Russell Westbrook headed to The Big Easy?

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To the fans of the Oklahoma City Thunder, this statement will resonate with you: It’s so hard to say good-bye. Kevin Durant, the team’s star small forward, is now a part of the Stephen Curry-led Golden State Warriors. Durant has been a model of consistency for the Thunder, and his presence on the court for them will be missed. Fans in Oklahoma City are not pleased with Durant’s decision to take his talents to Golden State.

However, the fans are not going to like what happens next. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City’s All-Star point guard, is scheduled to become a free-agent in 2017. Since Durant is no longer with the team, no one knows if he is willing to sign an extension. Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reported this: “If Westbrook chooses not to extend his contract this summer, multiple league executives told ESPN they believe the Thunder will consider fielding trade offers for Westbrook.”

Let’s be honest. Westbrook is not going to sign an extension, so the Thunder should just look for trade offers now. The New Orleans Pelicans is a team that may try to trade for the five-time All-Star. New Orleans is on the cusp of being a great team in the West. Led by power forward Anthony Davis, the Pelicans are ready to go deep into the playoffs and compete for a championship. Davis, a three-time All-Star, is arguably the best big man in the NBA. He can play with his back to the basket, rebound, stretch the floor, and play incredible defense.

Davis isn’t the only player on the Pelicans with a lot of talent. Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday are exceptional players who can score and play defense on the perimeter. New Orleans also drafted Buddy Hield out of Oklahoma with the sixth pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Hield can score from anywhere on the court, and he is lethal from beyond the arc.

New Orleans should trade Evans, Holiday, and multiple draft picks to Oklahoma City for Westbrook. You are probably asking yourself this question right now: Why should this trade happen? Well, the Pelicans need another player to take some of the pressure off of Davis. Furthermore, Evans and Holiday are not stars, but they are good players. Oklahoma City needs to start rebuilding. Evans and Holiday are both young players who have experienced success in the NBA.

Last season, Evans averaged 15.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 6.6 assists. Holiday averaged 16.8 points, three rebounds, and six assists. Both players are quality starters.

Having a team that consists of Davis, Westbrook, and Hield would immediately strike fear into the hearts of opposing players in the NBA. Teams are not going to double-team Davis in the post if Westbrook and Hield are on the perimeter.

New Orleans deserves to win a championship. Westbrook would increase the Pelicans’ chances of winning one because of his scoring and passing abilities, explosiveness, and defense. Davis and Westbrook would make a great one-two punch. Don’t you agree? 

“The Big Four” in Golden State?

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The Golden State Warriors already have two phenomenal sharpshooters like point guard Stephen Curry and shooting guard Klay Thompson. Shouldn’t that be enough? Don’t forget to add in power forward Draymond Green, one of the best two-way players in the NBA. Sure, the Warriors suffered a heartbreaking NBA Finals defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but that’s all in the past. Golden State is looking forward to making a huge splash in free-agency by luring in Oklahoma City Thunder’s small forward Kevin Durant.

According to cbssports.com’s Ananth Pandian, the “Warriors’ front office is planning on sitting down once free agency starts with Durant to discuss the opportunity in Golden State.” Golden State, along with other suitors, are scheduled to meet with him when free-agency starts on July 1. Durant is one of the best players in the NBA, and he is a lethal scorer. He stands at 6-foot-9 and weighs 240 pounds. Durant is a threat from beyond the arc and in the paint.

He can shoot 3-pointers as well as anyone in the NBA, and he is fearless when driving to the hoop. Durant’s playing style is reminiscent of George Gervin because he is smooth and patient with the ball in his hands. Last season, he averaged 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and five assists per game.

You are probably asking yourself this question right now: Why should the Warriors pursue Durant in free-agency when the team does not need any more scorers? If you were watching the NBA Finals, then you saw the Cavaliers play tight defense on Curry, Thompson, and Green and left players like small forward Harrison Barnes open from beyond the arc. While Cleveland allowed him to take uncontested shots, he kept missing. He shot 35 percent from the field in the Finals, according to desmoinesregister.com’s Tommy Birch.

Imagine if Durant was the one attempting all of those open shots. He would have made most of them. Barnes’ abysmal shooting percentage in the Finals is one of the reasons why Cleveland forced a Game 7 and avoided losing the series 4-1.

If Durant does sign with the Warriors, he would bolster their starting lineup and take a lot of pressure off of Curry. Besides, Barnes is scheduled to become a free-agent, and the Warriors are not interested in re-signing him.

Durant would give the Warriors another lethal scoring option, and a player who attracts double-teams. Some fans do not want to see Durant play for the Warriors because they believe the team already has a lot of talent.

Those fans are correct, but great teams are always looking for ways to improve. It’s clear that Durant wants to play on a team that has the talent to win multiple championships. Is there a better team to sign with than Golden State? No.

Sfgate.com’s Rusty Simmons said, “Thompson and Curry will be part of the Warriors’ full-court press to reach an agreement with Durant when free-agency opens this week.”

The Splash Brothers are trying to help the Warriors’ front office make a splash in free-agency. Will it work? Golden State better hope so. If it does, folks, say hello to “The Big Four.”

Follow me on Twitter @KaleelWeatherl1

The View From Mt. Airy: NBA Finals Thoughts 06-02-2016

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@MtAiryPhil

PHILADELPHIA, PA

This could be the most compelling NBA Finals in recent history. It certainly sets up that way. Look at the components and you’ve got more storylines than a desperate pool reporter at a SUPER BOWL Media Day. The ARMY of King James advancing westward to finally acquire the one parcel they have not owned. Standing between them and the GRAIL they so desperately desire? Only the anointed one,  Stephen Curry, who seems to many, to have already snatched the torch and set up shop in the office of the NBA’s very best player and the most talented aggregate of players since the San Antonio Spurs of the late 90’s. Deep, smart and athletic as anyone could want this Warriors team can excel in so many facets of the game that they win when not running on “all pistons” simply because the ones are functioning to their expectations and limits are just that much more efficient and lethal than anywhere else in the National Basketball Association.

The Finals have though seemingly gone the way of the World Series and Super Bowl. It has become such a big show that the games seem tertiary to the spectacle around them….it seems that just as in Major League Baseball, the conference finals have become the battles to survive and you can almost see the two teams exhale when they accomplish their trip to the Finals.

Like it or not if you’re LeBron James and you’ve now been in the NBA Finals 6 consecutive years, win or lose, how much damage can a loss do to his legacy…..there are always going be people like me who will pile on simply any reason but NOTHING he can do will change that. We just don’t, for a myriad of reasons like LeBron James. He could fly to Mars and back we all would still have something critical to say.

Having said all of that, flip the script.

The Warrriors come into these 2016 NBA FINALS with a mandate to win. We’ve all listened (me with total disbelief) and watched as the regular season became a marchilto “all time” greatness ceremony for Curry as his team obliterated opponents with what is simply, the deepest, most talented roster in the league. After rebounding from a seemingly fatal 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference Finals, are they emotionally prepared to hit the reset button against a healthier Cavaliers team then they’ve ever faced off against? A Cleveland squad that is most definitely on a crusade to cap and validate the return of their basketball child and savior. Do the Warriors have to win to avoid having their historic 73 win season invalidated and used as an asterisk and a tavern joke? What becomes of their legacy and is this record breaking season forever tarnished beyond repair is the question? I believe that answer is yes, yes and of course they have to win. Problem is? I don’t think they have the gas and if the Cavaliers get a split at Golden State this series is in over in 5……either way, I believe the Cavaliers win a game 7 leaving the Warriors damaged but respected for their fortitude under fire. LeBron wins. Cleveland dances. #Finally

P.S. Congratulations to my Philadelphia 76ers on the acquisition of the #1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA DRAFT. Don’t do anything silly. You have picks 1 and then both 24 and 26…..don’t screw it up. Take Ben Simmons. Combine those two late picks and move up if necessary to grab Thon Maker. Finally, the next “fan” who suggests signing Derozan to a max deal of 107 million dollars I promise you’re getting the West Philly Lariat and a BrainBuster. You’ve been warned.

