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Old 12-03-2019, 02:41 AM   #1
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Can These Hornets Actually Buzz? (DDSPB 20)

They say life begins at 40.

In a way, that's true. When you're 40, you've ideally burnt out the immaturity of your youth and are at the full height of your mental and professional abilities. Typically, it's when writers have their most accomplished periods (though there are, of course, exceptions to the rule - especially for poets, many of whom peak much earlier). Your life experiences have forged you into the person you are, and you've acquired a certain kind of wisdom.

The life that began me for at 40 was becoming GM of the great dumpster fire known as the Charlotte Hornets. Owned by the legendary Michael Jordan, whom my mom was a superfan of, but never got to meet. I have two words for cancer and they aren't Happy Birthday.

So what do you do when you have a roster who has literally no one you'd like to keep around, other than maybe Caleb Martin (even though he went to that horrible school UNR) as a defensive specialist project?

Try to trade - and try to find someone, anyone stupid enough to think Terry Rozier is worth a minsal, let alone a multi-year deal paying him almost $20 million a season on average. There has to be someone really, really dumb, right?

Unfortunately, every single other GM is smart enough to at least not be my moronic predecessor. Literally no one will take Rozier's contract. We're stuck with him for at least two years, until we can use his expiring to hopefully move him out.

Despondent, I put literally everyone on the trade block.

No offers come in for this roster of sad sacks before the start of the regular season.

I'll profile everyone when I'm not ready to walk into a wasp's nest to end the suffering swiftly, rather than endure the pain of this first year.
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Old 12-05-2019, 03:16 AM   #2
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Changeover In Charlotte

Andrew Wiggins takes over as the Hornets' new star player

After weeks of negotiations, new Charlotte Hornets GM Izulde Jestor finally pulled off the move he most eagerly sought to make. Out went Terry Rozier's sub-.400 shooting and toxic contract to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The primary return? Andrew Wiggins - the once heralded #1 overall pick whose career has thus far fallen short of his projected superstardom. But the price for the 24 year old was steep - raw, but high ceiling rookie P.J. Washington, though the Hornets did also snap up Minnesota's 2nd round picks the next three seasons in the deal.

If Washington, selected 12th overall and blessed with preternatural foul-drawing ability from Day 1, pans out, this move may well blow up in Jestor's face. If he doesn't, then it might well just rack up as a significant win, given how odious Rozier's 3 year, $56.7 million deal is. And unlike in Charlotte, where he projected as a starter, the inefficient combo guard will play just 20 minutes off the bench at the 2 spot. Washington, in contrast, zooms straight to starter status at PF next to burgeoning star Karl-Anthony Towns.

Meanwhile, Wiggins gets out from under KAT's shadow and is firmly planted as the Hornets' #1 scoring option, operating out of the 3. If he's ever going to prove he can be The Man, now's the time.

As a result of the trade, Jestor executed his second pickup, plucking 30 year old Kenneth "The Manimal" Faried on a one year minsal to replace Washington at PF. Though Faried isn't as fizzy as he was in his Denver heyday, he still brings sorely needed offensive rebounding punch, a high percentage field goal conversion rate, and veteran savvy. He and Cody Zeller will patrol the paint, freeing Wiggins to operate from the perimeter.

But the newly minted free office wasn't done yet. Veteran hybrid forward Marvin Williams and versatile G/F Miles Bridges next to go - jettisoned along with the Hornets' second round picks the next three years to the Denver Nuggets for the sure-handed, stellar intangibles 24 year old point guard Monte Morris and 25 year old defensive stalwart wing Gary Harris. Morris is an immediate upgrade on all levels over any of the Hornets' previous post-Kemba Walker options and Harris pairs with Nicolas Batum to give the team two skilled, disciplined defenders at SG, while also opening up minutes for front office favorite Caleb Martin as a rotational SF.

From Denver's perspective, the value is all about the money - $15 million in expiring money from Williams' deal, two years left of Bridges' rookie contract, and the cheap bodies three second round picks bring. Williams will be part of the PF rotation, whereas Bridges operates as a 6th man, his deft ball skills landing him time at both PG and SF.

****

I can't believe I actually suckered someone into taking Rozier. Ha! Washington is a new-age 4 - happy with the 3 ball. Not my kinda dude at all, and his rebounding is blah. I'd still like to find a true boarding horse at the 4 or 5. Morris is ideally a backup rather than a starter, too, but in Wiggins and Harris, I've got my wing spots set for a good number of years if I can keep both around. Overall we're much a smarter, much stronger team defensively now. Our shooting should be significantly improved, too.

Why does all this matter? Well, Mike has lost his damn mind and expects a deep playoff run. He also demanded a 3* or better player, and Wiggins fits that bill. I still don't trust our coaching staff, but it's going to cost too much money to fire them right now.

So we'll see how this season goes.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:52 PM   #3
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Gary Harris went down with a severe triceps injury in his debut and was out the rest of October and the early part of November.

Overall, the first month was about what I expected. 3-4 with a 3-1 home record and 0-3 on the road. Our signature victory was 117-104 over the Denver Nuggets, Monte Morris playing his way to 30 points, 5 assists, and a steal en route to Player of the Game honors. Kenneth Faried chipped in 23 points and 7 rebounds, while Andrew Wiggins score 19 with 7 boards.

At the start of November, a couple of things were clear. Kenneth Faried was an absolute bargain. Career averages of 18.3 points and 64% were high marks to date by a wide margin. His 6.6 rebounds were fairly decent, though not earthshattering. We had a desperate need for someone who could crash the boards and/or generate turnovers, as our defense, while strong in points allowed (ranking in the Top 6), revealed pedestrian numbers in the advanced metrics.

Our offense was all about Faried, Monte Morris (15.3 points, 4 rebounds, 3.4 assists), and Cody Zeller (15.3 points, 8 rebounds). Andrew Wiggins was proving a disappointment at 13.5 points due to his 36.7% from the floor, 21.8% from 3 point range, though his 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists attested to his ability to contribute in numerous facets of the game.

I've always loved watching Giannis "Greek Freak" Antetokounmpo play, even from his Summer League days when I saw his coast to coast score in 4 dribbles in person. He hung 15 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists, and 6 steals on us to open November as we fell 90-78 in Charlotte. It was the start of a five game losing streak that took us from fighting for the Southeast lead to a half-game ahead of the Wizards. One of our biggest problems - the bench was terrible at big man and point guard. We were getting eaten alive in the fast break, too.

Kadeem Allen got snatched up from the D-League to address our porous backup point guard spot, and we traded Willy Hermangomez to Oklahoma City for sexy name, disappointing career Nerlens Noel, who despite his Wiggins-esque underachievement, still brought nasty toughness and defense inside - which we sorely needed. At least, that was the theory. In practice, we dropped 3 more straight games before finally nipping by the Timberwolves by a single point in Charlotte, 102-101. Kenneth Faried with 20 points and 6 rebounds as a meh Player of the Game. 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals off the bench by Nerlens Noel.

Kenneth Faried went HAM for 25 points and 18 rebounds to net us our first win streak of the season, 108-104 vs Washington. I'll take. Malik Monk scored 16 with 6 assists and 2 steals off the bench. Monk was emblematic of the team as a whole - glitzy name player who busted despite a high draft slot.

And then came out first road win - a shocking 116-93 upset of the Cavaliers. Kenneth Faried Player of the Game for the third time in a row with 25 points. Kadeem Allen scored a season-high 19 points off the bench. Worth noting: our games against the Wizards and Cleveland both were without the services of Andrew Wiggins and Cody Zeller, who were out with injury, thereby earning Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (another bust) and Nerlens Noel starts (guess that Noel pickup was smart after all).

27 points and 12 rebounds by PotG Kenneth Farried, 24 scored by Monte Morris, and 14 bench points by Kadeem Allen later, we stared at a 120-106 home win over the Spurs and our fourth straight victory.

The win streak stretched to 5 to close out the month - 106-92 over the Toronto Raptors in Canada! Malik Monk was the surprise star with 19 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and a steal off the bench, Garry Harris chipping in 11 points of his own. And that's with Wiggins and Zeller back in the lineup.

