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.
The Lakers are having a tough time finding their new head coach. It was no secret the position was going to become available either. The writing was on the wall as soon as LeBron signed his contact. The problem was that Luke Walton wanted too much power to be the coach of LeBron. By that, I mean Luke Walton wanted 10% control and that just so happens to be 10% too much.
How does one coach LeBron James? How do you tell one of the best basketball players who has ever lived what he can or cannot do on the court? You can’t. But due to NBA rules, you have to have a coach on the bench, so there is only one option for the Lakers… a coach that won’t coach. A coach that doesn’t mind being walked on or, dare I say, stepped over.
And wouldn’t ya know it, Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes has confirmed that the Lakers and Tyronn Lue are in negotiations to make him the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers with Frank Vogel as an assistant.
So, congratulations to everyone (expect for the idiots that thought John Calipari was interested), you were right. It’s a no-brainer decision really. The only other option was Jason Kidd, who would have done an equally nothing job, but Ty Lue has a proven track record of staying out of LeBron’s way. Now, all that is left is to get two more all-stars, some decent role players, an amazing shooter and JR Smith and we may just see another LeBron championship.
The Lakers have finally fired head coach Luke Walton leaving LeBron coachless for his long playoff road ahead summer off. There has been all kinds of speculation of who was going to take over. Would Jason Kidd get a second second chance at coaching? Would LeBron and his puppet, Ty Lue, get a reunion? Would LeBron just take over himself as player-coach? Well, the last two are the same thing, but regardless, the vacancy needs to be filled.
Thankfully, just like who will end up on the iron throne and how long it will take Gronk to end up working for Barstool, you can bet on who will be the next head coach of the Lakers. Here are the favorites:
Now for the longshots.
Let me start with who will never ever in a million billion years will be the coach of the Lakers: John Calipari. How about we go ahead and squash those rumors before they even start?
Definite no’s: Magic (awkward), Walton (lol), Coach K, Izzo, Stackhouse, Cheeks, Painter, Brown Scott, Phil Jackson, Shaw, Charles, Jackson, Van Gundy.
Longshots, but possible: Fizdale, Fisher, Thibs.
And the rest of the possibilites:
Sean Miller I think this is probably a 1% chance and that is only if the FBI probe into Arizona goes horribly wrong. Right now, it doesn’t look like anything is going to happen.
Chris Beard Again, more of 1% chance, but Chris Beard is far too good of a coach to stay at Texas Tech for too much longer.
Juwon Howard I don’t know too much about him, but the media seems to think very highly of him. Right now, he is an assistant with the Heat looking towards making the jump to head coaching.
Jason Kidd I have no idea how this guy is the favorite right now. He did an aggressively mediocre job in his 5 seasons of coaching, just barely making it to .500 in 4 of 5 season. But, .500 would be an improvement for the Lakers and that’s what is important.
Tyronn Lue Of course, this is LeBron’s first choice. The Lakers, having no real idea why LeBron came there in the first place, are surely going to do whatever they can to keep him happy. No one takes a step back and let’s his superstars coach quite like Ty Lue. As of now, this would be my favorite to take the job.
LeBron James Cannot count this possibility out. It would be stupid to do, but look at the entire dumpster fire that is the LA organization right now. Who is to say that LeBron won’t just demand it and get his way? At +50000 odds, it is definitely worth putting $5 on.
Patrick Beverly has been tasked with the incredibly difficult chore of having to guard Kevin Durant for the Clippers/Warriors series. Being almost a full nine inches shorter than the Warriors’ second best player, Beverly knows that he will be bested in any physical matchup. So, like every good defender, he knows that if he can’t win physically, he has to win mentally.
Beverly knows that the easily triggered Kevin Durant has plenty of real estate for sale in his head. As the game goes on, he makes bigger and bigger purchases. All the great players in the NBA flop. Some more than others, but they all do it. So, Bev went for the kill shot. The troll job that KD’s burner definitely would have responded to. An exact recreation of Durant’s exaggerations.
You may have been able to guess where the was going to end up. KD’s temper was boiling up and Beverly was obviously frustrated by having to guard Kevin Durant all game. It looks like the baited each other into a shoving match. Both having technical fouls from earlier in the game and being assessed a second meant a double ejection.
In 2016, a video emerged from a young player’s phone of a certain teammate saying very compromising things while being recorded. Even though it was not the recorders intention, it blew up in ways he did not anticipate. In fact, he was treated with open animosity. Instead of trading the player that said the comments, the Los Angeles Lakers’ President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson decided it would be best to trade the recent 2nd overall pick PG D’Angelo Russell, and hope to retain SF Nick “Swaggy P” Young. So, in a draft where the Lakers were devoid of picks, the LA Lakers traded their second year, starting point guard and center Timofey Mozgov for Brooklyn’s starting center Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick in the draft.
