A Non-Basketball Timeline of the 2016–2017 NBA Season
A recap of this season’s most interesting off-court storylines, in chronological order.
KD Spurns Russ and OKC
Every NBA season begins on July 1st. This season, however, really began on July 4th, when Kevin Durant took his talents to Silicon Valley to join the Golden State Warriors. It’s the storyline that has dominated the season. Verbal jabs were thrown, shoulders were coldly turned, and there was even something about cupcakes.
No, this doesn’t involve Trump grabbing anything, it involves another older, white man — Phil Jackson — referring to LeBron’s group of childhood friends as a “posse”, unprompted. Was it racially-insensitive? What is it intentional? Arguments for both can be made, but looking back now, it was the first sign of a disorderly season for the Knicks.
Furious George (Karl)
Continuing the theme of old, white, legendary NBA coaches making racially-insensitive remarks: George Karl and his comments about his formers players, namely Kenyon Martin, in his book, Furious George. It was uncalled for, and it was awkward seeing Karl make the rounds on various ESPN platforms afterwards to promote the book.
The New York Laughing-Stock
January/February must’ve sucked for Knicks fans. Derrick Rose, a world-famous basketball player and above-average height human, went AWOL. I did not know that was possible in 2017, but he managed to do it. Things then got more awkward in February when Phil Jackson, the President of the Knicks, started taking public, subtle-but-not-subtle shots at Melo:
Dolan vs. Oakley — Knicks Hit Rock Bottom
The NBA’s worst-kept secret is that James Dolan is a competant owner. That was highlighted when Knicks legend Charles Oakley was excommunicated from The Garden. To make things worse, the Knicks released a press release (in the form of an iPhone note) insinuating that Oakley is an alcoholic. However, it did spawn my favorite fan-created content of the season:
The Earth Is Flat
Just prior to the All-Star Game, Kyrie Irving appeared on “Road Trippin’”, a podcast hosted by his teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye. On this particular episode, the conversation turned to conspiracy theories, and Kyrie casually revealed that he believes the Earth is flat. The ridicule and memes quickly followed, and Shaq even backed him, in hilarious fashion.
DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans
This one came out of nowhere. Less than a few hours after a mediocre All-Star Game, we got a Woj Bomb that the Kings’ relationship with DeMarcus has officially ended, and I spent the next hour or two soaking up the reactions. There was also this gem:
Were the Kings scared to see DeMarcus? Is that why they traded him to the Pelicans while he was already in New Orleans? We may never know, or maybe we will, considering the Kings’ history of leaks.
Lakers Clean House
Less than two days after the Lakers failed to acquire DeMarcus, and less than week before the trade deadline, Jeanie Buss fired his brother (who is also a part-owner), long-time GM Mitch Kupchak, and long-time PR Head John Black, promoting newly-hired advisor Magic Johnson to President of Basketball Operations, who then hired Kobe’s agent Rob Pelinka as GM. What then followed was a public family feud of Hollywood proportions.
Mar 8, 2017 Ramona ShelburneESPN Senior Writer Close Senior writer for ESPN.com Spent seven years at the Los Angeles…www.espn.com
Shaq vs. Javale
Believe it or not, this was the second TNT vs. current player beef of the season. The first was Charles Barkley vs. LeBron, but this one was much more serious. Feelings were supposedly hurt, crude tweets were hurled, and moms got involved. Personally, I sided with Sir Charles against LeBron, but I’ve never really liked TNT-Shaq and this feud showed why.
And here we are: the last month of the season, where resting becomes a problem, triple-doubles are magnified, and arguments for MVP are made. It’s been a fun season. We had a superstar change teams, a mid-season blockbuster trade, some dysfunctional team drama, and a few beefs. Now it’s time for real basketball. Hello, NBA Playoffs.