NBA finals: Lakers will parade the streets as champions on Monday

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greatfans.jpgThe Lakers have announced their parade info. It’s time to party with the champions. Again. For the sixteenth time in NBA history. Seventeenth overall.

You’d think they’d get tired of it. These parades come as regularly as the St. Patty’s Day one in Boston.

But no, of course, nothing beats a title and the Laker fans will love every minute of it. It is time to party and they will party hard.

The Lakers’ Championship Parade is set for Monday. Here’s the full release from NBA.com:

The Los Angeles Lakers will host a celebratory parade for all local
fans on Monday, June 21, starting at STAPLES Center and traveling south
on Figueroa Street to Jefferson Boulevard, just north of the USC campus
and Galen Center.

By defeating the Boston Celtics for the 2010 NBA championship, the
Lakers not only earned the franchise’s 16th league title but also
repeated as champions for the third time in the past decade. The Lakers
have won back-to-back titles a total of seven times in franchise
history, tying the NBA mark previously held by the Celtics. Tonight’s
victory marks only the fourth of the Lakers’ 16 NBA titles that went to a
deciding seventh game, and the first time besting the Celtics in a
seventh game.

Based on attendance for the 2002 NBA championship parade and last
season’s festivities, team and City officials anticipate a crowd of
between 500,000 and 2 million fans lining the two-mile parade route
along South Figueroa Street.

While the City of Los Angeles and hometown Lakers held an
accompanying rally attended by more than 95,000 inside the Coliseum to
mark the 2009 championship, this time around, players will interact with
fans from a customized flat-bed float, equipped with audio
capabilities. That will help to mitigate anticipated pedestrian and
traffic congestion, while also relieving security, sanitation and other
civic demands otherwise required of the privately funded 2010
ceremonies.

Beginning at approximately 11 a.m. (PDT), Lakers players and their
families will board the customized float at STAPLES Center, and begin
winding their way down South Figueroa Street toward the USC campus
before turning east on Jefferson Boulevard at the Galen Center to
complete the parade. A convoy of double-decker, open-air buses and other
attending vehicles will carry Lakers coaches and staff, members of the
Buss family ownership group, team officials, and the Laker Girls to the
conclusion of the two-mile route.

City officials recommend that, whenever possible, fans take the Metro
Rail system to the Pico/Chick Hearn station adjacent to the parade
route rather than attempt to drive into the STAPLES Center and Figueroa
area. Parking will be available in the downtown lots surrounding STAPLES
Center and the Figueroa corridor, yet street closures beginning the
night before are likely to make morning traffic far more difficult.

The City anticipates closing Figueroa Street between Olympic
Boulevard to the north and Jefferson Boulevard on the south beginning at
midnight Sunday. Other road closures include Chick Hearn Court between
Figueroa Street and Cherry Street; Cherry Street between Olympic and
Pico Boulevards; Flower Street between Washington and Jefferson
Boulevards; Jefferson Boulevard between Figueroa and Hoover Streets; and
all intersections along the two-mile route as designated by the Los
Angeles Police Department and Department of Transportation. LAPD and DOT
anticipate reopening major intersections along Figueroa Street as the
parade commences, pending pedestrians in those areas having dispersed
and other safety conditions being met.

It’s not know at this time if people will still be setting things on fire and dragging people out of their cars. Hopefully not. You know, Mondays are rough as it is.

Paul Pierce: ‘There is no loyalty to a franchise anymore … That’s the generation we live in’

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After Kevin Durant left the Thunder for the Warriors, Paul Pierce criticized players for changing teams to win.

Now, Pierce is providing an assessment of players just changing teams generally.

Brian Robb of Boston Sports Journal:

To be fair, Pierce doesn’t criticize players for not being loyal to franchises. In fact, he brings up that players are exercising their power.

But it’s still hard not to infer at least some disapproval from Pierce.

Why should players be loyal to franchises, though? Top players are assigned to teams through an anti-labor draft, the least successful teams getting the highest priority of selection. Those players are kept on an artificially low wage for five years can’t unilaterally leave the team for five years. If he plays well enough, his original team has a huge financial advantage in keeping him for up to 14 years. In this system, teams exercise far more control than they earn loyalty.

Players have such short careers. They should chase whatever they want. Money, winning, role, location, even steadiness with a franchise – if they choose.

Pierce spent 15 years with the Celtics, but let’s not forget:

Pierce asked the Mavericks to trade for him in 2005 so he could play with Dirk Nowitzkion a team one star away from contending. In 2007, he reportedly told the Celtics to trade him if they didn’t add a second star. Boston, of course, traded for Ray Allen and then convinced Kevin Garnett to waive his no-trade clause. In 2013, Pierce helped engineer a trade to the Nets. He and Garnett joined Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopezin Brooklyn and Pierce said, “We’re all about winning a championship and Brooklyn, we feel, gives us the best opportunity.” After stints with the Nets and Wizards, Pierce signed with the Clippers, which he described as a super team.

