Kurt Helin

LeBron had two impressive chase-down blocks in Game 5

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We’ve talked at length about LeBron Jamesfantastic performance in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Tyronn Lue asked him to run the offense more and not only did he score 41 points — with his jumper finally falling — he set a tone early (25 first half points) that Kyrie Irving picked up on and helped push the Cavaliers to extend the series.

Almost forgot in that — LeBron had a couple of his classic chase-down blocks. Nobody makes that play like him.

It’s one last look back at Game 5, Thursday we’ll see if the Cavaliers can replicate that performance at home, with Draymond Green on the court.

Report: Some in Memphis front office concerned Mike Conley may bolt in free agency

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The general feeling around the league is that Mike Conley will remain in Memphis this summer. He’s a free agent and the best point guard available, but the sense is if Memphis makes a max offer as expected he probably stays put.

But we’re all tempted sometimes by the possibility of change.

Could Conley be thinking that way? That’s a growing concern in the Grizzlies front office, reports Ian Begley of ESPN.

…some members of the Grizzlies front office are growing a bit concerned about the possibility of Conley leaving in free agency, per a source with knowledge of the situation. Memphis, which plans on using a video featuring Grizzlies part-owner Justin Timberlake as part of its recruiting pitch, per a source, can offer Conley a five-year deal worth approximately $124 million. Other clubs can ink Conley to a max contract for four years worth approximately $92 million.

There should always be a little concern, unless your Mark Cuban trying to keep Dirk Nowitzki. But I’m not sold there should be much unless the Grizzlies try to pitch him on taking less than the max.

If Conley opens the door to other teams, the Knicks, Spurs, and other teams are said to be interested. He’s one of the best defensive point guards in the league, a smart floor general, he shot 36.3 percent from three, and he’s good at getting players the ball when and where they want it. He would have been an All-Star had the West not been loaded with other great point guards at the same time.

All of which is why the Grizzlies GM has said keeping Conley is their top priority.

Warriors GM says Andrew Bogut will travel with team, no official update on status

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CLEVELAND — Andrew Bogut will be with the Warriors in Cleveland for Game 6 Thursday night.

Whether he plays or not is another question — nobody expects him to in the wake of a painful looking knee injury Monday night where he had to be helped off the court not to return. However, there has yet to be an official announcement from the Warriors on his status.

But he will travel with the team, Warriors GM Bob Myers told 95.7 The Game in San Francisco on Tuesday.

It would be unfortunate for Bogut to be sidelined.

However, with Tyronn Lue saying he will start Kevin Love in Game 6, no Bogut forcing the Warriors to go small with the “death lineup” from the opening tip is not the worst thing. The Warriors with Draymond Green at the five — he will be back from suspension for Game 6 — have torn up Cavaliers lineups most of the series. Start that lineup and get out to an early lead and the Warriors can close out the Cavaliers on the road. Again.

Rajon Rondo on Kings last season: “There were too many distractions on and off the court”

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Saying that the Kings were a mess last season is no state secret. If a team’s star player and head coach (DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl, respectively) want each other kicked to the curb — including the coach pushing off-season trade ideas — things start on a foundation of sand.

How bad was it in California’s capital? Rajon Rondo — no stranger to challenging locker rooms — said it was the worst he had ever seen, while on The Jump with  Rachel Nichols on ESPN (which is worth your time if you haven’t checked it out, she loves the game and it shows). Here were Rondo’s comments:

“There were too many distractions on and off the court. The organization as a whole, I don’t think was together completely. I think as a team you have to want the best for the next man beside you, and that wasn’t the case with the Sacramento Kings,” he said.

As you would expect, it starts with the coach/star player relationship.

“Too much tension. I’ve never witnessed or experienced a thing like that in my 10-year career,” he said.

New Kings’ hire Dave Joerger is a quality coach, he can get the Kings to play defense and buy into an offensive system. He showed that in Memphis.

That’s not the job. Joerger’s job is to win over Cousins. Everything else is secondary.

As for Rondo returning to Sacramento, he was Cousins’ best (only?) friend in the locker room, but he’s not someone the organization is looking to bring back. They’d like an upgrade. The question is if they can find one.

Report: Ben Simmons will not work out for Sixers, Lakers, anyone

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When you know you’re the No. 1 pick, what’s the benefit of working out for a team that is going to take you anyway.

That the Philadelphia 76ers are going to take Ben Simmons is about as big a secret as Superman’s secret identity. Everyone knows. There are rumors Simmons’ people would prefer he land with the Lakers, but that is moot, he will be a Sixer. Nerlens Noel didn’t work out for the Sixers. Nor did Jahlil Okafor. Nor did Joel Embiid. If they are going to take him, what is the point of working out for them?

He’s not going to work out for any teams predraft, reports Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Unless something changes, the 76ers won’t work out Ben Simmons during the NBA predraft process – at least not at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

They are expected to use the first overall pick on the former Louisiana State University power forward.  However, Simmons doesn’t plan on working out for  NBA teams leading up to the June 23 NBA draft.

“It’s not a red flag,” Sixers president of basketball operation Bryan Colangelo said. “Everybody deals with the draft process differently. Sometimes agents are involved. Sometimes families are involved in those decisions. Again, everything we get in respect to our intel that it relates to Ben, is he would very much like to be selected No. 1.”

Simmons has a ton of potential, but the question is can he reach it, as Rob Dauster pointed out in our breakdown of his game. He is a smooth athlete who has all the skills of a point forward, minus the shooting, but the question is will he be driven enough to put in the work to be great. That remains to be seen. But he’s going to be good either way, and that ceiling makes Simmons a clear No. 1.

The Sixers are taking him. Everything else is just window dressing.