When the Los Angeles Lakers picked Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick the 2017 NBA Draft, they thought they had found their point guard of the future.
They were so sure of Ball’s talents, that they sent incumbent point guard D’Angelo Russell to the Nets. Ever since, Russell has proved that they put their faith in the wrong guy.
Russell has been great for the Nets this year, proving he can be the leader of a playoff team.
Meanwhile, Ball has been an endless source of drama and has proven to be injury-prone in his first two years in the league.
If Magic Johnson got the chance to do it again, maybe Russell would have become LeBron James’ new sidekick that could have led them back to the playoffs.
Al Horford Expected to Leave the Boston Celtics in Free Agency
For a long time, it looked like Al Horford would be staying in Boston for years to come.
While he has a $30.1 million player option for the 2019-2020 season, reports were that Horford would be declining that option so that he could come to terms with the Celtics on a new long-term contract.
Now it turns out that Horford may be on his way out of Boston altogether, as the two sides remain too far apart in contract negotiations.
Horford initially signed with the Celtics in 2016 and spent three seasons with the franchise. While Horford has not put up the statistics of your typical max player, he was still extremely effective and his impact goes beyond the box score.
This past season, Horford’s 7.5 win shares were ranked second on the Celtics behind only Kyrie Irving (9.1), per Basketball Reference.
With the rumors surrounded Irving’s departure as well, Boston could be without their two best players from last season.
Horford should have no problem finding one last significant contract on the open market, as he could fit nicely either as a mentor on a rebuilding team or a complimentary star on a contending one.
For the Celtics, their offseason goals have changed drastically over the last couple of weeks. At one point, Boston envisioned a Celtic team that would feature Horford, Irving and maybe even Anthony Davis.
Then last week, the Los Angeles Lakers ended up being the team to acquire Davis. And now it looks like their incumbent stars are on their way out as well.
Now the Celtics may be sticking with a youth movement, as they expand the roles of current promising players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Boston will still have a talented roster and they are not bereft of assets to improve it.
Still, for Celtics fans that had 2020 penciled in as the year that they were going to be at the top of the league, this must be a disappointing development.
Anthony Davis Traded to the Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers finally got their guy. After months of speculation, front office turnover and drama, Anthony Davis is a Laker.
Despite the Pelicans reluctance to trade Davis to L.A., the Lakers ultimately had the best package to offer and got the deal done.
The Lakers did give up a lot in the deal, as they traded three future first-round picks, former No. 2 overall picks Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, along with a quality shooter in Josh Hart.
While the price was steep, the result is that the Lakers are already the favorites to win the championship next year.
One of the biggest parts of this deal for the Lakers was that they were able to hang on to Kyle Kuzma.
Kuzma was the most promising player of the Lakers young core, as he averaged 18.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists last season. Kuzma, Davis and LeBron now form maybe the best front court trio in the NBA.
Now the Lakers will try to build out their roster around those three players, with Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving being their top free agent targets.
One of the biggest hurdles in adding one of those free agent point guards is that the Lakers won’t have enough cap room to sign them to a max-deal if the Davis trade is completed before July 30th.
If the Pelicans agree to wait until the 30th, then the Lakers would have the cap room to sign another max player.
Whether they add a third All-Star or not, the Lakers now have LeBron and AD to build around, which immediately puts them in championship-contention.
Toronto Raptors Win Game 6 to Deliver Canada’s First NBA Championship
For the first time in franchise history, the Toronto Raptors are NBA champions.
The Raptors survived a gutty performance by the Golden State Warriors in Game 6, as the defending champions did not let go off their title without a fight.
The real turning point that ended the Warriors reign was when Klay Thompson left the game with an injury.
Thompson was incredible throughout the night, as he scored at will to keep his team alive in another elimination game.
Unfortunately, Thompson suffered a torn ACL that ended his incredible performance and really any chance the Warriors had at winning their third-straight championship.
Still, Thompson proved his incredible toughness when he delivered maybe the most iconic moment of the game, as he returned to the court to make his free throws.
Without Thompson, the Warriors did all they could to try stay in the game and even had a chance to win it on one final possession.
Golden State got Curry a relatively open look for a three that would have given them the lead, but he could not knock it down.
For the Raptors it took a team effort in Game 6, as it did the whole series, for them to get the win.
Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard and Fred VanVleet all scored at least 20 points, to win their third-straight game on the road in the Finals.
Lowry played especially well, getting the Raptors started by scoring their first 11 points, on his way to a historic double-double.
While Lowry was great throughout, it was no surprise who won the NBA Finals MVP, as that honor went to Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard averaged 30.5 points and 9.1 rebound in the playoffs, as he made his own case for being the best player in the world right now.
One of the craziest aspects of Kawhi’s dominance is the two teams that he beat to win his Finals MVP’s.
First he beat the Miami Heat in 2014, effectively ending their Big Three Era. And while injuries played as big as a role as Kawhi did, he has now put an end to the Warriors dynasty as well.
Masai Ujiri made a big gamble when he traded for Leonard, with no insurances that he would be in Toronto past this season.
Well, it looks like that gamble paid off for an entire country of Raptors fans.
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