NBA Free Agency Roundup: Meet the New Under-the-Radar Contenders

Don’t sweat the NBA offseason’s transition to relative inactivity. There’s a silver lining to the free-agency frenzy winding down to a slow, lifeless laze: We get to step back, take a breath, survey the landscape and properly celebrate the birth of new nfl authentic jerseys and newish might-be contenders!

Are you pumped? You should be pumped. You’re pumped aren’t you? How could you not be? The dust is gradually settling on the league’s silly season and the flurry of transactions has yielded a host of talking points that journey nfl authentic jerseys cheap beyond the Golden State Warriors sewing up the next eleventy titles.

To be clear: This space is not dedicated to teams with an exceptional shot at dethroning the reigning champs. For one, that type of threat doesn’t exist. Mostly, though, we’re nodding to afterthoughts and footnotes who have a fathomable path to winning their conference and making it to the NBA Finals.

Offseason additions are part of the allure for certain candidates, but not all of them. Some are here by default, due more to what has happened around them. Others have long been championship hopefuls in training. nfl jersey wholesale One franchise’s case boils down to moves unmade (so far).

All the usual suspects receive their due elsewhere. best nfl jerseys Get your Warriors, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors fixes another time. This one’s for the less ballyhooed—the non-favorites who aren’t popular picks among us hoops head to make it out of their conference.

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

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Wojnarowski reported Zach LaVine is the proud owner of a four-year, $78 million contract. The Sacramento Kings first made the offer, but the Chicago Bulls stepped in and matched it.

It is the one contract of the summer that is emphatically horrible.nike nfl jerseys for sale

The Kings tried to Kangz, but the Bulls front office said, “Hold my Chicago-brewed beer.”

Nick Friedell of ESPN.com pointed to the possible motivation, tweeting: “The Butler deal is a sunk cost. It’s over. Matching the LaVine offer sheet just because you don’t want to lose an asset from a past trade isn’t good business if the price is too high.”nfl cheap jerseys china

Friedell was referring to the fact LaVine was one of the three assets the Bulls got in return for four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton last summer—a trade for which John Paxson and Gar Forman were criticized. Ironically, the other two parts of that trade, cheap official nfl jerseys Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen, have acquitted themselves well and made the swap look better.

Now, though, almost as if to prove they were right, the Bulls gave LaVine almost $20 million per year. Even if LaVine evolves into the playmaker and scorer they hope he can be (he averaged 18.9 points per game on 57.6 percent true shooting in 2016-17 before he tore his ACL), he still has major issues on the other end. His DRPM ranked 490th.

That isn’t just a statistic, either. The eye test backs it up. His inability to stay in front of ball-handlers is rivaled only by his failure to pay attention when he’s not the point of attack. Remember, these are problems even Tom Thibodeau couldn’t fix while LaVine was with the Minnesota Timberwolves.cheap nfl jerseys cheap shipping

LaVine can make incredible plays on offense, but it’s doubtful he’ll live up to this contract.

NBA Players Who Will Never Live Up to Their New Free-Agency Contracts

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Sometimes, the best way to avoid spending too much money is to not have any money to spend. With a number of NBA teams falling into that category during free agency, 2018 hasn’t been the worst for bad contracts.

Still, even in a year when most franchises have shown thrift by necessity, there are certain deals teams will be eager to watch expire…eventually. Not all of these deals will look rough right away, but as players fail to live up to expectations—whether because of age, health, one-dimensional play or overall production—fans will ogle their newfound cap space when these contracts are no longer on the books.

Though there are a number of eyebrow-raising contracts around official nfl jersey the league, we won’t focus on deals that aren’t for much money or are only for one year.

Here are six players who will struggle to be worth their dollar amount at some point in their contracts. They’re listed in ascending order of how likely their respective teams are to be in states of regret by the end of the deals.

In a “never thought I’d see the day” highlight of the summer, Los Angeles Lakers fans around the world celebrated as Kobe Bryant’s biggest rival agreed to save the franchise from its state of demise.

