LeBron James

Report: LeBron James, Cavaliers to face Heat on Christmas Day


The NBA will release its schedule for the 2014-15 season sometime next month, and there are few select dates that always grab some well-deserved additional attention.

Opening night is important, certainly, and we already have rumblings of one of the potential matchups — even though the defending champion Spurs going on the road to start the season in Cleveland would seem to go against the league’s recent trend of having the winners of the title receive their rings before anything else.

Christmas Day, however, is perhaps the most important day of the NBA schedule, because it’s the time when more casual fans of the sport truly begin to turn their attention to basketball. For that reason, the league always tries to put together a full slate of its most compelling matchups.

From Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

Barring an unexpected change of heart by the NBA, Christmas in Miami will feature LeBron James’ much-anticipated return to Miami in an opposing uniform.

Though the NBA’s schedule will not be finalized and released until mid-August, an unofficial internal schedule of select games has Cleveland playing the Heat in Miami on Christmas on ABC, according to a person familiar with the situation.

This was a completely obvious choice.

LeBron James facing his former teammates on the road, in the city he played in for the last four seasons — all of which resulted in trips to the NBA Finals — is something everyone wants to see. But technically, it won’t be the first time we’re treated to this particular matchup.

The NBA will play five preseason games in four countries as part of its Global Games schedule, and in a stroke of genius (or just unbelievable luck), Cleveland and Miami will play against one another on October 11 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

It’s a preseason game that doesn’t mean anything in the standings, and of course, there’s no guarantee that either team will be at full strength for an exhibition contest. But it’s going to be intriguing nonetheless.

Gordon Hayward goes behind Jordan Clarkson’s back with dribble

Gordon Hayward, Nick Young
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Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.

First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.

Three quick takeaways here:

1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.

2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.

3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.

(Hat tip reddit)

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five

VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.