Given the uncertainty of Kawhi Leonard's relationship with the Spurs, trade rumors will likely swirl around San Antonio all offseason. One of the most common destinations that has popped up in these conversations is Los Angeles—for both the Clippers and Lakers. Leonard is from L.A., and both teams have the resources to potentially pull off a trade.
LaVar Ball, for what it's worth, doesn't see Kawhi coming to the Lakers—at least in a trade that involves his son, Lonzo. LaVar believes the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft is better than Kawhi, per his recent appearance on ESPN Radio with Marcellus Riley and Travis Rodgers.
“Stop it! Hell no,” Lavar responded when he was asked whether he thinks Kawhi is better than Lonzo. “Lonzo, I'm gonna tell you what he does, makes everyone on the team better. Who don't want to start a team with that? You put Kawhi on there, he won't make everyone better. He's gonna do his thing. He's a specialty guy.”
LaVar believes having his son on a team's roster is good for its bottom line. “I'm gonna tell you why [that won't happen],” Ball said. “You know what Lonzo is to me? [LiAngelo] is my pretty boy. This [LaMelo] is my “wow” boy. But Zo is the people's choice. They won't let it happen. You can't get rid of Zo! He's the people's choice. Everybody on the outside can say what they want, but when you put it down on paper, the Ball boys are good for business.”
LaVar also expressed his belief that LeBron James will sign with the Lakers.
Lonzo averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 assists, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game in his rookie campaign. Kawhi has one year left on his contract. LeBron could opt out of his deal this offseason.
Heading into their Sweet 16 matchup with Kansas State on Thursday night, the general consensus was that Kentucky was going to be able to work their way to the Final Four this weekend without much resistance. The Wildcats would be able to get by K-State and then beat the winner of the Nevada/Loyola-Chicago matchup to make it to the NCAA Tournament semifinals next weekend. But unfortunately for Big Blue Nation, that isn’t how things ultimately worked out for John Calipari & Co.
Kansas State stunned Kentucky 61-58 to advance to the Elite 8 on Thursday. They took advantage of some sloppy offensive play on the part of Kentucky to beat them for the first time ever. And after the game, several Kansas State players accused Kentucky players of not sticking around long enough to shake hands after the game. Junior guard Amaad Wainrightwas especially upset about what happened when reporters caught up with him in the Wildcats' locker room.
“They didn’t shake our hands,” Wainright said. “It’s sorry…They know what they did.”
Wainright went on to say he was looking forward to shaking Calipari’s hand. But when he tried to track him down, Calipari had apparently already left the court.
“It’s all about respect,” Wainright said. “That’s what it should have been—all about respect.”
Wainright’s teammate Levi Stockard III was also upset about Kentucky making a break for it without shaking hands. He said it felt like an intentional act on the part of the Kentucky players.
“That’s not the sportsmanship you like to see, but that’s them,” Stockard said. “They just walked off the court. I don’t know what it was. I don’t know.”
Calipari defended his actions and the actions of his players. He acknowledged leaving the court without shaking the hands of the Kansas State players, but he said he had a good reason for doing it.
Some Kansas State players were upset that several Kentucky players did not shake their hands. Calipari said no disrespect was intended. They went to K State end of the court but KState players were celebrating.
“They were turned and celebrating, so I walked off,” Calipari said. “There was no disrespect for anything. It’s just that they were celebrating, and I was happy for them…My team’s not like that. There’s no disrespect in any way. They beat us. They deserved to win the game.”
This isn’t the first time one of Calipari’s teams has been accused of refusing to shake opposing players’ hands after losing an NCAA Tournament game. The 2014-15 Kentucky team, which included Willie Cauley-Stein and Aaron and Andrew Harrison, was also publicly criticized after refusing to shake the hands of Wisconsin players following a Final Four loss.
During NBA All-Star Weekend, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver mentioned that the league is considering potentially altering its playoff system. Instead of having the teams divided by conference—with seeds 1 through 8 in the East and seeds 1 through 8 in the West—the change would mean all 16 teams would compete in the same bracket, with East teams competing with West teams. In theory, seed 1 would play seed 16, much like the NCAA Tournament system.
On the surface, this is a reasonable change that could make the NBA Playoffs more interesting. As it stands now, the first round of the playoffs is pretty…lacking. This would shake things up.
But some people have already asked: Could this possibly all be a ploy to benefit LeBron James? That's the perspective Out Of Bounds host Gilbert Arenas espoused on Tuesday's episode of the show. Check out No Chill Gil's take in the video above. You can also catch the full episode below.
