The Lakers have always been one of the more hatable teams in the NBA. Add LeBron James to it and now you have a squad that people not only despise, but actively root against. As a lifelong Celtics fan, the Lakers are my least favorite team by default, but as a lifelong Kentucky fan, it is going to be hard to hate them this season and here’s why:
The team most likely to win the title in the NBA has three of the most beloved Kentucky players of all time on it. Of course, the team that we all wanted to fail has made it very hard to root against them. Rajon Rondo was the best Kentucky player in years at the time he arrived, Demarcus Cousins was an irreplaceable piece in Cal’s first team at UK and Anthony Davis brought the NCAA title back to its rightful home for the first time in 14 years. Truly unforgettable players.
See if you can still hate the Lakers after watching their highlights as Wildcats.
Couldn’t find any Rondo Kentucky highlights without a Creed song in the background so hopefully his Louisville games suffice.
I wrote yesterday about how other NBA teams are jumping on the BBNBA backwagon and I can’t tell if it is because Kentucky players are taking prominent positions in NBA rosters or if there are just so many of them that it is unavoidable having 3-5 Wildcats on a team. Either way, we really should have seen AD and Boogie teaming up with LeBron coming.
John Calipari is known for two things in the coaching world: attracting the best recruits to come to Kentucky and then putting those same recruits in the NBA. So far, he has had 38 players drafted, 29 in the first round, 21 in the lottery, and 3 were taken first overall, BUT no NBA Championship rings. Sure, it’s out of his control, but why is that?
Well, one of the biggest reasons is that his best players get drafted too high. Others never live up to their full potential. The ones that can actually make a difference go to the worst teams that get lottery picks for a reason. The dysfunction of upper management and coaching can ruin even the best players. It’s hard to make the best of a bad situation when it takes 3 All-stars or perfectly timed injuries to win a championship anymore (nothing against the Raptors, health is an important part of a championship team).
But Coach Cal’s NBA Title woes may be coming to an end as early as next season. As part of the Lakers’ “oh my God, LeBron is older than we realized, we need to win now” initiative, they just traded away 95% of their future for Kentucky’s own Anthony Davis. Love or hate the Lakers, you have to be happy that AD now has the best chance at winning a title since 2012.
In fact, the Lakers are now the favorite to win the World Championship next season.
Many of Calipari’s Kentucky players have tried to win a championship, and some have come close, but all have failed. Boogie Cousins was the closest, but a plethora of injuries crippled his Golden State Warriors. Josh Harrellson was actually on the Miami Heat roster that won the title in 2011. But he did not meet the Heat’s minimum games played threshold to receive title recognition.
Hopefully, this year is the year. The LeBron and AD combo should be good enough to make a deep run in the Western Conference Playoffs, but they need just one more piece to ensure that Calipari finally gets his champion.
For more Kentucky opinions and news, follow us on twitter @soft7sports.
By now, we have all seen the Woj bomb that Anthony Davis is heading off the Los Angeles Lakers. Full details here. The move did not really take anyone by surprise. It was long overdue and frankly, it is the best move for the NBA as a whole. Love or hate the Lakers, at least be happy that AD now has the best chance to win a championship since he left Kentucky.
Anthony Davis is not the only member of BBNBA who is making a move this offseason. Julius Randle has exercised his player option and is looking away from New Orleans. And Boogie Cousins is becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Julius Randle Last season with the Pelicans, Randle averaged 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in absence of Anthony Davis. Pretty solid stat line considering what he had to work with. According to Shams, Randle has decided to opt out of the last year of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent. Basically, Julius Randle is about to get PAID. The only rumors that have come out so far is that he would be interested in joining the Suns, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of weight behind it. Due to the recency of the news, it may be a couple days before more teams come forward.
Follow us @Soft7sports for updates on all BBNBA free agents as the summer goes along.
The Pelicans just traded Anthony Davis for just about every asset the Lakers had not named LeBron James or Kyle Kuzma. So just about everyone that Randle has already played with. Probably knows that the $9 million he was owed next season won’t be worth it. Even with Zion and the #4 overall pick.
Demarcus Cousins Demarcus Cousins has become an unrestricted free agent. After being plagued by injuries last season, Boogie decided to take a year in Golden State to recuperate and win a title. And well, neither happened. He reinjured his calf and missed more games than expected. Also, injuries to his teammates kept him from being the first Kentucky-Calipari player to get a ring.
There are really only a couple landing spots for Boogie this offseason. After a sneaky impressive 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds, Warriors could use him especially since Klay Thompson will miss some of the season and Kevin Durant will either be out all year or in another city altogether. But right now, it looks like he will be moving on. Especially after this tweet:
The top teams looking to sign Boogie are the Lakers, Clippers, Mavericks, Spurs and Bucks. Some are more longshots than others, but all are possibilities. However, if the market for Cousins stagnates again, he could very well stay put in Golden State.
