Tag Archives: Los Angeles Lakers

The Ave Podcast – The 2018-19 NBA Western Conference Preview #PlayoffTeams

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee. Episode 54: The 2018-19 NBA Western Conference Preview #PlayoffTeams

Welcome back to The Ave Podcast. On Part 2 of South Shore Ave’s 2018-19 NBA Season Preview, we break down the projected playoff teams of the NBA Western Conference with Julian aka Jules Da Commish. We’ll be ranking each team in the West from the bottom to the top. You’re not going to believe this…..but Golden State made the list. I’m shocked too.

To listen to Part 1 of The Western Conference Preview #LotteryTeams, click here.

*** Thanks for tuning in, and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and the blog below, and also, the podcasts are now available for download. You can now check out the podcasts on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher, and Spotify. You can get to all of those apps on your IOS or Android devices. ***

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee // Episode 54

Image result for lebron james

 

Download the podcast, feel free to click the link below:

https://app.box.com/s/gdg4trg0xtx84jixpg6o8q5l2w022pm6

 

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

To subscribe to South Shore Ave, click onto the Follow button, and enter your email address, or click onto the RSS Feed. Very special thanks to Julian aka Jules Da Commish for his guest appearance on this podcast.

The Ave Podcast – NBA Rookies, The Balls, & The Overseas Lifestyle

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee. Episode 32:  NBA Rookies, The Balls, & The Overseas Lifestyle

Today on The Ave Podcast, I invite Jan-Michael Nation (Ryerson University Hall of Famer & Alumnist), as we discuss the first trimester of the NBA Season. On Part 1, we discuss our love for the Toronto Raptors bench, the return of Kawhi Leonard, the on-court dysfunction of the OKC Thunder, then we list our Top 5 favorite NBA rookies so far.

On Part 2, we break down the Ball family, and LaVar’s decision to remove both his sons from school (for the sake of basketball). We get into the mindset of the overseas professional basketball player, dealing with expectations, cultural & lifestyle differences, the transition into the “post career” world, plus a lot more.

*** Thanks for tuning in, and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and the blog below, and also, the podcasts are now available for download. You can now check out the podcasts on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play, & Stitcher on your IOS or Android devices. ***

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee // Episode 32

Part 1…

 

Part 2…

 

To download the podcast, feel free to click the link below:

Part 1 – https://app.box.com/s/kpat93bavn9uz76w0vgq1q13d5pj2nct

Part 2 – https://app.box.com/s/x4mwgmbp4h9afaobxbonct48j3acxakj

 

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

To subscribe to South Shore Ave, click onto the Follow button, and enter your email address, or click onto the RSS Feed. Very special thanks to Jan-Michael Nation for his guest appearance on this podcast.

The Ave Podcast – The 2017-18 NBA Western Conference Preview

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee. Episode 29: The 2017-18 NBA Western Conference Preview

Welcome to The Ave Podcast. On Part 2 of our 2017-18 NBA Season Preview, we break down Golden State, OKC, Houston, San Antonio, Durant, Curry, Westbrook, Harden, CP3, Kawhi, and the rest of the Western Eastern Conference with Julian aka Jules Da Commish. We’ll be ranking each team in the West from the bottom to the top.

*** Thanks for tuning in, and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and the blog below, and also, the podcasts are now available for download. You can now check out the podcasts on iTunesGoogle Play, & Stitcher on your IOS or Android devices. ***

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee // Episode 29

(AP Photo/Ben Margot) Photo Credit: AP

 

To download the podcast, feel free to click the link below:

https://app.box.com/s/rjnhcnfksox3vm14fmn4hm9aj2oe9dni

 

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

To subscribe to South Shore Ave, click onto the Follow button, and enter your email address, or click onto the RSS Feed. Very special thanks to Julian aka Jules Da Commish for his guest appearance on this podcast.

The Ave Podcast – The Early Season NBA Rundown

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee. Episode 11: The Early Season NBA Rundown

Welcome to The Ave Podcast. Today, Jan-Michael Nation (Ryerson Ram alumnist) joins me to discuss the meteoric rise of DeMar DeRozan, the current state of the Raptors, if Kyle Lowry deserves the max, which players & teams have caught our eyes during the first three weeks of the season (Go Embiid!!!), we sprinkle in a little Donald Trump, review our favorite Martin episodes, and more.

*** Thanks for tuning in, and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and the blog below, and also, the podcasts are now available for download. ***

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee // Episode 11

 

To download the podcast, feel free to click the link below:

https://app.box.com/s/2p563w1cz3v0wichhreh2idxtdi38zwt

 

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

To subscribe to South Shore Ave, click onto the Follow button, and enter your email address, or click onto the RSS Feed. Very special thanks to Jan-Michael Nation for his guest appearance on this podcast.

