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Rick Senger
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Posted: 14 June 2019 at 12:34am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Toronto almost gave away the game with Klay and Durant both gone but Van Vleet and Siakam and Ibaka refused to let it happen and Kawhi had just enough at the end.  Lowry played great in the first half but dried up later.   It's a good thing he had the hot start because it mostly offset strong offense by Iguodala and Cousins.   Draymond had a great game (11 / 19 / 13 / 3 steals / 2 blocks but 8 turnovers) but Klay was on fire when he fell.  Torn ACLs are typically a 6 to 9 month proposition just to return to normal physical activity so it's possible Klay won't play at all next season though he could also be back and mostly in shape by the playoffs.   But how many can GS win without two of their five starters?

Really curious to see where Kawhi and Klay and Durant and Kyrie and AD and Butler and Tobias Harris and Kemba wind up... Klay seems sure to be back in GS.  Durant is somewhat less certain though NY seems likely to pay up despite his situation.  Kyrie might reconsider Brooklyn now that Durant is at least a year away; if Boston can snag AD, the path to a championship is a lot clearer and Kyrie might be wise to stick it out with GS apparently compromised next year and Kawhi possibly leaving for LA. 

It's pretty unusual for both Finals teams to be so questionable to return next year.   Without Kawhi, Toronto seems unlikely to do nearly as well.  Even if Durant opts in and Klay resigns, both face an uphill struggle to get back on the court for at least a lot of the year. 

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Rick Senger
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Posted: 14 June 2019 at 9:53am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

For all their similarities in style, I'm struck by how different these teams were in makeup.  GS had two league MVPs, two Finals MVPs, a Defensive Player of the Year and five All Stars including two All Star sons of talented NBA vets and All Americans. Tons of high first round picks.  The addition of DeMarcus Cousins made them arguably the greatest topline starting five in history when healthy.  This team was stacked with recognized top prospects and golden boys (Durant #2, Bogut #1, Cousins #5, Iguodala #9, Livingston #4, Curry #7, Klay #11, Draymond #35 was among the lowest on the team.)  Multiple injuries ultimately turned them into the underdogs as the series progressed but because of their mythical status, it was hard to accept.

Toronto had two All Stars and two former Defensive Players of the Year but this was a team of unheralded longshots and jimmy lunchpails who vastly exceeded expectations.  Guys from small schools, some from overseas, some undrafted, none expected to be that impactful.  Kawhi Leonard was the highest player drafted at #15 but was never considered a serious offensive threat until maybe his fourth year in the league.  Lowry #24.  Siakam #27.  Gasol #48.  Danny Green #46.  Ibaka #24.  Jeremy Lin (undrafted).  Norm Powell #46.  Anunuoby #23.  Van Vleet (undrafted).  They have developed into good players and a particularly strong defensive unit, but I suspect the way many had to  claw their way into the league surely informed their ability to relentlessly attack the initially heavily favored Warriors. 

As the ultimate underdog Van Vleet put it in his postgame presser, "People don't view us (as a super team)  because (we're) untraditional, (we're) not the glam stars, none of our guys other than Kawhi are in that big boy club.  We have guys who had to get it the long way, who had to get it out of the mud, who had to get it against the grain.  We got a team full of them coming from all different  places, all walks of life, all different life stories to get to this moment, but we got some talent."


Edited by Rick Senger on 14 June 2019 at 9:57am
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 14 June 2019 at 9:24pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I'm just glad the Warriors didn't win. It being the Raptors' first ever title is great, but I honestly wouldn't care who the Warriors played, as long as they lost.


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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 15 June 2019 at 2:51pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I was surprised to hear Bob Meyer say they still plan to
offer Klay and KD max contracts despite their injuries. I
have to admire how much loyalty management is showing
their star players unlike the way the Celtics and Pelicans
were to Isaiah Thomas and Boogie Cousins, respectively.

Steve Kerr also would be happy to have Cousins back.
Personally, I don't think Cousins has played particularly
well this season.

If Shaun Livingston retires, I would love to see Jeremy
Lin join the team.

Edited by Wilson Mui on 15 June 2019 at 2:56pm
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 15 June 2019 at 8:23pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

So.....how about that Lakers trade for Anthony Davis?

I kind of wish they had kept Brandon Ingram, but otherwise I like it. 

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Rick Senger
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Posted: 15 June 2019 at 9:28pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Seismic trade... the Lakers went all in and basically cleaned out the roster other than Kuzma and James along with a stunning three first round picks (including #4 this year).  They still have a $30 mill max slot to add another really good player and with LeBron and AD in place that presumably won't be as hard even with all the front office turmoil.  New Orleans gets Ingram, Ball and Hart... three young players with much potential though Ingram is still recovering from a blood clot issue and Ball has been a disappointment thus far.  With both LeBron and AD on board now, I just had the scary thought... what if Kawhi signs on?  It would be a bit of a logam at Forward but LeBron can basically a distributor and AD can play center.  Everyone has assumed Kawhi will go to the Clippers if he comes to LA but why not the Lakers, who are already a sure playoff team with AD and would become instant contenders / favorites with Kawhi. 

Sounds like Boston decided not to go all in on their offer, fearing AD would just be a one year rental.  Boston must now go to plan B and with Kyrie Irving reportedly leaving, it's going to be tricky.  Assuming no other blockbuster trade is on the horizon, they must move quickly to mend fences with Jaylen Brown, Jason Tatum and Marcus Morris, all of whom were rumored trade bait all season.  They must also make a decision on whether to promote free agent Terry Rozier, a solid backup PG to Kyrie, who has threatened to leave if Kyrie stays.  To me it's a no-brainer; Rozier will be relatively cheap and proved his value a year ago when Kyrie was out long term.   Boston has some cap room with Kyrie leaving and must move fast to snap up one of the other consolation prizes.  In a way NO and LA did them a favor by resolving the AD issue early enough that they seemingly have enough time to switch gears and targets.  No matter what, though, they need to do SOMETHING... Hayward should continue to improve but it's possible he will never be the player he once was and with Irving's apparent departure and Horford aging, they need to bring in some help fast.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 15 June 2019 at 11:14pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

A lot of people think the Lakers gave up too much to acquire AD and crippled the team. I don't agree.

And of course, Lavar Ball made a rant saying the Lakers would never win a championship without Lonzo. He's since walked it back, but I'm about at the point where I wish Lonzo would end up out of the league and has to go play in Europe just so Lavar shuts up. Its hilarious, because Lonzo is eventually going to end up a career bench player unless something drastic happens. If I was a GM and Lonzo Ball was on the team's roster, the first thing I would do would be to trade or release him. He doesn't play aggressive enough. Him no longer being a Laker is great.

And I dread the day Lonzo is on a championship team. Because Lavar will be more unsufferable than ever.

*edit* Rick, I think we're more likely to see Kyrie a Laker than Kawhi. But I don't think the team will land either one.



Edited by Brian Floyd on 15 June 2019 at 11:18pm
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 16 June 2019 at 12:22am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Yeah, I've sensed Kawhi doesn't want to play with LeBron but perhaps  the lure of championships might change his mind, who knows?  LA needs a PG for sure and Kemba Walker is apparently the Lakers' first choice to take the max slot available.  He would fill that PG void but Kemba has claimed he wants to stay in Charlotte and he can accept a much larger supermax from the Hornets than the Lakers can offer.   I've heard the Kyrie rumors as well but I also don't see it happening.   Other viable PGs include Ricky Rubio (not my first choice), Derrick Rose (great comeback last year but health is forever a concern).  Even though he's limited offensively, Patrrick Beverley's scrappy defense would make a good backstop and he'll likely be available for cheap.  But he's not a starter.  Malcolm Brogdon is an excellent shooting young PG but he's restricted so it's unlikely to pry him away from the Bucks. 
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 16 June 2019 at 1:27am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I honestly don't know what they'll do for a PG. But I do not want them to get Derrick Rose for that. Not a fan of Rubio, either.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 16 June 2019 at 2:20pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

The Lakers should easily be able to re-sign Rondo if they want him (LeBron apparently likes him... I do, too.)  But Rondo is really not a good starting PG at this point with his injury history and weak outside shot.

I'm curious to see how New Orleans does... they may be better than many think with Zion Williamson filling the AD slot, either a decent vet or the #4 pick if they keep it, Jrue Holiday a solid starting PG if they keep him, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball at backup PG.   If they could find a way to keep Julius Randle, this is a super-young team with real potential and a certainty to only get better assuming they stay healthy. 
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 18 June 2019 at 7:17pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

And now Horford may be leaving.  Boston's once incredible promise  seems to be crumbling all around them!
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 27 June 2019 at 12:30pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Boston is the rumored front runner for Kemba Walker and is also reportedly seeking to be the third team involved in a Jimmy Butler move from Philly and Houston, hoping to grab Clint Capela.  If it happens, what an amazing handcuff escape by Danny Ainge replacing Kyrie with all star Kemba and 33 y.o. Horford with 25 y.o. Capela (16.6 / 12.4).  My mouth is watering.  Unfortunately, I don't think Houston is that stupid (Butler is talented but a bad fit for the already ball-dominant Harden and Paul).
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