“Why would you want to change it now? Huh, if Adam Silver knows LeBron James is coming to the West Coast,” Gil said. “If LeBron James comes to the West Coast, this actually makes sense now.”
Indeed, where the King will play next season is a topic of much debate among NBA fans. People have said for over a year that they think he's headed to the Lakers, while others have linked him to the Rockets—both Western Conference teams. Either way, Gil's theory suggests the NBA is trying to set the playoff seedings up so that LeBron would still have a relatively easy path to the NBA Finals, even while playing in the West.
Gil's conspiracy theory is far from the only conspiracy theory that has been attached to LeBron's name throughout his illustrious 15-year career. Conspiracy theories following someone nicknamed “LBJ”? You don't say. (Word to Lyndon Baines Johnson, whom conspiracy theorists blame for the Kennedy assassination.)
Below are some of the wildest LeBron James conspiracy theories we've ever seen.
1. LeBron is headed to the Lakers because of…Space Jam 2?!
It feels like Space Jam 2 is never going to happen at this point, right? However, some believe signing with L.A. would give LeBron the buzz needed to raise the budget for the film. Director Justin Lin has confirmed the sequel is happening. We just don't know when.
2. The Spurs air conditioning conspiracy
The Spurs jumped to a 1-0 lead in the 2014 NBA Finals, and LeBron had to leave Game 1 in a pivotal moment because he cramped up in the fourth quarter. People accused San Antonio of intentionally messing with the A.C. to force the best player alive to check out of the game. That would be downright Belichickian.
4. Did a young LeBron intentionally blow a playoff game against Boston?
The Cavs played the Celtics in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals, and some accused him of intentionally blowing Game 6. The theory is that LeBron wanted out of Cleveland and he used that series to show the NBA he simply had to leave because he was working with so little talent.
5. Were he and Kyrie in it together?
All the drama that followed LeBron and former teammate Kyrie Irving this summer was so perfect and theatrical that it seemed staged. Was it possible they worked together to orchestrate a move that was ideal for both of their careers? Some think so.
6. Did he play a role in Eric Bledsoe's trade demand?
Eric Bledsoe demanded to be traded and eventually was—from the Phoenix Suns to the Milwaukee Bucks this past fall. Rich Paul, LeBron's agent and close friend, represents Bledsoe. Some believe LeBron was pulling the strings because he wanted Bledsoe to get out of Phoenix.
7. Really, anything could be turned into a LeBron conspiracy—even wine
Even an innocuous team trip to Napa Valley for a nice wine tasting has proven it could lead to conspiracies. People blamed the Cavs' 2017-18 struggles (which are maybe, possibly, probably over) on their love for the vino.
The Eastern Conference looks up for grabs right now. The Cavs are surging, but the Raptors and Celtics have been good all year. Regardless of how the playoffs shake out, you can bet more LBJ conspiracy theories will hit the internet in May and June—especially after he announces his free-agency decision. Get ready to add to this list.
With that in mind, you wouldn’t think KD’s own head coach would resort to using a burner Twitter to comment on opposing players, but that’s what some people are accusing Steve Kerr of doing. He tweeted and deleted a shot at James Harden and some NBA referees on Thursday night, and while he may have simply thought better of the tweet after sending it, many are now wondering if Kerr didn’t mean to send the tweet from a different account in the first place.
It all started when the official NBA Twitter account tweeted about Harden just after 10 p.m. ET on Thursday. It featured Harden taking and making a step-back three-pointer against the Spurs during the Rockets’ 102-91 victory over San Antonio.
A short time later, Kerr saw the NBA tweet and had something to say about it. On his official account he suggested Harden traveled on the play. He said it was “an embarrassment” Harden wasn’t whistled for a walk.
The tweet didn’t stay up long. But plenty of people were able to get a screenshot before it disappeared, and they wondered why in the world Kerr would take aim at Harden and the refs like that. Some concluded Kerr simply got caught up in the moment before deciding against leaving the tweet up. But more than a few people suggested Kerr may have meant to send it from a burner account, just like KD.
Kerr hasn’t spoken publicly about any of this yet. But it’ll be interesting to see what he has to say. If he meant to send the Harden tweet from his account, most of the Rockets players are probably going to have the same reaction Chris Paul had to something Kerr said to him during a recent game.
