Tag Archives: NBA Free Agency

MoNeYBaLL 45 NBA Podcast: Come Back Like Jordan

By Opinionated MJ

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MoNeYBaLL 45 NBA Podcast: Come Back Like Jordan

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Real Quick: Now What!?

By: Opinionated MJ

I’m blown away! Kawhi Leonard has pulled off a heist and joined an established team and brought a co-star along with him. Paul George! Kawhi bright a championship to the ring-less Raptors and will now look to bring a championship to the LA Clippers! If he manages to pull off a title in LA, I will put him in the goat conversation! They await a team of scrappy players and a championship coach in Doc Rivers. This is a great day for the NBA! Now it’s time to watch the rest of free agency play out! Enjoy the ride NBA world!

MoNeYBaLL NBA Podcast Episode 21 – Part 1

By Opinionated Media

#NBAFreeAgency2019
#KawhiWatch
#NBATwitter

We’re back up!

MoNeYBaLL NBA Podcast Episode 21 – Part 1

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“The Decision II featuring Kevin Durant”

By: Opinionated MJ

Oddly, I believe that these last few hours will serve as a calm before the storm. I expect Kevin Durant to change the landscape and odds of the NBA by deciding to sign with the Golden State Warriors. Yes, the same Warriors I expected to win the championship. Congrats to LeBron! I doled out a lot of venom in his direction and he delivered. I’ll save him for another post. Now, why would Kevin Durant sign with Golden State? It’s almost written on the wall.

I’ve heard things like, “Kevin Durant has personal relationships with many of the Warriors players.” Then I think about articles I’ve come across where the Warriors players were quoted saying things like, “I don’t know why they want him here.” Of course that’s a valid statement, but so is this… WHO WOULDN’T want Kevin Durant on their team? KD on the Warriors would change the Western Conference and make the Warriors even stronger. Now, this doesn’t guarantee a championship but it does guarantee that they’ll be a contender for years to come, if he signs a deal longer than 1 year.

Why should KD waste another year in OKC with Russell if their destiny is uncertain? Who knows what to make of the Oladipo/Ibaka deal? I see it as a step back due to how they were able to handle the Warriors in the conference finals. When they were up 3-1, they were playing like champions and I actually thought they would put the Warriors away, then Klay Thompson happened. With that said, imagine a lineup with Steph, Klay, Dray, and KD. It’s like a fantasy video game. That roster could only be obtained by forcing trades on the offline mode on NBA2K. LOL! Who wouldn’t expect this team to win? This leads me to his other options that he’s already broken down to 2 teams (OKC & GS).

He met with the likes of Miami, Boston, San Antonio, and the Los Angeles Clippers. He decided to turn them all down and left the Warriors as an option. In San Antonio, there would’ve still been the issue of consistency with the bench players, mainly Danny Green and Patty Mills. There would’ve been the questionable production from Manu, Tim, and Tony. Why go somewhere with so many question marks and with a Big 3 past it’s prime? Of course there would be a new Big 3, but LaMarcus doesn’t want to play center and I’m sure he wouldn’t want to see his touches diminish. Nor would Durant.

Miami would’ve been a good option.. if Chris Bosh was healthy. We can stop there with the Heat. The Clippers seem to be plagued by the usual “Clipper Curse”. They can’t ever stay healthy enough to make noise beyond the 1st and 2nd round of any playoff. PERIOD! At this point, health is a problem during the regular season for them. Then you have Doc Rivers who may have too strong a handle on things for KD’s liking. So he scratched them off the list as well.

Boston would’ve been a great place to land especially after Al Horford decided to sign there. KD would’ve easily become the #1 option and the leader of the team and they would’ve been strong enough to get to the NBA Finals. I only say that because we don’t know what Cleveland’s final roster will look like. Delly is already gone, so is Mozgov. Would they get the same production out of their aging vets? Would LeBron take a baby step back? Would Kyrie want to have more say on how things are dictated in the offense considering he did what Russell couldn’t do? Yes, in my opinion, the Thunder lost that series because Russell wanted to put out the fire that is Steph Curry all by himself. He wanted to take the credit. He wanted to be able to boast and be able to do it while still in the series. He’s matured as a player and as far as his knowledge of the game, the pacing, and getting his team involved, but he has to keep his ego in check until the job is done. The only time that it’s done is when you’re already hoisting up the Championship trophy and on your way to receive a championship ring. He’ll be better next season (Westbrook) but will the Thunder mesh fast enough? Will the offense be efficient enough to produce better results than what happened this past season? That is where things get gloomy for me.

This boils it down to joining a team that already has continuity and is very unselfish in Golden State or going back to Oklahoma and jousting for the #1 option spot with Russell Westbrook. I expect that Steph Curry wouldn’t care to be #1 option with KD in the fold. He didn’t care for a finals MVP Award, he didn’t force anyone to vote him unanimous MVP, and he didn’t say anything that would suggest he receive the hate and backlash that he did from fans of rival teams and from his peers in the NBA. Crazy how success is followed by criticism and hate. Too squeaky clean? I guess everybody is used to the Kobe story or how LeBron made himself a villain by joining the Heat. No one likes things that are too good to be true because they don’t see that in themselves. Truth. They don’t want to see the squeaky clean look of KD on the depth chart of the Golden State Warriors either, and I’m sure if he makes the decision to sign there, the anger and hate will follow, the media scrutiny, the rumors of locker room issues, and everything that comes with being a super team will follow. It more recently happened to the Lakers, Celtics, Heat, and Cavs super teams. Why wouldn’t it in this situation right?

I think KD would’ve already made his decision if he were going to stay in OKC. With that said, I expect when we wake up, maybe in 5 minutes he’ll decide, maybe late tomorrow night, that Durant will have joined the Golden State Warriors. If this happens, expect an NBA arms race like you’ve never seen before. Expect LeBron to recruit Dwayne Wade. Expect San Antonio to make a move along with various other West Conference playoff teams. Expect a crazy offseason that’s already been crazy to begin with!

Far Fetched? LeBron, Melo, Kyrie, Dwight in Cavs Uniforms Next Season

lebron-melo-all-star1

By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver)

Oh he’s so stupid! This would never happen! Wait, this could become a reality. I know Stephen A. Smith and others have actual sources and agents and personal relationships, true. I’m just a lifelong NBA fan with a passion for the game. I love this game! I’ve been watching these players, these storylines, and I’ve come to this imaginative idea! The prerequisite though is Cleveland not making it to the NBA Finals. I don’t think they actually will. So why not Extend some careers and give a champion LeBron James some players with hunger and individuality enough to be able to flourish with him at the head of the group? Yes! LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving, and Dwight Howard all teaming up to chase after an NBA Championship, IN THE LAND!

It can’t be too far out of reach with the cap growing, with Kevin Love’s huge contract and with Tristan Thompson’s huge contract. It’s setup to actually happen. We all know the story that’s developing with Carmelo Anthony. Rumors are swirling that he might actually waive his trade clause and move on from NY. Kevin Love could be the piece to go back to NY in this deal and Love’s contract would actually help this become much more of a reality. I believe Cleveland may also want to move Shumpert, maybe not back to NY but maybe in a separate deal to free up more cap space. This move would make it where LeBron doesn’t have to worry about taking big shots from outside so much or at least free him up in those areas with a true floor stretcher being there in Carmelo Anthony. I trust Carmelo more to score in a LeBron system than I do Kevin Love. Kevin Love needs to be at least a second option to be effective. I make this deal quickly!

Dwight Howard could come to the Cavs straight from free agency or with a sign and trade deal that sends Tristan Thompson to the Rockets. I’d honestly try to keep Tristan if I were to acquire Dwight though. That could be a really formidable defensive and rebounding duo if they mesh well together. I’d also make sure that Timofey Mozgov is my backup. The depth they could instantly possess would be nicer than it is now depending on how the rest of the team takes shape. I’m sure either JR Smith or Shumpert would be sacrificed in one of the deals. Looking for roster stability, I may get rid of JR Smith but that may hamper their shooting ability a bit. They should look to acquire a defender at the shooting guard position that can also stretch the floor and occasionally create his own shot.

This NBA offseason is sure to be a crazy one, especially if the Warriors repeat. I don’t think the NBA is ready to wrap their heads around that reality and we will see some major moves made in order for someone to be able to honestly compete against the Warriors. Someone has to have the will and potential to be blessed with a chance to actually win. What makes things worse is the potential for the Warriors to land Kevin Durant in free agency. I would keep the team the way it is right now, though, and add another role player or 2 and continue forward. This team needs to maintain its pecking order to continue to be successful.

Golden State has a team that can compete at a high level, as constructed, for another 2-4 years without making any major changes. I’ve seen Steph Curry cross LeBron, KD, Westbrook, Chris Paul, and others. This leads me to believe that he is currently unguardable. I also believe that Golden State is not playing their best ball currently. Yes, the 59-6 Warriors are NOT playing their best ball. They haven’t fully stepped into their individual potential as a TEAM. Barnes hasn’t fully shown his current potential, Iggy hasn’t either, nor has Bogut. This team is designed to mix and match with any team in the league on any given night and at any given time. Whoever can defeat this team is blessed. So unseating them may take something like this to happen. Surround LeBron, Melo and company with shooters and defenders and watch them make some magic happen.

Lineup 1-5:

 

  1. Kyrie (Scorer, although he needs to pass more and improve on defense)
  2. JR/Shumpert/Anonymous (honestly doesn’t matter as long as they can produce)
  3. LeBron (back to his “natural” position and best position to facilitate and attack from)
  4. Melo (stretch 4)
  5. Dwight (Rim protector)

 

That could be a nightmare for anyone especially if LeBron still distributes the ball to everyone in a half Rondo-like fashion. This means he will basically have different guns to play with at all times and be able to explode himself. You can’t double team any one man without the other having an advantage, period! I also think bringing in two players who are truly hungry to win a championship would make them buy in immediately and turn the Cavs into a clear favorite not only in the east but in the entire league. The only problem that would remain is guarding the Splash Brothers. LeBron, I’d make this one happen for The Land if you want to bring a championship to Ohio. This might be the only way. The only thing better is to land Kevin Durant in place of Melo. What are the chances of that happening? Then maybe Westbrook for Kyrie the next season? Let’s stick with this story first. Kevin Garnett said it best, “ANTHING IS POSSIBLE!” Your move LeBron!

carmelo-lebron-hs

Foresight: L.A. Kings

By: Opinionated MJ

Today I had a hunch after seeing that the Roy Hibbert trade was made official. Take careful note of what I’m saying here, remember where you heard it first. July 10th, 2015 at 11:31pm Eastern Time as I write this. Ha! The Lakers only gave up a 2nd round pick while also getting Roy Hibbert to agree to waiving his trade kicker which leaves the Lakers with money. I also paid special attention to the Lou Williams signing, the Brandon Bass signing, the Larry Nance sighting (yeah I watched the Lakers 5 on 5) and the fact that the Lakers still have Nick Young. I thought about the Sacramento Kings and wondered why do they have so many centers on their roster. Cousins, Cauley-Stein, Arturas Gudaitis, Kosta Koufos, and they are also entertaining the idea of Sim Bhullar. Karl also likes Javale McGee. 5 centers to be exact. This also stemmed from a conversation I had with a friend about the George Karl, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo triangle. Knowing that Rondo & Cousins will either get along very well or won’t get along at all. Rondo will probably get along with Karl because Karl likes point guards. Then again, Rondo’s attitude may also prove to be problematic for him too. Which leaves me wondering why would they build a nuclear bomb to only shoot it directly up and target it to fall directly where it came from.

This is going to blow up. I don’t see it any other way. I don’t see DeMarcus actually trying to be buddies with George Karl after what happened. It’s quiet now. I believe that quiet is only attributed to the learning process the new front office is going through. Vlade Divac doesn’t see eye to eye with Karl on this matter. Excuse me Jalen, Bill, but Boogie doesn’t trust the Kings as an organization. So with all of this pretty much up in the air, there’s only one solution: See what this team can do from opening day through the trade deadline and make a move for the future of the franchise. By then they will know whether they are retaining Rondo. They will know whether Karl will have truly been right or wrong, and I believe they want to fire him BUT they don’t and they won’t. How would it look to hire a coach and not get anything out of him? They’re going to get their money’s worth. Rondo is on a 1 year deal. You have a lot of new faces at the center position incoming and this could ultimately spell the end of the Cousins Era in Sacramento.

