Anthony Davis Is A LA Laker

Anthony Davis-LeBron James

Well! That was fast. The ink is barely dry on the NBA championship certificates and teams – er, make that the Lakers team – is rushing in to pan for 2020 gold. In other words, the Toronto Raptors barely finished prying the Warriors’ fingers from the Larry O’Brien Trophy when the Lakers Organization proceeded to claim dibs on winning the 2020 NBA Title.

And here’s the news on the NBA’s latest blockbuster trade: This just in — The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to trade the farm, er, make that the farm animals, for Anthony Davis. No offense to Brandon Ingram who is a legitimate, up and coming star, but Lonzo Ball is a bust, and Josh Hart is, well . . . just who is Josh Hart again? Anyway, the Lakers have come into this offseason looking and smelling like the city dump but will come out of this trade looking and smelling like a rose. For their part, the New Orleans Pelicans (I almost said the New Orleans Jazz – it just sounds better) – anyway, the Pelicans have the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, and so getting Zion Williamson, for now — aka, on paper — is fair compensation for losing Anthony Davis.

We’ll see how this one works out. The Lakers haven’t made the playoffs in six years. Six years. And this past year was LeBron’s first with the proud but now pitiful franchise which has had the offseason from hell. For the Lakers it’s been rough sledding. This past season, the saga has been sordid: Magic comes and then goes; Walton goes; potential coaches come and then go. The toasts of Tinsel Town couldn’t write a more soapy script.

But if — that’s IF —  the Lakers can pull off a turnaround next season, it will be one for the record books. And that’s the lesson. From the world’s perspective, if you just turn things around, you will be forgiven and all will be forgotten. It does not matter how bad it looks or how bad it gets, just turn it around. And all will be forgiven.

Spiritually, it works for us the other way. Just accept God’s amazing grace, and then He will turn you around and He will turn things around for you. All is forgiven when you accept his grace. Don’t try to do this at home; that is to say, don’t try to do this on your own. It takes the toast of Heaven, our Lord and Savior, to turn things around. It does not matter how bad it looks or how bad it gets, He can turn it around for you. He can and He will, if we trust Him and believe.

Toronto?  Kaw-Why!?

kawhi-leonard - gregg-popovich

Sometimes somethings just don’t make a whole lot of sense on paper. And sometimes somethings make less sense in reality. And Sometimes somethings weren’t even a good idea at the time. Hence is the Kawhi Leonard trade from San Antonio to Toronto. Yes, Toronto. That perennially great regular season team that can’t do a darn thing in the playoffs. Now they’ve essentially rented Kawhi for one year, because next year he’s a Free Agent. (And why does free agency cost so much?)

Toronto traded Kawhi for DeMar DeRozan, but “in the initial aftermath, reports came out indicating that neither of the star players involved were thrilled about the deal, and in fact Leonard had no interest in playing with the Raptors. However, it seems that Leonard has softened that stance a bit. According to a report from Bruce Arthur, the Raptors have had ‘positive’ talks with Leonard’s camp, and the star has shown no indication that he’ll holdout.

And so Kawhi Leonard finally got his wish. He’s no longer a member of the San Antonio Spurs. Only, the blockbuster trade that got him out of town sent him not to Los Angeles, but the polar opposite: Toronto. Early on Wednesday morning, the Spurs and Raptors swung a huge deal that sent Leonard and Danny Green to the Raptors and DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick to the Spurs.

So again, the $25,000 question is “Why?” Why did the marriage between Kawhi and San Antonio, and more specifially between Kawhi and Greg Popovich, go so bad so fast? Why Toronto? And why do teams trade their best player to a team they don’t want to play for?

Sometimes somethings just don’t make sense. But for those who know and trust God, there is a silver lining. Romans 8:28 says that “And we know that all things work together for good for them who love God; to those who are called according to his purpose.” The Message Bible puts it this way:

That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Every detail is worked into something good. I don’t know what Kawhi’s spiritual status is, but I absolutely know mine. And that means that all of the bad and the ugly are working together for my good. Thank God. Job felt the same way. He went thorugh somethings that did not make sense. And without this promise, Job and I would have gone crazy a long time ago. So we hold to this promise, and all the while sing this old hymn, until our change comes:

We are tossed and driven
on the restless sea of time;
somber skies and howling tempests
oft succeed a bright sunshine;
in that land of perfect day,
when the mists are rolled away,
we will understand it better by and by.

Refrain:
By and by, when the morning comes,
when the saints of God are gathered home,
we’ll tell the story how we’ve overcome,
for we’ll understand it better by and by.

Kawhi Leonard: Demand A Trade

Kawhi Leonard

LeBron James has opted out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. This means that the King is now an unrestricted free agent. While this is not a big surprise, what happens next could be.  The Sixers, yes the Philadelphia 76ers, are in the LeBron James sweepstakes. Reportedly, the Sixers can pretty reasonably create the cap space to just sign him outright, but that’s not the big news either. Here’s the skinny from CBS Sports staff writer, Brad Botkin:

“Where this really gets interesting is Philly has a very attractive package to offer for Leonard, with reports out there that the Spurs could be interested in a deal involving Dario Saric and Robert Covington. San Antonio would clearly prefer to trade Kawhi to the East, even if they’ve predictably backed off their stance of ruling out a trade with a team from the Western Conference, and if he were to end up in Philly, if the Sixers could live with the risk of him being a potential one-year rental, suddenly James joining Philly would become his only real chance to play on a super team next year.

Imagine the possibilities of a lineup including James, Kawhi, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Yes, James would have to play off the ball more as Simmons is not equipped at all to do so with his inability to shoot outside 10 feet, but from every other perspective, this is a juggernaut. Defensive versatility. Playmaking everywhere. This would be an incredible team. Keep an eye on this.”

So, it seems that Kawhi, who has done well in San Antonio under the reigning dean of NBA coaches, Greg Popovich, is “demanding a trade.” Not overtly or vehemently, but he seems to want out of San Antonio nonetheless.  So what’s the spiritual lesson to be learned here?”

If you are not victorious in any and every situation in your life, you should demand a trade. If your situation is not to your liking, demand a trade. Is the job stressful? Demand a trade!  Is your money funny?  Demand a trade. Is your current station or status in life not working?  Demand a trade. You might not get out of the situation, but you can demand that your situation improves and gets better than it is.

A better situation is what we all strive and struggle for and want and wish for, right? An improved and enhanced life and lifestyle should always be the aim and ambition of our hearts. So, in prayer, beseech and believe Heaven to trade your stress and strain for a bigger and better and higher and healthier situation than the one you’ve got right now.  Stop settling for the mild and mediocre. Stop accepting less that what you deserve. Stop letting the abundant life that Jesus promised slip away. Just trust Him.

And demand a trade.

The Isaiah Thomas/Kyrie Irving Trade: One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

Isaiah Thomas celtics- I don’t get it.

Boston parted ways with one of its most beloved players, Isaiah Thomas, in exchange for Cleveland’s most bemoaned player, Kyrie Irving, in a late summer, blockbuster trade that’s rocking the NBA world.  After the season ended, Kyrie DEMANDED to be traded, so Cleveland had to do something. 

So I get it. I really do. Kyrie was damaged goods in Cleveland, and Isaiah, coming off of hip surgery, was a question mark for the upcoming season, at best. Kyrie burned his bridges in Believeland and Boston saw an opportunity to cement their standing as the No. 1 seed in the East. Now beating Cleveland should be a fait accompli.  Right?

But then again, I don’t get it. Isaiah played his heart out for Boston, and Kyrie won a NBA Championship in Cleveland. So why leave? And why part with a fan favorite in Thomas when he’s the heart and soul of that team?

I get it. Sports is a business. Sports teams are not family anymore. Professional sports teams are organizations, not chummy chum chum kinfolk. The bonding and the binding and the belonging that comes with a sports team that resembles a tight knit family is no more.  It’s in God’s playbook, but not NBA owners. And that’s a shame.

Even though the Kevin Durant signing turned out swimmingly, this was a TRADE, not a free agent signing. So there’s no guarantee that this swap and switch-aroonnee will work.  What about the chemistry between Kyrie and the other veteran Boston players? And will little Isaiah be “big” enough to handle playing with LeBron?

 I don’t get it. But then again, I get it. Once again, we see another example of how sports is like life and life is just like sports. On one hand you scratch your head and wonder.  And on the other hand, you just gotta believe.

Shining Light On A Shady Deal

lesean-mccoy-getty-5

LeSean “Shady” McCoy was the heart and soul of the Philadelphia Eagles. The star running back was the stellar backbone of the team. He was positive and productive, constant and consistent, steady and stable, all rolled up into one.  Shady was the emotional constitution of the Eagles.  He was their vital center and their vibrant core. He was their footing and their foundation, and now he’s gone.

“Shady” McCoy is not the name of a protagonist from an old western movie. It is, in fact, the cool nickname of the top-scoring running back in the NFL.  

Eagles running back LeSean McCoy received the nickname “Shady” from his mother as a baby, due to his constantly changing mood. McCoy’s mother said that her son would “go from smiling one minute to shy the next.” Shady can now stand for McCoy’s elusiveness on the field. A quick-shift running back, McCoy is there one second and gone the next. 

For some reason, the Eagles organization found it in their hearts to trade their bread and butter.    For some reason, the Eagles punted and parachuted the 2013 NFL Rushing Champion, their best player and their highest hope for bringing a Super Bowl to Philly.  In other words, in the eyes of the Philly faithful, the Eagles just bagged a big mistake. Or did they?

McCoy Rushing

Shady deals can be doubtful and debatable, dubious and devious, disenchanting and disappointing.  And everyone who’s got a heart, fans and foes alike, are leery and loopy, cynical and skeptical, in disbelief and downright dejected about this trade.

Shady is not an attribute or an attitude you want anyone you deal with to have.  Shady salesmen and shifty spokesmen never quite win you over. And this deal has all of the ingredients of a sour lemon. They say that the Eagles are “saving” money and banking salary, but tell that to a woman who now must ride the bus when she was accustomed to being chauffeured all over town.  The big numbers in this trade were $24.25 million and $1.69 million. The former is what McCoy is owed the next three years; the latter is what Kiko Alonso will make on his rookie contract this year and next, according to Spotrac.

lesean-mccoy

But it can’t be all about the money. McCoy has big shoes to fill. And yes the Eagles defense is detestable (actually, the Eagle’s “D” STINKS to high heaven!) and needs all of the help it can get; but fans would rather see addition rather than subtraction used to solve this mammoth math problem.

And so the deal is this: time will tell whether the Eagles made a good deal or no. Super Bowls are won and lost just as much off the field as on the field, and just as much during the off-season as during the regular season.  And it takes guts to make decisions that aren’t popular or pleasing to the naked eye, and yet are the right move to make.

Spiritually speaking, God made a shady deal too. He sent His Son, his only begotten Son, down to earth to redeem mankind from sin and shame. On the face of it, that was a shady deal. It was a tricky and risky, chancy and dicey deal fraught with uncertainty and filled with ambiguity, because it was based upon the free will of man. It was contingent upon man’s reception of Jesus Christ, and the only certainty was God’s love. The risk God took was that man had the freedom to accept or reject His love. But that deal worked out pretty good, and it continues to work out in the hearts of faithful believers every day.

And so, like my parents used to say: “we’ll see.” We’ll see if this trade works out. We’ll see if Coach Chip Kelly really knows what he’s doing. We’ll see if the Eagles can and will bounce back and move forward without McCoy. And as shady as it seems, this deal just might turn out all right after all.