LeBron James is loathed by many, still. His negative PR is lessening as people begin to move on with their lives, but after last year,it was clear that James had struggled with how to handle his public perception. He took a bad situation, lit it on fire, and then dropped it off a cliff into a pit of manure. And apparently, James realized this because he has reportedly gone out and gotten himself a new handler.
From the News Herald:
James had to know the questions were coming on Thursday when the Miami Heat were practicing at Quicken Loans Arena. He recently hired a new “strategist,” a man who worked on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s gubernatorial campaign, so for all we know, his answers could all have been planned.
via Bob Finnan’s NBA notes: If LeBron James wants to return in two years, the Cavs should find a way (with video) – news-herald.com.
Well, Schwarzenegger did get elected, so there’s that.
James’ comments this week about playing in Cleveland again were really the first things h’e said to cause issues for himself this year. He was quiet during the lockout, has played well, hasn’t made any overly confident statements and hasn’t come across as badly. It is interesting that he has his own marketing firm with his friends from high school in LRMR (who put together “the Decision” along with his agent), and now has looked outside. Getting away from that series of decisions is the best thing he can do.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.
Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?
The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.
There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.