Chris Paul is a Clipper and the Lakers are pissed off

43 Comments

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.

Caris LeVert suffers injury so horrific, it brings teammates to tears and opponents to prayer (video)

1 Comment

Caris LeVert has been one of the Nets’ biggest bright spots. The hard-working 24-year-old was a Most Improved Player candidate, and he seems well-liked throughout the organization. He’s even already hit a couple gamewinners this season.

But LeVert’s breakout campaign hit a devastating snag tonight, as he injured his leg.

The reactions of both his Brooklyn teammates and the Timberwolves say everything. This is a tough one.

Markelle Fultz takes ugly pump-fake free throw

6 Comments

A key question after the 76ers traded for Jimmy Butler: How would the demanding star affect Markelle Fultz‘s confidence?

Butler isn’t even playing for Philadelphia yet, but this isn’t an encouraging sign.

Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice:

Maybe the ball just slipped out of Fultz’s hands on the way up, and he had to continue pushing it toward the rim to avoid a violation. That could happen to anybody.

But given everything we know about Fultz’s shooting woes, it’s impossible to take this as anything other than a ghastly low point in an ongoing problem.

LeBron James: ‘I almost cracked’ with Lakers’ slow start

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
1 Comment

LeBron James has played in eight straight NBA Finals.

How’s he handling reduced expectations with the Lakers, who started 2-5 before rising to 7-6?

LeBron, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

‪“I haven’t changed anything outwardly, but you know me. You know how I am. I almost cracked [last week]. I had to sit back and remind myself, ‘[Expletive], you knew what you were getting yourself into,’” James told Yahoo Sports while laughing after Saturday’s win in Sacramento. “This process has been good for me. I just have to continue being patient.”‬

LeBron warned everyone to stay clear when he loses his patience, but he has never sounded close to losing it this season. He signed a four-year deal with the Lakers, said he doesn’t feel urgency to win quickly before his prime ends and seems content to wait for a co-star.

If anything, it seemed LeBron might be too relaxed, enjoying the Los Angeles lifestyle and focusing on showbusiness.

So, this is a welcome sign of his competitiveness.

Also kudos to LeBron for harnessing it unlike others in the organization. These Lakers need time to determine how these oddly shaped pieces fit together – unless a star becomes available. Then, all bets are off.

Dwyane Wade: Making Carmelo Anthony ‘fall guy’ doesn’t address the ‘real problem’

Elsa/Getty Images
11 Comments

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul – the banana-boat buddies – comprise the NBA’s most famous friendship group.

With Anthony nearing his end with the Rockets, that puts Houston teammate Paul in an awkward place. But Wade and LeBron are speaking up. So are the Trail Blazers’ Evan Turner and Damian Lillard.

Wade:

LeBron:

Evan Turner:

Damian Lillard:

It’s unclear whether Wade is scolding the Rockets or fans/media. That comment is far more loaded if he’s referring directly to the organization. I wonder what he sees at the “real problem” in Houston.

A struggling team waiving a minimum-salary player is rarely viewed as making that player the scapegoat. But Anthony has an outsized reputation due to his long, star-level career. With that in mind, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tried to defend Anthony.

But Anthony is a part of Houston’s problems. He’s awful defensively and shooting poorly. There is mounting evidence he’s washed up. Downgrading his role, whether or not that includes waiving him, is a step in the right direction for the Rockets.

It won’t solve everything, and Anthony – after all that he has done in the NBA – should be treated with respect. But there’s no way around his substandard current level of play.