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An uncomfortable week in the NBA shows why it’s king over all other sports in story lines

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) stands on the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in Washington. The Warriors won 126-118. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) stands on the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in Washington. The Warriors won 126-118. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) AP

Within the past week, the NBA has truly lived up to the old saying “the good, the bad and the ugly.”

Yet, somehow the headlines are intriguing rather than depressing like ones coming from other sports leagues, especially the NFL.

The good

Houston’s James Harden has 30 straight games with 30 or more points. Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook surpassed Wilt Chamberlain with his ninth straight game with a triple-double. Both streaks are so impressive that even Michael Jordan lauded them while also noting that his accomplishment of winning six titles trumps them.

The NBA trade deadline had all the drama one could want, with the biggest trade piece, Anthony Davis, staying in New Orleans despite the Lakers offering pretty much everyone but LeBron James. Aside from that, it featured a ton of trades, including ones where notable players like Tobias Harris (from Clippers to 76ers), Marc Gasol (from Grizzlies to Raptorts) and Kristaps Porzingis (from Knicks to Mavericks).

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Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) signals after making a three-pointer against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of an NBA basketball game,, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Matt York AP

The bad

Conversely, the trade deadline provided some awkward situations that will play out for some time.

Davis apparently will play out the season (sort of) with the Pelicans. However, in his first game back, he was forced to sit out the whole fourth quarter despite playing well and keeping his team in the game. This saga is sure to drag on without a pretty outcome for the rest of the season.

Then there’s the Zion Williamson sweepstakes. Let’s face it: There’s some really bad teams in the league (think Cleveland, New York, Chicago and Phoenix) and they all seem perfectly fine with continuing their losing ways as the season winds down. Gee, tanks.

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New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) reacts in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill) Brandon Dill AP

The ugly

Hey, what do you know? Kevin Durant had something to say!

Yeah, he broke his public silence by going off on the media. Those darn reporters were asking questions. How awful!

Durant should understand that he set himself up for this by not signing a long-term extension with Golden State, therefore leaving his options open for this summer. He said he just wants to play ball and not be bombarded by those questions.

Well, maybe you shouldn’t have left your situation open ended, especially with some thinking New York might wind up being the next destination. If the Big Apple does in fact wind up being his next stop, I wish him luck dealing with the media up there.

And then there’s the refs. Have you seen Bradley Beal’s five-step travel around the paint? If not, you should check it out. It made some of the other traveling the players get away with look miniscule.

That was embarrassing enough, right? Nope. The refs then came out with a statement saying it was a legal play.

The reasoning behind their answer was that he’d lost the ball and then regained it. Umm, OK. But that’s still a travel.

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FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2018, file photo, Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) scores a touchdown ahead of Los Angeles Rams free safety Lamarcus Joyner (20) as Chiefs offensive guard Cameron Erving (75) looks on during the first half of an NFL football game, in Los Angeles. The Cleveland Browns have signed Kareem Hunt, the running back cut by Kansas City in November after a video showed him pushing and kicking a woman the previous February. Cleveland general manager John Dorsey, who drafted Hunt while working for Kansas City, on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, said the Browns “fully understand and respect the complexity of questions and issues in signing a player with Kareem’s history and do not condone his actions.” (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

The comparison

So there was good, bad and ugly with the NBA this past week. Yet, the league serves as more of a subject of conversation than a problem.

Let’s compare it to the NFL. The best news the league had was the arrival of the Alliance of American Football, which got nice ratings in its first weekend. So let me get this straight: The NFL’s best news had little to do with it?

Then there’s the bad news. Antonio Brown is once again making noise, pushing for a trade from the Steelers. And that comes after he was found guilty of reckless driving.

And then there’s the ugly. Kareem Hunt, who is on video kicking a woman, is back. He was signed by the Cleveland Browns on Monday after being released by the Kansas City Chiefs during the season. That didn’t take long.

Yet, the only talk I’ve heard of Colin Kaepernick is from people thinking he should join the AAF.

Looks like kneeling in protest is still considered worse than domestic abuse among those who run football and fans who watch it. Let’s see how many from the Dawg Pound wind up boycotting games in 2019.

You can even throw Major League Baseball into this. The league once again is closing in on spring training with several key free agents on the market. In fact, the two biggest have yet to find jobs. Manny Machado and Bryce Harper both are still on the market.

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Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) point to the Washington Nationals’ dugout after hitting a two-run homer against the New York Mets at Nationals Park on April 8, 2018. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Toni L. Sandys. Toni L. Sandys The Washington Post

As boring as the games can be, the offseason is upping the ante.

Therefore, when you look at the big picture it’s hard to argue against the fact that what might be considered a bad week in the NBA is the equivalent of what other leagues would love to have.

After all, drama and turmoil are two different things.

David Wetzel serves in both editor and reporter roles for The Sun News. An award-winning journalist, he has reported on all types of news, sports and features stories in over a decade as a member of the staff. Wetzel has won awards for sports column, feature and headline writing.


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