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NBA 2017-18: A Tale of Two Conferences

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There's no LeBron/Kobe rivalry. LeBron didn't make it past the Celtics or Orlando during Kobe's peak Laker years, and Kobe didn't make it back during the Heat years. I think they operate in pretty different spheres of influence; Kobe is the new Jordan for a big part of the NBA while LeBron will have that role for the next guys after he retires.

 

Phil isn't there anymore but Dolan is. I think LeBron has seen enough dumbass ownership for one lifetime. I can't see him or anyone else that can really move the needle on a franchise willingly moving to the Knicks; there's just too much baggage there and that team has to be built through smart trades and the draft. I can't see them being a free agency destination for another year.

 

James/Ball/Ingram/George/Kuzma (four forwards and a guard? Why not?) would be fun to watch. I think Clarkson is gone, but I wish Randle would come back. He may be a real Draymond-esque guy (without the distance shooting that Green has since lost) next season and is turning into a pretty reliable 18/10 guy when he starts.

 

I think Golden State has two more years. Steph's ankle will give out eventually, Draymond is slipping, and I can't imagine they'll be able to afford their nucleus for forever. Plus, outside of LeBron, people don't really go to the Finals four and five years in a row. Three tends to be the max for a variety of reasons. That said, I think Durant is probably the best player in the league right now and the most adaptable, so who knows.

 

Just now, Kaz said:

His best option is probably if Houston can move some of their bad contracts.  Harden and Paul are good enough shooters to work with Lebron, and Texas's lack of state income tax may get role players to sign on the cheap more so than in LA or Philadelphia.

 

Houston is the best spot for LeBron to show up and win. It's too bad that team is in that city; it'd be more fun in LA.

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48 minutes ago, Kaz said:

A better team?

 

Lebron/George/Ball/Kuzma/Nance/Ingram isn't even a threat to the Warriors; Lebron/Simmons/Embiid/Covington/Reddick? is just as good if not better - and Lebron gets to stay in the East.  If Fultz ends up not sucking and the Sixers somehow end up with the #1 pick even more so.

 

His best option is probably if Houston can move some of their bad contracts.  Harden and Paul are good enough shooters to work with Lebron, and Texas's lack of state income tax may get role players to sign on the cheap more so than in LA or Philadelphia.

 

Redick's contract is expiring this summer, Simmons would become a much less effective player without the ball (at least until/if he develops an outside shot), Embiid is a dolt and I'd be concerned about the fact that he's played a mere fraction of his team's games since being drafted. On the Lakers side, that wouldn't be the lineup any later than July. At least one of Ingram/Nance/Kuzma will probably be moved to either free up more salary or acquire another major player through trade. Probably Ingram since he's being outperformed by the much cheaper Kuzma on a wide-open roster, but he can still be sold to other teams as a #2 overall pick blue-chip prospect who's only entering his third year.

 

Houston is a middling option on all fronts even if they are able to con someone into taking on those contracts, which I don't see how they will since their draft picks are already worthless and they blew all possible trade assets on Chris Paul. LeBron, Harden, and Paul does not beat Golden State. There is zero youth on that roster and with two of their big three aged 33 or older, they'd be in danger of getting old during the season and slipping out of the top seeds. Defense is a concern with two guys approaching their mid-30s and Harden not giving a **** about that end of the floor.Tax or not, Houston itself is nothingville unless you like concrete and Whataburger. Texas is also a red state whereas LeBron is far left and becoming increasingly vocal about it.

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39 minutes ago, DG_Now said:

James/Ball/Ingram/George/Kuzma (four forwards and a guard? Why not?) would be fun to watch. I think Clarkson is gone, but I wish Randle would come back. He may be a real Draymond-esque guy (without the distance shooting that Green has since lost) next season and is turning into a pretty reliable 18/10 guy when he starts.

 

Randle doesn't really fit in anywhere next to a LeBron/PG/whoever team. Poor basketball I.Q., can't space the floor, awful defender, and not nearly good enough on the glass to make up the difference.

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LA moves Randle this season for expiring and a pick, then off season packages Deng, Ingram, and picks to clear cap space

 

Ball

Clarkson

George

James

?

 

Nance

Kuzma

Hart

Zubac

+ vets

 

thats not touching GS in a 7 game series

 

 

Houston has to gut their team and their future for LeBron, to still be #2 in the West

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Realistically, LeBron's best option to win is staying in Cleveland. He's not winning with the Lakers, Houston would be a worse version of his last year in Miami, Philadelphia is too big of a risk 

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8 hours ago, who do you think said:

Still on the entertainment/drama aspect, this gives the west a second superteam come playoff time, and a potentially worthy challenger for Golden State.

Have you watched the Lakers play at all this year? Or any of the last few years, for that matter? LeBron would probably carry that team to the WCF since he's that good, but they'd just get swept (or, if they're lucky, gentlemen's swept) by Golden State and not make the Finals at all. Even with "Star #2."

 

Realistically, nobody's beating the Warriors for the next few years. LeBron might as well just stay in Cleveland where he can at least keep the Finals appearance streak going.

