So yes, the LeBron James fever in Cleveland is bubbling over the top a little.
In a move that I’m sure is solely motivated by his excitement about LeBron returning to Northeast Ohio to lead the Cavaliers — and is in no way just a politician trying to grab on to the hot thing to boost his image and reputation *cough* — an Ohio legislator has suggested the state commission a LeBron James license plate.
I so wish I were making this up, but the Associated Press has the details.
State Rep. Bill Patmon is planning to introduce legislation to permit the sale of a commemorative ”LeBron James Witness 2.0” plate honoring the Akron native’s decision return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
”When LeBron came home, it was a big deal for us,” said the Democrat from Cleveland. ”It might not be for the rest of the world, but it’s a big deal for Cleveland.’’
Um, it was a big deal for the rest of the sports world, although I’m not sure about the “world.” I’m pretty confident rice farmers in Thailand don’t really care, and there are people in Sudan with more pressing concerns. But as sports stories go it was a big deal and we saw you all were pretty pumped up there, Mr. Patmon.
And apparently Ohio gives out specialty license plates like rolls of Smarties on Halloween — the state has 150 of them already. Patmon pushed through a Superman specialty plate because the comic book character was created by two Clevelanders. However, there are no plates commemorating a real person, dead or alive.
The extra money raised could be directed to charity, I suppose, but still…
What is Patmon going to propose if Johnny Manziel turns out to be the real deal?
Through what was a horrific injury that ended the Team USA exhibition Friday night in Las Vegas and had other players reaching out to him, Paul George was probably the calmest person on the court. Which considering this appears something that will cost him a season at least and maybe more, is pretty impressive.
Later Friday night George tweeted this:
Everybody around the NBA was thinking of George.
“It was difficult to watch the injury that Paul George sustained tonight while representing his country. The thoughts and prayers of all of us at the NBA are with Paul and his family,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a released statement.
Pacers’ president and GM Larry Bird added this:
“We are aware of the injury sustained by Paul George in Friday night’s Team USA game in Las Vegas and we are greatly concerned. At this time our thoughts and prayers are with Paul. We are still gathering details and will have an updated statement Saturday.”
The growing question is will this be the end of “dream teams” as other GMs will try to steer their top players away from these kinds of competitions.
That said, these kinds of competitions — particularly the Olympics — are huge international stages for these players brands (and their shoe brands) so there will be pressure to play.
But you can bet more and more owners are thinking like Marl Cuban tonight.
The exact terms of the Kevin Love to Cleveland for Andrew Wiggins trade is still in flux. Nothing can be done officially until Aug. 23 anyway — the soonest Wiggins can be moved because of a 30-day moratorium after signing his rookie contract —and if you think the sides are going to reach an agreement in that window then just sit on their hands and not try to leverage more out of it, well, you’ve never really watched NBA trades go down. Everyone needs a deadline or pressure to pull the trigger.
Most reports say the talks have stalled, at least at the highest levels, the guys who can pull the trigger. That said, lower level conversations are always going on. Minnesota would like to unload either J.J. Barea or Kevin Martin and their deals in this, even if it takes a third team, and they are trying to find a way.
Then there comes a Corey Brewer rumor in the News Herald:
The crux of the trade appears to have the Cavaliers sending Wiggins, forward Anthony Bennett and a 2018 first-round pick to Minnesota for Love and possibly forward Corey Brewer. The Timberwolves might want to dump point guard J.J. Barea’s $4.5 million contract in a deal.
Not might, do. Which is one reason this I see as more rumor than report.
Brewer would be a nice bit of depth added to Cleveland, an athletic, slashing small forward who scored 12.3 points a game with a quality true shooting percentage of .550 last season. He’s not a guy you are going to pair a lot with LeBron James because he doesn’t space the floor (28 percent from three last season) but he would be a good energy guy to use for 20 minutes a night while LeBron sits.
Brewer would be a good fit going back to Minny in this deal.
But as noted above I would take this with a grain of salt, the News Herald report says a framework is done on the deal but nobody else is saying that, and certainly nobody out of Minnesota. I’m sure people in Cleveland and sources in the organization would like to think they have a framework, but Flip Saunders is going to try and squeeze every last drop of blood from this stone.
When Dwyane Wade played last season, he played well — 20.8 points a game on a career best .588 true shooting percentage, with a PER still of 22. The issue was more how much he played, just 54 games. His knees are just not the same and need a lot of time off and rest, and even the three games a week pace of the NBA Finals seemed to wear his body down.
Next season Miami is going to have to ask more of him, so Wade is trying to make sure there is less of him — he’s dieting.
Wade, out as his youth camp, spoke to Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report about the upcoming season.
Dropping weight will help his knees, but only so much. He’s 32 and there’s not a lot of cartilage left. He can only do so much.
That said Wade is happy in Miami, that’s his town, and like Chris Bosh they think this team can still do a lot of damage even without LeBron James.
But that’s not what anyone wants to hear, so these are the tweets on Wade talking about LeBron James and his decision to return to Cleveland.
Wade’s ability to carry more load for Miami next season is one of the keys for that team. They need him to.
Isaiah Thomas was and is beloved by fans in Sacramento. With good reason — he was the ultimate underdog, a guy we can all relate to. He was the last guy taken in the draft (60th pick, last in the second round) and is 5’9” in a league full of guys who won the genetic lottery. He played hard and fast every time on the court. He was the guy you saw on ads during timeouts in Kings games pitching Pizza Guy. And he got buckets — he averaged 20.7 points a game last season. Every time the Kings brought in a guy to take over the starting point guard spot he just beat them out.
But Thomas was never a management favorite in Sacramento.
The Kings went out this summer and brought in Daren Collison and Thomas told Sactown Royalty he felt disrespected when that happened and he knew his stay in California’s capital was over.
“When they did that, I knew I wasn’t coming back. Going into my fourth year, I felt like I kind of proved myself to be a starter, especially on the Sacramento Kings…
“So when I say I felt disrespected, I just felt like the way I played the game of basketball wasn’t appreciated. So they always say you don’t know what you got until it’s gone, and I feel like that’s going to happen.”
Thomas makes it clear that coach Mike Malone was great and was a big supporter of his, but it was up the ladder of management that there was no love. That matches the buzz I heard, that this was really out of GM Pete D’Alessandro’s office, but he denies that.
Whatever is the case, Thomas said he loved Sacramento but he’s going to make them pay for letting him go.
I tell everybody I love Sacramento, I always will love Sacramento, but when we play them I’m going to kill Sacramento.
Darren Collison can’t guard Thomas. And whenever Thomas has put his mind to something in the NBA, he’s done it.
Now his mind is set on destroying the Kings when they play. Mark that on your calendar.