Tar Takes 5.14.18: Celtics/Cavs, Warriors/Rockets, Tiger Woods, Sports Gambling

LeBron James vs. Boston Celtics – David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Watch the Tar Takes broadcast with Ryan Lipton and David Matlock below! Tar Takes is presented by The JR Report and the brand new app Relevnt!

We discuss the latest in the sports world with debate segments of the hottest NBA/NFL topics of the week as well as the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Today, we take a debate the following topics! (Click on links for segments)

Are the Boston Celtics a legitimate threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Should the Boston Celtics move Kyrie Irving?

Who will win NBA Western Conference Finals: Rockets or Warriors?

Reactions from Tiger Woods’ T-11 finish at Players Championship

Should sports gambling be allowed in professional sports venues?

For more Tar Takes click the links below!

Should Tiger Woods fans be excited or worried after Players Championship?

Who is your NBA rookie of the year?

Who is your NBA coach of the year?

Is Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan deserving of his new contract?

Duke lands another 5-star recruit, should Tar Heel fans be worried?

Tar Takes Photo Credit:

Chris Paul vs. Golden State Warriors – Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

LeBron James vs. Celtics – David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Tiger Woods at Players – Photo via Lynne Sladky, Associated Press 

Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier – Photo via Getty Images

Sports Gambling – Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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

Celtics G Kyrie Irving has nowhere to go but up

Former Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving has officially been traded to the Boston Celtics after the Cavaliers held out for a second round pick in the 2020 NBA draft.

The main sentiment around the NBA is that Boston is the main winner in the trade since they were able to acquire the superstar in the deal.

However, Irving might be the biggest winner. The change in scenery could pay huge dividends for Irving on and off the basketball court.

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Photo via Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Stevens improves all guards

Interestingly enough, the best example to suggest that Irving will be an improved player in 2017 is Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas who got sent to take Irving’s old spot in Cleveland.

Until Thomas got traded to Boston, he had only averaged over 20 points per game once in his NBA career (2013/14 with the Sacramento Kings).

Disregarding Thomas’s partial first season with the Celtics (21 games), Thomas has averaged 22.2 and 28.9 points per game with Boston, a major improvement from his time in Sacramento and Phoenix.

Thomas’s rise can’t be from getting an opportunity as he would have had plenty of time to prove himself before since the Kings and Suns were nowhere close to the playoffs.

As such, there must be another reason for Thomas’s sudden explosion. Remember, drastic improvements in a players’ sixth NBA season do not just happen.

If one breaks it down, Boston coach Brad Stevens is the answer.

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Avery Bradley and Shelvin Mack

Former Celtics guard Avery Bradley saw his numbers jump immediately upon Stevens’ arrival. Bradley’s points per game increased from 9.2 to 14.9 in only 2.2 more minutes per game. It was also a genius switch by Stevens to move him to point guard.

Without a doubt, Stevens presence improved Bradley’s performance and will do that for many guards, just like he did with Jordan Crawford who averaged 5.3 points per game less next season after Crawford’s departure from Boston.

Moreover, Stevens turned Shelvin Mack into a premier guard in the country during his Butler days. He also turned Butler into a premier basketball program by making back-to-back appearances in the National Championship game in 2010 and 2011.

History tells us guards improve under Stevens. Therefore, it would be idiotic for people to believe the trend would suddenly just stop with Irving.

The former Butler coach will make sure Irving gets a few easy shots a game off inbound plays, extra passes and screens, something that he never got in Cleveland as their offense often involved Irving trying to win in one-on-one situations.

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Photo via Youtube’s Lot Channel

Irving’s business should boom

At the moment, Irving and LeBron James have the two highest selling shoes among active NBA players. Obviously, playing with James helped grow Irving’s shoe sales as national television and media coverage will follow James to endless depths.

Even Nike Brand President Trevor Edwards said that Irving’s Kyrie 3 shoes were the best-selling shoe in the market, via Forbes.

In addition, Irving “is the new face” of the market, according to Matt Powell, an analyst at market research firm NPD Group.

Nonetheless, Irving still had to play basketball in the market of Cleveland. Now, he will move to Boston which occupies close to 300,000 more people, a more advantageous market (No. 7 vs. No. 17) and a large and loyal fan base who will buy his new shoes at any chance.

If LeBron is truly on his way out, Boston will run the East when LeBron departs from or declines with the Cavaliers. Nothing will further Irving’s brand more than winning multiple Eastern Conference Finals much like LeBron has done for the majority of the last decade.

In Boston, Irving has the set up to make a historic run rather soon.

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

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

Everything surrounding Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James is up in flames. His team has a minimal shot at winning the 2018 NBA Finals and has its second best player, superstar guard Kyrie Irving, asking for a trade.

Here is the proposed JR Report trade that would send Irving from Cleveland to the Celtics.

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Photo via Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports


Cleveland receives: Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier, Ante Zizic

Boston receives: Kyrie Irving

Photo via David Richard-USA TODAY SportsThe only issue, that could arise between the two teams, is getting the salaries to match to make the trade acceptable. Thanks to ESPN’s trade machine, we made sure this trade would be allowed by the NBA.

To balance out Irving’s $18 million salary, Ante Zizic and Terry Rozier were added to the trade.

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Photo via David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Why the trade is a win for Boston

Boston may have given up a lot of assets in this trade, including Morris and Zizic, but it solidifies a major need moving forward, having a truly transcendent superstar.

Isaiah Thomas is an exciting and great player, but there are limitations to his game. He is the No. 464 best player in the NBA when it comes to defensive box plus/minus, per Basketball Reference. 

In comparison, Irving ranks No. 420, which isn’t much better, but we know Irving has the potential to pick up his defense in times of need.

Just think, the Golden State Warriors will be the team to beat for at least the next five seasons. Would one rather Irving guarding Warriors guard Stephen Curry or the 5-foot-9 Thomas?

As great as Thomas’s stats are, he is going to struggle down the stretch of games to defend and get his shot off over taller players. If Klay Thompson is guarding Thomas late in games, it will be tough for Thomas. However, we have seen what Irving can do to Thompson.

In this proposed scenario, Boston would finally have their superstar player that they can build around for a decade. It is not to say that Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and Thomas aren’t good players, but they aren’t transcendent. A title will not be won if any of those guys are the best player on the team.

If Irving is there with Hayward and Horford, along with Jason Tatum and the other young pieces, then there is a realistic shot of winning.

The Celtics will improve their chances to win the Eastern Conference and would be one smart move away from being able to contend with the Warriors in a seven game series.

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Photo via David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports


Why the trade is a win for Cleveland

At this point, Irving is out of Cleveland and James will probably be wearing a different uniform after the 2017 season.

As a result, the Cavaliers need to start building for the future, something they never did while James held the franchise hostage. Cleveland won’t get anything for LeBron if he chooses to leave, so they should at least get something for Irving if the opportunity presents itself.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert might not feel the greatest giving a superstar player away to Cleveland’s biggest rival, the Celtics, but it is not a time to be stubborn. Boston can provide the best assets in return for Irving giving Cleveland the ability to build for the future but also help James win now.

Gilbert shouldn’t pull a move like the Indiana Pacers by trading away a superstar for nothing out of spite. It might have made Pacers owner Herbert Simon feel better the day of the trade, but it won’t make him feel any better in the future as his team will be battling for the No. 1 overall pick for the next five years.

Cleveland, in this deal, would be getting Thomas in return. He is a slight downgrade from Irving, but should do well in combination with James.

The Cavaliers will also get Morris, who can come off the bench and be a great role player. The combination of Morris and Thomas might be better off than Irving in Cleveland. Also, there would be no issues with team chemistry as Irving would be on his way out.

Zizic is a massive seven footer who has potential to become a superstar in the league. Obviously, there is a long way to go, lowering his value, but he is still an important asset for the future and would be a piece Danny Ainge would be hesitant to give away.

Therefore, Cleveland would have Thomas and Morris to help now and will have Zizic in the future if it does become a total rebuild after a possible James departure.

Boston could also throw in a first round pick, but it is doubtful Irving’s trade value will be extremely high since the Cavaliers do not have a ton of leverage considering Irving could just leave the team in two years, much like the Paul George situation.

If the first round pick is the difference, it would make sense for Boston to part ways with it instead of waiting another four years for a draft pick to turn out. Better to get a sure-fire superstar than having the possibility of getting one four years down the line.

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Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge speaks during a news conference Friday, June 24, 2016, in Waltham, Mass. where the team introduced their 2016 NBA draft picks. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)


Get it done

The deal is a win-win for everyone. Thomas leaves Boston, but gets to play with the greatest player on the planet. Irving gets to be the man on the team while still being able to contend for a title.

Boston gets their superstar player and Cleveland can build for the future and add a little more talent around James for now.

The two teams should get this deal done immediately. It is a true win-win.

2017 NBA Finals preview: LeBron’s historic run not enough for Cavaliers to get by Warriors

Photo via David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 NBA Finals tip-off tonight at 6 PM (PT). It will be the beginning of the third leg of this great rivalry between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. As everyone knows, Golden State took the first NBA Finals meeting in 2015, but blew the infamous 3-1 lead to Cleveland in the 2016 NBA Finals.

This year, the finals will have a greater impact than any other in recent memory. For example, the winner gets all the glory as they will be considered the better team during this era by winning two out of three finals.

Warriors forward Kevin Durant needs to win to vindicate his move to the Bay Area. However, a loss will be very harmful for his legacy as everyone will wonder how he couldn’t win with Curry, Green, and Thompson by his side.

Lastly, LeBron James has the opportunity to put himself in a conversation with legendary Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan with a series victory. A loss will probably end any conversation revolving Jordan and James, yet a win will keep him on pace to contend with Jordan as the best ever. Doesn’t mean he will get there, but 10 straight finals appearances and six titles would put him close to Jordan.

Below is our prediction of the 2017 NBA Finals which will answer how each great’s legacy will be altered after the next few weeks.

Irving Game 7 three.jpg

Game 1: Golden State

With the long layoff before the game, the advantage lies with the veteran Cavaliers team. In addition, the Warriors have shown to lose their focus through stretches and there is a worry that a long layoff could further the lackadaisical approach. However, Golden State’s loss from last year will keep them highly motivated. Warriors forward Draymond Green will not let his team lapse focus for any period of time, for this series is personal to Green after he was suspended for Game 5 of last year’s NBA Finals.

The Warriors are at home and have more talent than Cleveland, with four great players versus the Cavaliers’ three. The only way Cleveland can snatch one away from their home court is with a legendary performance from James or Irving.

Nonetheless, Golden State will come out with a fiery motivation, shoot well from the field early, and close out a late victory.


Game 2: Cleveland

After losing Game 1, LeBron understands the gravity of the second game. A loss, most likely, will result in another finals’ series loss for James. Nonetheless, he has learned to have a killer instinct and will have a monster Game 2 carrying the team to victory. He will score close to 40 points with a triple-double and his side-kick Irving will hit clutch shots late to seal the deal.


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(Way-to-early preview of Game 3 and on, next page)