John Wall, Evan Turner show everyone doesn't want to be like LeBron

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In the 1990s, Michael Jordan ruled on the court, his agent David Falk ruled off it.

Falk had around 40 clients and those included most of the big names of the decade, guys like Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning. He bullied around the Players Association in the 1995 lockout, and was involved behind the scenes in the 1998 lockout negotiations. He was consistently ranked as the second most powerful man in the NBA, behind David Stern.

Other players wanted to be like Mike, and that meant it was good to be MJ’s agent.

Not so much with LeBron.

Recently soon-to-be top pick John Wall signed with BEST. Soon-to-be number two pick Evan Turner just signed up with Falk. Wall also said he is not going with LeBron’s marketing team. CBS’s Ken Berger suggests this means today’s players are trying to carve their own niche.

By spurning CAA, Wall became the third straight (Kentucky coach John) Calipari guard to break away from the agency that everyone assumed he would join. Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans both played for Calipari at Memphis, and both signed with Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group…

The best player available in the draft since LeBron himself will enter the NBA with a clean slate, and with no entanglements beyond those already entrenched within his inner circle of close advisors. In effect, Wall won’t be riding LeBron’s – or anyone else’s – coattails.

Let’s not shed a tear for CAA, they still own most of the world. But players today are more media and marketing savvy than generations before. They understand the value of carving out your own unique place in the market. They understand not wanting to be caught in the shadow of the game’s biggest star.

Be like LeBron? Not so much.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)

LeBron James blows wide-open dunk (video)

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J.R. Smith (slightly out of context): “We don’t start paying attention until after All-Star break.”

Report: Raptors’ Delon Wright out a month

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Raptors guard Delon Wright dislocated his shoulder, but at least he won’t need surgery.

Raptors media relations:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Raptors (11-5), off to a surprisingly strong start, are second in the Eastern Conference. They’ve bought themselves margin for error. All in all, a month-long absence for Wright isn’t so bad.

Wright had been a key part of an excellent all-bench unit that included Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anunoby, C.J. Miles and Jakob Poeltl. Two-way player Lorenzo Brown has assumed Wright’s role, and Norman Powell – returning from his own injury – will provide a boost. Toronto can also stagger Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan more.

The chemistry of the bench mob was something to behold, but the Raptors should withstand this.

Report: Clippers PG Patrick Beverley out rest of season

AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker
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Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley underwent knee surgery – never a great sign.

The prognosis is about as bad as could be expected.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This injury isn’t just a setback for this season. It could derail the Clippers’ long-term plan.

They’ve already lost nine straight, and Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic are injured. If they fall further out of playoff position, they could become sellers before the trade deadline, especially with DeAndre Jordan ($24,119,025 player option for next season) and Lou Williams ($7 million salary on expiring contract).

Health was always the major question with this team, and it won’t soften as Blake Griffin and Danilo Gallinari age through lucrative contracts.

The final year of Beverley’s contract is guaranteed for just $5,027,028 next season, and the 29-year-old will spend most of the summer recovering from this injury. That salary is probably low enough that the Clippers will keep him without hesitation.

Until then, down a couple point guards, the Clippers have no choice but to continue leaning more on Austin Rivers. That also means greater roles for second-round rookies Jawun Evans and Sindarius Thornwell. That’s just too many players facing outsized responsibility.

The Pelicans, Grizzlies, Jazz and any other team competing for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference ought to feel better about their chances. They’re still competing with each other, and it’s doubtful all three make it. But Beverley’s injury helps clear the way.

The Clippers, who didn’t want to take a major step back after Chris Paul‘s departure, must confront an even more uneasy reality.