David Stern on LeBron: "Hopefully, he'll stay."

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Thumbnail image for James_game2.jpgI don’t know if you’ve heard this, but LeBron James can be a free agent this summer. No, really. He can be. The media is ignoring this little story, but it is true.

(Before you write something in the comments, read that paragraph again in a sarcastic voice.)

Since everyone else in America had weighed in on LeBron’s free agency, NBA Commissioner David Stern was given the chance, as he was in town to hand out the MVP trophy to LeBron. Cantonrep.com had the quotes.

“The collective bargaining agreement, for which I can take credit or substantial blame,” Stern said, is designed to “encourage teams to keep their own players.”

Stern made sure it allowed for teams to “pay more and pay it for longer” to its own free agents. “And in my view, that’s the way it should be. That was what was embedded in the collective bargaining to allow teams to stay together…”

“How long has he been here? … Seven years. You know that’s the deal (that he could leave after that point). … I hate to take the other side because the way I grew up, I was trained to fight against it. Hopefully, he’ll stay. That’s the way the system’s designed.”

Keeping star players in one (maybe two) uniform is ideal for the league — you want fans to root for players they get to know. Some movement (particularly of role players — is good in that it help keeps things fresh. But the league and teams need continuity; they need stars that fans identify with, ones that stick around. It’s good for business.

The thought of LeBron James always being a Cavalier (or Tim Duncan always a Spur or Kobe Bryant always a Laker) has appeal. So they set the CBA up that way.

Stern will probably get his wish in this case. He usually does.

NBA rallies for Gordon Hayward on social media after broken ankle

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Everyone has been waiting for the start of the NBA season, but nobody wanted it to start this way.

During Tuesday’s opening game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward suffered a horrific injury after cutting back door.

Hayward suffered a broken left ankle according to the team. Meanwhile, if you want to see video of the injury, you can do so here.

Of course, everyone was waiting in anticipation for Tuesday, including players and not hooping. There was immediate reaction by other NBA players on social media wishing Hayward a speedy recovery.

Via Twitter:

Gordon Hayward breaks left ankle against Cavs in first game with Celtics

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The Boston Celtics season has taken a turn for the worse.

During Tuesday’s opening game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, new Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward broke his left ankle after landing following a leaping back cut to the basket.

It became immediately apparent to those in the arena, and the broadcast angle of the left leg injury was not pretty.

Just be warned here, the resulting photo and media is pretty disgusting. I let out a big yell when I saw it live, so it’s not for the faint of heart.

Via TNT:

This is just the most awful way to start the NBA season, for all of us. Get well soon, Gordon.

Kings’ rookie De’Aaron Fox commits California mortal sin, slams In-N-Out

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We Californians take a few things seriously. Surf reports, for one. Winemaking/tasting. Tech toys. Coming up with potential blockbuster movie franchise ideas, getting a star to buy in, then maybe or maybe not worrying about getting a decent script.

Also, In-N-Out Burger. If there is one thing all Californians can agree on, it’s that In-N-Out is the best burger chain in the world. It’s not up for debate.

Apparently Kings’ rookie De'Aaron Fox did not get that memo. He did a Q&A with Rolling Stone’s Seerat Sohi and crossed a sacred line.

“All I gotta say, you can tell everybody that lives in the state of California this: In-N-Out is not good.”

What’s your beef with In-N-Out Burger?
“Their burgers are overrated. They’re OK.”

Even Animal Style?
“Yes. People always say, you haven’t tried this. You haven’t tried that. I’m like, “Yeah, I looked up the secret menu. I’ve tried it all. It’s just not good.”

That’s controversial. What’s the best fast food spot then?
“Honestly, for me, I don’t count Chick-fil-A, because it’s way too good to be considered fast food. So I’m gonna say Wendy’s. Fat Burger in L.A. is better than In-N-Out.”

It’s this simple: Fox is flat-out wrong.

First off,ย Chick-fil-A is wildly overrated, so we know the taste of the 19-year-old point guard is off. Fat Burger is legit. But Wendy’s? Come on now, that’s just average.

If Fox had tried to argue Five Guys, I would have let it slide โ€” I don’t think they’re as good, but I will admit a California bias. But Wendy’s? You lose the entire argument right there. It’s like saying Pixels was the best movie ever.

In-N-Out is the best. Fox needs to get on board with this.

Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic hospitalized after practice fight with Bobby Portis

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It was going to be a difficult season in Chicago if everything went right โ€” and two days before the first game of the season things have gone horribly wrong.

Bulls’ starting forward Nikola Mirotic got into a shoving match with Bobby Portis, and Portis turned and sucker-punched him, according to multiple reports.

The Bulls have confirmed the fightย and have announced Mirotic suffered a concussion and maxillary fractures in his face โ€” the upper jaw and nasal cavity area โ€” which likely will require surgery. He is going to miss weeks of time.

Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports had more details.

Mirotic was taken to the hospital Tuesday after their shoving altercation during practice ended with an alleged cheap shot from Portis to Miroticโ€™s face, league sources told The Vertical. Mirotic is undergoing tests, but is expected to be out for the foreseeable future, league sources said.

Mirotic will miss weeks, according to a source, and you can be sure severe discipline from the team is coming down for Portis.

In the short term, this likely means more run for rookie Lauri Markkanen as well as just re-signed Cristiano Felicio.