Russell Westbrook goes down south; Houston, not Miami

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Russell Westbrook is going to need to adapt his game in Houston, for he’s not a one man team anymore. Photo by Getty Images/Ringer Illustration, from the ringer.com

The Earth shook once more, as the basketball world felt the aftershocks from NBA Free Agency on Thursday.  

The Oklahoma City Thunder agree to a blockbuster trade that will ship off Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets, where he’ll be reunited with James Harden, according to ESPN. Westbrook played with Harden for four seasons with OKC, including the 2012 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.

NBA shocks us again; the reports had Miami as Westbrook’s front runner, only until hours later he signed with Houston. 

Does Westbrook not want to play for the team that he lost to in the Finals? I guess I could see that. 

The Houston Rockets are clearly trying to win now, for they gave up a boat load of draft picks for Westbrook. Rockets GM Daryl Morey is going with the win now mentality, and hope that the Westbrook-Harden reunion will work out – for it could cost them. 

You could say that the Thunder are rebuilding, trading away their best and final superstar, and now reportedly could move Chris Paul to clear more cap space. While Paul is a talented, admirable 34-year old player, not every team in the NBA is lining up for his remaining three-year, $129 million contract. 

Sam Presti, and this Thunder team will be veteran-less, if they decide to trade their Center Steven Adams as well as Chris Paul. GM Sam Presti and OKC, are looking to completely rebuild and planning for the future, for they certainly are in great position with all of their newly acquired picks.  

A lot has happened since the Westbrook-Harden era ended in OKC, for they both are now superstar players. 

Since 2012, both players won MVP, and Harden was runner-up three times. Westbrook also is the first player since Oscar Robertson, to average a triple-double in a season, and he did it three straight years running.  

There are a lot of questions, however, for this new Rockets team. 

Will a ball-dominant type guard like Harden and Russell co-exist? They are going to have to find that championship chemistry they had built in OKC. 

Harden led in points last season, along with Westbrook at 2nd. They also have been at the top of the NBA in terms of efficiency.

I myself, am not so sure how this will work out for the Rockets, while on paper it does make them a contender in the West. The question is though, how far? 

The Western Conference is tough, and I just think if Westbrook signed with Miami, it would be an easier path to the Finals. Let see though if this finally pushes the Houston Rockets over the hump. 

Why Russell Westbrook should sign with the Miami Heat

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Russell Westbrook and Miami Heat have mutual interest, according to reports. Photo from ClutchPoints, extracted from CavsNation (https://cavsnation.com/how-the-cavs-can-facilitate-the-russell-westbrook-to-miami-trade/).

The Russell Westbrook era in Oklahoma City is coming to an end, for the Thunder are having serious trade discussions with several teams, including the Miami Heat.   

There is reportedly mutual interest between Russell Westbrook and the Miami Heat. After asking for a trade request, and sending Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Thunder are looking to trade Westbrook.

Thunder GM Sam Presti’s gamble with George almost seemed to pay off, getting as much as possible from him in a successful couple seasons with Oklahoma City, until George shocked the basketball world signing with LA. 

The Thunder is now in complete rebuilding mode should they trade Westbrook, for the team has already fallen off the sturdy latter that is the western conference. 

As a Miami Heat fan, I am thrilled that the team just acquired an All-Star player, like Jimmy Butler, but I would go absolutely insane if Russell Westbrook signed. Putting aside my bias as a fan, here are five reasons why Westbrook should sign with the Heat.  

1. Westbrook and Jimmy Butler can be Miami’s “Batman and Robin”   

Westbrook is not only searching for a new home, but also a new friend – a superstar type of friend, that is. Aside from George, Westbrook hasn’t had a star sidekick since Kevin Durant, who we all know how that story went.

2. The NBA Western Conference is really hard 

Why not be the beasts of the east? The NBA Eastern Conference, as well as the balance in the league in general, seem to be more leveled. With Kawhi Leonard leaving the Toronto Raptors, and Irving departing the Celtics, the path through eastern conference is a much easier one than last season.  

3. Miami is a much more attractive market than Oklahoma City

If it weren’t for his incredible athleticism, and freakish basketball skills, we wouldn’t really know the star Westbrook as much as we like too, as other NBA stars across the nation. I could be completely wrong, but I definitely think we would hear a lot more headlines about Westbrook if he was on a more appealing, popular franchise like the Heat.   

