NBA Free Agency: Winners and losers from day two

After an exciting day one of NBA free agency, day two didn’t offer nearly as much excitement. However, there were still a few significant signings throughout the league that will impact how things play out the rest of the way.

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Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Brooklyn Nets” by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Yesterday we looked at the winners and losers of free agency’s first few hours, as that’s when most of the action happened. However, several significant moves happened later on on day one, meaning there were winners and losers we missed from the first day. With that in mind, the winners and losers from day two will include some of the moves made technically on day one of free agency. Let’s take a look at the free agency winners and losers from day two!

 

Winner: Golden State Warriors

Just when you think the dynasty is over, it comes right back. After losing Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets, the Warriors were able to pull off a sign-and-trade to get D’Angelo Russell on a long term deal. Somehow, someway, the Warriors lost two All-Stars in Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins, yet they still have four All-Stars on their team.

This move by the Warriors is a great move for them, both for now and later. It’s a good move now, because Klay Thompson will be out for most of, if not the entire 2019-20 season. With him out, Steph Curry still has another splash bro who can drain three point shots pretty much at will.

It’s a great move for later, because we know the Warriors’ stars won’t last forever. Curry and Thompson still have great years ahead, but when they do start to decline, they’ll have D’Angelo Russell there to keep them competitive. Russell’s four year deal will give the Warriors time to develop a relationship with Russell to make sure he doesn’t leave when his opportunity arises. They can take care of that before it even gets that far.

The down side to the trade is that the Warriors had to get rid of Andre Iguodala in order to make space for Russell. Iguodala was a huge factor in the Warriors’ run over the last several years. We can’t tell just yet how that will impact this team, but it’s likely they’ll decline defensively. Despite that move, the Warriors are winners because they’ve kept themselves legit title contenders after losing one of the NBA’s best players.

 

Loser: Los Angeles Lakers

While NBA teams have been going nuts and making headlines, the Lakers have been sitting back and doing nothing. We all know they’re waiting on Kawhi Leonard, but in the mean time, a lot of solid players have been swallowed up by their competitors. This team is banking on getting Kawhi Leonard, and it may not even happen. I don’t blame them for banking on him. If they land him, they’re legit title contenders. However, if they don’t, they pretty much wasted free agency.

Since free agency started, the Lakers have done just about nothing. They did make one move during day two of free agency, but it wasn’t anything exciting. The Lakers signed guard Troy Daniels, who’s spent six years in the league with multiple teams. Who? Yeah, most people don’t even know who Daniels is.

The reason they signed Daniels is because of his three-point shooting ability. He’s shot 40% from deep over his six year career. He’ll provide some nice shooting for the Lakers, but he doesn’t bring much else outside of that.

L.A. could easily go from losers to winners if they land Kawhi, but for now, their boring free agency period and lack of ability to surround LeBron and AD with help has landed them here.

 

Winner: Boston Celtics

I’ve been going back and forth on if I think the Celtics are winners, losers or just somewhere in the middle. They lost Kyrie Irving, but were able to land Kemba Walker. They also lost Al Horford, but replaced him with Enes Kanter. Replacing Irving with Walker offsets, but what about replacing Horford with Kanter?

Overall, I think Horford is the better player. However, the Celtics were able to get Kanter on a two-year, $10 million deal. That’s a great value for what Kanter brings to the table. Many don’t like Kanter, but I personally love the way he plays. He’s a great rebounder, who excels at getting his team second chance opportunities. He’s not an elite scorer, but the Celtics don’t need him to be. The Celtics won with this signing because they got a player who’ll do all the dirty work on such a great deal.

 

Loser: DeMarcus Cousins

After day two of free agency, DeMarcus Cousins is still sitting there, waiting for someone to scoop him up. For most bigger name free agents, we’d typically hear something about them meeting with teams and getting close to a deal. We haven’t really heard anything about DeMarcus Cousins during free agency to this point. What does that tell us about how teams view Cousins?

I think a lot of teams may be shying away from Cousins because of his recent injury history. He’s been hurt a lot over the last couple of years, and hasn’t been available for his team as often as teams would like.

Then there’s the fact that Cousins has never been able to help his team win. The only time Cousins has been on a relevant team have been when he played with Anthony Davis, and when he played for the Warriors with Curry, Thompson, Green and Durant. Other than that, Cousins’ teams have been nothing.

Someone will pick Cousins up eventually, but the fact that he hasn’t received much interest to this point has to be bad for him going forward. This has shown he’s got a lot to prove this coming season wherever he ends up signing.

