LeBron James has played plenty of power forward over the years. He’s played point guard (or de facto point guard, anyway), shooting guard and small forward, too. He’s done everything.
Except play center.
That was until Sunday, when he played it late in the Heat’s overtime victory against the Trail Blazers — and Miami outscored Portland 25-11 with him at the five. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told our man Ira Winderman, writing for the Sun Sentinel, there will be more of it.
“We’ve talked about it all season,” Spoelstra said of the team’s internal deliberations. “This certainly now is a good sign that we can start to do that. That might be a way we could use our versatility more.”
In practice, there was not much of a difference with James at center on offense — he got the ball in his hands on the perimeter and attacked. He pulled down rebounds then raced out to lead the break. He took a pull-up three. The offense looked like the Heat’s normal small-ball, up-tempo offense, save that they could be even more versatile because Zydrunas Ilgauskas or some other big didn’t need to be out there.
The difference is was on defense, where James had to defend Marcus Camby. That may ultimately define when Miami can put LeBron at the five — when there is an opposing center James can guard. It won’t fly against Boston; but while Camby is a good rebounder he is not a huge, back-to-the-basket center who will overpower James. That was not the matchup the Blazers were trying to exploit anyway, they wanted to isolate LaMarcus Aldridge on Chris Bosh.
Miami has been winning a variety of ways on their current streak, and up-tempo is one of them. James at the five is just a more versatile way to do that. And it’s going to give some opposing coaches some headaches.
Carmelo Anthony is now a member of the Oklahoma City thunder.
Man that is still really weird to type.
But this has been an insane offseason, and nevertheless the former New York Knicks forward is now a teammate of Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
We are not sure how these teammates are going to play together next season given their propensity for high-usage play, but we are definitely all ready to watch it very soon.
Meanwhile, Anthony was greeted by fans in Oklahoma at the airport after arriving to be with the team.
Do you think this will get Carmelo to stay in OKC?
Guess we will just have to find out.
Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls reached a buyout agreement — he will take an $8 million haircut to become a free agent. Not that we should feel bad for Wade, I wish someone would pay me $15 million to go away.
The next question: Where will Wade play this season?
The smart money is on Cleveland, but it’s not that simple. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN got the ball rolling, but others chimed in.
OKC is an interesting option on the court, if their ownership group is willing to eat a little more tax to make it happen (the Thunder would pay about $24 million, based on their current payroll). Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype shed a little more light on that and other options.
It’s probably going to be the Cavaliers — his good friend LeBron James is there, they are the best team in the East so a trip to the Finals (and a shot at a ring) are very possible, and he could start for them. That’s probably enough to get the deal done.
Expect Wade to take a little time with this decision. Veterans are not big fans of training camps, he may be willing to miss a little, spend some time with the family, listen to pitches, then choose
Cleveland where he wants to play this season.
CHICAGO (AP) A person with knowledge of the situation says the Chicago Bulls and forward Nikola Mirotic have agreed to a two-year contract that could pay as much as $27 million.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Sunday because the deal has not been announced. The Bulls hold an option on the second year.
The 6-foot-10 Mirotic averaged 10.6 points last season. He has scored 10.8 per game over three seasons.
The Bulls are rebuilding after winning 41 games and losing in the first round of the playoffs. They traded All-Star guard Jimmy Butler to Minnesota on draft night for three players 23 and younger – Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the rights to No. 7 overall pick Lauri Markkanen.
Yahoo Sports first reported the agreement.
More AP NBA: http://www.apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball
The WNBA has been no stranger to demonstrations of social conscience in recent years. On Sunday, things were no different.
Before the Game 1 of the 2017 WNBA Finals, both the LA Sparks and Minnesota Lynx participated in their own pregame demonstrations.
The Sparks, similar to many NFL teams on on Sunday, stayed inside the locker room during the national anthem. The Lynx decided to take the court, but linked arms in their own show of solidarity.
This came in response to Trump’s recent comments about Colin Kaepernick. The former “Trump Steaks” founder called anybody who “disrespects our flag” a “son of a bitch”.
That prompted many NFL team mates to join together in their own demonstrations, either kneeling for the national anthem or staying inside their locker rooms.
Trump also decided to disinvite the Golden State Warriors after star Stephen Curry said that he would vote know heading into a team meeting to discuss whether they should visit the White House as the reigning NBA champions.
That prompted response from several players around the NBA and in Golden State, as well asWarriors coach Steve Kerr, who asked for Trump to remember that he represents the entire nation and not just his constituency.
Meanwhile, Game 1 of the Finals was pretty incredible with the Sparks winning thanks to a Chelsea Gray jumper with two seconds left to make it 85-84. LA leads Minnesota in the series 1-0.