I said it yesterday and it’s even more true today – there’s been more action in the last week of the NBA offseason than the two months of the NBA postseason.
Here’s a quick recap:
D’Angelo Russell’s going to Brooklyn.
Timofey Mozgov’s going to Brooklyn.
Brook Lopez and a draft pick are coming to Los Angeles.
The Lakers are trying to work a deal for Paul George right now, instead of waiting for him to sign as a free agent after next season.
Jimmy Butler wants to stay in Chicago.
Dwyane Wade wants to stay in Chicago.
Dwight Howard’s going to Charlotte.
The Clippers are shopping DeAndre Jordan.
Phil Jackson is trying to burn the New York Knicks to the ground. Or get himself fired. Or both. Or maybe he’s really just that bad at his job.
And Kawhi cut off his braids.
Normally any one of those stories leads the show and dominates the show. How busy was yesterday? Pau Gasol declining his option with the Spurs with the expectation of re-signing to clear space for a max deal that could be used for Chris Paul didn’t even make a dent.
One other example: D Wade announced he’s picking up his $24 million dollar option to stay in Chicago and then took a break from posting pics of his trip to Florence and retweeting highlights from 11 years ago to bang out one of the saltiest tweets ever: ‘18.3 points a game in 29mins on 43% shooting at 35 years old. If I’m 25 with the same numbers I’m getting 150 million #Fading’ #petty
I’ve never seen someone so bitter about collecting 24 mill. Seriously, this should be a great day for Wade. He should be doling out smiles not dump trucks of salt. My man, if you’re explaining, you’re losing. Especially if you’re justifying. So just stop it. It’s a terrible look.
So let’s start with the Lakers move. D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov for Brook Lopez and the 27th pick in the draft. That’s a lot of movement for a deal that has absolutely nothing to do with the pieces involved. That deal is all about Lonzo Ball, Paul George, and potentially another free agent to be named later. Shipping the former number two pick two years after you drafted him is never ideal, but it’s clear from the moment the Nick Young video dropped that as talented as Russell is, it wasn’t going to work out in LA. and there’s no point in having both Russell and Ball, when you could use Russell as a way to get to something better.
Tip of the cap to Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka. It’s an aggressive move and it’s a smart move. Got rid of Mozgov’s contract, cleared up cap space for Paul George, cleared up backcourt space for Lonzo Ball, and brought in a 20 point per game center in Brook Lopez with one year left on his deal. Nice work. Very nice work. Now they just need to find a sucker to take Luol Deng off their books. And at the rate this week is going, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did it in the next few days. As for Mozgov, there’s no way to understate how crappy a deal that was that Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak gave him. A horrible contract for a guy who gave them almost nothing at all. That move alone should have gotten Buss and Kupchak fired. And probably did.
You know Laker fans are pumped about all of this, but I’m not sure anybody is more pumped than Lopez himself. Let’s not forget, in addition to being one of the best offensive big men in the game, the dude is a freak for all things Disney. He toured Shanghai Disney when it was under construction, he was building an offseason home at Disney World and now he’ll be spending the regular season down the road from Disneyland. He was a big fan of Star Tours as a kid and already has his dream job at Disney in mind – either working Pirates of the Caribbean or the Haunted Mansion. And one of his recent posts on Instagram was: ‘What’re people’s favorite pirate, ghost, and doll from Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and it’s a small world?!? I NEED TO KNOW!!! @disneyland #Important Questions #What Keeps Me Up At Night’
So not only did he just get traded from a crappy Nets team to a Lakers team with some buzz, but he’s that much closer to the most magical place on Earth. Win-freaking-win.
And now the Lakers are positioned to make a run at possibly Paul George and LeBron James. And ask me, the thought of LeBron, or what’s left of LeBron, in a Lakers gamer is pretty freaking rich. The only thing richer would be if the Clippers got him instead.
As for George, instead of waiting a year to sign him as a free agent, they reportedly are looking to deal of him right now, which is absolutely the right move. Given that they don’t give the Pacers what they want. And apparently, they want the number two pick overall. Eeeehhh! Nice try. That’s never going to happen. And the reason it’s never going to happen is that Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak are gone.
You want to give them the 27th and 28 pick and a player like Julius Randle or Jordan Clarkson, fine. But the second pick is untouchable; and they’re probably not going to get Brandon Ingram either.
As for now, Rob Pelinka and Erv are doing business and I like what I see. In fact, I LOVE IT.