The following twenty-four NBA-related events will most certainly occur over the course of the next eight months.
1. On October 30, Blake Griffin “retaliates” against Serge Ibaka‘s third take-down of the game by blowing him kisses. Later in the game, Glen Davis crushes Ibaka and then pins him to the court in a wrestling maneuver. Davis is suspended for five games, but coach Doc Rivers buys Davis a new Tesla for his troubles.
2. The Minnesota Timberwolves will not be all that exciting in general, but Ricky Rubio to Andrew Wiggins and Rubio to Zach LaVine lob passes will be a nice distraction from the standings. Coach Flip Saunders gives Rubio an ultimatum in mid-November: “Get to the free-throw more or we’ll all start calling you, “Marco.”
3. Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd comes out of retirement in late-November because he wants to, “Teach Jabari the pick-and-roll.” Jabari Parker continues to pick-and-pop but refuses to “roll.”
4. Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob introduces pre-game three-point contests involving Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and new coach Steve Kerr. The Warriors start selling tickets for the pre-game event only.
5. Philadelphia 76ers second round pick K.J. McDaniels becomes first NBA player to have a 10 block, 10 turnover game against the downtrodden Orlando Magic.
6. Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau embraces the fact he finally has a deep bench and plays everyone 25 minutes per game, saving them for the playoffs. Derrick Rose will play the entire season.
7. ESPN.com crashes for several days in mid-December due to advanced metrics malfunctioning and causing panic.
8. In a New Year’s Eve special, longtime TNT commentator Marv Albert has a breakdown. After months of rotating broadcast partners, Albert retires mid-season, forcing Ernie Johnson into an awkward play-by-play role. Back in the studio, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal won’t listen to Kenny Smith. Shaq keeps shouting, “Barbecued Chicken!” The ratings have never been better.
9. The Boston Celtics take a league-record 53 three-pointers in a game against the Toronto Raptors, including 19 by Jared Sullinger. They make only 7. Sullinger finishes the game with 18 offensive rebounds.
10. LeBron James tells Dion Waiters that Waiters won’t be joining the Cleveland Cavs on their ten-day road trip in January, because he will be enrolled in anger management classes. Coach David Blatt simply nods in the background.
11. ESPN declares they will air every Cavs game from February 1 until the end of the season.
12. At the All-Star Break, the NBA announces the details of its new television deal on the salary cap, but the cap number keeps increasing every week, like it does with the Mega Millions. By June, the number is $140 million. Every team will have an inordinate amount of cap space and twelve assistant GMs will quit right before free agency begins in July, 2016.
13. The Houston Rockets beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 104-92. Only two Rockets score points in the game. James Harden gets 58. Dwight Howard scores 46. Kobe Bryant scores 31 points, taking 57 shots, in the least-efficient performance in league history. Lakers guard Jeremy Lin finally complains to the media about Kobe’s selfish ways. Rookie Julius Randle gets a DNP-CD from coach Byron Scott because he accidentally took a corner three-pointer the previous game. Phil Jackson‘s laughter can be heard from coast-to-coast.
14. The Indiana Pacers, who are averaging 64 points per game, trade away Roy Hibbert and David West to the Sacramento Kings for Ben McLemore and a future second-round pick. Larry Bird goes AWOL as soon as the season ends.
15. The Boston Celtics do not trade Rajon Rondo. Bill Simmons yells at Celtics GM Danny Ainge on The Grantland Basketball Hour. At 25-29, the Celtics make a run at the 8th seed in the weak Eastern Conference. In an ironic twist, the Celtics and Nets will fight it out for the final spot.
16. The Philadelphia 76ers play a regular season game in which the arena is completely empty. The television commentators leave the booth in protest early in the second quarter. The Sixers forfeit their final five home games, but refuse to refund those tickets to the 43 remaining season ticket holders. Instead, they barter with those fans, hoping to secure second round picks. Sixers GM Sam Hinkie sits down with SI’s Lee Jenkins in April, at the end of the Sixers 6-76 (fitting, isn’t it?) season. The tell-all essay is titled, “Vision 2020.” Sixers fans organize an event where they set fire to a pile of this issue of Sports Illustrated. Joel Embiid is asked to stop using Twitter by commissioner Adam Silver.
17. The Sacramento Kings win 44 games but finish 10th in the Western Conference. Owner Vivek Ranadive petitions for Sacramento to move to the Eastern Conference, but commissioner Silver stops answering Vivek’s texts. A blog is created: http://www.vivekstexts.com
18. The Memphis Grizzlies finish 6th in the West and end up taking the 3rd-seed San Antonio Spurs to Game 7, before losing the final game on two Zach Randolph missed free-throws.
19. After much debate, Seattle doesn’t get a franchise but they do get a new Chipotle restaurant.
20. In the middle of the Western Conference Semis between San Antonio and Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant announces he’s moving 5,000 of his closest friends and family to a newly built community outside of Oklahoma City. The rumors that he’s headed to Washington, D.C. persist anyway, because the NBA gossip bubble in the age of Twitter expands like a piece of Bubblicious.
21. The Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets finish 4th and 5th in the East. Paul Pierce and Lance Stephenson become involved in a staring match that lasts for 45 minutes at center court after the final buzzer of Game 1. Whichever team wins the evenly-matched series loses in 5 games to the Bulls in the East Semis.
22. The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers meet in the Western Conference Semis. Steve Kerr and Doc Rivers both agree to do color commentary and let their assistants coach during the second quarter of each game.
23. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Chicago Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavs in 6 games. Jimmy Butler does such a ridiculous job defending Kyrie Irving (holding him to 13% shooting for the series) that he is named series MVP.
24. The Chicago Bulls beat the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA Finals in 7 games. Five of the games come down to the wire. Chris Paul retires (temporarily) out of frustration. Tom Thibodeau is named MVP, due to the fact that every member of the Bulls contributes roughly the same amount to the wins, and the voting ends in a seven-way tie.