LeBron James and Kevin Love are not best friends. LeBron is reportedly frustrated with Love not fitting in. Love wasn’t in LeBron’s Instagram photo. Love wants touches in better spots and is not comfortable in the offense. Love said Russell Westbrook should be the MVP, not his teammate LeBron. Everyday there seems to be a new headline.
So Love and LeBron have a problem, right?
The latest person to say this is no big deal is Kendrick Perkins, who came to the Cavaliers after the Jazz traded for him then bought him out. Perkins has a ring from Boston and spoke about the Cavs dynamic with Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
“What people don’t understand is that this is not a place that requires you to be best friends,” Perkins told CBSSports.com before the Cleveland Cavaliers practiced at Baruch College on Thursday. “I think sometimes people don’t realize that this is work for us. So when you go to work every day, that doesn’t mean your co-worker has to be your best friend. This is our job. You don’t have to be best friends to come out here and work together…”
“I turn on ESPN and I see, ‘No Love for K-Love,’ or something like that, and it’s kind of silly to me,” Perkins said. “I haven’t seen anything to the point that it’s drama. … I don’t think Ray and KG were best buddies in Boston. I was best friends with Rondo. I hung out with KG a little bit, but I wasn’t best friends with him.”
Perkins is right, Love and LeBron don’t need to be BFFs to win together. Shaq and Kobe did just fine together, to use the easy example — and those two fought in a way Love and LeBron do not, according to Perkins.
However, those guys had chemistry — LeBron and Love need to develop a more consistent chemistry on the court. There need to be more sacrifices on both sides. Ideally that comes with time. Love is going to be a Cavalier next season (if he leaves it will be in the summer of 2016) so there is time for them to figure this out.
It also helps to rack up some wins — which the Cavaliers have racked up since the All-Star break. And they will rack up more come the playoffs.
With those wins will come all the friendship the Cavaliers will need.
Quin Snyder has evolved into one of the best coaches in the NBA (and my pick to win Coach of the Year this season). He’s built a development program and system in Utah that has turned Rudy Gobert into a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Donovan Mitchell into the face of a franchise, and Joe Ingles into a guy other teams covet. His players like and respect Snyder, and he has worked well with the front office of Dennis Lindsey and Justin Zanik.
So the Jazz are locking him up with a contract extension beyond the two seasons remaining on his deal. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news.
Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder has agreed to a long-term contract extension, league sources tell ESPN. Snyder had two years left on his deal, and a new contract extends multiple years beyond that term, sources said.
After upgrading the team’s talent base over the summer, locking Snyder into an extension had been a top organizational priority.
Jazz fans should be ecstatic about this.
Snyder has built a system team in Utah, one that moves the ball beautifully on offense, and that has been tough to defend in the regular season, with the Jazz winning 50 games last season. Utah has made it to the second round of the playoffs the past two seasons, but when the level of play made that leap a lot of the system gets taken away by good defenses, and the Utah offense became Donovan Mitchell against the world. It didn’t work, Mitchell (still just 22) wasn’t fully ready and there was not enough shooting around him.
This past summer, the Jazz added Mike Conley at point guard and Bojan Bogdanovic on the wing, two excellent shooters who also can create off the dribble. Expectations are high in Utah.
Whatever happens, Snyder is their coach now for a long time.
Milwaukee was up 2-0 in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals on Toronto, having won those games by an average of 15 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo had scored 54 points, pulled down 31 rebounds, dished out 11 assists, and was looking every bit the MVP.
Then the games shifted to Toronto, Kawhi Leonard took over — including guarding Antetokounmpo more — and the Raptors rattled off four straight wins to take the series on their way to the NBA title. The Greek Freak still averaged 20.4 points a night in those final four games, but the buckets were much harder to come by.
Milwaukee returns this season as the Eastern Conference favorites and legit title contenders, in part because of what they learned from that loss. Antetokounmpo told Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports he learned a lot directly from Leonard in that series.
“I learned a lot from him,” Antetokounmpo said. “He knocked down free throws. He was calm. When double-teams came, he was swinging the ball but getting it right back. He was aggressive. He was calm but he was on a mission.”
Leonard is the living embodiment of the old John Wooden axiom “be quick, don’t hurry.” He’s not rushed, he’s rarely forced into shots he doesn’t want to take or plays he doesn’t want to make. That’s true of all champions on some level. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan all bring an inner calm.
If Antetokounmpo brings that to his game, the Bucks are one big step closer to a title.
The Indiana Pacers have started to explore the trade market for Domantas Sabonis. There are logical reasons for this: Sabonis is good (he was second in Sixth Man of the Year voting last season), yet he and the Pacers are nowhere near agreement on a contract extension, and the Pacers already paid big money for Myles Turner to be their center, how much do they want to pay Sabonis, too?
That’s sound logic if you’re in the Pacers’ front office.
If you’re Sabonis, it can feel like a slap in the face to a guy who put in a lot of sweat and passion for the franchise. That’s what Sabonis sounded like in this quote, via Scott Agnes of The Athletic.
The Pacers are not talking about the report, which started with the well connected and reliable Sam Amick at The Athletic.
Pacers’ brass needs to talk about this with Sabonis (and likely already have, behind closed doors). If the Pacers trade him, it’s likely not until after Dec. 15 at the earliest (when most players signed this summer can be included in a deal) and probably closer to the February trade deadline. That’s a lot of season to play out, and Sabonis remains a vital part of the Indiana rotation.
There is likely to be a lot of interest in Sabonis on the market. However, because he’s a center (a position teams are careful not to overspend on in today’s market) and in the last year of his rookie deal — meaning he becomes a restricted free agent next summer and gets more expensive — teams are not going to overpay for him. Right now the Pacers are asking for too much and interested teams are lowballing their offers. The sides will meet in the middle.
That middle could shift if Sabonis has a rough start to the season. Both sides need him to play well and feel comfortable, whatever is going on with the business side of his contract.