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Trade Grades: Cavs Send Kyrie Irving to Celtics for Package Including Isaiah Thomas

cheap basketball singlets online calculator Wow. Long live the NBA offseason! The summer of blockbusters continued Tuesday, as the Cavaliers traded star guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics Jersey for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 unprotected first-round pick, according to multiple reports. The deal comes in the wake of Irving’s trade request earlier this summer. Thomas ended the playoffs unable to finish the conference finals against the Cavs due to injury, but is coming off the best season of his career. Let’s grade the deal from both sides.

 

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Cleveland was in a difficult position after Irving’s trade request. The draft had already occurred, and teams were unable to trade free agents they signed in early July. But somehow, the Cavs are coming out of their deal with Boston with both short-term and long-term benefits. For next season—which could be LeBron’s last in Cleveland—the Cavs will still be very competitive. Thomas is a downgrade from Irving, but he’s still a tough scorer coming off a borderline MVP campaign who should be able to fill up the bucket alongside LeBron. Crowder is a great pickup for Cleveland. The Cavs desperately needed a dependable three-point shooter who could also defend in the Finals, and Crowder fits that description perfectly. He’s on a cheap contract, and he will make the Cavs’ small-ball lineups much more palatable next season.?

 

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The real coup here is the Nets pick. Boston has so far been extremely reluctant to part with the assets they received from Brooklyn in 2013. Now, Cleveland owns what should be a very valuable lottery selection in next year’s draft. If LeBron leaves, the Cavs can kickstart their rebuild right away with a good pick. If LeBron stays, Cleveland has an asset that can be flipped for another star, or add some much-needed youth to the roster.?

 

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Thomas is in the final year of his contract, which means Cleveland will be in the tough position to decide whether to give him a max deal next summer. Still, the Cavs will have options, and many decisions will hinge on LeBron’s future first. Thomas’s contract status is not insignificant, but it’s an issue that won’t necessarily be very difficult to resolve. Ultimately, the Cavs are still going to have issues on defense at point guard, but they haven’t gravely affected their short-term outlook while significantly brightening their long-term one.

 

cheap jerseys from china After years of hesitation and false starts, Boston finally gave away a Nets draft pick, and it feels slightly underwhelming. Irving is a great scorer who is also young with a better contract status than Thomas moving forward. But he has serious deficiencies as a defender, and he was never able to lift Cleveland to respectable heights without James. After the various deals the Celtics went halfway in on, coming away with Irving for arguably their best asset leaves a little to be desired.

 

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But the deal is far from a failure for Boston. Irving is an upgrade over Thomas, his deal runs through next season, and his age is better aligned with Boston’s core. The Celtics also did well to hold on to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, two promising forwards who can be valuable contributors—and who also leave the door open for future trades.?

 

It’s a good trade for the Celtics, but not necessarily a great one. It pushes them slightly closer to a Finals berth, which is an interesting push considering the team seemed intent on waiting out LeBron a few months ago. But with James’s future in the East in question, Boston is looking at a potentially wide-open conference in the near future with a talented young core that still has some flexibility for more moves. The best part of this deal? We won’t have to wait long to see how it plays out on the court. The first game of the NBA season is—you guessed it—Celtics at Cavaliers. See you on Oct. 17.

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Four LeBron Trades That Sort Of (Kind Of) Make Sense

cheap basketball jerseys reddit wtf stories OK, first of all, relax. I know you saw the headline and you’re ready to rip my face off. Just hear me out. Everyone has assumed for a while now that LeBron James is leaving the Cavs after he becomes a free agent next offseason. We all figured that gave the Cavs one last shot with LeBron, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and their assorted veterans to avenge the Warriors (again) and win a second title before the LeBron Returns era concludes. As the summer of NBA bombshells has worn on, we now know Kyrie wants out and that the Cavs are discussing Kyrie trades and preparing for a future without either of their stars. That makes it just a little bit tougher to go ahead and take one last run with the two of them.

 

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If the Cavs are going to trade Kyrie, then here’s a fun question—you already know it, since you read the headline— could the Cavs consider making a preemptive move and trading native son and homegrown MVP?LeBron Freaking James? Bill Belichick?always seems to cut players a year early rather than a year too late. The Colts released Peyton Manning. The Sixers once traded Wilt Chamberlain. Crazy things happen sometimes!

 

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There are a few obvious caveats. First, LeBron has a no–trade clause and would have to agree to any deal. He is reportedly unwilling to waive it, which reportedly makes this whole exercise moot. Second is that LeBron will be a free agent after next season, so any team trading for him would know they probably get just one season with him. Third is that the Cavs might decide their best path back to relevance is to lose LeBron and Kyrie, bottom out and rebuild by landing a star [or two] through the draft.

 

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But if the Cavs see a different path, and if they are already committed to building around the assets in a Kyrie trade haul, trading LeBron could accelerate that process. So if we suspend our disbelief and imagine a LeBron trade for a one-year rental here’s the criteria for teams that should consider it: 1) They’re not going to win a title with their current roster. The Warriors are so good. Like, so, so, so good. There are a ton of teams that just don’t have a chance to win a title in the next 2-3 years. About, say, 25 of them. That’s too bad because we live in a world that increasingly values rings over everything else in the way players and teams are judged. Any team trading for LeBron has to be a team in the camp that says, “You know what, we’re not winning a title any time soon, let’s just roll the dice on one year with LeBron.”

 

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2) They can give back All-Stars under team control. The Cavs can’t trade LeBron for scraps. Because of the personalities and the history involved, they need to “win” the trade as best they can. Dan Gilbert could trade LeBron out of spite, to win the second breakup, but he can’t get fleeced. He will need a player the Cavs’ franchise can hang its hat on and build around post-LeBron. The Cavs also need that player under control for more than just this upcoming season. There’s no point in trading for one year of Paul George or Boogie Cousins. The trade also has to center around one headline-type player instead of a package. The team that gets LeBron still needs to keep as many pieces around him as possible because it’s in the ultimate win now mode.

 

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3) They need picks. You can’t simply trade LeBron straight up for another player. Nobody good enough to be considered in such a deal would actually be traded. Draft picks are an obvious return in a trade and key part of any rebuild—Your own picks, picks you’ve gotten in trades, protected picks, pick swaps. If a team has no picks to throw in, they can’t even place the first phone call.

 

Keep in mind that the 2018 first-round pick of the team trading for LeBron isn’t very valuable. They are acquiring him with dreams of a deep playoff run, which would mean a pick at the end of the first round. They could trade another team’s pick that they already own in 2018, and/or their own pick in 2019 after a potential post-LeBron swoon. So with all that said, here are four teams that could theoretically go all-in and trade for LeBron. Right now. Put all your chips in pre-flop. Abandon your short-term and medium-term plan. Take one dramatic shot at glory.

 

The Wizards may have boxed themselves in by maxing out John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter. They kept their best pieces when they had the chance, but still look to be short of true title contender status. Bradley Beal is not an All-Star, but is on SI’s short list to make the jump, especially if he is a bigger focal point of the offense on a no-LeBron-or-Kyrie Cavs. The Wizards, who might not be true title contenders this season, could suddenly be the best team in the Eastern Conference with the LeBron-John Wall tandem. They’d definitely be good enough to compete with Boston for the coveted seat at the Finals table.

