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All Summer Sixteen

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Late June has arrived. The 2015-2016 season has come to a close after a Warriors-Heat Finals. The Warriors broke the 1995-96 bulls record with a 73-9 record. Golden State has taken home their second straight championship and Steph Curry has won his second straight MVP. Draymond Green took home Finals MVP honors. Now the fun begins for the rest of the league. Who goes where? What team gets that #1 draft pick, and who do they use it on? These are my predictions for the 2016 summer.

Let’s start with the Kevin Durant Sweepstakes. After missing a big chunk of the 2014-2015 season with a foot injury, Durant continued to show that he is one of the top 10 (if not top 5) players in the NBA in 2016. This summer he will find himself as probably the biggest free agent available on the market. Averaging 28 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists per game, Durant will be courted by almost every team with enough cap space to sign him to a max deal, which he no doubt deserves. Durant has said in an interview with Revolt Tv, “I love it here, man. I love my teammates, I love the city, I don’t really think about anywhere else,” but we all know those things can change. So who are the top contenders to land Mr. Durant on their team? The Lakers could make a push for Durant. With Kobe retiring and a youthful, yet promising roster at his side, KD could be the key LA needs to bring them back to their winning ways. Another team many people have rumored as a landing spot for Durant is his home state’s very own Washington Wizards. Washington being a middle/bottom tier team in the NBA for almost 3 decades. Reaching the NBA Finals four times in the 1970s, the Wizards haven’t gotten passed the conference semi-finals since the 1978-79 season. The addition of Durant to the already explosive back court in John Wall and Bradley Beal, could give the wizards the boost they’ve been looking for to make a deep push into the playoffs and a run at the Championship. Recently, James Harden has said he will be the main recruiter of his former Thunder teammate, to get him in a Rockets jersey next year. With Dwight Howard possibly opting out of his contract and leaving Houston, a situation he doesn’t seem too happy in, that would open up the cap space needed to sign KD to a deal.

Now onto the disaster that has been the Cleveland Cavaliers. Injuries plagued the Cavs in the ’14-’15 Finals, costing them a real chance at bringing home the first sports championship for Cleveland since 1970. Many NBA fans believed the Warriors would have won that series, but having a healthy Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving wouldn’t have hurt their chances. This season has been filled with drama for this Cavs team. Reports of Love, James and Irving all having bad blood towards one another, not being able to play together on the same court have crippled the team moral. So the real question is, who has to or better yet, who wants to go? My money is on LeBron taking his talents once again to Miami. James has left once before, so there is definitely a chance he will do it again. Miami hasn’t been the same since Lebron’s departure in 2014, even though they’ve kept major pieces from their championship runs from a few years ago. Miami has signed veteran Luol Deng and defensive juggernaut Hassan Whiteside, also drafting standout rookie Justise Winslow, the Heat are building for the future. Adding James would give them the chance to fulfill his prediction of “Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7” championships for Miami. A resurgent Dwyane Wade who has shown glimpses of his old “Flash” nickname this year.  Hopefully with a healthy Chris Bosh back on the court, Miami could possibly rise back to the top, not only in the Eastern Conference, but the NBA as a whole.

The date is June 23rd, Draft Day has arrived. College players all over the country wait for the chance to hear their name called by the commissioner. The Los Angeles Lakers have the first pick. They face a tough choice in who they’ll place their hopes on to raise them back into playoff contention. On one hand, you have Ben Simmons, LSU’s Freshman Small Forward star. Scoring 19.2 points per game and 11.8 rebounds, he has been touted as the #1 pick on basically everyone’s mock draft to date. On the other hand, you have Oklahoma’s Senior SG Buddy Hield. He would help the Sooners get to the Final Four during March Madness, before losing a tough game to future champion Villanova Wildcats. Shooting 51% from the field, 46% from three, and 88% at the line, Hield improved drastically from his Junior year. The end decision I believe will come with the Lakers selecting Ben Simmons. With D’angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson filling out the back court, I don’t see the Lakers taking another Shooting Guard in Hield. Taking Simmons makes more sense, completing the possible line up of Russell, Clarkson, Simmons, Randle and Hibbert. Though the Lakers could possibly use the #1 pick as trade bait to add an already established superstar, maybe in the form of Kevin Durant. Then again, we’ll just have to wait too see what the summer of 2016 has to hold for the NBA.

About Emanuel Godina

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