And if Kerr meant to send out the tweet from some secret account he uses, he's likely to get clowned the same way KD did. Either way, we wouldn’t expect Harden and the Rockets to forget about what Kerr said anytime soon.
Contrary to popular opinion, LeBron James is human after all, and though his run of seven consecutive trips to the NBA Finals might make him seem otherworldly, it doesn't make him invincible. This season more than ever, it feels like Cleveland is surviving rather than thriving. At some point, someone in the East is going to beat them. And after Cleveland's 118-108 home loss to the defending champion Golden State Warriors last night, we might've officially reached that point.
According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, there is growing discontent and a strong sense of concern within the Cleveland locker room. The Cavs are 26-17 with only three wins in their last 12 games. They got blown out by a combined 62 points against Toronto and Minnesota last week. They might have the worst defense in the entire NBA, and they've slid so far that many of the team's veterans now doubt whether they can fix their problems this season.
Age. One-dimensional role players. Defensive-issues that go far beyond fundamentals. Several prominent players told ESPN, Cleveland.com, and The Athletic that the team's problems won't go away simply by getting healthy.
This is not the first time we've heard grumblings coming out of Cleveland this season. Just last week, Yahoo! Sports reported there were complaints in the locker room about “personal agendas” getting in the way of success. Some Cavs players thought LeBron was chasing assists in an effort to win one final MVP award. Others didn't like coach Tyronn Lue's rotations. The bickering reeks of familiarity, like a family that's been living together far too long.
In past years during their inevitable regular season lapses, the team could lean on Kyrie Irving. But Irving is gone, and his replacement is a 28-year-old, 5'9″ defensive problem who may or may not ever be the same after returning from a major hip injury.
LeBron has to know all of this. He also knows Cleveland holds the rights to Brooklyn's first-round pick next summer—and that there are several names potentially available on the market. That pick and this year's trade deadline might be Cleveland's final chance to position themselves for one last run at a title. Among the NBA's contenders, they have the least to lose and the most to gain by making a deal.
Can they get DeAndre Jordan? Do they have a better deal looming that no one sees yet? Whatever it is Cleveland HAS to swing big to give itself every chance to convince LeBron to stay …
Let's say Lebron leaves. Cavs could have all the draft picks in the world. No free agents are gonna come play in Cleveland. No free agents are gonna take less to come play in Cle. So exactly what future are you planning for?? 🤷🏽♂️
No one ever expects a run to end before it does. Miami's Big Three era faded with a whimper, getting blitzed by 14 points per game against San Antonio in the 2014 Finals. Kobe's Lakers collapsed in a surprising sweep in 2011, burnt out and exhausted. Before that, it was Shaq and the Lakers getting old before our eyes and even before that, it was Houston and Hakeem Olajuwon getting run into the ground by Seattle and the Detroit Bad Boys wilting under the athleticism of Jordan's Bulls.
Is this Cleveland's moment of reckoning? If it is, it shouldn't surprise anyone.
Future has postponed two Virginia dates from his Hndrxx Tour following the white supremacist rallies that took place in Charlottesville over the weekend. Future took to Twitter to share the announcement.
“Out of respect for the tragic events I felt it wasn't rite to perform at this time..please understand my heart mean well VA,” he wrote.
The shows were originally planned to take place at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville and Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater in Virginia Beach. The stop in Charlottesville was a part of the University of Virginia's “Welcome Week” for returning students.
Lil Yachty was also booked to perform at the Charlotte show. “VA is important to me & always will be. I'm comin very soon, my word! Love Forever,” Future wrote in a second tweet.
Out of respect for the tragic events I felt it wasn't rite to perform at this time..please understand my heart mean well VA #FutureHendrix
Over the weekend, a group of violent white supremacists descended upon Charlottesville to proclaim their message of hate and intolerance. White nationalist terrorist James Alex Fields Jr. rammed his vehicle through a crowd of anti-racist and anti-fascist counter-protesters, murdering 32-year-old Heather D. Heyer and injuring others.
Following the announcement of the Charlottesville show's cancelations, #giveUVAaCHANCE, an online social media campaign, has asked Chance the Rapper to come play the concert as a replacement.
It seems there’s a new twist every day in the Kyrie Irving drama. To recap the major points: the 25-year-old point guard asked Cleveland for a trade in July. He said there were four teams he’d be wiling to go to: Miami, New York, Minnesota, and San Antonio. Then word got out that Kyrie wanted the trade because he was tired of playing with LeBron James, and he’d actually wanted to get out of town for a long time.
