Around the Association: Bulls Breakup, LeWaiting Game, Heat Check, More
It’s been a little while since we went around the NBA, but what better time than after LeBron has been swept!
It’s been a wild playoff season, to say the least, with some upsets on the court and some shocking coach firings off it. Oh, and depending on what report you believe, the Bulls are either shaking up the core big time or completely standing pat.
Speaking of the Bulls offseason, Eli has been crushing it on that front. Make sure you’re checking all his posts on the website. And, if you’re not following him on Twitter or @BN_Bulls, be sure to do that.
Bulls Breakup Coming?
It’s been an interesting, rumor-filled offseason for the Bulls so far. Depending on which source or “rival executive you believe” the Bulls are either interested in moving on from Zach LaVine, ready to make significant changes to the core, or are ready to run it back with the current “Big 3.”
No matter who you believe, the one certainty is the Bulls are going to need to get creative with their salary cap situation.
With the lack of draft picks and being right up against the cap, moving either LaVine or DeMar DeRozan would bring back the most capital and give the Bulls flexibility. On the other hand, it would also be admitting defeat for the front office. And this is a front office that hasn’t been one to acknowledge (at least publically) the serious roster flaws the Bulls have.
No matter what happens or what path the Bulls’ front office decides to take, it will certainly be a hot-button issue among fans. But if they don’t address the very large 22-foot-long elephant in the room, all the decisions might be moot.
Which path should the Bulls take? Trade into the lottery? Shake up the core? Stand pat and use exceptions to tweak the roster? You tell me!
Unsurprisingly, LeBron James has found a way to control the Lakers’ narrative after being swept by the Nuggets in the Western Conference Final. In the postgame press conference after the Game 4 loss to Denver, LeBron contemplated retirement saying:
I got a lot to think about moving forward. Just for me personally, going forward with the game of basketball, I got a lot to think about.”
If I were a betting man (ok, I’m definitely a betting man), I’d make the odds overwhelmingly in favor that we haven’t seen the last of LeBron James in the NBA. I would be totally stunned if he’s not suiting up again next year and at least until his son Bronny gets to the NBA.
LeBron was likely frustrated after the season-ending sweep. Although, given where the Lakers were prior to the trade deadline, a Western Conference Final appearance has to be considered a success. It also seems to me that with James’ quotes to the media, no one is talking about how LeBron got swept in the Conference Final and Michael Jordan never did! They’re now talking about LeBron’s future and where he will end up and when. Smart, savvy, veteran move by LeBron here, but I don’t think he’s going anywhere.
The Heat aren’t really about to blow a 3-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Final to the Celtics, are they? I don’t think so. And if I have to hear someone say one more time, “well, now the Celtics get to come back to Boston” like the Celtics didn’t just lose two in a row at home to Miami … I’m going to lose it!
I do think Boston is the better team, and they proved that over the course of the year. However, I also think the Heat have one of the best playoff players in the NBA in Jimmy Butler, as well as a coach who can coach circles around his opponent. I think Erik Spoelstra is the best coach in the NBA and consistently gets more out of less to work with than any other NBA bench boss.
Jimmy Butler, in my opinion, just won’t let Miami lose four straight games. The series still should be entertaining, but I just have a hard time seeing Boston dig themselves out of the 0-3 hole.
- After some big names and somewhat shocking coach firings, we’re starting to see the new head coach landscape take form. The Bucks have reportedly narrowed down their search to four names, and the Suns are supposedly at the same stage. Apparently, the Suns’ final four include Nick Nurse and Doc Rivers. Selfishly, I would LOVE to see a Chris Paul/Doc Rivers reunion in Phoenix. I have no idea if it would work, but the potential fireworks that combination along with Kevin Durant are too irresistible to pass up.
- In some serious news, police went to Ja Morant’s house to conduct a wellness check on the Grizzlies point guard earlier this week after a social media post sparked some concern. For the second time this season, Morant was caught flashing a gun on Instagram Live. The first occurrence landed Morant a lengthy suspension and a fine. No punishment has been revealed for the most recent incident, but it seems likely a lengthy suspension is coming.
- According to Yahoo Sports, some league sources think that LeBron James is starting to pressure Lakers management to make a move for Kyrie Irving this offseason. LeBron and Kyrie played their best basketball together, leading the Cavaliers to their only NBA title coming back from 3-1 down to defeat the Warriors in 2016. Kyrie has been courtside at the Lakers game during these playoffs.
- According to Shams Charania, the NBA is considering penalizing players for flops. Good or bad idea? I’m just not sure how they will monitor this.