Kurt Helin

LeBron James scores 25,000th career point on impressive alley-oop

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Monday night LeBron James became just the 24th player in NBA history to reach 25,000 career points — and he was the youngest to do it at 30 years, 307 days

And he crossed the line in style, finishing an alley-oop from Matthew Dellavedova.

LeBron put up numbers from day one in the league — he averaged 20.9 points per game as a rookie straight out of high school. That gave him an edge in getting to this milestone at a young age (that and he has rarely been injured). It’s just the latest milestone; there will be plenty more before he hangs up his shoes.

By the way, his bucket to get to 24,999 was pretty impressive in its own right.

Ginobili talks his way into playing, despite Pop’s rest plan

Manu Ginobili
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NEW YORK (AP) — Gregg Popovich’s plan to give some rest to one of his veterans hit a snag.

Chalk it to Manu Ginobili‘s persuasion. Or blame the “bunch of cowards” Popovich has for assistant coaches.

Either way, Ginobili was set to play for the San Antonio Spurs on Monday at New York on the second half of a back-to-back.

The Spurs won in Boston on Sunday and Popovich says he told the 38-year-old Ginobili he would sit out Monday, following a plan he says they discussed earlier this season.

Popovich says Ginobili didn’t recall agreeing to the plan, and when Popovich grew tired of the player’s lobbying, he told the Argentine star to discuss it over breakfast this morning with the Spurs’ six assistants.

Popovich says when the meeting was over, Ginobili was playing.

But Popovich adds that he controls the playing time, so Ginobili will “play like three minutes a half.”

Lakers’ rookie Larry Nance Jr. breaks nose in practice

Larry Nance Jr., Damian Lillard
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Welcome to the NBA, kid.

Lakers’ second round pick Larry Nance Jr. hasn’t even gotten in an NBA game, but he’s got an injury to show for it, the team announced. It was broken by bruising fellow rookie Julius Randle.

Officially both he and Brandon Bass — who suffered a corneal abrasion in the loss to Dallas — are listed as questionable for Tuesday night’s game against Denver. I expect it might be a few more games before Nance gets in some run.

The Lakers have struggled — for all the talk of Kobe Bryant and their offense, their defense is worse — but the Nuggets are struggling with their shooting, have their own rookie point guard, and this would be a chance for the Lakers to get their first win of the season. Of course, the Nuggets are thinking this one should be theirs.

LeBron James says Sixers’ rebuild is not instant but a process

LeBron James
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Put LeBron James in the “trust the process” camp.

The Philadelphia 76ers are entering their third year of being bad to get good — they have hoarded draft picks, played younger guys heavily (and some men not destined for the NBA), in part to improve their draft standing so they can get better players. This is an institutional decision and it has landed them Jahlil Okafor (and Joel Embiid, although he has yet to play). They have a lot of picks the next couple of years.

But it’s meant a lot of losing and the process divided NBA fans — is going this deep into being bad to get good smart for an organization? GM Sam Hinkie’s backers — which includes the majority owner, and his is the only voice that ultimately matters — say trust the process. When LeBron was asked about it before his Cavaliers were to face the Sixers Monday, he said the same thing, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

The reality is we’re a couple of years away from knowing if Hinkie’s master plan works. It in part depends on his drafting skills — how will Okafor pan out, will Embiid ever contribute, and who do they get the next few years to be other cornerstones? Sure Oklahoma City ran from this playbook and are now contenders, but look at how well Sam Presti drafted. Can Hinkie mimic that?

The other question is how long the ownership group stays patient. So far Joshua Harris is saying he’s on board and is happy with Hinkie and coach Brett Brown, but I’m not the only person around the league who has heard some of the minority owners are less thrilled with the losing ways. Right now the ship isn’t changing course, but owners aren’t patient forever.

LeBron and Hinkie supporters are right about this — if the Sixers try to change course now it’s likely a setback that requires more rebuilding years. The Sixers are committed to this through at least another summer, if not longer. Whether Hinkie and Brown get to see this through to the end remains to be seen, another coach/GM may try to win with their players, but he is the guy that set the rebuilding up.

It’s official: Hornets reach extension deal with Jeremy Lamb

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We told you yesterday this was close; now it is official.

The Charlotte Hornets have signed swingman Jeremy Lamb to a contract extension, the team announced Monday. This is a three-year, $21 million extension that makes sense for Charlotte — $7 million a year is what the seventh or eighth guy on the bench will make is two years (because the salary cap is spiking), if they think he can be that or better they are smart to lock him up now.

“We were thrilled with the opportunity to add Jeremy Lamb to our roster this past summer,” Hornets GM Rich Cho said in a released statement. “Through the preseason and start of our regular season, Jeremy has proven to be the type of player and professional we seek here in Charlotte.  We’re excited to have him as a part of the Hornets for years to come.”

Lamb is athletic, can defend, and can shoot the three — he can play behind Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (when he gets back next season) and provide some versatility and depth. With this Lamb will count a little less against the cap next July (less than $1 million) as the Hornets go free agent hunting.

As expected, Charlotte also exercised its team option on Cody Zeller.

“We are excited to keep Cody Zeller as a part of our core for another season,” Cho said.  “We have been very pleased with Cody’s development on both ends of the floor and look forward to him continuing to expand his game as a member of our roster.”