It didn’t take long for former Cleveland Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin to make his presence felt as the general manager of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Many basketball people thought the Cavs made a big mistake when they chose not to meet his demands to stay here and help the franchise rebuild. In his first move with the Pelicans, he traded his star, Anthony Davis, to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for three non-star players and three upcoming draft choices for the next three years.
Even before the trade was made, Las Vegas oddsmakers had the Lakers favored to win next year’s NBA title. The Golden State Warriors will be moving into their new digs in San Francisco and will do so without Kevin Durant, who will miss almost all of next season due to a torn Achilles heel, and possibly Klay Thompson, who tore his ACL.
Even before the trade, the oddsmakers felt former Cav LeBron James would have enough talent with him to win it all. The injury to Durant jumbled several teams at the top of the heap. If Kawhi Leonard chooses not to take the chance to repeat the championship he just won in Toronto, nobody in the East looks strong enough to win.
Even if former Cav Kyrie Irving goes to Brooklyn, which would also weaken the Boston Celtics, there would be no clear-cut favorite in the East.
What the injuries to Durant, Thompson and LeBron James (groin) proved is what we already knew. The human body, including top-level athletes, is not made to withstand the number of games NBA players play, which is 82-regular season games and as many as 28 additional playoff games at high-level speed. James, who will be 35 soon, went to eight straight NBA Finals, which undoubtedly contributed to his groin injury that shut down his season long before it should have.
Rich Paul, James’ friend and agent, is in the same boat as Davis, and clearly colluded to get Davis to the Lakers. There may be more action this week before and after the draft, as the players continue to run the league, and don’t act like the players will make that change.
I will be at Cedar Lee Theatre for the 7:15 p.m June 21 showing of “Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel,” and will lead a discussion group after the movie.
It is the story of the Israel national team, which played in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
The documentary is the David-and-Goliath story that takes this unlikely group of players, including some former major league players, who go from the Holy Land to the tournament in South Korea. The connections to Israel that the players forge pushes them to unexpected heights as they represent Israel on the world stage.
Brad Goldberg, who played for Beachwood High School and now is a pitcher in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization, was on the team.
The film will run until June 26.
There will be T-shirt giveaways and opportunities for photos with the Team Israel unofficial mascot, “The Mensch on the Bench.”
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