By Nate Taylor
In this month’s article I had all intentions on completely writing about the 2018 soccer World Cup but the NBA free agency moves have shocked the entire world. Here is a quick update on the World Cup in a few sentences for those who are a little disappointed. The two greatest players in the world and of this millennium (Messi and Ronaldo) were knocked out in the round of 16! The favorite to win the World Cup (Germany) didn’t make it into the round of 16 and the second team with the highest odds to win the tourney (Spain) was knocked out in the round of 16 by what was assumed by many to be a below mediocre home team Russia. Lastly, Neymar Jr and his antics were the favorite to win the World Cup, while Neymar was putting his run in for the best soccer player in the world, but Belgium ruined that with a 2-1 win in the quarter finals. France then beat Croatia 4-2 in an amazing World Cup final. The young French star Mbappa made history by becoming the only teenager to score in a World Cup final since the great Brazilian legend Pele.
Of course, this all has almost been lost by the recent NBA free agency news. The NBA always had the tendency to steal headlines like the thief in the night. Just behind the NFL, the NBA always seems to have earth breaking news even during its offseason and this year they definitely didn’t let us down. With the Cleveland Cavaliers getting swept in the NBA finals, all eyes where on the “King” as he entered free agency. Questions loomed all season on if Lebron would stay with the Cavs or take is talents elsewhere.
Paul George started the major moves by re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder with a four-year, $137million max contract. When everyone was almost sure he was going to his hometown LA to play with the Lakers, George caught almost everyone by surprise with this deal saying he had some “Unfinished Business” in OKC. I’m pretty sure playing with the talents of Russell Westbrook had a lot to do with his decision. OKC have released Melo to look for another team to play for, which is not surprising after his last season performance, well lack of performance. The top candidates to land Melo are the Houston Rockets, LA Lakers, NY Knicks can bring Melo back home or the Miami Heat.
After Paul George’s signing the NBA dominoes began to fall. Chris Paul re-signed with the Houston Rockets four-years, $160M. Next was DeAndre Jordan, after verbally agreeing to a contract with the Dallas Mavericks in 2015 then reneging and signing back with the Clippers, this time Dallas can take the deep breath as they sign the athletic center to a one-year, $24M deal. Then the big news came when the announcement was made “King” James will be joining the Ball family and the Lakers with a four-year, $154M deal. Personally, the best choice I believe James had. He did what he had to do for Cleveland and being around a bunch of bench players were not going to help him. The Sixers were to stacked with young all-stars but not enough pure shooters to put around Lebron, which also would have clashed with James and Ben Simmons on the floor at the same time since they are both ball dominate. Houston was never a real option if we want to be honest. So the Lakers had the only real chance to attract James, with young upcoming talents in Lonzo, Ingram and Kuzma; which Lebron can teach and mentor in his latter years while still building and contending in the playoffs. Is LA a championship contender as of now? By no means they are but this will bring “Showtime” back to LA and make them a playoff team again. This is not the only move Magic Johnson and the Lakers organization made this offseason. To help Lebron out they brought in NBA champions Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee both on a one-year deal. Also joining LA is the self-proclaimed “Lebron kryptonite” Lance Stevenson. Stevenson is a great move for the Lakers because he is a tough hardnose defender who is not afraid of anyone (product of NY) and will knock down shots, which Lebron will love to play with.
Finalizing signings for the week, Aaron Gordon re-signed with Magic on a four-year deal. Avery Bradly agreed to a two-year, $25M deal with the Clippers. Devin “Majin Buu” Booker re-sign with the Phoenix Suns on a Max deal for five-years, $158M. Lastly and probably the most surprising signing so far, came when DeMarcus Cousins signed with the already stacked Golden State Warriors, with a one-year, $5.3M deal. Give them the Championship now!!! Why even watch or play this basketball season when the reining NBA champions have now added another all-star to their squad now giving them five IN THE STARTING LINEUP! Not only that but they are also looking to sign “Mr. Six Man” Jamal Crawford. Golden State is not taking their foot off the basketball peddle. This has people questioning the competitiveness of the NBA and players of this generation, also is this the way teams are going to look to create their roster. The thought of Super-Teams!
This summer has been very entertaining in sports and this is just the midpoint, I’m sure we the fans can’t wait to see what’s still to come. By the way Kawhi Leonard has now been traded LOL. The former NBA 2-time defensive player of the year and Finals MVP is now a Toronto Raptor. The trade sent Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to the Raptors, while the Spurs received DeMar DeRozan, center Jakob Poeltl and a protected first-round pick in 2019. Who is the real winner of this trade, I have no idea, but I know the Raptors only have a year with Kawhi Leonard who has expressed many times that he wants where his home town colors Purple and Gold. We will see what happens next year but as for this year as for the fans and everybody, we want to see the fireworks keep exploding!