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.

Report: Wizards signing Ryan Hollins

Blake Griffin, Ryan Hollins
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Nene hurt his calf. Drew Gooden is banged up. Martell Webster is out for the season.

Those are three players the Wizards expected to play power forward this season.

So, Washington – which has lost four straight – will bring in another big man: Ryan Hollins.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Wizards have a full roster of 15 players. They don’t qualify for a hardship exemption, which a team gets if four players have missed three straight games and will continue to be out. Only Webster and Alan Anderson definitely fit that bill. Gooden, who has missed five straight, might. But it’s unclear both how many of those absences were due to injury and when he’ll return.

So, Washington will have to waive someone to sign Hollins now. It’ll probably be Webster, whose $5,845,250 2016-17 salary is just $2.5 million guaranteed. If he’s out for the year and the Wizards plan to drop him by the summer to clear cap space, why not just do it now?

Hollins is more center than power forward and doesn’t appear to fit well with Marcin Gortat. But at this point, Washington just needs big bodies. Hollins – a nine-year veteran who plays decent interior defense, lacks offensive skill and rebounds poorly for his 7-foot frame – is at least that.

Dwight Howard crushes Kristaps Porzingis with dunk (video)

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Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.

Marc Gasol heads ball into basket after drawing foul (video)

Marc Gasol
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This was not Marc Gasol‘s first attempt to head in the ball after a whistle, but this time, he converted.

Here was his January try: