Western Conference Trade Deadline 2015

The trade deadline is just a couple days away, and teams on the cusp are making their final push to acquire a player who can help elevate them to “true” contender status.  They target teams looking to change direction (like Brooklyn) and willing to unload their assets like a fire sale in Call of Duty, hoping to flip them for future draft picks or expiring contracts.   

Before I get into the possible trades, I’ve established 3 rules so I don’t find myself talking about which teams should try to give up all their assets for Anthony Davis (probably the whole league).

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Rising Big Men: Whiteside vs. D-Mo

Every NBA season, we see a few obscure names emerge from the depths of anonymity.  Some players explode for a stretch when a teammate goes down with an injury.  Others find their niche and role on a new team with a different system.  There are also those who just haven’t been given a chance until now.

This year, a plethora of young big men have been able to rise to the occasion, but a few names separate themselves from the rest: Hassan Whiteside, Donatas Motiejunas, Rudy Gobert and Jusuf Nurkic.  While none of these four players are even close to becoming household names, their performances have been noteworthy and their futures look bright.  

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R-E-L-A-X, It's Only December

Remember when everyone in Green Bay was panicking about the Packers’ 1-2 start?  After suffering defeats at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions, quarterback Aaron Rodgers took to the mic and reminded everyone to “R-E-L-A-X.”  Since Rodgers’ memo, the Packers have rattled off seven wins in eight tries and sit atop the NFC North.

Which brings me to the NBA… We are officially at that dangerous point in the season where the sample size of games is large enough that critics and fans think they know everything that the season has in store for them.  Contenders and title favorites are declared, struggling high-profile teams are overanalyzed, and MVPs are crowned.

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Clippers' Seven Game Swing

After stumbling to a 5-4 start, the Clippers have rebounded with the most successful road trip in franchise history.  They won an unprecedented six out of seven games with the only loss coming to an emerging Memphis Grizzlies team led by darkhorse MVP candidate Marc Gasol.  It helps that the opposition was softer than usual; the wins came against Orlando, Miami (without Dwyane Wade), Charlotte, Detroit, Houston (without Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones, Patrick Beverley), and Utah.  Regardless, the Clippers won these games in convincing fashion and look to have snapped out of their funk.  They became the first team in NBA history to have an average win margin above 11 in a road trip of seven games or longer, proving their dominance as of late.

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Super Morris Bros. & Their Unique Contract

Not much separates twins Markieff and Marcus Morris off the basketball court.  Markieff, the older of the two, is an inch taller and around ten pounds heavier, but their biggest difference is probably their preference in football teams; Marcus is a Philadelphia Eagles fan, while Markieff roots for their rivals, the Dallas Cowboys.  Otherwise, the Morrises are as identical as can be (even though they are surprisingly fraternal twins).  When they were attending the University of Kansas, the twins always had the same haircut and facial hair, drove the same car, signed up for the same classes, and listened to the same music.  They even have the exact same tattoos to this day, no easy feat when you have this much ink on your body.

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3x3: Rockets Up, Clips Down, K.J. Everywhere

The 2014-15 NBA Season is rolling along.  It’s still early, but teams are beginning to show their true colors, players are figuring out their roles, and fans are beginning to form their opinions.  So in case you’ve missed out on the action, the Franchise is here to break down three hot topics from the NBA in three days.  This is part 3, but you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.  So without further ado…

What has surprised you most thus far in the NBA season?

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Lakers No Laughingstock

Stop the presses, and stop laughing.

The Lakers may have lost Tuesday night to the Memphis Grizzlies, but their performance was a worthy follow-up to a convincing win two nights ago against the Charlotte Hornets. They parlayed that 107-92 victory, keyed by a huge third-quarter rally, into a valiant assault on the league’s best home team. And they nearly won.

The game was tight until, with 6:50 remaining in the fourth, the Grizzlies opened up a 17-point lead.

You’re forgiven for suffering pangs of deja vu. This Lakers team has displayed an early-season predilection for folding late.

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NBA Opening Night: Five Takeaways

The 2014-15 NBA Season has officially tipped off, and it looks like we’re in for an extremely entertaining year of basketball.  Only three games have been played, but we got a glimpse into what all six teams look like in competitive action that actually counts.  

Now I know it is dangerous to jump to conclusions so early in the season, but there were still a lot of telling signs in regards to teams' identities and players' roles and capabilities.  So whether you were able to catch the games or not, let's review some intriguing developments from Tuesday:

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Predictions: Busts of the 2014-15 NBA Season

The one and only Jake Weiner from (D)Roses & Thorns and I have collaborated to pinpoint this year’s busts in the NBA.  I’m talking about the Larry Sanderses and the Josh Smiths of last year.  Whether it’s injuries, age, or simply not fitting in on a new team, the following six guys don’t have a sunny outlook for the 2014-15 season.  Our six breakout players will be released very soon.  So without further ado:

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Who Are You, Scotty Hopson?

You’re probably unfamiliar with a name that has quietly emerged in NBA headlines recently: Scotty Hopson. 

In the past week, Hopson was traded THREE times in TWO days. 

Yes, you read that correctly.  The 6’7” shooting guard found his fourth home in the NBA, all in just 48 hours.  He was originally sent from Cleveland to Charlotte in exchange for Brendan Haywood and the draft rights to Dwight Powell.  Shortly after, the Hornets shipped him to the New Orleans Pelicans for cash considerations (let the name change confusion begin).  Finally, he was sent to the Rockets as part of one of the biggest deals of the offseason, a three team trade that landed Omer Asik and Trevor Ariza with their new franchises, New Orleans and Houston respectively.

I have so many questions!  Why is this guy so popular?!  What could teams possibly see in a player who has appeared in only two NBA games, posting a staggering 1 point, 1 assist, and 1 steal in 7 minutes of action?  But really… Who is Scotty Hopson and how the hell did we end up talking about him?

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Houston, We Have a Problem

A few days ago, the Rockets officially declined their team option on Chandler Parsons, making him a restricted free agent (meaning they can match any contract Chandler agrees to with another team and retain him).  Parsons was due just $964,000 on the final year of his rookie deal, which would have made him one of the biggest bargains of the 2014-15 season.  So why in the world did the Rockets put their third best player on the open market where he will likely earn an 8-figure salary, when they could have had him for less than all these things?

Before we delve into Parsons’ free agency, let’s take a look at just how valuable Chandler’s contract could have been with a game of who would you want the most:

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