Paul Pierce on LeBron James: ‘I think he’s pretty much still injured’ (VIDEO)

4 Comments

What is going on with the Los Angeles Lakers? That’s a question I’m saddened to say we’re probably going to be asking for the next four years unless, by some miracle, the team goes 82-0 en route to a perfect playoff performance in each of LeBron James‘ final seasons.

Even then, that might not be enough.

The media storm around LA is exactly what LeBron should have expected when he arrived in Southern California, but things have not gone as planned on the basketball court for The King. James has suffered a real injury, and the team is floundering, currently sitting outside the playoff picture in the Western Conference. James, meanwhile, isn’t playing great and people are publishing video lowlights of his poor defense.

James has appeared increasingly prickly, peaking with a quote on apparent urgency and whether his teammates are really committed to basketball as the top thing in their life.

It’s a routine we saw in Cleveland as well and, at this point, is wearing thin.

James smartly has been able to simply coast through parts the regular season in recent years, making him one of the most durable top players the NBA has ever seen. However, coupled with his constant harping about teammates not giving enough effort to make up for the lack of his own James has been a less sympathetic figure in 2019.

Plus, it seems like he might just be getting old.

That was the supposition Paul Pierce levied on ESPN on Tuesday, saying that he felt James was probably still injured during a taping of “The Jump”.

Via ESPN:

“If I were the Lakers, I would shut LeBron down. No, seriously. He’s getting older, he has to do too much for them to win. Just look at … he puts out a triple-double, and they can’t win. Just imagine if he really goes out and really exerts himself and has to go for 40… This season was a wash coming in to it. They weren’t contending from the jump.”

“Why am I gonna put more wear and tear on LeBron? I need him for three more years. This window is this short. This window is this short to take advantage of LeBron now. He’s still — to me — I think he’s pretty much still injured.”

Pierce’s claim is pretty level-headed, at least in terms of the reality of this Lakers roster. LeBron knew what the plan was, the team knew what the plan was … now that the plan is working how it’s supposed to, why is James surprised?

If anything it lends insight into just how difficult it’s going to be for LeBron when he eventually does start to decline, or as often happens with older players, starts to get injured with more frequency. Will he accept his aging gracefully, and adapt in the vein of Vince Carter? Or will he beeline for the path of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, who did not appear to have full recognition of their own situation?

The Lakers were always going to be bad. Buying into the idea that “LeBron guarantees 45 wins” in 2019 was always a doubt, even if everything went perfect, because of who is on this L.A. roster. Things don’t always go perfectly in the NBA, and hiccups here or there — not just with James but with injuries to guys like Lonzo Ball — were part of the realistic risk.

For the rest of the NBA, the real issue is probably having to listen to arguments made in bad faith about how good the Lakers should be, and what LeBron’s expectations are of everyone around him. It’s extreme, but Pierce’s idea isn’t totally crazy. People might lose their mind if James just cashed out on this season, but how much can he really recover in face value this year?

If the Lakers miss the playoffs, no doubt this conversation will rage all summer long.

DeMar DeRozan fined $25,000 for throwing ball at ref Scott Foster

AP
Leave a comment

Many people would like to throw a basketball at NBA official Scott Foster — he’s not exactly the favorite of several NBA players. San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan got his chance to do exactly that this week, and he was promptly given a technical and a ejected from the game.

Now, the NBA has handed down discipline for DeRozan.

On Sunday morning, the NBA announced that they had fined DeRozan $25,000 for throwing a ball at Foster.

This comes in the wake of the brouhaha around the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers getting into a bit of a tussle involving Joel Embiid and Jared Dudley. Sunday morning, the NBA also fined Nets general manager Sean Marks $25,000 and suspended him for entering the referee locker room to argue about Embiid not being assessed a flagrant 2 foul.

Things are heating up in the NBA playoffs, and emotions are running high. No doubt the referees are doing their best, but it’s not been the most impressive performance by the boys in gray thus far.

The officials will continue to face criticism as the playoffs go on, but hopefully people will calm down and cooler heads will prevail from here on out. There’s no need to throw balls or rush into the officials’ locker rooms the way DeRozan and Marks have.

Nets GM Sean Marks gets suspended for going into ref’s locker room after Game 4

Getty
2 Comments

Emotions are high as the playoffs move into the second week. Things got a little testy between the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night as Jared Dudley got in the face of Joel Embiid after the Sixers big man committed a hard foul on Jared Allen.

That caused Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler to respond to Dudley, who overreacted to a good, hard playoff foul by Embiid. The result of the fracas was an ejection for Butler and Dudley, and a flagrant 1 on embiid.

But apparently that’s not the end of the disciplinary process for the NBA.

Nets general manager Sean Marks went into the officials locker room after the game — no doubt to discuss what happened here — which is a big problem in the eyes of the league.

According to a release by the NBA, Marks has been suspended for one game without pay and has been fined $25,000.

Marks will be suspended for Game 5 between these two teams on April 23rd.

The playoffs are high-stakes, but Embiid blocking the crap out of somebody shouldn’t result in someone going crazy like Dudley did.

Philadelphia beat the Nets, 112-108.

Everyone’s hero is dad who pulls son away from Nets/76ers fracas (VIDEO)

1 Comment

Fathers everywhere can relate to this one.

You set up a bonding experience with your son or daughter, one you hope will leave an impression on them and create a memory that will last a lifetime… for example, you get courtside seats, just behind the basket, for one of the first NBA playoff games in Brooklyn, ever.

Then everything hits the fan.

Joel Embiid commits a flagrant foul on Jarrett Allen, Jared Dudley rushes in and shoves Embiid to stand up for his teammate, Jimmy Butler runs in to shove Dudley on the same premise, and suddenly there is a wave of large professional athletes about to trample you and your son. So, you grab him, move onto the court, and get out of the way.

There were two fathers with the same thought, one on either side of the fracas that spills into the first row.

Well done Dads. Well done, indeed.

Andrew Bogut says he plans to return to Australian league next season

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Unable to find a new NBA contract for this season, Andrew Bogut went home. The Australia native signed to play for the Sydney Kings in Australia’s NBL, where Bogut ended up being the league MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, leading the Kings on a deep playoff run.

When that run ended, the Golden State Warriors came calling, asking him to fill a role — a role that got much larger after DeMarcus Cousins tore his quad. Bogut has played well for the Warriors in the postseason, and there is a good chance Cousins will not be back in Golden State (the Warriors can only offer him a small raise off what he made this season, that likely will not be enough, even after the injury), so the Warriors may try to retain Bogut for next season.

However, Bogut says he is returning to Australia. Speaking to Matt Logue from the Sunday Telegraph in Sydney, Bogut said he gave his word to the Kings he would return.

“The be all and end all is that I gave my word (to the Kings)… That is basically what it comes down to…

“Someone outside of the Warriors could offer me a deal that would be pretty lucrative and a decent one-year deal, but I’m sold and locked in on coming to the Sydney Kings again to try and better what we did last season.”

Saying you’ll walk away from a lot of money and actually doing it are two different things, but Bogut is a man who stands by his word. He probably returns to Sydney for next season.

When that season ends, however, don’t be shocked to see Bogut back somewhere in the NBA helping a team make a playoff run.