 

Winner: Portland Trail Blazers

Portland won day two of free agency because they were able to land Hassan Whiteside from Miami. The acquisition of Whiteside gives the Blazers a legit big man to help fill the void of Jusuf Nurkic as he continues to make his way back from injury. Enes Kanter did a nice job last season, but he’s no longer with the team. Had Portland not traded for Whiteside, they would have had a huge gap to fill at the position.

There are two more things I love about this trade. One, the Blazers didn’t give up much to get Whiteside. They only had to give up Meyers Leonard and Mo Harkless in order to land his services. Second, Whiteside is entering the final year of his contract. That means the Blazers didn’t commit to anything long term with Whiteside. If they like him, they can sign him to a long term deal later. If he ends up not working out, it’s not like the Blazers are stuck with him.

Landing Hassan Whiteside was a good insurance policy for the Blazers, which should help them stay competitive in the Western Conference this coming season.

 

Loser: Houston Rockets

We all know the Rockets were trying to add Jimmy Butler to their roster. Well, that didn’t work out, as Butler is now a member of the Miami Heat. Instead, the Rockets settled for re-signing Austin Rivers. That’s no knock on Rivers, but it’s not great when comparing it to trying to land Butler.

There’s also another downside here. There had been a lot of talk about the Rockets moving on from Clint Capela to possibly make room for Butler and his contract, but now it looks like he may be sticking around. How will that impact Capela and his relationship with the team?

There already seemed to be some sort of drama going on within the organization. Will this make it even worse? Things have been tough for the Rockets lately, and this certainly didn’t help.

NBA Free Agency: Top 10 small forwards

After spending the last few days looking at the other positions, it’s time to take a look at the most important position in the NBA. The small forward position includes big names like Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard.

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“”1 kawhi leonard 2019 nba finals” by Chensiyuan is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

As we quickly approach the free agent period, everyone has their eyes set on these two guys. Let’s be honest, they might all be disappointed, but let’s see where they might actually go.

 

Top 10 small forwards

1. Kevin Durant

Current Team: Golden State Warriors

New Team: Los Angeles Clippers

Yes, you are seeing this right! Kevin Durant will leave the Warriors and join their division rival, Los Angeles Clippers. By doing so, he’ll team up with DeMarcus Cousins again. Durant is expected to be a part of one of the New York teams, but he’s also expected to meet with the Clippers. He could also opt into his deal with the Warriors. The injury will play a huge part in where he plays, and I think the Clippers would still be a playoff team if they sign him and still have to wait the year.

 

2. Kawhi Leonard

Current Team: Toronto Raptors

New Team: Toronto Raptors

Despite having meetings with both the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, the Raptors get the last laugh. Leonard hears them out, and stays with Toronto for the biggest contract in NBA history. Look at what he was able to do in just one year. With not many changes happening with the team, they could be right back there again. Pascal Siakam won most improved player and he’ll continue to improve with Leonard playing along side him.

 

3. Bojan Bogdanovic

Current Team: Indiana Pacers

New Team: Philadelphia 76ers

This is a match made in heaven for both sides, as the Sixers clearly need shooters with both Reddick and Butler leaving. Bogdanovic has been known for his lights out threes, which played a major part in the success of the Indiana Pacers when Victor Oladipo went down. With Bogdanovic and the addition of P.J. Tucker and Eric Gordon, the Sixers can have the offense they had last season. The problem will still be the injury prone Joel Embiid and the no jump shot Ben Simmons.

 

4. Khris Middleton

Current Team: Milwaukee Bucks

New Team: Milwaukee Bucks

Although Middleton opted out of his contract, I think he’ll stay with the Bucks. They were as close to the NBA Finals as they’ve been for a long time. If they can keep him, they have a better chance of getting there next season and in the future. They could also look to add more shooters to the bench to help take pressure off MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

 

5. Harrison Barnes

Current Team: Sacramento Kings

New Team: Indiana Pacers

Barnes is one of those forwards who’s underrated. He really grew into a nice star during his time with the Dallas Mavericks. The only reason why they moved him was to create space for the Porzingis trade. Having Luka Doncic playing well as a rookie was also a plus. I think Barnes could be a star in Indiana with all the other new pieces they have. Of course, the money will have to be figured out if they’re really going to have all the players they want.

 

6. Wilson Chandler

Current Team: Philadelphia 76ers

New Team: Sacramento Kings

Chandler has been a player who’s moved around so much over his career, and he’ll continue to do so. I hope he can find a big deal and be settled with one team again. With the Kings, it could be it. They’re on the rise and hoping to make the playoffs this year, if not the next. With the young team they’ve assembled, a playoff appearance could be in the near future, and it will be a good thing to see from this franchise.

 

7. Rudy Gay

Current Team: San Antonio Spurs

New Team: San Antonio Spurs

Gay has found a way to remain relevant in the NBA, and the Spurs seem to fit him well. He may visit other teams to see what they can offer, but he fits the Spurs well and I can see him adding a few more years with them.

 

8. Trevor Ariza

Current Team: Washington Wizards

New Team: Denver Nuggets

Since he came into the league, Ariza has always been known as one of the better three and D guys. He made several big plays as a member of the Lakers in their 2008-09 season. He’s helped several other teams, such as the Wizards and Houston Rockets, make the playoffs and be better defensively. I think him being added to the Nuggets will be a good spot for him. He can come in and set the tone for what the Nuggets want to do on defense. We already know they can score, but the addition to Ariza could help slow down their opponents.

 

9. Jabari Parker

Current Team: Washington Wizards

New Team: Washington Wizards

Parker hasn’t really been able to fit into the NBA like he’s wanted to. He had too many injuries in Milwaukee, which led to them letting him go. He got traded again from Chicago to the Washington Wizards. I think the Wizards are a better fit for him, because he’s not having to be be a star there. He was also able to learn behind Trevor Ariza, so if Parker can stay healthy, he could be a better player for the Wizards this year.

 

10. Kelly Oubre

Current Team: Phoenix Suns

New Team: Phoenix Suns

Speaking of the Wizards and Ariza, they traded Kelly Oubre to Phoenix for him. It made sense for the Wizards, because Oubre was costing them too much. That’s why they also shopped Otto Porter Jr. It was good for both Oubre and the Suns, who’ll likely stay together one more year on the player option and see where that takes them. I like this for both sides.

 

I hope you enjoyed the list of players who’ll hit free agency on July 1st. Don’t forget to share and comment what you think about each player and where they’ll be playing next season.

Check out our other position predictions:

Point Guards

Centers

Power Forwards

Shooting Guards

NBA Free Agency: Top 10 shooting guards

Today we’re taking a look at the top 10 shooting guards in free agency and where each of them could go. In case you missed any of the other positions so far, follow the links at the bottom of the page.

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“Klay Thompson” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Top 10 shooting guards

1. Klay Thompson

Current Team: Golden State Warriors

New Team: Golden State Warriors

It’s going to be tough to believe Klay Thompson will leave the Warriors. If he does, it’ll be because of Kevin Durant staying. I say that because Thompson went from being the second option to the third, and it showed a lot through the past few seasons what its done to him. He’s one of the best defensive guards in the league, and I honestly want him to sign with the Lakers, but he’ll be injured for most of the season. That injury could just have him take a short term deal with the Warriors, despite how many teams may want him. I find it hard for the Splash Brothers to split up.

 

2. Jimmy Butler

Current Team: Philadelphia 76ers

New Team: Houston Rockets

According to the reports, the Sixers want to keep Butler on a max deal. However, there are several teams in the hunt. The Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets are two teams favored to land him. The Clippers want to try to get a pairing of Kawhi Leonard and Butler together, but that’s not going to happen. The Rockets have openly said they want to do a sign-and-trade with the Sixers to get Butler. Of course, the Rockets can’t just sign him straight up. However, a deal that sends both Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker to Philadelphia with some first-round picks could do it for both sides.

 

3. J.J. Reddick

Current Team: Philadelphia 76ers

New Team: Los Angeles Lakers

The Sixers will be losing out on another great shooter. Honestly, as a Lakers fan, I’d rather have one of the top two guys here, but they haven’t been able to get the money right yet, and Reddick should once again sign a one-year deal with the Lakers and see how it goes before signing long term.

 

4. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Current Team: Los Angeles Lakers

New Team: Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers missing out on Butler gives them a bit of nerve as they look for a true three and D guy who can help their team. That will also allow them to continue bringing Lou Williams off the bench as the sixth man. Caldwell-Pope is a better player than he’s been given credit for. Let’s be honest, the Lakers couldn’t keep up with the rotation of their players. That was one of the biggest issues with the coaching staff. Caldwell-Pope often found himself behind in the rotation, so hopefully, it’s better for the Clippers.

 

5. Terrance Ross

Current Team: Orlando Magic

New Team: Indiana Pacers

Terrance Ross is one of the more underrated guards in the league. I think he’ll really be able to shine in Indiana with Ricky Rubio and Victor Oladipo. He fits that type of offense and he’ll have a much larger role in the beginning of the season with Oladipo trying to recover from injury.

 

6. Rodney Hood

Current Team: Portland Trail Blazers

New Team: Portland Trail Blazers

Hood will continue to be the sixth man for the Blazers. Although, there have been talks of him also joining the Lakers and reuniting with LeBron James. The Blazers and Hood fit well together. He helped them get to the Conference Finals in a tough Western Conference. He plays well off the ball with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. I can see him being a huge part of the team again this year.

 

7. Danny Green

Current Team: Toronto Raptors

New Team: New York Knicks

With the recent news of Marc Gasol opting into his contract, it makes it more obvious that Green could be on the move, especially if the Raptors really do want to bring Kawhi Leonard back. I think Danny Green will be a good fit in New York, putting himself in the Big Apple with DeAndre Jordan, Marcus Morris and R.J. Barrett. Green could continue to be a starter for the Knicks as they slowly progress with Barrett taking over. I think they could be a bit better if they get the right pieces around them.

 

8. Jeremy Lamb

Current Team: Charlotte Hornets

New Team: Chicago Bulls

With the Hornets spending all the money on keeping Kemba Walker and adding Enes Kanter, they’ll be limited on certain things. With Malik Monk likely to continue to be the starter, Lamb could go elsewhere. I think Chicago would be a great place for him. The Bulls could use all the guard help they can get. Lamb would be a nice piece off the bench for the Bulls behind Zach LaVine and could turn into a nice role player like he was in Charlotte.

 

9. Wesley Matthews

Current Team: Indiana Pacers

New Team: Oklahoma City Thunder

I think this is a dream made to come true. The Thunder haven’t had a shooting guard who’s shoot first since James Harden, and they need the extra offense. I know Matthews is much older now, but he’s one of the leagues best veteran leaders, and he showed that last season with the Pacers. The problem is that he has to be a starter to be successful. That’s why he’ll succeed with the Thunder alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

 

10. Austin Rivers

Current Team: Houston Rockets

New Team: Orlando Magic

I don’t think Rivers will be staying with the Rockets. They already have a lot of things to figure out trying to get Butler. Rivers is a nice bench piece to have. With the Magic losing Ross, I think Rivers could be a great addition. He can also play both guard positions, which is a bonus if Rozier and Fultz struggle.

 

Here are the links to the previous articles:

Point guards

Centers

Power forwards

We aren’t done yet! We still have the small forwards to figure out, so make sure to return tomorrow to see where the best available may land.

NBA Free Agency: Top 10 Centers

Yesterday we listed the top point guards available in free agency and where they could be playing next season. Today we’ll move on to the next position, the centers. We can’t forget about the big men in the middle.

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Al Horford, Bradley Beal” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

This is one of the more underrated positions in the NBA because several teams like to play small ball. However, every player on this list is capable of being involved in a team who plays that style. We’ll now look at the top 10 Centers who are available and what team they’ll be playing for next season.

Top 10 Centers

1. DeMarcus Cousins

Current Team: Golden State Warriors

New Team: Los Angeles Clippers

Cousins joined the Warriors on a one-year, $5 million deal because he was chasing a ring, but Kawhi Leonard put a stop to that. The Warriors have a lot of decisions to make this offseason with their team, and I think they’ll be moving on from Cousins. With the Warriors moving on, Cousins will too. I think the best place for him is in Los Angeles. Not with Davis and James, but on the Clippers with Lou Williams. Cousins signing with the Clippers may actually hurt them, that’s why this deal won’t go down until later in the free agency period.

2. Al Horford

Current Team: Boston Celtics

New Team: Sacramento Kings

I think this is where things start to get interesting from the Center position. Al Horford opted out of this contract with the Boston Celtics. He’s got a lot of different teams who could consider signing him. Of course, there are smaller teams who could use an All-Star like Horford, teams like the Sacramento Kings, who were just five games out of missing the playoffs. The Kings could use a big man presence like Horford after years of having Willie Cauley-Stein, who will likely move on. Horford is more of an offensive threat than Cauley-Stein, but that’s what makes him right for the job. He can help the young guys in Sacramento become better and lead them into the playoffs like he was able to do with the Hawks and Celtics and their young rosters.

3. Brook Lopez

Current Team: Milwaukee Bucks

New Team: Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks, like the Warriors, have a lot of questions that need to be answered in free agency. As you saw with the point guards, they’ll be losing two-way guard Malcolm Brogdon, but they don’t want to let Lopez go too. Lopez was signed for one year to see how well he could play in coach Mike Budholzer’s system. I honestly think he fit the system well, and it really showed as the season went on. Of all the questions that need to be answered, this should be the first one.

4. DeAndre Jordan

Current Team: New York Knicks

New Team: New York Knicks

All I know is that the Knicks could be in trouble this summer. They drafted Duke’s R.J. Barrett with the 3rd overall pick, and they’re hoping to land superstars like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. As you already saw from my predictions, Irving will not be going there. You’ll find out whether or not Kevin Durant goes there or not in my future articles. Just in case they were to miss out on the guys they really want, they’ll still need to get a center in the middle to add to their roster. That’s where DeAndre Jordan comes in. Jordan was part of the Porzingis trade, along with Dennis Smith Jr. from Dallas. Having played half a season with the Knicks might have been good for him. I think having David Fizdale as a coach might also be a helpful reason for Jordan to stay in New York, but will another player decide to join?

5. Enes Kanter

Current Team: Portland Trail Blazers

New Team: Charlotte Hornets

We know one player who won’t join the Knicks again is Kanter. I could honestly see the Blazers trying to keep Kanter, but it will be tough to find playing time for Kanter when Jusuf Nurkic returns from injury. That is why I think Kanter will play elsewhere next season. The team he could play for is the Charlotte Hornets. I know it may seem like a tough grab, but with Kemba Walker likely to return, the Hornets are looking to make the playoffs again, and this move will be a key acquisition for the Hornets. Of course, Kanter will also have to fight off Bismack Biyombo for some minutes, but I think the two of them can play well with each other.

6. Marc Gasol

Current Team: Toronto Raptors

New Team: Toronto Raptors

So, we don’t know what will happen with the defending NBA champions, as the Toronto Raptors have to decide what to do with their free agents like Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and Marc Gasol. All three of these guys played huge roles in the franchises first ever championship, and that’s why it’s important to bring back Gasol. Having Gasol on the team helped the Raptors stretch the floor better because of his ability to make the three-point shot. I think it may take a bit longer to get a deal done because it’s about Kawhi first.

7. Nikola Vucevic

Current Team: Orlando Magic

New Team: Boston Celtics

I’m not sure how this happens, but after trading Aron Baynes on draft night and losing Al Horford in free agency, this needs to be done. I think Vucevic could be a good fit for the Celtics as they look to remodel the franchise. What other pieces do they have in mind for this remodel, though? That will be key to another successful Celtics season!

8. Jonas Valanciunas

Current Team: Memphis Grizzlies

New Team: Memphis Grizzlies

Despite being traded midseason like Marc Gasol, Valanciunas made the best of his time as a member of the Grizzlies. This could be a nice pairing for the future. After the Mike Conley trade, it’s obvious they’re heading in a new direction. That direction involves younger players like Grayson Allen, Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson. Don’t expect the Grizzlies to be a playoff team right away, but resigning a guy like Valanciunas would be a big step in the right direction.

9. JaVale McGee

Current Team: Los Angeles Lakers

New Team: Washington Wizards

McGee had a good year in Los Angeles with the Lakers. He even said he’d like to re-sign, but with the tight salary cap, the Lakers and McGee will likely part ways as they look for cheaper options. I think McGee would be a good fit for the Wizards, as they’re in need of a center because of the status of Dwight Howard and Thomas Bryant. Of course, he may not be able to get what he asks for.

10. Willie Cauley-Stein

Current Team: Sacramento Kings

New Team: Los Angeles Lakers

Another player who might be on the move is Willie Cauley-Stein. He’s made it clear he’s unhappy with the Kings. I think that mispleasure will end up with him leaving. A team who could use him is the Los Angeles Lakers, as they could pair him with Anthony Davis and become a great defensive front court. When this deal happens, it’ll likely move Kyle Kuzma back to the bench, but it’s a good thing for the Lakers because they could play a lot of different lineups throughout the season.

As we complete the list of available Centers who could be on the move, we look forward to hearing what you think. Where will the top available players at this position land?

Did the Warriors have the most disappointing arena farewell of all-time?

Being down 3-2 in the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors had a golden opportunity to extend the series to a Game 7. Game 6 was played at Oracle Arena, but it wasn’t just any Game 6. This Game 6 was the last game the Warriors would ever play here. Warriors players and fans alike were hoping that would spark their team to a Game 6 victory and another championship. Instead, their farewell to Oracle may have turned out to be the most disappointing farewell of all-time.

Warriors

It was win or go home for the Golden State Warriors in Game 6. After all, they would never play another game at Oracle. They had the home crowd. They had the momentum after coming off a Game 5 victory in Toronto. On top of that, they had motivation to win this one for KD, who ruptured his achilles in the previous game.

Everything was on their side. Everything was set up for the Warriors to give their fans one last show at Oracle before moving to a new arena. However, instead of giving Warriors fans something to cheer about one more time, what could have gone wrong, did go wrong.

 

Crowning new NBA Champs

The result of Game 6 was a Raptors win, which meant they were now the NBA Champs. The last game to ever be played at Oracle Arena resulted in the Toronto Raptors raising the trophy. What kind of farewell memory is that? It’s a memory many Warriors fans will want to forget, but I doubt it’ll be easy. How do you forget the last game to ever be played in this historic stadium? The memory of the Toronto Raptors winning a title in this building will last forever.

 

Losing Klay Thompson

If it wasn’t already bad enough to see another team win the NBA title in their building, Warriors fans had to see one of their stars, Klay Thompson, leave the game with what we now know is a torn ACL. What does this mean for their future?

Well, Klay Thompson is set to become a free agent, and it’s possible the Warriors could have seen the last of him as a Warrior. In what could have been his last game as a Warrior, Warriors fans had to see Thompson leave the game early with a serious injury.

What kind of last memory of Klay Thompson as a Warrior would that be?

 

Losing KD in Game 5

Technically, losing KD had nothing to do with the final game played at Oracle Arena. However, Warriors fans likely will never see Durant play another game for the Warriors.

Despite questions about how valuable KD was to the Warriors, Durant made his presence felt when he scored 11 points in 12 minutes during Game 5, which ultimately boosted the Warriors to extending the series. Shortly after dominating the first quarter, Kevin Durant went down with a devastating injury, an injury that could potentially never allow fans to see Durant in a Warriors jersey again.

It’s pretty likely Warriors fans were expecting Durant to be gone after this season anyway, but I doubt they thought they’d see Durant go out like that. They didn’t even get to see Durant play the final game at Oracle Arena. Just another disappointment.

 

Most disappointing farewell of all-time? 

It’s not every day we see an NBA team move from one arena to another. For that reason, I have to admit I haven’t seen a whole lot of them. Regardless of that, I don’t think there’s ever been a more disappointing final game in an arena than Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals.

KD didn’t play, and may never be a Warrior again. Klay Thompson got hurt, and may never be a Warrior again. If either of them are, they’re likely not playing next season. one didn’t get to play the final game at Oracle, and the other didn’t get to finish it. On top of that, the Toronto Raptors won a championship in the arena on its final night. How could you be more disappointed?

Unfortunately, the farewell to Oracle Arena could be a painful, long lasting memory in the hearts and minds of Warriors fans everywhere.

 

Kawhi Leonard: The. Greatest. Raptor. Ever.

Vince Carter. Chris Bosh. DeMar DeRozan. Those are the names of some of the greatest Raptors players of all-time, but there’s one name who tops them all. That name is Kawhi Leonard. 

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Kawhi Leonard shooting a free throw at Game 2 of the 2019 NBA Finals” by Chensiyuan is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Toronto Raptors are NBA Champions! The Toronto Raptors have won their first championship ever!

Who led them there? Kawhi Leonard.

In his first season with the team, Kawhi Leonard accomplished something no other Raptors star has ever done. No, I’m not talking about regular season records. I’m not talking about setting a playoff record for most 30 point games. I’m talking about winning a championship. 

Kawhi Leonard brought the first ever NBA Championship to the city of Toronto, and he did it in just one season. In just one season as a Raptor, Kawhi Leonard established himself as the greatest Raptor ever!

I know it’s bold to claim a player who’s only played for the franchise for one season as the greatest ever, but I can’t see how anyone else can top him after what he’s accomplished.

Many consider Vince Carter to be the greatest player in Raptors history. If you do, I don’t blame you. He was one of the most exciting players the Raptors have ever seen. However, I don’t believe he was ever the same caliber player Kawhi Leonard is. This is also how I feel about a player like DeMar DeRozan.

DeRozan is a good player, but by no means is he on the same level as Kawhi Leonard. For the record, I think Vince Carter was a better player than DeRozan in his prime, but my point is that neither of them are on the same level as Kawhi. No Raptor has been on his level, and I don’t think any other Raptor ever will.

It only took Kawhi one season to accomplish what no other Raptors star could EVER do! Regardless of if Kawhi Leonard stays or goes, he will go down as the greatest Raptor of all-time because of this season alone. The name Kawhi Leonard will never be forgotten in the city of Toronto.

Congrats to the Toronto Raptors and Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard!

Warriors key to beating Raptors lies in Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals

In Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals, the San Antonio Spurs held a 23 point lead on the Golden State Warriors in the third quarter. Everything looked as though the Spurs were going up 1-0 in the series. That was until Zaza Pachulia made one of the dirtiest plays in recent NBA history, landing directly under Kawhi Leonard after “contesting” a shot. We all know what happened next…… the Warriors went on to win the series, and eventually another NBA championship. 

Warriors
Players from the 2011-12 Golden State Warriors warming up prior to the tip-off of their exhibition opener at Oracle Arena against the Sacramento Kings.” by Amin Eshaiker is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

2017 Western Conference Finals Game 1

As soon as the then Spurs superstar, Kawhi Leonard, left the game due to injury, the Warriors went on an 18-0 run. Shortly after that run, the Warriors took the lead, and eventually went on to win Game 1 113-111.

The moment Kawhi Leonard left that series, was the moment the Warriors won it. As the Warriors are now facing a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals to another Kawhi Leonard team, there remains hope. Unfortunately, the hope they have to win another championship this season would come with a lack of sportsmanship, professionalism, and any sort of human decency.

What is that hope? “Accidentally” hurting Kawhi Leonard.

It pains me to say this, but if the Warriors want to win another championship, taking Kawhi Leonard out of the series may be their only shot. Being down 3-1, there has to be some sort of memory coming back to the Warriors of the last time they took down a Kawhi led team who was badly beating them. With Kevin Durant hurt, Klay Thompson not at full strength, and a team that’s just not performing as they’re expected to, hurting Kawhi Leonard may be their only hope.

 

How do they make it look like an accident?

How could the Warriors make hurting Kawhi Leonard look like an accident? With Durant already out and Thompson still not 100%, we know they can’t afford to lose another key player. If they’re going to do this, they won’t be doing it with a player like Steph Curry of Draymond Green.

If the Warriors did go this direction, they’ll use a player they don’t care about, just like they did when Zaza took down Kawhi in 2017. It could be a player like Andrew Bogut or Jonas Jerebko, to name a couple guys.

 

Why this would work

If Kawhi Leonard just happened to get hurt and leave the game, or series, who’s going to elevate the Raptors over the Warriors? Kyle Lowry is a good player. Pascal Siakam is a good player. Marc Gasol is a good player. Toronto has a lot of good players, but they don’t have another player on the same level as Kawhi Leonard.

As we’ve seen in every game so far this series, Kawhi Leonard can make a huge impact for the Raptors even if he’s not putting up 30+ points. With Kawhi in the game, it forces the Warriors to focus on him. That automatically opens things up for guys like Lowry, Siakam and Gasol.

Take out their superstar, win the series.

Just look at what happened in 2017. Kawhi leaves the series, leaving LaMarcus Aldridge as their main guy. Aldridge is a good player, but he was nowhere near good enough to take down the Warriors.

 

Should they do this?

The answer to this question is a hard no. If the Warriors were to do this, it would be the most disgraceful thing I’ve ever seen in sports. It’s just wrong to do something like this. I feel bad just thinking about the possibility of this even happening!

If the Warriors want to play the game the right way, they can’t do this. I’m not saying I think they will do this, but I’m also putting everyone on alert. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be surprised if a Warriors player “accidentally” hurts Kawhi Leonard in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

I still have no doubt that the Spurs would have won the 2017 Western Conference Finals had Kawhi played that entire series. If Kawhi plays the rest of the NBA Finals this year, I have no doubt the Raptors will be the NBA champs. However, if Kawhi goes down, the fate of his team will be the same as the Spurs team who made the 2017 WCFs.

Buy or Sell: Toronto Raptors, NL MVP and Kevin Durant

This week we are back to the traditional “Buy or Sell,” where we focus on more than one sport at a time. Over the past several weeks, we’ve taken three topics from a sport and given you our thoughts.

Whether it’s been NFL, NHL, MLB or NBA, we’ve given you the best thoughts we can. This week is no different. This week we’ll be focusing on an NBA team in pursuit of an NBA title, two likely candidates for MVP honors in MLB, and one of the biggest NBA free agents.

Cody Bellinger” by Ian D’Andrea is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
  • After his unreal four bounce buzzer beating game-winner in game seven against the Philadelphia 76ers on Mother’s day, Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors are looking to make it to the NBA Finals, but can they win an NBA title this year?
  • How about the National League MVP race? Of course it’s still way to early, but can Christain Yelich or Cody Bellinger win NL MVP?
  • What will the next chapter in Kevin Durant’s career be?

Let’s find out what Dan, Joel and I think about these topics!

Rahim: Kawhi and the Raptors win the NBA title this year

Joel: I’m going to sell Kawhi and the Raptors winning the title this year. Kawhi is a great player, but I’m not sure his team has enough to overcome what the Bucks and Warriors bring. Yes, I’m already plugging the Warriors into the Finals. Kawhi was able to overcome poor play by his teammates against the 76ers, but I don’t see it happening against either the Bucks or Warriors. The Bucks were the best team in the league this season, and the Warriors are the Warriors. You can’t have bad play from key players against these two teams.

If the Raptors get by the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals, I seriously doubt Kawhi can carry the Raptors over the Warriors if he’s not getting the help he needs. The Warriors are dominating right now, and they don’t even have Kevin Durant playing. In the Finals with Kevin Durant, I can’t buy the Raptors winning the title.

Dan: I’m going to sell Kawhi and the Raptors winning the title this year. The Bucks are better than the Raptors, and the Warriors are certainly better than the Raptors. They didn’t play that great in the series against a tough Philadelphia team. Unfortunately for Kawhi, it’s just not his year this year.

Dan: Either Christian Yelich or Cody Bellinger will win NL MVP

Rahim: As A Dodgers fan, I would love to see Bellinger win the National League MVP, but Christian Yelich is making a real case to repeat. There are also many other players in the mix right now, so I’ll have to sell this! It’s also still early in the season, as most teams have only played a quarter of the season. Some players could get hotter later down the road and over take both these guys.

Guys like Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Freddie Freeman, and Bryce Harper. I know none of these guys are playing at the level that we are use to seeing them play, but they could likely start to heat up. And both the Brewers and Dodgers have so much talent on their teams that the production of Bellinger and Yelich may fall as well. And it’s also tough to repeat as MVP in back-to-back seasons, so it will a tough task to do so. I mean the last player to win back-to-back MVPs was Miguel Cabera in 2012 and 2013. Although I sell this idea right now, I do see that this could happen.

Joel: I agree with Rahim that it’s still early in the season, so giving a firm buy or sell is hard here. For sake of the question, I’ll buy this. If I had to choose one, I’d go with Cody Bellinger. His stats are slightly better than those of Yelich at the moment, but Yelich is still having a great season.

Cody Bellinger ranks first in the NL in runs, hits, RBIs and batting average. He also ranks second in home runs right now. Yelich ranks first in home runs, fourth in runs, 13th in hits, third in RBIs and sixth in batting average. Yelich has played three less games than Bellinger to this point, but overall, Bellinger has the better numbers.

Again, it’s still too early to say for sure on this, but based on their numbers right now, I’ll buy it.

Joel: Kevin Durant will leave if the Warriors win another title, but if they don’t, he’ll stay.

Dan: I sell Kevin Durant staying with the Warriors. Pretty much everyone has said Kevin Durant is leaving, and I believe it. Could you blame him?

If the Knicks offer him a max contract, they could potentially team him up with Kyrie Irving and R.J. Barrett, or whoever else they might draft with the No. 3 pick. Or maybe it’ll be Anthony Davis, depending on if New York wants to trade their third pick and if the New Orleans Pelicans are willing to do that trade. It just makes so much sense, and would turn the Knicks into an instant title contender.

Rahim: I agree with Dan in the sense that Kevin Durant will not return. In the question, Joel has asked that he’ll leave if the Warriors win, but stay if they lose. I buy him leaving in both cases. Not sure it’ll be the Knicks anymore, but it will be somewhere that makes him the highest paid player in the league.

What I am more interested in is who else will join him? Like Dan said, there is a potential that Kyrie Irving can join him. But there are several other names that could be in the picture. Names like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, and even LeBron James. I say these names because this could be the biggest summer of all for the NBA and it’s free agency period.

I mean putting your feelings aside about how you feel about now the draft lottery went on Tuesday night, this is going to be one heck of a summer despite whether Zion Williamson goes to the Pelicans at one in the draft or Kevin Durant decides to join an already super team in place again like he did when he first joined the Golden State Warriors.

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And there you have it! Now, what do you think?

  • Can Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors win the NBA title this year?
  • Will Christian Yelich or Cody Bellinger win the National League MVP?
  • Will Kevin Durant stay or leave Golden State depending on if they win the title or not?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment!