We all know the story. Cleveland fans burn things, then stage apology videos. Yeah, let’s put the ashes from last night’s barbecue and put it on top of my LeBron James Cavs jersey and pick it up. Sooooooooooo symbolic. Somebody is already halfway through the 30 for 30 special… But I got an advanced look at LeBron’s first press event with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert:
I love what Slim said in his reaction as a Heat fan. “LeBron’s legacy will now be that of a journeyman.” BURN! Poor choice of the all caps scathing word, JB! LeBron is still the alpha dog of the NBA, but he’s now numero tres in my ranking-os… Never was too good at Spanish. I’m moving Anthony Davis up to 2 and joining Slim’s bandwagon. Even though BronBron had talent around him in Miami, he never had a point guard. Which I mean more literally than not since Mario Chalmers‘ assists look more like Billy Dee Williams’ Dancing with the Stars‘ scores than an NBA PG’s! And now LeBron’s got family on his team! I don’t mean the city of Cleveland, but Uncle Drew! They should mish mash one of those videos with drunk uncle from SNL… Anyway, Kyrie Irving is going to have some balls in his hands (cough), so LeBron will be performing less hernia tests. Kyrie’s three-year arc has been declining FG% but steadily improving Ast/TO ratios and overall dimes. More efficient with the ball, but not hitting the shots. Maybe it’s because the Cavs had no other playmakers… Iso for Anderson Varejao! Dion Waiters just blocked me on Twitter. LeBron will be a huge ease on Kyrie’s defensive pressure, however stemming from that – if Kyrie is hot, he shootin’! Both will have great final numbers, but a little inconsistent game-to-game. LeBron should see his dimes go down a tick as well. Here’s a look at the rest of the free agency movement and some key notes from Summer League:
Luol Deng – I’ve never been a Deng fan, but he’s already been billed as “LeBron’s replacement”. Ugh, that sucks. He should be a nice bounce back candidate though.
Mario Chalmers – Re-signs with Miami. Sorry, Shabazz Napier… Ugh, Norris Cole is still there too. Somebody can burn my Heat depth chart.
Kevin Love – Still on the Wolves. I’m starting to think there’s no way he plays for the Wolves this year, they just can’t hold out for offers anymore. His sheer distaste for Minnesota should make Wisonsinites proud. #TradedtotheBucks.
Carmelo Anthony – Staying with the Knicks in a horrible career decision. Makes the Phil Jackson hiring completely worth the money. Well, a lot will depend on who they land in 2015. Melo took a pay cut that year for more cap space and they get some horrible contracts off the books. Amar’e Stoudemire is like, “what, the Knicks won’t be paying for my eye care after this year?!”
Gordon Hayward – Another stayer. Gordon the Utah Stayer. My new vampire show idea. Do vampires not like salt? Tie in something about Salt Lake? THIS IS LOSING STEAM! I think NBC is still interested though… I wonder if Utah fans don’t like that he pushed the market to be sure he got the big contract…
Isaiah Thomas – Ugh, no one likes him. Sacramento cuts bait and brings in Darren Collison. IT2 is going to Phoenix. “Don’t say where!” “I’d rather be dead in California than alive in Arizona!” Haha, that Arrested Development quote is really applicable with this move! As much as this crushes IT2’s fantasy value, I’ve given it some thought and think I might be a buyer. Eric Bledsoe has been injury prone and Goran Dragic had a few early-season dings last year, and even when both are healthy, IT2 should have no problem getting high-20 minutes. Such a fun group of guards, wish I was a Suns fan…
Jeremy Lin – Your new Lakers starting PG. He’ll probably be overdrafted due to his fan base, but I think it’s a great move for him. Maybe Kobe will let him crash on his couch.
Chandler Parsons – The Rockets let him walk across the desert! And he nomadicly ends up in Dallas after a tumultuous 40 days and 40 nights. Another great boost for a guy getting off the Rockets, right?! But he still has to contend with a shoot-first, shoot-often SG (Monta Ellis) and a big-time C (Dirk Nowitzki). Maybe it won’t be the golden shower of stats we were hoping for! “The hell?!” I bet Mark Cuban has a golden shower…. Soooooo off track… I like Chandler a ton and think he gets underrated, but there’s a chance people see the move as a huge blessing and over-hype him. We shall see.
Pau Gasol – Welcome to da Bullls! Set to play next to Joakim Noah in what could be the best passing front court in NBA history. Hyperbole alert! But will be pretty nasty. Not gonna love Gasol, we already know I’m gonna be down on Noah, but I think Gasol’s perception will be fairly low after that Lakers travesty last year and his injury woes.
Anthony Randolph – Gets moved to Orlando, and while I don’t think he matters, it’s yet another PF on Orlando’s front line. He could be cut, but if not, Orlando is hilarious.
Marvin Williams - Welcome to Charlotte! And welcome to a minutes crunch, Noah Vonleh. Vonleh, a stretch 4, now has more front court competition from Starvin’ Marvin, who is such a stretch 4 that he might as well have spent his offseason in one of those rack torture devices. “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”
Carlos Boozer – Got waived so hard, that when he boarded his boat and sailed out of the Lake Michigan harbor it was like the Titanic leaving Southampton.
