We knew this.
After the way LeBron James framed his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers — all about wanting to go home, about unfinished business, about bringing a title to Northeast Ohio — he couldn’t leave again. Can you imagine the public relations backlash if he left them a second time?
But LeBron confirmed that, meeting briefly with the media in Akron before a welcome home rally Friday night. LeBron said this, reports Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.
If your next question was “why have an opt out next season and have a two-year deal?” the answer is money. Raking it in. Benjamins. Getting paid.
LeBron (along with Carmelo Anthony) took the position this summer that players in their prime should not sacrifice money on their deals. (Technically ‘Melo took a $6 million haircut on a $123 million deal, but that’s not much.) After the owners won big at the last collective bargaining agreement and the players share of league revenue fell from 57 percent down to 50 percent, LeBron didn’t feel like taking a discount. Small and middle market owners — led by Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert still sore from LeBron bolting to Miami — led the charge to put in the restrictions that would limit future super teams and force their owners to pay. Now Gilbert is going to have to write some checks and LeBron isn’t giving him a discount on it.
You can be sure that Friday night’s rally will lack the bombast of what happened in Miami four years ago. LeBron continues to do things right, there will be no “not two, not three, not four…” instead more of downplaying the expectations:
Here are a few other highlights from his comments.
Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:
Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game — but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.
In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.
Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.
That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.
If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.
First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.
Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.
Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.
Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.
Joakim Noah is playing 20.6 minutes a night coming off the bench for Fred Hoiberg and the Chicago Bulls this season.
And he doesn’t like it. He wants more run. He was getting 10 minutes more a night last season under Tom Thibodeau, and Noah wants some of those minutes back. Nick Friedel of ESPN sent out a tweet that was a reminder of just that.
Three thoughts here.
1) Reducing minutes for guys who battle injuries every season by the time the playoffs roll around was one huge reason Fred Hoiberg was brought in to coach the Bulls and Tom Thibodeau was shown the door. This isn’t just Hoiberg, the minutes reduction comes from management. While it is possible Noah’s spot in the rotation shifts (he could start at some point) and he might get a little more run, the Thibodeau era is gone.
2) There are legit reasons for Noah to want to play. First, he is a competitor who doesn’t like sitting. Second, the Bulls’ defense is elite when he plays (allowing 95.5 points per 100 possessions) and the Bulls outscore opponents by 1.3 per 100 when he plays. Finally, Noah is in the final year of his contract and scoring just 3.1 points per game is not going to help him earn more cash in the next deal.
3) Barring injury to another big, don’t expect a change.