The NBA’s award races, usually a perfect topic for intense debate, might be a little anticlimactic this season. Barring a late surge by Kobe Bryant, LeBron James will almost certainly win his second consecutive MVP award. Dwight Howard is also a virtual lock to win his second straight Defensive Player of the Year Award. If voters go for the type of player who’s typically won the Sixth Man of the Year award, Jamaal Crawford is definitely the front-runner. Tyreke Evans has been a heavy favorite for the Rookie of the Year award for months, with only Stephen Curry giving him any real competition.
In a twist nobody could have ever predicted, LaVar apparently relished the attention that garnered and again sparred with referees today at the Adidas Summer Championships.
First, LaVar received a technical foul from a female referee. A lengthy stoppage followed, and LaVar apparently threatened to remove his team from the court. The referee was replaced mid-game, and play resumed.
Then, LaVar received a second technical foul. He apparently refused to leave, so the referees called the game.
Afterward, LaVar addressed the situation. Via ESPN:
She got a vendetta, because she’s a woman who’s trying to act – I get that she’s trying to break into the refereeing thing. But just giving techs and calling fouls, that’s no way to do it. I know what she’s trying to say: “I gave him a tech. I’m strong.” That ain’t got nothing to do with it. Just call the game. If you’re going to be qualified, you better be in shape, and you better know the game. And she’s bad on both of them. She not in shape. She not calling the game right. And she don’t understand. So, now she’s trying to make a name for herself. So, she walking around like, “You know I’m the only woman in here.” Yeah, we get it. I don’t care if you’re a woman or a man or whatever. Just be good at what you do. Don’t try to step in the lane – she need to stay in her lane, because ain’t ready for this. Coach the little kids first and then come up. Because she ain’t did enough. She ain’t got enough on her résumé. I can tell.
I don’t know whether LaVar is sexist, but he keeps coming across as sexist.
This saga puts a dent in Lakers president Magic Johnson’s theory that LaVar is truly focused on training young players and NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s theory that LaVar would settle down once Lonzo got drafted.
Lonzo’s talent demands dealing with LaVar, who wouldn’t be the first parent of an NBA player to be difficult. But it seems LaVar might be a bigger sideshow than the Lakers bargained for. They ought to be wary of that affecting them – if it hasn’t already.
Fake news, says Miami.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:
Other incentives are more clear. The Cavs want to showcase interest they’re receiving in Irving. The Heat want to protect their players from handling trade rumors.
Whether the Heat submitted a formal offer barely matters, anyway. They could’ve offered Goran Dragic straight up for Kyrie Irving. Cleveland wouldn’t have accepted that, anyway. Nobody has published specifics of any Irving offers, so it’s unclear any are viable.
Miami is willing to deal Dragic and Justise Winslow for Irving, per the same report from Wojnarowski. Again, whether the Heat offered that pair for Irving or just acknowledged that they would is splitting hairs. That shouldn’t be enough for the Cavs.
Bottom line: The Heat probably won’t trade for Irving. Whether they made an offer, planned to make an offer or just discussed parameters so far is a fight over imaging. It’s nearly irrelevant to whether the teams eventually complete a trade for Irving.
Kyrie Irving knows, as well as anyone, the value of being an All-Star – how the status validates on-court performance, sells shoes and can be flipped for even more exposure. Irving is comfortable in that environment, promoting his brand at four All-Star weekends already and winning All-Star game MVP in 2014 in New Orleans.
He was back in New Orleans for this year’s All-Star game when he was asked to name his all-time All-Star team.
As Irving announced his team — he was responding to a question — he said “I’d put MJ at the 1, Kobe at the 2, Ray Allen at the 3, gotta space it out, got to have a spot up 4, so I’m probably going to go with KG, he’s going to rim-run, do the dirty work. I’d put Shaq at the 5.”
What about LeBron?
Irving, via Vardon:
“Yeah, yeah, yeah well, I mean, he (James) understands,” Irving told cleveland.com, as he walked off the podium.
But take a step back from Irving’s answer, and his mere presence in New Orleans for All-Star – again, already – foretold immense demand in the trade market.
Irving is just 25 and a four-time All-Star. Only two players have reached so many All-Star games and changed teams while as young as Irving is now: Shaquille O’Neal and Tracy McGrady.
Here’s every All-Star to switch teams before turning 26 and their age when the transaction occurred, Irving included for reference as if he were dealt today:
|Jrue Holiday||1||2013||PHI||NOP||23 years, 1 month, 0 days|
|Terry Dischinger||2||1964||BAL||DET||23 years, 6 months, 28 days|
|Jason Kidd||1||1996||DAL||PHO||23 years, 9 months, 3 days|
|Ray Felix||1||1954||BLB||NYK||23 years, 9 months, 7 days|
|Jamaal Wilkes||1||1977||GSW||LAL||24 years, 2 months, 9 days|
|Shaquille O’Neal||4||1996||ORL||LAL||24 years, 4 months, 12 days|
|Stephon Marbury||1||2001||NJN||PHO||24 years, 4 months, 28 days|
|Don Sunderlage||1||1954||MLH||MNL||24 years, 8 months, 29 days|
|Mel Hutchins||1||1953||MLH||FTW||24 years, 9 months, 1 day|
|Andrew Bynum||1||2012||LAL||PHI||24 years, 9 months, 14 days|
|Tracy McGrady||4||2004||ORL||HOU||25 years, 1 month, 5 days|
|Chris Webber||1||1998||WAS||SAC||25 years, 2 months, 13 days|
|Bob McAdoo||3||1976||BUF||NYK||25 years, 2 months, 14 days|
|Billy Knight||1||1977||IND||BUF||25 years, 2 months, 23 days|
|Len Chappell||1||1966||NYK||CHI||25 years, 3 months, 0 days|
|Len Chappell||1||1966||CHI||CIN||25 years, 9 months, 25 days|
|Kenny Anderson||1||1996||NJN||CHA||25 years, 3 months, 10 days|
|Kenny Anderson||1||1996||CHA||POR||25 years, 9 months, 14 days|
|Butch Beard||1||1972||CLE||SEA||25 years, 3 months, 19 days|
|Frank Selvy||1||1958||STL||MNL||25 years, 3 months, 7 days|
|Kyrie Irving||4||2017||CLE||?||25 years, 4 months, 5 days|
|Otis Birdsong||3||1981||KCK||NJN||25 years, 5 months, 30 days|
|LeBron James||6||2010||CLE||MIA||25 years, 6 months, 10 days|
|John Johnson||1||1973||CLE||POR||25 years, 6 months, 6 days|
|Frank Selvy||1||1958||MNL||STL||25 years, 7 months, 22 days|
|Sean Elliott||1||1993||SAS||DET||25 years, 7 months, 29 days|
|Dennis Johnson||2||1980||SEA||PHO||25 years, 8 months, 17 days|
|Alonzo Mourning||2||1995||CHA||MIA||25 years, 8 months, 26 days|
|Andrew Bynum||1||2013||PHI||CLE||25 years, 8 months, 22 days|
|Baron Davis||2||2005||NOH||GSW||25 years, 10 months, 11 days|
|Bernard King||1||1982||GSW||NYK||25 years, 10 months, 18 days|
|Vin Baker||3||1997||MIL||SEA||25 years, 10 months, 2 days|
|Kiki VanDeWeghe||2||1984||DEN||POR||25 years, 10 months, 6 days|
|Frank Selvy||1||1958||STL||NYK||25 years, 11 months, 13 days|
|Kevin Love||3||2014||MIN||CLE||25 years, 11 months, 16 days|
|Mike Mitchell||1||1981||CLE||SAS||25 years, 11 months, 22 days|
Irving didn’t sneak into only one All-Star game like Jrue Holiday and Andrew Bynum. Irving is a near-perennial selection.
And unlike several players on the above list, he’s also doing it in era where there are more NBA teams than All-Star spots. In the 60s, when the league was smaller, NBA teams averaged more than two All-Stars each.
Irving is under contract for two more years before he can opt out, and his salaries – and $18,868,626 and $20,099,189 – became bargains when the new national TV contracts caused the salary cap to skyrocket.
The timing of Irving’s trade request becoming public has certainly contributed to the frenzy, as other NBA storylines have quieted for the summer. LeBron’s enormous profile also draws attention to anything involving him and his team.
But players like Irving – young established stars – rarely become available. No matter when this story leaked or whom Irving was playing with, this is a special opportunity for whichever team acquires him.
He would not.
While Wiggins said that he is taking a “day by day” approach to the contract discussions, he didn’t waver when asked whether he was worthy of a max contract, which could reach $148 million over five years with a starting salary of $25.5 million. “I definitely do,” Wiggins told The Crossover. “Nothing less.”
File this under: What else is he supposed to say? The two big questions:
1. Would Wiggins accept less than the max?
He might feel he’s worth it, but there’s value in security.
The Timberwolves could offer less now, knowing he couldn’t leave in restricted free agency next summer. There’s risk he signs a shorter contract next summer, but there’s also risk in overpaying Wiggins now.
Of course, Wiggins might get offered a max extension, anyway. But if not, he’ll have to decide whether he’d rather guarantee himself life-altering money or roll the dice on even more.
2. Would Wiggins’ extension kick in with Minnesota or Cleveland? Though the Timberwolves are negotiating with him, they could still trade him – even after he signs the extension – to the Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving. Minnesota is a known suitor of the point guard, and Wiggins makes sense in a potential trade.