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Kawhi has apparently shaved off the source of his superpowers, his cornrows

Kawhi Leonard is coming off the best season of his career. Yes, it ended abruptly in the Western Conference Finals because of that fucking ogre Zaza Pachulia, but Kawhi balled out this year and solidified himself as a top-3 player in the NBA.

You might think I’m crazy but I attribute roughly 67 percent of that production to his pristine, tightly wound, Allen Iverson-esque cornrows.

So, when I learned Tuesday night that he chopped off the cornrows and is now sporting some lameass cut, I was a little upset. (Side note: It caught me off-guard seeing Kawhi smirk in that picture. When’s the last time Kawhi has displayed an emotion of any kind?)

The cornrows were a unique, throwback look that set Kawhi apart from the fashion-obsessed superstars that are taking over the league.

So, will the lack of cornrows hurt Kawhi next season?

Sadly, I think it might. The cornrows provided an edge and an intimidation factor that might be hard to replicate with some basic shape-up.

But we also have to consider the possibility that Kawhi is a robot. And this might be Kawhi transforming into the 2.0 version of his prototype. Maybe next season his hands will grow a little and his vertical will gain a few inches. Honestly, are you willing to bet your life that won’t happen?

Kawhi is clearly a different type of dude (or robot). As recently as 2016, Sports Illustrated reported Kawhi was still driving a ’97 Chevy Tahoe, which he nicknamed “Gas Guzzler.”

So, we’ll all have to get used Kawhi’s new cut and we should all be on the lookout for improvements to his game (or his hard drive).

Update: Kawhi may or may not have shaved the ‘rows. Only time will tell…

I miss the old KD, man I used to love KD

For almost a decade, Kevin Durant was known solely as an extremely likable 7-foot basketball player who just loved to hoop.

Drafted when he was just 19 years old, he spent the first year in Seattle, but really grew up in Oklahoma City, a small market where every Thunder fan seemingly developed their own personal relationship with the former Texas star.

He opened a restaurant in OKC. He donated money to the victims of a devastating earthquake in Oklahoma that upended thousands of lives. He gave that emotional speech after winning the MVP in which he told the world that his mother was, in fact, “The real MVP.” He was a part of their community.

Man, I miss the old KD.

The KD who griped on Twitter when LeBron took his talents to South Beach. The KD who told the world he would drink Scarlett Johansen’s bathwater. The KD who tweeted “Erykah Badu thicker than a kindergarten pencil.”

But KD changed, man.

I think it all started when KD berated the media during the 2015 All Star Game and told reporters, “You guys don’t really know shit.” Up to that point, KD could do no wrong in the media’s eyes — what was he so upset about? He had never been slammed on sports talk shows for weeks at a time like LeBron or Kobe. He lost to LeBron in the 2012 Finals but that young Thunder team was never expected to truly challenge a Heat team featuring LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.

Now KD plays on a superteam. His life is easy, he makes millions of dollars on and off the court, he has a ring, a Finals MVP, and probably many more to come. But sadly, he is also the NBA’s villain — a role that really doesn’t suit him, but one he seems to have accepted and is definitely thriving in.

KD used to be the guy who would stroll into Rucker Park, drop 66 while sniping threes from all over New York City’s most legendary court and then get mobbed by a massive crowd. Moments like that are the reason fans connected with KD and saw him as more accessible and relatable than LeBron James.

Man, I miss the old KD.

Remember when KD carried the Thunder for weeks in 2014 when Russell Westbrook went down with an injury? Remember how KD built the Thunder into a perennial contender by toppling some of the best Western Conference teams, including the Lakers, Spurs, and Clippers.

I don’t hate KD for moving on from OKC, a small, conservative city where it surely wasn’t easy for a 7-foot African-American to blend in.

He definitely traded up by moving to the Bay Area where he hangs out with tech moguls and goes to concerts with Draymond Green. But KD didn’t leave OKC because of the city’s nonexistent nightlife or investment opportunities.

I think he got tired of playing in an isolation-heavy system with a ball dominant guard like Westbrook. He saw the Warriors playing a free-flowing, democratic version of the game where every player was having the time of their life and he said to himself, “I want that.”

But joining forces with the Warriors, the team that you came so close to beating in 2016, was whack for the culture. It deprived us of seeing KD eventually overcome a great Warriors team and potentially a LeBron-led Cavs team in the Finals.

KD walks away from the 2016-2017 with some serious hardware. But I found it strange when he told Bill Simmons that he didn’t attend the Warriors celebration party following their Finals victory. If he had won in OKC with Westbrook, Harden, and Ibaka would he have skipped out on celebrating such a momentous occasion with his teammates? I don’t think so.

The old KD is gone forever and NBA fans will have to adjust to the new version. KD might waltz into four, five or maybe six titles. And that’s great for him.

But man, I miss the old KD.

Is Paul George dipping on Indiana? 4 potential landing spots

Pacers forward Paul George told Indiana brass yesterday that he intends to leave the team in 2018 and take his talents to Los Angeles.

The news didn’t come as a surprise to NBA fans. George, a California native, has been rumored to be heading out West for several years.

But speaking in front of reporters on Thursday, the former Fresno State star said he believed the Pacers are one of the best in the Eastern Conference and had the chance to challenge the Cavs for a Finals berth in 2017-2018.

So if George does leave Indiana, where could he end up?

Cleveland Cavaliers

Coming off a Finals loss in which the Cavaliers were completely overmatched by the Golden State Warriors’ length on the wing, George would be a perfect fit.

Kevin Love is a limited defensive player who struggled with the speed of the Warriors and was relegated to a spot up shooter on offense. The Cavs offer could include Love and 2015 second round pick Cedi Osman.

George could play next to LeBron and shoulder some the taxing offensive workload that he has been forced to carry since returning to Cleveland. Most importantly: He could guard Kevin Durant in a potential fourth consecutive Finals rematch.

If the Cavs are able to complete this trade, it signals they are going all in on the 2017-2018 season, as George would still be a likely candidate to bolt after one season in Northeast Ohio.

Boston Celtics

After trading out of the first spot in this years draft, the Celtics are loading up on picks and knowing GM Danny Ainge’s history, it appears they are looking to make a move for a superstar.

The Celtics have the assets to swing a trade with the Pacers and George would be a great fit In Brad Stephens’ system. A trade centered around a combination of picks and Avery Bradley or Jae Crowder would most likely satisfy the Pacers.

Los Angeles Lakers

If the Lakers don’t want to wait until next summer to sign Paul George, they could put together a package of young players to send to Indiana. Former number 2 overall picks D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram would most likely be included in the deal.

But smarter heads should prevail in Los Angeles. Everyone around the league saw how the Knicks’ trade for Carmelo Anthony drained the team of their once plush war chest of future assets.

George clearly wants to be a Laker and waiting a year to sign him into cap space in free agency is the more prudent move.

Los Angeles Clippers

We know George wants to be in L.A. but would he settle for playing on the Cippers?

If the Clippers are able to resign Blake Griffin, they would surely look to trade him midseason. The Clippers could put together a trade including Griffin, Austin Rivers, and Jamal Crawford.

But that deal wouldn’t seem to make much sense for the Pacers as they would be taking on several aging players with large contracts.

Here’s what we know: The Finals just ended and NBA summer drama is already ramping up. Get your Twitter fingers ready.

Kyrie Irving surprises his pops by blessing him with a brand new crib

Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving and his dad have a special relationship.

The elder Irving, Drederick, was a professional basketball player in Australia and introduced his son to the game at a young age.

Kyrie lost his mother at a young age, forcing Drederick to give up his career overseas to raise Kyrie and his two sisters.

The former Duke star often credits his father when asked about where he learned to finish at the rim with such ease, saying the hours he spent in the driveway with his dad refined those skills.

Next season, Drederick will be watching his son battle on the hardwood from the comfort of a newly-renovated home.

In an emotional online episode of ‘My Houzz‘, Kyrie surprised his dad with the remodeled home, noting that the new modern upgrades made the home more functional.

Despite his son’s success, Drederick has stayed in the same North New Jersey home that he raised his children in.

“It’s his first house,” Irving said in the video.

“I think he wants it to be his only house. This is where I grew up, and I respect him even more for wanting to keep it. But I know there’s always things he wants to improve on in the house.”

Kyrie may have come up short in The Finals, but he definitely scored big with this Father’s Day gift.

How social media and superteams made NBA free agency poppin’

‘Tis the season of side-eyed emojis, social media campaigns and banana boat field trips. Some NBA fans are convinced the drama that occurs in the summer is more exciting than the season itself.

And they might be right: NBA free agency has peaked over the last few years.

In 2014, sports media erupted when Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert used his private jet to meet with then free agent LeBron James in Miami.

In 2015, then Dallas Mavericks Forward Chandler Parsons and Los Angeles Clippers players sparred on Twitter over the recruitment of DeAndre Jordan, who agreed in principal to a deal with the Mavs, only to stab owner Mark Cuban in the back with a piece of fried chicken and re-up with his own personal Don King, Doc Rivers.

It all culminated in 2016, when teams flocked to The Hamptons to meet with Thunder forward Kevin Durant in an attempt to woo the 7-footer to sign with their team.

The Clippers leaned on his Olympic teammate Jordan. The Boston Celtics called on their city’s star power and brought New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.

But in the end, the wisdom of Steve Kerr and the ability to play alongside not only great young players, but also a generational superstar in point guard Stephen Curry proved to be too much for KD to turn down. So, what will this year bring?

Not only are there a number of great players set to enter free agency on July 1, but there are several swingmen that appear to be on the trading block, including Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and banana boat member Carmelo Anthony.

Will Chris Paul take his talents to the Alamo to team with Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard? Will Brad Stevens reunite with Gordon Hayward, a player he forged a deep relationship with at Butler University and came within inches of winning a National Championship?

Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford recently followed Gordon Hayward on Instagram, sending NBA Twitter into a frenzy. Not to mention Hayward’s wife posting a picture of their daughter wearing a “Go Green” shirt.

But the NBA revolves around one man from Northeast Ohio. The Cavs loss in five games to the Warriors must have stung LeBron.

He knows his team needs to retool but LeBron the GM goaded the Cavs into signing Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, and Iman Shumpert into above market deals, effectively locking his team into this roster and leaving them without many tradable assets that would allow them to compete with that team out in The Bay.

This NBA free agency period could reshape the NBA for the next decade and all the theatre that comes with it will be amazing for fans everywhere. There will surely be plenty of drama in the NBA, even without any games.