By Hayden Hooper on ©June 16th, 2019 @ 5:00pm
Although they were bounced by the Golden State Warriors in the first round, the Los Angeles Clippers are looking brighter than ever at something special.
Former Kentucky point guard and soon-to-be second-year player for the Clippers, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander showed out when it mattered.
Here are some highlights from his stellar performance in the postseason with the Clippers.
Not only did Gilgeous-Alexander, do it on the best team in the West last season, he was making moves on the two-time NBA MVP, Stephen Curry.
For most people this was a shock for this team to make the playoffs. At the trade deadline, the franchise dealt its leading scorer in Tobias Harris to the Sixers. No one saw this coming after the trade.
Gilgeous-Alexander played a major role in their run to the postseason, something that should not be overlooked.
In his rookie year, SGA averaged 10.8 PPG 3.3 APG and 2.8 RPG which was bumped in the playoffs up to 13.7 PPG.
With his performance, many think he is untouchable this summer and will be a part of their team moving forward.
This past year, the Clippers beat you not only through their starters, but their bench played stellar, as well. As Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell came off the bench and were awarded with Sixth Man of the Year nominee honors. This mix together for the Clippers can make them one superstar away from from doing something in the West.
Could Kawhi Leonard be the answer?
Before the Kevin Durant injury, many thought they would get a meeting but now, it seems like it would not fit what they are trying to accomplish. To win now, one name comes to mind that would fit great. Kawhi Leonard.
Coming off an NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors. Leonard to the Clippers would make sense. Actually this team can be seen as a younger Raptors team. The Clippers have excellent defenders and multiple players that can create shots.
Kawhi Leonard always wanted to be in L.A. As the Lakers snatched up Anthony Davis, SGA and Leonard seem like a wise fit for the Clippers that would put them up there for title contenders next season.
Here's Woj on Sportscenter a day after the Raptors won the title, saying Kawhi Leonard will decline his team option and saying the Raptors have been in an uphill battle with Kawhi all year long and still have a alot of work to do in keeping Kawhi away from the LA Clippers. pic.twitter.com/4yyA8BGyHK
— In The Know (@In_the_know__) June 14, 2019
In the video, ESPN’s own Adrian Wojnarowski had this to say about the possible move to LA for Kawhi, his home town:
”The Clippers are in a good position to lure Kawhi Leonard away.”
Other ESPN analysts such as Max Kellerman believe this can lead to a title for the Clippers.
"If Kawhi Leonard goes to the Clippers … the Clippers are winning the NBA title next season."
— First Take (@FirstTake) June 14, 2019
Even though Kellerman has a history of some not so great takes, this is not one of them.
Bring Kawhi to L.A.
By Hayden Hooper on ©June 16th, 2019 @ 4:00pm
As the season is now over, the one year with the Golden State Warriors is up for DeMarcus Cousins. So, what is next for this former Kentucky big?
Now, coming off of not one but two injuries has made the road much worse for DeMarcus.
Staying with the Warriors
One thing is for certain, and that is the Warriors are not going to be the team we have seen the past five years. After major injuries to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, it is rehab time in the Bay.
Maybe signing an extension with Golden State might not be the worst thing to happen for Boogie. More time for rest in a less stressed environment than to come back early and mess it all up. After everything that has happened, the one thing I see the staff at the Warriors doing is not hurrying a player back on the court.
At the first press availability after the NBA Finals, Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr had this to say about his speculation on Cousins’ decision to possibly coming back another year:
“I can absolutely foresee a place for DeMarcus here if he wanted to come back. It’s just a question of what are his goals for him.”
Even with hope, Kerr obviously pointed out that Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are the team’s focus of the summer.
With the Warriors, DeMarcus played 30 games and averaged: 16.3 PPG 8.2 RPG and 3.6 APG
Compared to his career numbers, both points and numbers were down, however, his assists numbers stayed the same.
Signing into Free Agency
We are almost one year out Cousins signed with the Warriors. When he signed that minimum contract, everyone including myself thought he would be gone after one season. I still believe that.
Although he tore his quad, I think the recovery and the work he put in this year shows what type of player he really is. When this process is done, the double-double guy will be back in full force. What you saw in the playoffs is not the Boogie people remember.
Since entering the league, @AntDavis23 is one of only 3 players to average 20 PPG & 10 RPG.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 16, 2019
This is the guy we remember. Grabbing a lot of rebounds and putting up points for his team.
There are also a lot of more teams with more cap than there were last year.
Someone who can wait for the injury are the teams that might be getting an interview with Boogie.
One thing recently that shines light in his decision during the summer might be some foreshadowing in his recent Twitter activity. The last sentence to be exact.
“Look forward to getting 100% healthy this summer. I’m at ya necks next season!”
. @KDTrey5 and @KlayThompson get healthy killas true definition of warriors! #dubnation thank you for all the support this season. You guys are amazing fans. Look forward to getting 100% healthy this summer. I’m at ya necks next season! ? ?
— DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) June 15, 2019
As free agency starts here in a few weeks, stay with KSR for more updates on DeMarcus’ decision in the coming months.
By Hayden Hooper on ©June 16th, 2019 @ 3:00pm
As we all celebrate this special day with our Fathers, it takes me back to moments with my Grandfather and Dad and how I got mixed with Kentucky athletics.
First to my Grandfather, without him there is no way I would be doing what I am doing now. He started the obsession. I remember the time looking at a picture of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe in their uniform. He told me, they will be good. I asked him why and he said because of their wingspan, that is how you get rebounds and dominate the opponent. I say he was right.
Or the multiple calls I have with him in between games. He is and will always be the first person I call after the big games. Screaming over a dumb play, or a missed call. If I was not with him physically, we always share the blue and white together.
When growing up in Louisville, I knew where I was going to school. It was no difficult decision. I didn’t even need a campus tour. One way this happened was how my dad would take me every Father’s Day weekend to the Father-Son camp with Coach Cal.
I still remember my first. It was the year before the 2011-12 National Championship. Seeing Anthony Davis coming down the floor and stuffing the rim on Darius Miller during a scrimmage. The time he and I went through a shooting drill and getting to talk with Coach Orlando Antigua. This would not happen without my Dad.
Without them, I do not know what I would be doing, without them I know I would not be me.
So to all the Father’s out there, happy Father’s Day. To mine, I love you both.
That’s what makes today special, I know I would not be half the man I am today without my Dad and my Grandaddy around me.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©June 16th, 2019 @ 2:30pm
NBA free agency begins on June 30th at 6:00 p.m. EST, several hours earlier than the previous start time in past years. That leaves us fewer than two weeks before the summer spending frenzy officially kicks off and all hell can finally break loose. With a plethora of top free agents available, ranging from Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to Khris Middleton and D’Angelo Russell, teams are going to shell out tens of millions of dollars this offseason.
Now that it appears the Golden State Warriors might have a down year ahead of them (injuries to Durant and Klay Thompson), the organizations sitting near the top of the standings all have a shot at the title. The 2019-20 season could be the most wide-open the league has been in over 10 years. But it’s not just the top free agents that will attract attention once the calendar slides in July. Teams will be trying to improve from top-to-bottom and the talent pool will dry up quick. Among those players will be some familiar names. Let’s take a look at the list of former Kentucky players who are set to be free agents this summer.
Spoiler, there are 12 BBNBA players that finished the 2018-19 season on an NBA team featured in this series. But for Part 1, we’re going to cover just the first six.
Isaac Humphries and Alex Poythress (Atlanta Hawks) – 21 and 25 years old
- Isaac Humphries joined the Hawks in April and played only five games with the team as he shuffled between the G League and NBA. He was named the NBL (National Basketball League in Australia) at the end of the 2018 season and found some success with the Erie BayHawks last year. The Hawks signed him for the remainder of the season on April 1st, but it’s hard to say if the Hawks will bring him back or if he’ll even find another NBA roster by the start of the season. He could be looking at another year working his way through the G League.
- As for Alex Poythress, he’ll be a more sought after player. Along with Humphries, both players are restricted free agents but do not have Bird Rights with the Hawks. Meaning, Atlanta has priority to sign them first, but it will count against the team salary cap. Poythress averaged 5.1 points and 3.6 rebounds in 21 games for Atlanta last season, but the Hawks are in hardcore rebuild mode. They are constantly bringing in new pieces that they believe can be incorporated into the future. Atlanta would be the most familiar situation for Poythress and they could sign him for cheap, but his market value won’t be anything too significant elsewhere.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte Hornets) – 26 years old
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist currently holds a $13 million player option for the upcoming season. If he declines it, he sets himself up to become an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any team. The value on MKG – a non-shooting wing player with slightly above average defensive capabilities – isn’t going to be astronomical. Honestly, $13 million is probably right around what he’d garner on the open market, if not a bit less than that per year. He’ll be entering his eighth NBA season next year at only 26, but hasn’t shown much improvement in that time. The odds of him developing a jumper at this stage are waning and his minutes began to nosedive halfway through this past season. Averaging under seven points in under 19 minutes per game while having your starting job stripped away is not how you want to enter free agency. His best option might be to take the player option from Charlotte and try to improve his stock for next summer. But then again, if Kemba Walker dips out for a city such as New York or Los Angeles, the Hornets will enter disaster mode. Would MKG be willing to suffer on a team destined for the lottery knowing the best player openly left the only team he’s ever known? Or would he be more willing to test the waters, take a smaller amount of money, and go somewhere where he can specialize on defense/hustle for fewer minutes and more wins?
Teams to watch for: Hornets, Warriors, Rockets, Mavericks
Trey Lyles (Denver Nuggets) – 23 years old
- Trey Lyles could never find his shooting stroke this past season. After shooting over 49 percent from the floor and over 38 percent from deep in his third NBA season and first with the Nuggets, Lyles regressed in year four. His shooting numbers dipped to 41.8 percent from the field and 25.5 percent from deep. It wasn’t due to poor shot selection, either. Lyles just could never get into a rhythm. According to NBA.com, 26 percent of all of Lyles’ shot attempts last season were considered “wide-open”, or at least six feet from the closest defender. He converted on only 33.1 percent of those chances.
- Lyles will be a restricted free agent and the Nuggets hold his Bird Rights, so they can offer him the best deal and have the best chance of keeping him on board. The question is going to be whether they want to. Micahel Porter Jr. – the 14th overall pick from 2018 – is expected to be healthy. Torrey Craig, Malik Beasley, and Monte Morris all had big seasons. The Nuggets would ideally like to give Jarred Vanderbilt more opportunities next season at full strength. This is going to be a deep team with not many minutes to spread evenly. Not to mention they have to think about paying Jamal Murray in a year, too. If the Nuggets decide to take the $30 million team option on Paul Millsap – or work with him for a new, long-term deal – the need for Lyles diminishes even more. What Lyles has going for him is his youth and ability to space the floor. He’ll earn some attention from several teams based off that alone, but likely not in the form of a big payday or even a long term deal.
- A team in rebuild mode might be more willing to take him on for a small amount of money and give him ample minutes as opposed to Denver stretching themselves too thin just for a guy to ride the bench.
Team to watch for: Nuggets, Hawks, Bulls, Kings
DeMarcus Cousins (Golden State Warriors) – 29 years old
- DeMarcus Cousins is the unknown in this group. He could very well find a way to resign with the Warriors (although unlikely) or secure a long-term contract with a team looking to contend. Hell, he might even opt for another one-year deal on another title contender. The thing with Cousins is we don’t know exactly the type of player he’s going to be next season.
- Coming off the Achilles injury, Cousins had some struggles fitting in with the star-studded Warriors lineup but showed signs that he could return to the player he once was. Even after suffering a torn quad in the playoffs, another setback, he came back in the NBA Finals under more extreme circumstances and provided his team with a lift at multiple times. He definitely needs a full offseason and regular season to get back into game shape, but from watching him in the playoffs, it’s obvious he still contains an instinctual touch around the basket. But can he get back into All-Star form? That is the question that will potentially cost him millions of dollars. It only takes one team to believe in him, though. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent. It’s open season for whichever team wants to take the chance on him.
Teams to watch for: Lakers, Warriors, Knicks
Rajon Rondo (Los Angeles Lakers) – 33 years old
- I’ve already made the case for the Lakers to bring back Rajon Rondo on a small deal. He’s one of the few characters in that locker room who understands the dynamics of working with LeBron James – and now Anthony Davis – that could aide in building team chemistry. Rondo is a born leader. Even though his shooting hinders his on-court ability, his intellect and court awareness can usually mask that. His age is beginning to creep up on him, but he’ll find a team sometime this summer for somewhere close to $8 million (rough estimate).
- But even if the Lakers don’t bring him back, there will be several teams looking to add a veteran presence in the backcourt, even it means having him come off the bench full-time.
Teams to watch for: Lakers, Pacers, Knicks, Jazz, Magic
Stay tuned for Part 2 coming later in the day.
By Sam Gormley on ©June 16th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
Just under one month ago, offensive guard Justin Rogers announced his commitment to Kentucky. The Michigan native became one of the highest ranked recruits in the history of the Kentucky Football program.
At the time, Rogers said that his recruitment was shut down, but later announced that he would take one more official visit.
I have decided to take another official visit??
— Justin Rogers (@AllAmerican52JR) June 1, 2019
It was no secret that this visit would be to Alabama. This weekend, that visit came to fruition as the top commit in the class of 2020 made the visit to the Tide.
My dog ??? pic.twitter.com/qgjkSo2EOU
— Justin Rogers (@AllAmerican52JR) June 16, 2019
— Justin Rogers (@AllAmerican52JR) June 16, 2019
Like Jared Lorenzen said on KSR this past week, you cannot blame him for taking a visit to Alabama. The former UK quarterback added that facility wise, there is not a big difference between the two schools, but it is no secret what the Tide have that the Cats don’t; championships.
Rogers making this visit really could mean nothing at all. It is very possible that he comes out this week and doubles down on Kentucky.
If Rogers does decide to come to Lexington, it is no secret what he could bring to Stoops and company. For each prospect that 24/7 Sports rates, they give a specific rating/prediction on what their career will turn out to be. For example, they call recent Kentucky commit John Young a “Power Five Starter.” Rogers’ prediction is even better. The site says he is already a projected second round NFL pick. That fact alone should excite Kentucky fans.
We will hopefully know more about his visit and what is next for Kentucky in his recruitment soon, but I think it is safe to say that no news would be good news.
By Sam Gormley on ©June 16th, 2019 @ 1:00pm
I love Minor League Baseball. Whether it be watching guys attempt to live out their dreams, cheap tickets, or smaller atmospheres; there is a lot to love about it. The best part though? Minor league promotions.
The Frontier League’s Florence Freedom have continued to pave the way in this category. You may remember a few years back, they had “Manti Teo’s Girlfriend Bobblehead Night” which turned out to be an empty box.
Situated off the Florence exit, about 20 minutes before Cincinnati, the Freedom are once again putting their creativity to work for a promotion for tonight’s game.
When the team takes the field, they will be wearing “Dad Bod Jerseys.” You really have to see it to believe it.
For it being Father’s Day, I think this is a great way to celebrate. The best part about it is the Freedom are allowing fans to bid on the jerseys to presumably donate the money to charity.
So I now ask you, what are your thoughts on “Dad Bod Jersey Night?” Fantastic or not?
By Zack Geoghegan on ©June 16th, 2019 @ 12:30pm
The inevitable finally happened. Anthony Davis has been traded to the only team he ever truly wanted to play for; the Los Angeles Lakers. And the price for one of the most valuable players in the sport was something that has never been seen before.
When I say that the New Orleans Pelicans received a haul from the Lakers in order to obtain Davis, I really mean that they fleeced them. Bamboozled them. Robbed them. Any other over-the-top adjective you can think of. The Lakers were backed into a position where they had to go all in on Davis and they bet the next five years of the franchise’s future in the process.
The final results of the trade are as follows:
New Orleans receives Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the No. 4 pick in the 2019 Draft, and two other future first round picks. The Lakers get Davis. The real power move executed by David Griffin and the Pelicans front office was the ability to swap those future first-round Laker picks.
The Pelicans will get the following picks from the Lakers, league sources tell ESPN:
No. 4 pick in 2019
Top-8 protected in 2021, becomes unprotected in ‘22
Unprotected swap in ‘23
Unprotected first in ‘24
Unprotected swap in ‘25
Tremendous haul for David Griffin & the Pelicans.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) June 16, 2019
Now, if the Lakers are consistently at the top of the standings for the next several seasons, these picks will be somewhere in the 20-30 range – or late first round – but allowing the opportunity to swap those picks allows the Pelicans to pick and choose which draft and which prospects will suit them best. It also makes them incredibly valuable trade assets in the future. There’s already been talk that Griffin was shopping the Lakers No. 4 pick before the trade was even executed. You can guarantee he won’t stop doing so. We still have five days before the NBA Draft.
But before we dive into how this trade affects the Pelicans, let’s focus on the Lakers first.
What the trade means for the Lakers
Los Angeles has put all its basketballs into one basket with this trade. They ostracized the young core last season and then shipped out 3/4 of them, leaving only Kyle Kuzma behind. Ideally, losing all those picks won’t be too big of a deal if the team is winning 50-55 games per season, but they have severely handicapped themselves if things turn sour quick. LeBron James will be 35 this December. No matter how adamant Davis has been about staying in Los Angeles, he’s still a free agent next summer and there are a million different scenarios that the upcoming season can and will produce.
At this very moment, the Lakers only control five players under contract for next year; James, Davis, Kuzma, Moe Wagner, and Isaac Bonga.
So, the Lakers have five players under contract and only three are legitimate NBA players. They have enough cap space to theoretically go after another free agent seeking a max contract – although they’ll come up just short of the required money with both James and Davis under contract. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on SportsCenter Sunday morning that since the deal won’t go through until July 6th (instead of June 30th), the Lakers will have slightly under $24 million in cap space to spend. Players such as Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving have already had their names pop up in connection with the Lakers. If L.A. secured one of those bigger names, they would then do what they did last summer, which is to surround the core with veterans on minimum salaries who are willing to chase a ring. Now, if they can properly do that this year instead of signing ‘Shaqtin’ a fool’ superstars Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson, they could be a serious title threat.
However, I think a duo of Davis and James is more than enough on its own to reach a Western Conference Finals, especially given the potential down year for the Golden State Warriors. In my opinion, adding two players on smaller contracts that will complement Davis and James would be a more optimal route to get the most out of two superstars. The free agent crop this summer is going to be ripe with playmakers, shooters, and stretch-big men. Could they snag someone such as J.J. Redick or Danny Green on semi-long term deals for somewhere in the $15 million range? Versatile big men such as Marcus Morris and Thaddeus Young would thrive in a LeBron James system and would come at a much cheaper price tag than say a Butler or Kevin Durant.
The Lakers have the entirety of last season to look at in terms of things they shouldn’t repeat. They won’t go after non-shooters again (or they shouldn’t). I think trying to bring back Rajon Rondo – who is a free agent this summer – on a cheap, one-year deal would be smart, too. He was one of the few components to the team last year that actually understood the drama and how to cope with it. Plus, he’s played successfully alongside Davis before. But first and foremost, the Lakers need to add shooting. Keeping Kuzma out of the deal was huge (although I would have preferred they keep Ingram) and allows at least a little bit of continuity between him and James.
What the trade means for the Pelicans
As for the Pelicans, they pulled off the biggest trade heist since the Brooklyn Nets were swindled out of every possible draft pick for the decaying bodies of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce by the Boston Celtics. Obviously, this trade is in its earliest stages, but we can confidently state that there hasn’t been a more loaded deal in recent history that only yielded one player in return. Yes, the player was Anthony Davis. But the risk is still outstanding. How the rest of it pans out – future draft picks, current prospects, etc. – will determine the success of this trade, but that’s years away.
Now let’s take a peek at the Pelicans roster for the 2019-20 season.
Under contract for next season, the Pelicans have Jrue Holiday, Solomon Hill, and E’Twaun Moore plus the new crop of Ball, Ingram, and Hart. Add in the No. 1 pick, which will be Zion Williamson, plus whatever they do with the No. 4 pick (trade it, use it, etc.), and that’s a solid, exciting foundation.
Julius Randle has a player-option for just under $9 million this summer that I would expect him to decline (he can easily garner a long term deal worth somewhere in the mid-teens) and New Orleans has a team option on Jahlil Okafor’s minimum salary, which I wouldn’t be shocked to see them entertain.
Drafting Williamson and bringing back Randle seems a bit redundant, and Bobby Marks states the Pelicans have roughly $18.8 million in cap space this summer. A starting lineup of Ball, Holiday, Ingram, Williamson, *fill in the blank* isn’t a bad way to begin a rebuild. The Pelicans traded away the best player in its franchise history and came away in a far better situation. They have several young prospects, a bevy of draft picks, in addition to an All-Star caliber guard with Holiday, plus cap space.
The Pelicans could potentially bring back Darius Miller on a cheap contract, too. New Orleans controls his Early Bird Rights, meaning they can sign him for a short deal and have it not count against the salary cap.
The Anthony Davis trade immediately shifted the entire landscape of the NBA. The Lakers are frontrunners once again. The best young player not in the NBA (Williamson) will begin his career on a team that actually has the means to properly execute a rebuild. Davis and James is a talent – and personality – pairing unknown to the NBA world. This is different than Durant teaming up with Steph Curry. The risks are more calculable.
The NBA Finals feels like it finished weeks ago. Free agency is two weeks away still. Buckle up.
By Sam Gormley on ©June 16th, 2019 @ 12:00pm
Kentucky head coach John Calipari doesn’t need many more “bullets in his recruiting gun.” We could sit here and list everything that he has to offer players who are considering coming to Lexington. Cough cough… Kerry Blackshear… cough cough
What he is still trying to figure out is how to surpass Duke when they go head to head. Well, if he is recruiting a big man, ESPN has helped him out with a stat that no one can argue.
Since entering the league, @AntDavis23 is one of only 3 players to average 20 PPG & 10 RPG.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 16, 2019
Only three active players have averaged at least 20 points and at least 10 rebounds since they entered the league, all three played basketball at Kentucky.
I doubt Calipari has to sit and show recruits about what these guys are doing, but this is definitely a stat to keep in the back of his mind to throw out when necessary.
Now with Davis making the move to Los Angeles, it will be interesting to see if he could combine with LeBron to make a run at an NBA Title. It is obvious that the Lakers are going to need a lot more help than Davis, James and Kyle Kuzma, so could we see DeMarcus join him and Rondo in LA as well? It will be interesting to watch.
By Sam Gormley on ©June 16th, 2019 @ 11:00am
10 shows down and only five more to go in this year’s KSR summer guest host schedule. This past week, we had Tony Vanetti, Kyle Tucker/Curtis Burch, Tom Hart, Jared Lorenzen and DeWayne Peevy/Ellen Calipari.
If there was ever a year that the Pardon My Take guys could see themselves knocked from the pedestal as the best summer host, it would be this year. Each day has brought their own positives. Whether it being the Vanetti vs. Shannon rivalry, PJ Washington Sr. calling in to the show, Tom Hart and Ryan Lemond on snakes, Chris Lofton joins KSR or Billy Joe calling in on Friday.
This week, the heavy hitters continue with ESPN’s Michael Eaves making his KSR debut tomorrow.
Monday, 6/17 — Michael Eaves | ESPN
Tuesday, 6/18 — UK Football Staff
Wednesday, 6/19 — KSR Football Podcast
Thursday, 6/20 — Matthew Mitchell | Kelly Clarkson Superfan
Friday, 6/21 — Laura Rutledge | ESPN/SEC Network
For those that like football, this is definitely your week as Tuesday and Wednesday will be strictly focused on the gridiron as we get you ready for this year’s Kentucky football team.
The fun begins tomorrow so be sure to find your local affiliate to tune in and if you missed anything last week, catch up with the podcasts below:
By John Reecer on ©June 16th, 2019 @ 10:00am
Davis and the Lakers Win Big, Pelicans Waste A Generational Talent
Last night, Anthony Davis was traded from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Los Angeles Lakers where he will be joining superstar LeBron James. This is an amazing trade for Davis no matter how you slice it. He got exactly what he wanted by teaming up with James and by ending up in the desirable city of Los Angeles.
At just twenty-six years-old, Davis has the better part of his career in front of him with arguably the greatest basketball player of all-time. With the Golden State Warriors being depleted with injuries for most of next season, this was the perfect window for anyone to snatch up Davis for at least a one-year rental. If you think that’s a bad idea, then just ask Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors who are still partying it up in Canada after winning the NBA Finals this year.
The point is that no other team wisely went after Davis with the exception of the Lakers so kudos to them. Not only did they secure Davis, but the Lakers also kept Kyle Kuzma who was their best young player. Sure, they gave up Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and three first-round draft picks. However, Ingram and Ball are riddled with injuries and have disappointed so far in their careers. Hart is just a simple bench player, the fourth overall pick isn’t going to be that great this season, and the other two draft picks will be late in the first round.
Overall, it’s a risk to give up so much for the Lakers, but nothing they gave away was great or even good for that matter. The Lakers gave away a bunch of “fine” assets for a generational talent who New Orleans never surrounded with adequate talent. Congrats to the Lakers and to Davis!
Now, let’s see what Lavar Ball has to say about his son getting traded….
LaVar Ball on the Lakers trading Lonzo Ball: ‘I guarantee… it will be the worst move the Lakers ever did in their life and they will never win another championship. Guarantee it.” pic.twitter.com/Nv7ctg2Lr0#NBA #LakeShow
— Josly Ngoma (@joslyngoma) June 16, 2019
Did you really expect him to say anything different? At least the man is consistent in his personality.
Another Great Boxing Moment
Two weeks ago, the boxing world witnessed a historic upset as the chubby Anthony Ruiz jr. defeated heavy favorite Anthony Joshua for the heavyweight title of the world. However, there is a newcomer who has stepped onto the scene in a big way. His name is Tyson Fury, and just look at how he entered last night’s fight against Ton Schwarz.
Only Tyson Fury could pull off an Apollo Creed entrance in Las Vegas ???pic.twitter.com/2FLRklUkbk
— The Fantasy Panda ? ? (@FantasyPanda) June 16, 2019
Doing the iconic Apollo Creed entrance from Rocky 4 is a bold, bold move. One could say that its a stupid and even disrespectful decision. Apollo died shortly after his entrance. Yes, its just a movie, but I still have hard feelings about it. However, Fury did an amazing job living up to Creed’s namesake as he knocked out Schwarz in just the second round of the fight. What’s even cooler is that he looked a lot like Creed while doing it.
? Tyson Fury with a second round TKO against Tom Schwarz.
Is he the best Heavyweight on the planet?#FurySchwarz
— All Of The Belts ? (@AllOfTheBelts) June 16, 2019
Boxing has been on a bit of hot streak this month with Ruiz Jr.’s upset and now with Fury’s entertaining and flashy performance. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the sporting world talk about this sport this much. Who knows? Maybe boxing is making a full comeback onto the national scene. Personally, I’m just glad that some sport is keeping my attention while we must wait for college football to come back.
Big Blue Nation Waits on Blackshear’s Decision
After taking visits to Florida and Arkansas, Virginia Tech star Kerry Blackshear Jr. will be visiting Tennessee as reported by Evan Daniels on Friday. An All-ACC forward that averaged 14.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game at Virginia Tech in 2018-19, Blackshear is reportedly still interested in Kentucky, Texas A&M, Gonzaga, Michigan State and Memphis.
It is widely believed that not only will Blackshear make a visit to Kentucky, but that Lexington will be the last campus he will visit before he transfers. While this may seem like positive news, the visit still needs to happen first. The mind of a recruit can change awfully fast so I won’t be convinced that the best transfer left on the market is truly considering the Wildcats until that visit happens.
With no trip to Lexington this past week, Kentucky could be getting Kerry Blackshear Jr.’s final visit. https://t.co/Qy3a8F95bw
— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) June 15, 2019
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) January 6, 2018
Blackshear will most likely be a preseason All-American by many publications so it’s safe to say that Kentucky could really use his services. With E.J. Montgomery and Nick Richards believed to be leading the frontcourt, the Wildcats certainly need more star power there.
Adding the former Hokie would vault Kentucky up to a preseason No. 1 ranking in most publications as the Wildcats would have a truly stacked team for the 2019-2020 season. Cross your fingers on this one Big Blue Nation. This is a guy Kentucky really does not need to miss on.
By Nick Roush on ©June 15th, 2019 @ 9:30pm
The biggest story of the offseason wrapped up just two days after the conclusion of the NBA Finals. Anthony Davis has been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. A move months in the making, it’s going to be great for the Unibrow’s career, and in turn, the Big Blue Nation.
1. It’s the Lakers
Hate them or love them, the Lakers are the most influential franchise the NBA. The storied franchise dominates the conversation around the league. In turn, they’re on TV all the time. The BBN won’t need League Pass to watch AD go to work at least once a week.
2. Davis and LeBron
All of the NBA greats have running mates. MJ had Pippen. Kobe had Shaq. There was Stockton and Malone, Duncan, Parker and Ginobli. The list goes on and on. Throughout LeBron James’ career, he’s had a rotating cast of characters, from Kevin Love and Kyrie to Chris Bosh and D-Wade. It’s a talented crew, but Davis could be the best of the best. Obviously, he has a long way to go to create a comparable resume, but the potential is there, thanks to a few other pieces in place.
3. The Lakers Kept Kuzma
There were two players that the Lakers could not trade — LeBron and Kyle Kuzma. By throwing the Pelicans almost every other asset, they were able to hold onto a rising young star who is their most consistent backcourt threat.
4. Hollywood AD
We’ve already seen him in a few commercials, but that’s incomparable to what Hollywood will do to AD’s brand. It’s already starting.
The Brow is ready to take over Hollywood. ? pic.twitter.com/I547k2dogn
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 15, 2019
5. No More Warriors
Thanks to Kawhi Leonard and a couple of untimely injuries, the Warriors’ dynasty is dead. With essentially just Draymond Green and Steph Curry back in 2019-20, the Lakers are now the 9-2 favorites to win the Finals.
6. Davis is the Future of the Lakers
LeBron James will turn 35 in December. Best case scenario, he has three more years of elite basketball left in the tank. AD will carry the workload in LeBron’s waning years. Davis plans on signing an extension following next season, setting him up to receive the torch from LeBron and be the face (or eyebrow) of the Los Angeles Lakers.
By Nick Roush on ©June 15th, 2019 @ 9:00pm
Benny Snell just received his final taste of Pittsburgh Steelers football before training camp begins next month. Kentucky’s all-time leading rusher is excited to see what the future holds.
“I’m expecting it to be really physical,” he told reporters yesterday. “Everyday is going to be grind. It’s always been a grind, but once I hear ‘Latrobe;’ Latrobe is the real deal. I’m going to make sure I prepare my body the best. I’m looking forward to it.”
The Latrobe he is referring to is the home of Steelers training camp for the last 54 years. Snell will have until Thursday, July 25 to report to camp, with practice set to begin the following day. Until then, he’s balancing rest and work.
“You gotta be able to get your work in and give your body a rest at the same time. With camp coming up, this is make or break. I gotta lean towards making sure my body is correct. I’m going to give myself a little time off, but I know I gotta get after it these next weeks.”
Snell has upped the stakes to “make or break.” Really it’s his chance to break into the running back rotation. Competing against James Conner and Jaylen Samuels, Snell got his toes wet in a couple of mini camps. Now acclimated to the speed and physicality of the NFL, the final step for Snell is to earn the respect of his teammates and coaches.
“It’s still all happening so fast,” Snell said. “I knew I’d have to come in and work. It wasn’t going to be easy. The tempo was going to be faster than it normally is for college ball. Then I was kind of fresh. You’re the rookie guy. You’ve gotta to learn everybody. You’ve got to build your reputation so people can respect you.”
Once he pushes a pile and breaks a tackle or two, it won’t take long for the Steelers to embrace Benny Snell football.
By Nick Roush on ©June 15th, 2019 @ 6:46pm
Anthony Davis’ wish has been granted. The former Kentucky Wildcat will team up with LeBron James as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
First reported by Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pelicans are getting quite a bit for the Unibrow — Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks — including the 2019 No. 4 overall pick.
Davis requested a trade just ahead of the deadline. When the Pelicans and Lakers could not reach an agreement, chaos filled the void. It took a little longer than he’d like, but Davis will get to be a Laker.
By Nick Roush on ©June 15th, 2019 @ 6:00pm
Meet Blue. This sweet pup found a new home the day Kentucky defeated Florida in The Swamp. What a great game. After rewatching once today, I might just have to go and watch it again later tonight. I have some exciting recruiting news to share, but first, how freaking cute is this?
UK Hosts Alabama Commit
Earlier this week UK made a significant impression on a Florida commit during a visit to Lexington. How do you one-up that? Show an Alabama commitment a good time.
De’Rickey Wright unofficially visited UK during last week’s camps. A four-star prospect, 247 ranks Wright as the No. 25 outside linebacker in America. Hailing from Gadsden, Alabama, Wright’s name is on a long list of incredibly talented players brought to UK for unofficial visits by Jon Sumrall.
— De'Rickey Wright (@d__wright14) June 15, 2019
The Cats are finalists for one of the best linebackers in the South. Another Jon Sumrall recruit, Desmond Tisdol is the eighth-ranked inside linebacker and No. 133 overall player in America, according to 247 Sports. The Rochelle, Georgia native announced Friday he’ll choose between UK, Florida, Auburn, South Carolina and Georgia Tech.
The Ramblin’ Wreck has raised quite a bit of heck on the recruiting trail since Geoff Collins became the head coach. With 15 commitments, the Yellow Jackets have the No. 15 class in America. He’s not the only new head coach making some noise on the recruiting front.
