Suns come to terms with deals for Dragic, Beasley

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You know what they say. If you can’t have the two-time MVP and franchise player, make sure you spend $14.5 million every year for Goran Dragic and Michael Beasley.

The Suns came to terms with two big free agents the same day they dealt Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade to the Lakers. First, they came to terms with a three-year, $18 million offer for forward Michael Beasley. Then the Suns replaced their point guard with Goran Dragic in a four-year, $34 million agreement.

Beasley gives the Suns a versatile scoring forward who could really thrive with Alvin Gentry as a guiding force, and in a high-pace system where he can get lots of shots. Beasley’s biggest problem is he never makes the smart play, and struggles defensively. Phoenix will give him a locker room that may give him guidance and a system that will provide him with ample scoring opportunities.

The Dragic story is hilarious. Dragic backed up Steve Nash in 2010, and was a major part of the Suns’ Western Conference Finals run. Then he was traded, along with a draft pick, to Houston for Aaron Brooks. Brooks then went to China, and is now a restricted free agent. The Suns got a draft pick (actually two first-rounders) back in the Nash trade. So they got Dragic back, will lose Brooks, and got the pick back, like the original deal never happened.

Only, you know, they lost Steve Nash. That’s kind of important.

The Suns would have a pretty good team if they were to land Eric Gordon with their max offer sheet, but indications are that the Hornets will match. As it stands,the Suns are committing medium-size, medium-term money to be a lottery team with poor chances at winning the lottery. They are officially in purgatory. Dragic is a good player who can take over a game. But the rest of the Suns don’t fit particularly well with Dragic anymore and are uninspiring. Beasley comes with a mountain of headaches.

These are not slam dunks for the Suns. They’re long-range shots, and their best shooter is wearing Lakers gold now.

But “Goran and the Beas” is going to be a great family comedy show.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.