Bittersweet: Cavs Lost But LeBron Becomes the Youngest to Reach 30,000 Points

The Spurs make the King bleed for his points as Cleveland drops 4 of their last 5 games

There’s no stopping LeBron James now. He has been ripping through numerous history books and some jerseys too. Some even claim that he is the greatest player of all time to play the game of basketball, possibly greater than the likes of Kobe Bryant and yes, even His Airness, Michael Jordan.
While stopping Lebron James seems an impossible task to accomplish even among elite defenders in the NBA, stopping, beating and adding to the miseries of the still losing Cleveland Cavaliers seems a lot easier these days.
On a night when LeBron James became the youngest NBA player to reach 30,000 career points, the San Antonio Spurs finally broke out of their own slump as the Spurs beat the Cavs,114-102.
What were the differences?

LaMarcus Aldridge’s 30 points

With Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol all out and are resting their injured bodies, the Spurs turned to LaMarcus Aldridge this time around. And Aldridge delivered as he led all scorers with 30 points on 12 for 18 field goal shooting. He added 8 rebounds, 2 steals and a blocked shot for another complete big man. Most of his points came from mid-range jumpers off perfect pick-and-roll plays. Now that’s efficiency, folks.

Clamped Down Defense

As mentioned, stopping LeBron James is virtually a nightmare but it doesn’t mean that you can’t slow him down. Sure, he had 28 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists, an MVP-kind of a stat line but the Spurs played suffocating defense on the King which worked to perfection because the King shot 10 for 23 from the field including a horrible 2 for 6 performance from downtown. Also, the King turned the ball over 5 times. 

Conclusion

If you have seen Tyronn Lue’s clueless face during the game, that’s exactly how clueless the Cavs were. While there’s no denying that Cleveland is now in a crisis, they will have to fix whatever issues they have because LeBron James can’t save them every single game even if he goes supernova. 
On the other hand, it seems that the Spurs are slowly learning to play and win without Kawhi Leonard and without Tony Parker as their starting point guard and for San Antonio, that’s definitely a good sign because they continue to trust one another. After all, the Spurs might be the dark horse who can take down the empire of the Golden State Warriors. 

What is Really Wrong with the Cavs?

Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas has some ideas

Whether their fans will admit it or not, the struggles of the Cleveland Cavaliers are REAL.


To begin with, this is the Cleveland Cavaliers team that erased a 3-1 Finals deficit against the empire of the Golden State Warriors two seasons ago. So what is the difference between that Cavs team and this one that we are seeing right now?

For starters, that team had an effective Tristan Thompson and a KYRIE IRVING. This season, Kyrie Irving is now doing the Alpha dog job for the league-leading Boston Celtics while Tristan Thompson hasn’t been the same since he was dealing with his own injury problem. Thompson has only appeared in 25 games this season, starting 5 of those games. In those games, Thompson averaged 5 points and close to 6 rebounds per game. He used to be the leading rebounder of the team. Now? It’s Kevin Love.
Another big difference between the 2016 champion team and this current team is that ON PAPER, they have gained more firepower after getting Isaiah Thomas, Dwayne Wade and of course, former league MVP, Derrick Rose.  Here’s the problem, folks. Dwayne is no longer the same “Flash” we all loved during his decorated stint with the Miami Heat. Isaiah Thomas is still not the 4th quarter monster we used to see during his stint with the Celtics. Rose? He hasn’t been the same explosive player since he got injured right after winning the MVP award.

So what is wrong with the Cavs, REALLY?

According to the new guy, Isaiah Thomas, there are two reasons why the Cavs are heading into the game against the San Antonio Spurs with a 27-18 record- having lost 7 of their last 10 games.
Firstly, Isaiah Thomas said that the Cavs aren’t trying harder defensively. And that claim can be verified just by looking at easily their opponents have scored in their last 5 defeats were the Cavs up 124 points per game on the average. The Cavs’ lack of defensive intensity was displayed against the Oklahoma City Thunder when they gave up 148 points. Isaiah Thomas even went as far as saying that the Celtics were a defensive team during his stint there. 
Secondly, the Cavs weren’t trusting each other. For a team that is loaded with talented passers, averaging 23 assists per game- the 7th in the league in that category, is totally unacceptable. And that’s one of the many reasons why LeBron James has been on a Super Saiyan mode as of late because of the fact that his teammates weren’t trusting each other. 


Conclusion

Getting new players off trade deals will help improve the Cavs’ situation but first, Cleveland will have to fix their internal problems ON THEIR OWN because that’s a first step towards rediscovering how good they are with the pieces that they have. One thing that the Cavs will need to do is to defend. Why? Even though the Spurs won’t have Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio is still loaded with talented scorers. 

Hornets Open to Trade Kemba Walker: The Pros and Cons

Kemba Walker of Charlotte Hornets

Kemba Walker has been Charlotte’s star so why they would want to trade him in the first place?

The Charlotte Hornets are far from being a playoff-bound team, to say the least. At 18-26, they are at the 11th place in the Eastern Conference after a 106-105 defeat at the hands of the Miami Heat. The good news though: they have won 6 of their last 10 games but are they gonna be satisfied with that?
To give credit to the Hornets, they are no longer the same team who used to dwell down the bottom of the standings like they used to do in the previous seasons. They’ve managed to beat the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier this. Thanks to Dwight Howard, the Hornets are the second-best rebounding team in the league, averaging 46 rebounds per game with Howard averaging 12 rebounds per game.
So why would the Charlotte Hornets willing to trade their long-time leader, Kemba Walker
Yup. You’ve read it right, folks. The Charlotte Hornets are rumored to be willing to part ways with Kemba Walker who is leading this season with his 21 points, 5 assists and 1 steal per game averages. Walker has played 41 games this season, starting in all of them.

So what would be the effects of trading away Kemba Walker?

The Pros

For starters, Kemba Walker, at 27 years-old, is still young and still in his prime years. He could be a valuable asset to any team who would make a run at him. This will give the Hornets the advantage to ask for a  high-tier player in exchange for their star point guard who has been their offense for the past 7 seasons now. In addition to this, the inclusion of Walker to a possible trade package will also give the Hornets the advantage because they can also ask for a first-round draft pick. 

The Cons

Let’s state the painful truth here. Trading Kemba Walker would mean that the Charlotte Hornets are virtually throwing away their future.Walker is now the number 2 all-time in career points and assists in a Charlotte uniform. That would be a big blow because it would also mean that Dwight Howard will need to take over the lead. Not to discredit Dwight Howard but, can he actually lead the Hornets once Kemba Walker is playing elsewhere? Another bad side of trading Kemba Walker is that there would be no assurance that Charlotte will improve.

