LeBron on ‘Melo’s free agency: “You got to do whatever makes you happy”

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To me this feels like the “Bart’s Inner Child” Simpsons episode where everyone in town starts emulating Bart.

In the role of self-help guru Brad Goodman we have LeBron James, who himself went through an over-hyped free agency period a few years back. You may remember that. It was a PR disaster but LeBron bounced back from it because he won on the court (this is America where winners write the history).

In the role of people seeking advice we have Carmelo Anthony (he’s not really seeking LeBron’s advice but reporters asked LeBron about it). In the Simpsons’ episode Goodman encouraged the entire town of Springfield to “do what they feel” and “be like the boy” Bart Simpson. That worked out about as well as you’d expect.

So what was LeBron’s advice for ‘Melo, who hits the market this summer? Do what you feel. Basically. That’s what he said, as Newsday reported.

“You got to do whatever makes you happy,” James said before Thursday night’s Knicks-Heat game at the Garden. “When you’re happy, the game of basketball is going to be fun for you. Strive to be great every day and live with whatever else happens. So we’ll see.”

So should ‘Melo consider leaving some money on the table?

“I recommend it to me,” James said. “It doesn’t work for everybody. The way I live my life don’t work for everybody. All I care about is winning. I came to Miami to win. Money didn’t make me happy. Winning made me happy, and it still does. That’s what matters to me.”

LeBron still makes a lot of money, for the record. His salary from the Heat is dwarfed by endorsement deals (which grew after he won titles).

The problem for the Knicks, or anyone picking up Anthony, is really this: At his max salary his next contract would start at $22.5 million and go up from there (only Kobe Bryant would make more). While ‘Melo can score you plenty of points, if the team wants to win with him as a key piece they will need a high quality ball handling guard who can get other guys easy buckets and create shots (essentially forcing Anthony to just be part of the offense, not all of it), plus you need some quality defenders around him. You can’t all get that from the free agent market with how much of the cap space Anthony would take up.

It’s not that you can’t win with ‘Melo, it’s that you can’t with him making that much money.

But LeBron is right, ‘Melo needs to do whatever makes him happy. Do what you feel.

Shabazz Muhammad awkwardly mentions Collective Bargaining Agreement during halftime interview (video)

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The Timberwolves surprisingly led the Spurs by nine at halftime last night, which takes us to Shabazz Muhammad‘s mid-game interview.

Muhammad:

We’re doing a great job on defense, Wiggs, myself, everybody. It’s a tough team, especially Kawhi and the guys. So, we’re doing a really good job and everybody’s collective – Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Um. What?

To be fair, I can’t even imagine what type of nonsense I’d spew in the midst of a taxing workout or a high-pressure situation – let alone something that qualifies as both.

Unfortunately for Muhammad, Minnesota eventually fell to San Antonio, 100-93. But hopefully, he can laugh at this moment. He should, at least.

hat tip: reddit user cjsplash

Duke’s Jayson Tatum, California’s Ivan Rabb declare for NBA draft

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Wednesday a couple of forwards expected to go in the first round of June’s NBA draft said they plan on making the jump to the NBA.

As expected, Duke’s Jayson Tatum and Cal’s Ivan Rabb made their decisions official.

Duke announced Tatum’s decision.

Tatum is expected to be a top-five pick, DraftExpress.com currently has him as the No. 4 pick. The 6’8″ wing can flat-out score the rock, which is why teams are intrigued, as Rob Dauster of NBC’s College Basketball Talk told us in a recent podcast. However, teams wonder if he can create shots for others and not just himself, and if he’s going to be a good defender at the NBA level. He has the physical tools to do be a good defender, but will he put in the work game in, game out?

Rabb is a 6’10” sophomore who has a great NBA build and athleticism to spare, but at the NBA level everyone is a great athlete. Rabb doesn’t have a great perimeter game and needs to develop one and be a consistent defensive force to be a difference maker (or have a lengthy career) at the NBA level. DraftExpress.com has him going 22nd in this draft, and his stock seems to have fallen over the course of the season.

PBT Extra: What coaches are on hot seat? Alvin Gentry at front of list.

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This season, for the first time in 46 years, no NBA coach will be fired during the season (nobody is getting canned at this point).

However, once the off-season starts, there will be a few changes.

Alvin Gentry in New Orleans and Fred Hoiberg in Chicago are the names most mentioned, but there will be an unexpected firing somewhere around the league. Some GMs are on the hot seat also (Rob Hennigan in Orlando leads that parade).

I get into all of it in this latest PBT Extra.

Raptors’ Serge Ibaka, Bulls’ Robin Lopez each suspended one game for thrown punches

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It was obvious this was coming. Get in a shoving match “fight” in the NBA and you get a fine. However, actually throw punches and…

Toronto’s Serge Ibaka and Chicago’s Robin Lopez each have been suspended for one game by the NBA “for throwing punches at one another during an altercation,” the league announced. What that works out to is a $120,715 hit for Lopez and a $111,364 ding for Ibaka.

Also, Raptors assistant coach Jamaal Magloire earned a $15,000 fine shoving the Bulls Nikola Mirotic and “acting as other than a peacemaker as part of the same altercation.”

This all came out of what seemed a rather innocuous play. Ibaka and Lopez were battling for rebounding positioning, it went on for a second after the ball went through the hoop, Ibaka caught Lopez with a little chicken wing elbow in the back, Lopez spun, and, boy, that escalated quickly. Lopez’s punch missed, while Ibaka’s caught Lopez in the hair more than the body.

Both men got technicals and were ejected.