Heaven is a Playground — Horrible bosses and the NBA trade deadline: eight bold predictions

I played a game but I learned about life.

Imagine the body of Mark Mangino combined with the intellect of Avery Johnson, the self-control of Bobby Knight, the obnoxiousness of Stan Van Gundy, the enthusiasm of Dick Vitale, the grime of Rick Pitino, the ability of Sidney Lowe and the sex appeal of Tyrone Hill.

Who is this worst of all worlds troglodyte?

Given his litigious nature and penchant for frivolous lawsuits, it’s probably best to avoid naming names. Because of his uncanny resemblance to Tim Burton and Danny DeVito’s Penguin from Batman Returns let’s call him Oswald or, for anatomic reasons, Cobblepot.

For the better part of the past seven months, Cobblepot had been my employer. Until this past week, I had been willing to overlook the low pay and late paychecks; the foot odor we were all subjected to on his barefoot days; his manipulative tactics; his health advice despite his morbid obesity; and that odd month when he decided to walk me home after work every day. Dude was obsessed with me, and not in the good Ryan Gosling in The Notebook kinda way. It was more of the garden variety Robin Williams in One Hour Photo type obsession.

Quitting never felt so good!

My road to Damascus moment happened when he proudly announced that my fiancé was replaceable because she didn’t get me a pair of headphones for Christmas.

What’s the point? The NBA trade deadline is less than two weeks away. Meaning, a number of players are soon going to be working for a new employer. Fathers are reunited with sons, spousal abusers are reunited with neck tattoos of lips, Louie Amundson has a job again, and the grass is always greener.

Here are eight bold predictions for the month of February:

We have not seen the last of Andray Blatche:

While not technically a trade prediction, Andray Blatche seems poised to return to the league after a five month stint in China. The man most famously known as the recipient of Gilbert Arenas shoe dookie, and for soliciting an undercover cop for boom-boom, has taken giant strides in maturity since competing for Gilas in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Blatche followed up his strong performance on the international stage by dominating the CBA. In China, Blatche averaged 32 points and 15 boards a game, while shooting 40 percent from behind the arc.

The Heat, Grizzlies, and Nets are all reportedly interested in the big man’s services. The Nets hold Blatche’s early bird rights, making them the favorites to acquire him. Although a reunion seems odd, given how dead-set GM Billy King was on Jettisoning Blatche over the summer. However, not much the Nets have done in the past few years has made much sense.

Jonas Jerebko will be moved:

Who, you may ask? It may come as a surprise, but the Swedish native, now in his sixth year, is the longest tenured player on the Detroit Pistons. A serviceable rotational player, Jerebko’s expiring contract and probable unwillingness to re-sign this offseason makes him expendable for the guard hungry Pistons, who have been linked to Mo Williams among others.

Mo Williams is going to South Beach:

Last month, the well-travelled veteran made headlines setting a Timberwolves franchise record scoring 52 points on 19-of-33 from the floor. Williams is currently playing on an easily moveable one year, $3.75 million contract. The rebuilding nine win Timberwolves have nothing to gain by holding on to the 33-year-old. The Heat have a need for a veteran point guard, and Norris Cole packaged with a draft pick makes a lot of sense for Minnesota.

Pablo Prigioni will be traded to Cleveland or Detroit, for some reason:

The dysfunctional Knicks have no use for a backup guard as old as Madison Square Garden. Thirty-seven-year-old Pablo Prigioni is only guaranteed $300,000 on his $1.7 million contract for next season, and a market exists for serviceable veteran guards. Taking minutes away from developing players Shane Larkin and Langston Galloway is silly. The Cavs and Pistons both need backcourt depth and aren’t going to give up much in return for the Argentine.

Ray Allen will stay retired:

Ray-Ray is going to be 40. Dude is probably in great shape and that shooting technique, similar to Ava Devine has only gotten silkier with age. The NBA’s best, Hawks and Warriors, and the closest sure thing Cavs have all expressed interest. Signing a multi-million dollar deal to play a couple minutes a game for a half season sounds ideal. But, I just can’t see Allen pulling a Clemens. He’s always had numerous off court ventures, and as a guy with a cemented legacy, what more does he have to prove? Expect to be shocked when Allen chooses retirement over return.

Lance Stephenson is going home:

Lance Stephenson has been the biggest disaster in Charlotte since natives KC and Jojo exposed themselves during their 2000 Jingle Ball Christmas concert. Since blowing in LBJ’s ear, Lance has managed 9 points per game while shooting 37 percent from the floor. The Hornets spent nearly $30 million on Stephenson this past offseason, and have seen little in the way of ROI. The Hornets want to cut bait on the recalcitrant swingman, and the Nets are the logical fit. Brooklyn desperately needs to shred the monster contracts of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez.

The 24-year-old BK native, who earned the nicknames the “eighth grader” and “born ready” on the unforgiving black top of New York City is the perfect player for the Nets to build around long term. Stephenson’s disastrous season is an outlier. Let’s not forget what a monster he was in Indiana.

The Lakers don’t have enough to land Goran Dragic:

The Dragon is a beast. One of the league’s best volume scorers, and stuck in a crowded backcourt, Phoenix is likely to start fielding calls about Dragic’s availability. Expected to opt out of his deal this summer, the Suns may have no choice but to trade the talented guard, in the prime of his career. The Lakers have long made their interest known.

The thought of Goran, Kobe and Swaggy P sharing the ball next season fills me with primal animal lust, but the reality is that the just Lakers don’t have enough to package in a trade for the Slovenian. Any deal the Lakers can put together is going to center around the marginal Jordan Hill and the wildly disappointing Jeremy Lin. There is a better chance of the Suns offering me a contract than dropping Goran for that haul. On a positive note, I’d expect the Lakers to go after Dragic hard this summer as a free agent.

Wilson Chandler will be moved to the Clippers or Trailblazers:

OKC brought in Dion Waiters, Memphis added Jeff Green, Houston Josh Smith, Dallas Rajon Rondo. The Western Conference is stacked and seemingly wide open. Wilson Chandler is the best player who will be moved to a team in the West prior to the trade deadline. With a manageable contract, and in the midst of one of his better seasons, the 27-year-old Chandler is going to be a sought after commodity. The Nuggets have been a colossal disappointment this year, and with their season all but over, they gain nothing by holding onto a player who will be looking to cash in on a long term deal in the near future.

Denver has made it clear that they won’t unload Chandler for less than a first rounder. The Clippers and Trail Blazers stand to be the greatest benefactors to the swingman’s services, and either team has the pieces to put together an attractive trade package. This one is a lock.