Conclusion

Kemba Walker is still one of the point guards to watch out for. He will be an additional asset to any of the championship-contending teams who will trade for him. 
Question: Will Charlotte push the panic button and trade Kemba Walker? That depends on how ready they are to go back o the bottom of the standings. 

Magic Passes: Westbrook’s 20 Assists Outwit Cavs Shaky Defense

Russell Westbrook and LeBron James

The rare simultaneous burst of the triple threat Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook came into a supernova to destroy the Cavs for their 4th straight victory 148 – 124.
Melo hit his season high with 29 points, while George scored 36. But what’s even more jaw-dropping is Westbrook’s 23 points with 20 assists.
Westbrook’s magic passes are at it again. He tends to pass the ball a lot yet still scored more than enough to provide triumph for OKC. He was one board short of getting another astonishing triple-double.
Cleveland’s burden became heavier and heavier. It was a game of frustrations for Cavs. LeBron James was rooting to hit 30 000 career points but was pulled out with only 7 points remaining. Love played 3 minutes due to his sickness.
What’s most frustrating is that their defensive issues apparently are still left unsolved. They let OKC scored so high that they’ve lost with a huge gap. A team with a defensive strength normally does not allow their opponent to hit the century mark even in lost games.
Cleveland became too much of an offensive team yet they were almost outshone by OKC starters alone.
OKC totaled 121 points out of 148 with their 5 starters alone. 7 points behind and Thunder first five could have beaten Cavs’ whole team score.
Cavs just do not have enough force to push forward or pull OKC back in as they could not force a single digit deficit. They reached by as close as being 12 points behind but it turned out to be LBJ’s last hit of the night and OKC stretched once again by as much as 31 points.
Scores:
OKC 148 – George 36, Anthony 29, Adams 25, Westbrook 23, Roberson 8, Bench – 27
Cavs 124 – Thomas 24, James 18, Crowder 17, Smith 8, Love 0, Bench – 57

Who Should the Celtics Trade for Anthony Davis: The Possibility

Anthony Davis

The trade rumors surrounding the Brow seem to be getting louder and louder by the day

The New Orleans Pelicans have risen to 23-21 in the season, tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for the 7th spot in the Western Conference. That is despite their early struggles which include injury problems for Rajon Rondo among others. Now that Rondo is healthy and is playing like the “point god” he used to be during his stint with the Boston Celtics, he is throwing the ball towards DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis at any given opportunity, running Alvin Gentry’s offense to perfection.
However, despite the success of the Pelicans who recently dropped a game against the lowly Atlanta Hawks, the rumors surrounding star center, Anthony Davis who is set to start this year’s All-Star Game for the Western Conference alongside DeMarcus Cousins, have been as noisy as ever. A few weeks ago, Davis was included in the 8-player deal that would have sent him to the Los Angeles Lakers alongside Ian Clark in exchange for 6 players which include Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. Then, the possibility of seeing Davis play alongside Steph Curry and the rest of the Golden State Warriors came along as the defending champions are said to be willing to give up two stars in exchange for the Brow.
Now? Even his own coach, Alvin Gentry has said that they would be trading Anthony Davis to the Boston Celtics “as long as the Celtics will give New England Patriots along with the two planes that the Patriots just bought.”
Okay. For non-basketball-minded fans, let this pundit on wheels translate that phrase. What is Alvin Gentry is trying to say here is that the Pelicans are willing to trade Davis as long as the Celtics will send the same amount of talent n exchange for the Brow?

Question: Who should Boston send to New Orleans in exchange for Anthony Davis?

Ideally, a 2-for-1 swap should do the trick but since it would require Boston to send one of its starters, a one-on-one swap would d. Why? Sending two players: a starter and a bench player will cost the Pelicans too much luxury taxes on top of the limitation in the cap space.
Fortunately, the Celtics do have Al Horford who saw his career rejuvenated by the Celtics thanks to the arrival of Kyrie Irving. Al Horford has played 42 games this season and has been averaging 13 points and 8 rebounds per game. Plus, he is shooting 42% from the three-point territory, a rare shooting percentage for someone of his size and position.
Should the Celtics find the willpower to send Al Horford to the Pelicans in exchange for Anthony Davis, they would have gained additional star power to compliment Kyrie Irving and soon, Gordon Hayward who is expected to return earlier than originally expected. In addition to this, 9 wins will be added to the projected number of wins of the Celtics this season so it’s definitely a win-win deal for Boston all throughout.
Question: Will Boston’s front office pull the trigger on this one? Definitely!
Question: Will New Orleans stumble towards the bottom once Anthony Davis heads East? Possibly.
But who knows? Al Horford still has a few good years ahead of him and if he can stay healthy, then he can help the Pelicans hike for more wins and hopefully, avoid a first-round date with either the Warriors or the Houston Rockets. 

DeAndre Jordan Wants to be Traded to Houston

Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan

Apparently, DJ wants to be reunited with Chris Paul

One thing is certain for now: DeAndre Jordan won’t be finishing his career with the Los Angeles Clippers. In fact, he might be even playing for another team after the trade deadline. 
Why? His name has been included in a great number of trade rumor over the course of the last few months and given the fact that the Clippers aren’t winning the number of games they should  be winning even after the departure of Chris Paul, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Clippers are growing frustrated and among those who are clearly frustrated is none other  than DeAndre Jordan himself.
And now, the man of the hour has already stated what he wanted to happen- that if you will understand Stephen A. Smith of ESPN. 
Apparently, DeAndre Jordan would welcome any trade that would send him to the Houston Rockets that would reunite him with Chris Paul- someone who provided a big amount of success to the Clippers during their stint together which were highlighted by multiple playoff appearances and non-stop alley-oop plays that ignited the crowd whether they were playing at Staples Center or on the road.

Who should the Rockets send in exchange for DeAndre Jordan?

To begin with, DeAndre Jordan could make the Rockets a lot better especially on the defensive end of the game as he is the 2nd-best rebounder in the league right now, averaging 14 rebounds per game while his ability to penetrate the shaded area should benefit the Rockets as he’s shooting 66.1% from the field- the second-best in the league just behind the Rockets’ Clint Capela.
Ideally, a one-on-one swap would be the best way to handle this one. However, ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine has said that a straight swap between DeAndre Jordan and Clint Capela wouldn’t work because of the luxury tax and cap space issues. And so would Eric Gordon. 
So who’s the best guy the Rockets could offer?

Ryan Anderson 

A DeAndre Jordan-Ryan Anderson swap would benefit the Rockets because according to the Trade Machine, the Rockets would have added 5 wins to their projected number of wins by the end of the current season. On the other hand, a guy like Ryan Anderson could provide a stretched player who could play both 3 and 4 spots and can shoot threes. 

Conclusion

Remember those alley-oop plays ran by Chris Paul to DeAndre Jordan? Those are amazing to watch, right? We might be able to see them again. The only question is: will the teams pull the trigger on this deal? 

Popovich: LaMarcus Aldridge Asked to be Traded before the Season

LaMarcus Aldridge San Antonio Spurs

But Pop and  LMA came to an understanding. Eventually.
Gregg Popovich has been connected with some of the greatest legends to ever play the game. Greats like David Robinson, Tim Duncan and now, Kawhi Leonard has seen their respective games improve on a tremendous rate ever since they came over to the San Antonio Spurs and play under the guidance of one of the greatest coaches in the NBA.
Nowadays, with both David Robinson and Grandpa Tim Duncan both long retired and Kawhi Leonard who only recently returned is dealing with another injury, the attention shifts to LaMarcus Aldridge. To give credit to this man, LMA has been leading the Spurs this season, averaging 22 points, 8 rebounds and 1 blocks while playing 41 games- starting all 41 games. This has helped the Spurs who despite playing most of the current season without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, holds the 3rd best record in the Western Conference at 28-15. And frankly, LMA deserves the praises that he is getting nowadays.
However, did you know that LaMarcus Aldridge was almost traded prior to the season?
Almost.
According to none other than Gregg Popovich himself, he revealed that LMA asked to be traded during the summer prior to this season. The usually-too serious Popovich even joked that if an LMA trade can get the Spurs a Kevin Durant, he would even help Aldridge pack his bags, drive him to the airport and will even make sure that LMA is well seated in the plane. Fortunately, the two eventually agreed to figure things out and LMA wasn’t traded, for now.
To Gregg Popovich, the moment Aldridge requested for a trade was for him, the main catalyst for the two gentlemen to come to a better understanding which eventually helped LMA have a resurgent season. Mind you, folks. his numbers this season are way better compared to his first two seasons with San Antonio when he averaged 18 and 17 points per game respectively.

Conclusion

Imagine if LaMarcus Aldridge was traded before the start of the season, the Spurs would have been in a much worst situation because it would have meant that the Spurs would only have Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol to start the season. Fortunately, LMA stuck around and the Spurs are gunning for another deep run come the playoffs.  Despite his struggles, LaMarcus is still among the league’s elite power forwards. 

Gordon Hayward Could Be Ready To Play Sooner Than Anyone Expected

Gordon Hayward Could play soon

Danny Ainge Tweets Photo of Gordon Hayward without Brace

(📷: Twitter/danielrainge)
An even brighter star is shining above the already bright sky of Boston as the team manager teases us with as he posts a photo of Gordon Hayward as if telling us that Gordon Hayward could be ready to play anytime soon. 
Gordon Hayward suffered a horrific injury in his very first game wearing the green uniform and since then has been recovering from the injury.  The Boston Celtics, on the other hand, had been doing good without the service of the star player currently at the top of the standing with 33 wins and 10 loss. And while that’s the best record in the east right now it does not entirely say that they are the best team especially when Golden State Warriors shooters, the Cleveland Cavaliers King and the Houston Rockets Beard are lurking around the top of the standing. 
Gordon Hayward at 27 could be the difference maker between winning many games and being a championship team. His road to recovery has been rather steady and the one-time all-star could be ready for some basketball sooner than expected.
Check out the tweet of Danny Ainge:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Should the Celtics make Gordon Hayward play?

Lakers Larry Nance Jr. and other players to be traded for Pelicans Anthony Davis?

Larry Nance Slam dunk of the Year

The Lakers are willing to break their young core for a potential big catch in the free agency.

There have been a few bright spots in the otherwise a miserable season for the Los Angeles Lakers. They got the biggest steal last year’s draft in Kyle Kuzma. They managed to snap the winning streak of the Houston Rockets. Oh and don’t forget about their game against the Golden State Warriors when the defending champions needed an extra period just to beat the Lakers by a small margin. If anything, this has been competitive the Lakers have become in the last few seasons. But then again, sticking around like glue against the Warriors won’t be enough to bring the Lakers back to the playoffs and certainly won’t be enough to lure big names next season.
And despite their win over the struggling Atlanta Hawks which ended their losing streak, the Lakers are still at the bottom of the Western Conference thanks to their 12-27 record as they have dropped 9 of their last 10 games. And yet they are hoping to sign the likes of Paul George and LeBron James in the next off-season? Who would want to sign with a bottom-dweller team in the first place?
Despite their struggles, the Lakers are still willing to break their young core who has been the primary reason for their 12 wins this season- so far, just to have enough space for a big star. Aside from Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson whose names have been constantly included in the trade rumors, there’s a new name added and it belongs to Larry Nance Jr. Remember his dunk over Kevin Durant? Can you just imagine him doing that while wearing another uniform?
Apparently, the Lakers wanted to make sure that they will have the need cap space to lure big names come July 2018 and they are appearing to have been pushing that big panic button for a long time now.Take away the Randle problem because he’s likely to be traded anyway but Clarkson? Nance Jr.? Larry Nance Jr. may have only played 28 games this season due to injury issues and he’s only averaging 8 points per game but if you look at the Lakers’ win against the Hawks, Nance Jr. is one of their 8 players who scored in double figures, totaling 13 points and 8 rebounds. So trading Larry Nance Jr. is a big gamble despite his injury problems.

Conclusion

Just a few weeks ago, Larry Nance Jr’s name was actually included in the 6 players that the Lakers were willing to send to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Anthony Davis. While that trade remains a rumor to this day,  it can always happen. The question is: Will the Lakers pull the trigger this time around without any assurance that any trade will guarantee them landing LeBron James?
That remains to be seen.  

