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|Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:12 am Post subject: play with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Rondo ag
|Jon Cooper searched for adequate words to describe the feeling of coming within one victory of playing for the Stanley Cup.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have done it twice in the past three years. And it hurts.
”It’s everything from agonizing to angry to disappointed to shock http://www.chargersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-kyzir-white-jersey ,” the coach said Thursday, less than 24 hours after one of the most successful seasons in franchise history came to a screeching halt with a 4-0 loss to Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final.
”I’m sure that’s going to turn into proud and happy for our group,” he added. ”There are so many good emotions about coaching this team … but the emotions of how it ended is tough.”
After compiling the best record in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, eliminating the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins in the first two rounds of the playoffs, and rebounding from losing the first games of the conference final to take a 3-2 series lead, the Lightning truly believed this was their year.
Now, general manager Steve Yzerman and Cooper face decisions about what needs to be tweaked.
The Lightning won Game 7 of the conference final against the Rangers in 2015, advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in franchise history. They made it back to the East final, only to lose to the Pittsburgh Penguins in seven games two years ago.
”If anybody sits and says it was an unsuccessful season, I have to question that. You look back at this team. All the accomplishments of the regular season, and then to be one game away from getting to the Stanley Cup Final,” Cooper said, his voice trailing off.
”Now it’s just solving that piece of the puzzle,” the coach added J'Mon Moore Color Rush Jersey , ”getting over the top.”
With a talented roster that’s both deep and fairly young, there won’t be wholesale changes.
Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, a Vezina Trophy finalist in his first full season as a starter, is just 23 years old.
Leading scorer Nikita Kucherov is 24, Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman is 27, and emerging star Brayden Point is just 22.
Even captain Steven Stamkos, completing his 10th NHL season, is only 28.
”What were we missing? A couple of goals in Game 7,” Cooper said. ”You can sit here and pick apart all you want of what went wrong, it was one game. We didn’t score and we lost the game. They were opportunistic and scored, and they advanced. … It’s razor-thin how close this league is.”
Yzerman said there are a number of areas where the Lightning need to get better moving forward, including defensively.
The GM, however, rejected the notion that somehow the season was a failure because a team with such high expectations didn’t get back to the championship round.
”It’s really difficult to win the Stanley Cup Jets Sam Darnold Jersey , and if you’re going to measure every year strictly on it’s a failure if we win or not, I don’t think I look at it that way,” Yzerman said.
”There’s a process and there’s no definitive timeline for it. Just continue to improve, continue to hang around, I guess, and we’re going to win one of these things,” the GM added. ”It’s not a failure. It’s a disappointment at this stage, but we’re not sitting here saying we’re the best team by a mile. We realize there’s a bunch of good teams out there, a group of teams that could win the Stanley Cup.”
Cooper said one thing it’s important to not do this summer is over-react.
”It’s hard to explain just how hard it is to get here,” the coach said. ”There are 30 teams who are going to get Monday morning quarterbacked, and one team that is not. You just have to build on your strengths and keep getting better and come back next year stronger than ever.”
Tony Parker went to San Antonio as a teenager nearly two decades ago, quickly became part of the Spurs’ legendary Big Three and celebrated four championships while wearing silver and black.
He’s not done playing.
He’s just done in San Antonio.
Parker agreed to a two-year, $10 million contract with the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, ending a 17-year run with the Spurs. And he’s not the only veteran on the move Kyzir White Color Rush Jersey , with Oklahoma City and Carmelo Anthony having mutually agreed they will part ways and Dwight Howard set to sign with the Washington Wizards once he clears waivers.
All of those deals were confirmed Friday to The Associated Press by people involved in the negotiations. Each of the people spoke on condition of anonymity because none of the moves were finalized – but the Parker move was confirmed by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who thanked his now-former point guard in a statement released by the team.
”It’s difficult to put into words how important Tony Parker has been to the Spurs franchise over the past two decades,” Popovich said. ”From his first game in 2001 at age 19, TP has impressed and inspired us – day-after-day, game-after-game, season-after-season – with his passion, dedication and desire. We are grateful to Tony for 17 years of truly amazing memories.”
The move reunites Parker with new Charlotte coach James Borrego, who most recently was an assistant in San Antonio. And Parker is close friends with Charlotte’s Nicolas Batum, who predictably was thrilled by the news.
”Number 9, I see you soon in Buzz City my big bro,” Batum wrote on Twitter.
Parker averaged career lows of 7.7 points and 19.5 minutes last season, when he lost his starting job. He was part of 137 playoff wins with Popovich, the second most by any coach and player in NBA history. Popovich and Spurs star Tim Duncan combined for 157 playoff wins.
Parker told ESPN that it was a difficult decision, ”but I had to move on.”
Parker was part of the Spurs’ Big Three with Duncan and Manu Ginobili. Duncan has retired Cheap Baker Mayfield Jersey , Parker is now gone and Ginobili’s status for next season is unknown.
”The biggest joy for me has been to have the pleasure of watching TP grow up before our eyes,” Popovich said. ”All of us in the Spurs organization will miss having Tony in our program and wish him and his family the best as he continues his remarkable career in Charlotte.”
Parker has also appeared in 17 consecutive postseasons; only Karl Malone and John Stockton’s run of 19 straight playoff trips are longer.
He has his rings.
Anthony and Howard will be on the move, seeking theirs.
Anthony has likely played his last game for the Oklahoma City Thunder – with the sides having mutually decided that he will not be on the team next season. It remains unclear how that departure will actually happen, as in whether it will be through a buyout, the Thunder waiving him or a trade.
Anthony is due to make $28 million this season, his last in a five-year, $125 million contract he signed with New York before getting moved to Oklahoma City. He has said he will not accept a reserve role, and by parting with him – somehow – the Thunder could save more than $90 million in luxury tax payments.
Anthony averaged 16.2 points on 40 percent shooting last season, both career lows. But there will be suitors for him, with the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Miami Heat all believed to have interest.
Howard started Friday on Charlotte’s roster, then was traded to Brooklyn – a deal agreed to days ago, but one that couldn’t be completed until Friday when the league’s offseason moratorium on player movement ended. The Nets will buy him out, which will pave the way for Howard to eventually sign with the Wizards.
A person familiar with the terms told AP that Howard would play on a one-year Justin Reid Color Rush Jersey , $5.3 million deal. Later Friday, ESPN reported that Howard will actually be signing a two-year deal in Washington – with the second year at his option.
Buyout terms with Howard, who was due to make $24 million this season, were progressing Friday and Nets general manager Sean Marks said they should be wrapped up quickly.
”This is something that we mutually want,” Marks said. ”Neither one of us is trying to have this drawn out. I think we’re going to leave on good terms. It’ll hopefully work out for both sides.”
The lifting of the moratorium meant a slew of moves that have been agreed to in recent days could be finalized, such as Paul George’s four-year deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Rajon Rondo’s signing to play with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rondo agreed to join the Lakers earlier in the week, but couldn’t sign until Friday.
”I love shake-ups in the summertime, as far guys switching teams or the NBA looking a little bit different,” Rondo said not long after putting his signature on his one-year, $9 million deal to join the Lakers – a team he faced twice in the NBA Finals when he played for Boston. ”It’s going to be very interesting this year and I look forward to a lot of exciting basketball.”