LeBron James, Chris Paul

Report: LeBron, ‘Melo, Chris Paul pull out of international tour


You know that big planned international tour of players going all over the globe? The World All-Star Classic? The legs may have just come out from under it.

LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul all have pulled out of it at the last minute, tweets ESPN’s Chris Broussard. This was on top of Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook having pulled out previously.

Darren Rovell of CNBC tweeted this on the same topic:

Reason LeBron not playing in NBA stars World Tour? Says he wants to train & spend time with family.

There are still other big names attached to the tour, including Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Kevin Garnett, but it’s going to be hard to keep sponsors involved after some of the biggest names have pulled out. (UPDATE: Durant’s people now say he is 50/50.)

You get the feeling the Jenga tower that was this tour is about to collapse.

Tickets — starting at $50 and going up to more than $450 — had already been on sale for the first game of the tour, Sunday in Puerto Rico. Those ticket sales have been suspended. The tour is then scheduled to move on to London, Macau and Melbourne, Australia.

All these stars pulling out on the same day there is rumors of progress on the NBA labor front could lead one to be optimistic about the NBA getting its act together. Maybe, although reports suggest the two are not related. It is not only completely possible but likely this tour would simply collapse under its own weight.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.

Kevin Durant with huge dunk on visiting Fenerbahce Ulker

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Welcome to America, Fenerbahce Ulker.

The Turkish powerhouse was in America playing some exhibition games this preseason, and they got a first-hand reminder that Kevin Durant is back. KD had 13 points in the Thunder’s easy 111-81 win.

Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook got in on the act.