Giannis Antetokoumpo Leads in First Fan Returns of NBA All-Star Voting 2018

MILWAUKEE’S GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO LEADS IN FIRST FAN RETURNS OF
NBA ALL-STAR VOTING 2018 PRESENTED BY VERIZON
NEW YORK, Jan. 4, 2018 – The Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, who made his NBA All-Star Game debut last season, is the leading vote-getter in the first fan returns of NBA All-Star Voting 2018 presented by Verizon.
Antetokounmpo received 863,416 votes to edge the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (856,080) by 7,336 votes for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and overall after the first 12 days of fan voting.  In the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant leads with 767,402 votes and teammate Stephen Curry is next with 735,115 – a difference of 32,287 votes.
The 67th NBA All-Star Game will take place on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.  TNT will televise the midseason showcase at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, marking Turner Sports’ 33rd year of NBA All-Star coverage.
Joining Antetokounmpo and James, a 13-time All-Star, at the top of the Eastern Conference frontcourt are Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers (433,161) and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks (359,459).  Four-time All-Star Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics leads among East guards with 802,834 votes, followed by three-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors (259,368) and Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers (251,886).
 Durant, the reigning Finals MVP, is joined at the top of the West frontcourt by two members of the New Orleans Pelicans, 2017 NBA All-Star Game MVP Anthony Davis (393,000) and three-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins (356,340), followed by the Warriors’ Draymond Green (325,612).  In voting for the West guards, Curry is followed by the Houston Rockets’ James Harden (602,040) and reigning Kia NBA MVP Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder (438,469).
Under a new All-Star Game format that replaces the traditional matchup between the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference, the team rosters will be chosen by two captains from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves.  The captains will be the All-Star starter from each conference who receives the most fan votes in his conference.
 TNT will reveal the All-Star Game starters, including the two captains, on Thursday, Jan. 18 during TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader at 6 p.m. ET, featuring Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith.  The network will announce the reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, on Tuesday, Jan. 23 during TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.  The team rosters will be revealed on Thursday, Jan. 25 during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.
For the second consecutive year, NBA players and basketball media will join fans in selecting the All-Star Game starters.  Fans will account for 50 percent of the vote, while all current players and a media panel will account for 25 percent each.
Players and select media will be able to complete one full ballot, featuring three frontcourt players and two guards each from both the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.
After all votes are tallied, players will be ranked in each conference by position (guard and frontcourt) within each of the three voting groups – fan votes, player votes and media votes.  Each player’s score will be calculated by averaging his weighted rank from the fan votes, the player votes and the media votes.  The five players (two guards and three frontcourt players) with the best score in each conference will be named NBA All-Star Game starters.  Fan voting will serve as the tiebreaker for players in a position group with the same score.
The next fan voting update will be shared on Thursday, Jan. 11.  Voting will conclude on Monday, Jan. 15 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
See below for the first fan returns of NBA All-Star Voting 2018 presented by Verizon.

NBA ALL-STAR VOTING 2018 PRESENTED BY VERIZON

Eastern Conference

Frontcourt
1          Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 863,416
2          LeBron James (CLE) 856,080
3          Joel Embiid (PHI) 433,161
4          Kristaps Porzingis (NYK) 359,459
5          Kevin Love (CLE) 221,969
6          Al Horford (BOS) 120,016
7          Jayson Tatum (BOS) 98,586
8          Andre Drummond (DET) 85,374
9          Enes Kanter (NYK) 83,102
10        Dwight Howard (CHA) 57,730
Guards
1          Kyrie Irving (BOS) 802,834
2          DeMar DeRozan (TOR) 259,368
3          Victor Oladipo (IND) 251,886
4          Ben Simmons (PHI) 210,085
5          John Wall (WAS) 175,990
6          Dwyane Wade (CLE) 165,163
7          Isaiah Thomas (CLE) 87,680
8          Kyle Lowry (TOR) 85,070
9          Bradley Beal (WAS) 71,079
10        Jaylen Brown (BOS) 51,562

Western Conference

Frontcourt
1          Kevin Durant (GSW) 767,402
2          Anthony Davis (NOP) 393,000
3          DeMarcus Cousins (NOP) 356,340
4          Draymond Green (GSW) 325,612
5          Paul George (OKC) 291,495
6          Kawhi Leonard (SAS) 212,650
7          Carmelo Anthony (OKC) 194,239
8          Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) 188,240
9          Kyle Kuzma (LAL) 184,338
10        LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS) 153,599

Guards
1          Stephen Curry (GSW) 735,115
2          James Harden (HOU) 602,040
3          Russell Westbrook (OKC) 438,469
4          Klay Thompson (GSW) 359,442
5          Manu Ginobili (SAS) 231,460
6          Chris Paul (HOU) 174,343
7          Damian Lillard (POR) 148,622
8          Lonzo Ball (LAL) 120,817
9          Devin Booker (PHO) 91,562
10        Jimmy Butler (MIN) 88,009
How Fans Can Vote:
  • NBA.com voting page at NBA.com/vote: Fill out one full ballot per day (per day is defined as once every 24 hours) on NBA.com/vote from a desktop or mobile browser.  Fans can select up to two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference when choosing starters.  During the five “2-for-1 Days,” (Dec. 31, Jan. 4, Jan 11, Jan. 12 and Jan 15) votes through this channel will be counted twice.
  • NBA App: Access the ballot and vote through the app, which is available on Android and iOS.  Fans can fill out one full ballot per day and select up to two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference when choosing starters.  During the five “2-for-1 Days,” votes through this channel will be counted twice.
  • Facebook: Post the player’s first and last name along with the hashtag #NBAVOTE on your personal Facebook account.  Each post may include only one player’s name.  Fans may post votes for 10 unique players per day from Dec. 25 – Jan. 15.
  • Twitter: Tweet, retweet or reply with an NBA player’s first and last name or Twitter handle, along with the hashtag #NBAVOTE. Each tweet may include only one player’s name or handle.  Fans may vote for 10 unique players per day from Dec. 25- Jan. 15.
  • Google Search: Search “NBA Vote All-Star” or “NBA Vote Team Name” and use respective voting cards to select teams and then players.  Fans may submit votes for 10 unique players per day from Dec. 25 – Jan. 15.
  • Amazon Alexa:  To vote via Amazon Alexa, the user must have an Alexa-enabled device, and enable the “NBA All-Star” skill.  To submit a vote, the user can open the skill with, “Alexa, open NBA All-Star,” and then request to vote for his or her player of choice.  Voters can submit a maximum of one player name per request to Alexa.  Users can submit votes for 10 unique players per Amazon account each day from Dec. 25 – Jan 15.
  • Sina Weibo and Tencent: To vote on Sina Weibo (weibo.com), the user must have a Sina Weibo account.  To vote on Sina Weibo, voters must visit China.NBA.com/vote, and select up to 10 players. To vote on Tencent NBA Community, the user must have a QQ account.  To vote via Tencent NBA Community, voters must visit China.NBA.com/vote, and select up to 10 players.

Partial Tear on Shoulder to Keep Kawhi Out

Kawhi Leonard missed the first 27 games of the regular season as he was still recovering from the injury that he sustained during last season’s playoffs. Then he came back, fortunately. In his 8 games that he played this season, he averaged 15 points and 4 rebounds while showing signs that he is slowly regaining his old dominant self.
Unfortunately, he is about to miss more games this season.
That is according to Coach Gregg Popovich who confirmed that Kawhi Leonard has sustained a partial tear in his left shoulder-  an injury Leonard was said to have sustained during the game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Phoenix Suns- a game that was won by the Spurs, 103-89. 
Despite playing most of the season without one of the best 2-way players in the NBA, not to mention Tony Parker who recently returned from an injury as well, the Spurs now stand at 27-13, the third-best in the Western Conference and 5th best in the NBA. They have won 7 of their last 10 games and will start a road trip which begins with a game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

What Leonard’s latest injury means for the Spurs?

For starters, Kawhi Leonard missing more games during the regular season means he gets to rest and when the playoffs come along, he’ll be in a fresher condition to lead the Spurs anew.
But missing Leonard could also mean that the Spurs can continue playing AND winning even without their superstar thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge who is averaging 22 points, 8 rebound, and a block this season. This will also mean more minutes for emerging young gun, Kyle Anderson who is leading the Spurs in steals, averaging 1.2 steals per game. 

Conclusion

There’s no denying the fact that Kawhi Leonard has yet to play like the Finals MVP he was once a few years back but people can’t count him out just yet. Like Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard can definitely return better whether it’s in the latter part of the regular season or during the playoffs.
For now, the Spurs will have to play without #2. After all, they’ve beaten teams without him, right?

Bogut Released by the Lakers

Expected to be signed by a playoff-bound team

The Los Angeles Lakers have just lost their 9-straight game after beating the Houston Rockets. After sticking around within the top 10 in the Western Conference for most of the current season, the no-longer mighty Lakers have stumbled to the bottom of the West as they currently hold an 11-27 record. While injuries to Lonzo Ball and other players plus the Julius Randle problem have led to this struggle of the Purple and Gold, their inconsistencies on both ends of the court are to be blamed why the Lakers are this bad.
The Lakers have also become known as a team who makes bad signings, something that they have done so consistently during the past few seasons. And it appears that they haven’t learned anything at all.
Andrew Bogut is believed by many as one of the greatest players Australia has ever produced. After all, he was picked by the Milwaukee Bucks as the top pick back in 2005. But he hadn’t made a crack this season with the Lakers this season as he only averaged 1.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in 24 games which included 5 starts. Bogut was signed by the Lakers believing that Bogut could bring some veteran presence to a young core. And now, they are finalizing things out to release him.

What’s next for Andrew Bogut?

For a player of Andrew Bogut’s caliber who has been averaging 9 points and 8 rebounds per game throughout his career, it will not be difficult for him to get signed by a potentially-playoff bound team. Teams like the Boston Celtics, the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers could utilize Bogut’s defensive skills on top of being one of league’s best passing big men. 
But of course, Bogut could make a return to the Bucks to play alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe. After all, the Bucks are in deep need of a big man as they have been losing tons of games ever since they played the “Barney song” against the Toronto Raptors. Who knows? Bogut might be the answer to the Bucks’ losing streak. 

Conclusion

While there’s no doubt that Bogut will choose to sign with a championship-contending team, there’s also a big risk. After all, Bogut’s career has been mired with injuries. While there’s no denying that Bogut remains as one of the league’s defensive-minded big men, signing him is definitely a big gamble for any team. But then, who knows? 

Melo Passed Ewing at NBA All-time Leading Scorer but Just Like Ewing, Melo will Never be a Champion

Last night, Carmelo Anthony passed Patrick Ewing to move into 21st on the NBA’s all-time leading scorers list.

At 33 years old, Carmelo Anthony has played with three teams: Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and this year he teamed up with Russel Westbrook and Paul George at Oklahoma City Thunders. His 14 years in the NBA is certainly an eventful career and one that would be called a good one especially as he continues to lead teams as a prolific scorer.  Recently, the 10x NBA All-Star has achieved another milestone and has passed another all-time great player in Patrick Ewing in the all-time scoring leader in the NBA.
Patrick Ewing has 24,815 total points in his career while Carmelo now has 24,829 and counting. The season is still young and looks like by the end of his career, Melo could potentially go up as high as top 10 but this year he might be able to already go as high at 18th place.
While this individual achievement seems to be very achievable for Melo, there is one thing that he, Patrick Ewing, including Karl Malone (2nd on the all-time scoring list) would probably not achieve and that’s to win an NBA championship.
These great players would have probably won championships but unfortunately, they existed before another great player. The likes of Michael Jordan and LeBron James and this year it would be no different as OKC are faced with other super team rivals in the west that put their chances of winning the championship from slim to none.

Russell Westbrook: Winning the Championship is the Best Way to Keep Paul George

Paul George to the Lakers

All throughout the first three months of the 2017-2018 season, this has been the storyline involving Paul George who was surprisingly traded by the Indiana Pacers to the Oklahoma City Thunder during the off-season. While playing alongside reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony seems to be a good position for PG13,  the trade rumors won’t simply die especially after the Thunder’s 6-game winning streak got snapped and just like that, they are on a 2-game slide heading into their match-up against none other than the Los Angeles Lakers- the potential next destination of Paul George. 
Despite their struggles, the Thunder have improved to 20-17 in the season which puts them in 5th place in the Western Conference. Yes, this is the same team which used to sit at the near bottom of the standings in the West during the early moments of the season and they are now becoming the team that they are supposed to be: a super team, right?  However, despite coming into the game against the Lakers winning 7 of their last 10 games, their success won’t cut the rumors out.
According to Russell Westbrook, there’s one simple way for the Thunder to make sure that Paul George stays even after this season: win the NBA championship this season. And he isn’t wrong in that part. Assuming that Paul George won’t be traded this season,  improving the team in time for the playoffs must be the top priority for the Thunder because Russel Westbrook has said that he won’t be making any sales pitch to lure Paul George to stay in Oklahoma. 
Fortunately for the Thunder, Paul George is focused on winning games for Oklahoma, for now. He indicated that he didn’t have any regret in saying that he desired to play or his home city, Los Angeles but he is also grateful for the opportunity to play alongside talented guys like Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook- adding that they have the potential firepower to challenge for a championship. Well, Paul George isn’t wrong in that part either. 

Conclusion

The Thunder should easily win against the Lakers because Lonzo Ball is still out and the Lakers are still losing it, again. But, can the Thunder actually dethrone the Golden State Warriors should both squads meet in the Western Conference Finals? Firepower-wise, both squads are equal. Chemistry-wise? The Warriors have the edge. 
Question: Will the Thunder be able to keep PG13 ?
Prediction: Paul George will be wearing the Purple and Gold. The only question is WHEN.

Highlights: Brooklyn Nets Defended Homecourt Against the Magic


Brooklyn Breaks to the win column with a win against Orlando Magic. 

Both teams looking to go out the slump from last year and a win against each other with be a good way to start. It was back and forth action for the two teams in the end however Nets was able to hold off the Magic. Augustin missed a game-tying 3-pt FG for Magic with 3 sec left.
Nets improved to 14 wins and 23 losses, while the Magic dropped to 12 wins and 26 losses with the second-worst record in the east.
Leaders:
Brooklyn Nets:
Allen Crabbe 15 pts, 8 reb, 1 ast, 3 blk
Caris LeVert  15 pts, 8 ast, 5 reb, 5 to
DeMarre Carroll 14 pts, 10 reb, 1 ast

Orlando Magic:
Bismack Biyombo 13 pts, 17 reb, 3 blk
Elfrid Payton 17 pts, 7 ast, 4 reb
Aaron Gordon 20 pts (8-20 FG), 11 reb


Highlights: Brooklyn Nets vs Orlando Magic

Roaring Raptors Subdue the Bucks, DeRozan Breaks Franchise Record

DeRozan Breaks Franchise Record

DeMar DeRozan scores 52 points, carries the Raptors to a win against the Bucks.

The Toronto Raptors is steady at the second place of the standing just behind the Boston Celtics but they could be creeping up to the top of the standing after yet again another scintillating win against a tough opponent in Milwaukee Bucks.
Giannis Greek Freak Antetokounmpo scored 26 points and Eric Bledsoe contributed 29 points but it wasn’t enough as DeMar DeRozan was having the best night of his game scoring at will and breaking the franchise record with a total of 52 points.
It was a high scoring affair as both teams never scored below 25 points per quarter. The Bucks shot at 47.3% but the Raptors did better at 49.5% field goal. Kyle Lowry was also amazing last night contributing 26 points. The Raptors have the best record in home games with 14 wins and only 1 loss.
Side note: Vince Carter and Terrence Ross are the only other players to score more than 50 points as a Raptor with 51 each. 
Game Leaders.
Toronto Raptors
DeMar DeRozan SG
52 pts (5-9 3pt), 8 ast
Kyle Lowry PG
26 pts (5-9 3pt), 7 ast
Serge Ibaka PF
11 pts (5-19 FG), 8 reb
Milwaukee Bucks 
Giannis Antetokounmpo PF
26 pts (9-18 FG), 9 reb
Eric Bledsoe PG
29 pts (5-7 3pt), 7 reb
Khris Middleton SF
18 pts (7-19 FG), 3 reb


Bucks vs Raptors Highlights

Highlights: Birthday Boy Cavs LeBron James Bow Down to Jazz Rookie Donovan Mitchell

Cleveland Cavaliers ends the year with a three-game losing skid after falling behind rookie-lead Utah Jazz. LeBron James played well but it wasn’t enough. In fact, a number of Cavs players did pretty well including Jeff Green who scored 22 points and Kevin Love who contributed 20.
But it was the Jazz’ night as they controlled the game in the last two quarters led by Rookie Donovan Mitchel who was scorching hot with 29 points. The rookie played like a veteran and made some difficult shots. The Jazz ended the year with a win.
Highlights of the Cleveland Cavaliers vs Utah Jazz game:

Balls-Eye: Cavs Could’ve Been Better if Only Wade Was the New Guy

Dwyane Wade

They’ve done it before. They could’ve done it again.

The supposed to be spectacular blast of supernova due to merge of superstars turned out to be a tiny spark with a lot of smoke. Its a foggy path for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Losing Kyrie Irving gave the Cavs the need for LeBron to find another partner. One person would suffice. And if there would be anyone who’d perfectly fit the puzzle, it would be Dwyane Wade of course. They have proven their effectiveness way back when they played together for the Heat.

It would have turned out way better if a team has only one main focus.

1. Derrick Rose

Most of the time, Rose’s plays are isolations wherein he would score the basket himself through a lightning fast cut through to the unprotected rim. We know that LeBron provides this kind of offense already. The one man team style of play. If there’ll be two guys like this on the floor, in times of crisis, teamplay would be as good as dead. Another thing is that two players with this kind of mindset won’t be able to work together. Well, given that they tend to score baskets all by themselves.

2. Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas

These two great players came from the same team — the Boston Celtics and it happened when they were key players of that squad. Meaning, they already have the chemistry and sense of team play inherent between them. As a result, in most of the plays wherein I.T sets up, most probably Crowder would be its focal point.

Conclusion

Cavs maybe very strong as it appears because there are teams within the team. But that’s also what made them weak. They aren’t as compact as one when they play.
If Dwyane Wade would be the only one to be added, despite coming from the Bulls, he’ll had no one with inherent relationship except for former partner LeBron James.
Cavs do not need extra power. They just need to empower their usual source. And this would be done through Dwyane Wade behind LeBron James. 

Slowly but Surely: The Thunder are Starting to Gain Ground

They are on a 6-game winning streak after beating the Toronto Raptors.

They started on the wrong foot, terribly. They stumbled near the bottom of the Western Conference and even lost to some of the worst teams in the NBA. Many fans were beginning to question the ability of Russell Westbrook to play with his two superstar teammates. Then, the “trade Paul George” rumors came out of nowhere. It seems back then that everything was beginning to fall apart for the Oklahoma City Thunder despite having Carmelo Anthony and Paul George on board.
Then, things began to brighten for the Thunder. They first defeated the formerly league-leading Houston Rockets and continued on their winning streak after beating one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors.

Question: Is this a sign that the Thunder are becoming the team everyone was talking about when their Big 3 was first assembled?

That’s still up for a debate but if anything, the Thunder have finally figured out how to play with each other. Russell Westbrook has been playing like his MVP self during their winning streak. They may be sitting in 21st place in the league in terms of points per game but defensively, they are the third-best team in terms of limiting their opponents’ production, forcing opponents to only 100 points per game. They are the best teams in steals per game, averaging 10 snatches per night. Additionally, they are forcing 16 turnovers per game- also a league’s best. 

Conclusion

While the Thunder were able to beat an elite team in the Rockets, both teams are still due for two more games this season and mind you, folks, Chris Paul wasn’t in uniform when his team lost. Clint Capela just sustained an orbital fracture which is said to be putting him out of basketball action for two games.
Will the Thunder continue their streak? That’s up to them. After all, they should be challenging the Golden State Warriors for the top spot in the West. But given the fact that they have already made the climb up to 5th place owing to their 20-15 record, they are only 8 games behind the Warriors. They only need to maintain their consistency and who knows, we might actually see them challenging the Rockets and the Warriors like they were made to do in the first place. 

JaVale McGee to Milwaukee: Who would win in this trade?

Trade rumors surrounding JaVale  is popping out anew.

The defending champions, the Golden State Warriors have finally overtaken the Houston Rockets atop the standings of the stacked Western Conference as they have won 9 of their last 10 games including their Christmas Day game against LeBron James and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Mind you, folks. They’ve been winning despite missing the services of 2-time MVP, Steph Curry who is currently nursing an injury. And given the fact that the Warriors have played amazingly over the past few weeks despite missing their stars, just imagine what the Warriors if they are in full strength.  Scary, isn’t it?
If you watched last season’s Finals series between these two teams, there were other factors that enabled the Warriors to finish the series in 5 games outside of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry. Among those factors is having a bench who can step up anytime Steve Kerr called them up. And among those players who played a critical role in the Warriors’ dominance against the Cavaliers is none other than JaVale McGee.
JaVale McGee has been known worldwide due to his funny antics on and off the court which produced a good number of memes online. 
But more than that, he finally found a home with the Warriors and was a vital piece to the Warriors’ championship run. In fact, he averaged 23 points and  12 rebounds per game in 77 games while making 73% of his shots.
However, the emergence of Jordan Bell has left JaVale McGee scratching his head and he even didn’t play on Christmas Day. In fact, JaVale McGee hasn’t scored in double figures in a month and only played in 1 of the last 3 games.
Recently, trade rumors surrounding JaVale McGee have started to come out on the Internet. One of the rumors that have been making the loudest of the noise is the one involving McGee being sent to the Milwaukee Bucks

Who would win in this trade?

Regardless of who the Bucks will send in exchange for McGee, both teams would win in this deal. Steve Kerr can now focus on maximizing the potentials of Jordan Bell. On the other hand, the Bucks will be gaining an athletic big man who can defend and get the rebounds. He will be a perfect addition to the Bucks who already have Giannis Antetokuonmpo and Eric Bledsoe. Having McGee will add a much-needed depth for the Bucks. 

Conclusion

If anything, JaVale McGee’s diminishing minutes under Steve Kerr is one sign that the former isn’t going to be with the Warriors in the long run so we can expect him to be traded before February. While he is already in the near climax of his career, JaVale McGee can still dunk, run on the break, defend and get those rebounds- at ease. Any team who would trade for him will definitely benefit them in more ways than what they can imagine. 

The Randle-Noel Trade: The What Could Have Been

The trade was initially discussed but didn’t materialize.

Julius Randle’s name has been in numerous trade rumors even before the start of the regular season. This is due to the fact that according to the insiders from the Los Angeles Lakers, Randle has already grown unhappy with his new role with the team- a player who used to be a starter in the past, now a player who is coming off the bench this season. 
While Randle has been successful in his new role despite only playing 22 minutes per game on the average, he already indicated in numerous interviews that he doesn’t have the choice but to embrace his new role as a bench player who is also averaging 12 points, 6 rebounds and close to 2 assists per game this season. He’s the sixth-leading scorer of the Lakers.
There were many rumors in which Julius Randle’s name is included. While none of those trades materialized, some of those are pretty much interesting. Among the trade rumors that were apparently entertained by the Lakers was the one that would have sent Randle to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Nerleans Noel.

If the trade happened or is to happen before the trade deadline, who would benefit more?

Both

Julius Randle would have benefited from the trade because he would have been teaming up with Dirk Nowitzki by now. The Mavericks would have gained a young power forward who can slide down to the small forward spot at times. Adding Randle into the mix would have added 3 wins in the projected number of wins for Dallas.
On the other side of the court, Nerleans Noel, a player whose career has been ruined by numerous injuries, can benefit from this change of scenery for one good reason: his playing minutes have dropped this season as he’s only logging in 12 minutes per game- a career low for him. While the Lakers’ projected number of wins is decreased by 3 wins, this trade will benefit them in the long run especially if Noel manages to finally stay out of injury. 

Conclusion

While the trade hasn’t materialized, it’s almost certain that Julius Randle will be one of the Lakers who are likely to be traded before the trade deadline in February. Where will he be playing next? The possibilities are unlimited. Who knows? He might end up playing for a championship-contending team. 

Ball Scrutiny: 3 Reasons Why Bucks Crushed Cavs

Giannis Antetokounmpo defending LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers fell one step short, falling into the hands of the mighty Milwaukee. Lebron James with 39 points was worth nothing but a bitter defeat.
What could’ve gone wrong for the Cavs? Or maybe it’s just the Bucks finding the right mix for an impeccable chemistry?

1. Cavs too slow to come back?

Bucks swallowed the Cavs whole in transition basket. Scoring 24 fast break points while Cavs with only 3.
Yes, the Cavs had delivered well in terms of plays but in transition where high defensive vulnerability is present, that is where things got rough for Cleveland. They could not match Bucks’ pace led by the Greek Freak with 27 points.

2. Greek Freak not Alone Anymore

In most games, Giannis frequently scores above 30 points yet Bucks loses. So what’s with a winning 27 point performance?
The Greek Freak didn’t fight alone against the Cavs. A small guy in the name of Eric Bledsoe helped him with 26 points. In fact, 4 of 5 starters finished with double figures.
Khris Middleton with a double-double of 18 points 10 assists to help Bucks slip past Cavs.

3. Cavs wasn’t expecting Bucks as a team

With a misleading anticipation that the biggest problem would be Antetokounmpo, they somehow got him under control but left so many spots open for the rest of the Bucks to deliver.

Conclusion

Milwaukee is a good team with Giannis but a great team which could destroy powerhouses with the rest of the team supporting the Greek Freak.
Cleveland, on the other hand, fell another step back on their race to chase and take away Boston’s spot on the top.

A Wheeler’s Opinion: How Can OKC Save their Season?

Having 3 stars hasn’t worked well for the Thunder. So far.

