There’s been a lot of big stories in the NBA lately, but last night served as a stark reminder that history will remember this season mostly for the genesis of Luka. A fucking unreal hit by the Mavericks. This dude casually transitioned from being a teenage EuroLeague MVP to being a teenage NBA star with no joke the top clutch stats in the league:
Just last summer, the Mavs top assets were Dennis Smith Jr, two semi-expiring contracts (Barnes and Matthews), and a #5 overall pick. Somehow one year later we are a budding dynasty with the greatest teenage prospect in history teaming up with KP and whoever we acquire next. It is just impossible to overstate how legendary Donnie and the front office truly are. This feat is so incredible that we got to watch Giannis win the MVP last night and nobody cares that we passed on him in the draft for $400k in cap room.
The story is that on draft night 2013, Donnie Nelson was so adamant about how good Giannis would be and demanded to Cuban that we take him, but Cuban overruled in order to trade back and get about $400k in cap space to offer Dwight Howard a max contract. To this day, the Mavs have quite literally never signed a meaningful UFA, but Cuban insisted that we pass on a future MVP just in case we had a shot at Howard.
To the layman’s eye, the decision makes no sense at all. However, in retrospect, it was the right thing to do. Dirk was entering the tail end of his career and we owed him the world. Not only was (is) he our god both on and off the court but he also passed up nearly $200M in wages to keep us competitive under the cap.
That is a staggering sacrifice by our god. There was only one morally correct approach to take through the end of his career and that was to look short term only and swing for the fences. Maybe we only had a 1% chance of signing Howard, and if so then that was 1% past the minimum necessary threshold to pass on a future MVP. Cuban and Donnie did their best to do our god right and I applaud them for it.
Besides, it’s not like it really mattered in the end. We have the best front office in the league. They got us someone else better anyway.
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It’s been a wild 2019 for the lakers as they are now the official team of narcissism and A
ID S. According to Vegas odds and the mainstream media, AD was the missing piece in turning LA from a toxic and mediocre embarrassment to the very top contender in the league. Rob Pelinka gets his employment lifeline for the mere cost of pretty much every LA lottery pick from the past and future. As a New Orleanian, I’m feeling pretty damn good about the trade.
Watching AD on the Pelicans was very much like watching A-Rod on the Rangers – eye popping stats that mostly came in meaningless situations and rarely resulted in winning. In the seven season of this era, we had one truly successful year that was more thanks to Boogie Cousins and Playoff Rondo than to AD. He lacked any semblance of a killer instinct or clutch gene and there are exactly zero memories from his on-court play that NOLA will cherish.
Everyone likes to say that the franchise failed AD, and that is bogus. Demps brought him assets to play alongside from day 1. Sure, not all of them panned out and it was clear that the Pelicans lacked one of those rare superstar front offices that can create winners from almost any situation. However, there were enough players around (see above) to produce way more winning than what AD delivered. In the NBA more so than any other league, the anus is on star players to deliver results and quite frankly AD was an abject failure in that regard.
The biggest mistake in handling AD does not fall on the previous front office or even the training staff, but rather the fans and media for never taking off the kid gloves in his treatment. It’s hard to blame a city for taking too long to turn on an asset like him, especially given the nature of NOLA’s good-vibe culture and the limited roster flexibility for small market NBA teams. However, in hindsight, it really is astonishing how little accountability AD had during his tenure here. He did have that quiet persona and ostensibly high character helping him out, but that image swindled fully down the drain over the spring. This clip regarding his ‘That’s All Folks’ shirt is pretty much all you need to hear to understand what this guy is all about…
I could not imagine a better pea to Lebron’s pod than this bum. Kick rocks AD. Unlike CP3, we will most assuredly not be cheering for you in LA. Zion generated more excitement to the city through one Commanders dinner with Gayle than you were able to in seven years – good riddance. Oh and FYI, nobody ever liked your stupid unibrow.