 

The Cavs would rebuild with the return on a Kyrie trade and Beal, who is signed through 2021. With Beal, the Wizards can add in their own firsts in 2019 and 2021, and Jason Smith to make the money work. The Raptors bet on their franchise core by re-signing Kyle Lowry to a three-year deal this offseason. If you’re Lowry, would you rather have three more seasons with DeMar DeRozan or one season with LeBron? Pair LeBron with Lowry in Toronto, give the Cavs a three-time All-Star in DeRozan and suddenly the East looks very different.

 

Frankly, a team with DeRozan, Love and an incoming first might be a spot Kyrie would be willing to stay, but LeBron probably wouldn’t waive his no trade clause to give him that satisfaction. The Raptors have already traded their 2018 first rounder to Brooklyn, which means they wouldn’t be able to give Cleveland a first until 2020. But with zero picks in the 2018 draft, they’ve already gone all-in. So why not kick the can down the road a little more? That 2020 pick is two years after Drake and LeBron lead a parade float across all of Canada anyway.

 

The Wizards and Raptors have a clear path to the Finals if they trade for LeBron. For teams out West, the stakes are considerably higher. The road through the playoffs is fraught with very good teams, and if you go out in the second round then the Year of LeBron is a categorical failure. The Blazers are on a run of consistently surpassing consensus expectations every year, with four straight playoff berths and two trips to the second round. The team has a very strong backcourt with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, but it’s hard to see this group going any further as currently constructed.

 

McCollum is not an All-Star in the crowded West, though he definitely could be if given a bigger role on an Eastern Conference team. Let’s pair LeBron with Lillard and watch them become instant contenders in a fun market. Give the Cavs back an elite shooter signed through 2021 in McCollum. Throw in Moe Harkless, and the 2019/2021 first rounders to make the deal work. Bonus point: LeBron finally gets to play with Shabazz Napier! How could he say no? The Wolves, everyone’s perennial sleeper pick, are in a good position. They have Karl-Anthony Towns, they’re about to re-sign Andrew Wiggins to a monster extension and they traded for Jimmy Butler in June.

 

Before the Minnesota deal was finalized, there were rumors about Chicago sending Butler to the Cavs. Well sorry, Jimmy. You’re going to Cleveland after all, but this time you won’t be playing with LeBron—you’ll be traded for him. It would be easy for the Wolves to hang tight and be proud of themselves for the offseason they had, with a core locked up for multiple years. Or they could send Butler, Cole Aldrich and a 2019 first-round pick to Cleveland for LeBron. If you thought Jimmy Butler was the Wolves’ missing piece, wait until you see LeBron next to KAT and Wiggins.

 

You’d have to convince Tom Thibodeau to cancel the Butler reunion before it starts. But with Towns and Wiggins on the roster, the Wolves would be the best-equipped team on this list to survive the post-LeBron fall back to earth. The Cavs don’t really get fair value back in any of these deals, mostly because it’s nearly impossible to get full value back for LeBron. But each of these trades gives them a chance to cut their losses, get as much as they can and smooth out the inevitable post-LeBron crash.

 

Trading for LeBron would be tricky. And risky. And also impossible if he doesn’t want to be traded. In most scenarios you’re also pairing him with one other star player, relying on additional tweaks to fill out the rest of the roster. But anyway, sports are supposed to be fun and Internet heroes won’t respect you unless you win a ring. So why not get LeBron for a year, have some fun and take a run at it? And if it backfires? The Warriors were probably going to win the title anyway.

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Six New-Look Lineups Built to Beat the Warriors

cheap basketball jerseys uk yahoo horoscope The NBA season is less than two months away, and for the most part, we know what teams will look like heading into the season. Kyrie and Carmelo are still floating in the trade rumor ethers, but for many reasons, it’s possible both players won’t be traded any time soon. So, assuming the NBA is more or less settled at this moment (famous last words), did any team come closer to beating the Warriors this offseason? Well, some certainly came closer, though it’s far too early to deem anyone a legit challenger to Golden State as title favorites.

 

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The NBA’s summer arms race did make things more interesting, though. And all the superstar movement means we’re going to see some star-studded games come October. Here are five lineups The Crossover (and by The Crossover, I mean me) can’t wait to see take on the Warriors. The Paul-Harden experiment will arguably be the best subplot of the upcoming season, because it has equal chances of being an unequivocal success and spectacular failure. Assuming the two guards can play nice, I’m really intrigued by this lineup. There is great three-point shooting from one-through-three, while Tucker can also hold his own in the corner. Capela can protect the rim and is nimble enough to chase Stephen Curry on pick-and-rolls, and even switch late in the clock. I like Tucker over Ryan Anderson for defensive purposes, even though Anderson is the better shooter. Paul can run high pick-and-rolls with Capela, penetrate the lane and be surrounded by marksmen in a way he never was in Los Angeles. Harden can be devastating off the ball, or initiate the offense himself. The only way this lineup works versus the Dubs however, especially if Golden State is playing its Death Lineup, is if Harden accepts the challenge defensively. He may be able to hide to a degree on Andre Iguodala, but his attention can’t wane as a possession progresses.

 

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Here’s a prediction for one of the Rockets-Warriors games this season: The teams will combine to break the record for most threes attempted in a game. I’m calling it. The Thunder made arguably the most game-changing move of the offseason by trading for Paul George, but they still have the same problem that’s plagued the franchise this entire decade: Finding a fifth player that makes sense on the floor. The lineup above is probably OKC’s best from a shooting standpoint, but it leaves one of its better players—Steven Adams—on the bench. Playing two non-shooters against the Warriors puts teams at a serious handicap, which is why Adams is split from Andre Roberson here. What this lineup does have is way more shooting than anything the Thunder deployed last season. Patrick Patterson can hit from the corners, and he’s a dependable enough defender to make this work. George and Abrines have to be respected from the outside, and while Westbrook isn’t exactly at their level, uh, he’s going to let it fly anyway. Between Roberson and George, the Thunder may have the best perimeter combo to throw at the Warriors defensively. Roberson can take Steph and George can match up with Kevin Durant, which would leave Abrines on Iguodala, the hinge point that would probably determine this lineup’s success. Like practically every team in the league, the Thunder could still use one more 3-and-D type, though.?

 

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The Wolves really frustrate me. You already know I think they made a regrettable move by signing Taj Gibson, money that would have been better spent on a shooter. This lineup will probably be Minnesota’s starting five, and it will be hard for Tom Thibodeau to make tweaks to better adjust to the Warriors. This group has potential though, especially if Towns and Wiggins continue to improve as a three-point shooters. If those guys are hitting their outside shots, Gibson’s ground-bound, close-to-the-hoop game becomes a bit more tenable. And though it hasn’t exactly worked yet, a player as skilled and sized as Towns could be the key to throwing the Warriors off their game.?

 

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Thomas and Hayward can provide plenty of scoring punch, and Hayward, Crowder and Brown should be able to switch fairly seamlessly on defense. If Horford has his outside shooting touch, this lineup becomes even more potent. The key will be Thomas’s defense and how well he holds up on that end of the floor. Eventually, Jayson Tatum could take one of the forward spots in this lineup, maybe even replacing Horford.?

 

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The Nuggets’ likely starting five. Nelson is cheap jersey getting pretty long in the tooth, but he can still connect from three, which makes him a nice fit with this group. Harris is one of the league’s most under-the-radar gems, and Millsap and Jokic should be a devastating frontcourt on offense. This group will have enough shooting and offensive creativity to keep up with the Dubs, but their bigs will be challenged defensively.?

 

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O.J. Mayo, Banned and Forgotten, Fights to Save His NBA Career

cheap basketball jerseys uk basketball live O.J. Mayo broke down in tears when he heard the NBA was going to ban him for at least two years for a failed drug test, and he surely would have cried even harder if he had known the embarrassment, loneliness and aimlessness that would follow. His first instinct was to call his mother, Alisha, a conversation that left him feeling ashamed of the inevitable questions she would face at work. Two weeks later, shortly before his dismissal and disqualification became public on July 1, 2016, Mayo sent out a group text message to his family and close friends. As the former highly-touted high school star and 2008 lottery pick typed out the words to his siblings, the youngest of whom was still a teenager, he was forced to contemplate his neglected responsibilities. “If you’d been a preacher, your brothers would have been preachers,” Alisha had told him, quoting American Gangster, the movie about drug kingpin Frank Lucas’s family-run operation. “If you’d been a solider, they’d be soldiers. … They look up to you. They always expect you to know what’s best.” ?

 

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The NBA’s press release hit on the first day of free agency last summer, and Mayo fielded a brief round of sympathetic and surprised texts from his friends while media organizations reported the news and social media users speculated about his drug of choice. “I didn’t get a phone call last summer from anyone besides my family for 40 days,” Mayo told The Crossover at a Southern California gym last week, in his first extended interview since his suspension. “People who called me every day didn’t call me for two or three months. I still haven’t talked to some people who I talked to every week. Everybody was off my a–. I was tripping. ‘Oh, I see how the world is now.’ That was rock bottom.”

 

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Everywhere Mayo turned after his ban, he ran into reality checks. The 6’5″ scoring guard, who had first captured the basketball world’s attention as an ultra-confident West Virginia high schooler, had just completed a three-year, $24 million contract with the Bucks. He was supposed to be an unrestricted free agent during the biggest free-agency spending spree in league history, but instead he watched comparable players cash in as he “missed out on the fun.” His isolation intensified when he received a notice that he was two months behind on a mortgage payment; his assistants had simply stopped managing his affairs. Soon after, the 29-year-old Mayo wrote out personal checks to pay his electricity, cable and phone bills for the first time in his life.

 

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His game, meanwhile, had been heading in the wrong direction throughout his three seasons in Milwaukee. His stats dipped each year, bottoming out at 7.8 PPG and 37.1% shooting in 2015-16. That season was cut short by a broken ankle in March 2016, an injury that led him to put on significant weight and prevented him from working out much last summer. He didn’t receive FIBA?clearance until November 2016, and he hadn’t previously put any thought into playing internationally anyway.

 

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Once the 2016-17 NBA season started, a “hurt” and “lost” Mayo couldn’t bear to watch, consumed by remorse over the years that had preceded his ban. He had “burned the candle at both ends [until I] ain’t got no candle left.” His “entourage” had grown too big, and he had prioritized “showing love to friends, hanging out, and finding girls” over the gym. He acknowledged smoking marijuana and abusing a prescription pain medication that triggered his two-year ban because it is on the NBA’s “drugs of abuse” list. (He emphatically denied testing positive for hard drugs like cocaine.)

 

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Mayo also concluded that he had been “overwhelmed” by a string of difficult life events: his father, high school basketball star Kenny Ziegler, was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for distributing crack cocaine, his brother was placed in juvenile lock-up, a close friend went to jail, and another was killed. “I was bred to play basketball and I thought I could balance everything,” he said. “I couldn’t.”

 

After consulting with Dwaine Barnes, his longtime coach and grandfather figure, Mayo eventually decided to sit out the 2016-17 season to fully rehabilitate his ankle and “get his stuff together.” For the first time in more than 20 years, the McDonald’s All-American, All-Pac 10 First Teamer and NBA All-Rookie First Teamer wasn’t part of a squad.

 

“Taking the game away is probably the closest thing to jail that I’ll get to,” Mayo said. “Since I was like 6 or 7, I’ve always had a basketball season. That was the lowest point in my entire life: The shellshock of not being in the NBA. All my peers are playing and I’m not because of boneheaded mistakes. Take the ball away, what is there to do?”

 

Mayo’s answer to his own rhetorical question was to escape his basketball bubble. After living half of his life in the public eye and spending the last eight seasons flying on charter planes, staying in 5-star hotels, and playing in front of tens of thousands of fans, he departed for an extended vacation. He visited Dubai, the Maldives, Uganda, and South Africa, but the highlight was a January visit to the Maasai Mara village in Kenya, which he documented on Instagram. There, he said he bought three cows—at $300 apiece—for each family in the village.? ???

 

“I’ve been to Africa before,” he said. “It brings you to a still. This was about clearing my mind. When you’re on an NBA schedule, you’re away from home a lot. To be a man in Kenya, you have to care for your family away from home. I thought that was important. They’re gone for weeks breeding cattle so that the cycle of life can continue. It made me realize I’m blessed. At the time, I was dark. I was in a rough spot. I didn’t really see the light. The trip made me realize that I’m in a great situation and I’ve got to appreciate it. I could easily be in jail or dead.”

 

When he returned to Los Angeles earlier this year, Mayo resolved to continue playing professional basketball. He started by putting himself through “a 40-year-old’s workout to break a sweat” at a local gym, but didn’t feel like he was making much progress. His ankle was better, but he was still well over his playing weight. He missed the camaraderie and competition of team practices, and he concluded that he desperately needed a routine.

 

“I was getting tired of watching SportsCenter and Stephen A. Smith,” Mayo said. “For the first time, I realized a schedule is what I love. Sometimes in the NBA, the schedule gets to be a lot with all these events, busses, planes and games. But once that’s gone, you miss it so bad.” By chance in June, Mayo ran into Bucks forward Tony Snell, Grizzlies forward James Ennis and a workout group led by skills and development coach Chris Johnson and strength and fitness trainer Travelle Gaines. Mayo quickly tried to talk his way into the group, but both Johnson and Gaines had their reservations.

 

Johnson had “major concerns” about Mayo due to his checkered past and their lack of a preexisting relationship. Was Mayo really willing to abide by a strict set of guidelines and regulations? Gaines, meanwhile, said he didn’t even recognize Mayo, who weighed 242 pounds at the time, 32 pounds over his list weight. The longtime strength coach wondered whether Mayo would prove to be “lazy and entitled” because of his early fame. He also worried that Mayo’s commitment might wane because Mayo had saved more than enough of his $46 million career earnings to retire and live comfortably.

 

Mayo persisted. “Can I please get in there with y’all?” he asked the coaches. “I won’t talk. Please make me better. I love basketball. I cheated the game for three or four years. I want to give my all back. I want to prove I’m a professional, low-maintenance guy.” Convinced, Johnson took on Mayo with a zero-tolerance policy and an hour-by-hour regimen. A single missed workout or unexcused tardiness would lead to expulsion. Mayo would receive a wake-up text message from Gaines as early as 6 a.m. and he would be in the gym ready for his first workout as early as 8 a.m. Over the course of a day, Mayo’s body would be, in Gaines’ words, “worked to exhaustion” during as many as four workout sessions.

