LeBron James says his wife’s and mom’s initial reaction to returning to Cleveland: ‘F— that’

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Two days before LeBron James announced he’d sign with the Cavaliers in 2014, a report emerged that his entire inner circle wanted him to return to Cleveland.

If that were true, it apparently took some convincing.

LeBron, via ESPN:

When I decided to go back to Cleveland, I had to decide – because our owner at the time when I left decided to put out this f—ing article that we all know about, where he completely bashed me and disrespected, not only me as an individual, but disrespected my name. And my name is not just myself. It’s my wife. It’s my kids, my grandfather. You know what I’m saying? My mother, so many more people.

So for me, when I decided to go back, and I talked to Mav, Rich and Randy and everybody, and I had to let them know cause some people was on the fence. Even my wife was like – my momma and my wife was like, “F— that. I ain’t with that.” My mom was definitely like, “F— that. We ain’t going back.”

And for me, it was more, I had to finally just be like, “You know what, mom? It ain’t really about that. Me going back is more of this. It’s more of a bigger picture, and it’s more of a all these kids, all these people that need inspiration and need a way to get out. And I believe I’m that way out.” So, I had to be like – as much as my mom means everything to me, and my wife means everything to me, my kids.

My mom, she was so like, “Listen, you go back. I ain’t going back with you.” She was like, “I’m staying in Miami or I’m going somewhere else. You send me somewhere else.”

I had to be like, “Let’s not worry about the small s—. Let’s worry about us trying to build something that’s bigger than our name.”

It still stuns me LeBron and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert put aside their issues, but it’s to their credit. LeBron got an owner willing to spend, and Gilbert got the best player in the world back on his team. Their arrangement produced a championship, and back in Cleveland, LeBron has made an incredible impact in the community.

I do wonder whether LeBron’s wife and mother, Savannah James and Gloria James, have changed their attitudes or whether they and LeBron are just adults who’ve agreed to disagree and have moved forward without deeply personal public attacks.

Allen Iverson: “No way Melo should retire… he got a lot left in the tank, man”

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Carmelo Anthony is in limbo now. He’s not with the Rockets, not suiting up for games or playing, but he’s still on the roster. Houston has yet to waive him because they and his agent have not yet found a landing spot for him — other teams don’t want to get into the Carmelo Anthony business right now. Maybe that changes as injuries come and rosters shift, but right now there are no takers.

It has led Tracy McGrady and others to suggest Anthony retire.

Allen Iverson disagrees, speaking to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Iverson is right, Anthony needs to be in the right situation. I’m just not sure what that is.

Anthony, like all great athletes, wants to leave the game on his own terms. The challenge is he is no longer a top two or three player on a good team, yet he feels entitled to be put in that role (or, at least, be treated like one of those guys). ‘Melo came off the bench in Houston but didn’t like it. The problem is that’s where his game is at that point — he’s a bench role player who can get some buckets but hurts the team defensively. That limits when he can be put on the court, especially in the playoffs. Can he accept that spot on a team?

Eventually, a team is going to give Anthony a chance, and I hope that works out. I would like ‘Melo to leave the game with us remembering him as the Hall of Fame player and elite scorer that he was, not like this.

 

Jimmy Butler: “So much more fun to play with these guys”

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Jimmy Butler is in Philadelphia now, but he is not done throwing shade at his former teammates in Minnesota.

Butler had 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting, including the game-clinching layup, as the 76ers beat the Jazz 113-107 Friday night. After the game, he got the walk-off interview with Serena Winters and took a dig at his former Minnesota teammates.

“It’s so fun to win. So much more fun to play with these guys… Everybody wants to win, and when somebody messes up, you talk to them and they do their job.”

Part of Butler’s issues with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins was he felt they didn’t want to win badly enough, that they didn’t measure up to his level of passion. Butler is still in the honeymoon phase with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and the Sixers, but so far he likes the intensity so far and is happy to make a note of the difference.

By the way, they’re happy in Minnesota without him — the Timberwolves are 3-0 since the trade, Karl-Anthony Towns is back to playing like his All-NBA self, and he says the communication is better now and guys are taking responsibility.

 

Pelicans Elfrid Payton returns, starts, injured again

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) —The New Orleans Pelicans say point guard Elfrid Payton has a fractured finger on his left hand.

Payton injured his finger in the first quarter of his first game back on Friday night after he’d missed New Orleans’ nine previous games with a right ankle sprain.

Soon after, Payton was ruled out for the remainder of the game against the New York Knicks.

Acquired as a free agent this past offseason, Payton has played in six games for New Orleans. He entered Friday night’s games with averages 11.6 points and 6.4 assists through his first five games, but did not have a point or assist in eight minutes against New York before his latest injury.

 

Kyrie Irving scores 43, Celtics beat Raptors 123-116 in OT

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BOSTON (AP) — Kyrie Irving had 11 straight Boston points down the stretch and scored 17 in all in the last 8:06 of the fourth quarter.

Then in overtime, he really turned it on.

The Celtics guard made or assisted on every basket in the extra period, finishing with 11 assists and a season-high 43 points on Friday night to lead Boston to a 123-116 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

“Man, he made some shots tonight where you’re just like, `Wow,”‘ forward Gordon Hayward said. “You catch yourself being a fan. When he gets into that mode, the whole arena knew where we were going, and so did the Raptors. They just couldn’t stop him.”

It was the first time Irving has scored at least 40 points with 10 or more assists in a game. He was the first player do it in the NBA this year, and the first Celtics player since Antoine Walker in 2001.

“Kyrie did a great job in the fourth quarter knocking down shots,” said Kawhi Leonard, who scored 31 points and had a season-high 15 rebounds for Toronto. “We fought hard tonight, they played a better game and we’ve just got to keep playing better.”

Jayson Tatum had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Celtics, who evened the season series at one game apiece against the only team to finish above them in the Eastern Conference last season. The home team has won nine straight matchups.

Serge Ibaka scored 21 and Pascal Siakam had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors, who have lost three straight since opening the season with 12 victories in their first 13 games. Toronto never led in overtime.

“It was just a veteran game out there, just great competition for a Friday night in the NBA,” Irving said. “You’ve got to appreciate that, two great teams going at it. And I’m pretty sure we’ll see them down the road.”