TORONTO — LeBron James has played in three Olympics, won two gold medals (and a bronze), and has done his duty representing his country internationally.
But it’s why he might skip this summer’s Rio Olympics that turned heads in the last couple days — he is reportedly pissed that Kobe Bryant will not be making his farewell with another gold on the international stage.
As you might expect, LeBron was asked about that during All-Star media day Friday in Toronto. Also, as you might expect, he dodged the question, saying he doesn’t know what he’s going to do this summer.
“Well, for me, I haven’t quite decided if I’m on the fence of going or not,” LeBron said. “But I’ve always loved representing my country. I’ve been playing in the Olympic games since 2004. So, no, I haven’t made a decision yet.”
My guess is LeBron’s body would love him to take the summer off — he’s played in five straight Finals with an Olympics in that mix — but his brand managers (and Nike) would love to see him play.
With him, the USA will win a gold medal. Without him, the USA will win the gold medal. The Americans are clear and away the best team in the world and only they can beat themselves. LeBron’s leadership can help make sure that happens, but it’s not required.
In the end, LeBron needs to do what’s required to bring a championship “to the ‘Land.” The playoffs, and how he feels after them, will likely determine where LeBron is in early August more than anything else.
TORONTO — Everyone wants to be like the Golden State Warriors. Jerry Colangelo, the Chairman of Basketball Operations for the Philadelphia 76ers, wants his Sixers to be more like the Warriors, too.
Not on the court in style of play (although he’d like all those wins). He means in the front office.
The Warriors front office is a place where a diversity of opinions — from the legendary Jerry West to assistant GM Kirk Lacob, through the analytics team, and on down the line — debate everything with each other and GM Bob Myers. Every idea is welcome, but you need to defend it. Out of those sometimes fierce debates has come an NBA championship roster.
That’s what Colangelo wants to bring to Philadelphia.
“(Golden State) proves the point,” Colangelo said after a ceremony the naming of the Hall of Fame Finalists Friday in Toronto. “If you have the right mix of people you can have a collaborative effort because people respect one another, and usually that comes from people who have had experience, who’ve been around the track. You add all of that to the mix and it could work.”
The Sixers may be looking to add experience and voices, Colangelo admitted, while not saying specifically what that would mean for analytics-driven GM Sam Hinkie’s role.
“I think that any time you have an opportunity to enhance your organization, and you bring people in to accomplish that, you consider it. Big time. You really do,” Colangelo said. “And I think in our case we have a very bright young guy in Sam Hinkie, who holds the title of president and GM, and in his space he’s really strong. One could build a case for saying you’d like to have more people added who have experience in other aspects of those jobs. That’s the kind of conversation that’s going on.
“The first step was me being asked to come in, because of my experience, to maybe help and add to the mix. And the question you’re asking is, ‘is there a need or requirement for someone else?’ Maybe. Probably. That’s all being discussed….
“I’m just saying adding people to the front office. And that’s not demeaning who we have. You want to be strong. If your goal is you want to be in the Finals… you have to take all the steps required to become that. I’d like to hear people say ‘they’ve got the strongest front office in the league.’ That’s a goal. That’s an objective. So it’s going to require more people to make that happen. That’s all.”
This doesn’t mean the Sixers will completely abandon Hinkie’s draft-for-the-future plan — they likely will have three, maybe four, first round picks this season, and multiple ones next season as well. The Sixers aren’t going to just trade those away to become average. That’s not smart. But they have already shown how some experienced, veteran players on the court — Ish Smith, in particular – can lead to significant improvement.
The goal is to do the same with their front office.
That style of management — listening to a diversity of opinions and voices — can certainly work, not just in basketball but in any business. However, at the end of the day, someone has coalesced those voices and have the hammer to make a decision based on those debates.
“If there’s a pecking order, it’s going to start with ownership and it’s going to funnel down,” Colangelo said.
The question is who Sixers owner Joshua Harris gives the hammer to? Colangelo seems to have it now.
Bottom line is expect more changes in the Sixers front office.
“I don’t think we’re where we might be six months from now. I don’t know,” Colangelo said.
TORONTO — Portland’s C.J. McCollum was joking with the media Friday when asked who he thought would win the All-Star Saturday three-point contest.
“Not me, since I wasn’t selected for it… I’m really disappointed right now,” McCollum said, then started laughing.
Now McCollum can pick himself — he’s in the competition.
McCollum is in for the three-point contest (he was already in town to compete in the skills competition that evening). McCollum is shooting 39.2 percent from threes this season and has made 125 of them, ninth-most in the league.
“No, it’s a tough field,” McCollum said “You look at JJ [Redick], you look at Steph, two really good shooters. [Redick] jumps really high. I don’t know if he’s going to change his shot. Steph [Curry] has a shot he can use and a quick release. Who else is in it? Bosh, [Khris] Middleton, [James] Harden, Klay [Thompson]. Klay has a good jumper. I think him, Middleton, those guys that don’t jump as high they have a good advantage.”
Conrad Burry received a copy of an Adidas catalog, and it shows logos for every NBA team next season.
Except the Jazz, Kings and Pistons.
This is circumstantial evidence, but it has previously held up as the first sign of a new logo.
Keep an eye on Utah, Sacramento and Detroit.