Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks

LeBron, heckler reportedly had words in Washington


LeBron James’ talent may have moved to South Beach, but he still fills the arenas. However, the sound he hears in those arenas is a lot different than he heard a few years ago. Then he was the wunderkind carrying the Cavaliers on his back, now he is the villain leader of the Heat.

He hears boos now, and hecklers. Pretty much every game. Those hecklers let him hear the fourth quarters. About his mother.

LeBron and one of those hecklers got into it in Washington, as reported on twitter by Sarah Schorno, who writes for (via Deadspin).

Wanted to give Heat PR time to comment on the LeBron fan altercation. I’ll update you if they end up doing so, but here’s the story… I saw a Wizards fan and LeBron in a heated conversation on the sideline during the game Friday night. I spoke to the fan and got his side…

LeBron was waiting alone in the backcourt when fan Bob Moore made a comment to LeBron about Delonte West and LeBron’s mom… According to Moore, LeBron said “The only reason you talk s*** is because you know I can’t come off the court right now and beat you’re a**”… Also according to Moore, LeBron continued “But if I had a free pass, I’d kick you’re a** right now.”… Moore replied, “I’m right here baby. Let’s go” before security stepped in.

LeBron haters will have fun with this one, but if he wants to defend his mother, I’m pretty much good with that.

Look, you pay for your tickets, and if you want to boo the man or yell whatever at him, it’s your right. But he doesn’t have to just sit there and quietly take it. I don’t have an issue with him responding in this case. You say something to a man — particularly about his mother — he can fire back.

LeBron is not going to go into the crowd, that would cross the line, but so what if he verbally defends himself?

Report: Rockets will try to sign Alessandro Gentile next summer

Alessandro Gentile, Paulius Jankunas
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The Rockets tried signing Sergio Llull this summer, but he opted for a long-term extension with Real Madrid.

So, they’ll just turn to another player in their large chest of stashed draft picks – Alessandro Gentile.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Gentile, who was selected No. 53 in the 2014, is a 22-year-old wing for Armani Milano. He’s a good scorer, but he primarily works from mid-range – an area the Rockets eschew. He can get to the rim in Europe, but his subpar athleticism might hinder him in the NBA.

If Gentile comes stateside, he’ll face a steep learning curve. But he’s young enough and talented enough that he could develop into a rotation player.

Report: Hawks co-owner made more money by exposing Danny Ferry’s Luol Deng comments

Michael Gearon, Bruce Levenson
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A terribly kept secret: Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. wanted to get rid of general manager Danny Ferry.

Many believe that’s why Gearon made such a big deal about Ferry’s pejorative “African” comment about Luol Deng – that Gearon was more concerned about ousting Ferry than showing real concern over racism.

Gearon had another, no less sinister, reason to raise concern over Ferry’s remarks.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

While Gearon felt that Ferry, as he wrote in the June 2014 email to Levenson, “put the entire franchise in jeopardy,” Gearon also figured to benefit financially from a Sterling-esque fallout.

In the spring of 2014, Gearon was in the process of selling more of his interest in the team to Levenson and the partners he had sold to in September. The agreed-upon price for roughly a third of Gearon’s remaining shares valued the Hawks at approximately $450 million, according to reports from sources.

“We accept your offer to buy the remaining 31 million,” Gearon wrote in an email to Levenson on April 17, 2014. “Let me know next steps so we can keep this simple as you suggested without a bunch of lawyers and bankers.”

Approximately five weeks later — just a little more than a week before the fateful conference call — Steve Ballmer agreed to pay $2 billion for the Clippers, a record-smashing price that completely changed the assessed value of NBA franchises. Gearon firmly maintains he was acting out of the sincerity of his convictions to safeguard the franchise from the Sterling stench, but such a spectacle also allowed him to wiggle out of selling his shares at far below market value.

Gearon and his legal team later challenged the notion that the sell-down was bound by any sort of contractual obligation and that any papers were signed. Once the organization became involved in the investigation, the sale of the shares was postponed.

Arnovitz and Windhorst did an incredible amount of reporting here. I suggest you read the full piece, which includes much more background on the Gearon-Ferry rift.

Considering the Hawks sold for $850 million, Gearon definitely made more money than if he’d sold his shares at a $450 million valuation.

Did that motivate him? Probably, though it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Most likely, his actions were derived from at least three desires – making more money, ousting Ferry and combating racism. Parsing how much each contributed is much more difficult.

What Ferry said was racist, whether or not he was looking at more racism on the sheet of paper in front of him. His comments deserved punishment.

But if Gearon didn’t have incentive to use them for his own benefit, would we even know about them? How many other teams, with more functional front offices, would have kept similar remarks under wraps or just ignored them?