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Rick Senger
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Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 8401
Posted: 16 July 2019 at 8:44am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

The Knicks actually made some sensible fallback moves in the wake of getting resoundingly swatted after trading away Porzingis to free up all that cap space for all the superstars they never got.  I love me some Marcus Morris and I like Randle as well but while Morris is a versatile and reliable two way guy he's more supporting than starring.  Randle could develop into a real star but he's still raw and it's tough when he's the top guy on your team (Dennis Smith Jr. had similar potential but regressed last year.)  Taj Gibson is decent but also strictly supporting.  #3 pick RJ Barrett was supposed to bring some star power but he's disappointed in the summer league (their second rounder Ignas Brazdekis has played well.)  At least the Knicks didn't lock in big long term money to any of their support signings (Ellington, Portis, Patyon and Gibson) so they'll have more swings at near future free agencies.  But yeah, they're better but I can't imagine anyone fears them.
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Brian Floyd
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Joined: 07 July 2006
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Posted: 16 July 2019 at 10:09am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I think they're at least two or three seasons away from being a real threat. 

But then, its the Knicks. With their track record, they could have a roster made completely of All-Stars, and still not make the finals.


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Rick Senger
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Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 8401
Posted: 27 July 2019 at 10:18am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Dog days of summer.  Nothing but time to think about what's on the line for a bunch of NBA players' legacies next year.  There may be only three or four consensus contenders but with GS finally out of the way the next title is more up for grabs than at any time in five years.  I'd say there are about five legit contenders and many legends waiting to be finally made.

Kawhi cemented his rep winning it all for the Raptors but if he takes the 0 titles in 49 season Clippers to the promised land, he'll be the first player in league history to be MVP calibre in three different champion NBA cities.  A whole different elite.  LeBron has the same opportunity in the same city, giving him another argument to stand alongside MJ as THE all time greatest.  But the clock is running.  No title next year leaves him 36 and a half years old for his next shot and likely facing significant decline in his abilities.  Paul George and AD have the chance to shed their "great players who can't win on the big stage" anchors, as do Embiid, Giannis, Harden, Westbrook and Boogie Cousins.  Brooklyn can't win the O'Brien without KD but a solid showing would redeem Kyrie Irving's divisive last 2 years in Boston.  Similarly, Curry improves his legend if he and an eventually healed Klay Thompson drag GS back to the playoffs for a respectable showing absent KD, Igoudala, and Boogie plus a lengthy Klay absence.)   Though some pundits don't even have them in the playoffs, GS could still cause big problems for good teams if they peak at the right time. 

Top title contenders you must go through:  LA Clippers, LA Lakers, Houston Rockets, Philly, Milwaukee. 

Flying under the radar but still dangerous:  Denver (quiely won 54 last year and added Jerami Grant, drafted Bol Bol), Boston (lost Kyrie, Horford and Morris but gained Kemba, flawed but interesting Kanter; drafted well), Portland (lost to now-gimpy GS in the Western Conf. Finals, added Hassan Whiteside, Bazemore and Pau Gasol while losing similar talent), Indiana (lost Bogdanovich but added Brogdon, TJ Warren, Jeremy Lamb, Oladipo back).

Massively changed fun-to-watch teams with serious potential to do damage if they come together: New Orleans (added Zion Williamson, three Lakers starters,  JJ Redick, Derrick Favors), Utah (Bogdanovich, Conley, Jeff Green)   

If the Lakers are able to land Iguodala somehow (Memphis claims they won't release him despite being in apparent "tank now" mode) they have everything they need despite a softer defense than many. 

The Clippers look like the favorites though both Kawhi and George were injured for portions of last year and must learn to adjust to playing together and life on their third team / city in three and four years. 

Philly faces huge questions having lost Butler and Redick and having to integrate aging 33 y.o. Horford and Josh Richardson, keep Embiid healthy and see if this is the year Simmons finally gets an outside shot.  If those are yeses, Philly makes the Finals.


Edited by Rick Senger on 31 July 2019 at 3:38pm
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Rick Senger
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Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 8401
Posted: 15 August 2019 at 2:13pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

DeMarcus Cousins reportedly tore his ACL working out in Vegas and is done for the season.  That makes three major injuries in about a year and a half for a guy who was a shoo-in for a $150 - 180 mill supermax deal had he stayed healthy.  Now he's looking at the vet's min.  The Lakers rolled the dice and lost so now there's a massive hole in the frontcourt.  JaVale McGee and Anthony Davis and... nothing.  Kuzma is the next tallest guy playing real minutes at 6'9" but though he's been working on defense he's no answer.  Giannis' brother is 6'10" but even less plausible.  Unless the Lakers find someone reasonable (and there's not much out there), their chances to really compete for a title this year seem greatly reduced.
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Brian Floyd
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Joined: 07 July 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 6450
Posted: 18 August 2019 at 10:38am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

They're actually considering trying to bring Dwight Howard back. Howard hated playing for the team before, and is locker room poison.

 Wish they could bring Luol Deng back, instead. But money would definitely be more of an issue there. He was one of the highest paid players when he was on the team. But he was let go for a good reason: by mutual decision because he wasn't getting enough quality playing time. The playing time wouldn't be a problem with Cousins out, but the money definitely would be.
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Rick Senger
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Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 8401
Posted: 18 August 2019 at 6:23pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Howard is a three time defensive player of the year and still has the height and some rebounding ability but he's a ghost of what he once was or could have been and he's trouble.  As a fan who saw how badly things went his first time in and his departure from LA, it's hard to imagine him being welcome back.  Deng is the same and different; he's an unrestricted free agent (LA bought out his ridiculous contract a year ago) and like Howard is not what he once was but unlike Howard I think even if LA wanted him he wouldn't come back because he was treated poorly by the Lakers and held out of playing b/c LA was in full tank mode at the time.   Other top possibilities like Kenneth Faried and Joakim Noah are also not perfect fits (Faried might be the best of the bunch) so there's no easy solution.
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Brian Floyd
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Joined: 07 July 2006
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Posts: 6450
Posted: 22 August 2019 at 1:52am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Dwight Howard being in a Lakers uniform again would raise a lot of stink. And its been over 5 years since his last DPOY award. 

Royce White, who played a whopping 3 NBA games for the Sacramento Kings about as long ago as Howard's last DPOY award, is bitching that Carmelo Anthony is being blackballed from the league, because the Lakers signed Jared Dudley instead. And on top of that, he's blaming LeBron for not doing anything about it! 

I can kind of see his point, because Dudley is not exactly setting the world on fire as a player. But the Lakers don't exactly have a lot of money to play with filling out their roster right now, and Melo would cost a hell of a lot more.
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Rick Senger
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Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 8401
Posted: 22 August 2019 at 10:30am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Admittedly Howard probably has the most upside of all the comparable choices out there if things went perfectly but they never do with him.  Despite the public backlash, Howard's well documented locker room antics and eroding skills, it appears he has about a 50/50 shot which underlines how desperate LA is to find some sort of defensive big body in a wilderness where almost no such free agents currently exist.  If it happens I'll still be surprised (not shocked but surprised). 

Carmelo wasn't a good fit for Houston (bad offensive analytics, no defense) but it was only ten games at the start of last season adjusting not only to not starting for the first time but also playing for a new team, new scheme, etc... Given that nobody seems to want to touch him with a ten foot pole (including even FIBA!) I wonder if he might only garner around a one year vets min to 3.5 mill type deal at this point.  When major uncertainty surrounds a vet in their declining years, they often have to settle for a lowball short term offer to showcase what they still have, hoping it leads to a bigger deal later (it sometimes does, but rarely.)  Amazing how more than a decade of HOF stats gets chucked for a bad sliver of minutes.  And in his fourth from last game, he got 28 points on 9/12 shooting (6/9 from three), so there is seemingly still something in the tank. 

The bigger issue may be perceptions of a diva attitude behind the scenes.  Publicly I've never really seen a blatant swagger beyond the pale of his deserved superstar status in the Knicks days.  OKC was a step back stats-wise but he still managed 16.2 pts on 36% from 3 and 5.8 rebs and while he chirped a little about a career low in minutes, it wasn't that loud.   He took his firing from Houston without saying a word for almost a year and then when he did finally speak out, he said all the right stuff ("he fully understands his role has changed" and he'll do "whatever is asked of him to help a team.") 

Royce White is a blowhard and it's not LeBron's fault that the Lakers don't need another offensive SF / PF as much as they desperately need a defensive-minded center but I do find it strange that 'Melo can't latch on somewhere.  I have a feeling there may be more going on behind the scenes than we know about. 
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Brian Floyd
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 07 July 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 6450
Posted: 22 August 2019 at 11:10am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I think Royce White is just using any excuse he can come up with to blast the league since he was a dud there. He also is known to have mental issues.

The only time I ever laughed at Carmelo was when he was trying to convince people to come play with him on the Knicks. I could see him on the Lakers in a deal like you mentioned, though. The Dudley signing has me scratching my head. 

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Rick Senger
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 8401
Posted: 23 August 2019 at 4:59pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Howard signs with LA.  At least the Lakers made it a non-guaranteed deal according to ESPN, meaning LA can cut him by Jan. 7th "without cost to the team" if things go to form.  Management, the coaches and some players including AD apparently interviewed him in depth and he convinced them that he's a changed man.  While his potential ceiling is the highest of what's available out there, this smacks of desperation by a team that realizes they need a miracle to hope to compete for a title in what could arguably be LeBron's last best season before statistics say his skills are increasingly likely to begin falling away.   Who knows, after being waived by a second team without ever suiting up, perhaps Howard realizes he has to change if he wants any kind of legacy and more to the point, if he wants to stay in the league.  Between his history of crap attitude and frequent injuries, I'll believe it when I see it. 
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