The Cavaliers and Lakers Just Pulled Off a Blockbuster Trade Involving Isaiah Thomas

Things never seemed quite right with Isaiah Thomas in Cleveland. Now, less than six months after the Cavaliers acquired Thomas in a massive deal with the Boston Celtics for Kyrie Irving, Cleveland has flipped the veteran guard in another blockbuster trade.

News of the trade broke Thursday on Twitter, with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski sharing details of the swap.

ESPN's Ramona Shelburne added that the Lakers plan to hold on to both former Cavaliers players.

All we can say is: WOW. We're sure there's much more to come on this deal.

The bottom line is, the Cavs had to make a move of some kind. Things were falling apart, and they're intent on making a fourth-straight NBA Finals run in what could be LeBron James' final season in The Land. It's likely LeBron had some type of say in this deal.

It will be fascinating to see how this move affects Cleveland's on- and off-court success in the second half of the NBA season. The Cavs are currently in third in the East, behind the Celtics and Raptors.

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LeBron to the Lakers This Summer? Not So Fast, According to a New Report

Folks around the NBA have murmured for more than a year now about LeBron James' purported interest in bolting to Los Angeles when he has the opportunity to opt out of his contract during the 2018 offseason. Would he really leave his hometown team twice in his career? That remains to be seen. But people around the league have suspected as much—and suspected that he's headed for Los Angeles—for a long time now.

LeBron owns two houses in L.A., and conquering the West would provide him with a new challenge—a new potential legacy boost, if you will. Also, the Lakers have a wealth of cap space, a promising young roster, and a storied history. If he could bring them back to prominence, well, it would do a ton for LeBron's place in the history books. Of the two L.A. franchises, it seemed way likelier that LeBron would desire a spot on the roster of the Lake Show.

According to a new report from two of the most plugged-in NBA reporters, however, the Lakers may pass on pursuing LeBron this offseason. As Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN report, the Lakers are focusing their efforts—and their cap space—on the free-agent class of 2019 rather than that of 2018. The 2019 class is indeed ripe with young talent; Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, and Jimmy Butler could be among the players on the market.

In 2018, it's expected that LeBron, Paul George, and DeMarcus Cousins will be available. But LeBron, as great as he is, is 33, George seems very interested in sticking with the Thunder, and Cousins just suffered an absolutely debilitating Achilles injury.

This recalibration also reportedly stems from the Lakers' lack of belief that LeBron is actually interested in joining the team. Though L.A. has a bunch of gifted young players—including Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma—there isn't a bona fide star on the roster. LBJ would be taking a big risk by signing with the yellow and purple.

A lot could change in the next few months, of course. The Lakers are still reportedly shopping Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. But with this latest report, it looks a lot less certain that LeBron will head to Hollywood this summer.

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Is This the Real Reason LaVar Ball Pulled LaMelo Out of High School?

LaVar Ball shocked some people earlier this week—which is pretty hard to do these days, when you consider some of the other things he’s done in recent months—by announcing that he was pulling his son LaMelo out of Chino Hills High School to homeschool and train him over the next two years. At the time, LaVar said he was doing it because he was tired of dealing with the Chino Hills basketball coach, and he also said he didn’t want “no distractions” for LaMelo moving forward.

“I’m going to homeschool him and make him the best basketball player ever,” LaVar said.

But it sounds like there might be more to it than that. The Los Angeles Times did some digging around and discovered that, prior to pulling LaMelo out of school, LaVar may have overstepped his bounds (no way!) by trying to convince Chino Hills coach Dennis Latimore to add several players to his team prior to the upcoming season. It’s unclear if those players were already attending the school or if LaVar was trying to bring some of his AAU players into the mix, but either way, Latimore and Chino Hills principal Isabel Brenes both reportedly refused his request, which was why LaVar then decided to take LaMelo out of the school.

Wayne Joseph, the superintendent of the Chino Bills school district, spoke with the Times on Tuesday and confirmed that version of the story.

“He suggested he put four or five kids on varsity,” Joseph said, while also taking the diplomatic route and adding that LaVar and his wife Tina “have done a magnificent job with their kids.”

If this side of the story is true, it seems as though LaVar overstepped his bounds even more than usual, and Chino Hills probably isn’t all that upset about seeing him and LaMelo leave. The Ball boys have obviously put Chino Hills on the map in recent years, but it sounds like LaVar was really becoming a thorn in the side of the school’s coach and administration.

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LaVar Ball Won’t Shut Up Until His Son Lonzo Is on the Lakers

Even if you're tired of Lavar Ball's personality or the price of the merchandise he's selling, there's something endearing about him taking on the sneaker establishment. Players only have a few legitimate options for shoe deals when they enter the NBA, and there's nothing wrong with he and Lonzo Ball fighting to get what they feel is “fair” value for his services. Any parent or young professional would do the same.

But one area where the elder Ball seems most delusional is in his public insistence his son will play for the Lakers at the start of his career. He doubled down on the idea again on Monday, telling ESPN's Ramona Shelburne he's going to speak his wishes into existence.

“Oh, he's going to be a Laker,” said LaVar. “I'm going to keep talking about it until it happens.”

Before dreams of his son in purple and gold get too vivid, Ball may want to take a gander at the Lakers' odds of retaining their 2017 first-round pick. Los Angeles owes their pick to the Philadelphia 76ers if it falls outside the top-three, which has a better than 50 percent chance of happening. The Lakers might not have a chance to even make a selection if ping pong balls don't bounce in their favor, which would make it nearly impossible for them to acquire Ball anytime in the near future.

LaVar certainly isn't the first parent to steer their child to a specific team, and wanting your son to stay close to home is understandable. But being too overzealous about it is not doing any favors to Lonzo. Teams aren't going to shy away from selecting Ball because of a supposed preference to play for the Lakers, and his new fanbase would have all the incentive in the world to badger him about it if he struggles at the next level. Pressure will already be high for a player expected to be selected in the top three, and this is one more thing Lonzo doesn't really need on his plate as a rookie.

Beyond his insistence on which team his son will play for, LaVar also told a ridiculous story about his background as a trainer and the impact it had on how he toilet trained his sons:

A personal trainer by trade, he's been shaping his own kids from sunrise to sundown since they were born, loading them up with food, swagger and tough love. He says he had them walking by the time they were 8 months and potty-trained by 10 months.

'I put a scarf under their arms and I just hold them up like a bungee cord so they get their balance,' he says. 'Nobody had Pampers on. I'd wake their ass up in the middle of the night, put them on the toilet. Their cold ass hit that seat, so it was like a mechanism. Cold ass, piss. Now go back to sleep.'

With a personality as domineering as LaVar's, it's almost a surprise he lets his boys piss by themselves as adults. He has been heavily involved in every step of his sons' lives—for better or worse—and is unlikely to stop influencing their future just because one of them is about to turn pro. 

And in Lonzo Ball's case, he's reportedly quite happy to let his dad continue to do the talking. “I believe what he says,” said Lonzo. “And I'm 100 percent behind it.”

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Patrick Beverley Investigated for Reportedly Confronting Thunder Fan After Rockets’ Game 3 Loss

Patrick Beverley is known for his rugged defense and refusal to back down from any opponent, but he may have left the switch flipped on a little too long after a Game 3 loss to the Thunder on Friday night. According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, the NBA is looking into a post-game confrontation between the Rockets guard and a Thunder fan.

Footage from the arena shows Beverley getting in the face of a man in the stands wearing Thunder blue, and he eventually had to be separated from the fan by other NBA personnel.

Unconfirmed reports have suggested that Beverley may have knocked a banner out of the hands of the fan before exchanging some heated words with him. There may have also been contact between the two parties earlier in the game:

While the cause of the incident is as yet unknown, officials from Chesapeake Energy Arena have already revealed that they will assist with an NBA investigation into the matter.

“The Facility is aware of an incident occurring immediately following last night's game and will cooperate with the NBA in any way we can,” said Tim Linville, the arena's Director of Marketing. “As of this time, we have not received any requests for information or video from the NBA.”

An investigation will require the league to review any in-arena footage they can obtain and to interview Beverley about the incident.  

There's no word yet on what the potential discipline could be for Beverley, as these incidents tend to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. But history suggests this could get pricey for Houston's point guard, as Matt Barnes was fined $50,000 for “directing inappropriate language” at James Harden's mother during a 2015 game, while Joakim Noah lost $25,000 on the same day as Barnes for pushing a Cleveland Cavaliers fan during halftime.

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