LeBron might very well leave Miami. And, so LeBron told Bosh to pursue other options, just in case.

The team that keeps popping up interested in Bosh is the Rockets. Unlike the Heat who are lowballing Bosh, the Rockets are willing to offer Bosh a max contract. Bosh would get more money and play a bigger role on the Rockets than in Miami. I kind of get it for Houston. They are looking for a third star, and especially a stretch four to create some more room for Dwight Howard down low. But let’s not kid ourselves. A ‘Big 3’ of Dwight Howard, James Harden, and Chris Bosh isn’t nearly as formidable as it may sound. Harden plays no defense. Bosh is one of the softest big men in the league, and has slowly compromised his game, so that now he’s mostly just a spot up shooter. And Howard has been criticized for years now at the dearth of low post moves and poor foul shooting, not to mention the obvious lack of any leadership. Continue reading

The Heat’s Saviors Are… Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger?

Here’s your task if you’re Pat Riley: assemble a roster that will appeal to LeBron and give him the chance to win multiple titles. And do so with the understanding LeBron will only settle for a max deal, and Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will have to be part of the plan. In other words, understand that those three players will tie up the majority of the team’s cap space, and you will have limited resources to upgrade the roster. It’s no easy task.

But Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger? That’s who’s supposed to convince LeBron to stay in Miami? I hope Riley has something else up his sleeve. Granger hasn’t been relevant on the court in years. He was mostly only brought up last season, when people were trying to explain the Pacers’ locker room mess. He was hardly even mediocre in the half-regular season that he played for the Clippers, and then he was a complete non-entity in the playoffs, shooting under 30%. Granger is just another aging wing that would show up occasionally, but not consistently anymore. Continue reading

Joel Embiid’s Twitter Recruitment of LeBron Is The Most Exciting Thing In The NBA Right Now

Someone needs to make things interesting this free agency, and it sure isn’t LeBron or Carmelo. The most we hear from LeBron comes indirectly from his lapdog source Brian Windhorst. Will he stay, or will he go? We can only listen to all of the ramifications so many times. And Carmelo is no better. Do I really care if Mitch Kupchak opened the door to Carmelo’s limo? Or if Carmelo sat up attentively? It’s all much ado about nothing. For Carmelo, he’ll probably do the least fulfilling thing possible: just take the money and stay in New York. As for LeBron, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen.

So leave it to Joel Embiid to provide us our free agency entertainment. Who knew Embiid was such a funny personality? In the past week, Embiid has decided to accelerate the Sixers rebuilding process. What incredible leadership skills! Unlike Derrick Rose’s ‘too cool for school’ approach to attracting free agents, Embiid is a more persistent charmer, it seems. Continue reading