After days and days of waiting, we finally have a decision from free agent, Small Forward Kawhi Leonard. The Los Angeles Clippers. All I can say is thank god it wasn’t the Lakers! He’s also from LA so it makes sense he wanted to go back home, that was clear when he requested a trade from the San Antonio Spurs. Leonard signed a 4 year $142 million deal with the Clippers and also got All Star, Paul George to request a trade from Oklahoma and join him. George is also from LA so he’s pretty happy about the move as well.
The Clippers over the Lakers
Between LBJ, Magic, Pelinka, and all the “Lake show” drama, Kawhi wanted no part of that. He loves his privacy, he doesn’t want to be doing all the shows and movies like LeBron is. The Lakers also have Anthony Davis. Leonard is too talented to be 3rd fiddle on a team. Kawhi has also been wanting to play with Paul George for some time so he had to do his own recruiting before announcing his free agency decision.
Championship team coming?
Can Leonard and George lead this team to its first Finals? After what The Klaw did in Toronto, I absolutely believe so. Kawhi did what LeBron was supposed to do in his first year with the Lakers – win the chip. Leonard is an absolute monster of a two-way player, he has the ability to lead any team to the Finals. He is a lock-down defender and amazing on offense.
The future of The Klaw in LA
Los Angeles gives Kawhi Leonard the opportunity to grow his New Balance brand and nail some killer endorsements. He also can be a legend of his own with the Clippers. The team, since 1970 has 0 retired numbers, 0 conference titles, 0 championship and only 2 division titles. He can bring success to this team and be the first Clipper to have his number retired. Best of luck to Kawhi!
Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball Operations, former All Star and Champion Point Guard, Magic Johnson decided to step down from the job. He cited that he “wasn’t having fun, and missed being the bigger brother” to the organization. It’s assumed that the entire coaching staff will be fired, after they failed to make the playoffs, for the 6th consecutive season.
Known for being a successful franchise, and winning 16 titles, right under the Boston Celtics having 17 titles.
They managed to sign the best NBA player right now, but still missed the playoffs. Regardless of injuries, LeBron did more with less last year with the Cavaliers. I’ll give LeBron a little leeway because of his injury, because before he was injured they were sitting at the 4th seed in a very competitive West. I honestly believe signing LeBron was a bad move, on both sides. Now LeBron is in the middle of a disaster season, and the team around him is crumbling.
Distractions, Distractions, Distractions…
Anthony Davis is one of them. The Lakers tried too hard to acquire him in a trade. LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, leaked the trade information so that made things awkward in the locker room. Lavar Ball managed to stay semi quiet during the year, but still managed to insult the coach, Luke Walton.
Even Magic Johnson got sick of the “backstabbing”. When the President of the team is sick of it, something’s gone wrong, and the public just isn’t aware of it yet.
LeBron James is focusing too much on being “Hollywood”. I get it, that’s why he came to LA, it wasn’t a basketball move. But for one of the greatest franchises, it should’ve been. Lakers are all about winning championships, not just games. James is focusing on movies, shows, simply soaking up that California Love.
This team can be in the playoffs next year, it’s going to be an interesting free agency and off season. They’ll need a new president, coach, basically a new team as well.
Firstly, just for clarification, this list only includes athletes that had detrimental injuries to an active career. It does not include athletes that got hurt at the end of their careers such as Peyton Manning or Manny Pacquiao. These athletes either retired or had short lived attempted comebacks. The athletes on this list were potentially robbed of Hall of Fame births or being in GOAT conversations. This list covers athletes that career’s were cut short, way to early by an injury that devastated a potential legacy.
7. Daunte Culpepper – Minnesota Vikings
Daunte Culpepper’s breakout season as a quarterback was one of the the greatest ever seen. Culpepper threw for 4717 yards and 39 TDs before he suffered a gruesome knee injury during a game against the Panthers. He had damaged three of four major ligaments in the knee and was placed on IR.
The Vikings gave up on him. A year later the Dolphins gave him a shot. His attempted comeback was a fail. He just couldn’t shake off his injury. In fact the next 5 seasons brought 5 wins, 22 losses and just 22 TDs to 32 INTS. Not good at all. Talk about a fall from grace.
