Clippers/Lakers To Headline Christmas

Christmas isn’t coming early this year (sorry kids), but we do know what the NBA plans to do for this season’s holiday bash. The slate of games will include the Boston Celtics at the reigning champion Toronto Raptors and the New Orleans Pelicans against the Nuggets in Denver, but will be headlined by a titanic inner city clash between the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers for west coast superiority.

Sports Illustrated

This is sure to be a blockbuster meeting and is likely to be a ratings bonanza as each team of superstars battles against one another to see how will reign supreme at the Staples Center. Will it be Kawhi and Paul George or will LeBron and Anthony Davis take home those honors?

McCollum And Blazers Extend Deal

With two years remaining on his contract, CJ McCollum and the Portland Trail Blazers have each moved to take any lingering doubts and pressures away.  That’s because the two parties have agreed to an additional three years, making him a representative of the club for the next five years, for a total of $100 million over those three seasons.

USA Today

McCollum joins his back court mate Damian Lillard in landing big deals this summer, as the team hopes to push on after making it all the way to the Western Conference Finals last season.  McCollum has averaged over 20 points per game in the regular season over the past two years but has averaged nearly 25 in the playoffs.

Zion Gets Massive Shoe Deal

Zion Williamson is set to also make a ton of money, too, at least if sources are to be believed. The newest New Orleans Pelicans star is said to have signed a deal to become the highest-paid rookie in regards to his shoe deal.

ESPN.com

It’s stated that the Jordan brand will be paying him somewhere in the region of nine digits over the course of the next five years. He will join the likes of Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul, who just swapped places with one another, as members of the Jordan ‘family.’

Beal Offered Three-Year Extension

With the Washington Wizards set to rebuild, yet again, many felt that Bradley Beal would not be a part of their plans going forward. But, according to sources, their new GM Tommy Sheppard will offer Beal an extension that will keep him with the team for the next five seasons that’s said to be worth $111 million over three years.

Sports Illustrated

It’s also stated that the Wizards would be open to having him sign for one or two more years as well, as they try to use him to build around for the future. Apparently, there are no talks of trading him, as many had believed there might be, so he does appear to be ‘stuck’ in Washington for the foreseeable future, barring him making a stink like so many players have in recent years.

Paul To Heat Stalls

If sources are to be believed, then Chris Paul’s potential move to the Miami Heat is in serious jeopardy. At least for this season. The Oklahoma City Thunder, who just acquired the point guard in a deal that saw them exchange Russell Westbrook for him, are said to now be resigned to keeping him and having him play part, if not all, of the 2019-20 season for them.

NBA.com India

In fact, it is claimed that Paul feels it is best for him to do so. That’s because hardly any teams have cap space after the deal was made so late in free agency, making it very likely he will not be able to join another team until next summer.

Simmons Agrees Sixers Deal

It had been a long time coming, but it looks like the Philadelphia 76ers and guard Ben Simmons have reached a deal on the extension of his contract. The Australian, according to his agent, is set to sign on the dotted line for five more years and will receive $170 million for it. The team and player’s reps had been in talks dating back quite a while and needed to make a decision before October.

Sports Illustrated

But apparently GM Elton Brand, a former player in his own right, wanted to get the job done quickly and efficiently and has thus gotten it effectively out of the way so the his team can get to business on the court. Simmons, who averaged nearly 17 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists per game last season, will first be playing for his nation at this summer’s FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Davis Skipping US Camp

Anthony Davis, in a bid to concentrate on the upcoming NBA season with the Los Angeles Lakers, has decided to forgo attending the USA basketball training camp, according to sources.

Yahoo Sports

By doing so, it also means that the former Pelicans center will not be included in the FIBA Basketball World Cup team, either. It’s said that he would still like to be considered for a place in the 2020 Olympic team, however, so we will have to wait and see if this changes his standing in the coaching staff’s eyes.

Paul Switching Places With Westbrook

In the latest of what has been a long series of huge NBA offseason moves, the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder have shaken up the Western Conference. A trade, according to sources, was agreed on Thursday by the two parties and will see point guards Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook switch places. OKC will take Paul and two first round picks (in 2024 and 2026) while the Rockets will bring in Westbrook. The two teams will also be swapping their picks in the 2021 and 2025 drafts.

12up

The move is one that smacks of a bit of desperation for Houston, who had already seemed to have been out of options. This is the last one they had, and it’s a desperate one simply due to the fact that Westbrook and James Harden didn’t exactly have the best relationship in their Thunder days. However, they have gotten younger, gotten a player out in Paul that didn’t want to be there, and still have two stone cold killers that can put points. Paul, meanwhile, shows that OKC aren’t throwing in the towel just yet, though it’s hard to see how they plan to remain competitive.

Leonard On Three-Year Clips Deal

News of Kawhi Leonard’s deal to join the Los Angeles Clippers last week set off ripples inside the whole league. Not only was Leonard going back, but fellow California native Paul George would be joining him. More details of the deal came out on Wednesday, and according to sources, Leonard will be signed on for three years.

Sports Illustrated

The deal is worth $103.1 million in that stretch, a far cry from what he could have made guaranteed. However, it’s thought that the move is being made so that he and George can be free agents again come 2021, thus allowing the pair to make their next decision together. Both of them will undoubtedly, barring injuries, make a lot of money come that time and will have a great shot at landing titles in the mean time.

NBA Allowing Coaches To Challenge

For the first time in the history of the NBA, coaches will be allowed to make challenges, beginning in the 2019-20 season. The rule, which has been tested in the developmental G League for the past two years, will give coaches the chance to challenge one call over the course of a game and will be on trial for this coming season. This is only allowed once, even if you are successful with the challenge, and coaches are required to have and take a timeout in order to make the attempt.

Inquirer Sports

It can be used to try to overturn a number of calls, but it will not be able to be sued in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter because all potential out-of-bounds calls, goaltending, or interference calls will be automatically reviewed. This is progress for sure, though it is tough to see how it’s going to go right out of the gates.