By Jeremy Fitch: DYST/BeyondtheStatistics.com NBA/College Basketball Insider
As many of you have heard over the past few hours, the Los Angeles Lakers relieved GM, Mitch Kupchak and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Jim Buss of their duties.
The replacement is Laker legend Magic Johnson.
With this move Lakers fans, and NBA fans in general should be excited for the future of the franchise. While exciting though, pump the brakes a bit, because this is still going to be a process.
Via beat reporter Mike Trudell, Magic said, "It's not going to be an easy fix. It's going to take time. But we have really good young talent - we need to develop it."
Johnson knows what he is doing though and for the first time in years the Lakers franchise is heading the right direction with Jenni Buss making this move.
In the time Johnson has been head of basketball operations, which has been less than 24 hours, he told the LA Times that, "I've been wheeling and dealing," he was talking about that he had already spoken to ten GMs and have to call two more back after his small news conference.
Many have spoken about the fact that last week Magic said that if he was in charge, his first contact would be to Kobe Bryant.
Well, now Magic is in charge and this is what he said to media earlier today about his plan to contact Kobe, and what that role could be.
" Whatever. Whatever he wants to do."
We have yet to hear from Kobe if he would be interested, but let it be known that two Laker legends running the franchise would be a dangerous combination for the rest of the league to deal with, especially come free agency.
By NBA/College Basketball Insider Jeremy Fitch
Another edition of NBA All Star Weekend is complete, but could we walk out of the weekend without a super trade?
Absolutely not, and it just so happens the host city just got more rich.
Via Adrian Wojnarowski, the New Orleans Pelicans have traded for DeMarcus Cousins.
Pelicans Receive: DeMarcus Cousins and Omir Casspi
Kings Receive: Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, future first round pick and future second round pick
While Kings management has been back and forth on this idea of trading the franchise centerpiece, they decided it was best for both sides.
From sources I have spoken with, Cousins was made aware at halftime of the All Star game tonight and that was why he did not play in the second half of the game.
Anthony Davis, now teammate put on a show, breaking the All Star scoring record, once held by Wilt Chamberlain.
Cousins sat on the bench knowing that Davis would be his teammate by the end of the night.
The Pelicans currently sit 2.5 games out of the eight seed, and with this trade you have to believe that we are looking at NOLA as a playoff location, by the end of the season.
With this trade the landscape of this New Orleans Pelicans franchise has officially changed out West, but will it last?
The Pelicans are under the belief that they will be able to sign him, but that's is something we will need to wait and see.
Sources are telling DYSTnow.com and Beyond the Statistics that the Lakers will try their best to acquire Cousins in the offseason.
By Jeremy Fitch
Via ESPN Reporter Chris Haynes, the Indiana Pacers are willing to hear offers for their 2017 1st Round Pick in hopes of getting a big name player to pair with Paul George.
This comes just hours after George was said to hesitate in his response about signing a contract extension this summer.
George has been on record saying that he wants to be on a team that can compete for titles, and right now its seems as though he believes the Pacers cannot do that.
Continue to follow for updates as NBA All Star weekend continues and rumors continue to fly around the league.
By Jeremy Fitch
Any college basketball fan can see that the potential for the NBA Draft this summer could be something special. According to Real GM multiple NBA Scouts and general managers believe it could be the “strongest in a decade.”
There is a while until the draft, but ESPN Senior Writer, Chad Ford has just released 2.0 of his 2017 NBA Draft big board.
1. Markelle Fultz
2. Lonzo Ball
3. Josh Jackson
4. Malik Monk
5. Dennis Smith
6. Jayson Tatum
7. Harry Giles
8. Jonathan Isaac
9. De'Aaron Fox
10. Miles Bridges
11. Lauri Markkanen
12. Frank Ntilikina
13. OG Anunoby
14. T.J. Leaf
15. Robert Williams
16. Ivan Rabb
17. Terrance Ferguson
18. Edrice Adebayo
19. Jarrett Allen
20. Marques Bolden
The top 10 projected picks are all freshman, but they have some of the greatest upside since 2003 that had the likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade among many other All-Stars.
Ford is predicting that there are 10-15 players in this draft that could be All-Stars in the future. I see this as a high probability, but there are at least two freshman in my opinion that have a lot to prove in Conference play in the coming weeks if they will become great in the NBA.
Projected to be one and done players out of Duke, Marques Bolden and Harry Giles. Both coming off of injuries to start the season, both have been playing limited minutes since being entered back into the lineup.
Bolden has been only getting about four minutes the last three outings with nothing to show for it. Whether that be because Amil Jefferson has been so good or because Coach K does not believe he is ready, he will need to show his potential come conference play if he wants to be a top 20 pick in this year’s draft.
Giles has been the number one high school recruit coming out of high school since his junior year and many have said his is the best prospect they have seen since LeBron James. He has been compared to Chris Webber, which is high praise considering his has just come back to play competitive basketball in two years. While he will come back slow, he will be a high pick if not top five if he shows flashes of his old self in Conference play for Duke.
Although Duke has their fair share of prospects, no prospect has impressed me more than Lonzo Ball out of UCLA.
Ball has proven that he and his teammates are putting UCLA back on the map as a college basketball power house. He has been said to have Jason Kidd’s vision and Derrick Rose athleticism.
At this point in December I am taking Lonzo Ball number one in this year’s NBA Draft.
By Jeremy Fitch
Lamarcus Aldridge had his homecoming back to Texas to join the Spurs last offseason, but could this marriage soon be coming to an end?
According to ESPN’S Jackie MacMullan, Aldridge may not last the season in a Spurs uniform.
On an appearance on CSNNE.com’s Early Edition she said, “For instance, sources were telling me the other day that LaMarcus Aldridge may not even finish the year with the Spurs. That experiment hasn't quite worked out the way they hoped.”
Whatever is happening behind closed doors, it is not pretty and it will be interesting see how this plays out as over the last decade it is rare that the Spurs made a wrong decision concerning a big man.
There is no doubt that the Spurs can get a good amount in return for Aldridge. After signing his max deal last summer Aldridge averaged 21.9 points, 8.3 rebounds on 52 percent shooting.
If these rumors are true and Aldridge is on the trading block, you can be sure that the Spurs are looking to rebuild and this could be the first domino to fall.
Let me know what you think on twitter @_JCFitch_
By Jeremy Fitch
Chris Broussard is moving on from ESPN after 12 years of breaking news and insider insight that will never be forgotten.
Fox Sports 1 and Broussard are teaming as has been rumored over the past few days.
Over the past 12 years with ESPN Broussard has been a role model not only for his reporting and inside knowledge, but also for his faith.
I caught up with him last month when he came to Liberty University.
Former ESPN NBA analyst and founder of K.I.N.G. ministries, as his website put it, a leader of men, Chris Broussard brings his faith center stage. In a mainly secular business he says he hopes to inspire the next generation of Christian sports broadcasters.
“Don’t just say, ‘I’m a believer. God is going to bless me in broadcasting.’ You have to work hard. I believe Christians should be among the hardest working people in the world,” said Broussard.
Being in a business surrounded by athletes and broadcasting colleagues, it is not always a time to speak out on your beliefs, but when the opportunity arises Broussard does not shy away from the chance to share.
“We want athletes and others to speak out…when we agree with them, but if you do disagree with them then we don’t want them to speak out or public figures to speak out. So people can be intolerant towards certain things, but…look I believe that God is always watching over me and He is directing my steps. As long as my heart is in the right place and I’m really trying to follow him, when the door is opened I should share and just trust the results to him,” says Broussard following Liberty University’s Convocation.
Broussard said God was not always first for him, but his lifestyle and beliefs changed in his senior year of college.
“Whatever you are doing, you are representing Christ, and so I want to be the best reporter, the best journalist, the best analyst I can be because it is a reflection on Christ and I am doing it unto the Lord,” said Broussard.
The public sees Broussard on TV and K.I.N.G. as he is the founder, but just like he came and spoke to the Liberty University student body, he is so much more than someone that sports fans see sitting in front of the camera on a daily basis.
“One of the great things, to me arguably the greatest thing about being in the public eye, whatever it is whether you’re an athlete, whether you’re a broadcaster, a person known publically, is that people want to hear from you. So I go speak at churches, I speak at colleges, I speak at high schools and other venues and people want to hear what I have to say. I really have a great opportunity to impact people,” says Broussard on how uses his public platform and K.I.N.G. to help raise up the next generation.
During the NBA season and traveling so often, Broussard said how he keeps himself accountable while being on the road for an extended period of time.
“I would say Romans 8:28. ‘All things work together for good for them that love the Lord and them that are called according to his purpose.’ So even if on the surface it appears to be going bad, you can know that somehow this is going to work out for good and that can…calm you down and let you relax,” said Broussard.
Known for breaking NBA news all year long, he utilizes his sources to break stories before others in the industry. He elaborated on why sources are so important in today’s reporting.
“The news cycle is endless, it’s 24/7. Sources are how you get your information…It’s unfortunate that a lot of it is anonymous, I would prefer it to be more out in the open,” said Broussard.
He described this with an example of an NBA general manager wanting to trade a player, but that the GM cannot just come out and say those kinds of things because it would cause disgruntle around the organization, so Broussard said that is part of the reason why so much of what is reported with sources is anonymous.
Christian faith is the center piece of his life, but most people know him to be a sports analyst and personality, and he gave advice on how the next generation could be the person in his shoes someday.
“Don’t despise small beginnings…The best way to get to an ESPN or a Fox or CBS, whoever is to excel and dominate where you are at. If you start at a small newspaper, then own that beat…write good stories, report great stories, break stories, be great on camera…make people take note of you,” said Broussard.
By Jeremy Fitch
In recent days Carmelo Anthony has been in the news because of Slam Magazine ranking him the 15 best player in the NBA before the 2016-2017 season begins.
Melo responded to the article with a comment on websites Instagram page saying this:
He doubled down on the Instagram comments after practice saying, "I just looked at it and it was disrespectful."
Anthony has always been questioned for his defense, but what has never been questioned is that he is a top five scorer in the NBA. Coming off a quiet, but a solid season there is no reason for him to be this low in the rankings.
In the Slam's rankings since 2009, Melo had not fallen out side the top ten until last season when he was ranked the 13 best player in the league.
While the Slam has yet to release the top 10 players, I am among many that are shocked that you could name 14 players better than Carmelo Anthony, including Blake Griffin ranked just ahead of him at 14.
By Jeremy Fitch
The days of not having basketball are finally behind us as NBA media day is officially in the books for the 2016-17 season.
Did you see that? What you need to know from media day:
There was many breaking stories out of media day, but forgetting about the super team out West was simply not an option.
The Bay Area began the its era of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and newest edition Kevin Durant.
Via The Mercury News, “I wouldn’t say it’s strange. It’s new and fresh,” Durant said of beginning his new journey.
After the Warriors blew a 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals last June, by adding Durant, it was a message to the rest of the league that, they are hungry to finish business. That was all the Warriors had on their minds as well coming into media day.
“I don’t want to walk in the door thinking about Game 7... “Nobody should be thinking that way. But you should remember how you felt when you were walking off the floor. You should remember all that you did all summer to get yourself in a better position individually and collectively,” Curry said via The Mercury News.
By Denton Day
In case you have not heard, former NBA MVP Kevin Durant has decided to open up a new chapter in his life. For a move that challenges him to step outside of his comfort zone and allows him to grow as a player and person, Durant will join the Golden State Warriors, the team that beat him in the playoffs.
Durant announced his decision in a letter penned to the Players Tribune and twitter absolutely lost it. Fans and media personnel alike either bashed him for being “weak,” some understood the decision, and others applauded him for making a move to help him win championships. Regardless of how you feel about his decision, Durant gave the NBA fans exactly what they wanted and something they have not truly had in about three or four years: Durant became the villain.
NBA fans love to have someone to root against. Fans tried to turn Durant’s newest teammate, Stephen Curry, into the bad guy in the NBA Finals this past season. That ended up failing because it is very difficult to hate a guy who looks like a teenager.
LeBron James was the last big villain after making a similar decision to Durant’s back in 2010, ditching his hometown team to win championships. Durant did not grow up in Oklahoma City, but in his letter he recognized that the city helped raise him and it is the franchise (though, in Seattle at the time) that drafted him.
Seeing him leave has to be a kick below the belt for the Oklahoma City Thunder fans. Durant truly gave his all to that city and was loved for it most of time and labeled “Mr. Unreliable” at other times.
Leaving now gives Durant the title of villain in the NBA. Just like James did in Miami, it might be crucial for Durant to embrace the role of villain. James said that the first year he tried not to be seen as a villain, and the Heat lost in the Finals to the Dallas Mavericks. The following year, James embraced it and he won his first championship, ironically defeating Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
That was Durant’s first and only appearance in the NBA Finals.
The Slim Reaper, as Durant is known, is simply following the path that James trail blazed half a decade ago. Durant wants to win championships and the decision he made was to win championships.
Durant does not play the game of having the nicest things said about him on the Internet; he plays basketball, and his goal is to win championships. If that makes him a villain, then it is time for him to be a villain.
It worked with James, who won two championships in Miami before returning to Cleveland, and James is no longer viewed as the villain. In time, Durant will once again join the likes of LeBron James as the hero of the NBA. We do not live in a giant comic book; the villains do not always stay evil. Give it two or three years and Kevin Durant will not only have at least one or two NBA championships, but he will have millions of fans back in his corner because he is too good of a superstar not to like.
By Jeremy Fitch
Tim Duncan announced retirement Monday after what can only be called, 19 legendary NBA seasons individually and as a teammate. Duncan won five NBA titles, two NBA MVP’s along with being named to 15 All-Star teams.
As rare as it is for a player to be consistent over a 19-year career, it is even harder in today’s game to do it all with one franchise. Duncan and the Spurs were a match made in heaven right from when he was drafted No. 1 overall in the 1997 NBA Draft out of Wake Forest. Winning NBA Rookie of the Year and then leading the Spurs to an NBA championship in his second season, set a standard that most athletes cannot reach the rest of their career.
Duncan was unique though and now goes down as one of the greatest power forwards to ever pick up a basketball. “The Big Fundamental,” as every has called him over the years, was nothing short of consistent on the stat sheet, but also as a team player.
Ending your career averaging 19.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.2 blocks per game is a stat line most players aim to average for just one season. Duncan was able to average that from his 20’s and now just turning 40.
Although, one of the most under appreciated superstars in the NBA, Duncan was never a self-promoter, but many players he went up against each night for the last 10 plus years took notice of his greatness.
A legend forever, and there has been a place waiting for Tim Duncan in Springfield, Massachusetts for quite some time at the Basketball Hall of Fame.