For now, it seems the Cavs are content to bide their time until a compelling offer comes along. They watched Chicago and Indiana deal their stars (Jimmy Butler and Paul George, respectively) for peanuts and then get roasted by the NBA world, and Cleveland doesn’t want to replicate the error of those franchises.
Thus, the big question is: if Cleveland wants to go into this season with both Kyrie and LeBron on the roster, could they coexist? Their former teammate Dahntay Jones thinks so.
Jones appeared on SiriusXM NBA Radio Thursday and said the rifts in their relationship have been dramatized in the media.
“Nothing's to a point where it can't be fixed,” Jones said. “It can be fixed with a small conversation.”
Jones spent parts of the last two seasons with James and Irving on the Cavs. Based on reports, it’s sure seemed like the relationship between the two stars is beyond the point of no return—it seems like they couldn’t play together this coming season. Adding to that narrative, James is back in Subtweet Bron form.
The BillboardHot 100 has a new rap entry this week that, unless you're from the Dallas metro area or really tied in to up-and-coming underground hip-hop, probably caught you by surprise (assuming you even noticed it). “The Race” by East Arlington, Texas-based rapper Taymor Travon McIntyre, who goes by Tay-K, entered the chart at No. 70.
The song, which has been remixed by XXXTentacion, Lil Bibby, and most recently Lil Yachty, is the first national hit for Tay-K. But how it happened, and what it means for the 17-year-old artist, is a wild and disturbing story—one that involves several murders, an assault, an attempt to flee from the law, and one music video shot under murky circumstances.
Tay-K started rapping only a few years ago as part of a group called Daytona Boyz. He got some local attention for early efforts like the Auto-Tuned track “Sly Cooper.”
Just as he was getting started, Tay-K sent a DM to Shawn Cotton, who runs Say Cheese TV. The message touted his crew's “10k plays on soundcloud” and pointed out that they were all between 14-16 years old.
“He reached out to me, but I get so many DMs, I get so many messages,” Cotton told Complex. “I didn't see it.”
By the time Cotton became aware of Tay-K, when the young rapper's track “Megaman” was gaining steam in late 2016, Cotton heard that it was already too late.
“A girl had told me that they had caught some charges, so I never looked further into it,” he said. “People around town was saying that he was gone for life, that he was never coming back. So I didn't pay attention to it.”
Tay-K faced a charge in Mansfield, Texas, for a home invasion that occurred on July 26, 2016. The invasion, which was set up by two young women, ended with a 21-year-old man named Ethan Walker shot dead. Tay-K, who was 16 at the time, was arrested for the murder and released on house arrest.
He is also a suspect in another murder following a Daytona Boyz performance in late 2015.
In March 2016, Tay-K was facing a hearing to determine whether he'd be charged as an adult for Walker's murder—a decision that could mean facing the death penalty. So he sent a tweet, cut off his ankle monitor, and fled.
fuck dis house arrest shit fuck 12 they gn hav 2 catch me on hood
For alleged altercations that occurred during his several months on the lam, Tay-K stands accused of a separate killing in San Antonio and of assaulting a 65-year-old man. While evading the law, he also recorded and shot a video for the song “The Race.”
The song, which was released the very day, June 30, that the cops caught up with Tay-K and arrested him in New Jersey, is about his situation. “Fuck a beat, I was tryin' to beat a case,” goes the song's opening line. “But I ain't beat that case—bitch, I did the race.” The video, which Cotton confirmed was shot while Tay-K was on the run, became a smash hit, garnering over 19 million views as of this writing.
It is that directness that's making the song a smash, according to Cotton. “It's real,” he said. “Look at the story. It's so authentic. It's real, and he has the story to back it up. Rappers talk shit all day about what they do, but everything he's saying, happened. It's like Tay-K was telling us a story. It's like we're little kids about to go to bed, and Tay-K's telling us a story about himself, and he's visualizing it in the video. And it happened. It's all on the news.”
Tay-K's story garnered support from several well-known rappers, including Lil Bibby, Fat Nick of the Buffet Boys, and XXXTentacion.
So now we're left with a rapper facing serious charges while his first album Santana World races up the iTunes charts. Cotton, who did a recent in-depth interview with Tay-K from jail, said he could “hear a lot of regret in his voice” when talking to the teenager. “When I was telling him a lot of people who was shouting him out and his numbers, he just couldn't believe it,” Cotton recalled. “I know if he gets another chance, he will change his life around.”
