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.

Dion Waiters shows off slimmed down physique on Instagram

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Suddenly the annual “he lost/gained 15 points and is in the best shape of his life” portion of the NBA summer is upon us.

The Miami Heat are known around the league for having one of the best conditioning programs, guys who go there almost universally get in better shape. Dion Waiters last season seemed to be the exception to the rule. Waiters wasn’t 50-year-old-suburban-dad-with-a-beer-gut out of shape, but coming off an injury where he didn’t get to train like he wanted, Waiters didn’t look like a guy in NBA shape either. Critics lit Waiters up on social media.

Waiters posted his response — he’s been hitting the gym.

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Last year when I came off 1 of the most depressing & frustrating times of my life. Coming off injury & not feeling like myself nor looking like myself I was in a dark place mentally & physically , Because the game I love so much was taken away due to season ending surgery. Now a days with this social media ran world they laughed at me made jokes etc not knowing what I was battling or going through everyday. So instead of me joining the circus I told myself you from (Philly) you’ve been through worst shit in your life than this. So I promise myself I would work my ass off & get back to where I was before the injury. I’m not done yet but I kno somebody in the world prolli needed to hear this. Stay positive block out the outside noise & grind. #Philly🧀 #stayTune

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Good for Waiters.

Let the flood of NBA workout videos and shots of guys with their new physiques begin.

Philly fans will be hoping to see one from Joel Embiid.

Russell Westbrook trade to Houston official, Thunder praise him on way out door

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Whatever their long-term intentions, after Paul George was traded the Oklahoma City Thunder changed focus. General Manager Sam Presti sat down with Russell Westbrook and his agent, talked about the future, what the former MVP wanted, then worked on trading him where he wanted to go.

That was Houston.

The Westbrook to the Rockets trade for Chris Paul — with Oklahoma City picking up two first-round picks and two pick swaps — is now official.

In announcing the trade, the Thunder praised the greatest player in their franchise history on his way out the door.

“Russell Westbrook is the most important player in the brief history of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has left an indelible mark on this team, city and state,” Presti said in a statement. “None of us could have anticipated the player he has become, and we are all deeply proud of what he has contributed to the success of the franchise and to our community. Russell and his wife Nina, their three children, his brother and his parents will always remain part of the Thunder family. We wish them nothing but happiness and success in the future.”

“I have a great deal of respect for Russell and there is no way to adequately describe our appreciation for what he has meant to Oklahomans,” said Thunder Chairman Clayton I. Bennett. “His legacy here is immense, and he will be honored by the team for all he has done. We wish he and Nina and their family all the best. While this era of Thunder basketball now comes to an end, I’m confident our talented team of people will once again position the Thunder for success in the future.”

While Presti and the OKC front office are still working on a CP3 trade, they are entering a rebuilding phase.

The Rockets are banking on Westbrook and James Harden being able to work out any fit issues — and finding a way to defend with both of them on the court — to keep them as title contenders.

Anthony Davis dances around question about re-signing with Lakers

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After the drama around his push to get to Los Angeles, league executives and other sources around the NBA expect Anthony Davis to re-sign with the Lakers on a max contract next summer.

However, Davis has paired up with LeBron James, and rule one of the LeBron contract playbook (and agent Rich Paul’s, too) is to keep the pressure on a franchise. Make the team improve and keep itself in title contention.

So it’s not a surprise that when ESPN’s Rachel Nichols asked Davis about re-signing with the Lakers, he didn’t answer the question directly.

Nichols: You’re only signed through this season. Do you think you will be a pillar of the Lakers for years and years to come?

Davis: Honestly, Rachel, I’m just focused on this season. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I have one year here, so I’m going make the best of this year. And when that time comes around in the summer or, you know, whenever the season’s over — hopefully, around, you know, mid-June, after we just had a parade, and I need a couple days to think — then we can talk about that. But until then, I’m trying to do whatever I can to help this team win this year.”

That a well-handled scripted answer hitting all the talking points.

After the NBA summer we have just gone through (and continue to see with Chris Paul), nobody sane will say Davis would never leave the Lakers after one season. Cut to Kevin Garnett screaming “Anything Is Possible.”

However, he came to the Lakers to win rings (now and in the future), to take over as the face of the franchise when LeBron steps away in a few years, to get the kind of recognition and endorsements he felt were not coming his way in New Orleans, and ultimately to have his jersey up in the rafters with Wilt and Kareem and Shaq. That’s the plan. Which means AD will re-sign with the Lakers next summer.

He’s just not going to say that right now.

Kendrick Perkins: ‘Pelicans better lock Zion in the House’ because of great New Orleans food

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Zion Williamson‘s weight became a discussion point during Summer League.

The general consensus going into the draft was that Williamson would ultimately want to play a little lighter in the NBA than he did in college (but without losing his strength). Since then Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski came out and said the No. 1 pick was not in Summer League shape and should not have played. Some broadcast analysts said he looked heavy. In the hallways and behind-the-basket defacto meeting space of Summer League there was a lot of talk among league watchers about the Pelicans needing to get Zion with their trainers and dietitians to prepare him for the 82 game grind.

Kendrick Perkins warns that’s not going to be all that easy in the Big Easy.

As a wannabe foodie, let me just say that Perkins is spot on about the food in New Orleans. It may be my favorite food city in America, it is home to the ultimate comfort foods, and the portions are not small. From muffulettas to gumbo to po’ boys to fried every-kind-of-protein-you-can-name, New Orleans cuisine is both undeniably delicious and not the foundation of a healthy diet.

It’s going to take some discipline from Williamson, who also can afford his own chef now to keep the meals at home healthy and tasty. Then gumbo can be a splurge-day treat.