After months of limitations it looks like it’s only a matter of time before we can enjoy the full indoor stadium experience of netball after 12 months of the more extreme COVID restrictions look like being lifted this Friday 26th March.
To put some icing on the cake here is the Suncorp Super Netball Fixture for 2021. Now televised on Channel 9 via the Telstra app, the competition is really flying with the Olympic Games the next major advance well within reach.
Netball is by far the most popular and fastest growing women’s sport in Australasia with significant growth in Malaysia and Singapore as well.
For your interest here is the fixture for 2021 – Suncorp Super Netball.
The 2021 Suncorp Super Netball fixture has been released, revealing that the Grand Final rematch between the Melbourne Vixens and West Coast Fever will open the season on May 1.
The Melbourne Vixens will host a 2020 Grand Final re-match against the West Coast Fever in front of fans at John Cain Arena to kick-off the 2021 Suncorp Super Netball season.
The release of the full 2021 Suncorp Super Netball fixture this morning has unveiled that the first match of the season will be played on Saturday 1 May at 3pm AEST with the action set to continue at the same venue that evening with the Collingwood Magpies taking on the Sunshine Coast Lightning at 7pm AEST.
Round 1 will then move north on Sunday 2 May where the Queensland Firebirds will host the NSW Swifts at Nissan Arena at 1pm AEST, and then across to Adelaide where the Thunderbirds will welcome GIANTS Netball to Netball SA Arena at 3pm AEST.
The 2021 fixture sees all teams hosting seven home games throughout the season with fans able to attend all matches*, returning the competition to normality following the condensed hub format the 2020 season was played in.
Netball Australia Chief Commercial Officer and EGM of Events, Dave Lee is pleased to release the full 17-week fixture today.
“The Suncorp Super Netball league is delighted to be welcoming fans back to matches across the country in 2021 for a full home and away season,” he said.
“The world’s premier netball league will be making a return to states that didn’t get to watch a match live in 2020 and we know the athletes are incredibly excited to have the cheer of a home crowd behind them. There is just so much to look forward to this season with team rivalries greater than ever before.
“With the uncertainty in today’s world, we have worked closely with clubs, broadcasters and venues to put strong contingencies in place for this entire fixture, ensuring we’re best placed to keep the 2021 season going if various borders close throughout the year.”
In other fixture highlights, the Finals Series will be played over three weeks culminating with the Grand Final on Sunday 29 August, the new home of netball in Sydney – Ken Rosewall Arena –– will be unveiled in Round 2, night matches will be played across the season and Collingwood will play at the Silverdome in Launceston.
Round 8 will be played over two weekends to allow each team to have a bye within the season and themed rounds for the 2021 season, such as Indigenous Round, will be announced as the season approaches.
Mim Haysom, Suncorp Executive General Manager Brand & Marketing said, “Suncorp is delighted to continue our support of Suncorp Super Netball and together with netball fans nationally, eagerly anticipate a season of exciting match-ups and hopefully plenty of opportunity for fans to get close to the live action in venues.
“Suncorp is proud to be committed to supporting women’s sport, and every level of netball, from our juniors in Suncorp NetSetGO programs all the way to the aspirational role models and high performing athletes we see on the court in Suncorp Super Netball.”
Teams are currently in full pre-season training with many practice matches happening between Suncorp Super Netball clubs around the country. See club websites for details. The 2021 Suncorp Super Netball season will be broadcast live on Nine, Telstra TV and the Netball Live Official App.
*fan attendance/capacity will depend on health advice in each local jurisdiction.
To play the game at its highest level requires a premium, sprung timber playing surface. Right now Nellakir is completing the last of the new courts at the Victorian Hockey and Netball Centre in Royal Park. Nellakir installed the original indoor stadium courts there back in 2013 in time for the Commonwealth Games hosted in Melbourne.
Right now Australia-wide Nellakir and its sister companies in other states can provide your stadium, recreation centre, school or indoor sports centre with a premium playing surface for netball, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics and other indoor sports.
Call Nellakir now on 03 9467 6126 to arrange a free, no obligation consultation with one of our expert technicians to ensure a practical and effective annual maintenance program. Alternatively, you can leave your details here for a prompt reply.
For all installations, repairs, maintenance and complete refurbishment of timber sports flooring call Nellakir the leading professional inall sports flooring.
Nellakir Champion Sports Flooring For Present and Future Champions.
With the NBA, the world’s premiere Basketball competition well underway, the fans are throwing up a few surprises. LaMelo Ball, former rookie of the year is now the top choice for fans in jersey purchases in Australia.
Read about it here…
Former NBL Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball the No. 1 selling NBA singlet in Australia
LaMelo Ball’s popularity has been reinforced with the former NBL Rookie of the Year securing top spot on the NBA’s most popular jerseys list in Australia.
In a testament to Ball’s status Down Under, the Charlotte Hornets guard is the first rookie to pick up top spot in singlet sales in Australia.
