With all of the main pieces already off the board, and a few unexpected surprise moves too, several teams still have many holes t-o fill before tipping off of the 2018-2019 NBA Season. I mean let’s face it, if there’s anything that we should have learned from this past season it’s that championships will now be won based on depth. The old mantra “Defense Wins championships,” while still somewhat true, means little now. The key now is to be able to overwhelm your opponent with the number of players that can be unleashed onto the opposing team, and to be able to attack relentlessly on multiple fronts. This is why Golden State continues to win, and why Cleveland and Houston failed. But alas, the new season is just a few months away. And for the right team, with enough assets and/salary cap space, there are still moves to be made towards knock the king (Warriors) off the board. So let’s take a look at what players still remain in play. Some moves will require a lot, and still others are more so based on being a proper fit (chemistry-wise). But any team, serious about winning, has at least considered moving on one or two of these players-still others will make a play to acquire the services of these talents…
With each day it becomes increasingly tough to gauge just where Kawhi Leonard will play next season (or the season after that). Whether a Laker, or elsewhere he brings excellence on both offense and defense-which is rare is this day and age on basketball. No matter where he goes, a healthy Kawhi Leonard can change or elevate the fate of any franchise. This storyline has played out in pretty weird fashion; but I’ve got my popcorn out as I wait patiently to see how this drama ends.
If you watched The Houston Rockets in this year’s NBA Playoffs, then there’s really no need for a bio here. Clint Capela is young, he’s fast, he can score from all over the court, he rebounds over guys much heavier than him, and will swat your shot right back in your face. Still a restricted free agent, The Rockets don’t have to move him at all this year; but knowing that they will not have the cap room to come anywhere near what will be offered to him in 2019, he has to be in play. He’s too much of a talent to let walk away without anything in return.
Carmelo fitting well on any team can be tricky; but in the right situation his scoring ability and experience could be the reason someone, other than The Warriors lift up The Larry O’Brien Trophy next season. And don’t forget he has added an extra wrinkle to his game after playing power forward for most of last season. Coming in at the veteran minimum, or via trade, Carmelo still can can provide 16-20 points and 6 rebounds per game.
Two ACL tears have led to a decline for this former first round pick, after seeing his break-out season in 2016. He can play both forward positions, and can score from anywhere. Still he is no longer a fit in Milwaukee; so consider the restricted free agent to be on the block for a trade or free agent tender offer that Milwaukee may not want to or may not have the cap space to match.
A little over a year and a half ago, Isaiah Thomas lll was averaging 28.9 points per game for the Boston Celtics, and well on his way to a max contract payday. But in March of 2017, he suffered a hip injury and decided to play through it. That injury came back to haunt him, during that year’s Eastern Conference Finals, and still to this day keeps that cloud over his shoulder. Question is, once fully back to health, can he recapture the magic? Clearly no longer as expensive of a hire as in the past, his toughness and play-making ability can lead the right to success at a pretty strong discount.
Hailing from Cameroon, Mbah a Moute can defend against all five positions, but can also score at will. Sacrificing minutes, and shots, Luc Mbah a Moute would post much higher numbers on a team that didn’t already feature two ball-dominant players in Harden and CP3. He is a powerful wing scorer and defender; and his presence was definitely missed when shoulder injuries forced him to miss The Western Conference Finals against Golden State.
Michael Beasley’s earl years were mired in off-the-court issues; but he can still score and rebound with the best of them. After a bit of a resurgence of his career in New York, Beasley may be in line for yet another chance at glory. As a die-hard Knick Fan, I hope he stays put in MSG.
Greg Monroe played for three separate teams last season. Yes, three. But it was on that third stop, in Boston, that he reminded the basketball world of what kind of post player he still is. His scoring, defensive presence and rebounding paid dividends in this year’s playoffs; and could definitely be an team-building asset for the right team this year.
For better or for worse, the current day NBA is all about shooters. And coming off career highs in scoring and three point shooting percentages, Wayne Ellington could prove to be quite the asset off the bench for any team (especially in L.A. for Lebron).
Napier showed strong play-making and scoring ability as he doubled his career highs in both points and minutes per game. His speed and scoring ability can make him a strong asset off the bench for any contender.
Kemba Walker is a wildcard piece that while not a free agent, has been mentioned in a million trade and/or restricted free-agent tender scenarios. A really good player; but on a really bad team; Walker is an electrifying scorer rarely seen because The Charlotte Hornets haven’t been a National TV priority since the nineties. Most-likely worthy of a max contract in 2019, I couldn’t imagine any circumstances that would make him want to stay where he is. So whether now, or as we get closer to February’s Trade Deadline, he and his 22 points per game will almost surely be on the move.
OSHUN - "PARTS"
This is probably the third time we’ve featured OSHUN here at The Wandering Eyes Blog; and if you are not yet up on them, you might want to catch up because you’re surely missing out on some MAGIC! “Parts” is the first official music video from their new debut studio album, “Bittersweet Vol. 1, which came out earlier this year. This track offers a bit of a departure from all of the songs I’ve heard previously; but with a more Dope & Spiritual Take on discovering that you are in a dysfunctional relationship.
“So amazed by the things that escape from your mouth/And I/There it goes, forget it, I'm thinkin' about/How you doin', oh how you feelin'. Well, mama told me all of my feelings/Protect my heart/'Cause things fall apart and they shatter, but/That shit don't really even matter/When I'm with you…”
Normally known for songs about vibrating higher and righteous vibes, this joint gets all too real and gangsta as it rolls along. Still coming from a vibrate higher perspective, the source of stagnation clearly has run out of time. Lol.
“Now eye to eye, so I and I fly to the sky/And let you do your own thing/Let you deal with your own pain/While I ascend to my plane. It's clear to me, yes I can see/That we don't have that old thing. Mixed signals aren't working/How 'bout you stay in your own lane, I (ayy, ayy)/Stay in your lane (ayy, ayy). Try to let you love me, boy/Ayy, ayy/But sum'n about the way you move ain't workin' for my heart/Starting to feel more comfortable when you and me apart…”
For more of OSHUN, be sure to check out their YouTube Channel. Support Good Music…
Kareem Abdul Jabbar has held The NBA’s All-Time Scoring Record since 1984. Kobe Bryant was in kindergarten, Lebron James would not be born until later that year, and Michael Jordan was in his Rookie Year. This 7’2 giant won six NBA Titles, six MVP Awards, three straight NCAA Basketball Championships, and won Most Outstanding Player in each of those three collegiate seasons. But yet when debating who is the greatest player of all time, his name rarely ever comes into the conversation.
Consider the fact that Lebron has only four MVP Awards, and MJ has five; but neither player did it even remotely as early in their careers as Kareem. No other NBA player has won more MVP Awards; and on top that, this man won the award five out of his first seven years in the league.
Hell, The NCAA even banned the slam dunk in 1967 because of him…
In his 1969-1970 rookie season, Kareem Abdul Jabbar took the former expansion team Milwaukee Bucks from a forgettable 27-55 record the prior season to finishing second in the East. The Bucks were only in their second season when the eventual Rookie Of The Year arrived; and as far as stats go, he finished up the season averaging 28.8 ppg with 14.5 rebounds per game to go with it. The following year, with the addition of Oscar Robertson, Kareem & The Bucks would claim their first NBA Championship. Jabbar led the league in scoring that season-with 31.7ppg-in route to earning League MVP & NBA Finals MVP honors. For the 1972-1773 season, Kareem would increase his scoring output to his overall career high 34.8 points per game and win his second straight MVP Award. The next three years offered more of the same (MVP again in 1974), before a culturally-starved Kareem Abdul Jabbar would request a trade to either New York or Los Angeles. There of course he would win five more NBA Titles and three more League MVP Awards. Kareem Abdul Jabbar would retire in 1989, as the NBA’s All Time Leading Scorer. At that time he was also career leader in blocked shots, and STILL has been to more All Star Games than any other player in NBA history. Ten times he made the more important NBA All First Team List (five times All Second team). Five Times he made the All-Defensive Team.
Perhaps one of my favorite points to mention about Kareem Abdul Jabbar is his social activist spirit. From hanging with The Five Percenters in Harlem, to plotting strategies with Jim Brown & Muhammad Ali, Kareem was never one to mince words when describing the hypocrisies of society. Even today, he continues on and that has cost him everything from head coaching jobs to being left out when discussing just who the great player of all time is. No shade towards Michael or Lebron; but the numbers don’t lie. I’m just saying…
Pio Gama Pinto was a Kenyan journalist and revolutionary socialist leader, and is credited as being a major influence in fostering the Pan-Africanist views of which Malcolm X (aka El Hajj Malik El Shabazz) would later inspire generations across the globe. The pair are said to have originally met back in 1959 and shared a common interest in achieving the goals of freedom and human rights for all oppressed peoples of the world. Largely unheralded and unrecognized in history though, Pio Gama Pinto belongs on a mantle equal to The Great Che Guevara. Waging battles of resistance against both British and Portuguese Colonial Powers, Pio Gama Pinto was a Titan of Socialism determined to fight wherever there was injustice.
Before working to gain Kenyan Independence, Pinto first fought on behalf of the Goa People in India in the 1940’s. Upon returning to Kenya, in 1949, it was not long before he became involved in the fight against British Colonial Rule. For this he was arrested and would spend four years in prison. Upon his release in 1959, Gama began his renewed push to educate & organize the Kenyan People to fight for independence. In 1960 he founded the Kenyan African National Union Newspaper, was elected to the legislature (among other positions), armed Mau Mau soldiers, and formed alliances with others in the movement. Pinto was a member of The Mau Mau Central Committee, and worked to free Mau Mau Leader (and eventual Kenyan President) Jomo Kenyatta from prison. Sadly, it would be Jomo Kenyatta’s Regime (backed by American and British Interests) that would turn on Pio Gama Pinto and allegedly conspire to have him assassinated.
Pio Gama Pinto was assassinated three days after Malcom X (El Hajj Malik El Shabazz); and 53 years later, his true assassin has never been prosecuted for his murder. Like Malcolm, his crime was pushing for social, political, and economic equality by any means necessary. And like Brother Malcolm, he spoke truth to power-even if it was against one of his own partners in the struggle. Kisilu Mutua was convicted and received the death penalty for Pinto’s murder in 1965. However, after 35 years in jail, Mutua was released and would later receive compensation after it was determined that he had been tortured into making a confession.
Last year, Ramad Chatman stood trial for armed robbery and aggravated assault in Rome, Georgia. He was accused of robbing a local convenience store in 2014, after a “The Lucky Lotto” employee identified him from a random photo on her Facebook timeline.
So Why Is He Still In Jail??? Because Judge John Niedrach said so. Now according to reports:
I had been planning on writing this post for a while. But deep down I always hoped that I would never have too. But with word that Blaine Gabbert had been signed by The Arizona Cardinals today (yep, the same Blaine Gabbert that lost his starting job to Colin Kaepernick), reality has now truly set in…
For months now, story after story has been written about WHY teams were allegedly reluctant to sign Colin Kaepernick. “Sources” cited everything from an alleged drop off in skill, to his body being too beaten up, to feared backlash from fans, to even the idea that his vegan diet would make him too susceptible to injury. And to be clear, up to this point the propaganda has obviously worked. To date, Kaep has received few-if any calls at all.
Sadly, none of those justifications presented so far carry any weight. Already having played through a full season since his refusal to stand for The National Anthem was first noticed in a Twitter Pic by Niner’s Nation reporter Jennifer Lee Chan, and later reported on by profootballtalk.com. Of course there was a huge backlash, but Kaep’s stance was also supported by a larger majority of fans, fellow athletes, celebrities, and even veterans. By week six of the 2016 season, Kaep had regained a starting QB role that he had previously lost while playing with an injured arm-and while his numbers were far from elite, they were far better than any of the quarterbacks that have signed with new teams so far in 2017. Playing on the numerically second-worst team in The NFL, Colin Kaepernick had a 90.7 QB Rating and threw for 2,241 yards. He also threw 21 touchdowns-versus only four interceptions. These stats were amassed in only 12 games, and on one of the weakest rosters in all of The NFL (go ahead, name three players without using Google).
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
And with little fanfare, Colin Kaepernick consistently put his time and money into multiple charities & causes. Kaep donated to Meals on Wheels, homeless shelters, recent parolees, youth job readiness programs, and helped get aid to Somalians suffering from a devastating drought/famine. Even if just from a PR standpoint, one would think that multiple teams could use Kaep’s charitable profile to distract fans away from the woefully bad football product that they are putting out on the field-but all of these teams instead gave away millions to other quarterbacks that have NEVER won anything on the pro level. The New York Jets chose Josh McCown, the 49ers moved on with Brian Hoyer, The Chicago Bears gave away an insane amount of money and draft picks for Mike Glennon & Mitch Trubisky, The Jacksonville Jaguars/Denver Broncos/Cleveland Browns stuck with what they had, and The Arizona Cardinals chose to secure a fragile spot with the QB that was benched in favor of said Colin Kaepernick. Smh.
Freedom Of Speech Does Not Just Apply When Those In Power Agree...
Oshun - "Sango"
In Yoruba tradition & culture, "Oshun" is "The great mother of love, the great mother of sweetness, the great mother of the river, great mother of healing and fertility, the great mother of abundance." And in that tradition Niambi Sala and Thandiwe have emerged on the music scene with a power and grace not seen since back when Erykah Badu first graced us with her musical powers of Elegance & Intelligence. Back with their most recent visual, Oshun takes us in a slightly different direction with “Sango.”
“In the Yoruba pantheon, Sango is the ideal lover for Oṣun as her fierce protector. Ṣango provides Divine and positive masculine energy to balance well with Oṣun's Divine feminine energy. While coming to terms with the imbalance and challenges of modern relationships today, OSHUN searches for the Divine and positive masculine energy in their new video.”
Vibe With It, Soak It Up, and Enjoy…
The neighborhood watchman has struck again. But this time the mainstream media has opted to not report this one. For those that not privy to the story, 39 Year Old Chad Copley has been charged with First Degree Murder after the executing unarmed 20 Year Old Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas on August 7th. Now labeled under the moniker "George Zimmerman 2.0,” Copley called 911 complaining about “hoodlums” in his Raleigh, North Carolina neighborhood. Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, and a few of his friends, had been in the area attending a party a couple of houses away from Copley's. On the 911 call, Copley tells dispatchers that “I’m on neighborhood watch. I am going to have the neighborhood meet these hoodlums out here racing up and down the street. It’s 1 in the morning. There’s some devil in them. They have firearms and we’re going to secure our neighborhood. If I was you, I would send PD out here as quickly as possible.” He would go on to say "I’m Locked & Loaded & I’m Going to Secure My Neighborhood." Secure it from What???!!! According to police, would then leave his garage (with his shotgun) and fatally shoot young Mr. Thomas. Copley would call back to 911 dispatchers, claiming to have fired a "Warning Shot" and that he was now somehow under attack.
“We have a lot of people outside our house, yelling and shouting profanities. I yelled at them, ‘Please leave the premises.’ They were showing a firearm, so I fired a warning shot and, uh, we got somebody that got hit...I fired my warning shot like I’m supposed to by law. They do have firearms, and I’m trying to protect myself and my family...Ma’am, I don’t know who they are. There’s frigging black males outside my frigging house with firearms. Please send PD."
no one was armed, except Mr. Copley. And according to all reports, not only was Copley not under any assignment as neighborhood watch, he was never under any imminent threat. Chad Copley has been charged with first-degree murder, and held without bond. Experts say that he will have trouble advancing with any type of self-defense claim. Whether Copley ends up spending 1 day or 1000 years in jail, WE must begin the push to hold ALL FORMS OF MASS MEDIA accountable for how The Black & Brown are portrayed in the media. The cold-blooded murder of Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas is a MAJOR story. But it has received little to no coverage outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. More importantly, we have to boycott those media channels that chose to only present shows, movies, and music that overly dramatic/aggressive and prone to violence Black Men, Women & Child day in and day out. We make excuses and justify it as "just entertainment;" but these are the images in the heads of so-called law enforcement when they engage us-and in the minds of the jurors that let them walk free. Change the paradigm. #ReversePolarity
As election night gets closer and closer, prevailing thoughts of race and entitlement rage louder than any bomb ever made. And for anyone that had the blinders on previously, there just was no excuse after Iowa Congressman Steve King uttered out his foolish comments made during coverage of July's GOP Convention. For those that have already forgotten, Rep. King referred to non-whites as a "Sub group" and pressed the idea that no other race had contributed more to civilization than that of the European and/or "where the footprint of Christianity settled the world." Sad to say this is the perspective (I refuse to call it thinking) of far more people in this country than you can imagine. All across the nation there are have been stories of school textbooks under fire for correctly portraying the foundations of civilization as beginning with The Black & Brown People of Earth. And let's not forget those Texas history books that refer to African Slaves as "workers from Africa" brought "to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.” This is the cross by-product of centuries of propaganda used to justify the rape, murder, pillage, enslavement, exploitation, and oppression of The Black and Brown-plus the increasing fear and paranoia of repercussions coming from the true majority. But that's another topic for another blog. For now let's just soak up some facts to counter those foolish notions of ignorance that empower fools like Steve King. I could have included all sorts of long form lectures and documentaries, but I highly doubt that people like Representative King have that type of attention span Lol. Check out the videos, fact-check them, and SHARE...