Category: NBA News

The Portland Trailblazers sign Enes Kanter

The Portland Trailblazers have agreed to sign free agent center Enes Kanter to the remainder of the 2018-19 NBA season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski from ESPN earlier this afternoon.

Enes Kanter had previously played with the New York Knicks since being traded to the ‘Big Apple’ during the 2017 offseason. Since then, Kanter had averaged a total of 14 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists with the team. 

The eight year veteran from Turkey parted ways with the New York just less than a week ago due to having no luck with finding a trade partner before the trade deadline.

Now being the newest member of Rip City, Kanter will now get his wish by receiving more playing time with a team that can compete for the NBA championship.

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Dallas Mavericks agree to trade for New York Knicks All-Star Kristaps Porzingis

The Dallas Mavericks have agreed to trade for New York Knicks All-Star forward Kristaps Porzingis in a blockbuster deal earlier this evening. Porzingis has stepped foot on the court yet this season due to suffering an ACL injury last February.

Along with Porzingis, the Mavericks also received Tim Hardaway Jr. Trey Burke, and Courtney Lee while the Knicks received Deandre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr, and a future draft pick.

Porzingis was named to the All-Star team last season before his injury with the potential to become one of the best players in the NBA and the face of the New York Knicks franchise. He had averaged 17.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game during his time in the Big Apple. He averaged his career high in points (22.7) and blocks (2.4) last season before injury.

Now with the addition of Porzingis on the Mavs, we now the duo of two young talented players from Europe (Porzingis and Luka Doncic). Doncic is a most likely to win the Rookie of the Year award and is a future All-Star in the league. 

It was reported that Kristaps had been frustrated with the Knicks Organization for quite some time now and requested for a trade when in a meeting earlier today with the Knicks front office.

This is no surprise since the Knicks currently have the worst record in the NBA and have done nothing since to try and help the team gain more victories. They had potentially gotten worse since drafting Porzingis to the team winning 31 wins his rookie season, 30 games won his sophomore season and 29 wins his third year. This is what led to Porzingis’ frustration with NY. 

Also, since his arrival to the NBA, the Knicks have had three different head coaches and second front-office change. With all these changes going on in the Knicks franchise as of late can definitely cause a lot of stress and frustration to players.

The Knicks also have given up Tim Hardaway Jr in this trade along with the huge contract given to him during the 2017 offseason. Both Deandre Jordan and Wesley Matthews have expiring contracts coming up during the next offseason and now the Knicks might have a bigger chance on signing bigger names such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

NBA Trade Rumors: Will the Mavs trade Dennis Smith Jr.?

On Monday January 14th 2018, it was rumored in the basketball world that the Dallas Mavericks have been interested in trading away their starting point guard Dennis Smith Jr., who was their 9th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft.

Since arriving to the league back in September of 2017, Smith had made quite a name for himself in his rookie season averaging 15.2 ppg, 5.2 apg, and 3.8 rpg. In his 2ndand current season in the NBA, Smith went a little downhill in each three categories of his stats. It may be due to the fact that the Mavericks had traded for their new future star, Luka Doncic, during the 2018 draft.

In many eyes of Mavericks fans around the world, Doncic has been the player that was expected out of Dennis Smith Jr. Luka is currently averaging 20.3 ppg, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.1 assists and is a soon to be NBA All-Star.

Luka is listed at 6 feet and 7 inches tall that can play any position from point guard through small forward. He was also put to start at the power forward position for Dallas earlier this season. So if the Mavericks do plan on trading away Smith, Luka can be the next starting point guard, depending on who they get in return.

When this news was first reported, two teams in the NBA have sparked interest in trading for the young point guard. Adrian Wojnarowski originally reported that the two teams that are interested in Smith are the Phoenix Suns and the Orlando Magic, which both teams are in need for a promising young and rising point guard.

A couple of days after this news broke out, it is now being reported by John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 that the Phoenix Suns have “no interest” in a trade for Dennis Smith Jr.

The Suns are a team that is in need for a point guard and it is quite odd for them not to be interested in a point guard with a bright future ahead of him. Smith Jr. can be the missing piece to the Suns starting lineup and hopefully get the team a couple of more wins and get Devin Booker to stay in Phoenix.

