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More than points
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    The Chicago Bulls have made some very questionable decisions over the course of the last decade or so regarding the players they choose in the draft or the things they do to acquire them, trading away some pretty valuable assets to get pretty much nothing in return. So, one of the most important franchises in NBA history has entered a spiral of mediocrity, being good enough to make the playoffs but not good enough to actually compete, failing to land top free agents or a good draft selection. The Gar/Pax front office seems lost and it looks like everybody wants different things for the team in Chicago, so now, as they’re once again reportedly considering trading Jimmy Butler, let’s take a look back at the top 5 worst trades the Bulls have made in their storied history.   5. J.R. Smith – Denver Nuggets The 18th pick of the 2004 NBA draft has never been considered as an easy going guy and even if his talent on both ends of the floor was quite obvious, his lack of basketball IQ and discipline off the floor made him a hard guy to trust, until he finally landed on the Cavaliers where his mindset finally changed. Nonetheless, the Chicago Bulls had a shot to get the nice 2-way player during the 2006 campaign alongside PJ Brown in exchange for Tyson Chandler, just to be traded once again to the Denver Nuggets for a couple of second rounders and Howard Eisley, who could never suit up again due to an injury.   4. Jamal Crawford – New York Knicks Jamal Crawford has always been known for his capacity to score in bunches in a short amount of time, being one of the most prolific and versatile offensive players the league has seen in a very long while, and being considered the ultimate 6th man of the year, as his 3 awards can tell you. Sadly, the Bulls didn’t trust Crawford enough to keep him around during the start of the 04-05 campaign, as they wound up sending the now-Clipper to the New York Knicks alongside Jerome Williams to acquire Dikembe Mutombo, Othella Harrington, Frank Williams and Cezary Trybanski. Needless to say, this was a completely futile trade for the Bulls, as they immediately traded him to the Rockets in exchange for pretty much anything.   3. Ron Artest & Brad Miller – Indiana Pacers The Bulls shocked pretty much everybody when they let go one of the best defenders the league has ever seen in Ron Artest, as well as Brad Miller, to the Indiana Pacers just before the trade deadline in exchange for a future 2nd rounder, Jalen Rose, Travis Best and Norm Richardson. Just after Artest left the Bulls, he reached his true potential and became an All-Star and the Defensive Player of the Year, as well as being remembered for his role in the infamous Malice in the Palace fight against the Detroit Pistons and several fans.   2. Artis Gilmore – San Antonio Spurs You’d have to go way back to find out who this guy is, but just to make it simple, he was one of the greatest talents in the ABA before playing for the Bulls, averaging over 18 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks per game through his entire career. Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough for the Bulls to keep him, and they wound up sending the 6-time All-Star to San Antonio in exchange for Dave Corzine and Mark Olberding, one guy that spent most of his career as a mediocre backup center, while the other spent just a year at the United Center, what a bummer. Read More Top 5 Worst Trades in the Nets History Top 4 Worst Trades in Warriors History Top 3 Worst Trades in Lakers History 1. LaMarcus Aldridge – Portland Trail Blazers Before becoming a huge star for the Portland Trail Blazers and then accepting a secondary role with the Spurs to chase a ring, the Bulls drafted LaMarcus out of Texas University with the 2nd overall pick just to immediately trade him to the Blazers in exchange for Tyrus Thomas. Well, while Aldridge has lifetime averages of 19.1 points and 8.3 boards per game on 48% from the field with 5 All-Star appearances, Tyrus retired after just 8 years in the league averaging 7.7 points and 4.8 boards. Imagine what could’ve been of the Bulls if Rose, Aldridge and Noah had played together?

