Keeping up with the turbulent world that is the NBA can be as tough as understanding whether or not fish feel water. Stories have a very short shelf-life with games every night, players fighting on twitter and whatever drama is happening in Cleveland. Let’s use the shot clock to look back at 24 stories from the NBA over the past week.
:24 Thunder Dominate Warriors For Second Time This Season
The Western Conference undoubtedly runs through the Bay Area and Oklahoma City is 2 for 2 this season against the defending NBA Champions. Tuesday night the Thunder minus Roberson and Carmelo Anthony, dominated the Warriors to a 125-105 victory. OKC’s two all-stars out-dueled the Warriors big 4, scoring 72 to Golden State’s 71.
:23 Cavaliers Have A Completely Different Roster After Trade Deadline
It did not take a basketball expert (like myself) to see that Cleveland was quickly trending in the wrong direction. The Cavs have posted just 7 wins since a Christmas Day loss to Golden State. They are old, slow and can’t score thanks to the poor make up of their roster. Well, enter Cavs GM Koby Altman, with just two hours before the trade deadline. Through a number of trades the Cavs sent Isiah Thomas, Channing Frye, Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder and Dwayne Wade to other cities in return for Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Rodney Hood and George Hill. Let’s hope the annual “LBJ Punch Social” (need confirmation) is enough for them to get acclimated with one another.
:22 LeBron Would Take Meeting With Golden State
The NBA world nearly came to a violent end last week when ESPN’s Chris Haynes published a story claiming LeBron James would take a meeting with the Warriors if they could offer him a max-deal. The thought alone of James joining Golden State nearly ruined his legacy. Fortunately for every owner, GM, player and NBA fan not associated with the Warriors, James vehemently denied the report. Just don’t tell Cavs fans that James is as gone as the last guy from Akron that left Cleveland.
:21 Hawks GM Thinks LeBron Leaked Golden State Story
Atlanta Hawks General Manager Travis Schlenk spoke about the LeBron James to Golden State story while doing a radio interview in Atlanta. While speaking on the topic Schlenk said, “He’s perfected the art of the social-media game. I think that those things were probably leaked by them, by Mr. James and his camp.” It is not a taboo opinion to think James or someone close to him leaked the report but to have an active GM say it, now that is a little taboo.
:20 Giannis Has The Dunk Of The Year
My goodness, Giannis Antetokounmpo is a freak. A freak from Greece. A Greek freak, if you will. I’m just going to leave the video of the dunk below and say one thing – GET THIS MAN IN A DUNK CONTEST!
.@Giannis_An34 might have just thrown down the dunk of the year…
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 7, 2018
19: Pistons Are Rolling With Griffin
The Detroit Pistons shocked the basketball world when they traded for Griffin last week. It has worked out well so far for the Pistons, winning all four games that Griffin has suited up for Detroit. Griffin has averaged 21.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.3 assist in that stretch. Detroit is not going to win the East this season but having a star like Griffin gives that team a completely different vibe. Oh, Andre Drummond also had 27 rebounds against the Nets on Wednesday, or should I “Andre Chamberlain”.
18: Pelicans Acquire Mirotic From Bulls
This was a deal that took a couple of days to actually come to fruition. Mirotic would not approve a trade to New Orleans until the Pelicans guaranteed Mirotic’s $12.5 million team option this summer. After being initially reluctant to promise the option, the Pelicans gave in and the deal was done. It allowed the Pelicans to dump the hefty contract of Omer Asik and create an open roster space. Not to mention New Orleans has a quality stretch-four to pair with Davis and potentially Cousins next season.
17: CJ McCollum Scores 28 In 1 Quater
Portland Trail Blazers’ guard CJ McCollum set a franchise record last Wednesday when he scored 28 points in the first quarter against the Bulls. He would finish the game with 50 points on 18-25 shooting and 6-9 from three. It was an incredible performance by one of the most underrated guards in the NBA.
