By Matt Citak
The holiday season is upon us, which means people are putting together their lists of gifts they would like to receive. Similar to us, people all across the National Basketball Association also have some things they are hoping for. We took a look at the 2017-18 NBA season, and attempted to figure out what might be at the top of the wish list for some of the league’s teams, fans, and biggest personalities. Note: some of the items on this year’s wish list are meant to be sarcastic or wishful thinking, and are not meant to be taken seriously.
With that in mind, here is the 2017 NBA Holiday Wish List.
Adam Silver- For LaVar Ball to go with LiAngelo and LaMelo to Lithuania
The outspoken patriarch of the Big Baller Brand has been making headlines since his oldest son, Lonzo, began playing at UCLA in 2016. Now that Lonzo is a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, many of his recent, newsworthy quotes have involved the NBA and various members of the league. Numerous players around the NBA, including Joel Embiid and John Wall, have either spoken out directly or hinted at feelings of disdain towards the Ball’s, due to LaVar’s inability to keep his mouth shut. The eldest Ball has even had public beef with President Donald Trump, proving he isn’t afraid to mix it up with anyone. Well with Lonzo’s two younger brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo, recently signing with Prienu Vytautus, a professional basketball club in Lithuania, Commissioner Adam Silver, along with the rest of the NBA, is hoping that LaVar will stay with them overseas. The head coach of the Lithuanian club, Virginijus Seskus, joked over the weekend that LaVar could be an assistant coach for the team. Although this wasn’t mean to be taken seriously, Silver is keeping his fingers crossed that the head of the Ball family remains in Lithuania.
Los Angeles Clippers- A vaccine for the injury bug
When the Clippers traded All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets during the offseason, everyone knew Los Angeles would struggle a bit. However few expected them to disappoint as much as they have this year, and a big reason for that has been the amount of injuries the Clippers have suffered. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles’ best player after Paul was dealt, injured his knee towards the end of last month, and will likely be out until at least late-January. Patrick Beverley, the most noteworthy piece Los Angeles received in the Paul trade, underwent knee surgery at the end of November, and will be forced to watch the remainder of the season from the sidelines. In addition to Griffin and Beverley, Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic, two of the Clippers’ biggest offseason acquisitions, have both missed significant time this season. Who knows how good the Clippers would have been this season had these players been able to avoid the injury bug, but Los Angeles sure wishes they could have found out.
Cleveland Cavaliers- Isaiah Thomas
After getting off to a slow start (5-7), the Cavaliers have been on absolute fire over the last six weeks. Cleveland (23-8) has won 18 of its last 19 games, catapulting themselves into second place in the Eastern Conference and only two games behind the Boston Celtics. But what makes this even more impressive is the fact that the Cavaliers have gone on this recent hot streak without the guy that is widely considered to be the team’s second-best player. Isaiah Thomas was the most talented player acquired by Cleveland in the deal that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston, but has not yet made his debut with the Cavaliers due to a hip injury suffered last season. In his final campaign with the Celtics, Thomas averaged 28.9 points, 5.9 assists, and 2.7 rebounds on his way to being named second-team All-NBA. LeBron James has been carrying Cleveland with three straight triple doubles and seven consecutive games with at least a double double, but would love to have Thomas back to help lead the team. With the target date for Thomas’ return set for early January, the Cavaliers might soon get their holiday wish.
New York Knicks- That they traded Carmelo Anthony sooner
Carmelo Anthony played six and a half seasons for New York, and although the Knicks never achieved their goal of winning a championship while he was there, he did provide the team and its fans with plenty of good basketball. Anthony made the All-Star team in every season with the Knicks, and never averaged less than 21.8 points per game during his tenure there. The overdue breakup between Anthony and the Knicks finally occurred a few weeks before the start of the regular season, and boy is New York happy with the trade. The two players the Knicks received in the Anthony trade, Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott, have both played well this season, with the former averaging a near double double and the latter shooting 41.2 percent from the three-point line. But the most significant consequence of the deal was the fact that with Anthony gone, Kristaps Porzingis could finally take over as the team’s star. The 7-foot-3 big man out of Latvia is averaging 25.5 points per game on 46.5 percent shooting from the field and 39.8 percent shooting from long range, all career-bests by a large margin. The Knicks are thrilled with the production out of their third-year superstar, and likely regret not trading Anthony away sooner.
Washington Wizards Fans- DeAndre Jordan
As mentioned above, the Clippers appear to be in the middle of a lost season. With that in mind, there is a good chance Los Angeles decides to trade DeAndre Jordan to the highest bidder. If Washington wants to have any chance of competing with the Cavaliers and Celtics come playoff time, then they should be the first ones on the phone with LA trying to snag Jordan. The big man is 29-years-old and averaging 11.0 points, 14.9 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game this season, and would provide the Wizards with an athletic big man to run the floor with John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter. Can you imagine the pick-and-roll game Jordan could play with Wall? The thought of that alone should have Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld brainstorming ways to get the 6-foot-11 center in Washington. Any deal would likely have to include Ian Mahinmi, which won’t be an easy sell for Grunfeld. But a trade for Jordan would go a long way in making the rest of the conference take the Wizards seriously as a contender in the East.
Matt Citak is a producer for CBS Local Sports and a proud Vanderbilt alum. Follow him on Twitter or send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.