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Tyronn Lue: Jeff Green will start for Cavaliers through playoffs, pushing Kevin Love to center

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Tyronn Lue is back coaching the Cavaliers, and he’s wasting no time altering the lineup.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Cavaliers:

It seems the healthy Cavs will start George Hill at point guard, Rodney Hood at shooting guard, LeBron James and Jeff Green at forward and Kevin Love at center

Love at center will help maximize Cleveland’s offense, but he’s a liability as a rim-protector. The Cavs’ defense is already bad enough, and this will present another challenge.

As Lue said, Green is versatile. But that doesn’t make Green good. For someone comfortable beyond the arc, he’s a poor 3-point shooter. He can passably guard multiple positions, but none of them well. At least that defensive versatility could allow LeBron to play more of a free-safety role on defense – where he excels and creates highly valuable transition opportunities.

This means Larry Nance Jr. and Tristan Thompson will come off the bench, and there might not be room for both bigs in the playoff rotation. The way Thompson has played this season, it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s the odd man out.

We should avoid overreacting to a starting lineup. Sometimes, reserves play more. But starters – who spread their minutes over 48 game minutes rather than scrunching them into a shorter window – are better-equipped for big roles. It matters that this is how Lue is setting up the Cavs for a high-stakes playoff run.

Rumor: LeBron James will leave Cavaliers due to split with Dan Gilbert on Donald Trump

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Chris Sheridan was out ahead on LeBron leaving the Heat for the Cavaliers in 2014. Maybe Sheridan just guessed correctly. He got a key detail wrong – where LeBron announce the decision. But the main point turned out to be right, so I think it’s worth at least listening to Sheridan on LeBron’s impending free agency.

Before the season, Sheridan reported LeBron would 100% leave Cleveland again due to his beyond-repair relation with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. LeBron’s camp quickly denied that, but more credible reporters have since lent credence to the idea of LeBron departing due to issues with Gilbert.

Meanwhile, Sheridan is doubling down on his assertion and adding details.

Sheridan at NJ.com:

When the information was given to me, my source said: “The entire NBA knows it. The only people who don’t are the media.”

The No. 1 reason why this is going to happen is because Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is a huge Trump supporter; LeBron is not.

LeBron James had made clear his thoughts on Donald Trump, most famously calling the president a “bum.”

Gilbert’s allegiance to Trump might be overstated. Though he hosted a fundraiser for Trump and met with him, Gilbert also donated to Hillary Clinton and met with her. Rich people often support opposing candidates, setting up access no matter who wins.

But LeBron’s perception matters most here. Gilbert is commonly seen as a Trump supporter, and if LeBron shares that view – accurate or not – that could dissuade him from re-signing with the Cavaliers.

There will be a lot for LeBron to consider this summer – which team can maximize championship count, legacy, money, where he wants he and his family to live and maybe the political leanings of his team’s owner. I just have a hard time believing Gilbert’s politics are the No. 1 consideration.

Chris Paul says he threw up while processing trade from Clippers to Rockets

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It’s easy to forget given how well it has gone so far, but Chris Paul took a major risk by engineering a trade from the Clippers for the Rockets.

The Clippers offered a huge contract (though not the five-year full max.) In Houston, he’s on an expiring contract.

He played on an established very good team with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in L.A. The Rockets had to adjust to a pairing between Paul and James Harden, two ball-dominant guards.

And of course there were personal considerations for Paul and his family. Moving from one city to another so far away is always a big choice.

Sarah Berger of CNBC:

The day after he was traded to Houston, Paul had a photo shoot that he struggled to get through.

“Everyone always thinks us athletes, we’ve always got it together. That’s a lie,” Paul tells CNBC Make It. “I was throwing up at the photo shoot.

“I was out there taking pictures,” Paul continues, “and I was like, ‘Give me a second.’ Boom. I ran out, threw up. Boom. Came back and acted like I had just taken a phone call. [It was] just the anxiety of knowing that there was a change that was coming.”

