Kurt Helin

Steve Kerr: “LeBron going to Finals six straight years is… one of the great accomplishments of all time”

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Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, Bob Cousy, Tommy Heinsohn, and a host of other 1960s Celtics went to six straight NBA Finals during that team’s unprecedented run of titles.

LeBron James has done the same thing.

LeBron did it across two different teams — Miami and Cleveland — and if you ask Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr that’s an amazing accomplishment. Remember Kerr has five NBA rings and three-peated with the Bulls, and he says the third year was the hardest, six is insane. Via J.A. Adande of ESPN (and Northwestern):

“The toll was more emotional than anything,” Kerr said Friday, ahead of the Warriors’ preseason game against the Denver Nuggets. “Over time, that stuff adds up. That’s why LeBron [James] going to the Finals six straight years is, to me, one of the great accomplishments of all time. Like, how many guys have done that? Maybe Bill Russell was the last guy. I know Michael didn’t do it because he took a couple of years off. Larry Bird, Magic [Johnson] never did it. … Six is incredible.”

LeBron’s six-straight Finals is a vastly underrated achievement — in part because he was the unquestioned leader of all six teams. Only Bill Russell could also make this claim. But just the fact he stayed healthy enough to do this is impressive, especially considering the load he carried for his teams. When someday we talk about LeBron’s legacy, this six (and counting) is going to be part of it.

(And spare me the “LeBron only one three of those” B.S. — you are selling short the accomplishment. Besides, LeBron’s team was only the favorite in two of the of his final trips. If you’re going to bring up Jordan, be sure to mention how he went to the playoffs 13 times and only reached the Finals six times, and how the Pistons drilled him for years — MJ is unquestionably one of the games greatest ever, but the man did not walk on water. Why people need to tear down LeBron to build up Jordan is beyond me.)

J.R. Smith confirms he is coming back to Cavaliers (and has other big news)

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J.R. Smith will be able to afford shirts for a long time now.

He has come to terms with the Cavaliers on a four-year, $57 million deal (three-years, $45 million of that is guaranteed). That was reported earlier on Friday, but he has now confirmed it through a video released via the Uninterrupted.

And that’s not even his biggest announcement.

Smith and the Cavaliers were destined to work this out — they needed each other more than other teams needed Smith. The deal is done, and he is in line for another ring.

And, another crib.

Report: Cavaliers interested in Mario Chalmers, once he gets healthy enough to play

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Last March, Mario Chalmers suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon — less than ideal for a guy heading into free agency that summer. Chalmers has been active with his rehab, working on his conditioning, but is about a month away from a potential return to the league.

When he is ready to go, the Cavaliers are interested, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.

…rumbles persist that Cleveland has strong interest in reuniting LeBron James with his old Miami teammate Mario Chalmers when the veteran point guard is sufficiently healthy to return from Achilles surgery in March.

LeBron doesn’t have anyone to yell at in Cleveland, Chalmers would help with that.

Also, with Mo Williams out injured, the Cavaliers are in desperate need of backup point guard depth. Right now behind Kyrie Irving is Kay Felder — Chalmers would be a clear upgrade. Once healthy.

It’s something to watch.

Report: Cavaliers, J.R. Smith reach terms on four-year, $57 million deal

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All the rumors of J.R. Smith opening up talks to other teams was never more than a negotiation tactic — he wanted to play with the Cavaliers, and the Cavaliers wanted him. It was only a question of money and years.

The sides have reached a deal, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.

What ended the impasse?

That is an average of $14.25 million per season, and he gets the $15 million guaranteed he wanted for the first three.

This is great on the court for the Cavaliers; Smith has developed into an athletic role player who is a very solid catch-and-shoot guy dangerous from three, plus when focused his is a quality defender. More importantly, and something nobody was saying about Smith a few years back, he is playing with himself and within the system.

This is also going to cost owner Dan Gilbert a lot of money. The Cavaliers were already more than $8 million over the luxury tax line (they could go over the cap/tax like to re-sign Smith because they have his Bird rights), this means in addition to his salary the Cavaliers are going to have to pay a repeater tax on every dollar down the line.

Bobby Marks of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports broke down the numbers.

But when you have a championship team, you write the check.

Anthony Davis confirms he’s out 10-14 days with ankle sprain, questionable for opener

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This week, the Pelicans were in China for a preseason game against the Rockets and Anthony Davis rolled his ankle after stepping on the foot of Houston center Nene. Early reports had him out for 10-15 days.

Back home in New Orleans, Davis confirmed that he is out a couple of weeks. Consider him questionable for opening night. From Justin Verrier of ESPN.

Anthony Davis confirmed Friday he will miss 10-14 days after suffering a right ankle sprain in the second of the New Orleans Pelicans’ two preseason games in China against the Houston Rockets.

Davis said he’d like to play in the Pelicans’ regular-season opener on Oct. 26 against the Denver Nuggets, which comes 14 days after the injury first occurred. But Davis also said he wants to be smart about the injury to avoid further complications.

Coach Alvin Gentry said it is nothing serious, as in a long-term issue, but they want to let it heal.

The Pelicans already enter the season without Jrue Holiday (personal reasons) and Tyreke Evans (leg injury) for the start of the season. Injuries set the Pelicans back last season and apparently the basketball gods are not done picking on them yet. Unfortunately.