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Move like Butler, Kawhi, and Klay and get a bag in the 2019 NBA Offseason

“I don’t like the look of you. You gotta go…”

That’s what Jimmy Butler’s mother told him when he was 13.

Butler is just one of the free agents in a stacked 2019 NBA free agent class. The NBA offseason has been wild the past few summers, with star players joining new teams, franchises doling out cash like Jordan Belfort because of rises in the cap, and superstars pairing up with each other in the quest of a championship.

The 2019 NBA offseason specifically has the potential to be the biggest in history, with stars such as Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and others on the market.

Though Durant and Irving were the number two and one overall picks, respectively, the rest of this free agent class are a crop of underdogs, players who were not widely expected to be as successful as they are today. Jimmy Butler is the face of this underdog class.

Lock in like Butler

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Butler’s father left the family when he was an infant. After his mother threw him out of the house, he spent the next few years bouncing from home to home, and after not getting recruited out of high school, he chose to attend Tyler Junior College in TX.

The wake-up call from his mother had a lasting effect on Butler.  Still, he saw the importance in it so many years later. Butler said in an interview back in 2015:

“I don’t hold grudges. I still talk to my family. My mom. My father. We love each other. That’s never going to change.”

This level of maturity and life experience is emblematic of Butler’s journey. It’s one that got him an athletic scholarship to attend Marquette University and a No. 30 draft pick from the Chicago Bulls in 2011.

Still, 30th picks do not often end up in the position that Butler finds himself in today.

Butler was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers last season, after essentially staging a mutiny in Minnesota. His fiery attitude has “caused tension” on all three teams he has been on, but these problems stem from his unimpeded desire to win. If he feels his teammates are not working as hard as him, he is going to let them know it.

Many wondered if Jimmy’s overzealous drive would affect his money in the 2019 NBA Offseason. Could a player that’s been labeled as a locker room disturbance be offered the max contract?

Instead, Butler’s fire proved vital to the 76ers’ playoff run. Butler controlled the ball at the end of games and proved himself to be a leader, especially for the young team.

For sure, Butler is going to receive the max contract this offseason, with many teams interested in him. Coming from such humble beginnings, no one can say he doesn’t deserve it.

Kawhi not go hard?

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Remember the laugh heard ’round the world, at Kawhi Leonard’s Toronto Raptors introductory press conference?

This fun guy is now the reigning NBA Finals Champion and MVP. Similar to how quickly fans have forgotten his refusal to play for the San Antonio Spurs two seasons ago over a dispute to the severity of his injury, recent fans may have forgotten that Leonard was not widely expected to reach these great heights when he was drafted.

Leonard was drafted 15th overall by the Indiana Pacers in 2011 and immediately traded to the San Antonio Spurs.

Considered a four-star recruit coming out of high school, and attending San Diego State University (not exactly Duke, UNC, or Kentucky), Leonard was seen as a defensive specialist, but also as a bit of a project.

No one outside of the Leonard family could have predicted on draft night that he would now be regarded as one of the top two players in basketball. Leonard won Finals MVP in 2014 when he made life difficult for Lebron James and the Miami Heat en route to the Spurs’ fifth championship in franchise history.

Fast forward five years and the Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors behind Leonard and his second Finals MVP. He has now dismantled two NBA dynasties, and if you want to throw in the Spurs because he forced his way out, I’m not going to argue; call it three.

Every single team in the league would pay the max amount of money to get Leonard on their team right now. For a 15th overall pick and a man that two years ago was blasted for refusing to play, solely because he believed he knew his body better than team doctors, that is not too bad.

Finish up like Klay

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Klay Thompson is the son of former Los Angeles Lakers player Mychal Thompson. Klay attended Washington State University, staying for three years before he was drafted 11th overall by the Golden State Warriors.

In 2012, The Warriors traded their star Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks, creating space for Thompson to become a starter alongside Steph Curry. Though the Warriors’ dominance over the past 5 years would make this seem asinine, this trade was not popular among faithful Warriors fans.

One doesn’t have to look any further than this video to see the limited expectations fans had for Thompson. Like Butler and Leonard, he was not a ready-made star coming out of college.

Klay Thompson is widely regarded as one of the top shooters of all time. He is a fantastic defender and has a knack for coming up clutch in big games. Thompson is the perfect compliment to Steph Curry and makes Steph’s job a whole lot easier by guarding the other team’s best perimeter player every night.

It is not hyperbole to say that without Thompson, the Warriors would not have won their three championships over the past five years.

Thompson tore his ACL in game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. After heading into the locker room, he returned to the court to knock down both free throws, and beg head coach Steve Kerr to stay in the game.

Klay Thompson has the heart of a champion. He is poised to get a max contract from the Warriors in the 2019 NBA offseason, and he is fully deserving. When his shot is hitting, he is on fire, and when he’s on fire, I don’t know if there is a single player today I would rather have on my team.

Butler, Leonard, and Thompson make up a trio of athletes just as hardworking as they are talented. Whether overcoming insurmountable odds or just rising to heights unforeseen, these three provide a blueprint for up-and-coming athletes on how to become a star.

With these three 2011 draft picks at the top of the board in free agency, and other underdogs right behind like Kemba Walker and Khris Middleton, this summer is going to be a lot of fun.

Butler, Leonard, and Thompson all deserve their money the 2019 NBA offseason, and incoming players should look no further than these three for how to get their own.

3 teams that came up and 3 teams that fucked up at the NBA Draft

Man, who else was ready for some more Woj bombs?

Entering the night, rumors were swirling that Pacers forward Paul George and Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis would be on the move.

That didn’t happen but it became clear to NBA fans that John Paxson and Gar Forman are determined to run the Chicago Bulls into the ground. Does anyone have any clue what the Bulls are doing? Peep this tweet from Butler’s trainer after the trade:

The Bulls traded a top-10 player in the league for a guy coming off an ACL tear, a point guard who struggled mightily as a rookie, and an overrated 7-footer.

We know the Bulls fucked up but who are the three biggest winners and losers from Tuesday night?


Minnesota Timberwolves

Not only did Thibs reunite with one of his favorite players but he also fleeced the team that screwed him over in 2015.

It’s no secret that Tom Thibedeau and the Chicago Bulls front office had a messy breakup, much of which should be attributed to Paxson and Forman. But he got his revenge by trading for Butler and giving up very little.

Now the Wolves have a legitimate Big 3 in Karl- Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Butler. They may not have enough shooting to compete for a conference finals appearance but they will be menacing on defense and should win 50 games in the 2017-2018 season.

In the trade, the Wolves also received Creighton Center Justin Patton, a 7-footer who can shoot, rim-run and defend the rim.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings have been the joke of the NBA for the last few seasons. After trading franchise cornerstone DeMarcus Cousins, GM Vlade Divac told reporters that he had a better deal on the table two days before the move.

But Divac restored some respect to the Kings organization by drafting dynamic Kentucky Point Guard De’Aaron Fox and then trading down to scoop up two extra picks.

They used those picks on North Carolina swingman Justin Jackson and athletic Duke Forward Harry Giles. Jackson should be ready to play ready while Giles might be a project.

Giles has a long injury history but he has immense raw talent and a decent motor. Don’t expect the Kings to compete next year but I think they are on their way.

With a young nucleus of Buddy Hield, Fox, and Skal Labissiere, the Kings are building something.

Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers made their move last week, moving up and drafting Washington point guard Markelle Fultz. Sixers fans have weathered “The Process” for too long and now it seems like they are finally ready to compete.

If Center Joel Embiid and Forward Ben Simmons can stay healthy, this Sixers team should challenge for a playoff spot in the East.

Fultz – a point guard with size who can shoot, dribble and defend – will make an immediate impact. The Maryland native is the real deal and should be the perfect compliment to Simmons.

PS: I really like what the Lakers did in this draft. They got their guy (Lonzo Ball) and then took Villanova guard Josh Hart with the last pick in the first round.

Both players can handle the ball, shoot, and guard multiple positions. Magic Johnson nailed his first draft as general manager.


Boston Celtics

What are the Celtics doing? They traded out of the number one pick and passed on a sure thing in Fultz to draft Duke Forward Jayson Tatum.

Also, why weren’t the Celtics in on the Butler trade? They have much better assets than the Wolves and it seems strange they couldn’t top that offer. Tatum should be a solid NBA player but doesn’t have the upside or star potential of Fultz.

To me, Tatum looks like a replica of Danny Granger. Eh.

We are all supposed to have the utmost faith in Danny Ainge but I have a feeling this move might come back to haunt them. Fultz will be a multi-time All-Star who could win an MVP some day. You don’t pass that up.

Ainge better have something up his sleeve or have assurance from Gordon Hayward that he’s shipping up to Boston.

Orlando Magic

How many forwards/centers does this team need?

The Magic, a team in desperate need of a guard who can shoot, owned the sixth pick, and had the opportunity to select Malik Monk or Dennis Smith, both of whom would have been perfect fits.

Instead, they added to their front court depth and drafted Florida State Small Forward Jonathan Isaac. I like Isaac but I don’t think this a good fit for him.

With Nikola Vucevic, Bismack Biyombo, Aaron Gordon, and Jeff Green clogging the front court it may be hard for Isaac to find minutes.

It’s hard to understand why the Magic didn’t select Monk, an athletic shooting guard with unlimited range who has shown the ability to handle the ball and create for others.

Portland Trailblazers

Come on Portland. I liked the decision to move up and draft Gonzaga center Zach Collins and I’m a huge fan of Caleb Swanigan as a college player but the Blazers need to unload some of those enormous contracts on their cap.

As of today, Portland has $138 million in salary on the books for the 2017-2018 season, the most in the NBA.

Portland signed Allen Crabbe, Evan Turner, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Mo Harkless thinking they would be able to package a couple of those players in a deal for a star. Looking around the NBA that seems a little far-fetched.

Portland, a decent team that is still several pieces away from competing for a championship, needs to make a deal and move some of those contracts.