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BREAKING NEWS: LeBron James to Sign with LA Lakers

The cat is out of the bag on the first day of the NBA Free Agency Moratorium: The King will be taking his talents to Los Angeles. Klutch Sports Group, the agency that represents LeBron, released a statement on Twitter earlier today, “LeBron James, four time NBA MVP, three time NBA finals MVP, fourteen time NBA All Star, and two time Olympic gold medalist has agreed to a four year, $154 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.”

This free agency was much less of a circus than the first time LeBron left Cleveland in the summer of 2010 with “The Decision”. This time there was no hour TV special with Jim Gray that sent the entire city of Cleveland into a whirlwind. This was something that LeBron obviously knew he wanted to do and there was no point in putting anyone (fans or teams) through the drama of a week long recruiting trip. Cleveland will also be much more understanding this time since LeBron delivered on his promise of bringing a championship to “The Land” with the memorable comeback from a 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors in 2015.

The question now is, who will be playing with LeBron? Paul George has already agreed to stay in OKC with Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. There is no way LeBron made a decision to go to a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2011, if there were not wheels in motion to bring in All Star caliber talent like he did when he went back to Cleveland in 2014.

Could this push the Lakers to be more aggressive in trading for Kawhi Leonard by offering the Spurs something they can’t refuse? Will LeBron’s signing in LA attract any other free agents to the Lakers? Will Lonzo Ball, last year’s 2nd overall pick, be ready to play this season after tearing his meniscus?

As it stands now, the 2018 Lakers roster consists of Lonzo Ball, Thomas Bryant, Tyler Ennis, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, and a washed up Luol Deng making $18 million. That is hardly a group that LeBron looks forward to playing with at age 33. Look for the Lakers to be making some big trades and signing before the start of the season.

This is uncharted territory for The King. LeBron has never played in the Western Conference since he came into the NBA in 2003. The Eastern Conference has had, by all accounts, a much easier path to the Finals for the last 15 years, so it will be interesting to see LeBron enter a monster playoff field that should include: the reigning champion Golden State Warriors with the Hampton 5, the Houston Rockets with Chris Paul and the reigning MVP James Harden, and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Big 3 of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Should be fun.

 

 

UPDATE: The Lakers are set to sign Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson & Rajon Rondo. The have renounced the rights to Julius Randle and may waive Luol Deng as well to spread the $36 million owed to him over the next 5 seasons to open up more salary cap space.

BREAKING NEWS: Mavs trade up for Luka Doncic

After Luka Doncic, the 19 year old Slovenian soon-to-be star, made it past the Sacramento Kings with the 2nd pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks traded picks with the Atlanta Hawks. This allowed the Mavs to pickup who many believe is the 2nd best talent in this year’s draft. The Mavs will also have to give up next year’s first round pick (protected) to the Hawks, in addition to Trae Young who was selected with Dallas’ original 5th pick.

Luka Doncic is a 6’7″ wing player who was the youngest Euroleague MVP & Euroleague  Final Four MVP ever at 19 years old.

This is a breaking story. More information will follow.

Tavon Austin Traded to Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys have added to their receiver arsenal by getting Tavon Austin from the Los Angeles Rams for a 6th round pick (192 overall).

Tavon had promising beginnings in his first four years with the Rams, but had a down year last year with only 13 catches for 47 yards. He did, however, have his best rushing season with 59 carries for 270 yards and a touchdown.

At 5’9″ it is doubtful that Austin will be able to replace the hole in the Cowboys’ receiving core, caused by the loss of Dez Bryant. Austin has a 1 year contract that will count $7 million against the cap.

This is a peculiar addition, to say the least, considering the Cowboys already have two slot receivers in Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer.

Jason Witten May Have Played His Last Game as a Dallas Cowboy

According to a report from ESPN’s Chris Mortenson reported around 11:15am on April 27:

The Dallas Cowboys’ future Hall of Fame tight end, Jason Witten, is planning to retire after 15 years in the NFL. He will join the Monday Night Football broadcast team as a lead analyst.

Witten has not made a final decision yet, and plans to meet with Jerry Jones before he does.

Witten is an 11 time Pro Bowler, and 4 time All Pro. He was the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2012. He will retire at #4 on the NFL all-time catch list with 1,152 receptions.

