In a debut installment of a new feature, Marc Stein of the New York Times made a number of predictions for the upcoming year in basketball. The scribe ventures a guess that this is the year the Trail Blazers blow up their backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
Stein writes that dealing one of the star guards would be the easiest way for the Blazers to balance their roster, something that could come in handy if the organization seeks to go in a new direction. Bear in mind, however, that Stein’s prediction applies to this year and not necessarily to this season.
Stein also makes a series of arguments that a pair of big names stay with their current teams, despite ongoing speculation to the contrary. The Times journalist says that LeBron James to the Lakers is no guarantee and that Cleveland stands a legitimate chance of retaining the King.
On a similar note, Stein reasons that DeMarcus Cousins isn’t likely to find the market teeming with attractive salary offers this season and that he’ll end up staying put with the Pelicans.
There’s more from around the league:
- One possible solution to curb the growing tension between NBA players and referees is to ramp up the discipline assigned to players who act hostile to officials. “The hammer has to drop from above,” one Western Conference team official told Ken Berger of Bleacher Report. “When you had David Stern and Rod Thorn there, none of this stuff was going on because they weren’t going to put up with it. I think we’ve gotten away from that. There’s something every night.“
- Four active front offices have made a dozen or more trade deadline deals over the course of their tenures, Bobby Marks of ESPN weighed in on them and the rest of the league’s executives in his latest for ESPN Insiders.
- There has been plenty of movement among the DraftExpress team’s list of the top 100 NBA prospects. Jonathan Givony of ESPN recently broke down a number of NCAA players who’ve recently seen their values rise dramatically.