Amare Stoudemire went from the Suns to the Knicks. Carlos Boozer went from the Jazz to the Bulls. With everything that went down in Miami and other teams in the conference entering an arms race to keep up, it felt as if the NBA’s balance of power had shifted from the West to the East.
Or, maybe not, points out the brilliant Kevin Pelton writing for ESPN (this is behind the insider pay wall).
In fact, the West’s dominance in inter-conference matchups (113-91 record, .553 winning percentage) has in fact grown from last season (246-204, .547), keeping with the history of Western superiority that dates back to the 1999-00 season.
The elite of the East — Boston, Orlando and Miami (with Chicago knocking on the door) — may be deeper than the elite of the West, but the West remains deeper in good teams. Remember it took 50 wins just to make the playoffs in the West last season and while a few players have moved on, the depth of the conference is still superior.
Or to put it simply, the East’s seven seed right now is Indiana (14-20), the West’s is Denver (20-16). The eighth seeds are Philadelphia and Portland, and head to head Philly is 4.5 games back in that race.
Last May, Magic Johnson tweeted that the Lakers chase LeBron James, Kevin Durant and DeMar DeRozan in free agency. All three players were still under contract with their teams until July 1.
In response to that apparent tampering, the Lakers announced Johnson had asked the team to remove his title of Vice President.
Too little, too late.
William Weinbaum and Steve Delsohn of ESPN:
Outside the Lines learned this week — and confirmed with a senior Lakers official — that the NBA fined the team over Johnson’s communiques about players under contract to other teams.
If Drake got the Raptors fined for tampering by pitching Durant during a concert, the Lakers deserved this fine.
Tristan Thompson and Khloe Kardashian are dating. There are mixed reports about whether they’re engaged.
No matter their exact terms of their relationship, it brings increased attention to the Cavaliers – who are already in the spotlight as LeBron James‘ team and the defending NBA champions.
LeBron might not welcome increased scrutiny.
Gabriella Ginsberg of Hollywood Life:
LeBron James hasn’t been happy that Tristan Thompson is dating drama magnet Khloe Kardashian, and we hear that the teammates had a locker room showdown before the Cavs’ home opener game.
“Tristan isn’t taking any crap from his teammates anymore. As far as he’s concerned, Khloe’s coming to every damn game she chooses,” the insider reveals. “Tristan told LeBron straight up before last night’s game that Khloe was coming and that was that.”
There’s nothing wrong with LeBron, as a friend, advising Thompson about his personal life. They share an agent, Rich Paul, and that obviously means a lot to LeBron.
But at a certain point, LeBron should back off. Neither coworkers nor friends have a right to determine who someone dates.
76ers players are unsure how to respond to their franchise blocking Sevyn Streeter from singing the national anthem because she wore a “WE MATTER” jersey.
Justise Winslow is seemingly trying to nudge Philadelphia in a certain direction.
The Heat forward posted a photo with himself and the 76ers’ Jerami Grant raising fists and captioned it “WE MATTER”:
I’m unsure when this photo was taken, but my best guess is after the Miami-Philadelphia preseason game – which was preceded by the national-anthem singer kneeling during her performance.
Was Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha making the smart play to beat the defender or just showing off?
Either way, I’m glad he did it.