Louisville is Making Moves
Scott Satterfield is taking every commitment he can get. Scott’s Tots are now rolling 13 deep after the Cards picked up ten players since May 30. Now considered a Top 25 recruiting class by 247 Sports, the reaction from Louisville fans is cute. Just let them be excited. That ranking will drop dramatically, and well behind Kentucky, once the bigger fish make their decisions. Besides, they could use some positive football news. We all know it will be impossible to find this fall.
The Frederick Douglass Crew is on the Road
A few weeks after visiting Clemson, Frederick Douglass’ two talented rising juniors made a trip to the Buckeye State. Offensive guard Jager Burton and wide receiver Dekel Crowdus camped at Ohio State. The first and second-ranked 2021 prospects in the state of Kentucky, Burton had a scholarship offer prior to the camp. Crowdus picked one up on his way out of town.
Quarterbacks are on the Hot Seat
If Tim Tebow can win an NFL Playoff game, this robot can get to a Super Bowl.
— Robot&AIWorld (@RobotAndAIWorld) June 13, 2019
By Nick Roush on ©June 15th, 2019 @ 5:00pm
A receiver’s best friend is a competent quarterback. A quarterback’s best friend is a sure-handed wide receiver. Dak Prescott and Randall Cobb are a match made in heaven.
The Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback lost his favorite target, Cole Beasley, in the offseason. Jerry Jones sought Cobb’s services to replace Beasley in the slot. After working together in OTAs and Cowboys mini-camp, Prescott likes what the veteran brings to the Dallas offense.
“We’ve had a fast connection,” Prescott said. “You take something, approach something, go out there and he does it right the first time. When you have a guy like that, it allows you to cut the ball loose; it allows you to anticipate. It allows you to trust he’s going to be in the right spot, and he hasn’t failed in doing that. The moment he does and even sometimes he does it’s always a consistent feedback and we’re going to talk about it. What we could’ve done, what we should’ve done and, like I said, it serves you well.”
Cobb echoed that sentiment.
“The biggest thing for me is just continuing to build chemistry with him,” said the former Wildcat. “We’re both very open about talking through things. The more communication we have, the more we’ll be on the same page.”
He’s reaping some benefits from his time at UK. A quarterback for the Cats on multiple occasions, Cobb understands where Prescott wants to get him the ball. His experience helps him pick apart opposing defenses.
“He’s been great, honestly” said Prescott. “An ex-quarterback, knows the game up and down, knows every aspect of it; knows when he’s in the read what progression he is, and when you have a guy like that, he’s going to get open; he knows how to get open. He’s had a lot of success in this league already so just to have him be a part of this corps, a part of this team and this offense means a lot.”
Cobb has done everything the right way since he made the move from Green Bay. The final piece of the equation for a successful season is out of his hands. Injury-plagued over the last three years, Cobb’s health is the only remaining question mark. He’s due for some good luck in Dallas.
A Kentucky backcourt of BJ Boston and Daishen Nix in 2020-21? The five-star guards say it’s possible
By Jack Pilgrim on ©June 15th, 2019 @ 5:00pm
While dozens of elite prospects poured into John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA this week for the NBPA Top 100 Camp, two names consistently mentioned at or near the top of the list of top performers at the event are 2020 five-star guards BJ Boston and Daishen Nix.
Teammates this week, it was evident from day one that the two had phenomenal chemistry on the court. With Nix being a pass-first point guard – arguably the best in the nation, at that – and Boston being a dynamic scorer, the two were obviously a perfect match in the four-day event.
As we approach the final day of camp, their complementary play on the floor has led them to believe that not only have they been solid teammates in Charlottesville, they could be an even better duo at the next level.
“Our chemistry is developing really good, he’s a pass-first point guard,” Boston said on Thursday afternoon. “I really like that when I’m playing. We connected from the time we first stepped on the court together this week.”
“We’ve got really good chemistry,” Nix added. “He’s a really cool guy, he’s down to earth. He’s really funny too, that’s what a lot of people don’t know about him.”
For Boston, things are a bit easy when it comes to his recruitment. Already down to four schools – Kentucky, Duke, Florida, and Auburn – all he has left to do is choose one of them.
“I think these are the four schools that are on me the hardest right now that want me at their university,” he said. “[During travel ball this summer,] they’re telling me to out every game, play hard, and go as hard as I can.”
As of right now, Kentucky leads all schools in Boston’s Crystal Ball over at 247Sports with 83% of all predictions, including picks from recruiting analysts Jerry Meyer and Andrew Slater.
As for Nix, things are a bit more complicated.
He already holds offers from big-name programs such as Kansas, Arizona, UCLA, and Gonzaga, while Maryland, Alabama, LSU, Memphis, and Washington are also seen as possible contenders. While Boston’s list is shrinking, Nix’s list is growing larger.
One of the schools the nation’s No. 1 point guard is hoping to officially add to that long, growing list? The University of Kentucky.
Though no offer has officially been extended, UK assistant Joel Justus visited Nix at his high school in Las Vegas, NV on May 2. When asked about the meeting, the five-star point guard said having a coach from Kentucky reach out just stands out among some of the other visits he has had.
“It was a surprise because Kentucky walked in,” the five-star prospect said. “It was just like some of the other visits, but they were just higher than the other coaches that have come in so far.”
Nix took it a step further by saying that while he loved his interaction with Justus, he’s hoping to catch up with Kentucky head coach John Calipari, a “legend” in his eyes, sooner rather than later.
“I really want to meet Coach Cal [in person],” Nix said. “Because growing up, watching all the top schools, they were my dream schools. It was pretty good that I got to finally talk to him. … It’ll be a shock [when I meet him] because he’s a great coach. He’s a legend to me.”
And how would he feel if Calipari offered him a scholarship during that face-to-face meeting?
“It would mean a lot, because not a lot of people where I’m from get offers like that,” Nix said. “Like Kentucky growing up, Kansas growing up, schools like that, those were the schools you watched on TV.”
Switching back to Boston, the 6-foot-6 shooting guard also had rave reviews for Kentucky.
“They’re all family-oriented the way they coach their program,” Boston said Thursday evening.
When asked about his recent visit to Lexington in February, the five-star prospect said he was fascinated with what he saw at Rupp Arena.
“It was a good atmosphere, it was like an NBA arena,” Boston said. “They played Auburn. Good, high intensity.”
Between Thursday and Friday, at least one representative from the University of Kentucky watched the elite guards take the floor in all four games. In those matchups, Boston averaged 14.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game, while Nix has averaged 4.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per contest to go with an impressive 23.0 player efficiency average.
Back in 2013, former Kentucky guards Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker teamed up for the first time at the NBA Top 100 Camp. In several interviews afterward, the former dynamic Wildcat duo said that was where their chemistry both on and off the floor first developed. That was when they first decided they wanted to play in college together.
When asked about the potential comparison, both Nix and Boston said the idea of that was definitely intriguing.
“Yeah, it’d definitely be something like that,” Nix said of the comparison. “I can be like Tyler Ulis, pass it to him. I’m a pass-first point guard, so I would make sure he scores. That’s what he wants.”
“It’s up to him, I don’t know where I want to go right now. I probably won’t be making my decision until later,” the elite shooting guard said. “But for me, I need a passer to join me where I decide to go to school.”
For Nix, he’d be happy with being that passer Boston is looking for.
“He’s a scorer, he can score from wherever he wants, get wherever he wants on the floor,” he said. “And I like that. If I get him the ball, he can do his thing.”
But will it actually happen?
“Hopefully,” Nix said. “I’m not sure yet, but hopefully.”
By Nick Roush on ©June 15th, 2019 @ 4:00pm
Kentucky’s football roster will soon near capacity.
Saturday marks move-in day for the rest of UK’s 2019 recruiting class. Ten players enrolled in January. The rest are set to arrive on campus this weekend to prepare for training camp.
Tight end Nik Ognenovic was one of the first to get settled into his new dorm room. He’ll shack up with his former high school teammate, Nik Scalzo. Before the parents’ departure, each had to snap a few pics with mom.
The players trickling into campus will have just over a month of preparation before they are thrown into the first at fall camp. Football season will be here before you know it.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©June 15th, 2019 @ 3:30pm
Over at Bleacher Report, Ric Bucher put out a detailed piece interviewing Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo where the former Kentucky player opened up about the Anthony Davis trade saga that tortured the chemistry of the team throughout the season.
The piece is titled Rajon Rondo Unplugged and it contains several juicy details about the inner turmoil suffered in Laker Land as a result of the public trade demand by Davis and his agent Rich Paul.
In the article, Rondo discusses how it shocked him that even a veteran within the locker room was being affected by the trade rumors.
“Even some of the old guys were affected,” Rondo says. “I can’t say a name, but I remember me and the guy were on the bench for the Atlanta game right before the [All-Star] break. The guy was cussing and talking bad about the situation during the game. I was like: ‘Snap out of it. That shit is over with. We’ll get through it. As vets, we have to move forward and not focus on what the young guys are focusing on. Set an example.’ It was a little crazy to see a vet distraught over that.”
Rondo, 33, has been a member of five different NBA teams since he was traded to Dallas after nine years as a member of the Celtics. In his years throughout the league, he said he’s become immune to the constant trade rumors that encompassed most of his time with Boston.
“Me, I’m kind of numb to it. I was in trade rumors every year in Boston. Eight straight years. You can’t really relate to it until you’ve gone through it. Not knowing the future, waking up every day—and now you’re on the phone reading stuff. When I was going through it, there wasn’t so much social media; it was just on TV. You’d hear it, or someone would text you about it, but it wasn’t so much in your face, with eight different blockbuster or proposed trades and your name in every one of them. Every Instagram scroll, you’re in it. So, psychologically, it probably took a toll…”
Take out a small chunk of your day and read the entire article. Rondo is surprisingly honest and open during a time where it feels difficult to find that kind of authenticity. He knows the reality of the league better than most. He’s endured more criticism and praise than most.
“Every guy on our team, LeBron was their favorite player growing up,” Rondo says. “Everyone had the shoes, his jersey. You’re the biggest fan in the world. It’s like you’re playing with MJ, and then you get there, and it’s like your mom and dad, or the person that you looked up to and idolized, doesn’t want you. And then to have that sitting in your gut, not knowing. Guys aren’t at the age where they can have a man-to-man conversation versus texting you. Everybody wants to text you: ‘How you doing? We cool?’ People don’t understand how to have a real conversation and talk out problems.”
His words made me realize how much we have no idea what is going on in NBA locker rooms. So many different personalities and generations mixed into one group is always going to create some level of dysfunction, it’s just a matter of how they deal with it. Undrotuntealy, sometimes the only way to learn is by experience.
By Nick Roush on ©June 15th, 2019 @ 3:00pm
Three years ago Kentucky opened doors to the $45 million Joe Craft Football Training Facility. Just because it’s new, doesn’t mean UK will stop making improvements.
The lobby is spacious, used to show off awards and accolades from the past. There you’ll find the Governor’s Cup, the Citrus Bowl trophy and a plaque honoring the UK’s College Football Hall of Famers. Kentucky football legends cover the wall, featuring the likes Bob Gain, Tim Couch, Art Still and now, Josh Allen.
If you thought that was the only place to find Josh Allen, think again.
The training facility just got a lot better looking, but between us, I’m more impressed by the Allen family fits.
First and foremost, Wesley’s tie-dye is too fresh. “Work hard and be nice” is sound, simple advice. And even though Josh doesn’t have a Dad-bod, his Hercules “Demi-Dad” t-shirt is the perfect piece of attire for a family trip to Magic Kingdom.