Tag: LeBron James

LeBron James

LeBron James: “If it helped our team win, I’d come off the bench”


From the “things I can say with impunity because it will never, ever happen” file we bring you….

LeBron James came back to Cleveland to win and bring a title to Ohio (and play with a better team, and have more power in the organization, but that’s not the narrative we’re spinning here). And they are finally winning after LeBron took some time off and the Cavaliers traded for a solid rim protector, they have rattled off 11 victories in a row.

LeBron would do just about anything to keep that going, include coming off the bench. From my man Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“For me being the leader of the team, it doesn’t matter. Whatever this team needs in order for this team to win, I’ll come off the bench and I’m serious,” James said. “I’ll come off the bench. If it helps our team, that’s what it’s about, man.”

“No. No. He’s doing fine where he is,” Blatt said. “He’s doing quite fine.”

Two quick thoughts.

I believe LeBron. He is fully in legacy mode right now — he already is a lock Hall of Famer who will go down as the most gifted and one of the great players the game has ever seen. The only questions left is where he will stand on the all-time ladder when it is all over (and you cannot answer that question right now, despite how hard some people want to try). If LeBron thought he could get more rings as a sixth man, he’d honestly do it without complaint.

Second, his statement is moot. It’s like Pete Carroll saying he’s going to be the next president of the United States — he can say it all he wants, it will not become a reality. (After the end of the Super Bowl you want to trust him with decisions on ISIS?)
Lovely sentiment by LeBron, however. We’ll see how he feels about it near the end of his career, not at its peak.

Nike unveils NYC All-Star shoes for LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant (PHOTOS)


In what’s become an annual tradition, Nike Basketball has unveiled special colorways of the brand’s signature sneakers in celebration of the NBA’s All-Star weekend, which will be held this year in New York City.

Each model takes inspiration from a particular iconic element, all of which are well-detailed in the video clip below, narrated by Michael Rapaport.

Now that you know what influenced the design of each colorway, here’s a closer look at all four of them, which will begin to release as All-Star weekend gets going on Feb. 13.


















LeBron James questions Kevin Love’s confidence, Love says he’s fine

Memphis Grizzlies v Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers have won 11 straight, but not everything is rosy in Cleveland.

Kevin Love is shooting just 37 percent overall and 29 percent on 3-pointers during the streak.

In the Cavaliers’ 97-84 win over the 76ers yesterday, Love shot 1-of-7 and didn’t attempt a shot after the first quarter. He still grabbed 15 rebounds and was a team-best +26, but he’s a capable scorer.

What’s wrong? LeBron James has a theory.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

LeBron James suggested there were more shots available for Love that he turned down and questioned whether his teammate’s confidence might be shaken.

“I think Kev had some shots that he passed up on,” James said. “Maybe he felt that he just wasn’t in a good rhythm, but I know I hit him with a few [potential] shots after the first quarter where he had some good looks when he decided to swing-swing [with a pass], which is OK, it kept the ball moving. So, I think for Kev, I think his confidence maybe shooting the ball is a little down, but for me as a player, I get him good looks. I want him to shoot the ball and he needs to shoot it with confidence.”

Love didn’t totally agree with James’ assessment.

“Maybe one look, but it was more so on a swing-swing to [Matthew Dellavedova],” Love said. “I think a guy was closing out on me and I hit Delly and Delly didn’t end up shooting it. But, no, I think I had some good looks in the first quarter — a couple tip-ins that I missed; [Timofey Mozgov] and I both went for the lob, I thought I had my hand on it, and missed that one. But, you know, getting good looks there. Not for lack of confidence, no.”

Just another person telling Love how he feels.

This is where Cleveland’s win streak really helps. If the Cavaliers were slumping, there’d be more concern about LeBron’s relationship with Love, whether publicly questioning Love’s confidence offended Love. But because they’re winning, everyone is in a good mood, and I doubt this becomes an issue.

That frees LeBron and Love to focus on other things – like how to get Love going offensively.

Brandon Jennings on LeBron James: ‘he run too much when s— gets tough’

Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Three

Brandon Jennings is not on the same page with LeBron James.

When LeBron signed with the Heat, Jennings criticized the move and said, “I guess in three years, me, Tyreke Evans, and Stephen Curry should team up, too.” Jennings has mocked LeBron’s hairline. He tried to tweak LeBron’s Heat by predicting a playoff upset (“Bucks in 6”). Jennings called out LeBron for leaving Game 1 of last year’s Finals with cramps.

Jennings – out for the season – has plenty of time to criticize LeBron even more. To be fair, the Pistons guard also made a point of praising LeBron.

Did LeBron run when s— got tough? Yeah, he did. He left Cleveland for a better situation in Miami and then Miami for a better situation in Cleveland. I don’t believe LeBron jumped only because he was joining better-positioned teams, but I believe it factored both times.

So what, though?

That’s what free agency does. It gives players the right to choose their workplace, and LeBron is at the level where could choose any team. I don’t consider that a bad thing.

Jennings is right: LeBron is one of the greatest of all time. Just like the other players Jennings mentioned – Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Kobe Bryant. How many times LeBron changed teams doesn’t mean much to me when ranking this group, and it’s an unfair standard. Who’s to say LeBron wouldn’t have stayed with one team in the others’ positions or they wouldn’t have left if they were in LeBron’s?

It’s easier to be loyal to Bulls, Lakers and Celtics franchises that built contending supporting casts through each of those players’ primes. The only exception was a blip in Kobe’s career – and he threatened to leave in free agency.

The Cavaliers never got the right pieces around LeBron the first time, and the Heat were aging fast. So, having earned the opportunity to do so, LeBron left for greener pastures.

Jennings and I don’t disagree on what happened, just how to interpret it.

PBT’s Weekly NBA Power Rankings: No. 1 vs. No. 2 this week… and No. 3.

Kyle Korver, Mike Muscala, Al Horford

There are some real tests for the top-ranked Hawks this week against the No. 2 Grizzlies and the No. 3 Warriors. Down on the bottom of the scale, while the Timberwolves remain there the return of Ricky Rubio this week should hang that soon.

source:  1. Hawks (40-8, Last Week No. 1). There’s a lot of buzz around Friday night’s Hawks showdown with the Warriors, a potential Finals matchup of the two best teams from the first half of the season. But the entire week is tough for Atlanta — New Orleans and Washington Monday then Wednesday, then Memphis looms on Sunday. If Hawks winning streak reaches 20 on Monday, only fifth NBA team to do that.

source:  2. Grizzlies (35-12, LW 4). They are 10-2 in their last dozen games, which is not so coincidentally when Zach Randolph returned and started putting up his usual double-doubles nightly. I’ve got a feeling this is the team that snaps the Hawks winning streak, Memphis has been playing great defense during their streak.

source:  3. Warriors (37-8, LW 2). They lost to the Bulls and Jazz last week, but that’s just a blip. Still, David Lee at the five for stretches and more Leandro Barbosa are not my favorite things to see. Did we mention the big showdown with Atlanta on Friday night?I kno

source:  4. Clippers (33-15, LW 5). They had their six game win streak snapped in New Orleans, then responded on Saturday with maybe best game of season vs. Spurs. They Clippers have done it all with offense, scoring 113.9 points per 100 possessions in last eight games, best in NBA in that stretch. Defense 17th in league in that same time frame.

source:  5. Spurs (30-18, LW 3). An ugly home loss to the Clippers was another sign that the bench play of the Spurs is not what it was during their run last season, with Boris Diaw not looking the same and Manu Ginobili in a slump. That would be an issue if it continues into the playoffs.

source:  6. Rockets (33-15, LW 6). The Rockets are 6.7 points per 100 possessions better when Dwight Howard is on the court and now they will be without him for weeks with a knee injury. They are currently the five seed in the West (although they would have home court over four seed Portland) but this is the kind of thing that could see them slide down the seedings and make the playoffs that much tougher.

source:  7. Cavaliers (29-20 LW 11). They have won 10 games in a row, thanks in part to Kyrie Irving just going off when LeBron James was out. Still, they watched Andrew Wiggins drop 33 on them last week and you have to think the GMs of this team — LeBron and David Griffin — have to have a knot in their stomach about the long-term impact of the Kevin Love trade.

source:  8. Mavericks (32-17, LW 7). Rajon Rondo is out for at least a week with a orbital bone fracture in his face. When he is on the court the Dallas defense improves by 5.5 points per 100 possessions, the problem is the offense dips by 6.7 per 100. They need Rondo to find an offensive groove with this team by the playoffs.

source:  9. Suns (28-21, LW 10). A lot of people predicted the Suns would set during a tough run of eight games they are in the midst of, however they are 3-3 so far and are almost through the tough patch (only Memphis and Portland remain). They have a two game lead on the Pelicans and a four game lead over Oklahoma City for the final playoff spot and will be tough to catch.

source:  10. Trail Blazers (32-16. Last Week No. 8). Damian Lillard did get screwed out of not being an All-Star, but he didn’t unleash that anger on the Hawks last weekend. Will he in a tough stretch of games this week that include the Suns, Mavericks and Rockets?

source:  11. Raptors (33-15, LW 13). Is it possible to win six games in a row and not look great doing it? The Raptors have their wins but didn’t blow our doors off beating the Wizards or Nets. In their last 10 games the Raptors have the fifth best offense in the NBA but still the 21st ranked defense. That end of the court is still an issue.

source:  12. Bulls (30-19, LW 9). They are bucking for the title of most inconsistent team in the NBA — they beat the Warriors then turn around and fall to the Lakers. Even within games their play is erratic. I keep saying in radio interviews on paper the Bulls are the best team in the East but if they can’t put the pieces together it’s moot (and Tom Thibodeau may take the fall for that).

source:  13 Wizards (31-17, LW 12). Another team that, like the Bulls, looks good on paper and tantalizes you with stretches of impressive play, followed by just some terrible losses. They have a good measuring stick game Wednesday vs. Atlanta, but the question is can they sustain it after that?

source:  14. Pelicans (25-22, LW 14). Coach Monty Williams’ seat is getting warm in New Orleans and it’s largely due to the fact a team with Anthony Davis and Omer Asik on the back line is still 23rd in the NBA in defense. That end of the court is why the Pelicans are so up and down. (This offseason, the Big Easy would be an interesting landing spot for Tom Thibodeau if he’s out in Chicago.)

source:  15. Thunder (23-24, LW 15). Fans may not have hit the panic button yet in OKC but they sure have at least figured out where it is. The one good thing in OKC favor is a heavy home schedule the rest of the way but four games is going to be a lot to make up on a Phoenix team that will not roll over, the Thunder need to string together a healthy winning streak fast.

source:  16. Bucks (25-22, LW 18). They picked up a quality win over Portland last week and we’re going to get to see a lot of Giannis Antetokounmpo All-Star weekend — things continue to look up for the Bucks. Clipper fans are likely watching this Jared Dudley play and say “where was this guy when we had him?”

source:  17. Hornets (20-27, LW 16). It’s impressive that the Hornets have gone 4-1 without Kemba Walker so far, giving hope that they can hold on to the eight seed in the East until the star point guard returns. The Bobcats offense has taken the expected dive without walker but they are defending well again and that can keep them in the playoffs.

source:  18. Heat (21-26, LW 17). In his last five games Heat fan favorite Hassan Whiteside has averaged 15.2 points shooting 61.8 percent plus pulling down 12.8 rebounds. More than the numbers, when he is on the court the Heat are just more active and energetic on defense with deflections and blocked shots. .

source:  19. Jazz (17-30, LW 20). They beat the Warriors on Friday with maybe their best game of the season, showing both the potential and development of this team. Can they replicate that in a tough stretch this eek against Portland, Memphis and Phoenix?

source:  20. Pistons (18-30, LW 19). . Pistons fans got to boo Josh Smith and watch him struggle and his Rockets lose. That was cathartic. But then this same Pistons team got manhandled by the Sixers last week, so everything is not right yet. Just less bad.

source:  21. Nets (18-28, LW 21). They have dropped four in a row and 12 of their last 14 games, they have slid out of the playoffs, and the talk is now should they buy out Kevin Garnett and let him play for a contender. The front office is more focused on moving players like Brook Lopez or Joe Johnson to clean up the books before a sale of the team than than they are Garnett’s future.

source:  22. Nuggets (19-29, LW 22). JaVale McGee is back on the court and that ups the entertainment value of the league right away. This is another team where the most interesting story the next few weeks will be if Wilson Chandler gets traded, not anything they do on the court.

source:  23. Celtics (16-30, LW 23). If I were going to bet on one team to make another deal before the trade deadline, Boston would be at the top of the list. They keep playing Tayshaun Prince minutes and that has to be to showcase him, not because they want to make a run at the eight see, right?

source:  24. Pacers (17-32, LW 22). The Pacers are just four games out of the playoffs, so in theory they could make a run at it, but they just lack the offense to get it done.

source:  25. Kings (17-29, LW 25). DeMarcus Cousins deserved to be an All-Star and was a great selection to fill in for Kobe Bryant on the roster. He’s the first Kings All-Star in more than a decade, when Peja Stojakovic and Brad Miller were on the squad together in 2004.

source:  26. Knicks (10-38, LW 27). The Knicks are playing better of late because their defense has been less bad (I don’t know that I’d say good) and Carmelo Anthony is doing things like putting up 31 points on the Lakers. What happens after the All-Star Game when ‘Melo shuts it down? That could get ugly.

source:  27. Magic (15-35, LW 26). No coach is on a hotter seat than Jacque Vaughn, who in his first year looked like he could get this team to play defense but has not any more. If they make a coaching change in season, it may come after they get back this week from a road trip that finishes against the Thunder and Spurs.

source:  28. 76ers (10-38, LW 29). If you’re into moral victories, the Sixers had one against the Hawks last week. Michael Carter-Williams had another triple double and, while I’m not sold he’s a star, should be a solid rotation guard in the league for a while.

source:  29. Lakers (13-34, LW 28). No Kobe Bryant or Nick Young and they played hard and found a way to beat the Bulls last week to end their losing streak. Still, the most interesting thing about this team the rest of the way is how Jordan Clarkson develops.

source:  30. Timberwolves (8-39, LW 30). Don’t expect them to stay on the bottom long, not with Ricky Rubio close to returning to the lineup (possibly Monday), along with Kevin Martin and Nicola Pekovic. Those three take Minnesota out of the pushover category and will get them a few wins, along with Andrew Wiggins’ improved play.