Tag Archives: Philadelphia 76ers

The Ave Podcast – The 2018 NBA Playoff Preview #BreakfastSpecial

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee. Episode 44: The 2018 NBA Playoff Preview #BreakfastSpecial

Today on The Ave Podcast, we invite Randall Walter (Head Coach of Team Breakdown’s AAU Basketball Program) for our Breakfast Special edition of the 2018 NBA Playoff Preview. We break down each series in both the Eastern & Western conferences, so sit back, turn us all the way up….. and I thank you in advance for making this podcast a part of your balanced breakfast.

*** 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 listen to the podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play, & Stitcher right now on your IOS or Android devices. ***

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee // Episode 44

NBA announces 2018 playoffs officials

 

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

https://app.box.com/s/gcv2q4g9czt6qfp6228h458k74uosen5

 

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 Randall Walter 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 – State of the Raptors Address

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee. Episode 17: State of the Raptors Address

Today on The Ave Podcast, I invite friend of the Podcast Headley, & first time guest Randall Walter (Etobicoke Thunder AAU Coach), as we discuss the current state of the Toronto Raptors. We break down their window to win now and if it can be enhanced by potential moves, whether or not they still have (or can shake) the perceptions NBA players have about the city and the organization, the Dime Theory, “#ClubEtiquette“, plus more.

*** Thanks for tuning in, and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and the blog below. The podcast is available for download. ***

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee // Episode 17

 

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

https://app.box.com/s/uqyh0rd4p16ckx1ma5gsteh3u0cht5k7

 

 

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 Headley & Randall Walter 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 Ave Podcast – The NBA Eastern Conference Preview

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee. Episode 9: The NBA Eastern Conference Preview

Welcome once again to The Ave Podcast. Today, we break down Cleveland…….. and the rest of the Eastern Conference with my friend and past contributor to South Shore Ave Headley B., as we rank each team in the East 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. ***

The Ave Podcast with Cal Cee // Episode 9

Part 1 – The Lottery Teams

Part 2 – The Playoff Teams

 

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

Part 1: https://app.box.com/s/2rgzunu19r2fwc5komyz5ebn6372zp6v

Part 2: https://app.box.com/s/6izdagy9u68yueu7mfq7eraqckd5fvr2

 

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 Headley B. for his guest appearance on this podcast.

Why Wiggins Needs To Be a Sixer

Here’s a simple equation:

Andrew Wiggins + Philadelphia 76ers = A perfect marriage.

 At least this is how it should be.

 We all know that Wiggins has been touted as the best prospect since LeBron, and if the “No HS players can go directly to the NBA” rule hadn’t been enforced, he would have just finished his rookie season after jumping straight to the pros last year. His freshman season was successful (17 pts/6 rds/45% FG/34% 3P) even though it stripped some of the unrealistic hype away from him at the same time. At this time, here’s what we’re essentially left with: A player who’s a super athletic talent, can run the floor, play defence, score the basketball, may have a questionable motor, & even if he might not be the most NBA ready player in the draft, without question he has the highest upside on any player.  

As a fellow Canuck, I would love nothing more than for him to reach his full potential. Not only does it help boost Toronto’s profile further as a new basketball haven, but it also helps to raise the profile of Team Canada. For Wiggins to reach said potential however, I –much like a lot of people — would like to see the level of his aggressiveness being raised. It doesn’t have to be anything demonstrative, or having him constantly beating on his chest & pointing in the stands. But it can small & simple simple changes to his mindset on the floor. For example: as athletic as he is, he barely showcased that in the paint. He didn’t use his 44-inch vertical to tear the rim off on guys, or dunk in traffic. A lot of times, he would attempt the layup instead of dunking it, & didn’t have a huge amount of success finishing at the rim (only converted 63% of his attempts at the rim). I do, however, expect that to change once he starts playing this Fall (or hoping to) with the big boys. 

With Joel Embiid’s injury, it throws off the whole draft lineup. Most likely it would have been Embiid # 1, Parker at # 2 to the Bucks, & Wiggins ending up a 76er. No one has any idea what’s really happening now, but it’s starting to look like Wiggins will now go to Cleveland or Milwaukee. Here’s a quick reasons as to why I do NOT want to see this happen: 

CLEVELAND 

Addressing my concerns with his ability to drift in & out of games, why the f*** would I want him to go to a team that doesn’t necessarily share the ball??? Listen, we all know Dion Waiters is a talent, but let’s face the facts here. He’s not passing the ball unless every pass he makes attributes to two points in his stat line. If Wiggins does end up going to Cleveland tonight, they need to trade Waiters tomorrow. As far as Kyrie Irving goes, I absolutely love his talent, especially the way he can score in the half court. Everyone wants to put him on the pedestal as the next best PG to one day take the title away from Chris Paul…… however, people are not seeing that his game & the effect it has on his team is more Stephon Marbury-like than people care to consider. The only problem with that comparison is Marbury passed more (averaged 8.4/per his 1st 3 years; Irving: 5.8/per) and was a lot more durable. Wiggins will need the ball in his possession more to help keep that “Dawg Switch” on, & his handles are not the strongest part of his game at the moment. Therefore, someone will have to set him up & help create opportunities for him on the floor. So if this backcourt stays together, we’re really to expect that these two ball-dominant players are going to help nurture Wiggins’ switch? Gimme a break! 

Another factor is, as much as I love guys who grew up in the same city, playing together on the same team, there are still so few Canadians in the league today. I want that talent to be more spread out. I really don’t want all of them (Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett) on the same team. On the floor, I’m also afraid of what it might do to Bennett’s potential (and mentally) if he’s not getting as much time on the floor as his Torontonian friends. Yes, essentially, the same thing will happen if Parker plays for the Cavs as well, but it hurts a little worse when it’s the guys from the same city getting more minutes than you are. And out of the three (Thompson’s game is more inside, boards and garbage points), it would potentially hurt Bennett if Wiggins comes aboard. 

MILWAUKEE

1. It’s Milwaukee. I never been there before, but I mean….come on. 

2. The further away from Larry Sanders he is, the better. I don’t want any of Larry Sanders’ knowledge, words, sweat or DNA passed on to him. I don’t even want him to pass Wiggins 1s at the local strip club. The answer is also “Yes” if your question is Is your bitterness of Sanders because you spent $30 for him in your fantasy draft last Fall? The answer is “Yes“. Always “Yes“. 

3. Although he has more opportunities to score the ball here than in Cleveland (let’s face it, he’d be the #1 option), no one else is a real threat offensively. I’d like him to play with at least another scoring option, so teams are not loading up on him exclusively. Unless Giannis Antetokounmpo jumps a level across the board (who I like a lot AND grew two inches since last year’s draft) or you can somehow get Dr. Emmett Brown to gas up the DeLorean, drive back to 2006 & kidnap Michael Redd before he blew his knees out. 

4. The team doesn’t run, which doesn’t benefit Wiggins athleticism in the open floor. 

5. Their PG situation is horrid, and of course, they don’t really have a PG that can help him become better. They are either journeymen PGs who’ve bounced around the league (see Wolters, Nate or Sessions, Ramon), or aren’t really true PGs as it is (see Knight, Brandon). 

Ok, we got that out of the way, right? Now here’s why he needs to go to Philly….. 

PHILADELPHIA 

1. The team sucks. BUT they are also a running team & played the fastest pace in all of the NBA. Sure, almost half of the roster was filled with DIII & CIS role players, but they still ran at the very least. 

2. Philly has been salivating at the thought of having Wiggins probably since he was a senior in High School. It’s always good to be in the hands of a team that is dying to have you. They will put you in the best position possible. Plus they are a blank slate as a team right now (I mean, look at this season’s roster!). They will also be able to pick up a few veterans to help his progress as well with the unlimited amounts of cap space that they have. He would immediately become the absolute face of the franchise and the #2 scoring option at worst, if not #1 by the start of the season (depending on what they do with Thaddeus Young). 

