Barstool NBA Daily Roundup: Boogie Sounds Off, MJ Makes Statements, Detroit Gets New Arena, Kyrie
The NBA offseason continues to move forward despite all the major fireworks pretty much being over. There really aren’t any big name unrestricted free agents out there, there are some notable RFA’s and Paul George and Jimmy Butler already got traded. That said, there is still plenty of noteworthy stuff happening day in and day out in this league, so I plan on doing a recap each day just to make it easy for everyone to stay up to date with anything from summer league recaps, free agent signings and rookie contract deals. Obviously for any team specific stuff go ahead and check out the normal guys who do that. You can follow me on Twitter @barstoolreags
DeMarcus Cousins Wants to Play in Sacramento:
No, not like he wants to go back there. Cousins sounded off about wanting to play back in Sacramento against the Kings because ‘he has a lot to get off his chest and hops it’s the first game of the season.’ Everyone knows the story of Cousins and the Kings, but it’s still awesome to hear players speak what’s truly on their minds. I’d rather hear this than the typical coach speak of ‘it’s just another game, I look at it like nothing.’ Now for the trade itself, it made sense for both parties to move on. Cousins was wasting away in Sacramento and the Kings clearly weren’t winning with him. They were able to get younger – securing Buddy Hield in the trade and then Justin Jackson and Harry Giles via another trade with the pick that they had. Cousins is now set in a better position in New Orleans where he can play alongside another star in Anthony Davis and although the Pelicans made some weird moves this offseason (giving Holiday that massive deal, signing Rondo and not really getting much spacing on the floor) they are in a position to compete for the playoffs. I’ll set the over/under at 4 minutes into the game before Cousins starts a facial reaction or motion to the Kings crowd.
Michael Jordan Would Take Kobe over LeBron:
This is a bold statement by one of the two best players to ever play the game. Now, it’s clearly Jordan being Jordan which means a couple of things. He’s a terrible talent evaluator as we’ve seen him in the front office, so he may just suck at that. The other thing is he knows LeBron is the other person that makes up the two best players to ever play the game and he wants to just remind everyone that he’s still MJ. Now, MJ’s statement is pretty bad when he says ‘five beats three.’ Does that means MJ isn’t the best because he only won six? Using a title defense is a pretty weak justification for talent of player, especially when you look at who they played in the Finals. LeBron dragged a garbage team vs the Spurs for his first appearance, then there was fiasco vs Dallas which you can use in an argument against him and I won’t put up a fight. But, then what? Some epic series against the Spurs and then playing arguably the best team in NBA history three times in a row? I’m not buying that. Kobe got to play way easier opponents in the Finals (so did MJ). Either way, I’m just going to chalk this up to Jordan wanting to stir shit up.
Jordan Also Says Kawhi is Best Two-Way Player in the Game:
This a lot more people will agree with (though I’ll still take LeBron as best two-way player) and it shows just how much Kawhi has grown in the NBA. Leonard is coming off a year where he was a finalist for the MVP, consistently is an All-Defensive team and has now become a threat to beat you at multiple levels offensively. He’s coming off a year where he averaged 25.5 per game while having shooting splits of 48/38/88. Not bad for a guy who couldn’t shoot coming out of college. Speaking of which, this may make me love Kawhi even more as the only person he ever shit talked was peak Jimmer:
Pistons Moving Downtown:
Yesterday, the NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the Pistons relocating to downtown from Auburn Hills. They will begin playing at Little Caesars Arena, which they’ll share with the Pistons. It’s a move that should bring more Detroit residents as The Palace was 35 miles outside of the city. So, thanks Kid Rock.
Rubio Agreed It Was Time to Move On:
During a conference call with the media this week, Ricky Rubio talked about how he felt the timing was right to be traded from the Timberwolves. It’s not really a shocking statement from Rubio, who was dangled in trade rumors almost daily and then saw the Wolves draft someone to try and replace him (Kris Dunn). In Utah, he’ll be able to be the unquestioned starting point guard and fit their needs a little bit better. The Jazz were a top-3 defensive team in the league last year and Rubio is one of the best defensive point guards out there. Pairing him with Rudy Gobert, someone who can protect the rim and flash through the paint offensively, fits what Rubio likes to do. They aren’t going to replace Gordon Hayward’s production offensively, but the Jazz have at least received some talent this offseason.
Possible New Rule Regarding Pick Swaps:
This was brought up this week regarding swapping picks. The rule that the NBA would like to institute would be banning pick swaps between drafts in which a team already owes its pick to other teams. This is stemming from Brooklyn essentially trading three first round picks in a row with their pick swaps with Boston. Really what it is though is the NBA/CBA trying to protect terrible decision makers (the Nets, Knicks, etc) from continuing to suck at making decisions.
This was a topic all summer as it’s the first time there’s been such a thing. It’s an awesome idea that allows young players to make up to $250,000 depending how much time they spend with their NBA team. The two-way players can attend training camp with the NBA team and up to 45 days, their salary is based off of how many of those days they are in the NBA. It’s sort of the new draft and stash but domestically. What it’s doing though is giving teams the chance to hold rights of players who go undrafted, second year players or shine in summer league and create a couple extra roster spots. Each team is allowed two two-way players. So far 36 players have signed or have been reported to sign two-way deals. Teams that have not signed any two-way contracts are: Cavs, Magic, Sixers and Blazers. Teams that have used both two-way contracts are: Hornets, Bulls, Nuggets, Bucks, Suns, Kings, Raptors and Wizards. The one thing to watch as this advances is how teams handle these players in the offseason as most of these deals are one-year deals. Do they sign them long term? Do they let them walk for more resources? Some notable players on two-way contracts include Marcus Paige, Edmond Sumner, Derrick Walton, Monte Morris, Bronson Koenig and Alec Peters.
Kyrie Not Committing to a New Team
This report is one that seems like it will solidify Kyrie being in Cleveland for the time being. Irving doesn’t have any leverage to force a trade as he’s under team control and doesn’t have a no-trade clause. Now the report that he doesn’t want to commit past the two years left on his contract is out and it’s not shocking. He’s going to get max money after his deal ends as he’ll still be just 27 years old and one of the 3 best 1v1 scorers in the league. This is obviously putting a damper on trade talks – especially with the Suns, one of the favorites to land him if he does get traded. The Suns have built a young core centered around Devin Booker and Josh Jackson where they can offer some assets, but it makes no sense to bring Kyrie in just for two years when they are still rebuilding. The only way it makes sense to trade for Kyrie is if you’re competing now like a San Antonio. From the beginning it didn’t make any sense to trade Kyrie before the season, but rather in December when free agents who signed this summer can be traded. I still think unless something drastic happens, Kyrie will be in Cleveland all year. He either has to publicly announce he’ll commit longer than 2 years or Cleveland has to fall off.