If Tay-K does get that second chance, he has incredible potential, Cotton believes.
“If he somehow gets out of jail, I feel like he could be bigger than Chief Keef has ever been,” he said. “He's young, I feel like he has the street background. I think he'll be a more successful Chief Keef. He'll be right there, because we've never seen this before. Tay-K's only 17, so if he gets out of jail somehow, I think he could be one of the biggest artists of this new rap era.”
Drake was spotted with rising singer/producer Tone Stith in Houston, Texas Monday. In a video shared by TMZ Thursday, Drake is seen sitting in on the New Jersey-based artist's tour rehearsal and talking with Stith about, well, that's hard to say due to the fact that the audio isn't all that great:
Reports claim Drake is taking Stith “under his wing” after Monday's meeting, which was arranged by an important person in Drake's path to success: Jas Prince.
A post shared by Jas Prince (@jas.prince) on Jul 25, 2017 at 11:21pm PDT
Stith, whose previous work includes multiple tracks on Chris Brown's 2015 album Royalty, is set to join August Alsina's Don't Matter tour Thursday night with a performance at the Aztec Theater in San Antonio, Texas. The month-long trek will also see the 22-year-old artist providing support for Alsina in Atlanta, Toronto, New York City, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.
Stith currently boasts more than 80,000 combined followers across his social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), a number that's sure to rise after the Drake co-sign and the release of Stith's latest project Can We Talk. The 11-track collection, available on Apple Music and other streaming services now, includes the single “Get It Right.”
In a message shared with his fans at the time of the official “Get It Right” video's release, Stith outlined the intention behind his art. “I feel it is my responsibility to spread love and happiness through my music, and want you to know that I'm always keeping you in mind whether I'm in the studio making new material, rehearsing to put on the best show possible, or even just being a good person to everyone I meet along the way,” Stith said.
Stith recently shared a cover of Drake's More Life cut “Madiba Riddim,” joining previous Stith renditions of songs from Bryson Tiller and Justin Bieber.
The latest release from Stith arrived this week to mark his birthday. Listen to “2122” below.
Reports came down early Wednesday morning that Paul moving to the Rockets was a serious possibility. ESPN's Marc Steinsaid at the time that James Harden was part of the recruiting team for Houston, urging Paul to join up with him to take on other Western Conference powers.
Chris Paul and James Harden were determined to play together, and found a way with Rockets-Clippers trade agreed upon today.
Paul and Harden were “determined to play together,” so once it became clear that Paul was going to leave for Houston in free agency, he reportedly arranged for the Clippers to send him in a trade instead in order to leave Los Angeles with something in return. The Clippers will receive Rockets players Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams, and a 2018 first-round pick from Houston.
Things aren't so great on LA's end of things, but this is as good of a return as you could hope for when a star player has informed you he could leave you with nothing. There are other dominoes to fall for the Clippers—Blake Griffin's free agency just got a whole lot more interesting—but they'll come out of a no-win situation with something, at least. In a post on his Twitter, Paul expressed his admiration for the Los Angeles community and thanked the fans for all their support during his time there.
Of course, the focus will be on Houston's end, and NBA Twitter was sent into hysterics with a single tweet, hardly knowing how to process Paul leaving L.A. to join up with Harden. Though some expressed concern about each player's preference to work with the ball in their hands, the general reaction was one of excitement about the possibilities.
Regardless of what happens, this is important: We get at least one year of Chris Paul in a Mike D’Antoni offense. This is AMAZING.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding Paul's offseason, the Rockets never seemed like a real threat to obtain his services. Early buzz revolved around Paul going to San Antonio, where he would have been the clear alpha dog in the Spurs' back court from day one. Now, he'll have to share that space with last year's MVP runner-up, who had transitioned to playing the de facto point guard role under Mike D'Antoni. There's also the question of whether Paul will buy into D'Antoni's offense, as his teams have traditionally played at a slower, more methodical pace at Paul's behest, while D'Antoni is all about running and gunning.
But if the Rockets can get it to work, they might be one of the most exciting offensive teams to watch in the history of the league. Harden and Paul are ruthlessly efficient offensive players and more than capable as shooting threats off-the-ball, and if they come to an understanding about sharing the workload, there's no telling what their offensive ceiling is.
For those of you wondering how Kevin Durant joining the Warriors might shift power around the league, you're looking at a direct product. Faced with an unstoppable juggernaut, players and teams are going to move heaven and earth just to give themselves a chance against Golden State.