Dallas Cowboys to Franchise DE Demarcus Lawrence

Adam Schefter tweeted today around noon:

“Cowboys and DE DeMarcus Lawrence will not reach a long-term deal before Tuesday’s franchise deadline, per source. Dallas has said it will place franchise tag on Lawrence if no long-term deal reached. So tag coming for Lawrence.”

This will set Lawrence up for a $17.1 million dollar year in 2018. The deadline for the franchise tag is March 6 at 4pm EST., so it will be finalized before then. Demarcus had 14.5 in 2017 (tied for 2nd in the NFL), which is over 60% of his career sack total of 23.5.

It was rumored that Lawrence was looking for “Von Miller money”, which is 6 years, $114 million with $70 million guaranteed. The Cowboys were obviously not ready to pay that price after one great year of productivity. Lawrence will need to prove himself again this year to receive a contract similar to that.

The down side of this deal is that the Cowboys have $16.4 million in cap room as it stands now. This means that they will have to move some money around in order to make room for Lawrence’s 2018 salary. If, however, Lawrence decides to sign with another team and the Cowboys do not match the deal, they will be compensated with 2 first round picks.

Dez Caught It…According to the NFL

One of the big issues on the NFL’s Competition Committee’s agenda this offseason was better defining what a catch is.

Kevin Seifert from ESPN’s NFL Nation tweeted the following this afternoon:

“The NFL competition committee appears to have unanimous agreement that controversial catch rulings involving Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson should have been ruled complete, according to Giants owner John Mara. So the committee is working on changing the rule to relax the “going to the ground” requirement.”

Pittsburgh Steelers TE, Jesse James, was not mentioned in this tweet, but one can only imagine that the AFC may have played out differently had Pittsburgh beat New England in week 15.

This does very little to soothe the pain Cowboy Nation still feels from the overturned catch in the 2014 NFC Divisional Round against the Green Bay Packers. Tony Romo and the Cowboys could have been in position for their first NFC Championship appearance since the 1995-1996 season.

Hindsight may be 20/20, but ‘too little, too late’ rings more true with this ruling.

#dezcaughtit

Cleveland Cavaliers Turn Roster Upside Down at Trade Deadline

The Cavs have almost half a new team after Thursday’s shenanigans.

First, they traded away Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and a protected 1st round pick to the LA Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, Jr. Clarkson is a young, quality starter who can pass and score with ease, but has some struggles on the defensive end. He is signed for the next two years at a not so cap friendly $13 million a year. Nance, on the other hand, is a show-stopping dunker, who can awe crowds with his posterizing slams.  Just ask Brook Lopez or Kevin Durant. If you haven’t seen him, wait until you see him in the dunk contest next weekend.

They weren’t done yet, no, not even close. Rodney Hood is coming to Cleveland from Utah, and George Hill is coming from Sacramento. Rodney Hood has a $3.5 million qualifying offer next season, and George Hill is under a partially guaranteed contract for the next two season. The Kings will get Joe Johnson, Iman Shumpert and a 2020 second round pick from Miami, while the Jazz will get Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose.

Finally, they traded Dwyane Wade back to the Miami Heat for a heavily protected second round pick.

To sum up….

The Cavs lost: Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Jae Crowder, Derrick Rose,
Dwyane Wade, and protected 1st round pick

The Cavs got: Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, Jr., Rodney Hood, and George Hill.

Every single player the Cavaliers got in this trade is signed through at least next year (or has qualifying offers). Not bad new Cavs GM, Koby Altman. Not bad at all.

The only question left to answer is, can the Cavaliers get everyone in sync in time for another playoff push? Who knows, but it will definitely be fun to watch it all unfold.

Mavs Get Doug McDermott for Devin Harris in 3 Way Deal

On the day of the NBA trade deadline the Mavericks look to get younger and bigger by trading away Devin Harris and a future second round pick to get shooting swingman Doug McDermott from the New York Knicks. Devin Harris and the second round pick will go to Denver, while the Knicks will receive PG Emmanuel Mudiay from the Nuggets.

Devin Harris was having a solid year as a backup point guard, but the Mavericks are young and deep at the PG position with Dennis Smith Jr., Yogi Ferrell, JJ Barea, and Seth Curry (season ending surgery). Harris was also a cheap expiring deal, that some may have thought could garner more than a 4th year role player.

Doug McDermott’s 39% 3 point shooting this year will help the Mavericks from long range, who are 15th in the league at 36%. McDermott has a $4.5 million qualifying offer next season. The Mavs must be looking to either pick that option up, or sign him to an long-term extension as part of the rebuild in Dallas.

 

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