New York Knicks v Miami Heat

Dwyane Wade also gets no-trade clause

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The last time LeBron James left a team, it won 42 fewer games the following season.

I think the Heat will do better than 12-70, but they’re facing a new reality. Even with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh softening the blow, losing LeBron will hurt. Badly.

Just how much it stings will determine whether Pat Riley continues with this path or shakes things up in Miami.

Wade – who calls himself a “#HeatLifer” – is protected against getting shook in such a shakeup.

In addition to Carmelo Anthony, Wade joins Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki with no-trade clauses.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Miami’s Dwyane Wade and New York’s Carmelo Anthony are the latest stars to secure a no-trade clause rarely seen in the NBA, according to sources familiar with their new contracts.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

https://twitter.com/WindhorstESPN/status/489230596846391296

By rule, Wade has the ability to approve any trade next season, because he’s on a one-year contract (the player option season doesn’t count until exercised), he’d have full Bird rights after the season and would lose them as a result of the trade. If he approves a trade, he’d have non-Bird rights, and his new team could exceed the cap to re-sign him up to $18 million and could provide just 4.5 raises (as opposed to the maximum salary and 7.5 raises via full Bird rights if he remains with the Heat).

Wade’s no-trade clause becomes particularly useful if he opts in, because he signed just a two-year contract. If he’s traded, he’d have early Bird rights with his new team as opposed to full Bird rights with the Heat. Unless the 2016-17 cap skyrockets north of $86 million – an extreme projection for even those most optimistic about the effect of a new TV deal – having early Bird as opposed to full Bird rights won’t affect Wade’s starting salary that season, but it would prevent him from getting more than 4.5 percent raises.

I don’t think Riley will trade Wade, who’s been the face of the Heat – with couple-season break when he ceded the crown to LeBron – since people realized the shooting guard was carrying Shaquille O’Neal and not the other way around.

But, just in case, Wade has a little security – both financial and his in his ability to remain comfortable in Miami.

Sit back and watch the top 10 dunks from the first five weeks of NBA season

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Who doesn’t love a good dunk compilation?

Well, somebody probably just said “bah, humbug” but is that the person you really want to hang out with?

The fine folks at NBA.com put together the Top 10 dunks of October and November, and when Rudy Gobert dunking over Kristaps Porzingis is all the way down at 10, you know it’s a good list. Put off starting your Christmas shopping, at least for another 2:44, and watch the video.

Want to watch Chance the Rapper throw dodgeballs at mascots? Here you go.

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12:  Chance The Rapper performs on Camp Stage during day one of Tyler, the Creator's 5th Annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival at Exposition Park on November 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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Want to watch Chance the Rapper throw dodgeballs at mascots? Of course you do. How is that even a question?

Above you can see just that from Chicago Friday night (where Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler and the Bulls knocked off the Cavaliers). Benny the Bull is on his side as well, while the Cubs’ mascot and others try and stay out of the way.

I’ll take this over another kids’ dribbling contest any day.

LaMarcus Aldridge, Manu Ginobili hustling saves lead to Spurs bucket (VIDEO)

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That’s about the most Spurs play ever.

During the third quarter of San Antonio’s win over Washington Friday night, LaMarcus Aldridge saved the ball from going out-of-bounds on the baseline, he threw it out high to Manu Ginobili, who had to leap and save it from going into the backcourt. Two hustle plays. From there the Spurs whipped the ball around the perimeter, and it ended up back to Aldridge on the baseline, where he nailed the 12-foot jumper.

Eventually, the Spurs would get a Kawhi Leonard jumper to give them the victory.

LeBron on Cavs’ three-game losing streak: “We got to get out of the honeymoon stage”

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James wipes his face as he looks down after guard Kyrie Irving missed a shot during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, in Chicago. The Bulls won 111-105. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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For a team that is 13-5 and atop the Eastern Conference standings, the Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t been their intimidating selves consistently this season. There have been flashes during a 13-2 start, but mostly they win on talent, or when they flip the switch for a half, but they haven’t looked like a tested team working on building good habits through the first quarter of the NBA season. They have an elite offense, but their defense is surrendering 105.1 points per 100 possessions, 20th in the league.

It’s been worse the last four games. The Cavaliers had to come from behind to beat the Sixers, then got blown out by the Bucks and Clippers. Friday night, Cleveland lost to Chicago, giving the Cavs a three-game losing streak, and LeBron James had enough. He sent a message to his team through the media (from the Associated Press):

“We got to get out of the honeymoon stage,” James said. “You got to play the game, the right way. We’ve got to battle every night like we ain’t won nothing. Last year is last year. After ring night is over with, now it’s a new season and everybody is gunning for us every night and we have to understand that. The honeymoon stage is over. It’s time to play some real ball and be physical, especially in the trenches. Giving up 78 points (in the paint) is ridiculous. We’ve got to man up. Everybody.”

The Cavaliers would be far from the first team to have a championship hangover, and considering the five-decade title drought in Cleveland before that win we should have expected one of those “I can’t get off the couch, I’m just going to lay here and watch golf all day” kind of hangovers. As Gregg Popovich has said before, its human nature to let up after a big win.

However, the blowout loss at the hands of the Clippers Thursday — the only title contending team the Cavs have faced this season — should be a wake-up call. The fact is the Cavaliers are still playing well enough to beat everyone in the East, but their real tests come in the form of the Warriors/Clippers/Spurs out West. Right now it’s hard to picture the inconsistent defense of the Cavaliers lifting them past any of those teams in four out of seven games.

LeBron has been to six-straight Finals for a reason — he does not let up. And he’s going to have to shake this team out of its malaise to get them back to an elite standing.

It’s also the first week of December. It’s we’re having this same conversation the last week of March about the Cavaliers then it’s okay to start looking for the panic button in Cleveland. For now, trust LeBron to be the leader this team needs. Calling them out was just step one.