Twists and turns as police investigate LeBron James pendant case

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LeBron_stares.jpgUPDATE 7/17 10:34 am: So maybe our innocent heroine is not so innocent.

Vaneisha Robinson, the woman who said she bought the pendant at a garage sale four years ago, is now a suspect in the case for receiving stolen property. Her story always had one big question mark: Someone really sold a $10,000 pendant at a garage sale for $5? Let’s assume for a second that someone did steal this, they would have some idea it was valuable, right? They wouldn’t just pawn it off for $5.

This does not excuse the awkward handling of the situation by Carter and his mother. But it sounds like nobody is really innocent in this case.

7/16 9:25 am: Maverick Carter is LeBron James right hand man. He helped convince LeBron that “The Decision” was a good marketing idea. He’s LeBron’s close friend, the CEO of LeBron’s marketing company, LRMR.

He’s in the middle of a police investigation for harassing a woman over the sale of a pendant. He’s on quite the roll of good decisions.

Four years ago, Vaneisha Robinson bought a pendant for $5 at a garage sale in the Cleveland area. The pendant shaped like a LeBron James jersey and encrusted with jewels saying “King 23” on it, according to WEWS news out of Cleveland. Because she paid $5 she assumed it was costume jewelry.

Until she had it appraised recently and found out the diamonds and other jewels were real, and it was worth about $10,000. So she put it up for sale on eBay, and WEWS did a cute little story on it.

Wednesday, Robinson got a call from Katherine L. Powers, Maverick Carter’s mother.

“[Powers] said that LeBron James was at her house and they wanted me to come over there. They were going to make me an offer that I couldn’t refuse,” Robinson said.

It turned out the one-of-a-kind pendant belongs to Carter, who claims it was stolen. Robinson said she and her mother went to the Wadsworth house Carter shares with his mother, believing James was going to buy the pendant and give it back to Carter.

“When I got there, LeBron James was not there. It was about eight or nine other people there,” Robinson said. “They pretty much accused me, they threatened me and they used their authority to they (sic) best ability to get the pendant in their possession…

“They blocked (Robinson’s mother’s) truck in the driveway. They told us that we weren’t going anywhere until they got that pendant. I was scared for my life,” she said

Police were called out, and when they got there everyone was gone and Powers had the pendant.

Robinson is now taking the whole thing to court and the police are investigating.

Have fun with the circus, Miami.

Watch Michael Jordan’s best highlight from each of his playoff runs (video)

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I’ve become a sucker for this highlight format.

Jazz deny rumored promise to draft D.J. Wilson

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Michigan forward D.J. Wilson said he’d stay in the draft only if he’d go in the first round. Yet, despite not doing any on-court work at the combine, the borderline first-rounder remained in the draft beyond the withdrawal deadline.

What gives?

Rod Beard of The Detroit News:

Kyle Goon of The Salt Lake Tribune:

NBA teams sometimes promise to draft a player. They never reveal that before the draft. So, Utah’s denial doesn’t mean much – even if it’s true.

The Jazz were the last team to give Wilson a full work out before he injured himself in a Spurs workout. So, this rumor could be based on circumstantial evidence rather than leak of a Utah guarantee.

Wilson would make sense for the Jazz, who could see their payroll bloat if they re-sign Gordon Hayward and George Hill (and maybe even Joe Ingles). They could move Derrick Favors, an interior who doesn’t exactly fit with Rudy Gobert. Wilson would give Utah another option with Trey Lyles as developing stretch fours behind Boris Diaw. (Utah could even move Diaw and count on Lyles/Wilson to emerge sooner than later.)

Watch LeBron James’ top highlight from each of his postseason appearances (video)

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LeBron James and Tony Parker are the only players to play in the last dozen postseasons.

(If you’re wondering, Manu Ginobili missed the 2009 playoffs due to an ankle injury.)

It’s fair to say LeBron was a bit more spectacular than Parker in that span. As LeBron enters his seventh straight Finals, the NBA released this awesome video showing LeBron’s best playoff highlight from each year:

There’s no entry for this year. Here’s betting it comes against the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

David Stern: We thought we could re-work Chris Paul-to-Lakers trade until Mitch Kupchak ‘panicked’

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NBA commissioner David Stern – acting as New Orleans’ owner representative, he says – infamously vetoed a potential Chris Paul-to-Lakers trade in 2011.

But that didn’t close the possibility of Paul going to the Lakers.

The New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans and not be confused with the current Charlotte Hornets), Lakers and Rockets tried to rework the three-team trade that would’ve sent Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to Houston and Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and a first-round pick to New Orleans. But talks fell apart around the time the Lakers dealt Odom to the Mavericks.

Stern on Nunyo & Company (hat tip: Harrison Feigen of Silver Screen & Roll):

In fact, in the course of the weekend, we thought we could re-do the deal. We really thought that Houston would be ready to part with Kevin Lowry, and we had a trade lined up for Odom that would have gotten us a good first-round draft pick – not we, but my basketball folks. But Mitch Kupchak at the time panicked and moved Odom to Dallas. So the piece wasn’t even there for us to play with at the time. So that was it — just about what was good for the then-New Orleans Hornets.

Remember, Stern – roundly criticized for his handling of this episode* – has blamed the Lakers and Rockets for the lingering perception. This could just be him again trying to shift responsibility.

*Somewhat fairly, somewhat not. Owners veto general manager-approved trades often enough, and Stern was acting as New Orleans’ owner after George Shinn sold the franchise back to the league. But Stern had an agenda as commissioner. He never should have assumed such a large conflict of interest. What he did with the Paul trade was reasonable for an acting owner, but because Stern was also commissioner, it’s fair to question how much New Orleans’ interests and how much the league’s interests factored into the decision-making.

But let’s take Stern at his word – that he and the Hornets thought they could re-do the trade and send Paul to the Lakers. That doesn’t mean they were right. Maybe the Lakers and Rockets (who had Kyle Lowry, not the “Kevin Lowry” Stern named) were never going to part with enough to get Stern’s approval.

And maybe New Orleans didn’t properly convey its interest in still completing a deal. Perhaps, Kupchak acted reasonably by trading Odom to Dallas – for a first-round pick, a deal Mark Cuban would ultimately regret – rather than wait around for the Hornets, who eventually sent Paul to the Clippers.

It’s easy to blame Kupchak, but he might tell a different story.