Lakers’ Joel Berry, Nets’ Theo Pinson: Will former Tar Heels stick with new NBA teams?

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In what was not a surprise to anyone on Tar Takes, former North Carolina Tar Heels guard Joel Berry and forward Theo Pinson went undrafted in the 2018 NBA draft.

Almost immediately after the draft, Theo Pinson signed with the Brooklyn Nets and Joel Berry signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. Both guys, who have spent the past four years in Chapel Hill, will be moving to the bright lights of Brooklyn and Los Angeles.

But the question still remains, considering the fact they both ended up as undrafted rookies, can either one of them stick with their new NBA teams?

UNC G Joel Berry and F Theo Pinson (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)

Joel Berry

Out of the two, Berry might have the toughest path to being on an NBA roster come opening day for two reasons.

First, Berry is the worst of the two players from an NBA perspective. He has less room to grow athletically and is undersized for the position at just six-feet tall. The odds are against you if you are smaller and not a freak athlete.

Second, Berry is joining the Lakers. No one really knows what the team will exactly look like, but they are in the market for LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. So their roster is going to be a lot better than the Nets’, and Los Angeles has many solid young pieces, assuming they aren’t traded, in Lonzo Ball, Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and more.

So it might be hard for Berry to break through on a roster that is looking to sign all-stars and has a young core of talent already in place.

Moreover, the Lakers are the heavy favorites to land LeBron at the moment, per CBS Sports. As we know, LeBron has always wanted control over the roster he joins and has favored veteran players who can shoot the basketball.

Berry is a rookie and shot just 34.4 percent from three-point range last season for the Tar Heels. And that three-point line was more than two-feet closer than it is in the NBA.

We will see what Berry can do for the Lakers in the 2018 NBA Summer League, but his chance to make the team come October does not look good.

Photo via Getty Images

Theo Pinson

Pinson, who was the lesser- valued player in college, might actually have the best chance to break through to an NBA roster.

In terms of Pinson’s basketball ability, it is much easier to envision a role for him unlike Berry. Pinson, who is 6-foot-6, can do it all but shoot. He is extremely athletic (dunk below), can pass (5.1 assists per game in 2017/18), can finish (10.3 points per game), and is an unquestioned leader.

While it is insane to think he will be the next Draymond Green, he has all the qualities to become a poor man’s Green. And I would assume many teams would jump on the possibility of having a player like Draymond.

Now, that doesn’t mean it will happen but it is easier to keep a player on your team if you have a clear vision of what they could become.

Furthermore, Brooklyn is among the worst teams in the league. So it is easier to make the team, and it is in no rush to find talent that can produce immediately. The Nets can take their time to develop Pinson because he could become a solid player if he learns to shoot decently.

Tar Heel fans, if you want to stay updated on Berry and Pinson’s efforts in the NBA, they can be watched during the NBA’s Summer League from July 2-17.


Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

Tar Takes: Will Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard help form Lakers super team?


San Antonio Spurs F Kawhi Leonard: Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Kawhi Leonard has alerted the San Antonio Spurs that he wants out. He has vocalized that the Lakers would be a preferred destination. This makes potentially 3 perennial all-stars on the move this summer in LeBron, Paul George, and now Kawhi. Will these three link up in LA to form a new superteam? Or is LA not truly the likely destination for Kawhi.

Tar Takes is presented by The JR Report and the brand new app Relevnt!

Will Kawhi Leonard help form a Los Angeles Lakers super team?

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Have the Golden State Warriors been lucky on their past 4 trips to the NBA Finals?

Is Chris Paul underappreciated/most unlucky player of all time?


Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

NBA trade machine: How to send Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving to Spurs

The turmoil in Cleveland involving Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving and forward LeBron James has not stopped since the moment the Golden State Warriors won the 2017 NBA Finals in five games.

James, according to Chris Sheridan, will be leaving Cleveland after this upcoming season.

For fans still holding out hope that James will come back to Ohio in 2018, it just is not realistic. Unless the team wins a championship this season, there is no hope James will re-sign. Even Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd is writing off a return.

With James assuredly on his way out, Cleveland can’t let James and Irving walk without getting something in return. As such, the Cavaliers should look to move Irving immediately, before it becomes a Paul George situation where they have to ship him off for worthless pieces.

Luckily, it is a little easier for the organization to move Irving as he would commit to signing an extension with the San Antonio Spurs, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Below is a plausible trade scenario that would send Irving to San Antonio.

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Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving and San Antonio Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge chase after a loose ball during first half action Monday March 27, 2017 at the AT&T Center. (Photo via Edward A. Ornelas /San Antonio Express-News)

Cleveland receives: LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray, 2018 first round pick

San Antonio receives: Kyrie Irving

First and foremost, this trade would be accepted by the NBA’s rules thanks to ESPN’s NBA trade machine.

Moreover, the trade isn’t a win-win scenario since Cleveland is already in a losing situation. The team is bound to lose both of their superstars after the 2017-18 season. However, this deal would give the opportunity for Dan Gilbert to get something in return for Irving to help build for the future.

Currently, the Spurs are not the best option for Cleveland. They don’t have as many available assets as the Phoenix Suns or Boston Celtics, but it is the only place Irving would sign an extension.

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Photo via Jason Miller/Getty Images

Why the Kyrie Irving deal makes sense

Cleveland Cavaliers

This could be the only trade, except with the Celtics, that would send a sure-fire all-star, LaMarcus Aldridge, to Cleveland in return for Irving.

As a result, the Cavaliers would have a star to pair with James for 2017 and would remain atop the Eastern Conference. For their future, they will have the young and talented Dejounte Murray, a 20-year-old 6-foot-5 guard from Washington, and a first round selection in the 2018 NBA draft.

In all honesty, it isn’t a great move for the Cavaliers. They will be in a tough situation in the future, pending LeBron’s departure. Regardless, this is a deal that makes sense and makes them better off for a post-James era.

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Photo via Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs are missing a superstar to combine with forward Kawhi Leonard. Without one, they will never have any realistic shot of beating the Warriors and will probably lose noticeable ground on the up and coming Minnesota Timberwolves and Houston Rockets, who have two superstars each.

If the aforementioned trade went through, the Spurs would have their second superstar in Kyrie Irving. Most importantly, they would have acquired him without giving up any valuable assets.

For example, Aldridge is a great player, but is not a great fit in San Antonio. The tension between him and the organization would likely make the Spurs jump at any reasonable opportunity to trade him away.

In this scenario, San Antonio could get rid of Aldridge while bringing in a better superstar in Irving. They would have to part ways with a first round pick, but losing a first round pick from where the Spurs are selecting will not hinder any future success.

As expected, San Antonio would come away as the major winner in this deal. The team getting the superstar usually is, just look at the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets.

Unfortunately for Cleveland, they will be on the losing end in almost any deal. It is time for them to get the best losing deal.


Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

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