Paul Silas says LeBron treated Cavaliers just like teams treat players

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Among the seemingly innumerable things LeBron James has been criticized for — from the legitimate to the ludicrous — was the complaint that he needed to let Cleveland know much farther in advance he was gone. If he was not coming back, he had an obligation to let them know so they could get something for him in a trade rather than him just walking away and crushing the franchise.

Poppycock, said Bobcats coach Paul Silas. Remember that Silas was LeBron’s first coach in Cleveland so when the Bobcats took on the Heat Monday he was asked about it.

“I’ve been on buses where the general manager gets on the bus and tells a player he’s traded. They don’t (let) him know ahead of time,” Silas said. “Why should (James) let people know? He did what he wanted to do and he had that right. He gave the Cavaliers seven great years.”

It’s true that often teams give players no warning about uprooting their families and lives and sending them across the nation.

As Henry Abbot wisely points out at TrueHoop, how you view what LeBron did in not notifying the Cavaliers goes to how you view their relationship. If it is simply employee/company and he fulfilled his contract then he has every right to leave without notice. But if you view sports more like a marriage with cooperation between to highly profitable ventures (players and franchise), then leaving without notice like that is cold and cruel. The fans of Cleveland certainly felt that way, but that is different from the business itself.

As with most things, the truth likely is in the middle somewhere and not always crystal clear. I’ve said before that I think how Carmelo Anthony is dealing with Denver – as ugly as it is and will play out to be — is more fair to the organization than what LeBron ended up doing.

But when did LeBron really know he was leaving? Remember that throughout last season and up to the playoff loss to Boston — and even after it for many — it was believed LeBron would stay. Views were conflicting, but that was the conventional wisdom and every leak seemed to say Cleveland was certainly in the mix.

If Cleveland really was in the mix until the end than I’m not sure how you ask LeBron to treat them a lot differently. Call a day or week earlier, does that really change anything? However, if Cleveland was out of the picture before the trading deadline (or was never really in the picture at all) then what he did was pretty cold.

I tend to think he didn’t really plan to leave; rather he planned to bring Chris Bosh or someone else in. He only left when that didn’t work and Miami presented itself. And if that is true, the unfortunate ending of the LeBron and Cavaliers relationship may never have played out much differently.

Paul George on return to Indiana Wednesday: “For whatever reason, I’ll be booed”

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This week is the Oklahoma City Thunder’s “you can’t go home again” week of the schedule. On Saturday night, Carmelo Anthony will return to New York where Knicks fans should welcome him with cheers and open arms — he meant a lot to that franchise in recent years — but may very well not.

First up, however, Paul George returns to Indiana in a Thunder uniform Wednesday night.

There’s little doubt how he will be greeted by Indiana fans, who felt betrayed by a man they stuck by through recovery from a severe injury. George knows what is coming,

Here are the key lines from PG13:

“Boos. I honestly wouldn’t think it would be any other way. The Pacers fans outweigh the Paul George fans. That’s what I’m looking forward to. For whatever reason, I’ll be booed, but I’m gonna embrace that. I’m gonna thrive on that.”

For whatever reason? You asked to be traded and fans take that personally. There is no loyalty in sports — I have no problem with players asking out because teams show no hesitancy in dumping players they no longer have a use for (and fans are almost always good with that) — but he had to know how this would be taken in Indiana.

What George might want to worry about is stopping the red-hot Victor Oladipo (he averaged 35.7 points per game last week), because he and the Pacers are playing better than the Thunder right now.

Kawhi Leonard returns Tuesday on minutes restriction

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The Spurs have been the Spurs this season, going 19-8 with an elite defense and offense that’s good enough to get them wins, thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge playing at an All-Star level.

Starting Tuesday, they add Kawhi Leonard back to the mix.

He will return to the lineup against Dallas, but will be on a minutes restriction, coach Gregg Popovich said on Tuesday. He would not say how many minutes, although around 20 seems a logical starting spot.

Leonard is one of the five best players in the NBA (and that may be selling him short). He averaged a career-high 25.5 points a game last season, he’s arguably the best perimeter defender in the NBA, and he finished third in the MVP voting last season.

However, there are going to be adjustments. LaMarcus Aldridge has been the focal point of the offense, but he could see fewer touches, particularly in crunch time. Kyle Anderson could see fewer minutes, and Rudy Gay may as well because Popovich liked some small-ball lineups last season with Leonard at the four. A lot of players will see their rotations change.

That said, it’s the Spurs. Do we really expect them to be anything but an incredibly good regular season team? One that is about to get better?

 

 

 

Pelicans’ Tony Allen out 3-4 weeks with fibula fracture

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The injuries just keep hitting the Pelicans. Guys like Solomon Hill and Alexis Ajinca are out for extended periods of time. Anthony Davis has missed four of the team’s last six games and is questionable for Wednesday night due to a left adductor injury.

Now comes the news that reserve guard Tony Allen will be out three to four weeks due to a nondisplaced left proximal fibula fracture, the team announced Tuesday. This is the part of the bone near the ankle.

Allen has played a limited role for New Orleans off the bench this season, averaging 12.4 minutes a game, and averaging 4.7 points. His reputation is that of a defensive stopper, and when he is on the court this season the Pelicans’ defense has been 5.6 points per 100 possessions better. However, father time has started to catch up with him and he is not the defender he once was.

Expect the minutes to bump up for Jrue Holiday and E'Twaun Moore with this injury, which is not a bad thing as they have played well (they were knocking down threes against the Rockets Monday like they were named Curry), plus Ian Clark could get a little more run.

Watch Kawhi Leonard chop boards ‘karate styyyle’ (video)

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Kawhi Leonard, enabled by the Spurs’ no-nonsense culture, is probably the NBA’s most boring superstar.

He’s widely recognized as the league’s best defender, and he has worked himself into an elite offensive threat. He has already won a Finals MVP, and regular-season MVP could eventually be in the cards.

But Leonard is notoriously reserved. For someone who has been on this stage for so long, we know little about him.

Except we now know he apparently likes karate.

Leonard:

Gonna chop y’all up. Look at all of us. Karate styyyle.

If “karate styyyle” doesn’t become Leonard’s catchphrase, I don’t even know what we’re doing.

Leonard will finally have the chance to chop up an NBA opponent tonight, when he makes his return from injury.

Michael C. Wright of ESPN: