Nobody is quite sure what will happen when Miami Heat forward LeBron James returns to Cleveland when the Cavaliers play the Heat. With Dan Gilbert’s letter, the anger about LeBron’s “Decision,” and all those burned jerseys, it certainly seems like things could get dicey when James returns to the Quicken Loans Arena.
A preview of that event might take place this weekend, when the #2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes play the #12 ranked Miami Hurricanes at Ohio Stadium. James is a huge Ohio State fan, and stood on the sidelines when the Buckeyes played Penn State last season. More than a few of the 102,329 people expected to attend the game will likely have a bone to pick with James if he shows up on Saturday, but Terelle Pryor and Jim Tressel are both urging OSU fans to treat James with respect
With many fans still angry over LeBron James’ decision to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel is calling for calm.
James, who jilted the Cavaliers to jump to the Heat this summer, may attend Saturday’s game at Ohio Stadium between No. 12 Miami and second-ranked Ohio State.
Tressel said Thursday that it was time to let go all that anger.
“Sore subjects need to pass,” Tressel said at a news conference. “Things are as they are. We all make decisions. You have to respect one another’s decisions and move on.”
On some message boards and college football sites, angry fans have said they do not want James coming to the game. Some have hinted at violence.
James communicates with Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who also urged fans to welcome the former Cavaliers guard.
“If LeBron does come, just treat him with respect and respect his decision,” Pryor said.
“Please, no name calling, or booing, or anything like that because that’s my mentor. I have a lot of respect and a lot of love for him.”
James, who grew up in Akron, did not play college basketball. But he has said that if he had not jumped directly to the NBA, he would have attended Ohio State.
“He’s a Buckeye,” Pryor said of James’ rooting interest in the game pitting the Buckeyes against the team from his new hometown, the Hurricanes.
Make no mistake: James is going to get booed if he shows up on Saturday. Pryor and Tressel’s urging might mitigate some of that, and hopefully it’ll decrease the chances of some sort of incident, but James is going to get booed.
Rudy Gay complained about how the Kings are handling the trade rumors swirling around him.
Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac, via James Ham of CSN California:
“He has my number,” Divac told CSN California. “If I do something, I will call him. Obviously, if I didn’t call him, we didn’t do anything.”
“Look, I was a player, 16-17 years in the league, nobody called me everyday and tell me what management is doing,” Divac said. “Management was doing their job. If something big happened, they called and told me. Obviously, nothing big happened (so) I’m not going to call anybody.”
I suppose Divac can take that tack. He’s obviously not obligated to provide Gay regular updates.
But the Kings already have a reputation for putting their players in bleak positions. This doesn’t help.
Even if Divac feels calling Gay is going out of his way, so what? The alternative — Gay either coming to training camp unhappy or spreading word of Sacramento’s mistreatment of players to his new teammates after a trade — is far worse.
It’s not enough for Divac to just wait for Gay to call him — especially because Divac might not be as reliable with the phone as he thinks.
The National Basketball Players Association has talked for more than a year about covering medical expenses for retired players.
Today, the union announced a formal plan.
The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced today that its player representatives have voted unanimously to fund health insurance for all retired NBA players with at least three years of service in the league. This program is the first of its kind among North American professional sports. It also exemplifies the NBPA’s focus on the health and welfare of its current, retired and future members.
“The game has never before been more popular, and all the players in our league today recognize that we’re only in this position because of the hard work and dedication of the men who came before us,” said Chris Paul, NBPA President and nine-time All-Star. “It’s important that we take care of our entire extended NBA family, and I’m proud of my fellow players for taking this unprecedented step to ensure the health and well-being of our predecessors.”
The unanimous vote – which took place during the NBPA Summer Meeting in New York on June 26 – established a multi-faceted health insurance program through UnitedHealthcare, the country’s leading health benefits provider. The current proposal includes:
Retired players with between three and six years of NBA service time but who are not yet eligible for Medicare would be offered a plan that includes medical, hospital and prescription drug coverage with modest out-of-pocket costs for deductibles and co-pays;
Those with between seven and nine years of service would be offered the same coverage with even lower out-of-pocket costs;
Retired players with at least 10 years of service would be offered the same coverage as the seven-to-nine year players, and would include coverage for their entire family;
Retired players with three-nine years of service who are eligible for Medicare would be offered a $0 deductible and $0 co-pay plan along with a low-cost prescription drug plan; those with 10+ years of service to receive this coverage for themselves and their spouse.
The open enrollment period for retired players would begin this fall, with coverage beginning on January 1, 2017.
This is a good thing.
It also could become a bargaining point in Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. Should current players face the entire burden of insuring retired players, or should owners split the cost? (The fact that the question is even being posed paints players in a positive light.)
But back to the bigger point: This is a good thing. It’ll help retired players who need it, retired players who helped position the current generation to afford this. Kudos to the union for stepping up.
Warriors center Anderson Varejao will miss the Rio Olympics due to a back injury.
Where will Team Brazil turn now?
Likely to Bulls center Cristiano Felicio.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Felicio came on strong late last season. He puts his 6-foot-10, 275-pound frame to good use protecting the paint and rebounding. He showed potential as passer and mid-range shooter, too.
At age 24, he’s a candidate to break out in the Olympics.
If he’s not ready, Brazil can turn to a steady veteran at center, Nene.
Blake Griffin broke his hand punching Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi in January.
Make that former Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi.
The L.A. Clippers equipment staffer who was punched in the face by Blake Griffin during a fight in Toronto earlier this year is off the team — and will NOT be back for the ’16/’17 season … TMZ Sports has learned.
We spoke with a rep for the Clippers who confirmed Matias Testi “no longer works for the team.”