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As far as The West, yeah, Warriors are the "Patriots" in the conference for the foreseeable future.  

Unless Lebron is suddenly traded to The Celtics or Toronto in the next 4 days, his Finals streak is over. 

 

I still don't see how people think this Cavs team is making it through Boston, or even Toronto. 

No way Lebron is staying in Cleveland either, That bridge is already burning. 

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20 minutes ago, ozzyman314 said:

As far as The West, yeah, Warriors are the "Patriots" in the conference for the foreseeable future.  

Unless Lebron is suddenly traded to The Celtics or Toronto in the next 4 days, his Finals streak is over. 

 

I still don't see how people think this Cavs team is making it through Boston, or even Toronto. 

No way Lebron is staying in Cleveland either, That bridge is already burning. 

You trust either of those teams to beat the Cavs in May?

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20 minutes ago, OaklandIsBack said:

You trust either of those teams to beat the Cavs in May?

Have you seen the Cavs defense? Yeah, Neither has anyone else. 

I'll give Lebron all the credit in the world, but between that & all the infighting going on with the team, they are seriously going to struggle against good if not better teams like The Celtics & Raptors. 

Barring some last minute blockbuster trade, The Cavs will be lucky to make the Easter Conference Finals.  

 

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3 hours ago, OaklandIsBack said:

LA moves Randle this season for expiring and a pick, then off season packages Deng, Ingram, and picks to clear cap space

 

Ball

Clarkson

George

James

?

 

Nance

Kuzma

Hart

Zubac

+ vets

 

thats not touching GS in a 7 game series

 

 

Houston has to gut their team and their future for LeBron, to still be #2 in the West

The Deng contract is the albatross.

$18M next year and $18.8M in 2019-20 is a LOT of cash for him. Buying him out does not help your future also.  Teams seem to want to give the finger to the Lakers just because.

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4 hours ago, dfwabel said:

The Deng contract is the albatross.

$18M next year and $18.8M in 2019-20 is a LOT of cash for him. Buying him out does not help your future also.  Teams seem to want to give the finger to the Lakers just because.

Probably the worst contract in the league, but if they call Chicago and offer Ingram, 1 maybe 2 firsts, and a couple 2nds to pay Deng for 2 years, do they hang up? 

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35 minutes ago, OaklandIsBack said:

Probably the worst contract in the league, but if they call Chicago and offer Ingram, 1 maybe 2 firsts, and a couple 2nds to pay Deng for 2 years, do they hang up? 

No, the Portland contacts are worse, much worse...

 

Lilliard and CJ make up 50%  of the cap and spares make up another 32% (Turner, Harmless, Leonard) and a qualifying offer is due to Nurkic.

 

Portland is the worst with the cap...ALWAYS

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7 hours ago, Lights Out said:

Have you watched the Lakers play at all this year? Or any of the last few years, for that matter? LeBron would probably carry that team to the WCF since he's that good, but they'd just get swept (or, if they're lucky, gentlemen's swept) by Golden State and not make the Finals at all. Even with "Star #2."

 

Realistically, nobody's beating the Warriors for the next few years. LeBron might as well just stay in Cleveland where he can at least keep the Finals appearance streak going.

 

So everyone should just go home because the Warriors are just too good? Good thing the 2016 Cavs didn't take your advice.

 

LeBron has nothing to gain by staying in Cleveland. Talent-wise the team is on the way down no matter what he does. Clearly he doesn't like the playing there. He doesn't like the owner. The Cleveland lifer narrative is off the table. You really think he cares about a finals appearance streak? In Cleveland?

 

5 hours ago, ozzyman314 said:

Have you seen the Cavs defense? Yeah, Neither has anyone else. 

I'll give Lebron all the credit in the world, but between that & all the infighting going on with the team, they are seriously going to struggle against good if not better teams like The Celtics & Raptors. 

Barring some last minute blockbuster trade, The Cavs will be lucky to make the Easter Conference Finals.  

 

 

For the moment, Cleveland is still the deepest and most talented team in the conference. Toronto and Boston have yet to accomplish anything in the playoffs. Both teams got their asses handed to them by the Cavs last spring. After this season all bets are off, but for now, guilty until proven innocent.

 

1 hour ago, Kaz said:

That would be moronically short-sighted for the Lakers as even Lebron and George aren't getting past the Warriors and I still believe in Ingram's potential to be a top 10 player.  And no, they would not hang up.

 

Ingram's playing on an empty roster and can only muster 15ppg on middling percentages. He's getting out-balled by Kuzma, a rookie second-rounder. Top 10 player is not happening. He's more useful to the Lakers as trade bait.

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I really want to see where Anthony Davis ends up in a couple years via trade or free agency. Boston or Golden State?

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30 minutes ago, who do you think said:

For the moment, Cleveland is still the deepest and most talented team in the conference. Toronto and Boston have yet to accomplish anything in the playoffs. Both teams got their asses handed to them by the Cavs last spring. After this season all bets are off, but for now, guilty until proven innocent.

Sorry, what? 

Outside of Lebron, who do they have? IT? Love? Wade?

And Depth? What depth? 

