Cavs coach Byron Scott wants team to run, players to stay

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New Cavaliers coach Byron Scott was introduced at a press conference on Friday, and appealed to LeBron James’ desire to run on the court and stay in his hometown off of it.

With his size, end-to-end speed, ability to change directions, and court vision, James is arguably the best open-court player in the league. One criticism of former Cavalier head coach Mike Brown was that he had LeBron and the Cavaliers play a grind-it-out style that emphasized defense and ball control instead of placing an emphasis on getting James and his teammates out into the open floor.

Scott, who spent much of his playing career as Magic Johnson’s backcourt mate on the “showtime” Lakers, says that he wants to turn the Cavaliers into more of a running team:

“I can’t let go of my roots, I want to run (on offense). We’ll still run some Princeton but emphasis is to get up & down floor.”

That may be what LeBron wants to hear, but recent history doesn’t back Scott’s claim up; in Scott’s last two full seasons as Hornets coach, New Orleans finished 26th and 28th in “pace factor,” despite the fact he had Chris Paul as a point guard.

When asked about LeBron James, Scott said that he had spoken to people “close to” LeBron, but not James himself. Regarding James’ free agency status, Scott said that he won three championships in his hometown, and that there’s “not a better feeling.”

The two other major pieces of news from Scott’s press conference were that there is NOT an opt-out clause in Scott’s contract if the Laker job becomes open, and that Paul Pressey will be Scott’s lead assistant. 

Kobe Bryant says his age 37 is not like Michael Jordan’s age 37

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Once again, Kobe Bryant‘s career arc is being compared to Michael Jordan’s.

There’s a lot of reason’s that’s flawed — starting with Kobe being drafted on to a Lakers team that had Shaquille O’Neal and was already considered NBA elite, as opposed to Jordan working to build a franchise up. That said, Kobe has invited the Jordan comparison at times and it has been a constant through is career. Fair or not.

Kobe is coming back this fall after seasons of injury to the NBA and those comparisons continue — now to the Wizards’ version of Jordan. And Kobe is not at all fond of that, as he told Sam Amick of the USA Today.

“This is uncharted territory,” he said. “My 37 (years old) isn’t MJ’s 37 (when he returned after taking two seasons off to play for the Washington Wizards), you know what I mean? Nor is it the same team or the same system that he was playing in. It’s much, much different. There’s really no barometer, no (precedent) for training physically, for recovery. It’s uncharted territory.”

Kobe is right. Jordan had four+ seasons off by the time he was 37 and was not coming off multiple major surgeries.

Kobe is entering his 20th NBA season and what any real basketball fan should wish for him is health. Let him play one full season (with limited minutes and nights off), let him get to the final game of this season next April and make his own decision on his future. Let him leave the game on his own terms.

That said, if Kobe can average Jordan’s numbers at that age — 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game — it will be a major accomplishment, and the Lakers will have a better record than many of us expect.

And Kobe may want to play a 21st season as well.

Celtics ease to 124-91 win at Olimpia Milano in Global Games

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MILAN (AP) — The Boston Celtics eased to a 124-91 victory over Olimpia Milano at the Mediolanum Forum on Tuesday, comfortably winning the first of a double-header in Europe as part of the NBA Global Games.

Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Celtics with 18 points, including nine in his first seven minutes after coming off the bench midway through the first quarter.

Jared Sullinger added 14 points, as did Avery Bradley, who also had four three-pointers, while David Lee weighed in with 13 as well as seven rebounds and three assists.

Alessandro Gentile – who is reportedly wanted by the Houston Rockets, who hold NBA rights to the 22-year-old – top scored for Milano, with 19 points.

Next up for the Celtics is Real Madrid in Spain on Thursday.