“I like the concept of having the same number of weapons and just see who can run the ship the best”-Jerry Buss.
Superteams are officially dead…but Showtime isn’t.
It’s back like Magic.
With former Laker targets Kawhi Leonard and Paul George now on the Clippers side of Los Angeles and Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving now on the Brooklyn Nets side of New York (sorry Knicks), the NBA is all about the dynamic duos again like the Splash Brothers of best backcourt Warriors in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in the Golden State of San Francisco. And now the Lakers have the best one-two punch, inside and out since Shaq and Kobe with Anthony Davis looking to be the next great big in the Lakers legendary lineage of Mikan, Wilt, Kareem, the big fella and Pau and LeBron trying to get more jerseys retired than number 8 and 24.
And after the father time growing pains of his first season with the kids, now this is the only way he’s going to do it and become a Laker legend aswell as a Cavalier one in this land.
First ‘Bron graciously gifted and gave his number 23 to A.D. in a non-descript parking lot and then with the 6th sense of his talents in South Beach, Miami Heat heralded days he threw up the idea of bringing the iconic chalk toss back. And LBJ is going to need all the powder he can get as even with the 20 and 10 (not to mention all those blocks, steals and assists) of the Ant-Man in the paint, LeBron’s going to have the ball in his hands a lot more this season than last.
Time for the King to make a point in Hollywood for next season’s script. And we ain’t talking about ‘Space Jam 2’ fame Monstars.
Because after losing their Ball in the Davis trade (along with Ingram, Hart and more picks than Malone did when he left Stockton for Payton), losing out on Kemba Walker (Boston), Kyrie Irving (Boston to the B.K.) and a possible reunion redemption with D’Angelo Russell (dubbed as a splash triplet in San Fran) the Lakers had less points than broken pencils. Sure they have the purest one in Rajon Rondo, who they re-signed along with JaVale McGee, KCP (for two years this time after two years of one and done deals) and your two-way boy Alex Caruso. But it won’t be long before this legend joins fellow pure point Jason Kidd (who would have been perfect for Lonzo) on the coaching sidelines.
The Lakers also signed Warrior Quinn Cook with the splash alongside guys like the big DeMarcus Cousins, champ Danny Green and most recently defensive dog Avery Bradley yesterday like a Beatles tribute movie. And they have one spot left for a guy like the one he famously blocked on the fastbreak Andre Igudola or former Cleveland ally, Kyle Korver. Or maybe even the only Sixth Man to rival the former Laker and now Clipper Lou Will in Jamal Crawford or Banana Boat friend Carmelo Anthony for your wine tasting. But arms held out why, not the dribbling back, clock expiring J.R. Smith. Keep your shirts on. Meaning the Lakers have spent Davis’ kindly waived 4 mill trade bonus wisely on a lot of cap fitting free agents for their roster bill.
Meaning they have more options than paper or plastic on their offseason shopping list even if they didn’t find everything they were looking like U2 still singing about it for on this aisle to aisle trolly run. But still imagine a formidable, frontcourt force of a reunited Davis and Cousins (could still be the makings of a big-three. The last time he was healthy he was an All Star worthy of his own max deal) and ‘Bron, muscling up and going hard. Only for Kyle Kuzma to come off the bench like a potential Sixth Man Of The Year (and also being just one or two steps away from being the third tier of a new Lakers big-three. Or Fantastic Four like the rumoured ‘Far From Home’ Baxter Building in the new Spider-Man anyone?) and run what’s already worn down right off the floor.
But that’s just one playmaking option. The other sees Frank Vogel’s dry-erase starting with the new number 6 man of LeBron James running the floor as the Lakers new Point Guard. Perfect for this Basketball Beethoven (that’s what Kyrie once called him after the Cavs Finals win over G.S.W in twenty, sixteen) to orchestrate and re-establish chemistry for a team that only has six of their component players from last year coming back, including this new number 6.
Now think of the King running his kingdom from the throne of the quintessential basketball position. James has had the talents to do it before in Miami and now like the Heat it’s on for his California club in this La La LeBron and Lakeland city of superstars. Running the break like a GMC truck, he can dish off to Davis, Cousins, Kuzma, McGee and more. Before dishing off to the likes of KCP, Bradley, Green and Cook like the chef cooking it up from downtown L.A. on the perimeter like Shaquille’s bar and grill restaurant just outside STAPLES. He’s built like a quarterback, he may aswell play like one too. And we all know the King can create for himself too, when he needs to take over games for his crowning moment. Loose ball roll to long three, to Statue of Liberty power slam dunk. It just all makes sense.
At this point in his career and ageing LeBron needs to slow it down like Kobe before father time consumes him and his load management playing time with injury. It’s only natural his game will slow down even with his age defying. So what better way to slow it down than to actually slow down the whole game himself from the point position? Then he’ll really be in control. Sure it’s not Hollywood and in L.A. it’s not sexy (*Cuba Gooding Jr. in ‘Jerry Maguire’ voice*). But like Coach Vogel this brand of X and O basketball may just be entertaining for the purists and above all just get the job done. At the end of the day, season and run that’s all anyone in purple and gold wants to see as the sun next season’s 82 and bracket sets to whoever’s lifting a gleaming Larry O’Brien in the spotlight.
And it doesn’t shine brighter than this.
This could be the only way LeBron’s Lakers get a championship and the crown slipped King gets that chip off his shoulder in redemption. Because you best believe when they came at him, they best know that they missed. And what do they say about coming at Kings in this Game of Thrones? He has the ball now. And with this changing of the guard what better way for this Kobe/Magic hybrid to prove his point as one of the best Laker legends and more importantly teammates ever?
You can’t pass up this dish.
Revenge is one best served with the ball in his hold.
Miami Heat ink Canadian guard Mychal Mulder
The Miami Heat have signed Canadian guard Mychal Mulder (Windsor, Ont.) to a training camp deal.
Mulder averaged 8.8 points per game, 3.4 rebounds on 16-of-38 (42%) shooting in five games for the Chicago Bulls at the 2019 Las Vegas NBA Summer League. The Canadian guard had solid a 18-point, 4-rebound, 2 assists outing against Cleveland — knocking down 6-of-10 field goals and 3-of-6 triples.
The 6’4″ guard has spent the past two seasons sharpening his toolkit with the Windy City Bulls of the G-League. In 47 starts with Windy City — Mulder elevated his game from averaging 13.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists — knocking down 46.1 % of his (229/497) attempts.
Mulder went undrafted in 2017 after two seasons with the Kentucky Wildcats — appearing in 56 games and contributing 4.3 points and 1.2 rebounds in 2016-17 — his final collegiate campaign under John Calipari.
The Miami training camp roster features three Canadian players. Six-year NBA veteran Kelly Olynyk, under-guaranteed contract returns for his third-season with the Heat. Recently undrafted 7-footer, Kyle Alexander (Milton, ON) also signed a training camp deal, and similar to Mulder are expected to join the Sioux Falls Skyforce — the Heat’s G-League affiliate team.
Mulder’s training camp deal brings a record total of 24 Canadian basketball players currently under contract with NBA teams — 16 guaranteed, with the remainder, a combination of non-guaranteed contracts ranging from two-way, exhibit 10 to training camp deals.
2019-2020 Canadians NBA
|First Name||Last Name||Team||POS||HT||WT||City||Province||College||Conference||Contract|
|Tristan||Thompson||CLE||F||6'10"||238||Brampton||ON||Texas||SEC||5 yr(s) / $82M|
|Cory||Joseph||SAC||PG||6'4"||193||Pickering||ON||Texas||SEC||3 yr(s) / $37.2M|
|Dwight||Powell||DAL||F||6'11"||240||Toronto||ON||Stanford||PAC-12||3 yr(s) / $33M|
|Trey||Lyles||DEN||F||6'10"||234||Saskatoon||SK||Kentucky||SEC||4 yr(s) / $33M|
|Kelly||Olynyk||MIA||F||7'0"||240||Kamploops||BC||Gonzaga||WCC||4 yr(s) / $50M|
|Andrew||Wiggins||MIN||F||6'8"||194||Vaughan||ON||Kansas||Big 12||5 yr(s) / $147.7M|
|Jamal||Murray||DEN||PG||6'4"||207||Kitchener||ON||Kentucky||SEC||4 yr(s) / $195.6M|
|Dillon||Brooks||MEM||F||6'6"||220||Mississauga||ON||Oregon||PAC-12||3 yr(s) / $3.8M|
|Shai||Gilgeous-Alexander||OKC||PG||6'6"||180||Hamilton||ON||Kentucky||SEC||2 yr(s) / $7.3M|
|Chris||Boucher||TOR||F||6'10"||201||Montreal||QC||Oregon||PAC-12||2 yr(s) / $2M|
|Khem||Birch||ORL||F||6'9"||233||Montreal||QC||UNLV||MWC||2 yr(s) / $6M|
|RJ||Barrett||NYK||F||6'7"||202||Mississauga||ON||Duke||ACC||2 yr(s) / $16M|
|Brandon||Clarke||MEM||F||6'8"||215||Vancouver||BC||Gonzaga||WCC||2 yr(s) / $5M|
|Ignas||Brazdeikis||NYK||F||6'7"||215||Mississauga||ON||Michigan||BIG Ten||2 yr(s) / $2.4M|
|Nickeil||Alexander-Walker||NOP||G||6'5"||205||Toronto||ON||Virginia Tech||ACC||2 yr(s) / $6M|
|Mfiondu||Kabengele||LAC||F||6'10"||250||Burlington||ON||Florida State||ACC||2 yr(s) / $4M|
|Marial||Shayok||PHI||G||6'6"||201||Ottawa||ON||Iowa State||Big 12||N/A|
|Naz||Mitrou-Long||IND||PG||6'4"||218||Mississauga||ON||Iowa State||Big 12||N/A|
|Lindell||Wigginton||MIN||G||6'2"||189||Dartmouth||NS||Iowa State||Big 12||N/A|
Shaun Livingston Lived For His Career
“I wasn’t supposed to be here”.
Shaun Livingston wasn’t even supposed to be still playing.
But boy did he.
He almost lost his leg.
But man he didn’t.
When Shaun Livingston entered the league as the fourth pick and a wide eyed kid with youthful exuberance above the rim in Hollywood. Him and the youngest Roc L.A. Familia (remember the classic SLAM cover?) crew of Elton Brand, Lamar Odom, Darius Miles, Corey Maggette and Keyon Dooling even took some of the bright lights of downtown L.A. from Shaq and Kobe of all dynamic duos from the basements of STAPLES. Arguably the most exciting Clippers team this side of Buffalo…yeah I said it Blake, Jordan and CP3…you too Kawhi and PG-13. It was an Iverson age of cornrows and tattoos. It was the generations hood to the storied Lake Show’s Hollywood history.
But then with a death of a dynasty a bunch of young Roc’s with the rock ended up all over the place too like State Property. The future of these young guns looked bleak like Memphis. Miles went to LeBron’s Land before the King. Elton ended up setting up his Brand in Philly. Whilst Odom went cross-court and stadium with the Lakers after a brief stint of talent in Miami when he was traded back to the bright lights and Kardashian city for Shaq.
But what happened to Shaun Livingston was so much worse.
With Charlotte as a Bobcat Shaun suffered a gruesome injury so bad it almost made Gordon Hayward’s opening night one look like a sprain…almost. Lets not front for the funny that injury was so bad and his comeback story so good too ’till this playing day.
But no comeback story in this league is greater than Livingston’s, living for his career.
He almost lost his leg. Instead doctors saved it and then through the hardest of work and the most powerful perseverance Shaun saved his career…and then made it even better. And he could even still catch a few above the rim.
Number 34 ended up back in California with the Golden State Warriors via a comeback in the B.K. with the Brooklyn Nets. Out in The City of Oak Town he ended up winning three championships and going to two more finals before calling it a career yesterday and feeling “sad, fortunate and grateful” in his retirement. He was microwave more than just a super sub alongside legendary Sixth Man Finals MVP Andre Igudola (also gone this off-season with some guy name Kevin). He was an integral player to the dynasty influence that showed the Dubs were more than just the Splash Brothers of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson or Draymond and Durant. His jersey belongs up there in the new state of the art arena in San Francisco across the Golden Gate although his legend and legacy will always tram remain in the Golden State of Oakland, as the Warriors look to maybe Six Man legend Jamal Crawford to replace in joining big signing D’Angelo Russell in backing up the backcourt.
Now that’s what I call a true Warrior King.
Don’t call it a comeback unless it’s like this.
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