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What now for the Los Angeles Lakers?

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1949. Since their first NBA Championship, the Los Angeles Lakers have won the league title in every decade running, except the Celtics dominated Sixties and Jordan dominated nineties.

Now in the growing pains problems of the teens, how do the sixteen time champs make the decade they began with the legend of Larry theirs again? To ensure that this time next year in 2016 they’re back on top. Especially after the worst season in franchise history this year.

A season that saw 82 game ending injuries to top rookie Julius Randle and one of their all-time, greatest legends Kobe Bryant. Not to mention a training table list of so many injured players missing time on the pine for Gary Vitti. Including and especially Canadian and Point God icon Steve Nash who was forced into earlier than intended retirement. Even if he is now in his forties.

You’d wonder why after a lottery year like this Coach Byron Scott still had his job and a ticket to ride next time round. But with all due respect to the Showtime legend whose actually making a lasting leader, even the greatest coach would be hard, playbook marker pressed to fix all this mess. I mean just look what the Zen of Phil Jackson and clutch of Derek Fisher have to bite through when it comes to Big Apple, Knick rotten basketball right now.

The Lakers sure want to dry erase this year that’s seen few bright spots under the Cali sun. Still Scott has a lot of great young, showman talent to run and dunk with next season. Core, raw guys like Nick Young, Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer, Jordan Hill, Wesley Johnson, Wayne Ellington, Ed Davis and Jabari Brown should be kept in the exuberant locker room that overflows with energy, if not anything else. Along with Point Guard of the future, Jordan Clarkson, who in just half a season of no more DNP’s was the coaches decision for a top ten player of all rooks and may have even been a better rookie than Randle if Julius suited up more this campaign, despite being a second round, late sleeper.

And this young Jordan is already back in the gym.

Now once this impressive duo of Randle and Clark get really going they could become the new dynamic for the purple and gold. Still being in the draft lotto again is just the stub for the Lakeshow hub who have seven of Julius’ Kentucky alumni to choose from and more in what’s set to be a class apart for the future. Whether the Harrison twins, Frank the Tank or more from the new school graduate to the city of lost angels, its clear the Lakers future looks California bright in a Los Angeles that has now seen the one-time comedic Clippers as the Staple, champ dethroning, Spur shootout winners.

Still what about right now?

Kobe’s still the man! But for how long is another matter in the next season which owner Jeanie Buss is dubbing a “celebration” of his career. Will this toast be a swansong maybe? Is the Kareem chair coming a rocking? Either way there’s still some venom left in the Mamba, but they’ll need someone else to help them drain it before the young blood takes over.

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They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and the Lakers sure want to make a meal out of Kobe’s meeting with Rajon Rondo in Boston this Winter. Still, after Dallas this Point Guards stock has gone down…but has his price? Especially after Clarkson gives them a point for the future.

Then how about some Love? Cleveland certainly haven’t been giving Kevin any lately and surely even without popping out a shoulder, his ‘Bron burdens would have lead to him running off court at a frantic pace sooner than later anyway. Still, hate may just be in the air for Love as he has stressed repeatedly that he won’t end up in Lakerland. Even if he did start his basketball career in the college halls of UCLA. Even if he is the son of a Beach Boy, you may not find him in Venice. Maybe the closest he’ll ever get to the Lakers is last year in their former home of Minneapolis with the Timberwolves.

So, the Lakers may turn their attentions to Portland this Summer, where their star Power Forward LaMarcus Aldridge is on the table. The Lakers want to make LaMarcus Aldridge an L.A. king and their next, great big man in their Mikan, Wilt, Kareem and Shaq long lineage. Still the moneys on this guy replacing Tim Duncan in San Antonio, in more ways than one after the end of this season if he does blaze a trail away from Rip City.

Then there’s the restricted free agent of Jimmy ‘Buckets’ Butler, the next big star in this league that could serve the scoring that will be lost once Kobe lets the sneaks hang. The Lakers are prepared to offer Jim the maximum. But in upping the ante we can’t imagine the Chicago Bulls not matching the offer for the ‘Most Improved Player Of The Year’, especially if he helps lead the Windy City charge to a championship.

More agents becoming free could set the Lakers this straight next season. Especially if the King opts out…but we all know how that played out last season. Sure the Lakers swung Babe big last offseason and even missed out on retaining Pau Gasol whose having the playing year of his life. Still the potential of even a Rondo, Kobe, Butler, Randle and Aldridge line-up with Clarkson leading the bench as Sixth Man has dynasty written all over it…let alone championship.

Then who wouldn’t want to play with Kobe?

Time for the Showtime script to have a Hollywood ending twist.

NBA

Millsap Mishap Could Keep Forward Behind 3 Months

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Poor Paul Millsap.

This campaign after becoming one of the biggest free agent pick ups of the offseason, one of the leagues leading Power Forwards has been put down on the medical report with an injury that could call him off sick for a quarter of a year.

The most reliable player over four periods has spent the bird share of his career helping his former Atlanta Hawks make it to the first round knockout stakes of the playoffs each year. But following the season where they didn’t make the cut of the second one, it was time for a change for the 32 year old number 4 who once looked to be the Utah Jazz, Karl Malone replacement Carlos Boozer didn’t turn out to be early in his career alongside former leading Point Guard Deron Williams.

And in the mile high city of Denver with a would be big-three of sophomore sensation Emmanuel Mudiay, dreaded defender Kenneth Faried and of course The Joker with the last laugh Nikola Jokic, these Nuggets in their new Nikes looked golden and finally past that baby blue Carmelo era (they may as well be as Anthony, now with the blue, white and orange of the Thunder isn’t even a Knick anymore (it’s ‘Old York’ now Knickerbockers)). But now like Ben Affleck looking at the ‘Justice League’ box office returns it’s time to ask the Nugs “why so serious” Batman as an injury to their versatile veteran forward of seasoned upon seasons of experience doesn’t exactly put a smile on their face.

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The All-Star was averaging a helpful handful of exactly 16 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists before tearing the ligaments in his left wrist in a 127-109 loss to the Lakers who themselves recently lost all dunking son Larry Nance Jr. to a broken wrist, but are thankful to be having him return after they cut the turkey this thanksgiving. Millsap and the Nuggets are looking at second opinions from docs offering the same sort of speedy recovery that doesn’t sap their frontline. But if they concur with the original diagnosis, it’s three months in a suit and tie and not to mention cast for Paul who will return in late February after the All Star break he normally never takes off.

The man with the three year, 90 mill deal helped make this outside eight seed threat Denver the new gritty, grinding Memphis of the West. Now without him the older than Richard Jefferson roster is thinner than the air up there in Colorado.

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Somebody Stop The Mask Of Kyrie Irving

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USP NBA: BOSTON CELTICS AT BROOKLYN NETS S BKN BKN BOS USA NY

Smokin’!

Even that phrase delivered at a perfect Jim Carrey pitch can’t quite put into perspective just how hot Celtic Kyrie Irving is right now. Especially in the Boston green, Rip Hamilton face-mask.

Maybe those three little letters would do more justice for this league leader?

You know Menacing, Versatile, Phantom?

No?

How about M-V-P?

Kyrie joins Kobe, former Cleveland Cavalier teammate LeBron James and the man whose about to pass him the Maurice Poldoff torch, Russell Westbrook to be an absolute menace in the Phantom of the Opera face-mask, leaving other teams dead on basketballs biggest stage. He may have fractured and broken some bones in his face, but that won’t stop him as he fractures and breaks the backs and hearts of the faces of all the other franchises he faces off with night after excruciating night.

Those who used to say it must be the shoes (and have you seen his best in show sneaker designs complete with shamrocks like Starbucks on St Patrick’s Day this season heads? Those halloween pumpkin ones were the spice), are now saying it must be the mask.

Sure the plastic profile guard makes for some meme worthy Pinterest fan art appreciation but this guard has made a point at hating it…the sweat inducing mask that is, not the love. These kind of covers can blind you, but like the concussed legend of Celtic great Larry, letting it fly like a Bird above the baskets in the Boston Garden all the way to the rafters (as he saw too hoops like 80’s girls earrings and just aimed for the top one), Kyrie plays through all the pain and frustration. Taking it out on the ball (like opponents on Lakers rookie Lonzo) and the other teams hoops that to him seem bigger than those ones Bruno Mars sang about.

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Take Dallas for example. Irving just masked all his pain by taking the Mavericks for 47 points, 3 rebounds and 6 assists in the last contest that took the Celtics to a sweet sixteen straight. After dropping two games following Gordon Hayward dropping out of the new season before the second quarter of his opening game one even played out, everyone was calling time on these new Celtics as soon as Gordon turned his ankle counter-clockwise. But now one of the best in the association Kyrie is showing LeBron and them he’s just as good as them or anyone alone like this man from down under always wanted to prove. This definition of clutch, who leaves everyone else in the fourth with straws has already shown on a championship scale against Curry of all hot guards that he can take the last shot that really matters. Now forget the Most Valuable Player award for a waning second or even the time his dynamic duo partner in pine Hayward comes back, Irving has the power to dribble drive all the way to the crown on his own.

And it’s going to take more than a mask to stop him.

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The Wind Brings The 2020 All-Star Game To Chicago

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1973. And the first NBA All-Star Game to play in the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois features the last All-Star game in the last season of two lasting Los Angeles Lakers legends. One man who scored 100 points in just one game, Wilt Chamberlain. And one man who was and still remains the one and only logo of this National Basketball Association, Jerry West.

1988. And arguably the greatest All-Star Game of all-time and an even better, best ever All-Star weekend sees Michael Jordan become Michael Jordan. M.J. scored 40 in an 138-133 O.T. A.S.G. win for the East meeting the West. But a day before all that he and the Slam Dunk Contest became even more legendary. As mere moments after storied Boston Celtic great Larry Bird asked “whose coming in second place” before raising his finger in victory before the ABA coloured moneyball ripped through the twine (no Nick Young swag), Money took off from the free throw line like a good doctor for his above the rim J and jumped over everybody including Atlanta Hawk wing spreading, sky-soarer Dominique Wilkins.

Now more than 30 years later after next years All-Star Game in the purple and gold city of Los Angeles and the 2019 one in the redeemed city of Charlotte, the 2020 and 69th All Star Game will be played in Michael’s old town of Chi-city. In the same year as Tokyo, Japan will hold the next Olympic Games, the game of basketball will go back to it’s 90’s roots and an inspired iconic landmark of hoop heaven that didn’t really have the same spirit in the seventies, but really Jumpman took off in the golden era eighties. So much so that the old ’88 All Star Weekend t-shirt is a historical thrift store must find for more than it’s 80’s Tron like, cool, retro logo.

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And with mid-February lovers big blockbuster basketball coming back to the city of wind like the river that runs through it, Chi-town needs this like out of towners need deep dish pizza. You only have to listen to the news or the Common album ‘Nobody’s Smiling’ (you know the legendary M.C. who used to wipe up Jordan’s sweat off the old Chicago Stadium hardwood has to perform at the mid-season classics halftime show) to know this classic city is marred by violence that burns through this second city like fire. The beloved Bulls have even become a “garbage team” to root for too, losing the big-three likes of last seasons Jimmy Butler, Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade (who may even be on a farewell All Star tour once his hometown All Star weekend comes crossed off the calendar and everyone is united in the airlines center).

Now this team who relies on sophomore stud Denzel like Oscar hopeful movies will hopefully be back by the next few valentines. As the heart of the city in twenty twenty will want to see something as visionary as Sinatra’s kind of towns history.

That’s just the Chicago way.

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