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Why the Houston Rockets may not be a title contender next season

You may be thinking… Why can’t the Rockets contend for a championship because they just re-upped with Chris Paul.Well,its because of the loss of Trevor Ariza.

Trevor Ariza,the former star three and d player for the Houston Rockets who made the Western Conference Finals and were one win away from the NBA Finals.Now the Rockets could not retain Ariza,who signed a one-year deal worth fifteen million dollars.Ariza was a great defender for Houston.He defended the opposing teams’ best player.Whether that be LeBron,Kawhi on the Spurs,Kevin Durant on the Warriors.Ariza is also a great three point shooter who shot the three ball at thrity-seven percent.Ariza averaged almost twelve points per game, and five rebounds on the offensive side.Ariza averaged almost two steals per game,and almost a block per game.Houston will have to get a new Trevor Ariza.I’m sure that Trevor Ariza will be a great veteran leader for the Phoenix Suns.

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NBA Free Agency:Thunder’s gamble on Paul George pays off (Early day one news and late day zero news)

Late Day 0 News (June 30)

The Denver Nuggets will retain wing Will Barton a four-year $fifty-four million deal.

The deal that we have all been waiting for has happened.The Oklahoma City Thunder have retained star Small Forward Paul George on a four-year $one hundred thirty-seven million contract.

Small Forward Doug McDermott will sign with the Indiana Pacers.

The Brooklyn Nets will re-sign Shooting Guard Joe Harris to a two-year $sixteen million deal.

The Milwaukee Bucks will sign Power Forward Ersan Illyasova to a three-year $twenty-one million deal.

Early Day 1 News (July 1)
The Houston Rockets will retain their future Hall of Fame Point Guard,Chris Paul,on a four-year $one hundred sixty million deal.

Small Forward Rudy Gay will stay with the Spurs on a one-year deal worth $ten million.

The Dallas Mavericks have landed former LA Clippers star Center DeAndre Jordan to a $twenty-four million deal.

The OKC Thunder will retain reserve Small Forward Jerami Grant on a three-year $twenty-seven million deal.

The Brookly Nets have signed former Portland Trail Blazers Center Ed Davis to a one-year $four point four million deal

Former Warriors Forward Omri Casspi wil sign with the Memphis Grizzlies on a one-year deal.

Wing Marco Bellinelli will sign with the San Antonio Spurs on a two-year $twelve million deal.Marco will return to the team he won the 2014 NBA Finals with after spending 2017-18 with the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers.

Three and d star Trevor Ariza will sign a one-year deal worth $fifteen million with the Phoenix Suns.

The Houston Rockets will bring back reserve shooting guard Gerald Green on a one-year $two point four million deal.

The Boston Celtics will retain backup Center Aron Baynes on a two-year $eleven million deal.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are expected to bring back Point Guard Derrick Rose on a one-year deal worth around $one to two million.

Nik Stauskas and the Portland Trail Blazers have agreed to a one-year deal.

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Breaking News:Kevin Durant to ink one-and-one deal with Warriors

Star Small Forward Kevin Durant will remain with the Golden State Warriors.The second year is to contain a player option.The first year is worth thirty million dollas and the option year is worth thirty-one point five million.Durant returns after winning the past two NBA Finals MVPs.

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NBA Free Agency:Day 0.0 News and Updates (June 28 and 29)

NBA Free Agency has not started but we have three stars or former stars opting out of their contract.

June 28
Star wing Paul George told the OKC Thunder that he will be opting out of his contract.George will become an unrestricted free agent.

Knicks Center Enes Kanter is heavily leaning towards opting into his 18.6 million player option for 2018-19.

June 29
We’ve already talked about LeBron opting out of his contract.He is likely to sign with Boston,Philadelphia,Los Angeles (Lakers),Houston Rockets,San Antonio Spurs,or the Cleveland Cavaliers.

DeAndre Jordan,a guy I was talking about opting into the final year of his contract and try to facilitate a trade to the Mavs is opting out and is now looking to get a deal with Dallas.

Dirk Nowitzki,will opt out to be a free agent,the only reason being because they want to work out a deal with DeAndre Jordan first and then sign Nowitzki.

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Stars of the Future (Basketball) (2018) #1:R.J. Barrett (Duke Signee)

Intro:Today I’m starting a new series on the blog,”Stars of the Future (Basketball)”,in which I will be breaking down the next college basketball and even NBA stars if it comes to that.

R.J. Barrett Intro:I’ve already done a post on Barett’s story (https://carterbhuffsports.com/2018/04/19/the-one-decision-that-led-to-r-j-barrett-being-the-number-one-playerin-the-2018-class/).Make sure to check that out but Stars of the Future breaks down the skills,craft of each player and a little story at the beginning that we scout.Starting off with the number one ranked player in 2018 class,R.J. Barrett.

R.J. Barrett’s story:After reclassifying from the 2019 to ’18 class,R.J. Barrett has dominated at national powerhouse Montverde Academy in Florida.Barrett moved from his home land of Canada to get a better chance at playing college ball in the US.Barrett eventually made the decision to commit and sign with Duke University along with five other five stars.

Scouting Report:Barrett is a long six-seven or six-eight Small Forward or Shooting Guard who is a versatile scorer.He is a very athletic scorer but moves well without the ball.R.J. can is multiple position defender and is very quick with his feet on that side of the ball.Barrett is the type of player who can step in with four fellow five-stars and still make an impact.Barrett continues to work on his jump shot and it has been greatly improved since he arrived at Montverde.

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Breaking News:LeBron James to become a free agent

Just like Paul George yesterday,LeBron James has decided to not pick up his $35.6 million player option of the last year of his contract.James will headline a free agent class that includes big names such as the earlier mentioned Paul George,DeMarcus Cousins,Chris Paul,and more.James will become an unrestricted free agent.

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What a Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks trade might look like

Los Angeles Clippers Center DeAndre Jordan is likely to opt in to his twenty-four million dollar player option so he can facilitate a trade to the Dallas Mavericks.Four years ago,he had committed to sign a four-year contract with the Mavs,a home state team,but instead decided to return to the Clippers.If the Mavs can make it work this team could possibly win thrity-five or more games in the tough western conference.Maybe they could sign DeMarcus Cousins but he is a big fish and I really don’t see it happening.Here’s what a trade would look like:

Dallas Mavericks Receive
DeAndre Jordan,Center

Los Angeles Clippers Receive
Harrison Barnes,Small Forward
Salah Mejri,Center
Picks

While the trade doesn’t seem that out there,this is a fair deal for both sides.Let’s see what each team got and who won the trade.

Dallas Mavericks:The Mavs are getting the second best center if he were to go into Free Agency in DeAndre Jordan.I don’t see it happening but maybe LA could give up a few picks.Dallas has always needed a player like Jordan who averaged twelve points and fifteen rebounds in 2017-18.This is a huge get for Dallas if they can work out this trade because Dallas has always needed DeAndre Jordan to come back home.

Los Angeles Clippers:Harrison Barnes could be headed back to California where he played with the Golden State Warriors at the beginning of his career.Barnes is a guy who averaged nineteen points,six rebounds,and shot the ball at almost forty-five percent overall.Barnes could be the answer the Clippers have always needed at Small Forward.While Mejri is not a very good center,he will at least be a decent role player to replace Jordan.

Who won this trade:The Dallas Mavericks.If the Mavs only have to give up Barnes (who is a key player),but Salah Mejri will not hurt.Trading for DeAndre Jordan must be a sucess for Mark Cuban and the Mavs.

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NBA Free Agency 2018:Predicting where the top five players at each position go

Sorry for no post yesterday,there are no excuses.Today I make reasonable predictions for each of the top five players at each position go.

Point Guards
5.Fred VanVleet 2017-18 Team:Toronto Raptors New Team:New Orleans Pelicans
4.Rajon Rondo 2017-18 Team:New Orleans Pelicans New Team:New Orleans Pelicans
3.Elfrid Payton 2017-18 Team:Phoenix Suns New Team:Phoenix Suns
2.Isaiah Thomas 2017-18 Team:Cleveland Cavs/LA Lakers New Team:Orlando Magic
1.Chris Paul 2017-18 Team:Houston Rockets New Team:

Shooting Guards
5.JJ Redick 2017-18 Team:Philadelphia 76ers New Team:Boston Celtics
4.Avery Bradley 2017-18 Team:Los Angeles Clippers New Team:Memphis Grizzlies
3.Will Barton 2017-18 Team:Denver Nuggets New Team:Detroit Pistons
2.Zach Lavine 2017-18 Team:Chicago Bulls New Team:Chicago Bulls
1.Tyreke Evans 2017-18 Team:Memphis Grizzlies New Team:Boston Celtics

Small Forwards
5.Carmelo Anthony 2017-18 Team:Oklahoma City Thunder New Team:Oklahoma City Thunder (Opted In)
4.Jabari Parker 2017-18 Team:Milwaukee Bucks New Team:Sacramento Kings
3.Paul George 2017-18 Team:Oklahoma City Thunder New Team:Los Angeles Lakers
2.Kevin Durant 2017-18 Team:Golden State Warriors New Team:Golden State Warriors
1.LeBron James 2017-18 Team:Cleveland Cavaliers New Team:Boston Celtics

Power Forwards
5.Dirk Nowitzki 2017-18 Team:Dallas Mavericks New Team:Dallas Mavericks
4.Derrick Favors 2017-18 Team:Utah Jazz New Team:Utah Jazz
3.Nikola Mirotic 2017-18 Team:New Orleans Pelicans New Team:New Orleans Pelicans
2.Julius Randle 2017-18 Team:Los Angeles Lakers New Team:Los Angeles Lakers
1.Aaron Gordon 2017-18 Team:Orlando Magic New Team:Indiana Pacers

Centers
5.Jusuf Nurkic 2017-18 Team:Portland Trail Blazers New Team:Phoenix Suns
4.Enes Kanter 2017-18 Team:New York Knicks New Team:Atlanta Hawks
3.DeAndre Jordan 2017-18 Team:Los Angeles Clippers New Team:Dallas Mavericks
2.Clint Capela 2017-18 Team:Houston Rockets New Team:Houston Rockets
1.DeMarcus Cousins 2017-18 Team:New Orleans Pelicans New Team:New Orleans Pelicans

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My NBA Award Predictions

The NBA Awards are tonight at nine pm eastern on TNT.Here are my predictions.I’m not going to be doing a lot of explaining in this post,just my predictions.

MVP:James Harden,SG,Houston Rockets
Defensive Player of the Year:Anthony Davis,PF-C,New Orleans Pelicans
Rookie of the Year:Ben Simmons,PG-PF-SF,Philadelphia 76ers
Most Improved Player:Victor Oladipo
Sixth Man of the Year:Eric Gordon,SG,Houston Rockets
Coach of the Year:Brad Stephens,Head Coach,Boston Celtics

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Three former big-time recruits running out of time to live up to the hype (college football edition)

I just heard that the Spurs aren’t going to trade Kawhi to the west but make every team work for him and make an actual good deal or let him walk but I’m going to wait for NBA Free Agency to start and talk about that later.Today I’m going to talk about three former big-time college football recruits who are running out of time to live up to the hype.Also,I’m not including Blake Barnett in this because that is one of the more famous stories.

(These are in no order)

1.Byron Cowart,DE
What happened:The one player in the 2015 class signed with Auburn and saw early struggles on the field.Then he saw then-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp leave to be the head coach at South Carolina.Cowart had emergencey appendectonomoy surgery before the season which cut it short.While he did have more than ten tackles that season he transferred to a junior college in Seffner,Florida near his hometown.

