LeBron James proposes to longtime girlfriend Savannah, who accepts

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2012 seems awfully different from 2011 for LeBron James. He’s entered this season different in a lot of ways. There’s less arrogance. He and Wade are no longer taking questions at a podium after every regular season game. He’s no longer fixated on the negative forces wishing him ill will for “The Decision,” which he has openly admitted to regretting. He’s working in the post more, he’s working as a distributor more, he’s making smarter plays and playing harder. And on Saturday night, he made some changes to his personal life, too.

Word spread like wildfire Monday morning that James had proposed to his long-time girlfiriend Savannah Brinson Saturday night at a lavish birthday party for James a day after turned 27. Chris Paul and Heat owner Micky Arison both tweeted their congratulations.

 

Happy for my brother @KingJames and sis @SavannahRB on their engagement!!! Extremely happy for them and the good times to come #HappyNewYearSun Jan 01 06:06:50 via UberSocial for BlackBerry

 

 

Congrats to Lebron. @KingJames and Savannah so happy 4 u guys.Sun Jan 01 06:07:30 via UberSocial for BlackBerry

 

So that’s about as official as it gets.

I’m going to pause and let you get all the jokes about how this is the only way LeBron gets a ring, and about how Savannah should be worried he disappears at the altar, and all that out of the way. I know you have a lot of them, just get them out of your system.

There will be a lot of talk about how this coincided with Kobe Bryant getting divorced. But there’s absolutely no reason to compare the two. Outside of the obvious differences (Kobe was much younger when he was married, James deliberately waited a very long time even after having two sons — who his very much involved with as a father — with Brinson), there’s this. Every relationship is different, every relationship is complicated, and every relationship is none of our damn business. These things are news, now, and that’s fine, here’s your post on it, we hope the couple has a long and happy life together. But beyond everyone’s favorite pastime of sniping at James, he’s an actual human being, and no matter how arrogant he may come across as, no one deserves to have as happy moment as the day you propose to someone you love be sullied by jokes and mean-spirited garbage. These things matter, yes, even more so than a ring for Cleveland or Miami or anyone else.

It’s a sign that James may be maturing, along with other telltale signs, but the truth is we don’t know. We’ve never known LeBron James and we probably never will.

But seriously, how big do you think the rock is?

Rumor: Patrick Beverley may meet with five teams before Clippers

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The Los Angeles Clippers want to bring Patrick Beverley back next season, his spark was at the heart of why this team made the playoffs and impressed with their potential.

First, however, the Clippers are going big game hunting for the likes of Kawhi Leonard and/or Kevin Durant (even with the Achilles injury). Beverley isn’t just going to sit around and wait for them, reports longtime NBA reporter Sean Deveney Tweeted.

The Bulls need a point guard and Beverley — a Chicago native — has said he is interested.

The Lakers also are reportedly big game hunting, but Beverley is the kind of guard they could use around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Phoenix and other teams have been mentioned.

Beverley is going to have options, but he loved his time with the Clippers last season, and that means something.

Pelicans reportedly pick up option year on coach Alvin Gentry

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David Griffin, the guy with the hammer in New Orleans, likes Alvin Gentry. They have a relationship that goes back to Phoenix, where Gentry was the coach and Griffin was in the front office (and was eventually GM).

Gentry also has a style of play — he wants to run and be up-tempo. That should fit very well with soon-to-be No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise the Griffin and the Pelicans want to keep Gentry around, as reported by Malika Andrews of ESPN.

This is another smart, stabilizing move by Griffin. The Pelicans want to build an athletic, fast-paced team and Gentry is the right coach for that style.  Maybe it doesn’t pan out, maybe the Pelicans ultimately need to go another direction with their coach, but right now this seems a good fit.

Report: Utah “frontrunner” to land Mike Conley Jr. if Memphis trades him this week

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Utah feels like it is close — a 50-win team two seasons in a row, an elite defense, an All-NBA center in Rudy Gobert and an elite shot creator in Donovan Michell. They look at the West next season, with a depleted Warriors team, and see an opening.

Yet when Utah fell to Houston 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs this year, it was reminded of what is keeping the team from being truly elite, and another shot creator and shooter is at the top of that list.

Enter Mike Conley Jr. He averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 assists per game last season, shot 36.4 percent from three, and plays strong defense. Conley would be an upgrade over Ricky Rubio at the spot.

The almost All-Star point guard out of Memphis is available via trade. He’s the kind of veteran floor general, shooter, and shot creator Utah could use. The Jazz and Grizzlies talked but couldn’t come to an agreement at the trade deadline, but the sides are talking again and conversations are “intensifying” in the run-up to the NBA Draft Thursday, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Grizzlies are intensifying talks to potentially move franchise cornerstone Mike Conley Jr., league sources told The Athletic. Memphis has been in conversations with the Jazz and Utah is a frontrunner to acquire Conley should the Grizzlies trade the point guard during draft week, league sources said.

What would be in a trade package? Certainly the No. 23 pick in this draft, plus some young players the Grizzlies like (maybe Grayson Allen, Royce O’Neal, and even someone like Jae Crowder. Reports say Derick Favors is not part of the discussion.

While anything can happen the week of the draft — and things change quickly — don’t be surprised if some version of this trade gets done.

Kawhi Leonard wins day with last laugh — his viral laugh — at end of speech

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Kawhi Leonard just won again.

He won his second NBA title leading the Toronto Raptors to the franchise’s first crown. He earned his second Finals MVP in the process.

Then on Monday he had the last laugh and won the Raptors’ championship parade in Toronto by ending his speech with his laugh, the same one that went viral at the start of the season.

Of course, what Leonard will do on July 1 was a cloud hanging over the parade, Leonard is a free agent this summer. Kyle Lowry at one point started a “five more years” chant during the parade, which is the maximum number of years Toronto can re-sign Leonard for.

Leonard, exactly as we all should have expected, dodged the question, while praising his time in Toronto.

Unfortunately, this was a parade marred by more serious concerns.