Atlanta Hawks fans are ruthless. During last night's game, the Hawks crowd taunted the Cleveland Cavaliers by chanting “LeBron will leave you” and “LeBron will trade you.”
Of course, the taunts come after Cleveland basically became a new team at the trade deadline. The Cavaliers gave Iman Shumpert to the Sacramento Kings; Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose to the Jazz; Dwyane Wade back to the Miami Heat; and Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye to the Los Angeles Lakers. In exchange, they got George Hill, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson, and Rodney Hood on their squad. Tristan Thompson and Jeff Green managed to stick around, though, and Atlanta made sure to give them crap for it.
After last night's game, James explained the decision process behind the multiple trades.
“It's not about what the other guys didn't bring or what these guys bring,” said James at the press conference, according to ESPN. “We're all professionals, and we were happy with the guys that we had, and we're going to [be] happy with the guys that we have now. That's the way the league is, it's a business. There's no shade on anybody.”
The Cavaliers are spending February trying to get back on track after crawling their way out of the Finals conversation last month. At the very least, they're better than Atlanta: The Cavaliers handily beat the Hawks, 123-107.
Most people expected the Cavaliers to shake things up at the NBA trade deadline on Thursday and make one or two moves to improve their roster as they prepare to head into the second half of the 2017-18 NBA season. But most people didn’t expect them to go as far as they did.
In the aftermath of all the action involving the Cavaliers at the trade deadline, there were quite a few people who wondered what Kyrie Irving’s reaction to the whole thing must have been. The Cavaliers essentially parted way with the two players (Thomas and Crowder) they got in exchange for him last summer. They also looked like a team desperate to improve their current situation in a hurry. So many speculated about what Irving’s response to the whole thing would be and used memes to make their best guesses.
But what was Irving’s real reaction? As it turns out, a whole lot less exciting than the memes might have suggested. On Thursday night, Irving scored 28 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and dished out 6 assists in a 110-104 Celtics’ overtime win over the Wizards.
And after the game, he was asked to provide a response to the trades the Cavaliers pulled off earlier in the day. Irving took a few seconds to collect his thoughts and looked like he might have something to say about them. But then, he hit reporters with a slight shrug before matter-of-factly saying, “I’m in Boston.”
We doubt those are Irving’s only thoughts on the situation. But for now, that’s the only reaction he has. Stay tuned to see if he has more to say after LeBron James and the Cavaliers play Irving and the Celtics on Sunday afternoon.
On today's episode of Out of Bounds, the crew kicks things off with Duke University's win over Michigan State. Gilbert Arenas agrees that LeBron James should be considered for a trade and draws the line at hollering at married women. Mia Khalifa admits Odell Beckham Jr. is the only reason she watches Giants games and believes talented athletes should have more power over the organizations they play for. They also debate if Iman Shumpert and Teyana Taylor are the NBA's best power couple.
Are the Cavaliers going to be able to make it back to the NBA Finals for the fourth straight time next season now that the team has traded Kyrie Irving to their conference rival, the Celtics? Most NBA fans think that having LeBron James on their roster will give Cleveland more than enough to get back to the Finals. But during his appearance on Everyday Struggle on Friday, Iman Shumpert said he’s not so sure that’s going to be the case.
DJ Akademiks asked Shumpert whether or not he thinks the Kyrie-less Cavaliers will be a good enough team to return to the Finals, and the Cavaliers star was quick to point out how important Irving was to the team during recent playoff runs. From picking up the slack when LeBron was having an off game to giving the Cavs a boost when LeBron needed a break, Irving did a little bit of everything for Cleveland when they needed it most. And Shumpert said it’s going to be hard to replace that once the postseason comes back around.
“It’s going to be harder,” Shumpert said. “You got to think: We leaned on Kyrie for a lot of things. There’s a lot of times where our play calls, the other coaching staff has put together a game plan that is really dismissing our play calls. Like, we can’t get nothing done because their defensive scheme is really good. And maybe we’ve used LeBron and ran him into the ground the first three quarters and maybe he’s just dog-tired right now and… maybe he can’t pull a 12-0 run out his ass on his own because he been rebounding, dribbling out, guarding 4s and 5s even though he should be guarding a 3—he’s doing a lot and he don’t have the energy right now. And Kyrie got energy and he don’t need a play. He don’t need a ball screen. You can send two people at him, that don’t matter. He can really do that. That’s his gift. So we leaned on that. Plenty of games, we should lose the game. We gave that man the ball and everybody went to the left side of the court and we watched Kyrie win the game.”
Shumpert also said that he feels as though NBA fans sometimes forget just how good Irving really is, which he believes may have factored into Kyrie's decision to ask the Cavaliers to trade him.
“Y’all forgetting that Kyrie did that before he met LeBron,” he said. “I’m not saying he was winning, but as far as getting a bucket? He’s really good at it now. You gotta realize: He learned how to share it. He played them games where LeBron didn’t have a good game and Kyrie took the attention off Bron and then Bron had a good game at the end. He’s grown. It’s like, he’s not taking [being traded] as 'Eff LeBron! I don’t fuck with that nigga!' I think it’s more of 'I learned. We won together. I want something different.'”
Elsewhere in the interview, Shumpert addressed Irving’s recent trade to the Celtics and said that he “didn’t expect it to happen how it happened.” But he also downplayed all of the media reports surrounding Irving’s supposedly fractured relationship with LeBron and said that Irving asking for a trade was more of a basketball decision than a personal one.
“This isn’t just a Kyrie/LeBron thing,” Shumpert said. “The media will turn it into that for y’all, and that’s what I mean about the internet. It’s the story. That’s the clicks. 'LeBron and Kyrie hate each other!' No. It’s two dudes that need the ball. LeBron needs the ball. Kyrie needs the ball. Kevin [Love] needs the ball. [J.R. Smith] can’t shoot unless he has the ball. Kyle Korver can’t shoot unless he has the ball. I love getting to the basket and dunking, but if I get the ball so that I can make sure I get my 20 a game, that takes away from LeBron’s 40 that you want LeBron to score. It takes away from Kyrie’s 40. It takes away from Kevin’s 40. Somebody got to get the short end. And it’s like, a lot of times, fans can’t all the way understand that. They think it’s 2K. 'Bron can score 40. Kyrie can score 40. Iman should have 20. J.R. should have 30.' It’s like, dog, it don’t work like that.”
You can watch Shumpert talk about the Irving trade, the Cavaliers’ chance of making another run to the Finals, and more starting at around the 54:45 mark of the clip above.
She first made waves over the weekend, appearing at Italian brand GCDS' runway show on Friday. Taylor came down the runway and had a dramatic moment when she ripped off a pair of shades, looking pretty fierce in her all-white outfit.
A post shared by Jimmy Neutch (@teyanataylor) on Sep 8, 2017 at 9:58am PDT
The look was so fierce, in fact, that Taylor focused another cut of the video on her Instagram account, in an attempt to turn the walk down the runway into a commentary on her excitement for the return of McDonald's Chicken Select strips. This was a pretty severe right turn for someone who has access to food way higher on the restaurant scale than McDonald's, but I can't front, McDonald's definitely hits the spot when the mood strikes.
A post shared by Jimmy Neutch (@teyanataylor) on Sep 8, 2017 at 4:09pm PDT
The caption may have also been an allusion to the “spicy” nature of her walk, which she elaborated on further in an interview with USA Today.
“When I watched the video I was like, 'Damn, I'm so extra,” said Taylor. “But then I realized I'm not extra, I'm spicy, that's all. I'm just spicy, I put a little spice in everybody's life.”
That's one way of putting it, and if that's the case, she took the spice to habanero levels during the close of Phillip Plein's show over the weekend. With Future performing “Mask Off” in the background, Taylor want berserk on the catwalk, dancing better in high heels than you or I probably could in our best pair of dancing shoes.
Say this for Taylor: she does not let her presence fly under the radar. You have to respect the willingness to shake up the stuffy space that is a catwalk, and if Future wants to show up and perform at other fashion shows, I imagine the audience for these events will get a hell of a lot more diverse.
CLEVELAND — It started off with a crazy 49-point first quarter from the Cavs, who finished with an even crazier 86 points at halftime. That was topped by the craziest third quarter the NBA Finals has ever seen when a series worth of soap opera like drama was squeezed into 12 minutes.
Game 4 of the NBA Finals was wild, ridiculous, and absurd. We saw Cleveland go bonkers on offense in the first half, the refs call 51 fouls, the seemingly random rescinding of a technical on Draymond Green, and some extracurricular activities from superstars and role players alike that will be dissected for the next two days. When it was all said and done, the Cavs were 137-116 winners and extended the series at least one more game with a physical effort we hadn’t seen through the series' first three contests.
“We took it to them first and that was very telling for the rest of the game,” Kevin Love said.
So here we are again. The Warriors are up 3-1 and headed back to the West Coast. And while we can draw as many parallels as we want to last year’s historic NBA Finals, the Cavs extending the series only feels like we’re delaying the inevitable this time around.
But before we get to that, Cleveland should be commended for preventing the Warriors from becoming the only team in NBA history to go 16-0 in the postseason. Their chance to do that was pretty much over early Friday as the Cavs blitzed Golden State for an NBA Finals record 49 points in the first quarter and an NBA Playoffs record 86 points after two. And they kept shooting lights out the rest of the way. Cleveland finished shooting 52.9 percent from the field and made an NBA Finals record 24 3-pointers. Through the first three games of the series, Cleveland had only made 31 threes.
Quicken Loans Arena was rocking as the Cavs treated their fans to a rollicking performance led by Kyrie Irving’s 40 points. LeBron James recorded his 9th NBA Finals triple-double, surpassing Magic Johnson for the all-time mark, going for 31, 11, and 10 while Love added 23 and J.R, Smith contributed 15.
“We played a desperate team at home and they came out and handed it to us. Simple as that.”
It was a feel good night for the Cavs and their fans, for sure. The crowd was hyped from the start and the Cavs, who were ripe to be blown out following Game 3’s devastating loss, fed off their energy. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said there was no special pregame speech. He liked his squad’s attitude during the morning’s shootaround. “Guys were upbeat. No hanging heads,” he said. Maybe the Warriors were too caught up in chasing history?
“I don’t think there was any thoughts or concerns about history,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We played a desperate team at home and they came out and handed it to us. Simple as that.”
This one will be remembered for the truly bizarre third quarter. We had LeBron’s self-pass off the backboard for a dunk that will go down as one of the Finals’ most memorable plays. Later on, the King and Kevin Durant were jawing at each other and drew duel techs. “We weren't coming to blows, we were just talking,” Durant said. A little over a minute after that, Green was tossed for earning a second technical before he wasn’t. The refs ended up giving it to Steve Kerr instead. Finally, we saw Groingate v. 2017 when it looked like Zaza Pachulia took a swipe at Iman Shumpert’s sensitive area during a scrum for a loose ball.
NBA conspiracy theory junkies will have a field day dissecting that and all the fouls called by the refs in Cleveland's favor, especially in the first quarter. With the Finals enjoying some of their highest ratings in years, we all know the league really wants it to extend as long as possible and early on the zebras seemingly did their part. The Cavs went to the free throw line 22 times in the first 12 minutes. Somewhere in the bowels of Quicken Loans Arena, or back in New York—wherever he was—it was like commissioner Adam Silver was pulling all the right strings to at least extend the Finals to five games.
But does this really change anything? Has momentum swung back in the Cavs favor? The Cavs deserve credit for not rolling over and letting the Warriors celebrate a title on their floor. They were gritty, gutty, and grimy, playing physical for the first time all series and roughing up the Warriors. But let’s be real here: the Warriors were their own worst enemy in Game 4. Featuring a ton of isolation and practically none of their signature run and gun offense or precision ball movement, the second half saw the Warriors brick a ton threes and settle for low percentage long twos. Golden State finished shooting 28.2 percent from beyond the arc, well below their 39.6 percent average this postseason. Yes, the Cavs are the second best team in the league and getting one of the Warriors shouldn’t come as a surprise. But the Dubs were due for a dud.
“It was one of those nights where we didn’t have anything clicking,” Steph Curry said
The “Cavs in 7’ chant that broke near the end of the game was cute, an ode to the tweet JR Smith claims he didn’t send out following Game 3. But the chances the Cavs faithful see their team play again in person are slim to none. The Warriors were garbage in Game 4, a hot mess on offense, and now they’re headed home where they have lost just once in their last 16 games. They’ve been the superior team three out of four games. They were the superior team during the regular season and during their run to the Finals. They have a potential championship clinching Game 5 Monday in Oracle Arena where they trounced Cleveland in the first two games of the series and once back in January. Draymond won't be suspended for Game 5 like last year. And most importantly they still have more firepower and more superstars than the Cavs, starting with the biggest difference maker, KD.
It's going to be an interesting summer for Carmelo Anthony no matter what ends up happening to the Knicks star.
There's the potential of a divorce hanging over his head (check the gossip pages), and Melo knows Knicks team president Phil Jackson wants nothing to do with the future Hall of Famer and would gladly pack Melo's bags if he could find a taker for his services. The only problem is Melo owns a no-trade clause—which Jackson gladly gave him three summers ago—and a 15 percent trade kicker that means whatever team acquires him will have to pay more for his services than the Knicks currently are.
So Melo's options are kind of limited, to say the least. But there are a few teams out there that could make a play for the dynamic scorer. Some are obvious and have been widely discussed. One is kind of under the radar. Four of them should be contenders next year. The other is a wasteland featuring epic amounts of dysfunction, paranoia, and a future void of success.
While he hilariously gets to call the shots in the process, we can't wait for the full-blown melodrama—pun intended—to play out over the summer. So before all the wheelings and dealings start popping when free agency begins, familiarize yourself with the likeliest destinations for Carmelo Anthony's services next season.
New York Knicks
Odds Melo Stays There: 2-5
Melo isn’t going anywhere because Phil Jackson isn’t going to get shit for him, and Anthony isn’t going to waive his no-trade clause unless it’s for a contender. So, Melo for like a couple vets and a 15th man? No thanks. This is an unfortunate set of circumstances. Carmelo doesn’t deserve to be treated this way and Phil clearly could give two shits about how Melo feels with the way he’s handling the situation publicly. Phil has bigger fish to fry, like running Kristips Porzingis out of town.
Why anyone would want to be a Knick in the year of our Lord 2017 is beyond me, but both Carmelo and Porzingawd wanna stay in the Rotten Apple. Leave it to the Knicks to somehow always stay relevant, whether good or bad; this circus is here to stay. James Dolan should do his job and fire Phil Jackson right now! I would have my bags packed if I were Melo. Who needs this? Anthony’s feverish need to win in New York and have a statue erected in his likeness could be the only reason. That or his brand. #StayMe7o —A.D.
Los Angeles Clippers
Odds Melo Ends Up There: 5-1
The easy thing for the Los Angeles Clippers to do would be this: re-sign Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to max deals, find a young, inexpensive shooter to replace an aging J.J. Redick, and go out and try it again. This would be a terrible idea. Yes, the Clippers have had a degree of success with their current lineup—if not a Western Conference Finals appearance—and yes, they could easily blame injuries for early exits like this year’s. But there comes a point when a core has run its course, and for the Clippers that time is now. The Griffin-Paul-DeAndre Jordan triumvirate has been together for seven seasons without as much a conference championship to show for it. And, at 32, Paul is entering the tail end of his prime. What he needs is a pure scorer who wants the ball in his hands at the end of games. Who he needs is Carmelo Anthony. —R.B.
Odds Melo Ends Up There: 10-1
The Wizards haven't heavily been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Anthony because it's a dicey cap situation trying to make Melo fit, but if you look at Washington's roster and remember one high-profile signing made in the past, maybe it's not so far-fetched. Once upon a time, Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld brought in Paul Pierce to provide veteran leadership and valuable scoring. The Pierce experiment, or whatever you want to call it, only lasted one season and it wasn't exactly a raging success—Washington lost to the Hawks in the Eastern Conference semis. At age 37, Pierce started 73 games, averaged 16.3 points per, and hit 38.9 percent of his threes. You don't think Melo could put up better numbers than that next year? You don't think a team that easily could have been in the Eastern Conference Finals this season could use another weapon like Carmelo to battle LeBron and Co.? Slot in Anthony with John Wall and Bradley Beal and that's easily one of the most potent threesomes in the league.
Of course, there are hypotheticals. Would Melo and his ball-stopping ways screw up the Wizards? Would he whine about not getting enough shots with Wall serving as the focal point and Beal the clear No. 2 option? Would Phil Jackson be cool with Otto Porter and a pick in return for Melo? Does anybody on the Wizards roster even appeal to his antiquated tastes? We don't have the answers, but the more we think about it the more we think Washington makes a lot of sense for Melo. —A.C.
Odds Melo Ends Up There: 25-1
The Celtics are going to lose the Eastern Conference Finals, and once they do Danny Ainge will have some big decisions to make like what to do in June's NBA Draft with the No. 1 pick and whether making a move for Carmelo Anthony is smart. We all know Boston isn't going to get over the LeBron James hump until they either get more scoring help or Bron slows down. With guys like Jaylen Brown, Markelle Fultz (when they draft him), and the Nets 2018 first-round pick, plus Coach of the Year candidate Brad Stevens, the Celtics have an extremely promising nucleus for the future.
Yes, they have Isaiah Thomas for another season, but does he become expendable if Boston drafts a point guard? Would Ainge seriously entertain an offer if Phil Jackson wanted a haul in return? We know Jackson covets Jae Crowder, but would Ainge feel comfortable giving up one of his best defenders and something else for Melo's offense? From Anthony's perspective, #StayMe7o shouldn’t hesitate to waive his no-trade clause if Boston comes calling. —J.F.
Odds Melo Ends Up There: 45-1
Because Carmelo and LeBron James are boys, the idea of the two talented scorers playing together will always be brought up. And when LeBron was complaining about not having enough talent around him earlier this season, and the relationship between Melo and Phil Jackson really started to break down, speculation was running rampant that Melo could very likely find himself in Cleveland. Well, that obviously didn't happen, but reports surfaced that LeBron wanted Melo—even if it meant sacrificing Kevin Love. Cavs management didn't want to pull the trigger at February's trade deadline, and with Love playing so well in the playoffs what makes you think they're suddenly going to change their mind this summer?
Offense isn't the issue with the Cavs. We know that for sure. And do the Cavs really have any other pieces that would intrigue Jackson, because we know he wants nothing to do with Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith? The more likely scenario is that Dwyane Wade opts out in Chicago and teams back up with LeBron, leaving their boy Melo on the outside looking in at another run to the NBA Finals. Who needs enemies when you've got friends like that? —A.C.