We begin Odds & Ends with the Golden State Warriors bringing along one of the NBA’s best in Kevin Durant. Durant agreed to a two year,$54 million deal on Monday. He played the first nine years of his career with the Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder and was one of the cornerstones of the franchise,helping to rebuild that team and build winning traditions in the Sooner State. He,along with Russell Westbrook and James Harden, helped to guide the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2011,losing in five games to the Miami Heat. The Thunder were one win away from a return trip to the Finals this season,but the team he now joins came back from a 3-1 games deficit to win the series and ultimately lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in seven games.
Durant now joins a loaded team already with Stephen Curry,Klay Thompson,and Draymond Green who feel that maybe Durant can help them get over the hump and maybe get what they consider was a lost ring this season.
Will he be that guy who can get them and himself a ring? Only time will tell. I’m not ready to say that they’re the team to beat yet because a lot of other teams got better as well. Their 73-9 season was,to me,an anomaly. That’s not going to happen again for a while in my view. I’m not saying they’re not title contenders,just not world beaters. See: Last season.
While Golden State fans are ecstatic about Durant coming over to Oakland, fans in Oklahoma City are left scorned,heartbroken,and angry over his decision to leave the only franchise he’s ever played for.
Predictably,fans began to burn his jersey as well as his shoes all across the Sooner State and honestly,that practice is getting old.
I hate that this has become so cliche that whenever a player leaves a team like he did that fans have to resort to burning the man’s jersey. It’s so unoriginal and so overdone now that it makes these fans seem extra sour about one player’s decision to find a way to win a championship.
Don’t get me wrong,I was hoping that Durant would’ve stayed in Oklahoma City and the fans there have every right to be mad,but this mad? It’s unwarranted a little. Boo the guy when he comes back to town, be upset that the team wasn’t able to keep him like you (and I’m sure they) would’ve hoped, but doing something that is and has been done to death makes it a lot worse on your end. If Russell Westbrook decides he wants out next season, are they going to go through this again? Geez,I hope not.
Now,we move onto the Sacramento Kings and their free agent acquisitions leave me starving,to say the least.
First they signed Arron Afflalo to a two year, $25 million deal to possibly be their new starting shooting guard. They next signed Anthony Tolliver for two years and $16 million. Next was Garrett Temple,a player I have never heard of until yesterday who was allegedly on the Kings during the 2008-09 season. He got $24 million over three years and was a mainstay in Washington’s line-up last season. Finally,Matt Barnes has returned on a deal worth $12 million over two years which will likely finish out his career. Barnes is 36.
Meanwhile,point guards Rajon Rondo and Seth Curry left for other teams. Rondo is now in Chicago who got $28 million over two seasons. Curry will now be in Dallas with a newly-signed two year $6 million deal.
I have to say that these deals were C-level deals at best for the Kings. For a team that has one of the best centers in the league in DeMarcus Cousins they sure haven’t been able to get players who fans feel will help get the team to the next level. In fact,some of us (myself included) actually feel the team might be worse next year. I mean,this team doesn’t even have a point guard on the roster other than Darren Collison who currently has a lot of legal issues right now and whose future is in limbo because of all of this. It also makes me wonder why they couldn’t give Curry more than Dallas did. I like the kid and think he would’ve been great on this roster for another two or three years.
If Vlade Divac and the front office has any way to even acquire a point guard, I’d like to know about it real soon.
Moving to baseball with the only good thing to come from the 2016 Bay Bridge Series,and that’s the Giants and Madison Bumgarner giving the ultimate middle finger to the designated hitter and the American League by having the two-time Silver Slugger pitcher bat for himself in the finale of the series at Oakland Coliseum, the first time any pitcher has done such a thing in an American League ballpark in 40 years. Bumgarner did not disappoint at the plate as he had a double to start a rally of six runs in the third inning which helped the Giants avoid getting swept by Oakland with a 12-6 win on Thursday night.
“It definitely doesn’t happen a lot anymore, so it’s pretty cool to do that,” Bumgarner said. “It definitely had a lot to do with the shape our team’s in right now, but at the same time, it’s a really cool experience.”
As it’s been documented before,I love when pitchers hit for themselves. Yes,most of the time they can’t do so,but they are a part of the team and should contribute at the plate and Bumgarner does just that. He was given an opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done in a very long tie and he made every part of that opportunity count. I hope more National League teams bring their own style of baseball to more American League parks when they go interleague style.
Now we go to hockey and the trade that surprised just about everyone in the hockey world with Oilers forward Taylor Hall going to New Jersey in exchange for defenseman Adam Larsson. Hall was the top overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft and while he has been an exceptional player in his career,he had yet to help the Oilers get over the hump and make the postseason.
Meanwhile,the Oilers did need defense and got some in Larsson. He’s not a top-flight player in any stretch of the imagination,but you never know if he possibly pans out in the end. having said all that,the trade was very lopsided,but for me,it wasn’t a total surprise. I had a feeling that the Oilers were going to make some moves to bring players into their system to build around their franchise piece,Connor McDavid,and I think more not so popular moves might be coming. I wish Hall the best with the Devils,I’m sorry to see you go,but you did the best you could with a bad situation.
When the free agency flood gates opened on Friday,the Oilers subsided the sting of the Hall trade a great deal when they signed forward Milan Lucic to a seven-year $42 million deal. Honestly it was a badly kept secret that he was going to Edmonton,but I really don’t care. I love this signing.
Lucic is a guy that doesn’t let anyone fuck with him or his teammates. If anyone tried to hurt McDavid again,they’re gonna meet Lucic and it isn’t going to be pretty. Not only that,but I think more moves for better talent may be on the way because who wouldn’t want to play with McDavid and Lucic?
I know losing Hall sucks,but I’d like to think of how this team will be better with Lucic on it next season and beyond. While I don’t want to make any playoff predictions for Edmonton,I do know this,messing with this team isn’t happening anymore,not with #27 on the ice in blue and orange.
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