There is still some time before the NBA trade deadline which is February 23rd at 3pm, but I doubt we will be scratching our heads more than we have this past weekend. There is still potential for some significant moves, but a roller coaster this past weekend turned out to be. From Friday straight through to late night Sunday we went from good times to bad times to a record breaking performance to a trade that literally stunned the NBA world.
It started on a high note Friday evening when Canadian Jamaal Murray won the MVP award in the Rising Stars Challenge as Team World beat Team USA 150-141. It is the second time in three years (since the World vs US format began) that a Canadian has won the MVP with Andrew Wiggins winning it back in 2015. Murray scored 36 points, most of which came down the stretch as his teammates just kept giving him the ball and telling him to shoot.
Saturday is usually the night we anticipate most during All-Star week. The Slam Dunk contest is the crown jewel and provides us fans with the opportunity to marvel at the athleticism and creativity with which these athletes can perform. Weeeeeeell, maybe not so much this year. Unfortunately, the appropriate word to describe the entire night would be… forgettable. I can’t actually recall who won the Dunk Contest (it was Glenn Robinson III, I had to look it up) as all of the participants just didn’t seem to bring the “wow” factor. It would be unfair to expect an event as grand as last year’s, for that only happens on rare occasions, but I didn’t expect it to be one of the worst of all time either.
The 3-point shooting contest was also a disappointment as the absolute favourite, Klay Thompson, couldn’t even get out of the first round and local here Kyle Lowry finished last. The only highlight for me throughout all of Saturday was that New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis won the Skills Challenge competition. Coincidentally, that’s also been the only bright spot for the Knicks organization this entire year.
Moving on to Sunday night and what we thought at the time was the biggest story in New Orleans and in the NBA as a whole, was the record breaking performance of Anthony Davis. Ba da ba ba ba…. I’m loving it! For those that don’t get the McDonald’s reference, you can take a look back at Fringe Friday – ReBrow. Davis scored 52 points in the All-Star Game in front of his hometown fans. Wilt Chamberlain held the record of 42 points which stood for 55 years before the Unibrow broke it. Not sure what was more incredible however, Davis’ record breaking feat or the fact that Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant actually passed to each other. You decide.
As entertaining as that All-Star game was however, it became completely overshadowed later on that night when word broke out that the Sacramento Kings traded DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans for… close to nothing. That’s obviously not accurate, what they did get was the 6th overall pick Buddy Hield (who has the potential of being a very good player) and a first and second round pick as well as the expiring contract of Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway. It may not be professional to poke fun at an organization as dysfunctional as the Sacramento Kings are, but when your GM (hello Vlade Divac) admits he had a better trade offer two days earlier and didn’t take it, well… how can you not? The Kings, Lakers, Bulls seem to all be fighting hard for the Crown of Dysfunctionality but even all those teams have a ways to go to reach the Knicks.
If you are a Raptors fan and you are upset at Masai for getting Serge Ibaka instead of Cousins, don’t be. As good as a player as Boogie is, he has a considerable amount of issues. Let’s remember that not once has his team made the playoffs. That may not fall squarely on his shoulders, but that does mean he has no playoff experience while Ibaka has played, and played well, in an NBA Championship already. Finally, both DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry spent this summer with Cousins on the US Olympic team. If Masai Ujiri was interested in Cousins, he would have done his due diligence and would have discussed it with them. All in all the Raptors got the best man they could and quite possibly, aren’t done yet.
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