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  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:18 AM on May 24, 2020 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , Zion Williamson   

    Who’ll Take the Throne from LeBron? Is Zion Williamson the Crown Prince? 

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:55 AM on May 24, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Zion Williamson is the last of my six candidates to become the best player of the 2020’s decade. Probably the most celebrated NBA rookie since LeBron James was drafted 17 years ago, Zion has a similar combination of otherworld athleticism and brutal physicality. At 280 lbs, he’s like Shaq in a power forward’s body with the handle and stroke of a shooting guard. His freakish body not only promises a level of play few in league history have been able to reach but also legitimate concern over whether he can remain healthy considering his weight and style of play.

      As we’ve discussed when reviewing Giannis, Kawhi, KD, AD, and Luka, winning honors as the best player of the decade requires three things: consistent MVP performances, great health and durability, and a handful of championship rings. For a athletic marvel like Zion, the first certainly seems possible while the second and third may become his handicaps. Despite a great rookie season, injuries prevented him from legitimately being in consideration of ROY honors. And while David Griffin has done an admirable job surrounding Zion with more talent than most #1 draft picks enjoy, the truth is winning championships may be hard to do for a small market franchise like New Orleans Pelicans.

      One of the big surprises for Zion’s rookie season was has ability to shoot the ball. In college, he shot a mediocre 33.7% from deep and a poor 64.0% from the line, raising concern over whether he would be able to shoot well enough to become a generational superstar in the NBA. To everybody’s surprise, Zion shot an amazing 46.2% from deep. Unfortunately, his poor 64.5% shooting from the line probably indicates that his elite three-point shooting may be an outlier, which further muddies the waters as to how good Zion can eventually become.

      To prevail as the best player of the 2020’s decade, Zion will probably have to dominate the second half of the decade as most young superstars have difficulty winning in their first five years in the league. The challenge is especially tough for the Pelicans as they’re in the West and have to deal with the Lakers and Clippers and a host of well-stocked playoff teams. I hope Zion can remain healthy but it could be difficult for a high flying 280 pounder who plays recklessly above the rim. But if the young talent Griffin has assembled around him develops as hoped, he will have a shot to become a transcendent superstar and compete for best player on the planet for the next decade.

      • p ang

        p ang 1:43 AM on May 25, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        A wider yet shorter Blake Griffin. Oohs and aahs but that’s about it.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:51 PM on May 24, 2020 Permalink |  

    Shams: NBA-issued GM survey reveals competition formats that are in play 

    The NBA has sent a survey to its 30 general managers regarding competition formats for the resumption of the 2019-20 season, sources told The Athletic. This continues the NBA’s process of gathering information and input from its organizations prior to a restart amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    GMs received the survey late Friday night, which included polling on whether the NBA should do a play-in tournament, the preferred number of teams to enter the playing site and the preferred number of scrimmages or regular-season games prior to the playoffs.

    The feeling is that GMs across the NBA believe that this survey allows them to have input, but also believe the league’s ultimate decision-making power remains in the hands of commissioner Adam Silver and the Board of Governors, as well as the players. Further clarity is expected to come during the upcoming week.

    There are still several questions remaining regarding format and testing on the playing site. The Athletic reported on Wednesday that the NBA was in serious talks with the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando to become the playing site.

    According to multiple sources, the NBA, led by Silver, also held a conference call with GMs on Thursday in which several notable topics were discussed:

    A two-step approach to the start of games: Two-week training camp in a team’s market, then a two-week quarantined training camp in the playing location.

    Players are resistant to the full nasal swab coronavirus test: As a result, the league is working on acquiring more comfortable testing via saliva or via the tip of the nose.
    Once in the bubble site, teams could share support services: This includes doctors and security personnel, to lessen the number of people involved.

    GMs then received the survey late Friday night, in which they are able to vote on a series of scenarios, The Athletic has learned.

    Season formats for consideration:

    — Advance directly to playoffs: (16 teams, four rounds, best-of-seven series) with postseason teams based on standings as of March 12

    — A “Playoffs Plus” option: Expanding the number of teams with the opportunity to play, either through holding a play-in tournament to determine the final seed(s) in playoffs, to be played by “bubble teams” or replacing the first round of the playoffs with a group stage.

