The Nosebleeds are back to break into a chaotic NBA offseason filled with lavish contracts, soap opera-esque drama and emojis. Together, we will break down three of the biggest offseason stories.
Los Angeles Clippers: What just happened?
DeAndre Jordan, C, Los Angeles Clippers (4 years/$88 million)
Lance Stephenson, SF, Los Angeles Clippers (Trade with Charlotte)
Pablo Prigioni, PG, Los Angeles Clippers (1 year/$1 million)
Josh Smith, PF, Los Angeles Clippers, (1 year/$1.5 million)
Paul Pierce, PF, Los Angeles Clippers (3 years/$10 million)
Nathan Janick: Where to begin, where to begin? Well here’s a quick summary of what happened:
Reports of DeAndre’s difficult relationship with Chris Paul began to circulate within the first several days of free agency. After various recruiting events, many of which involved exclusive nightclub trips with Chandler Parsons and Mark Cuban, DeAndre signed with the Mavericks. It was the definition of a done deal. Except, due to the NBA moratorium, contracts couldn’t be signed until July 9. Cuban even got fined by the NBA for talking on a radio show about about signing DeAndre before he was technically signed.
DeAndre, like many people in the real world, makes decisions and then second guesses himself. On the last day of the moratorium, rumors started to fly. Reports were whirling around. Emojis were tweeted. No, seriously — everybody in the NBA started tweeting emojis.
There were even rumors that several Clippers players and key management members held DeAndre hostage in his own home. After the dust settled, DeAndre re-signed with the Clippers. The real winner in all of this: Twitter, — and us, of course — who got to kick back and watch the mayhem.
Jacob Durst: Well, first off, I think I should start with this picture that I took back during my summer escapades in Dallas:
I think this pretty much sums up how Dallas feels after he not so ceremoniously screwed them over. In the end, he almost certainly made the right call, as the Mavericks don’t stand a chance in the crowded Western Conference. But, I put money on it that we’ll hear reports of DeAndre being unhappy next year, and if the season is a struggle, by Christmas.
The Clippers certainly added depth, but did they really get better? Pablo Prigioni was a spark plug for the Houston Rockets in the playoffs, but he’s also 38 years old. Lance Stephenson needs the ball in his hands to do something. Plus with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin on the first team, and Jamal Crawford on the second team, touches might be hard to come by. Josh Smith is almost certainly an upgrade for their front court, but the question is: will he fit in the Clippers’ offensive scheme? I like the signing of Paul Pierce, but realistically, how much does he have left in the tank? He’s 37 and is signed through age 40, and he’s also coming off the worst season of his career and moving to the tougher conference.
I’m bearish on this Clippers team mostly because their chemistry sucks, their front office has no clue what they’re doing and because you don’t recover from playoff collapses like they had last year.
LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, San Antonio Spurs (4 years/$84 Million)
Durst: The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Such is the life of NBA teams. In a move that pretty much everyone saw coming, LaMarcus Aldridge decided to take his talents to San Antonio. Not only will he have the opportunity to learn from the best PF of all time and the best coach in the last 30 years, plus play with Kawhi Leonard; he also gives the Spurs an heir for when Duncan retires. Although Duncan will probably play forever, but it’s nice to have a backup plan.
I still think there are questions with how Duncan can handle the physicality of the center position, given his age (how is he going to guard Dwight Howard or DeAndre Jordan?). But if anyone can make it work, it’s him and Pop. If these guys can stay healthy — watch out.
Also, God bless the Southwest Division. It’s just not fair. All five teams made the playoffs last year in a historically stacked West, and that’s probably not going to change this year.
Janick: The West is turning into an arms race. Lets not forget that the Spurs also were able to sign David West. The top of the Western Conference is beyond loaded. Think LeBron is happy that he is playing in the East?
Ty Lawson, PG, Houston Rockets via trade from Denver Nuggets
Janick: Durst, your Rockets had quite the interesting offseason. You rid yourselves of Josh Smith’s three-point bricklaying, but you added two people that might be worse. First, you added Ty Lawson, who was charged with his fourth DUI in July. Yes, he adds a lot of explosiveness on offense, but I’m not sure if his talent outweighs his off the court problems. I’m also not completely sold on how he fits into to the offense. However, the Rockets’ biggest offseason acquisition doesn’t even play basketball.
WELCOME TO HOUSTON KHLOE KARDASHIAN! The career arc of NBA players has been less than stellar after dating Khloe. Sorry Durst, the run of the Rockets was good while it lasted.
Durst: I think Ty Lawson will be a huge addition in the sense that he can create off the dribble. Last year, it was all Harden all the time, and while there will surely be some kinks to work out, I think Kevin McHale and Daryl Morey can figure out a way to use him. As for the picture — I have no response.