Guess what didn't happen last week?
I incorrectly guessed that Anthony Davis would become a Laker. In this case, I was gladly wrong. As a bitter Cleveland fan, watching the debris of a SECOND wrecked Cavaliers team, I wish LeBron James nothing but ill will on the basketball court. If he wants to suck in L.A., that's his prerogative (The Decision II), but don't go to L.A. and go "wow, these guys are no good, I need another superstar." LeBron could have signed with the Pelicans if he wanted to play with Anthony Davis so bad. I guar-an-tee you that the Pelicans would have cleared the decks in order to welcome LeBron.
That's not how the NBA works in 2019. Why is that? Bunch of NBA Players turned the NBA into a soap opera, then complained about feeling like they're in a soap opera.
James found out that Lonzo Ball is only marginally better, and marginally bigger, than 2009's version of Delonte West. At the same time, Ball's Dad is chirping that his son is better than LeBron.
Let's go back to the LA/CLE/NO trade I proposed last week. Notice I didn't include Ball because neither the Pelicans nor the Cavs would have wanted him.
The whole crux of the trade is that New Orleans didn't only want draft picks or young talent. If they were going to trade Davis, they wanted at least one multiple time All-Star in return. There aren't a lot of those players available, that's why I included Kevin Love. New Orleans would be rolling the dice that Love wasn't too old (he is), that he's not injury prone (which he definitely is), and that he's not making too much money (c'mon now).
Kevin Love came back from injury and played 5 minutes in his first game back after missing the last 50 games with a foot injury. I didn't see any other rumors of other possible All-Stars that could have ended up in New Orleans by trade.
The Pelicans did indeed trade Nikola Mirotic for draft picks, but instead of ending up in Cleveland, he ended up with the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Lakers did indeed trade Ivica Zubec, basically dumping more salary for a summer run at All-Stars.
LeBron wanted to build a Superteam in L.A. The problem is, he found himself surrounded by the 2009 Cavs. The difference is, back in 2009, the Cavs naively thought LeBron was satisfied with a 60 win season whereas LeBron 'knew' the team wasn't good enough to win a championship. If LeBron went to Dan Gilbert after that '09 season and said "I'll stay if you trade all these guys for Amar'e Stoudemire," would the 2010 Cavs have won the Championship?
And that's the problem. Nobody is reporting on the Pelicans point of view. Why would the Pelicans trade their best player? I know, I know, they don't want to lose him for nothing, but if they wait until summer they can facilitate a bidding war. Why in the world would the Pelicans want to help their conference rivals?
I thought Magic Johnson would pull out all the stops to get Davis to L.A., and I thought that he'd find a third team to make the trade happen. Johnson just offering Lakers was never going to be enough for the Pelicans (the Lakers went 6-11 in James' absence.). The same reason the '09 Cavs couldn't get an all-star in Cleveland. But in Cleveland the situation was worse because the Cavs were always working from a position of weakness because of the timing of LeBron's contracts. This week, the Lakers were exasperated that the Pelicans wouldn't negotiate, but no one points out that the Pelicans didn't have to. And again, who's yappin' that Magic Johnson sucks the whole time trade talks were heating up? LaVar Ball.
I like Magic Johnson, but it's hard not to call the NBA a giant soap opera when Johnson whines that the Pelicans didn't negotiate in good faith.
Personal Note to Magic: Listen, you were trying to steal one of the Top 5 players in the league for 'Magic' beans. It was your job to knock the Pelicans' socks of. If anyone negotiated in bad faith, it was the Lakers' Organization.
Why doesn't someone ask Michael Jordan how executive life is? Jordan got screwed as the Director of Basketball Operations for the Washington [Bullets], so he saved up his money to become the Minority Owner of his own team, the Charlotte Bobcats. Jordan kept saving his money and bought a majority stake in the team in 2010. One year later, the Bobcats had the worst record in NBA history at 7-59.
But, (but, but, but) when you're Michael Jordan, what is the definition of winning and losing today? Michael Jordan bought the Bobcats for $175 million. Now the team is worth $1.25 BILLION! That's a return on investment of over a billion dollars in under a decade. How did Jordan disassociate his Bobcats from that disastrous losing season? Not by actually winning on the court, but by re-branding the Bobcats as the Hornets to associate the team with its winning past, harkening back to the days of Larry Johnson.
You don't hear stories of Jordan missing on draft picks like Kwame Brown anymore. Jordan has actually made more money on the Hornets than Dan Gilbert made on the Cavs with James as his star player ($800 million). LeBron James isn't just chasing Michael Jordan's Ghost on the court, but off the court also. LeBron is trying to build a brand in Los Angeles, creating an entertainment complex and looking to his post-player days. LeBron needs to get players to L.A. to enhance his brand.
And drama enhances the NBA brand.
Still don't think the NBA is a soap opera? Earlier this week, Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock came up with a theory that because LeBron is an only child, he's a bad teammate that creates "toxic environments" everywhere he goes. It's an interesting theory, one that belongs in a soap opera plot, not an NBA storyline. Jason Whitlock, himself, is a bit of a pot-stirrer, but he's not a yocal, he has his own radio show and has a national platform
The Boston Celtics want Anthony Davis so bad they can taste it They're convinced that they can offer the Pelicans more than anyone else, (but not now, due to the collective bargaining agreement). What's the problem with Davis to the Celtics in the summer? Anthony Davis' Dad doesn't want his son to play for the Celtics. What happens if the Celtics put on the full-court press for Davis, but then the Celtics' tempermental superstar Kyrie Irving breaks the team's "engagement"?
Who has the best record in the NBA this season?
As of February 10, 2019, the Milwaukee Bucks. Notice the Bucks were only mentioned for about 2 seconds in this article. (You're re-reading the article now to see where.) You don't hear much about the Bucks, because their only storyline is winning basketball games.
Who has the second best record in the NBA so far?
The Golden State Warriors.
Oh, what's Kevin Durant going to do in free agency this summer? "Just let me play basketball."
Oh, what does Steve Kerr think about Durant's future?
"Instead of the focus being on the Warriors playing for a third straight title, all the focus seems to be on where everybody's gonna be playing next year," Kerr said, per Drew Shiller of NBC Sports. "And look, that's part of the deal—especially if you sign a 1-year deal and you're a superstar and you're gonna be a free agent—those questions are gonna come."
- Bleacher Report
Oh, what's Klay Thompson going to do this Summer? Headline: Klay Thompson Interested in Signing (with Lakers) If Anthony Davis Traded to LA
If Kevin Durant stays, will the Warriors lose Draymond Green? "Only the Warriors can beat the Warriors." - GQ Magazine
I'm sorry, what sports website was that last link?
KEVIN DURANT BLASTS NBA MEDIA 'You're Trying to Tear Me Down' - TMZ Sports
TMZ and Basketball, let that sink in for a while....
Updated Valentine's Day: Still not clear how Michael Jordan ties into my article about LeBron and the trade Deadline? This will help you out.