This leaves the Orlando Magic and other NBA teams to have a chance on getting DSJ. The Magic is the only team in the NBA that has been struggling with filling in that point guard spot in their lineup within the past couple of seasons. Yes, Phoenix does too but they may have a shot on drafting Murray State PG Ja Morant in this upcoming draft.

The current starting point guard for the Magic is D.J. Augustin who is currently averaging 11.4 points, 4.8 assists, and 2.2 rebounds per game. They’ve had many point guards in the past that did not workout with them. Without giving Augustin up for DSJ, the Magic can use his veteran presence as their 6th man and help develop Smith Jr for his future.

The trade deadline is currently three weeks away and who knows what teams will be interested and where Dennis Smith Jr. will end up. This also leads the question on everyone’s mind right now which is, “Will Dennis Smith Jr. get traded at all?”

Trade Recap: Ariza to Washington, Oubre to Phoenix

Yesterday around 10 PM eastern time we got the news that Trevor Ariza was finally leaving Phoenix, heading back to the Capitol for his second stint as a Washington Wizard.

It took just 28 minutes for Adrian Wojnarowski to reveal the full details of the trade. Memphis was involved as well, as a third team in the deal. With Ariza heading to Washington, Kelly Oubre would go to the Grizzlies, and Austin Rivers, along with Grizzlies role players Wayne Selden and Dillon Brooks, would join the Phoenix Suns.

Wait, never mind. That’s not right.

With Ariza heading to Washington, Kelly Oubre would go to the Grizzlies, and Austin Rivers, along with Grizzlies role players Wayne Selden and MarShon Brooks, would join the Phoenix Suns.

Woj must’ve messed up for once or something.

Or maybe the NBA’s just a soap opera full of hilarious idiots, like it has been all year.

See, the Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies never once talked to each other as this trade was being figured out. James Jones never talked to Chris Wallace and Robert Sarver never talked to Robert Pera. I don’t know how, considering an NBA trade generally takes weeks of contact between front offices and general managers and scouts, but somehow this deal was thrown together so quickly that the two teams never talked directly and instead used Washington as a go-between the whole time.

The Suns wanted Dillon Brooks. The Wizards told the Grizzlies the Suns wanted Brooks. They presumably forgot to include the “Dillon” part of Dillon Brooks, because the Grizzlies then tried to send MarShon Brooks to Phoenix.

The Grizzlies refused to part with Dillon. The Suns refused to bring in MarShon instead of Dillon.

No trade.

The Lakers tried to get involved again. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope wasn’t enough for Phoenix. Josh Hart was too much for the Lakers to be willing to give up. In the end it didn’t matter anyways, because Robert Sarver refused to let James Jones and the rest of the front office do a deal with the Lakers at all because he’s upset about how the Lakers acquired Tyson Chandler from them.

So, back to Washington, they simplified the deal and sent Oubre and Rivers to Phoenix for Ariza.

Losing Oubre in this trade makes this an interesting decision on the part of the Wizards. Even though it feels like he’s been in the league forever, he’s still only 23, and having improved every year of his career so far, it feels like he could have a major role in the league for years to come.

Coach Brooks has been openly been critical of him though throughout his time at Washington, particularly about his inconsistent effort on defense.

In Phoenix, he has a chance to take Ariza’s spot in the starting five and steal potential minutes away from Josh Jackson, who’s driven Suns fans crazy with his backwards development from last season. On a team that’s not especially focused on winning, he’ll get lots more opportunities offensively than he was on a panicking Washington team that can’t seem to get things to work despite the presence of two all-star caliber players.

It’s odd that the Wizards are making this move too frankly. It seems unlikely that they’ll be able to recover to any real extent this season, and Ariza’s only an upgrade over Oubre in the short term. Yes, he’s an expiring large contract, but so was Rivers.

He is a well-known veteran leader who already has a relationship with John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter, from his first stint at the team. That locker room presence is something that matters more than people realize, which the Wizards currently don’t have to any extent. He’s matured a lot from when his main role was intentionally injuring opponents.

Austin Rivers didn’t have the best of times in Washington. It was a situation that, frankly, was never going to work out for him. There’s too many other different guards and it’s far too different of a system from what he’s succeeded in before. I don’t know how they ever thought it was going to work.

Considering Elie Okobo and De’Anthony Melton are their only point guards right now, there’s a good chance we’ll see Rivers and Devin Booker on the floor together in the backcourt. As the season slides further away from them, he’ll almost certainly be given extended playing time down the stretch once tank season begins.

Now we wait for the notice that the Suns actually wanted to acquire Doc Rivers instead.

Joakim Noah Signs With Memphis

Shams Charania reported today that Joakim Noah had finally agreed to sign with the Memphis Grizzlies after weeks of talks between the two sides.

This may be the best fit in the league for Noah right now.

After the way he played during his time in New York, it can be easy to forget just how good he was just a few years ago. After a long period of time without any centers proving to be able to be the primary facilitator for a team, he became the first one since Arvydas Sabonis and Vlade Divac to do so and truly excel.

It was just five short years ago that Noah was playing the best basketball of his career. In wake of yet another Derrick Rose injury that season, which limited their star man to just 10 games, Noah took over on both sides of the ball.

He had a stretch of 18 straight games with over ten rebounds, and also once had three straight games with over ten assists. As a center.

That March he had 120 assists in 16 games. He ended the month with per game averages of 14.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.9 blocks, and 1.7 steals.

He ended the next month with a Defensive Player of the Year award. And with 322 points toward the MVP vote.

That placed him at fourth. For MVP. Four and a half years ago.

The three guys that fell directly behind him were James Harden, Stephen Curry, and Chris Paul.

The next year, Jimmy Butler broke out and became the team’s consensus first option.

Pau Gasol was added, and returned to an all-star-level form that he hadn’t been in since the Lakers were winning championships.

And Rose played more games than he had in the previous three years combined. Granted, that was still barely half the season, but it was enough to make an impact. An impact that would change the course of Joakim Noah’s career.

With actual offensive options on the team at this point, Noah’s game fell off a cliff. He still tried to play the role of facilitator, but with much less touches than he’d had in recent seasons, that meant his scoring would suffer drastically.

Add in the floor spacing between him and Pau being different than they had been him and Boozer, and causing his efficiency to drop too, plus a 13.4% drop in free throw percentage, and it all adds up to his points per game nearly cutting in half.

The next year he was benched in favor of playing Nikola Mirotić at the four and sliding Gasol over to Noah’s center position.

Then came the injuries. I suppose it didn’t matter that he was coming off the bench considering he only played 29 games that year before shoulder surgery ruled him out for the year.

For whatever reason, the Knicks decided to vastly overpay him. Already an unpopular signing at the time, his time in Manhattan went much worse than it was even expected to.

Season one ended with a knee injury, another shoulder surgery that would keep him out up to six months, and a twenty game drug suspension.

Season two ended with forty minutes played, without setting foot on the court since January 23rd, and having been banished from the team for months.

One waiving later, that leads us to today, signing with Memphis.

Don’t be surprised if he actually gets playing time there.

The Grizzlies are one of the more surprising teams this year, although it does seem like they’re beginning to crash back down to earth.

They also are a team that has no backup center.

So far this year, Jaren Jackson‘s been filling that role. The main problem with that is that he’s also their starting power forward. Ivan Rabb can play a bit of center, but that’s not his primary position either, and there’s also the fact that he’s not really in their rotation.

In fact, they’re in such a desperate situation that they have actually spent time this year with Wayne Selden playing power forward and Kyle Anderson at center at times when both Marc Gasol and Jackson needed to rest, with JaMychal Green having been out with a fractured jaw.

Essentially, among starting centers this year, there are three tiers when it comes to ball-handling and facilitation. Top of the list is Jokić, easily. There’s only two other centers that really even rival him as the best passing center ever, and that would be Sabonis and Wilt Chamberlain.

The other two tiers are more debatable, but I would say placing Gasol and Nikola Vucević in tier two and Al Horford and DeMarcus Cousins in tier three is probably the solution most people would come to.

