Russell Westbrook goes down south; Houston, not Miami

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

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

Russell Westbrook and Miami Heat have mutual interest, according to reports. Photo from ClutchPoints, extracted from CavsNation (

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. 

The Free Agency Frenzy begins as Kevin Durant declines player option


It’s off to the races.

The 2019 NBA Free Agency is about to be interesting, and maybe the most intriguing ever, after news of Kevin Durant to decline his $31 million option with the Golden State Warriors. Durant is currently in New York City, to asses his Achilles injury, and now will evaluate his options for free agency.

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How Kawhi Leonard saved the NBA


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 (

Does the NBA play defense anymore?


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

Why a Rockets’ series loss might be a concern for the Western Conference


With a surprising Game 2 loss at home to the Utah Jazz, all eyes remain on James Harden and the Houston Rockets to avoid another disappointing second-round playoff exit. The NBA’s best regular season team is not only in jeopardy of living up to expectations, but also falling short to the highly anticipated Rockets–Warriors showdown.

The Rockets’ incredible 29-2 stretch left the league in complete awe, and thinking this team could really give the defending champs a run for their money.

There still had been trepidation however with Rockets’ success during the regular season, for they still have to prove themselves in the playoffs. With momentum swinging back to Utah in Game 3, Harden and his team is yet again surrounded with uncertainty.

The future 2018 MVP and his teammate Chris Paul, has to carry Houston in order to win these next two games on the road. Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, will be completely chaotic this weekend – hoping to boost their Jazz to another playoff upset.

A loss this series could be a tale of two different halves for Harden, Paul, and this Rockets team overall. Another early playoff exit could really insinuate a dark cloud over the legacy of these superstars.

Like Harden, Paul too has dealt with his fair share criticism based on his early round exits in the playoffs. This series will not only be huge for them to live up to expectations, but also to improve their playoff pandemonium.

NBA fans need Houston to win this series because they are the best chance against Golden State, not Utah. Though they did not play like it in Game 2, the Jazz are truly the underdogs in this series.

If the Rockets fall short once again, which Western Conference team can actually challenge the Warriors in the near future?

This thought is scary if you look at the state of NBA’s Western Conference. There is beginning to be a lack of parody in the west actually, rather than the east, for the first time in years.

Big questions remain for some of the “premier” teams in the west like: The Oklahoma City Thunder, the San Antonio Spurs, and now the Houston Rockets.

The Carmelo Anthony/Paul George experiment in OKC looks like it just will be a one-season trial, after the way things played out in the first round. The Thunder have a lot of questions to address this offseason and
it starts with George.

Rumors of Paul George leaving to join the Los Angeles Lakers is one of the league’s best kept secrets, as he has been open about his love for L.A. for quit some time now. With Anthony’s lackluster performance this season, and especially with a quick playoff exit, George is very likely to leave the Thunder coming this offseason.

The next power team in the west, the Spurs, are about to be in serious rebuild. The once heavily contenders are now going to the be ones fighting for playoff position, specifically with their best player, Kawhi Leonard
leaving next season.

How will the Harden, Paul, and the Rockets handle adversity on the road against the Jazz?

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

Jordan vs. James: Comparing modern NBA super-teams with the classic dynasty era 


After the Cleveland Cavaliers adopted half the Eastern All-Star roster, it is legitimate that LeBron James transcended the notion of super-teams in the NBA, and now everyone in the league is buying in except for Michael Jordan.

Michael Jordan believes that the super teams are “hurting the NBA.” Whether this statement can be subject to a debate, there is for sure evidence that NBA teams are making roster moves to better their chances in winning a championship.

The Cavaliers’ talent this year is throughout the roof, a team with so many weapons, it makes fans wonder how the hell it can be even possible. King James’ squad is even more deep than the other “super teams” in the league like Boston, Oklahoma City and the Houston.

While teams in the Eastern and Western Conference have made great strides this 2017 offseason to build a competitive team, it is still no match for the proverbial monster that is Cleveland and Golden State.

The Cavaliers have nearly 10 former All-Stars on their roster, over 3 MVPs’, and several star veterans. It is safe to say, this roster is deep.

Now that the LeBron James Campaign has acquired Dwayne Wade off free agency, the Cavaliers are flooded with talent as well as experience. Starting from Wade, to Rose, and all the way to Isaiah Thomas – their guard talent is ridiculous.

I mean, practically half their bench could be a starting-five on another team.

Coming off his MVP Finals performance, Kevin Durant and his fellow MVP Steph Curry, has the NBA world convinced they are still the best team in the league, amidst of all the trades with other powerhouses. The Warriors have done a great job managing their cap space in order to keep their talented roster, even with paying Durant and Curry to max contracts.

The belief the Warriors will be back to the Finals, and that they are still the best team in the NBA, is believable, because they still have all of their championship-caliber players. Besides the two former MVP’s mentioned on this Warriors’ squad, they still have their other star players: Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, and Draymond Green.

Golden State’s bench is also loaded, starting with the athleticism of a Shaun Livingston to the veteran presence of a David West, this Warriors team is well-balanced.

Durant’s mission to win the chip last year was scary; as the 6’10’’ PF scored against the opposing defense at will, and did it every way possible. I imagine KD to have a similar inspiration as he did last year, especially after signing a 2-year, $53M contract with the Warriors.

After seeing these two powerhouses head to head in the Finals the past three years, the question comes into play – is it hurting the NBA? Following Jordan’s comments on the ‘era of NBA super-teams’, I imagine it is somewhat fair to question the domino effect in free agency led behind King James.

LeBron James had influenced the notion of super-teams way back when he joined forces with my Miami Heat in 2010. He flew to South Beach to not just to simply enjoy the beautiful atmosphere in Miami, or hang with his buddy Wade, he went there to win a NBA title.

Since things weren’t working out in his first time in Cleveland, he decided it was time to make a change if he really wanted to win his first ring.

Summer of 2017 has been a record-breaking year for NBA Free Agency; jaw-dropping contract numbers and the amount of trades has gotten everyone’s attention – including legendary Michael Jordan. According to ESPN, Jordan believes the NBA super-teams are hurting the league.

I agree that the essence of building super-teams is throwing off the balance in the NBA, but I don’t necessarily think it’s bad for the league. Jordan is definitely right when he said about the majority of the other teams in the league will be terrible compared to the six powerhouses.

On the other hand, back in the “dynasty” era, the balance of the league was similar with only having six great teams in the league. Realistically, the most dominating teams identified in this era were: Lakers, Celtics, Jazz, Bulls, Pistons, and Knicks.

While Jordan may have points in his perspective concerning super-teams, he is also somewhat subject to being hypocritical in his whole thesis because the dynasty era is very similar to what is gong on right now in the NBA. Both eras have made roster moves in a swift manner in order to win a title and only concerned a handful of dominant teams.

Overall, I am excited to see all of the new players on several teams in the league and see how the powerhouses clash in the playoffs.

Photo by Daydaydiscgolf (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons