Report: Mutual interest between Heat, Greg Oden

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This summer, the Miami Heat need to get bigger. The Indiana Pacers are not going to shrink in the offseason and the Bulls’ size is one of the issues Miami has trouble with (and they get Derrick Rose back).

The Heat would like to bring back Chris Anderson, plus they might go after free agent bigs such as Samuel Dalambert and Jermaine O’Neal, all guys they could get inexpensively.

The Heat also have interest in Greg Oden — and he likes them, too reports Chris Tomasson at Fox Sports Florida.

Oden’s agent, Mike Conley, told FOX Sports Florida by phone Friday that the free-agent center remains very interested in signing with the Heat this summer and the feeling is mutual. Conley expects to talk with Heat president Pat Riley when free agency begins July 1 about the 7-foot Oden, the 2007 No. 1 draft pick who hasn’t played in the NBA since December 2009 due to knee problems.

“The Heat need some size, that’s not a secret,” Conley said. “Whether it’s in a backup role or whatever, he could help them. I know they’re interested in him and he’s interested in them.”

Oden, the former No. 1 overall pick, has had seven knee surgeries including three microfracture surgeries all before age 25. He hasn’t stepped on an NBA court since December 2009. So, there’s a couple red flags there.

However, since the last surgery he has been following the rehab routine and working out to get in shape, all in hopes of an NBA comeback. He’s not going to live up to the promise he showed coming out of college, but maybe he could become a solid backup giving 10-15 minutes a night. Maybe.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are still considered the favorites to land Oden (he has been working out and taking classes at The Ohio State University). But the Heat would certainly have a role for him. There is a natural fit. And as a 25 year old, there are certain perks to living in South Beach.

We’ll see if this comes together. Oden likely lands somewhere with a non-guaranteed deal, but teams will look around at other free agents before making a move.

Scottie Pippen on LeBron James, Michael Jordan: “It’s not a fair comparison”

AP
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The battle has, stupidly, raged on between supporters of Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Both sides seem to believe their preference is irrefutably the choice for the best player in NBA history.

And because they did not play in the same era, the question will never be answered. No doubt in 50 years they will write columns about Jordan vs. LeBron, just like their fathers, and their father’s fathers before them.

James has certainly seemed to take a bit of a leap in the eyes of the NBA community this season, likely because of his wonderful performance at age 33. He’s also single-handedly won two playoff series this year. It’s been incredible.

But LeBron rising above Jordan has also brought out some more reasonable takes. Former Chicago Bulls legend and Jordan running mate Scottie Pippen spoke up recently about the debate, giving a measured analysis that I think is pretty strong.

In short, Pippen basically said you can’t compare the two because of the eras, the style, and the fact they just don’t play the same position (if LeBron even has a position, that is).

Via Twitter:

That sounds right to me.

Cavaliers’ Kendrick Perkins not into “all that new stuff” like Chewbacca

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Chewbacca was at Game 3 in Cleveland Saturday. Sitting courtside.

Why? Because growing up on Kashyyyk he played a little hoop and admires LeBron James‘ skill? Because Drake gave him the tickets? Maybe. I mean, it’s not like that was just a clever little publicity stunt for a movie.

After the Cavaliers’ win, Kevin Love decided to make a little joke of it with noted humorist Kendrick Perkins, and it went over as well as expected (with Dave McMenamin of ESPN catching it).

That’s vintage Perkins.

Celtics’ Terry Rozier on Game 3: “We needed to get our butts whooped”

Associated Press
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Cleveland dominated Game 3 Saturday night. They played harder, to start. The Cavaliers’ defensive pressure on the ball was better, they were sharper rotating out to shooters and covering passing lanes. Cleveland’s role players stepped up and helped LeBron James.

Boston, meanwhile, wilted in the face of that pressure Saturday, something it has done a few times on the road these playoffs. The Celtics got away from the things that got them to the Eastern Conference Finals. Guard Terry Rozier put it more bluntly, via A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston:

“I feel like we needed this (loss) to get us back … to get us ready for Monday,” Rozier said.

Rozier later added, “We needed to get our butts whipped. Come back to reality and take care of business on Monday.”

Cleveland is a championship team — from LeBron James on down through the core guys, they all have rings. They have been down before, and heading home it was expected they would play with force. Cleveland’s back was against the wall and they responded.

From the Celtics’ perspective, they also got a little too fat and happy and were not ready for what the Cavaliers came with in Game 3.

Now the pressure is on Boston to push back, to get back to their level of execution and do it under pressure. Make the Cavaliers prove the improved defensive effort was not a one-off game. The Celtics must move the ball and play with some pace, then see if the Cavaliers can keep it together in the face of crisp play.

When this series heads back to Boston Wednesday, it will either see the Celtics in control up 3-1, or the series will be a best of three (with the Cavs still having to figure out if they can win on the road). At home, the Cavaliers are going to play with force again and have some depth. We’ll see if Game 3 was enough of a wakeup call for Boston.

PBT Extra: Can Rockets take Game 2 energy, execution on the road?

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Houston found its blueprint to beating Golden State in Game 2: Strong defensive pressure on the ball, quick switches and communication on defense, getting out in transition when possible, and starting sets earlier in the shot clock and attacking downhill with James Harden and Chris Paul.

Now can they do that on the road? Against a more focused and sharper Warriors’ team?

That will be the question in the next two games of the Western Conference Finals, and it’s what I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.