Yesterday, Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said of the NBA Trade Deadline: “Everyone lies.” By everyone he meant all the GM’s. Its a poker game where everyone is bluffing and no one wants to show their hand. Teams throw out irrelevant information for media and fan consumption. Hoiberg went on to say that in the last 24 hours of the trade deadline, or, as I like to say the NBA’s Last Supper- where someone is washing Jesus’ feet and Judas is ready to betray him- things come fast and furious. Today was no exception.
But before today. Two days ago, and this falls under the Liars Club headline, Magic Johnson made a bold pronouncement that he was pulling back from free agency 2018. He recognized he wasn’t able to get the pieces he wanted. Everyone ate that up as a prediction, as Magic has finally taken off his old head Lakers glasses. He is in the post-modern NBA world. Superstars are hard to come by. You just can’t do it with money and the L.A. life. You need a talented core of shotmakers, defenders, rim protectors and glue guys. The Lakers kids are still that. Kids. A little bit better but not ready yet.
The next day, Paul George was quoted as saying that he was happy in Oklahoma City but that doesn’t mean he’s not coming to L.A. His summer decision is a family decision. He’ll cross that bridge when he gets to it.
Today. Magic clears money so he can make Paul George’s decision easier. Magic traded the only trusted scorer on his team, Jordan Clarkson. As Hoiberg predicted, Magic lied about waiting until 2019. He’s all in right now, this Earvin quest of trying to get a superstar. Maybe it will work. Maybe it won’t.
The Lakers have been playing very well in 2018, 11-7. They had a winning January for the first time since 2012, and in February they have not lost a game. On Super Bowl Sunday, they beat the Thunder in Oklahoma. The Lakers don’t have Lonzo Ball yet who is nursing an injury but rookie Josh Hart is doing a lot of things: rebounding, scoring, being physical and tough. In his last three games, which were starts, Hart is averaging 15 points and 12 rebounds. Magic isn’t satisfied as he shouldn’t be. A former player of his talent level is always going to shoot for the fences.
Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye are not in the Lakers immediate plans as of right now. But that number one pick from Cleveland is. The Lakers have proven they know how to draft late. Kyle Kuzma. Josh Hart. Jordan Clarkson. Larry Nance Jr.
After Magic had his turn at the wheel, the NBA went full on psychotic. The Cavs traded half their team, not to appease LeBron James but to field a competitive team if LeBron leaves this summer. Scorer Jordan Clarkson is the creator and shot maker the Cavs need. Larry Nance Jr. is the post defender and mega dunker who may win the 2018 Dunk Contest in his Staples last hurrah. Rodney Hood is a tough scorer. George Hill’s rep is as a defender but this year his numbers have lost a lot of the glamour but to be fair, Sac town will depress you like that.
The Cavs lost 6 players: Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye, Dwyane Wade. This is a serious reboot that will have everyone tuning in until the playoffs. The Cavs Last Supper was that buzzer beat by Bron against the Wolves in overtime last night. Now everything is changed. NBA business often overshadows NBA competition.
More psychosis. The Magic traded guard Elfrid Payton who started 234 games for them. They didn’t want to give him an extension. Phoenix gave the Magic a second round pick.
Joe Johnson- yes, he’s still in the league- was traded from the Jazz to the Kings making the Kings Old Man River. I mean really really old. Vince Carter, 41. Zach Randloph, 36. Joe Johnson, 36.
The Utah Jazz plan to buy out Derrick Rose and Tom Thibodeau is looking to add his former player.
The Nuggets traded their 2015 lottery pick, Emmanuel Mudiay, to the Knicks in a three team trade with the Mavericks. The Nuggets received Devin Harris, the Mavs get Doug McDermott. (Mudiay was replaced as a Nuggets starter by athletic and effervescent scorerJamal Murray.)
It’s ordinary and somewhat banal to talk winners and losers and, besides, it is too early for that. The Cavs acquired three players who have not played one playoff game. Isaiah Thomas is turning into an annoying whiner. Channing Frye can’t guard anybody but he is a college teammate of Luke Walton so he may stick. Derrick Rose’s lateral quickness is gone; he’s a specialist. Doug McDermott was a better college player. Devin Harris is average. Jae Crowder should fit with the Jazz’s defense first philosophy. Trying to figure Sacramento out will make your brain hurt. Noah Vonleh and his 3 points per game was traded to the Bulls, his second trade since he was a lottery pick in 2014.
But Wade restoring Wade County to its former self? I’m all in.