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With lots of commotion surrounding Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony Tuesday, half of the Banana Boat is very loud in the news currently. Anthony met with Phil Jackson to talk about his future with the New York Knicks, and of course stated that he wants to stay with the team. Chris Paul has a torn ligament in his left thumb and will be out 6–8 weeks. While both of those situations are unfortunate, much like the Baudelaires having to deal with Count Olaf in “The Series of Unfortunate Events”, it had me thinking about a future Banana Boat team, and how this could actually happen.
Dwyane Wade signed a contract last summer with the Chicago Bulls for two years and $47 million becoming a free agent in 2018. Carmelo Anthony is signed through 2019, but has the ability to opt out of his contract to become a free agent in the summer of 2018. Chris Paul is signed with the Clippers through the 2018 season, set to become a free agent in the summer of 2018. LeBron James is signed through the summer of 2019, but has a player option for the summer of 2018. What’s the recurring theme? Each player has the ability to be a free agent in the summer of 2018.
So, now you’re asking me, “How do you get those four players on the same team without them complaining about their contracts?” Dwyane Wade will be playing on broken knees at this point, and already got the monster contract he wanted with the Bulls. Wade will be an easy sway to join the Banana Boat revolution because he loves playing with LeBron James. He also loves throwing gorgeous alley oops to him. Here’s 14 minutes of Wade and James alley oops just in case you had any doubts.
Chris Paul has been plagued with injuries over the past couple of years, and I blame Blake Griffin. After Griffin’s first season, every season since, both Paul and Griffin have missed at least 10 games every season. Whether Griffin is punching Justin Bieber, or Paul is complaining to the referees, the injuries have to be tied together somehow. I’m sure of it. Paul is about to miss around two months with a torn ligament in his thumb. If he keeps this up, every injury he has leading up to free agency in 2018 will subtract from a monster contract. No, I don’t wish many more injuries on Paul, but if the injuries keep happening his Banana Boat contract won’t be as large as predicted. Now, we have Paul and Wade for less-than max contracts, and LeBron foaming at the mouth because he’s going to have a past prime, old ass, all-star, Banana Boats, and he cannot wait for the social media storm that awaits.
LeBron, I believe, has always secretly adored being the NBA’s villain. Somehow, this season he hasn’t really lived up to that designation. With Kevin Durant skipping out on loyalty with the Oklahoma City Thunder (just as James did in the summer of 2010 “The Decision”), the villains lie out west in Golden State. With a 2018 Banana Boats forming together, the world of social media would be set on fire because why would four aging stars get together out of their primes (minus maybe James and Paul)? The answer is unknown, but I want this to happen, no, I NEED this to happen.
The most stubborn player of the Banana Boat, Carmelo Anthony, might be the toughest player to sway towards this super boat. Anthony has been a highlight of a train wreck in this short week so far. After a loss to Toronto on Sunday, he made comments on having a conversation about his no-trade clause with Phil Jackson. Tuesday the two met, and Anthony obviously said he wanted to stay in New York. I believe that Anthony is content with winning 20 Olympic Gold Medals, staying in New York and earning an absurd amount of money for losing. If I had the option to do the same, I would too. Who wouldn’t want to win a bunch of Olympic Golds and earn loads of money for being good at basketball on a crappy team? If Melo is content with being that guy, then good for him, but I’m trying to get this Banana Boat team together and I need Melo on it. We get to the summer of 2018, the Knicks still are terrible, and Melo has another conversation with Phil Jackson.
Phil: So, do you want to stay in New York?
Phil: OK, well, we aren’t really sure that we do.
Melo: OK, so?
Phil: Opt out and go join the Banana Boat, please.
Melo: I want to retire a Knick.
Phil: You can sign a one day contract when you decide to retire.
Melo: I can do that. See ya, Phil, it’s been awful.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy. If that’s not how the conversation goes, I’ll be extremely disappointed, but in my story that’s how it’s going to go. So now we have Melo looking for a new team, and by God, we have half the Banana Boat on a single team already, let’s make it three quarters. Melo signs a two year max deal with the team because Paul and Wade have taken pay cuts in order to get this quite beautiful team together. Melo gets his money so he can buy more hats, and everyone is almost happy, we only need the 6'8" monster piece to complete the Banana Boat shaped puzzle.
LeBron is the one who orchestrated this whole plan, he just wanted to be the final player to sign so he could get all of the glory for devising this incredible plan. He gets a max contract as well and, as we all expected, the summer of free agency is ruled by none other than the King.
Now which team would be absolutely bonkers, and actually make this happen? The answer is actually quite simple: The Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron has his finger wrapped around that whole organization, including Dan Gilbert. Remember that time when LeBron wanted David Blatt gone and it happened in an absurdly short amount of time? And how he wanted Tyronn Lue as the head coach and that happened without much delay? When LeBron asks or demands for something, nine times out of ten, it happens. The Cleveland Cavaliers in the summer of 2018 will become the Cleveland Banana Boats.
Cleveland is the easiest target for this Banana Boat bliss, but they also have some players they need to get rid of in order for this to happen. Kevin Love is under contract through 2020, so he needs to be dealt. Kyrie Irving is also signed through the 2020 season. Both of these players by 2018 have probably been to four straight NBA Finals, and have won at least two of them. While Love is starting to tail end his prime, Irving is right in the middle of it. The Cleveland Banana Boats trade both of these players for first round picks in the 2019 draft. While the first season of the Banana Boats is disappointing following a Finals loss to the Warriors, they acquire two top ten picks to draft a young big man, and an athletic guard.
While in the David Stern era of the NBA, these trades would 100% be blocked, in the Adam Silver era, these trades 100% happen. Social media will explode, TV ratings might actually launch through space, and this bald man will smile and wave while earning more money than I can fathom.
With the first year gone in the Banana Boat dream, the second year has eager, youthful eyes playing alongside legends of the 2000’s and 2010’s, and who better to learn from than the Banana Boat? After the 2020 season, the Cleveland Banana Boats win the NBA Finals in sweeping fashion, Carmelo Anthony breaks down in tears because he didn’t realize how good winning a ring would actually feel. Melo and Wade step away from the game, stepping foot onto the actual four seat Banana Boat in the ocean, patiently awaiting the other two spots to be filled.
Paul and James sign another two year deal, to mentor the two star rookies on the Cleveland Banana Boats to one more title. They win again in 2021, then Paul decides that tearing his thumb this many times isn’t the most enjoyable thing. He joins Melo and Wade on that Banana Boat in the ocean. James still averaging 23, 7, and 7, comes back, still in his prime, and signs a 6 year, $400 million contract because it's 2021 and why not? The team decides that since LeBron is the last of the Banana Boat it is time to change the team name to the Cleveland Lebron’s.
LeBron sitting on six rings by the 2021 season, and he only needs one more to exceptionally pass Michael Jordan as the GOAT. By the end of the 2021 season he fills his seventh finger with the largest NBA Championship ring ever, and decides that he doesn’t need a coach anymore. Lue is fired, and LeBron becomes the first player/coach since Bill Russell and the Celtics. He wins one final ring in his last five years, but decides to remain head coach of the Cleveland LeBron’s.
Banana Boat is going to happen, just wait a year and a half.