The world champion Philadelphia Eagles made a splash move before the NFL trade deadline on Tuesday. Philly acquired WR Golden Tate from the Detroit Lions for a 2019 third-round pick. With the move, the Eagles add a big play wide receiver to the lineup, which gives QB Carson Wentz another weapon.
While Wentz(1788 yards, 17 TDs) has played well this season, the Eagles were in need of another weapon on the offensive side of the ball. I think Philly had enough talent before the acquisition of Tate to win the NFC East, but is this move enough to put Philly up there with the Rams and Saints in the NFC? Maybe. Defensively, Philly is holding teams to 19.5 ppg, which is seventh in the league. Also, they still have Wentz, who is a top-10 quarterback, so the Eagles at 4-4 can still be a factor in the NFC.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith is a big fan of this move.
Listen to what Smith had to say on ESPN’s First Take on Wednesday:
On Sunday, the Bengals went into Atlanta and beat the Falcons 37-36, and after the first quarter of the NFL season, the Cincinnati Bengals are 3-1, which puts them tied with the Ravens atop of the AFC North. (Bengals hold the tie-breaker after beating Baltimore in Week 2).
Cincy is playing some really good football right now, but some don’t believe in this team, including ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who had this to say about the Bengals on Monday.
At this point, Marvin Lewis has this team playing well, and they’re getting quality play from QB Andy Dalton, who has thrown 11 touchdowns after four weeks. Smith is correct about the team’s failures in the playoffs under Lewis(0-7 in playoffs), but if Dalton continues to play at this level, Cincy can get to the playoffs, and maybe, just maybe they will break through this time around.
The Boston Celtics are one of the favorites in Eastern Conference, especially with the return of their two best players, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. With LeBron James out of the East, and if Boston stays healthy, there is a good shot they get to the NBA Finals.
Arguably, the Celtics best player is Irving, and the five-time All-Star can become a free agent at the end of the season, but the 26-year-old Irving recently told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that he wants to stay in Boston.
However, according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, even though Irving is happy in Boston, he should still test free agency.
Last season, Irving missed the playoffs due to a knee injury.
It would not hurt for Irving to see what is out there, especially if he confident in his ability to stay healthy. In my opinion, he should test free agency. It’s always good to have options in life, and by becoming a free agent, Irving would have options.
After LeBron James decided to leave Cleveland to play with the Lakers, the East has become wide open. The Raptors, who were the number one seed in Eastern Conference last season, should be better after acquiring Kawhi Leonard. The Philadelphia 76ers have two cornerstone players in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and the Boston Celtics will get back maybe their two best players in Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving.
“Oh, we’re getting to the Finals. No question about it,” Celtics’ Jaylen Brown told CJ McCollum’s “Pull Up” podcast.
Brown is confident, and the Celtics are confident, but Toronto with Leonard is going to be tough beat, so says ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.
Listen below as Smith talks Raptors and Celtics:
The East will come down to Boston, Philly, and Toronto with the Celtics being the favorite, but there are no guarantees that the Celtics won’t have any chemistry issues next season. With the return of Hayward and Irving, guys who were getting a lot of minutes last year, won’t be getting those same type of minutes next season. Therefore, that is something to keep an eye on going into the 2018-19 NBA season.
The NBA will announce the complete schedule of games for the upcoming 2018-19 season on Friday. Today, the league announced the national television schedule for the opening week of the season, Christmas Day games, and three Martin Luther King Jr. Day games on TNT.
On Christmas Day, LeBron James and the Lakers will travel to Oracle Arena to battle the world champion Golden State Warriors. For James, it will be a rematch of the NBA Finals, but for the rest of the Lakers, it will be an opportunity to show the Warriors and the rest of the NBA that they are for real.
While many are looking forward to the Lakers-Warriors, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has some concerns
“My concern here is the Lakers are going to get blown out the building,” Smith said on First Take today.
Listen below as Smith gives his take on Lakers-Warriors on Christmas Day:
So much can happen between now and Christmas Day. Therefore, I’ll let this one play itself out.
With Kawhi Leonard on the roster, the Toronto Raptors have put themselves in position to be one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors won a franchise-best 59 games last season, but because they failed in the playoffs, changes were made. They fired their head coach, Dwane Casey, and traded their leading scorer in DeMar DeRozan. Now, Toronto has reloaded and looking to take that next step.
At this point, Leonard can become a free agent at the end of the season, and the two-time All-Star reportedly wants to play with the Lakers. However, according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Leonard to the Los Angeles is not a sure thing:
Take a listen:
In the end, anything can happen, but for now, the Raptors have a player that can take them to the next level, especially with LeBron James out of the Eastern Conference.
At this point, we can only assume where Kawhi Leonard wants to play next season. He reportedly wants out of San Antonio and wants to be in Los Angeles. In terms of whether that is with the Clippers or Lakers, no one truly knows.
Leonard, 27, has put the Spurs in a tight spot because of his reported desire to be in Los Angeles.
“All Kawhi wants to do is get the hell out of San Antonio and end up in L.A,” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith today on First Take.
The Spurs still have to do what is best for their organization. If I’m the Spurs, and I’m trading Leonard to a Western Conference team, I would rather deal him to the Clippers.
There is no way I would want LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard on the same team. That combination would be tough to beat for years to come!
The ideal situation is to trade Leonard to the Eastern Conference, but you may not get enough back in return because those teams are not sure they can re-sign the two-time All-Star.
Leonard can opt out of his contract after next season.
It’s a new day for the Los Angeles Lakers. They have their marquee star with the addition of LeBron James and trying to get another star in Kawhi Leonard.
With LeBron in the fold, it’s time for L.A. to build a championship team, which means you may need a championship caliber coach.
According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, that coach could be Phil Jackson, who won 11 titles as the coach for the Bulls and Lakers. The last time we saw the 72-year-old Jackson, he struggled mightily as an executive for the New York Knicks. As we all know, James and Jackson are not on the best of terms after Jackson called LeBron’s crew a “posse,” but feelings can change.
Listen to what Smith had to say about Jackson and the Lakers:
Kawhi Leonard and Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich met in San Diego on Tuesday, according to ESPN.
According to the report, Leonard wants a trade to Los Angeles, preferably the Lakers over the Clippers, league sources said. He has privately maintained that he no longer wants to play in San Antonio and will eventually alert rival teams considering trades for him that his intention is to sign in Los Angeles when he can become a free agent in 2019, league sources said.
With Leonard reportedly telling teams that he intends to go to Los Angeles, it makes it harder for San Antonio to get full value for him.
Unless Popovich feels he can get a decent return for Leonard from the Lakers or the Clippers, he has to continue to try to work it out with Leonard.
The two-time All-Star has two years left on his contract but can opt out after next season. Therefore, the Spurs, in theory, can keep Leonard around another season with the hope that he will change his mind.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith believes it’s over between Leonard and San Antonio.
“He is going to be in L.A., there is no way around that,” Smith said on First Take.
When Kevin Durant decided to sign with the Warriors in the summer of 2016, many believed that Golden State had a team that was going to be tough to beat for years to come, and at this point, that seems to be true.
The Warriors won a title with Durant last season, and are currently up 2-0 on the Cavs in the 2018 NBA Finals.
Game 3 is Thursday night in Cleveland.
According to reports, Durant, 29, is expected to opt out of his contract this summer, but will re-sign with the Warriors.
However, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith does not expect Durant to stay with the Warriors for the rest of his career.
Listen to what Smith had to say on First Take on Tuesday: