NFL players say LeBron should stick to basketball

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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).

Joel Embiid upgrades himself from 69% to 81%: ‘Shoutout to Jalen Rose’

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A story in three parts:

1. After posting 46-15-7-7 in a win over the Lakers, frequently injured 76ers center Joe Embiid declared himself to be 69%:

2. ESPN analyst Jalen Rose called that joke “unprofessional:”

3. Embiid upgraded his status to 81% with a “shoutout to Jalen Rose:”

In case you didn’t get the joke.

Celtics’ Kyrie Irving: “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

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The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak.

However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do.

Which is what Kyrie Irving was getting at in this post-loss quote from Friday night, via Israel Gutierrez of ESPN.

“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

This team still needs to get better and more consistent. The Celtics had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in eight of the 16 wins, and while the team defense was impressive the offense still can be hit and miss. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving play well off each other, but this is still the 20th ranked offense in the NBA. They are taking more long midrange jumpers than most coaches want, but the bigger challenge is they have not been finishing around the basket.

Titles are not won in November. Irving gets that. Jayson Tatum will hit the rookie wall at some point (they all do) and he needs to prove he can break through. Al Horford is playing maybe the best ball of his career and needs to keep it up. The Celtics need to keep their defensive focus (the fundamentals are there to have a top five defense). I could go on but you get the point, and so does Irving — there is a lot of work for this team to do.

Boston is off to a fantastic start, but it’s just that.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: I’ve never seen injury like Kawhi Leonard’s

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Gregg Popovich is a basketball lifer.

He’s the NBA’s most experienced active head coach. Before that, he was the Spurs’ general manager. Before that, he was an NBA assistant. Before that, he was a college head coach and assistant. Before that, he was a college player. Before that, he was a youth player.

The San Antonio coach has seen everything.

Except the right quadriceps tendinopathy suffered by Kawhi Leonard, whom Popovich said more than a week would return “sooner rather than later.” Yet, Leonard still hasn’t played this season.

Popovich, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“Never, never,” Popovich said when asked whether he has seen such a condition hampering one of his players. “What’s really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys.”

“I keep saying sooner rather than later,” Popovich said jokingly. “It’s kind of like being a politician. It’s all baloney, doesn’t mean anything.”

The 26-year-old Leonard is one of the NBA’s biggest on-court stars. He might be the league’s best defender, and he has built himself into an offensive force. The Spurs (11-7) have fared fine without him so far, but they’ll need him to accomplish their main goals – this year and beyond.

Hopefully, Leonard’s health is better than it sounds here, because Popovich’s answer sure isn’t encouraging.

Tim Hardaway Jr. calls fallen ref safe rather than defend shot (video)

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The Knicks went on a 28-0 run.

They earned the right to showboat late in their win over the Raptors last night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. called a ref, who slipped on the baseline, safe rather than contest Serge Ibaka‘s 3-pointer. Perfection!