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AP Photo/Tony Dejak

LeBron James says he left Cavaliers because they weren’t talented enough, won’t say whether this team is

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CLEVELAND – The Cavaliers got eliminated by the Spurs in the 2007 NBA Finals, Celtics in 2008 second round and Celtics again in 2010 second round. The following summer, LeBron left for the Heat.

“I knew that my talent level here in Cleveland couldn’t succeed getting past a Boston, getting past the San Antonios of the league,” LeBron said.

That was a rather startling admission, though hardly a controversial assessment. Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker, Delonte West, Anderson Varejao and a 38-year-old Shaquille O’Neal weren’t that good – certainly not compared to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Of course, with LeBron holding a player option for next season and the Cavs down 3-0 to the Warriors, the question becomes: Are his current teammates enough for him to beat the NBA’s elite?

A reporter asked as delicately as possible: “I’m not trying to get you to say anything negative about anybody. But how do you feel now?”

LeBron answered through his own laughter.

“You actually are trying to get me to say something,” he said.

“Listen, at the end of the day, I’m living in the moment now. I went back for you for your question. We’ve had an opportunity to win two of these games in this three-game series so far, and we haven’t come up with it.

“Obviously, from a talent perspective, if you’re looking at Golden State from their top five best players to our top five players, you would say they’re stacked better than us. Let’s just speak truth. Kevin Durant. You’ve got two guys with MVPs on their team. And then you’ve got a guy in Klay who could easily be on a team and carry a team, score 40 in a quarter before. And then you have Draymond, who is arguably one of the best defenders and minds we have in our game. So you have that crew. Then you add on a Finals MVP coming off the bench, a number one pick in Livingston and an All-Star in David West and whatever the case may be. So they have a lot of talent.

“We have a lot of talent as well. We’ve been in a position where we could win two out of these three games. So what do we have to do? Do we have to make more shots? Is it we have to have our minds into it a little bit more? Is it if there is a ball on the ground we can’t reach for it but you’ve got to dive for it?”

Those are the right questions for now.

Soon enough, he’ll face a different one: Should he again leave Cleveland to play with more talent?

Cavaliers veteran: With Kyrie Irving, Cleveland would be up 3-0 on Warriors

AP Photo/Ron Schwane
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CLEVELAND – These Warriors are similar to last year’s Warriors – elite-plus (Kevin Durant).

Their repeat NBA Finals opponent, the Cavaliers, are quite different. Cleveland traded Kyrie Irving then traded most of that return until left with George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson for the NBA Finals – a bunch of spare parts that don’t come close to matching Irving, a star.

The result: Golden State leads Cleveland, 3-0.

Drew Shiller of NBC Sports:

But as a veteran player on Cleveland told Jason Lloyd of The Athletic:

“We’d be up 3-0 if Kyrie was still here. I have no doubt. Do you?”

What if the Cavs, as LeBron James wanted, never traded Irving? What if they at least got better return?

Even moving past the circumstances of his departure, what if Irving were still with the Cavs (and healthy)?

“That’s human nature to think about that kind of a thing,” Kevin Love said.

“I think it’s only natural to think about, especially looking at Swish and Tristan and LeBron and myself and the guys that have come and
gone from our 2016 team and what we were able to do to overcome a 3-1 deficit and how we were able to win those games.”

The Warriors are up 3-0 on the Cavs – same as last year, when Cleveland had Irving and lost in five.

But winning year after year is draining. It can be difficult for the defending champion to summon the determination of a challenger. Golden State is showing cracks. Even if the Warriors are the better team, Irving would have given the Cavaliers a better chance of an upset.

Love isn’t the only one in his locker room thinking about Irving. Love is just the rare one to attach his name to it, because doing so can easily be spun into the players being distracted by issues they can’t control.

Are some Cavs actually dwelling on the loss of Irving to the point it hurts their chances of beating Golden State? Maybe.

But Love has dealt with much bigger issues. I suspect he can compartmentalize.

Apparently frustrated Stephen Curry yells into his jersey after Warriors’ Game 3 win (video)

AP Photo/Tony Dejak
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CLEVELAND — Stephen Curry probably lost NBA Finals MVP with his Game 3 dud, shooting 3-for-16, including 1-for-10 on 3-pointers.

But the Warriors beat the Cavaliers to take a 3-0 lead.

How did Curry react?

“When you’re in that pressure-type environment on the court and there’s 19, 20 thousand fans screaming at you for two and a half hours, when you walk off the court, when you’re walking in the tunnel walking to the locker room, yeah, there’s a little time to decompress a little bit. It might come out a bunch of different ways.

“Yesterday, I just wanted to yell and get it over with.”

Curry helped create a culture of joy and positivity that attracted Kevin Durant (who saved Golden State with 43 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists), and Curry fulfilled his part in that last night, enthusiastically cheering Durant during the game and steadfastly praising him afterward.

If Curry, who’s far more competitive that it sometimes appears, takes a moment to vent about a poor individual game – even after a team win – that’s totally fine. Curry can occasionally think of himself first. He does plenty for the team – like help maintain an environment where a veteran like Andre Iguodala puts his arm around the shoulder of a dismayed teammate.

Bryan Colangelo: My wife’s Twitter accounts were ‘seriously misguided’ and contained no private information from me

AP Photo/Matt Rourke
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Bryan Colangelo resigned as 76ers president today.

His wife, Barbara Bottini, admitted to operating the burner Twitter accounts at the heart of this scandal.

Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia:

First of all, the investigation did not confirm Colangelo had no knowledge of or involvement in the Twitter accounts. The investigation merely noted it found no forensic evidence Colangelo had no knowledge of or involvement in the Twitter accounts – while noting that became more difficult to find because Bottini executed a factory reset of her phone.

Beyond that, Colangelo spends a lot of time throwing his wife under the bus. It’s as if he’s trying to salvage his career in basketball, which sounds like a huge longshot.

If she didn’t get the inside information from him, where did she get it? Why did Colangelo continue to deny any knowledge of who ran the accounts at least two days after the news initially broke? Did she really not tell him it was her by then?

These will be difficult questions for Colangelo to get past.

I’m certainly sympathetic to spousal arguments stemming from one’s sometimes-clumsy desire to please the other. Well-intentioned ideas can go awry.

But it sure is messy to see it play out publicly.

Report: Jerry Colangelo, trying to protect Bryan Colangelo, threatened to undermine 76ers’ relationships around NBA

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With Sam Hinkie’s Process embarrassing the NBA and costing the league money due to the 76ers tanking in a large market, NBA commissioner Adam Silver reportedly pushed experienced executive Jerry Colangelo onto Philadelphia. Hinkie left. Jerry Colangelo oversaw a search that ended with his son, Bryan Colangelo, becoming team president. Bryan and Jerry patted themselves on the back for fixing the 76ers’ culture.

Well.

Bryan resigned today after his wife admitted to operating burner Twitter accounts that sharply criticized many, including current 76ers Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz.

Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice:

More than one person who spoke to PhillyVoice on the condition of anonymity suggested Jerry Colangelo tried to intervene on Bryan’s behalf, threatening to interfere with club relationships around the league.

At the 76ers ownership press conference announcing the move, primary owner Joshua Harris denied this report, saying that Jerry Colangelo cooperated with the investigation.

If this report is true, I don’t see how Jerry, who holds the title of “Special Advisor,” can remain with Philadelphia. Disagreement between executives can be healthy, but that sounds poisonous. However, it sounds like Harris wants to keep the elder Colangelo around the organization.

So much for the Colangelos stopping the 76ers’ from being a public embarrassment.