5th Players Voice Awards
THE NBA Players Association will soon have its 5th Players Voice Awards night.
Maybe the players will vote for fellow American James Harden as their own Most Valuable Player for the 2018-19 season to appease the sour-graping Houston Rockets who claimed that Harden, the league’s back-to-back scoring champion, was robbed of the official NBA award in balloting by a nationwide panel of sportswriters and broadcasters even if The Greek Freak Giannis Antetokuonmpo of the regular-season NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks (60-22) romped away with the Maurice Podoloff hardware in a landslide vote.
In 2015, Harden’s peers voted the 6-foot-5 guard as their MVP in lieu of the official league awardee Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.
In 2018, the players also voted guard Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz as their NBA Rookie of the Year in lieu of Australian-born Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, the official winner via media voting.
Do players know more about the game than media people?
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In a move from the West to the East, Kevin Durant hooked up with the revitalized Brooklyn Nets on a four-year, $164-million pact. The deal contains a player option in the final year.
This means that the 6-foot-9 forward, who in three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals with the Golden State Warriors from 2017-19 won a pair of championship rings and back-to-back Finals MVP awards in 2017 and 2018, can opt out at the end of the 2021-22 season and become a free agent in July 2022.
It may seem that KD is good for only two seasons with the revitalized Nets since he is expected to miss most – if not all – of the 2019-20 campaign after undergoing surgery for a ruptured right Achilles tendon last June 12. He sustained the injury two days earlier in Game 5 of 2019 NBA Finals wherein the Warriors dropped a 4-2 decision to Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors.
Durant, who turns 31 on September 29, will wear jersey No. 7 in his transfer to the East with the Brooklyn Nets. He made the announcement on July 7 or 7-7.
Durant previously sported No. 35 during his lone season (2006-07) at the University of Texas and in his first 12 NBA seasons with the Seattle SuperSonics, Oklahoma City Thunder (the predecessors of the Sonics) and Golden State Warriors.
The most recent player to sport jersey No. 7 for the Nets was the now-retired Joe Johnson (2012-16).
The Warriors plan to retire jersey No. 35 in honor of Durant during the upcoming season even though he just played three seasons in the Bay Area.
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It’s only a three-year, $103.1-million contract that stoic superstar Kawhi Leonard signed with the Los Angeles Clippers. Previously, it was announced that Leonard, who gifted the Toronto Raptors with their first-ever NBA title last June, would sign a maximum deal with the Clippers worth $141 million over four years.
The three-year pact includes a player option in the third year that allows Leonard and new teammate Paul George to become free agents together in 2021.
On the same day (July 5), they picked up Leonard in free agency, the Clippers traded for George, sending two veteran players (one from Italy, Danilo Gallinari, and the other from Canada, Shaivonte Gilgeous-Alexander) and a boatload of first-round draft choices (five acquired selections plus a pair of swaps) to Oklahoma City, George’s former NBA employer.
Leonard (Los Angeles), who was also highly coveted by the crosstown rival LA Lakers, and George (Palmdale) both hail from California.
Lakers star LeBron James also owns a player option in the final year (2020-21) of his four-year, $154-million pact with the club that will allow him to be eligible for free agency in 2021, too.
That 2021 NBA free-agent class should be classy and explosive.
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High-scoring guard D’Angelo Russell may have secured a four-year, free-agent deal with the Golden State Warriors worth $117 million, the 6-foot-5 All-Star could well just be a one-year rental as the Dubs are likely to trade him to Cleveland for frontliner Kevin Love once shooting guard Klay Thompson is healthy enough to play. Thompson, who inked a five-year, $190-million free-agent pact that includes a 15-percent trade kicker to remain with Golden State despite the possibility that he could be sidelined for most, if not all, of the 2019-20 campaign due to a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his left knee he suffered in the Finals six-game series finale against Toronto.
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