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Why Did The Lakers Keep Russell Westbrook?

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Despite pleas and cries from the fans, the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t do anything at the NBA trade deadline.

Even though many die-hard followers and analysts hoped that they would, the team decided to not attempt any trades, including one involving Russell Westbrook.

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To some, this was a real head-scratcher of a choice.

Why did LA decide to stick with Westbrook after the troubled season he’s been having.

Wouldn’t it have made sense to send him away for someone in hopes of keeping the season alive.

What caused the Lakers to stand by their man and keep Westbrook?

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Money Talks

The biggest reason that Westbrook will remain in purple in gold is because he’s just too darn expensive to trade.

He is earning $44 million this year playing for LA and has a player option for next season at a cost of $47 million.

If any team was interested in landing Westbrook, they’d have to swallow the bitter pill of his pricey contract.

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That’s just too hard a pillow for any team to swallow.

It’s made even harder because Westbrook just isn’t having a terrific season.

Yes, he’s gotten better but he is still wildly inconsistent and is not the clutch player that people had hoped he’d be.

So if the Lakers did want to trade Westbrook, they would need to find a team with very deep pockets and the ability to overlook his hit-or-miss record.

You know that was just never going to happen.

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Things Could Still Turn Around

This might sound too optimistic for some, but there is a chance that Westbrook and the Lakers turn the season around and have a great run after the All-Star Game.

It’s possible, although not very likely but it’s one of the reasons why the team didn’t part ways with Westbrook.

He has struggled before with other teams and he has also flipped a switch inside himself after the All-Star Game and has helped lead teams into the postseason when everyone had written them off.

The Lakers are hoping that he will do that again.

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The team obviously saw reasons to get Westbrook and they probably still do, even though he isn’t showing them as he should.

The truth is that Westbrook is surrounded by an incredibly strong group of players and there is reason to believe they could finally start functioning correctly as a great and powerful team.

As painful as it may be to fans, the Lakers’ front office wants to give this lineup a bit more time before they throw in the towel.

But make no mistake, time is running out.

There was a time when a few losses were acceptable but the problems keep coming up again and again.

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We are now at the point in the season when every single loss does count a lot more, especially for a team struggling to make it into the playoffs.

The Lakers have their reasons for keeping Westbrook, both financial and practical.

Fans are making peace with the fact that he’s here to stay – now the team needs to deliver on the promises they made in the offseason.

The post Why Did The Lakers Keep Russell Westbrook? appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Should Celtics run it back or move on from Tatum & Brown duo? | THE HERD

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Jim Jackson joins Colin Cowherd to discuss the latest in sports including the state of the Boston Celtics after their elimination in the Eastern Conference Finals.



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Steve Kerr Gives High Praise To The Miami Heat Players

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The Miami Heat have done something this postseason that no one thought was possible.

They entered the Eastern Conference playoffs as the eighth seed and have made it to the NBA Finals.

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Despite the Heat not having the most talented roster in the league, they play well together.

Every man understands his role and does it to the best of his ability.

That is the sign of a great team.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr had high praise for this Heat team.

According to NBACentral, via Draymond Green’s podcast, Kerr said that no one is complaining about their role, “They’re just all about winning.”

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Miami deploys a rotation of four undrafted players.

Each has played a significant role in the playoffs and continues to play well when called upon.

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Kerr knows what it takes to be a championship team.

He has won nine rings combined as a player and coach.

While many of these teams he was a part of had superstar players, the Heat’s style of play is refreshing.

Also, many fans think these comments by Kerr were a subtle message to some of the players on the Warriors.

There were a few Warriors players who were upset with their role this past season.

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That could be one of the reasons why they are not still playing.

Winning a championship in the NBA is hard, you need everyone to be bought in.

It is clear the Heat are bought in and now they head home for a crucial Game 3 where they can take the series lead.

The post Steve Kerr Gives High Praise To The Miami Heat Players appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Once teammates with Keith, Alex Pietrangelo now battling Matthew Tkachuk in Final

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LAS VEGAS — When he was just starting his National Hockey League career in St. Louis, Alex Pietrangelo spent part of a summer house-sitting for one of his original teammates.

Pietrangelo discovered in the basement of the home the little mini-sticks rink that Keith Tkachuk had set up for his boys, Matthew and Brady. There were lots of scuffs on the walls. Apparently, the games were rambunctious.

It turned out, so were the boys.

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Now 33, Pietrangelo remembers Tkachuk bringing his sons to the rink in St. Louis, and Matthew and Brady bombing around the Blues’ dressing room. Reflecting on it this week, Pietrangelo smiled, mentioning how his own kids now visit the Vegas Golden Knights dressing room.

“I would have been what, 18, 19 years old, so they were just little guys,” Pietrangelo said Sunday between games in the Stanley Cup Final. “I’m nine years older than Matthew, so he was, what, 10 at the time. It’s just funny how things come back.”

Keith Tkachuk retired after the 2009-10 season, but the family stayed in St. Louis and Matthew and Brady eventually became part of the same training group that Pietrangelo still skates with in the summer — even after he left the Blues in 2020 for a stunning $61.6-million free-agent contract in Las Vegas.

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The scuff marks Matthew Tkachuk is making in the Stanley Cup Final are mostly on Pietrangelo, who seems to be the Florida Panthers‘ primary target, especially after whistles. During scrums in Games 1 and 2, which the Golden Knights easily swept to get halfway to their first Stanley Cup, Tkachuk took advantage of the chaos to punch Pietrangelo in the head.

“Yeah, multiple times,” the Knights’ No. 1 defenceman told Sportsnet. “He comes as advertised. That’s OK, I can take it.”

Asked Friday on media day about skating with the Tkachuks in the summer, Pietrangelo said: “I mean, there’s a lot of guys who skate with other guys. (Matthew) is a good player. They both are. They’re both big bodies, big boys. I skate with Brady, too, and I also played with their dad. That sounds a little weird sometimes.

“I stayed at their house one summer. They were out of town, but I stayed at their house with another guy. I still remember they had a little hockey rink in the basement. And here they are. Time flies.”

Like a rabbit punch in a scrum.

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The Tkachuk boys have grown into NHL stars themselves and Pietrangelo is finishing his 13th full season in the league — most of them as one of the game’s top-10 blueliners.

The defenceman from King City, Ont., has finished fourth in Norris Trophy balloting a couple of times, including during his final season in St. Louis, which was the year after Pietrangelo helped the Blues cap a storybook run to the Stanley Cup.

“The first time, it’s a big deal obviously,” Pietrangelo said. “You work your whole life to get there, and I think you’re a little more calm the second time around because you know what to expect. You’ve been there. You certainly try to enjoy it a bit more because you never know when it’s going to happen again, right? You think it’s going to happen but it’s harder than you think.”

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Before the Knights’ 7-2 blowout win on Monday, he explained: “Relaxed isn’t the right word, but you almost feel a little bit less pressure because you’ve been through it before. I think these whole playoffs in general, going on this run, for me, it’s felt a little bit less tense. I’ve played 115 or 120 playoff games [129 actually], and as you keep going you get that feeling. But I feel like our group, the way we are as a group in the locker room, I think we’re enjoying this process.

“St. Louis, there was so much going on that year — the coach [getting fired] and all that stuff, and then (Jordan) Binnington comes up, it was a different kind of ride. But I feel like we’ve been a good team all year. We’ve earned the right to be in this spot. So there’s a sense of confidence that we carried going into this. But the reality is there’s a lot of guys that were… three wins away from winning it last time [for Vegas in 2018] who haven’t won it. So we have a good balance of experience and hunger.”

And the Knights have outstanding lineup balance, too, and all these things have made the series a mismatch so far.

Game 3 is Thursday in Sunrise, Fla. (Sportsnet and SN NOW).

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Just as Pietrangelo said Tkachuk has come as advertised, so has Pietrangelo.

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Except for a moment of madness in the second round, when Pietrangelo uncharacteristically chopped down on the wrists of Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl and was lucky to escape with a one-game suspension, the big defenceman has played the steady, dependable, superior hockey that led the Knights to blitz him in free agency.

The Knights already had an elite defenceman in Shea Theodore. But general manager Kelly McCrimmon, backed by team president George McPhee and owner Bill Foley, believed Vegas needed a “true No. 1 defenceman” like Pietrangelo.

Among the NHL’s top blue-liners, Pietrangelo’s game is one of the quietest. He isn’t dynamic like Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes, doesn’t pile up points like Erik Karlsson and Roman Josi, and isn’t as physically imposing as Victor Hedman.

But night after night, Pietrangelo plays a strong two-way game, making plays with the puck, using his size to protect the Vegas net and his positioning and smarts to disrupt the opposition. He and teammate Alec Martinez lead the playoffs in blocked shots with 48, and only Knights forward Mark Stone and his magic stick have more takeaways than Pietrangelo’s 22.

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After a 54-point regular season that tied a career-high (but was only 15th in scoring among NHL defencemen), Pietrangelo has one goal and nine points (and a plus-10 goal differential at five-on-five) in 18 playoff games.

You can argue whether all that is worth $8.8-million a season, but the Knights have gotten exactly what they wanted with Pietrangelo. Well, they will get it as long as Vegas wins two more games against Florida.

“He’s a high-effort player,” Knights coach Bruce Cassidy said during his media availability on Sunday. “He’s certainly got skill and makes his plays, he’s got a good shot and good nose for the net. But I think his effort to block shots, to defend hard, clear the front of the net — those are some things I guess I’ve learned about Alex. I thought he was a little more the offensive-tilted guy, but he’s a full 200-foot guy. A harder player, I guess, than maybe I would have suspected watching him.”

“This was a good team before I got here,” Pietrangelo said. “Kelly and George have added some pieces, myself and a few other guys along the way they felt would give the team an even better opportunity. But credit to the guys who have been here, the guys who have been here from the start. They’ve been successful since Day 1. And there’s a reason why.

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“We’re confident in what we do as a group. I wouldn’t say that you sit there and you say: ‘Oh, we have a chance to win (the Stanley Cup).’ I don’t think that was ever really the thought process. The thing about our group is we kind of go every single day, and then worry about what the next day is. We’ve dealt with the emotions of the playoffs really well because of that.”

And the emotions of the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final, when the Panthers have failed to goad the Knights into a street fight and Tkachuk, their best player, has been ineffective.

“You’ve got to worry about who you’re playing and where you are right now,” Pietrangelo said. “Experience helps, but I think sometimes you can overthink that experience because you’ve still got to go out and play the game. Because for all of us who are experienced, there’s guys who have never won it before and are just as hungry to win for the first time, right? But, you know, when you win it once, you want to win it again.”

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