Monthly Archives: June 2018

The Case for “LeBron to the Clippers” (No, Seriously.)

Don’t sleep on the new-look Clippers as a legitimate contender to sign the King this offseason. 

By Jake Sweltz

lbj-clips-lakers

It’s been widely reported that LeBron James’ son will be enrolling at Sierra Canyon High School just outside of Los Angeles.  Most verified basket-bloggers have taken this as evidence that LeBron plans to sign with the Lakers.  But I wouldn’t dismiss the other LA-based NBA franchise’s chances so easily.

Stop laughing.  That’s right, I’m talking about the friggin’ Clippers.  As a legitimate contender to sign LeBron this offseason.  To play basketball.  I said stop laughing.

To be clear, I fully acknowledge the inherent absurdity of a scenario in which LeBron actual James plays real NBA games in an official Clippers jersey.  But hear me out; there are a number of factors suggesting this scenario might be more than science fiction.

  1. PROPERTY RIGHTS: LeBron already owns two homes in LA.  If he signs with the Clippers, he can still make his move to Laker land without the pressure of living up to the Laker legacy held in place by the HOF’s who came before him.  LeBron is savvy, and he knows that losing to, say, the Kyrie-led Celtics in the Finals after becoming “the next great Laker” would ruin his reputation.
  2. GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE: The Jerry West factor is not to be taken lightly.  The Starters’ Trey Kerby mentioned that LeBron frequently brought up “basketball minds” during this latest playoff run.  The Logo is just the type of next-level basketball thinker LeBron could jibe with.  Plus, they already have a great relationship.
  3. EMPIRE STATE OF MIND: If LeBron wants to maintain a presence in the NBA after his basketball career is over as an owner or GM, he could eventually become the Magic Johnson of the Clippers.  And who knows?  He might even one day eclipse Johnson as a mogul.  Imagine, the once-pitiful Clippers, controlled by the most heinous racist owner in the league, now a proud contender in the West with the greatest player of his generation at the helm?  Sounds to me like a pretty sweet flip o’ the script.
  4. STAY FLEXIBLE: The Clippers have the 12th and 13th overall picks in this year’s draft, which they could theoretically package for an impact player or some other assets.  Their roster is composed of mutable entities like D’Andre Jordan and Tobias Harris, plus a ton of flotsam.  Can I interest you in a 2018-19 Clippers starting lineup that features LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Patrick Beverly?  And besides, wherever he signs, LeBron will most likely ink a short term contract, as he did in Cleveland.  That way, if the Clippers experiment doesn’t work out, he can always reset in 2020 with the Lakers or somewhere else for yet ANOTHER final act.  If history has taught us nothing else, it’s that LeBron James is virtually indestructible (“pretty much broken” hand aside).
  5. THE RAINMAKER: We all know LeBron is precious with his Narrative.  He knows if he can’t win more rings than MJ, he’ll have to tell a better story.  Bringing a title to this cursed Clipper franchise would cement his legacy as a franchise rainmaker, someone who could enter an NBA desert like the Cavs or the Clippers and turn them into a champion.
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Who Do We Blame for the KD Warriors?

Kevin-Durant-2

By Jake Sweltz

Kevin Durant joining GSW in 2016 was really good and cool for KD and the Warriors 😀

But it was really bad and not cool for most NBA fans 😦

By now, we all know where we stand on this issue, so let’s just move on to the million dollar question:

Who can we blame for all this?

Lots of people, it turns out!  Browsing the NBA blog-o-sphere in the weeks after KD and the Warriors won it all last year, I saw a surprising array of names floated as the Real Culprit.  Now that GSW are on the verge of going back-to-back, I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the guiltiest and/or most interesting candidates.  Let’s explore them one by one:

KD JOINING THE WARRIORS…WHOSE FAULT WAS IT?!

  1. KD? (for joining the Warriors) I think he definitely deserves some of the blame here.  But it would be boring and inaccurate to lay it all at his size 18 feet.  What about…
  2. The Warriors? (for losing the 2016 Finals and actively recruiting KD) Between Klay slaying OKC, Draymond getting suspended, and Steph freezing up, there were a lot of ways the Warriors could have ended their 2016 season in a way that didn’t facilitate KD jumping ship to join them.  But ultimately, you can’t place a ton of blame on a team for signing an all-time great when they got the chance.  As usual, the most compelling narrative always comes back to…
  3. LeBron? (for setting a “Super Team” precedent w/ the Decision) The weirdest take I’ve seen catch on is that LeBron’s 2010 Decision was somehow equivalent or worse than KD’s turncoat act.  Sure, the Decision was an obnoxious, ill-advised publicity stunt.  But from a basketball perspective, LeBron still left some semblance of the NBA’s competitive balance intact.  KD stone cold murdered that shit.  Besides, blaming stuff on LeBron stopped being cool in 2014.  In 2018, it’s much cooler to blame stuff on…
  4. Russell Westbrook? (for hogging the ball so much in OKC that KD could no longer abide being his teammate) Durant more or less admitted to this when his burner accounts were outed last year.  If Westbrook passed the ball even 20% more often, maybe the Thunder would have won multiple titles.  But then he wouldn’t be Russ, and for NBA fans, that’s a worse fate.  Let’s move on to my personal favorite object of Arbitrary Internet Blame…
  5. Michelle Roberts? (for defeating the proposed cap smoothing that would have prevented GSW from being able to pay KD) Now you’re talking my language.  Nothing is more satisfyingly mind-numbing than when the Blame Game turns into THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT.  Let’s dig a little deeper down that rabbit hole…
  6. Adam Silver? (for not swooping in like Dikembe and blocking the shit out of the KD trade the second he caught wind of it) Where’s David Stern when you need him?  A few months after his promotion to commissioner, we were all singing Silver’s praises, but is it possible the NBA paved paradise and put up a parking lot?  Surely, he’s more blameworthy than…
  7. Sam Presti? (for trading James Harden and unwittingly killing in the crib a potential Super Team that could have preempted GSW)  The only person I saw make this argument was Bill Simmons, who also claims the Harden Trade swung the terms of the Iran Nuclear Deal, the ’07 Writers’ Strike, and the O.J. Simpson trial.  Personally, I’d go back even further and blame…
  8. George Mikan? (for allowing the ABA to introduce the three point line in 1967) Obviously it will never happen, but I think the NBA should abandon the three point arc.  Now that the power of the three ball has been discovered and exploited, the style of play has become homogenous.  If every shot were worth two points again, it would promote a diversity of styles.  A team like GSW that shoots a high percentage from distance could still stretch the floor, but big man bully ball would also have a place in the league.  In the long term, that equals more fun for fans AND more employment opportunities for traditional big men.  Just a thought.  In the meantime, we haven’t yet mentioned…
  9. LaVar Ball? (he’s bad for the game, guys.  HE MUST BE STOPPED) Last year, when I wrote the first draft for this piece, LaVar was in the news like every week.  This year, he’s been mostly ignored as his start-up Junior Basketball Association struggles to generate ticket sales.  Is this his karmic punishment for secretly orchestrating the infamous meeting in the Hamptons between Durant and the Warriors that led to his signing with Golden State?!?  No, almost certainly not.  But what about…
  10. Donald Trump? (this would never have happened in Obama’s America) I dunno, it just feels like he should take some heat for this.  And while we’re at it, let’s throw some dirt on…
  11. James Naismith? (for inventing basketball, laying the groundwork for eventual domination by GSW) Hard to argue with that logic, right?  And finally, for your consideration as the One True Arbiter of the KD Warriors…
  12. Keyzer Soze? (“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist”)  You can’t fool me, Soze.  I always knew you were behind this.