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Kevin Love: What, now?

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A year ago, the Cavaliers lost a hard-fought championship series to the Golden State Warriors. Many people believed that had Cleveland been healthy they would have captured that elusive title the city so desperately wanted, which sparked players in the organization to openly campaign for everyone’s return.

The biggest question loomed around Kevin Love, who had just gone through the hardest season of his career. During that season, many reports said that Love was looking for other options, he did not fit in with his teammates, and on the court he had no chemistry with them. But, still Love opted to stay because he was “All In.”

So owner Dan Gilbert, and General Manager David Griffin went to work with Jeff Schwartz, Kevin Love’s agent. The result was a five-years, 110 million dollars contract. A lofty contract for a player who saw his stat decrease the previous year, but it was for the greater good. It was all done for the championship.

However, as the grueling season wore on the players, and the fans, Love stood out due to his lackluster play. Time and time again, Kevin Love disappeared in big games.

His seven points, one rebound, and one assist in 16 minutes versus Miami on March 19 (L 101-122), or his 3 points, six rebounds in 21 minutes versus Golden State on January 18 (L 98-132), or his five points, eight rebounds versus Miami on January 12 (L 99-84), all rose eyebrows.

What’s worse is that on (too) many occasions Head Coach Tyronn Lue benched Love in the fourth quarters of tight contests in favor of Tristan Thompson, Timofey Mozgov, or Iman Shumpert due to their prowess on the defensive side of the ball.

While the critics quieted during the first two rounds of the playoffs when Cleveland swept both Detroit and Atlanta, people got a first-hand look at Love’s makeup when things got tight in the Conference Finals against Toronto (games 3 and 4). In those two games, Love scored 13 total points and grabbed 11 total rebounds.

But, in the other four games, for blowout wins for the Cavaliers, Love scored 14, 19, 25, and 20. This series echoed the negative critics about Kevin Love, which say that when the game is tight, and the pressure mounts, he disappears.

Then, came the NBA Finals. A fantasy, star-studded rematch with the Golden State Warriors that had fans salivating at the matchup. Although Cleveland lost the opener 104-89, Love had a big game (17 points, 13 rebounds), but that was the beginning of the end.

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In game 2, Cleveland was demolished 110-77, and Love finished with a mere 5 points and 3 rebounds before going down with a concussion. He was not cleared to play in game 3, which ended in a 120-90 rout of Golden State.

It was in the aftermath of game 3 that Cavaliers fans everywhere began campaigns against Kevin Love. Giles Debenham created a campaign on GoFundMe.com to pay Love 10 million dollars for him to sit out both games 6 and 7.

During the championship parade, LeBron James basically thrashed Kevin Love while trying to praise him.

Which leaves us here: where will Kevin Love play next season, now that he has won a championship?

Teams with cap space and championship aspirations could sign him as a secondary option on the offensive side of the ball, and a big presence down low who can rebound with the best of them.

If Love’s time in Cleveland has taught us one thing about him, it is that he can’t be the third wheel, but his time in Minnesota taught us that if he were the primary option you would have a hard time.

As of right now, the hottest rumors have him in Boston. But, don’t discount a return to his native Los Angeles.

For a man who stands at an impressive 6’10, 251lbs, Love is athletic, a good passer (but he is no LeBron James), a great rebounder, but his shot makes him unique. Most power forwards play close to the basket, but Love falls in the Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan School of mid-range to long distance shooting.

He also fits in Golden State’s style of basketball, Houston, and Portland. He could also go to Miami, if Hassan Whiteside leaves. This will be a busy summer for the former all-star, but how much money did his poor season cost him?

It was just two years ago, that Kevin Love was universally recognized as the best power forward in the NBA, and now he is an afterthought. Will his ego demand a max contract, or will he understand that his value has greatly diminished?

NBA

Is Isaiah Thomas IT For The Lakers?

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Usa Today 10601289.0
IT Came On A Hollywood Night

It’s All-Star break this weekend in Los Angeles, but the Lakers already have a new one since the trade deadline to lead their young core in the heart of the city. Even if Team LeBron didn’t pick him for Sundays pick up.

But how long will IT last?

Right now in the NBA the amount of movers is really putting the shakers on teams. So much so that in regards to loyalty in this league it’s even colder than the Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea right now. But then again it is the Winter after all. Recently Cleveland cleaned house and LeBron’s land for some Cavalier moves. Jettisoning several All-Star points for their changing of the guard. Including former MVP Derrick Rose, ‘Bron brodie Dwyane Wade back to the Heat of Miami, South Beach and even the guy they traded Kyrie for.

Yep that’s right after summer swapping Irving for Isaiah, the Cavs sent Thomas along with versatile big-man vet Channing Frye to Lakerland. In return they got the buckets of ‘Sixth Man’ sure thing Jordan Clarkson and another Akron hometown hero in the form of Larry Nance Jr.

And although the Lakers picked-up a certified All-Star with Iverson kill at will, little man syndrome scoring a lot of fans where left tweeting negative emojis and gifs following the deadline deal. And not because their new number seven seal was a former Boston Celtic great only a season ago. Or that the former tooth chipper is now a befallen superstar by way of injury. More that the Lake Show loved the young Ball, Ingram, Kuzma, Randle and Zubac core that has lost it’s first big time players of the future since the de-loading trade of D’Angelo Russell last summer.

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Clarkson was a class act and there from the luck of the late round steal start. Whereas when Nance Jr. ran the floor like his pops all the bleachers snapped shut, tilted up. Lakerland finally thought they would see their own slamming son represent them in the Slam Dunk Contest he should surely win now like father, like dunk today. But now he’ll be doing it all for one and one for all.

But with the fast tracked pace of the Lakers new speedy dynamite dynamo it could still be Showtime again for Magic’s men like when Earvin Johnson was kissing another Isiah Thomas hello in the golden era 80’s. But this Isaiah Thomas-so long as he can ball in the same backcourt as Ball once injury time gives way to the Lavar…excuse me the Lonzo Angeles Lakers-could attract even more free agents like the expected homecoming of Paul George from the Thunder to the purple reign this offseason. Even if rumour has a Black Panther/Killmonger like relationship between this point prince and the King of the Ohio land.

But if it’s between LeBron as a Laker or another one of James’ sidekicks than who do you think will hold the headlines for tomorrows Los Angeles Times? Especially as Isaiah could aim higher than coming off the bench this summer as a free agent without restriction himself. His big contract coming off the books with Channing’s (Frye not Hollywood’s Tatum), another big three big in Brook Lopez and another former All-Star in Luol Deng (yep…he’s still here).

All these multiples of millions would surely make for a kings ransom.

This could be it, so lets enjoy I.T. whilst he lasts.

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Nuggets Jamal Murray breaks Steven Adams Ankles with Filthy Handles

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Nuggets Jamal Murray Breaks Steven Adams Ankles Filthy Handles

Denver Nuggets Guard Jamal Murray breaks OKC Thunder center Steven Adams ankles with his filthy and deadly combination of handles and three-point shooting. Murray was sensational finishing with 33 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds in a thrilling 127-124 victory. The Canadian guard (Kitchener, ON) is having the best year of his NBA career and has arguably become best Canadian basketball player in the NBA. The 6’4″, 207 lbs guard is flourishing under Head  Coach Mike Malone’s system and is averaging a respectable 16 points per game, 3.6 rebounds and 3 assists per game through 50 regular season games including a career-high 38-point outburst against the Portland Trail Blazers.

BTW. I can watch this all day!

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Like Father, Like Glove…Gary Payton II Makes Family Franchise History

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Like Father, Like Glove…Gary Payton II Makes Family Franchise History
The Gloves Are On For The Lakers.

From L.A. to South Bay the storied Lakers franchise has growing family ties rooted in their ever evolving modern history.

There’s the Walton. Son of Bill, former player and now coach Luuuuke. The Slam Dunk king he runs lay-up line plays for Larry Nance Jr. like his 80’s dunk champ dad. And even former player and D-League, South Bay coach Coby Karl, son of the legendary George Karl.

And then there’s the Glove story.

All trash talking, stop you from scoring, Seattle Supersonics NBA legend Gary Payton joined the Lakers with fellow golden era 90’s great post mailman, Karl Malone to try to get one more ring at the end of the Shaq and Kobe era. Payton ended up getting one with Shaq in the talented South Beach pool of Miami before the G retired. But now the gloves son and fellow Beaver, Gary Payton II (there’s a Tim Hardaway Jr. trend for NBA legend fathers to name their sons after themselves) is putting on the gold for the future of this franchises youth revolution.

After starting his unbelievably undrafted career with the young Milwaukee Bucks led by the alphabet Giannis Antetokounmpo, it wasn’t all A-B-C. But now he’s looking to put up numbers with the purple Lake Show off alphabet street like 1-2-3. Now number 23 (three more than his dad…but that isn’t the reason that number should p### the retire No. 20 off) is looking at a fresh start with Luke and Lonzo’s (not to mention Lavar’s) Lakers like no other.

The two-way guard has signed a two-way contract with both the Los Angeles Lakers and their NBDL team the South Bay Lakers (now more official than their former Los Angeles D-Fenders affiliate name, even if not in city). So now G.P. II will play for both Coach Walton and Coach Karl. How’s that for some family ties!?

Young Gary Payton the second had some impressive debuts off the bench for L.A. But now Payton mark II is assigned to South Bay like fellow two-way dunking Alex Caruso (he really does have a detective grade surname and a game that does not go with his frame) he’s ready to ball. Messing around in his debut and getting a triple double of 14, 11 and 12.

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Payton II could be a big part of the Lakers youth movement too like many of his current teammates going from South Bay to L.A. like Hollywood fans and script-writers can only hope LeBron will decide to this free agent offseason like he did South Beach all those last summers ago. Just like another rookie with a familiar surname in Thomas Bryant (no…Kobe isn’t THAT old) and of course Zupac.

Lead by the Ball family, the even better rookie and in no way number two Kyle Kuzma (who even goes one better in the Twitter troll back and forth with Ball brother LiMelo. “Fire your stylist”?! Oh yeah? “Fire your dentist”! Damn…can we smell a Shaq and Kobe beef cooking?!), three times a great rookie selection in the defensive Hart, big Brandon Ingram, of course Nance junior and the original future Julius Randle and his late round draft genius Jordan Clarkson (who’s not only balling like he’s the Sixth Man of the Year but like he should start too) this young Showtime, purp Laker legacy are making their own, unique legend in Mamba moment black.

This season it looked like the chance for an outside eight seed was thinner than the backlight on a retro Casio, but now the future is brighter than the South Bay sun from downtown L.A.

And with the Payton patent making Lakers history by becoming the first father and son duo to suit up for the franchise, it might just take a glove to hold this young core together.

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