Jordan says LeBron is best player in league (now that Kobe is injured)

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Back in February, Michael Jordan said Kobe Bryant was the best player in the NBA, he would take Bryant’s five rings over LeBron James’ one.

Since then LeBron has won a second ring, a second consecutive Finals MVP, and his fourth regular season MVP award in the last five years.

So, how do you feel now MJ, he was asked in an Associated Press interview?

“It’s hard to pick. It’s hard to say the best player,” Jordan said. “You would have to say LeBron because of what he’s capable of doing. Kobe is coming off an injury and you don’t know where he is going to be at his age. I would have to say LeBron.”

Two quick thoughts here.

First, if in the last couple years you thought Kobe right now was better than LeBron right now, I’m not sure what sport you’ve been watching. Historical standing is up for debate (both are still playing, LeBron is still in his prime, it’s too early to have that conversation) but on the court right now it’s LeBron then everyone else in the league. Second, if you’re going to say “but Michael Jordan said Kobe was best just months ago” I would say look at his history as a GM/owner and talent evaluator.

But go ahead and fire up the tedious Kobe/LeBron historical debate we shouldn’t have yet in the comments if it makes you happy.

Jordan said he’d be happy to talk to LeBron and try to be a mentor.

“Sure, I would be willing to talk to a bunch of the kids,” Jordan told The Associated Press on Friday. “And actually I do. I don’t advertise it because I don’t want it to be misconstrued or to be viewed as tampering with other stars. I’m in a more difficult position than other owners because it can be viewed in a different way.

“But I’ve always welcomed an opportunity to talk to anybody, LeBron included.”

Jordan also killed the ridiculous idea of a comeback for a night.

“My knees feel good. My feet feel good. Everything on my body feels good and I don’t want to ruin that at the age of 50,” Jordan said. “I may mess around at my camp in Santa Barbara. The kids ask me to dunk and the next thing you know it was all over the news and the Internet. Then Jalen Rose says I’m coming back at 50. I try to stay away from those scenarios as much as possible.”

Gordon Hayward’s agent says return this season unlikely

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Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.

There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.

Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.

Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.

The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

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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):

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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 scrap (video)

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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.

Report: ‘Tremendous concern’ for Jeremy Lin’s knee injury

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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.