The opportunity:After his time in junior college he is now waiting to play this season with Maryland.He is highly praised by Maryland Head Coach D.J. Durkin.He now has two more years of eligibility left and is not in the shadow of his number one ranking anymore.

2.Keisean Lucier,LB,DE
What happened:Coming out of high school,Lucier was a long and athletic defensive end or linebacker in 2015.He signed with UCLA over schools like Michigan.Fans were very excited about his arrival.Lucier did not play his first season but then played all twelve games in 2016 on special teams.The next season he made eight starts.He was switched from defensive end to linebaacker during that 2017 season in which had fifty-three tackles.

The Opportunity:Lucier now has a new coaching staff and a reset at UCLA and maybe he could suceed.He would be playing defensive end or hybrid linebacker and hoping to have success.

3.Malik Henry,QB
What happened:Henry was an outstanding dual-threat quarterback in the 2016 class.Malik eventually committed to Florida State,and enrolled early as a California native.He transferred after the season after he had been suspended for violating team rules but was reinstated eventually.

The Opportunity:Henry departed after one season so he still has most of his eligibilty left.He went to Indepence (Kansas) Community College and passed for 1,383 yards on thrity-two completions and ten touchdowns with eight interceptions in 2017.The window is closing for Henry but if he wants to play for an FBS team I think he can make it happen.

Thanks for reading this and I hope to make a part two to this.

Source:http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/23804638/byron-cowart-daylon-mack-10-players-not-living-their-recruiting-hype

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Four teams Kawhi Leonard could be traded to… (This is why the Warriors should be scared)

Sorry guys… I’ve been at camp but I’m back hoping to bring you a post a day over here and I’ve got a good one.Here are four teams Kawhi Leonard could be traded to…

This list is least likley to most likely to

After Kawhi Leonard demanded a trade from the San Antonio Spurs there are four contenders for his sweepstakes.

4.Philadelphia 76ers
I really don’t see this happening because Ben Simmons has to be in this package to make it work.They could use a package with Dario Saric and Markelle Fultz but Fultz was hurt so he’s not as good of an asset as he once was.If Philadelphia were to trade Simmons they would be called not loyal and plus Simmons is only twenty-two years old and most likely a rookie of the year.

3.Los Angeles Clippers
This could be interesting but all the Clippers really have is Tobias Harris and if the Spurs actually accept this deal it’s going to mean the two teams in front of them put worse offers.This is not likely to happen so I’m not expecting Kawhi Leonard to be on the Clippers.

2.Los Angeles Lakers
If Kawhi does get traded here for let’s say Julius Randle and Kyle Kuzma he would most likely bring in LeBron James and Paul George as free agents but I don’t think they beat the one team on this list because they can’t bring back free agents such as Brook Lopez.The rest of their roster would include Lonzo Ball and hope that a bunch of veterans would fill out the roster.Plus LA has the endorsements that Kawhi Leonard has always wanted.The final problem is it’s going to be hard for LA to get the deal done due to the amount of assets and picks that the top team has.

1.Boston Celtics
The amount of picks and assets Danny Ainge has brought in for his team are amazing.It is not that often you can trade for a legit superstar in their prime.They would give up Jaylen Brown,Terry Rozier,and Aron Baynes and a few picks for a top-five NBA player in Kawhi.There starting lineup would be Kyrie,Jayson Tatum,Kawhi Leonard,Gordon Hayward,and Al Horford.Everybody in that lineup except for Kyrie can switch on defense to any position on the floor.The NBA Finals may actually be between two teams who can beat each other.

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NBA Playoff Update:Warriors-Cavs #4 Prediction (NBA Finals Prediction)

I’m making this prediction right after game seven of the Western Conference Finals so let’s get into it.

2.Golden State Warriors 4
4.Cleveland Cavaliers 2

Golden State will use their offense to win the series but first they will have to use their killer defnse to defend the new Cavs that they will be playing.Kevin Durant has to be consistent and if he is every game, this series will be a sweep.If the Warriors get a couple of eight to ten three point games from Klay Thompson that will help improve their chances.If Steph Curry is on,the whole team is on and if they get Andre Iguodala back from injury as a strong threat the series will not be long.Now where do the Cavs have the advantage?LeBron James will be on and we know that but will guys like Jeff Green,George Hill,Tristan Thompson and bench players like Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. play well.While the Cavaliers definitely have a chance I do not see the Warriors have any trouble the fourth time through with the Cavs.

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LeBron is unanimously selected for his record setting twelve All-NBA first team (NBA Awards given out so far)

So-this is the start of my Summer grind.Let’s get it.

LeBron James getting his twelfth All-NBA first team honors and Klay Thompon getting snubbed of any All-NBA team is just one set of drama with the NBA awards so far.Let’s get into them-

2018 All-NBA Teams

1st Team
G:Damian Lillard,PG,Portland Trail Blazers
G:James Harden,SG/PG,Houston Rockets
F:Kevin Durant,SF,Golden State Warriors
F:LeBron James,SF/PF,Cleveland Cavaliers
C:Anthony Davis,C/PF,New Orleans Pelicans

Commentary:The three MVP candidates (Davis,Harden,James) are great picks.Damian Lillard has had his best season in his career averaing twenty-six points per game.Kevin Durant is a no brainer do to his seven foot height at the small forward (or shooting guard) position.All of these guys are very deserving and I don’t think any of these guys deserve andy lower.

2nd Team
G:Russell Westbrook,PG,Oklahoma City Thunder
G:DeMar DeRozan,SG,Toronto Raptors
F:Giannis Anteokoumpo,SF,Milwaukee Bucks
F:LaMarcus Aldridge,PF,San Antonio Spurs
C:Joel Embiid,C,Philadelphia 76ers

Commentary:Russell Westbrook might’ve averaged another triple double all season but last season was more special due to LeBron James’ amazing fifteenth season,James Harden and the Rockets best record in the NBA,and Anthony Davis’ dominance.Russell is very deserving,though.DeMar DeRozan’s jump shot was finally existent as he lead Toronto to the first seed in the eastern conference.Giannis is a freak of nature who has a great future in this league.While some people think LaMarcus Aldridge is not deserving for this award,he has been very consistent for a very inconsistent Spurs team.Joel Embiid has played more games than any other season of his career and has been a defensive monster.

3rd Team
G:Stephen Curry,PG,Golden State Warriors
G:Victor Oladipo,PG,Indiana Pacers
F:Jimmy Butler,SF/SG,Minnesota Timberwolves
F:Paul George,SF/SG,Oklahoma City Thunder
C:Karl Anthony Towns,C,Minnesota Timberwolves

Commentary:The only reason I think Steph Curry is not on the first or second team is due to his injury and Victor Oladipo has had the best season of his career.Jimmy Butler despite being injured is deserving.While Paul George has only averaged twenty-one points per game this season he has still played very well for the Thunder.Karl-Anthony Towns is very deserving as well.

2018 All-NBA Defensive Teams

1st Team
G:Jrue Holiday,PG,New Orleans Pelicans
G:Victor Oladipo,PG,Indiana Pacers
F:Robert Covington,SF/PF,Philadelphia 76ers
F:Anthony Davis,PF/C,New Orleans Pelicans
C:Rudy Gobert,C,Utah Jazz

Commentary:Wile all of these players are deserving I don’t see how Joel Embiid is not on the team.Holiday,Oladipo,Davis,and Gobert are all deserving but I feel like Embiid whould switch out with 76ers teammate Robert Covington.

