LeBron James can opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat in the summer of 2014.
He likely will do that just to sign another max extension for five years with the Heat. It’s a long shot he leaves South Beach… so you’re telling me there’s a chance? The fact that that the best player in the game today has the possibility of being on the move has teams and fans dreaming like they did when he was a free agent a couple years ago.
So, how about a “he will come back to Cleveland” dream?
That’s what Jason Lloyd of the Beacon-Journal talked about in a column looking at the Cavaliers long-term rebuilding plans.
And yes, believe it or not, he will give Cleveland a close look. He has a relationship with (Kyrie) Irving and (Tristan) Thompson. His new agent, Rich Paul, is a local guy who has long been a close friend. Paul also represents Thompson. A number of pieces are aligning, but the biggest draw is missing.
The Cavs realistically must be a playoff team for James to consider them. He will turn 30 during the 2014-15 season. It’s inconceivable he would return to Cleveland for a rebuilding project. That means the Cavs will at least have to make the playoffs next season for them to be viable contenders in a free-agent market that will surely include the Heat and Los Angeles Lakers.
Playing with Kyrie Irving is a draw. Tristan Thompson… not so much. And there are more complicating factors going back to Cleveland, starting with the whole “they are just not very good” thing.
Personally I doubt LeBron goes anywhere. He will spend the rest of his prime in Miami (maybe the rest of his career).
But you can expect a lot of articles about dreams the next couple years until LeBron inks that new max deal.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.
Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.
This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.
Argentina isn’t considered a medal contender heading into the Rio Olympics. Their golden generation — led by Manu Ginobili — has picked up a lot of speed on the downhill side of their careers at this point.
They didn’t provide much of a challenge for Team USA in an exhibition game Friday night in Las Vegas, one won by the USA 111-74. Kevin Durant impressed playing with his new teammates in dropping 23 points, Paul George had 18, and the Americans had their way in the game.
Which is what we’re going to see a lot of in Rio — the USA’s talent level is just steps above any other team in the tournament.
When Kevin Durant chose the Warriors, he received criticism from all angles.
Fans burned his jersey. Charles Barkley decried the decision. Markieff Morris said, “That ain’t right.” Durant’s former Thunder teammates leaked their displeasure with the process.
Durant was so reluctant to face the backlash, he stayed in his
bed luxurious rental house for two days.
It, uh, worked.
Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports:
Though he has heard some criticism from Barkley and fellow Hall of Famer Reggie Miller, various talking heads and people in social media who believe he has cheated the system and cut corners to a ring, Durant said the reaction to his choice hasn’t been too bad: “All that stuff happens on the Internet. I haven’t had one person come to me and say anything negative. … It’s easy for the critics on the outside to tell you what to do, to tell you how to play. I’m the one that’s going through it, so I can’t really worry about the outside noise. The work don’t stop. Everything stays the same.”
This is a good reminder how insulated NBA players, especially stars, can be.
And it adds to why Durant signing with Golden State makes sense. While we’re debating his legacy and discussing the backlash (and the backlash to the backlash and the backlash to the backlash to the backlash and the…), he’ll be playing high-level basketball with his friends in a desirable city for a max salary.
Sure, it’s not all rosy. Durant altered his relationship with his friend Russell Westbrook, and Durant will have to return to Oklahoma City for a game. There, he’ll face plenty of booing fans.
But, all in all, Durant should have little trouble tuning out the critics.
They’re too far away for him to hear them much.