Are the 2019 Warriors turning into the 1989 Lakers?

In 1989, the Los Angeles Lakers were looking to be the first team to win three straight NBA titles since the Celtics did it in the 1960s. After having the best record in Western Conference, and working their way to the NBA Finals, Los Angeles seemed poised to three-peat, but for that to happen, the Lakers needed to beat the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons, a team Los Angeles beat in a tight, seven-game series in the 1988 NBA Finals.

However, on their way to trying to win three straight NBA titles, the 1988-89 Los Angeles Lakers ran into some problems. Before Game 1 of the 1989 NBA Finals, Byron Scott injured his hamstring in practice, which forced him to miss the series. Also, in Game 2, the regular season MVP, Magic Johnson would injure his hamstring, which caused him to miss the rest of the series. Those injuries were a big reason why the Pistons swept the Lakers in the 1989 NBA Finals.

Thirty years later we could be seeing a similar script with the 2018-19 Golden State Warriors. The Warriors are trying to three-peat, and after losing Game 3 123-109, the Raptors lead the NBA Finals 2-1.

Golden State is without Kevin Durant, who has not played in the NBA FInals and has been ruled out of Game 4 after injuring his calf in Western Conference semifinals against Houston, and they were without Klay Thompson in Game 3. Good thing for the Warriors, Thompson is expected to return in Game 4. How healthy Thompson will be is uncertain. Kevon Looney, who has contributed off the Warriors’ bench, could miss the rest of the series with a non-displaced first costal cartilage fracture. Also, star C DeMarcus Cousins recently returned from a quad injury,  and while he was effective in Game 2, he was not very good in Game 3 and looked very sluggish.

The Warriors are breaking down right in front of our eyes.

Golden State has played a lot of basketball in the last five seasons. The Warriors have been to the NBA Finals five straight years. Before the 1989 Finals, the Lakers had played in three out the last four NBA Finals. 1989 made it four out of five NBA Finals appearances for Los Angeles.

While the Lakers were able to make it back to the NBA Finals in 1991(lost to Bulls in five), the Lakers’ Dynasty was pretty much done after 1989.

Could the Warriors suffer a similar fate? Durant and Thompson can become free agents in the summer. Thompson is probably going to return, but Durant’s return is still up in the air at this point.

Anything can happen, but as the Finals continue on, it is becoming evident that the 2019 Warriors could end up like the 1989 Lakers.

 

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Jay Williams on LeBron’s reaction to Magic leaving Lakers: ‘You did the same thing twice'(Video)

When former Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson abruptly quit before the team’s season finale, many were surprised, including LeBron James.

“Man, get the f— out of my face,” James recently said about his initial reaction to Magic leaving on “The Shop,” which airs on HBO. “You b******ng.”

Today, former NBA player Jay Williams gave his thoughts on James’ reaction to Magic leaving the Lakers on ESPN’s First Take:

It is slightly different. Magic quit right on the spot, and the two times LeBron left Cleveland, he did it as a free agent, which means he fulfilled his contract. So, it was his right to leave the Cavaliers. Just like it is Magic’s right to quit his job with the Lakers, but I find what Magic did to be a little worse because you don’t leave a job in that way, especially without telling a woman who you have a lot of respect for in Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.

Is this LeBron’s karma for the way he left Cleveland? Who knows, but in life, what goes around,  comes around.

Magic Johnson: ‘I was happier when I wasn’t president'(VIDEO)

In a total shocker, Magic Johnson has resigned as president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 59-year-old Johnson made the announcement before the team’s game against the Blazers on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. Johnson took over for Mitch Kupchak in February 2017.

According to Johnson, he had not told Lakers owner Jeanie Buss or GM Rob Pelinka about his decision.

Obviously, the highlight of Johnson’s time with Lakers was the signing of LeBron James. The biggest disappointment has to be not making the playoffs this season.

Listen below as Magic explains why he is stepping down:

 

Rondo: ‘I’m ready to help develop Lonzo as much as possible’

After the signing of LeBron James, there’s an energy with the Lakers that we have not seen in a long time. Along the way, there will be many storylines to follow with the Lakers as the 2018-19 season approaches.

One of those many storylines is the point guard battle between the incumbent, Lonzo Ball and the challenger, Rajon Rondo, who was signed by the Lakers this summer. Ball, 20, is expected to be the starter, but according to Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, there would be an open competition for all positions except for whatever position LeBron James plays, so it should be interesting to see how that plays out.

According to Rondo, 32, he will do whatever he asks to do in Los Angeles, which includes helping with the development of Ball.

“Whatever they ask me, my main objective is to win. I’m ready to help develop Lonzo as much as possible,” Rondo told TMZ Sports. “If I’m not starting and he’s starting, he’s going to be ready to go and ready for anybody that comes his way. And we’ll be ready to roll.”

When asked if Ball could be the next Rondo, the four-time All-Star had this to say:

“He’s himself. We’re all individuals. He’s his own person. I’m pretty sure he wants to be better than me as he should at a young age. He has a lot of talent,” Rondo said.

The Rondo, Ball dynamic could get very interesting, especially if Rondo is outplaying Ball. Magic Johnson has been on record as saying he was hoping to find a mentor for Ball, and if everything goes as planned, Rondo could be that guy. Rondo and Ball have a similar skill set, so maybe Rondo can help Ball get to the next level.

John Salley talks Magic-Isiah feud(watch)

On Tuesday, we saw Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas reconcile after many years of tension. The two Hall of Famers discussed their beef and ultimately hugged it out at the end on NBA TV’s Players Only Monthly. Before their feud, Johnson and Thomas were the best of friends.

Former Piston John Salley, who played with Thomas in Detroit, gave his thoughts on the Magic-Isiah feud.

Salley told TMZ Sports some interesting things about this dispute.

Take a listen:

LaVar Ball: ‘Magic won in his first year as a rookie. That’s what Lonzo’s going to do. It took Jordan seven years’

Things are falling into place for LaVar Ball. From the beginning, he wanted Lonzo Ball to go to the Lakers. With the way things are going, Ball probably will be a Laker on Thursday night.

We all know LaVar likes to talk; he did a lot of talking to GQ Magazine. In the latest issue of the magazine, Ball had this to say about Lonzo and the Lakers:

“And don’t think he going to the NBA and be happy to be there. He’s going to murder people. I think he’ll be a Laker. The only dude who can talk to him is Magic. He’s going to put his arm around him and talk to him. Magic won in his first year—as a rookie. That’s what Lonzo’s going to do. It took Jordan seven years.”

Magic Johnson won a championship as a rookie. It took Jordan seven years to get a ring. Is LaVar saying that the Lakers will win a title next year?

You be the judge!

LaVar Ball on Lonzo: ‘Everybody knows he gonna be a Laker’

For months, LaVar Ball has been saying that his son Lonzo Ball will be a Laker.  Based off reports, that have Lonzo Ball going to the Lakers, it seems LaVar just might have been right.

“Everybody knows he(Lonzo) gonna be a Laker,” LaVar told TMZ Sports on Monday.

Things are looking up in Lakerland. Magic Johnson is running the show; Paul George could be on his way at some point, and they might have found their point guard of the future in Ball.

We’ll see if LaVar was right all along come Thursday night.

 

Report: Paul George to leave Pacers at end of 2017-18 season; Indiana looking to trade George

Paul George told the Indiana Pacers that he will opt out of his contract at the end of the 2017-18 season, and become a free agent, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.  George, who reportedly would like to play for the Lakers, told the Pacers he would leave the team in the summer of 2018, according to the report.

While George has not requested a trade, the Pacers have reached out to the Cavaliers and other teams to gauge their interest in George, according to Wojnarowski. Obviously, based off what we saw in the 2017 NBA Finals, the Cavs could use the services of George, then again, a lot of teams could use a Paul George. According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Pacers are going to move fast in terms of trying to deal George.

Being that the Southern California native will test free agency in the summer of 2018, it becomes a gamble for any team to trade for him, especially if George has a big time interest in the Lakers. However, if a team trades for George, and he likes that situation, maybe a team could convince him to stay.

The 27-year-old George could possibly change the balance of power in the NBA, particularly if he goes to a contender.

Robert Horry on Lonzo Ball: ‘He’s not Magic Johnson’

After the NBA Draft Lottery, where the Lakers got the number two pick in the draft, many thought that Lonzo Ball would be headed to the Lakers. Now, based off various reports, you wonder if Ball to the Lakers will happen.

UCLA broadcaster and former NBA player Tracy Murray favorably compared Ball to Magic Johnson. However, former Lakers star Robert Horry feels differently. Horry gave TMZ Sports his thoughts on Ball. When asked if he felt Ball could bring the Lakers back to prominence, Horry had this to say:

“He’s not Magic Johnson. Only Magic can do that, so, he’s no Kobe Bryant,” Horry said.

Horry does believe that Ball should work out for other NBA teams.

With all indications that Markelle Fultz is going to Philly, it looks like Ball will be there for the Lakers at two.  Ball to the Lakers just makes too much sense.  He is everything the Lakers need on and off the court. His style of play seems to fit with what the Lakers are trying to do in terms of pace; He will bring fans to the Staples Center, and give the team a buzz that it has not had in years.

I don’t see Magic passing on Ball, but anything is possible.

 

 

UCLA broadcaster and former NBA player Tracy Murray on Lonzo Ball: ‘He’s like Magic Johnson’

Earlier this week, Lonzo Ball worked out with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers hold the second pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Many have compared Ball to Lakers great Magic Johnson.  Did Magic Johnson see himself during Ball’s workout with the team? According to former NBA star, and current color commentator for the radio broadcast of UCLA basketball Tracy Murray, maybe Magic did see a little of himself during that workout.

“If you guys are expecting him to go get 25, 30 points a game that’s not going to happen. He may get it every now and then, but he’s the type of guy, he’s like a Magic Johnson, man,” Murray told Paul Gant.

“He’s going to make everybody else on his team better. He rather win the game, than to be the guy that goes out and gets 30 a game and lose. He’s a total team guy first, and I think that’s valuable. Especially in this day and age to value the team first, put them first in a “me society” where everybody is trying to get paid. He’s going to get his money because he’s going to win championships because he’s making everybody else better,” Murray said.

Murray expects Lonzo Ball to impact the game in many different ways on the next level:

“I expect big things, and people are going to look at it like, ‘man, he’s only averaging like 15 points a game, what’s the big deal?’ That’s not the big deal. It’s 15, 10 or 11 assists, seven, eight rebound, couple steals, and you win. That’s the big deal.”

When asked if teams should worry about Lonzo Ball’s father LaVar, Murray had this to say:

“No, because he didn’t get in the way of what UCLA was doing, so expect him not to get in the way of whatever a NBA team is doing,” Murray said.  

Murray does have one concern when it comes to LaVar Ball:

“The only thing you have to worry about with LaVar Ball is going on these shows and talking. That’s what you’re going to see out of him. If there’s a question that’s going to be asked of him, and maybe things are not going as well as it should. He’s going to point it out. He’s not going to sugarcoat it,” Murray said. “Now, that’s the only thing you gotta to worry about with LaVar Ball, but you’re not going to have to worry about him coming in the office and say, ‘look you need to this with my son, we going to do this, we going to do that.’ Yes, he talks that on-air, but he’s never interfered with UCLA basketball in that manner, and I don’t think he’ll do it on the NBA level.”

Based on what Murray is saying, Lonzo Ball is a franchise caliber player. Should be interesting to see if Magic Johnson believes Lonzo Ball is Magic Johnson come draft day!