Winderman: Forget New York, Cleveland can get LeBron and Bosh

24 Comments

LeBron_stares.jpgWell, so much for having to miss Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Learning that it might be better off next time to actually go live when it comes to “Larry King Live,” CNN has released the entire transcript of Tuesday’s taped interview with LeBron James, after several outlets reported the content of the interview that airs Friday at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Reading through the transcript, it is as vapid as your typical Larry King interview, although Larry’s hair again looks marvelous.

What has gotten lost in many of the interpretations of James’ non-answers to King’s non-questions is the element of James saying Cleveland has an “edge” in the process.

In many outposts, that has been taken as James attempting to climb the same mountain with the same Sherpas, therefore leaving the likes of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson free for the other cap-space teams, without James pairing up for 2010-11.

What that overlooks is what seemingly has been overlooked since the start of the process:

The capped-out Cavaliers emerging as a prime player in the process, with James already in tow.

When it comes to sign-and-trades, Cleveland has plenty of prime real estate to offer.

There is Anderson Varejao’s $7 million for 2010-11.

There is the $9.3 million Mo Williams is due next season.

There is J.J. Hickson’s $1.5 million.

There is Delonte West’s $4.5 million for next season that can be bought out for $500,000 by Aug. 2.

And that’s not even getting into Antawn Jamison or setting up Shaq with a new deal and then including him in a package.

In the interview with King, James continually references the possibility of playing with another leading free agent next season. He just does not say where.

If the Raptors are to lose Bosh, they could do worse than the energy of Varejao alongside Bargnani. Heck, there even could be a Jamario Moon homecoming.

For weeks, the notion of James-Bosh, James-Johnson or James-Free Agent X were of unions in New York, Chicago, Miami or elsewhere.

But Danny Ferry may just find himself with an opportunity that Mike Brown never received.

One last, post-elimination shot to save his job.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Hawks get another playoff shot at King James and Cavaliers

at Philips Arena on April 1, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
Leave a comment

ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.

Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.

Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.

The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.

Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.

Report: Warriors to replace Luke Walton from outside the organization

MILWAUKEE, WI - DECEMBER 12: Interim Coach Luke Walton of the Golden State Warriors talks on the sideline during the second quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center on December 12, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.

Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.

Report: Luke Walton’s Lakers contract is for 5 years, $25 million

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13:  Interim head coach Luke Walton of the Golden State Warriors leads the team against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on January 13, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Warriors 112-110. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
6 Comments

In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.

This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.

Luke Walton says he won’t run the triangle as Lakers coach

at American Airlines Center on December 30, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
3 Comments

On Friday night, the Lakers announced that they’re hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, effective as soon as the Warriors’ playoff run is over. It’s a good hire, but it’s especially interesting given Walton’s close relationship with Phil Jackson and the rumors that never seem to go away, that Jackson might be set up to return to the Lakers to run the team alongside fiancée Jeanie Buss after next season, when he has an opt-out in his contract with the Knicks.

But that doesn’t mean Walton will be running the triangle, as he said in his first comments to reporters since the news broke.

Via the Orange County Register‘s Bill Oram:

Regardless of whether Jackson eventually gets back in the picture in Los Angeles, Walton has been a successful assistant in Golden State and has the right temperament to lead the Lakers into the post-Kobe era.