The National Basketball Association is the ultimate apex point of WWE-style histrionics and Olympic level athletic performance. Each one of the NBA’s 30 teams is a collection of players with varying temperaments, ethical values, and dreams of grandeur. With millions of dollars on the table, and billions of eyeballs locked in, the league is a perpetual powder keg for triumph, tragedy, and above all, DRAMA.
Over the birth of this reigning dynasty, the back-to-back champions have elevated themselves above the visible muck of jealousy, bitterness, and incompetence that plagues the NBA. Other than Draymond Green threatening to fight head coach Steve Kerr, or Green getting suspended in the Finals for fighting with LeBron James, there hasn’t been much negativity.
Even if there was something bubbling behind the scenes, as David West ominously referred to last season, it has pretty much been kept in house.
David West: “We’re so tight, people don’t even know what we went through. They trying to find out. We don’t have suckas on this team.”— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) June 9, 2018
That is, until NOW!
Draymond Green and Kevin Durant are allegedly beefing! Green didn’t pass the ball to KD, KD didn’t like it, and Green didn’t like that he didn’t like it and said some mean things! Our very own Brady Klopfer broke down all the juicy details on this situation for GSoM.
Yeah, that’s a strong whiff of that good ol’ NBA drama. The champs are known for striving to be the best; are they now the greatest at creating riveting basketball storylines?
It’s time for the GOLD-BLOODED NBA DRAMA POWER RANKINGS! Let’s explore which teams are providing the most notorious theater this season, and vote for which team is on top!
Jimmy Butler holds Minnesota hostage
Back in September, I penned an early eulogy for the Jimmy Butler-era Minnesota Timberwolves after his trade request leaked. Wolves coach and Butler’s father figure Tom Thibodeau did everything he could to ignore the trade request and pretend everything was okay long enough to salvage the relationship.
Butler days of training camp, before returning to dominate a practice session.
At one point in a scrimmage, sources said, Butler turned to GM Scott Layden and screamed, "You (bleeping) need me. You can't win without me." Butler left teammates and coaches largely speechless. He dominated the gym in every way. Jimmy's back.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 10, 2018
Coach Thibs’ dreams keeping this All-Star dynamo were unfortunately overruled by Minnesota’s owner, Glen Taylor. This led to Thibodeau stalling out interested trade partners like the Houston Rockets (who offered four first round picks) and the Miami Heat.
During a trade call, where a Jimmy Butler trade was nearly completed, Pat Riley apparently called Tom Thibodeau a "motherfu----" and hung up on him when Thibs demanded a larger return for Butler at the last minute. https://t.co/5HJYOKgxn8— Underdog Sports (@RealTheUnderdog) October 12, 2018
Butler actually won over the Minnesota crowd after a tepid initial response, garnering MVP chants for his strong play. He also skipped out on games he didn’t feel like playing, attributing his absence to “general soreness”.
Jimmy butler will sit out tonight again due to “general soreness” pic.twitter.com/LuxMDBA6dG— AUSTIN ELLEY (@Aus10Elley) November 4, 2018
As the Wolves harrumphed out the gate to start the season in disjointed fashion, it became clear that the chemistry was ruined, and Butler needed to go. Last week the T’Wolves finally pulled the trigger on a Jimmy Buckets trade, sending the disgruntled wing player to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Chris Paul, president of the NBA Players Association, was involved in quite a skirmish with longtime rival Rajon Rondo.
The end result: Brandon Ingram suspended four games for instigating it all, Rondo suspended three games for allegedly spitting in CP3’s face, and Paul suspended two games for fighting Rondo.
The war between Paul and Rondo has allegedly been simmering for TEN YEARS. There’s nothing like an NBA beef slow-cooked to perfection.
The Wiz hate each other
I was going to collate a bunch of stuff about how toxic the Washington Wizards organization is, but I realized the John Gonzalez had already beaten me to it with his first hand account for The Ringer. READ THAT RIGHT NOW!
My favorite excerpt from his hilariously scathing rundown of what ails this talented but depressingly underachieving band of jabronis came following Curry’s 51 point explosion on them earlier this season:
The Wizards handled it all with typical aplomb: They blew off steam by putting each other on blast. According to The Athletic, John Wall singled out unnamed teammates for worrying about “who’s getting shots” and said if those players “can’t do it on both ends of the floor, you don’t need to be playing.” Bradley Beal said that sometimes Wizards players “have our own agendas” and complain about shots, playing time, and “whatever it may be.” He thought the Wizards were “worried about the wrong shit.”
Markieff Morris noted that “everybody’s grown here,” advised his teammates to “look in the mirror,” and cautioned that “if you don’t know who you are, I think it’s gonna be hard for you to take criticism.” It was widely understood that they were all referring to Porter, who left the visitors locker room in Sacramento without talking to the media.
This team is like a week old, kale-filled smoothie festering inside of a sippy cup. Eventually, the bubbling gasses from the decomposing plant matter and dairy products are going to blow the lid off, and splatter the NBA with the gross details of a team well past it’s expiration date.
But when? Stay tuned!
Melo-Drama in Houston
So the Houston Rockets push the champs to seven games in last spring’s Western Conference Finals, but ultimately fail after Chris Paul blows out his hamstring in Game 6, and they missed an NBA record 27 straight threes in Game 7 at home.
After coming one game away from dethroning the champs, the needed to have a huge offseason to capitalize on their momentum. Unfortunately, they appear to have blown it. I wrote an article at the dawn of this season pondering what many considered to be their underwhelming offseason. I noted two important factors:
- Houston watched 3-and-D specialist Trevor Ariza and his backup Luc Mbah a Moute skip town to pursue cash-laden obscurity on other teams. Remember when the Rockets fan base was super high on these guys impact? (read the comments from this cross blogination with “The Dream Shake” if you dare lol). It’s funny, because I don’t remember much “3” from these guys when Houston missed 27 straight threes in Game 7 in Texas. Still, they definitely were irritants defensively, and they were a major part of the Rockets’ versatility all season.
- Rockets signed the faded superstar, the Olympic hero, the man with the strongest dad-body in the game, the HOODIED LEGEND, Carmelo Anthony to the veteran minimum, liberating him from OKC.
The Rockets franchise was hyped at the time about signing the Artist Formerly Known As Hoodie Melo, despite losing their defensive wings. We even watched Paul and Melo, best friends for life, working out over the summer.
Fast forward to now, where the Rockets have floundered out of the gates, have a horrendous defense, and Anthony hasn’t been seen with the team for several days as reports flow that the organization is already done with him.
ESPN story on Carmelo Anthony's uncertain future with the Rockets. https://t.co/mncxgEEC3h— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 11, 2018
Sources on ESPN: With no ongoing discussions to rejoin the Rockets, Carmelo Anthony's reps spent Monday gathering information from NBA front offices to find a landing spot. https://t.co/U6tTBZ4ihO— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 12, 2018
So the Rockets let go of their two defensive specialists, to replace them with a past-his-prime offensive weapon, only to decide that he’s not a good fit a month into the season.
The Trials of the LeBron-era Lakers
LeBron “King” James confessed he has come to close to “cracking” from the difficulties in lifting the Los Angeles Lakers out of irrelevancy.
Lakers fans can’t be happy to hear that, especially since Bron is cracking the back of rims clanging clutch free throws night after night.
This is a particularly difficult pill to swallow for Lakers fans who have strong memories of Kobe Bryant rising to the challenge during clutch situations, including free throws. Here’s a clip of the Black Mamba draining some on a torn Achilles!
How much longer will Laker fans give Bron the benefit of the doubt?
With Magic Johnson contemplating head coach Luke Walton’s job security, we know Hollywood has more in store for fans of NBA drama.
If there’s anything I may have missed, let me know in the comments!
Which storyline has been the most dramatic in the NBA this season?
This poll is closed
Draymond gets suspended for being mean to KD
Jimmy Butler’s trade demand from Minnesota
The Washington Wizard’s dysfunction
Melo-Drama in Houston
The Trials of the LeBron-era Lakers
Other (explain in the comments)