2019-20 KICKS OFF: The 2019-20 NBA season finally kicked off on Tuesday night, with the Toronto Raptors knocking off the young and hungry (and undermanned without Zion) New Orleans Pelicans 130-122 in overtime, and the Los Angeles Clippers taking down the Lakers 112-102 in what was a pretty dominant performance.
In the former contest, Pascal Siakam proved he has yet another level to hit after an impressive 2018-19 season, dropping an absurd 30 points and 18 rebounds against what should be a pretty decent Pelicans team. Meanwhile, in the latter, Kawhi Leonard was surely Player of the Night, dropping 30 in what was a dominating performance for the 2019 Finals MVP. It looks like Anthony Davis and LeBron James could take some time mesh, as neither player shot the ball well whatsoever (combining to go 15-for-40 with eight turnovers), but that’s to be expected when two ball-dominant superstars share the floor for the first time.
NO EXTENSION (YET): There was talk a few weeks ago of DeMar DeRozan and the Spurs potentially coming to terms on a contract extension, but for now, that doesn’t appear too close to happening. There isn’t a deadline for veteran extensions like there was for third-year players, however, so it’s still possible the two sides can work something out.
ROSTER CHURN: Only 43 percent of the players in the NBA are with the same team they were exactly one year ago. It’s the lowest mark of the century. With some teams, the number is below 30 percent. Something to be said about loyalty here.
NO KLAY? Steve Kerr opened up Monday by telling the local media and fans at large not to get their hopes up about seeing Klay Thompson at all this season, which marks the first time someone from the Warriors says anything so definitive about the All-Star’s rehab. However, he walked those comments back a bit later on in the day, stating that he wasn’t trying to break any news, rather using common sense about how long ACL rehab usually takes. So it’s still possible Thompson returns in 2019-20.
📺 For the record, Chinese state TV didn’t air opening night games.
WADE’S NEXT LANDING SPOT: Dwyane Wade signs another multi-million deal… this time with TNT.
MASAI CLEARED: Raptors exec Masai Ujiri is off the hook.
PODCAST ALERT: Our very own Alex Kennedy interviewed Blazers big man Zach Collins, who – after a couple of quiet seasons to start his career – is heading into a very important third year where he’ll have more on his plate, and will need to produce accordingly.
TOUCHING TIMBERWOLVES STORY: The Athletic’s Jon Krawzynski wrote a beautiful story about Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders, and his healing process after losing his father Flip four years ago. The two were extremely close, and when his father passed, Ryan nearly quit it all and went away to coach a high-school team.
SIAKAM READY: Raptors swingman Pascal Siakam spoke to The Undefeated about a variety of topics, including his new contract extension, Kawhi Leonard’s departure and being up for the challenge of taking the next step in his career, when many think he’s already peaked as a player. And judging by his opening-night performance (34 points, 18 rebounds and five assists), it’s clear he meant what he said about that last topic.
THE KAWHI RECRUITMENT: Prior to kicking off the season against their in-city rivals, Lakers superstars Anthony Davis and LeBron James were asked about the Kawhi Leonard recruitment. James didn’t share much, but AD did open up about the process a bit. (This was just before Kawhi dropped 30 points on their collective heads.)
TRADE RUMOR RANKINGS
These are the players with the most mentions in our trade rumors page the last seven days:
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