Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Hear Me Out...NBA trade deadline madness

 

February 14, 2019

COURTESY/ ShareAlike 2.0

Anthony Davis

Before getting to the wild NBA trade deadline a few housekeeping items. First, whenever the Hear Me Out column isn't in the latest edition of the Northern Wyoming News, it will still be posted on the website at wyodaily.com. There will be weeks in which Worland, Ten Sleep and Thermopolis athletics dominate and bump the column, just like Jimmy Kimmel bumps Matt Damon after every Jimmy Kimmel Live! Show.

Last week's column about the aftermath of Super Bowl VIII is up on the website now.

Second, after all that, there's not going to be a Hear Me Out until after the 3A State basketball tournament. It's my winter sabbatical time where I cover as much of the winter sports postseason as I can.

Now on to some NBA talk.

Every year the NBA trade deadline gets hyped up and it never quite lives up to the hype. This year's deadline was far, far, far different in that it exceeded the hype and has set the NBA up for a wild second half. The deadline had it all.

First, there was Anthony Davis wanting to be traded from the New Orleans Pelicans. Through his agent, Rich Paul, he made it known that he wanted to go to a contender but when most of the NBA contenders stepped forward, Davis was more specific about who he meant as a contender, so he cleared things up by saying the L.A. Lakers were his No. 1 choice.

There's the conspiracy theory that LeBron, whose childhood friend is Rich Paul, orchestrated this whole thing with Paul to get AD to L.A. I don't see this as a problem because it happens all the time in the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB. I remember reading a guest column from Player X, I think it was titled, in ESPN the magazine, in which the anonymous player laid out the reality of free agency and just how much influence agents have over teams. There are instances Franchise A won't sign a player because they are represented by Agent K and they really don't want to upset Agent J because that's a rival. And if they were to upset Agent J, down the road that agent will be much more demanding in future negotiations.

Yes, all of that politicking is dumb and goes against the meritocratic nature of professional sports but that's life, very few things are black or white.

I'm not going to bad mouth Davis for wanting out of New Orleans, the franchise had plenty of time to build around Davis and couldn't get it done. But I do wish that Davis would have given the team he had before trade deadline some run. There was some promise there with Nikola Mirotic, Julius Randall and Drue Holiday, just a few more pieces and some time to gel and they'd have been a scary playoff team.

Again, don't blame him for wanting out because when things began to go south this season he probably thought "Here we go again, a promising season transforms into another lost season."

I do think it's funny how this play by Paul and Davis has wrecked both the Lakers and Pelicans. The Lakers are fighting for a playoff spot and team morale was already low for them, now add that opposing fans are going to harass every Laker not named LeBron about how they're expendable. That's not going to help.

For the Pelicans when they traded Mirotic, they let Davis know exactly what's happening the rest of the season. It's all about tanking. And if he shows any signs of injury they're going to sit him out for weeks at a time. Can't have their greatest asset lose any value, this is going to be like the Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston movie "The Break-up."

With the AD drama aside, I thought Eastern teams made the best moves of the deadline. The Sixers gave up a ton to get the criminally underrated Tobias Harris, the trade stripped them of some depth but if you have Harris with Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid, JJ Reddick and Ben Simmons that's an excellent starting five.

I really, really love the Mirotic trade to the Bucks. Milwaukee already had the best record in the league and they swapped out Thon Maker for one of the better stretch 4s in the league. Now MVP candidate Giannis Antetokoumpo has another shooter around him in a quick ball movement offense, the Bucks might just run away with the East after the All-Star break.

The Golden State Warriors are still the team to beat but I think the Bucks and Sixers can knock them off, they've both beaten the Warriors at home. The Bucks haven't beaten the Warriors at full-strength but the Sixers did, and Emiid obliterated DeMarcus Cousins in that win. My wish is for a Warriors-Bucks Finals, two teams with similar offenses and great team defenses; that matchup would be basketball nirvana.

One last NBA trade deadline thought, the Boston Celtics missed a prime opportunity to make a big splash. I'm not talking about trying to get AD, which they couldn't because of the CBA rules. I'm talking about trading Kyrie Irving.

I've made it no secret, I'm not a Kyrie fan. There's no denying that he's a great scorer, one of the best in the league, I just don't care for point guards who put scoring ahead of getting their teammates involved. I know he's averaging a career-high in assists this season at 6.9 per game, but when watching Celtics games his passing feels forced. Like he's passing because he absolutely has too, rather than getting the ball to Marcus Morris because he's been killing it on defense and the boards.

I'm not liking the chances of the Celtics resigning Kyrie this summer but they'll be better off, Kyrie will move on to New York or just to torture me, Chicago. Then he and Zach LaVine will fight for the ball and see who can get to 30 shot attempts first. Meanwhile, Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen are wide open and desperately trying to get LaVine and Kyrie's attention. It will be a special kind of basketball purgatory, and Bulls management will convince themselves they're one move short from being a playoff contender, as they sit 10 games back from the 8-seed in the East. But that's what happens when you have a lazy, resting-on-his-laurels owner like Jerry Reinsdorf.

Uh-oh, I have to cut this off. The grumpy Bulls fan is starting to get out.

 
 

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