6. Brandon Roy – Portland Trailblazers
Roy played five seasons at a superstar level. He racked up the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, while playing the most minutes of any Western Conference player. Roy tied for most points in the West in the 2008 season. He averaged 22.6 PPG in his best season.
He was entering the height of his career. However, after a degenerative knee condition, he was compelled to retire. He did make a comeback in 2012, playing for just five games, and had to re-retire at just 28 years old, before even reaching his prime.
The mighty “Bam-Bam Cam” is remembered for his rough house style of play. Body checks and fights, hell yeah! His goal scoring capabilities were also a thing to remember. From 1989 to 1991 he scored 50 plus goals in back to back seasons. After suffering a couple terrible knee injuries, the Hall of Famer developed myositis ossificans; which is a painful bone growth within the muscle’s injured area.
He was Sidelined for all but 22 games over the next two seasons. When he played he was still effective. He averaged a goal per contest in those 22 games.
Neely had a quick resurgence is 1993-94 campaign as he scored 50 goals in just 49 games. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for him to officially retire; citing reoccurring knee troubles. He played 13 seasons in the NHL and yet only managed to make it on the ice for 69 games or more just 7 times.
4. Bo Jackson – Oakland Raiders/Kansas City Royals
Jackson is only one of a few athletes to be named All-Star in TWO major sports. Bo knows baseball and football. He is still considered one of the greatest athletes of all time, even to this day. He sustained an NFL injury in 1991 to his hip and that was it. Jackson was diagnosed with a vascular necrosis of the hip joint. All of the cartilage supporting his hip was lost forcing him into early retirement.
The problem with remembering Jackson is that he played for such a short time, in both sports. He doesn’t really have the numbers to suggest he was crushing it. However, the dude was diesel, just take a look at him. He broke a bat over his head for crying out loud!
What we do know is that Bo Jackson was the starting RB and Marcus Allen was relegated to the bench! That’s right Bo Knows Marcus and because Marcus knew Bo, he was a bench warmer. Think about that for a second. Bo Jackson was better than Marcus Allen, and then he got hurt.
3. Derrick Rose – Chicago Bulls
Derrick Rose won the MBA MVP in his third season in the league. Firstly, in the 2010-11 NBA season Rose averaged 25 points per game and nearly 8 assists. Secondly, he didn’t just put up numbers, he was absolutely killing the league. He was dunking on peoples heads harder than any 6’3″ point guard has ever done before.
Derrick Rose was Chocolate Thunder and Chris Paul fused together. He was Russell Westbrook before Russell Westbrook was Russell Westbrook, but better. D-Rose was poised for a career that would potentially bring multiple championships. He would see many, many, many individual awards and then boom.
A devastating knee injury changed everything, he was never the same. A player of his caliber, that was as explosive as he was, could not seem to adjust to playing below the rim. Ten years and five teams later he is finally seeing some type of success averaging 18.3PPG as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Unfortunately for D-Rose the breakout season was his best and only MVP level of play.
2. Tiger Woods – Golf
Tiger Woods. What can we say. Fans adored him. The competition feared him. A man at the top of his game with no signs of slowing down. He had won countless tournaments and most notably 14 Majors from 1997 to 2008. Woods was the most dominant professional athlete the world has seen since Muhammed Ali or Bill Russell.
Then he got caught up in sex scandal and had the most drastic and dramatic fall of anyone on this list. Tiger was on his way to pass Jack Nicholoson’s 18 Major Victories. He was the Michael Jordan of Golf, until a back injury derailed him. No one could beat Tiger.
A lot of people attribute Tigers downfall to a mental block. Others credit the back injury. No one really knows what truly happened. Whether it was that back injury or the brain injury. All we know is that Tiger Woods has never been the same.
1. Larry Bird – Boston Celtics
Larry Bird could have gone down as the best player in NBA history. Instead he gets passed up by guys like Lebron James. Larry Legend, passed on the all time greatest list by LBJ. That’s unfortunate because a back injury riddled his career.
The Hick from French Lick went on a tear from 1979 to 1988 until the injury plagued, what would have been, many years of MVP level dominance. In just his 10th season in the NBA “The Great White Hope” only managed to play 6 games. “Kodak” managed to play 3 more seasons after the injury but only one of them was a success. His comeback season he averaged 24.3 points a game in 75 contests.
However the last two seasons Bird knew it was time to hang up the laces. He saw career lows in just about every statistical category including games played and minutes. This injury ranks #1 on the most devastating sports injuries in history for one simple fact. If Larry Bird had played more complete seasons; he might just be compared to MJ rather than the slap in the face comparison to LBJ.
One of the greatest players in NBA history will soon fall outside the top 10 on many sports media lists. Guys like LBJ and Kevin Durant will pad their career stats season after season. Something is said for longevity and continued production. Is Cal Ripken better than Albert Pujols? No, No he is not. And yet…
Sometimes we just have to watch the games.
We have to remember what happened on the floor. Larry Legend would never have made “the decision” to team up with Magic in LA. He would never had handed over Rodney Hood to guard Kevin Durant; to close out a defense possession in the NBA Finals. “The King” permanently diminished his legacy yet has somehow passed Larry Bird on the all time greatest list? Confusing to say the least, but this segment belongs to Larry. So let’s adore him as he deserves.
Larry Bird was one of the fiercest competitors in NBA and all of sports history. Larry Bird was fierce. Bird competed in an era of bruising basketball. He was more than just numbers, he was clutch. The Legend made play after play offensively and defensively. He was a selfless leader and a hero. Larry Bird was and still the best forward in the history of basketball. An injury cut his career short, but we must remember. We must remember how good Larry Bird actually was.
Duke’s Struggles Throughout the Years – One & Done Plague:
The Duke Blue Devils basketball program is one of the most storied college’s in decades. MikeKrzyzewski has had great seasons winning national championships. He’s also coached some of the best players in the NCAA. However, the college has had its up and downs for quite sometime now.
Every single season there always either ranked #1 or at least in the top 10 of the AP poll and not slipping past #15. The Atlantic Coast Conference has seen Duke always at the top of the standings. They either get to the ACC title game or win the entire conference despite the competition. High School athletes are always excited to sign the letter of intent with Duke. They all seem to want to win a national title and jump to the NBA following year. “One and Done’s” have plagued college basketball and Duke has felt that in drastic fashion over the years.
Notable One and Done Players:
Corey Maggette: Corey’s numbers weren’t stymieing while in college. In fact he only averaged 10.6 per contest. However he did that in just 17.7 minutes per game. That’s 24 points per game for a 40 minute time frame. Maggette’s 6’6″ – 220 lbs and extreme athleticism is tough to replace on the college level. In 1999, he was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics. Round: 1 / Pick: 13. Imagine what Duke could have done with Corey Maggette for just one more season?
Why Does this keep happening?
I get that top recruits want to play for one of the best programs and coaches that the NCAA has ever seen. Players goals are to win one national title and be a lottery pick after march madness heading into June’s draft every year. I get that if you have the ability to play at a D-1 school you go for it.
More to Come
Scouts, players, coaches have said this young man has been the best player since LeBron James. He can flat out ball up and play. His dunking skills are the best and he has to improve on his offensive and defensive game a tiny bit. Projected top pick in this year’s draft he will help a organization go in the right direction. Free agents probably want to play with him and help develop the basketball IQ better.
Another notable player that might be lost from the Blue devil team. RJ is averaging just over 23 points per game for Duke. Projected top five pick in this year’s NBA Draft. The kid has a great skill set and fits Coach K’s game plan very well. The talent that he has shown this past season has been outstanding game in and game out. His game will transfer to the NBA very quickly and he will perform well at the next level.
Will Duke Win A National Title Any Time Soon?
Duke fans will see another national title heading there way sometime in the near future. The team has a chance this season to make a deep run. But as we have seen in recent seasons either they win the first round game then get upset by a lower seed then leave your head scratching. How does a team with so much potential and talent loose early? The Blue Devils will have chance to change the recent struggles just under a couple weeks as the tourney starts.