Just in case you haven’t noticed or you probably don’t want to notice because you’re a Thunder fan, the Oklahoma City Thunder, yes, the team that currently has Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, has been struggling as of late. That’s despite the fact that they were able to take the win against the Indiana Pacers in Paul George’s first game against his former team.
While their win against the Pacers improved their record to 13-14 which puts them into 8th place in the Western Conference, that doesn’t change the fact that the Thunder have been inconsistent as they’ve only won half of their last 10 games when in fact, with the line-up that they have right now, they should be winning more games and challenging the likes of the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets for the top spot. Instead, the Thunder have found themselves lagging behind in the bottom of the top 8.
One may probably ask: What is wrong with this OKC team? Is having 3 superstars doing more harm than good?
To be fair, this isn’t the first time the Thunder have 3 stars on their team. Just a few years back, Russell Westbrook had Kevin Durant, James Harden and Serge Ibaka on the same team. That team went as far as the NBA Finals back in 2011 only to lose in 5 games against the Miami Heat of LeBron James, Dwayne and Chris Bosh.
So what is wrong with the Thunder nowadays?
One of the noticeable reasons why the Thunder aren’t successful as they should be on paper is the fact that both Carmelo Anthony and Paul George aren’t getting the same volume of touches that they were getting before coming to Oklahoma City. Anthony is averaging 63 touches per game while George is norming 56  touches per game. Russell Westbrook on the other hand, averages 94 touches. Lesser touches for Anthony and George mean fewer chances of them getting into their respective rhythm. And that was the same problem the Heat faced when LeBron and Bosh first came on board. But, that Miami Heat team was better than the OKC team than we are seeing today.
So how can Oklahoma turn things around?
For Carmelo Anthony and Paul George to be able to do what they used to do for the previous teams, the Thunder must now find a way to work around an offense that will be able to generate a higher volume of touches for both forwards.
Another thing that can help OKC get back into their winning form is this: Russell Westbrook should play his own game and lessen his tendency to get the two stars involved in their offense. While Westbrook has been known as a creative passer, in those games that the Thunder have won this season, Westbrook was playing exactly like the MVP he was last season.

Conclusion

This pundit on wheels isn’t saying that the Thunder of last season was a better team compared to the Thunder team of today. While the Thunder still have the luxury of having the time to fix their problems, they might want to move quickly. They are in the 8th spot right now but tougher games are still ahead. If they want to make a deep run into the playoffs, then do the things that can help them win more games. Otherwise, they’re missing the whole point of assembling their own Big 3. 

Fixing the OKC Situation: Trade Paul George?

Having three stars isn’t helping the Thunder right now

While there’s no doubt that having three or more superstars on your team can instantly turn any struggling team into a championship contender, it doesn’t work that way all the time. 
A perfect example of this was when Dwight Howard and Steve Nash joined Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in the Lakers a few years back. Injury and chemistry issues struck the team during that one season that they were together. Although that team made the playoffs, they were a total disappointment.
Heading into the current NBA season, many were surprised and shocked that the Oklahoma City Thunder were able to pull off two blockbuster trades that enable them to put Carmelo Anthony and Paul George alongside reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook. 
While this trio of stars is already enough to challenge the Golden State Warriors, this hasn’t been the case right now as the Thunder have lost 5 of their last 10 games which put them at a 12-14 record which essentially puts them outside of the playoff picture.
Although the Thunder have a few nice games that they have won over the course of the first few months of the regular season, they aren’t in sync just yet. They are trying to figure out how to play with one another. Although they are among the league’s best defensive teams, Oklahoma has yet to display its full offensive power. Sure, they’ve already defeated Warriors earlier this season but they’ve also lost games to some of the league’s worst teams and that’s not how a super team supposed to play.
So what can the Thunder do to turn this ugly season around?
Firing Billy Donovan as head coach will not have an immediate effect on the Thunder so they can erase that option, for now. And so will trading one of the three stars. However, we all know that even last season, Paul George has already indicated that he intends to play for the Los Angeles Lakers in the future. And ye, the Indiana Pacers delt PG13 to the Thunder.
Having said that, the Thunder can trade Paul George to the Lakers in exchange for Julius Randle, Luol Deng and the Lakers’ draft pick for 2020. Why Julius Randle and Luol Deng?
There have been many speculations that the Lakers are trying to move both Randle and Deng with Randle appearing to be unhappy with his decreased role. Assuming that this trade will materialize, the Lakers will gain more than what they will be losing. And, the Thunder will gain a young and promising forward and a veteran.

Conclusion

Trading Paul George who is averaging 20 points and 5 rebounds this season will be a huge gamble for Oklahoma but the truth is, they’ve already gambled when they assembled their own Big 3 and look where it got them. The rest of the league is laughing at them. A trade can help start turning things around for the Thunder. It doesn’t have to be Paul George but it has to be one of the three stars. 

DeAndre Jordan to the Bucks: How DJ Could Make Milwaukee a Contender?

The Bucks need a legitimate center to back up the Greek Freak and Eric Bledsoe

Giannis Antetokounmpo will benefit the most if DeAndre Jordan goes to Milwaukee. 

With the talents that DeAndre Jordan has, his rebounding abilities plus his defensive expertise, it shouldn’t be a surprise if many teams, especially from the Eastern Conference, are trying to acquire Jordan via a trade. 
You see, a center of DJ’s caliber is now a rare thing in this league that is now dominated by guards. While we have seen multiple players who can play the center position, the true strength of a good team lies behind how strong its frontline is- particularly the one who is playing the center position because that guy will be the team’s anchor on defense.
DeAndre Jordan has been among the players who are likely to be traded this season. Why? With the Los Angeles Clippers miserably struggling this season as evident by their 9-15 record, plus the mere fact that 4 of their starters have been down for quite some time now due to injuries, trading away Jordan who is averaging 10 points and 14 rebounds per game, seems like the best choice the Clippers have as of the moment if they are to salvage what is left of this ugly season. 

The question is: which team will benefit if they acquire DeAndre Jordan?

The truth is, any team will benefit from getting DeAndre Jordan’s services and among those teams is the Milwaukee Bucks- a team that is interested in getting DJ- according to reports. Now, to get DeAndre Jordan, the Bucks can send John Henson, Malcolm Brogdon, and Khris Middleton in exchange for DJ. Why? The Clippers are rumored to be interested in acquiring at least TWO of the mentioned players.
Now, assuming that this trade will materialize, this deal will enable the Bucks to become a stronger team than they were during early stages of the season. Rebounding-wise, they will become a better rebounding team because aside from Giannis Antetokounmpo who is currently leading the team with 10 rebounds per game, DJ’s rebounding numbers will be a big boost for the Bucks. This alone will make the Bucks a better team overall.

Conclusion

While there’s no assurance as of now that this trade will happen anytime soon, we can be assured that there will be more teams who will become interested in DeAndre Jordan’s services. After all, he’s among the league’s elite centers.