Getting to know LeBron James inner circle

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nba_james1_250.jpgVirtually every player in the NBA seems to have a posse, his boys, his friends. They are the guys hanging around the player at clubs, the guys who do his driving and run his errands and are supposed to take care of life’s little annoyances. Sometimes, they even get real responsibility.

But no inner circle has influence like LeBron James circle.

Maverick Carter is his defacto manager and head of marketing. Then there is Randy Mims and Rich Paul. Along with LeBron they are the Four Horseman. Long time friends and confidants that LeBron James trusts like few others.

And those guys will have LeBron’s ear as he decides whether to stay in Cleveland or to move on. A great piece in Sunday’s New York Post by Marc Berman shines a light on the guys that usually are happy to be in LeBron’s shadow.

They are his Akron childhood buddies, and they make up a most untraditional business inner circle, though Paul, 30, has branched off with O.J. Mayo.

Critics wonder if Team LeBron is too unconventional — if they are savvy enough to be the major players whose voices will resonate in James’ ear about the merits of New York, Newark, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and Cleveland in the coming weeks.

James is a wannabe billionaire athlete whose chief business decision-maker, Carter, is a 28-year-old childhood friend from Akron who spent two years at two different colleges before dropping out.

Buzz Bissinger, who wrote “Shooting Stars” with LeBron about his high school years, notes that LeBron needs the security and trust these friends give him. He had no father to speak of growing up and a mother who almost gave him away at age 10. Finding security matters to LeBron. These guys provide that.

Which is different than saying he gets only the best advice from them. There are doubts his current marketing and agent teams have done for him what his first agent — Aaron Goodwin — was able to do. The agent that was dumped in favor of friends. What kind of advice LeBron gets from them on his big free agent moves is impossible to predict.

There are other guys in the key mix too, although how much influence William Wesley and Jay-Z really have is hard to decipher. LeBron’s team is quiet in a way that Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have not.

What LeBron needs to do is find a quiet place and listen to himself. Figure out what he really wants. Tune out everybody else’s advice. Which is a whole lot easier said than done.

Stephen Curry’s 32 lead Warriors over Rockets 113-106

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HOUSTON (AP) Stephen Curry scored 32 points, Klay Thompson had 25 and the Golden State Warriors built a big lead early and held on for a 113-106 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

The Warriors scored 37 points in the first quarter and never trailed on the way to their eighth straight victory and 60th this season.

Golden State led by eight after a pair of free throws by Curry with just over three minutes left. Patrick Beverley countered with a tip-in layup for Houston, then was fouled when he was knocked to the ground on a screen by Draymond Green seconds later.

James Harden missed a layup on the next possession before Green added a shot on the other end to put the Warriors up 107-99.

Another layup miss by Harden followed, and Curry made a 3-pointer with 1:46 left to send fans streaming to the exits.

Warriors F James Michael McAdoo leaves game vs. Rockets with head injury (VIDEO)

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There was a scary moment during the matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. During a change of possession, Houston’s Trevor Ariza and and Golden State’s James Michael McAdoo got tangled up and fell together on the floor.

McAdoo was under Ariza and wound up getting his head slammed into the hardwood. He was immediately taken off the floor and sent to the locker room.

Via Twitter:

The NBATV broadcast said McAdoo received stitches but did not test positive for a concussion. He is averaging 8.7 minutes, 2.9 points, and 1.7 rebounds per-game for the Warriors.

Jusuf Nurkic trolls Nuggets, tells former team to enjoy their summer (VIDEO)

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Jusuf Nurkic did not enjoy his time as a member of the Denver Nuggets. His trade to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Mason Plumlee was a welcome change of scenery.

On Tuesday night, Nurkic got to take on his old team with huge playoff implications at stake. Portland beat the Nuggets, 122-113, moving a game ahead of their rivals in the race for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and giving them the best tiebreaker between the two.

Nurkic was impressive, blasting his old squad with 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting, adding 16 rebounds, three blocks, and two assists.

Nurkic was interviewed in the arena after the game, and he was obviously happy he helped his team while also sticking it to Denver. Speaking with Portland reporter Brooke Olzendam, Nurkic took one last shot at the Nuggets, telling them to enjoy their summer.

Via Twitter:

Nurkic quite possibly sent the Nuggets packing for the year with the game at the Moda Center on Tuesday, so he might have been the guy who helped start their summer.

Still, that is ice cold.

James Johnson decimates Marcus Morris with huge one-handed dunk (VIDEO)

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Miami Heat forward James Johnson is one of the NBA’s best in-game dunkers. On Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons, he yammed down a huge one-handed slam that embarrassed Marcus Morris and drew gasps from the crowd at the Palace.

The play came midway through the fourth quarter with Johnson at the top of the key. After a quick pass over to him, Johnson gave a quick hesitation before driving to his left and past his defender.

With the quick step, Johnson’s only remaining opponent at the basket was Morris, who was unfortunate enough to find himself between the high-flying Heat and the rim.

This is what happened next:

Morris was whistled for a foul on the play.