Free agency 2018 could potentially mark the beginning of a new era in Los Angeles. With expiring contracts and the availability of big-name players this summer, the Lakers have the opportunity to become a playoff team. While there are plenty of options, Paul George seems to be the fan favorite in LA to come home and play alongside the young core of the Lakers. But should the Lakers want Paul George?
First of all, let’s talk about who can’t be signed to new contracts for the Lakers for this summer to be a success. Brook Lopez, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Corey Brewer. These 3 combine for nearly $50 million in the last year of their current contracts. None of these guys deserve the money they are making now and are not essential for the Lakers that are clearly building for the future. Julius Randle, who has been in trade rumors for what seems like forever, is on the last year of his contract, making about $4 million. However, Randle is only 23, and he will have a solid career as a power forward in the NBA. The Lakers need to seriously consider trying to keep him around.
Now, this is where the other options come in to play for the Lakers. There are two players that I see fitting in best with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Julius Randle. Those players are none other than Demarcus Cousins and Avery Bradley. But why pursue Avery Bradley and not Paul George? The answer to this is simple. The Lakers are arguably always the center of attention in the NBA media. I can already imagine all of the stories and articles regarding the tension between Paul George and Demarcus Cousins. I just don’t see these two working well together. If George plays for his hometown Lakers, he will want to be the leader, and to be honest, I wouldn’t blame him. I don’t see Cousins taking the backseat to Paul George.
Avery Bradley and Demarcus Cousins just make sense to me. Lonzo and Cousins seem like the perfect match. Lonzo will create on offense and Cousins will feed off of it like we’ve never seen from him before. Bradley, a great defender and good scorer, will also fit in naturally. If they can keep Randle, I like the potential that the Lakers would have, while also being a strong team in the bottom half of the playoff picture in the West. But no matter what happens, the Lakers cannot mess up this summer. The money they have available can be spent poorly in free agency. We see it all the time, teams overpaying players is the trend. The Lakers need to be aggressive with the better free agents and make something happen. There is only one name that could POTENTIALLY (I’m not sure I see this) complicate things for the Lakers: LeBron James. If he shows any interest in the Lakers, they don’t have any other reasonable option other than making it happen.
The most electric player in college basketball since Jimmer Fredette (who was the 10th pick of the 2011 draft). Trae Young an absolute electric factory. The true freshmen averaging 29.1pts 10.1ast and 3.8rebs a game at the age of 19. Everyone comparing him to Steph Curry because of the way he plays. Constantly hitting 3’s that most people wouldn’t even attempt. But the big question, is he worth the first pick? My opinion yes and no. Seems like I’m taking the easy way out there but I’m actually not. We are just going to base this off of the bottom 5 teams in the league because we never know who is going to get the 1st pick but I would really hope he goes in the top 5.
Atlanta Hawks – If I am the Atlanta Hawks, I truly would not draft Trae Young. They have the young Dennis Schroder. They wouldn’t benefit as much off of Trae Young as they would someone like Marvin Bagley. If they did draft him, I wouldn’t be surprised but it would be a better option to not draft him.
Orlando Magic – IF I AM THE ORLANDO MAGIC, I DON’T EVEN THINK TWICE. I WON’T EVEN WASTE ANYONES TIME ON DRAFT NIGHT TRAE YOUNG WILL BE MINE. This of all the shitty teams in the NBA this is by far my favorite fit for Trae Young. Also if I am Trae Young this is where I would want to play. Why the Magic are bad I’m not even sure. Their roster really isn’t that bad. Trae Young would look good in blue.
Sacramento Kings – This would be the hardest decision of all the teams. This truly depends on if you want to try to play two point guards or if you believe one of your talented young bigs actually pan out. (I don’t think there is a fucking chance they do) If I am the Kings, I think I pass on Trae Young and draft Marvin Bagley. Having a 1-2 piece of Bagley and Fox sounds a lot better than a 1-2 piece of Fox and Young. That would be a horrendous team defensively if they drafted Young.
Memphis Grizzlies – This is also tough. You have Mike Conley but do you really believe in Mike Conley at this point? Truly if I am the Grizzlies on draft night I trade Mike Conley and draft Trae Young. It is time for the Grizzlies to just blow it all up. They were like right there for so long but we knew they weren’t actual contenders. It is time to just blow it the fuck up. Draft Trae Young this year suck next year and draft another talented player early in the draft. Memphis it is time to just trust the process.
Los Angeles Lakers – If I am the Lakers, I would see what it would take to make Lonzo a shooting guard instead of a point guard and then I would draft Trae Young. LeBron is coming to town this off-season anyways so zero reason to draft a forward. Based on trades in the past there is a good chance the Lakers won’t even have this pick. If they didn’t pick Trae Young then I don’t know who they would pick. I don’t think the Lakers will take this pick.
These are the 5 favorites to have the top pick. Trae Young is electic and he has the talent to contribute immediately but he isn’t the kind of player that you select 1st pick no matter what. He needs to fit your roster for it to work. He isn’t worth in most situations to just blow your team up.
With the new vote count among Eastern Conference guards, it has become clear that fan voting has turned into a popularity contest. I could go on and talk about why Ben Simmons isn’t a top 3 guard in the East, but I’m going to dismiss that for now. Dwyane Wade and Isaiah Thomas are actually in the top 10. Yes, I already checked if you were wondering, this is indeed the voting for this year. Dwyane Wade, who doesn’t start, and Isaiah Thomas, who has played 3 games, are ahead of Bradley Beal. I honestly don’t give a shit about Bradley Beal, but he sure as hell deserves to be in the all-star game above those two, as he averages almost 24 ppg. Unfortunately, most of the fan voting occurs on social media, which allows people to simply retweet to vote for undeserving players. Obviously, there are more Cavs fans due to LeBron James and their recent dominance of the Eastern Conference than there are fans of Bradley Beal.
The fans have officially made a joke out of what it means to be an all-star in the NBA. Luckily, fan vote does not solely determine who makes the all-star game. There is plenty wrong with the current vote count, and if this is any reflection of who ends up making it, things are going to get bad for the NBA. It’s time for the NBA to realize fans can’t even handle the ability to vote for players that deserve all-star status.
And also, if you think Ben Simmons is a top 3 guard in the East, please seek help.
Knowing that the NBA playoffs ended last month and free agency isn’t even completely over, would it even be a blog if we didn’t start talking about the 2018 playoffs?
- Golden State Warriors – No reasoning needed.
- San Antonio Spurs – I don’t believe anyone in the West improved enough to take the 2 spot over the Spurs.
- Oklahoma City Thunder – With the addition of Paul George and the resigning of Roberson I see the Thunder as one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. Oh yeah, and they have Russell Westbrook still.
- Minnesota Timberwolves – I think with trade for Jimmy Butler losing potentially nothing and the signings of Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson. I think the Wolves win 20 more games moving them up to 4th in the West this year.
- Houston Rockets – I think with the addition of Chris Paul the Rockets became worse simply because there is only one basketball and now two ball dominant guards.. Also they’re trying to trade for Melo???? Reminder Houston: 1 BALL.
- Portland Trailblazers – Lillard and McCollum are just amazing. Nurkic stays healthy averaging 15pts 10rebs 3ast and 2blks. I think they have a bright future. Even though I think the Zach Collins pick was awful. I believe they got a steal in Caleb Swanigan in the draft.
- Los Angeles Clippers – The Clippers became drastically worse this off season but I still don’t see them falling out of the playoffs. (assuming Blake is healthy which is a long shot) I believe in the Chris Paul trade they received enough to keep themselves in the playoffs.
- Denver Nuggets – Jokic is arguably the most interesting player in the NBA. Pair him along side Paul Milsap and I see the Nuggets in the playoffs. The only thing that troubles me about the Nuggets is they have way to many “bigs” who deserve to play and not enough guards.
- Boston Celtics – The Celtics have something to prove after signing Hayward. Also they drafted Jayson Tatum and if you’ve watched summer league wow! That kid can play.
- Cleveland Cavaliers – Easy as this they have LeBron. The only reason they’re not the 1st seed because LeBron takes 3-4 games off a month and their bench is horrendous.
- Milwaukee Bucks – I believe this year the Bucks make the jump from the 6th seed all the way up to the 3 seed. Jabari is going to stay healthy and be one of the top scorers in the whole Eastern Conference. Also don’t forget they have Giannis.
- Washington Wizards – They ultimately gain nothing and lose nothing this off season so I like the Wizards staying here at 4.
- Toronto Raptors – The raptors became worse this off season changed nothing and lost two role players in Corey Joseph and Demarre Carroll and received C.J Miles…. If you think C.J is going to bail your underachieving out then think again. Also drafted OG Anunoby who may not play this year. I don’t understand the Raptors off season at all.
- Charlotte Hornets – With the East being so terrible, I believe the pick up of Dwight Howard for this Hornets teams actually launches them into the playoffs. Plus I think Malik Monk and Kemba Walker are going to be a deadly combo with each other. A center who is going to average over 10rebs a game is going to really help this team.
- Atlanta Hawks – Not really much to say. The East is awful this could be a 36 win team in the playoffs.
- Philadelphia 76ers – A team of great talent only if they can all stay healthy. They drafted Fultz who can already score like a NBA veteran, the kid is going to light up the stat books. Also could only be a 36-35 win team and make the playoffs and if everything comes together I think they could possibly even steal a couple of games from the 1 seed in the playoffs.
This is a long shot because we are still almost a year away until the playoffs start. Injuries, trades, etc. still will happen between now and then. But on July 12, 2017 this is how I believe the playoffs will look like come April of 2018.
