Maverick Carter: Playing in Los Angeles wouldn’t matter much for LeBron, winning does

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So, LeBron James to the Lakers?

That rumor persists for numerous reasons, including that large-market Los Angeles could help LeBron earn far more than he does with the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

But does it actually matter where LeBron plays?

LeBron’s manager Maverick Carter on The Rich Eisen Show:

These days, it doesn’t matter anymore. Think about it now. The Lakers and the Knicks have been bad – the Knicks for a very long time the Lakers for, I don’t know, since Kobe kind of aged out of being the best player or one of the best players in the league. And basketball is growing and doing as great as ever with teams in Oklahoma City, in Cleveland. These days, it doesn’t matter, because you can be known and be a star from anywhere – anywhere in the world. So, it doesn’t actually matter. I mean, could he sell a few more sneakers if he was in a gigantic market like Boston or Chicago or New York or L.A.? Maybe. But not as much as if he wins. What matters the most is if he wins. When you win, as an athlete, that matters the most.

What about LeBron’s forays into the entertainment industry. Wouldn’t playing Los Angeles help with those? Carter:

I understand people keep saying that and thinking that. But the reason it doesn’t make sense is because, if he does play in L.A. or he plays on the moon, he can only shoot movies for three months. It doesn’t matter. Even if he played in L.A. and wanted to be in a movie, he can’t shoot from basically September to June.

He could at least take more off-day meetings for his production company while playing in Los Angeles, right? Carter:

He also could do that, these days, from anywhere in the world, A. And, B, we’re doing fine without him living here and playing here. He has a home here in the offseason. He lives in L.A. in the offseason. Our company, we have 10 shows in deals. We have two shows with Netflix, a show with HBO. And none of them are starring him. He’s just the E.P. on them running the company, as the founder of the company with me. So, the company doesn’t need him to be here. And if he wants to act in movies, it doesn’t matter, because he only gets three months a year to do it anyway, no matter where he plays. And being your question about a meeting: He’s LeBron, Rich. People will go where he is. It actually works. If LeBron says, “I want to have a meeting” or someone wants to meet. And he’s like, “I’m in Detroit, and it’s 10 below,” people go, “Ah, we’ve got coats. We’ll be there.” People go where LeBron is. I’m just telling you.

LeBron to Detroit, confirmed.

Obviously, LeBron won’t actually sign with the Pistons next summer. (I think.) But we’re starving for clues about his free agency, and Carter just provided a ton. Read between the lines however you please, but if I were the Lakers or Clippers, I wouldn’t be encouraged by these comments.

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.