Why The Aldridge Extension Is A Good Thing

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Photo Credit: Basketball Wiki, http://basketball.wikia.com/wiki/LaMarcus_Aldridge

On Monday the San Antonio Spurs surprised people as they signed LaMarcus Aldridge to a three year extension worth $ 72.3 million. Aldridge had a $ 22.3 million option for the 2018-2019 season but the Spurs choose to extend him. Aldridge signed with the Spurs in free agency two years ago and has underperformed a bit in San Antonio. Aldridge spent the first nine years of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers and made five all star teams while averaging 19.4 points per game along with 8.4 rebounds a game. Things in San Antonio have not gone as well for the big man and there are a couple reasons why.

In Aldridge’s first two seasons in San Antonio some of his averages are down compared to his time in Portland. Aldridge is still a very productive player however over the last two years hes averaged 17.6 points per game while pulling down 7.9 rebounds a game. in San Antonio he has been the number two option behind franchise icon Kawhi Leonard. Aldridge’s decrease in numbers hasn’t been the only problem as at times the Spurs have been unhappy with him and he’s been unhappy with the franchise. The Spurs were disappointed with his conditioning however this year he came to camp in better shape and formed a better relationship with head coach, Gregg Popovich. Regardless of his struggles Aldridge has become more comfortbale with the Spurs and the franchise still wanted to keep him long-term.

The deal works out for both sides as Aldridge wouldn’t have received a bigger deal in free agency and the Spurs didn’t have any better options to replace him. Aldridge is also key for this team as they try to compete with the Warriors in the West. Surrounding Leonard with talent is the only way they can knock of the Warriors and even though Aldridge’s numbers have slightly dipped he’s still a player many teams would like to have and the Spurs will have him for the foreseeable future.

#Spurs

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Celtics Predicted To Win The East

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Photo Credit: AP/ Photo/ Steven Senne

After a busy and interesting offseason the NBA 2017-2018 season is close to beginning. The offseason saw stars such as Chris Paul, Paul George, and Jimmy Butler traded. It saw franchise icons such as Gordon Hayward leave for a new team and rookies such as Lonzo Ball and Jayson Tatum dazzled in the summer league. With most teams rosters set the predictions have begun and the Boston Celtics are projected to win the East. There are a lot of reasons why this prediction could be right and also some reasons it could be wrong. Even though the Celtics improved this offseason people shouldn’t be so quick to proclaim them as the new kings of the East as this team still has a lot to prove.

One of the reasons the Celtics are predicted to win the East is because of what has transpired with Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers. Kyrie asked for a trade and seems to have a lot of tension with Lebron. They also have the oldest roster in the league and after two straight NBA finals experience the long seasons may start to take its toll on their veterans. The fact of the matter however is that until a team other than the Cavaliers makes the NBA finals from the East the Cavaliers are still the kings. In order for the Celtics to dethrone the Cavs they will have to beat them in a playoff series. It is a very real possibility these two teams will meet in the playoffs and that series will determine whether or not the Celtics are really once again contenders. The Celtics may not have as many stars as the Cavaliers but they are just as hungry with much to prove.

The Celtics also added many new pieces this offseason. They signed Gordon Hayward to a max deal and dealt Avery Bradley to the Pistons for Marcus Morris. The Celtics also traded the first overall pick in the draft for the third pick which they used to draft Jayson Tatum. Even though all these players make the Celtics better it could also open up a weakness. The Celtics saved money by trading Bradley; however he was not only one of the best defenders on the Celtics but also in the whole league. That is something the Celtics may miss in a playoff series. It will be up to the Celtics other players to replace Bradley’s defense. That will not be an easy task and will take more than one player.

The Celtics not only acquired more picks by trading the number one pick to the Philadelphia 76ers but also improved their young core. Tatum and Brown are both projected to impact the Celtics for years to come. This is crucial considering that the Celtics already have two players on max deals and may have a third next offseason when Isiah Thomas becomes a free agent.  Having young talented players on cheap deals will be essential in the Celtics remaining competitive.

This offseason the Celtics got better in for both this upcoming season and the long- term. They are not the only team that did. The Timberwolves with the addition of Jimmy Butler will be a force as will the Thunder with the acquisition of Paul George to play alongside Russell Westbrook. The East isn’t as good as the West but the Wizards are a team on the rise and the Cavaliers still have Lebron. The Celtics have a chance to become the kings of the East but it will not be easy. No matter what, this upcoming season will be a fun one and is sure to be full of surprises and maybe some stars such as Irving will change teams but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#NBA #Celtics #Basketball

 

Celtics Offseason Preview

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Photo Credit: Markus Muzikants

The NBA draft has come and gone. There were some surprises including trades that did and didn’t happen. The Boston Celtics were the team in perhaps the most unique position.  Last year the Celtics finished first in the Eastern Conference and were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals.  However the Celtics entered the offseason with the number one overall pick in the draft and a lot of cap space. The Celtics traded the number one pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for more picks including the number three overall which they used to draft Duke forward Jayson Tatum. With the draft over the offseason has officially begun and the Celtics will be in the middle of everything.

With the Celtics treasure chest of draft picks they figure be involved in any rumor involving the trade of a superstar. They have already been mentioned in any rumors involving Indiana Pacers star Paul George and Jimmy Butler before he was traded from the Bulls to the Timberwolves on draft night. The Celtics are also expected to pursue Gordon Hayward in free agency whom head coach Brad Stevens coached when Hayward played at Butler.  Blake Griffin has also made it known that he would consider joining the Celtics as he was touched by the Celtics tribute to Paul Pierce when he returned to the Garden as a Clipper. These stars and many others who could be on the move are real possibilities for the Celtics.

Through the Celtics rebuild after the Big Three era ended General Manger  Danny Ainge has placed this team in the perfect position. They are one of the teams  with the most cap space and have an abundance of one thing every team wants which is draft picks. They have some very talented young players in Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Terry Rozier to go along with Isiah Thomas, Al Harford, and Avery Bradley. This team has far to go as during the Eastern Conference finals they were dominated by the Cavaliers. One big issue for the Celtics last year was rebounding. For the majority of the season the team’s leading rebounder was Avery Bradley. This shows how good a player Bradley is ;however a team’s shooting guard should not be it’s leading rebounder. The Celtics also need another shooter which is why Paul George makes sense. George  has one year left in his deal and has a strong desire to sign with the Lakers once he’s a free agent. This means the Celtics would have to surrender draft picks and young talent for a guy who could leave at the end of the season.

Regardless if any of these rumors come true it will be an interesting offseason for the Celtics.  They figure to come away with at least one big name. The only question whether or not it will be through free agency or via trade. Danny could also be extremely aggressive and add multiple big names; we’ll just have to see.

Written By:  Jamie Gatlin

#Boston #NBA #Celtics

 

Wizards Prepared For A Deep Playoff Run

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Photo Credit: Al Bello/ Getty Images

In recent years the Washington Wizards have been one of the prime examples of an underperforming team. They have one of the best backcourts in the NBA in John Wall and Bradley Beal however winning a title has been a challenge. The Wizards have two playoff appearances in the past three years. Both times they advanced past the first round only too get eliminated in the second round. There were also reports of tension between John Wall and Bradley Beal. These two players are the Wizards best players and are considred rising stars however they struggled getting on the same page. The Wizards started the season 2-8 and many thought this was a lost year. This Wizards team has proven since that horrific start that they plan on making a deep playoff run.

The Wizards are 40-20 since that horrid start and are getting career years from Bradley Beal and John Wall. They also added sharp shooter Bojan Bogdanovic in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets at the trade deadline. Bogdanovic has been a solid pickup as he’s helped improve the Wizards bench which was a glaring weakness before. The Wizards also appear to be playing with a chip on their shoulder as they are only 2.5 games behind the Boston Celtics for the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Entering the playoffs as the second seed would be huge for a Wizards franchise that hasn’t won a title since 1978. The Wizards certainly have a deep enough starting lineup behind Beal and Wall in Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, and Otto Porter.  Head coach Scott Brooks also has this team believing in themselves even after a rough start. In his first year as a coach he’s lead the Wizards to a 42-28 record.

If Wall and Bradley can keep producing then come playoff time this could become a dangerous team. Brooks has this team believing that they can make a deep run and he may just be right

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Wizards #Celtics

Anthony Davis Finally Gets Some Help

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Photo Credit: Adi Joseph

Yesterday the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans stunned the Basketball world as they completed a blockbuster trade that sent Star center Demarcus Cousins from the Kings to the Pelicans.  The Pelicans received a first and second round pick along with three other players including Buddy Hield. This trade represents a reset for the Kings as they attempt to build a winning team. It was also uncertain if Cousins would re-sign with the Kings as he only has one year remaining on his current deal. The two teams completed the deal as the NBA All Star game was in progress. The trade now leaves these two organizations in different places as they both attempt to build winning teams following the trade.

The Kings have received a lot of backlash for making this deal. They received three players in this deal including Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, and Langston Galloway. Of these three players the only one with star potential is Hield however he is only a rookie meaning he  needs more time to develop. The picks are also important in this deal considering how deep this years draft class is. The problem with picks however is sometimes they turn into busts and in order for the Pelicans to be satisfied with the results of this deal they need to hit on players they draft. If they do not and Hield doesn’t develop into the star some expect this could turn out to be a very lopsided deal for the Kings and set their rebuild back even farther.

The Pelicans now find themselves in an interesting position. They have not been in the playoffs for two years; however they only sit two games out of a playoff spot. Combining Davis with Cousins could make them a power in the West and could elevate Davis’s game even further. Since The Pelicans drafted Davis first overall in the 2012 draft they have failed to surround him with other stars to help him bring a championship to New Orleans. Now with Cousins on the team Davis has that star and seeing these two play together down the stretch will be very interesting to watch and Pelican fans may see their team surprise people come playoff time.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Pelicans#Kings

The Aftermath Of Kevin Durant’s Return

 

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Photo Credit: Zac Al-Khateeb

Yesterday the Golden State Warriors beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 130-114 in Oklahoma City however the game had one story line that has been anticipated for months. Kevin Durant played his first game in the stadium he called home for the first eight years of his career. During the game introductions Durant was meet with a shower of boos. This came as no surprise to anyone as Durant left the Thunder in the offseason to the team the Thunder lost to in the playoffs last year. Not only did the Thunder lose to the Warriors in the playoffs but they had them one game from elimination twice. Since choosing to join  Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State Durant has been meet with hard criticism. To many it appeared like Durant was being a sellout. Combined with Russell Westbrook the Thunder have become one of premier teams in the NBA however in Durant’s eight years in Oklahoma City the Thunder were unable to win a championship. The Warriors presented Durant with the best opportunity to win a title with an already star studded roster. The Thunder fans however were not the only one’s who let Durant know how they felt.  Russell Westbrook who has become one of the most talented players in the NBA was involved in a couple shooting matches with his former teammate.

During the game Westbrook shoved Durant at mid court and during the third quarter the two were engaged in a shouting match during a timeout. Westbrook was not the only one to exchange heated words with Durant as Andre Robertson did as well. This is what many expected for Durant’s return. Years from now Westbrook and Thunder fans may forgive Durant but at the moment it’s a bitter pill to swallow.  Durant is viewed as a villain for abandoning the Thunder and that perception will only worsen if Durant wins a title with the Warriors. Thunder fans however should not forget what Durant did for the team and city while he was there. It is rare now a days for a player to spend his entire career with a single team and Durant showed that. However the Thunder still have a star in Westbrook and time will show if he can give Thunder fans what Durant could not ,an NBA title. If that does happen it won’t be surprising to picture Durant smiling for the team and place he called home for eight years no matter how many times they boo him.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Thunder#Warriors

Celtics Show True Grit

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Photo credit: Alysha Tsuji

Last night Celtics forward Al Horford made his return to Atlanta the place where he spent the first eight years of his career before signing with the Celtics this past offseason. Horford was welcomed back with boos when he was introduced which only motivated his new teammates. Many of the Celtics players said they wanted to win this one for him and they gave it all they had.  The Celtics received solid contributions from their starters and Kelly Olynk had a big night off the bench as he scored 26 points and made four three pointers. Horford also had a solid night in his return as he scored ten points while pulling down six rebounds. This game however would belong to Isaiah Thomas and his fourth quarter talents.

Thomas was clutch in the fourth quarter yet again as his ability to perform when it counts the most has become routine but still remains mesmerizing. Thomas scored 28 points with 13 of those coming in the final quarter. Thomas’ best moment came at the end. With less than ten seconds left Isiah waved off a timeout call by coach Brad Stevens. The result was Thomas nailing a jumper with 2.4 seconds left to give the Celtics a 103-101 win. Not many players are given this much freedom by their coaches and this only emphasized how clutch Thomas is.  This was a big game for the Celtics as they rallied around their big man. They showed  just how far this team has come since the first week of the season and the early struggles that had some people questioning if maybe people were expecting too much from this team. The Atlanta Hawks recently traded away sharpshooter Kyle Korver however they still remain a dangerous team and the Celtics gave it all they had and came out on top. After the game Olynk said, ” We really wanted to dig this one out for Al, he really deserved it”. That’s exactly what the Celtics did and they deserved this win.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Celtics