Please welcome the flood of LeBron speculation

12 Comments

Thumbnail image for nba_james1_250.jpgThere have been discussions of it for years. It’s slowly been increasing; a major article here, a random rumor there. But now, with July and the free agency period just four months away, we’ve finally come to it.

Everyone and their momma has an idea on what LeBron’s going to do.

Now, to be clear, I think fan speculation is great. I’ve waxed on elsewhere about the opportunity that the Nets offer him (a blank slate in a new part of the biggest city with a ‘pick-your-coach-and roster’ in short). And I think for people to say “Don’t talk about it because we don’t know” is ridiculous. It’s fun for the fans, and there’s simply no way to avoid talk about arguably the biggest free agent signing in the history of sports. So it’s going to be talked about.

That said, you also need to steel yourself against the now increasing flood of reports of sources claiming to know exactly what LeBron will do.

First we had Roland Lazenby’s talk of LeBron headed to Hollywood. Now we have the New York Post speculating that LeBron is considering a three-year deal instead of a long-term one, and they go on to speculate that New Jersey is clearly out of contention, given their uncertain status. This despite the fact that all prior legal hurdles have been cleared for the arena in Brooklyn, the high likelihood of the new owner being approved, and the massive ability for the Nets to improve quickly, which quite frankly, dwarfs that of the Knicks. But there I go again, speculating.

Speculation is fine, if baseless. What’s important is to remember that no one knows what LeBron’s going to do.  There is no inside track. It’s too big of a decision, from a management team that knows the best thing about the decision is the increased attention it garners his brand. He very well could sign a three-year deal as the Post suggests, giving him the power to do all of this over again in three years. Or he could realize that this is an enormous opportunity given the fact that the league’s CBA will be restructured next year and could leave him with a significantly smaller contract in three years.

Tracy McGrady, who I jokingly referred to as ‘delusional‘ (boy did that piss off some Knicks fans) a few days ago, actually had the best perspective on this. No one knows, not even James’ inner circle.

It’s fun to think about, to talk about, to debate. But keep a guarded eye up in regards to ‘inside reports.’

NBA makes it official, moves up free agency six hours to 6 p.m. June 30 (Eastern)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

I’d like to think this means we’ll all be able to go to bed at a reasonable hour on June 30. I also know better.

There is a frenzy of activity right as free agency opens (Tampering? There is no tampering in the NBA…), which traditionally has been as the clock turns to July 1 in New York, right at midnight. Things got so active that a lot of agents and players made sure they were in Los Angeles, even if they didn’t live there in the offseason, just so things started at the more reasonable hour of 9 p.m.

Now the NBA has made the rumors official: Free agency will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern on June 30. Six hours earlier than before.

This was done as an agreement between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association.

This is going to be a wild July with a lot of big-name free agents — Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler — and maybe a third of the players in the league on the market, plus there are a lot more teams with cap space to spend this season. It’s going to be a frenzy.

Now we know what time the wild times start.

Why does Kevin Durant respond on social media? “I’m qualified to talk about basketball”

Getty Images
4 Comments

Every NBA player gets ripped on social media, even the guys who are not on social media. Most of the time players just ignore it, the way they ignore fans yelling stuff courtside or distant family asking them for money.

Kevin Durant, however, gets into it sometimes, even with national media members (and even had a burner account). Which always becomes a thing.

Why? Why not just ignore it? From Durant himself at practice Friday, via NBC Sports Bay Area.

“Because I have social media,” Durant said Friday… “I mean, I’m a human being with a social media account. I could see if I ventured off into like politics, culinary arts or music and gave my input, but I’m sticking to something that I know. You know what I’m saying? This is all I know. I’m actually talking about stuff that I know. I’m qualified to talk about basketball.

“So when I respond to something, especially if it’s about me personally, of course I’m going to tell you if you wrong about it. When I’m on the training table getting treatment on my calf and I see a tweet that come by and I disagree — I don’t talk to people because I’m worried about what they say, it’s just that I’m interested. So if you talking about in-game or the NBA Finals, they’re the same to me, you know what I’m saying?”

Durant seems to have more time on hands to get into these spats while he is out injured. Which likely will last into the start of the NBA Finals.

Does this mean the Drake/Durant beef is inevitable?

LeBron likes Instagram of Kyrie Irving in Lakers jersey, Internet goes berserk

Getty Images
4 Comments

The Lakers landing Kyrie Irving in free agency this summer might be their best realistic option. It’s far, far from a lock — the Knicks, and yes Celtics, will make their pitch, too — but reuniting the pair that won a title in Cleveland is on the Lakers’ radar. (Insert your own, “you know who should coach this team” Tyronn Lue joke here.)

Fueling the speculation, LeBron James and Irving were seen hanging out together at a club in Los Angeles recently. Then Friday, this happened: Cuffthelegend posted this on Instagram and LeBron liked it.

View this post on Instagram

I like how this feels

A post shared by Savage Season 365 (@cuffsthelegend) on

(For the record, Cuffthelegend gets some stuff right, he’s not a guy who posts stuff out of nowhere.)

Of course, NBA Twitter and the web responded to this in its usual measured, thoughtful way. Some Lakers fans think the deal is done, others mock the idea altogether.

Two thoughts on Irving and the Lakers:

• Multiple reports say Irving is open to it. Irving also has a strong relationship with Kevin Durant, and Boston still plans to trade for Anthony Davis and then try to re-sign Irving (even if Boston fans are done with Kyrie). The only person who knows which way Irving is leaning right now is Irving, and there’s a good chance he changes his mind in the next five weeks anyway.

• If the Lakers are going to land a star free agent this summer, it will be because LeBron was an active recruiter. These elite players have options, and the Laker front office is not inspiring confidence of late, it will be on LeBron to win guys over.

 

Jeremy Lin: Milwaukee security guard asked for my pass to Raptors team bus

Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
6 Comments

Jeremy Lin has discussed people not believing he plays in the NBA.

It apparently still happens.

Lin, whose Raptors are playing the Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals, via Bill Michaels Sports Talk Network:

After Game 2 in Milwaukee, I was trying to get to the team bus and one of the dudes in the Milwaukee arena just screams at me. He’s like, “Where do you think you’re going?!” And I’m like, “Uh, I’m trying to get to the team bus.” He’s like, “What?! Where’s your pass?” I was like, “I don’t have a pass. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have a pass.”

This happens in a lot of arenas, so I just kind of go with the flow.

It’s a fine line. Lin shouldn’t be profiled as a non-athlete because he’s Asian-American. Arena staffers should keep everyone safe by stopping unauthorized people.