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NBA Comings and Goings (Rumored)

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No Brotherly Love for Fultz

The Philadelphia Sixers are all in. They continue to make moves to be the top seed in the NBA Eastern Conference. During the off-season, they brought in veteran swingman Wilson Chandler for depth and shooting touch off the bench. But by letting go off playoff contributors G Marco Belinelli and F Ersan Ilyasova, Sixers management has placed more responsibility on the young shoulders of G Ben Simmons, G Markelle Fultz, and C Joel Embiid. Well, it looks like one pair of shoulders isn’t strong enough to carry the weight of expectations–Markelle Fultz. The Sixers just acquired All-Star Jimmy Butler from the Timberwolves in November for a package including Dario Saric and Robert Covington. Butler’s arrival and Fultz’s continued shooting woes mean the former No. 1 overall draft pick’s days in Philly are numbered.

Fultz was installed as the starter for the first 15 games of the season after recovering from injuries and working on a new release. He may have been healthy, but his shooting was still erratic, highlighted by pump fakes on the free throw line. Since the Butler acquisition, Fultz has lost his spot to J.J. Reddick and seen his playing time evaporate. The team announced Fultz will sit out from all practices and games and see several shoulder specialists to determine the full extent of his ‘injury.’

A Rough Ride

This is the second consecutive season that the Sixers are plagued by Fultz’ right shoulder. What wasn’t commonly known was that an alleged motorcycle accident last season could be the cause of all the drama. But thanks to the homie, Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson now we know. Robinson, who broke the news that LeBron James would end up on the Lakers, reported that Fultz was involved in a motorcycle accident in 2017 that was covered up. Since the accident, Fultz has been forced to change his shooting motion. His touch hasn’t fully recovered and this season he’s got a wrist issue too. The Athletic also reported that Fultz would “prefer a fresh start with a new team” as he works through these latest round of issues.

There’s No Magic in D.C.

wallandbealbeef
Is it time to break up the Wizards? Courtesy: Getty Images

Wizards’ John Wall and Brandon Beal are arguably the most dynamic backcourt in the NBA. Wall is an elite PG who could average a triple-double. Only the Splash brothers in Golden State have a better shooting touch than Beal. The duo has led the team to the playoffs for two consecutive years and re-written the Wizards record books, but their beef could be destroying the team from within. The team is under .500 this season, arguing with head coach Scott Brooks, and reports that management may finally be ready to break up Wall and Beal are getting louder.

One of the vicious assessments of the Wizards came from former Wizard and Celtic Paul Pierce. On ESPN’s “The Jump” said, “These guys [Wall and Beal] have been together too long,” Pierce said. ” … You have two franchise pieces (in Wall and Bradley Beal) who, it just seems like they have their on- and off-the-court issues. “It’s not working out in Washington. So, I think it’s time to break it up. They haven’t taken the necessary steps to advance to the Eastern Conference finals or the (NBA) Finals. This team is on a treadmill, and it’s only going to get worse.”

Damn Paul. Tell us how you really feel. The worst aspect of the Wizards’ drama is that both players will never surpass their combined success as solo acts. Wall is a modern-day Stephon Marbury. Extremely skilled and dynamic but too stubborn to realize he needs his teammates for sustained success. Beal is a premier guard who is a perfect second option on a championship level team. But force him to become the No. 1 option and you get Joe Johnson.

‘Melo Yellow

carmeloanthonywaived
His days in Houston are over.

After 13 games with the Houston Rockets, Carmelo Anthony was waived. The Rockets have struggled to begin the season (9-10), have a veteran core and championship aspirations. Anthony was supposed to be the final piece of a team that took the Warriors to seven games in last season’s Western Conference Finals. So much so the Rockets allowed their best two-way player, Trevor Ariza, sign with the Phoenix Suns as a free agent.

Anthony averaged a career-low 13.4 PPG, shot 40% from the field and barely 30% from behind the arc in the 10 games he played. His defensive shortcomings have gotten worse with age. This could be a sorry end to a Hall of Fame career. Will another team take a chance on Melo?

On the Down Low

If the escalating beef between John Wall, Brandon Beal, and Scott Brooks weren’t enough the Wizards were caught off guard by a social media storm around center Dwight Howard. On Saturday, a cisgender gay man named Masin Elije claimed to have dated the NBA star in the past. But the revelations didn’t stop there–Elijie also accused both Howard and members of his camp of threatening his life.

The Heavy has a break down of the revelations and we honestly don’t care about who Howard spends his time with. But the fallout from the weekend highlighted the horrible homophobia and transphobia that still plagues professional sports leagues and its fans. The question remains, where do we go from here? What will it take for the general public to cheer the heroes for their contributions to winning and not by their color, creed, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation?

 

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