At the time, many (including myself) not only lamented the stupidity of the trade, but at the low quality return. Brook Lopez was an expiring contract on an aging center. The 27th pick was in a class that many at the time viewed as talent poor. Worst of all, they were giving up their starting point guard that even their PoBO said had “All-Star potential” to appease the older, locker-room cancer that is Nick Young. He did not even resign with the Lakers, and is now out of the league. Brooke Lopez did not resign with the Lakers after his contract was up, and is now one of the best players on the league’s best team this year (the Milwaukee Bucks). That 27th pick turned into the late round gem that is Kyle Kuzma, a semi-traditional stretch 4 that can’t play the 3, the 5, or defense.
If you reached this part without getting the gist of what I am trying to imply, let me extrapolate this out further with maybe a more recent, non-draft example…
In a recently released interview from the Ringer (which undoubtedly led to the parting of ways), LeBron James revealed that him and Magic had a view for the future that didn’t match. While Magic said he did not want another hero-ball/iso situation, LeBron (correctly) pointed out that that version had led him to 8 straight championship appearances. Even though they differed and argued about it heavily, LeBron consented to Magic’s view…the same view that led to the following list of ‘accomplishments’:
– the trading of now All-Star D’Angelo Russell – the letting go of former All-Star Brook Lopez – the drafting of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and other rejects – the signing of the ‘Meme Team’ this past offseason – the inability to acquire (through trade) Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, or Anthony Davis – the inability to sign in the free agency Paul George or another All-Star – the horrible coaching hires – the ability to keep LeBron happy
However, this is not on Magic’s plate according to him. I (like many others inside and outside the league) believe that Jeanie Buss is an incompetent owner. In fact, I would go as far to say that the issues plaguing the Lakers are not Rob Pelinka, Magic Johnson, Luke Walton, or LeBron’s fault. I mean, anyone that quits and doesn’t tell their boss must either truly hate or fear their boss, and I do not believe Magic is a fearful man. Jeanie Buss has shown her inability to manage a team from the outset, hiring coaches and staff that are inept. Multiple people believe she was the one infatuated with Lonzo, and envisioned him being on the team like Lonzo’s delusional father.
I cannot say for certain who is to blame for the Lakers current state, but it clearly shows their odds of being able to do anything significant in the near future as being minimal at best. I hope that Magic moves on to greener pastures as the Lakers waste LeBron’s prime with the hot garbage that surrounds him currently.
With the Clippers beating the Lakers, this pushes the the Lakers to 2-5 following the All-Star Break (9-21 since the start of 2019) . This includes two embarrassing losses to the Grizzlies and Suns, who both sit above the Lakers in the mock drafts. This is all coming, of course, after LeBron said that “playoff mode” was activated. All that has been “activated” is Kuzma and Ingram’s dominance for the Lakers, and they are proving to more than the Lakers (looking at you, Pelicans) that they can shoulder a team. However, the main issue emerging from all of this is simple: LeBron’s typical dominance is absent.
Is LeBron suffering from injury? Is Luke Walton as bad as everyone says? Is LeBron not being a good leader? Whose idea was it to sign ‘the Meme Team’? What is the deal with all these trades they made pre-trade deadline?
I mean, you can see the amount of questions that I alone have, and that’s just a few so I can move along more quickly to the body of this article. However, the amount and scale of the questions is breath-taking, and very shocking to say the least. It essentially calls into scope the entire, horrible season that they have had. The Lakers organization has failed LeBron since they undoubtedly cannot make the playoffs with 18 games left in the season, and they are 5.5 games behind the Spurs (who currently own the 8th seed). The Lakers would have to jump the Timberwolves, Kings, and Spurs, AND also lose more games than the Pelicans, Suns, Grizzlies, and Mavericks can. With one of the hardest remaining schedules, the Lakers are trapped with only 2 paths that they can choose from: push for the playoffs or tank for a better pick. It would take a Herculean effort from LeBron and the rest of Lake Show in order to secure the 8 seed, and would still lead to a 4 game, first round exit since they would (logically) meet the Warriors in the first round. So, that kind of pushes them on the path the Lakers and LeBron have never had to take: tank for better draft odds.
A bit of context: the reason why they should tank is because they are currently at the 13th pick in the draft. Not a very valuable asset especially since the cream of the crop is within the 4-5 picks in the draft (as it usually is) this year. After that, it is somewhat of a level playing field in terms of talent. While I don’t believe that (and believe myself this is somewhat of a deep year in terms of talent), having a higher pick is always better leverage for a trade than a lower pick. I’m sure a certain team located in New Orleans would love to have two top 10 (hell, maybe even two top 7 picks if this scenario plays out) picks in this draft. Now, how is this occurring? Well, let’s go into the draft lottery odds, since a certain team from New Orleans could end up with 2 top 4 picks based off of the new draft lottery odds and how they have been “leveled” a bit…
Over the summer, the NBA decided to “fix the tanking crisis” by leveling the draft odds and making the top 4 picks have the best odds for the #1 pick, not the top 3. Simply put, what it means is this: the #4 team, while not having the best odds, will have better than 10% odds at the #1 pick. Hell, the top 5 teams will ALL have better than 10% odds at getting the #1 pick. So, for a team that is hypothetically sitting outside of the top 5 picks that is from LA, this is good news! Why? Well, a couple teams may have decided that it would be in there best interest to maybe make a push for worse (as in lower) lottery odds, whether that be through trying to convey picks OR struggling to make the playoffs. The Grizzlies (currently at 6th best odds) do not want to convey a pick to the Celtics in the future, so this season would be a good one. Washington (7th), Orlando (9th), New Orleans (10th), and Miami (11th) are all in a weird limbo of trying to win but not win games. Dallas (8th) wants to lose as many games in order to keep their pick, but it still may convey to the Hawks anyway. New York (1st), Phoenix (2nd), Cleveland (3rd), Chicago (4th), and Atlanta (5th) will all begin to win games as many teams already in a playoff lock begin to rest players. So that puts the Lakers (currently at 12th) in a great position…
The best player for the Lakers is LeBron, no matter what anyone says. He is one of, if not THE, best players in the NBA. If he was to sit out, the playmakers currently healthy for the Lakers are as follows: Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo. A team under that construction will not win more than 20% of their 18 games remaining. LeBron does not seem to be actually in “playoff mode”, requiring Kyle Kuzma actually pushing him onto his defensive assignment. So if LeBron was to sit out, they would more than likely lose their remaining 18 games; this would make their record 30-52. If the Hawks (again, currently 5th) were to win 50% of their remaining 17 (lets round 8.5 up to 9), their record would be 31-51…hence outside the top 5 of picks. This is, of course, not factoring in the other teams. However, this is where the rabbit hole widens a bit, since this is a scenario that requires many things to happen…
The Heat, Magic, and Wizards are currently tied, 0.5, and 3 games behind the 8 seed in the East. All three will struggle to push to make it to justify their season. The Pelicans are currently below the Lakers in the conference standings, but they only have 15 games left to their season. Atlanta wants to use all of their picks and continue building the young core of John Collins and Trae Young, and winning games help chemistry more than anything else. These are all 5 teams above the Lakers in the standings. The Grizzlies are a tad more complicated. Their pick is currently the 6th best odds, BUT their pick this year is top 8 protected from the Celtics controlling it. It would be better for them to get rid of it this year, since in 2020 it becomes top 5 protected and then unprotected in 2021. These are the two predicted years for the NBA changing the age date, and allowing high school basketball players to join the NBA out of high school. IN MY OPINION, it would be okay to convey the lower pick this year, be free from that burden, and begin the process of rebuilding by becoming a salary dump for picks.
That wraps up all 6 of the teams that lie ahead of the Lakers from their current ranking at the 12th pick to their projected 5th pick if they lose all of their games. That’s also assuming the top four teams in the draft lottery (aka New York, Phoenix, Cleveland, and Chicago) do not win any more games, which I cannot assume to be correct. Teams can win games even if they don’t want to. Hell, the “Zion Bowl” will occur 4 times between the Knicks and Cavs by the time this season ends, and they have altered in those games for who wins.
In reality, I do not know if the Lakers will rest LeBron. Since he is only 12 points away from passing Michael Jordan on the all-time points list, I am sure he will play against the Nuggets to reach that. After that? No idea. I would hope they do, since it is the better thing for their franchise to do. But what does this mean for you, Lakers fans of America?
…that the rest of this season will suck as much as the offseason last summer went. Just sit around until the offseason and hope the Lakers finally make a smart move or two (hell, maybe a lot more than that) to turn the Lakers into a contender.
We don’t know a lot about the future of the Los Angeles Lakers organization, but one thing is for certain: Luke Walton’s days are numbered as the head coach. There are already rumors that he has been told that he will be fired at season’s end. Number one rule of building a franchise is keeping franchise players happy. You’d think the Lakers would know this by now.
They need new coach and they need one sooner rather than later. And right now, Jason Kidd is the favorite to be the head coach Game 1 next year.
This is absolutely crazy to me. Jason Kidd was terrible for Bucks. Why in the world would they want him? Maybe LeBron respects him and would actually try if he were the coach. If I were LeBron though, I would want Tyronn Lue. He basically ran the Cavs entire organization.
The end of the list really made me laugh though. Coach K ever leaving Duke? No, he will die on the sideline. Bill Self? No, he seems content with his mediocre Kansas career. Same for Tom Izzo at Michigan State. The fact Magic Johnson was on this list is fantastic. Imagine him getting so fed up that he actually coaches the team.
Don’t think for a second (or 15) that I would forget about Rick Pitino. I just need him back in my life. He has betrayed allegiances before, and he will do it again. He went to Louisville after Kentucky, had an affair in the bathroom of an Italian restaurant and he would absolutely take the Lakers job after having been with the Celtics.