Tag Archives: Los Angeles Clippers

Kawhi & Jimmy Butler to the Clippers?

By: Michael Tolliver Jr (Opinionated MJ)

It could very well happen.

There’s rumblings all around the NBA about a few teams being major players in free agency. Namely, the Lakers, Nets, Knicks, and Clippers. Honestly, who in their right mind believes the Clippers will actually make a big splash and land two free agents to fill those max slots? Well, me. Let me explain why. There are a few factors.

Steve Ballmer

He’s the financial engine behind this team now. His pockets are filled with enough money to own a few NBA teams. He’s also redistributed power throughout the organization and formed a hierarchy. He’s got a great front office. That’s something that is constantly overlooked when it comes to picking a franchise to play for. Nobody really wants to play for a franchise that doesn’t have structure. I look at them like the Dallas Mavericks from the early 2000s. Owner with big pockets and a stable structure going forward. I’ll elaborate further.

Doc Rivers

A championship coach, regardless of who was on his roster. He’s coached many greats and has been to two NBA finals. He’s coaches the likes of CP3, Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce just to name a few. He has been at the helm for consistent playoff runs in his time coaching and also has this current a Clipper team exceeding expectations. I think he is also one of the few respected coaches around the league. I expect him to be able to lure players in.

Jerry West

The actual trump card in all of this. He assembled great rosters for the Lakers and helped the Warriors recruit Kevin Durant. That alone let’s me know that the Clippers are about to make some noise. He might be the most respected executive around the entire league. The only teams that may actually take the threat of the Clippers acquiring two top tier free agents is the Lakers and Celtics. For the same reason: Jerry West.

So once free agency hits on July 1, don’t think for a second that they won’t secure free agents to come to this team. Kawhi Leonard wants to come back to LA and might not want to be a Laker alongside LeBron and I could honestly see Jimmy Butler coming along. Those two could form the greatest two-way wing combination the league may have seen since Jordan and Pippen. That thought alone should be enough to scare the entire league, not just the western conference. They could be the true threat to the Warriors even if they retained Kevin Durant this off-season. Things are looking bright for the Clippers going forward.

In A Melo Mood

By: Opinionated MJ



They forgot he was a winner…



I want to get right into criticising the ones who asked, “who wants Melo if even LeBron doesn’t want him?” I want to ask you, since when is LeBron the newly minted man of approval? Since when is it true that Melo isn’t an offensive all star? Since when did we just write him off? Correction, when did YOU write him off?

Did you not consider the fact that his organization is run by an owner who doesn’t even want to be held accountable for anything so he hired Phil Jackson to take up ALL the blame as this continues to go south for the Knicks organization? Did you realize that Phil Jackson intended to hire Steve Kerr, who has coached his team to back to back finals. He won one Championship in that time. The Warriors organization allows him to have the FREEDOM that Phil Jackson won’t give to Jeff Hornacek. Making sense yet?

How to win with the triangle offense? I know how. Have a team built like the Warriors, with the same shooting acumen, or someone who’s Michael or Kobe, and then you’ll be on your way. Carmelo is not one of those players. So why not give this team the freedom to truly grow into what they will be, organically, as opposed to forcing them to play a certain style and then diss them cause they can’t? Even Kobe hijacked the triangle to carry the team to bigger heights.

Did we forget that Carmelo carried the Denver Nuggets from the lottery to being a staple in the playoffs? Including in his rookie year, in a rough Western Conference. He didn’t come out as the Rookie of the Year cause they said he gave up on his team when they complained about him one day. You can’t limit greatness, right? He was a bully with moves all over the floor. He nearly came into the league complete, offensively. I think the league is plagued by what I’d like to call, “The LeBron Standard”. It’s about to change over to the likes of Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Their unique talents and output is only a product of themselves, like LeBron’s is. Carmelo never truly made his own niche. People remember him for dominating the post but he’s been more relegated to shooting jumpers lately. 

