The Long Walk of Shame ..
The NBA season will resume after the All Star Game , where New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis rounded out the game’s festivities on his way to winning the All Star Game MVP , as well as being the leading scorer in the contest with fifty-two points for the Western Conference in their triumph. Off the court the big news happens to be the coup made by the Pelicans in acquiring DeMarcus Cousins in a trade from the Sacramento Kings , that was astounding as it was surprising . Many are now questioning the mindset of the Sacramento Kings and the front office led by Vlad Divac and Peja Stojakovic . In allowing Cousins to be traded , the franchise avoided a max contract which would have paid the center $209 million over five years , making the center the highest paid player in the NBA. Having gone through nine head coaches in almost as many seasons and the continued dysfunction of the Kings, there is no real good reason to believe this trade will be in the best interest of the franchise. Acquiring Tyreke Evans , a player who is often injured , Buddy Heald , Langston Galloway and two future protected draft picks does little for the Sacramento Kings as a franchise .
Vlad Divac who heads the Basketball Operations for the Kings cannot be taken seriously in his position as a front office executive and the same can be said Peja Stojakovic as the general manager. Team owner Vivek Ranadive has not issued a public statement concerning the trade , but it is believed , he gave the go-ahead for the deal to be made after the approach from Divac.
Vlad Divac for his part in a press interview suggested that he turned down a far better deal for a trade to send DeMarcus Cousins elsewhere. It is believed there were as many as five teams interested in acquiring the center. A player who many believe is the best player at his position within the league. Cousins has been the sole reason to watch the Sacramento Kings this season and it doesn’t bode well for the franchise’s future , given this latest faux-pas as well as having one of the lowest attendance levels in the entire NBA. Refurbishment of the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento has to be considered a complete waste, especially when it comes at the expense of taxpayers’ monies , something clearly not on the mind of former Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson , whose persistence in seeking to make this happen while his city faced a budget crisis remains an ongoing indication , why municipalities continue to be a lap-dog of professional sports’ hierarchies.
Vivek Ranadive assumed control of the Sacramento Kings, having brought the franchise from the Maloof family . Ranadive promised the fans a change , one where the team would seek to be competitive and have a great team on the court for the fans to take pride in, but nothing has been further from the truth. Head coach Dave Joerger and his coaching staff are completely out of their depth while Vlad Divac and his fellow executives continue to lead the Kings deeper into an abyss. It’s pretty much safe to suggest the fans will likely abandon franchise in even large numbers in the aftermath of this shocking and inexplicable trade.
Both New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings will be back in action on Thursday 23rd February , when the Kings will face the Denver Nuggets at home , while the Pelicans take on the Houston Rockets .
While the idiocy of the Charles Oakley ‘incident ‘ remains fresh in the minds of the fans around the NBA , many are now asking, how long before Phil Jackson and Steve Mills decide to pull the plug and simply implode the roster of the New York Knicks ? Rumors are now running wild , with the Knicks likely out of playoff contention , it simply doesn’t make sense to keep together one of the league’s highest salaried teams . Derrick Rose has failed to make a major impact and Carmelo Anthony lacks the drive to lead the team with any great determination . If there was ever one thing clear about Carmelo Anthony , it has been the fact his game is extremely one-dimensional , with scoring being his greatest strength .
Thursday 23rd February is the trade deadline and it will be interesting to see if New York Knicks’ head coach Jeff Hornacek is given instructions to sit out both Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose or simply the Knicks’ starting point guard, Rose, as they seek a trade of the former League MVP from 2010 . The New York Knicks will face a tough task when they resume their schedule , as they face the Eastern Conference’s best team , the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night at the Quicken Loans Arena , in Cleveland , Ohio. Contests featuring Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James as adversaries have always favored the four-time League MVP. New York Knicks continue to be a monumental disaster , not being of much relevance in the NBA over the past five seasons , with their last NBA Playoff appearance came during the 2012-13 NBA season .
If the New York Knicks are said to be having a bad season m then by comparison , one could look at the Brooklyn Nets and say “ they are dead in the water” . With the league’s worst record and a roster simply bereft of talent , it would be easy to suggest team owner Mikhail Prokhorov , having spent tens of millions to buy the franchise, has wasted even more , investing in players who simply were not good enough. It wasn’t that long ago the Nets were a star-studded team , with one of the highest payrolls in the NBA with Brooklyn playing in front of a sold-out arena. Those days are now long gone , former GM Billy King is no longer there, but the billionaire owner of the Brooklyn Nets still presides over the mess. Prokhorov is said to be listening to offers for the franchise, but there have been no interested suitors or actual buyers for the team. There is no known asking price , though it is believed Mikhail Prokhorov would be willing to sell the team just under $2 billion .
Considered to be the best player on the Brooklyn Nets’ roster, Brook Lopez could be on the block , as the Nets look to recoup something for the player, while taking his salary and the remainder of his contract off their books . At this point , it’s best to start with their very own ‘ fire sale ‘ and look to regroup later. It is about the only thing Sean Marks can do without being faulted , as he inherited a mess from his predecessor Billy King. Kenny Atkinson was given the unenviable task of being asked to coach this band of misfits and clearly things have not worked out as planned . For the remainder of their schedule there isn’t really a great deal left for the Brooklyn Nets to play for . Pride is no longer evident and their will to win has been sorely lacking .
Sibling rivalry , tumult and turmoil have now engrossed what could be the makings of the biggest soap opera in the NBA . Los Angeles Lakers’ CEO Jeanie Buss has relieved GM Mitch Kupchak of all his duties . Jeanie Buss has also dismissed her brother Jim Buss from his role within the franchise , creating what could very tell turn into a bitter feud between the two siblings. Not since the departure of Phil Jackson , have the Lakers seen such drama and it certainly doesn’t bode well for the future of the Los Angeles Lakers. Head coach Luke Walton is certainly trying to do his very best , but the rookie head coach is facing a tough task of having to coach a team short on experience , without veteran leadership and actual play-making ability on all fronts . Short-term thinking , the lack of development of talented young players and this constant belief money can bring the best talent to the franchise has been sorely misplaced. Not one player on the current roster was deserving of a vote to be even remotely considered for a roster spot on the Western Conference All Star team . The idiocy of fans having a vote continues to show why the NBA is actually bereft of ideas.
Courtesy of USA Today
By Sam Amick , USA Today Sports
Jeanie Buss had been fed up for years.
You could never tell by watching her in that familiar Staples Center courtside seat, the 55-year-old Lakers governor always smiling and entertaining her high-profile friends who would watch her beloved team lose almost every time out.
But behind the scenes, in those moments when she’d recount all the mistakes that her brother, part owner and former front office executive Jim Buss, and longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak had made and wondered why her patience in them hadn’t paid off, she was more and more ready to do this deed.
The hammer finally fell on Tuesday, when Jeanie and recently added Lakers legend Magic Johnson fired Kupchak and stripped Jim Buss of all his basketball power. While Johnson now assumes the role of president of basketball operations, the Lakers are expected to add Rob Pelinka, the agent of retired Lakers star Kobe Bryant, as general manager, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.
Pelinka, a teammate of Michigan’s Fab Five whose current client list includes the Houston Rockets’ James Harden and the Houston Rockets’ Eric Gordon, would have to divest himself of his Landmark Sports Agency before joining the Lakers.
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With the ouster of Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss , Jeanie Buss has sought to make changes and her first order of business has been to name Magic Johnson as Head of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. How Johnson will be able to manage this role , while also being a senior executive with the Los Angeles Dodgers remains to be seen . The Lakers have also traded Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Corey Brewer . This trade made absolutely no sense whatsoever , as Williams was the leading scorer on the roster and certainly their most effective player throughout this season . Magic Johnson’s ambitions lay somewhere between his wanting to be taken seriously as a front office executive and still be seen as one of the best players in Los Angeles Lakers’ history .
While I don’t believe Luke Walton’s job is danger as of yet , I do believe Magic Johnson’s patience might not endure the Los Angeles Lakers, not being able to turn around their season with at least a winning record at the end of the season. The Lakers will resume their schedule with a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on the 24th February , one of several games taking place on the night.
Jeanie Buss and Magic Johnson will need to hire a general manager of proven ability or someone with a great deal of basketball knowledge and if the rumors are to believed they might well have found their man , with Rob Pelinka , famed basketball agent and founder of The Landmark Sports Agency , home to some of the most recognizable names in the NBA . Pelinka will have to assess this roster , address their wants , dissolve itself of the players who are either unproductive or just simply no longer requisite to the long-term future of the Los Angeles Lakers. It will be a tough task, but it will not be easier than watching the ruination of the franchise since 2010.
It is hard to contend how this NBA season can be seen as being truly competitive , when claims are being made the Eastern Conference is on par with its Western Conference counterpart. The West if by far the more competitive conference , with far more quality teams, whereas in the East, there are only a few teams barely worth talking about this season. Other than the continuity seen from the Cleveland Cavaliers , the most surprising team in the Eastern Conference , might just be the Boston Celtics , who are playing like a team which has finally arrived and believe that they are good enough to take on the best the league has to offer .
Boston Celtics’ head coach Brad Stevens is proving to be one of the best young coaches in the league (NBA) and could very well end up being named the NBA Coach of The Year this season. He has shown himself to be adept , a great motivator of his players and he certainly has gained their respect. It easy to understand why both GM Danny Ainge and Wyc Grousbeck have undoubted faith in their head coach. The Celtics will be preparing for their next game after the break when they face the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre , in Toronto , Ontario this upcoming Friday , the 24th February .
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As the NBA season slowly winds down, what do you believe has been the biggest story of the season and which team do you believe has been the biggest disappointment overall ?