LeBron James is working on a skyhook? Old-school cool.

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It is the most iconic signature shot in the history of the NBA — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would get the ball on the low right block, rock toward the middle to make the defender shift, then roll back to baseline with his left shoulder creating space while his right hand took the ball ridiculously high for the “skyhook.”

It was indefensible.

LeBron James is apparently working on it. From the Heat Index at ESPN.

A year ago, LeBron James adopted elements of Hakeem Olajuwon’s Dream Shake. This time around, the Miami Heat star forward is implementing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s patented skyhook….

James vows to add the traditional hook shot to his game, and he could test it out when the Heat play a pair of exhibition games this week in China against the Los Angeles Clippers. (Heat assistant coach Bob) McAdoo proudly acknowledges that James is continuing to build a foundation of post moves that took root two summers ago in Houston with (Hakeem) Olajuwon.

James’ hook, if he breaks it out that often (my guess is LeBron will fall back on power moves mostly when he posts up) will not look like Kareem’s for reasons even James can’t match — Kareem had an insanely high release point on his skyhook that was paired with a feathery soft touch. There’s a reason he’s scored more points than anyone in NBA history.

But some things can be the same. What made the skyhook work for KAJ was that if you overplayed it he had a quick spin to the middle and he could finish at the rim with either hand, and his footwork was fantastic. The skyhook was the signature, but it wasn’t the only post move you had to stop. It is the same with LeBron, who has some of Olajuwon’s Dream Shake (which was really a series of moves and counters). There isn’t just one move, there is a variety. You can’t stop LeBron one-on-one on the block because of it and once the double comes he can pass out to open shooters.

But man, I would really love to see LeBron break out an old-school sweeping hook shot. I love the throwback moves.

Check out Boston’s Jayson Tatum’s 10 best plays from Summer League (VIDEO)

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Jayson Tatum was one of the standouts at Summer League.

The No. 3 pick of the Boston Celtics, Tatum came into the draft considered the most NBA-ready player of the class. He showed that at Summer League — he is a fluid athlete who knows how to knock down mid-range shots (and gets to his spots), he has great footwork for a young player, and can attack the rim. He tends to take and make difficult shots, but that will get harder against NBA-level defenders, and he didn’t often play-make for others. That said, he averaged 17.7 points and 8 rebounds per game.

Check out his best plays from Summer League, and if you’re a Celtics fan try not to drool too much.

Memphis Grizzlies sign former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks

Associated Press
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.

 

Looks like Kevin Love is subtweeting Kyrie Irving

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Peculiar is not a word that comes up often in NBA talk. Not sure it comes up much of anywhere unless a Four Non-Blondes song is on the ’90s station, but especially in NBA talk it doesn’t come up. Until this week. First, there was this cryptic comment from Kyrie Irving earlier in the week about the state of the Cavaliers.

“Like I said, we’re in a peculiar place. The best thing we can do is handle things with class and professionalism.”

Friday it leaked that Kyrie Irving has asked to be traded from the Cavs. Which led to Kevin Love using the word “peculiar” in a tweet.

If you’re unfamiliar, “kick some rocks” is an impolite way of telling someone to leave, or take a walk (kicking rocks on the dirt road).

Fun times in Cleveland. Kobe Altman must be having a fun week in his new job.

Report: Knicks interested in Kyrie Irving trade, but Kristaps Porzingis is off the table

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Kyrie Irving wants out of LeBron James‘ shadow and has asked for a trade in what seems a preemptive “if he’s going to leave then I’m going to leave first” kind of move.

Irving also gave the Cavaliers a list of preferred destinations. Which is nice. Irving doesn’t have a no-trade clause, he has no real power in these negotiations because he has two years on his deal — it is basically a child’s Christmas list to Santa starting with “a Dragon-themed Luxury Playhouse.”

The Knicks are on Irving’s preferred list, and they are interested but know the team’s best player is off the table, reports Ian Begley of ESPN.

The Knicks, obviously, have strong interest in Kyrie Irving (just like 29 other teams) but I’m told people in the Knicks front office would not be willing at this point to include Kristaps Porzingis in a trade. Some with the organization would be willing to include future first-round picks and Carmelo Anthony in a deal for Irving, per league sources.

A few thoughts here. At the top of the list, this is the absolutely right and only call for the Knicks, no way KP is available. And on social media, Porzingis liked a fan’s tweet of Irving in a Knicks’ uniform, so we know what he is thinking.

We know Carmelo would want to go to Cleveland, the question is would the Cavaliers want him with Irving gone? If they feel LeBron is leaving next summer, would this help change that dynamic and help get the Cavaliers back to the Finals?

If I were in the Knicks front office, I’d pitch the Anthony idea (heck, I’d pitch a Joakim Noah trade too, just to lighten up the room with a laugh). Then we could talk about doing a trade without Anthony or Porzingis, which would mean picks, Courtney Lee, Willy Hernangomez, Frank Ntilikina, and another player to make the numbers work.

The Cavaliers can afford to be patient, and they aren’t beholden to Irving’s list. See if teams with young assets — Phoenix, Dallas, Denver, etc. — come up with better offers. Wait the market out, don’t rush. If no deal blows you away, move into the season with Irving.

The Knicks are as realistic an option as anything right now. The doors are wide open.