Dan Feldman

LeBron James says he’d take pay cut to play with Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul

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LeBron James has never shied from the fact that his best friends in the NBA don’t play for the Cavaliers: Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul.

But what if they were teammates?

LeBron, via Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:

“I really hope that, before our career is over, we can all play together,” James said. “At least one, maybe one or two seasons—me, Melo, D-Wade, CP—we can get a year in. I would actually take a pay cut to do that.”

“It would be pretty cool,” James said. “I’ve definitely had thoughts about it.”

The big question: Where would it happen?

Wade calls himself a “HeatLifer.” Melo has been outspoken about his loyalty to New York. Paul can become a free agent in 2017. LeBron can become a free agent this summer and is sending strange signals about his devotion to the Cavaliers.

LeBron probably ruined the most realistic opportunity for the four to play together when he left Miami in 2014. That summer, the Heat were trying to add Melo and already held LeBron’s and Wade’s Bird Rights. With the salary cap skyrocketing, perhaps they could’ve found a way to fit Paul in 2017.

Even that would’ve been a longshot, though. Star players like the idea of playing with their friends. It’s much harder to get everyone on board in reality. Mostly, I view LeBron’s statement as an unrealistic fantasy.

But the fact that LeBron went on record with his willingness to take a pay cut shows his commitment to the idea. Remember, in 2014, he put out word that he would accept no less than a max contract.

It’d be hard for LeBron to leave Cleveland after he framed his return around coming home. The backlash would be immense. But staying with the Cavs clearly isn’t his only concern (just as no player picks a team for a single reason). He also wants to play with Melo, Wade and Paul.

Any team that wants to sign LeBron – Cavaliers included – should consider a plan than unites the four. Bringing it to fruition might be improbably, but as we’ve seen, LeBron is willing to send passive-aggressive signals.

Dell Curry: Nike mispronounced Stephen’s name, left Kevin Durant’s name on slide in 2013 pitch meeting

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In 2013, Stephen Curry left Nike for Under Armour.

What seemed like a decently significant move at the time has turned enormous. Curry has developed into the NBA’s best player – and one of the league’s most popular. The small guard is personable, his friendly nature making him seem more approachable to fans.

How did Nike let him get away?

Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN:

The pitch meeting, according to Steph’s father Dell, who was present, kicked off with one Nike official accidentally addressing Stephen as “Steph-on,” the moniker, of course, of Steve Urkel’s alter ego in Family Matters. “I heard some people pronounce his name wrong before,” says Dell Curry. “I wasn’t surprised. I was surprised that I didn’t get a correction.”

It got worse from there. A PowerPoint slide featured Kevin Durant‘s name, presumably left on by accident, presumably residue from repurposed materials. “I stopped paying attention after that,” Dell says. Though Dell resolved to “keep a poker face,” throughout the entirety of the pitch, the decision to leave Nike was in the works.

In the meeting, according to Dell, there was never a strong indication that Steph would become a signature athlete with Nike. “They have certain tiers of athletes,” Dell says. “They have Kobe, LeBron and Durant, who were their three main guys. If he signed back with them, we’re on that second tier.”

Nike still had an opportunity to salvage the situation when Curry indicated he wanted to sign elsewhere.

In 2013, Nike retained Curry’s matching rights, analogous to how NBA restricted free agency works. They still could have signed Curry, regardless of his preferences. According to a Sept. 16, 2015, report from ESPN’s Darren Rovell, “Nike failed to match a deal worth less than $4 million a year.”

[Under Armour executive Kris] Stone characterizes the decision as, “If you don’t want to be here, then don’t be here.” Athletes are expected to want Nike, to have always wanted Nike from the time they were kids.

That meeting was one of several factors, including Nike not giving Curry a camp and Warriors teammate Kent Bazemore hawking Under Armour.

I highly recommend reading Strauss’ entire article for a deep dive into Curry’s affect on the shoe industry.

Lakers roll inbound pass, Lance Stephenson steals and scores (video)

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Remember when Lance Stephenson was one of the most fun players in the NBA?

With 33.8 seconds left in the third quarter, the Lakers wisely tried to get a 2-for-1. Because the clock doesn’t start until a player touches the ball, they rolled the inbound pass up the court to save a few seconds.

But good theory turned into poor practice when Stephenson swarmed in to steal the ball, make a layup and draw a foul.

I wish we saw this Lance more often over the last two seasons.

Craig Sager: 3-6-month prognosis was for someone not receiving treatment

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 05: Commentator Craig Sager of TNT talks to fans before a game between the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the United Center on March 5, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Craig Sager said doctors gave him a 3-6-month prognosis when his cancer returned.

Today, Sager made an important clarification:

Sager, in a statement released by Turner Sports:

“I’m grateful to HBO for telling my story and I’d like to thank everyone for their ongoing support.  I have acute myeloid leukemia, an aggressive type of cancer.  The typical prognosis is 3-6 months to live, but I would like to stress that is for a patient who is not receiving treatment.  Fortunately, I am receiving the best treatment in the world and I remain fully confident I will win this battle.

“Again, I would like to thank everyone for your generosity and encouragement.  I sincerely appreciate it and it means so much to me and my family.  I look forward to continuing my work on the sidelines for Turner Sports.”

This makes the terrible news a little less terrible, but whenever cancer is involved, it’s still awful.

NBA: Three missed calls on single possession help Warriors over Timberwolves

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The Warriors continued their march toward 73 wins with a win over the Timberwolves on Monday.

Thanks in part to the officials.

Golden State reached 63-7 after three missed calls on a single possession, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report. The errors came with the Warriors up two in the final minutes.

It started with Draymond Green‘s comically illegal screen on Ricky Rubio with 46.6 seconds remaining. NBA:

Green (GSW) extends his arms and continues moving as he sets the screen on Rubio (MIN) without giving him room to avoid the contact.

Then, Green got away with travelling with 40.2 seconds left. NBA:

Green (GSW) moves his pivot foot on the spin move.

Green missed his shot and Minnesota got the rebound, anyway, making those missed calls somewhat irrelevant. A correct call on either would’ve given the Timberwolves the ball, which they got anyway – though the errors allowed Golden State to run clock.

The key missed call came on the scramble for the rebound after Green’s miss. Harrison Barnes got away with a loose-ball foul on Andrew Wiggins, according to the NBA:

Barnes (GSW) grabs and holds Wiggins’ (MIN) jersey, affecting his ability to retrieve the rebound.

That would’ve sent Wiggins – who’s making 75% of his free throws this season – to the line for two attempts and a chance to tie.

Instead, Wiggins missed a difficult shot, and Minnesota had to begin intentionally fouling. From there, the Warriors pulled away for a 109-104 win.