As a part of LeBron James and Rich Paul’s never ending quest to get Anthony Davis to the Lakers, Rich Paul said today that if AD were to go to the Celtics, it would only be for a one year rental.
According to ESPN’s Woj, the Lakers and Celtics are negotiating trade packages to acquire Davis before the NBA Draft. The Lakers can make a pretty good offer. They have the number four overall pick and seem dead set on getting rid of Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. Also, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports is Anthony Davis’ agent and personal friend of LeBron James. Best believe that he will do everything he can to get Davis to LA.
Meanwhile, the Celtics are once again leading the league in trade assets. They are stacked with future stars like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown; not to mention they also have three first round picks in this year’s Draft. Even though it is beginning to look like a longshot that Boston will land Davis, it could be their last hope in keeping Kyrie Irving. The future of Irving with the Celtics is unlikely now that he has opted out of his contract, but it is still possible. I know the fans don’t want Kyrie anywhere near Beantown, but since Kevin Durant’s injury, Uncle Drew may have to put his plans on hold.
So, if trade talks fall apart between the Lakers and Pelicans yet again, AD may be, like the Dropkick Murphys, shipping up to Boston. But like mentioned before by his agent Rich Paul, only for a year.
And as a Celtics fan… I’LL TAKE IT.
Anthony Davis for any amount of time would be amazing. Don’t act for a second like having a top 10 player in the world wouldn’t make a difference. Look at what Kawhi did signing a one year deal with the Raptors. And he may even re-sign. Davis may come to Boston and love it and want to then sign a long term deal to play with Tatum and Brown. He could even entice Kyrie to stay. And I guarantee that Kyrie’s hero ball nonsense will change real quick once he realizes his isn’t the best player in green and white. Don’t give up hope just yet. The Celtics could form the quietest super team of all time even if it is for just one season.
As we all slightly expected, the Pelicans could not convince AD to stay. We all wanted to see what a potential AD, Zion, and Jrue lineup could do, but alas, it was not meant to be. What does this mean for us casual NBA fans and stans out there, especially since this trade has monumental implications? Everyone knows that every team is calling with their AD offer, since many would be crazy to not attempt to trade for him. The Clippers, Jazz, Kings, Rockets, Mavericks, and Thunder have shown interest in acquiring the best center in the league. They’ve been reluctant in pulling the trigger on mortgaging their future on him, and are not the headlines of the “trade for AD crowd”. Those, of course, are still the Lakers, the Knicks, and the Celtics.
As some of you may or may not have heard, reports are coming out that LeBron has told the Lakers that if they strike out in free agency, and do not land him another star to play with, then he will demand a trade. This could spell the end of LABron and the Lakers hopes as a title-contending franchise. The Lakers will undoubtedly go all in on the AD trade sweepstakes, and offer everything under the sun in order to get him. Issue is, will Ball, Hart, Ingram, Kuzma, the 4th pick, and future other picks be able to seal the deal? It would give them a lineup to put around Zion at center, and they could draft someone like Garland, White, Hunter, or Culver with the 4th pick. Very good proposition, and then gives them the ability to trade Jrue to a team that is desperately needing either an upgrade at point guard or a non-garbage point guard.
However, will the Pels be interested in just that bag of trash? The Knicks, for instance, can offer a lot more and better assets than the Lakers. I would much rather take DSJ, Ntilikina, Trier, Knox, Hezonja, Robinson, the 3rd pick, and future draft picks. The Pels, with this trade, could then immediately trade Jrue since they have 3 capable ball-handlers. They would have a backup center behind Zion, or have the center on the court with Zion and go big. The 3rd pick puts them in prime RJ Barrett range, and that would give them another hyper-athletic wing-guard hybrid. He’s even Zion’s college teammate, so chemistry would not be heinous. They would and could easily unthrone the Kings as the most exciting and promising young team in the league.
Unfortunately for the previously mentioned teams, no one can beat Danny Ainge and his “Godfather” offer he will undoubtedly make. Danny Ainge has hoarded so many assets that he legitimately could have a three part special on the TV show Hoarders. Possessing the 14th, 20th, 22nd, and a few second round picks in the draft, these are considered the weakest of his pool of resources. He has a collection of players that many around the league view as the best young collection. Tatum, Brown, and Rozier are the stars of the bunch, but Yabusele, Williams, and Ojeleye are considered hidden gems by many. If the Pels wanted higher picks, Ainge could easily leverage one from a different team with all of his resources. Suns, Bulls, and Wizards might take the 20th and 22nd for their respective picks. Again, no one can compete with Ainge and his pool. However, their pool definitely seems less stupendous now, seeing as all save Brown regressed this year. The picks are also less than stellar, so who knows. The Celtics did not pass the eye test to me this year, and I can only help but wonder if other teams noticed that as well.
This trade is monumental for the league, seeing as this is still in the open bidding process. We have dealt with this drama all season, and are no closer to knowing where he will land as we were at the start. I can only hope this gets resolved quickly, seeing as many (myself included) are beginning to tire of this narrative.