LeBron James isn't talking to anyone, but we're all still guessing

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Thumbnail image for lebron_james_arty.jpgWe don’t know. Nobody in the media knows.

That won’t stop us from speculating. We’ll use a shred of information to concoct entire theories. We’ll guess. (Complain about that if you want, but those guesses get a lot of viewers — you like it so we keep doing it). But we don’t know what LeBron James is going to do. In a world and news cycle that thrives on information, we have no good stuff.

Because LeBron James is on lockdown. He has tightened his inner circle way down — even one-time confidant William Wesley is on the outside now — and nobody has info. Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer explains (via twitter).

At this point, LeBron has tightly closed ranks, only seriously talking about decision with a couple people. Which is why so little info.

Also, can confirm several reports of a rift between Wesley & James camp. Wes was indeed pushing Chicago, I’m told.

But let me say, LeBron & Maverick Carter relaxed & pleasant to stalking media (me). They’re having way more fun than us. Based on several people who have talked to LeBron in last 72 hours, he is giving impression he’s undecided after last week’s meetings.

William Wesley was the ultimate insider, and now he is outside. He was the guy pushing the “trade for Chris Paul now and LeBron will play with him” idea last month. He pushed Chicago. But Wesley benefits if LeBron leaves Cleveland. In Cleveland, Maverick Carter and LeBron’s close friends have a lot of power — power they would not have (or have as much of) in Chicago or Miami or New Jersey or New York. Wesley would still have his power, he could even fill the power void where LeBron’s friends lost out.

But the ultimate insider is outside looking in, too, apparently. And you wonder why the media has so little info.

You could try to read into all this — maybe Cleveland still has the upper hand if it is his close friends who still can whisper in LeBron’s ear. But that is just more speculation. And we’ve all had about enough of that. It’s time for information. And a decision.

How a single computer folder and dogged HR official exposed former Kings executive’s $13.4M embezzlement scheme

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Just how close did Jeff David come to getting away with embezzling $13.4 million from the Kings while working for them? He already secured a new job with the Heat and was in the process of moving from Sacramento to Miami.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

On this Monday, walking through the Davids’ new front door is a dizzying procession of cable guys, utility workers and movers. Amid all of this, Jeff receives a phone call from a former co-worker with the Kings. Her name is Stacy Wegzyn, and she works in HR. Jeff last remembers sitting in her office in Sacramento just months earlier, being told that the Kings were going to eliminate his position. After a few pleasantries, she gets down to business. She tells Jeff she’s been going through his old files, and in doing so she found one labeled “TurboTax” that references an entity called Sacramento Sports Partners.

“I was just curious what that is and if those are documents that should go to somebody else,” Wegzyn says.

It’s a seemingly innocuous inquiry from an HR lifer. But it’s one that will dictate the rest of Jeff David’s life. If he knows that — or senses it — he doesn’t let on.

“No, no, no,” Jeff responds. “That was a … man, this is taking me back. Maybe 2015?”

Wegzyn presses on. She asks Jeff whether the documents contain anything that anyone with the Kings needs to see. Jeff assures her they can trash them because the entity isn’t around anymore. A few minutes after he hangs up, his mother-in-law, Nancy, is standing at the front door when an FBI investigator appears, asking to speak to Jeff.

If you like the NBA or true crime – let alone both – I HIGHLY recommend reading Arnovitz’s full piece. It’s riveting!

Warriors Kevon Looney cleared for on-court basketball work, will return soon

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At least someone on the Warriors is getting healthy.

Big man Kevon Looney, who played opening night and has since been sidelined with a sore hamstring and neuropathy (what the team described as “nerve-related symptoms”), has been cleared to return to on-court basketball activities, the team announced Tuesday. From the official press release:

He will participate in select practice sessions with the Santa Cruz Warriors this week and will re-join the Golden State Warriors over the weekend. We will continue to monitor his progress and will provide another update on his status on Sunday.

Looney has already been officially assigned to Santa Cruz.

This is good news for the Warriors, who have been starting Willie Cauley-Stein but desperately need more shot blocking and depth up front.

Anyone getting healthy is good news for a Warriors team that is 2-12 and has the worst net rating in the NBA (-10.4).

Carmelo Anthony to start first game for Portland, apparently thinks he’s wearing number infinity

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Carmelo Anthony will wear No. 00 with the Trail Blazers.

Why?

Apparently because 00 kind of looks like ∞.

Anthony:

Somewhere, Kyrie Irving is nodding in support.

In terms of numbers that make sense…

Marc J. Spears of ESPN:

That’s a sizable role for a 35-year-old in his first game in more than a year. But Portland needs scoring with Damian Lillard sidelined, and – at last check (though, again, a while ago), Anthony was accustomed to big minutes.

Besides, we all want ample opportunity to see Anthony back on the court after his lengthy absence.

David Fizdale: Knicks owner Jim Dolan gives me ‘vote of confidence’ at every game

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Knicks coach David Fizdale is on thin ice.

New York is 4-10. Knicks president Steve Mills is reportedly laying the groundwork to fire Fizdale. Mills and general manager Scott Perry addressed the media after a recent game and sounded as if they were at least partially blaming Fizdale.

But does Fizdale have a key supporter at the very top of the organization?

Fizdale, via Ian Begley of SNY:

“Every game, every game. Jim Dolan comes in and gives me a vote of confidence, a pat on my back and really has just been incredibly encouraging over the last year and a half or whatever it’s been,” Fizdale said. “All we talk about is just sticking to the process of making these guys better and building for a future of sustainable winning.”

A common synonym for “vote of confidence:” “dreaded vote of confidence.” Just how bad are near-nightly votes of confidence?

This will convince nobody that Fizdale’s job is safe. Someone will likely take the fall if the Knicks’ struggles continue. It might be Fizdale. It might be Mills. But Mills – who preceded and succeeded Phil Jackson in running the front office – knows his way around Madison Square Garden. And even if Mills gets demoted or fired, a new lead executive would likely want his own coach.