The Sideline Notes Special

About a month or two ago, one of my good friends (Steph) suggested that I should make a whole article post of “Sideline Notes”, which in the history of the blog, is a collection of random thoughts that I have on current events in sports, music, & or pop culture that’s added at the end of a particular article posting. Initially, I was against this, but as time went along, I decided to give it a shot. So I welcome you to the 1st ever, “All Sideline Notes Edition” of the Baseline Blog. As you can imagine, if this idea works and you guys love this, then feel free to fully credit me as a genius. If it turns out you guys hate this to no end, not only am I willing to throw my friend Steph under the bus, I’m also willing to give you his email address to send over your harsh comments, plus more info if you need it. In other words, I’ll be snitching his business out like his name was Nick Young. At that point you should refer to me as Kobe Russell or D’Angelo Bryant, whichever you prefer*. Anyways, let’s get this thing started….. 

* This is a joke. I am not a snitch. I swear. Please believe me. 

Regarding this whole D’Angelo Russell – Nick Young fiasco that has added more lighter fluid to the smoldering Laker dumpster fire, not only was that a major violation of Guy Code Law, but this is a situation that could hurt business for the Lakers moving forward with regards to landing free agents. He was supposed to be an attractive piece for Free Agents to play with, especially as the franchise Point Guard. But who will trust him in the locker room now? He may have killed that trustworthy and sociable side to him for many years to come….. but in the fast moving social media age that we live in now, I’m not totally sure anymore if this will ruin his career. If this happened 10-15 years ago, D’Angelo might have had to announce his retirement from the league last week & spend the rest of his life trying to define his self-worth by bouncing around from one reality show to the next (jumping from Survivor to The Bachelor, for example. Frankly, this still might happen). With this Millennial generation, I’m not so sure anymore. Russell will have his name and image rolled through the Meme & GIF cycle for a while, but once that passes, he may be able to shake it off publicly. In the NBA Player fraternity however…..

So much for Golden St. breaking the all-time record huh? I’ll say this much, to me, getting to 70 wins in the NBA Western Conference with the Spurs breathing down your back (regardless of how you feel about the Warriors getting past 72 wins) is an incredible feat. Technically they can still get it done, they just have to be prepared for San Antonio to defend that undefeated home streak (who would be the 1st team in NBA history to go 41-0 at home) like a Lioness protects her cubs… 

I actually thought at one point last summer that Jahlil Okafor might be more ready for the NBA this season than Karl-Anthony Towns. Don’t judge me…..

Pan……. Pand…….. Panda……..

As the hip hop community grieves over the passing of Phife Dawg (as you should for a legend), they held a Memorial service at the Apollo this week, where many luminaries spoke, from Kanye to KRS-One. But the biggest news is when André 3000 stated in his speech that there were talks of an Outkast/A Tribe Called Quest album as recent as a year ago, but they slept on it. Um, what the f***???

The decision on Thon Maker’s entry to the NBA draft will be super important to what happens to High School seniors who want to forgo college right away; because if there is a loophole that they can jump around without having to play overseas for a season, believe me, it will be exploited. Something will have to change with regards to the One & Done rule that forces kids to play for one season in college, because the rule is a flawed one at all costs….. 

As much as people would like to advocate for kids to stay in school for two years for NCAA Division I Basketball (and 3 years removed from HS for NCAA D-I Football), when you factor in how much some of these exceptional athletes can make coming out of High School, plus the amounts of money the NCAA makes off of amateur sports (where the kids don’t see a dime), it’s hard for me to see how people can still stand behind this current system, development be damned. Or worse, make these kids stay even longer. If you read the report from Patrick Hruby of Vice Sports about the financial breakdown generated from NCAA sports, it will sicken you…..

Reason why I hate reality TV and the negative part of the social media lifestyle: When I see Rob Kardashian – Blacc Chyna / Tyga – Kylie Jenner dynamic. I won’t even hyperlink to it. Let’s just bow & shake our heads…..

What’s the fascination with O.J. Simpson right now? Within the 1st half of 2016, we will have watched “The People vs. O.J. Simpson”, another documentary on the OJ Tapes, and then a upcoming 5-part 30 for 30 in June of this same trial? I know it was the Trial of the Century & all, but why is there a sudden interest to feed us content on all things Orenthal? I’m genuinely confused by that one. #ImNotBlackImOJ

Speaking of Black, I dare anyone to tell me that Black’ish is not one of the funniest and most well written shows on TV right now. *** Spoiler Alert *** Just in this week’s episode alone, I laughed so hard at the Different Strokes segment, I almost lost my breath. Every character in the show has such depth, & is played so well by the actors. It almost amazes me that it took 20+ years for an African American show to be on a major network……

There’s confusion, there’s disorientation, there’s anger, then there’s the moment when all three of those feelings and emotions bubble together like lava when you know the National Championship game is on right now, and you’re staring at your CBS channel wondering why Scorpion is on, then remembering that CBS lost their rights to a channel you don’t have….

Why did I feel like the only a**hole in the world that didn’t have the channel to watch that epic (so I heard) championship game on Monday night? Days later, people are still talking about it. I missed it all because I don’t have TBS or TSN5?!?! Between my cable package & my android box, I have almost every channel in the world, except those two!!! What’s worse: I couldn’t even see the highlights of the game right afterwards because every Canadian sports channel I had was either showing hockey or baseball, because Lord help us if we miss the Arizona Diamondback’s 2nd game of a 162-game season. Even the ESPN feed was shaky. You got to be kidding me….. 

On top of that, you don’t even have the decency (again…..so I heard) to show “One Shining Moment”? Right to hockey huh? Thanks Canadian TV for making me feel like I’m living in the 80s & 90s all over again, waiting until 2:30A to watch basketball highlights on CNN. The only thing that was missing was the Cross Color T-Shirt & jeans set I could have had on to really bring it home…..

Oh yeah, & nice shot Kris Jenkins. Whatever…..

Who didn’t see these Bryan Colangelo rumors to the 76ers coming? That was a difficult to figure out as a Dr. Seuss rhyme. I’m sure as soon his father Jerry Colangelo came on board to Philadelphia, he was in town the next week looking at penthouses with a unblocked view of the Liberty Bell….

Panda…. Panda…… Panda-Panda-Panda-Panda……

Just so you know, the Kobe reasoning earlier was strictly hypothetical. Everyone forgets now that so much time has passed, but how he snitched on Shaq, his general behavior during the 2004 season afterwards (according to Phil Jackson’s book), & playing his hand on getting Shaq traded was beyond reprehensible. I mean, when Jadakiss & Nas start taking shots at you in their songs…… 

With that said, the reason why Kobe was able to move past that situation started way before he won his back-to-back titles in 2009 & 2010. He deflected people away from his issues because of how great he continued to be on the court, even more so after his case. He threw himself into his craft, and it helped as well that at the time, he was entering the peak of his prime as the undisputed best basketball player on the planet (which lasted for about 5 years until LeBron won his 1st MVP in 2009). Even during that 2004 season, he would come off the plane from Colorado after spending the day in court, and drop 40 as easy as channel surfing on your TV. As long as you’re winning &/or being elite at your craft, while steering clear of any more controversy, people tend to forget. It’s kind of the same reason why someone like R. Kelly is still around now. When he was being charged & the world was looking at him like an absolute scumbag back in 2002, he threw himself into the studio. He put out classic material like Ignition, the Ignition remix, The Chocolate Factory album (a masterpiece), Step In The Name of Love, Happy People, etc. By the time his trial started rolling around, people started questioning if that was even him in that notorious video, all because he got us two-stepping again. He may still have that stink on him to some people, while some others may change the channel if they see him performing on an award show, but as soon as he performs material from the 12 Play & Chocolate Factory albums, to most people he starts smelling like Febreeze. Fortunately, or unfortunately, however you want to look at it, there is a blueprint here for D’Angelo to follow, and he’s able to look at an example for at least another week or two in his locker room. Be GREAT, and everything else will work itself out. Yup, it’s true. Go on, you could be depressed about it.

 

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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Kobe, Kobe, Kobe….

Kobe Bryant. One of the 10 best players in NBA history. The second greatest shooting guard ever. The 3rd leading scorer in NBA History (for now). One MVP; Two Finals MVPs; Five NBA Championships; 16-time All Star; 4-time All Star MVP; 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist1997 NBA Dunk Champion; and once dropped 81 points in a game on Toronto. A couple of weeks before that he dropped 63 points in three quarters against Dallas, outscoring them by himself in the process. He’s dunked on countless people & completed some of the most ridiculous shots we’ve seen since Michael Jordan. He has a legendary work ethic both physically & mentally. He has achieved almost everything you can possibly think of as a basketball player and professional athlete. He’ll be a first ballot Hall of Famer whenever he retires. Did I leave anything else out of this paragraph as far as accolades and compliments go? No? Ok…… good!

We now need to add that he has been THE anchor for the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of his career.

Strong words? Yes, but not really. A lot of the strengths that make Kobe as great as he is — his biggest weapon among other things is his supreme self-confidence – which is what holds the Lakers back. That, “I can do this by myself if I have to” and “Hero-ball/I’m throwing on that cape now” combination. It allows him to take crazy shots if need be, shoot over triple teams if need be, and ignore his teammates when he has to. The sad thing is, there is literally no one in the Laker organization that can tell him any differently about his playing style because, well, it worked in the past. However, that past was something that happened a while ago. Kobe has proven over the years that he can’t be the guy doing it his way 100% anymore. It’s something I noticed personally back in 2012, when they faced Oklahoma City in the playoffs. Not only were those young guys (Durant, Harden, but especially Westbrook) past him when it came to athleticism which is expected, but they had no fear against him anymore. That fear factor was totally gone, & the way they went after Kobe the whole series was crystal clear that Kobe’s time as the main guy making the team an automatic contender was done.

