75 carats


THE 75th season of the National Basketball Association (NBA) has begun and it’s business as usual. For basketball and NBA fans, God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world.

As is to be expected, the global league provides superb entertainment—A-1 basketball, hoopla and intriguing plot twists. As the Bucks dismantled the Nets on opening day yesterday, and the league prepares to unveil 50 more names to complete its 75 greatest players list for the Diamond Year, there are rumblings underneath the surface.

1. The Kyrie Thingy. There’s the “To vax or not to vax” issue, with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving at the center of the roar. He is adamant in his refusal to get the vaccine and it’s placed the Nets in a no-safety net situation.

“Nobody should be forced to do anything with their bodies,” Irving had declared. And thereby hangs a tale. The Nets who do biz in the State of New York can’t let Kyrie play, by state laws since he has rejected even just the very notion of getting vaxxed.

The resulting fallout is, well…it’s complicated. Irving is pissed for not being able to play. But his and the Nets’ owners hands are tied. Trade him? Not a perfect solution because “he has limited trade value,” says SB Nation. “Despite his greatness on court..and generosity off it—Irving is seen as damaged goods (and) large segments of fan bases ultimately sour on him.” Not trade him? Well, he still can’t play. And if he gets an extension, the Nets can’t trade him (should they want to) till April.

On the other hand, if he doesn’t sign an extension, he becomes a restricted free agent in July if he declines his $36.9 million player option. What team would opt to pick up that huge sum?

And then again, he can opt to retire because he doesn’t like the idea of being traded. What then? Wait for the next new episode of this story on Nets Flicks. Maybe next week.

2. The Curious Case of Benjamin David Simmons. Oooh, this is hot. The Philadelphia 76ers are at the epicenter of one of the most intriguing player situations in the league.

As we all know the 2018 Rookie of the Year is no stranger to controversy. Even his ROY title was controversial since he was drafted in 2016 but sat out the season because of an injured foot. Then he was assessed as a rookie the following season and edged out crowd favorite Donovan Mitchell for the award.

Well, he’s experiencing even stronger tremors now. According to cbssports.com, a situation was triggered way back in the last playoffs when Simmons bombed out from the foul line in two crucial games against the Wizards and the Hawks. The problem actually goes farther back in January when the Sixers dangled his name as a trade piece in exchange for James Harden, although the trade didn’t push through.

From the missed-foul shots-at-the-playoff incident, things went progressively downhill. Simmons showed he wasn’t happy with how he was regarded by his team. Comments from his coach, that much talked about “I’m not sure if [he] can be the point guard for the future of the 76ers” hurt and riled him.

He withdraws from the Olympics. He asks to be traded. The Sixers go through the motions but with a stiff asking price. Long story short, no trade happened.

Still part of the Sixers, Simmons starts the new season by opting out of Media Day. He misses training camp. Where before his teammates express their desire to have him back and still be part of their brotherhood, Joel Embiid now expresses his frustration.

Early this month, Simmons was to have received a quarter of his contract for the 2021-22 season, but the Sixers withhold it. Simmons does not participate in pre-season games.

Finally he returns, but the situation gets worse. Per The Athletic, Simmons says he is “not mentally ready” to rejoin the team. He refuses to participate in defensive drills. Doc Rivers throws Simmons out of practice and suspends him for one game.

Then Joel Embiid unleashes the most candid, cruelest, straight off the cuff comments at the following presser. “I don’t care about that man.” “Our job is not to babysit.”

What’s going to happen next in the Simmons-Sixers Saga? What’s up with the dude? The Sixers play the Pelicans in their first game for the season today and Simmons will definitely not be in it. Will he ever come to play?

3. Sparkling Diamond. The NBA’s 75th Diamond Season has just begun and it’s so full of drama and intrigue already. Lots of good things are in store. The league will resume its normal 82-game season, there are a lot of exciting player rigodons and the best 75 players will be revealed soon.

How will Russell Westbrook perform alongside King James and Anthony Davis? How will Kyle Lowry heat up Miami? How will Lonzo Ball play ball with the Bulls?

Who will join Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, Dirk Nowitzki, Hal Greer, Bob Pettit, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Elvin Hayes, Jerry Lucas, Willis Reed, Nate Archibald, Bob Cousy, Dave Cowens, James Harden, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kevin McHale, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, George Mikan, John Stockton, Steve Nash, Charles Barkley, Julius Erving, George Gervin, Moses Malone and David Robinson in the Diamond List? Find out soon!

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