Why do the New York Knicks Suck?

2017 New York Knicks: What are you Doing?

On Tuesday, May 10th, 1973 The New York Knickerbockers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in game 5 of the NBA Finals. Willis Reed, of the New York Knicks, would be named MVP of the series, and NY the Mecca of basketball brought another title home. That day was over 40 years ago.

We haven’t had any success since. And to make it worse, when things are looking like they could get better, everything crumbles at our feet, and sometimes ankles. Whether it be having a promising team in the 90’s that reached the finals only to be heart crushingly defeated. Or to have lived through the last decade of being a Knicks Fan and having to watch us hobble through every season, the Knicks have been a tragedy.

Now it’s 2017, going into 2018. 45 years since our last banner day, where are the Knicks now?

NOT ANY BETTER THEN THEY WERE LAST YEAR.

There’s a rule in the NBA that bad teams get the better lottery picks and then they either use those for drafting or trade them for established stars. It makes sense. Worse off teams get to parley their positions using scarce resources. Cool. I don’t think the Knicks got this memo.

For the last several years, the NY Knicks used their draft picks on risky foreign talent. Kristaps Porzingis has panned out. Name anyone else that did? I’ll wait until you look at another team’s roster to tell me if they have because it’s almost a guarantee they’re not a NY Knick anymore.

Kristaps Porzingis in a home jersey

Please save us

I can’t remember the last NY Knick draft pick to pan out while on the roster. These struggles came in a decade when NY and lottery were more associated than FL and the lottery. Just this year we spent 71 million dollars bringing back Tim Hardaway when we were the team that drafted him. Had we kept him and developed him along with Kristaps, maybe we’d have a better outlook going forward. Sadly, James Dolan doesn’t think like that.

Managment Doesn’t Care

Last off-season the Knicks started off by the signing of two cast off former Bulls, Derrick Rose, and  Joakim Noah. Both are injury laden, and their production mirrored it. Rose has set sail to Cleveland, but we still have Noah’s massive contract on the board. Bad contracts are a reoccurring problem you will see with bad teams, even worse contracts.

Usually for a team to take on bad contracts, they trade for them or have used leverage to make the deal come out at least even. Again, NY never got this memo. We sign players past their prime or when no one else wants them. These signings also always seem to coincide with having to get rid of younger talent at the hope of getting value out of a bad deal.

Dolan only seems to be interested in keeping the Knicks profitable. The arbitrary signing of aging and non-coherent superstars are doing nothing for the team, or it’s W column. The Phil Jackson fiasco just goes to show the interest of the team is never at the forefront for Dolan. I’m not going to pretend to know the ins and outs of the team, but it was obvious The Knicks gave Phil Jackson way more leeway than he should. Especially with such a drastic overhaul being tried by him. And then Jackson was given the boot.

I’m not complaining out Jackson’s particular firing, but it goes towards Dolan’s lack of commitment to a plan and his lack of forethought into it. The Jackson and Carmelo feud should not have been public, and that’s partially the higher ups to blame. Cohesion starts at the top.

Horrible Moves Have Left us in the Dog House

Take the Carmelo Anthony trade for instance. At the time Carmelo was at the head of the NBA, and he was at a justifiably high price. To be acquired reasonably. Carmelo, with his greatness, is not the complete two-way player that you can hang both sides of the ball’s hat on.

At the time we had a cast of great role players including Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Timofey Mozgov. Now while the NBA may have evolved past the latter, the two formers are still producing in the current NBA environment. Had we just waited to acquire Carmelo instead of paying his ransom, we’d be looking at an entirely different team right now.

This problem only becomes exacerbated when former Knicks players are wearing gold around their fingers these past few seasons. J.R. Smith, Timofey Mozgov, Iman Shumpert, David Lee, and Channing Frye have all been pieces on championship teams, and all are former Knicks. All these players only recently left the NY Knicks as well. If other teams could get value out of them, why couldn’t we?

The Future

What does the future hold for the NY Knicks? I don’t know, but it doesn’t look bright. Our lack of draft picks along with a lack of any game plan are not attractive qualities moving forward. It would appear we’re just going to ride out the Carmelo era that started with promise but is now deteriorating before our eyes. But maybe not all things will be bad this year. Maybe our savior has arrived in a dark, unmarked hoodie.

But not all things will be bad this year. Kristaps will continue to develop into the monster he will become. Rumors are going around that management doesn’t like the idea of Hardaway and Melo together, but they could gel into something special. Carmelo has and will always be an exceptional offensive talent. He can be unstoppable at times, and the NY Knicks will need him the most this season. There have been some clues he’s ready to bear that burden this season. So just maybe our promised savior has arrived in a dark, unmarked hoodie.

Carmelo Anthony under a black hoodie

The Dark Knight has Risen

Until next time, fellow Knicks fans.

Markus X. Murden

Senior-Editor/Depressed Knicks Fan

Follow Markus on Twitter and Instagram @MXMurden

 

 

 

 

Cavaliers trade Kyrie Irving to Celtics for Isaiah Thomas

The Boston Celtics have acquired All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers for point guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and Brooklyn’s 2018 unprotected first-round pick, sources tell ESPN.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN is reporting the deal is done and official. The trade finally adds closure to the trade request Irving shockingly made in Mid-July. Irving joins the Celtics with Gordon Hayward who signed as a free agent this summer.

Thomas is recovering from hip surgery this off-season and entering his final year under contract. The Cavaliers will have to make a decision on LeBron James and Thomas at the end of the 2018 season. With the speculation of James booking it to Los Angeles the 2018 unprotected first-round pick can favor Cleveland achieving a top draft pick to recoup the loss of its superstars.

The Celtics and Cavaliers will open the season in Cleveland on Oct. 17.

Source: Jeff Goodman of ESPN

NBA releases full schedule for all 30 teams

The NBA has released the full schedule for the upcoming 2017-2018 NBA Season. Last week the opening week and Christmas Day games were announced.

The schedule will come with an earlier start with the season set to kick-off on October 17th this year. Commissioner Adam Silver promised a more favorable schedule in order to accommodate more rest. Teams will see a reduction in games played per week and some adjustments made to the travel plans to compensate for the extra rest. No team will be playing four games in five nights.

The season will kick-off with the Boston Celtics visiting the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, October 17th. The defending champions, Golden State Warriors will follow-up and host the Houston Rockets that same night. Both games will be broadcasted on TNT.

As a few star players have exchanged zip codes there are a few notable games to take note of with their return to their former city. Paul George will get his first look in a Thunder uniform when he faces his former team in Indiana on December 13th. The game will be featured on ESPN. The Bulls reunion in Minnesota will make its way to Chicago on February 9th. Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson coached by Tom Thibodeau will make their only trip to Chicago then.

Gordon Hayward who opted to sign with the Boston Celtics will return to Utah on March 28th, that game will also be featured on ESPN. Chris Paul who was traded to the Houston Rockets will face his former team the Los Angeles Clippers on January 15th.

Other notable match-ups

October 26th: Pelicans @ Kings – DeMarcus Cousins was traded on All-Star Sunday and never got a chance to play against his former team, the Sacramento Kings.

November 15th: 76ers @ Lakers – The no.1 and no.2 pick respectfully will face off for the first time. Lonzo Ball and Markell Fultz are the top two picks in the 2017 NBA Draft. The match-up also comes with a little bit of social media trash talk as Joel Embiid was outspoken on his thoughts with LaVar Ball.

November 22nd: Warriors @ Thunder – Kevin Durant makes his return to Oklahoma City yet again. This time instead of a cherry on top of a cupcake there is a ring. Does the OKC crowd warm up to a champion?

January 15th: Warriors @ Cavaliers – The second game of the two-game series will be played in Cleveland. The interesting part about this game is if Kyrie will still be a member of the Cavaliers this late in the season. Should he not be traded prior to the start of the season.

January 3rd: Thunder @ Lakers – Only because Paul George is supposedly only considering to head home after this season. Laker fans will be showing up in already made PG-13 Laker jerseys attempting to woo him over to the dark side.

View the full 2017-2018 schedule here

Chevall Kanhai
NBA Baseline Times Contributor
@BaselineChevy

NBA announces opening week and Christmas Day Schedule

Today, the NBA announced the schedule for the opening week and Christmas Day. The season will debut on October 17th as the NBA attempts to start earlier and reduce a rigorous schedule. The defending champs, Golden State Warriors, will host the revamped Houston Rockets on October 17th. The banner reveal and ring commencement will be in front of James Harden and his new back court mate Chris Paul who will have some motivation to challenge the Warriors.

The defending Eastern Conference Champions, Cleveland Cavaliers, will have to open against the Boston Celtics who have added Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward to their roster this offseason.

The Philadephia 76ers are playing on Christmas Day for the first time in 16 years.

Knicks and Rockets resume Carmelo Anthony trade talks

Update: August 10, 2017

Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks re-engage in trade talks around Carmelo Anthony. The All-Star Foward has a no trade-clause and is rumored to waive that clause should he be headed to join Chris Paul and James Harden in Houston. The original talks were placed on hold earlier in July as the Knicks focused on hiring their new GM Scott Perry

The Rockets are reportedly looking to include a third team in order to help facilitate a trade.

 

Update: July 13th, 2017

According to sources, the New York Knicks are contemplating holding on Carmelo Anthony. The report comes on the brink of the Knicks reportedly also hiring a General Manager. Scott Perry from the Sacremento Kings is rumored to be appointed the GM of the Knicks in the coming days.

Steve Mills will also be promoted to President for an internal move within the organization. With the new executive hirings, the Knicks may reconsider trading away their All-Star Foward.

In the past few days, it has been rumored that the Houston Rockets have engaged in serious talks to pry Anthony away from the Knicks. The Rockets are hoping to add Anthony in hopes of pairing him with James Harden and Chris Paul to compete against the Western Conference foes, Golden State Warriors.

It is likely that the executive hirings have stalled the trade talks for now and the new faces may want to reintroduce keeping Carmelo in New York.

Source: Ramona Shelburne of ESPN

The Fantasy of an NBA Buyout Clause

In the foreign market of Soccer or better known as futbol, an expensive transaction is about to go down with one of the world’s best players. Barcelona’s Neymar Jr. is expected to have his buyout clause paid by Paris-Saint Germain. The €222 million buyout clause is expected to be paid in full. Neymar Jr. is now expected to move on and make €30m a year after taxes as a member of PSG. The trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar Jr. is broken up as they were a dominating super team of their own.

In 2014-2015, their first season together the trio won the  La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles respectively. Messi, Suárez, and Neymar scored 122 goals in all competitions, the most in a season for an attacking trio in Spanish football history. In the midst of their run Barcelona won 39 games in a row until April 2nd, 2016 with a 2–1 defeat to Real Madrid at Camp Nou. One-third of the trio is expected to disband as Neymar Jr. seeks a higher paying gig over the dominance of Barcelona in the La Liga. Although as of late, La Liga refuses to accept the buyout money, this idea of buying-out superstars is a curious invention in another league.

In the time and day of an NBA super team flexing their almighty strength, the Golden State Warriors currently have four All-Star players under contract. Stephen Curry signed the NBA’s first “supermax” deal this offseason in which he will be making $201 million over 5-years. The landscape of the NBA has shifted greatly in one summer after the Warriors showed how dominant they can be against a Lebron James lead Cavaliers and a 4-1 NBA Finals victory this past June.

Let’s think about this summer so far in the NBA. All of the superstar exchanges were a result of trades that occurred in a span of three weeks.  A domino effect of Kevin Durant choosing to join the 73-win Warriors last summer trickles into the summer of 2017 and 2018 the speculation gets even greater if Lebron will jump ship again from Cleveland. Signs of the times carry on as Kyrie Irving has requested a trade from the Cavaliers and would rather run game by himself instead of in Lebron’s shadow.

I’m never really a fan of “what if” but let’s play a game this summer shall we?

Money talks and bullshit walks. The possibility of an NBA franchise showing up to a player and saying we can buy you freedom if you come play with us is intriguing, right? The potential suitors Stephen Curry or Draymond Green could have makes you wonder. Anyone willing to spend some serious cash to break-up a super team?

The Carmelo Anthony drama continues in New York and with a no-trade clause in place the All-Star forward has his way in determining his future team. The Knicks may not be keen to buy out his contract as it does not allow them to have pieces in return for Anthony. Since the current NBA provisions only allow for their respective teams and a player to agree to the buyout no outside negotiations with other teams can be done with said player. Imagine if a team could just swoop in and save Anthony the trouble? Sure the Knicks could be relieved of a contract and they wouldn’t get any thing more in return but Anthony ultimately would have his full rights to go where he pleases with who ever he negotiates with.

Irving would certainly have more leverage in determining where he can play. He would be allowed to meet with suitors and settle on a new contract while negotiating his buyout amount with the Cavaliers. A trade request to the front office isn’t necessary and potential suitors would line-up to “buy” the All-Star guard. Of course, likewise in the soccer world, only the rich can succeed in buying an All-Star guard from an NBA team.

Could player buyout clauses help keep a check and balance system going in the NBA? The salary cap already provides a restriction on NBA franchises from overspending and buying whoever they’d like. Luxury tax penalties aren’t the greatest on an individual owner’s pockets as well. Yet, the Golden State Warriors are still intact and plan to be for the next 4-5 years in the NBA.

Paul George is now playing next to the NBA’s reigning MVP in Oklahoma City. The Houston Rockets were able to snatch away Chris Paul from the Houston Rockets to play next to MVP Candidate James Harden. Jimmy Butler is now in Minnesota next to Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Gordon Hayward joins his former college coach Brad Stevens in Boston as the first place team in last’s year Eastern Conference also grabbed Jayson Tatum at no. 3 in the 2017 NBA Draft. The rich just keep getting richer.

There are two realistic ways super teams currently break-up like a boy band. First, a player becomes unhappy like a Kyrie Irving who then would like to jump ship regardless of how dominant the Cavaliers are in the Eastern Conference. So, a trade request is put in while the team shuffles around for the best deal. Second, a free agency summer opens up for said superstar and they decide to take their talent elsewhere.

Again, what if teams can woo players by dangling millions more on their doorstep including a buyout clause sponsored by the buyer? Oh, I do realize that Kevin Durant did take about $9-$10 million less this summer to give the Golden State front office salary cap flexibility. However, Durant only signed a two-year deal in which he can still opt-out next season and potentially could demand a long-term deal. Stephen Curry is set to make near $40 million with his new contract. Durant’s deal is around $50 million for the two years. At $25 million a year, Durant is coming off an NBA Finals where he averaged 35.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.6 blocks in five games. Also, KD is the 2017 NBA Finals MVP, something Stephen Curry did not even achieve in the 2015 NBA Finals.

Sure enough, endorsements may favor KD over Curry. However, he’s already taking $10 million less and a gap of $15 million less than Curry’s super max deal. How long and how many millions will Kevin Durant wait to hold out on before seeking more money?

Now, of course, all the dynamics of a salary cap in place and the big market teams having the most money would only make the richer even richer. Perhaps the league can sponsor some of the revenue to the smaller markets? Alright, the sun is out any my eyes are awake.

As the summer high winds down and my adult beverage wears off I’m back to reality. Regardless of buying players the NBA still can mount super teams but the options to break them up is slim to none. Of course, unless you’re Kyrie Irving and demand your way out from a championship caliber team.

Chevall Kanhai
Baseline Times NBA Contributor
@BaselineChevy

Why the Celtics are a dynasty with Kyrie Irving

So Jason McIntyre tweeted this earlier and the city of Boston lost its collective mind.

Look Celtics fans, I love Isaiah as much as the next guy but Kyrie is a better player plain and simple. Not only is Kyrie a better player than Isaiah he’s younger and he’s cheaper. Isaiah is going to want max money entering his 30-year-old season after next year. Kyrie is under team control for two years and is only going to be 27 when he is eligible for a new contract.

Let me preface this by saying McIntyre’s offer is too high on Boston’s side. Players who publically demand trades don’t usually get fair returns (see George, Paul). A more likely scenario is IT4, Jae Crowder, the Lakers/Kings and the Clippers/Memphis pick for Kyrie.

However, the Celtics can afford to overpay for a superstar as they still have a ridiculous collection of assets. They can afford to throw in a player like Yabusele or Ante Zizic or some of the SEVEN first round picks they have in the next 3 years to get a deal done. The Celtics can’t draft all those players; they just simply don’t have the room for all those rookies on a team that is trying to compete for a championship. They need to consolidate some of these assets into star players. Kyrie is a star player.

I get the argument for Isaiah, I really do. Kyrie’s and Isaiah’s the numbers last year are very comparable, with Isaiah having a slight edge in some categories. It’s important to remember when looking at these stats that Isaiah is playing in an offense that Brad Stevens has tailored to him. Kyrie is playing on a team and in a system that is centered around Lebron. While Lebron is the 2d best player to ever play basketball and he frequently makes those around him better, sometimes players don’t maximize their ability because they are deferring to him. Look at Kevin Love. K-Love was a double-double machine in Minnesota, in Cleveland he is a glorified spot up 3 point shooter. The point is Kyrie and Isaiah’s numbers are comparable now, but what would they be like if Kyrie was put in a system that maximizes his talent.

Even Isaiah and Kyrie’s defensive stats are pretty similar

While their numbers are similar, there is a huge difference between these two players defensively. Isaiah is a bad defender because he is undersized, Kyrie is a bad defender because his effort is lacking on that side of the ball. Effort can be improved, height cannot.

The Celtics are in a position to get a 25-year-old superstar. It’d cost them a 28-year-old dynamic scoring point guard, one of the leagues best contracts and some picks to get it done but that is a price worth paying for Kyrie. Isaiah’s hip injury scares me more than it does most, this is the same injury that derailed Jonny Flynn’s career. I get that Jonny Flynn was never of Isaiah Thomas’s caliber but he was very good in his rookie year before the injury and relied on his speed and quickness as a smaller guard, sound familiar? Those physical attributes never returned after the injury. I am rooting for Isaiah, but there is no guarantee he is going to ever be the player he was before the injury. Jae Crowder needs to go, he’s on this team because of his contract. The truth is the Celtics have way too many SF’s. Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Morris, Abdel Nader, their primary position is the 3. Sure they can play other positions but that’s still way too many guys who basically play the same position. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are the future of this team, they need minutes to develop.

The Celtics best chance at a title is going to be a core of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and the 2018 Nets pick. Kyrie Irving will still be in his prime when those guys come into their own as NBA players. Gordon Hayward will still be a very good NBA player at that point as well. That version of the Celtics has a chance to not only be a title contender but a title favorite. Beating the Warriors in the next few years is going to be near impossible, Trading for a player like Kyrie extends your title window exponentially. He has the ability to be a superstar player in both your current title window and with the future core. Losing players like IT4 and Jae Crowder hurts but if you look at the big picture and what Kyrie can bring to your team, in the long run, it’s an opportunity definitely worth exploring.

 

Matt McKenna
Baseline Times NBA Contributor

 

Derrick Rose expected to sign one-year deal with Cavaliers

According to Shams Charania of The Vertical, Derrick Rose is expected to sign a one-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The deal is reportedly worth $1.2 million dollars which is the veteran’s minimum.

Rose met with the Cavaliers Monday as the two parties reached a deal. He is coming off a season where he only played in 64 games due to a torn meniscus in his left knee.  The former MVP played one season for the Knicks last year and averaged 18 points, 4.4 assists, and 3.8 rebounds.

The news comes after reports that Kyrie Irving has requested a trade from the Cavaliers. A shock to many and believed to have the same effect on LeBron James, the Rose signing gives reinforcements should the Cavaliers decide to trade their All-Star guard in Irving.

Potential trades the Cavaliers can make for Kyrie Irving

As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Kyrie Irving reportedly has met with the Cleveland Cavaliers front office last week and requested a trade. The news also comes with the notion that Irving is seeking an opportunity where he can be the focal point of an offense and does not want to continue to play alongside Lebron James. The news comes within the mix of the Cavaliers promoting assistant GM Koby Altman to the GM role. The Cavaliers chose to forgo extending former GM David Griffin’s contract last month as the Cavaliers were in talks of trading for Paul George.

Some of the teams Irving is rumored to favor are New York, Minnesota, San Antonio and Miami. Per Irving’s agent, “Kyrie and I had a meeting with Cavs leadership where we discussed many different scenarios in reference to Kyrie and his future with the team,” Jeff Wechsler told ESPN. “The basis of those discussions and what went on in those discussions are between the Cavs and us. We are respectfully going to keep those private.”

While it seems the NBA’s landscape looks entirely different the Cavaliers have made a few quiet moves this summer. The Golden State Warriors kept their core super team in power by signing Stephen Curry to a supermax deal and Kevin Durant to a two-year deal. The neighboring Boston Celtics acquired Gordon Hayward in free agency, the Houston Rockets acquired Chris Paul via trade, and the Minnesota Timberwovles received Jimmy Butler from Chicago. The Cavaliers summer has only been signing free agents Jeff Green and Jose Calderon in addition to re-signing Kyle Korver. Cleveland also signed Turkish forward Cedi Osman to a three-year deal.

Should the Cavaliers attempt to pull the trigger early and trade Irving prior to the start of the 2017-2018 season here are a few ideas that might make sense for each team.

San Antonio Spurs
In this deal, the Cavaliers get rid of the Tristian Thompson contract and could potentially be renting LaMarcus Aldridge for one year. Aldridge would have one year remaining and could opt out and leave Cleveland to seek another opportunity elsewhere. Previously, it has been that the Spurs are placing Aldridge up on the trade block, uncertain if he would sign long-term. The risk but the high reward is that Lebron James has an All-Star next to Kevin Love. Now I know what you’re thinking, why would the Cavaliers need two big men? As teams begin to play smaller the Cavaliers could play Aldridge at the center spot and have Love play his traditional stretch-four position. Danny Green is a filler who will also have a player option in 2018. This could free up cap space for the Cavaliers should this go awry and the rest button is the next best choice.

New York Knicks
This wild thought isn’t Rihanna here. However, LeBron is close with Eric Bledsoe and Carmelo Anthony is a banana boat buddy. This could be the savior for the Cavaliers not to lose a direction of contending for a championship. The Suns will have to take on the salary dump of J.R. Smith and Frye would be expiring as he has one year left. Throw a few draft picks their way to call it a deal. The Knicks reunite with Tyson Chandler who the Suns have previously tried to move. The Knicks would get Irving as their centerpiece next to Kristaps Porzingas.

Miami Heat
If the Miami Heat is a team Irving is strongly considering then there isn’t a whole lot that can be offered for Cleveland unless a third team is involved. Straight up the Cavaliers can obtain Goran Dragic and Justice Winslow. The Heat also has a 2019 and 2020 first-round pick they can send to Cleveland or another destination if a third team is in play. The Cavaliers would have to take on an aging Dragic but also locked into a three-year deal still. Not a favorable deal for Cleveland and they may want to include a third team to recruit more talent their way.

Minnesota Timberwolves 
Since the Timberwolves just signed Jeff Teague to a three-year deal this summer they will have to wait until December 15th before they can trade him. If the Cavaliers can hold off and would prefer to send Irving to the Western Conference and out of the East then, Minnesota would be a preferred destination. It is rumored that Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns both are actively recruiting Irving. The chances of Irving heading to Minnesota would be low if a third team cannot be brought it and the Cavaliers would like to make a deal done before the summer is over.

Other suitors
With Danny Ainge stockpiling assets Boston is always going to be in the mix for potential trade destinations. Since John Wall has just signed his four-year extension with the Wizards it is now unlikely that he will be moved. As this news comes with shock there could be many other teams that come out of left field and become involved.

2017 NBA Vegas Summer League: A Purple and Gold Affair

“The Lakers are back”

After the summer league roster of the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Portland Trailblazers 110-98, Magic Johnson had those very same words. Johnson would be interview center-court as the young Lakers celebrated their summer league championship in a poor man’s fashion as to the Golden State Warriors celebration just about a month ago.

Kyle Kuzma was announced the MVP of the Finals game with 30 points and 10 rebounds. The Lakers No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball did not play due to an injury in the final game. However, Ball would receive the overall MVP for the Vegas league as he averaged 16.3 points, a summer 9.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. The 9.3 assists per game is a summer league high and a record that Ball now holds.

The past couple of weeks the feature of ESPN turned into Lonzo Ball. Every game the former UCLA guard played there were eyes on his footwear. His first game was a disappointing 2-15 shooting performance and only scoring five points. The shoes of choice were a pair of Big Baller Brand sneakers. Game two featured Ball in a different pair of shoes and a different result. 11 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds. A triple-double with an all purple pair of Kobe’s.

If you’re accustomed to ESPN’s NBA notifications then make no mistake that those also featured updates on when to expect Ball to play. Actually, my phone buzzed and there is a notification popping up that Lonzo, in fact, would not play in the summer league final. No new shoes, no triple-double and a chance for the Lakers other first-round pick, Kuzma, to show his talent.

Can we all say that one man alone could be responsible for the Laker loving? Mr. LaVar Ball?

With Lonzo dominating headlines whether it was his kick game or his dazzling play his father still remained loud and proud on the sidelines. LaVar kicked off the summer games by announcing his opinion that Lonzo could, in fact, be better than Magic Johnson. Things got hostile as Joel Embiid of the 76ers was caught on social media cursing LaVar. Nonetheless, a rebuttal from LaVar as expected: “when you working for somebody shut your mouth”.

When Lonzo started to sport different brands such as the purple Kobe’s, Adidas, Under Armor and, a pair of Jordan’s then came the questions. LaVar quickly fired back and advised that if the price is right a potential suitor could have the rights to the Lakers rookie. The most recent comments coming from LaVar is the ongoing battle between De’Aron Fox and Lonzo.

“Have you heard about De’Aaron Fox? Hell nah,” LaVar said on Fox Sports Radio . “You can’t hear about him unless he puts my boy’s name in his mouth. He been doing all this stuff and ain’t nobody been talking about him. So he and his dad gotta link themselves to us to be relevant. De’Aaron Fox had a whole season and the only thing they talk about is 39 points against Zo. You don’t put Zo in a sentence, nobody cares about him.”

With ESPN owning the ability to feature summer league games, the sideshow continued with father and son. Let’s not forget that Jayson Tatum, Dennis Smith Jr, and Josh Jackson played in this tournament. Although their teams did not make the finals, Ball respectfully was not the only lottery pick dazzling the crowd. Tatum would manage to play in three games and averaged 17.7 points and eight rebounds while shooting 42-percent from the field. Smith Jr. averaged 17.3 points, five rebounds and, two steals in six games.

In the end, the summer league has grown its brand which the NBA proves its forever progressing. Their future stars are giving a promising hope for the start of the season in October.