Shocking news out of the league office this Christmas Eve, I know. But two of the game’s best players had two of the best weeks statistically speaking, and were therefore awarded for the accomplishment.
LeBron James and Chris Paul were named Eastern and Western Conference players of the week, for games played from Dec. 17 to Dec. 23.
Miami was 3-0 during that stretch, while the Clippers went 4-0, further piling on to their league-best winning streak that has now reached 13 straight games.
Here are the numbers, from the official release:
LeBron James, Miami Heat
Dec. 18 vs. Minnesota: Tallied 22 points, 11 assists, six rebounds and four blocks in a 103-92 win over the Timberwolves.
Dec. 20 @ Dallas: Posted 24 points, nine rebounds and five assists in a 110-95 victory over the Mavericks.
Dec. 22 vs. Utah: Posted 30 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in a 105-89 win over the Jazz.
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Dec. 19 vs. New Orleans: Posted 10 points, 12 assists and five rebounds in a 93-77 win over the Hornets.
Dec. 21 vs. Sacramento: Tallied 24 points, 13 assists, five rebounds and five steals in a 97-85 win over the Kings.
Dec. 23 @ Phoenix: Collected 17 points, 13 assists and five steals in a 103-77 win over the Suns.
Tough to argue with these two guys being selected.
Others considered were James Harden, David West, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, J.J. Hickson and Jose Calderon.
Jimmy Butler said of the Derrick Rose trade, “It had to be one of us.”
Butler also says not blame him for the Bulls losing Rose — or Joakim Noah, who’s also headed to the Knicks.
Jimmy Butler, via Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:
“That has nothing to do with me, I don’t move guys,” Butler said. “People are gonna think what they’re gonna think. I don’t let it bother me. I know where I stand, I know who I am. It’s one more thing for people to talk about. I don’t pay too much attention to it.”
I can believe Butler didn’t directly urge Chicago to trade Rose, but Butler’s presence matters.
Rose and Butler clearly didn’t ideally mesh on the court, and there might have been off-court issues, too. If it weren’t for Butler, the Bulls might have kept Rose.
Noah is a little different, because it seems he, more than the team, was ready for a breakup. Still, that might have also had to do with Butler.
Butler is trying to grow into a leader, a natural progression for someone who became his team’s best player. But that was awkward with the Bulls’ previous leaders — Rose and Noah — still in the locker room. There’s no simple solution, though moving on without Rose and Noah will clear that cloud.
So — without other information — it’s too much to “blame” Butler for Rose’s and Noah’s departures. But Rose and Noah moving from Chicago to New York can still be ascribed to Butler.
It might not have been something asked for directly. It’s just the reality of the situation.
Dwyane Wade is back in sweet home, Chicago.
Wade met with the media for the first time and talked about the pairing of himself and Rajon Rondo with the Bulls’ existing star in Jimmy Butler — Wade used the term “three alphas” more than once. But he also was clear about whose team this was going to be on the court.
“We’re not going to go through this all year. It’s Jimmy Butler’s team. Myself and Rondo are here to bring what we bring as athletes.”
Wade added that he would not be a Bull if Jimmy Butler had not personally called him and asked him to come.
Wade took that cue from Shaquille O’Neal when he joined Wade’s Heat team — which eventually led to the Heat’s first title in 2006. The Bulls would love for that kind of result here, although it’s much tougher to see this Chicago roster having anywhere near that kind of impact.
With the Republican National Convention being held in Cleveland, you knew there was going to be a LeBron James influence.
It apparently kept Justin Bieber away from Donald Trump and Co.
Justin Bieber got a $5 million offer to perform at a Republican event during the GOP Convention, but turned it down after his manager considered quitting and LeBron James urged him to reject it … sources tell TMZ.
That’s a lot of money for a single gig. This either speaks to the power of LeBron’s words — or the embellishment of Bieber’s value.
Dwyane Wade playing for a team other than the Heat will be strange.
You can get your first glimpse of that weirdness today, when the Bulls introduce Wade at 3 p.m. Eastern.
If the above video doesn’t load, click here to watch the press conference.