 

Over the last two months, Mayo has spent his mornings doing 60 to 90 minutes of skill work with Johnson followed by a high-repetition, low-weight lifting session with Gaines. After a break for lunch, Mayo has moved on to a yoga or SoulCycle class with his longtime girlfriend before returning to the court for shooting drills and five-on-five scrimmages during an evening session with Johnson. Depending on gym availability, the all-day routine sometimes requires hours of commuting around the greater Los Angeles area.

 

The rules are just as strict off the court. Gaines immediately insisted that his new client stop drinking alcohol to aid his weight-loss effort. Mayo, who was “pretty fed up” with how he was living, also committed to a vegan diet. Mayo said Friday that he is completely sober and that he hasn’t been to a club in more than three months, even though he lives in Hollywood. The trainers proudly estimate that Mayo has dropped more than 25 pounds this cheap jersey summer. “There was a stigma around him,” Gaines said. “But he’s really humble, country and unbelievably smart. He sends me a ‘Thank you’ text almost every day.”

 

As Mayo was building the new structure of his life, Bleacher Report ran a lengthy story about him in July entitled, “Whatever happened to O.J. Mayo? Not even some of his closest friends know.” The piece asserted that Mayo had disappeared and that “10 months of reporting” that included contacts with “40 of Mayo’s former teammates, coaches, agents, GMs and players union reps” had yielded nothing concrete as to his whereabouts.?

 

“What happened to O.J.?” Johnson asked last week. “He’s in the gym with me. Everybody is sitting there thinking this is a joke. He’s in L.A. working every day all summer. Don’t paint pictures of people without relevant information. Just because he broke a rule, doesn’t mean that you can tell the wrong story.”

 

Indeed, Mayo hardly appeared to be a long-lost figure last Thursday, when he went through a series of scrimmages with Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, Victor Oladipo, Taj Gibson, Snell, Ennis, Tyler Ulis, Josh Hart, Thomas Robinson, Jeremy Tyler?and a host of other NBA players and hopefuls at a college gym on L.A.’s westside. His fellow players called him “Juice” and high-fived him like anyone else. During the games, Mayo looked steady and quick on his feet, crossing over behind his back for pull-up jumpers and slashing through the paint for floaters. He played quietly and left by himself. “O.J. is the best story in here,” Johnson said afterwards. “He’s fighting hard to clear his name.”

 

The next morning, Mayo made an early drive up to the San Fernando Valley, where he lifted weights and went through a skill session at a gym in Reseda. With a senior citizen punching a heavy bag in an adjacent room and an awkward teenager bricking free throws on the other end of the court, Mayo unleashed a series of well-honed up-fakes to set up lefty lay-ups. Afterwards, he circled up, raised his hand with the group, counted to three, and shouted, “Hard work.” He was, as he had hoped a few months earlier, one of the guys.

 

As Mayo has processed his ban, he has often thought back to that first phone call, when he broke the news to his mother. He had braced for anger and frustration, and yet Alisha had responded with the opposite. “She said she was so happy,” Mayo recalled. “She wasn’t happy that I got suspended or about the embarrassment that I was going to go through. But she was happy that reality was going to hit me and make me a better person. She was 100% right. I caught the light.”

 

The trick now, of course, is to make it last. Mayo’s next move isn’t clear. He’s still with Landmark Sports Agency, but Rob Pelinka, his old agent, is now the Lakers’ GM. He’s interested in playing in China, Spain or Israel this fall, but he hasn’t yet fielded any offers. If nothing concrete materializes, Mayo has an invite to continue his current training program in Minnesota, where Johnson and Gaines will be working with Jimmy Butler. “When you mess up, teams wonder whether they want to put their hands on you,” Mayo said. “I respect that. They can only go by a rap sheet or a résumé. If I get somewhere, I think I can change the perception.”

 

After July 1, 2018, Mayo will be eligible to apply for reinstatement to the NBA. Per league guidelines, both the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association must approve his return, and the two sides can consider a host of factors to weigh that decision, including the circumstances surrounding Mayo’s dismissal, his personal conduct during the ban, his character and morality, whether he has completed a treatment program, and whether he’s a “suitable role model for youth.” Mayo must also be able to “demonstrate by proof of random urine testing” that he has not failed any marijuana or drug tests for a year prior to his reinstatement application.

 

The reinstatement process is intended to be rigorous, and there are a long list of NBA players whose careers have been halted by drug-related issues, including Mayo’s former Milwaukee teammate, Larry Sanders. Nevertheless, multiple players have successfully returned from lengthy drug-related bans, including Chris “Birdman” Andersen, who was formally reinstated in 2008 after serving a two-year ban. If Mayo is reinstated, he would become an unrestricted free agent as Milwaukee has renounced his rights.

 

Mayo knows all the potential excuses and he chooses to reject them. Did he have too much, too soon in life? Sure, he admitted, his childhood and teen years were exceptional. “But if I had the same focused mindset I had at 15 and 16 later when I was 24 and 25,” he argued, “we wouldn’t be sitting here talking right now.” Could he have used a better father figure and more guidance? Mayo didn’t want to say that, repeatedly pointing out that his mother had “taught me right from wrong.” Did his friends, or fake friends, lead him astray? “I knew better,” he argued. “I knew guys in my neighborhood who should have made it somewhere but got stuck. I wasn’t raised like that.” Were the league’s drug rules unfair? “Every man writes his manner,” he said. “I just made poor decisions.”

 

Most of all, he insisted, his former coaches, teammates, organizations and the NBA itself do not bear any of the blame for his current predicament. With the benefit of hindsight, Mayo wished he had taken the league’s counseling and support programs more seriously. He admitted that he hadn’t acted professionally enough to deserve a spot in the NBA, and he thanked Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd, GM John Hammond (now with Orlando), and owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens for doing “everything in the world to help me.”?

 

“I want to go back to what I left [in Milwaukee],” Mayo said, when asked for his dream destination. “I was real close with Jason Kidd. That was the best relationship I had with a coach besides [Dwaine Barnes]. I had great relationships with Giannis [Antetokounmpo] and Khris Middleton. I was comfortable there. I felt like I let them down, cheated them for two years. They paid me $8 million to be, in my eyes, a subpar player. They invested millions of dollars for me to be on top of my s—, and when you’re not on top of your s—, it shows. I’ll be 30 next summer. If they just give me the chance, I can make it up. I owe them.”

 

His checklist is coming together. The ankle is no longer a hindrance. Johnson says Mayo’s rhythm, shooting touch and handle are NBA-ready, leaving his full-court conditioning as the only open basketball question. Gaines marvels at Mayo’s physical transformation, noting that he’s quickly closing in on his ideal playing weight. However, Mayo understands that his fate will largely be determined by his ability to restore trust and repair his reputation, and he knows that his history works against him. There was the improper gift scandal during his one year at USC. There was the alleged fistfight with Tony Allen over a card game on the Grizzlies team plane. There was the 10-game suspension in 2011 for testing positive for DHEA, a hormone found in over-the-counter supplements that’s banned under the NBA’s anti-steroid policy. There was his slipping play in Milwaukee, the drug use, and the so-called mysterious disappearance following his ban.

 

“[Thinking I’m crazy] is an easy perspective for someone to have given the way I was living,” Mayo said. “I’m not ignorant. Somebody could easily fix their mind to say something like that because of my résumé. I don’t have a media rep or PR company making sure that everything is good, and I don’t go to social media with my problems.

 

“But that ain’t me. I’m far from crazy. I’ve made some crazy a– decisions, but I’m not crazy. I’m good with myself. I’m comfortable with my body. I dug myself a hole, but it’s not a coffin. I can still get out.”