The following season, was when the Lakers tried to load up, trading for Dwight Howard & signing Steve Nash, but we all know how that turned out. I actually don’t blame Kobe for that season, I put the blame on Mike D’Antoni.  His rigid ways of running his system, only keeping a 7-man rotation on a veteran squad, making Pau Gasol (a guy who’s inside game & footwork is almost masterful at times) spot up & shoot 3s as a Stretch-4, generally running Kobe into the ground & helping to blow his Achilles, should take the majority of the blame. Dwight, leaving shortly after the season was over & leaving somewhere around $30M on the table to get away from Kobe, is not totally Kobe’s fault either. I don’t believe Dwight was ever built for the pressure of winning in LA, he’s just not wired that way & that’s fine. It’s not for everyone & it is possible to be an NBA champion outside of Los Angeles. BUT at the time of his Free Agency, he was the Laker’s #1 future asset going forward & they had no Plan B otherwise. And well, Kobe’s personality helped to put Dwight’s desire to stay a Laker in a body bag & help drive it out of Los Angeles with that whole, “you can learn to be the man, as long as you learn from ME with MY ways” speech during Dwight’s free agent meetings. He can’t get out of his own way. Either that or he knew of Dwight’s mindset & basically set to test it one last time. If Dwight walked out the door, he was okay with it because as long as he didn’t fall in Kobe’s line, he didn’t need to be there.

Now, after the smoke clears, Laker Nation are forced to watch a 36-yr old shooting guard who’s had major injuries to his lower extremities, & believes he’s still a God. This team is young, has no young studs outside of Julius Randle (who won’t be there until next year unfortunately, while he recovers from a broken leg), & are trying to learn ways to succeed while the losses piles up.  I can understand that Kobe is trying to possibly teach them his ways of never giving up & continuing to fight, which is great. However, that message gets lost when you’re watching a guy who has carte blanche to do & say whatever he wants within an organization that still fawns over him (only he’s not quite as good), jack 25+ shots without any remorse. The Kobe lovers/defenders/apologists/stans can’t even ignore the 8 of 30 for 25 pts & 9 TOs display he put on a few days ago vs. Sacramento, I mean….. it’s borderline disgusting. At this age, why is he still trying to get up so many shots?? It can’t be for the sake of winning. It’s dumb basketball, & if you’re a basketball lover watching these Laker games, how can you even support this? Over the course of the year, he’s averaging 24.6 pts on 22.5 shots per, shooting 37% FG and 27% from three. The efficiency simply isn’t there, but it’s not gonna stop him from getting up the 4th most shots per game on average over his 19 year career.

He claims nothing is more important to him than getting his 6th ring before he retires, right? Then does he not realize that his continued refusal to alter or change his style of play is like a nightly audition to future major free agents that could possibly help him get that ring? With every cut eye he shoots off at his teammates, every shot he jacks, you can almost hear another door closing on that option that could help him meet that goal. He’s still trying to prove that he can still be elite at what he does & try to dispel history that a shooting guard at his age can still get it done every night. Only that really shouldn’t matter anymore. He has nothing left to prove as a ballplayer, my first paragraph should tell you that.  If anything, his next phase right now should be about trying to make everyone else better, proving to other free agents that they can definitely co-exist with him. At this stage of his ego development, that’s like asking a tiger to change his stripes to zebra. It will never f***ing happen……

……other than that, I love the way Kobe’s been playing this season. It’s been awesome.

**** UPDATE: By the way just so you know, this post was written last night before the Lakers went out and drubbed the NBA League-Leading Golden State Warriors 115-105 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Also, Kobe not only did not play due to rest (plans to start & give Bulls guard Jimmy Butler every shot he can handle tomorrow at Chicago in front of a worldwide audience), but was nowhere near the building. I watched the 1st three quarters of that game last night, and let’s be honest, Golden St. just didn’t have it. So while I don’t think this is a big deal in terms of the Warriors losing to a crappy team because it’s a long season and these things will happen at some point (remember Chicago’s 72-10 season back in ’96? One of their 10 losses was to an expansion Raptor team that had names like “Zan Tabak” in the starting lineup), I found it interesting to read some of the comments that the players made post-game as well as the overall joy that was in the building from the Staple Center. You can come up with your own conclusions here. *****

