As we head into August, now is a perfect time to take a look back at the free agency period for the upcoming 2014-15 NBA season.

While there is one big name yet to sign (Eric Bledsoe), a few less-intriguing options still on the market (Michael Beasley, Andray Blatche, Kent Bazemore, Jordan Crawford), and another who’s unsure whether he’ll play or retire (Ray Allen), most of the fantasy basketball world knows where guys will be playing this season.  Of course, that still doesn’t include the possibility of Kevin Love finding a new home by the end of the summer, but that could be the subject of an entirely different article.

There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that Love will land in Cleveland, which will make them a huge force in the Eastern Conference — and in the entire NBA.

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So one of my favorite Charlotte Hornets memories was Glen Rice winning the All-Star Game MVP in 1997.  I was still a chitlin, but even then I knew the Hornets were the epitome of small market (and moved just a few years later).  Rice seemed like a fill-in bench player (even though he was pretty nasty in 96-97 with a by far career-high 26.8 a game), but went absolutely bonkers in the ASG second half, putting up 20 in the 3rd quarter.  He was hotter than P.J. Hairston in a “yo mama” contest!  I knew the Hornets had no title aspirations (ending up getting swept in the first round), but it made the whole season worth it.

And the Glen Rices of the world now have another, well smaller, trophy on their mantle with Glen Rice Jr. winning the Summer League MVP.  Actually, I’m not sure if he gets a trophy… Maybe just a stack of $1,000 in Belagio chips… Either way, Rice put up a 6-game line of 25/7.8/2.3/2.5/0.5 boosted by a plain stupid 36/11/3/4/0 line with six treys last Saturday.  “Pretend every game is the All-Star game film I always make you watch, son!”  The Wizards boosted their wings (and headband usage) with Paul Pierce brought in, plus Otto Porter should see a lot of minutes off the bench.  But behind Bradley Beal, Martell Webster just had herniated disc back surgery leaving a big early-season gap for backup SG minutes.  Sure Garrett Temple might be able to fill-in, but off the hot Summer, I think Rice Jr. has got some minutes coming his way.  Plus one of the biggest concerns for Beal is his injury risk, so a deep-league gamble on Glenny Jr. could be an interesting flier.  Here’s what else has gone down with Summer League wrapping up and free agency moves:

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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:

LeBron Gets New Cavs Jersey

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:

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.  A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam walk into a brothel.  The Priest says to the Rabbi…   Wait, why are you laughing?  You’ve heard it before.  That’s probably a good thing anyway because I might have been banned from the internet if I repeated it here.  Witty punchlines and non sequiturs aside the point remains unchanged.  No matter what our age, sex, or religion happens to be, we can’t just hope things are going to get better.  We need to prepare for the future.  For myself that means maintaining my perfectly quaffed facial hair with treatments of only the finest oils and herbs from the orient.  For JB, and he might get mad at me for telling you this, but he has this pink rubber bowl looking thing.  It has a wooden handle at the top and after about 5-10 minutes with that in the bathroom I swear he comes out looking taller.  Definitely more confident.  Still though – even the giants will shrink to the size of us mere mortals one day.  In fantasy basketball – as in real life – we can’t sit back and hope we are the next giants to be.  In a dynasty league, when our season is lost, that means selling off our older, declining players, and buying stock in the future.  Since we here at Razzball endorse insider trading, here is my take on a few future blue chippers:

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Ross can!  Rosssssss can!  Ross can get me the tickets!  Somebody call the Police, because Terrence Ross is on fire!  Or, ummm, do we call the Mounties?  I plain just don’t know…  But if anyone (aherm, me) had to feel the Sting of that 51-point outburst against them – out of so left field from Ross that it was out of the Pacific Ocean – then you’re certainly sending a message in a bottle to the fantasy gods asking “Whyyyyyy?!”  51/9/1/1/0 shooting 16-29 and hitting 10 Harvey’s Trays.  “What’s with the sit-com references today JB?!”  Yeah, no one will get that last one… Sit-coms are always fun, light, and don’t end on Sunday nights with me throwing things.  “Enough about you, JB!”  Damn, commenters are angry this morning!  DeMar DeRozan sprained his foot in that game, and while Ross was already hot, no DeRozan helped him get hotter.  “Hansel is so hot right now.”  DeRozan looks like he’ll miss at least a few games – already not traveling tonight – making Ross a must-own for this week and the immediate future.  The Raptors are all the sudden with 18 less shots a game (no, that’s not me throwing out an arbitrary number, that’s really DeRozan’s FGA a game!) so this is a great opportunity for Jonas Valaciunas as well to go on a solid run.  Will be an interesting game tonight at Brooklyn to see how the two younguns perform.  Here’s what else I saw over the weekend in NBA action:

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Remember back in the day when you played Oregon Trail every waking moment?  I only sorta remember because I kept getting dysentery…  But I imagine an update should have the mythical creature of LaMarcus Aldridge as some sort of omnipotent deity that you hope comes to your aid.  “Your wagon is stuck in quick sand, use 1 of 3 remaining LaMarcus Aldridge summons?”  Hells yea!  And then I need him to save my oxen.  Huge game from LA last night putting up a career-high points and a sick 44/13/5/0/2 line including 14-17 FT while the crowd chanted “M-V-P” all 4th quarter.  Scored the last 15 points, went 8-8 at the stripe in the last 70 seconds, all in a 5-point win.  The Nuggets just had nothing for him inside when he was crashing the glass, and LA was boarding like a beast.  I know he’s had a lot of Goromotaros, but almost all the boards he got in this one were in traffic.  And the Nuggets were fouling him extremely hard all 4th quarter.  Gonna need an ice bath!  All he has to do is come to the east coast and jump in a lake.  One of my worst calls of the year was my poor Aldridge ranking, but if you can’t get it right, join em!  Or something like that… Traded for him in REL and in another league.  I don’t know why owners were pulling a Kurt Russell and trying to Escape From L.A., but enjoy your huge stats and the first-round value you’re accruing.  Here’s what else I saw last night in NBA news and action:

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JB really made me proud a few days ago. I guess it’s become kind of a ritual for us now. I know laser tag in an arena is fun and all but we needed real world experience. We decided the best place to hone our skills was to play at our local mall… at high noon. Of course we dress up in our best urban camouflage, for me it’s a simple business suit, that way I can stealthily weave in between what I’ve come to call the ‘zombie horde’. I never know what to expect from JB. He got me a few times with his police uniform but it hasn’t worked well recently so he adjusts. On this day he wore his most villainous of camouflage, the stripper schoolgirl, we have the mall security footage to prove it. But that’s neither here nor there, we were celebrating a match well played at the Candy World when two kids started rap battling in between the Pop Rocks and the Laffy Taffy. I thought they both played the role better than Jamie Kennedy, they’re accents were especially spot on. The hilarity of the situation wasn’t lost on anyone except of course, the two kids.

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Man… It just hasn’t been the best few years for Kris Humphries…  The divorce.  The loss of a starting job.  Traded as a dump to Boston.  But he’s actually been a pretty decent fantasy player lately, including getting a surprise starting nod last night, fairly under-the-radar.  Unfortunately, none-a-dat-matters when watching last night’s game!  Man, talk about lucking out with the games I got this week, as I had Yahoo highlights for the Celtics at Clippers, and the now-infamous “Welcome to my Poster” dunk.  Just dirty from Blake Griffin.  If you didn’t see where I cut the highlight, right after Ralph Lawler says “over, and over, and over…” it cuts back to Humphries who gives the easiest to lip read F bomb you could imagine.  Hilarious!  I lost my cookies all over the office.  I shoulda put “And-one” on the highlight too, but my face melted.  Getting back to fantasy, Blake can have his own poster this year, producing at a great rate and a great pick even for the unknowledgable NBA fan in your league who reached for him for the highlights.  As I mentioned a month or so back, Griffin has been really good this year capped off with a 29/6/8/2/0/highlight of the year line last night.  He showed us why fantasy hoops is underrated in the fantasy community.  It beats football by actually requiring skill and not small-sample luck, and gives us the best highlights to shove it in the face of baseball.  “Oh look, I had Ryan Howard on my team and he actually hit a homer, look at this moon shot!”  “Pssshhhh, I had Blake in today and look at him murder Kris Humphries!”  (full disclaimer I love fantasy baseball).  Enjoy the ride if you nabbed Blake.  Here’s what else happened last night in the NBA:

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I’ve got a great idea for a horror movie.  This giant dude with a disheveled afro walks into various fast-food franchises and just stomps on everyone and gives them sub-90 sanitation grades.  We’ll call it, “Andrew Bynum: Franchise Killer!”  Dum, domp, dumb!  Aka, the sounds Bynum makes when he talks.  Oh man, Cleveland hasn’t been this happy since the Cavs beat LeBron and the Heat a couple years ago in Cleveland.  And all this does for Bynum is get him moved to another team so he can be waived for a salary dump.  I wish I dumped salary!  No not celery!  Anyway, the Bulls shipped off Luol Deng in their own celery dump (too many Chicago dogs) to Cleveland, while receiving some draft picks in full rebuild mode.  Hey, if they don’t make the playoffs then no one has to berate Derrick Rose about his knee!  What was Rose thinking saying he might try to come back… I’ve never been a big Deng fan, perils of being in tar heel country, and moving to a team with a lot of shooters (Kyrie Irving) and ball hogs (Kyrie Irving), I think Deng’s fantasy value takes a hit.  Sure Deng still played well with a healthy Rose, but it’s just not a situation where I see Deng being as solid a fantasy guy with C.J. Miles and Dion Waiters also shoot first guys on the wing.  And you can kiss the 7 boards a game goodbye with Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao pullin’ em down.  I wouldn’t panic and give Deng away, but that’s just my take.  Here’s what else I saw from last night in fantasy basketball:

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A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…  Is that too cliché?  Yeah it is, but there’s a point.  You knew where it came from as soon as you read it.  You can hear the soundtrack playing in your head.  Well, now that I said it you can hear it.  There’s even a chance you might remember the first time you saw it.  That’s what drafting LeBron James feels like.  It’s a smell in the air, a taste in the back of your throat that tells you there’s something familiar here.  The nurturing feeling of resting against LeBron’s bosom.  Ahh…  Hold me LeBron.  That’s not what this series is going to be about.  This here is akin to trying to remember the first time you saw Spaceballs.  Sure it’s a classic, but we both know you weren’t in the right state of mind to remember the first time you watched any Mel Brooks movie.  Am I right or am I right?  I can hear your silence loud and clear.

Let’s all now jump into our Delorean, Phone Booth, Hot Tub or whatever your time machine of choice is and travel back to last October.  There was something with very large fantasy implications happening in Houston.  It was not the trade for James Harden.  I’m talking about the position battle at SF between Carlos Delfino and Chandler Parsons.  If you would have chosen wisely then you would have gotten the closest thing I can imagine to the fantasy holy grail.  A top 50 player at the low low cost of a free agent pick up, even in the deepest of leagues.  This will be my gift to you.  No, not this overpriced knockoff but the next best thing.

Please, blog, may I have some more?