Bradley Beal: Cleveland Cavaliers 'didn't Want To See Us In The Second Round'

Jordan Clarkson was respectfully toiling away for the rebuilding Los Angeles Lakers last Thursday when Magic Johnson informed him he had been traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

He probably thought it was an early April Fool’s Day prank. Instead of the daily soap opera that is the Lonzo/Lavar Ball show and the frequent losses, the former Missouri Tiger was part of a multiple deal day that left the Cavs a much-improved team.

Cleveland acquired Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. from the Los Angeles Lakers for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and Cleveland’s 2018 first-round pick. The team wasn’t finished either.

The Cavs later acquired Utah's Rodney Hood and Sacramento's George Hill in a three-team swap that sent Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose to the Jazz. The Kings got Iman Shumpert, Joe Johnson, Miami's 2020 second-round pick from Cleveland and $3 million in cash. Dwyane Wade also ended up back in Miami. 

LeBron James is no longer sulking and the Cavs are again favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals in June.

Clarkson showed the world on Tuesday night that he isn’t just you average off-the-bench player.

He tallied 14 points, had four assists and three rebounds in the Cavaliers' 120-112 victory at Oklahoma City. He drained several key shots to stifle a Thunder rally in the fourth quarter. Since he arrived in Cleveland, the Cavs are 3-0.

"I'm just feeling good. We still got a long way to go. We are just going to continue to work and focus on one thing, that's winning,” he told reporters after the game.

It was probably nice to talk basketball after a game, and not the exploits of the Ball family. When asked about his thoughts on whether he would miss Lavar Ball, he laughed and said “I’m out on that one, man.”

He continued chuckling as he walked away. Earlier this season, he did say that Lonzo Ball “is the exact opposite” of his loudmouth father and Big Baller CEO, Lavar.

After playing two seasons with Tulsa, Clarkson transferred to Missouri. After sitting out the 2012-13 season, Clarkson averaged 17.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 35.1 minutes per game for Mizzou.

He skipped his senior year to enter the NBA Draft. That move was not met with satisfaction by some Tigers fans, who predicted he would go undrafted and end up playing overseas or the NBA Development League.

Clarkson was selected by the Washington Wizards in the second round with the 46th overall pick and was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers on draft day. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team – which is rare for a second-round draftee.

While he isn’t a maximum-contract superstar in the waiting, Clarkson is averaging 14.6 points, 3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game this season. His career averages are almost identical, 14.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists.

Depending on seeding, the former Missouri Tiger could be headed for a playoff matchup with St. Louis product Bradley Beal of the Wizards.

Beal street blues

Bradley Beal isn’t the one singing the blues. It is his teammate John Wall, who is shelved for at least another two months after a knee surgery on Jan. 31.

Beal, who will compete in the NBA All-Star Game and three-point contest during NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, has helped the Wizards not only survive; the team has thrived.

Washington is 5-2 in Wall’s absence and Beal has lifted his season statistics to 23.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.

There is talk that the team is better off without Wall.

After a 122-119 win over the Toronto Raptors, Wizards center Marcin Gortat Tweeted “Unbelievable win tonight, Great ‘team’ victory.”

A shot at Wall? Who knows. But Wall took it that way and responded on ESPN Sportscenter.

"It was more just shock to hear it from him, understanding he gets the most assists from me and the most spoon-fed baskets ever," Wall said.

The players have reportedly talked about their situation, and all is well.

Two seasons ago, I thought Beal would be the odd-man out in Washington. Now, I think it will ultimately be Wall.

Malcolm x’s the White House

As beautiful as Philadelphia’s 41-33 victory over New England in the Super Bowl on Feb. 4 was, what is even more perfect is that the win gives safety Malcolm Jenkins and other Eagles the chance to snub President Trump.

Jenkins, one of the NFL’s most vocal players when it comes to social justice and racism in America, made his point early and often that he will not accompany the Eagles when they travel to the White House.

“My message has been clear all year,” he told CNN.

“I’m about creating positive change in the communities that I come from, whether it be Philadelphia, New Jersey, Ohio, Louisiana, or this entire country. I want to see changes in our criminal justice system. I want to see us push for economic and educational advancement in communities of color and low-income communities.”

Receiver Torrey Smith said before the Super Bowl that he would not go to the White House if his team won the game.

He Tweeted, “It goes beyond politics. I don’t think (Trump) is a good person.”

Smith is among players that feel Trump and supporters purposely misconstrue the meaning of national anthem protests.

“They call it the anthem protest. We’re not protesting the anthem. It’s a protest during the anthem. My father when he dies, is going to be buried with an American flag draped around his casket, being that he served in the army. Also, there are soldiers that have issues going on right now, and they are things that affect them. They’re things that affect my father. He understands both sides of the issue.”

Longtime St. Louis Ram Chris Long, now with the Eagles, is a University of Virginia-Charlottesville graduate and was highly critical of the president after he supported KKK members and neo-Nazis last year after a violent march in that town.

“No, I’m not going to the White House. Are you kidding me?” he said on a podcast following the game.

Running back LeGarrette Blount was quite blunt about the situation.

“I just don’t feel welcome into that house,” “I’m just gonna leave it at that.”

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie did not support Trump’s candidacy financially and was one of few owners to openly criticize the president after he called players that knelt during the nation anthem “SOBs.”

“Every day I see the genuine dedication and hard work of our players. And I support them as they take their courage, character and commitment into our communities to make them better or to call attention to injustice. Having spoken with our players, I can attest to the great respect they have for the national anthem and all it represents. We at the Philadelphia Eagles firmly believe that in this difficult time of division and conflict, it is more important than ever for football to be a great unifier.”

Take that, Trump.

Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Michael Smerconish wrote on Monday that all the Eagles should attend.

“The Eagles are not members of Congress so I cannot similarly say they are obligated to go. But if invited, I hope they will attend.

“Certain moments call for rising above partisan politics and an Oval Office encounter is one such milestone. Respect the office if not the president, I say. And when you leave, feel free to walk outside and speak your mind, Messrs. Jenkins, Smith, Long and Blount.”

Where was this guy at when conservatives and FOX News had open contempt for the office of the president for eight years when Barack Obama was in the White House? And the contempt was based on his skin color, not his crude language, divisive style or racist immigration policy.

Alvin A. Reid was honored as the 2017 “Best Sports Columnist – Weeklies” in the Missouri Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. He is a panelist on the Nine Network program, Donnybrook, is a weekly contributor to “The Charlie Tuna Show” on KFNS and can also be heard on Frank Cusumano’s “The Press Box.” His Twitter handle is @aareid1.

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