The 2013 draft is, first and foremost, about one player: Kyrie Irving.
Hope springs eternally, and usually from the same source. Once it was LeBron James. Now it’s Irving.
In the Lakers’ case, it may be both with Thursday’s report by ESPN’s Chris Broussard, quoting a source as saying Dwight Howard is “unlikely” to return.
If Dwight walks, a Laker source told me they won’t do a sign-and-trade unless it’s for someone special, preferring $55 million in cap space in 2014 when free agents could include James.
Not that there’s any reason to think Miami’s Pat Riley, who excels at this kind of thing, will let James get away, but the Lakes can dream, can’t they?
If it’s not James, the Lakers would do well to save some of that 2014 money with little else of transcendent worth around, or in other words, Carmelo Anthony.
Because there’s also 2015, when Irving will be a restricted free agent.
What’s another Next Big Thing doing in Cleveland?
The usual. Looking great. Losing lots of games in years one and two as the Cavs went 45-103 while the rest of the league dreams of 2015 when he’ll be a restricted free agent if the Cavs haven’t secured him, or 2016 when he’ll be free.
Happily for the Cavs, they have another No. 1 overall pick, which the gods seem to keep proffering, perhaps to make up for the bad stuff the gods do to them the rest of the time.
Unhappily, with no one in this draft who can help now, the Cavs may be looking at another sub-.500 finish before offering Irving an extension next summer.
If Kyrie spurns their offer, as James did in 2009, the Cavs will be circling the wagons once more.
The NBA is with reports of the Cavs offering the pick, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson for Kevin Love, or two No. 2s for Paul Pierce.
So far, no takers. As Minnesota GM Flip Saunders said of the notion that Love is going going anywhere on Flip’s new Twitter account, “LOL.”
Hey, it’s a jungle out there. You eat or be eaten.
Ask the Lakers, former connoisseurs who have fallen on bad times, now featured on menus in the finest arenas around the NBA.