The Dog Days of August Thread - now with 100% more team previews

What is your favourite part of the off-season?

  • The Draft

    Votes: 2 16.7%
  • Free Agency

    Votes: 2 16.7%
  • Not having to watch my team suck

    Votes: 1 8.3%
  • New Uniforms (/peternorth)

    Votes: 1 8.3%
  • Spending time with my significant other (inc. Tinder dates)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Laughing at the Knicks

    Votes: 3 25.0%
  • Watching the *stars* flock to play international tournaments

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Robust discussion on Bigfooty

    Votes: 3 25.0%

  • Total voters
    12

Son of Skeletor

Brownlow Medallist
May 23, 2012
12,319
11,078
Smoothie King Central
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Tottenham Hotspur, New Orleans Pels
1570084213959.png




2018/19 Record: 33-49 (14th in West)

2018/19 Stats: Off Rating 106.1 (27th), Def Rating 108.8 (9th)


Grit 'n' Signed: Tyus Jones (3/26), Andre Igoudala (Dubs), Jae Crowder (Jazz), Grayson Allen (Jazz), Josh Jackson (Suns), De'Anthony Melton (Suns)

Tennessee-ya: Mike Conley (Jazz), Delon Wright (Mavs), Avery Bradley (Lakers), Justin Holiday (Pacers), Chandler Parsons (Hawks), C.J. Miles (Wiz)

Drafted: Ja Morant (#2), Brandon Clarke (#21), Marko Guduric (n/a)


Guards: Morant, Jones, Allen, Melton

Wings: Crowder, Igoudala, Anderson, Jo Jackson, Brooks, Guduric

Bigs: Ja Jackson, Valanciunas, Clarke


Team Salary 2019/20: $128 million ($4 million below luxury line)

Est. Salary 2020/21: $58 million ($60 million cap space)



Grizzlies Mailbag


1570086017306.png


The Griz are squatting on valuable property. Technically these are black bears, but Martin Luther King helped us see that all bears are equal.


Yeah, hi.

Do you think you could send a message through to Memphis for me? I'm having trouble getting them to answer the phone at the moment.

Anyway, ask them: what flight is Iggy on? Ta.

Rob P Linka, Los Angeles

Jeez Rob, sounds like the Griz are really starting to grind your gears.

After making a belated start to their rebuilding phase after ten golden years of grit, Memphis has really gotten into the swing of tearing down the foundations and starting anew. Gasol? Gone. Conley? Adios. Parsons? We hardly knew ye.

In their place stand a lot of fresh young faces, plus a ramshackle collection of veterans and hideous contracts traded in for further draft collateral. And while the Griz may as well kick the tyres on the likes of Josh Jackson*, Grayson Allen and De'Anthony Melton, it's hard to imagine that valuable vets like Andre Igoudala and Jae Crowder will be content to stick around and play babysitter. There are plenty of playoff calibre playoff teams who would like a 3 & D wing.

* The Griz having Josh Jackson and Jaren Jackson Jr on the same roster is almost as vexing as when you tell people that you like that Joe Jackson song 'Stepping Out', and they say: "Oh yeah - which member of the Jackson Five was he again?"

Unfortunately for some teams, some of them dressing in purple and gold, the Griz have no real incentive to simply buy out the remaining year of Igoudala (in particular) or Crowder's contracts. These guys will be in demand, and even though the final price may not be that high - perhaps a second round pick or two - assets are still assets, and rebuilding small market teams are seldom in a position to turn down said assets.

Now, if you happen to be a playoff team who is several future first and several future second round picks in the red already - not naming names - then the prospect of a mini-auction is not something that you would savour. Time for a game of patience, set to the tone of the LeBron body clock.


1570088468005.png


Politics makes strange bedfellows.


Now hear this,

I decree that Rob P Linka has no case. It is only just and right that the one they call Igoudala play for the Grizzlies this year, as per contract.

I have spoken.

D. Ainge, Massachusetts

Well then, I guess that settles it.

Given that 'When is Iggy going to be allowed to join <insert your favourite LA team here > to try and win another ring?' is going to be the biggest - no wait, make that the ONLY - Memphis story this year in mainstream sports media, we may as well prepare ourselves for the faux-ethical debate.

Do the Griz 'owe' it to Iggy to buy out his contract, having scored a future first from the Dubs to take on his salary in the first place? Maybe, as holding him 'hostage' may seem to some as an abuse of team power, but then again it's not as if players have been powerless in the league as of late.

Memphis on the other hand might very well say that they're more than happy to let Iggy join a contender - for a price. Given that any team Igoudala joined would essentially be getting a valuable piece at a minimum salary, perhaps the Griz are well within their right to demand some compensation for footing the bill, so to speak.

However Iggy's departure from Tennessee is not so much a matter of 'if' as of 'when' - and this is where it gets interesting. If the Griz decide on a game of brinkmanship and hold onto Igoudala until the February trade deadline, then does he play in the interim? The team has already allowed him to skip the opening of training camp given the situation - will he demand to be put on ice until a solution can be found?

Now, factor into this that Boston owns Memphis' first round pick in the 2020 Draft, unless it falls in the top six selections - if they want to keep their pick this year, then the Grizzlies will want to finish with one of the four worst records in the league in order to safeguard that pick. In which case, both team and player might be happy to let him cool his heels for half a season, so that neither health nor 2020 draft pick is endangered.

As such, we may be left with rather a farcical impasse this season with healthy vets sitting out parts or all of 50 games because it is in neither the team's, nor the player's interest that he pull on a Memphis jersey. Meanwhile Boston watches on, nervously...


1570091181519.png


Memphis has a cunning plan.


Silence, fools!

It has come to my attention that the Grizzlies may have designs on keeping their first round pick this year... and also that this possibility seems to fill the writer of this pitiful preview with some glee.

What your inferior brain fails to grasp is that the Celtics have a fail-safe Plan B - we simply get Memphis's 2021 first round pick, unprotected! Oh Billy King, the pathetic Grizzlies have surpassed thee!

Danny A, Boston

Oh wow, I haven't heard gloating like that since Boston stole Kyrie Irving from the Cavs and won a championship because of it... oh, wait.

Nevertheless, it is true that the rebuilding Grizzlies have a problem - their pick is headed to Boston, if not this year, then next. So, what to do?

Having just scored Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke in the 2019 Draft, it could well be that Memphis decides that the rebuild is over, and they may as well try to make the playoffs given their tenuous hold on this year's draft pick.

The other option is that the Griz tank this year in the hope of keeping their 2020 pick - at a guess, they would have to out-tank up to two of New York, Charlotte, Cleveland, Washington and Atlanta - and focus on making the playoffs in 2021.

As to how they would go about making the latter happen, having up to $60 million in cap space available at the end of the season is a good start. Memphis typically hasn't been the sexiest free agent destination, but then again they'd be competing against a small field in this particular off-season.

And while the 2020 free agent crop is not an earth-shattering one, there are pieces out there that would make sense for the Griz. Presumably the team eventually plans to build around the core of Morant, Jackson and Clarke, leaving the wing positions as the most urgent to address.

The Kings and Nuggets are two teams who have shooting guards out of contract in June - for instance if the Kings decide to pay Buddy Hield, would that leave the door open for Memphis to give Bogdan Bogdanovic an offer too good to refuse? Ditto re. Denver and Malik Beasley.

Meanwhile Jaylen Brown and the Celtics still haven't come to terms on a deal yet, while the likes of Otto Porter could also be on the market. If the Grizzlies' young core show out this season, suddenly they might seem rather more attractive to a young free agent in search of a payday. Spending your way out of a tricky situation might not be the most sophisticated plan of all time, but it is a plan nonetheless.

So let us hope that those feeling confident in their Memphis future blue-chip stock do not end up merely feeling the blues instead.




The Griz are a fixer-upper.


Hello darkness my old friend,

Years ago I wrote a song about poor boys, pilgrims and the broken-hearted being received in Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee. Looking at the list of Grizzly 'ins' for this season, I'm starting to think that I was on to something.

Paul (you can call me Al though) Simon, New York

Thanks for your contribution, Al. Once again you've proven that we here at Bigfooty are all about the poetry, and not crass, tawdry in-jokes.

Memphis's roster is indeed a bit of mish-mash at present. On one hand you have your young cornerstones - Morant, Jackson, possibly Clarke or even Dillon Brooks - and on the other the grizzled (had to be done) vets who were brought in more to provide future draft picks rather than future leadership.

There is also the 'salvage' scrapheap - Bruno Cabocio, Josh Jackson, Allen, Melton - and then there also exists a strange collection of players who may or may not have a part to play in Memphis's future, namely: Jonas Valanciunas, Tyus Jones and Kyle Anderson. This is a strange trio indeed.

All three are in their mid-20's and under contract through 2022. And while Anderson was signed with last season's 'final Grit n Grind hurrah' in mind, the freshly inked deals for Valanciunas and Jones are intriguing indeed.

Jones is a capable back up point guard who should be able to spell Morant as he learns on the job - it's fair to say that a back-up point guard probably wouldn't be top of most rebuilding teams' priorities, but I guess it doesn't really hurt too much at $8 million a year or so. Delon Wright probably would have done the job here too, but nabbing Jones plus two future second round picks isn't terrible logic.

Valanciunas meanwhile is the most curious case of all. Given the Grizzlies have invested heavily into Jaren Jackson and Brandon Clarke as their (presumed) front court of the future, how does the Lithuanian fit here exactly? Also while Valanciunas racked up monster per-minute numbers, including with the Griz, he has never really seemed like a huge difference maker on-court. Is he a safe 'tank captain' who will soak up minutes and shots without affecting the win/loss ratio too drastically? Does he start or come off the bench? Will Memphis trade him down the road, and will he even have a market? It's really hard to tell.

More broadly, it'll be interesting to see whether the kids - including those cast-offs from other teams - get most of the minutes in a development season for the Grizzlies - or whether the veterans, young and old, are sprinkled in among them. Again, the draft pick thing. Also given the Grizzlies currently have 15 players under contract - and that doesn't include Cabocio, whom they would presumably like to bring back - then the roster obviously needs some surgery yet.

Good news for Igoudala and for bargain hunters alike, then - come to Memphis, where the roster is bloated and weird, and spare parts are cheap.
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

Son of Skeletor

Brownlow Medallist
May 23, 2012
12,319
11,078
Smoothie King Central
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Tottenham Hotspur, New Orleans Pels
1570338383693.png




2018/19 Record: 49-33 (4th in East), lost 4-1 to Bucks in semi-finals

2018/19 Stats: Off Rating 112.2 (10th), Def Rating 107.8 (7th)


In the Green: Kemba Walker (4/141), Enes Kanter (2/10)

Lepre-gone: Kyrie Irving (Nets), Al Horford (Sixers), Marcus Morris (Knicks), Terry Rozier (Hornets), Aron Baynes (Suns)

Drafted: Romeo Langford (#14), Grant Williams (#22), Carson Edwards (#33), Tremont Waters (#51), Vincent Poirier (n/a)


Guards: Walker, Smart, Wanamaker, Edwards

Wings: Tatum, Hayward, Brown, Langford, Ojeleye

Bigs: Kanter, Theis, G. Williams, R. Williams, Poirier


Team Salary 2019/20: $117 million ($8 million over cap)

Est. Salary 2020/21: $123 million ($5 million over cap)



Celtics Mailbag





Boston has a fine tradition of professional sports commentary.


Aw, come ooooon! Wait a minute here.

Weeelllllll, a lot of people think that the Celtics are perpetually hard done by with the refs, and now we have proof: the good guys finished 30th in the NBA in free throw rate last season. I don't like that. I mean, give me a break, THAT IS BOGUS! It's stupid!

You've got to be kidding me that all the Celtic stars and that handsome young Brad Stevens aren't treated better. It's ridiculous, I'm sorry. I'm getting aggravated just thinking about it. The only thing worse is when people write fake letters using my name, thinking that it's funny - that is a terrible call. A TERRIBLE CALL!

Tommy H, Boston

Thanks for your input, Tommy. Although next time you write in, feel free to be expressive and have strong opinions - no need to be diplomatic all your life.

As for reasons why the Celtics failed to get to the free throw line last season, most reasonable people would assume it had a lot to do with personnel and system. Brad Stevens is famous for running a system which preaches patience in finding the open shot - usually a jump shot.

Then you look at the players themselves - 31% of Jayson Tatum's shots came from mid range last season, 27% of Gordon Hayward's too. Boston's nominal power forward last season, Marcus Morris, shot 71% of his shots from 10 feet and beyond, while big man Al Horford attempted more than half his shots outside the paint. Most of Marcus Smart's shots were threes, while Terry Rozier did what Terry Rozier does, namely shoot ill-advised pull up jumpers.

It wasn't all bad - the C's ranked 10th for offensive efficiency, 9th for three point rate and 7th for three point accuracy. The spacing and shooting was evidently there, Boston just didn't prioritise slashing to the basket so much.

This season the roster is new, but there's little reason to think the Stevens system will change much. The Celtics will miss Horford's floor stretching and playmaking ability, but they'll still play 'four out' basketball... they'll have to, given the dearth of quality bigs on the roster. Maybe Boston will shoot a few more freebies this season, and maybe they won't... either way, I'm sure we'll hear a lot about it from a familiar, honking voice.


1570269503231.png


If a dynasty crashes and burns, but no-one remembers it winning a championship, did it ever exist?


Hello,

Once I went back in time and met my mum - only problem was that she was my age and she developed the hots for me. Long story short; I had to perform minor miracles to make sure things ended as they were originally supposed to.

So, what do think of the the 2019/20 Celtics?

M. McFly, Hill Valley

Great Scott! What an excellent question.

Somewhere between the 2016 team full of youthful hope and gritty underdogs and the 2018/19 winter of discontent, the Celtics lost their way.

It's all very well winning trades and basking in the excitement of star recruits, but Boston ended up going from a team of overachievers to one that was decidedly less than the sum of its parts. And while some pitfalls can be attributed merely to fate - see Hayward's injury - there was no denying that what hampered the men in green most last season was their own surly attitudes and a basic lack of chemistry.

Suddenly Brad Stevens was having his supercoach credentials questioned, Kyrie became a flat peg in a round hole, the youngsters stalled, while the only thing scary about Terry Rozier was his awful shot selection. It was time to blow it up and go back to the authentic historical path... well, sort of.

Kemba Hudley Walker (who doesn't own the best name on this team - that award goes to Yante Khalliq Daiyann Maten) will take over the playmaking and leadership roles from Kyrie and Horford respectively as the C's latest big-name star, but the 2019 Celtics otherwise are a return to the not so distant past.

For better or worse, this will basically be Tatum, Brown, Smart and co's team now. Not only have the abrasive voices - Irving, Rozier, Morris - disappeared, but so have their monopoly on ball control and shot attempts. Boston will live and die by their young core from here on in, Walker excepted of course. Everything will go back to the way it was, while no-one will mention last year ever again under penalty of torture.

In the meantime, Danny Ainge will get back to doing what he loves: hoarding draft picks and young players. Welcome to the Celtics Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, Carson Edwards, Tremont Waters and Vincent Poirier - and if you think that's a lot, consider that Boston may have six picks in the 2020 Draft.

It's quite possible that if Danny had access to a time machine, he'd go back and make trades for even more draft picks.


1570274016311.png


Your 2019/20 Boston Celtics.


G'day mate,

Did you know that when the Bulls and the Sonics met in the 1996 Finals, the media called it a doughnut derby - a meeting between two talented teams with gaping holes in the middle. Harsh, that.

Anyway, how are the Celtics going to cover the loss of their star big man, Aron Baynes?

L. Longley, Western Australia

A controversial observation there... I suspect Boston may miss Al Horford even more than they miss Baynes, but the question still remains.

How will the Celtics fill the hole left at centre this season? Horford was not only a defensive fulcrum, but a floor spacer and secondary facilitator in Stevens' system. He was also Boston's most senior and respected veteran, making his loss a substantial one.

The fact of the matter is that the Celtics will have four options at centre this season, none of them perfect. Enes Kanter has been brought aboard to provide scoring and board work, while French mystery man Vincent Poirier is reputed to have an old-school big man game. In addition Daniel Theis gave the C's serviceable minutes as an undersized '5' last season, while the occasionally wayward young shot blocker Robert Williams waits in the wings.

Unfortunately Kanter gives the Celtics decent offensive production but no D, while Williams gives the team rim protection but no offence. Theis gives you a little from column A and a little from column B without being outstanding at either, while Poirer has no exposed NBA form. So, what to do?

Boston's conundrum in how to split the minutes at centre is further complicated by the fact that they're also extremely light on at the '4' position - the guy that played the majority of minutes there last season, Morris, has also since departed. This means the likes of Hayward and Semi Ojeleye will be expected to soak up many of the minutes here, with some possible assistance from draftee Grant Williams, who incidentally has a bit of his namesake 'Hot Plate' Williams about him.

Obviously then the Celtics are going to play small and space the floor, which makes their choice in the middle difficult. Kanter has the most pedigree, but his lack of defence fits poorly with the rest of the starters. The problem is that the undersized Theis also functions best as a reserve, not as a starter. Boston may well consider throwing the talented but erratic Williams to the wolves as his skillset could complement the starting group best - he tanked the offence whenever he played in limited minutes last season, but Stevens and co. may hope to make a Gobert or Capela of him yet. No easy answers here though.

As for Baynes, let's hope he fares a little better than the last antipodean to cross to the Valley of the Sun... *cough*


1570328107596.png


Avert your eyes, for Jaylen Brown's next contract could look scary.


Hi, big time sports guy here.

What do you think Jaylen Brown's next contract should look like? $100 million? $150 million? I predict that he'll sign with the Celtics for $40 million out of loyalty, even though he's really worth about $200 million. I tipped Boston for 67 wins last season, so as you can see I'm usually pretty spot on.

B. Simmons, c/o ESPN HBO

Well shucks, any time you can debate the value of Celtic player with a Boston fan, you gotta do it, right?

The raw honest truth of the matter is that, after three years, we still don't really know who or what Jaylen Brown is. Is he 2018 playoffs Jaylen, or he is the Jaylen Brown who appeared lost for the better part of last season? Is he a versatile offensive weapon, or strictly a shooter in the 3 & D mould? And on the topic of defence, will that athletic potential ever be converted into genuine defensive excellence?

None of this can be answered conclusively either way yet, which makes 2019/20 a very important season for Brown and the Celtics (Tatum is basically in the same boat too). The first point of interest will be to see if Ainge and co jump in early with an extension offer in the hope that Brown takes the bird in the hand and eventually outplays his contract a la Steph Curry or Mike Conley. It's unlikely, but that will be the hope.

On the other hand if Brown's party is demanding major dollars already, Boston may be best served to wait until after the season when Brown enters restricted free agency. Unfortunately for the Celtics there are a few teams who could use a wing - the Raptors, Hawks and Grizzlies for starters - who happen to have plenty of spare cash to throw around come June. The inherit danger in letting rebuilding teams with little to lose set the market in free agency can be an expensive one - see Crabbe, Allen - and this will not be lost on Danny Ainge.

Jamal Murray just got $170 million from the Nuggets, Caris LaVert meanwhile signed for a total of $52 million in Brooklyn. Where Brown rates compared to these two, and how much a sensible contract extension for any of them should look like is very much in the eye of the beholder. On exposed form I'd be queasy offering anything north of $100 million for Brown, but all shall be revealed in good time.

In the meantime, Dee Brown still remains the greatest Brown to ever wear the #7 jersey in Boston, amen.
 
Last edited:

Son of Skeletor

Brownlow Medallist
May 23, 2012
12,319
11,078
Smoothie King Central
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Tottenham Hotspur, New Orleans Pels
shit, wrong thread, oh well.
It's always the right thread to talk about the Pels ;)

And to answer your question, I think NAW is set as our 6th man/second unit catalyst already.

Which is not to say that he cannot supplant Lonzo, but our bench group needs his creativity if pre-season is any guide. Still remains to be seen if our starting group maintains adequate spacing.
 

Son of Skeletor

Brownlow Medallist
May 23, 2012
12,319
11,078
Smoothie King Central
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Tottenham Hotspur, New Orleans Pels
1570685916032.png




2018/19 Record: 33-49 (13th in West)

2018/19 Stats: Off Rating 111.4 (13th), Def Rating 112.6 (23rd)


New Haul-ins: J.J. Redick (2/26), Nicolo Melli (2/8), Derrick Favors (Jazz), Lonzo Ball (Lakers), Brandon Ingram (Lakers), Josh Hart (Lakers)

Bye-You: Anthony Davis (Lakers), Julius Randle (Knicks), Elfrid Payton (Knicks), Solomon Hill (Griz), Stanley Johnson (Raptors), Cheick Diallo (Suns)

Drafted: Zion Williamson (#1), Jaxson Hayes (#8), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (#17), Didi Silva (#35)


Guards: Holiday, Ball, Alexander-Walker, Jackson

Wings: Williamson, Ingram, Redick, Hart, Moore

Bigs: Favors, Melli, Okafor, Hayes


Team Salary 2019/20: $117 million ($8 million over cap)

Est. Salary 2020/21: $87 million ($31 million cap space)



Pelicans Mailbag




Some Holidays are terribly overrated, if not downright annoying. Others are vastly underrated.


My sweet Lord,

How is it that Jrue Holiday was not an All-star last year? Like many other low key team players, it seems he doesn't get enough credit for his obvious talent. It's enough to make this old guitarist gently weep, particularly when I remember the excellent list of dubious All-stars I recently read on Bigfooty. Ahem.

However I believe that all things must pass, and this will be the year that Jrue finally gets the recognition he deserves. Here comes the sun, Holiday.

G. Harrison, Liverpool

Well thanks for writing in, appreciate the homage.

As for how Jrue Holiday was not an All-Star last season, it beats me. How a man can average 21/5/8, be one of the top one-on-one defenders on the planet and still be sitting home on All-star weekend seems to defy logic, but here we are. ESPN couldn't fit Holiday in their list of top 30 NBA players either, so there's a good chance all Pels fans may join your guitar in its gentle weeping.

Of course the fact that New Orleans won 33 games last year doesn't help, but then again they say a picture speaks a thousand words:

Jrueth.png



Basically the Pelicans have been 50-55 win team with Jrue on the court of late, and at the level of the Suns when he isn't. That's equal parts impressive and deeply terrifying.

Overshadowed by flashier stars and dragged down by the rest of the group, perhaps it's time for Jrue Holiday to embark on a solo career.


1570693562314.png


Valuable real estate.


Bonjour mon ami,

In 1803 I sold le grande state of Louisiana to Monsieur Thomas Jefferson and les Americans for $15 million - and this was when Louisiana stretched all the way up to Canada. I needed the money, so why not sell some swamp land, eh?

Now that New Orleans is the city of Zion, I think I made un petite mistake, oui?

N. Bonaparte, France

Sacre' bleu! You sold half the United States for roughly what Solomon Hill makes in a year? That's almost worse than the time New Orleans traded Baron Davis for Speedy Claxton. Come to think of it, you don't happen to work in the Pels' front office, do you?

Nevertheless we here at Bigfooty refuse to dwell on the painful past. Indeed, just six months ago the Pelicans were at their lowest ebb, stuck in the messiest of divorces with their former sweetheart. When you beloved leaves you for a Hollywood bimbo (although I really shouldn't talk about Magic Johnson like that, but anyway) then it's hard not to feel like the league's ugly step-child.

However an amazing thing subsequently happened: a series of providential lightning strikes has seen the New Orleans basketball scene be reborn.

The first step in that sequence revolved around New Orleans re-discovering their pride; specifically the Pels got petty. The Lakers were (initially) spurned, Anthony Davis was booed and ostracised and the fans rallied around Jrue Holiday and a bunch of misfits.

Next the team hired former Cleveland GM David Griffin to oversee what seemed likely to be a long-term rebuild. Not only has Griffin since overseen the eventual Davis trade, but he has also injected a sense of purpose and belief into a formerly doubt-ridden franchise.

Finally of course the lottery gods smiled on the Pelicans and Zion Williamson fell into the team's lap like manna from heaven. Affable and available, the Duke leftie has electrified the fan base and thrown the long-term rebuild timeline out the window.

Suddenly the Pels are not only swimming in young talent - aside from the trifecta of ex-Lakers, the team also drafted Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker in the first round - but they're also making other quality additions. Derrick Favors and JJ Redick have come aboard to add a veteran's touch to what feels like a never-ending Mardi Gras, while highly rated Trajan Langdon was poached for the front office and Aaron Nelson and his medical Midas touch lured across from the Suns. Good news and good moves are not something that have been traditionally associated with the Pelicans, so these are strange days.

Sometimes perception matters almost as much as reality. Right now the New Orleans Pelicans feel good about themselves, and that in itself may help lift the franchise out the doldrums quicker than any one player, no matter how sublimely talented, could.

Of course reaching the promised land is always a little easier by way of Zion. And if you feel sad for having let something valuable slip through your fingers in search of a quick buck, Mr. Bonaparte, there's a guy called George Shinn who probably shares your pain.


1570698507642.png


Proper spacing is important.


Dear Sir/Madam

As you know your government have done much to boost Victoria's population in recent years, thus strengthening the local economy. Unfortunately we forgot to plan housing arrangements, so now the suburbs stretch hundreds of kilometres. This might have been OK too, except we forgot to build any new roads.

Anyway, enough about oversights and terminal claustrophobic congestion. How do you think the new-look Pels will fare this season? Regards,

Your Friendly State Government

Always nice to hear from the top end of town. Of course with our horribly congested roads and appalling national internet speeds a message from the top end of town can take days to reach the poor plebs in the outer suburbs, but still. Much like your approach to urban planning, it's the thought that counts.

On a completely unrelated topic, the Pelicans might find proper balance hard to come by when it comes to the offensive capability of their starting line-up this season.

Zion Williamson might have other-worldly talent, but one thing he does not possess at this point in time is an other-worldly jump shot, Presumably he will be paired up front with Derrick Favors, who only became available from the Jazz because he couldn't partner a non-shooting big up front.

Add to this mix a couple of newly acquired Lakers with suspect outside shots in Ball and Ingram, and that leaves Jrue Holiday as the starting line-up's designated shooter. And for all that Jrue has done well of late in New Orleans, hitting his three pointers has not been top of that list.

Of course the team added shooting this off-season - JJ Redick is the ultimate floor-spacer, while Italian big Nicolo Melli has joined the team armed with a European staple: the jump shot. Alexander-Walker has shown already in pre-season that he can definitely shoot, while E'Twaun Moore is still around.

The problem is that none of Redick, NAW or Moore are likely to supplant Holiday in the starting line up, and ditto for Melli re Zion or Favors. Moreover none of the shooters are of adequate size as to replace Ingram as the starting '3' either, meaning the only way that the Pels can feasibly introduce more shooting to their starting group is to shift Jrue back to PG, or alternatively up to small forward. In all likelihood Holiday will spend time at all three positions, but given his recent body of work as the starting shooting guard, Alvin Gentry will be extremely reluctant to rob Peter to pay Paul. The team's nominal starting group has the potential to be nasty defensively, but offence could be a real problem unless enough outside shots are made.

Like the average peak hour train commute nowadays, it seems the Pels will have to fight hard for every last inch of space on offence this season.


1570701955566.png


It's tough to get to know someone when you know they may have very little time left.


G'day mate,

Every day I get customers saying that they regret buying the bananas from my store, cos they only last coupla days. I tell them that is doesn't madda, cos if the bananas go brown then they can turn them into a banana bread instead.

Do you think the Pelicans will keep Brandon Ingram? Stay bewdiful.

Con The Fruiterer, Melbourne

Good lord, these NBA fan letters are becoming more opaque by the minute. I bet Mike Sheahan never had to deal with this.

Three years into his pro career, we still don't really know what Brandon Ingram is - is he the next Alex English, or the next Andrew Wiggins? About the only thing we do know is that he somehow developed DVT last season, despite being skinnier than the annual pile of winnings in the BigBetty thread.

This is a problem for New Orleans, because a) Ingram was a major part of the return for Anthony Davis, and b) he's also out of contract in 12 months time.

Under normal circumstances the Pels would at least get one season to let Ingram show his stuff as part of a rebuilding team. However one of the unfortunate byproducts of the Zion lottery fluke is that the timelines have suddenly changed, for everybody. Instead of being a definite building block, Ingram is now just one of a number of young faces on a deep team with a lot of scoring options. To make matters even more complicated, Ingram may be asked to start alongside players who not only will absorb possessions and shots, but also may not mesh with his own game completely.

If - and it's a big if - the Pels decide that Ingram is not a perfect fit beside Zion, Lonzo and Jrue in the long term, they have very little time in which to flip him for other assets before he hits restricted free agency. If your bananas turn brown before you had a chance to eat them, then it's at least some consolation to turn them into a banana bread instead.

Nawlins need to make sure that at the very least they get some banana bread out of Ingram, before his contract - or his DVT - hit a permanent expiry date.


Hey homie,

D'you happen to know if that Zion Williamson needs representation? Just asking for a friend.

Wealthy Paul, Los Angeles

Um, yeah. About that...

To quote Captain Blackadder, and possibly Shane Mead: "I hope your mother dies in a freak yachting accident".
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

Son of Skeletor

Brownlow Medallist
May 23, 2012
12,319
11,078
Smoothie King Central
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Tottenham Hotspur, New Orleans Pels
1570960702753.png





2018/19 Record: 42-40 (6th in East), lost 4-1 to Sixers in first round

2018/19 Stats: Off Rating 109.6 (19th), Def Rating 109.7 (14th)


Net Income: Kevin Durant (4/164), Kyrie Irving (4/136), DeAndre Jordan (4/40), Garrett Temple (2/10), David Nwaba (2/min), Taurean Prince (Hawks)

Net Losses: D'Angelo Russell (Dubs), DeMarre Carroll (Spurs), Ed Davis (Jazz), Shabazz Napier (Wolves), Jared Dudley (Lakers), Allen Crabbe (Hawks)

Drafted: Nicolas Claxton (#31), Jaylen Hands (#56)


Guards: Irving, Dinwiddie, LaVert, Temple

Wings: Durant, Harris, Prince, Nwaba, Chandler

Bigs: Allen, Jordan, Kurucs, Claxton


Team Salary 2019/20: $127 million ($5 million below luxury line)

Est. Salary 2020/21: $127 million ($9 million over cap)



Nets Mailbag


1570956906772.png


The Brooklyn Nets are all about building bridges.


Open letter to all Bigfooty NBA fans,

By now you will have heard that owners from all over the NBA have reacted extremely negatively to a tweet put out by Daryl Morey in support of protesters separatists in Hong Kong. When owners of teams valued at billions of dollars are furious over an issue, the league and anyone connected to it will have to lick boot pay attention. The problem with expressing a free opinion is that there are certain rights which the proud community of multi-billion dollar investors will never negotiate over - namely the right to print money on the back of their investment, no matter what the collateral damage. Fans, the media and those spoiled protesters in Hong Kong need to stop being ill-informed and make the effort to understand the cultural psyche and viewpoint of multi-national billionaires.

'Uncle' Joe Tsai, Brooklyn

Gosh, you make vomit-inducing thought-provoking points there, Uncle Joe.

I guess it's a good thing that a foreign national has the freedom to pay $3.5 billion and own a U.S. sports team outright. Especially when said foreign national bought this hypothetical team from a Russian owner in the first place. To have things otherwise would be a tad xenophobic, right?

And I suppose it's perfectly fair that an owner can move a team from New Jersey to Brooklyn and compete for the New York market with the Knicks. I mean a place the size of New York ought to be able to handle a little differentiation between Nets fans and Knicks fans, without ruining the fabric of society, right?

And hey, I think we're all supportive of the concept of free agency, whereby players the ilk of say, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, have the freedom and autonomy to make their own life choices. Sometimes they may even choose to join your $3.5 billion team in a major metropolis, right?

Hell, it's probably also a good thing that an NBA owner has the freedom to express his personal opinion on the matter, no matter how mis-representative the 'facts' presented might be, or how condescending you might appear to a mere, "ill-informed" little NBA GM. Everyone has the right to an opinion, it's just that some opinions misunderstand reality and are mis-informed, right?

As a proud Brooklyn-ite, you keep right on building them bridges, Joe. Just don't expect us to buy any of them.


1570941559783.png


Sometimes it's important to give a little effort.


Oh hi,

Don't really have anything to say, just wanted to mail something in.

Yours,

DeAndre J, Brooklyn

Oh, um... thanks I guess. Did someone make you sign the letter and post it before you changed your mind, or was it more of a verbal agreement thing?

While we're on the subject of indecision and mailing things in, we should talk about the Nets' new starting centre, DeAndre Jordan. At least we think he will be the starting centre... but should he be?

The man they call 'DeAndre 3000' - possibly because that's how many times he changed his mind about joining Brooklyn before he actually signed his contract, we don't know - hasn't had the best couple of years in all honesty.

His numbers don't look that different - DAJ could post 12 & 15 in his sleep - but his stock has quietly plummeted during the last couple of years. After a lacklustre 10th and final season in LA, Jordan joined the Mavs for the second time in 2018 and wore out his welcome quicker than you can say "interior designer". Jordan eventually ended the season in Manhattan, where his god-awful efforts finally served a purpose in helping the Knicks tank their way to the worst record in the league.

Having taken the short ride over the Brooklyn Bridge (and a cool $40 million for his troubles), Jordan no longer has the excuse of being on a rebuilding (Clippers), incomplete (Mavericks) or just plain awful (lol Knicks) team; it's time to start getting back to the things that got him a job in the league in the first place, namely defence and energy. It's hard to imagine Kevin Durant being content with half-arsed play, or Kyrie Irving suppressing the urge to lambast yet another teammate in public. Over to you, DeAndre.

In case that doesn't work out, the Nets have a nice insurance policy in Jarrett Allen. Problem is that Brooklyn actually performed better when Ed Davis was their centre last season, not Allen. And while Allen is young and has skills that should ensure he enjoys a long career, the Nets effectively traded $10 million worth of Ed Davis for $40 million worth of DeAndre Jordan.

That's a bold strategy Cotton; let's see if it pays off for them.


1570945413959.png


Ever get the feeling that you've seen this ridiculous movie before, just slightly repackaged?


Yo,

I noticed that Kyrie Irving has recently quit on his team and joined an up and comer instead, replacing a beloved point guard in the process.

Do you think Hollywood just recycles its movie scripts nowadays?

I. Thomas, Boston Cleveland Los Angeles Denver Washington

Oh, don't be such a doubting Thomas. As sure as the Earth is round, Hollywood will continue to invest heavily in quality, thought-provoking, original, non-derivative movie-making art. Rumours that Hollywood producers have just offered me millions of dollars to write another paint-by-numbers Marvel movie script based on these sublime basketball previews are completely unfounded, and will be refuted by my lawyer as soon as I get to California and hire one.

In the meantime, let's talk about Kyrie Irving and the Nets. Yes, that'll do.

The parallels between Kyrie leaving the Cavs to join the Celtics, and then ditching the Celts to say hello to Brooklyn are spooky. Not only did/will the flat-earther displace a much-loved, underdog point guard in both locales, but he has also twice joined young, over-achieving teams that have been well-coached and caught the imagination of the respective fan-bases with plucky playoff appearances.

Now to be sure, it's not like both Boston (Horford, Hayward) and Brooklyn (Durant, Jordan) haven't deliberately upped the ante and splashed the cash in a bid to rise from over-achieving playoff team to bona-fide championship contenders. We can't say that Kyrie halts purely organic growth wherever he lands.

However, it's also fair to say that Kyrie's track record with championship contending teams is not good. It's one thing to be a ball-dominant iso-scorer, but to be a loose cannon in the dressing room on top of that means that Irving's reputation now precedes him. It's hard to imagine Kyrie will have a problem with Durant, Jordan, Temple and co. because from all reports he was personally responsible for recruiting his very own dream team. Then again it was hard to imagine that Kyrie could blow promising situations in Cleveland and Boston, so live and learn.

It's difficult to be scathing of Sean Marks and the Nets, considering the job they've done in rebuilding the franchise from the ashes. It's also hard to critical of Brooklyn cashing in their chips for a shot to win in all with two of the top stars in the league. History doesn't remember 42 win teams much.

However there's a chance that down the line, Nets fans might think about the likes of D'Angelo Russell and wonder about love lost... kinda like a cheesy Hollywood movie.


1570957954128.png


This may or may not have happened - it's tough to tell what's real and what isn't in Brooklyn.


Hello U Fraud,

I want 2 register my disgust at ur mailbag section. It seems 2 me that ur pretending 2 B people that ur not and putting words in their mouth, just 4 ur own personal gain.

Only bum ass bitches would do something sneaky and dishonest like that.

QuireSultan, via Instagram

Oh my. You've really hurt my feelings now. If you're not careful I'll make a bogus Twitter profile just to clap back at you - that'll teach you.

On a completely unrelated topic, how about that Kevin Durant, eh? First he leaves the OKC because they're holding him back, then he leaves the Dubs because they're too good for him to ever get the credit he deserves. Who would have thought that leaving the team you made for one you didn't would lead to less universal accolades? Crazy.

Fortunately Durant has found the perfect solution - join a third team in collusion with another disaffected star who left his first team because he wasn't getting enough personal accolades, only to join another team and complain that his new teammates weren't good enough to help him win a championship.

Makes perfect sense.

As for the question as to whether Durant will play at all this season... we don't know. Asking the Nets would be more pointless than a multi millionaire sports star using phony social media accounts to argue with common fans.

Making the assumption that Durant cannot play much this season, what are we to expect of the Nets then? There is still a decent amount of firepower on the roster in the form of Irving, LaVert and Dinwiddie, plenty of extra shooting in the persons of Harris, Prince and Kurucs, some size up front with Jordan and Allen, some young talent to develop in Musa and Claxton and some D on the wings with Temple and Nwaba. It's hardly a bare cupboard.

On the other hand, is it enough to contend in 2019/20? Probably not, which means the Nets will have to punt the year in some respects, while Kenny Atkinson tries to blend old faces and new and keep Planet Kyrie within the Earth's orbit. It's not ideal, but this was the chance the Nets took in order for a shot at a championship.

And if they manage it? Well there's a chance that many social media users will quietly drop all mentions of the Knicks and declare themselves longtime Nets fans. Ah, the joys of duplicity and double faced-ness in the digital age.
 

Santoz

Stables Jigger Expert
Mar 10, 2006
23,547
9,007
Weir Stables
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Arsenal, New York Knicks
View attachment 763936




2018/19 Record: 42-40 (6th in East), lost 4-1 to Sixers in first round

2018/19 Stats: Off Rating 109.6 (19th), Def Rating 109.7 (14th)


Net Income: Kevin Durant (4/164), Kyrie Irving (4/136), DeAndre Jordan (4/40), Garrett Temple (2/10), David Nwaba (2/min), Taurean Prince (Hawks)

Net Losses: D'Angelo Russell (Dubs), DeMarre Carroll (Spurs), Ed Davis (Jazz), Shabazz Napier (Wolves), Jared Dudley (Lakers), Allen Crabbe (Hawks)

Drafted: Nicolas Claxton (#31), Jaylen Hands (#56)


Guards: Irving, Dinwiddie, LaVert, Temple

Wings: Durant, Harris, Prince, Nwaba, Chandler

Bigs: Allen, Jordan, Kurucs, Claxton


Team Salary 2019/20: $127 million ($5 million below luxury line)

Est. Salary 2020/21: $127 million ($9 million over cap)



Nets Mailbag


View attachment 763890

The Brooklyn Nets are all about building bridges.





Gosh, you make vomit-inducing thought-provoking points there, Uncle Joe.

I guess it's a good thing that a foreign national has the freedom to pay $3.5 billion and own a U.S. sports team outright. Especially when said foreign national bought this hypothetical team from a Russian owner in the first place. To have things otherwise would be a tad xenophobic, right?

And I suppose it's perfectly fair that an owner can move a team from New Jersey to Brooklyn and compete for the New York market with the Knicks. I mean a place the size of New York ought to be able to handle a little differentiation between Nets fans and Knicks fans, without ruining the fabric of society, right?

And hey, I think we're all supportive of the concept of free agency, whereby players the ilk of say, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, have the freedom and autonomy to make their own life choices. Sometimes they may even choose to join your $3.5 billion team in a major metropolis, right?

Hell, it's probably also a good thing that an NBA owner has the freedom to express his personal opinion on the matter, no matter how mis-representative the 'facts' presented might be, or how condescending you might appear to a mere, "ill-informed" little NBA GM. Everyone has the right to an opinion, it's just that some opinions misunderstand reality and are mis-informed, right?

As a proud Brooklyn-ite, you keep right on building them bridges, Joe. Just don't expect us to buy any of them.


View attachment 763754

Sometimes it's important to give a little effort.





Oh, um... thanks I guess. Did someone make you sign the letter and post it before you changed your mind, or was it more of a verbal agreement thing?

While we're on the subject of indecision and mailing things in, we should talk about the Nets' new starting centre, DeAndre Jordan. At least we think he will be the starting centre... but should he be?

The man they call 'DeAndre 3000' - possibly because that's how many times he changed his mind about joining Brooklyn before he actually signed his contract, we don't know - hasn't had the best couple of years in all honesty.

His numbers don't look that different - DAJ could post 12 & 15 in his sleep - but his stock has quietly plummeted during the last couple of years. After a lacklustre 10th and final season in LA, Jordan joined the Mavs for the second time in 2018 and wore out his welcome quicker than you can say "interior designer". Jordan eventually ended the season in Manhattan, where his god-awful efforts finally served a purpose in helping the Knicks tank their way to the worst record in the league.

Having taken the short ride over the Brooklyn Bridge (and a cool $40 million for his troubles), Jordan no longer has the excuse of being on a rebuilding (Clippers), incomplete (Mavericks) or just plain awful (lol Knicks) team; it's time to start getting back to the things that got him a job in the league in the first place, namely defence and energy. It's hard to imagine Kevin Durant being content with half-arsed play, or Kyrie Irving suppressing the urge to lambast yet another teammate in public. Over to you, DeAndre.

In case that doesn't work out, the Nets have a nice insurance policy in Jarrett Allen. Problem is that Brooklyn actually performed better when Ed Davis was their centre last season, not Allen. And while Allen is young and has skills that should ensure he enjoys a long career, the Nets effectively traded $10 million worth of Ed Davis for $40 million worth of DeAndre Jordan.

That's a bold strategy Cotton; let's see if it pays off for them.


View attachment 763798

Ever get the feeling that you've seen this ridiculous movie before, just slightly repackaged?





Oh, don't be such a doubting Thomas. As sure as the Earth is round, Hollywood will continue to invest heavily in quality, thought-provoking, original, non-derivative movie-making art. Rumours that Hollywood producers have just offered me millions of dollars to write another paint-by-numbers Marvel movie script based on these sublime basketball previews are completely unfounded, and will be refuted by my lawyer as soon as I get to California and hire one.

In the meantime, let's talk about Kyrie Irving and the Nets. Yes, that'll do.

The parallels between Kyrie leaving the Cavs to join the Celtics, and then ditching the Celts to say hello to Brooklyn are spooky. Not only did/will the flat-earther displace a much-loved, underdog point guard in both locales, but he has also twice joined young, over-achieving teams that have been well-coached and caught the imagination of the respective fan-bases with plucky playoff appearances.

Now to be sure, it's not like both Boston (Horford, Hayward) and Brooklyn (Durant, Jordan) haven't deliberately upped the ante and splashed the cash in a bid to rise from over-achieving playoff team to bona-fide championship contenders. We can't say that Kyrie halts purely organic growth wherever he lands.

However, it's also fair to say that Kyrie's track record with championship contending teams is not good. It's one thing to be a ball-dominant iso-scorer, but to be a loose cannon in the dressing room on top of that means that Irving's reputation now precedes him. It's hard to imagine Kyrie will have a problem with Durant, Jordan, Temple and co. because from all reports he was personally responsible for recruiting his very own dream team. Then again it was hard to imagine that Kyrie could blow promising situations in Cleveland and Boston, so live and learn.

It's difficult to be scathing of Sean Marks and the Nets, considering the job they've done in rebuilding the franchise from the ashes. It's also hard to critical of Brooklyn cashing in their chips for a shot to win in all with two of the top stars in the league. History doesn't remember 42 win teams much.

However there's a chance that down the line, Nets fans might think about the likes of D'Angelo Russell and wonder about love lost... kinda like a cheesy Hollywood movie.


View attachment 763905

This may or may not have happened - it's tough to tell what's real and what isn't in Brooklyn.





Oh my. You've really hurt my feelings now. If you're not careful I'll make a bogus Twitter profile just to clap back at you - that'll teach you.

On a completely unrelated topic, how about that Kevin Durant, eh? First he leaves the OKC because they're holding him back, then he leaves the Dubs because they're too good for him to ever get the credit he deserves. Who would have thought that leaving the team you made for one you didn't would lead to less universal accolades? Crazy.

Fortunately Durant has found the perfect solution - join a third team in collusion with another disaffected star who left his first team because he wasn't getting enough personal accolades, only to join another team and complain that his new teammates weren't good enough to help him win a championship.

Makes perfect sense.

As for the question as to whether Durant will play at all this season... we don't know. Asking the Nets would be more pointless than a multi millionaire sports star using phony social media accounts to argue with common fans.

Making the assumption that Durant cannot play much this season, what are we to expect of the Nets then? There is still a decent amount of firepower on the roster in the form of Irving, LaVert and Dinwiddie, plenty of extra shooting in the persons of Harris, Prince and Kurucs, some size up front with Jordan and Allen, some young talent to develop in Musa and Claxton and some D on the wings with Temple and Nwaba. It's hardly a bare cupboard.

On the other hand, is it enough to contend in 2019/20? Probably not, which means the Nets will have to punt the year in some respects, while Kenny Atkinson tries to blend old faces and new and keep Planet Kyrie within the Earth's orbit. It's not ideal, but this was the chance the Nets took in order for a shot at a championship.

And if they manage it? Well there's a chance that many social media users will quietly drop all mentions of the Knicks and declare themselves longtime Nets fans. Ah, the joys of duplicity and double faced-ness in the digital age.
Pretty sure you forgot I Thomas played for Sactown & Suns first, but outstanding again nevertheless :thumbsu: :thumbsu:
 

Son of Skeletor

Brownlow Medallist
May 23, 2012
12,319
11,078
Smoothie King Central
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Tottenham Hotspur, New Orleans Pels
Pretty sure you forgot I Thomas played for Sactown & Suns first, but outstanding again nevertheless :thumbsu: :thumbsu:
He certainly did, that list was more just a play on this particular moment.

That Cavs/Celtics trade becomes more astounding by the year - I mean the guy hit 50 in that series against the Wiz and has been crocked ever since.

Pretty staggering negligence all around.
 

Son of Skeletor

Brownlow Medallist
May 23, 2012
12,319
11,078
Smoothie King Central
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Tottenham Hotspur, New Orleans Pels
1571203807026.png






2018/19 Record: 49-33 (6th in West), lost 4-1 to Blazers in first round

2018/19 Stats: Off Rating 110.3 (17th), Def Rating 107.0 (4th)


Okla-home-a: Chris Paul (Rockets), Danilo Gallinari (Clippers), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Clippers), Mike Muscala (1/min)

Thunder-struck: Russell Westbrook (Rockets), Paul George (Clippers), Jerami Grant (Nuggets), Markieff Morris (Pistons), Patrick Patterson (Clippers)

Drafted: Darius Bazley (#23)


Guards: Paul, Gilgeous-Alexander, Schroeder

Wings: Gallinari, Ferguson, Roberson, Bazley, Nader, Diallo

Bigs: Adams, Noel, Muscala


Team Salary 2019/20: $136 million ($4 million over luxury line)

Est. Salary 2020/21: $98 million ($20 million cap space)



Thunder Mailbag


1571128028088.png


Some choice draught selections yesterday.


Now hear this,

I declare Sam Presti to be the second greatest GM in the NBA. It takes talent to accumulate so many draft picks in one off-season.

D. Ainge, Massachusetts

Hmmm, technically that's a statement, not a question... but since there are few Thunder fans left to write in nowadays, I'm going to allow it.

One extra first round pick in 2020. Another in 2021. Yet another in 2022. Make it another in 2023. Just the two extra firsts in 2024. And finally another two in 2026. Throw in some potential pick swaps, and that's one hell of a war chest that Sam Presti is working on.

What's even more mind-boggling is that the Thunder may not be done yet. It's not unfeasible that Steven Adams and Danilo Gallinari may net OKC yet more future assets, if a full tear-down, demolition rebuild is what they desire.

However while Oklahoma undoubtedly extracted their pound of flesh from the Clippers in particular in landing a king's ransom of picks for Paul George, it remains to be seen how the value of those picks play out. The Thunder will be waiting on Denver, Miami, LA and Houston at various points between now and 2026... and while it's tempting to say that at least one of those teams may be lottery bound a few years from now, none of those teams have Isiah Thomas or Billy King steering the ship either. A case could be made that OKC should trade at least some of those picks soon, while their value remains speculative.

Finally, it's worth reflecting that those draft picks are the sum total of return on the 2007-2009 Sonics/Thunder golden age of drafting. As harsh as it may sound, the Thunder have zero championships and zero remaining stars (with all respect to Paul, Gallinari, Adams and SGA) to show for what felt like a sure-fire dynasty in the making. Credit to Presti for reading the writing on the wall and trading George and Westbrook while he could still get a decent return, but it's hard to see the first decade of Oklahoma basketball as anything other than a huge missed opportunity.


Hi,

Would Sam Presti be possibly interested in trading some of those draft picks to me?

Danny A., Boston

Oh for Pete's sake. Ask him yourself, Danny.



1571135974263.png


At what point does a big gun become a dead weight?


Selam,

Did you know that when the Ottomans set out to besiege Vienna in 1529, most of their large cannons and assorted artillery got bogged down in the Balkan mud en route and had to be left behind?

Also, I hear Chris Paul has been traded to the Thunder for this season.

Suleiman M, Istanbul

Never let it be said that we don't inform and educate here at Bigfooty.

It's easy to feel a little sorry for CP3, until you remember that he's due another $124 million before 2022. Discarded in the bog by the Rockets and an ever-escalating Western Conference arms race, the point god is left contemplating a mortal's fate in basketball purgatory. Nothing against Oklahoma, incidentally.

On a contract that's near impossible to trade, it's tough to find feasible landing points for Paul in the near future... Detroit? Orlando? Minny? It's slim pickings.

It's probably more likely than not that CP3 spends at least one season in Oklahoma then, which doesn't really do either he or the team much good, but that's just what happens sometimes with fat contracts and rebuilding teams. In which case, it would hardly shock to see the vet sit out a good 20-30 games, to preserve further wear and tear and the OKC's draft positioning.

On this last point, it will be fascinating to see what the Thunder do with their vets this season - the trio of Paul, Gallinari and Adams will make it hard for Oklahoma to land a truly juicy draft pick, despite an otherwise shallow roster. Fortunately for OKC Gallinari is on a very tradeable contract, while Adams is plausibly young enough to stick around for the rebuild alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Either way it's going to be a slightly surreal season for the Thunder's vets, as they watch their former teammates march into the distance in search of eternal glory. And for the record the Ottomans failed in their siege of Vienna in 1529, partially because they lacked the artillery they'd left behind.


1571204248121.png


Budget cuts have meant that Nerlens has had to improvise with wardrobe.


'Sup?

Just checking in on Nerlens Noel - how's he doing in Oklahoma?

Gotta go now, have a family to feed,

L. Sprewell, Wisconsin

Nice to see some interest in a forgotten man.

You'll be pleased to know that Nerlens is alive and well, and continuing with his bench role with the Thunder.

Unfortunately Noel had to sign another one year minimum deal with the team in July, meaning that he will have earned a grand total of $8 million in three years since he turned down a $70 million extension with the Mavericks. Perhaps this'll be the year he gets that $100 million contract, eh?

Rumours that Rich Paul has Noel's name written in miniature font right at the foot of his published list of clients are so far unfounded.


Gudday,

Has Steven Adams reached the point yet where he can be considered an honourary Aussie?

Regards,

R. Crowe & N. Finn, New Zealand

Good question, guys.

Adams is gaining quite a cult reputation around the league for his wild and wacky antics. However remaining on a rebuilding, small-market team might tilt the balance of his 'honourary Aussie' claim against him.

Luckily there are remedies for this. Unfortunately by the same token, choosing certain teams means Adams runs the risk of loathed on the Bigfooty boards, and we can't have that.

Also luckily, the chances of Danny Ainge ever trading a draft pick OUT are pretty remote. Still, these are scary times.





Can't shoot, but can still score.


*Snigger* Um yeah, hi

Who do you think the best player is left remaining on the smouldering rubble that is the Thunder franchise?

Signed,

The city of Seattle

Well, this one certainly gave me pause for thought.

My first reaction was 'Chris Paul, of course', but then I remembered that Father Time is undefeated and that even a point god becomes a point pleb eventually.

Next my eye hovered over The Rooster, Mr. Gallinari, who is coming off a career best season with the Clippers where he knocked down 20 a game on an absurd 63 TS%. But Gallo gets hurt a lot and may not be long for this team, so there are other possibilities to consider...

Steven Adams has become Mr. OKC now by virtue of Westbrook's departure, but while he is an excellent role player it might be slightly hyperbolic to declare him the Thunder's best player. Then there's Gilgeous-Alexander, who was impressive as a rookie racking up over 2,000 minutes on a playoff team in LA. Still, it feels a bit premature to anoint a 21 year old as the franchise's best player right now.

Caught in two minds, I decided what I really needed was an independent arbitrator on this particular question. Luckily such an outstanding character resides right here on the Bigfooty board. Over to you, my learned counsel... having looked at the options and considered the evidence, who is the Thunder's MVP?


Andre Roberton. That's a 'yes' from me.

There you have it folks - the highest authority in the land has spoken.
 

Son of Skeletor

Brownlow Medallist
May 23, 2012
12,319
11,078
Smoothie King Central
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Tottenham Hotspur, New Orleans Pels
1571543999860.png







2018/19 Record: 39-43 (9th in East)

2018/19 Stats: Off Rating 107.3 (26th), Def Rating 107.6 (6th)


Miami Meet: Jimmy Butler (4/141), Meyers Leonard (Blazers)

South Breach: Josh Richardson (Sixers), Hassan Whiteside (Blazers), Ryan Anderson (Rockets), Dwyane Wade (retired)

Drafted: Tyler Herro (#13), K.Z. Okpala (#32)


Guards: Dragic, Waiters, Herro, Nunn

Wings: Butler, Winslow, Jones, Okpala

Bigs: Adebayo, Olynyk, Johnson, Leonard


Team Salary 2019/20: $136 million ($4 million above luxury line)

Est. Salary 2020/21: $106 million ($12 million cap space)



Heat Mailbag



1571564318609.png


The Heat have a slight problem with numbers... and fashion.


Howdy,

We've noticed that the Heat's number of contracted players is quite low. If things keep going like this, we're worried that they may be unable to field a team.

Sincerely,

The Adelaide Crows

Thanks for your letter. It's always nice to see someone sensitive to the plight of a struggling team, as opposed to just mocking them mercilessly.

A little detective work has uncovered that Miami only have 12 players signed to guaranteed deals at this stage. Given that teams are allowed 15 contracted players (not including two way deals), and the season starts like next week... then this number seems kinda low.

However when you factor in that one of those twelve contracts belongs to James Johnson, recently isolated from the group due to crimes against hair conditioning issues, and another belongs to Look2Me4Guidance 's man Dion Waiters, who was today suspended by the team for conduct detrimental, then the Heat DO look decidedly short on numbers. You'd reckon a potential Dion/Jimmy Butler spat would be pretty short odds right about now, too.

Oh, and another one of those twelve contracts belongs to Udonis Haslem, who probably requires a colostomy bag to even make it on to the court these days.

Yikes.

So what gives? Well, avid preview reader The Collingwood Football Club also wrote in to point out that the Heat are having salary cap issues at present. Miami are currently well over the luxury tax limit, which hardly seems ideal for a team which won 39 games last year. The Heat are currently sitting on a bunch of mid-size contracts, while they're also paying Ryan Anderson more than $5 million per year not to play for them. And yes, somehow Miami was able to add max-contract free agent Jimmy Buckets this off-season, because NBA cap rules.

Subsequently it's fair to say that any signings the Heat make at this stage will be of the minimum salary type. It's pretty likely that a couple of partially guaranteed contracts currently on the roster, Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn, will therefore stick.


1571566488395.png


An anonymous nun, yesterday.


Good evening,

First tonight... did you say Kendrick Nunn? Who the hell is Kendrick Nunn?

That's all for now,

S. Sully, Sydney

Man, these mailbag replies are keeping up with events like lightening. Well the ones east of Adelaide, anyway.

As for your question, Kendrick Nunn is a 6'3 guard who went undrafted in 2018. After a brief soiree with the Dubs, Nunn pitched up in Miami where he reputedly did well in summer league.

Oh yeah, and he also did this the other day against Jim Harden and the Rockets.

True, his personal history includes some less spectacular efforts. However with Goran Dragic now 33 and soon to be a free agent, and Dion Waiters currently in the doghouse, Nunn subsequently looks a lock to be a full-time member of the Heat. At this rate he could get some decent playing time too.


1571568288255.png


Say Herro to Miami's newest friend.


Oh herro,

Every time my people build a giant wall, those goddamn Mongorians come and tear it down.

Do you think the NBA should consider building a giant wall to keep Miami away from the playoffs for a rittle while?

Mr. Lu Kim, South Park

Hmmm, what an intriguing suggestion. Incidentally, I wonder if China might build a giant metaphorical wall to keep the NBA out in the future?

It's true that the Heat have missed the playoffs only eight times in the last 28 seasons, and only once (2001-03) in consecutive seasons. Ever since the day Pat Riley walked in the door, Miami has never rebuilt so much as it has reloaded.

Just as it seemed that the Heat were about to go superstar-free with the retirement of stalwart D-Wade, Riley and co. go and pull a rabbit out of the hat and land Jimmy Butler. Considering that the cost to land him was effectively Josh Richardson (a former second round pick) and Hassan Whiteside (a formerly unattached and unwanted free agent), it just makes you shake your head really. If building a wall is good enough for Mexico, then perhaps it's good enough for Miami too.

On the other hand, the Heat have also dipped into the draft when the occasion calls... or when they haven't traded their pick in advance. Having grabbed Justice Winslow and Bam Adebayo with late lottery picks in recent seasons, Miami again stuck to the big-name college programs and took Tyler Herro out of Kentucky.

So far Herro is looking like a keeper, although the list of draftees who have bombed after doing well in summer league is a rather sizeable one. Nevertheless, with long term question marks over Dragic and Waiters, it's easy to see the backcourt as an area the Heat needed to address. Of course this all depends on which positions ostensible wings Butler and Winslow play too (both can play on ball), but Miami clearly needed an infusion of shooting anyway.

The combination of a 30 year old max contract star and some young players of varying degrees of ability may seem odd at first glance, but it makes some sense if you think about it. If - and that's a big if - your drafting record is solid, combining stars with rookie contract players on your roster is a good way to keep your salary cap in check. For now the Heat's cap is bloated, but Winslow is on a solid deal and Adebayo and Herro look like productive keepers.

Of course if the opportunity to add a second star to pair with Butler arose, then Pat Riley probably wouldn't be adverse...


1571571158140.png


How many years until free agency? Not one, not two, not three, but...


Um, hi

Is there any chance that global warming might wipe the city of Miami off the map before 2021? Any chance at all?

Yours in trepidation,

The city of Milwaukee

Jeez, now that I think about it Miami and the Mongolians really have a lot in common, don't they? City after city have had their defences battered down and their prized treasures carried off, leaving the poor victims with little recourse except to write angry letters in comic sans.

The likes of Milwaukee have every reason to be wary in 2021, when their resident superstars come out of contract. You can bet your bottom dollar that the Heat will be waiting to pounce the minute the clock strikes midnight, if not several weeks before. Of course three quarters of the league will have cap room to burn in 2021, but Miami has a history of getting these things done.

Unfortunately for the Heat, reputed Plan A has fallen by the wayside - Brad Beal signed a contract extension (of sorts) with the Wizards. The noise surrounding Beal-to-Miami has been loud all off-season, so this news shapes as a blow to Riley and co's plans.

On the other hand, a trade for Beal (he wasn't a free agent until 2021 anyway) never really made a lot of sense anyway. The Heat have spent numerous first round picks on the Dragic and Butler trades, while amazingly they've also traded away all of their second round picks through 2027.

Presumably any trade for Beal would have centred around at least two of Winslow, Adebayo and Herro, plus a couple of their innumerable mid-size contracts (eg Dion Waiters and Meyer Leonard) as trade ballast. This would have left Miami's roster extremely top-heavy, short on depth and with few avenues to add further talent until 2021. Given Beal will now have the chance to be a free agent in 2022 anyway, this may not turn out to be a bad thing for the Heat.

For now, Riley has two options to improve Miami's roster further. The first option would include combining expiring contracts (Dragic, Leonard) to trade for a disgruntled star. If things don't work out in Houston between Harden and Westbrook for example, the Heat have the option of swooping in and cashing their chips now.

On the other hand, Miami might well consider keeping their powder dry for the big free agent frenzy of 2021. This would fit better with the Winslow/Adebayo/Herro timeline, but would require keeping Butler in good humour in the meantime...

All in all, the Heat may have to weather cyclones of all kinds if their dream of another championship team is to come to fruition.
 

J Shuttlesworth

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 6, 2012
14,999
15,079
Victoria
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Other Teams
NFL: MIN NBA: CHA NCAA: MSU
Dion can’t get no love in South Beach J Shuttlesworth
Lucky for the league he didn't get traded for the wildly inferior talent in Beal.

Doubters be warned, you feel like he is one more slight away from going on a rampage and wrecking the league like Johnny Manziel ruined the NFL.
 

Son of Skeletor

Brownlow Medallist
May 23, 2012
12,319
11,078
Smoothie King Central
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Tottenham Hotspur, New Orleans Pels
1571731778179.png



2018/19 Record: 37-45 (10th in West)

2018/19 Stats: Off Rating 107.8 (24th), Def Rating 109.5 (12th)


La-la Landed: Anthony Davis (Pels), Danny Green (2/29), Avery Bradley (2/10), Quinn Cook (2/6), Jared Dudley (1/min), Dwight Howard (1/min)

Loss Angeles: Lonzo Ball (Pels), Brandon Ingram (Pels), Josh Hart (Pels), Reggie Bullock (Knicks), Tyson Chandler (Rockets), Lance Stephenson (Siberia)

Drafted: Talen Horton-Tucker (#46)


Guards: Rondo, Bradley, Caruso, Cook

Wings: James, Kuzma, Green, Caldwell-Pope, Dudley

Bigs: Davis, McGee, Howard


Team Salary 2019/20: $128 million ($4 million below luxury line)

Est. Salary 2020/21: $116 million ($2 million cap space)



Lakers Mailbag



1571734467482.png


Taylor Swift and some small balls, yesterday.


Hi there,

Did you know that small balls are associated with increased beauty in males as well as better parenting skills? Also I have noticed that my beloved often has smaller balls in the minutes after watching a Taylor Swift music video.

In any case, do you see the Lakers experimenting with small ball this season? Regards,

Mrs. North

Nice to have some scientific input around these ere parts. We Pelican fans used to occasionally have smaller balls after every Anthony Davis dunk, but then we eventually realised that our balls are just naturally smaller anyway. Must be our inherent good looks or something.

As to your question, yes I do foresee a lot of Laker small-ball this season, Anthony Davis' reticence and Frank "Smashmouth" Vogel be damned. Frankly when LeBron and The Brow are your two best players, you'd be silly NOT to just surround them with shooters a la Milwaukee with Giannis and let nature take its inevitable course. A James/Davis two man game surrounded by adequate shooting will be awfully difficult to stop.

However an even better case for the small-ball argument lies at the other end of the court. If the Lakers wind the clock back to 2014 and play LeBron at the '3' and Davis at the '4', then each will be left scurrying all over the perimeter, draining energy that needs to be conserved for the other end, and come May.

It's well documented that LeBron's best days as a defender are behind him - ideally from LA's standpoint they'd want to 'hide' him on the opposing 'stretch four', rather than have him chasing smaller perimeter players around. Similarly the Lakers would want Davis patrolling the paint at the defensive end, not standing out by the arc. It just makes too much sense.

However all this is going to require some compromises in Tinseltown. First, Davis is going to have to get over his infamous reluctance to play centre. Yes the Lakers have McGee and (probably) Dwight to mop up minutes anchoring the defence, but in an ideal world they will only see court time when one of LA's dynamic duo is resting or injured. Spacing and defence wise, a mega LeBron/Davis/<insert centre here> frontline just makes no sense. Now he has his move to Hollywood, it's time for Davis to man up and man the centre position which has his name all over it.

LeBron too might have to adjust his game when playing small-ball with Davis - not necessarily fewer touches, but less LeBron-dominated offensive schemes. Of course he will still run the pick and roll game, but it's also feasible that The King may also be used as a high post facilitator. The latter may help reduce wear and tear over the course of a season.

Finally Frank Vogel will have to leave behind his nostalgia for 90s basketball and learn the lessons of last season's schmozzle in Los Angeles. Without proper spacing, even LeBron can't lift a team to the playoffs in the stacked Western Conference. The Lakers don't have another year to waste in re-learning this.


Dear Laker Nation,

LeBron James and Anthony Davis are really good players. I think LeBron could average 25 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. If LeBron did this, he would average a triple double, which would be good for the Lakers. Anthony Davis could average three blocks too, which is a lot.

Go Lakers!

Magic Johnson, via Twitter

Um... thanks Magic, I guess. Glad to see you excited about the new season - we are too.



1571739175336.png


Hey Jason, did you hear that... *cough* someone tampered with Coach Vogel's brakes last night?


Dear Mailbag,

Last night I woke up sweating with a psychic pain between my shoulder blades. Any advice to help me through this?

Regards,

F. Vogel, Staples Center

Well Mr. Vogel, let Madam Mailbag put on her clairvoyant cloak and see what the spirits are signalling.

I see a man with a headband-shaped hairline and lots of Chinese yen in his back pocket... you would do well to befriend this man. If he begins talking about Thundercats though, take it as a bad omen.

I also see a very tall man with a dark 'V' on his forehead - I foresee a struggle with such a man. You shall wish to make him the centrepiece of your world, but he will be insistent that he merely wishes to power forward as is. You must be firm in this time of struggle. However the omens also tell me that you should not struggle too hard with this man, or else he may grind his teeth and miss the rest of the season with a chipped wisdom tooth.

The portents are also showing me a small man, a man who was once revered in green but now wanders the Earth in search of homogeneous heterosexuality and employment opportunities. I cannot say whether or not you will visit an amusement park with this man, but I can see a turnstile very clearly.

Next to this small man I see a much bigger man. This man also now wanders the Earth in search of employment and also candy, although he is much less picky about heterosexuality. I see a feline and a fish, but no signs of maturity. This man will want to post compulsively, so I foresee a future in the mail delivery service in his future.

Suddenly my head abounds with the sounds of birds in the morning - incessant tweeting. Be on your guard, for I predict trouble with a mysterious gentleman in the travelling amusement business - perhaps he has been part of a Magic show in his time? I have tried reading the tweet tea leaves, but frankly everything this man says is a pile of gobbledygook and will not be of much use to you.

Finally I have carefully studied the entrails of a dead buck - a male deer - and now have very clear visions of a man who spills drinks and sometimes his lover's blood. Your predecessor, a man called Byron, often spoke of a sharp pain in his rear end on account of this controversial figure.

Tread carefully this year, dear reader, because I fear this man seeks to eclipse you... as opposed to merely clipping you, which he saves for his ex-spouse.


1571742596750.png


Snakes, backstabbing snakes everywhere!


Dear Laker Nation,

The Lakers are going to be very good this season. Mainly thanks to the previous administration and not that snake, Rob Pelinka.

E. Johnson, via Twitter

Hmmm, your M.O. sounds very familiar... did you used to host a talk show or something?

Count me among the number fairly underwhelmed with the Lakers' path back to relevancy via the Cape. For the cachet the Lakers' name brings, and the sheer volume of high lottery picks the team has enjoyed of late, it really shouldn't have taken seven years - assuming things don't go awry this season - from Kobe's Achilles injury to steer the ship back on course.

Of course this is the NBA, and sometimes the ends justify the means - the Lakers have LeBron James and Anthony Davis now, and that should be that. However from the elongated Davis trade saga to the free agency heartbreak and the slightly underwhelming coaching search, it's hard to escape the feeling that the Lakers organisation is still not what it once was.

There was nothing particularly wrong with Los Angeles' fallback strategy when they struck out on free agency's big guns, however it was hardly a work of genius either. Danny Green was always likely feted to land with the Lakers if Kawhi and a fellow big name joined the Clippers, while the likes of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Javale McGee, Rajon Rondo were always liable to stick around. Meanwhile DeMarcus Cousins was available for a reason that has all too soon become apparent, while Avery Bradley is essentially a reclamation project at this stage after a couple of horror years.

In order to get to this stage the Lakers had to either buy out (Deng) or trade away prospects (D'Lo, vis-a-vis Mozgov) to clear up previous mistakes - something that needed to be done certainly, but hardly groundbreaking administration work either. You might say that the Lakers' single biggest attribute of late has been in picking talent late in the draft (Kuzma, Hart, Zubac). That aside, nothing they've done has particularly helped them land LeBron and Davis, other than geography and force of history.

It appears that Rob Pelinka has learned from previous mistakes and surrounded LeBron with shooting this year, rather than additional playmakers. It's a lesson that probably shouldn't have needed to be learned, but better late than never. He got the Davis deal done too, albeit it at a potentially high cost. Damning with faint praise is the phrase that comes to mind here.

All in all, the Lakers should finally be back in the postseason... but as to the question of whether The Lakers are back, much remains to be proven.


1571744688339.png


You can't make an omelette without breaking some Pelican eggs.


Greetings,

In 279 BCE, I won a costly victory over the Romans at Asculum. If I had my time again, I think I may have done things differently.

Do you think the Lakers will be happy with Anthony Davis?

King Pyrrhus, Epirus

Oh very funny. Stop making this preview sound like it was written by a jilted New Orleans fan, OK?

Having damned Rob Pelinka and co. with faint praise, I shall now offer this conciliatory thought: he, and the Lakers, were on a hiding to nothing over the Davis trade. Fail to get it done, and the franchise would be a laughing stock. Pay a fair price, and he would be castigated for caving too easily.

Despite the ostensible fact that the Lakers were only ever bidding against themselves, thanks to the machinations of Rich Paul, Pelinka and friends needed to get the trade made before free agency hit. Free agents the calibre of Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant weren't waiting, and LeBron James and his 34 year old legs certainly weren't waiting around either.

The fact of the matter is that the major players the Lakers gave up - Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram - have not yet demonstrated that they will have All-star level careers. Davis, on the other hand, is (ridiculously soft injuries aside) the safest bet on the planet. Not even teams with the cachet of the Lakers can afford to mess around when attempting to land a generational player like The Brow. Any time you can trade a bunch of 'maybes' for a sure thing, you do it.

The future first round picks sent to the Pels may hurt as lost trade collateral down the track, but for this iteration of the Lakers - the one with LeBron - free agency mattered more than future draft picks. The fact that the Lakers had to go to Contingency Plan B in free agency doesn't make their trade for Davis any worse - in can only be judged within the context of when it was made.

The good news for the Lakers is another free agent frenzy is just around the corner in 2021, when they'll be equally well placed to land another big fish. That may come too late for LeBron, but then again it might not. Regardless, it will be building around Davis that LA will have in mind from 2021, not LeBron.

As for the man with the unibrow himself, he has his desired market and playing buddies now. No more 'ifs' and 'buts' - it's time to make some serious playoff noise. Otherworldly PER and scoring efficiency stats don't mean a thang without a ring - over to you, Anthony.





I did it myyyyyyy way...


Dear Laker Nation,

Congratulations to Magic Johnson, who has retired as President of the LA Lakers. He has now retired from the Lakers four times - that's a lot!

Earvin J., via Twitter

Hmmm yes, kudos to Magic.

I would have thought leaving the team due to contracting HIV from extra marital affairs would be tough embarrassing exit to top, not to mention the failed coaching stint or that slightly awkward comeback career.

However Magic managed to outdo himself by publicly resigning at an impromptu press conference, before telling any of his players... or, you know, his actual employers. Magic is truly the GOAT at making spectacular exits.

Still, now the great man gets to go back to doing what he loves best... tweeting fairly obvious observations. Tweet on, Magic, tweet on.
 
Last edited:

Top Bottom