Boston is winning games with their Bench players, Cleveland's getting their teeth kicked in with Lebron 

 

Trying to use what happened last year as a judgement for this year is just ludicrous So Much has changed since then. Especially between Boston & Cleveland. Cavs are in a death spiral.

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12 hours ago, ozzyman314 said:

Sorry, what? 

Outside of Lebron, who do they have? IT? Love? Wade?

And Depth? What depth? 

Boston is winning games with their Bench players, Cleveland's getting their teeth kicked in with Lebron 

 

Trying to use what happened last year as a judgement for this year is just ludicrous So Much has changed since then. Especially between Boston & Cleveland. Cavs are in a death spiral.

 

How are people still taking the NBA regular season as gospel in 2018?

 

Cleveland's depth includes Thompson, Rose, Korver, and Green. If Smith and Crowder get their act together in time for the playoffs there's two more (and if they can't, they'll be bumped from the playoff rotation and that will be that). Terry Rozier having a couple of big games in January doesn't mean anything. People will figure out him out in due time, then he'll be right back to being the 8th man. Tatum already gets star-struck in big games, over/under on the amount of 0-fers he puts up in his first playoffs in this year?

 

Every year it's the same old s*** (unless you're a true goliath like Golden State). Repeat contenders become old hat and people need to talk up somebody new. The incumbent team is getting old, they're losing regular season games to bad teams, reports of locker room tension leak out, oh god they're in a death spiral, this new young team is gonna steal the show, prepare your anus, blah blah blah. And then playoff time comes and the experienced veteran team wins again while the team that everyone crowned in February sputters out. Then everyone whines about lack of parity and, barring major offseason upgrades by somebody in the race, the cycle repeats. Still waiting for those Clippers to take that next step. Guilty until proven innocent.

 

Cleveland has the same record after 50 games that they did in 2015, by the way.

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9 hours ago, who do you think said:

 

How are people still taking the NBA regular season as gospel in 2018?

 

Cleveland's depth includes Thompson, Rose, Korver, and Green. If Smith and Crowder get their act together in time for the playoffs there's two more (and if they can't, they'll be bumped from the playoff rotation and that will be that). Terry Rozier having a couple of big games in January doesn't mean anything. People will figure out him out in due time, then he'll be right back to being the 8th man. Tatum already gets star-struck in big games, over/under on the amount of 0-fers he puts up in his first playoffs in this year?

 

Every year it's the same old s*** (unless you're a true goliath like Golden State). Repeat contenders become old hat and people need to talk up somebody new. The incumbent team is getting old, they're losing regular season games to bad teams, reports of locker room tension leak out, oh god they're in a death spiral, this new young team is gonna steal the show, prepare your anus, blah blah blah. And then playoff time comes and the experienced veteran team wins again while the team that everyone crowned in February sputters out. Then everyone whines about lack of parity and, barring major offseason upgrades by somebody in the race, the cycle repeats. Still waiting for those Clippers to take that next step. Guilty until proven innocent.

 

Cleveland has the same record after 50 games that they did in 2015, by the way.

Cleveland also have a vastly worse team then they did in 2015, plus tougher competition in the East. 

Outside of Lebron, Boston, Toronto, hell even The Bucks have more talent than the Cavs. 

What happened last year, or the year before that doesn't matter at all. What matters is how the team looks now, and Right now Cleveland looks really bad. 

 

There's absolutely no reason to think they're going to "magically" turn around and beat better teams come the playoffs. Where's that defence going to come from to stop a good offense like Toronto? IT?  Plus no team wins anything when they have all that infighting, with Lebron on his way out, that's not going to change anytime soon. 

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Cavs are playing half speed and not practicing. The only time they play together is on the court. Their whole goal is to save as much energy as possible for the playoffs. Right now, they're getting by (or not) on talent alone and Ty Lue is dicking around with NBA 2K lineups for fun.

 

I was going to say the Lakers had a great win tonight, but they almost threw away a 10-point lead in the last 90 seconds. Ingram had a great first 10.5 minutes of the fourth until he bricked two free throws that would have made the game a lot less exciting.

 

People rip on Randle a lot, but I like that he wants to close out games when a lot of his teammates seem ready to panic.

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16 hours ago, ozzyman314 said:

Cleveland also have a vastly worse team then they did in 2015, plus tougher competition in the East. 

Outside of Lebron, Boston, Toronto, hell even The Bucks have more talent than the Cavs. 

What happened last year, or the year before that doesn't matter at all. What matters is how the team looks now, and Right now Cleveland looks really bad. 

 

I didn't realize the NBA playoffs were moved up to February.

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On 2/3/2018 at 7:10 PM, dfwabel said:

No, the Portland contacts are worse, much worse...

 

Lilliard and CJ make up 50%  of the cap and spares make up another 32% (Turner, Harmless, Leonard) and a qualifying offer is due to Nurkic.

 

Portland is the worst with the cap...ALWAYS

 

New Orleans is really bad, too. They have both Davis and Cousins and I think Jrue Holiday is still the top paid guy by quite a bit. He's the 6th highest paid point guard in the league and he's nowhere near that level of production. 

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