Sideline Notes

  • As far as passing Michael Jordan for 3rd all-time in scoring, I think it’s a nice accomplishment & he deserves it. Why don’t I call it great? Because I’m starting to observe articles & hear opinions asking “Is Kobe actually better than Michael?”, and the “Kobe vs. Michael” comparisons. Stop it. Stop it now. I won’t even get into the part where Kobe followed Jordan’s career and mannerisms, wanting to not only be like him, but surpass him so bad that it borderline feels like what Matt Damon was doing to Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley. Passing Jordan’s all-time scoring record if anything means this: whenever this debate comes up 15-20 years from now, it may cloud people’s judgment in their eyes just by looking at the stats. People will look at it & think, “Well, a case can be made that Kobe is better. He did score more points and went to more Finals than he did…and he did win 5.” Let it be known, Kobe’s the closest thing to Michael Jordan…..but he ain’t Michael Jordan. I don’t care if he scores 40,000+ points. Here are some comparisons I’ll mention: He passed a record in Year 19 (One season missed due to injury) that took Jordan just under 14.5 years to get (One season missed due to injury). Mike was THE MAN in all SIX titles that he won, winning all six Finals MVPs, Three-Peated twice in 8 years, while never going past Game 6 in any Finals he was in, much less never losing in one. Kobe won 5 rings, but Shaq was the man for three of those. He also lost twice in the Finals.  Michael won 10 scoring titles, Kobe won twice. Michael’s won 6 MVPs, Kobe won once. Also, Kobe never shot higher that 47% in his career. MJ not only surpassed that percentage 10 different times, but shot over 50% six times, while just missing that mark two other times (49.5%). Kobe gave himself two different nicknames (Black Mamba & Vino). Jordan never did that shit. I’m gonna stop this now. Before I start getting upset…..
  • My favorite player so far this season outside of Steph Curry: Jimmy Butler. He went from being a solid role player to the best two-way Shooting Guard in the Eastern Conference over the course of one summer. His scoring leaped tremendously from last year (13.1 to 22.1), as well as his FG% (40 to 48), FT% (77 to 83), and 3P% (28 to almost 35), all while keeping his defense at a high level. He is the perfect example of improving your game in the offseason folks. Usually it might be a component or two, but he raised the bar on everything. If he continues like this, I don’t know how anyone’s taking down Chicago in the East on top of all the other weapons that Chicago has added or gotten back off the injured list this season.
  • That Rajon Rondo trade makes Dallas super dangerous. However, with the West being so supremely strong this season, I don’t even know what that statement means anymore. This trade could push Dallas over the top & make them NBA champs this season, they could also lose in the first round….. and it would still be a great trade that they wouldn’t regret in both those scenarios.
  • Marshawn Lynch’s TD run & crotch dive….. I’m not even a fan of the Seahawks, but that was amazing & rebellious at the same time. It just had to be said, 49er fan or not.

Happy Holiday to all of you, drink responsibly, and have a safe and joyous time out there.

 

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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#TANKCITY VOL.2, PART II

CLICK HERE FOR PART ONE.

#TANKCITY

Welcome to #TankCity Vol. 2, Part 2, where we break down the current residents of #TankCity. Let’s get it started…..

PHILADELPHIA 

As I look at the season of the Sixers who currently have the 2nd worst record in the NBA, are throwing out D-League caliber talent on a nightly basis since the trade deadline, and are the proud owners of a 20-game losing streak with no end in sight, it only seems natural that we check back on our favorite front office people, the Sixers CEO, Scott O’Neil and his GM, Sam Hinkie.  Let’s look into their latest conversation……

***O’Neil cracks open the door to find Hinkie reviewing highlights of last night’s games on NBA.com while singing along to his favorite Philadelphia-based song playing from his iDock station.***

Hinkie: “We still hustle until the sun comes up/Crack a forty when the sun goes down/It’s a cold winter…..”

O’Neil: Sammy! We did it again!!

Hinkie: Ha ha haaaaaaa! & they said it couldn’t be done!

O’Neil: Haha! Oh my goodness, I love what’s happening! Everything we discussed is happening to a tee. To a tee!

Hinkie: I was almost worried about Evan Turner sir. I started to think we couldn’t pull that one off on such short notice. But hey, we solidified the extra 2nd round draft picks and Danny Granger. The media doesn’t seem to realize in this new CBA, 1st AND 2nd round draft picks are like solid gold. They’ll learn after a few years.

O’Neil: Danny Granger………..hahahahahahaha!

Hinkie: Hahaha! I know, I know.

O’Neil: & Doc Rivers thinks he’s going to do what exactly?!?! Do they not have a league pass over there???

Hinkie: Who knows really?  The only downside to all this, is that I’m not sure if we can beat anyone else the rest of the year. I’m not even sure we can beat the Atlanta Dream or the Maine Red Claws right now. It might beat down the self-esteem of the players and the coaches. I feel it the most for Thaddeus Young. I know he’s had his bags packed and ready to go since the beginning of January when he realized how bad we were gonna be, but I can’t give up ALL of our talent this season without getting destroyed by the fans & media. It’s a shame, Thaddeus is such a nice guy too, and I know he didn’t want to…..