LeBron in his career has obviously given question for some debate, until he does something foolish. James has played for 3 different teams, winning 2 titles with Miami and 1 with Cleveland. Playing for Cleveland for the first 7 years of his career, then leaving in what is known as “The Decision”. Joining the Heat to win titles left him as the most hated athlete for some time.
Joining the Lakers was a move made out of pure frustration and the desire the entertain in Hollywood. While LBJ’s resume is impressive, he still has to deal with being 3-6 in the Finals – the most important stage of a NBA players career.
A Resume that includes a 4x season MVP, 3x Finals MVP, 15x All Star, ROY, 12x All NBA, top 10 in all time assists, and #4 all time scoring just to name a few accolades. While James has accomplished a lot, it’s more of his drive to win that doubts him as the greatest. We’ve seen him give up multiple times, and play defense when he wants. LeBron lacks that “killer” mentality.
Michael Jordan was a fierce competitor, with a killer instinct, a desire to win, not chase stats. When it came to the main stage, Jordan didn’t lose, and never even had to play in a game 7. Every year Jordan was on the Bulls they went to the playoffs, regardless losing in the first round a few times.
He was dominant on both offense and defense, and even blessed us as dunk contest competitor, winning twice. A resume including 6x Champ, 6x Finals MVP, 5x MVP, 14x All Star, DPOY, ROY, 10x scoring champ, and the list literally has no end.
The Real KING
Jordan was, and still is a loved player. He put his blood, sweat & tears into the game, and was loyal which the fans adored. Had he not retired twice during his prime, he’d have more championships and no one would catch him in all time scoring.
Now this is my take on this never ending debate. By all means LeBron is one of the greats and funnest to watch. It’s hard to argue when both have different skills sets, and play 2 different positions. LeBron may never catch up to the GOAT, but he’s certainly still going to try and have an incredible career when it’s all said and done.
If I had to guess today, Kyrie Irving will most likely not be returning to Boston once the season is over. Hopefully for Celtics Fans, I’m wrong, but if you’ve been paying attention, the signs indicate he’s good as gone.
Before the Trade Went Down
Kyrie Irving demanded a trade from Cleveland before the start of the 2017 season. He wants to be the leader of his own team, escaping the shadow of LeBron James. So the Celtics traded for him. Swapping their PG Isaiah Thomas who was unhealthy with a hip injury, they started fresh with Irving. Cleveland also received a first and second round pick. The Celtics received an All Star PG assuming they could convince him to re-sign long term. In the 2014-2015 season with the Cavaliers, Irving signed a contract for 5 years. Including a player option in the fourth year (We’re in that fourth year now).
Irving’s visible frustrations are showing as the season continues. He wants this team to go exactly his way. Bostoncurrently sits at the 5th seed in the East (38-25). While a playoff push is definitely going to happen, going to the Finals may not happen. Team chemistry is fading and Irving could be the problem. Last year this young, talented Celtics team almost took down LeBron’s led Cavaliers to go to the NBA Finals. All without Kyrie, as he went down with a knee injury. We understand he wants to win, but him taking shots at his teammates, severely puts his leadership into question.
Teaming up in New York
Finally, the KD video we are all still talking about. During All Star weekend it appears that Ky is telling Kevin Durant that the New York Knicks will have 2 max slots in free agency, hinting for them to team up in NY. Now we don’t know for certain if that’s what he said, but him and KD are best friends so one can only wonder.
Come July, Irving will most likely opt-out becoming an Unrestricted free agent. Or he could sign re-sign with Boston and stay put. The Celtics are loaded with talent, it simply cannot only be “Kyrie Irving’s” team. Either he’s going to adjust or possibly head to New York sharing the spotlight once again. We’ll have to sit patiently and wait for July 1st to see how NBA Free Agency plays out.
Currently, the Los Angeles Lakers are sitting at the 10th seed (29-30) in the Western Conference. This team is led by Lebron James and a mix of young and veteran players trying to contend. So why are the Lakers fighting for a playoff spot when they have James and a promising young core?