The idea LeBron James’ contract is something the Lakers will eventually regret sounds preposterous right now. Even at age 33, the King just had one of the best years of his career, finishing second in the MVP voting. And sure, he may cover the cost cheap womens nfl jerseys of the Lakers’ investment in off-court value alone, but we’re here to judge its basketball merits.

There’s a decent chance he won’t live up to his four-year, $154 million deal.

With each subsequent season, that contract will look more precipitous. To put things in perspective, James has already played 54,347 combined playoff and regular-season minutes—the most of anyone through their age-35 season, according to Basketball Reference.

What’s remarkable is James has two more seasons to go.nfl jerseys cheap collection

In fact, he’s ninth in total minutes played, and he’s just 2,931 behind Kobe Bryant for third all-time. Bryant trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (66,297) and Karl Malone (62,759). If James averaged the same number of minutes over the next three years as he played this year (3,948), he’d pass Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time lead with nearly a year to go on his contract.

Sure, he’s been superhuman his whole career and avoided injuries, but that’s part of why he’s also played so many minutes. And while he might seem more machine than man at times, he’s made of flesh and blood, and there will be a time when he’s not the same anymore.nfl jerseys authentic

It’s probably going to happen within the next four years, and the Lakers will pay $41 million on the last year of that contract.nfl womens jerseys

You can argue that if he brings a title to L.A., it won’t matter. But there’s a chance he never will. If he doesn’t and only adds dead weight the final year or two of the contract, Lakers fans’ joy could get exhausted.

Warriors Redefine the Superteam Again with DeMarcus Cousins Signing

Apparently, the Golden State Warriors weren’t already good enough.

After using four All-Stars to win a third title in the last four years by sweeping LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, they made yet another power play in free agency to steal the spotlight away from a certain four-time MVP and his new fit with the Los Angeles Lakers. DeMarcus Cousins is now aboard on a one-year deal worth $5.3 million, as first reported by Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania, to give the team an All-Star at every one of the five traditional positions.

Yes, that means the Warriors essentially upgraded from JaVale McGee to Cousins. Yes, that means they used the mid-level exception to add Cousins shortly after the Lakers built around James by using the MLE on Lance Stephenson. Yes, that means the league’s pre-eminent superteam is getting even more super.

From a skill perspective, this is obviously great news for the Warriors. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green already made for an unfair collection of talent capable of storming past anyone and everything thrown at them by the NBA. But Cousins, when healthy, is one of the game’s premier bigs, and he plays a style that should fit nicely with the system deployed by head coach Steve Kerr. authentic nfl jerseys cheap

As Marcus Thompson of The Athletic tweeted, the Warriors had been coveting a scoring big:

Well, they found one. nfl jerseys for cheap

Cousins is a four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA representative coming off a season with the New Orleans Pelicans in which he averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks. That was the fewest points per game he’s posted since his 2014-15 efforts for the Sacramento Kings, but he made up for the slightly diminished volume by slashing 47.0/35.4/74.6—the middle number coming on a whopping 6.1 three-point attempts per contest.

Oh, and Cousins was also playing some of the best defense of his professional tenure before suffering the Achilles injury that allowed him to come aboard on a one-year deal. His effort levels sometimes lapsed, but he was figuring out how to leverage his physicality and surprising quickness alongside Anthony Davis en route to posting a career-best 3.6 defensive box plus/minus.

Cousins likely won’t make his debut in the Bay Area until late December or early January, given the typical recovery length of an Achilles rupture, though he told The Undefeated Marc J. Spears that he’s targeting a training camp return. It’s not like the Warriors need to rush him, either; they’re not exactly lacking for talent in his absence. But when he returns, he’ll still be attempting to fight his way past a malady that has severely affected the careers of many before him—a far more difficult task than returning from an ACL tear. cheap nfl jerseys

Still, if he’s able to serve as a convincing simulacrum of his pre-injury self, he’ll turn the Warriors juggernaut into a superuberjuggernaut. You almost have to send doubles to help against Cousins when he’s playing bully-ball from the post…except you can’t do that against a Golden State lineup featuring three of the deadliest shooters in NBA history on the perimeter. And if he’s hitting threes, it’s game over.

That’s still not the best news, because the risks here are so ridiculously minimal. nfl jersey cheap

What if Cousins doesn’t return to form? Well, it’s not like he needs to occupy a role bigger than the one McGee filled during the last title run. What if he gets disgruntled and starts demanding more touches? Just ship him off for a second-round pick, since he’s only coming aboard on a one-year deal.cheap nfl jersey

Metrics 101: 2018 NBA Rookie Season Predictions for Every 1st-Round Pick

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Prepare for some restraint.

Now that the league’s top rookies have gone through the 2018 NBA draft and joined their new organizations, it’s easy to fall in love with their potential. They are clean slates at this stage of their respective careers, cheap wholesale nfl jerseys brimming over with untapped upside that could manifest itself in so many different ways.

Maybe Deandre Ayton and Trae Young are going to compete for the league’s scoring title. Mohamed Bamba might lead the Association in blocked shots, though that’s only if Jaren Jackson Jr. doesn’t claim the title for himself. So on and so forth.

But reality is usually a little less exciting than these overly optimistic hypotheticals we’ve crafted in our minds, which is why we should circle back and look at the scores of the top qualified rookies from 2017-18: nfl jersey cheap wholesale china

Points per game: Donovan Mitchell (20.5), Kyle Kuzma (16.1), Ben Simmons (15.8), Lauri Markkanen (15.2), Dennis Smith Jr. (15.2)
Rebounds per game: Ben Simmons (8.1), Lauri Markkanen (7.5), John Collins (7.3), Kyle Kuzma (6.3), Bam Adebayo (5.5)cheap nfl wholesale jerseys
Assists per game: Ben Simmons (8.2), Dennis Smith Jr. (5.2), De’Aaron Fox (4.4), Donovan Mitchell (3.7), Bogdan Bogdanovic (3.3)
Steals per game: Ben Simmons (1.7), Donovan Mithell (1.5), Jayson Tatum (1.0), Josh Jackson (1.0), Dennis Smith Jr. (1.0)
Blocks per game: Jarrett Allen (1.2), John Collins (1.1), Ben Simmons (0.9), Daniel Theis (0.8), Jayson Tatum (0.7)

Keep those finishes in the back of your mind as we run through the projected stats of this year’s first-rounders, based on their pre-NBA production, skill sets and expected playing time in their new homes. Lofty numbers, as you might now expect, are surprisingly rare.

School: Villanova

Age: 20

2017-18 Per-Game Stats: 10.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.5 blocks

2017-18 Advanced Metrics: 20.6 PER, 58.8 TS%, 166.66 TPA wholesale jerseys cheap nfl

Omari Spellman will turn 21 years old before the start of his rookie season, which makes him older than many first-round prospects. But don’t mistake time spent on planet Earth for NBA readiness, because this Villanova product—one of four taken in the first 33 picks—isn’t quite ready to become a rotation mainstay for the Atlanta Hawks.

The power forward’s big body will make him an immediate asset on the glass, but transitioning from a non-featured collegiate role to the grind of a professional calendar should prove a tough adjustment for a youngster who needs significant conditioning work. Unable to keep up with many opposing bigs on the defensive end, he’ll likely spend plenty of time in the G League before breaking into the rotation with his sweet shooting stroke.

Spellman could become an immediate pick-and-pop option who uses a relatively slow release to provide spacing for the other young members of the Hawks. But he’ll be fighting for playing time with John Collins, Dewayne Dedmon, Mike Muscala and Miles Plumlee, and that’s wholesale cheap nfl jersey china when Atlanta isn’t rolling out small-ball lineups that minimize the opportunities of its myriad bigs. cheap wholesale nfl jerseys from china

Predicted 2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 3.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 0.2 steals, 0.4 blocks

Do we have a winner of the Winston-Mariota debate?

The Buccaneers have never given a quarterback they drafted a second contract.

Winston could break that streak, but remember something as we discuss his future: He was picked first overall, and the Titans took Marcus Mariota second. There was intense debate before that draft about which player was better, and that argument continues to this day.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Since the NFL draft began in 1967, quarterbacks have been drafted first and second overall only seven times:

In 1971, it was Jim Plunkett and Archie Manning.

In 1993, it was Drew Bledsoe and Rick Mirer.

In 1998, it was Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf.nfl nike jersey cheap

In 1999, it was Tim Couch and Donovan McNabb.

In 2012, it was Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

In 2015, it was Winston and Mariota.

In 2016, it was Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.cheap nike nfl jersey

One of the quarterbacks often ended up being pretty good, while the other…not so much. (Goff and Wentz might break this trend.)

We may already have a winner of the Winston-Mariota debate. We’re closing in on one, at least.

Winston is coming off the better year statistically, but he also went 3-10 and is now potentially out for the beginning of the season. His future could go either way. Mariota, meanwhile, is coming off a 9-6 season, has the better career record and passer rating and has been drama-free. cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Mike Freeman’s 10-Point Stance: Do You Trust Jameis Winston?

1. On Jameis Winston’s future

The Buccaneers need to be asking themselves a simple question with quarterback Jameis Winston reportedly facing a three-game suspension following an NFL investigation into his alleged groping of an Uber  cheap nfl jerseys nike driver in 2016. And it’s one of the most important questions they have ever faced.

Can they trust Jameis Winston?buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

“They shouldn’t have trusted him before, and trusting him now would be an even bigger mistake,” one NFC team official says.

“The chickens are coming home to roost” for the Buccaneers, an AFC team official adds.

The answer to whether the Bucs can trust Winston has the potential to shape the future of the organization for years, possibly even decades.

You think this is an exaggeration? The Chargers didn’t fully recover from the selection of Ryan Leaf in 1999 until Philip Rivers became a starter in 2006. The Raiders’ selection of JaMarcus Russell in 2007 left the organization rudderless until Derek Carr stabilized it seven years later. There are numerous examples of this.

Just like there are nike nfl jerseys for cheap  examples of what happens when a team gets it right. The Packers selected Aaron Rodgers to replace Brett Favre and, well, that worked out decently.

Trust is the warp core of a quarterback. A receiver must trust the football will be delivered to the right spot. A coach must trust a quarterback will execute the play. Linemen must trust that the quarterback called the right protection.nfl jerseys nike cheap

An organization must trust that its most important player won’t allegedly grab a female driver’s crotch after he steps into an Uber.

It’s important to remember that Winston was one of the most controversial draft picks ever. The Bucs selected him first overall in 2015, and teams stated privately to me and others in the media at the time that they would regret it.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

While at Florida State, he was accused of sexual assault and shoplifting, and he was caught on camera making vulgar comments on campus.

At the time, several NFL teams made it clear to me that they despised Winston. I don’t use that word lightly.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

The 2018 NBA Playoff Awards: Who’s the MVP of the Postseason?

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The 2018 NBA Finals are done, giving the Golden State Warriors full-fledged dynasty status and the Cleveland Cavaliers nightmares about LeBron James’ next free-agency decision.

History will remember those items as the top takeaways from this postseason, but the stat sheets will show 14 other clubs participated in this dance, too.wholesale nfl jerseys nike

We’ve put the entire playoff field under the same microscope to salute the second season’s top standouts with postseason versions of familiar hardware.

While all players are eligible, these awards skew toward those whose teams enjoyed the most success. There’s more of an opportunity to perform, plus the stakes rise during each subsequent round.wholesale nike nfl jerseys china

That doesn’t mean everyone must be a champion or even a Finalist, but winning matters—just like it does when regular-season trophies are handed out.

Teams don’t normally have postseason runs like the one Brad Stevens orchestrated for the Boston Celtics.

The Shamrocks lost their two highest-profile players to injury before the playoffs and still celebrated two series victories. Three of their top four scorers were a rookie, a sophomore and a third-year guard with 16 career starts, nike wholesale nfl jerseys and yet they were the first team to take LeBron James to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals since 2013, when the Indiana Pacers went the distance with the Miami Heat.

“I think they are one of the most well-coached teams in our league,” James said, per NESN.com’s Dakota Randall. “… [Stevens] can put guys in position to succeed and get the most out of whoever has been in their lineup.”wholesale nike nfl jerseys free shipping

Stevens’ biggest flaw was either not having James on his team or not having healthy versions of Gordon Hayward (ankle) and Kyrie Irving (knee) at his disposal.

Even without them, Boston went 11-8 over nfl jersey wholesale nike three rounds, posting the fourth-best defensive efficiency and second-lowest turnover percentage. Not bad for a team whose most used playoff lineup logged just 20 minutes together during the regular season.

Steve Young on Terrell Owens Skipping HOF Ceremony: ‘I Beg Him to Reconsider’

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young urged former Niners teammate Terrell Owens to reconsider his decision to skip the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony in August.

On Thursday, Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group provided comments Young, who was inducted in 2005, made on ESPN about Owens potentially burning bridges with the Hall of Fame and its members.authentic nfl jerseys cheap

“The damage to the relationship could be permanent. You don’t want that,” he said. “So I beg him to reconsider because the longevity of all the people that want to respect him and that he should respect as well. Forget about, ‘I’m mad at the voters, I’m mad at the system.’ The damage that could be done by not going could overwhelm him over a period of time.”

Owens released a statement Thursday confirming his intention to skip the proceedings and said he’ll announce his plans for a celebration of his career at a later date.nfl jerseys for cheap

“While I am incredibly appreciative of this opportunity, I have made the decision to publicly decline my invitation to attend the induction ceremony in Canton,”cheap nfl jerseys  he said. “… After visiting Canton earlier this year, I came to the realization that I wish to celebrate what will be one of the most memorable days of my life, elsewhere.”nfl jersey cheap

The 44-year-old former standout wide receiver had previously voiced his displeasure about the voting process that led him to fall short of induction in his first two tries.

Hall of Fame president David Baker also released a statement after Owens’ decision became public.

“We are disappointed [but] will respect Terrell’s decision not to participate in the Enshrinement,” he said. “While unprecedented, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the nearly 5,000 volunteers and the entire community are committed to celebrating the excellence of the Class of 2018 that will kick off the NFL’s 99th season.”cheap nfl jersey

Antics aside, Owens is one of the greatest receivers in NFL history.

He ranks second all-time in receiving yards (15,934), third in touchdown catches (153) and eighth in receptions (1,078). He earned six Pro Bowl selections and was named First Team All-Pro five times.

There Are No Losers in the Capitals’ Stanley Cup Victory over the Golden Knights

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For so many years, the Washington Capitals seemed to hold the winning hand. So many years, they had dominant teams, Presidents’ Trophy teams, teams holding a 20 at the blackjack table, only to see the house win at the last second.nfl jerseys authentic

It all changed in Las Vegas on Thursday night against the franchise playing with the ultimate house money. The Capitals—the Capitals—who still hold the dubious distinction of having one of the worst squads in pro sports history, in their expansion season, are the Stanley Cup champions after defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in Game 5. The Caps beat an expansion team in the Cup Final in its inaugural season.nfl jerseys cheap collection

You can’t make this stuff up.cheap womens nfl jerseys

Forty-four years after entering the NHL and compiling an 8-67-5 record in that 1974-75 season, the Caps are champions of the world. The Vegas fans? Well, there’s always next year and plenty more to come after that.

Vegas couldn’t lose, no matter what happened in this series. It remains one of pro sports’ most unbelievable stories, starting the year with 500-1 odds from the Las Vegas Superbook to win the title. It was preposterous enough for an expansion team to make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. It was another thing entirely that a team from Las Vegas did it. The most far-fetched fantasy show on The Strip couldn’t compete with that.official nfl jersey

The city of Las Vegas is still considering throwing a parade for its Golden Knights. And, it should. They might not get the Hollywood movie made about them now, but they’re still big winners and were an inspiration to the community after tragedy struck the city early in the season.nfl womens jerseys cheap

The biggest winners, of course, are those hardcore Capitals fans who stayed with them all the way through that first year. And, there are plenty of them.

The Caps enjoyed periods of success in the ’80s and ’90s, even making it to their only previous Stanley Cup Final in 1998, only to be swept by the Detroit Red Wings. Then, after a few mediocre seasons, they got Alexander Ovechkin with the first pick of the 2004 NHL draft, and by 2008-09, the Caps were a 50-win team.