There are three guarantees in life. The first two, as you’ve probably heard, are death and taxes. The third is that the NBA season will always entertain.
Even though we know that every NBA season entertains, the 2018/2019 campaign has been one of the wildest ones in the association’s history. Sure, we kind of knew the outcome of the season before it began (you didn’t bet against Golden State, did you?), but as with most things, the journey is better than the destination.
If you’ve had a hard time keeping up, here are the most important NBA rumors and events of the past year.
Lebron Goes To LA
We’ve seen this dance before. Lebron James goes to a team, gets a few superstars, wins a championship or two, and then heads off somewhere else.
At the beginning of the year, it appeared that the cycle would continue. Lebron left Cleveland to take his talents to Los Angeles and people began betting on them being a challenger to the Warriors in the West. Magic Johnson and the Buss family seemed to be on top of the world. All they had to do was sit back and wait for the top free agents to sign up for a few years of playing with the best player in the world. The Lakers could then add to their impressive collection of banners.
There was only one problem though: that stampede of top free agents never arrived.
Paul George chose Oklahoma City over Los Angeles. Kawhi Leonard could end up staying in Toronto. Kevin Durant has all but shut down the rumors of him going to the Lakers.
For a while, there were rumors of a Kyrie and Lebron reunion, but who really knows what goes through Kyrie’s head on a daily basis?
The Lakers Will Dominate The Offseason News Cycle
Now, the Lakers find themselves shut out of the playoffs with a team of mismatched superstars and a coach that knows he’s getting fired. Meanwhile, Lebron is going to be 35 next year. The 17 years of professional basketball will catch up to him eventually, putting more pressure on a front office that’s shown their inexperience this year.
Will the Lakers manage to hire someone with more experience to help out the front office? Can they coax a top coach to come to Los Angeles when said coach will know that the team actually belongs to James? Can they finally pull off a trade for Anthony Davis (more on that later) and convince Kawhi, Durant, or Kyrie to form another group of super friends?
As usual, the upcoming offseason is going to center around Lebron’s team.
The Brow, Big Easy, And The Failed Trade That Will Change The League
Imagine for a second that you’re Anthony Davis. For years, you’ve dominated the NBA and made unibrows cool again. You might be the most dominant player in the league, decimating anyone that dares to challenge you in the paint.
There’s only one problem though: you play in New Orleans.
Since entering the league, Davis has had to live in the shadow of Lebron. Looking at the stats though, should he?
Anthony Davis throughout his career has an average of 23.8 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 2.4 blocks pg, and 4 apg. He also has a higher field goal and free throw percentage, and he shoots 31% from the 3-point line compared to 34% for Lebron. The difference is that AD is a center with zero championships.
The Quest For A Ring
Now, Davis has made the decision to go somewhere with more visibility that can add talent around him. He informed the Pelicans that he’d like to go to Los Angeles and team up with Lebron.
After weeks of very public back and forth negotiations where the Lakers made everyone on their roster available, New Orleans ended negotiations. There are a few theories about this. One is that resident NBA evil genius Danny Ainge told New Orleans to wait until the offseason so that the Celtics could make a better offer.
The problem is that Anthony Davis will only have one year left on his contract after this season and he might not resign with Boston if they trade for him. There’s also the question of whether New Orleans will want anything to do with Los Angeles after both teams blamed each other for leaking details about their negotiations. The situation became so ugly that New Orlean’s general manager, Dell Demps, was promptly fired after the trade deadline.
Will Anthony Davis end up in Los Angeles, Boston, or with another team? Will he begin next season with the Pelicans while they hold the league hostage for a better trade deal? Chances are that they will wait until the lottery results come out and try to flip him for a top three pick, young players, and salary relief.
Since the Lakers are now out of the playoffs, they’re planning on playing Lebron less and getting the highest draft pick possible. If they luck out and somehow pull a top three pick in the lottery, things could get very interesting.
The Eastern Conference Is A Muddled Mess
Before the season, most experts picked Boston to go to the NBA finals against the Warriors. Last season, they were one game away from making it to the Finals without Kyrie or Gordon Hayward playing.
Meanwhile, the Sixers are a team on the rise, sporting a team of young superstars, draft picks, and a talented front office. Most considered Milwaukee another contender because of the Greek Freak, Khris Middleton, and a supporting group of players that could go toe to toe with anyone. Toronto added Kawhi Leonard to a lineup that was always considered to be one superstar away from taking over the conference.
Instead, we’ve got a muddled mess where the Celtics are fifth, the Bucks and Raptors look like the beasts of the East, and Indiana, Brooklyn, and Detroit are playing better than expected. The Heat sits in the eighth spot, but the Magic and Hornets are on their tails.
How Did The Eastern Conference Get Here?
Boston has played inconsistently throughout the season, showing their potential sometimes while looking lost at others. Mike Budenholzer has gotten the Bucks’ supporting players to work together and now they sit atop the conference. Toronto is in second place thanks to Kawhi returning to form.
There are now NBA rumors that Kyrie wants to go to New York this offseason. While the Celtics want to keep him, some people believe that the team plays better when he’s not on the court. Kyrie needs the ball in his hands to be effective, while the young players want to pass the ball around and find the open shooter. That friction, along with younger players believing that they earned their spot last season, has caused problems in Boston.
Luckily, they have an excellent coach and the team rallies when they’re considered underdogs. Look for Boston to get their act together in time for the playoffs. That doesn’t mean they’ll make it to the finals, however. Philly, after trading for Tobias Harris, might have the best starting lineup in basketball. The Eastern Conference playoffs should be a fun ride.
Trouble In Golden State
When Kevin Durant joined the Warriors, people thought that it was unfair for a team to have that much talent on their roster. This last offseason, when the Warriors signed Demarcus Cousins, there was an outpouring of anger. If you’re a Golden State fan though, you love every single second of it.
All is not well in Oakland, however. During a game earlier in the season, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green got into a verbal spat that was so heated teammates had to separate them. There were rumors of more drama in the locker room after the game. The situation became so ugly that many experts believe that KD will leave the Warriors after this season.
Boogie Cousins is leaving as well, as Golden State won’t be able to offer him the amount of money another team will. If KD and Boogie both leave, it brings Golden State down to earth a little. In fairness though, any team with Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala can still beat almost anyone.
Of course, the flip side of this story is that Kevin Durant has had an ongoing war with the media over what he deems as ‘false statements’ over the past three seasons. Is he right? Is the media driving the storyline that the Warriors are in trouble to sell magazines? Given some of KD’s recent spats with his coaching staff, it’s hard to imagine him staying, but he’s surprised everyone before.
More NBA Rumors And Sports Picks
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