We were now 8-12. A .400 win percentage and one of the two hottest teams other than the Minnesota Timberwolves, who'd also won 5 straight and were 12-10.
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Old 12-07-2019, 06:17 PM   #4
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Our first game in December was a big one in terms of Southeast division lead - in Miami. We walloped them 109-94 behind Kenneth Faried's 35 points and 11 rebounds, and 11 bench points each from Nerlens Noel and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Noel also added 5 rebounds and a steal.

20 points, a block, and a steal from Kenneth Faried saw us see off Orlando 101-93 in Charlotte. Gary Harris got his first start for us, but wasn't noteworthy, unlike Monte Morris scoring 19 in as many minutes. Nerlens Noel continued to be a bench boss with 13 points, a block, and a steal.

The fearsome trio of Stephen Curry, D'Angelo Russell, and Draymond Green comes to down and I figure our win streak is at an end. But then Andrew Wiggins has his finest game as a Hornet - 9 of 16 shooting for 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists, and we stampede 123-100. Kenneth Faried adds 18 points, 9 rebounds, and a steal, Monte Morris puts up 15 points and 10 assists, and Kadeem Allen adds 13 points and 5 assists off the bench.

With .500 in the balance, we get ambushed by Zach LaVine's ridiculous 22 FTAs - more than our entire team, and fall 98-105 to Da Bulls in Charlotte. I'm not expecting a win when we've got a back-to-back against LeBron's Lakers and we don't, but keep it competitive in a 97-107 home loss.

Gary Harris has been injured again, so he's missed a couple games and will miss more. But we show incredible pluck anyway in shocking the Thunder in OKC - 112=106. Kenneth Faried pours on 25 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 steals, abetted by Andrew Wiggins (17 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, a steal) and benchmates Nerlens Noel (15 points, 8 rebounds, a block) and Kadeem Allen (13 points, 5 assists, a steal).

Trounced by the Rockets in Houston as expected, and then comes a home back-to-back. We top the Heat 126-111 on hella balanced scoring - all five starters with 11 more or more points, plus 17, 15, and 12 bench points by Kadeem Allen, Nerlens Noel, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist respectively. Game ball went to Andrew Wiggins of the 18 points, 9 rebounds, block, and 2 steals. Heartbreaking 97-100 loss vs Portland the next night, wasting Kadeem Allen's 20 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals off the bench.

That loss deflated us to a flat-out stink vs the Knicks. We shake it off and grind out a 95-90 win over the Raptors - Andrew Wiggins a meh PotG with 17 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and a block. Bench is led by Nicolas Batum (12 points), Caleb Martin (10 points, 6 rebounds), and Malik Monk (10 points). Shockingly, Nerlens Noel is a Coaches' DNP, which I don't understand at all.

You could have knocked me over with a breath of sweet air, so shocked was I when we actually split a back-to-back against the Bucks. The 109-92 home upset came via Cody Zeller's 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and a block, and matching 13 second unit points from Nerlens Noel and Kadeem Allen. Really nice early Christmas present on December 23rd to take that scalp.

Kemba Walker comes home to Charlotte after Christmas and drops 35 points, 8 assists, 2 steals, and just 1 turnover on us, treating the home fans to the greatness they loved. But it's our team balance and swarming defense on everyone else that nets the 106-96 win. We hold the Celtics to just 39.8% shooting, and Andrew Wiggins is Player of the Game with his 17 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and a block. Also starring: Cody Zeller with 10 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 blocks, and Monte Morris at least trying to keep pace with Kemba in scoring 22.

Golden State gets revenge in California, with Draymond Green a surprising DNP-Coaches' Decision.

But then we end the calendar year with a headline-grabbing 116-110 upset of the Clippers in LA that I'm still slack-jawed over. Monte Morris and Kenneth Faried each score 23, with the Manimal adding 9 rebounds. Kadeem Allen scored 15 to lead the second year. Master class by Paul George, though, at 38 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 steals. Worth noting: Kawhi was out with back spasms. DOESN'T MATTER - STILL WON!

As the page turns to 2020, here's how the East looks:

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Old 12-07-2019, 11:16 PM   #5
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
I start exploring possible trades and come close to pulling the trigger on a deal for Steven Adams, but I just can't get across the line. What we really need is a 3 point gunner wing who won't cost us a ton in assets. And then I find one, but it requires a second move to get under the payroll budget.

Charlotte Hornets send
Malik Monk
Dwayne Bacon

Brooklyn Nets send
Joe Harris

Charlotte Hornets send
Bismack Biyombo
Minnesota Timberwolves 2020 2nd round pick
Minnesota Timberwolves 2021 2nd round pick

Denver Nuggets send
Mason Plumlee

Analysis for Nets
Monk has regressed this season, but he's still just 21, and Brooklyn will use the rest of his rookie deal to see if they can help him become what he's capable of. Bacon's ball-secure, but is just here to make the finances work. They'll each see time in the rotation, though neither one is special.

Analysis for Nuggets
Second trade between Denver and Charlotte. The first one has worked out exceptionally well for the Hornets - Monte Morris and Gary Harris are both starters for the East's most surprisingly respectable team. The Nuggets have been a disappointment at 14-22, and they're essentially banking on clearing cap and accumulating picks assets to have money to burn in the offseason, where they'll try and lure the right talent to put next to Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.

Analysis for Hornets
None of the players dealt were key pieces for Charlotte. Yes, Monk saw considerable minutes, but was inconsistent and just not a very good player. Harris brings a 3 point boomstick that will help open up the game much more. He's not shabby on the defensive end, either. He'll take over as the starting SG from the Nicolas Batum/Gary Harris duo, with both players getting plentiful minutes on the wings. Plumlee is 34, but still brings ferocious defense and quality shooting inside. He'll take over all the backup 5 minutes and ease some of the pressure on Nerlens Noel.

Between Cody Zeller, Mason Plumlee, and Nerlens Noel, all of whom rate as 74 or 75 on a 100 point scale on defense by our scouts in the paint, and Nicolas Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Gary Harris (74, 74, 81 out of 100 on defense on the perimeter), the already nasty defensive team we built has just gotten that much tougher. Kadeem Allen now also gets all the backup PG minutes to himself, though we could use a third-stringer.

David Stockton is signed from the D-League to provide just that cover, making us literally $100k away from our player budget limit.

We lose to the Kings and Lakers on the road, which isn't a surprise. 1-a lot of losses on that West road trip. Homecoming is a nice celebration as we knock off the Mavericks 99-88. Cody Zeller leads the charge with 21 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, a block, and a steal. Nerlens Noel got banged up during the West journey and comes back with mission-minded - 14 points, 10 rebounds, a block off the bench. Monte Morris scored 22 himself.

Monte Morris and Mason Plumlee must have had some beef while they were in Denver, because they get into a nasty shoving match over a game of Madden. It's like uh, okay, sure guys. You do you as long as we win. Your $14 million contract is going out the door anyway this summer, Mason.

That win against the Mavs was damn costly. Kenneth Faried broke his wrist and is out over a month. ...Yeah. That's our team heart and soul - our leading scorer and rebounder who just got put on ice. In his wake, Nerlens Noel takes over at PF and Caleb Martin, who I still really like, is going to be the backup. The better of the UNR (ugh) Bros has been playing a hybrid forward role for us anyway.

As if this wasn't enough, we're hosting two genuinely good West teams on back-to-back nights - the Jazz and the Thunder. We don't even break 78 points in either loss. F.

Gary Harris and Caleb Martin both get knocked out with injuries, but we rediscover our offense in a 108-94 road win over the Pistons. Joe Harris scores 25 with 6 rebounds and a steal, Cody Zeller hangs 18 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks, Nicolas Batum returns to the lineup for 20 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds, and Monte Morris produces 18 points with 7 boards. Weird flex for a PG, but sure, I'll take it.

With Bradley Beal playing bench minutes due to an injury, it's no surprise we treat the Wizards to a good old-fashioned 111-83 beatdown. Cody Zeller scores 21 with 13 rebounds, a steal, and 2 blocks, Nerlens Noel just misses the double-double with 19 and 8, Monte Morris scores 20, and Mason Plumlee is his own DD-near miss with 9 points, 9 boards, and a block to lead our second team.

Weird 102-85 home win over the Heat. Kadeem Allen mauls Miami from the bench for 23 points, 4 assists, and a steal to win PotG honors. Caleb Martin scores 11 with 2 steals and a block to be another great reserve. Monte Morris was our high scoring starter with 19. Andrew Wiggins was everywhere with 12 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and a block.

Kings crush us, just when we were starting to get back in sniffing distance of .500. But then 20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal gets Andrew Wiggins Player of the Game nod in a tight 109-100 win over the post-AD Pelicans. Joe Harris scores 17 from the bench and Kadeem Allen is right behind him with 16 points and 5 rebounds and assists each.

I hate back-to-backs. On the front end, it's 97-76 laugher over Atlanta as Joe Harris is 7 of 8 from 3 point range for 23 points and Player of the Game. 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals on ugly shooting off the bench for Gary Harris, while Caleb Martin has the same ugly 5 for 15 for 14 points, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. Good guy bench shooting is David Stockton for 13. The back end was in Miami. Cody Zeller held out as a Coaches' DNP with injury, but Monte Morris takes over with 16 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and a steal, Andrew Wiggins our lead scorer with 17 points and a block as we escape with a thrilling, nail-destroying 97-95 win to get to .500!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our joy at equality is short-lived, because Andrew Wiggins goes down with a toe injury and the Pacers handle us neatly in Indiana. And Atlanta dumps us right back where we started the month, 88-97. Hard to win when Wiggins, Zeller, and Faried are all out at the same damn time.

On the bright side, we had a .500 month despite all the injuries, and we've a 4 game lead in the Southeast. If the playoff seeding was open (rather than #4 with HC disadvantage), we're tied for the 7th seed, literally .001 away from the 6th seed. Yeah, the bottom of the East is trash. But we're a scrappy outfit even if our total talent is far less than a lot of other teams. And as long as we get to the playoffs, Air Mike should be happy, right?

...Right? I mean, it's been 2016 since they made it!
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Old Yesterday, 05:30 PM   #6
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
It's a week before the trade deadline, and Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal are both on the block. Unfortunately, despite my throwing young assets and a 1st, neither one is willing to budge. Well, fine then. We'll just sit out and watch as other teams move. Portland can go get its weirdness washed away in the Pacific. Honestly, it would have been a supremely risky move anyway, so I'm probably glad they didn't agree to it.

I do, however, put:

Cody Zeller
Nicolas Batum
Gary Harris
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

all on the block just to see what offers we get. I'm keeping Andrew Wiggins - he just contributes in too many ways to our scheme to let him go.

19 points and a steal for PotG nod for Joe Harris in a narrow 102-97 win vs the Pacers. Gary Harris scores 16 off the bench and Mason Plumlee bangs in 11 boards, 3 steals, and a block with the second team. Impressive that we were able to pull off the win, given how shorthanded we are right now.

Back-to-back West road trip sees us get smashed in Phoenix, then the next night grind out the ugliest victory of the year - 86-82 in Denver. Not sure if NBA or college basketball. 18 points and a steal for Monte Morris - PotG. Nicolas Batum boards 11, dishes 7, and steals 2. The bench brought 12 points, 2 steals from Kadeem Allen and 11 points from Gary Harris in this ugly grindfest that had Caleb Martin starting at PF because we were that shorthanded.

The trade dam *finally* breaks on February 6th - two days before deadline. Hang on to your hats, folks.

Boston Celtics receive
Marc Gasol
Toronto Raptors 2022 2nd round pick

Toronto Raptors receive
Gordon Hayward
Tacko Fall

What this means for the Celtics
Boston is a game behind the 76ers for the Atlantic crown and Enes Kanter is out for 2 weeks. That means Gasol is a huge get for the short-term. Jaylen Brown steps in as the starter at the 2. They also get $25 million coming off the books when Gasol leaves, so the Cs will definitely have money to play with. The big question - what happens when Kanter comes back? Are they going to run both bigs in the lineup, and what will that look like?

What this means for the Raptors
Hayward's 3 point shot has fallen off this season and he's not nearly as aggressive a scorer as he once was. But he's still a topflight defender, and the disappointing 15-38 Raptors in championship hangover will now have a deadly 2-4 with Hayward, Pascal Siakam, and Serge Ibaka in order. The Taco isn't anything special, but he's a decent defender who steps in at the 5. More significantly, a 35 year old and a 2nd turned into a 29 and 23 year old. Good idea for this lost season.

Winner: Both
It's a championship or bust move for Boston that makes sense short-term and they'll be free agency players. Toronto salvages something of value out of Gasol as the post-Kawhi era has been most unkind.

Philadelphia 76ers receive
Tomas Satoransky
Chicago Bulls 2020 2nd

Chicago Bulls receive
Trey Burke
Furkan Kormaz
Raul Neto (released)
Kyle O'Quinn (released)

What this means for the 76ers
Satoransky doesn't cough up the ball and is a terrific 3 point shooter. It's hard to tell how moving to a starting role will project, given his limited minutes. And he's an absolute sieve on defense. Still, I'm guessing Philly is hoping he'll eat the gunner shots from guys who can't hit behind the arc but do it anyway (Joel Embiid, I'm looking at you.

What this means for the Bulls
So it's a bunch of spare parts - none of which will play for Da Bulls. I have no idea why they made this move.

Winners: Philadelphia
It's not as splashy or flashy as the Celtics, but the 76ers traded away useless trash for a new starter who could help. The Bulls front office got drunk and made a trade just to say they made one.

Milwaukee Bucks receive
PG DJ Augustin
Orlando Magic 2020 2nd round pick

Orlando Magic receive
Sterling Brown
Dragan Bender
Pat Connaughton (sp)

What this means for the Bucks
Brilliant pickup for Milwaukee here - a 3 point shooting god who will also let Eric Bledsoe play offball when they're on the court together. The Bucks were a force because they put a team of perimeter shooters around Giannis Antetokounmpo and they get another one here who also lets Bledsoe not have to be the man running the point for a while. Who cares about the trash defense? This is about optimizing the offense. Also, $7.25 million expiring

What this means for the Magic
Augustin was a 32 year old starter on a bad team. Now he gets to be a reserve on a title contender. As for Orlando? Connaughton is a ball-secure defensive specialist who will see time. Bender is hot young trash who is one of the biggest busts in recent move, and Brown is just a warm body. Neither of those two will see any minutes.

Winners: Milwaukee
Bucks got a piece to help their title hopes. Meanwhile the Magic... get to see Markelle Fultz as the starting point guard. Yeah, that's gonna go over so well for a kid with a fragile makeup.

Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah got traded for each other in Houston and Toronto, featuring the two really old defensive bigs who will play bench roles and honestly, that's so whatever a trade it only gets that one line.

Los Angeles Lakers receive
Jae Crowder
Memphis Grizzlies 2020 2nd

Memphis Grizzlies receive
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

What this means for the Lakers
There's a lot of injuries in the Purple and Gold's frontcourt - including a small AD injury. But they go out and get a pretty sizable perimeter defense upgrade - also a $7.2 million expiring contract.

What this means for the Grizzlies
KCP is overpaid trash. Sure he's 26 to Crowder's 29, but he's just bad.

Winner: LAL
Championship contender gets upgrade. 23-30 team shows they have no idea what they're doing.

The day before the deadline:

Boston Celtics receive
Alex Len
Atlanta Hawks 2020 2nd

Atlanta Hawks receive
Romeo Langford

What this means for the Celtics
Okay, so Langford is a guy I thought I was overrated in the draft runup. But uh, WHY ARE YOU GETTING ANOTHER BIG MAN?! Because Daniel Thies is trash and Len is an upgrade as a stopgap PF starter. Plus, $4 million expiring. Yeah, I get it. 2nd should be early, too.

What this means for the Hawks
So Langford does have some upside. And he's a decent defender. Evidently Atlanta really, really liked this class. They now have Langford, DeAndre Hunter, and Cam Reddish. Weird fetish to have, but sure, why not? It's not like they gave up anything of real value for him, so it's worth the dice roll.

Winner: Both
Makes sense as a fairly minor move for both teams, given their situations.

Los Angeles Lakers receive
Derrick Favors

New Orleans Pelicans receive
Alex Caruso
Danny Green
Troy Daniels (released)
Jared Dudley (released)

What this means for the Lakers
Remember when I said the Lakers had a lot of frontcourt injuries? Well, they just snagged Favors. Takes *way* too many 3 point shots, but dude is a straight up rebounding and defensive beast and slots right in at PF while Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and of course DeMarcus Cousins are all out with injury. What I don't like that is that they gave up Caruso, who was the perfect PG for their setup. The front office literally signed 3 point guard bodies off the street and [b]Rajon Rondo/b] is back in the lineup. Mr. No Defense, Floor General Wizard with a 3 point shot 33 year old Rondo.

What this means for the Pelicans
I love Caruso and he's the perfect understudy to Lonzo Ball. Green is a fantastic shooter still, but he goes from being a starter to no minutes land. Tough break, man.

Winner: LAL
Have to give this one to the Lakers. Green is being wasted, and as nerdy a fan as I am about Caruso, there's just no comparing the talent level of him and Favors - especially since the Purple and Gold will now have actual depth down low.

The Bucks offer me a bunch of hot trash for Cody Zeller. I decline. Portland beats us by 8 on the front end of a West back-to-back, and then a wild night happens in Utah:



Kadeem Allen carries with 20 points and 2 steals in a 110-96 home win vs the new-look Raptors. His benchmates Joe Harris (14 points) and Mason Plumlee (8 points, 10 rebounds) also did work as we GET BACK TO .500! Whoot whoot!

Kenneth Faried comes back and we lose by 6 in Orlando, because heaven forbid the Charlotte Hornets actually have a damn winning record.

All-Star Weekend
Pat Connaughton celebrates his win over us by getting a shiny Slam Dunk championship (Score 75-59 over Jake Lyman).

It's a small consolation, but Joe Harris wins the 3 point Contest!!! He tied Kyle Korver with 19 in the first round, then beat Korver and Otto Porter Jr in the Finals with a repeat 19 (18 for Korver and 17 for Porter Jr). That's a trophy for the cabinet! Well, his own personal cabinet anyway. Doesn't show up in our team trophies.

Rookies win a wild one 153-148 over the Sophs. PJ Washington gets 4 minutes of 2 points and a foul for the Rooks, and who cares?

West beats East 174-152. Who cares?

Kyrie Irving eats our shorts as we lose by 6 on the front end of a B2B and we win the back end in Washington by 10, keyed by Andrew Wiggins' 20 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and a steal, and 13 and 12 bench points from Gary Harris and Kadeem Allen.

How badly did we whip the Pistons to get back to .500? Only two of their guys broke double-digit scoring, none higher than 16 in a 97-70 squash. Andrew Wiggins starred with 19 points, 4 rebounds, a block, and 2 steals, while Nerlens Noel paced the second team with 15 points, 8 rebounds, a block, and a steal.

21 points, 5 rebounds, and a steal for 3-Point Contest Champ Joe Harris as we murder visiting Chicago 100-87. Kadeem Allen with 21 bench points, Nerlens Noel with an 11/5/2 steals/1 block line, also off the bench. WE'RE FINALLY ABOVE .500!!!!!!!!!

And of course, the very next night of the B2B, Boston bom---- HOLY CRAP!!!!



Don't look now, but we're authentically the #5 seed and closing in on Brooklyn for the #4 seed with HCA. We're 32-30, they're 34-28.

Bucks, 76ers, and Celtics are all over .600 - the only teams in the East at that. No one at .700 in our conference.

Lakers are 52-8 and just dominating everyone. They've actually lost a game since all those trades they made, but are still the class of the NBA.
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