Here’s where it gets tricky. What would you expect in return for your center? A center to replace him right? Well exactly. Enter, again, the Los Angeles Lakers. They’ve shored up their 4 position for ultimate decision: trading Randle. Adding Bass, Williams, drafting Nance, and keeping Nick Young throughout this time, and in the now-term according to Mitch Kupchak, only sets them up to have the assets to pull this deal off. George Karl honestly wants coachable players, so Rondo is the scapegoat in this one. They may even try to find a way to pit Rondo against Cousins and side with Rondo to find a reason outside of themselves being the blame for trading away Cousins, once they do. This will also be the action speaking pitch to Rondo to stay on board and that they keys to the franchise belong to him, at least throughout this time. The Lakers have the contract to match with Roy Hibbert, the assets to woo them with Nick and Julius and the Kings have the available big men to shuffle around once Cousins is gone, not to mention they’ll end up with Hibbert.

The Lakers are smart, or maybe it’s just me, but lets take a look at what I’ve come across:

LakersKingsCousinsHibbertTradeFull

This is the trade that I assume will be proposed, give or take a few draft picks, although in the trade machine it doesn’t work because they’re trying to spread the Jason Terry exception across both Nick Young and Julius Randle. Thats where you take another gander here:

KingsExceptions

We end up having to use every exception the Kings have but why wouldn’t they when Roy Hibbert has an expiring contract along with Rondo’s contract? There’s more than $25 millions soon to come off the books. The trade exceptions they hold is less than half of what they could possibly have free to lure free agents who could end up playing With Rondo & Rudy or taking over altogether. Here were my successes although they were not the complete trade:

LakersKingsCousinsHibbertRandleTrade

and of course this one here:

LakersKingsCousinsHibbertTrade

If you are a GM in the league, what deal do you think the Kings will get that is better than what the Lakers may be willing to give up? There’s maybe only a #1 pick that they could receive from elsewhere that would be potentially better but that could take anywhere from 2-5 years of player development to reach where they want to be: contention. Plus there are rumors that teams do not want to deal with DeMarcus Cousins but the Lakers are NOT one of those teams. They are willing to take the risk. Why not? They took the risk for Dwight Howard and he left as soon as he could while they were practically on their knees begging him to stay.

The Kings have been trash since C-Webb and Company left them and the entire run was over. They have to find a way back to relevance or they wasted their time fighting to keep the team in Sacramento. They will have successfully failed their fanbase. So why not shoot themselves in the arm with a steriod to jumpstart another possible rebuild period by trading Cousins to the Lakers, freeing up cap in the very near future, having veterans on board in Rondo and Rudy, bringing in Hibbert who is a good rim protector and seeking to retain him, and having to only fill in the blanks? No one wants to start from Stage 1 Rebuilding in the Western Conference. You will not have the same luck the Celtics have. This isn’t the “Least-ern” Conference.

Have fun with the ESPN NBA Trade Machine yourself.

Inside In

San Antonio Spurs players Tim Duncan (21) holds his MVP trophy while teammate David Robinson (50) holds the championship trophy after the Spurs beat the New Jersey Nets 88-77 to win the NBA Championship in Game 6 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio, June 15, 2003. The sports year in Texas got off to a rousing start with Bill Parcells saying on Jan. 1 that he had agreed to coach the Dallas Cowboys and soon after, the San Antonio Spurs gave David Robinson the ultimate reitrement present, an NBA title. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, file)

By: Opinionated MJ

With LaMarcus Aldridge agreeing to join San Antonio, the Spurs look primed to bring a certain style back to the game that has definitely been endangered. The league has been pushing fastball and the Golden State Warriors fit that model. They’ve done away with voting for “true” centers on the All-Star ballot and now we’re using the term “3 & D” and the important “stretch 4” to describe players that should be playing the power forward position. We’re playing two shooting guards, two small forwards, and a “big”. Let me explain that the easy way: Steph, Klay, Barnes, Iggy, Green as a starting 5. Basically two shooting guards and nearly three small forwards. How many “true centers” do we have there? None. League wide? Cousins, Hibbert, Gasol (Marc), Drummond, Howard, Bogut? Okay, we have more than I thought and I could name more, I think. We’re going to see something like a David Robinson and Tim Duncan frontcourt this upcoming season with Aldridge on board. It’s already July so only three months before we get back into the game on the daily.

