Three things to know: Take a step back and savor LeBron’s greatness


The NBA season is in full swing, and we will be here each weekday with the NBC Sports daily roundup Three Things to Know — everything you might have missed in the Association, every pivotal moment from the night before in one place.

1) Let’s all take a step back and savor LeBron’s greatness

When it comes to the NBA’s core audience — fans, writers, a lot of people in the flowing conversation on Twitter/Instagram — we tend to pick things apart. It’s part of the 24-hour sports talk/media culture. We critique the details of a players’ footwork in the post, we break down weaknesses with his handles, we analyze and dive deep into the advanced statistics, we question how good teams really are as constructed. We tear things apart and occasionally down.

Too often, we don’t stop, slow down, and let the game bring us joy.

We forget to savor what we have.

Not today. Today we are going to step back and admire LeBron James and his greatness. We need to savor getting to watch a Mount Rushmore player, one of the greats ever to lace them up, play through his prime, which never seems to end.

That greatness was on full display Monday night. Don’t forget, LeBron is in his 18th season, has racked up far more minutes than Michael Jordan ever did, played 46 minutes in a double-overtime game two days before (and he has not missed a game this season), and Monday he rolled out a triple-double of has 28 points, 14 boards and 12 assists playing 42 minutes. Because of him (with some help from Wesley Matthews and Montrezl Harrell), the Lakers beat the Thunder in overtime.

Did we mention LeBron is 36 years old, besting a bunch of fresh-legged 20somethings?

Sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have. When we see true greatness in sport — Usain Bolt running the 100, Simone Biles on the floor exercise, Lionel Messi standing over a free kick, Rafael Nadal on the clay at Roland Garros — we should take a step back and just savor it. These are magical moments in sports, the moments that made us fans and fall in love with the sport. We need to soak them in.

We need to do that with LeBron James as long as he is still on an NBA court. Greatness like this does not come around often. Savor it while we can.

2) Yes, it’s funky. But LaMelo Ball’s three-point shot goes in.

Nobody is going to confuse LaMelo Ball’s three-point shooting form with Klay Thompson’s.

Well, except in one area — it goes in.

LaMelo became the youngest player in NBA history to hit seven threes in a game Monday night, going 7-of-12 from three.

Ball is shooting 36.3% from three for the season, and in his last six games, he is 21-of-40. After the game, he said people have talked to him about changing his shotput-style shooting form from deep, but if it’s not broke, he’s not fixing it.

“I stick with it. I say, `This is how I shoot,”‘ Ball said. “I’m confident in it and I feel good letting it go. I came here and they tried to adjust it a little, but I’m like, `Ah, this is how I shoot.”‘

Charlotte got the win over the Rockets 119-94 behind Ball and his shooting.

3) Would the Toronto Raptors trade Kyle Lowry?

There was an uproar in Toronto when Masai Ujiri traded fan-favorite DeMar DeRozan — this was the guy who stuck with the Raptors when he had other options, he was an All-Star and beloved by the fan base. Of course, the Raptors got back Kawhi Leonard, who led them to the franchise’s first title, so all was forgiven.

That uproar would be nothing compared to the cries if the Raptors were to trade the greatest Raptor of all-time: Kyle Lowry. The rumors are out there that the Raptors are considering it, but would Toronto really do it?

There would certainly be interest in the 34-year-old All-Star point guard averaging 17 points and 6.7 assists this season. Right now, the trade market is slow, with very few sellers and plenty of potential buyers — it is a seller’s market and Lowry would fetch a premium price. That said, constructing a deal for a guy making $30 million in the final year of his contract — teams would see him as a rental — is not easy, and he likely would not draw offers as large as the Raptors would hope.

Toronto has a decision to make with this season: Do they consider trading Lowry and other veterans to start the rebuild around Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Fred VanVleet? Or, do they make a trade for a center such as Andre Drummond — Toronto is not the same without Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka in the paint — climb up out of the play-in series level they are at now, and make another run at it.

Don’t bet on a Lowry trade out of Toronto, although teams will ask.

However, will Lowry re-sign with Toronto as a free agent next offseason? That is a very different question.

Pelican’s Green says Zion ‘dominated the scrimmage pretty much’


The Zion hype train keeps right on rolling. First were the reports he was in the best shape of his life, then he walked into media day and it looked like he is.

Now Zion has his own hype man in Pelicans coach Willie Green, who said he dominated the first day of team scrimmages. Via Andre Lopez of ESPN.

“Z looked amazing,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said on Wednesday afternoon. “His strength, his speed. He dominated the scrimmage pretty much.”

“What stood out was his force more than anything,” Green said. “He got down the floor quickly. When he caught the ball, he made quick decisions. Whether it was scoring, finding a teammate. It was really impressive to see.”

Reach for the salt shaker to take all this with — it’s training camp scrimmages. Maybe Zion is playing that well right now — he’s fully capable, he was almost an All-NBA player in 2020-21 (eighth in forward voting) before his foot injury — but we need to see it against other teams. In games that matter. Then we’ll need to see it over a stretch of time.

If Zion can stay healthy this season, if his conditioning is where everyone says it is, he could be in for a monster season. Combine that with CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram and a strong supporting cast in New Orleans, and the Pelicans could surprise a lot of people — and be fun to watch.


PBT Podcast: What’s next for Celtics, Suns? Should NBA end one-and-done?


NBA training camps just opened and teams have yet to play a preseason game, but already two contenders are dealing with problems.

The Celtics have the suspension of coach Ime Udoka as a distraction, plus defensive anchor center Robert Williams will miss at least the start of the season following another knee surgery.

The Suns have the distraction of a suspended owner who is selling the team, plus Jae Crowder is out and demanding a trade, and Deandre Ayton does not seem happy.

Corey Robinson of NBC Sports and myself go through all the training camp news, including the wilder ones with the Lakers and Nets, breaking down what to take away from all that — plus how good Zion Williamson and James Harden look physically.

Then the pair discusses the potential of the NBA doing away with the one-and-done role and letting 18-year-olds back in the game — is that good for the NBA?

You can always watch the video of some of the podcast above, or listen to the entire podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google Play, or anywhere else you get your podcasts.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please feel free to email us at

Report: Price tag on Phoenix Suns could be more than $3 billion

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Six
Harry How/Getty Images

In 2004, Robert Sarver bought the Phoenix Suns for a then-record $401 million.

When Sarver sells the team now — pushed to do so following the backlash prompted by an NBA report that found an 18-year pattern of bigotry, misogyny, and a toxic workplace — he is going to make a massive profit.

The value of the Suns now is at $3 billion or higher, reports Ramona Shelburne and Baxter Holmes of ESPN.

There will be no shortage of bidders for the team, with league sources predicting a franchise valuation of more than $3 billion now that revenue has rebounded following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and with a new television rights deal and CBA on the horizon. Sarver purchased the team for just over $400 million in 2004.

Saver currently owns 35% of the Suns (the largest share), but reports say his role as managing partner allows him to sell the entire team (the minority owners have to comply, although they would make a healthy profit, too). Sarver also decides who to sell the team to, not the NBA or other owners.

Early rumors of buyers have included Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle), Bob Iger (former Disney CEO), Laurene Powell Jobs (widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, she has a 20% share of the Washington Wizards), and others. There have been no reports of talks yet, and Sarver does not need to be on a rushed timeline.

Meanwhile, a contending Suns team tries to focus on the season despite the owner selling the team, Jae Crowder not being in training camp and pushing for a trade, and Deandre Ayton does not sound happy to be back with the Suns.

Steve Nash on his relationship with Kevin Durant: ‘We’re good’


In an effort to gain leverage for a trade this offseason, Kevin Durant threw down a “either the coach and GM are gone or I am” ultimatum.

Now coach Steve Nash (and GM Sean Marks) are back in Brooklyn, on the same team and trying to build a contender together. Awkward? Not if you ask Nash, which is what Nick Friedell of ESPN did.

“We’re fine,” Nash said after the Nets’ first official practice of the season on Tuesday. “We’re good. Ever since we talked, it’s been like nothing’s changed. I have a long history with Kevin. I love the guy. Families have issues. We had a moment and it’s behind us. That’s what happens. It’s a common situation in the league.

“We all were hurting, seething, to go through what we went through last year, not being able to overcome all that adversity. Sometimes you lose perspective because you expect to win, but the reality is we were able to talk and discuss what we can improve on from last year. And also keep perspective. We went through a ton of stuff.”

First off, what else was Nash going to say? He knows the power dynamic in the NBA, and Durant has far more leverage than he does — not enough to get Nash fired this summer, but still more than the coach.

Second, Nash could be telling the truth from his perspective. NBA players and coaches understand better than anyone this is a business and things are rarely personal. Grudges are not held like fans think they are (most of the time). Nash saw Durant’s move for what it was — an effort to create pressure — and can intellectually shrug it off, reach out to KD and talk about the future.

What this brings into question was one of the Nets’ biggest issues last season — mental toughness and togetherness. Do the Nets have the will to fight through adversity and win as a team? Individually Durant, Kyrie Irving, Nash and others have shown that toughness in the past, but as a team it was not that hard to break the will of the Nets last season. Are their relationships strong enough, is their will strong enough this season?

It feels like we will find out early. If the wheels come off the Nets’ season, it feels like it will happen early and by Christmas things could be a full-on dumpster fire. Or maybe Nash is right and they are stronger than we think.