It’s July 4th (mid-week), it feels weird and I’m enjoying an off day from work. I was sitting at home and have a few reactions for you. It’s been quite the busy past couple of days with NBA free agency, the world cup, and (I guess) baseball. Let’s break it down into 5 reactions.
- LeBron is a Laker. Wow, still feels weird to say and it’s been 3 days. It was something we were warned about even in the summer of 2017 saying LeBron was a sure thing to head to LA. It’s something Shea Serrano wrote about here in September 2017. But there was still some doubt. I’m in a fantasy football league with 11 Clevelanders and I’m the only Cincinnatian, and they were still holding on hope. However, there was a different feeling this time when he left. Cleveland had accepted the chances long ago. After the championship in 2016, Cleveland was happy with whatever happened. James had given his life and body to the city, and he could do no more. LeBron made Cleveland relevant before he left, and that was all he could do. People are excited for LeBron to go to the Lakers. Society loves to hate the Lakers (or loves to love them, whichever side you’re on) and it’s fun when big teams are good again. Watching the Lakers suck for 5 years was weird. I was born the year before Shaq moved to LA. I started watching basketball as the 3-peat championship from 00-02 was occurring. I saw Gary Payton and Karl Malone ring chase with that team. Then saw Kobe carry them in the Shaq feud aftermath. I never saw a Lakers team struggle for more than a year until these past 5. I look forward to them being relevant again and living in LA to witness it all.
- I have some serious questions about some free agent signings and I’ll list a few of them here. Doug McDermott 3 year $22M? We thought the same thing last year with the trade for Oladipo and that worked out, so maybe it’s the same type of thing. On the flip side of that, I’m excited to see what Mario Hezonja does with the Knicks. He had a month in February where he scored 16 points and was shooting 40% from the three-point line. I’d like to see that stretched out with an actual coach and a place that semi knows how to play basketball. New York isn’t much more competent than Orlando, but still, it doesn’t get worse than Orlando. The Magic never gave him a chance to continue to show the flashes of talent he has.
- We also have anything the Lakers have done after signing LeBron. What about Rondo for $9M? KCP for $12M? Javale Mcgee? Ok, the last one wasn’t terrible. But still! You have a precious thing called cap-space that has suddenly dried up for a ton of teams. There would be no issue holding onto that and waiting even until July 10th to sign those guys. Nobody was chomping at the bit to sign KCP and Rondo, I can tell you that much. Cap space could have even been helpful as they try to woo Kawhi away from San Antonio. Would the Spurs rather have Ingram + Kuzma + first round picks + Luol Deng? Or would they rather have Ingram + Kuzma + first round picks? I’ll give you a hint of which one is better. This gives me a small inclination that Kawhi probably isn’t going to the Lakers. I could be wrong, but just a hint of mine. With how the Spurs handled LaMarcus Aldridge being unhappy last year, they know how to handle unhappy stars. They’ll mend the fences with Kawhi and hold onto him before handing him over to LA.
- Time for some baseball talk – the Cincinnati Reds are crushing it. I’m from Cincinnati and I haven’t even written about the Reds once, so here’s what I’ve been saving up. Our offense is amazing. We have the NL Leader in batting average in Scooter Gennett, we have the NL Leader in RBIs in Eugenio Suarez (who missed the first 20 games of the season), and we have the NL leader in OBP in Joey Votto. I love Joey Votto. He’s amazing and does what no other player does. He’s swung at the fewest pitches in the strike zone by a mile over the past few years (thanks ESPN), and he just finished a month in which he had 27 hits, hit .300 and still had 28 walks. That’s insanity. Suarez seriously missed 20 (actually 18) games and leads the NL in RBIs (felt like I needed to repeat that). I wonder what he could be doing over a full season. This team’s offense is crushing it and I love it. However, the bullpen is shaky, the starting pitching is so shaky and the defense is even shakier. We come in at 37-49 due to only being a hitting team. However, things are looking up as we are 15-6 in our last 21. Let’s go red legs!
- What big NBA news is going to happen today? July 4th is a huge time for NBA free agency. Last year it was Gordon Hayward to the Celtics, and the year before it was KD to the Warriors. I was expecting LeBron to wait until the 4th to make a decision. Now that things have fallen in place the past few days, I can’t predict any big moves. However, what about Kawhi getting traded? What about Marcus Smart signing a huge contract? Ok, that last one was a stretch. I’m looking forward to enjoying the 4th holiday and hoping some NBA free agency news happens.
— J-Breezy. Alright, I’m going to go play some golf.