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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 06 July 2019 at 10:06am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Total shocker. I should have realized something was
in the works.

Anybody know how Clippers defense was last year? Next
season, it should be off the charts.

I have to feel a little sorry for Westbrook. First he
loses KD and now Paul George. Only thing left is to
trade him to the Knicks.

BTW - For a large sports media company like ESPN, why
do they have so many bad analysts and commentators?
Rachel Nichols is the only that has good insight.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 06 July 2019 at 1:13pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Yeah, all the analysts (not just ESPN) looked like fools.  Seems people were either speculating wildly or perhaps even being fed misleading info by Kawhi's camp to throw them off the scent?  Kawhi really is a solitary cat with a tight inner circle that kept a lid on things. 

It sounds like Kawhi didn't even approach the Clips and Toronto about adding George (playing the two against each other) until Wednesday, which means even Kawhi hadn't really figured it out until late (he'd asked Durant to join him earlier and been spurned.)  It appears the Clippers were always the first choice if they could get another star.  While waiting, the Raptors and Lakers both passed on tons of excellent potential free agents and deals that are now long gone and Ujiri in particular will now be forced to scramble and face a hard rebuild decision.  But his gamble did get them a championship. 

LA's immediate re-signs of KCP and Javale McGee (plus adding Danny Green) show they know there are no other big fish to land and just competent vets to fill out the roster.  The Lakers will be competitive but they're no longer a super team or the favorite, merely intriguing. 

Is the Super Team era over for now?  Maybe.  But there's also a bit of a demise of the happy notion that small markets can lure free agents by simply being competently run.  Leonard and George were two shining examples of this theory when Leonard was with the Spurs and then Toronto seemed to have a chance to re-sign him (and when George re-signed with OKC) but now both have repudiated the notion, bolting to big market LA along with Anthony Davis and LeBron before them as Kyrie and KD defected to New York.  Boston got Kemba from Charlotte, but it ain't exactly tiny, either (and it's a rabid basketball town.)  

At least there appears to be real parity in the league with GS no longer a behemoth and no other team emerging as a three-headed beast (Philly may come closest with Embiid, Tobias Harris, Al Horford and Ben Simmons, but only Embiid is a true superstar and the others, while excellent, all have their asterisks.)
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 06 July 2019 at 1:33pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

The Lakers take a flyer on DeMarcus Cousins for a year. 

That pretty much clears the table... the only guys I see left from the top 60 or so free agents are:

Marcus Morris
Rajon Rondo
Jabari Parker
Kelly Oubre

Oubre is a nice young forward but he's restricted so Phoenix can match any offer.

Of the rest, to me Marcus Morris is easily the best... a reliable, durable two way player who can create his own offense, has an outside shot and can defend multiple positions plus his salary is attractive.  No clue why he hasn't been snapped up.

Rondo seems likely to land somewhere (surprised the Lakers haven't re-signed him). 

More trades will go down and pieces will shift but for now, the record-breaking summer free agency 2019 appears to be mostly over.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 06 July 2019 at 1:55pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Ha!  Minutes after my post, Rondo is signed back up with the Lakers on a 2 yr minimum deal.  If I have my roster right, he remains the only true PG on the entire team, a very bad idea since Rondo is 33 years old with serious injury issues (only played 46 games last year and has only played as many games as 72 once in the last 9 years.)  LeBron can sometimes be a PG proxy but it's really not a long term fix.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 06 July 2019 at 4:10pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Hard not to feel disappointed that Leonard didn't want to stay with the Raptors, just because we're losing such a great player, but I wish him the best. Had a great season for Toronto and was a key part in driving the team to that NBA championship.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 06 July 2019 at 4:48pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Morris to the Spurs after snubbing a Lakers rumor. Great acquisition!
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 06 July 2019 at 6:28pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Morris is an almost prototypical Spur who can guard hard, switch effectively and play selflessly (or get his own when needed.)

With Paul George gone, OKC will not be in the playoffs in the stacked West.  Apparently Westbrook is in talks with GM Sam Presti to possibly get traded before next season's inevitable rebuild.  We all know Westbrook is a dynamic  scorer, disher, and rebounder and has been a good defender at times (though not great last year.)  He also has a tendency to hog the ball at the end of games and his scoring and shooting / FT percentages have dropped of late.  Would you want Westbrook on your team?
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 11 July 2019 at 8:00pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Westbrook and CP3 are switching teams. Though OKC is apparently also getting some picks.

Awesome. CP3 will be on a team with no other stars, and Harden and Westbrook will not be able to co-exist.




Edited by Brian Floyd on 11 July 2019 at 8:02pm
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 11 July 2019 at 8:14pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I thought the Rockets were supposed to have all these smart people,
but they keep making bad personnel choices - Melo, Chris Paul and
now Westbrook.

Woj saying CP3 will likely get traded by OKC to another team like
Miami.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 11 July 2019 at 10:57pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

This trade caps the most eventful two weeks of free agency I can recall in my lifetime.  It's a shocker but kind of the only move that made sense from the only team desperate enough to go after Russ this late in the game no matter the cost; their salaries matched and both players needed a change.

It's a good gamble by both teams.  The Thunder have now accumulated a ridiculous EIGHT first-round picks since the June 20 NBA draft, and with the possibility that OKC could retain its own 2020 pick (top-20 protected to Philadelphia) and 2022 pick (lottery protected to Atlanta), the Thunder could have 15 first-round picks / swap right picks in four different seasons between 2020 and 2026!  If you're going to be bad it's best to be really bad and if OKC trades Paul they will be immediately horrendous... better odds at a jump start rebuild from the ground up by creating their own high pick rather than relying on all those other team's picks though all those other high picks in the next half decade is a small-market-friendly way of building it up again.

Houston gets out from under Paul's horrific contract and gets a player 4 years younger who syncs better with Harden's title window plus they both want to play with each other (Paul and Harden did not).  Westbrook is clearly in decline but he's more durable and still a much more athletic offensive player and rebounder than Paul plus his size and age makes him a better defender.  The problem is Houston has lost about half its vaunted three point shooting (James Ennis, Michael Carter Williams and Chris Paul) and Russ is one of the worst volume three point shooters in the history of the league. 

Bottom line:  Houston is better short term and OKC is way worse short term (assuming Paul is traded), exactly what both teams wanted.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 12 July 2019 at 9:28am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

BTW, while Westbrook seemingly slowed he's still one of the most relentless grinders ever.  He's also one of the two most ball dominant players in the league and the other is Harden, so that's a serious concern.  But then, Chris Paul was also quite ball dominant so it's not getting any worse.  Still, Russ is not known for cutting away from the ball and his catch and shoot stats are weak whereas Harden's are really good so the best strategy ironically would seem to be to putting the ball in Westbrook's hands more and letting the better shooter (Harden) space and cut for looks.  But Harden also turns out to be one of the best "stop and pop" shot creators (absolutely deadly on 3's), which can't be done without the ball.  It's a conundrum!  Can't wait to watch Houston next year and see what happens.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 15 July 2019 at 11:08pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Miami is likely where CP3 will end up, like Wilson said. They're the only team that's willing to take on his current contract, apparently. 

Also, I know one delusional Knicks fan who seriously thinks everyone is going to be afraid of them next season, and he didn't have that attitude until they got Marcus Morris!

(They *might* make the playoffs, but it won't be a deep run.)


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