Twists and turns as police investigate LeBron James pendant case

76 Comments

LeBron_stares.jpgUPDATE 7/17 10:34 am: So maybe our innocent heroine is not so innocent.

Vaneisha Robinson, the woman who said she bought the pendant at a garage sale four years ago, is now a suspect in the case for receiving stolen property. Her story always had one big question mark: Someone really sold a $10,000 pendant at a garage sale for $5? Let’s assume for a second that someone did steal this, they would have some idea it was valuable, right? They wouldn’t just pawn it off for $5.

This does not excuse the awkward handling of the situation by Carter and his mother. But it sounds like nobody is really innocent in this case.

7/16 9:25 am: Maverick Carter is LeBron James right hand man. He helped convince LeBron that “The Decision” was a good marketing idea. He’s LeBron’s close friend, the CEO of LeBron’s marketing company, LRMR.

He’s in the middle of a police investigation for harassing a woman over the sale of a pendant. He’s on quite the roll of good decisions.

Four years ago, Vaneisha Robinson bought a pendant for $5 at a garage sale in the Cleveland area. The pendant shaped like a LeBron James jersey and encrusted with jewels saying “King 23” on it, according to WEWS news out of Cleveland. Because she paid $5 she assumed it was costume jewelry.

Until she had it appraised recently and found out the diamonds and other jewels were real, and it was worth about $10,000. So she put it up for sale on eBay, and WEWS did a cute little story on it.

Wednesday, Robinson got a call from Katherine L. Powers, Maverick Carter’s mother.

“[Powers] said that LeBron James was at her house and they wanted me to come over there. They were going to make me an offer that I couldn’t refuse,” Robinson said.

It turned out the one-of-a-kind pendant belongs to Carter, who claims it was stolen. Robinson said she and her mother went to the Wadsworth house Carter shares with his mother, believing James was going to buy the pendant and give it back to Carter.

“When I got there, LeBron James was not there. It was about eight or nine other people there,” Robinson said. “They pretty much accused me, they threatened me and they used their authority to they (sic) best ability to get the pendant in their possession…

“They blocked (Robinson’s mother’s) truck in the driveway. They told us that we weren’t going anywhere until they got that pendant. I was scared for my life,” she said

Police were called out, and when they got there everyone was gone and Powers had the pendant.

Robinson is now taking the whole thing to court and the police are investigating.

Have fun with the circus, Miami.

Likely No. 1 pick Zion Williamson leaves Duke-North Carolina game with knee injury

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Zion Williamson will probably be the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

He’s a generationally good prospect. The rest of this draft also looks relatively weak.

In fact, Williamson has such a stranglehold on the top pick, some have suggested he sit out the rest of his freshman season.

His injury during Duke’s game against North Carolina tonight will only heighten those calls.

Duke:

Hopefully, Williamson is OK.

And hopefully, the system changes. The NCAA is a cartel in which schools conspire to cap compensation for athletes at a scholarship plus some expenses. In a free market, Williamson would earn far more.

Unfortunately, it probably can’t be both. If Williamson escapes this without major injury, the status quo will likely endure.

But, if this injury even allows him to play again this season, it might be a warning shot that causes him to sit until he can enter the NBA draft.

Again, I hope he’s healthy enough to make that decision for himself.

Jayson Tatum guarantees Celtics will win 2019 NBA championship

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
3 Comments

Friday morning, Jayson Tatum guaranteed the U.S. team would beat the World team in the Rising Stars game that night. The U.S. team won.

So, Tatum was asked Saturday morning whether he wanted to guarantee anything for that night. He guaranteed he’d win the Skills Challenge. He won.

So, then ESPN’s Rachel Nichols asked Tatum whether he wants to guarantee anything else. And he really let it ride.

Tatum:

We’re going to win the Finals this year. February 16th, mark it. Jayson Tatum says we’re going to win the Finals this year.

Obviously, Tatum wasn’t going to pick against Boston. But this wasn’t that. He could have easily avoided such a grand proclamation.

Instead, even if he were just caught up in the emotion of an All-Star Saturday Night victory and taking the interview especially seriously, Tatum put a little more attention and pressure on the Celtics.

I’m not convinced that’s what this team needs.

Kristaps Porzingis reportedly gave Knicks wish list of trade destinations: Nets, Clippers, Heat, Raptors

Elsa/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Kristaps Porzingis will sign long-term with Dallas this summer, and Porzingis he was on the same page.

But he will be a free agent. Restricted, but a free agent, nonetheless.

Porzingis’ exit from the Knicks provided a clue about where he’d want to go if he explores leaving the Mavericks.

Marc Stein of The New York Times in his newsletter:

The four teams Porzingis had on his wish list of trade destinations were the Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors, according to two people with knowledge of the list who were not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Porzingis had little leverage to get to any of these teams. Because he’ll be a restricted free agent, the Knicks or any team acquiring him would retain immense team control over him.

The Nets and Clippers project to have cap space this summer. The Heat and Raptors don’t.

But even if Porzingis signs an offer sheet elsewhere, Dallas will will likely match it.

Still, Porzingis will become an unrestricted free agent someday – 2020 in the unlikely event he accepts his qualifying offer or a future year if he signs a multi-year deal this summer. It’s probably best to file away this list until then.

Kyrie Irving on video with Kevin Durant: ‘Me and one of my best friends talking’

1 Comment

The Knicks opened double-max cap space for next summer. Kevin Durant‘s company is moving to a new office in New York. Kyrie Irving backed away from his commitment to re-sign with the Celtics.

Plenty of people were already connecting dots when this video emerged of Durant and Irving talking at the All-Star game (in which, not for nothing, they jelled).

Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops:

Irving, via MassLive (warning: language in the above video):

It’s just crazy. This is the stuff that just doesn’t make the league fun. It doesn’t make the league fun. Nobody helps promote the league even more by doing bulls— like that, of just putting fictitious things on what we’re talking about. It’s crazy.

It’s a video of me and one of my best friends talking. And then it turns out to be a dissection of a free agency meeting? Do you get that? Like, do you get that? And then I’m asked questions about it? That’s what disconnects me from all that s—.

That wasn’t a denial.

Still, it’s hard to believe Durant and Irving really discussed free agency in a hallway with so many people passing. There are far more discreet places to have that conversation.

Like a restaurant in Miami where they were spotted together:

I understand Irving’s exasperation with this, just as I understood Durant’s testiness over constant speculation. They should be allowed to spend time together as friends without it turning into a bigger deal.

But there is immense interest in where they play next year. People will continue to search for clues – some that prove insignificant, some that might prove significant – about the stars’ futures.

So, I’m at least glad Irving addressed this. It’s going to get discussed either way. Better for him to enter his perspective into the conversation.