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Anthony Davis to Cleveland? | What IF Wednesday

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The Warriors are young and fast. The Cavaliers are old and slow.

The Warriors move the ball. The Cavaliers iso the hell out of it.

The league is now taken over by millennials who want to play for the team and not necessarily need their own glory.

The Warriors will remain relevant. The Cavaliers if they stay the course…will lose.

Maybe it’s time for LeBron to play his GM card and force the issue.

Problem? They are already well over the cap and have given some pretty big contracts to J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson who have struck past midnight in this Cinderella story.

Maybe you can find some takers for them, but maybe go get the best big in the game?

The thought:

Kevin Love & Kyrie Irving

For

Anthony Davis & (re-signed) Jrue Holiday

Logic for Pelicans: You get a stud point guard and power forward who are both locked in for years to come, to pair with DeMarcus Cousins and create and interesting Big Easy Big 3.

Logic for Cavaliers: You pair the best power forward in the game with the best small forward in the game. You allow a large/defensive backcourt of Holiday/Shumpert. With J.R. Smith off the bench bringing the extra scoring you need.

Balance. Size. Defense. Shooting.

C Tristan Thompson

PF Anthony Davis

SF LeBron James

SG Iman Shumpert (J.R. Smith)

PG Jrue Holiday

Look at the spacing. The inside/outside scoring. The incredible rim protection. The ability to cover to the three point line. The Cavs alchemy goes from ISO to team play.

And if both teams say yes, this team wins. Cavaliers mash these Warriors.

#ClevelandRocks

Phil is the tall guy who ended up talking circles around the game better than dribbling circles around players. He has odd fascinations with the NBA Draft, trade deadlines, arm length, and how a team is built. Phil brings energy, passion and laughs to every conversation; catch him weekly on The Away Team podcast.

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What IF LeBron was the GOAT? | What IF Wednesdays

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The NBA is built on symbols. Jerry West is in their very logo. Michael Jordan is the symbol for reaching pinnacles of greatness. Shaq was Power. Spud Webb was the little man who could.

The league had these pillars to build its legend upon and market its mystique which would grow and change as the years go on. But only on the level that people would challenge Mount Olympus, but dare not break through the cloud line.

As much as we are fascinated with Kobe being the next Michael, KD being the next Bird, Porzingis the next Dirk, the powers that be and the branding never want it to be true.

This plan has worked out to a T thus far but….

Then along came LeBron James.

The player who could pass like Magic, score like Michael, defend like Pippen and rebound like Malone.

He was and is a player beyond definition, yet that’s why he’s so good for the league.

When I look at all the hate LeBron has taken from critics, I see the reality of a player who is challenging the establishment. To his credit, it’s the gauntlet every megastar must endure.

I won’t argue why LeBron is better than each player—be it rings, numbers, percentage in Finals. The criteria are vague and often unsupported aside from taking the side that does not play in his favor.

He has 4 MVPs in 13 years, but one could argue he’s been the best player since 2007.

We criticize him for leaving Cleveland, but not the franchise for failing to give him his Pippen/Rodman, making it his need to go to Miami.

We say he is not a typical superstar because he doesn’t want the last shot, but we do so in an era where we support franchises that look for the best shot instead of iso ball, a scheme he embodies as one player.

We say the league is softer now and it’s easier for him, but don’t allow for the idea that hand checking would have made him an incredibly dominant defender.

All to say, I feel we hold sacred the idea that legends of the game hold a certain mystique. Breaking that tradition like LeBron did, using The Decision to bring the power from the owners to the players dilutes our view of his greatness.

I would just say that while fandom is great—don’t forget to enjoy the ride.

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Paul Millsap Is A Hitman For Hire | What IF Wednesday

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News travels fast in the social media world. Even faster when a big time talent like Atlanta’s Paul Millsap says he will opt out of his contact and become an unrestricted free agent.

This story may come under the radar with the NBA Conference Finals afoot, but nonetheless this is something that could rock the balance come next year.

Imagine if you would, how Paul Millsap’s landing spot could affect the NBA world.

Cleveland: All the the good of Kevin Love with defense. This one is a no brainer and you could probably trade Love for amazing supporting players and picks.

Spurs: Next to Leonard would make for one of the most dynamic frontcourts in the league and the steady second scorer that LaMarcus Aldridge is not providing.

Toronto: Imagine Jonas Valanciunas being traded, Lowy not signed and having a BIG 3 of DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and Paul Millsap. Not bad at all ladies and gents.

Houston: Give Harden that second star and they could even send Ryan Anderson back in a sort of win win for both HOU and ATL.

Denver: Next to the kids, mainly Jokic, he could provide the veteran presence they require to make the next step.

Portland: Same argument as Denver but much farther along (would take some interesting salary dumps though)

OKC: This one is the game changer as I think he and Westbrook would be ideal, and again sending Kanter back to ATL would be win win.

Boston: Imagine the Celtics do NOT sign the little engine that could, pick Fultz #1 and sign Millsap to be reunited with Horford?

Bucks: This one is a personal favorite as I think it allows them to contend right away and stay young enough to not care about paying a 29 year old max money.

There are so many options but in the end a player like Paul ticks most of the boxes you could want for a modern big and best of all he’s ready to win now.

Where do you see him landing?

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What If NBA Teams Had Player Caps? | What If Wednesday

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We’ve all seen those images floating around on how you can build a team with various players of a certain value. Say it be Curry at $5 and DeAndre Jordan at $1 and you had say $15 to make a starting lineup.

This got me thinking during these NBA playoffs, where a bunch of super teams are dominating the competition, making for some pretty boring series.

If you looked at the Warriors in that fashion, you would see at least 4 players in that $4-5 mark making them pass the $15 mark off the bat.

My solution? Grade each by a dollar value? No…grade them by tiers.

How this solution will work with current contracts and years on new contracts needs to be worked out, but to start, we grade the whole NBA into 3 simple tiers:

Superstars / Stars
Budding Prospects / Elite Role Players
Everyone Else

You could make it more complicated and perhaps it would need be, but the basics are there. One team cannot have more than 2 stars, 3 prospects/elite role players, and have as many of the others as they want.

Guess how many good players just became available for the new CBA to pay them handsomely with new teams?

Think of how many teams you could have with 2 stars.

You could still make a super team, but it’s impact would be far less.

Think about a BEST case scenario…

LeBron / KD

George Hill / Danny Green / Serge Ibaka

The Sacramento Kings (I had to fill out the bench)

Even in this case, you still can imagine tons of other teams being able to play and compete.

Maybe you cannot sign a star if you have 2. Only trade one for one. Maybe allow easier buyout options for teams that pay players in full?

There are many ways to look at this, but I think THIS is how you make a competitive NBA.

And to think it was all inspired by the internet, …who would have thought.

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