2nd Team
G:Dejounte Murray,PG,San Antonio Spurs
G:Jimmy Butler,SG/SF,Minnesota Timberwolves
F:Draymond Green,PF/SF,Golden State Warriors
C:Al Horford,C/PF,Boston Celtics
C:Joel Embiid,C,Philadelphia 76ers

Commentary:Murray,Butler,Green,and Horford have all earned this honor consistently.Joel Embiid deserves defensive first team though.

2018 All-Rookie Teams

1st Team
G:Ben Simmons,PG/PF/SF,Philadelphia 76ers
G:Donavan Mitchell,SG/PG,Utah Jazz
G:Jayson Tatum,SG/SF,Boston Celtics
F:Kyle Kuzma,PF,LA Lakers
F:Lauri Markkanen,PF,Chicago Bulls

Commentary:Guards Ben Simmons and Donavan Mitchell are likely to be co-rookies of the year but other Rookie of the Year finalist Jayson Tatum is very deserving as well.Kuzma and Markkanen have both been great big men who can stretch the floor for the Lakers and Bulls respectively.

2nd Team
G:Lonzo Ball,PG,LA Lakers
G:Dennis Smith Jr.,PG,Dallas Mavericks
G:Bojan Bogdanovic,SG,Sacramento Kings
F:Josh Jackson,SF,Phoenix Suns
F:John Collins,PF,Atlanta Hawks

Lonzo Ball played well in his first season but has little areas i his game to clean up.Dennis Smith Jr. and his athleticism have gotten him these honors and Bojan Bogdanovic has a great future as a Kings guard.Josh Jackson and John COllins are forwards who have improved not so great teams this season (Suns and Hawks).

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NBA Playoff Update:Conference Finals Predictions

Eastern Conference
2.Boston Celtics 2
4.Cleveland Cavaliers 4

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers may be too hot right now to lose to the Boston Celtics.The Celtics and the Cavaliers will meet for the second straight time in the Eastern Conference Finals.LeBron James will be too,good.I have the Cavs winning in six.

Western Conference
1.Houston Rockets 4
2.Golden State Warriors 3

This may be the most even Western Conference Finals during the Warriors’ four year run in them against the Rockets.Will they make there fourth straight NBA Finals?I predict not.I have James Harden,Chris Paul, Clint Capela, and the Rockets spacing leading them to a seven game series win over the Golden State Warriors.

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NBA Playoff Update:Sorry it’s a little late (Conference Semifinal Predictions)

Sorry guys,I’m coming out with my conference semifinal picks now,as it is a little late but let’s get into it.

Eastern Conference
1.Toronto Raptors
4.Cleveland Cavaliers 1
The Cavs took game one in overtime after the Raptors led by more than ten.LeBron James put up a triple double and is still doing it during his fiteenth season in the NBA.I like the Raptors to win the next couple of games but LeBron and the Cavs are on fire,so I will the give the series to them in seven games.
Predicted Series Score:4-3

2.Boston Celtics 1
3.Philadelphia 76ers
There’s been no excuse for the injury-riddle Celtics to even be in this series.The Bucks choked it away against Boston,and now the Celtics are up a game against Philadelphia.Even if Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid and the 76ers’ shooters play well through this series,I don’t see the Celtics losing this series.Predicted Series Score:4-3

Western Conference
1.Houston Rockets 1
5.Utah Jazz
While Rookie of the Year candidate and Jazz Guard Donavan Mitchell led the Jazz past the Thunder in round one,MVP lead candidate and Rockets Guard James Harden scored forty-one points in the Rockets’ game one victory over the Jazz.Expect the Jazz to come out better in game two,but with playmaking Guard Ricky Rubio out of the lineup,I think this is a five game series.Predicted Series Score:4-1

2.Golden State Warriors 2
6.New Orleans Pelicans
Golden State blew New Orleans out in game one,and when Steph Curry came back from injury in game two,even when the Pelicans came to play,he scored twenty-eight points off the bench to lead them to a five point win in game two.The way this series is looking,the Warriors look unbeatable but I will give the Pelicans one game in this series.Predicted Series Score: