Unprecedented: the Cavs-Celtics Mega-Trade

Unprecedented. That’s the word that comes to mind in regards to the blockbuster trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics, and Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Stunning, shocking, flabbergasting. Those are other words that could describe what occurred. But after the initial shock, unprecedented is the word I keep coming back to.

The Celtics and Cavaliers finished the 2016-2017 season number one and number two in the Eastern Conference standings. Later, they met in the Eastern Conference Finals with the Cavs winning in five games. This is the first trade in the history of the NBA in which players who met in the Conference Finals were swapped. A trade between two top teams like this is unheard of. Not only that, but this is the first time in NBA history a trade has swapped two players who averaged 25 points a game (in this case, Irving and Thomas). Yes, unprecedented is the word to describe this trade.

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For the Cavaliers, they get rid of a disgruntled star and get an all-star point guard in Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder who provides good defense on an amazingly cheap contract, a 20 year old center with potential in Ante Zizic, and the 2018 Brooklyn pick that is likely to be in the top five. This trade might make the Cavaliers better this year, and provides them more flexibility for the future. On top of that, it reunites Kevin Love with his AAU pal (Thomas and Love better recreate this picture).

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Rumors have been swirling for months that LeBron James will leave the Cavaliers after the 2017-2018 season. Perhaps this reshuffling of the deck makes LeBron more likely to stay. However, if LeBron does walk away the Cavaliers now have some pieces to build around. The Brooklyn pick should be in the top five, so they can get a good young player, and a lot of people are excited about the player Zizic can potentially be. The pick and Zizic can also be used as trade chips to get an established star. On top of that, Thomas is on a one year deal, if LeBron leaves the Cavs can let Thomas walk and not break the bank, or they can bring Thomas back and still be a playoff team. The trade provides the Cavaliers with a lot of flexibility.

For Boston, they now don’t have to worry about giving the 5’9″ Thomas, who is coming off of a serious hip injury, a max contract. The Celtics have a big three of Irving-Hayward-Horford, which is pretty good. Plus, they also have young guys like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum who can grow and contribute. Do not underestimate Kyrie Irving in Brad Steven’s offense. In Vegas, Irving’s MVP odds went from 50-1 to 25-1, and for good reason. Point guards put up big numbers in Boston. If Irving scored around 30 points a game, would you be that surprised? He averaged 25 points a game in an offense that was centered around LeBron. Irving is going to put up huge numbers.

Perhaps the most shocking part of this trade is that it makes sense for both teams. You could argue that both the Cavaliers and Celtics improved. It seems like a win-win. Between the two top teams in the Eastern Conference. Unprecedented.

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Ranking NBA Logos: 10-1

This is a continuation of the NBA logo ranking series. Rankings 30-21 can be found here and 20-11 can be found here.

 

 

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10. Golden State Warriors – You probably assumed that the bridge in the Warriors logo was the Golden Gate Bridge, but actually it is the Bay Bridge. The blue and yellow color combination is great. The fact that the bridge isn’t centered in the circle is interesting and unique. The logo is featured prominently on the Warriors jerseys, and those are some of the best in the league as well.

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9. San Antonio Spurs – Hey, are the Spurs just good at everything? They haven’t missed the playoffs since Tim Duncan was drafted in 1997. Duncan has since retired, but that hasn’t stopped the Spurs from being one of the best teams in the NBA. Great team, great coaching, great organization, great logo. Silver is an underutilized color, and it works great with the Spurs name. The spur that is used for the “U” is a really smart idea. It isn’t flashy, but the Spurs aren’t either. The Spurs have a logo that rivals the rest of the organization’s greatness.

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8. Memphis Grizzlies – This is one cool looking bear head. The yellow eyes contrast with the two different shades of blue and look really neat. The bear isn’t snarling, but the intimidating glare it gives it more toughness than the old Grizzlies logo. The grizzly is powerful, but calm. Usually, I’m not a fan of multiple shades of blue being on a logo, but the Grizzlies make it work.

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7. Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks underwent a full redesign before the 2015-2016 season. The redesign featured some interesting changes: patterns on the jerseys, a volt green color, uniforms with different colored shorts and jerseys, etc. While those changes have been met with criticism, the overwhelming consensus seems to be that the Hawks nailed their new logo. The logo is very reminiscent of the logo the team used from 1972-1995. It’s simple, but looks great. I don’t know how I feel about the term “basketball club” that is featured at the bottom of the circle, but it is certainly different.

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6. Philadelphia 76ers – The 76ers are named after the year the United States of America became an independent nation. The 13 stars right above the 7 represent the original 13 colonies. The rich blue color is awesome, and it meshes extremely well with the dark red contrast. It looks so simple, but it looks timeless.

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5. Milwaukee Bucks – Fear the deer. The Bucks logo is no longer cartoony. The buck is stoic and fierce, the “M” that makes up the buck’s neck is brilliant. The cream color is unique and gives the Bucks logo a distinct feel, and it draws further attention to the deep forest green color of the buck. Milwaukee’s G-League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, has a similar logo but with three bucks.

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4. ¬†Portland Trail Blazers – The Blazers redesigned their logo this year for the upcoming season and it looks great. It maintains the classic pinwheel and has set it free from the parallelogram it used to be trapped inside. Now the pinwheel is free. If you don’t know what the logo is supposed to be, you are not alone. There are ten black lines, five that are in the red section of the pinwheel, and five in the white section. These represent the ten players on court at the same time, and the different colors signify the different teams. It is creative, but even without knowing what the logo represents, it just looks really cool. Of the five teams that made logo changes for the upcoming NBA season, the Blazers logo is by far the best.

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3. Charlotte Hornets – The Hornets have always had a popular logo, but with the return of the Charlotte Hornets in 2014, the logo was redesigned. And it looks amazing. The hornet looks intimidating and dangerous, unlike the goofy cartoon they previously had. The teal, purple, and white are a great set of colors. The logo makes me imagine a team filled with a lot of fast guys zipping down the floor. It is a fantastic design.

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2. Boston Celtics – The Celtics logo is a true classic. The leprechaun might not be the most politically correct representation of the Irish (and you have to think if this logo were proposed today in 2017, there would be plenty of people upset), but it looks cool. Some of the designs behind this logo might be better, but it is impossible to separate this logo from the amazingly rich history it has.

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1. Chicago Bulls – Could this really be any other logo? The Bulls logo has remained untouched since the franchise began in 1966. It is a true classic. The Bulls have had some rough times, but thankfully Michael Jordan was able to make this bad-ass logo a real winner in the history books. There isn’t much that needs to be said about the Bulls logo. Really, it’s the best logo in all of sports.

 

 

 

 

LeBron Going Hollywood? Other Possible Destinations for The King

Rumor has it LeBron James has his sights set on joining the Los Angeles Lakers next summer when he can opt out of his contract. Los Angeles seems like a likely destination for LeBron. Why not enjoy the great weather, better position his million dollar media company, and join a storied franchise on the rise after several years in the gutter? Yes, the Lakers seem like a good fit for LeBron, but let’s examine some other franchises that it would be fun to see LeBron consider.

1. Los Angeles Clippers – Hey, remember when I listed those reasons why LeBron would be a good fit for the Lakers? Well, forget that last bit about a storied franchise, but the rest applies just as well to the Clippers! Also in LA, the Clippers are the something of the Lakers’ ugly step-sister. That said, the Clippers could pair LeBron with Blake Griffin and make the Clippers a title contender. LeBron and Grffin would be a great top two. LeBron signing with the Clippers would probably force all star center DeAndre Jordan out of town, but the Clippers would still have a great team. If he opts into his player option, I suspect Jordan would be easily flipped for a good contract or draft pick. A core of LeBron and Griffin, with role players like Danilo Gallinari and Patrick Beverley would be a tough team. Though the Clippers may not be a legendary franchise like the Lakers, there are still plenty of benefits to joining them over big brother.

2. Miami Heat – Pat Riley and LeBron may have ended their time together in Miami on a sour note, but maybe LeBron would consider taking his talents back to South Beach. Unlike the Lakers and Clippers, the Heat would have to make some big moves to make room for LeBron. The Heat gave sizable contracts to the likes of Dion Waiters, James Johnson, and Kelly Olynyk this summer, plus Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, and Tyler Johnson are also on large contracts. The cap situation and LeBron’s relationship with Riley alone make the Heat an unlikely destination, but bear with me. Playing in the Eastern Conference has had a profound impact on LeBron’s career. The East has been weaker than the West for a long time, and that does not seem to be changing any time soon after Jimmy Butler and Paul Millsap both went West this offseason. Chilling in the East may give LeBron his best chance at more NBA Finals appearances. A team centered around LeBron, Dragic, and Whiteside is pretty good and would definitely compete for the best team in the East. Plus, who could blame LeBron for wanting to enjoy the Miami lifestyle?¬†NBA: Finals-Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs

3. New York Knicks – The weather in New York is not nearly as nice as Los Angeles, but imagine LeBron playing in the Big Apple and bringing some respect back to one of the league’s marquee franchises. There are problems about LeBron going to New York, though. First, James Dolan is possibly the absolute worst owner in the NBA. Then there’s the fact that the Knicks cap situation looks bleak due to Joakim Noah’s atrocious contract, and the newly acquired Tim Hardaway Jr. appears to be absurdly overpaid as well. Even if the Knicks had enough cap space for LeBron, it would be difficult for them to get a decent surrounding cast to compete for titles. Still, it would be cool to see LeBron go to the biggest market in North America and maybe position the Knicks as a potential destination again.

4. Brooklyn Nets – At the very least, the Nets will have the cap space for LeBron. Brooklyn is not a destination LeBron would consider, but how awesome would it be for him to come into Brooklyn and turn the worst team in the league around? LeBron could do it. He won’t, but he could. Plus, LeBron would look pretty cool in a Nets jersey.

5. Boston Celtics – The Celtics are currently LeBron and the Cavaliers biggest competition in the East. Even going back to LeBron’s first stint in Cleveland, the Celtics with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen were a huge challenge for LeBron. But now, the Celtics are probably LeBron’s best chance at maximizing his title odds. The Celtics are in the East, making the path ahead of them easier. The Celtics would have to dump Horford and not re-sign Isaiah Thomas for this to work, but the potential is mouth watering. A team centered around LeBron James and Gordon Hayward is already something special, but don’t forget about all of the young talent the Celtics have. Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Smart are all promising young guys, plus the Celtics have the Nets’ 2018 pick and possibly the Lakers’ 2018 pick as well (if the pick falls between 2-5, otherwise it converts into the Sacramento Kings’ 2019 pick). What this means is that the Celtics could build around LeBron and Hayward with some great young talent, setting them up for both an amazing present and future. The Celtics could have a potential dynasty on their hands, and LeBron would add to his already amazing legacy.

6. Cleveland Cavaliers – It’s fun to imagine LeBron on different teams, but staying in Cleveland might be the most practical option for LeBron. The Cavs still have Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. If the organization decides to move on from one or both of them, they should be able to acquire some serious assets in return. The Cavaliers are still the favorites in the East. As constructed, the Cavs have as good a chance as any team to dethrone the champion Golden State Warriors. After all, they were able to defeat the Warriors just a year ago. Even if LeBron is never able to win another championship in Cleveland, there is something to be said for sticking with them, the team that drafted him, his hometown team. LeBron left Cleveland once already, and faced severe backlash for that decision. What would leaving again do to his legacy? Ending his career with the team that drafted him would be poetic in a sense. This is the outcome I’m rooting for. Ride it out, LeBron. The Cavaliers have assembled a great group of players, and the city of Cleveland worships LeBron. The most impactful decision LeBron could make next summer would be opting into his contract, and ending his career with the Cavaliers.¬†LeBron-Cavs-Championship