Kris Humphries – Three years with the Wizards. It really doesn’t matter what jersey you wear when you’re getting posterized…
Mike Miller - Rejoins LeBron with the Cavs. Yawn, I regret the 20 seconds I spent adding this note.
D.J. Augustin – PG depth for the Pistons. He matters a little more than Miller since he can still play and Brandon Jennings is the league’s most efficient player. Sprinkle some sarcasm dust on the end of that sentence!
Omri Casspi - A bad call from me last year as I thought he could win the stretch 4 role in Houston, Casspi is now a Pelican. Hopefully this move will be a molting of sorts and Casspi can find a solidified role. Tyreke Evans, who has horrible ankles, could very easily miss time and sneak Casspi into a starting role at the more suitable SF position.
Nick Calathes – Wow, the Grizzlies are being kinda dicks on this one. They waited until the last minute to pick up his cheap 800k contract, keeping him from making 6 million overseas. I’m sure Calathes lost some hair over this one. Looks like I’m up to 10 keepers in REL! Gotta hold onto him now. But I’ll wait until the very last minute of our keeper deadline for effect.
Trevor Booker – Two years and ten mil to play some sweet Jazz. “It may be cold outside, but it’s about to get all warm up in my jazz.” This one is a little interesting because Enes Kanter – as we all know – I consistently bash for being a horrific NBA defender, and Rudy Gobert is a center through and through. Jeremy Evans could also play some 4, so there is a minutes crunch, but I could see Booker playing more than most would expect.
Jeff Adrien – In an even less impactful (which isn’t a word, I call BS on that one red underline man!) PF signing, Adrien gets a vet minimum deal with the Rockets. He showed some shallow-league usability while with the Bucks, so adios anything useful. Sorry Slim!
Jason Smith – The spicy big man jumper will take his sweet stroke to the Knicks. He had knee surgery last year cutting his season short, but offers some upside offensively behind the newly acquired Haitian sensation.
Thomas Robinson – Tore a thumb ligament sliding headfirst into third base. Wait, wrong sport. But sounds like a similar injury to the ones that have taken out Yadier Molina, Bryce Harper, and Josh Hamilton this year. Fortunately, all of those guys looked at about two months out, so T Rob might not miss any of the regular season. He’s really fun to watch, but still a backup to one of the league’s best PFs.
Nerlens Noel – Mmmmmmmm, so dirty! Maybe I need to take a shower at Mark Cuban’s! 12/6/0/2/4 Monday and was hacking everyone. 7 fouls in 29 minutes! But the multi-cat upside is higher than his hightop fade.
Ruby Gobert – Monsieur Elbow with a monster line yesterday! Just made up that nickname after seeing him elbow everyone in a game last year against the Wolves, include shattering Alexey Shved‘s nose. No blood, no foul! Oh wait… 6-6 FG 13/9/1/0/5 in 23 minutes of Summer League action Monday (sat out yesterday), but didn’t break anyone’s nose to my knowledge. So actually a little underwhelming.
Giannis Antetokounmpo - Destroying Summer League, hitting treys, making FTs, a pair of blocks away from a rainbow Monday (15/4/5/3/0) and looks locked in for a big-time starting role. Then yesterday, Jason Kidd floated it out there that Giannis could play PG. Slim likes him a little more than me, but I think we’ll both be as high on him as the walls of Thermopylae.
T.J. Warren – Had a huge Summer League debut of 22/4/0/1/1. He didn’t take a single trey shooting 10-16. Then barely played after an elbow to the face, followed by a third game of 12-22 (0-3 3PTM) 28/11/1/1/0. The boards were nice, but empty stat line mid-range, here we come!
C.J. McCollum – Lit it up yesterday for 28 on six treys. Shot 10-16 overall and didn’t do much else, but this kid is something special. Looks like he’s in line for big-time backup G minutes.
Adreian Payne – Can I buy a friggin’ vowel?! I always jack up his name. And he jacked up his Tuesday performance for 3-10 FG 13/7/0/0/0 with 7 TOs. Now an absurd 14 TOs in his first three Summer League games. Bankrupt!
Doug McDermott – On the flip side, Doug McD had another huge game, going 20/5/6/0/0 with four treys yesterday. Had a dud in his debut, but was out of control last Sunday for 31/1/1/0/1 7-12 FG (5-9 3PTM 12-12 FT). A four-year senior with polish should be killin’ it in Vegas and he’s going to have a rough time finding double-digit shots on the Bulls.
Dante Exum – Fairly boring 19 minutes of 2-4 FG 6/3/3/1/1 but 4 TOs. I’m still excited, and yes as early as this year. Not like Trey Burke is playing any better in Summer right now…
Whew, a lot is going on! We’re pumped to start getting together on the ranks as leagues start forming up in the next month. I hope your real-life teams are shaping up to be contenders (hah, kidding Pete Nice’s Sixers!) and happy offseason!