The 19-year-old is on track to win the NBA Rookie of the Year following a stellar season with the Hornets thus far.
Interestingly, in-form Boomers stars Ben Simmons, Patty Mills and Joe Ingles don’t feature in the top 10 most popular NBA singlets in Australia.
Simmons ranked second in the list last year.
Ball, though, has exceeded expectations to average 14.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game.
As a result, the Hornets are playing entertaining basketball to sit in seventh position in the Eastern Conference.
Ball attracted a strong fan base in Australia during his NBL season with the Illawarra Hawks.
His popularity was on show against the Sydney Kings last year when he helped attract the biggest crowd in NBL history, with 17,514 fans attending Qudos Bank Arena.
Australia’s infatuation with Ball continues now he is in the NBA, as shown through his singlet sales.
Singlet results are based on sales from NBAStore.com.au, the official online NBA Store in Australia, from the beginning of the 2020-21 NBA season.
Rounding out the top five jerseys are the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry at No. 2, the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James at No. 3 – he led the list last year – the Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant at No. 4 and the Washington Wizards’ Russell Westbrook at No. 5.
Following the Lakers on the team merchandise list are the Nets (No. 2), Warriors (No. 3), Boston Celtics (No. 4) and Hornets at No. 5.
TOP 10 MOST POPULAR NBA JERSEYS
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
Russell Westbrook, Washington Wizards
Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
Steven Adams, New Orleans Pelicans
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
TOP 5 MOST POPULAR TEAM MERCHANDISE
Los Angeles Lakers
Golden State Warriors
Australia is now a major nursery for NBA stars, with many young players making it to NBA lists from humble beginnings here.
The reason is that facilities here in all Australian States are second to none. With premium Timber Sports Flooring providing a fabulous playing surface for all levels of competition in both Metropolitan and Regional Centres, young players get the very best start possible.
Nellakir are the leading professionals in the installation, maintenance and programmed professional cleaning of all premium Timber Sports Flooring in Victoria and Tasmania.
Call now for an obligation free consultation with one of our professional technicians on all maintenance, repair and installation requirements on 03 9467 6126. Alternatively leave your details here for a prompt reply.
Trust Nellakir – Champion Sports Flooring for present and future champions.
Kyrie Irving, who played Uncle Drew in the series of Pepsi videos, was actually born here in Melbourne. He still holds dual US/Australian citizenship. He’s one of a score of current NBA players either from Australia or with very strong links to Australia. It has to be said that Australia has the right bona fides as a Basketball Nation with the Hoop connection now spanning generations.
FIBA Approved Sports Floors
Nellakir proudly supports Australian Basketball. Utilising Australian Hardwood Timbers such as Messmate and Tasmanian Oak, the Nellakir team have installed and maintained a significant number of premium Sports Floors at Major Victorian and Tasmanian Stadiums, Sports Centres and Schools.
Back to Kyrie Irving. Kyrie is very community minded. His latest absence was for what would appear to be very good reasons. Read about it here…
Kyrie Irving rejoins Nets, says he ‘just needed a pause’ amid reports he bought George Floyd’s family a house
Kyrie Irving rested his chin on his arms folded in front of him, looking worn down by his fight to balance his commitment to his team and his community.
He wants to help the Nets. He also wants to support the underserved.
“If you don’t create that distinction, then it’s easy to feel the weight of the world while you’re going out there and playing,” Irving said Tuesday.
Such a weight, the Brooklyn star said, that he “just needed a pause.”
Irving returned to practice with the team and could play Wednesday in Cleveland. He has missed the last seven games — five while away during a leave of absence and two more while regaining his conditioning after he was eligible to return.
He didn’t give a clear reason for his absence while speaking during a Zoom interview, telling reporters he had a lot of personal things going on.
“I’m a hometown kid so things hit a little different when family and personal stuff are going on, and that’s up to me to handle that as a man,” Irving said. “But yeah, I just take full accountability for my absence with the guys and just had a conversation with each one of them and we move on.”
He apologized to Nets fans, saying he understood their feelings because he grew up one of them in New Jersey, when the team was based there. But Irving, who has donated millions to causes important to him and confirmed working with a group that bought a home for George Floyd’s family, also made clear that his decisions are based on more than just basketball.
“I want to make changes daily,” Irving said. “There are so many oppressed communities, so many things going on that are just bigger than a ball going in the rim.”
Irving’s absence began Jan. 7, the day after the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. He was fined $50,000 for violating the NBA’s health and safety protocols after he was seen in a video posted on social media during his absence at an indoor family party while not wearing a mask. He also lost nearly $900,000 of his $33.5 million salary because two of the games he missed were during a mandated quarantine period.
Irving said he was happy to be back with the team, which acquired James Harden during his absence. The Nets have won both games since the trade.
“We got some great pieces and we just move on, and I let my actions and my game speak for itself like I planned on doing,” Irving said. “Just needed a pause.”