4. Westbrook can create a new legacy with the Heat

From legendary players – Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton, Shaquille O’Neal to modern superstars – Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh, Westbrook can be that next star in the Heat franchise.  Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to associate yourself with elite company. 

5. Play for NBA Legend Pat Riley

Westbrook can learn a lot from a former championship coach, player, and now as an executive. He can elevate his game, and continue to grow as a player with legendary company surrounding him. 

While the Russell Westbrook-Miami Heat trade is far from a done deal, it is definitely a possibility. The Heat still have many loop holes however in this trade, for they have to figure out how to maneuver their limited salary cap. 

AFC Training Camp: Each teams “X” Factor for the 2019 season

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Baker Mayfield has given the Cleveland Browns hope for the future but can he alone lead the Browns to the promised land? ‘X’ AFC style
Photo Credit: Joe Robbins / Getty Images

Football season is nearly here!!! After releasing our NFC “X” factors two weekends ago, it’s time to head over to the American Football Conference and visit the 16 teams that look to chase down the Lombardi Trophy. The NFL offseason has been INSANE, with all the trades, new draft picks, and contract signings; this season is shaping up to be a great one.

The Cleveland Browns shook up the AFC outlook with the Odell Beckham trade, the New York Jets won the Le’Veon Bell sweepstakes, and the Pittsburgh Steelers sent WR Antonio Brown to the Raiders for pennies on the dollar. Jacksonville finally has a credible QB, the Dolphins will have an interesting (not to be taken lightly) QB battle between Ryan “FitzMagic” and 2018 1st round pick (10th overall) Josh Rosen.

This should be fun, here we go with the AFC ‘X’ Factors!

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Young guns and firepower climax the 2019 MLB All-Star Game

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Indians’ pitcher Shane Bieber is an ace, striking out several in the 5th at the All-Star Game. Photo from cleveland19.com, (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (Source: John Minchillo).

The arms are much better now than ever.

CLEVELAND – Indians’ pitcher Shane Bieber, along with a pair of Yankees stars, stole the show at Progressive Field, Tuesday night. Bieber, who struck out the side in the fifth inning of the American League’s 4-3 victory over, won Most Valuable Player honors.

You will become a Belieber, of Shane Bieber that is. He is the fifth youngest of all-time to win the All-Star MVP.

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The U.S. Women’s Team leave behind incredible legacy with World Cup victory

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The U.S. Women’s National Team are now back-to-back World Cup champions. Photo from ABC30 Fresno, creator – Alessandra Tarantino, Associated Press.

Icons, champions, and now legends. 

The United States Women’s National Team have won back-to-back World Cup titles, elevating themselves as one of the top dynasties in not only soccer, but in all sports. These American ladies had a dominating performance all of the World Cup, inspiring the nation with the birth of a dynasty. 

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Another peanut butter stout? Leave it to BEAVR

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Chocolate Covered Beavr Nuts by BEAVR Homebrew Club

Chocolate Covered Beavr Nuts by BEAVR Homebrew Club, raises the bar for the peanut butter stouts out there, similar to the infamous Belching Beaver. This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to try this wonder creation at one of my favorite places – Transplants Brewery. 

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How Kawhi Leonard saved the NBA

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We the north, are now, we the champions. It was a moment where you asked yourself, do you believe in miracles?!

Canada will now remember that phrase in a different perspective after winning their first NBA title in franchise history.

Leonard not only sparked his team, and changed the culture in Toronto, but impacted the NBA in a huge way. The Warriors’ dynasty might not be over just yet, but they will be a very different team next year.

The Warriors suffered catastrophic injuries and over come obstacles, but showed they could be beaten. Leonard is helping give parody back to the NBA, pointing out that Golden State isn’t completely unbeatable.

While Toronto is still celebrating, they are focusing on the NBA Free Agency avalanche coming this offseason, especially Golden State.  The ‘big 3’ in the 2019 NBA Finals’ Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson are going to be free agents.

Leonard’s situation is completely different than Durant and Thompson because of their devastating injuries in the Finals.

Durant and Thompson may have to sit out the entire 2019-2020 season, making their free agency plans a little more complicated. Rumors now are that, both players will resign, for the Warriors may look to offer both max deals.

Where will Kawhi Leonard go?

It is almost as if Leonard, in a Raptors jersey, will be now a just a memory – rather than a reality. The overwhelming feeling around the league is that he will explore free agency, and end up in another competing franchise next season.

I hope Kawhi goes to the Clippers! Even though, a part of me would like to see him stay in Toronto, but I just don’t think it will happen.

Enjoy this Toronto, because 2019 may the best year yet in the Raptors franchise.

Photo by Chensiyuan [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D

Does the NBA play defense anymore?

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The Orlando Magic routed the Atlanta Hawks 149-113 Friday night, turning in on just at the right time for the playoffs, but the Hawks’ high scoring effort is anything but an asterisk this season. Let’s take a look at all of the scores from the NBA last night.

The NBA had 13 games on Friday, and yet every single winner managed to score over 100. In fact, the loser in each match up practically put up 100 points.

Even the low-tier teams in the league like the Kings, Knicks, and Lakers contributed to the high scoring barrage. All season long the NBA has had tremendous offensive stats, also meaning the defense has been atrocious, maybe the worst in the past decade.

The basketball world will somehow defend the NBA and the lack of defense, saying that this is a new league and how it is evolving into more of an offensive game. I could agree with this in some instances, but if you just watch some of these games, players don’t rush to get back on defense.

When I watch football, I am obviously not hoping for a 9-6 game…but who wants to see a “Pro Bowl-like” defensive effort…which is basically squat.

I’m a huge fan of James Harden and his game, but we rarely see highlights of him on defense. This is fine for some individual players, point guards on offensive, but as a whole the NBA is lacking effort.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is the no.1 MVP candidate right now, and rightfully so, because he is one of the best two way players in the game. He is someone who does it on both ends of the floor, he slams it home, then sprints back on defense to make an incredible block.

Will players like Antetokounmpo and the likely no. 1 draft pick, Zion Williamson, help balance the NBA?

Photo by Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

2018 Stanley Cup Finals: From tragedy to triumph, a Las Vegas Story 

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The Golden Knights’ journey to the Stanley Cup Finals will be known as one the top Cinderella stories in all of sports, standing just four wins away from squashing the virtually impossible, 500-1 odds to win it all.

The Golden Knights have been fighting odds all season long, even before they stepped on the ice. Vegas’ first season with professional hockey was expected to be anything, but successful, for they were predicted to
be one of the worst the teams in the league.

Look at them now – the Golden Knights are in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Golden Knights’ incredible path to the Finals is something that has truly inspired Vegas. The aftershock of the Las Vegas music festival shooting last year was felt throughout the entire nation, giving the home town not much to hope for, until now.

Vegas’ unexpected success in the NHL, being a real underdog, really helped cast away some of the gloom after the catastrophe. The city of bright lights, is certainly shining bright again, but now is flashing “Stanley Cup Born.”

Their first playoff win at T-Mobile Arena looked like a scene out of a movie, seeing thousands of white towels being waved in unison and signs saying “Vegas Strong.” It was a powerful message that was felt throughout
the entire arena and the city of Las Vegas.

The Stanley Cup Finals will also preview another new face, for the Washington Capitals, are also making their first appearance in the championship.

The Capitals’ leader of the team, Alex Ovechkin, is one of the premier players in the league and he certainly will be the priority for the Golden Knights. Ovechkin has been having an incredible season, but so have these Golden Knights.

Vegas, in their inaugural season, has been one of the best teams in the entire NHL playing like a true team. They have swept the Los Angeles Kings, defeated a tough San Jose Sharks team, and the Winnipeg Jets on their trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Winning twice as many games as expected, 51 wins, also is certainly something that must be celebrated for this new team. The 2018 Stanley Cup Finals will certainly be one to remember.

Photo by David_Vasquez [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

S’more fun when camping with High Water 

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High Water Brewing’s Campfire Stout, will leave you wanting s’more, after being invited by notes of chocolate and graham cracker, with hints of marshmallow for the cherry on top.

The inviting image of the campfire, is picture perfect for the palate that this wonderful stout presents. Brewed with graham crackers and molasses, you can taste the dessert-like taste of this brew, that of course, is
complemented with chocolate.

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