I still see 2-3 strong years in him. I think he’s holding back. We may be close to seeing how true that statement really is. I predict a trade coming soon amidst all the reports. Hopefully it’s to the Boston Celtics or the Los Angeles Clippers. As much as I want him to win, it wouldn’t be great with him riding LeBron’s coattails to a championship. It’ll destroy his legacy.

Rambling Thought: NBA January 2017

By: Opinionated MJ





The New Year has featured Russell Westbrook dropping a triple double in 19 game minutes. James Harden dropped a monster triple double as well with 53 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo dropped a monster statline reminiscent of something we seen in smaller packages from Andrei Kirilenko. LeBron and Kyrie are running the Eastern Conference. The Warriors are still the best in the West, although stumbling in places they once succeeded. MVP candidates throughout those teams.

DeMarcus Cousins will be apart of the Boston Celtics. The Bulls will land a stretch 4. The a Pistons will find themselves. The Jazz will continue to amaze with their silent rise. It’s also scary that Memphis is always competitive and playing in between all the other top 8 out west. They’re a star away, maybe Paul George.

Typically, the Cavs will make the finals as they usually do. It’s crazy out west once you get past Golden State and San Antonio. I think we may see the Jazz, Rockets, and Thunder all make the playoffs. They’re in the thick of things. It’ll be fun to watch who will occupy the 8th seed leading up to a fun playoff. No one out East to contest Cleveland. They await. Rightfully so, since they’re the defending champs. As long as their big 3 is healthy. 

Russell Westbrook will win the MVP award if his team stays a top 4 seed. He’s a given if that is achieved. I don’t see how anyone else wins it, rightfully. The league could get hacked right? Vote in all the bigs for the All Star game. That’s justice.

The Knicks are currently on another skid, as well as the Clippers. This is only fueling Melo for Blake rumors. I think it would actually work for both teams although that would cause some more rotation issues I think New York finally has figured out. The Knicks honestly just need bench depth. A scorer here, defender there, enforcer there, and boom! They’re a contender. The east is weak enough that they could rise to number 3. Even the 2nd seed isn’t a foregone thing to me.

I expect the second half of the season to be exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing what east team will take a risk and stop being afraid of failure. No risk, no reward. Someone needs to chase Cousins. Someone needs to go after Blake, CP3, Melo. I want to see a great competitor developed to truly contest Cleveland. Make it interesting to see them against someone out east. Instead of it being the “leastern” conference. The “feast on” conference, the “least strong” conference. I could go on. We’ll see where the season goes from here. Starting with wondering if Rondo will be in the NBA anymore after the latest news.

I love this game.

King of the Ring: LeBron, the Cavs, and a Look Around the League

 

By: Opinionated MJ
Congratulations to LeBron and the Cavaliers! Cleveland, embrace this moment! You’ve been waiting for this. To finally see one of the best players ever, fulfill his promise to bring Cleveland a ring has got to be a breath of fresh air. I remember the feeling of living through a championship with my Pistons in 2004. The Red Wings were also prosperous. The Tigers were doing well as well if I’m not mistaken, I think we may have made the World Series that year. We had the Super Bowl here as well and I think a WrestleMania or something like that. Final Four NCAA basketball around this time as well. Great Year! Enjoy it!

 

LeBron has been preparing for season’s opening since Kevin Durant decided to become a part of the Golden State Warriors. They seem to be the only team that stands in the way of a repeat for the Cleveland Cavaliers. I’d like to add that, if I were Carmelo Anthony seeing this ring ceremony tonight, I’d probably cringe and play with nothing but anger and hunger in my heart. Knowing I had the chance to be a part of the Miami team that won a ring and to be able to finally experience that level of success. It must be fulfilling for LeBron for sure. He has one ring by himself now as well. Kyrie pitched in BIG! I even thought Kyrie would win finals MVP after closing out Steph Curry and the Warriors in crunch time of those last few games.

 

I’m not big on picking another team except the current reigning Champions as the favorites to win it all. I’m going with the Cavs but I will admit I want my Pistons to win and if they can’t then I would love to see the Warriors win one for KD while he’s on a LeBron-esque mission to obtain a ring and put that on his resume. That would solidify him with other future Hall of Famers. I’d also like to see if they Bulls could somehow someway pull a rabbit out of a hat. Although, I think Chris Bosh is the only way they could achieve such success. I would also like to see the Spurs acquire DeMarcus Cousins for LaMarcus Aldridge. You heard it first. Chris Bosh to the Bulls, Cousins to the Spurs.

 

LeBron wants to win the MVP this year and that is making waves throughout the league. I think Paul George may have mentioned MVP first but he’s driven to do so as well, Damian Lillard wants to, and I’m very certain that Russell Westbrook wants to as well without saying it. Westbrook was chasing Magic Johnson’s triple-double record last year and didn’t admit it until someone asked him. I think LeBron should relax and let Kyrie and Kevin prove themselves and let them man the battleship until it absolutely requires LeBron to come in and take over. I know things used to fall apart fast when he exited the game last season and they would struggle to extend their lead over other teams at times. Let’s not forget their struggles en route to their triumph. Up and down season with LeBron thinking of his Banana Boat squad being teammates one day, social media jabs at some of his teammates, and a few other things. Maybe he also took a few pointers from Kobe about challenging your teammates. You do have to PUSH others to get something done more times than not. He successfully pulled that off and led his team to a Championship after being down 3-1. Congrats again to the Cavaliers! Good luck to the Cleveland Indians!

If LeBron wins the 2015-16 Championship for Cleveland, would he leave?

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By: Opinionated MJ

I know you think I’m causing an outrage, but let’s actually seriously take a look at this. I caught Stephen A. Smith during the aftermath of the finals saying something to the tune of, “Cleveland is lucky LeBron didn’t win this championship cause it would’ve given him the opportunity to leave.” Basically, story would be complete for Cleveland. LeBron leaves and leaves Cleveland heartbroken. LeBron comes back and everyone is happy again. LeBron wins a championship in his first year back. It can’t get any better. I doubt it could get better than that. Then he could go west and try to conquer getting out of the western conference which would cement his legacy in my opinion.

So how true was that statement? I believe a decent amount that Steven A. Smith says. He predicted alot of things that have come to pass and apparently has personal relationships with these players. Enough about him though, my point in making this a big deal is the fact that there IS something LeBron hasn’t done: Dominate the Western Conference.

How beautiful would it be if LeBron went to Phoenix last year? Los Angeles Lakers next season? Dallas? Maybe San Antonio? Memphis? Any west team would work. Could you imagine the dog fights he would have with the Warriors, Clippers, Spurs of the future, Grizzlies, Rockets, Thunder (if they keep both KD & Russell), Pelicans???!? I mean I could go on. It’s exciting. It’s also the only thing he hasn’t done.

LeBron hasn’t had competition in the east since my Detroit Pistons and ESPECIALLY the big 3 & Rondo Boston Celtics. Let’s be honest. The Bulls were supposed to be threats but have they actually come close to finally beating a LeBron led team? No. I like the Bulls so it’s no hate. Did the Pacers truly threaten the Heat? Maybe, but they never got the job done. Almost doesn’t count.

It was Boston legitimately and Indiana that (somewhat) make this list as the only true competitors over the last 5-7 years for LeBron. I mean, LeBron has been to the last 5 finals, so you can’t argue my point. Before that, it was Orlando and Boston twice. But wait… Cleveland before that. So he’s been to 6 of the last 9 finals. That’s 66%. Not even San Antonio has been to the finals that many times in that short of a span, 3 of 9. So let’s not say LeBron needs teammates of gold. He’s dragged two Cavs teams to the finals. They said lightening doesn’t strike in the same place twice. There’s a reason he made it that far even with team deficiencies and it’s because of HIS efficiency.

Watch the 2015 NBA Finals again and dare tell me LeBron couldn’t man a western team to the finals. The first “no-no” with this Tristan Thompson thing has come up. The beginning of building a way out. Something LeBron does rather discreetly when he’s going to make a move. If he does win and decide to go west, why not be a Sacramento “King”?

Chip for Clips?

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By: Opinionated MJ

Championship for Clippers?

Retaining DeAndre Jordan, acquiring Lance Stevenson, signing Paul Pierce… Have the Clippers now finally put themselves into championship contention instead of playoff contention? They’ve honestly had no excuse to lose in the last two seasons but somehow, someway, we found a way to give them another big room full of excuses. This time they “didn’t have the depth to survive against teams with more depth.” Okay, fine. Still, Blake Griffin improved his shot, Chris Paul improved his balance and also played in all 82 games, and JJ Redick finally made sense to be in someone’s starting rotation. Until the playoffs hit, then came calamity. We overlook the achievement for Chris Paul though, playing in all the games and doing his best to not miss any in the playoffs. In a new NBA world where the players don’t want to play 82 games, they want midseason vacations, a longer break during All-Star weekend, less minutes while they’re in their primes and requests for better teammates, Chris Paul actually found a way to improve. Just hope his critics were paying attention.

The real question now is, “Do the Clippers have the players in place to succeed?” I’m really high on having players who have “championship” experience on your team in order to get to the promise land. Golden State had a coach who has won in different settings. Be apart of the Jordan Bulls and the Spurs organization when they’ve won titles over the last 20 years. He’s been side by side with the likes of Jordan, Pippen, Duncan, Parker, Phil Jackson and Greg Popovich. It can’t get any better than that can it? He has a pedigree and understanding of the game. He also set the team up for success when he asked some of the players to play certain roles that would eventually land them a ring in return. The Clippers now have Doc Rivers along with Paul Pierce this time around step up into those big moments. If Pierce was there against the Rockets, it would’ve been Clippers 4-2. These additions are great for offense but what will they do for defense? Paul Pierce won’t be stopping anyway, and that’s the truth. Lance had a lost season with the Hornets but I’m sure that with CP3 and DeAndre on the floor with him, they’ll be a defensive nightmare and they will be able to hide him and Griffin on nights against the OKC Thunder and the Golden State Warriors. The real question now is, “What about those Spurs?”

Could they beat the Spurs now that they’ve added Aldridge and West to their team? Pierce isn’t guarding Duncan with any success. Did you see what Duncan was doing to DeAndre?!?! He was doing it at 39 years old and almost no athletic effort! So Imagine what pick & rolls will look like with Parker having Duncan and Aldridge at his disposal AT THE SAME TIME! They’ve retained their defense in Kawhi & Danny Green and they also have a system in place that apparently is the direct way to fight against father time. One year they’re old, the next year they are in the Finals. So we would be best to not drop that special “they’re old” line like we do when they have slow stretches. I don’t think that they’ll have any slow stretches this offseason.

Can the Clippers find a way to utilize Lance the way he was used during his last season in Indiana? If they can have him anchor the bench then I truly think they may have something figured out. Jamal Crawford actually wants to leave now and wants to go to the easy breezy Eastern Conference to the team that will damn near have a cakewalk to the Finals for the next 2-4 years, the Cavaliers. I sound like a hater. I am a proud hater of how garbage the Eastern Conference is. Go Cavs, I expect them to win a chip soon anyway, especially if this trade happens, but who is sent back in return? If I’m the Clippers, I’m pushing for Dellavedova and Thompson, yes BOTH! This won’t happen but I’m not helping a Finals team get better. I’m not accepting a JR Smith sign & trade. I would entertain acquiring Timofey Mozgov, sure, but I’ll need a few picks along with it. Hard bargain.

The path to the Finals goes through OKC, Golden State, and San Antonio. No one else is a legitimate threat, including the Rockets. Four headed monster in the West with a few dark horses. The Pelicans, Rockets, Grizzlies, and I’d just throw a #8 seeded Kings team out there just because I truly don’t know who’ll fit into that spot. The Clippers should be able to beat the lower seeds and have shown what they can do against the Spurs which legitimizes whether they could win in the west or not. At least to me. If you can beat the Spurs than you can survive and succeed out west. The Spurs have a way of breaking a team down and shredding away at your strengths. The Clippers proved to me that they’re ready to take the next step, it’s all left up to the chemistry they’ll have with their new additions.