Why I mention this is because it means that the Grizzlies offense is already built to have a facilitating center, unlike most teams. This would make it much easier for a player like Noah to fit in quickly. He doesn’t need to learn how to fit in with an offense that doesn’t cater toward the way he plays.

In fact, the situation in Memphis will amplify everything good about him, while hopefully minimizing his problem areas. He’ll obviously never be the player he was, but, in the right situation, he can manage to last a couple more years in the league.

Plus, people won’t be screaming into the ether about his contract anymore, now that the Knicks are paying him ten times as much to not be on their team as the Grizzlies are to have him on theirs.

Celtics/76ers Series Take

The Boston Celtics open up the semifinals against the Philly 76ers, setting up for a surely epic matchup.

After the past 10 games, the 76ers are 7-3 going up against the Celts who posted a 6-4 run the last 10.

The Celtics square up decently against the 76ers, but they will really need find that dominant player on the offensive side of the ball.

Yardbarker.com

The 76ers offense moves at its smoothest with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, which does not poise well for the injury prone Celtics already playing without Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and possibly Jaylen Brown. Players like Terry Rozier, and Jayson Tatum, give the Celtics hope each game with massive contributions from the other starters and role players.

If the Celts were healthy I’d say the Celts in 6 but unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

If the Celtics do play without Jaylen Brown, then the 76ers should have no problem beating the Celts barring any late minute comebacks. With Kyrie, the Celtics would be even better, making a harder push against the 76ers which is amazing considering the Celtics are already good without all their star pieces missing. The Celtics are a great team and hopefully prove me wrong.

I can see the Sixers losing early to the Celts due to the home court advantage. The young Sixers will be nervous, trying to combat the crowd and the solid play that the Celtics can give teams, especially at home. I still think the 76ers will pull out the victory in game 1.

At some point the 76ers will slip up due to their youth (maybe Game 1) but I’m going with the 76ers in 6 here.

The Sixers seem to always start the game as the underdog, trailing in the first half but it’s always W at the end of the game.

Predictions

Game 1 in Boston – 76ers

Game 2 in Boston – Celtics

Game 3 in Philly – 76ers

Game 4 in Philly – 76ers

Game 5 in Boston – Celtics

Game 6 in Boston – 76ers

NBA Playoff Picks for April 27th, 2018 / LeBron take

The NBA playoffs have been an absolute rollercoaster keeping fans drawn to the TV

Creds to theshadowleague.com

LeBron’s game winner against the Pacers was epic. No matter what you consider LeBron to be, #1 or #2; he’s an absolute national treasure. Is he supremely cocky? Of course, I would be too if I was rich by the time I graduated high school. Being considered an all time great just fuels the fire as well. LeBron pulling the struggling Cavs team along just proves his dominance as well. We’ll see just how far he can take it..

Washington Home against the Raptors

The Raptors are insanely good at home. They’ve had no problem whatsoever handling the Wizards at home in the series. On the road, it’s a scary sight. Losing by 19 on 4/20 as well by 8 on 4/22.

WIZARDS -1.5

I think since the Wizards are home, roles will reverse just for tonight. I think it’ll be a close game considering the Raptors skill level. They will probably just miss a ton of shots. I can see the Wizards by 4 or 5 let’s find out.

Pacers at home vs. the Cavs

Creds to yardbarker.com

PACERS -1.5

The Cavs are coming off a nice last minute game winner from LBJ to put them ahead in the series 3-2. It’s a great thing for the Cavs, giving them some breathing room to win the series.

I think they will lose one however, tonight. The Pacers in Cleveland controlled the game in the first half, ultimately losing it in the second half. I think if the Cavs struggle to score, the Pacers will win and tie the series, setting up a pivotal Game 7.

Jazz at home vs. the Thunder

OKC +6.5

The Jazz at home in the playoffs are 7-3 the last 10. The Thunder definitely have the firepower to try and beat this in-form Jazz team, but I still think it won’t be enough to win tonight against the Jazz. I can see the Jazz sending Russ and company home, in a terrible fashion. The Thunder will hopefully keep it close, considering they are facing elimination on the road. Take the points if needed.

Good luck!