Did Paul George try and ruin the Pacers? Many Pacers fans have reason to believe so. Lets date back to early February 2017 when the rumors that in 2018 Paul George was going to sign with the Lakers. These rumors sent all Pacers fans into a panic because now you’re faced with what to believe with these rumors. Was Paul George really going to turn down more money to play in LA? Are these rumors real? Where did they come from? Many of these questions went through all of the Pacers fans minds and plenty more. So plenty of Paul George trade options start surfacing especially with the Celtics. (the team that had the most to offer) The Pacers front office was then stuck on the fence on what to do because they aren’t sure if the rumors are true just like everyone else. But to stop all rumors Paul George comes out and says that he wants to win in Indy(completely lie to shut up all of the press). The trade deadline finally passes Paul isn’t dealt, leaving the impression to a lot of Pacers fans that Paul George is the man for the future for the Pacers. Fast Forward to April Pacers are now in the playoffs and George plays outstanding against the defending champs(Pacers arguably giving the Cavs the best competition in the playoffs other than the Warriors). After that series Pacers fans seem happy with the decision to not deal George. Jump 2 months to mid June and Paul George comes out and says that he is not resigning with the Pacers in 2018 and plans to sign with the Lakers. (complete cock move by the way) Now after that comment his trade value drops tremendously. Teams are only willing to give role players and no draft picks for George because they see him as a one year rental unless you’re the Lakers. Which the Lakers came out and said that they will give up no young talent for George but would give either Clarkson or Randle and a late first round pick for George. (which would go down as one of the worst trades in NBA history) Boston tried to draw the trade out as long as they could because they preferred Hayward over George and didn’t want to ruin their chances with Hayward. (good decision by them) OKC jumps in and offers the Pacers Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis (no draft picks) for George. Which the Pacers received to mediocre role players(in my opinion) and the Thunder dumped salary to get what some consider a top 10 player in the league. Now in July, Paul George reportedly has the nerve to come out and say “interest in Lakers has “been overstated” could stay with the Thunder” via Bleacher Report Twitter. Does he just want to be the most hated Pacer of all time?
Basically to my point of Paul George trying the ruin the Pacers. Imagine the Pacers getting some real starters and draft picks which is what the value of George was not just one mediocre starter and a unproven bench player for what some consider a top 10 player in the league. Also imagine how terrible Paul Georges legacy in Indy would be if the Pacers improved or even stayed just above .500 because they were given a good trade for him. Do I think Paul George purposely tried to tarnish the Pacers to save his ego/legacy? Yeah, I do believe that. In the order of how he did everything just doesn’t make sense. Did Paul George know the Pacers were going to get snubbed because he claimed himself as a rental? Obviously unless he doesn’t have a brain. Thunder traded for top 10 player in the league and dumped salary with nothing to lose(knowing they aren’t going to beat the Warriors or the Spurs next year). Did I just write a whole conspiracy theory on why Paul George is a asshole? Pretty much.
Free agency is winding down, so let’s look ahead at the Indiana Pacers outlook for next season.
- PF TJ Leaf (via draft)
- C Ike Anigbogou (via draft)
- PG Edmond Sumner (via draft
- SG Victor Oladipo (via trade)
- F/C Domantas Sabonis (via trade)
- PG Darren Collison (via free agency)
- SF/SG Bojan Bogdanovich (via free agency)
- PG Cory Joseph (via trade)
- SF Paul George (via trade)
- PG Jeff Teague (via free agency)
- SG Monta Ellis (waived)
- PG Aaron Brooks (expired)
- F CJ Miles (via trade)
- F Lavoy Allen (expired)
Obviously the big takeaway here is that the Pacers lost Paul George. They got at least one mid-level starter out of it, but it is definitely a rebuilding year. The Pacers have a little bit of a log jam in the front court as they have loaded up on bigs. Expect Anigbogou, and Sumner to spend the season in the D-League, and possibly TJ Leaf as well, if Thad Young remains on the team throughout the season. The addition of Collison was just to get a serviceable point guard and to add veteran leadership. This signing will probably keep Lance coming off the bench next season. Getting Cory Joseph for CJ Miles was a nice pickup as CJ was bound to leave anyway. This shows that the Pacers don’t believe much in Joseph Young yet. Bogdanovich is probably better than Glenn Robinson III, but he is better suited to play the role of a bench scorer, as he averaged 14 points per game off the bench last season. Overall, the Pacers got considerably worse.
Predicted Lineup (bench player)
- PG Darren Collison (Cory Joseph)
- SG Victor Oladipo (Lance Stephenson)
- SF Glenn Robinson III (Bogdanovich)
- PF Thad Young (Domantas Sabonis)
- C Myles Turner (Al Jefferson)
This Lineup doesn’t look awful on paper until you really dig into it. Collison is a high end backup at point guard at best. Cory Joseph is a solid backup. Oladipo will be a good defender and a decent second scoring option behind Myles, and Lance will provide a huge spark off the bench. GR3 started a lot of games last year when PG was hurt and did a decent job, he’ll provide decent defense and spot-up shooting. Bogdanovich is a good shooter and playmaker off the bench. Thad Young is an aging but still productive player. I don’t see Thad being on the roster by the time the first game comes around but if he is, he will start and be a low double-digit scoring guy. Sabonis off the bench will be a nice spot-up player. Myles is the guy now that PG is gone and he’s going to need to rebound better, but he will protect the rim and lead the team in scoring. Al Jefferson is aging but can still contribute a little off the bench. He’s a skilled post scorer. All in all, the East is weaker than ever, but a team with no star power will have a hard time competing in a star-driven league. Look for the Pacers to be in the lottery next year.