    — If “Playoffs Plus” — how many teams should return to play: 18, 20, 22 or 24?

    — Resume regular season with all 30 teams: All teams plays same number of games.

    — Resume regular season with all 30 teams, plus play-in: All teams play same number of games, followed by play-in tournament for the final seed(s) and traditional playoffs.

    — “Playoffs Plus” play-in format options: Play-in tournament featuring bubble teams for 8th seed; play-in tournament for 7th and 8th seed; or group stage that replaces first round of playoffs and all participating in groups (each team plays two games against each group opponent and top two teams from each group advances to traditional second round).

    Scrimmage games prior to any restart:
    — 2, 3, 4, or 5

    Total regular season games:
    — 72 or 76

    Playoff format:
    — Traditional (East/West) or reseed all teams

    — Roster considerations:

    The possibility of limited roster expansion (choice of 1-3 additional spots, would allow teams to have more players on its inactive list)

    The possibility of expanding playoff rosters for all playoff teams (one or two additional participants)

    The possibility of allowing two-way players to be eligible for playoffs
    Latest possible date for finish:

    — Labor Day, Sept. 15, Oct. 1, Oct. 15 or Nov. 1

    As evidenced by the GM survey and conversations to close the week, the NBA still must reach a point of feeling comfortable on a return to play. As Silver told players on a call this month, the NBA will be choosing from “a lot of bad options” and none that are risk-free.

    The NBA will hold a Board of Governors call on Friday, May 29.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:47 PM on May 24, 2020 Permalink |  

    Los Angeles Lakers: An amnesty clause could pave the way for Chris Paul 

    The possibility of an amnesty clause opens intriguing scenarios for Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Lakers.

    While the return of Los Angeles Lakers basketball and the 2019-20 season looks increasingly likely, things still need to be addressed and eventually sorted out about the financial loss the coronavirus pandemic has been causing to the NBA.

    A restructuring of the current CBA is on the horizon and negotiations between the NBPA and the owner will need to take place in order to define how to readjust the economics in accordance with the situation.

    Among the owner’s possible propositions, there have been rumors of an amnesty clause. An option that usually allows teams, once per CBA, to cut a player and not have his contract counting against the salary cap.

    Obviously, this is an interesting tool that benefits more the owners than the players, allowing the earlier to free the cap space from massive undesired contracts, although still keeping paying the latter.

    But sometimes it is a blessing for players too. Those who find themselves stuck in uncomfortable situations but do not want to renounce to their money. If agreed by both parties, the player can be waived by the team to reach a more desirable situation while maintaining his lucrative salary.

    • p ang

      p ang 1:45 AM on May 25, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      CP3 comes, Rondo re-ups, chemistry be damned. Be lucky to get 41 wins.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 4:27 PM on May 24, 2020 Permalink |  

    LeBron has assisted Anthony Davis 172 times this year. First in league by 42 assists. 

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 4:01 PM on May 24, 2020 Permalink |  

    Dion Waiters told me he’s excited as hell to play with the Lakers 

  • DJ2KB24

    DJ2KB24 7:54 PM on May 23, 2020 Permalink |  

    Hey peeps, listen to LT on his Podcasts. Fun for sure!

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:33 PM on May 23, 2020 Permalink |  

    With no crowd teams will have to get fired up relying on their own benches, 

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:29 PM on May 23, 2020 Permalink |  

    Los Angeles Lakers: 3 stars to pair with Anthony Davis post-LeBron James 

    1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
    2. Ben Simmons
    3. Kyrie Irving

  • Magicman (Editor)

    Magicman (Editor) 4:44 PM on May 23, 2020 Permalink |  

  • Magicman (Editor)

    Magicman (Editor) 1:21 PM on May 23, 2020 Permalink |  

    I remember before my Dad passed on elsewhere, he said “The one hurt growing old isn’t getting old it’s watching everyone die before you. The last survivor, there’s nothing lonelier Seannie.”