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The Summer’s Most Regrettable Offseason Moves

cheap basketball jerseys uk basketball news Regrets, we all have them. For example, in retrospect, I should have known mixing Burger King with a second bottle of Dave Matthews wine would end in disaster. Regrets are one of the spices of life, even if they’re only kept in the back of your kitchen cabinet and you recoil every time you bite into them. What I’m saying is, regrets actually help keep life interesting, and the same applies to the NBA.

 

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This offseason didn’t see the spending bonanza that dominated last year’s headlines (get your money, Evan Turner!), but that doesn’t mean teams didn’t make some questionable moves. Even though the ink has barely dried on free-agent contracts and the NBA season is somewhere far off in the distance, it’s not too early to know which moves teams will almost certainly come to regret. (Before we start, the Wizards signing Otto Porter just barely missed the cut. Washington needs a better third-max guy than Porter. But it’s the Ian Mahinmi contract that’s really handcuffing that franchise. I really just needed a space to remind everyone that Ian Mahinmi making $16 million each year through 2020.)

 

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Knicks sign Tim Hardaway Jr. The issue here isn’t even Hardaway Jr., a young guard who maybe has the opportunity to grow into this contract with increased responsibility in New York. The context surrounding this move makes no sense, however. The Knicks need to be rebuilding, so why hand out a huge contract to someone who isn’t going to take your team to the next level? It’s not like Hardaway was a missing piece for a contender who was willing to overpay for ensured success. Instead, he will become the second-highest paid player on a team that needs to get rid of big contracts. Courtney Lee is a perfectly serviceable vet to serve around the Knicks youngsters.

 

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Instead, New York’s rebuilding efforts—which should focus squarely on Kristaps Porzingis—will be hamstrung by big-money deals given to Hardaway and Joakim Noah. It’s a contract that will be hard to move in trades, and could be a negative-difference maker in free agency down the road. The insane part in all of this, of course, is that the Knicks traded away Hardaway two years ago! This move screams regret, particularly for a lottery-bound team that could find a better, younger, cheaper guard in the drafts to come.

 

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The Timberwolves were the first kid to cannonball into the pool this summer, trading for Jimmy Butler to tip off a league-wide arms race in June. What they did after trading for Butler left a lot to be desired. Signing Jeff Teague wasn’t a terrible decision, but after George Hill signed a team-friendlier contract for the same money, the Teague deal started to look worse. Hill isn’t a remarkably better player than Teague (though he is better), but his fit in Minnesota would have been much more sensible. Hill can play off the ball, hit open threes and defend both guard spots. Teague can do some of those things, but he’s not as staunch a defender, and on offense, he needs the ball in his hands a little bit more than Hill. The way the point guard market worked out, the Wolves aren’t totally at fault for signing Teague. Minny’s quick action in free agency actually helped depress the point guard market, which led to Hill signing for less money than most expected.

 

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The Gibson signing is also an issue. Like Teague, Gibson is a high-floor veteran who will bring some reliability to a young Wolves team. But better fits were out there. If you’re the Wolves, wouldn’t you rather pay Patrick Patterson—a stretchy four who can slide to center—$5 million as opposed to $14 million for Gibson? Patterson is also four years younger than Taj, which aligns him better with the Wolves’ core. Once acquiring Butler, the best thing the Wolves could have done is fill their roster with dependable veterans who can shoot, preferably on the cheap. Minnesota nailed the dependable part, but missed on everything else. With big contracts looming for guys like Andrew Wiggins and Karl Towns, Minnesota had to be very precise with its free-agent signings. I think the Wolves are going to be feeling some regret when the floor is severely cramped for their new superstar.

 

When LeBron and Kyrie are both gone by next summer, it will be very easy to look at the way Dan Gilbert handled the Griffin situation as the first step in Cleveland’s undoing. I’ve gone back and forth on this trade a few times, and I’ve almost talked myself into Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis on multiple occasions. But the Pacers should have gotten more for George. He should have netted much more than an iffy prospect on a hefty contract and a so-so rookie who faded down the stretch of his first season. Indy may especially regret not trading George at the trade deadline. Rumors of George wanting to be in L.A. were circling then as well, but they weren’t as concrete as the declaration George eventually made in the summer.

 

Once George made it public he wanted to be on the Lakers, Indy lost almost all leverage, but still reportedly received better offers than the one Kevin Pritchard accepted. The Pacers are in store for a long rebuild in this post-George world. They could have certainly sped up the process by acquiring more valuable assets for one of the best players in the league.

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In Honor of Hoodie Melo, The Most Powerful Accessories in NBA History

cheap basketball jerseys uk basketball game August continues to be a barren month for NBA news. The sweet, sweet high of the schedule release only lasts but so long, and Kevin Durant feuding with a spoiled, disgraced reporter on Twitter isn’t quite as exciting as watching him raise up over LeBron for a go-ahead three in the final minutes of a Finals game. With that in mind, The Crossover was very excited to see the return of “Hoodie Melo” earlier this week. For those unfamiliar, that’s the version of Knicks star Carmelo Anthony that plays basketball in a hoodie, an article of clothing that seems to make Melo’s game at least 25% better. That got us thinking, what are some of the most powerful accessories that shouldn’t have—but somehow did—make NBA players better?

 

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So this is technically a reverse-accessory situation, because LeBron’s game actually goes to new heights without his headband. The first time we really saw no-headband Bron was in the fourth quarter of Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. Down 3–2 and losing by double digits, James fueled an incredible Heat comeback and couldn’t be bothered to replace his headband after it was knocked off during a foray to the rim. James was playing with the most desperation he ever had in his career, and as a Heat fan, I was so mesmerized with his performance, I legitimately wanted him to ditch the headband for Game 7. LeBron has gone sans headband since returning to Cleveland, and that’s only propelled him to some of the finest Finals performances in the history of the sport. Basically, LeBron would have seven rings by now if he entered the league sporting no gear above the neck.

 

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The GOAT NBA accessory. You could make a documentary on A.I.’s shooting sleeve. It’s also probably the most influential NBA accessory of all-time. What’s funny is while Iverson was a thrilling-as-hell scorer, he was never all that great of a shooter. His career field-goal percentage is 42.5%, and he only shot 31.3% from three. But I’d argue that makes the sleeve’s legacy even greater. You know how good you have to be at basketball to make an accessory popular even if it’s not really helping you with the skill it’s specifically designed for. An extreme example of this would be everyone copying Shaq’s free-throw routine. Ultimately, there was something unmistakably cool about Iverson’s shooting sleeve. Just watching him pull it up on his arm during games was awe-inspiring.

 

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Richard “Rip” Hamilton was one of the most annoying players in the league for everyone who wasn’t a Pistons or Bulls fan. Hamilton would tire out your shooting guard on defense, and slowly kill your team with midrange jumper after midrange jumper. There should be a statue of Hamilton coming off a curl with a helpless defender raising his arms up in frustration outside of Detroit’s new arena. Hamilton, of course, was also famous for making the facemask fashionable in the NBA. I would love to tell you Hamilton’s career took off after he started wearing the mask, because it would really back up the thesis of this story. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Hamilton was so consistent for so many years, the mask didn’t—at least statistically—radically change his game. But every time you or your favorite team watched him strap that thing on, you knew it was going to be a groan-inducing night. And that counts for something.

