Tag: LeBron James

LeBron James, Draymond Green

Draymond Green blocking LeBron James, now as an emoji collage (PHOTO)


Remember Draymond Green blocking LeBron James in overtime of Game 2 of the Finals?

Well, now that iconic image exists as an emoji collage, courtesy of Warriors social-media manager Julie Phayer:

Emojis are the most 2010s art form imaginable, but it sort of looks like an old mosaic. Very cool.

J.R. Smith announces he’s re-signing with the Cavaliers

J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith’s return to the Cavaliers was always a matter of when, not if. He opted out of the final year and $6.5 million of his contract, hoping to secure a long-term deal after a solid season in Cleveland. But he found no market this summer after a terrible performance in the Finals, and re-signing with the Cavs seemed inevitable. Smith broke the news on Thursday evening with a post on his Instagram account.

Here’s what Smith said below the picture:

Happy to say that I am returning to the Cavs! It’s been a long ride this summer but I can say for sure, well worth the wait. When I opted out of my contract, I wanted to understand the landscape of the NBA and where I fit best. The Cavaliers had things they needed to do in order to piece together a championship caliber roster. I ended up deciding that instead of potentially securing a larger deal elsewhere, I wanted to rejoin an incredible organization in pursuit of the ultimate goal, an NBA championship. Thank you to the Cavaliers for making this happen. Can’t wait to get started!

It was always unlikely that another team would throw big money at Smith — what his inconsistent three years in New York and solid half-season with the Cavs proved beyond all doubt is that he’s not a first option on offense. He thrives spotting up for open threes, which is all he’s asked to do in a Cavs offense that includes LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

Next up for the Cavs: re-signing Tristan Thompson. He has threatened to take the one-year qualifying offer and leave next summer, but the Cavs have no choice but to cave and offer him a max deal.

LeBron James dunked pretty much every shot he took in Philippines exhibition

LeBron James

The Philippines is a basketball-crazy country — they love their hoops and they love their NBA stars. LeBron James is there right now selling Nikes to take part in ‘Rise,’ a Philippines reality TV show trying to help young Filipino basketball players from poorer areas and the countryside improve their skills. The show is sponsored by Nike, we should mention.

While there, LeBron took part in an exhibition game, and put on his own personal dunk contest. He dunked on everyone. Here are just a few highlights.

There was less defense than the NBA All-Star Game (or playing the Timberwolves) and everyone else on the court was five inches shorter than him at least, but still. That’s a show, LeBron gave the people what they wanted.

NBPA hires trainer with eye on injury prevention

Derrick Rose
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LeBron James, presumably speaking for more players than just himself, asked for a longer All-Star break and fewer back-to-backs.

The NBA delivered – extending the All-Star break last season and scheduling fewer back-to-backs this year. The league even went a step further, reducing the amount of four-in-fives.

But has the NBA gone far enough?

The National Basketball Players Association wants to find out.

Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press:

Coming off a season in which star after star was lost to serious injury, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Players’ Association executive director Michele Roberts have made player health one of the top priorities to address this offseason.

With that in mind, the union hired Joe Rogowski, a former athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach with the Orlando Magic and the Houston Rockets, as the director of sports medicine and research. The certified athletic trainer with a master’s degree in exercise physiology from Central Florid is tasked with developing programs and coordinating best practices to try to limit the number of games lost to injury.

AP: How much will the new schedule and fewer back-to-backs and four-in-five nights help?

Rogowski: As far as if it will make a big impact, I’m in a wait-and-see mode. I definitely think it’s a step in the right direction. I definitely am in favor of it. But we’ll see. Time will tell. Do we still need to keep going in that direction? Yes. Are there other avenues we need to address and look into? Absolutely. Having gone through it myself, I would definitely like that. And I know the players are in favor of it.

The NBA has made a good-faith effort to reduce wear and tear on its players, and the league should be applauded for that. Of course, it’s also self-serving. Fans want to see their favorite players at their best. The fewer injuries and players slumping while fatigued, the better the product on the floor. The better the product, the more the league can charge fans to see it.

Fundamentally, player health is a players’ issue. It makes sense for them to hire a trained professional to better understand the nuances.

Rogowski can research the regular-season schedule, practices and training. He can examine everything teams asks players to do, how each affects players.

And when it comes to negotiating the next Collective Bargaining Agreement or amending the current one, the union can push for rules that keep players healthy and base those arguments on research rather than suppositions.

The league has done a good job addressing player health. Rogowski will help the NBPA ensure that continues in the best manner possible.

Report: Tristan Thompson rejected $80 million contract offer from Cavaliers because his perceived peers got more

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

Tristan Thompson and the Cavaliers were reportedly near a five-year, $80 million contract.

Then, they weren’t.

What happened?

Was the report inaccurate? Did the Cavaliers pull the offer? Did Thompson back out?

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

Thompson and the Cavaliers had reached an agreement early in free agency that was believed to have been centered on a five-year deal worth some $80 million. The problem with doing a deal at that number is that virtually everyone in Thompson’s talent range got substantially more, most receiving the NBA maximum salary, some for less years, but most for the same year one dollar amount.

Thompson’s camp pulled back from the $80 million number, wanting the Cavs to step up with more based on what virtually everyone else in Thompson’s peer range got.

I’m not sure who Thompson considers his peers, but I place him solidly behind Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe, Draymond Green, Brook Lopez, Paul Millsap and Tim Duncan in the next group of big-man free agents.

Does that warrant more than the $16 million per season the Cavaliers reportedly offered?

Here’s how much other free agents in the tier will get annually, using data from Basketball Insiders:

  • Enes Kanter: $17,515,007 (four years, $70,060,028)
  • Robin Lopez: $13,503,875 (four years, $54,015,500)
  • Tyson Chandler: $13,000,000 (four years, $52,000,000)
  • Thaddeus Young: $12,500,000 (four years, $50,000,000)
  • Amir Johnson: $12,000,000 (two years, $24,000,000)
  • Omer Asik: $10,595,505 (five years, $52,977,525)
  • Kosta Koufos: $8,219,750 (four years, $32,879,000)
  • Ed Davis: $6,666,667 (three years, $20,000,000)
  • Brandan Wright: $5,709,880 (three years, $17,129,640)
  • Jordan Hill: $4,000,000 (one year, $4,000,000)

Thompson might think he’s in the same group as Monroe (three-year max contract) and Green (five years, $82 million), but he’s not as good as those two. They deserve to be paid more than Thompson.

But deserve has only so much to do with it.

Thompson holds major leverage. If he takes the qualifying offer and leaves next summer, the Cavaliers won’t have the cap flexibility to find a comparable replacement. They can sign Thompson only because they have his Bird rights. That won’t be the case with outside free agents.

The Thunder were in the same boat with Kanter, which is why they matched his max offer sheet from the Trail Blazers. Thompson should point to that situation for comparison. The Cavaliers, though, would probably tell Thompson to bring them an offer sheet, like Kanter did with Oklahoma City.

But Thompson has even more leverage. He shares an agent, Rich Paul, with LeBron James. Cleveland surely wants to keep LeBron happy, and LeBron wants Thompson back.

Thompson might get more than $80 million. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got his max ($94,343,125 over five years). It just won’t be because his on-court peers all got that much. The max-level free agents – with the exception of Kanter – are a class above in actual ability.

But that Kanter comparison works for Thompson, and he and Paul should hammer it until the Cavaliers relent. No need to bring up that Kanter signed well after Thompson’s talks with Cleveland broke down. This is only minimally a discussion about logic and production.

It’s mostly about leverage, and no matter what flawed viewpoints got us here, Thompson still has leverage.