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Report: Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert believes he can build championship team without LeBron James

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Update: Windhorst:

 

In his infamous letter published shortly after LeBron James left Cleveland in 2010, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wrote:

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”

Of course, Gilbert was wrong. LeBron led the Heat to titles in 2012 and 2013. The Cavs won in 2016 – only after LeBron returned.

With LeBron again looking like he might leavebecause of Gilbert, no less – Gilbert apparently hasn’t lost his confidence.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Dan Gilbert believes that he can build a championship team without LeBron, and I think he is looking forward to trying. I don’t think he necessarily wants it to be next year, but I think Dan Gilbert would like to make a run of it.

This isn’t surprising. Billionaires tend to hold extreme self-confidence, even when succeeding in only one field.

Gilbert is a tremendous businessman. Does that mean he can assemble a championship basketball team without LeBron? Probably not.

In the 12 full seasons since he bought the Cavaliers, they’ve succeeded with LeBron and failed miserably without him:

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Gilbert’s desire to have the last laugh is evident in Cleveland keeping the Nets pick instead of flipping it for a player who could help them compete this season – which might have convinced LeBron to stay. The Cavs chose to hedge and be better prepared for a post-LeBron world.

They won’t necessarily dive into competing immediately if LeBron leaves. Kevin Love isn’t good enough to lead a championship team, and the Cavaliers are too capped out to add help. They’d probably trim payroll and escape the luxury tax for a bit.

And maybe they get lucky and win the lottery nearly every year.

But even if that happens – again! – I still wouldn’t trust Gilbert to build a title team.

Heat: Justise Winslow out at least two more weeks

Justise Winslow
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MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Heat say Justise Winslow will miss at least two more weeks while recovering from a back injury.

Winslow has played only once since Dec. 4 and is slated to be out for at least the remainder of January. The team originally called Winslow’s injury a back strain, then updated the diagnosis to a bone bruise.

Winslow played off the bench in Miami’s win at Indiana on Jan. 8. The team said the back problems reappeared after that game. He has not played since.

Friday’s game in Oklahoma City is Miami’s 41st of the season and the 30th that Winslow has missed. He’s averaging 11.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists for the Heat this season.

Kevin Huerter’s 3-pointer gives Hawks first win in San Antonio in his lifetime (video)

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The Hawks beat the Spurs in San Antonio on Feb. 15, 1997.

The next year, Kevin Huerter was born.

Atlanta’s next win in San Antonio came Friday, when Huerter hit the game-winning 3-pointer in a 121-120 win.

The Hawks’ losing streak in San Antonio spanned Tim Duncan’s entire lengthy career – and continued a few seasons beyond that. The only reprieve came during the lockout-shortened 1999 season, when Atlanta didn’t visit San Antonio. So, the skid lasted 21 games.

Buddy Hield on Kings getting booed at home: ‘That’s how Sacramento fans are’

Kings guard Buddy Hield
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Buddy Hield is quite familiar with frustration amid the Kings’ disappointing season.

Sacramento fans showed theirs Wednesday, booing the Kings during their home loss to the Mavericks.

Buddy Hield, via James Ham of NBC Sports California:

“Everybody is frustrated, it’s not even them, we’re trying to figure it out too,” Buddy Hield said following the loss. “But it’s the home team and we get booed…we don’t agree with it, but they’re going to voice their opinion.

“I understand their frustration, but like I said, I’m going to keep shooting the ball,” Hield continued. “When I make a three they like me, when I don’t, they hate you. That’s how Sacramento fans are, man, so you’ve got to embrace it.”

Hield seemingly isn’t looking to pick a fight with fans. He made a point to empathize with their frustration.

But I don’t think he’s being fair, either.

Kings fans are far more loyal than swinging between love and hate depending whether or not a shot falls. They’re fed up after 13 – going on 14 – straight seasons missing the playoffs. This year has been particularly discouraging, as Sacramento has backtracked from fun and fast to sad and slow. Losing to Luka Doncica particular grievance – only adds to the irritation.

The Kings’ problems have spanned multiple owners, executives, coaches and players. So, booing this group isn’t totally fair, either. But this is who’s in front of the fans.

If this Sacramento team plays hard and together, fans will embrace it – and stick with it through thinner times.

76ers play 6-on-5 vs. Bulls (video)

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The 76ers found one way to solve their spacing issues.

Philadelphia showed good ball movement, finding Furkan Korkmaz for an open corner 3-pointer. The catch? Korkmaz got open, because the 76ers had six players on the floor.

I love Kyle O'Quinn trying to slink off the court. He wanted to get away with it. Tobias Harris, who jogged to the bench, was practically begging to get caught.

Honestly, I’m a little surprised how quickly the Bulls noticed the violation. It’s not as if their defense scrambling is anything new.