All the upheaval at The Lakers organization has continued to boil over. With their unsuccessful end to the season, their multi-million dollar trades to acquire LeBron James only to end without a playoff bid, to the resignation of Magic Johnson at the helm as president of basketball operations, the organization has been under fire.
Most recently, GM Rob Pelinka has been in the ringer. Not only has his behavior been under scrutiny by Magic Johnson, as soon as last week, but he has also been accused of telling an outlandish story back in March 2018.
In a series that the Lakers produced called “Genius Talks,” Pelinka went into quite a lot of detail describing a dinner he orchestrated to get Kobe Bryant and late actor Heath Ledger in a room together. It was in an effort to bring some vigor back into the team as they worked to recover from a downward spiral.
Here’s the story Pelinka told,
“There was one time when Kobe, who I worked with for 18 years, was going back to play in Madison Square Garden, and he had just seen ‘The Dark Knight.’ Obviously, you guys saw that movie, and he’s like, ‘Hey, hook me up with dinner with Heath Ledger, because he got so locked into that role. I want to know how he mentally went there.’ So, he had dinner with Heath, and he talked about how he locks in for a role. And Kobe used some of that in his game against the Knicks.”
The biggest issue with this account is the timeline. Ledger did not live to see “The Dark Knight” release in theaters. He passed away six months before and a meeting between him and Bryant was never arranged, at least according to a source who spoke to ESPN about the said encounter.
This all has seemed to leave Pelinka unfazed. Perhaps he may release a statement about the story he told in the “Genius Talks” series. Yet in regards to Magic Johnson’s comments about him being a “backstabber,” Pelinka only responded saying he was saddened by Johnson’s remarks. If he decides to respond to the Heath Ledger and Kobe Bryant fabrication, it will be interesting to see if he takes any of the blame.
Isaiah Thomas to Miss Start of the Season After Having Thumb Surgery
Since his breakout season in 2016, it has been a revolving door of injuries for Isaiah Thomas.
Thomas left the Boston Celtics after a year where he garnered MVP attention in the 2016-17 season, when he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Kyrie Irving.
A hip injury plagued his tenure with the Cavaliers, leading him to be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in the middle of the season, prior to becoming a free agent the following year.
Thomas would then sign a one-year deal with the Denver Nuggets, as he tried to regain his value before heading to free agency again.
With the Nuggets, Thomas was kept off the court with injuries, before falling out of the rotation altogether by the time Denver was in the playoffs.
Now Thomas was set to get another chance to lead a backcourt, when the Washington Wizards signed him to play alongside Bradley Beal for the upcoming season.
Unfortunately Thomas cannot catch a break, as he had to undergo a thumb surgery today after getting injured in a pickup game with teammates.
Thomas will now miss the beginning of the season, as string of bad luck continues for the two-time All-Star.
Outside of DeMarcus Cousins, no one has had worse luck in the NBA when it comes to injuries then Thomas.
Hopefully he can make a fully recovery from the injury and return to have a productive season for the Wizards this year.
Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard Want to Play in 2020 Summer Olympics
The FIBA World Cup proved to be an embarrassing affair for Team USA, as the Americans were defeated for the first internationally in some time.
Team USA advanced to the quarterfinals in the tournament, before being upset and eliminated by France. From there, the Americans lost their next matchup to Serbia and ended up finishing seventh overall.
But the one thing that Team USA did accomplish in the FIBA World Cup is that by making it to the quarterfinals, they qualified to play in the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The biggest reason that Team USA struggled in the FIBA World Cup is that a majority of our best superstars chose to stay home and not play.
That likely won’t be the case for the Olympics though, as players are more motivated to compete in that event, on a stage that garners way more national attention.
The Team USA is already starting to look much deeper, as Stephen Curry has announced his interest in competing in the Olympics next summer.
Curry has never played in the Olympics, but would obviously give Team USA a great chance to take home a gold medal. Another player that has not appeared in the Olympics is Damian Lillard.
Lillard is another superstar guard that has announced his intentions to play in the upcoming Olympics, giving Team USA a great one-two scoring punch.
Lillard and Curry can make threes rain from any place on the court, giving Team USA a potent scoring backcourt like we have never seen in international play.
With all due respect to Kemba Walker and Donovan Mitchell, Lillard and Curry would represent a great upgrade to Team USA’s FIBA roster. Especially as they would push players like Walker and Mitchell to the bench.
Finishing seventh in the FIBA World Cup was disappointing for Team USA, but there is a great chance they rectify that in the upcoming 2020 Olympics.
Three-Time NBA Champion Shaun Livingston Announces His Retirement
Over the past five seasons, the Golden State Warriors have put together one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history, winning three championships and making five-straight appearances in the NBA Finals.
Now they are turning the page to a new era of Warriors basketball, still surrounded around their homegrown ‘Big Three’ of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green’.
But the role players from those great Warriors teams have moved on and for some, are calling it quits altogether. As Shaun Livingston just announced his retirement from the NBA.
In his farewell message, Livingston cites “the injury”, referring to a devastating knee injury that he suffered back in 2007.
The injury was so bad for Livingston, that it almost resulted in his leg being amputated it was so bad.
Livingston made a remarkable recovery from the injury and turned in a fantastic career. The last stages of his career came with the Golden State Warriors, were he proved to be an excellent backup point guard to Curry.
Without Livingston’s ability to make plays and play stout defense at 6-foot-7, the Warriors would not have been three-time champions.
Congrats to Livingston on a great career, which we never could have expected him to have back in 2007.
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