Which team will sign Lebron in 2018-2019?

The prediction that Lebron James will leave Cleveland in search of a better chance to win championships is not a novel idea. So where will he go? Here are the most likely scenarios:

1. Golden State Warriors. I’m sure the idea of Lebron joining the Warriors something a lot of people don’t want. Lebron wants to win, and joining the Warriors would ensure that. To make it work, the Warriors would have to clear cap space, as Lebron’s salary for 2018-2019 was on the books for $35 mil. I’ve seen articles that suggest Klay Thompson would get traded, but I don’t think so. Trading Draymond and Iguodala, at $17.5 and $16 mil, is close enough to Lebron’s salary, and is the most likely scenario.

2. Portland Trail Blazers. Lebron to the Blazers is a bit more complicated in terms of moving enough $ out of Portand to make it work. If the Trail Blazers can move Evan Turner ($17 mil), Meyers Leonard ($10 mil), and Al-Farouq Aminu ($7 mil), they will have moved enough salary to sign Lebron.

3. Philadelphia 76ers. For this to happen, the 76ers would have to let J.J. Redick and his $23 mil salary leave. Redick has been a valuable contributor to the Sixers success in 2017-18, and losing/replacing his production (i.e. Belinelli, Fultz) won’t be easy. But the combo of Embiid, Simmons, and Lebron would essentially guarantee more Finals appearances for Lebron, as that trio would be tough to beat in the East.

4.Houston Rockets. If the Rockets can move Ryan Anderson ($20mil) and P.J. Tucker ($8 mil) salary without taking any salary back, and if Chris Paul and Lebron are willing to take ~$30 mil, instead of $35 mil each, then this can work. However, trading Anderson and not taking any salary back is unlikely.

Based on the relative ease of being able to move Draymond and Iguodala, I think Lebron is a lock to join the Warriors next year. Let’s see if I’m right!

Joel Embiid’s Conditioning

Yesterday the Sixers lost to the Warriors, despite being up 22 at the half.

Superficially, Joel Embiid had a solid game, with 21 points and 8 rebounds. As the Sixers crushed the Warriors in the 1st half, Embiid looked great in all aspects of the game: scoring (15 pts, 5-10 FG), rebounding (5), and ball movement. Early in the 3rd quarter, he dove for a ball and spent a quick minute on the floor looking exhausted. Maybe that’s why he was largely absent in the 2nd half despite playing 17 minutes-he only took 6 shots, and scored 6 points with 3 rebounds. This coincided with the Warriors going off in the 3rd and 4th quarter, pulling out the win.

So the big question is, would the outcome of this game been different had Embiid’s conditioning been better?

Lonzo Ball walked away from a fight?

On Friday, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope started a skirmish between the Suns and Lakers. Lonzo Ball, instead of getting involved, walked towards the bench and away from the pushing. He claimed that he didn’t want to get a technical foul, but isn’t it also possible that he didn’t want to get involved because of some issue with Pope? I’ve noticed a general disinterest towards Pope when both Ball and Pope are on the floor. Considering that Pope is a free agent at the end of the year, isn’t it possible that Ball is looking forward to Pope’s exit, for whatever reason?

Watch the video, see for yourself:

http://www.nba.com/article/2017/11/18/los-angeles-lakers-lonzo-ball-makes-news-walking-away-skirmish#/

 

Does the Hack-a-DeAndre Jordan approach work?

The Clippers averaged 1.28 points per FG attempt during the regular season. Last night, they averaged 1.16. Had DeAndre made all 11 of his missed FTs, the Clippers would’ve averaged 1.28 points per FG attempt. In other words, the Spurs held the Clippers below their average value by exploiting DeAndre Jordan’s inability to make FT’s at a high percentage.

In game 1, the Clips averaged 1.31 points per FG attempt, with Jordan making 5-12 FTs. Maybe 17 FTs is the magic number for the Spurs to win?