    Man, that hit me like a ton of bricks and the more I think about it, the more it’s true.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:02 PM on May 23, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Your pops hit the nail on the head, Sean. I’m 75 and have already lost two of my best friends, both to cancer. Now all the rock, movie, and sports stars I grew up idolizing are dropping like flies. Glad to be alive but the reminders hit you like hard rocks.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:38 PM on May 23, 2020 Permalink |  

    Lakers’ Jared Dudley Shares Details on NBA Return Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic 

    Dudley began by piggy-backing off of an earlier report by The Athletic, stating that Disney World in Orlando, Florida has become the frontrunner as the host site for the return of the NBA season.

    Both Orlando and Las Vegas have been mentioned before, but Dudley added that Houston, and even Hawaii have been named as serious contenders to host the NBA recently, but said he believes it’s going to be Orlando when it’s all said and done.

    “Orlando makes perfect sense because of Disney,” said Dudley. Disney owns ABC and ESPN, both broadcast partners with the NBA.

    NBC LA reached out to sources with knowledge of the discussions, and they confirmed that Disney World is the frontrunner and that a deal is “close, if not imminent.” During the conference call with Dudley, he said that players would need at least six weeks of training and practicing to ramp up before the season resumes, and mentioned a start date of mid-June for training camp 2.0 to begin, and mid-July for the season to resume. Multiple sources confirmed both of those dates and scenarios as well.

    Dudley said that he’s 90 percent confident that the NBA season will resume, and stated that the only reason he’s not 100 percent is because the coronavirus itself could change any current plans and scenarios rather quickly.

    Dudley also cleared up a misconception that has been rumored when it comes to the one-site “bubble” scenario. Regardless of which site hosts the NBA, the original assumption would be that players would have to leave their families and quarantine at one location for multiple months in order to be able to resume play.

    Dudley said that’s not true. Not only did he say players would be allowed to bring their families to Disney World in Orlando, he added that players would be able to come and go as they please.

    When asked if he thought all 30 teams would have to return to Orlando to finish the season, or if the league would jump straight to the playoffs, with or without play-in games, Dudley said he’s heard rumors of all those scenarios, but ultimately believed the league would go straight to the playoffs with each round being the traditional seven-game series.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:44 PM on May 23, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Some interesting stuff, especially how the fact that Disney owns ABC and ESPN could be a huge factor in DisneyWorld winning out at the venue when games return as well as the comments that the league might go straight into the playoffs, which makes sense. Almost impossible for the non-playoff teams to move up in a 70-game season and spending 3 to 6 weeks getting ready to play 5 or 6 games really doesn’t make sense. And no way the league wants to devalue the championship by playing less than the traditional 7 games series.

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 4:46 PM on May 23, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I realize they may want to capitalize on Zion’s presence but they’re a full 3 games out. If it was one game or tied different story maybe.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:29 PM on May 23, 2020 Permalink |  

    Latest Contract Buzz on Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, More 

    This offseason, the NBA’s salary cap is likely going to impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, potentially even decreasing ahead of the 2020-21 season. There are going to be many teams affected by the situation, and that could include the Los Angeles Lakers.

    There are numerous different ways the offseason could go for the Lakers, and that was the case even before it became apparent that the pandemic could impact the salary cap. That’s because they have a handful of players with player options for next season, including star power forward Anthony Davis.

    The Athletic’s John Hollinger recently broke down Los Angeles’ upcoming offseason and the players who will have decisions to make about whether to return to the team next season. Hollinger thinks it’s clear that Davis will opt out and re-sign with the Lakers on a max contract, noting that would be $32.7 million “under an adjusted cap.”

    Hollinger doesn’t think things are going to be as clear for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Avery Bradley, JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo.

    “[All four] are reasonably paid and could just as easily opt in as not,” Hollinger wrote. “It’s equally possible all four opt out, which would give the Lakers $36 million in room from the tax, but also leave seven open roster spots to fill—at least a couple of which would need to be filled by re-signing the aforementioned players.”

    Of course, if all four of those players opt in, it would give the Lakers less flexibility to potentially sign any other players. But they also wouldn’t have as many needs with those players back on their roster.

    While each of those four players have had contributions during Los Angeles’ successful 2019-20 season, it might be Caldwell-Pope and McGee who would be the most valuable to the team moving forward. Caldwell-Pope averaged 9.5 points over 63 games, mostly coming off the bench, while McGee started 61 games at center and averaged 6.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest.

    Not only do the Lakers have five players with player options, but they also have several veteran players who are set to become unrestricted free agents this offseason, a group that includes Dwight Howard. In his return season to Los Angeles, Howard has become a valuable bench player, averaging 7.5 points and 7.4 rebounds in 62 games.

    Howard signed a minimum deal with the Lakers prior to this bounce-back season, but it’s unlikely he’d do so again for 2020-21, which Hollinger noted as he broke down Howard’s situation entering the offseason.

    “Assuming he’s too good to sign another minimum deal, it means the Lakers would have to use a chunk of their mid-level ($9.25 million) to re-sign him,” Hollinger wrote.

    So, there will be a lot to monitor regarding the Lakers when the offseason arrives as players make decisions on their options and they decide how to best construct their roster on a potentially lower salary cap and possibly with multiple holes to fill.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:32 PM on May 23, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think Hollinger is way off base regarding Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Avery Bradley, JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo. I don’t see any of those guys wanting to leave the Lakers because of chemistry, the chance to win a ring, and the impact the coronavirus pandemic is likely to have on the free agent market. I expect all four to decline their player options.

      Dwight Howard could probably get some offers in free agency but I think he will prefer to stay with the Lakers. At this point in his career, the money is not as important as staying with a team he loves and getting a shot at winning that elusive championship ring. I see him returning as well as all five of the players with player options, including AD.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:36 AM on May 23, 2020 Permalink |  

    NBA Negotiating to Resume Season in Orlando in Late July? 

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:14 AM on May 23, 2020 Permalink |  

    Patrick Ewing tests positive for COVID-19 

    Wishing Patrick, and everyone suffering from this, as speedy a recovery as possible. Sad news…

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:43 AM on May 23, 2020 Permalink |  

    This Is My Lakers' "Dream Off-Season" 

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:03 AM on May 23, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Kudos to Jonathan Kiernan, who basically laid out what is my perfect ‘Dream Off-Season’ for the Lakers. Every one of his moves is something I have championed for the last couple of months. Of course, it would take a perfect storm of good fortune for this all to happen but it’s fun to contemplate and not entirely impossible.

      First, I don’t think it’s likely Anthony Davis signs a long-term contract with the Lakers. Not because he’s going anywhere but because it probably makes sense to sign a two year deal and delay a long-term deal until he would have ten years and be eligible to sign a supermax deal. Because of the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s even possible it AD could make more next season by just declining his player option, which would work well for the Lakers and their pursuit of Antetokounmpo offseason after next. At any rate, it’s a lock that Anthony Davis will be wearing purple and gold next season.

      Second, re-signing DeMarcus Cousins on a deal similar to what he signed last season also seems like a slam dunk provided he appears to have recovered and is still going to be a force. I’ve long believed the key to making LeBron James and Anthony Davis more effective is having a stretch five center who can spread defenses and open up driving lanes, especially against teams like the Bucks and Clippers who like to play drop coverage and force teams to try and beat them with three-point shooting. Boogie is the perfect front court mate for AD and I believe he wants to return to the Lakers. If healthy, Cousins at center is a done deal.

      Third, the Lakers will for the first time have the non-taxpayer $9.7 million MLE available, which should be enough to lure free agent point guard Goran Dragic to don the purple and gold. The combination of a chance to start, win his first ring, and play with LeBron James and Anthony Davis should be an irresistible opportunity for Goran. Again, this should be a very achievable signing for the Lakers.

      Fourth, we come to the trade for Zach LaVine, which would cost the Lakers Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green, and their 2020 and 2025 first round picks. Unlike the other three moves, this is going to be tough to pull off because the Bulls are going to get other strong offers for the 25-year old LeVine. They might even be able to pull off a sign-and-trade for a more established star player than Kuzma or Green. The key to this trade becoming more feasible in my opinion has to be the Lakers winning the championship this season with both Kuzma and Green having great playoffs. That would elevate the trade from a pipe dream to a realistic option. The Lakers could also throw in Alex Caruso to sweeten the pot but they need Kuzma to consolidate his upside and Green to show he’s still a valuable chip for this to happen.

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