LeBron James should be in Heat training camp, but because he’s got more time on his hands he sounds a little bored.
Which led him to tweeting about when an NFL team could sign a free agent the other day. Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll picked up on that and went so far as Carroll getting a LeBron jersey made (with a kicker’s number, but we’ll let that go).
But it’s an intriguing question — could LeBron transfer his skills to the gridiron? Fox Sports Ohio asked a few players.
“It wouldn’t be easy,” Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Leon Hall said. “I recommend he keep his NBA contract and just play the Madden video games if he misses football.”
LeBron’s athleticism is not in question. He’s listed at 6’8” and 250 pounds, and when you see him in an NBA locker room he’s one of only a handful of guys you see and think “he has an NFL body.” You could see him as an explosive tight end with soft hands who would be nearly impossible to stop on a high ball in the end zone. Other basketball guys have made the transition to NFL tight end — Antonio Gates and Jermichael Finley currently.
But there’s that whole issue of contact. LeBron powers through arms while driving to the hoop, but a hit from a 260-pound linebacker in pads is a few levels up the pain meter. Another Bengals defensive back, Chris Crocker, played for the Browns at the same time LeBron was with the Cavs and saw him a lot.
“There aren’t many guys with the athleticism and strength LeBron has in any sport,” Crocker said. “But I also think guys pick the sports they pick for a reason. Just like (Chad) Ochocinco thinks he’s a soccer player until he gets up close and sees how skilled pro soccer players really are, there’s nothing easy about the NFL.”
In the end, we all know this is not going to happen. There are at least $15 million reasons why (the difference between what LeBron makes in the NBA and would make in the NFL).
Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.
Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.
Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”
That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)
Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.
But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.
The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.
Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.
Enter Greg Smith.
Scott Kushner of The Advocate:
Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.
But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.
Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.