LeBron James Cavaliers

LeBron says he would consider return to Cavaliers. Someday.


LeBron James, peacemaker with Cleveland.

Not that the wounds there can ever be fully healed, but he’s trying. He extended an olive branch Thursday, again saying he handled leaving poorly and he would someday consider returning. At least he’s trying to say all the right things.

The Heat are in Cleveland to take on the Cavs Friday, and here are LeBron’s direct quotes, via Brian Windhorst of ESPN’s Heat Index. Starting with him answering if he would consider a return to the Cavaliers.

“I think it would be great, it would be fun to play in front of these fans again,” James said after the Heat’s practice Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena.

“I had a lot of fun times here. You can’t predict the future. Hopefully you continue to stay healthy. I’m here as a Miami player and I’m happy where I am now but I don’t rule that out in any sense. If I decide to come back, hopefully the fans will accept me….

“I don’t hold grudges, I hold them a little bit but I don’t hold them that long,” James said. “(Cavs owner Dan Gilbert) said what he said out of anger. He probably would want to take that back, but I made a mistake, too. There’s some things I’d want to take back as well. You learn from your mistakes and move on.”

Is there anything LeBron does rule out, that he doesn’t flirt with? He might do the dunk contest, he might return to Cleveland, he might eat at Lola Bistro after the game. Or he might not. Frankly, he likely will not do any of those things. (Although he should eat at Lola.) He keeps his options open.

James isn’t going anywhere soon — his legacy rests with the Heat now. He has to win titles (multiple) there to reach the levels he seeks. There is no turning back from the decision now. He has two more years on his deal with an option for two after that, and he’s not leaving in that span.

But could he end his career back with the Cavs? Could he and Gilbert make up? Stranger things have happened.

Tony Parker wants to play six more seasons with Spurs

Tony Parker
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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.

Report: Pelicans signing Greg Smith

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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.