Well, the chances of Charles Barkley and TNT getting a one-on-one sit down with LeBron just fell to below zero…
Charles Barkley went on WIP in Philadelphia with Howard Eskin and Ike Reese, primarily to talk about football because… sorry, don’t have an answer for that one. But Barkley talked McNabb coming back to Philly Sunday.
Then, of course, somebody asked him about LeBron saying race played some role in the backlash to his decision and… here we go:
“It’s like watching a movie. Just when you think it couldn’t get any stupider, it gets more stupid…
“Howard I’m telling you. Sometimes you just say he’s making bad decisions and you’re like okay, he’s gonna get it together. Then he makes more bad decisions. The thing that’s interesting about LeBron, I don’t think Magic, Michael, and myself, we said we wouldn’t have did it. That’s not a criticism. We were asked a question. I don’t want to play with Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, or Michael, I want to beat them. That’s strictly basketball. The only criticism I’ve heard about LeBron and it was my biggest criticism, that decision thing was just stupid. It was stupid. The second thing when they all came out there dancing around on stage, that was silly. That’s the only thing I’ve heard LeBron get criticized about. That has nothing to do with race. That’s what makes this last thing so stupid. That’s stupid. The only criticism of LeBron has been the decision and the one hour of our life that we can’t have back. And ESPN, oh my God. Oh my God. To go down to training camp and report everyday is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen. I’m watching yesterday and one of the guys actually said LeBron looked fierce in practice. I’m like fierce in practice? What the hell does that mean? He was fierce in the second day of training camp. You’re like come on man, he really didn’t say that did he. This summer with LeBron and all the stuff that went on is like a bad movie. You just can’t make this stuff up.”
No you can’t make stuff like this up.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.
The Houston Rockets are still searching for a head coach — with Jeff Van Gundy believed to be their top target — but it won’t be J.B. Bickerstaff, who has served as the team’s interim coach since they fired Kevin McHale in November. According to The Vertical‘s Adrian Wojnarowski, Bickerstaff has informed Rockets management that he’s no longer in consideration for the job:
After a meeting with ownership and the front office on Tuesday, Houston Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff has informed team officials that he’s no longer a candidate for the head-coaching job, league sources told The Vertical.
Other NBA teams have started reaching out to Bickerstaff about lead assistant coaching positions, and that’s where he’s transitioned his focus, league sources said.
After the Rockets’ disappointing season and disastrous playoff performance — where they lost in five not-very-competitive games to a Stephen Curry-less Warriors —it makes sense that Bickerstaff would rather get a fresh start as an assistant somewhere else, where he could build up his credentials and be a more highly sought-after head coaching candidate in the future. He isn’t a big name, so he likely wouldn’t be able to command as much money as the Rockets’ head coach as a more established figure would be. Given the Rockets’ uncertain future with Dwight Howard almost certain to opt out and not a lot of long-term pieces around James Harden, it’s not the most stable job in the world.