Most FG in a quarter in franchise history (11) ✅
Most points in a quarter in franchise history (28) ✅
Look fresh while doing it ✅@CJMcCollum‘s recording-setting first quarter versus Bulls. pic.twitter.com/iwu3E1VCov
— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) February 1, 2018
16: Porzingis Tears ACL
New York Knicks’ phenom and 1st time All-Star Kristaps Porzingis suffered a devastating injury against the Bucks on Tuesday night. It was immediately evident that it was not a good situation with Porzingis was unable to put any weight on his leg. Kristaps marked the 4th player selected to the 2018 All-Star Game to go down with an injury. Knick teammate Courtney Lee stated “He (Porzingis) was down when he first got the news, but then he instantly switched to, ‘I’ve got to take on this new journey. I’m ready for it.'”
15: Thunder Stand Pat At Trade Deadline
After losing Andre Roberson for the season, the Thunder were struggling to play quality basketball, losing the first 4 games without ‘Dre. With an active GM like Sam Presti, it only made sense that trade rumors would start swirling. OKC was rumored to be interested in guys like Rodney Hood, Jonathan Simmons, and Marcus Smart just to name a few. However, with no first-round picks to trade and an unwillingness to part with Terrance Ferguson and Paul George a deal was not reached by the 3 p.m. ET. deadline on Thursday. Sometimes the real magic trick is leaving the rabbit in the hat…right?
14: Warriors Gift Red Panda A Unicycle
After an EVIL-AWFUL-HORRIBLE person stole famed performer Red Panda’s unicycle, the Golden State organization stepped up and purchased a new one for Red Panda. If you have been to an NBA or college basketball game then there is a decent chance you’ve seen Red Panda flips bowls while riding a unicycle that seems like it stands taller than 2 Manut Bols. Big props to Warriors President Rick Welts for stepping up big time. I mean, how can you steal from this nice lady?!
13: Lou Williams Signs Extension With LAC
In 2018 there are three guarantees: death, taxes and Lou Williams to a contender. Well the Clippers obviously don’t care how 2018 feels. Whether it was other the other teams reluctance to offer a 1st round pick for Lou or the Clippers changing their attitude on a rebuild, Lou is coming back to LA for 3 more years. The true shame is that a player as good as Williams could only get a 3 year $24 million deal. Thanks a lot 2016!
12: NBA Teams Reach All-Time Value
If you don’t think the NBA is close to being on par with the NFL in dollars and cents, you might be wrong. Forbes released their annual evaluation of each NBA team’s value and every team is valued at $1 billion or more. For the first time in league history every team from Orlando to New York is worth 9 zeros. The Knicks are worth the most at $3.6 billion followed by the Lakers at $3.3 billion and the Warriors at $3.1 billion.
11: Thunder and Nuggets Play In Instant Classic
If you missed this game, I feel bad for you. Denver and Oklahoma City produced an incredible performance on national TV last Thursday. Offense was going cheap for both teams and the Nuggets won the game 127-124. Paul George had arguably the best game of his career scoring 43 points on 19-26, Nikola Jokic had a triple-double and Westbrook had a 20-20 game. The best part though? The final sequence… just watch.
The last 2 mins of the Thunder/Nuggets game was wild… 😳pic.twitter.com/sfB9UYH9Ah
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 2, 2018
10: Lakers Clear Room For Two Max-Salaries
Earlier in the week the Los Angeles Lakers issued a public statement that they would be waiting until 2019 to pursue any max-contract players. Well, that was before the Cavaliers were willing to take on Jordan Clarkson’s $12.5 million over the next 3 seasons in exchange for two expiring contracts (Thomas, Frye). LA could have upwards of $70 million in cap space this summer. The debate now is whether to go after LeBron and George or wait until the stacked 2019 free agent class.
09: Walker and Dragic Named All-Stars
As I mentioned earlier, there has been a slew of injuries to All-Star players over the past few weeks. With Porzingis going down with a torn ACL and Kevin Love breaking his hand, there had to be replacements. That’s where Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker and Heat guard Goran Dragic come in. Walker is in the midst of one of his best seasons, averaging 23 points and 5.8 assist a game with a PER of 21.0. Dragic is not having as good of a statistical season but the 31 year old Slovenian has been leading the charge for a surprisingly good Miami Heat team.
