Virginia will continue its recent venture into breaking up the annual Duke/North Carolina party in the ACC Tournament again this year.
The Cavaliers, as regular season champs, will likely still not be the favorite if Duke manages to get Zion Williamson back from the longest sprained knee in recent ACC history. Virginia comes into the tourney at 28-2. Both losses were to Duke so it should not surprise anyone if Duke is favored should both teams reach the finals. That is, if Williamson is playing at anything close to full speed.
Actually, it seems as if the whole tourney is resting on the status of Williamson’s knee. If he doesn’t play, then the bracket looks completely different. For instance, Syracuse has a chance to make a run as the #6 seed and North Carolina’s odds of winning improve dramatically.
I see Duke easing Williamson into play as conference tourney time means playing multiple games in a short span of time. His minutes will be reduced I am sure. But his presence on defense, alone, will make the Blue Devils better. Scoring, without Williamson, has not been the problem. It is the defense that has let Duke down during its recent struggles without Williamson.
The unknown makes predicting this tourney tough. I see Virginia in the finals but am not sure who they will be playing. Virginia has taken care of UNC and Duke has lost twice to UNC. Of course, Williamson did not play in either of those games, so who knows. And we do know UVA has not beaten Duke this year.
You make the call.
Could A LeBron Trade Really Happen?
Now that the Los Angeles Lakers have completely fallen out of the playoff race in the NBA West, LeBron James is taking some heat. But I did not think it would go this far.
During another Lakers loss last weekend, TV analyst Jeff Van Gundy made national news , saying the Lakers need to explore trading James this summer. His reasoning stems from the belief they need to rebuild their roster and the players they would get in return for LeBron would put them on their way to a successful future.
Van Gundy was mocked, at first, with his take. But the closer one looks, you could make a case that it would be a good move for the Lakers.
First of all, the Lakers are not making the playoffs this season. And this is with the player, LeBron, who many consider the best player on the planet. They did not make it last year either. So what difference did LeBron really make?
Everyone, including LeBron, thought another star would join him in Los Angeles. That second star that the Lakers so badly need may not be coming before LeBron’s game seriously enters a decline. It has been reported multiple times neither Kawhi Leonard nor Jimmy Butler wanted to play with LeBron. Kevin Durant has made it clear that it would be difficult playing with LeBron. I don’t see Kyrie Irving choosing to try again with LeBron. Paul George wanted to go to LA. That is, until LeBron got there. Anthony Davis has indicated that he would play with LeBron, but New Orleans has said that the Lakers do not have players that interest them.
This likely leaves the Lakers only shot of adding a superstar for LeBron being in the summer of 2021 when Davis becomes a free agent. James will be two years older at that time. Davis would likely prefer playing with a younger team like the Celtics, 76ers, or Knicks.
Besides, as I have written before, LeBron and the Lakers need shooters. That is not Davis’ forte. This move to LA for LeBron could end up being quite the disappointment.
Davis already has to be wondering how he would handle LeBron when James talks to the media about the failings of his teammates or how he lobbies for coaching changes.
So, perhaps Van Gundy is right. The Lakers appear to still be heading nowhere. Van Gundy spoke of how free agents might change their mind and want to move west if LeBron was elsewhere. Leonard wants to be in Los Angeles, but not with LeBron. Perhaps adding the younger Leonard, with the team assembled, plus the assets in return for LeBron, would entice the likes of Durant, Butler, and Irving to make the move.
I know what my first thought was when I heard of this option. I thought LeBron would have a no-trade clause in his contract. But you know what. He does not.
Still, I don’t see it happening. How could anyone trade LeBron James? It would be courageous. But I would not put it past Lakers’ president, Magic Johnson to explore the option.
Tebow Still In Minors
Tim Tebow’s spring training with the New York Mets came to an end last week. He did practice with the 40-man major league roster but was reassigned to the franchise’s minor league camp after two weeks with the big club.
Tebow, now 31, did earn a promotion; however, as he will spend his summer in Syracuse, the new home of the Mets’ Triple-A team.
The former Heisman Trophy winner went 4-for-15 (.267) in his second major league spring training with the Mets.
Tebow was an Eastern League All-Star for Double-A Binghamton last season, but missed the final two months with a broken bone in his right hand. In 84 games, he hit .273 with six homers and 36 RBIs.
Tebow’s late summer will be busy again as he remains a college football analyst for the SEC Network. He sticks to his patented answer to the question of why does he hang around the minors now that he is in his 30’s. Tebow states that he just loves to play that game.
Nothing wrong with that.