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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 05 July 2017 at 4:39am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I love what Minnesota has done with their offseason.

Boston lands Hayward. The team with the best regular
season record in the East adds the #3 pick in the draft
(Tatum) and gets an all-star in free agency. Looks to
be a two-team race in the East and Boston should have
the firepower to make it a more legit competition. Plus,
Cleveland ain't gettin' any younger.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 05 July 2017 at 8:20am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

It was shades of DeAndre Jordan for a second, but Boston got their man. 

This reverses a disturbing trend in which almost all of the top signings involved Western teams (Curry, Griffin, George, Butler, Durant, Millsap, Paul, Teague) and many involved East to West migrations (George, Butler, Millsap, Teague.)  Atlanta has totally imploded, going from 61 wins a couple years ago to a pure rebuild.  Inexplicably they've given up most everyone from their core including Korver, Horford, Teague, Howard and Millsap in less than two years and I see little comparable value in return. 
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 05 July 2017 at 8:28am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I'd add that 28-win Philly now intrigues me in the East.  The Process has drafted too much young talent to ignore and assuming Simmons can play this year, he joins fellow #1 picks Embiid and Fultz along with runner up ROY Saric and Jahlil Okafor.  With the East losing some talent this offseason, I see Philly as a playoff threat that should only improve as the youngsters mature.
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 05 July 2017 at 9:50am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Totally agree about Philly. Philly and Minnesota should
be fun to watch.

The Bucks are my sleeper team. Giannis is a legit MVP
contender and I expect Maker to move into a full-time
role. With the rest of the East pretty weak I think
they could make some noise.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 05 July 2017 at 11:21am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I cannot believe I'm saying this but I am actually looking forward to seeing a Sixers game.

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Rick Senger
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Posted: 06 July 2017 at 7:51am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

With Atlanta, Indiana and Chicago all rebuilding, Milwaukee is certainly a playoff team or more with Giannis, Jabari Parker, Middleton, Brogdon and Monroe plus Thon and some decent vet roleplayers.  Jabari's ACL is the big question (non contact injuries are always scary.)
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 19 July 2017 at 9:25am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

There are rumblings that LeBron may be leaving Cleveland after next year and if so, I can't blame him.  This offseason Dan Gilbert apparently fired a superior GM over money right as he was reportedly on the verge of signing Butler (which obviously didn't happen.)  He then courted and alienated Chauncey Billups as his replacement by refusing to grant him reasonable powers and again cheaping out.  This as they were trying to sign Paul George (it didn't happen.)  During the key free agency period they went without a GM and predictably failed utterly in what should have been easy recruitment of viable free agents.  Top elite teams have a huge advantage attracting talent hungry to win championships, some of them always willing to take less for that shot.  Ivan Calderon?  He's 35 and couldn't even play for the Lakers last year.  Jeff Green?  Playing for a different team for the sixth straight year, 30 and declining.  Every other elite team had major signings but Cleveland.  


Edited by Rick Senger on 19 July 2017 at 9:26am
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 21 July 2017 at 3:02pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Now it appears Kyrie wants a trade to the Spurs, T-Wolves, Heat or Knicks.  Griffin was a good friend of his but this appears to go deeper as Kyrie wants more of a leadership role, which won't happen with LBJ there.  The Cavs were apparently blindsided and are scrambling.  Derrick Rose for the vet's minimum would be a bargain, but his injury history suggests it might be Faustian, particularly if they want him to start at point.  With LeBron also at the end of his contract next year, this could be the beginning of the end of the Cavs as we know them.

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Rick Senger
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Posted: 02 August 2017 at 7:22pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Amazed how few teams have offered much for great players on the move.  I understand not overpaying, but the mediocre talent Indiana settled on for Paul George (Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis) is stunning.   Jimmy Butler and the #16 pick went for... Zach LaVine (season ending torn ACL), Kris Dunn (a throw-in), and the No. 7 pick (Lauri Markkanen)??   Chris Paul for Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and a long list of benchwarmers?  Yeah, there are considerations we never hear about, but I can't help but wonder. 

Kyrie Irving is one of the best young guards out there with a guaranteed 2 yr deal yet nobody seems anxious to make a real offer.  Melo may be older but he remains an offensive genius who has never averaged less than 20 points his entire career.   Yet Houston, who is one player away from being a bonafide contender, is only willing to offer 29 y.o. Ryan Anderson (or something similar.)  Anderson averages 9 fewer points, 2 fewer rebounds and 2 fewer assists and has only played more than 72 games once in his 9 year career.  It may be brinksmanship and hoping to make NY cave in but come on, that's not a legit offer.

I get that many of these players aren't willing to agree to long term deals yet but nothing is certain but it's almost like most of the league has decided to just lay down and sit out the next couple years of GS domination. 
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 23 August 2017 at 12:22am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Celtics trade Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets unprotected first round pick next year to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving.

First blush, Boston overpaid.  Kyrie is 3 years younger, a deserving all star and a fantastic finisher.  He's also been a lot less durable than Thomas over his career, though Thomas is coming off a hip injury.   Thomas is also coming off an MVP-like season where he averaged almost 4 more points, comparable assists and comparable rebounds to Kyrie and was the best finisher in the league in the 4th quarter.  Jae Crowder is a valuable and underpaid SF who averaged 13.2 points and 6.6 rebounds and also defends.  The Brooklyn pick should be breathtakingly good in a class that is projected to be deep.   I would have been fine with Thomas and Crowder and Zizic but throwing in that Brooklyn pick is too much, particularly assuming there are no guarantees Kyrie stays after two years.  Ainge is going all in but he pushed in too many chips.


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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 23 August 2017 at 4:41pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

LeBron would look great in Lakers gold and purple.....

I'm by no means a Celtics fan. (See my comment above) But I agree they overpaid. However, I think they just became the team to beat in the East, if Lebron does indeed leave the Cavs when his contract runs out and the Celtics can sign Irving to a longer contract.

Honestly, though, at this point, I just want a team capable of beating the Warriors. I'd even be fine if the Clippers, who I can't stand, would do it. (Provided they knock the Warriors out of the playoffs, then go on to lose afterward, that is.)


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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 23 August 2017 at 9:14pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

ITEM: I hold out hopes that the Spurs can get their act together and take out the Warriors. Mind you, that's not how I'm BETTING... but I am hoping.

ITEM: I think that our Cleveland Cavaliers got a lot of gelt for Kyrie Irving. Is it enough? Will Irving make the Celtics champs? I dunno if they have the right team structure to back up Kyrie to get them into the championships. But most importantly...

ITEM: KYRIE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT A CHAMPIONSHIP. His best chance* was staying in Cleveland, working WITH Lebron, and getting the Cavs to be the best team possible. He damned well outright stated that he wants to be the big fish in the pond... not that he wants the fish in the pond to win. I think that, ironically, he could have gone to, say, the Nets or the Suns. Oh, he would have been HUGE on those teams, and who knows? They might even have won 30 games with Kyrie. Unfortunately, none of the cellar dwellers had what the Cavs wanted.

There must have been some awful occurrence or chemistry between Lebron and Kyrie. Now both teams may pay the price.

*Okay, the best chance was actually for Kyrie to get traded to Golden State... which is just slightly more likely than Donald Trump signing a contract with Golden State. Even though they offered him a contract... just ask him. He had a phone call with Warriors' ownership.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 24 August 2017 at 3:55pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Rick, you say that Boston got the best player... but how good is Kyrie without Lebron, actually? He was never quite so good alone as he was with LJ out there. I don't remember the exact stats, but I seem to recall that we lost a lot more than we won when Kyrie played and Lebron didn't.

It will be interesting, yes, but I think there's a lot of destruction happened in this this. As a Cavs fan, I can only hope that we get some players who will be healthy and playing up to their reputations. That includes Derrick Rose, by the way.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 24 August 2017 at 4:35pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

KYRIE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT A CHAMPIONSHIP. His best chance* was staying in Cleveland, working WITH Lebron, and getting the Cavs to be the best team possible. He damned well outright stated that he wants to be the big fish in the pond
*****
It is concerning.  Over the years Kyrie has said the right things about wanting to win titles but the words coming out of his camp since July don't tally.  Historically Boston has convinced players to embrace their process and Brad Stevens has carried on this tradition.  My hope is that Irving's purported desire to play for a good coach like Stevens means he can still subsume himself and buy into a system he believes in.  Only time will tell.

Short term I don't think Boston is improved.  Losing Crowder hurts.  They did find a way to avoid having to pay a 5'9" huge defensive liability a max $35-40 mill a year deal when he will be a year from 30.   Irving is also no defensive stopper but he is 5 inches taller and just entering his prime whereas Thomas will likely decline a lot sooner because his 5'9" height magnifies his reliance on his speed so even a slight dip there could be brutal.  Not long after 30, that tends to happen.  It also remains to be seen how Thomas' hip heals.  If he's 100%, Cleveland might actually be better this year thanks to Crowder filling a big defensive hole.  I have my doubts Thomas is going to run as wild as he did last year, but IT has been underestimated his entire career.  Plus they have the Brooklyn pick next year.  The Brooklyn pick is a huge coup but perhaps Boston was willing to give it up since they have seven first rounders in the next three drafts. 

Boston's view is longer as they hope Kyrie will continue to get better and be a key asset for a bigger window than Thomas (his age syncs up better with their other young core of Hayward, Tatum and Brown.)  I suspect they're looking to a few years from now when LBJ may no longer be in Cleveland (or aged and less of a factor) and when GS may also no longer be the same juggernaut.

Next summer Cleveland faces huge questions as Thomas could be cripplingly expensive to re-sign and of course there's LeBron's possible exit.  If everything falls perfectly for Cleveland they somehow win the title and LeBron stays and they figure out a way to keep IT.  But that's quite a long shot.  If the worst happens, they still have the Brooklyn pick. Boston got the best (and younger) player but Cleveland did as well as they could in this trade. 
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 25 August 2017 at 8:41am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

It will be interesting, yes, but I think there's a lot of destruction happened in this this. As a Cavs fan, I can only hope that we get some players who will be healthy and playing up to their reputations.
*****
Short term I think Cleveland is better.  For now, Isaiah is a pretty good approximation of Kyrie.  Crowder should pleasantly surprise you; he's a talented two-way starter-quality player in the "3 and D" mold, something the Cavs really needed, and bargain basement.  Derrick Rose is certainly a question mark but as a backup PG, the former MVP can't help but be an upgrade, also bargain priced.  So in less than a month, Cleveland gave up Kyrie but they landed three starter quality players as well as a potential 2018 lottery pick and a reportedly interesting 7-foot project (Zizic).  They also added Jeff Green, who isn't what he once was but can still ball in a backup capacity for short bursts.  Isaiah and Rose both need to be healthy and if they play well it will be hard to keep them but on paper, Cleveland has added some nice depth for 2017.


Edited by Rick Senger on 25 August 2017 at 8:43am
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 26 August 2017 at 12:34pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

I've heard fans in Boston have been burning Thomas' jersey.

Pardon my language, but that's a total dick move. That's something that should be done when a player demands a trade or refuses to sign a new contract or extension. Like when Cavs fan did it when Lebron jerseys after he bolted for Miami.

Anyone know if OKC fans did that to Durant jerseys when he went to the Warriors?
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 26 August 2017 at 3:15pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I wonder if there will be any tension between Jae
Crowder and JR Smith. Smith hit him in a game and
Crowder fell backwards and injured his left ACL.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 26 August 2017 at 4:30pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

There also might be some tension between Derrick Rose and Crowder since Crowder is dating Rose's ex-girlfriend (high school sweetheart no less).  But there's plenty of uncertainty since the Cavs may be voiding the trade based on their perception that Thomas is more injured than expected. 

Regarding the fan that burned a Thomas jersey, I think that is one knucklehead rather than a trend.  Everyone I know from Boston is mourning the loss of Thomas and certainly doesn't blame him for Ainge's trade decision.  Will be interesting to see what happens because if this trade doesn't go thru i's certainly going to be awkward for all the traded players who then have to come back (on both sides.)  I just hope Boston doesn't throw in any more picks to get the deal done.   Everyone knew Thomas was injured to some degree and it's still months until the season starts so the verdict isn't yet in necessarily.  Irving is good but he's not worth another top pick.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 14 September 2017 at 10:51pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

The Morris brothers' trial is underway and the initial word is that if things go particularly badly, both Markieff and Marcus could face 2.5 to 4 years of hard time.  Two of their purported accomplices in the assault case have already plead guilty and copped deals.  One would have to wonder if they incriminated the Morrises.  Given Boston's strong need for physical defenders, this would be a major blow considering they already lost both Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder as well as Tyler Zeller and Amir Johnson. 
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 15 September 2017 at 12:32am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

If anyone remembers the Charles Oakley incident at Madison Square Garden back in February, he's suing over it. He probably won't win, but I hope he does. James Dolan is a jackass.




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Rick Senger
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Posted: 15 September 2017 at 7:28am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

I don't think Oakley has a ghost of a chance (Dolan has 9 stiffs on the payroll who will apparently testify Oakley beat them up for starters), but I side with Oakley, who I believe was targeted.  Last laugh's on Dolan, though... after making the playoffs EVERY year in the decade Oakley played for them the Knicks have only had 5 winning seasons in the 19 since Oakley left, and two of those were barely above .500.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 23 September 2017 at 3:13pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

The talent continues to migrate westward. 

Melo goes to OKC for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2nd round pick.  Obviously OKC is going all in to win now and try to hang onto Westbrook and George; they traded two 25 year olds and a high 2nd rd pick for a $28 mill luxury tax bill just this year and a 33 year old on the downside.  And I kind of like the move.

While Enes Kanter is just 25 and a capable scorer, he is a problematic big whose terrible defense is hard to keep on the floor in crunch time.  McDermott is a generic light rebounding forward.   Both are young enough that NY probably hopes they can develop but neither will ever do what Carmelo can do, even if though that ability is already in decline.

OKC now has three bonafide All Stars and Melo will never have a better chance to actually win the way he claims he wants to win despite taking the money NOT to do so with the Knicks.  If Melo ever wanted to show he gives a damn and play some defense, now's the time.  I doubt OKC can get by GS but Houston could be close and I understand the gamble because if they stand pat, they're almost sure to lose George this year and Westbrook could follow, leaving nothing. 

The pressure to make real progress this year in OKC is going to be intense.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 26 September 2017 at 6:44pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

And Wade reportedly rejoins LeBron in Cleveland as the Cavs become the clear Eastern conference favorite with easily the deepest team on paper LBJ has ever played on.  All-Stars at every position except forward, where Tristan Thompson is an All-Star calibre rebounder, and that doesn't include Isaiah Thomas, another All-Star and 5th in MVP voting last year, who is scheduled back in January.  

Their bench includes former All-Star Kyle Korver, former sixth man of the year JR Smith, a former 22.6 PPG scorer in Richard Jefferson, a former 17.6 PPG scorer in Jeff Green, solid 3 and D big Jae Crowder, and Iman Shumpert if he stays.  The questions are health and age; can this amazing assemblage of talent stay on the court and turn back the clock? 
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 27 September 2017 at 4:10am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Wade is an important addition with Isiah Thomas's status
in doubt (and at least out for the first half of the
season). Should be fun.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 18 October 2017 at 12:58am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Six minutes into the 1st quarter of the first game, Gordon Hayward ends his season in gruesome Paul George-like fashion.  Boston still plays the Cavs tough but any realistic hope they had to challenge for the Eastern title appears gone just like that. 
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