Be prepared to be reminded of what the 90’s and early 2000’s basketball looked like, offensively, especially if the Spurs plan on winning a championship as constructed. I don’t think they can get it done without adding at least another shooter or two, and one that can slash. I’ll be direct, they need to replace Bellineli. Period. He made it where Ginobli didn’t need to be as important against other teams when the postseason arrived. Ginobli served as icing on the cake. The only way they can survive as constructed is if they move their plan of attack (and I always compare them to the 2014 Championship Spurs) under the three-point line a bit more. With Aldridge, Duncan, and West, they can play in the mid-post area. The same area Michael Jordan acquired rings from. This of course also allows Duncan to rest even more definitively with West added. He should never play more than 28-30 minutes a game with them both being added to this team. Tiago Splitter was decent but he misses a lot of close shots that could tip the scale of a game. I’m talking easy lay-ups. Aldridge won’t miss those. West is more reliable in that area as well. I expect them to outrebound and outscore opponents in the paint EVERY NIGHT! Same way I expected the Big 3 Miami Heat to win championships, no less. The Spurs sure have a way of deflating current champions when they don’t occupy that spot themselves.

Outside of the Spurs, they only have 4 threats depending on how Free Agency boils down. The Warriors, Thunder, Cavs, and the Clippers IF they can retain DeAndre Jordan. Don’t forget they’ve acquired Lance Stephenson and Paul Pierce. As I write this, the Clippers representatives are at his home and not allowing any reps from the Mavericks to enter his home. Reports say that they will stay there until he re-signs with them. Smart move huh? How can you get kidnapped at your own home? Crazy stuff. Anyhow, the Spurs should be able to outlast just about anyone in the coaching department, but you can’t coach how to stop Steph from pulling up in your face from distance and making it unless you employ a fierce trap defense which will leave you with holes. I am one who believes that the Warriors were NOT at full strength in the Finals. Say what you will but didn’t Klay only score 6 points in the last game? Didn’t Steph only wake up at the end of game 3? Draymond didn’t get acclimated until game 3. Adjustments weren’t made until after game 3. I also don’t think the Clippers had the depth to win this year. I’m still shocked they allowed a comeback from 3-1. So atrocious. You know they cried in the car after that.

The dark-horse in all of this is the OKC Thunder who, when healthy, have the Spurs number. Keep Enes Kanter to go with Ibaka and Adams. Slim Reaper returning from injury with Russell Westbrook who could carry a team to the #3 seed in the east? PROBLEMS! They too, need to acquire RELIABLE shooters. They have my boy Kyle Singler who they acquired from my Pistons but they traded Jeremy Lamb away. Who on that team can shoot besides Durant? Russell? I don’t want to see Ibaka shooting long 2’s and 3 pointers when he has Durant to do that for him. They have to acquire someone who will make a difference. I wont sleep on McGary either. Do I really have to speak on Cleveland? Simple. They have LeBron James.

This league is a guard’s league right now. It seemingly has always been. Nothing works without a decent point guard in place either. Now, we’re requiring every position to have skills like guards instead of serving their very own purposes. I mean, LeBron played the 4 & 5 during the playoffs. Handled the ball, setup the team, set the pace, controlled the game. He did it all. So thinking there’s an easy way to get past Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Mike Conley, there isn’t. Anthony Davis is also on the prowl. If Jrue Holiday can stay healthy, you can add him to that list along with the Pelicans. The Rockets could be a threat but they can’t let go of too much depth. I’m also believing that the Kings with Rajon Rondo will be a problem if they can get Cousins and Karl to mend their differences (I truly don’t know about that though) and if they let Rondo dominate the ball and his teammates be happy with that decision. Imagine if Phil Jackson could coach the Kings… Now wake up!

The western conference remains stacked and we could analyze what each team could do to beat the Spurs. Simply said, the Spurs can’t be handed the title while they have a little less depth in the backcourt and still no assurance that Parker and Ginobli will be healthy. If Tony Parker is down and out, you can French kiss that ring goodbye.