The NBA Western Convention playoffs have been aggressive to a degree. The video games themselves are good but it seems like we’re solely going to get one, perhaps two Recreation 6s. The Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves received bounced Tuesday, and as valiant as they fought — accidents or self-inflicted wounds be damned — it rapidly turned obvious that their 2023 playoff run was going to be short-lived. Whereas that was telegraphed, what every group does subsequent isn’t.
Should you’re unlucky sufficient to be a fan of both of those two franchises, first, I’m sorry. And, second, woo boy, do you could have some offseason-ing to do. Los Angeles can’t justify operating again this roster as is, and the one manner Minnesota can is as a result of they don’t have anything to do after digging themselves an enormous gap buying and selling for Rudy Gobert.
Should you empathize with LeBron James, Nick Claxton, or Royce O’Neale after getting their junk tenderized final week, you need to ship Wolves and Clippers supporters a bottle of bubbles, with the opposite Zalinsky promise — “Robust break, get drunk on us. Use the bucket to ice down your marbles. Yours, Z.”
Nonetheless, instances are powerful, and my checking account can’t precisely finance get-well packages to each fanbases, so let’s take a look at who’s extra deserving of some Mumms.
Ideally, the Clippers’ new arena is outfitted with Bacta tanks
News dropped Wednesday that Kawhi Leonard tore his meniscus, which might’ve been good to know anytime throughout the previous week. He joined Paul George in avenue garments for the final three video games of the Phoenix sequence, and Steve Balmer regarded like he wished to fireplace the complete group once they received down 20 within the second half on Tuesday.
The medical workers, and group, have enabled a tradition of load administration, however regardless of how stringent the routine, Leonard and George’s knees and calves pop like tulips in late March and early April. The entire group’s growing old function gamers are squarely within the grizzled veteran phases of their careers, and so they have a shit load of contracts nonetheless on the books.
The great is these items are movable, the dangerous is that they personal one among their subsequent 4 draft picks after this yr, and the ugly is Leonard and George are set to make $90 million mixed subsequent yr. A rebuilding group goes to need picks, and a contender isn’t going to half with their star for 10 cents on the greenback, so L.A.’s solely actual possibility is reconfiguring a bunch of fringe guys across the similar flawed stars.
That’s tough, and I don’t count on numerous endurance from Balmer as a result of he’s debuting 1,160 new bathrooms and urinals in Inglewood in 2024, and the crap jokes will overfloweth if he runs out a shit product.
Anthony Edwards isn’t Carl, not in search of a golden parachute
Whereas the Clippers’ comeback was falling brief, Karl-Anthony Cities dedicated 4 fouls within the ultimate 5 minutes of Recreation 5, fouling out for the second time in as many video games, and for the 11 millionth time in 16 profession playoff appearances. Rudy Gobert additionally fouled out, and Anthony Edwards missed a game-tying three off the again iron as time expired.
The budding star then sprinted to the locker room, and received slammed by Nuggets followers for the “disrespect.” Edwards began the season being known as out for his immature consuming habits, and didn’t show a lot progress throughout his handshake-less exit to the showers or on the postgame media availability.
KAT joined Ant within the presser, however I don’t know if the guard heard the glowing issues Cities stated about him as he had his face buried in his arms on the desk, hood up, with headphones on high of that. It was bizarre how a lot KAT went out of his method to reward Edwards, and perhaps that’s as a result of the 21-year-old taking pictures guard is eligible for his max rookie extension this summer time.
All of us assume no one can be dumb sufficient to move up that sort of cash, but you’d equally query Edwards’ psychological capability if he signed up for an prolonged future subsequent to Cities and Gobert at these salaries.
Minnesota additionally has shit for picks, and even fewer high quality function gamers than Los Angeles to dangle as commerce bait. No one desires Gobert, and the one manner you’re shifting Cities is that if he fetches a star of his caliber or higher in return. Seeing as few of these names are on the market proper now, I don’t know what the Wolves do aside from pray Edwards indicators the extension and desperately attempt to transfer Gobert.
If Edwards does return, Alex Rodriguez and the remainder of Minnesota’s possession group shall be allotting greater than $100 million of their cap to a few gamers, two of which don’t match collectively and get performed or play themselves out of postseason video games.
So, yeah, I don’t know who’s extra deserving of pity as a result of, for the primary time in NBA historical past, you’ll be able to’t go fallacious choosing both the Wolves or Clippers.