 

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Kareem started rocking the goggles full-time after his move to Los Angeles, and they remain one of the ultimate old-man flexes. I’m convinced Kareem’s goggles were just for show, like Drew Carey’s glasses. I don’t see any corrective lenses in your Huffington Post headshot, Kareem! Imagine how demoralizing it must have been as a defender to not only have no way of preventing the skyhook, but also have to endure bucket after bucket from some dude wearing rec specs. Kareem knew what he was doing with the goggles. It was psychological warfare.

 

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Which NBA Team Will Make the Biggest Leap This Season?

cheap basketball jerseys in dallas tx dance Summertime is the season for optimism around the NBA, with teams across the league preparing to take their next step as an organization. For some, that means title contention, while for others, simply making the playoffs will be deemed an accomplishment. Five teams saw win increases of seven games or more last season, with four of those squads reaching the postseason. So which teams are primed for a significant improvement in 2017–18? Here are four teams that could take a leap forward this season.

 

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After four years of racing to the bottom of the league standings, Philadelphia has its eyes set on playoff contention in 2017–18. A young core of?Markelle?Fultz, Ben Simmons and Joel?Embiid?will have growing pains early—especially if Simmons struggles with his jumper—but if the trio stays healthy, the?76ers?should blow past the 30-win mark for the first time since 2013. Competing for the playoffs, though, is another matter entirely. The aforementioned trio has a combined 31 games of NBA experience under its belt, and a rookie wall in March and April could seriously hinder Philly’s playoff hopes. Head coach Brett Brown will need to be careful with his minutes for each player early in the season.

 

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Throw in 23-year-old Dario?Saric?and 25-year-old T.J. McConnell, and Philly’s crunch-time lineup could be as young as any in the league. But there are still a few veterans on the roster. The?76ers?added Amir Johnson and?J.J.?Redick?in the offseason, two players with significant playoff experience. They’ll be an integral presence in Philly’s locker room. The addition of?Redick?should do wonders for the?76ers’?spacing and shooting. Philadelphia ranked No. 24 in the league in three-point percentage last year, and no player with more than 50 attempts deep shot over 40%.?Embiid?flashed some range in limited action, but with?Jahlil?Okafor?(and the now-traded?Nerlens?Noel) clogging the paint, Philly often relied on a slew of mid-range jumpers to generate points.

 

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Redick?is a spot-up marksman of the highest caliber, shooting 43% from three last year. With a quick release and propensity for firing triples off of screens, he’ll have plenty of plays drawn for him in Brown’s offense. And if Simmons is even 70% of the passer he was in college, look out.?Redick?could see a similar situation to what he enjoyed alongside Chris Paul. Philadelphia still has plenty of question marks moving forward. Can?Fultz?and Simmons effectively share the ball together? Will?Embiid?stay healthy for a full season? And is there enough depth to fill in the gaps when the three youngsters sit? These questions will persist throughout the season, but there’s too much talent to go around for Philly to end its season under the 30-win mark. Expectations are high in the City of Brotherly Love, and rightly so. Anything less than playoff contention in 2017–18 will be a disappointment.

 

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The last time Minnesota made the playoffs, Karl-Anthony Towns was just 8 years old. But after adding Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague in the offseason, the Target Center seems poised to host playoff basketball for the first time in over a decade. The acquisition of Butler gives Minnesota a focal point on offense and a chance to have one of the highest-octane attacks in the league. No team outside of Golden State will enter 2017–18 with three players who averaged over 20 points per game last year, and head coach Tom Thibodeau should be salivating over the options at his disposal. The Timberwolves are all but guaranteed to improve next season, but in order to truly make a leap into the upper echelon of the Western Conference, they must undergo a vast improvement on the defensive end. Minnesota ranked No. 27 in the league in defensive rating last season, ceding over 112 points per 100 possessions.

 

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The team’s defensive issues start with their two young stars. Towns is an adept shot blocker and a valuable rim presence, but he often struggles with rotations down low. Opposing units attacked him from the weak-side with a vengeance. As for Wiggins, the shortcomings seem to stem from a lack of commitment and focus. Wiggins was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in 2014 due in part to his defensive prowess, an impressive combination of length and lateral quickness. However, those skills have yet to be on full display in the pros.

 

Butler and free-agent signing Taj Gibson should help spark the Timberwolves’ defensive transformation, and Minnesota could mirror the stifling defenses Thibodeau enjoyed during his time with Chicago. But even if the Timberwolves are just average defensively next year, they should find themselves clinching a playoff spot by the end of March. The Bucks made a nine-win leap in 2016–17, vaulting six spots in the Eastern Conference en route to their first winning season since 2010. And with another year of experience for Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thon Maker heading into next season, Milwaukee is expected to compete for a top-four seed in the East.

 

Antetokounmpo experienced a meteoric rise last season, delivering career highs in nearly every statistical category. He started in the All-Star Game, took home the Most Improved Player Award, and ended the season on second-team All-NBA. And he’s just 22 years old. With MVP buzz now circulating around the four-year pro, it seems as though Milwaukee will go as far as The Greek Freak can take them.

 

The main concern surrounding the Bucks’ roster is its lack of scoring punch outside of Antetokounmpo. Jabari Parker looked to be a perfect wingman for Giannis after scoring 20 points per game in 51 contests last season, but a torn ACL will keep him out of commission until the All-Star break. Tony Snell and Malcolm Brogdon can’t be counted on for large outputs, and Greg Monroe will likely see a reduction in playing time with the rise of Maker.

 

Look for Khris Middleton to emerge as Milwaukee’s No. 2 option in Parker’s absence. The Texas A&M product missed much of last season with a torn hamstring, but shined the year prior. He averaged more than 18 points per game in 2015–16, canning nearly 40% of his threes. He’ll be counted on to space the floor when Antetokounmpo takes his mammoth strides to the tin. There’s a chance Milwaukee sees a slight regression next year, especially if Antetokounmpo struggles to shoot a high percentage, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Giannis is too talented, and the Bucks’ young rotation meshed well together through the end of last season and into the playoffs. Barring any health setbacks, Milwaukee should find itself competing for one of the East’s top seeds next season.

 

Following a 48-win campaign two years ago, Charlotte spiraled down to 36 wins and the No. 11 seed in the East in 2016–17. The Hornets featured a middling roster aside from Kemba Walker, one with no standout stars or dangerous offensive weapons.?

 

So why the optimism surrounding Buzz City? Look no further than Charlotte’s front line. The Hornets went an abysmal 3–17 when Cody Zeller was injured last season, and a full season from him will add a significant interior presence. Pair Zeller with Frank Kaminsky, and the Hornets will have a quality inside-out game with its two big men. The second-year man from Wisconsin averaged nearly 12 points per game last year, increasing his range out to the three-point line. He should see even more looks from behind the arc next season.

 

Alongside Zeller and Kaminsky, Charlotte also added Dwight Howard in the offseason. The eight-time All-Star is far from the dominant player he once was, but he’s still a walking double-double, and a force to be reckoned with in the paint. He’ll make his presence felt on the offensive glass, where he nabbed four rebounds per game last year (Charlotte ranked No. 26 in offensive rebounding in ’16-17). All that said, don’t expect the Hornets to get back to 48 wins this season—that’s a pipe dream. But the team’s disappointing 2016-17 will prove to be more of an aberration than the norm.?

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Why Kristaps-For-Kyrie Makes Zero Sense

cheap basketball jerseys reddit funny jokes The Kyrie Irving trade front has been relatively quiet of late, as the Cavs search for the right return in exchange for their star point guard. The trade is being complicated by numerous factors, such as LeBron’s future, Kyrie’s true status in the league, and when certain players can be traded. One name that has popped up recently—and made things a little bit more interesting—is Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks’ blossoming, young forward who ended last season disgruntled with the organization.?

 

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The Cavs have made Porzingis a “primary target” in Irving talks, according to ESPN.com, and Cleveland may be able to start a conversation if it is willing to take back?Joakim Noah’s contract. The Knicks allegedly have no interest in trading their unicorn, according to a Newsday report, though this is not the first time this summer Porzingis’s name has appeared in rumors. Should the Knicks really consider trading Porzingis for Irving? No. Absolutely not.

 

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Irving’s caught a lot of heat for his decision to ask for a trade. There are, in fact, worse things than an extremely successful NBA player looking for a new, more rewarding challenge that’s outside the shadow of one of the most popular athletes in the world. But as respectful as some (read: me) may find Kyrie’s decision, he’s not the right pickup for New York. In Porzingis, the Knicks have a young player who is already a building block for the future. Perhaps it bears repeating—Porzingis is a 7-footer who can shoot, handle the ball, throw alley oops to himself and protect the rim. He was basically created in a lab to be the modern NBA player. Trading a player like that for a scoring guard—who hasn’t proven he can carry a team by himself—would be extremely short-sighted.?

 

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Irving deserves a chance to lead a team by himself if he feels that it would be a more fulfilling path to take in his career. That doesn’t mean the Knicks have to be the team to give him that chance. New York, for years, has fallen in love with starry names as opposed to players who actually make sense on its roster. That Porzingis could even be a target for another franchise says something about how poorly run the Knicks are in the eyes of much of the NBA. (It’s extra insulting coming from the Cavs, who haven’t exactly been a model of consistency in the front office.)?

 

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Would Porzingis even do well in Cleveland? He would have to adjust to playing with LeBron (and his insane pressure-cooker world) for a year before James likely leaves. Then Porzingis would be stuck with a bunch of overpriced vets like he currently is in New York. Cleveland is undoubtedly in a tricky position with the Irving trade. If the Cavs sell out for the future, then they lose whatever slim chance they have of keeping LeBron. If Cleveland makes a win-now move, its best asset for a post-LeBron rebuild will have been wasted if James leaves in 2018.

 

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The best bet for the Cavs is to get realistic about James. Act as if he’s leaving. If LeBron won’t commit, the smart thing for the franchise to do is to get ready for the future. Obviously a player like Porzingis would be a great acquisition for any team. But the Cavs should be looking for multiple assets in return, favoring deals that net them picks and/or rookies that would signal a true rebuild.?

 

Irving’s place in New York doesn’t make much sense either. He won’t be leading the team as long as Melo is on the roster. The Knicks just drafted a point guard in the lottery. And New York would be going from bad to worse if it traded its best player for Irving, who would be stuck playing for an extremely depleted, mismatched roster. cheap jersey The Knicks, so far, are doing the right thing by seemingly holding on to Porzingis. But they need to commit. Tell every team he is untouchable. New York has potential on its roster, even with the contracts of Noah, Carmelo Anthony and Tim Hardaway Jr. looming in the background. The sooner the Knicks construct a sensible team around Porzingis, the sooner they can build a contender. Trading Kristaps for someone further along in their career would be a giant mistake for the Knicks, who still have some roster purging to do before they can properly retool.?

 

On paper, a Kristaps for Kyrie trade sounds incredibly fun, and it sure as hell is a juicy rumor. In practice, both the Cavs and Knicks could probably find deals that make more sense for the future. Here is the goal of Inbound Advertisements. To compromise, cheap jerseys of duplicated style in are availed of instead. Well, it’s choose to continually connect the joy!

 

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Trade Rumors: How the Knicks Mess This Up?

cheap basketball jerseys reddit wtf gallery Give the Knicks credit for this—they always keep things interesting. It’s the middle of August, yet New York finds itself immersed in potentially franchise-altering trade rumors. Carmelo Anthony’s name continues to be a mainstay of the rumor will, with the Knicks star reportedly eyeing a move to Houston. In addition, the Knicks have been one of the main teams mentioned in Kyrie?Irving trade talks, with Kristaps Porzingis?being mentioned as a potential Cavaliers target. The Crossover’s Madelyn Burke, Rohan Nadkarni and DeAntae Prince recently sat down and debated what the Knicks should do next.

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Madelyn Burke: The Knicks have limited assets yet seem to be in on the conversation in two trades. What moves will make the most sense for the long-term benefit of the franchise? Rohan Nadkarni: I think it actually starts with moving Melo. I don’t know if Kyrie is really the fight fit with the Knicks. But Melo has kind of been there as the awkward step dad in the situation the whole time, he doesn’t really make a lot of sense… Burke: You know, Melo grilling in the backyard…

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Nadkarni: … [laughs] it looked like it became an ego contest between him and Phil Jackson, and Melo won. He outlasted Phil and that’s great, I’m happy for him. At the same time I think he’s realized it’s time to move on, obviously he’s trying to make his way to Houston, but if you look at the Knicks right now they have some good pieces. They’ve got [Wily] Hernangomez, they’ve got [Kristaps] Porzingis, they’ve got [Frank] Ntilikina, all guys you can build a core around, build a team around. Then you still have Melo, [Joakim] Noah, you signed Tim Hardaway this offseason, you’ve got to find a way to move these vets, get rid of these vets. I think if they’re really looking toward the future, it starts with moving Melo.
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DeAntae Prince: Yeah, moving Melo is definitely important, but I’d say because Kyrie is such a better basketball player at this point, that anything involves him is more important than whatever involves Melo, and his hoodies, and his late-night run at Chelsea Piers. Burke: If Hoodie Melo was playing this would be a different conversation, but there’s no hoods in the NBA.? Even in the Nike uniforms, we tried, but Nike didn’t include the hoods. But here’s a question too: If Kyrie gets moved to New York and Melo stays, does that make it more enticing for Melo and Kyrie to team up there?
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Prince: I think that’s the worst-case scenario. For the Cavs, if you look at it from Cleveland’s standpoint, it’s super important in the NBA as a whole. They’re the only team competing with the Warriors. So if you bring Kyrie to New York they instantly become a playoff team in the East because the [conference] is so far down. And I’m not sure that’s necessarily what they’re looking for right now. You talked about all the issues they have—they’re still building a team. That probably works in the opposite direction of what they want.
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Nadkarni: Yeah, I don’t like the Kyrie fit in New York. Maybe you can dump some contracts in a move like that. But first of all you just drafted a point guard in the lottery. I’m not saying Ntilikina is as good as Kyrie right now, but maybe at least give him a chance to maybe see what kind of player he becomes. Beyond that, his fit with Porzingis, Irving said on the record he wants to be the guy leading a team. You have that person and you have that alpha personality right now in Porzingis, now you’re going to bring in another guy who stunts his development? Beyond that, if you’re forced to trade Porzingis, for Kyrie, that to me is the worst-case scenario.? So I don’t think they’ll do that, but you know I just think there’s a lot of issues there. I think Kyrie is a good, if not great player, but I just don’t like the fit for him in New York. Kyrie is in a position where he’s not going to win a championship the next season or this season when he gets traded, but he’s closer to win-now than the Knicks are. So I just don’t really liking the timing on this move right now.

