Report: LeBron James didn’t buy into Erik Spoelstra until well into second season with Heat

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It’s no secret LeBron James and Erik Spoelstra were not on the same page their first season with the Heat.

Miami started 9-8, and reports swirled about friction between Spoelstra and the players. LeBron bumped Spoelstra while returning to the bench during a timeout, and speculation reached fever pitch.

It seemed Spoelstra might not make it through his first season coaching LeBron.

Sound familiar?

Cavaliers coach David Blatt is dealing with those same type of reports. He’s even getting near-identical quotes from LeBron about the star’s support.

LeBron on Spoelstra in 2010: “This is who we have.”

LeBron on Blatt in 2014: “What other coach do we have?

But LeBron and Spoelstra made it through a rough start and won two championships together. By the time they reached the 2011 NBA Finals, they were all good, right?

Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report:

It took awhile—Heat insiders will say that it took well into the 2011-12 season—but eventually James gained enough confidence in Spoelstra not only to allow Spoelstra to completely coach him, but to start parroting some of Spoelstra’s principles, from a leadership position, to the rest of the team.

If it took well more than a season – with Pat Riley standing up to LeBron in Spoelstra’s defense and Spoelstra proving himself a good coach – for LeBron to come around to Spoelstra, what chance does Blatt have?

There’s no Riley in Cleveland to defend the coach. LeBron wields more power with the Cavaliers than he did in Miami. Could you really see Dan Gilbert standing up to LeBron about supporting Blatt?

And, more importantly, Blatt has not proven himself a good coach. Maybe that’s an unfair expectation for an NBA rookie who’s suddenly coaching a team in the spotlight, one that has a unique collection of stars though not enough fitting role players to produce even a starting shooting guard. But his grace period to learn the ropes won’t last much longer.

LeBron is more mature now, and I’d bet Riley’s insistence on sticking with Spoelstra four years ago taught LeBron something about patience. That lesson likely gets Blatt a longer leash.

But if this provides any perspective on how difficult it is for a coach to gain LeBron’s support, Blatt has a tougher task ahead than we realized.

“Ray Allen from long distance” with chip shot to save par at American Century Classic

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“Ray Allen from long distance, how many times have we said that?”

Ray Allen had a good weekend at the American Century Championships, the former NBA sharpshooter and future Hall of Famer finished third in the celebrity golf event. One of the reasons he was there, this chip shot on 13 Sunday.

Former Cowboy’s quarterback Tony Romo won the event, with former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder was second.

LeBron James sits courtside for Lakers’ Summer League win

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There are two, maybe three guys playing for the Lakers in Summer League likely to be sharing a locker room with LeBron James next season — Isaac Bonga and Josh Hart, with maybe Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and/or Alex Caruso. Only Hart could see the court much.

LeBron was still courtside on Sunday for a quarterfinal game at Summer League, showing his support and being a good teammate. He gave Hart a hug on the court. Brandon Ingram stopped by and talked with LeBron for a bit.

LeBron watched the Lakers continue their strong run through the Summer League, racking up a 101-78 win. LeBron was into it, when Mykhailiuk took a shot midway through the first quarter LeBron yelled, ‘cash only!”  The shot was nothing but net.

The Lakers are on to the Summer League semifinals. Los Angeles won the Vegas Summer League last year.

 

After losing to his father in golf, Stephen Curry leaps into Lake Tahoe

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Golf fanatic Stephen Curry was clearly enjoying himself on the links at the American Century Championship celebrity golf event in Lake Tahoe this past weekend.

But he couldn’t beat his father, Dell.

The price? Curry (and his caddy) had to jump in the lake. Check out the video above.

For the record, Tony Romo won the event.

 

Spurs’ pick Chimezie Metu to miss time with fractured wrist

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Chimezie Metu showed some promise in the Summer League games he played for San Antonio, scoring 12.5 points a game on 55 percent shooting in Las Vegas, and 10.7 per game on 54 percent shooting in Salt Lake City. The second round pick of the Spurs (No. 49 overall) is raw and needs a lot of development, but he can get buckets. The potential is there.

That development is going to be on hold a while, as what was thought to be a sprained wrist has turned out to be a fracture.

From Tom Osborn of the San Antonio Express-News.

After an examination Saturday, the Spurs medical staff downgraded second-round pick Chimezie Metu’s left wrist injury from a sprain to a fracture, a league source said Saturday.

Metu was injured late in the Spurs’ 95-90 win over Washington on July 8 at the Las Vegas Summer League, when he landed awkwardly after leaping to catch a lob pass at the rim. The 6-foot-10 big man finished the game but was sidelined for the remainder of the schedule.

After undergoing X-rays at the Thomas & Mack Center, Metu was diagnosed with a sprain. But Spurs’ team doctors suspected a possible fracture, which was confirmed after Metu returned to San Antonio on Saturday.

Metu should be good to go by training camp. Metu is hoping his summer and training camp play will earn him a roster spot, although the Spurs tend not to sign second-round picks the year they were drafted (they tend to let them spend a year or two in the G-League or in Europe). A lot of his chances on making the roster depend on any other moves the Spurs make this summer and what their roster looks like come the fall.