It should end in Cleveland, where Irving’s NBA career began and where he hasn’t played since opening night of the 2017-18 season, his first with Boston after being traded by the Cavaliers.
Irving said there’s no question of his love and commitment to basketball. He may be able to direct more attention to it by sharing more responsibilities for the off-court changes he seeks.
“I’m just being honest here,” Irving said. “It’s been a lot to balance and now I called for help and now I have just so many mentors and so many people reaching out and just taking things off my plate that were never mine in the first place.”
With the summer holidays in full swing and local competition, the NBL scheduled to kick off on Friday January 15th, lets take a quick look at what’s happening Stateside with Melbourne’s most famous Basketball player, NBA star Ben Simmons.
The NBA Season is again roaring along with some very exciting stuff, not the least of which was Lebron’s impossible corner 3 pointer.
But what’s happening with Ben Simmons? Read all about it here…
‘Connect the dots’: 76ers in hot water after Simmons skips town, develops mystery injury
The Philadelphia 76ers have been fined $25,000 ($A32,000) after Ben Simmons reportedly skipped town without the team’s knowledge. Simmons was a late withdrawal from Sunday’s (AEDT) game against the Denver Nuggets with a knee injury, but the NBA was not informed of the development in requisite time.
The Sixers barely had enough players to field a team even before Simmons’ withdrawal after Seth Curry returned a positive COVID-19 diagnosis during the game against the Brooklyn Nets.
According to Yahoo Sports, while the rest of the team returned to their hotel in New York following the Nets game and Curry’s positive test, Simmons left the New York area and got a driver to take him back to Philadelphia.
This was done without the team’s knowledge and he was made to return to New York when his absence was discovered.
Yahoo’s NBA writer Vincent Goodwill told the Posted Up podcast: “What I have gathered was that Ben Simmons left New York that evening. He left New York and went back to Philadelphia, you know, apparently probably hired a driver from a service. I don’t think Ben Simmons was out here in a regular old, you know, Hyundai Sonata or nothing like that, you know what I’m saying? On the car service, I believe it was probably something reputable.
“The team clearly found out. Here’s the one thing that we do know. Because of the restaurant protocols and everything else, there’s certain restaurants and places that you can’t go to. There are no restaurants in New York City that are approved. So if a team is staying in New York City, they have to stay there. Apparently, Ben Simmons said, nah, I’m out. I’m headed out. Got a driver, went back to Philly.
“I believe the team found out, and I believe team security, as you know, you know, team security knows these things. They’re like the CIA. Ben Simmons has to come back. And magically, or however you want to say it, he winds up on the injury report the next day, you know, not playing. Now who knows how you want to connect the dots.”
Coach Doc Rivers said it was not a deliberate ploy from Simmons and a mistake that he quickly corrected.
“Obviously, that night we were all in disarray, a bunch of guys were ordering cars, because we all did think we could go back home,” he said, per the Philly Inquirer.
“Ben was on his way, I called him and told him he couldn’t because of league protocols, and he just turned around and came back. I don’t read, so I heard, but the way it sounded was like it was some kind of bad thing and it wasn’t, it was just the way it was.”
“We didn’t know anything. At the time, even I was ordering a car. We didn’t know what we could do the next day, we thought we could leave and get tested at home. Then we were told we could not do that. So, after that game it was, it was a lot of different moving parts going on at the same time.”
Rivers revealed Simmons had knee stiffness in the Brooklyn game amid concerns surrounding the fact he was not included on the injury report leading up to the game.
“Ben in the Brooklyn game had some knee stiffness, and so we almost probably knew after the game that he wouldn’t play tonight,” Rivers said. “And then Joel started complaining about his back over the last, he started yesterday. And we didn’t know if he was playing or not. But honestly, with the minutes we would have to ask, it would be insane to play him.”
Here in Victoria local competition is gradually returning to a semblance of normality but as yet there has not been a full return. There are still limits regarding spectators, venue limits and face masks.
It’s the off season for the NBA and the NBL, the Super Netball is in recess and local competition is just re-commencing, so we thought it a good opportunity to share some all-time action. this week we feature “The Top Ten NBA Dunks of All Time”. Sit back, relax and be amazed!
Of course, real on-court action is entirely dependent on the provision of a premium playing surface. From the humble beginnings in fruit packing sheds and church halls, to the blacktop courts of New York City and Philadelphia, the real preferred playing surface has always been timber – Sprung Timber Sports Flooring.
Timber Sports Flooring provides give and bounce in a way that asphalt and concrete simply can’t – which is why all premier league games worldwide are now played on FIBA approved Timber Sports Flooring.
In Victoria, the State Government has funded multipurpose timber sports flooring in all new schools, both primary and secondary. As well many older schools have also been provided with such multipurpose facilities.
In addition, both Federal and State Governments have funded Community and Regional Indoor Sports Stadiums with FIBA approved Sports Flooring, enabling high level competitions.
Essentially this means that community participation in sports like Basketball, Netball, Volleyball and Gymnastics has increased exponentially over the last 20 years, with participation in both Basketball and Netball representing the fastest growing sports in Australia.
For the Under 18’s in Victoria, Outdoor Competition is back on the table in Metro Melbourne and Regional Victoria. It’s only a matter of time before indoor competition begins again. Now is the time to make sure your Court Surface indoors is in premium shape along with your stadium’s portable seating.
Meanwhile the movement in NBA ranks has started post play-offs. Here’s an article to give some insight into the possible moves…
Trades to Get Every Eliminated Playoff Team to 2021 NBA Finals
Losing an NBA playoff series is never fun, and wound licking only provides so much relief.
But never fear, fans of the 14 teams dispatched from the 2020 postseason, we have discovered your club’s path to the 2021 Finals. It will take a trade to get there, and in some cases, it must be a pretty gargantuan change.
Since we’re free to focus on a one-year window, we’re also more willing to put top assets into trades than teams might actually be, but even then, we aren’t just giving top picks and prospects away. It’s just that if the potential prize is a championship, there are certain sacrifices clubs should be willing to make.
Boston Celtics receive: Myles Turner, Jeremy Lamb, Doug McDermott
The Al Horford-less Celtics had a functional collection of 5s until they didn’t. Once Bam Adebayo stood in their path in the Eastern Conference Finals, their lack of serviceable size became a fatal flaw.
Turner could help correct it. He’s not only a major defensive deterrent at the rim (career 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes), and he moves well enough to handle most perimeter switches. He also doesn’t gunk up the offensive spacing, since he’s a career 35.7 percent shooter from distance.
He’s not a star, but the Shamrocks are covered in that department by Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the latter two of whom are still working toward their peaks. Boston just needs more role players Brad Stevens can trust, and the club would get three back in this exchange. A sniper like McDermott is always useful, and Lamb could scratch an itch for second-team scoring whenever he’s recovered from a torn ACL.
The Pacers do this deal for two reasons. First, they’re ready to finally move away from the double-big lineup and hand the frontcourt keys to Domantas Sabonis. Second, they want to build a big winner ahead of Victor Oladipo’s journey to free agency and see Hayward, a former All-Star who hails from the Circle City, as their vehicle to get there. If Hayward is fully healthy, Indy gets the best player in the deal, plus two first-round picks.
Brooklyn’s search for a third star could take it several different directions—or none at all, if you share Kevin Durant’s belief that LeVert can handle the role—but Beal is the ultimate target.
He has the three-ball to prevent teams from overcrowding Durant and Kyrie Irving and the potency to power the attack on his own whenever needed. Since Beal won’t have to do everything on offense, he could have the energy to reverse his recent decline on defense, too. Basically, he’s the best-case scenario of LeVert and more, and Beal is only a year older.
The Wizards decide they’ve played hard ball long enough and pounce on a package with both present and future assets. Competing for a playoff berth is not out of the question with LeVert, Allen and Temple—whose $5 million team option must be picked up for this to work—alongside John Wall next season. Then, the two firsts and possibly early second all brighten the club’s long-term outlook, which should be the organization’s biggest focus.
Dallas Mavericks receive: Rudy Gobert
Utah Jazz receive: Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, Jalen Brunson, No. 18 pick, No. 31 pick (via GSW)
The Mavs might have a championship-quality duo in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, but they need a third star to push them into full-fledged title contention. The problem is they don’t have the richest asset collection to use in their star search. They can only trade the No. 18 pick on draft night, and after that they can’t move another first-rounder until 2025.
They need a discounted star in other words, and maybe Gobert’s future uncertainty has lowered Utah’s trade demands. The 7-footer is approaching his final season under contract, and the Jazz might not want to break the bank (he is supermax eligible) to keep him. He’s already 28 years old, and his offensive limitations aren’t going away.
But the Mavs and their most efficient offense in NBA history can work around Gobert’s limits. They have enough shooting to keep the runway clear for Gobert to crush lobs on the back end of pick-and-rolls with Doncic. Gobert, in turn, could get their 18th-ranked defense where it needs to be for them to contend.
Kleber increases Utah’s versatility as a stretch 5 who can defend away from the basket. Hardaway either shares the spark-plug role with Jordan Clarkson or takes control of it if Clarkson departs in free agency. Brunson addresses a quietly pressing need for a backup point guard. The picks can either bring new prospects to town or be used in separate transactions for more immediate assistance.
Denver Nuggets receive: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: Michael Porter Jr., Monte Morris, No. 22 pick (via HOU)
Rocking the boat on the heels of a Western Conference Finals appearance might seem excessive, but the Nuggets seem one piece shy of a true championship threat. Rather than waiting for Porter to become that player, they could flip the young scorer for Gilgeous-Alexander, who might be the ideal backcourt mate for Jamal Murray.
Gilgeous-Alexander blends primary-option scoring with versatile, disruptive defense, high-level distributing and off-the-dribble attacking. He can play within a system and complement the likes of Murray and Nikola Jokic or divert from it to relieve some of the pressure on the Nuggets’ stars.
Adding Gilgeous-Alexander potentially sets up Denver’s Big Three and positions it for sustained success. He’s just 22 years old, so the idea of joining him with the 25-year-old Jokic and 23-year-old Murray should terrify the Nuggets’ aging competition in the West.
The Thunder take the calculated risk of betting that Porter’s ceiling stretches even higher than Gilgeous-Alexander’s. It’s a gamble given how accomplished SGA already is, but it would hardly be an outlandish wager. If Porter hits his full potential, he could be basketball’s next matchup nightmare as an athletic, 6’10” three-level scorer.
The upside is too great for the Thunder to overlook, and they also bring back a rock-solid 25-year-old floor general in Morris and yet another first-round pick.
Orlando Magic receive: Eric Gordon, Danuel House Jr., Ben McLemore, 2022 first-round pick (top-five protected), 2024 second-round pick, 2024 second-round pick (via GSW)
The Rockets are light on needle-movers beyond James Harden, so they need help to make an impact deal, Here, they receive it in the form of the Magic being desperate for offense and potentially ready to accept that it just isn’t working with Aaron Gordon.
If this deal is on the table—and if Tilman Fertitta wouldn’t recoil at the idea of elevating next season’s payroll—the Rockets should pounce in a hurry. Even if Gordon and Aminu aren’t the most reliable shooters, they can hit enough threes to not destroy the offensive spacing, and they could fit right into a switch-heavy defensive scheme.
Barring a major systematic change for the post-Mike D’Antoni Rockets, Gordon and Aminu should get all of their minutes as small-ball 4s and 5s. Gordon, in particular, could be a position change away from finally putting all the pieces together and proving why he was the fourth player taken in 2014. He should be a dynamic pick-and-roll screener with his explosive finishing at the basket and ability to find (and feed) open teammates.
The Magic, meanwhile, decide they’d rather not pay Gordon or Aminu when Jonathan Isaac, Nikola Vucevic, Mo Bamba and Chuma Okeke can handle all the 4 and 5 minutes. Instead, Orlando gets busy trying to fix its 23rd-ranked offense. If Eric Gordon can ever stay healthy, he can be a dynamic scorer, shooter and off-the-dribble creator. House and McLemore buy this offense some breathing room by scratching an itch for more spot-up sniping.
The Pacers already started the shake-up process with the dismissal of coach Nate McMillan, and that could be the first of several dominoes to drop.
Their interest in Mike D’Antoni, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, signals a willingness to retool the roster. The small-ball enthusiast has little use for a frontcourt featuring Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis and Goga Bitadze, so splitting with at least one of the three seems inevitable.
This deal not only helps balance Indiana’s roster, but it also brings back a two-way difference-maker in Jrue Holiday. He’s a two-time All-Defensive selection who is serviceable or better at everything on offense. That makes him an easy fit with any kind of supporting cast, and in the Circle City, he could form a do-it-all perimeter trio with Victor Oladipo and Malcolm Brogdon, giving Sabonis a bounty of impact receivers.
The Pelicans swap out the 30-year-old Holiday for players who better fit the time lines of Zion Williamson and Ja Morant. Turner, 24, is a near ideal frontcourt partner for Williamson with his floor-spacing and rim protection. Aaron Holiday, 24 on Sept. 30, gives the offense another off-the-dribble scoring threat. McDermott, 28, keeps defenses honest as a career 41.2 percent three-point shooter.
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Clippers receive: Derrick Rose
Detroit Pistons receive: Landry Shamet, Mfiondu Kabengele, 2022 second-round pick
This isn’t time for the Clippers to panic. Despite all the (deserved) heat they’ve taken for blowing a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the second round, this is still one of the league’s heavyweight title contenders. L.A. finished the season fourth in winning percentage and second in net efficiency rating.
But this isn’t the time to practice patience, either. Both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can enter free agency next offseason, and even if they stick around, it’s not like their primes will last indefinitely. Leonard’s 30th birthday is coming next June, and George is already on the wrong side of his.
L.A. needs to aggressively attack its deficiencies, and adding an actual floor general like Rose could be the key to unlock this offense’s full potential. Bring his 18.1 points and 5.6 assists to town, and defenses can no longer overload on Leonard and George. Rose may not be a top-shelf focal point anymore, but he’d be incredibly hard to handle as the Clippers’ third option.
The Pistons’ decision to keep Rose at the deadline may have torpedoed their chances of bringing back a first-round pick, but this isn’t a bad haul. Shamet is a 23-year-old sharpshooter with some off-the-dribble wiggle, and 23-year-old Kabengele offers an intriguing blend of length, athleticism, shot-blocking and some outside shooting. And on the off chance Leonard and George leave next summer, that 2022 second-rounder could be an early one.
Milwaukee Bucks receive: Chris Paul
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: Eric Bledsoe, Ersan Ilyasova, Donte DiVincenzo, Robin Lopez, D.J. Wilson, 2024 first-round pick (top-five protected)
This seems like the most obvious move of the season, at least from Milwaukee’s standpoint. The offense has stalled out in back-to-back postseasons, and the Bucks have extinguished their margin for error. Barring a supermax commitment from Giannis Antetokounmpo this offseason, the two-time reigning MVP will be an unrestricted free agent in 2021.
The time for Milwaukee to make an all-in move is now, even if The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Eric Nehm are hearing a CP3 pursuit is “highly unlikely.” Hopefully that’s posturing, because if you sketched out the Bucks’ needs list, you’d end up drawing a picture of Paul—or at least Alfonso Ribeiro.
“Rival executives expect the Bucks to prioritize acquiring a playmaker and more shooting in the offseason to retool the roster around Antetokounmpo,” The Athletic’s Shams Charania wrote.
Paul has the second-highest career assist percentage in NBA history (45.6) and a 37.0 career three-point percentage. If the Bucks are after table-setting and splashing, it’s check and check with this deal.
The Thunder accept the inevitability of their rebuild and do well to get out of Paul’s remaining contract ($41.4 million next season, $44.2 million player option for 2021-22) without taking any bad money back. In fact, they get two assets in DiVincenzo and the pick (which would convey two years after Milwaukee sends a protected first to Cleveland), add a 24-year-old wild card in Wilson and potentially prepare for future trades if contenders take a liking to the incoming veterans.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: Victor Oladipo
Indiana Pacers receive: Dennis Schroder, Darius Bazley, Terrance Ferguson, No. 25 pick (via DEN)
Between last summer’s trades of Paul George and Russell Westbrook and this offseason’s parting of ways with former coach Billy Donovan, all signs are pointing to the Thunder needing and embracing a full-scale rebuild. But since our focus has narrowed to chasing next season’s crown, OKC instead cashes in a few assets to reunite with Oladipo and foster his return to stardom.
His first stint in the Sooner State was wholly unremarkable, as he never found his niche with Westbrook and was traded for George after just one season. But Oladipo found his All-Star form in Indiana, and he’d find better fitting backcourt mates in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chris Paul in a move back to Oklahoma.
Oladipo, Paul and Gilgeous-Alexander all do a little (or, in some cases, a lot) of everything at both ends of the floor, so the on-court bond should be easily formed. They can run offense, spot up, create shots, attack the basket and defend multiple positions. It’s a souped-up, bigger version of the Schroder-Paul-Gilgeous-Alexander trio, which blitzed opponents by 28.6 points per 100 possessions this season.
The Pacers, meanwhile, decide they’d rather not cover the costs of Oladipo’s next contract, so they flip him for pieces who can help now and later. Schroder is the best incoming player for next season, but Bazley is the real needle-mover beyond. The 20-year-old is raw, but there are flashes of do-it-all brilliance from the athletic forward.
Orlando Magic receive: Bradley Beal
Washington Wizards receive: Evan Fournier, Jonathan Isaac, No. 15 pick
Orlando needs an offensive focal point, and Beal is on a short list of the league’s very best.
The 27-year-old scoring guard has almost perpetually increased his production ever since arriving in the District as the No. 3 pick in 2012. Most recently, he became just the 12th player ever to average 30 points and six assists. The rest of the list is populated by current and future Hall of Famers.
Beal and Nikola Vucevic could work two-man magic together, and Beal’s long-range shooting would help open the floor for Markelle Fultz’s drives and Aaron Gordon’s rim runs. If the Magic maintain their 11th-ranked defense while Beal launches the offense into the top 10, they could finally have their two-way formula for a title.
The Wizards won’t move Beal for anything but an elite prospect, and Isaac fits the bill. The 6’11”, 230-pounder is practically a top-five defense by himself, as his length and athleticism lets him blanket scorers of all sizes and styles. Once Fournier picks up his $17.2 million player option, he matches money in this deal and helps replace some of Beal’s shooting and scoring.
Philadelphia 76ers receive: Chris Paul
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: Al Horford, Matisse Thybulle, Zhaire Smith, 2022 first-round pick (top-10 protected)
Perhaps it will prove impossible to correct Philly’s roster imbalance without sacrificing either Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons, but the Sixers aren’t competing for next year’s title without them. They also aren’t contending without addressing series deficiencies in shooting and shot-creating.
Enter CP3. The Point God would scratch several of this squad’s biggest itches and answer some of its half-court questions that have plagued recent playoff runs.
“He would get the ball to Joel Embiid in his preferred spots,” The Athletic’s Rich Hofmann wrote. “He can spot up off the ball and make threes, which is key around Embiid and Simmons. And perhaps most importantly, he could take the Jimmy Butler role at the end of games.”
There aren’t many teams who would give up multiple assets to get Paul, since he’s a 35-year-old with $85.6 million headed his way over the next two seasons. But if he’s the missing piece of the Sixers’ championship puzzle, the trade and the contract all become small prices to pay.
The Thunder pounce on the chance to snag another long-limbed, athletic defender in Thybulle, who offers more shooting upside than their typical stopper. They also bet on their developmental staff to bring the best out of the 21-year-old Smith, and they throw another future first onto the pile. Finally, they add Horford in the hopes of getting him back on track and flipping him to a win-now shopper at some point.
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers receive: Ben Simmons
Philadelphia 76ers receive: CJ McCollum, Gary Trent Jr., No. 16 pick
The championship-or-bust scale isn’t often affixed to the Trail Blazers (not by anyone outside the organization, at least), but that should be how they evaluate themselves. With Damian Lillard’s 30th birthday behind him, they only have so many cracks at the crown left before their superstar ages out of his prime.
That increased urgency could be what finally convinces Portland to split up the defensively problematic combo of Lillard and McCollum, especially if it means bringing back a dynamic talent like Simmons. Even if it takes coach Terry Stotts a bit to find the right distribution of touches, Simmons could shine as a Swiss Army knife defender, transition attacker and pick-and-roll partner for Lillard.
Portland wouldn’t be the favorite entering next season, but it would certainly rank among the heavyweight class of contenders. It would have two stars on the top and potentially a wealth of depth behind them, assuming health for Zach Collins and Rodney Hood, possible re-signings of Carmelo Anthony and Hassan Whiteside, and the chance for Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little to either crack the rotation or be traded for players who will.
Philly admits that its roster is broken beyond repair, so it stomachs the gut punch of trading away Simmons on the hope that McCollum’s creation and Trent’s shooting can position Joel Embiid to thrive. The 16th pick is either a way to lengthen the rotation or an asset to help chase win-now talent.
Toronto Raptors receive: LaMarcus Aldridge
San Antonio Spurs receive: Norman Powell, Terence Davis, No. 29 pick
The Raptors won’t add money to their future ledger this offseason so they can make their ambitious run at Giannis Antetokounmpo next summer.
Luckily, Aldridge is approaching the final year of his contract. Not to mention, this exchange actually increases Toronto’s buying power, since Davis and the pick help incentivize the Spurs to take on the remainder of Powell’s contract ($10.9 million next season with an $11.6 million player option for 2021-22).
With finances effectively removed from the equation, Toronto doesn’t have to worry about Aldridge’s declining production or fight with Father Time. The Raptors just need him to stay above water next season, when he’d team with Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry and perhaps a re-signed Fred VanVleet to keep this club among the league’s elite at both ends.
The Spurs shift their focus forward but stop short of demolishing their win-now competitiveness. Powell plugs in as a three-and-D swingman for as long as the Alamo City wants him around, and Davis offers two-way versatility that will make him an easy fit with this young nucleus.
Utah Jazz receive: Chris Paul
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: Mike Conley, 2021 second-round pick (via GSW), 2023 first-round pick (top-10 protected)
Despite Donovan Mitchell’s ongoing ascension, the Jazz are trending the wrong direction. A Western Conference semifinalist in 2017 and 2018, Utah has now been knocked out of the opening round each of the past two years.
Granted, the Jazz had to blow a 3-1 lead to do it this year and did so while playing without Bojan Bogdanovic, but they can’t just count on their returning roster to lengthen their postseason stay. They were only ninth in net efficiency during the regular season, a significant drop from fourth the year prior. This was also Conley’s first season in Salt Lake City, and while he played his best ball in the bubble, he rarely looked like the difference-maker they still need.
Paul could be that player.
He’d be a dream pick-and-roll partner for Rudy Gobert, who’s already a 72nd percentile pick-and-roll screener without him. Paul’s ability to run offense (career 9.5 assists against 2.4 turnovers) and make long-range looks (37.0 percent) would both make life easier on Mitchell and the supporting cast. Paul could even play a part in re-establishing the Jazz as a defensive powerhouse after they finished just 13th in efficiency on that end.
The Thunder go from owing $85.6 million to the 35-year-old Paul to being on the hook for just $34.5 million to the 32-year-old Conley. More importantly, they put two more picks onto the road map that will eventually guide them through this rebuild, although the first-rounder could take some time to get there, as the Jazz owe the Grizzlies a protected pick either in 2021 or beyond.
After an extraordinary year that saw the entire NBA competition mothballed for months after the date all games were scheduled to be completed by, the LA Lakers have managed to snatch this year’s crown in the final playoffs at the ESPN Hub in Disneyworld, Orlando, Florida. The Lakers won the playoff with Miami Heat 4 games to 2 clinching their first National title in 10 years.
So, this time we leave it to LeBron to have the last say.
‘I want my damn respect’: LeBron slaps down haters in epic speech
Put some respect on his name.
LeBron James won his fourth ring with a third team, and a fourth Finals MVP as he led the Los Angeles Lakers to the 2020 NBA Championship.
At 35-years-old, in his 17th season, James averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 8.5 assists per game, and had one simple message for those watching on.