Burke: With that landscape in the East, I don’t think the Knicks are going to be in a? title window for at least five years, but there’s a lot of options on the table right now for this franchise. How impactful though is what they do now for the legacy or job security for the new president Steve Mills and the GM Scott Perry? Nadkarni: Well, we saw James Dolan had a lot of patience with Phil Jackson. He’s kind of taken a step back from the basketball operations side of this whole thing. I think he’s going to have patience and give the guys a chance. Steve Mills is kind of the cockroach of the Knicks’ nuclear war. He’s just outlasted everything. I don’t know what kind of dirt he has on Dolan, but he’s lasted a long time. I don’t think the Knicks have to make a splashy move right now—the best thing they could do is to not do anything. Keep Porzingis, don’t make any crazy movements. They already made this [Tim] Hardaway signing, which is just insane. They already need to find a way to get out from under that one.

Burke: Between Hardaway and Noah, they are so anchored down in commitments. Prince; Yeah, the Knicks have a lot of fires to put out in a lot of other places. So I think they’ll be fine with staying pat for a little awhile and trying to let this team build from the ground up? because they’re definitely on the ground floor right now.

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Which NBA Teams Could Go From Playoffs to Ping-Pong Balls in 2017-18?

cheap basketball jerseys reddit wtf over 18 As a slew of playoff contenders dotted their rosters with superstars and key additions this offseason, a select few saw their postseason window shrink. Denver, for example, bolstered its chances of reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2013 by adding Paul Millsap in free agency, while Atlanta now finds itself without a reliable scoring option or interior presence. And as Oklahoma City paired Russell Westbrook with another All-Star in Paul George, the Pacers are now stuck relying on 21-year-old Myles Turner to carry their offense.

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So which 2016-17 playoff teams are in danger of returning to the lottery? Here are four candidates to watch this season. Outside of the 50-win factory still thriving in San Antonio, no NBA team holds a longer active postseason appearance streak than the Hawks. Atlanta has made the playoffs in each of the past 10 seasons, a decade featuring three coaches and six playoff series victories. Nobody ever mistook Atlanta for a title contenders—aside from the team’s 60-win season three years ago—but a decade of playoff basketball is quite the accomplishment for an organization that held a losing record in each of the previous eight seasons. ?

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Unfortunately for Atlanta, that streak projects to end this year. The Hawks lost a number of key players in the offseason, including three of their top four scorers. Millsap signed with the Nuggets, Tim Hardaway Jr. inked a $71 million deal with New York, and Dwight Howard found himself shipped to Charlotte in June. Atlanta’s highest returning scorer is 23-year-old point guard Dennis Schr?der, who, while a nice young asset, also finished last season sandwiched between Derrick Rose and Lou Williams in points per game among point guards. He’s not a dynamic enough scorer to lead a successful offense at this point in his career.
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Expect the Hawks to enter the tanking portion of their season around the All-Star break. Atlanta hasn’t proven to be an enticing landing spot for marquee free agents over the past decade, and after losing Al Horford and Paul Millsap in back-to-back years, the smart move would be to invest in the team’s young talent. Schr?der should see further development in his fifth season, and the Hawks sport an intriguing pair of young forwards in John Collins and Taurean Prince. Playoff contention is unlikely for this bunch.
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Much like Atlanta, Memphis has been a playoff stalwart over the past decade. The Grizz have now made the postseason seven years in a row, with their peak coming during a conference finals trip in 2013. However, Grit-n-Grind’s presence in April and May is no lock this year. The good news for Memphis? It still has two legitimate stars in Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. The pair forms one of the most lethal pick-and-roll combos in the league, bolstered by Gasol’s newfound range. He canned 104 threes last year after making just 12 treys in the past seven seasons combined, adding another element to his impressive arsenal. As for Conley, he had a career year himself in 2016-17. The former Buckeye averaged 20.5 PPG, shooting 41% from deep.
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The problems for the Grizz start once you look past those two stars. This isn’t the Memphis of old. Franchise mainstays Zach Randolph and Tony Allen are no longer with the team (although Allen remains unsigned and could possibly return) and Vince Carter joined Randolph in Sacramento during free agency. In their place stands a collection of unpolished talents and mid-level contracts, and it’s unclear whether Memphis has any replacements that can turn into reliable options.

The Grizz are hopeful that Chandler Parsons can return to his Dallas form, but that’s a longshot at this point in his career. Parsons missed 48 games in 2016-17, looking creaky and out-of-sorts when he did take the floor. He shot a career-low from the field and from three, netting just over six points per game. Don’t bet on a vast improvement from Parsons anytime soon. That said, it’s never a good idea to count out the Grizz, even after a disappointing summer. Gasol will continue to be a force on both ends, and teams heading to Memphis always know they’re in for a fight (just ask the Spurs). However, while nearly every team in the West improved its roster this offseason, Memphis regressed. And as currently constructed, this Grizzlies roster should find itself on the outside-looking-in come playoff time.

Coming off a 51-win season in 2016-17, the Jazz still remain strong candidates for the playoffs. Quin Snyder proved to be one of the shrewdest coaches in the NBA last year and Utah boasted the stingiest defense to boot. That defense isn’t going anywhere, especially while Rudy Gobert is still patrolling the paint. Utah will slow games down and wear teams out, relying on superior ball movement and staunch defense to generate wins. Wins don’t come easy in Salt Lake City.

But you can’t understate the impact of Gordon Hayward’s departure this summer. Hayward was superb last year for Utah, taking the reins as a true top option. He averaged 22 points per game, shooting 50% from the field and 40% from three. It will be up to Gobert, Rodney Hood, and newly-acquired Ricky Rubio to make up for Hayward’s departure, especially in crunch time. With no go-to scorer on the roster, the Jazz will now be forced to cobble together points late in games.

Utah could still sneak its way into the postseason and make life hell for any opponent. And who knows, maybe some stifling defense and a couple of Iso-Joe Johnson game-winners could swing a playoff series. But in a crowded Western Conference, no postseason position is secure. If Utah struggles to score at an effective clip each night, it will find itself closer to the bottom in the conference standings than the top by season’s end.?

In exchange for Paul George, the Pacers accepted a two-piece package from the Thunder:?Victor Oladipo and 2016-17 rookie Domantas Sabonis. Both are solid complementary pieces, but neither projects to be the type of perennial All-Star that George has become. Because of that, Indiana’s ceiling is around the No. 8 seed, at best, this season. Many questioned GM Kevin Pritchard’s decision to accept OKC’s offer over the reported?three-teamer with Cleveland and Denver, and rightfully so. Myles Turner is a key young asset, but it’s doubtful his development alone will lead to any meaningful playoff success in the next few years. Indiana’s path back to relevancy will most likely come through acquiring young assets, either via trades or the draft.
Indiana now finds itself in a strange situation. It has a number of solid veterans and reliable role players, but no dominant scorer. No player on the current roster has made an All-Star team, with Al Jefferson nabbing a third-team All-NBA nod back in 2013-14. Indiana may generate enough wins to go .500 and compete for a playoff berth, but don’t be fooled. The Pacers are far from contenders in the East. They should look to ship some veterans near the deadline, and build around Oladipo, Turner, and their lottery selection in 2018.