He’s the reigning NBA MVP, won the last two NBA titles, earned the last two the Finals MVPs…
And not surprisingly, LeBron James sells a lot of jerseys.
The NBA released the top selling jerseys from the start of this season (October through December this year), which includes the holiday buying rush, and not surprisingly LeBron James is on top of the list. He led the league in worldwide sales the past year, too. He’s a marketing machine.
The league says there have been record-breaking sales at the official NBAStore.com site and fans are gravitating toward the stars — Kobe Bryant is No. 2 on the list, Derrick Rose is No. 3 despite both of their injuries. However we’re also seeing the NBA’s young stars on the list now — Stephen Curry, James Harden, Paul George and even rookie Michael Carter-Williams made the list.
Here are the top 15 Most Popular NBA jerseys according to the league:
1. LeBron James, Miami Heat
2. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
3. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
4. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
5. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
6. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
7. Dwyane Wade, Miami HEAT
8. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
9. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
10. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
11. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
12. James Harden, Houston Rockets
13. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
14. Paul George, Indiana Pacers
15. Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers
We haven’t seen a back-to-back-to-back in the NBA since the lockout season, when the league tried to cram 66 games in after Christmas.
The Washington Wizards have one now.
The Utah at Washington game originally scheduled for Jan. 23, which was snowed out because of a major storm hitting the Eastern seaboard, has been rescheduled for Thursday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. Eastern at Verizon Center.
That makes the Wizards’ schedule:
Feb. 18: vs. Utah
Feb. 19: vs. Detroit
Feb. 20: at Miami
The Jazz have a back-to-back as well, facing Boston on the 19th.
When you talk about the most underrated players in the NBA, especially with the casual fan, Mike Conley is at the top of the list. The Grizzlies’ point guard has played at an All-Star level for a few seasons now but hasn’t gotten the recognition, in part because it’s Memphis and in part because the West is stacked with quality point guards.
The New York Knicks desperately need an upgrade at the point.
Which has led to the latest fantasy of seemingly every Knick fan (and talking head in the city) — the free agent Conley coming to New York this summer. When asked about it Friday before the Grizzlies and Knicks squared off, Conley didn’t kill the rumors (which in New York is like throwing gasoline on them). Here are his quotes, via Ian Begley of ESPN.
“I think everything will be on the table when that time comes,” Conley said Friday morning after the Grizzlies’ shootaround at Madison Square Garden. “I haven’t committed to anything…
“They’ve got talent, obviously,” he said. “I think [Kristaps] Porzingis surprised a lot of people. He’s going to be very, very good in this league. He already is pretty good. But he’s going to grow each year, and they already have one of the best small forward in Melo [Carmelo Anthony]. They’ve got a young team, so they’ve got a lot of room to improve.”
The smart money is on Conley staying in Memphis, the only NBA team he has ever played for. Conley was very active last summer in recruiting Marc Gasol to remain in Memphis, and has said it would be very difficult to leave him. Plus the Grizzlies can offer more money — one more guaranteed year plus larger raises.
The Knicks will need to lose some salary before July 1 just to offer Conley a max, which likely starts around $24 million (depends on the final salary cap number). What the Knicks can offer is a larger stage for his brand and the chance to bring that brand out of the shade of Gasol and Zach Randolph.
Conley — who is averaging 14.6 points and 6.1 assists per game, is shooting 35 percent from three, is good on the pick-and-roll, plus is one of the best defensive point guards in the game — will have plenty of other suitors as well. He’s one of the best players on the free agent market this summer.
Kevin Durant to the Warriors is having a moment, but even the most recent and most credible report linking the Thunder star to Golden State contained an important caveat:
Make no mistake: Durant isn’t close to gone in Oklahoma City – no decision, no leaning, sources said
Nobody has credibly reported Durant is leaning toward leaving the Thunder. The issue at hand is where Durant would go IF he leaves Oklahoma City.
Except one NBA general manager has gone a step further.
Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:
General managers know a lot of things we don’t, but like anyone, they can also be prone to repeating gossip and hearsay. Does this general manager have inside info, or is he just participating the echo chamber? Impossible to say, but the possibility of the former raises the level of intrigue.
Of course, the Warriors can’t be the leaders in the clubhouse, because they’re not in the clubhouse. Free agency doesn’t begin until July. Nobody has made their final pitch, not even the Thunder.
It’s fun to make bold predictions now, and this general manager has a chance of looking genius. But sometimes the desire for that designation causes people to get ahead of themselves.
Here was my gut feel on a report that the Clippers had talked to the Nuggets about trading Blake Griffin to Denver:
1. Nuggets calling Clippers about Griffin
2. Clippers saying they’re not interested
3. Nuggets leaking the fact that Griffin trade talks happened with the Clippers – technically true! – to excite their fan base and potential free agents considering whether or not to take Denver seriously
Dan Woike of The Orange County Register:
Woike is the more reliable source of information here. I believe that’s all this was.
The Clippers probably shouldn’t sell low on Griffin now. But if the Nuggets made a truly reasonable offer based on Griffin’s peak value – and I doubt they did – it also wouldn’t hurt to consider it.