08: Kings Are The King Of Twitter
The Sacramento Kings had a wild ride against the Chicago Bulls this past Monday. The Kings fought back and won 104-98 in a matchup of two of the worst teams in the league this season. Is that the story here? No. This is about @SacramentoKings proving that NBA Twitter is the best thing on social media. DILLY DILLY!
07: Westbrook Pushes Fan
Following a dramatic loss to the Denver Nuggets (see above) a belligerent Nuggets fan made his way to the court. The fan then got in Westbrook’s face and began screaming, probably congratulating him on winning the MVP last season… or more probably saying some things he shouldn’t say. Westbrook responded by giving the fan a firm push with his left hand. It sparked a lot of conversation about how the NBA would handle the situation, players making contact with fans is not something taken lightly. However, the NBA decided not to punish Westbrook and declared the fan was out of line.
06: Celebrity All-Star Game To Feature 4 Point Line
This is a story because the NBA adding a 4 point line has been discussed in the past, not because anybody cares about the Celebrity Game. In 2014 ESPN Marc Stein published an article about the NBA league office had discussed the idea of adding a 4 point line. It is something that would have a huge impact on games, especially with the shooting range so many players have now. The Celebrity Game will be the first guinea pig in the 4 point line experiment.
05: Markelle Fultz May Not Return This Season
The Markelle Fultz saga has been one of the most bizarre stories in recent memory. On Friday GM Bryan Colangelo said he was unsure that the 2017 #1 overall pick would play again this season. Fultz has only played 76 minutes in 4 games this season. What makes this story so odd is that Fultz is essentially being held out of games because his jumpshot is broken. No, it’s really bad. Google it.
04: LeBron James Hits Buzzer Beater Against T’Wolves
Just one night after Cleveland had a complete and utter meltdown in Orlando and one night before Cleveland would trade half of their team, “The King” hit a Christian Laettner-esque shot at the buzzer. LeBron and Jimmy Butler combined for 72 points and continued their rivalry in a shootout that the Cavs won 140-138. The only thing better than the buzzer beater is LeBron ignoring half of his teammates trying to congratulate him on the game winning shot. The half that he ignored are now on different teams… coincidence? Perhaps. Here is a video of the incredible game winning shot though.
— NBA (@NBA) February 8, 2018
03: Celtics Sign Greg Monroe
Center Greg Monroe has had a roller coaster of a season. Starting the season with the Milwaukee Bucks, after just 5 games he was traded to the Phoenix Suns in the Eric Bledsoe deal. Unable to find playing time with the cellar-dwelling Suns Monroe’s contract was bought out, making him a free agent. Monroe lucked out when the Celtics called, needing to add front-court depth in their pursuit of a title. It took until after the trade deadline for the Celtics to formally sing the 7-year vet out of Georgetown because Boston wanted to keep the money and roster space open in case a trade was made. Monroe has averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds over his 7 years in the NBA.
02: What Is Russ’ Answer?
Speaking to the media before the Oklahoma City’s showdown with Golden State – notoriously tough interview Russell Westbrook put all of the media on notice and dropped the mic in the process. Was it awesome? Yes. Did Westbrook put the Warriors on notice later in the night? Yes. What is Russell’s answer? Yes.
Reporter asks Russ how he approaches the Warriors game.
Russ: “what’s my answer?”
Reporter: “probably just yes.”
Russ: “No, no, no. What’s my answer? How do I approach it? What’s my answer.”
Reporter: “you play every game the same way.”
[walks off] pic.twitter.com/1Uz4RFeWKF
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) February 6, 2018
01: Rasual Butler Passes Away
Fourteen year NBA veteran Rasual Butler and his wife Leah LaBelle passed away in a car accident last Wednesday. Butler was a 14 year NBA veteran with stops in Miami, New Orleans/Oklahoma City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Indiana, Washington and San Antonio. With so many stops around the league, Rasual reached a lot of people and social media on Wednesday was flooded with former and current players, coaches and fans speaking on how great of a person Butler was. Rasual Butler was 38 and wife Leah LaBelle was 31.