There are a lot of ways to question the ultimate decision that Orlando made in trading Dwight Howard.
That has to start with, why didn’t you just do this at the trade deadline? I know you wanted to keep your superstar but everyone could see where this was headed, you needed to get out quick (think Utah Jazz). Then we can ask why the Houston deal wasn’t better (saved more money and had unrestricted picks)? Or the Brooklyn deal? (Although to me any rebuilding deal that includes Brook Lopez is to be avoided.) Getting Andrew Bynum might have been better than anyone you will draft with the picks they got.
But through it all one thing became clear — the plan was to rebuild via the draft. Oklahoma City assistant GM Rob Hennigan was brought in to rebuild via that model. (We can discuss if that model is something they can really replicate another day.)
Magic CEO Alex Martins confirmed the plan to the Orlando Sentinel but said free agency is not out of the question (via SLAM).
“We’re not turning our back on free agency,” Martins said. “We’re just putting the emphasis on our draft that we feel should be the case.”
It is not going to be easy for the Magic to replicate the success that the Thunder or Spurs had with this draft plan, it takes a lot of luck (like Kevin Durant falling to you at the No. 2 pick or having a down year the one year Tim Duncan comes up in the draft). It takes great scouting — everyone thought Russell Westbrook was a reach at No. 4 and there were questions about James Harden.
But Magic fans, give it a chance. It’s the road you are committed to now. Spending a max deal on someone like Josh Smith next summer is the road back to mediocrity. Don’t go for a quick fix, get the right players. It’s not going to be a fun couple of years, but it is the path you are committed to.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.
This news is just sickening. In a world with just too much sickening news.
According to NBC 5 in Chicago (which spoke to police), Dwyane Wade‘s first cousin Nykea Aldridge was pushing a stroller down the street when she was shot and killed as an innocent in the crossfire of a gang shooting.
The 32-year-old woman, whom family identified as Nykea Aldridge, was apparently the unintended victim of a gang shooting, police said. She was walking around 3:30 p.m. in the 6300 block of South Calumet when two males approached another male and opened fire, police said.
Wade tweeted this.
Aldridge was on her way to a local school to register her kids (they had just moved) when the shooting took place. There has been a rash of gang and gun violence in Chicago in the past year, and Dwyane’s mother Jolinda Wade had just been on a panel on ESPN’s Undefeated talking about it.
Wade is coming to play for his hometown Chicago Bulls this season.
Our thoughts are with Nykea Aldridge’s family and friends.