Paul admits he was scared. “I had been living in L.A. for the past six years. The decision that I made was not only going to affect me, but my family, my kids, everybody around me. It was a big decision.

“Who would have known it’s been one of the best things of my life.

Tyler Johnson said he threw up when he first learned the Nets would sign him to a $50 million offer sheet (which the Heat matched).

But a day later? That’s intense.

Heat enjoy Udonis Haslem denying Hawks fans free food (video)

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Hawks fans have been rooting for their team to lose for months, hoping for better lottery position. It’s a miserable position.

They finally got a great chance to cheer against the opponent last night.

Though Atlanta trailed the Heat by 30 in the final minute, Udonis Haslem – who hadn’t attempted a free throw all season – missed the first of two free throws. A second miss would give ticketed Atlanta fans free food.

But Haslem nailed the free throw and shrugged off the dismayed crowd as the Miami bench went wild.

Report: Jason Kidd wore down Bucks with blaming, sudden turns on players, demanding style

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The Bucks fired Jason Kidd in January.

Why?

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:

Team officials cringed as Kidd repeatedly blamed the Bucks’ youth for their struggles—an assertion he repeated in mid-January, just days before his dismissal.

“It was constantly, ‘Hey, it was the players’ fault—they’re not doing this, they’re not doing that, they’re too young,'” a Bucks source says.

Sources both inside and outside the organization say Kidd had a tendency to fall in and out of love with players—e.g., demanding a trade for Michael Carter-Williams one day, burying him the next.

Team officials had also grown concerned that Kidd’s demanding, old-school style had worn thin. Players were tuning Kidd out—or already had last season, according to one source with close ties to the team.

Kidd was “putting in massive hours,” a Bucks source says, “and he expected the players” to do the same. “Jason was driving the team a bit hard. And that would have been fine if there was really good results.”

“When people are saying that I’m old-school, it’s not that I’m old-school,” he says. “It’s what it takes to win. And I think we’ve lost a little of that with the younger generation of ‘everybody gets a trophy.'”

The “hard-ass” charges seem to befuddle Kidd—”Because I don’t smile enough during the game? Or do I not smile enough during practice?”—and he insists, “It’s just competition.”

“Maybe I didn’t explain it fully—young is for everyone,” he says. “The owners are young. And they’re going to make mistakes. … So they win 41, as a new owner, what happens?”

(Answer: They expect a steady, continued rise.)

“Doesn’t work that way,” Kidd says. “The master plan got erased once we won 41 games. Because the expectations were, ‘This is what we can do every year.’ But no one’s ever been in this situation but one person, and that’s the head coach. And the head coach is saying, ‘We still have a ways to go.’ But no one is listening.”

This is part of an excellent feature on Kidd, which includes more details about his time in Milwaukee and Brooklyn. I suggest reading it in full. The Nets details color things we only had rough outlines on.

As a player, Kidd was known as a coach-killer. It appears some of those same tendencies did him in as a coach.

Kidd handled his business as much as he could individually. But he didn’t put in enough effort to understand where everyone else was coming from or how he came across.

Working relentlessly is exhausting, physically and mentally. Some people are more internally driven to do it. Others need external motivation – which, on a basketball team, a coach can deliver. Kidd is probably more self-motivated and hardened than most. But it’s no sin of his players if they needed more encouragement. Just criticizing them doesn’t work. That’s a far more effective tactic when used only occasionally in a relationship with a strong foundation. Hard to build that stronger foundation when rarely smiling or oscillating on players or railing against an entire generation with the lame “participation trophies” argument.

Kidd makes a good point about the organization being young. Though roster is only somewhat young, general manager Jon Horst is in his first year, and Marc Lasry and Wes Edens are among the NBA’s newest owners.

But Kidd always sounded self-serving when discussing the team’s youth. It sounded like an excuse for why he should keep his job even the results weren’t good enough. Maybe he didn’t explain his point well enough. Maybe he’s reworking it so it sounds better now.

Either way, the result is the same: Kidd is out of a job. Whether he deserves another is a great lens through which to read Beck’s article.