Author: Dan Feldman

Kevin Love, LeBron James

Report: Kevin Love frustrated LeBron James by arriving out of shape last season


LeBron James pushed for the Cavaliers to trade for Kevin Love last summer.

Then, once they did, LeBron treated Love strangely.

What went wrong beyond some vague idea of Love not putting winning first?

Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal:

In truth, James was frustrated in part because Love showed up out of shape. He didn’t work out much at all the summer he was traded here and he wasn’t the player James was expecting. His legs bothered him all season. His back was hurting. All of the parts were connected and none of them were firing properly.

James loves talent and he loves playing with elite talent. Love’s physical condition prevented him from being the player James thought he was getting. As a result, James gravitated toward Kyrie Irving and Love never fit well into this system.

LeBron and Love seemed to get on track late last season. Love even told Lloyd he planned to re-sign with Cleveland even before his famous poolside chat with LeBron.

At that meeting, Love reportedly told LeBron he wanted a bigger role in the offense. LeBron has responded by calling Love the Cavaliers’ offensive focal point.

Everything is good between LeBron and Love now – right?

Heat: Gerald Green ‘safe’ and ‘healthy,’ no specifics on condition

Gerald Green, Garrett Temple

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says reserve guard Gerald Green “is safe and is healthy,” one day after he was hospitalized for a still-undisclosed reason.

Spoelstra made the comments Thursday morning after the Heat practiced for a game that night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He declined to offer any specifics on Green’s condition.

Green did not play Tuesday night in Miami’s loss to Atlanta because of what the team called an illness. He was taken to the hospital the following morning, and the reasons for that are still unclear.

Green has been considered the key to Miami’s second unit so far this season, after leading the team in scoring in the preseason and cementing himself as Dwyane Wade‘s primary backup at shooting guard.

Patrick Beverley concussed, out for Rockets

Patrick Beverley
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Ty Lawson won the Rockets’ starting point guard job, but he has looked uneasy as Houston has started 2-3.

He needn’t worry about Patrick Beverley pushing him from behind, though.

Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle:

Maybe this makes Lawson more confident? He’s better when he plays assertive.

The Rockets are deep at point guard, and Jason Terry will slide into the rotation. James Harden can serve as lead guard, too.

After opening the season with blowout losses to the Nuggets, Warriors and Heat, Houston has won two straight, though needing overtime to top the Magic. More than anything, the Rockets need to establish a comfort level with each other. Beverley’s absence will be a setback in that quest.

Byron Scott: Lakers had ‘verbal altercation’ on bench in loss to Nuggets

Kobe Bryant, D'Angelo Russell, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant got a day off because he was “really angry.”

Apparently, he’s not the only Laker in a foul mood lately.

Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

Near the end of the Lakers’ 120-109 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday at Staples Center, Lakers coach Byron Scott said there was “a little bit of a verbal altercation.”

“That’s good,” Scott said after practiced on Wednesday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. They tell me that they care. I want to see more fight in our guys. We want to try to stop the bleeding as soon as possible.”

Scott declined to name any players, other than saying that Kobe Bryant was not involved in the altercation. Lakers forward Julius Randle added he was in the game when the incident happened from the bench.

This probably isn’t a big deal. Scott certainly doesn’t think it is, or he wouldn’t have disclosed it to the media.

But I also don’t trust Scott, who still hasn’t reached his players, to read the pulse of this team.

The Lakers aren’t just 0-4. They’re a miserable 0-4.

Most teams are still optimistic at this point in the season. The internal griping usually comes later.

Maybe Scott is right that the Lakers are just getting their competitive juices flowing. But I’d be worried that they’re going downhill fast.

SVG defends accusation on Andre Drummond extension: What about Kawhi Leonard?

Andre Drummond, Kawhi Leonard

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – An anonymous NBA executive accused the Pistons and Andre Drummond of circumventing league rules by forgoing a contract extension, a move that could give Detroit an extra $13 million in cap space next summer while still giving Drummond a max contract.

“I don’t remember reading any of those things about Kawhi Leonard last year coming off being the NBA Finals MVP, and they didn’t extend him,” Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy said. “…Washington’s doing it with Beal. Look, it’s more common not to do them then do them. So, I don’t know why the criticism.”

Van Gundy is right. The Spurs clearly did this with Leonard, and the Wizards are gaining a similar advantage with Bradley Beal.

The key question: Did the Pistons promise to give Drummond a max deal next summer? That would seemingly violate the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Van Gundy said the league asked about negotiations to ensure everything was on the up and up.

“You can’t have a deal into the future,” Van Gundy said. “So, that’s why what we said was exactly what happened. With Andre’s consent, the decision was made to delay negotiations until next summer.  Look, I don’t think it’s that surprising.”

Bottom line: We don’t know what the Spurs promised Leonard or the Pistons promised Drummond. It seems a little silly to give teams such incentive and ability to break a rule, but I’m not sure there’s a way to handle this.

A simple solution would be to have a player’s cap number in the offseason prior to the first season of a contract extension count as what his cap hold would’ve been without an extension. The players would love that, because it would free teams to spend more. But for the same reason, owners would be reluctant.

As is, we have little choice but to trust teams and players without evidence to the contrary. It’s perfectly reasonable that Drummond – without an explicit promise – trusts the Pistons to pay him next summer and wants better teammates.

It’d also be reasonable that he wanted a promise from management before forgoing $120 million guaranteed.

There are plenty of cases that look fishy. This is only one. If you want to question the Pistons and Drummond, question the rest, too.

According to Van Gundy, the NBA already did – and presumably walked away satisfied.