The Los Angeles Lakers lost a battle for a superstar with the Los Angeles Clippers. The last time that happened… come on, that never happened before.
But now Chris Paul is a Clipper and the Lakers are pissed off.
Not really at the Clippers, who Lakers fans never had a rivalry with — they view the Clippers more like your annoying college roommate. And not with CP3, who just wanted out of a bad situation and to find a good one.
The Lakers and their fans are pissed at David Stern.
The Lakers had a trade in place to acquire Paul in a three team trade until Stern killed the deal because
small market owners complained that the Lakers were getting better of basketball reasons. Now they see CP3 trade go through and, while you can argue it’s better for a rebuilding Hornets team, you can’t argue that the first trade didn’t give New Orleans real assets. Here is what Mike Bresnahan wrote at the Los Angeles Times.
The Lakers were privately fuming Wednesday, according to a person with knowledge of their front office, when Paul, the New Orleans point guard, ended up in Los Angeles six days after the NBA vetoed the Lakers’ trade for him.
Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak declined to comment through a spokesman but earlier this week said the NBA’s blockade was “completely unexpected.”
Lakers fans have a right to be ticked — but then they need to get over it.
Yes, Stern’s actions in killing the first trade were political not basketball related. It was about appeasing small market owners (and a few big market ones) because those owners wish they had big-move poker playing style of the Lakers.
But the fact is the bigger and better fish — Dwight Howard — is still out there. As great as Paul is, Howard is better and a better fit for Los Angeles. He has to become the focus now. Land him and all is forgotten. Don’t get him and Lakers fans are going to have a lot more anger.
As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.
For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.
Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.
Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.
Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.
Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.
Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.
Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.
A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…
“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”
Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.
The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.
It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.
But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.
Best. Dunk. Ever.
Weis was never the same.
In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.
Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.