Lakers owner Jeanie Buss: ‘I have complete faith in Magic Johnson … I have patience’

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Shortly after she hired Magic Johnson as team president last year, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said she’d be heartbroken if the Lakers didn’t have an All-Star in 2018, when the game was in Los Angeles. Her urgency was apparent.

Of course, the Lakers didn’t have an All-Star last season. None came close.

But then they signed LeBron James this summer, and Buss has changed her tune.

The Rich Eisen Show:

Buss:

I have complete faith in Magic Johnson in terms of his ability to be a leader, to know how to put together a winner. And I have patience. And I think what he’s done has exceeded my expectations, how quickly they’ve kind of turned around the roster.

Johnson has done a great job running the Lakers. He cleared cap space while maintaining plenty of assets and convinced LeBron to sign.

The degree of difficulty on that is… debatable. Perhaps, LeBron just decided to join the Lakers and didn’t need much convincing.

What’s next for Johnson?

Maybe Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and JaVale McGee will fit well with LeBron. Maybe Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart are ready to compete deep into the playoffs.

I’m skeptical, which means Johnson’s next steps will be tricky. He has more than earned Buss’ faith, and her patience gives him even more latitude to build as he sees fit.

Still, it’s a bit odd to see a team acquire a 33-year-old superstar then shift into a more-patient approach. LeBron’s prime won’t last forever.

It’s on Johnson to maximize it.

Danny Ainge roasts Celtics players on Twitter

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Celtics president Danny Ainge has built a star-studded and deep team. Boston even has a few extra first-round picks to get even better in future years. The Celtics have 15 players with standard contracts, the regular-season limit. Unlike last year, Boston probably won’t swing a major late-summer trade.

So, Ainge is spending his time clowning his players.

He got Jaylen Brown:

Then Terry Rozier:

Do more, Danny! Kyrie Irving is overdue for another social-media feud.

Did Kevin Durant choose Warriors within day of Thunder losing to them in 2016?

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The Warriors eliminated the Thunder in the 2016 Western Conference finals on May 30. On the following July 4, Durant announced he’d leave Oklahoma City for Golden State.

But when did Durant actually decide on signing with the Warriors?

Durant, Rich Kleiman (Durant’s business partner) and Rudy Cline-Thomas (Andre Iguodala‘s business partner) sat on a panel at Bloomberg’s Players Technology Summit.

Cline-Thomas, as transcribed by Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area:

“Remember 2017, you just lost to the Warriors — no 2016, you had just lost the Warriors, May — you and I get together after the game. I thought I was just gonna focus on not talking about basketball, and you wanted to focus on talking about Silicon Valley — asking me how it was out here.

“You had been following what Andre and I were doing, how it was being surrounded by all these CEOs, innovators and entrepreneurs. And I was like, ‘Wow. First and foremost, like yo — this dude just told me he’s about to sign with the Warriors, right (laughter). So, I was like I’m not gonna tell anybody, didn’t tell anybody whatsoever, didn’t want any rumors to get started…”

Durant on when he began thinking differently about business opportunities, via Shiller:

“Probably about 2015, I had got hurt. Basketball had always been my world … it stopped, and I had to think about other parts of my life and what I was interested in … it was rough because I didn’t know what I wanted to do or what I liked or what type of person I wanted to be … I started to hear about Andre and more guys around the NBA — especially that play for the Warriors — that took advantage of the opportunities of being in the Bay Area.

“So throughout that whole year, me and Rich were talking about investing in companies and what I like to do outside of ball. Then I (saw) you and just all those questions came out at once and I was basically telling you I was coming to the Warriors (laughter).”

Kleiman, via Shiller:

“Well I just learned that he told you in May, before free agency — which is hardly factual, which we’ll have to clear up with Marc Spears and everybody here (laughter) — no way did that happen, but cool… (laughter).”

Did Durant really tell Cline-Thomas in May of a plan to sign with the Warriors? Did Durant know his intentions and inadvertently show his hand while talking to Cline-Thomas? Did Durant not consciously know where he’d sign but reveal clues to Cline-Thomas during their conversation? Were Durant and Cline-Thomas just joking?

Was Kleiman trying to set the record straight? Was he just trying to cover for Durant?

Durant was back in Oklahoma City for a press conference June 1, 2016. So, when Cline-Thomas says “after the game,” it sounds as if he meant the night of Game 7.

Of course, that will raise all kinds of questions about Durant’s competitiveness in the 2016 Western Conference finals. If he had one foot out the door to join the Warriors, how motivated was he to beat them? But Durant was awesome throughout that series. Golden State was just a great team. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he compartmentalized his feelings on the Warriors while facing them.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if he decided on Golden State shortly after the series. Draymond Green recruited Durant throughout that season. The Warriors’ desire to add Durant and their high level of appeal was well-established. Even without tampering, they didn’t have to wait until free agency officially began to become Durant’s choice. The NBA can control timing of permissible contact – not Durant’s mind.

It’s just tough to tell exactly what to take from Durant’s, Cline-Thomas’ and Kleiman’s comments – even with context of video: