Tuesday Teabag, July 12, 2016 – The Kevin Durant Free Agency Freak Out

Kevin DurantThat’s right!  We’re back with a brand new Teabag!  We receive millions, thousands, hundreds, tens, many emails and tweets (if you’re not following us on Twitter, you’re doing it wrong), and they all want to know the same thing:  Why haven’t you written a Teabag in so long?  Are you still hungover from the Draft Party?  Busy playing Pokemon Go?  Do you no longer like to give Teabags?

No, no, and no.  True, we may have drunk our weight in Coors Light at the Draft Party, but we’re not going soft on you.  In fact, we’re busy gearing up for another for another (wildly successful) fantasy football season.  Also, if we catch any of you playing Pokemon Go (and yes, we’re watching) we will openly shame you.  And we’ll never stop loving teabags.  So with that, let’s get right to our Teabag du jour.

You may have heard that Kevin Durant signed with Golden State last week.  The signing is beyond huge.  KD is a Top 5 player…a Top 3 player if you really know your NBA.  League MVP.  He’s spent his entire career with the OKC franchise, and after (multiple) unsuccessful postseasons, decided to take his talents to Oaktown.

Now, not surprisingly, OKC fans freaked out…burning his jersey, crying in the streets, essentially erasing his name from the City.  Some of that’s to be expected…at least from the fans.  Fans are, by nature, fanatical, and have a weird sense of ownership over the players that play for their team…well, at least the good ones.  Pretty sure no one would freak out if Cameron Payne left the Thunder.

A bit much.

A bit much.

Anyway, what’s odd is that KD is getting shit from journalists and other “knowledgeable” sports writers.  Notable blowhard Stephen A. Smith (a past Teabag recipient) said it was “the weakest move I’ve even seen an NBA superstar commit.”  He then tried to explain his reasoning as follows:

“You are riding the gravy train. You’re jumping on the bandwagon. They don’t need you. They’ve won without you. Chances are, they’d win again, without you. You are jumping on their coattails to do what some would say you should have done already. Considering the great talent that you are. That’s my issue with Kevin Durant. Nothing else. Not him choosing to leave Oklahoma City. Not him choosing to go someplace else. Not him choosing to depart from Russell Westbrook.”

Think about that for a second.  He’s not upset KD left Oklahoma City.  He’s upset he left to go to Golden State, a more successful team.  Where was he supposed to go?  Milwaukee?  Why would he go to a worse team?  If he took more money from a worse team, wouldn’t that make him more selfish?  Instead, he decided to go to a (much) better team.

But more than just Stephen, other people have come out against this trade.  Michael Rosenberg wrote a long-winded, get your ball off my yard article, incredulously wondering “where is Durant’s competitive spirit?” Mike Lupica whined that Durant took “the path of least resistance.”

The Machine is here to say, you guys are out of your fucking minds.  Path of least resistance?  Guess what team is going to have the most pressure to win next season?  Golden State.  If they don’t win the title, the season will be a waste.  Shit, if they don’t win more than 73 games, the season will be a waste.  Where’s his competitive spirit?  Umm, he was sick of losing in the playoffs and waiting for OKC to bring in more talent.  He made this move because of his competitive spirit.  He wants to win, and wants to win now.  The NBA is a young man’s game.  He’s in his prime, but he won’t be there for long.  He can’t keep wondering if the Thunder will put together a championship caliber team.  They’ve been unsuccessful in 9 years.

If OKC really wanted to keep KD, then they wouldn’t have let James Harden leave.  Yes folks, the writing’s been on the wall since 2012, when OKC traded Harden to the Rockets.  The Thunder were just coming off a Finals appearance…Harden was a budding superstar (he won the NBA 6th man of the year in 2012) and they were poised to get back to the Finals.  Instead, OKC hit reset, traded Harden, and put it all on KD and Westbrook’s shoulders, which isn’t enough.  Why?  Because if any of the past, say, five NBA champions have taught us anything, it’s that’s you need more than 2 superstars on your team to win.  Here’s some math equations:

Duncan + Manu + Parker = Championship.

LeBron + Kyrie + Love = Championship.

Wade + Bosh + LeBron = Championship.

Wade + Bosh = NO Championship.

What could'be been.

What could’be been.

Durant and Westbrook were never going to win a championship together, and OKC didn’t do enough to bring in a third championship-caliber player.  Which leaves to my next point.

Guess where Russell Westbrook is going to be after next season?  Answer:  Not Oklahoma City.  Should KD sit around and wait for Westbrook to bail and be left holding the bag?  That’s absurd.  Leaving now is the smartest decision he could make.

You know what else is smart?  The contract Durant signed.  Durant signed a two year, $54 million contract.  But the beauty is that the second year is a player option…meaning Durant will be a free agent again after next season.  This sets him up perfectly for the projected salary cap increase.  If you recall, LeBron James has been milking the one year player options as well.  Durant has put himself in the best position possible.  He can win a championship, and then land a max contract.  Not a bad deal.

And, while we’re talking about money, let’s be clear that his decision was not motivated by money.  Per NBA rules, his best option money-was would’ve been to sign a 1 year deal with OKC and then a max out contract.

This isn’t about money…it’s about winning.  And spare me the bullshit, nostalgia talk of yesteryear.  Larry Bird would never play with Magic Johnson…blah, blah, blah.  You know what KD owes OKC?  Not one god damn thing.  He balled for them, brought them to the Finals, won an MVP, made the franchise relevant.  He deserves to enjoy the fruits of his labor.  A fan’s loyalty runs only as deep as the talent.  And, not for nothing, but THAT’S WHAT FREE AGENCY IS FOR!  Gone are the days when superstars stayed with their team for life.  LeBron, Wade, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett…all left.

This is also perfect for Golden State (so much for the big market cities dominating free agency).  There is uncertainty with Steph Curry’s ankles, and who knows what’s going to happen with the nut-ninja Draymond Green.  This move gives the Warriors the ability to rest Curry so that he’s not limping into the playoffs next year.

Kevin Durant, The Machine says bravo.  The Warriors are going to score 400 points a game next year.  All the KD bashing is just nonsense, we’ve yet to hear one credible argument.  Somehow, the fun loving, small market team turned into the enemy overnight.  That’s alright…KD will laugh all the way to the NBA Finals.

Enjoy your teabag.

Game 7 – All or Nothing

Yes it's true, the NBA Playoffs will end tonight!

Yes it’s true, the NBA Playoffs will end tonight!

Yes, exactly two months to the day, the NBA playoffs will finally come to an end tonight, as the Heat take on the Spurs in Game 7.  There are no better words in sport than “Game 7” (“you are not the father” comes in as a close second).  The Machine doesn’t care what sport it is, we’ll watch any Game 7.  There simply is nothing better in sports.

Loyal readers of The Machine know that we wisely picked this matchup in April.  Point:  Machine.  They’ll also be quick to note that we likened the Heat to the ’96 Bulls.  Point:  ’96 Bulls.  The Heat, while (at times) displaying flashes of overpowering dominance and confidence similar to the ’96 Bulls, have not coasted through the playoffs.  They are not perfect, and they are not the ’96 Bulls.  The Machine has learned its lesson:  no more comparisons to Jordan-led teams (we disavow his tenure with Washington).  No one will ever match the brilliance of the ’96 Bulls.

Ok, back to tonight’s game.  Who’s going to win?  Is The Machine going to back pedal from its (over)hyping of the Heat?  The Spurs have exposed the Heat in this series, Danny Green continues to drain threes, Boris Diaw is the most underrated player in the NBA, and Tim Duncan has shown he’s got enough left in the tank for one more epic performance.  So the Spurs have a chance, right?

Sorry kiddos, as much as we love an underdog, we simply cannot pick against the Heat.  As the fickle Miami crowd was leaving Tuesday night (Christ people, they were only down 5 with 28 seconds left) a flip switched with this team.  They realized they were about to lose the NBA Finals, and suddenly remembered that they were the most dominant team since the ’96 Bulls (dammit, we just broke our own rule).  From that moment, the Heat went into Champion mode (a/k/a Beastmode), and the Spurs were instantly outmatched and shell-shocked.  LeBron nailed a three, the Spurs missed a free through that would’ve put them up 4, and Ray Allen reminded everyone that he’s the best 3 point shooter on the court (suck it, Danny Green).  Simply put, the Heat got pissed.  At themselves and their own fans.  And it’s that motivation that will propel them to Game 7 victory.

The Spurs had their chance to win.  They were 28 seconds away from the title and shocking the world.  If they could make free throws, we wouldn’t be here.  Their window of opportunity has closed, and, much like the one time you made out with the prom queen, it ain’t opening up again.

Despite Chris Bosh and his alternating personalities of dominant center/confused velociraptor, Bron Bron will not let the Heat lose.  Look for LeBron to up the aggressiveness on offense and dribble drive to the hole, getting fouled along the way and picking up easy buckets at the line.  The only answer to that is to double on the drive, which then LeBron (who doesn’t get enough credit for his passing skills) will find the open shooter (Battier, Allen) or cutter (Birdman/Bosh).  And let’s not forget about Wade.  D-Wade will drain the knee one last time and will play with the same intensity and poise as he showed in Game 6.

But the Spurs won’t go without a fight.  They’ve proven they can hang with the Heat.  Timmy and Co. will keep this game entertaining.  For all the double-digit snooze fests that we’ve witnessed in this series and the playoffs in general, The Machine thinks this one will be close.  We’re hoping for a down to the wire finish, but our money’s on the Heat to cover (garbage free throws) and the under.

The NBA Playoffs might be (read: are) painfully long and difficult to watch but it all ends tonight. 

Book it, friends.  The Heat will be repeat NBA Champions.

The NBA – Our Bad

In a testament as to how relevant the NBA is, apparently the season has already started.  Don’t get The Machine wrong, we care about the NBA, in fact, we love the NBA.  It’s true.  Lebron, Melo, Black Mamba, D-Wade, Durantula, what’s not to love?  Then why haven’t you posted about the NBA yet?  Good question.  As The Machined gnawed over that question, we received the following phone call at 2:00 am.


The Machine:  [removing overnight retainer] Hello?  Who is this?  Are you locked up again Roid Rage?

[unidentified caller]: What haven’t you written about the NBA?

The Machine:  David Stern?  Is that you?  Have you been drinking?

David Stern:  Umm, no, [garbled, garbled] it’s Daniel Steinberg.  [unintelligible]  Well, are you going to answer me?

The Machine:  Well…it’s just that…well…err…the problem is…

David Stern [speech slurred]:  What?

Puzzled by his question, The Machine was unsure if he meant “what is the problem” or “what are you wearing” The Machine assumed the former but was curiously intrigued by the latter.  However, being the upstanding journalists that we are (it’s easy to deflect a booty call from a 70 year old white guy) we had to be honest.

The Machine:  The problem is the worst has come true.  There is no parity anymore.  We know the Heat are going to win.  We know there are only 5 relevant teams (Miami, LA (Lakers), Knicks, Celtics, and Thunder).  The rest of the league is mediocre to awful.  Small market teams are dead.  Portland?  Memphis?  Golden Gate?  Cleveland?  Had enough?  No?  Sacramento?  Charlotte?  New Orleans?  Denver?  Utah?  Are you fucking kidding us?  Those are D-league or And-1 squads.  And we’re being generous.  Detroit, Toronto and Washington are a collective 1-14, and we can easily throw in Indiana, Houston, and Phoenix as also irrelevant (is Penny Hardaway still on the Suns?  Those lil Penny commercials were the shit!)  Anyway, that’s half, yes, HALF the fucking league that consistently puts out a shitty product.

David Stern:  Finished asshole?

The Machine:  Just getting started.  The playoffs take fucking forever, get some control of pre-game celebrations, I can’t tell if I’m watching the Clippers/Mavs or Step it Up 2:  The Streets, and for Christ sake, put a fucking hit on Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless!  And, you’re a lame duck Commissioner!  You created this mess and are going to dump this bag of shit on to some as-of-today unknown successor.  You’re worse then Bud Selig.

David Stern:  I meant what are you wearing, dick. [dial tone].

So there you have it.  The NBA is as interesting as May baseball.  It’s even worse than that, because we already know how it’s going to end.  Sorry if we can’t get excited about that.  We’ll try to put a good face on and keep the NBA in our thoughts, but unless MJ comes out of retirement (dude could still average 20+ a game) there’s no compelling storylines.  The entire season is about 5 teams (really one).

Case in point:  The Lakers just fired Mike Brown and are considering hiring Phil Jackson?  The rich get richer…