NBA Free Agency 2018 Carousel

Fun Destination ideas for the NBA's Top Free Agents

More fun than Michael Beasley explaining neuroscience.


Often times, the NBA is all about winning. Winning is what makes your franchise money, and thus is typically the primary focus. However, I want to take a break from the seriousness and look at some fun destinations for some of the NBA's top free agents -- whether they make sense or not.

Free Agent #1: Paul George Destination: Houston Rockets

Watching the Western Conference Finals was fun, as both teams pulled their starting centers in favor of lineups that prioritized shooting, speed, and defensive versatility. While the Warriors used All-Star Draymond Green as their nominal center, the Rockets used PJ Tucker at the 5. Tucker played admirably, and it's always fun to watch a 6'6" center with a mean streak pull down rebounds, but what if the Rockets had Paul George to add to the equation?

A small ball lineup of Chris Paul, James Harden, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza (a pending free agent himself), and Paul George is not only financially possible, but would be an incredibly switchy team that could the Warriors a taste of their own medicine. And there's nothing more fun to me and the fans of the 29 other teams than to watch the Warriors lose.

Free Agent #2: DeMarcus Cousins Destination: Washington Wizards

Personally, I've been dreaming of a John Wall-DeMarcus "Boogie" Cousins reunion ever since the closing seconds of their Kentucky squad's loss to West Virginia in the Elite Eight all those years ago. Wall may be the only person that can truly get all the good out of Boogie. With neither of them accomplishing much winning outside of that NCAA March Madness run, it's worth looking at the idea that being together is what both of them need. DeMarcus won't come cheaply, as evidenced by recent social media comments and likes, and Washington is all but capped out at the moment.

Trading away recently maxed forward Otto Porter Jr. and playoff scapegoat Marcin Gortat could potentially make the money work, as long as they were shipped off without taking on more salary. Washington also possesses the 15th pick in the upcoming draft, and have Kelly Oubre looking to take on a larger role. If the Wizards take Kentucky combo forward Kevin Knox, their new starting lineup would have intriguing potential:

PG Wall

SG Bradley Beal

SF Oubre

PF Knox

C Cousins

Worst case scenario, it all blows up in Washington's face with Wall and Cousins yelling at each other until they are purple in the face. Best case, Washington escapes the mediocrity purgatory they are currently in. Either way, I would pay money to see the drama go down.

Free Agent #3: LeBron James Destination: New York Knicks

LeBron James likely isn't staying in Cleveland. Reports are showing that he probably won't go to Houston either. LeBron's next stop needs to allow him to maximize his success on the court and achieve his business related goals. New York has the potential to be both. LeBron would get to share the floor with Kristaps Porzingis, an NBA unicorn who truly has limitless ceiling. Porzingis would complement LeBron well with floor spacing and defensive versatility. The rest of the Knicks' roster is less than stellar, but Porzingis is a prize starting point, and guys like Frank Ntilikina still have intriguing potential. There is no greater place to expand a brand than in New York, and the Knicks have a rich history. Seeing the King play on the biggest stage on Earth would be highly appealing.

Free Agent #4: Kevin Durant Destination: Oklahoma City Thunder

Hm, this feels familiar. Star player fails to win a title with old team. Player goes to conference rival. Player goes on to win a couple titles and Finals MVPs. Player ultimately decides to head home and help their old team win a title. Sounds a bit like Free Agent #3 right? This would be next to impossible to happen, as Kevin Durant has already told ESPN he plans to sign back with Golden State. Additionally, the money is tight right now in OKC, and moving Carmelo Anthony would be the first domino to fall. However, Durant has picked up a reputation as being a snake, and it wouldn't be far-fetched to see him try to rehabilitate his public image by going home. The Thunder may not be too keen on the idea, as their fans have not been hospitable to their former star when he's returned to Chesapeake Arena to play in a visiting team's uniform. But if a team is able to get a superstar, former MVP, and two-time Finals MVP, they do it.

Free Agent #5: Clint Capela Destination: Phoenix Suns

This would likely only happen if Houston signs PG13, re-signs CP3, and decides that the offer extended to Capela was simply too great. While not a reasonable scenario, pragmatics be damned, Capela would be just plain fun in Phoenix. Capela has developed into a personal favorite of mine, becoming a huge boon for Houston and blossoming from a role player into a key cog. Capela was once only a rim-running big, but now has come into his own as a defensive menace, and ultimately making everyone forget about the Dwightmare Era. Signing Capela would allow the Suns to cut bait with center Alex Len and trade failed prospect Marquese Chriss, but also stay up on a trend of many playoffs teams. The 2018 playoffs showed that wings are better players to have in crunch-time situations due to their ability to shoot, handle, and pass, all while chasing big men off the floor. A Capela signing would signal that the Suns would skip choosing center Deandre Ayton, and instead be able to choose elite European wingman Luka Doncic. Doncic better fits the mold of what NBA teams want and need to in order to be competitive, and Doncic can play positions 1-4, which would come up huge in future playoff matchups. A 2018 Suns lineup could look like this:

PG Doncic

SG Devin Booker

SF Josh Jackson

PF Dragan Bender

C Capela

That group could compete sooner rather than later, with a great balance of ball-handlers, high-fliers, and outside shooters. Not a single player from the group would be older than 24, making them intriguing playoff contenders for years to come.

This group may be small but they will make a huge difference in the basketball future.

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Everything The Student Athlete Loses When They Move On From Sports

Enjoy it while it lasts.


We used to call it "flipping the switch." You would go through eight hours of school (somehow) and then your mentality would automatically change. The worries and stress from the school day would dwindle as you put on your cleats and begin to warm up. Anything that was going on in your life didn't matter when you hit the dirt. You create lifelong friendships with the girls you spent every day with for months at a time. Teammates who see you susceptible after a bad game and on cloud nine after one of your bests.

You develop a routine and superstitions. Hitting your bat on the inside of your cleat before you hit, chewing a certain type of gum on the volleyball court, how many times you spin the ball before you shoot a free throw, whatever your quirk was, you 100% believed it would make you play better. You practice in your free time with your dad, devote three to five months of your school year to a team, and play all summer long with your travel team as you live off hotel breakfast. Then one day, it's all over.

It is a feeling that nobody can prepare you for. They say enjoy it while it lasts but you never really understand what you'll be walking away from when you play your last game and hang it up for good. You lose a part of yourself when you're no longer an athlete. I forgot what it feels like to be competitive and be a part of something that is bigger than myself. It has been two years since I've played my last softball game and not a day goes by when I don't miss it. I didn't play because I wanted to go pro or even to the collegiate level, but I played because it was an escape and helped me become who I am.

You begin to forget what it felt like to hit the sweet spot on a bat, what it sounded like to have an audience cheer for you as you stand alone on second base and see your family in the stands, to hear the metal spikes of your cleats on concrete when walking in the dugout. It's simple things about the game you love that brought you pure joy and an escape from the world and the thoughts in your head. Batting practice was always mine. Focusing on nothing but the next pitch and how hard I could hit it.

When you have to watch the game from the other side of the fence, you realize how much pressure you put on yourself when you played. It's just a game. Make as many memories as you can and enjoy every inning because when you leave sports behind you have to find your inner athlete in other things. Create a workout routine, joining a club sport or intramurals, or even becoming a coach. As much as I miss the sport, I am thankful for everything it brought me. It taught me how to be a good friend, respect others around me, and to push myself to discover what I was capable of.

So, enjoy it while it lasts.

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A Return For Rob Gronkowski Is Closer Than It Appears

It would not come as a complete surprise if Gronkowski decides to return from retirement


I am going to come out on a limb here and say this, but I would be remiss if I did not declare that Rob Gronkowski and retirement do not sit well. Almost to the point where I could see him coming out of retirement before the start of the 2019 NFL season. Just like Michael Jordan did (more than once), just like Brett Farve did, and just like Roger Clemens did, if you say you are "retired" it does not necessarily mean that you are for good.

Better known as "Gronk," the former Patriots tight end Gronkowski announced his retirement at the end of this last season after the Patriots won the Super Bowl. Gronk's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told Peter King that it wouldn't shock him if Gronkowski decided to come back before the year is over. We have been made aware that the wear and tear on Gronk's body has worn him down through the years. However, maybe after several months off for some R&R; he might be persuaded to come back sometime during next season.

At 29 years old, Rob is still very young so it wouldn't be out of the question to rule out a return to the NFL entirely. If Tom Brady is struggling without his big target and expresses this to Gronk, it would be a real possibility he could return to help out his former teammates. Not only that but Gronkowski is a winner through and through. If his team is not playing to the standard he believes they are capable of doing, he certainly will not ride off quietly into the sunset. He will express his dissatisfaction to coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft who surely will do something about it.

We have seen it been done before, football players coming back to the NFL after retiring. The most recent of examples is Jason Witten; the former Pro-Bowler announced earlier this year he is coming back to the NFL after spending one season on Monday Night Football as a TV analyst.

Another recent example is Marshawn Lynch. The Seattle running back also retired at 29 years old, which is longer than the usual shelf life of most running backs in the NFL. After retirement, he requested that the Seattle Seahawks trade his rights to his hometown Oakland Raiders so he could come back to the NFL but with a new uniform.

Of course, Gronk is enjoying his retirement as of now. He definitely has the personality of the life of the party. It's not uncommon to see videos of him dancing at parties on different social media platforms.

While I don't like the Patriots, and remember how annoying it was to see Brady and Gronk march down the field, he was a top-tier athlete. Gronk made a great decision to go out after a Super Bowl win and seeing his competitive nature, I don't think he would have it any other way. We will have to wait and see, but I think there is a real chance that we haven't seen the last of Gronk suiting up and taking the field.

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