“It means a lot to represent this franchise,” James said. “I told Jeanie [Buss] when I came here that I was going to put this franchise back in the position that it belongs.
“Her late, great father did it for so many years, and he just took it on after that.
“For me to be a part of such a historic franchise, it’s an unbelievable feeling; not only for myself, but for my teammates, for the organisation, for the coaches, for the trainers, everybody that’s here.
“We just want our respect. Rob [Pelinka] wants his respect. Coach [Frank] Vogel wants his respect, our organisation wants their respect, Laker Nation wants their respect … and I want my damn respect, too.”
It’s the fourth time in four championship runs that James has captured MVP honours, after he did so with Miami in 2012 and 2013 and with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
Asked what a fourth title and his incredible longevity meant for his legacy, James added: “I don’t know. I’m going to let you guys talk about it.
“One thing I can do is commit to the game. I put myself, and my body, and my mind in position to be available to my teammates.
“I’ve never missed a playoff game in my career, and the best thing you can do for your teammates is be available.
“For me to be available to my teammates, and put in the work, I just hope I make my guys proud, and that’s all that matters to me.”
With two games to go, one on Saturday the 10th and one on Monday the 12th of October, it’s likely the series will be wrapped up by Saturday. The Lakers go into the game on Saturday with a commanding series lead of 3 games to 1. The Miami Heat will need to win both games to force a playoff.
Here’s the report on Game 4…
LeBron, AD on fire to cool Heat and move Lakers a game away from 17th NBA championship
The Los Angeles Lakers are just one game away from becoming world champions after an inspired second half turnaround from LeBron James helped them overpower Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat to take a 3-1 series lead.
The game was on a knife-edge for all but 40-seconds as the two teams were never more than seven points apart until Anthony Davis got over his similarly slow start to James to sink a huge three-pointer to all-but seal the game.
Butler nearly got his second consecutive triple double as he helped himself to 22 points under the increased scrutiny of James and Davis, who took it upon themselves to make sure he didn’t get the same joy as he did in Game 3.
The two teams now have an extra rest day before Saturday’s (AEST) Game 5, where the Lakers can wrap up the championship with two games in hand.
Bam Adebayo recovered from a neck injury for the Heat to take his place on the floor but Goran Dragic couldn’t join him, despite taking part in the warm up.
The Lakers had a special plan in place for Game 3 hero Butler with Davis guarding him from the offset while James skipped his usual rest periods to match up with the Heat No.22’s time off court.
James had a difficult first half as he gave away five of the Lakers’ nine turnovers by midway through the second quarter.
However, he made the proper adjustments in the second half and sank two huge three-pointers – the first from the logo – to turn his “out of sync” performance into a five-point lead for the Lakers going into the final quarter.
Butler meanwhile, after going five from five from the field and two assists in the first quarter, missed four in a row in what proved to be the turning point in this Game 4 encounter.
James continued his recovery in the final period as he took 26 points – the highest of anyone on the floor – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit two massive back-to-back buckets to put the Lakers firmly in the driving seat.
Davis sealed it with his massive three-pointer to stretch the lead to a game-high nine points, while also making five blocks at the bucket to show off his offensive and defensive superiority.
The Lakers are now just one game away from their 17th NBA championship.
Last week we re-published an article questioning LeBron James and his capacity to perform. Never write off a champion. This week the 35 year old makes his 10th NBA finals appearance (Thursday Oct 1, 11am). You can watch it live on Kayo or Fox Sports.
The Orlando Hub at Disneyworld has now been operational for 3 months. With delays due to Coronavirus first and then the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparking a competition-wide walkout.
This would be LeBron James’ fourth championship ring, having previously won finals with both Cleveland, Miami and the Lakers.
At 35 years of age, LeBron has acknowledged that this series is probably the greatest challenge he has faced in his long career. He went on to comment that the ‘bubble’ that is Orlando has been extremely tough on both the mind and body. It was the unexpected that took a toll on his performance and that of others.
LeBron has made it clear – he has committed to the hub, the bubble – its quarantine and its privations for one reason and one reason alone – to win the Championship. But right now he commented that he has lost track of time since entering the hub, saying he had no idea how many days it’s been and that it felt like 5 years.
When the Lakers left Los Angeles in July, no-one was certain the competition would even reach completion this year.
But now it is the reality with James facing off against his old team – Miami, and jousting with his old coach Erik Spoelstra with whom he won back to back titles in 2012 and 2013, departing in 2014 to return to Cleveland. Rumour has it that LeBron did not always see eye to eye with Spoelstra and their relationship was at times somewhat fiery. Ever the professional, LeBron stressed this would have no bearing on his feelings about the result – win lose or draw conceding that just reaching the final was hard enough in itself. And true to form, he’s there to rock and roll, for the team, the coaching staff and the fans. Exciting times!
To play like LeBron you need a professional premium sports floor to start with. Sprung Timber in Maple or selected hardwood.