First, the Deal.
This free agency, Lebron James left the Cavaliers again. In July he signed with one of the most successful teams, the Lakers, on a 4 year deal worth $154 million. James just couldn’t commit to Cleveland long term. Once Kyrie Irving left, it was assumed the King would leave “The Land” for the second time. Managing to take the Cavs to the Finals 4 years in a row, he walked away 1-3 within those years. While a hometown hero, it’s another hometown disaster for Ohio. It’s possible Cavs owner, Dan Gilbert, pushed him out the door. Or the thoughts of being in Hollywood were just too good to turn down. Magic Johnson certainly played a role in Lebron’s decision, seeing as James looked up to Johnson growing up.
Not as Easy as it Looks
The Western Conference is stacked with teams that have multiple All Stars. Coming out of the Eastern Conference for 15 years, did Lebron really think he could take Golden State, Denver, Oklahoma, Portland, and blast his way to another Finals appearance? Joining the Lakers he thought he’d have more help but even with the Lakers young talent, it’s the same result. Before James was hurt, the Lakers were the 4th seed, mainly because Lebron’s efforts.
Even then, they’ll need help from other teams. Once they reach the playoffs? He’ll go through All Stars such as Curry, Durant, Harden, Westbrook, the list goes on. Not to mention possibly facing the Warriors (Lebron’s weakness) in the 1st round if the Lakers grab the 8th seed.
Chemistry Gone Bad
When the Lakers were trying to develop team chemistry, both Lebron and Point Guard, Lonzo Ball go down. Lebron suffered a groin injury, while Ball suffered an ankle sprain. While injured, the team engaged in trade talks once All Star PF Anthony Davis requested a trade from the Pelicans. That damaged the teams chemistry with every player except Lebron and Kentavious Caldwell- Pope (No Trade Clause) being offered. Trade talks diminished, and the deadline passed. No Anthony Davis, Ball injured and LBJ coming off of injury. The team still couldn’t get enough wins with future All Stars in Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma.
Lebron’s Prime Wearing Down.
This is his 16th season. His attempts to win will be now. At some point father time will kick in, and an aging LBJ won’t be as fun to watch. It’ll be disappointing to see Lebron’s final years be a waste. He’s a little older, slower, sometimes he even gives up in games. Those fast break points, ain’t so fast anymore. Magic Johnson expects nothing but Showtime from him, so he can’t afford to slow down too much. Granted he’s coming off a groin injury, he still has 3 years remaining on his contract to redeem himself. Lebron being Lebron, we should expect some Lakers success. This is still only year 1 but every year matters. The Lakers haven’t made the playoffs in 5 years and are looking for immediate redemption.
Is it possible for him to get through these superstar teams and back to the Finals? It’s a hard NO for me. I truly do not believe he will get back to the Finals, never mind win it all. Maybe, if he was in the East again, but he’s not.
Lebron stated that he’s “playoff activated”, so expect him to play like it’s game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. The Lakers need this young core to develop now rather than later. They need big games from Kuz and BI, a healthy Lonzo to facilitate the offense. Coach Luke Walton better come up with a master plan, because time’s running out. His team has been falling apart. The need to win is now.
Lebron James will likely retire a 3x Champion, and 3x Finals MVP. There’s nothing wrong with that. With nothing to prove to anyone, he’s just trying to prove it to himself. Just sit back and enjoy greatness, and that’s exactly what Lebron James is, GREAT. If not the GOAT, he will go down a top 3 player in NBA history.
Cliche, I know, but the Houston Rockets aren’t playing great this season. Why do they suck? What’s the reason? I’m not 100 percent sure. They are completely up and down this year. A few days ago they went into San Antonio and handed them their asses in a 136 -105 drubbing. James Harden scored 23 and had 10 assists, Chris Paul added 14 and 10 assists of his own.
Harden is averaging 30.6 and 8.7. Paul is averaging 16.6 and 8.1 through the first 18 games he’s played. Then, just a few days before that landslide victory against the Spurs, Houston got beat at home by the lowly Cavaliers. Chris Paul didn’t play, so what, we are talking about the Cavs here, a college team can beat them.
Dare I say Chris Paul is finally slowing down? The veteran Point Guard turns 34 years old soon. His game was never predicated around athleticism however his quickness and agility undoubtedly have to be affected by father time. His numbers aren’t bad but 16.6 and 8.1 are long way off from 23 and 11. Albeit that was his best season ever, in 2008-2009 a decade ago. However, Paul still has averaged 18.7 and 9.1 over the last 3 seasons. Chris has fallen from elite to really good.
The Carmelo Anthony Saga. Talk about a distraction, here ya go! Carmelo came to town and was expecting to be a starter. Then he found out he was a bench player as Houston hoped he’d be a spark and get them 15ppg as a reserve. That didn’t happen either. Trade Rumors began to swirl around Melo but guess what, nobody wants him.
The New York Post even thinks Carmelo’s career could be over. Is it fair to rip him for lackluster defense? Maybe in Boston but Houston?Come on now… Additionally, this start him, sit him, play him drama affects the bench rotation and can mess up the rest of the squads mojo.
Problem #3The Offense has been inconsistent. Let’s not list the defense here because that has always been an issue in Houston. When James Harden is your defensive leader you win by outscoring your opponent. The Rockets have scored under 100 points 7 times this year. That’s an issue when you give up 112 a game and rank 25th in the league on team defense.
With these three major issues, I don’t see this team as a contender in a Western Conference that has only gotten better.
Lebron James shocked the world with his announcement to leave his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. Well not really, we all new his time in “The Land” was over. King James’ departure for the Los Angeles Lakers was no surprise but what does that mean for the rest of the league? Let’s look at the key people/organizations affected by the Kings move.
1. The Los Angeles Lakers
Well, this is obvious, the Lakers are back. I wouldn’t go as far to say King James makes them a contender out West. What I will say is that they are going to compete. They will make the playoffs. With the return of Kyle Kuzma and if Brandon Ingram develops into a star they may compete for a championship. Adding Rondo, Mcgee, Stephenson, and Beasley add depth and experience. I just see a lack of shooters here. That’s going to be a problem. Picture a lineup with Lonzo, Rondo and Lebron on the court. Lebron better start playing off the ball with this squad. Regardless of the team around him, the Lakers are the obvious winner by landing Lebron James.
2. The Cleveland Cavaliers
The poor Cavs just became the whitest team in the league, that’s a issue. This is the NBA, not curling. Even Clarkson is fading away pictured above. Obviously they are back too, back to the bottom of the barrel. Did Cleveland fans burn #23 jerseys this time? All they can hope for is that Lebron does one last farewell tour at the end of his career. Maybe he’ll come back when he’s 40 and build one last Super Team. Cleveland probably won’t even want him at that point. He’d have to build another school or maybe a church for Ohio to want him back after leaving them again. Who am I kidding the Cavs are going to be so bad over the next several years they’d take him back at 60. Point is Lebron left and the Cavs are back to irrelevant.
3. Kevin Love
Winner Winner chicken dinner! K Love is about to be the man again. Sure his team is going to stink but with the power forward killer gone, Love is going to blow up. Even if he gets traded or gets bought out who cares. He just signed a 4 year 120 million dollar deal with the Cavs. In big part to the organization saying damn we can’t lose everyone. In a weak East, Kevin is on top and if he can bring the Cavs to playoffs by himself maybe he can get someone to join him next season. It’s your time to shine Kevin Love, getter done!
4. The Boston Celtics/Toronto Raptors/Philly 76ers
Guess who is not going to the finals this year, that’s right DA CAVS. I’m going with Boston, but one of these 3 teams barring injuries or accidental death or dismemberment will be in the NBA Finals in 2019.
5. Lonzo Ball
With Lebron and Rondo now in town where is this kid going to play? As previously mentioned this backcourt puts these guys on the wings when the King has the ball in his hands. Shooters anyone? I don’t see Magic moving Lonzo either. Nobody’s going to trade for this kid. “Zo gonna be on DA Bench.”
Please comment below and let me know your thoughts, thanks for reading!