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Basketball vets are intrigued with all the offseason moves in the NBA.
ATLANTA – From fans and media members discussing it on Twitter to postgame press conferences that featured former pros, if basketball was the topic of discussion this weekend, it was impossible to not talk about the feverish levels that NBA free agency reached over the last few days.
“Kawhi was a winner. Now he wants to be a loser. That’s all I can say,” said Big 3 co-founder and longtime Laker fan Ice Cube on Saturday. “He was a winner at Toronto. He wants to be a dipper (Clipper). He must want to be a loser because they haven’t done anything in their whole career. I don’t think he’s the savior for the Clippers.”
Leonard broke the hearts of Toronto Raptor and Laker fans when it was announced that he and Paul George were going to team up as members of the Los Angeles Clippers next season.
After Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving started things off by announcing that they would be joining forces in Brooklyn, while LeBron James and Anthony Davis will be the Lakers latest duo, Leonard’s decision was the last big move of free agency. And after taking more time than other stars did to decide where he wanted to play next season, Leonard and George’s decision was a huge surprise that caught everyone off guard.
Well, not everybody.
“I wasn’t surprised because at this point anything can happen in the NBA, and I’ve been saying that since Shaq got traded,” said Killer 3’s captain Stephen Jackson on Sunday.
“I’m just glad that I didn’t have to work on ESPN or FOX this week, because all these people are on TV acting like they know what’s going on and what the players were going to do, I’ve never been that guy so I’m glad that I didn’t have to be on TV trying to create the story,” said Jackson, who occasionally appears on different networks as an NBA commentator.
With Leonard and George together with the Clippers, James and Davis with the Lakers, Irving and Durant in Brooklyn, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson still together in Golden State, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in Portland, Giannis and Khris Middleton in Milwaukee, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in Philly, and James Harden and Chris Paul still in Houston, it feels like the super team era is officially dead in the NBA.
“Spread it out,” said Alan Anderson of the Triplets. “Get that talent everywhere. I love it because everybody isn’t just loading up on one team. So you spread the talent out and now it’s up for grabs and that’s what you like to see.”
Parity is back in the NBA, and Leonard may be the one to thank for it.
“I didn’t want him (Leonard) to go to a dominant team, I wanted him to go somewhere where he could play against guys every night like Anthony Davis and LeBron,” said Killer 3’s coach Charles Oakley.
“The west is going to be stacked!”
Big 3 Highlights from Sunday
The first game at State Farm Arena was a homecoming for former Atlanta Hawks stars Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. Smith finished with 22 points and 9 rebounds, as his Bivouac squad jumped out to a big lead early. However, they fell to 1-2 on the season after Johnson brought the Triplets back with 26 points in a 51-45 win. Johnson entered Week 3 as the league’s second-leading scorer, putting up 23 points a game.
In Game 2, the Killer 3s and 3 Headed Monsters faced off in a battle of unbeatens. The game was back-and-forth down the stretch, but the Killer 3s were able to hold on 51-48 as they were led by Jackson’s 22 points, while Rashard Lewis and Mario Chalmers both put up 16 points apiece in defeat.
And in the finale, Trilogy was able to win their first game of the season when they knocked off previously unbeaten, and reigning champs, Power 50-43. An early 11-0 run by Trilogy was just one of the many setbacks for Power on Sunday as Glen Davis was ejected in the first half, which led to him going into the crowd and throwing his jersey into the stands. And with Davis out of the game, a second-half injury to Cuttino Mobley was too much for Power to overcome.