Report: LeBron "100 percent" endorses Izzo as coach

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Thumbnail image for izzo.jpgIt has been the biggest lingering question about the Cavaliers pursuit of Michigan State coach Tom Izzo to take their head job: What would LeBron James think? Because right now all things Cavaliers revolve around what LeBron James wants and thinks. When they order new pens for the Cavaliers offices they ask, “What color pens does LeBron like best?”

On the coaching front, LeBron likes Izzo, according to Brian Windhorst at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. And Windhorst has more sources than the CIA. Or at least more reliable ones.

James would “100 percent endorse” Izzo as the coach, Windhorst’s source reports.

Previous reports had suggested James wanted a successful former NBA coach to be his next coach. Someone with experience at the highest level. Izzo, while very respected, has never coached an NBA game. But apparently LeBron likes him.

But that doesn’t mean that James or Izzo have made any kind of decision.

James has spent two years working to keep his options open; he’s not going to change that for Izzo or any other coach. It may influence his decision, but James wants to be wooed, and he is not giving that up.

Meanwhile, Izzo watch 2010 rolls on. And on. And on.

WLNS, a Lansing television station, reports that Izzo wants to talk to James, and that having not happened yet is one of the delays in the decision making process for Izzo.

Izzo does start his youth basketball camp in Lansing today. Somehow I don’t expect him to make announcement to a bunch of fifth graders first.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.