THE KING HAS SPOKEN…OF MT. AIRY THAT IS.

Follow me on Twitter: @MtAiryPhil

Follow @NTheZoneShow as well

 

The A-Train Rant 21.0!!

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Happy New Year one and all, it’s time for the 1st rant of 2015…

  1. Stuart Scott is Mr. SportsCenter, I can care less what you think. Not being biased either.
  2. Pau Gasol is a blessing to Chicago. Thank you Jim Buss.
  3. Jimmy Butler is not only an All-Star, he’s playing like an MVP.
  4. Stephen Curry is amazing…maybe he should be the MVP.
  5. I dislike Steve Kerr still; that Warriors team will forever be Mark Jackson’s.
  6. The Atlanta Hawks will not go to the Eastern Conference Finals this season. I don’t give a damn how good they’re doing right now.
  7. Stan Kroenke gave the NFL the finger and was straight gangster with it.
  8. The Cleveland Cavaliers added two cancers to the team after trading one of them (Dion Waiters traded, received J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert)
  9. There’s no need for a committee for the College Football Playoff, just call it the BCS College Football Playoff and let the computers decide.
  10. Oregon will win the national championship; screw you Buckeye fans.
  11. I’m cheering for the Cowboys this weekend…just like you…I can’t believe it either.
  12. I’m not watching hockey until March/April…that’s when the real fun begins just like the NBA.
  13. I feel sorry for Marvin Lewis and Jim Caldwell…only of these men will get the short end of the stick.
  14. So when does baseball season start?
  15. Dirk Nowitzki is better than Larry Bird. (Became 7th all-time leading scorer in NBA history)
  16. “BOOYAH!”
  17. “Cool as the other side of the pillow.”
  18. “I ain’t gone say nothing, but that ain’t right.”
  19. Rich Eisen is awesome. Never forget your colleague and friend. Classy move.
  20. Shoutout to every sports team that honored Stuart Scott.

MORE TO COME…I THINK. STAY TUNED.

The A-Train

Follow the Train @thealaneii

Twitter: @nthezonesports

Facebook: N The Zone Sports

 

The A-Train Rant 17.0!!!

Mark Jackson

The A-Train Rant will not have the following…Michael Sam.

His name has been saturated for a while now and everyone is talking about him whether they like him or not. But I won’t here. Just about everything has been said.

I rant about the Golden State Warriors and the hiring of Steve Kerr.

Kerr was the focal point during the course of the NBA Playoffs about expressing interest in coaching an NBA team. The team that wanted him initially was the New York Knicks. He chose to go to Oakland.

Of course the media will say it’s more about business…I call bull and say it was about race. Now of course, you won’t believe that. That’s not a part of your mindset, right? Just a crazed blogger like myself.

Now, Kerr (in his last year with TNT as broadcaster) signed a 5-year, $25 million contract with the Warriors. Mind you, Kerr has no coaching experience whatsoever. The same could be said for Mark Jackson when he began. Jackson was fired after 3 seasons with Golden State and posted a 121-109 record taking them to 2 playoff appearances in the last 2 seasons.

However, Jackson only received a 3-year, $6 million contract to coach the Warriors. If you do the math, that’s a $19 million difference.

Now what made Kerr received $19 more million than Jackson. Because he knows the game more than Jackson??? I don’t think so, I think it’s equal.

So why did the Warriors hire another broadcaster and fire their coach? Well my friends, the organization had no faith in Jackson. Although they won 51 games (+4 on the win column from last season), they still had no interest in keeping him. Golden State owner Joe Lacob wanted Kerr because he was a more approachable person than Jackson. His personality was better than Jackson’s as well.

But what does that have to do with winning games for your organization?

It seems to me that Jackson was ousted because he was black who wanted things done his way to what HE thought was to better that organization, and the front office were not going to let him do it. Egos clashed in Oakland and Jackson was cut off because of it. It’s good to see that most of the Warriors players still side with Jackson. That may cause friction with new coach Kerr. It’s just appalling to see that All-Star Stephen Curry is in full support of Kerr. It’s bad when an all-star has lost support of the previous coach. Also bad when assistants are trying to get that coach out at any means necessary.

Of course, it will be looked at from a “business” standpoint. But when you are real with yourself and look at the reasons why Kerr was selected…race will STILL be the issue here whether you like it or not.

In the meantime, Jackson is back at ESPN calling NBA games, so at least I’ll get to hear him lend his analyst talent. I hope he does get another coaching gig after his 2nd tenure at ESPN.

A-Train

The A-Train Rant 15.0!!!

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Time for another edition of the A-Train Rant…now at 15.0!!

PRE-RANT: First off, Happy Birthday to game show host Bob Barker. Today he turned 90 years of age…90! The reason I rant about him is because if you watched today’s episode of “The Price Is Right” they were celebrating his 90th birthday. One of the trips in the show was a trip to St. Louis. Yes, that’s right…St. Louis. I found it funny. I wondered if the producers did their research on St. Louis. They did. They kept it in downtown mostly. The prize included a stay at the Four Seasons Hotel and 2 tickets to a Cardinals game next season. Why? All because Bob had a dream years ago (before being host of the world’s greatest game show) of pitching for the Redbirds. Well it didn’t happen. Whitey Herzog made sure of that. Glad that he’s a huge Redbirds fan though.

Now…to the real rants.

  1. Injuries have truly impacted sports for years…especially when your favorite player goes down and costs nearly a whole season to recover. I can’t remember where an impact injury on the team would later in the season win the whole thing. But then again, the biggest debate has been the safety of sports…is it needed or is it not? Sorry, I can’t answer that. I’m 50-50. With that…the next few rants will pertain to players that have impacted a particular team in some way. NOTE: Scratch that, the St. Louis Rams did it in 1999 when Trent Green went down. Who knows if he was a superstar though?
  2. Kobe and Jim Brown both need to chill. Their “war of words” were both not needed. Kobe needs to focus on how he can get Mike D’Antoni out of L.A.
  3. RGIII being benched is a risky move on Shanahan. I like the move though. I know the game is about money and sacking a franchise player is not the way to go. But he is not getting the job done (given that it’s just his 2nd year) then he has to sit down. Kirk Cousins is a good QB, it was shown in the game where RGIII was down…which proves that he should NOT been the NFL Rookie Of The Year…AT ALL.
  4. Stephen Curry is a beast.
  5. The Knicks beating up my Bulls was great for them…what else do they have going good for them these days? They need a point guard in the meantime.
  6. LeBron is hilarious saying that the Pacers are not a rival…yeah they haven’t beaten you in a 7-game series yet but they continue to bring the best out of you…just remember if the Pacers play the Heat…watch who does the crying during that series and get away with stuff too.
  7. I guess Josh McCown gets no love from Marc Trestman…despite their 2-2 record since Jay Cutler has been out, McCown has averaged 300+ yards per start with 10 TDs and yet you feel that Cutler is the man right now. #CrybabyStatusAlert
  8. This Nick Saban drama is giving me a headache. I hate it when big-time coaches have to be so damn secretive about their next move. Then get all kind of representatives from nowhere to say whether he is staying or going. For all we know, his ass could be lying too. Just have got to love media nowadays.
  9. The baseball winter meetings are getting real. Fights breaking out in parking lots. Stupid funny.
  10. Matt Elam will learn who Megatron really is. You don’t make comments about a superstar if you can’t back it up. Elam’s stat: 2 passes deflected, 0 interceptions…GOOD LUCK SIR! I actually agreed with Skip Bayless on this one.

That’s all I have for today. More to come. Actual blog coming up.

The A-Train

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