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HQ Mailbag: On boosters, contracts, and KD vs. Kawhi

The Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors yesterday evening, and as you can imagine: we’d like to discuss it a bit more.

NBA Playoffs 2019 Tactical Issues: What to expect from the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals Game 1 Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

This week’s mailbag comes directly on the heels of the greatest game I did not watch (or, rather, that I have not yet had the chance to watch). Yes, while Raptors vs. Warriors was going on last Thursday night, I was at a holiday party — which meant I watched the first quarter, was put in good mood, and then was successfully able to convince people to put the game on once I learned it was close.

Let’s dive in with Reynolds’ sample questions, which continues to be good enough to answer in the actual mailbag.

It is very awesome, and I’m only a little bit to a lot disappointed I didn’t get to see the whole thing live. But let me tell you, I watched highlights today several times. Kevin Durant continued to make some of the most ridiculous shots I’ve ever seen: Among several step-back jump shots, that game-tying three was special and devastating in a peculiar way.

And Kawhi was Kawhi again! He went off for 37 points — A Raptors-career-high! Daniel, can you fill in some highlights for me here? Just slipping my mind right now. What a great night of basketball and of holiday parties, indeed.

[Ed. Note: Leonard was able to get many shots that he wanted, and was absolutely devastating when switched into matchups he wanted. Remember, he went 14-for-24 against a long-limbed, swarming, and smart defense. That’s not nothing. You can check our recaps here, and here.]

What a great follow-up to KD versus Kawhi last night: KD versus Kawhi down the line. I’m somehow sold on Kevin Durant thinking the New York Knicks or Los Angeles Lakers are perfect fits for his brand. Knicks, please, though, in my opinion. Although we’d get a ton more Durant/Durantula/The Servant (remember when he wanted that to be his nickname?), I think that it’s the perfect way to spread some competitive balance in the league. Have you seen the Knicks lately? Also, I think Rich Kleiman, Durant’s manager and best friend, is a Knicks fan? Let that affect your decision, Kevin.

The Knicks’ attempt at a superteam will be far more successful headed by Durant than it was with Melo and Amar’e back in the day, I’ll say that. Shouts to Amar’e, one of my favourite players.

So, exclusively for my delusional thinking that Kevin Durant will want to leave a seemingly ideal situation, plus some classic Raptors homerism, Kawhi will be a Raptor next season. Kevin Durant will be a New York Knick, or, ugh, a Los Angeles Laker. Knick and Laker are weird singulars—not as weird as “He’s a Heat” or “He’s a Magic” or the one Durant was earlier in his career, “a Thunder.”

Lastly, let’s talk booster seats.

Kawhi Leonard, like many NBA players, is tall. Those folding chairs they sit on are short. It is bad for Kawhi’s knees to do whatever it is they would do if he has to sit the way he would have to sit on that seat. The booster seat is an incredibly easy fix to that, a fix that I did not know NBA players took advantage of. Amar’e had bad knees; did he use one?

I think NBA teams ought to do a better job advertising that these NBA players are just like little kids in that regard. Give me a Kawhi Leonard booster seat night; you can’t tell me kids wouldn’t love that giveaway.

Speaking of giveaways, what kinds of giveaways would be the most successful? I think the Raptors are lacking those novelty giveaways — bobbleheads, for example, are boring — what else can Toronto pull off?

Here are three ideas, listed as I came up with them:

  • Pascal Siakam hot sauce (which is in the same realm as the mid-00s Blue Jays giveaway of Gustavo Chacin cologne), even though Siakam wasn’t the biggest fan of spicy food? Get him on Hot Ones, maybe;
  • Kyle Lowry bobble-butt — this one is self-explanatory; and
  • A deck of Fred VanVleet playing cards, so you can bet on yourself.

Elsewhere in the league, I can think right now of a few more: Kyrie Irving snow globes, Joe Ingles jingle bells, and Jimmy Butler megaphones so you can scream at your teammates even louder.

What other ideas can you guys come up with?


Once again, I ask: I’d love if you sent in your own questions every week on Twitter, in the comments, or via email—I’ll try my best to answer those. As always, remember to use HQ Mailbag in the subject line or #HQmailbag on social media.