3. As the face of the franchise, the team will look to develop him & put him in the best position to succeed. On a team that runs, who better to pair him up with than ROY Michael Carter Williams, a running PG that loves to pass? Imagine that tall & lengthy backcourt on the fast break running at breakneck speed. Having a PG that not only can run with him, but will know how to create plays for him is so important to his development and to help keep his confidence high. 

4. Although you certainly couldn’t tell from last year, I also like the fact that Coach Brett Brown (a Gregg Popovich disciple & a graduate of The Spurs University) gets to mold him. I’m all for anyone from the Spurs University that can assist this young man develop. There’s a reason any coach/executive from the Popovich-Spurs Tree (not including Jacques Vaughan) are successful, or at the very least respected. I’m willing to take my chances with that, than with the options they have in Cleveland or Milwaukee. 

5. Most importantly, Wiggins will be in the same division as his hometown team, therefore, Toronto get to see him live four times a year in the division. #Selfishreasons

6. An Even More Important point that Joel Embiid ruined: I think not getting the #1 overall slot secretly provides the chip on his shoulders that Wiggins would need. At the very least, it would be beneficial. His whole career, he’s been viewed as a can’t miss player. Someone who will be drafted #1 overall whatever year he comes out. After a Freshman season that didn’t end well (6 pts vs. Stanford in Round 2 of March Madness) & a season that didn’t quite live up to the lofty expectations, somehow not one, but TWO players are getting drafted ahead of him??? If after everything he still goes #1, then everything that happened all season is justified. If the opposite happens, there’s a better chance that missing that #1 slot would piss him off enough that he would make the NBA pay for this slight for the rest of his career. But then Embiid breaks his foot, throws everything into wack, and this whole paragraph will probably become moot. Oh well… 

Most importantly is this, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where in the draft you get drafted. It doesn’t matter if Wiggins goes 1st, 2nd, or 23rd, what matters most is that he lands somewhere that best suits his game. No one will care if he went 1st overall if he’s maxing out his potential in the right system & on the right team. Philly needs to select this kid come hell or high water. 

SOUTH SHORE AVE’S 2014 MOCK LOTTERY PREDICTIONS 

1. Cleveland: Jabari Parker, SF (Duke)

2. Milwaukee: Andrew Wiggins, SF/SG (Kansas)

3. Philadelphia: Dante Exum, PG (Australia)

4. Orlando: Marcus Smart, PG (Oklahoma St.)

5. Utah: Aaron Gordon, PF/SF (Arizona)

6. Boston: Joel Embiid, C (Kansas)

7. L.A. Lakers: Julius Randle, PF (Kentucky)

8. Sacramento: Noah Vonleh, PF (Indiana)

9. Charlotte: Doug McDermott, SF (Creighton)

10. Philadelphia: Gary Harris, SG (Michigan St)

11. Denver: Nik Stauskas, SG (Michigan)

12. Orlando: James Young, SG (Kentucky)

13. Minnesota: Adrien Payne, PF (Michigan St)

14. Phoenix; Elfrid Payton, PG (Louisiana-Lafayette) 

SIDELINE NOTES 

New York Knicks fans, you should be happy with what’s happening here. Carmelo Anthony is a great talent, but you can’t tie up the next five years paying him $129M, you just can’t do it if you’re actually trying to remain competitive. It doesn’t matter what he says publicly, Phil Jackson is secretly hoping he bounces too….. With that said, IF Melo is going to leave New York, his best option is Chicago. The team has a great coach, defense is completely solidified, Derrick Rose is coming back (****praying that he’s healthy***), & the 3rd biggest TV market in America. The only thing they are missing is his scoring. Forget Houston & for the love of good, please kill those Miami rumours dead please! I can’t imagine any athlete — much less Carmelo — leaving as much as $75M on the table, which he’ll most likely have to do to head down to Biscayne Bay. That would be insane, although stranger things have happened….. RIP to Shawn “Biggs” Green who suffered a heart attack while playing basketball last Saturday afternoon in Downtown Toronto. Green for those who don’t know was a legend in the Toronto Basketball community. The closest thing to Charles Barkley that I ever seen in person, Green left us too soon at 41 years old. Hope he’s in a better place……

 

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#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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