O’Neil: F**K THADDEUS!!! F*** him! We’re paying his salary Sam, if he doesn’t like it, we’ll send him to the D-League to battle the Red Claws! He’ll see how sad he can really get when he’s riding Greyhound coach behind the bus driver!

Hinkie: It’s okay sir, it’s okay, I’ll talk to him sir. I’ll let him know that ownership has given him the green light to pad his stats as much as possible for his next contract…..

****O’Neil is still staring at him*****

Hinkie: …….& we promise that we won’t resign him?

O’Neil: Good! Good stuff! THAT’S what I like to hear! Listen Sammy, you’re doing such an exceptional job this year. You’re staying the course for us. Me & the boys upstairs have the company jet gassed up tonight. As a thank you, we’d like you to come along with us. We’re gonna head down to South Beach.

Hinkie: Oh wow sir! Thank you! But…..we’re not playing in Miami tonight sir.

O’Neil: I know Sam. I know. ****smiles at Hinkie**** 

Hinkie: ****long pause**** Are……are we going to K.O.D’s?!?!?!

O’Neil: ****still smiling at Hinkie**** Meet us at the lobby for 6PM. Don’t be late.

********O’Neil leaves the room. Hinkie is yelling while doing Tiger-Woods style fist pumps.********* 

BOSTON

The biggest story that the Celtics will have to deal with this off-season will have to be how to deal with the Rondo situation. Do you trade him for more pieces to rebuild for the future, or do you use all the picks you have to reload for a big run around him? Bill Simmons from Grantland believes that the Celtics can make a move by using their picks and a player or two to get Kevin Love, and when you have two stars on your roster, it’s much easier to get a third star to come to your team. All I know is this: it’s not every day you can get a PG like Rajon on your team, especially one who loves to pass first and plays elite defence for his position. By next season, he’ll be 100% healthy & one of the top 3 PGs in the game again. I don’t think you can give up on that yet, especially seeing that he’s not even 30 yet. Regardless of how hard he may be behind the curtains, he’s a star performer, and his best talent is to make others better. If anything, they should probably look to shut him down for the rest of the season just to protect his body for next year.

ORLANDO

GM Rob Hennigan is the perfect example right now as to how to run your team in #TankCity. Stockpile on those young players and lottery picks, & put them in a positive culture that breeds winning. In other words, follow the OKC mold that he watched & help cultivate with his mentor, Thunder GM Sam Presti. The only difference though is that OKC had a potential superstar in Kevin Durant to plant their flag. Thus far, the Magic doesn’t have anyone that falls under that mode just yet, but a solid foundation is there right now led by C Nikola Vucevic, SF/PF Tobias Harris, and last year’s #2 overall pick & this year’s possible Rookie of the Year Victor Oladipo. If they can land someone to help become the official new face of the franchise this summer, in the weak East, it can propel them to a playoff spot next season. They are in need of a strong & dynamic wingman, so landing Wiggins, Jabari Parker, or even someone like Dante Exum is imperative to their future.

DETROIT

Sometimes when you’re at your work, and you see someone who is inefficient at their job, hanging on to their position for so many years, you often wonder “why?” We’ve all experienced this before at any job that we’ve held once you’ve been there long enough. You start speculating whether that person has seen something that they can use to blackmail the company, like walking in on the owner shredding files that they can be used against them in court. You wonder if they’re secretly related to someone that’s on the Board of Directors. Maybe they walked into their supervisor’s office & found their supervisor going to town on Kerri from Accounting. Or maybe it’s because they’ve been there for so many years, management feels guilty in letting them go. Either way, there simply has to be a reason as to why this person is still employed, no matter how wild or tame said reasoning is.

Which leads me to Joe Dumars, VP of Basketball Operations for the Pistons franchise. As a player, I was one of his biggest fans as part of the Bad Boys era teams of the late 80s. He’s been one of the classiest people in NBA history, so much so that NBA Sportsmanship Award winner is awarded the Joe Dumars Trophy. He’s been part of the Pistons organization for almost 30 years now as a player and executive, but the relationship has gone stale & it’s time to cut it loose. He’s received credit for construction of the Pistons team that went on to win the NBA title 10 years ago. Since the teams reign ended in 2008, he’s been making questionable moves one after another, especially when cap space opens up, and it always seems to set the franchise back. In 2009, he spent $90M on Charlie Villenueva and Ben Gordon (let’s not even get started on how bad that signing was even back then), this past off-season he spent another $78M on Josh Smith & Brandon Jennings to push for the playoffs. Outside of cornering the market for the most left hander ballers (Smith, Jennings, Greg Monroe) in a starting lineup, they have clinched another losing season in Auburn Hills for the 5th straight year.

Owner Tom Gores has to make a decision here. The franchise needs new leadership, & as respected as Dumars is around the league, the teams needs to take another path through different eyes. If he keeps him on again past this season, it will be like staying in a relationship that you lost the love for only because your parents love her & she gets along great with your sister. It feels comfortable, familiar, and because of the years invested into the relationship there’s a sense of loyalty, but it also doesn’t feel right anymore. At the end of the day, it’s time to start seeing other people.

UTAH

There’s a rumor circulating that the highest ratings for the Duke Blue Devils games this season has been in the State of Utah, with people shutting down their businesses to support fellow Mormon Jabari Parker. Ok, maybe that rumor isn’t true at all, but would you be surprised if it was??? By the way, they’re tied for the worst record in the West with the LA Lakers…..

SACRAMENTO

……And these guys! Good news for Rudy Gay fans, he has played more efficiently since leaving Toronto. He’s shooting 49% from the field, 85% from the line, passing a little better (3.2 APG) & scoring just a little bit more (20.6 PPG). This is probably the best he’s looked since his Memphis heyday. It’s probably not a coincidence that he’s much more effective with a quality big man around that can score right? Let’s face it, Jonas Valancuinas, through no fault of his own, is not Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, or Demarcus Cousins. At least not yet. It also goes to show that maybe you shouldn’t have Gay leading your franchise either. Z-Bo and Gasol were the best players in Memphis where he wasn’t the #1 option, & Cousins is the lead dog here. He’s more effective when he’s the 2nd or 3rd best option on the team, which is why I was totally behind Toronto letting him go. He’s a good player, but he basically reached his peak ceiling as a player. He’s made about $73.5M in his career & with another $19.3M coming to him if he opts in (he’ll be crazy if he doesn’t), and as long as he stays in the West, he’ll probably never play in an All Star game. Again, thank you Masai. Thank you.

DENVER

“Woah….. I wasn’t expecting to see you guys here. ***shuffling through paperwork***……but, didn’t you guys win 57 games last year? I don’t understand….huh? What’s that? You want to stay in #TankCity??? Nah man, I can’t do that, you guys are too good to be here. That makes no sen…… you got rid of Coach Karl?? But he was coach of the year! You guys had no stars!!!!…….. You let Ujiri go??? The f*** are you guys talking about man?!?!…… To Toronto??? What chu mean he wanted to go back home?? He wasn’t born and raised there guy!…….but don’t you have the same guys on your squad? Lemme go over your application again….. ***reading*** Iggy’s in Golden State……No Andre Miller huh?…….. Danilo never came back? Damn…… No JaVale either…….AND you guys may get to keep your draft pick too?……..Okay, fine. We got condos available, let’s go check out the model suites then. It’s on the 3rd floor…..Nah, elevator’s out, you gotta take the stairs…..”

NEW YORK

Oh yeah, they don’t own their draft pick this year. Smh.

In other news, Phil Jackson will take the job offer as Team President of the franchise, which to me is a decent move. He’s the greatest coach in NBA History & his contemporaries on his level (Aurebach, Riley) have all gotten to run a franchise in their image in the front office, so why shouldn’t he get a try? His biggest concern right now is the Carmelo situation & what to do with him this off-season obviously. The only way I would make the attempt to keep him in New York if I was Phil, is to really believe in my heart that I can get Melo to change his style as a player. He’s already made comments from behind the scenes about how he doesn’t like his game & has taken joy in breaking him down & beating him when he was coaching the Lakers. If he feels he can do that, they sign him to that long term deal. I wouldn’t necessarily rule that out in terms of convincing him to change, only because he’s gotten the most stubborn players in NBA history (MJ, Kobe, Shaq) to give themselves to the team for the goal of winning. Between that & the stature that he holds in the game today, it’s possible that he could change. Slim, but possible. But then you have to pay Melo at least $25M/yr to stay in Manhattan? Yeah, I’m not sure he’s going to want to do that…….until you remember that James Dolan is the owner. Who the hell knows how this is going to turn out, but there’s a pretty good chance that Knicks could be on their 2nd complete teardown of the team in 5 years. Let’s just move on.

MINNESOTA

I feel sorry for the fans of the T-Wolves. They haven’t made the playoffs in 10 years. The last time they were in the playoffs, Sam Cassell & Lattrell Sprewell were running the backcourt & Kevin Garnett was enjoying his first & only MVP season. As it stands, they have possibly the best PF in the game in Kevin Love who continues to put up astronomical numbers every night, bruising C Nic Pekovic, a solid SG in Kevin Martin who scores & gets to the line (& not much else), and PG Ricky Rubio who hasn’t improved much from his rookie season if at all. I would say that will take some time to rebuild back, especially with all the David Khan debris that’s still blowing through the city. The problem is that they don’t have that kind of time. Love’s a free agent next season, & he hasn’t come near the playoffs in his career yet. Plus he’s probably never forgotten that he wasn’t even offered the max deal when his contract was up a few years ago. Instead, that slot was held for when Rubio’s contract was up.

You can’t really blame Flip Saunders for that screw up — his name isn’t Kahn — but still falls under the T-Wolves watch. If Minny was smart, they’d pull a Sam Presti with the Harden negotiations and trade him once we can’t work out an extension this offseason. Don’t do what Cleveland & Toronto did in 2010 with LeBron and Bosh & try to convince him to stay. The Lakers and the Knicks can open the vaults again in 2015, and you cannot compete with those resources unless Love really loves to make snowcastles & have tobogganing runs during his down time. You may as well get something for him, don’t get stupid.

CLEVELAND/MILWAUKEE

“HEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYY! Cleveland, how’ve you been?!?! Ah, that’s too bad man, sorry to hear that…..don’t worry about it though, we got you covered! We left your Penthouse Suite just the way you left it. I know you said you wasn’t coming back after last year’s draft, but deep down, you know, we wasn’t so sure. We left your place alone just in case. We didn’t rent it out to no one man. We even cleaned it up for you! We got that trophy case all cleaned up for Kyrie’s All Star trophy, got the spotlights for it & everything. Plus, we stocked the fridge for you, & we got liquor in every cabinet……yeah, Ciroc of course! Peach & Amaretto, We got you. We even have a pot of Rice & Peas with some King Fish on the stove for Tristan and Andrew! We left a Gucci knapsack of stress balls in Waiters’ room when he needs to chill out too….. what’s that?……Hahaha! LeBron ain’t coming back home man, you’re crazy! Hey, who’s this with you?…….How you spell Milwaukee? No offense, but you look beat down…..look at all them bruises…..listen, come upstairs, we’ll get a suite ready for you……. No, no, no. Don’t worry about the paperwork, this one’s on us…..”

LOS ANGELES LAKERS

Not sure where to begin with the Lakers, so let’s start with the Laker fans. Please stop acting like the Lakers have never suffered through bad times in their lifetime. Look at the league’s history. Most teams, especially in the modern era, that had great success (championships or not), once they fall & hit rock bottom, don’t normally bounce back immediately to contender status. The only team that has sustained a high level of success in the last 25 years without depending on a complete rebuilding plan, is the Spurs. Other than having the one ‘hiccup’ during the ’96-’97 season, when David Robinson missed the whole season with a back surgery (which led to getting the #1 overall pick & landing Tim Duncan), the Spurs have missed the playoffs exactly once since 1989, the year before Robinson’s rookie season. Outside of that, every team took a few years to get back to being a contender.

The Lakers are no exception. Everyone calls Jack Nicholson the world’s most popular and loyal Lakers fan, but I remember those couple of years right after Magic Johnson retired, where Nicholson was noticeably absent from his court side seats. Not until the Nick Van Exel-Eddie Jones led the Laker team back in 1995, did Nicholson start coming back. It wasn’t until Shaq & Kobe came to them about two years later, did they truly bounce back. Same thing once Shaq left back in the 2004 off-season along with Phil Jackson. Did everyone forget how that team looked the first year after Shaq left the team? I mean, take a look at this roster! It took management returning Phil Jackson the following season & a hissy fit from Kobe the year after the 2007 season, before the team started playing better, and landing Pau Gasol in that trade that immediately made them the standard in the Western conference, winning back-to-back titles by the end of the  2010 season. But now, the Lakers are starting from the bottom again, they are dead last in the Western Conference. The only difference between this time & the other times was that Jerry Buss was overseeing things. Now, this team is being overseen by his son Jim Buss whose moves thus far haven’t panned out since he’s officially taken over.  This including the now ridiculous-looking contract extension for Kobe Bryant that handicaps them Free Agency wise over the next two years. Laker Nation is banking on history that the Lakers can & will get it done in the next couple of years, but just understand that unless the top free agents want to willingly play for with Kobe, it’s gonna be a humbling experience the likes of this franchise has ever seen. Their only concern right now is hoping Laker management nails this upcoming draft.

One other thing……

**putting on Conspiracy Hat*** 

Up until a couple of months ago, I firmly believed that if Toronto made the lottery, they would get the #1 pick, especially if Andrew Wiggins maintains his #1 draft stock hype. New management led by Tim Lieweke, the rebranding efforts (i.e. Adding Drake to the team), getting to host the All Star game in 2016, I assumed that it would be capped off by landing the hometown kid. Now that Toronto has left #TankCity, I feel like the Lakers would be the frontrunners for the #1 pick. It would not only keep the Lakers in the news, but adding that pick with cap space by 2015, will set a new foundation sans Kobe. The only reason why I don’t guarantee that yet is that I’m not 100% sure yet something like this will happen under the Adam Silver commissioner regime. Stay tuned.

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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