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    Every franchise in the NBA gets hit with the occasional draft misfortune bust that haunts them for years to come. Players such as Anthony Bennett, Darko Milicic and Kwame Brown are some of the most famous draft busts of all time, with their teams regretfully looking back at draft night decisions. One franchise that particularly has plenty of overwhelmingly bad draft busts however is the Portland Trail Blazers. In recent years, they have found luck by getting All-Star point guard Damian Lillard in the 2012 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, it hasn’t always been pretty for Portland. Here are the top 5 worst draft mistakes in Portland Trail Blazer history.   5. Barry Parkhill (1973 Draft) In the 1973 draft, with the 15th overall pick, the Trail Blazers selected Barry Parkhill. This pick wasn’t a great player, but the Trail Blazers fortunately didn’t have to deal with him, because Parkhill chose to play in the ABA for the Virginia Squires instead of playing in Portland. There were many players drafted after this pick, such as Swen Nater, who enjoyed a long NBA career. So not only were great players selected right after Parkhill and Portland’s pick, but the Trail Blazers essentially wasted a pick. This was one of their many woeful draft mistakes in the 70’s. 4. Wally Walker (1976 Draft) Wally Walker was selected with the 5th overall pick by the Trail Blazers in the 1974 NBA Draft, only a year after the mistake that was Barry Parkhill. Walker is more known for being the CEO/President of the Seattle Supersonics rather than his short stint with the Trail Blazers. He averaged only 5.1 points per game in 75 games for them across two seasons. Walker was selected over Hall of Famer and Celtics legend Robert Parish, who was selected with the 8th overall pick. Parish enjoyed a 21-year career in the NBA, and was part of 4 Celtics championship teams. 3. Greg Oden (2007 Draft) Greg Oden will go down as one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history, which is really unfortunate to say. Oden was selected 1st overall in the 2007 NBA Draft and had all the talent scouts looked for in a big man. Oden caught the injury bug early on in his career unfortunately and couldn’t sustain a consistently healthy career. Portland chose Oden over Texas product Kevin Durant, who has been very successful for the Thunder and Warriors up to this point in his career. Durant has won an MVP award and is one of the most dynamic scorers this game has ever seen. A frontcourt pairing of Durant and Aldridge would’ve been ridiculously dominant offensively, and who would’ve known what the Trail Blazers could’ve done with those two on the roster. 2. LaRue Martin (1972 Draft) A lot of people are probably wondering how Oden was only number 3 on this list. Those people don’t know of LaRue Martin. Martin was selected with the 1st overall pick in the 1972 NBA Draft, after receiving a lot of hype during his time at Loyola University Chicago, outplaying future teammate Bill Walton in a matchup against UCLA. He played 4 seasons with the Blazers and averaged 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. After 4 seasons, he suddenly retired after being outplayed constantly by Bill Walton, who was drafted two years after Martin. The Trail Blazers sat on and watched helplessly as 2nd overall pick Bob McAdoo and 12th overall pick Julius Erving enjoyed themselves Hall of Fame careers. More often than not, you usually get a franchise player out of a number 1 overall pick, and unfortunately for the Trail Blazers, they passed up on two all-time greats for a player who had no impact at all for his franchise. 1. Sam Bowie (1984 Draft) One of the most infamous draft busts of all time, of course Sam Bowie had to be number one on this list. Bowie was selected 2nd overall in the 1984 draft in front of the G.O.A.T Michael Jordan. Bowie showed brief signs of great basketball, but couldn’t seem to stay healthy enough while with the Trail Blazers, missing the entire 1987-88 season due to a leg injury. He only played 139 games with the team and went on to have some above average seasons for the Nets, averaging 10.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for his career. The drafting of Sam Bowie is still one of the worst draft mistakes to this date because of the fact Michael Jeffrey Jordan was passed on, as well as future Hall of Famer Charles Barkley.

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    The NBA Draft can be a hit or miss affair for teams in the NBA. You can either select the NBA’s next star or you can select a rookie who will end up having an unsuccessful career in the NBA. Here’s a list of the Top 10 NBA players who never played for the NBA franchise they were drafted by. (The following list is in order) Honorable Mentions: Kevin Love – Drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies Traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves Rajon Rondo – Drafted by the Phoenix Suns. Traded to the Boston Celtics   10. Marc Gasol  The 7’1” Spaniard was selected with the 48th overall pick in the NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. Marc was then traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for his older brother Pau Gasol. This was the first time in NBA history that two brothers were traded for each other. Marc has went on to have a good career in Memphis averaging 14.9 ppg and 7.6 rpg so far in his NBA career. Gasol also was voted the 2012-2013 Defensive Player of the year as well as being named to two different All-NBA teams during his playing career. Marc would have been a great fit in L.A if he hadn’t been traded away but unfortunately, at the time it was a win-now situation for the Lakers.   9. LaMarcus Aldridge Considered one of the top power forwards in the NBA for the past few years, Aldridge never actually played for the team he was drafted by. Aldridge was drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the second overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. LaMarcus was then traded to the Portland Trailblazers in exchange for the 4th overall pick in the Draft – Tyrus Thomas. Aldridge went on to spend nine seasons in Portland and is now currently playing with the San Antonio Spurs. Aldridge has been selected as a NBA All-Star 5 times in his career and has averages of 19.1 ppg and 8.3 rpg. This was definitely a huge mistake on the Chicago Bulls part.   8. Chris Webber Webber was selected first overall in the 1993 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic before being immediately traded to the Golden State Warriors. The Magic received Penny Hardaway and three first-round picks in exchange for the power forward’s services. Webber went on to have a successful career in the NBA winning the 1994 NBA Rookie of the year award and being selected as an All-Star 5 times in his career. Chris also made his way onto five All-NBA teams during his career. Webber never returned to play for Orlando during his career and ended his playing career after 17 seasons in the NBA.   7. Dominique Wilkins Wilkins was selected with the third overall pick in the 1982 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. Wilkins did not want to play for the Jazz so he was traded to the Hawks a few months after the Draft. Dominique went on to have a successful career in the NBA, being selected as an All-Star nine times in his career, winning two Slam Dunk contest awards and also being crowned the 1986 NBA scoring Champion. For such a good player you just wonder how his career could have turned out if he had stayed and played for the Utah Jazz.   6. Pau Gasol Pau was selected with the 3rd pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks traded Pau’s rights to the Memphis Grizzlies in return for Shareef Abdur-Rahim. This turned out to be a big mistake as Pau went on to win the 2002 Rookie of the Year Award. Gasol has since become a two-time NBA Champion and been voted to 4 All-NBA teams. He also still provides useful minutes in the NBA as he currently plays with the San Antonio Spurs.   5. Ray Allen Considered the best shooter to ever play the game of basketball by some, Allen never played for the Minnesota Timberwolves even though he was drafted fifth overall by the franchise in the 1996 NBA Draft. The Timberwolves traded Allen in exchange for Stephon Marbury. This turned out to be a huge mistake for Minnesota as Ray went on to be a Star in the NBA finishing his career with a total of 2973 three-point field goals made and with two NBA Championships under his belt.   4. Dirk Nowitzki Considered the ‘Best European Player of All-Time’, Dirk Nowitzki wasn’t actually drafted by the Dallas Mavericks. Dirk was drafted ninth overall in the 1998 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. He was then traded to the Bucks with Pat Garrity in return for Robert Taylor. This turned out to be a huge mistake for the Milwaukee Bucks as Nowitzki has went on to have an amazing career in the NBA winning an NBA Championship with Dallas in 2011. Dirk also has 13 All-Star selections to his name and he was also voted to 12 All-NBA teams during his playing career. The good news? Dirk still isn’t done playing in the NBA and we expect to see him make a return to the court next year with the Dallas Mavericks.   3. Scottie Pippen Michael Jordan’s main sidekick during the years where the Chicago Bulls were the most feared team in the NBA – Scottie Pippen was selected fifth overall in the 1987 NBA Draft by the Seattle Sonics. Pippen was then traded to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for a center – Olden Polynice and a second-round Draft pick. Pippen went on to play 11 straight seasons with the Bulls before returning in the 2003-2004 season to finish his NBA career with a final 23 games in a Bulls jersey. Scottie was a 7-time All-Star and 6 time NBA Champion who is now a Hall of Famer. Just imagine what could have been for Pippen if he wasn’t traded to the Bulls back in 1987. The NBA could have been a whole lot different than it is now.   2. Bill Russell Believe it or not, the 11 time NBA Champion never played for the team he was drafted by. Russell was selected 2nd overall in the 1956 NBA Draft by the St. Louis Hawks (Now known as the Atlanta Hawks). The Head Coach of the Boston Celtics at the time – Red Auerbach, traded away both Cliff Hagan and Ed Macauley in exchange for the young Bill Russell. This turned out to be the right decision on the Celtics part as Russell led the team to 11 NBA Championships during his 13-year playing career. The Legendary ‘Number 6’ was a 12 time NBA All-Star and also won 5 NBA Mvp awards! Regarded as one of the best to ever play in the NBA, just imagine what could have happened if Russell hadn’t been traded to Boston. Read More Top 5 Worst Draft Mistakes in Portland Trail Blazers History Re-Drafting the Historical 1996 NBA Draft Top 10 Cheapest Contracts In The NBA 2016/17 1. Kobe Bryant Selected 13th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft, ‘The Black Mamba’ wasn’t actually selected by the L.A Lakers. Kobe was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets but ended up being traded to Los Angeles in July 1996 in exchange for Vlade Divac. Kobe finished his career an 18-time All-Star, the 2007-2008 MVP and also had 5 NBA Championships under his belt when he decided to call it a day. The question is how would Kobe’s career have panned out if he had not been traded by the Hornets back in 1996?

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    The Western Conference matchup we’ve all been waiting over 2 years for is finally set but many people are already counting the San Antonio Spurs out. They overwhelmingly believe that Warriors-Cavs part 3 is on the horizon. What if I told you, that the Spurs have all the tools to pull off a major upset here? You’d probably immediately stop reading but I’m willing to that risk anyway. As long as Pop is at the helm of the Spurs engine, there is a way.   1. They Have Hungry Players From top to bottom. These players are out to prove all the doubters wrong. LaMarcus Aldridge is out to prove that he can win at the pro level, having never even been to the Finals. In fact, this is his first appearance in the Western Conference Finals. A feat he could never accomplish during his long tenure in Portland. The furthest he went as a Trailblazer would be the second round out. He’s battled many criticisms for how he has played for the San Antonio Spurs so far in his 2-year tenure. The belief is that he cannot win at the pro level. At 31 years of age, if Aldridge doesn’t break through to the finals or win an NBA Championship now, will it ever happen for him? Another player that has something to prove is David Lee. It was not too long ago that David Lee was an All-Star caliber player for the Golden State Warriors and he got replaced due to the rise of Draymond Green. I’m sure that had to hurt his confidence as a player, to know that he was that replaceable. Sure, he got an NBA championship out of the deal, but he has to be feeling some type of way with how quickly the Warriors ditched him after that 2015 run. They essentially traded him for nothing, since they waived Gerald Wallace.   2. They Just Blew Out The Houston Rockets Without Two Key Players Granted they will be without Tony Parker for the rest of the playoffs, they should get back Kawhi Leonard for Game 1. The fact that they blew out the Houston Rockets in Houston by 39 points without their best player in Kawhi Leonard is scary. The Warriors run a similar offensive style of living and dying by the three-pointer. The Spurs have excellent perimeter defenders in Leonard, Manu, Green, and Simmons. There is no reason to think that this Spurs team can’t continue to defend well against the Warriors. They also have a good interior defense when it is on. Guys like LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol and Dewayne Dedmon can swat away or alter shots when the Warriors offense decides to penetrate into the lane or operate in the post. David Lee has made improvements as a defender this year as well and has always been good at corralling defensive boards to prevent second chance points. Curry and Durant are likely going to get their points but if you can make them work for everything and limit the supporting cast. There’s a chance in Spurs country baby.   3. The Spurs Will Play Their Style An efficient offense that values the basketball and rarely turns it over. Leading to more possessions. An offense where the ball moves around faster than an opposing defender can slide his feet. An offense where everyone can be a playmaker. They will make strides on the defensive end too. They have a defense that committed the fewest fouls per game this season. They show discipline and do not get baited into calls. Having the best two-way player in Basketball in the form of Kawhi Leonard helps too. Assuming that he should be ready to go for this series. Basing it off his post-game reaction and the fact that he felt that he was ready to play in Game 6 of the Spurs-Rockets series the other night.   4. They Are A Resilient Team The Spurs have shown this year that they are never out of a fight. They are capable of cutting deficits. People should expect the Warriors to put big runs together, maybe even win a game this series by 20+ points but just know that the Spurs can and will counterpunch. During the regular season, they came back from 28 points to beat the Sacramento Kings using just their bench. Now, I know it was only the Kings but a 28 point comeback is nothing to scoff at no matter the opponent. Especially, considering that it was their bench that cut the deficit. Last series they lost Game 1 to the Houston Rockets by a margin of 29 points and came back in Game 2 to win by 27. Ultimately ended in 6 games with the Spurs taking the series. A majority of fans and myself thought the Rockets were taking the series after that game but the Spurs quickly shut us up. Read More Top 5 Best Point Guards For The San Antonio Spurs Next Season Top 10 NBA Players You Forgot Played For The San Antonio Spurs Ranking The Top 10 Best NBA Players Of 2017 5. Popovich Is Quick At Adapting In Round 1, Gregg Popovich coached his Spurs against a grit and grind Memphis defense that forced the Spurs to play at a much slower pace than they are used to. Most of the games rarely exceeded 90 or even 100 points. Popovich took the challenge head on and finished the Grizzlies off in 6 games. He was able to win the 50-50 balls and limit his team’s fouls against a bump and bully ball type of Grizzly team. How’s that for data? In Round 2, the pace completely changed. The Houston Rockets coached by Mike D’Antoni played a face paced transition offense. The Spurs were able to heed the call to limit the Rockets fast break points by valuing the possession of the basketball and tiring out Rockets players by making them work on the defensive end. It showed when James Harden struggled in Game 6 and in OT during Game 5. He was completely gassed out having to deal with Aldridge and Gasol in the post due to D’Antoni deploying small ball lineups. The point I’m trying to make here is, no matter the style, Gregg’ Spurs can and will adapt. Popovich has seen every type of defense and every type of offense. There is no catching him off guard. His players will play hard for him because an angry Pop is their worst nightmare. Therefore, let’s not be too quick to count out the San Antonio Spurs. Yes, the Golden State Warriors are a super team but so was the 2013-14 Miami Heat team. We all know how that matchup turned out. As long as there is a Pop, there is a way.

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    All year long, the Spurs were considered one of the top teams in the NBA. Had it not been for Kawhi Leonard’s injury in the Western Conference Finals, the Spurs could have posed a serious threat to the now reigning NBA Champions. With LaMarcus Aldridge being a center piece for the franchise (after Kawhi Leonard), expectations have been high for the star Power Forward. But for these Playoffs, and the entire season, he just hasn’t seemed to truly meet those expectations. His 17 points per game may seem okay on paper, but for a guy who’s previously averaged 20+ points for five straight seasons, it becomes clear that his production is slipping. According to a report by John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7, the Spurs have actually already made an offer centered around their underachieving star. The Spurs reportedly offered Aldridge in a failed effort to acquire a top 5 pick in the draft. The exact details of who the Spurs called and what those potential traders offered in return is not yet known, but it’s safe to assume that the Phoenix Suns were one of the ones on the list. The Suns could offer the 5th pick, Tyson Chandler, and TJ Warren in exchange. It looks like an unfair trade on the surface, but by unloading Aldridge’s contract the Spurs would open up much more space to sign a max free agent in July. The Suns’ proposed deal would make a lot of sense. But there’s more than likely been calls to the Celtics, Lakers, and Kings as well. It looks like the Spurs are being pretty serious about their options for LaMarcus. As the Warriors celebrate their Championship, and the Cavs work tirelessly to work out their front-office replacement, the Spurs could be ready to make a move and challenge them both.Those “quiet” Spurs that everyone’s so used to? Well, looks like they are finally starting to make some noise.

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    It’s only June 28th, but the NBA has already been shaken up with trades, rumors, and all kinds of hot news. With the trading of D’Angelo Russell, the Lakers cleared way for a potential superstar to come. In New York, the Knicks fired former President of Basketball Operations, Phil Jackson. For them, it triggers the long and uneasy way to a fresh start. But, by far, the biggest news of the NBA Offseason is Chris Paul, who has just been traded to the Houston Rockets. With a James Harden and Chris Paul backcourt duo, the Rockets have become serious contenders out West. According to reports though, Houston may not be done. They believe they can get one more star before the summer is over, making them the newest Big-Three. With so many stars rumored to be on the go, here’s some big names that could find themselves playing for the Rockets next season: Paul Millsap Paul Millsap has had a great career in Atlanta. For the Hawks, he’s been their best player for at least the last few years. While they’ve seen some great seasons, the Hawks were never a real threat against the Eastern Conference elite. In Houston, Millsap could find the success he never experienced in Atlanta. Playing alongside two brilliant playmakers, the 6’8″ power forward would find easy shots around the rim. This non-selfish All-Star would fit right in, and could be the perfect peace for the newly formed super squad. Paul George While you’re probably getting tired of hearing his name by now, the Rockets could be a real dark horse to land Paul George. Once he told the Pacers he’d be gone next summer, it was almost a sure-fire fact that he’d be playing in a different city pretty soon. The Lakers and the Cavs have been the biggest contenders for PG’s services. But with the CP3 news, Houston could have a real chance. Not only could George provide instant offense for the team, he’d also give them elite level defense as well. The only concerns here would be the ball movement, as both PG and Harden like to play with the ball in their hands. Even with that though, this would be one scary team. LaMarcus Aldridge Admittedly, it would be pretty hard for the Rockets to pull this off. Having traded away a lot of assets in the Chris Paul deal, and with the Spurs not being ones to make stupid trades, Houston would have to work a miracle to pull this off. But, LaMarcus Aldridge is reportedly not happy in San Antonio and he wants out. Who says he has to go anywhere far though? He could stay right in Texas, and play with two of the best guards in the league. Not only does LaMarcus have the experience of a true NBA veteran, but his well rounded game and mid range shooting touch would compliment the team pretty well. The only question here, would be if he could hold his own come playoff time, where he has a tendency to disappear. Carmelo Anthony Phil Jackson’s long awaited firing did not put a stop to the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors. In fact, things are only heating up as the Knicks begin their next chapter. Whether or not Anthony is a part of that may depend on what Houston wants to give up to get him. If it happens though, the Rockets would have a near unstoppable offense. CP, Harden, and Melo would put up buckets like 5:00 rush hour. It’s also no secret that the New York star is a good friend of Paul, meaning their chemistry on the court would already be pretty lethal. Blake Griffin Here’s a scenario nobody thought of: What if Chris Paul and Blake Griffin planned this all along? When CP3 announced he was leaving L.A. earlier today, everybody just assumed he’d played his last game with Griffin. But maybe BG is the final part of a three prong plan. It’s probably unlikely, to be honest. But it’s certainly not impossible. Griffin and Paul already have amazing chemistry on the court, and he would provide an athletic spark to a ball club with mostly talented shooters. If this really becomes reality, imagine how DeAndre Jordan would feel, knowing his two former teammates went to have fun in Houston.

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    What a few days it’s been. First Chris Paul teams up with James Harden in Houston to form a backcourt ready to rival Golden State’s, then Paul George is traded to OKC to go play with Russell Westbrook and Steph Curry just signed that largest contract in NBA history; a $201 million deal. Big names are on the move and record-breaking contracts are being signed, but we are far from done. The trade rumor machine keeps on turning, keeping us on our toes until the next name comes along. One name that has been on people’s’ lips for a while now is Aldridge. LaMarcus although still an effective player has shown time and time again that he isn’t a big game player. When Kawhi Leonard went down in game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, the Spurs next best player was Aldridge. In order to have a chance to win he needed to perform, but he averaged a measly 15.5 and 5.8 rebounds on 41.3% from the field. Gregg Popovich is an extremely tough man to please; he’s the best coach in the world who demands nothing but excellence from his players, especially when it matters most. The Spurs are now Kawhi’s team, they form their offense and defense around him and with Aldridge aging and unable to perform I expect him to be on the move very soon. Here are my top three trade destinations for LaMarcus Aldridge.   3. Detroit Pistons After an exciting 2015/16 season which saw Andre Drummond earn his first All-Star selection and the Pistons making their first playoff appearance since 2009, Detroit has really gone backward. They had 6 players averaging between 16 and 10 points a game last season which sounds like they have a balanced offense, but really they have no leader. There is no focal point of their team like LeBron James is for the Cavs and it’s really hurting them. Drummond is the best player on that team but he hasn’t developed enough offensively yet to take on the role of Detroit’s number one guy. LaMarcus Aldridge can fix that. Aldridge has the skills and experience to be the number one guy like he was in Portland for 5-6 years. He also provides floor-spacing as a stretch 4/5 which is something Detroit really needs as they ranked 28th in team 3pt percentage last year. Drummond is a valuable asset, sending him and Davis Bertans who shot nearly 40% from three last year would benefit both teams immensely.   2. Memphis Grizzlies Memphis have to do something soon, they are just so boring to watch and they are stuck in the bottom half of the top 8 in the Western Conference. They aren’t going to make any noise in the playoffs and they aren’t getting any good draft picks. They have to shake things up soon and this is how they do it. Aldridge and Jonathon Simmons head to Memphis, Marc Gasol goes to San Antonio. Aldridge is a more athletic partner to run with Mike Conley and they get an exciting prospect in Simmons who turned some heads against the Warriors averaging 15 points a game in the absence of Leonard. San Antonio would love this trade because Pop loves bigs than can pass and Gasol might just be the best of the bunch.   1. Portland Trail Blazers By far the biggest rumor regarding Aldridge is for him to return to Portland to team up with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Portland has an incredible scoring backcourt that can shoot the lights out, it just needs a big man to balance things out. When Aldridge was with Lillard before the Blazers had one of the best offenses in the league which was based on the duo of Lillard and Aldridge. They ran the pick and roll to perfection and would do the same again this time round. The Blazers do have an up and coming big in Jusuf Nurkic who averaged 15 and 10 before he got injured, but Aldridge is a proven commodity with a playing style that suits the fast pace that Portland wants to go at. Trading Aldridge for Nurkic and Evan Turner would see the Blazers get their star back and give the Spurs a talented young big and a good passing forward in Turner who can keep that team-first spirit alive and well in Texas.

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    The two summer leagues in Orlando and Las Vegas are about to come to an end. Lonzo Ball was awful in his first game, then got a triple double in his second. Luke Kennard looks pretty polished offensively and Bam Adebayo looks like a real stud. Now that the next basketball games we’ll watch are in the preseason in several months time, our focus is solely on free agency and trade rumors. This offseason has already been incredibly exciting with record-breaking contracts signed, hugely surprising trades an abundance of drama, and we’ve still got loads to come. There are quite a few teams in the precarious position of not being good enough to challenge for a title, but too good to get quality draft picks. These teams are stuck in a mediocre limbo that can only be broken by either signing a superstar to challenge for a ring or accepting defeat and hitting the reset button. That means trading away your star players for draft picks and beginning the rebuilding process. Here are 9 guys likely to be traded very soon for the reasons stated above.   9. Reggie Jackson – Detroit Pistons Ever since Detroit won the title in 2004, besting the much more talented Los Angeles Lakers the Pistons have been in a state of flux. They have been unable to assemble a squad good enough to really compete for some time now, and primarily it’s all been down to one thing; a lack of shooting. You simply cannot win in today’s NBA if you can’t hit the three. You become too easy to defend against as the opposition can just sag off you and clog the paint, meaning you can’t hit shots inside either. Your offense grinds to a halt. The Pistons ranked 28th in three point shooting percentage last season. That ain’t gonna cut it. The Pistons have one the best rebounders in the game in Andre Drummond and believe that they can still build a team around him, but it has to be with snipers. Drummond is pure inside player who also gobbles up offensive rebounds, mainly because his team misses so much. Reggie Jackson is not a good shooter and as the team’s point-guard, he has to be able to stretch the opposing team’s defense. He shot just 35.9% last year and has a career percentage of 32.1%. Jackson is still only 26 and he is a great athlete so he will have some trade value but he and Pistons have to part ways soon, for both their sakes.   8. Brandon Knight – Phoenix Suns You’ve got to feel bad for Brandon Knight. The talented 6 foot 3 guard has never found anywhere in the NBA where he could settle down and get some momentum in his career. Even in 2014/15 when was up for an All-Star selection, the Bucks traded him to Phoenix where he has struggled to get minutes behind Eric Bledsoe. After averaging a tidy 19.5 points a game in 2015/16 when Bledsoe only played 31 games, he’s only managed 11 points an outing last season and he was shooting below 40% from the field. Knight has the talent to be a team’s starting point-guard and has a lot of trade value. Before he was traded, Knight was shooting roughly 41% from beyond the arc, a stat that will have a lot of teams willing to take the risk. The Suns need a quality wing player to go alongside Bledsoe and Devin Booker and trading Knight would be a good way to get one.   7. Goran Dragic – Miami Heat Another team that is stuck in no-man’s land is the Miami Heat who finished 9th in the Eastern Conference last season, just missing out on the playoffs. They were able to tie down the beast that is Hassan Whiteside for the foreseeable future and Dion Waiters looks to be finally picking up steam. Dragic did play really well last year where he averaged 20.3 points a night and shot better than 40% from the three point line, but this is quite a young team and with Dragic hitting 31 this offseason it might be prudent to capitalize on what’s left in his career and move him along. I don’t know what the Heat will try and do this year, they make surprise everyone if Dion lives up to his new contract or they may stumble along like last year and barely make the playoffs. If the later happens, I expect every big name to be traded and for Miami to go into full rebuilding mode.   6. Jonas Valanciunas – Toronto Raptors Toronto has to do something and fast. They have two of the premier guards in the NBA in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan and have a great stretch-4 in Serge Ibaka who is also a quality defensive player. Toronto plays in the much weaker Eastern Conference, but they cannot get past LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers. They’ve lost to them twice in a row in the playoffs and with their current squad, nothing will change. They have to shake things up and take some big risks. It’s the only way they have a chance of making it to the Finals to compete for a title. Toronto as a franchise has never been really successful and this current squad is the best they’ve ever had, but it’s still not good enough. Lowry and DeRozan, of course, aren’t going anywhere so it’s their other big pieces which need moving and Valanciunas is the guy that should go. They wisely traded away DeMarre Carroll which now opens up a spot on the wing to sign a quality shooting small forward, or bring in a guy like Andre Drummond who can focus solely on rebounding and finishing at the rim.   5. Andre Drummond – Detroit Pistons Another Piston that could be on the move is Andre Drummond. He has a huge amount of talent; he is so agile and fluid for a guy that stands 6 foot 11 and weighs nearly 280lbs. He is incredibly strong and nobody can keep him from grabbing rebounds left, right and center. He has got to improve at the free throw line where his career average is a disgusting 38.1%. Although is his very raw offensively his fits the modern, effective style of NBA center extremely well. He rebounds, he defends and he can finish on lobs, pick and rolls, drop offs and putbacks. He needs to be surrounded by shooters so he can snatch offensive rebounds and either slam it home or pass it out for an open three.   4. LaMarcus Aldridge – San Antonio Spurs This season, with Tony Parker set to miss a large chunk of the season, could mark the final end of the Spurs ‘Big Three’ era. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker won more games together than any other trio is history. Duncan retired after the 2016 season and Manu has said goodbye this year. Parker will be 35 and coming off major surgery on a quadriceps muscle and for a player known for his speed and quickness, Tony will surely be a lot slower when he comes back. This then means that, as we all know, Kawhi Leonard is their cornerstone from now on. For the Spurs to keep challenging for the title however they need to get another star alongside him, as LaMarcus Aldridge has now proven that he is no longer good enough to be a second option in the Western Conference if you want a title. When Kawhi went down last year in the Western Conference Finals it was up to Aldridge to carry the load, and he struggled under the weight. He only averaged a measly 15.5 points and 5.8 rebounds on 41.3% from the field, numbers nowhere near good enough to beat teams like the Warriors on the Rockets. Aldridge can still be a good third option, but his salary of over $21 million for the next two seasons is a lot to take on. Hopefully, the Spurs can find a suitor and give Kawhi the pairing he deserves.   3. Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers Another player who has proven he isn’t good in big games in Kevin Love. In this year’s Finals, he only averaged 16 points a game on 38.8% shooting, and his numbers from the year before were even worse. Despite winning the title in seven games Love scored a pathetic 8.5 points a game, again shooting well below 40% from the field. Cleveland is in serious trouble again this year if they don’t do something soon. The Warriors will have only have gotten better this upcoming season with improved team chemistry and Cleveland is staying still. The Cavs should easily make it back to the Finals again but without a lot more firepower they will simply be crushed by the duo of Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, two of the best scorers we’ve ever seen. LeBron doesn’t have much left and his desire to win another title is as strong as ever. If the Cavs don’t upgrade Love soon then the King might decide to leave Cleveland again in search of another ring.   2. Marc Gasol – Memphis Grizzlies Memphis are another team stuck in the shackles of mediocrity. Despite making the playoffs every year since 2010, they’ve never managed to get over the hump and reach the Finals. They are good, but not good enough and they aren’t going to get better. Mike Conley is too valuable for them to let him go so Marc Gasol, the other star on that team will be the one to move. Gasol is a great post scorer and passer who can also rebound and defend well. He is so long at 7 foot 1 and you can run your whole offense through him. He is just the kind of guy Boston should go for to complete their starting five so that Horford can move to his true position of power forward. Gasol is too skilled and too excited to be stuck in the grindhouse of Memphis, hopefully he moves soon to where his skill set can be put to better use. Read More Top 10 Ankle Breakers In NBA History Top 5 Worst Draft Mistakes in Boston Celtics History Top 10 Best European NBA Players of All Time 1. Carmelo Anthony – New York Knicks For the first time in a long time, the Knicks front office made a positive move in firing Phil Jackson from his position as head of operations. He was dreadful and took every chance he had at slighting Melo who played his heart out last season for his city. Melo is one of the greatest scorers of all time yet he has never made it to the Finals. He is usually a big time performer and everyone would love to see him strut his stuff in the Finals where he would finally be unleashed. He only has a few years left in him. The basketball Gods need to make it so that Melo gets his shot, his opportunity to solidify his hall of fame career.

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    Russell Westbrook had one of the most unbelievable MVP seasons ever last year, averaging a triple-double per game for the entire season, but he was far away from winning the NBA championship. Next season, he has a player option and he will be probably the most attractive free agent over the next summer. Recently, Fred Katz from the Norman Transcript said that Russell Westbrook has had this extension offer on the table for about a month, but he actually has delayed to sign in. After the big trade, which sent Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Westbrook finally has help after last season, when he played almost completely alone. But, to be honest, Paul George and Russell Westbrook can’t beat the Golden State Warriors, and they are not stronger than the San Antonio Spurs or even the Houston Rockets (even if they don’t get Carmelo Anthony). Westbrook is 28 years old, and he has played 9 seasons in the NBA and only once in the NBA Finals. Next year, he will decide on his future and if he wants to win an NBA championship, and that may be a very tough decision. Sam Presti knows that, and even if he had one of the best draft selections in the last 10 years with Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook, he has also lost Kevin Durant and James Harden, so maybe the biggest fear for the Oklahoma City Thunder fans could be – can he lose Westbrook too? Oklahoma is a small market, and even when loyalty is over the money, the big markets like Los Angeles and New York will waiting for one of the best players in the league and it will be very tough to reject those offers. The only way Presti can keep the MVP on his team is to add more superstars, so the Oklahoma City Thunder can finally win an NBA championship. But who can help Russell Westbrook and Paul George? Maybe they will find the light at the end of the tunnel next season. Recently, a source close to the San Antonio Spurs organization said that LaMarcus Aldridge is extremely unhappy in San Antonio because he can’t adjust in the Spurs and Gregg Popovich’s system. The five-time All-Star wants to have more freedom on the court and he feels that he can contribute more if he played like he did in the Portland than with San Antonio. Gregg Popovich needs players who can share the ball and who can adjust in his system. He always uses big men in a special role, like Rasa Nesterovic or Tiago Splitter, or Pau Gasol right now. At the moment, the face of the franchise is Kawhi Leonard, and he is good enough to lead the Spurs into the future. Maybe the best option will be to gather more role players to help Kawhi than to use LaMarcus Aldridge who wants to be somewhere else. This could be an ideal situation for both sides. Oklahoma City can offer Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, Jeremi Grant and a future first round pick for one of the best power forwards in the NBA. Gregg Popovich likes to have good shooters, and Doug McDermott could help a lot in that department because Gregg knows how to use players to create extra space for shooters. Enes Kanter will be a great option for the Spurs, as he already plays with Westbrook and knows that he is there to rebound and contribute to his team more than just with his individual stats. Jeremi Grant could be a good addition to the SF position, so Gregg can move Rudy Gay to play Power Forward. On the other side, LaMarcus Aldridge will join Westbrook and George, and if they can reach the Western Conference Finals or if they can beat the Warriors, both Paul George and Westbrook will resign with the Oklahoma City Thunder next season. That will be a great move for Sam Presti, because he will lock two superstars up for the next 3-4 years. It will be very interesting to see how Sam Presti will save Westbrook and George, because they need help and the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks will be very happy to see that duo in their jerseys. Sam Presti will be under some big pressure next season, and if Oklahoma City somehow loses again in the first round, it will be very tough to keep Paul George and Westbrook, espcially if he doesn’t sign an extension, as they will both become free agents next season.

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    For years, the NBA has suffered from unbalanced conferences. For the last few years, the West has been significantly better than the East. A barely .500 team could actually make the Playoffs in the much weaker East. This summer did not change that. In fact, the NBA’s unbalance problem only got worse. Eastern stars like Paul George and Jimmy Butler found new teams out West, leaving their old squads in disgrace. Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving may be joining them, as their situations are getting worse by the day. With the bulk of the NBA’s biggest names heading to the Wild West, it leaves room to wonder: who will be the one to head East? Here are the 5 most likely Western star candidates to take their talents to the East:   LaMarcus Aldridge When LaMarcus chose the Spurs a few years ago, he never imagined it would turn out like this. The team as a whole looks great, but Aldridge has had enough. According to him, the Spurs haven’t used his talents the right way. He feels like he’s not being used to his maximum potential, and his role has diminished a lot since his first days on the team. If the right team gives him a good situation, he would likely leave the Spurs in a heartbeat.   Chris Paul CP3 is desperate for a ring. In Houston, he has a great chance to get one. But even with a team as loaded as the Rockets, it’ll be hard for him compete with the Warriors and Spurs. The West is just too tough. If the experiment in Houston fails to materialize, Paul could elect to head East for an easier road to the Finals. Who knows, maybe he could even find himself playing for the Cavaliers, alongside LeBron James.   DeMarcus Cousins This is a bit of a longshot, but DeMarcus could find himself wearing Celtic green in a few years. His stint with the Pelicans has been short, so it’s hard to gauge how successful he can be there. But the Pelicans aren’t known for stability. And if the team ends up being a disaster, the Pels may find themselves hitting the reset button. A trade with Boston or Cleveland could see DeMarcus heading East, and would probably make the most sense.   Rajon Rondo Like DeMarcus, Rondo is a part of a Pelicans team surrounded by misfortune. Even if they don’t trade Rondo, it’s hard to see him staying long term. A return to Boston, a stint with LeBron in Cleveland, or a contract in New York could all be future possibilities for Rondo. He doesn’t have to ring chase, but the East could be his best chance to play a role for a decent team. Not to mention that Rondo’s time in the West has not brought him much success.   Kenneth Faried A bit of a question mark at this point in his career, Kenneth Faried’s role in Denver has declined dramatically. Once one of the best young guys in the league, Faried has fallen into the shadows in Denver. He needs a change of scenery, and the Nuggets surely have no use for him. Several East teams (like the Wizards) would love to have him on the roster. He adds rebounding, athleticism, and toughness to any organization willing to take a chance on him. And that team will likely be out East.