LeBron James, Dwyane Wade leading by example at Heat camp


Thumbnail image for d-wade-king-james.jpgLeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been “The Man” for years, wherever they have been. Their team. Their show. Lead by example not just words.

We don’t know much of what has gone on so far at Heat training camp, tucked as far away from the media spotlight and prying eyes as the Heat could pull off, but we do know this:

LeBron and Wade are the leaders of the Heat. Look what coach Erik Spoelstra told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

“It always starts with the high-profile guys, as you would call them, the leaders of the team, and it trickles down from there,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “If they see those guys sweating in practice, really working, quite naturally that’s the human condition, everybody else falls in line.”

LeBron just seems focused and intense, in interviews and from reports of what the media has seen at the end of practice.

“I’m just focused,” James said. “I understand how important this NBA season is for us as a franchise, for me as an individual. So I’m not wasting any time. I’m not going to waste my time or waste this franchise’s time and come in here and not get my work on.”

By the way, if you wonder why Bosh is not considered one of the leaders…

“Getting back in shape isn’t easy,” he said. “You can work out all you want during the summer, but when you play basketball and go through drills and constant movement, it’s different.

Carmelo Anthony says he's happy to play in Denver this season


Thumbnail image for Anthony_game.jpgIt’s not personal, it’s business. It’s not about playing in Denver, it’s about keeping his options open for next summer.

That was essentially the line out of Carmelo Anthony after Nuggets practice today. Here are the tweets of FanHouse’s Chris Tomasson:

Melo said he would have no problem starting the season with Denver. It’s all about keeping his options open for 2011-12.

Asked if wants to still be with the Nuggets on opening night, Carmelo Anthony said, “I would love to.” Says its all about next season.

Melo: “if (the Nuggets) come to me and say they want to trade me to a team, then we’ll discuss that when that time comes.”

Melo also said he was never approached and asked if he would sign an extension to go to New Jersey. As we said before, this is semantics — formally he was not, but you can be sure the backchannel conversation took place.

However, there are at least some GMs out there saying Anthony is not going to sign an extension anywhere this year and take his chances next summer. That would change if it were Chicago or New York that came a calling. But that may be moot, both of those teams will make Denver come to them, not the other way around now. Denver is the team that does not want its star to leave for nothing. As time drags on, it’s leverage slips.

Either the Nuggets and Anthony are going to cooperate or they will both lose something. Maybe they both are that stubborn and foolish.

Tiago Splitter blending right in with San Antonio

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Thumbnail image for Tsplitter.jpgTechnically, Tiago Splitter is an NBA rookie. He should be getting donuts for the vets and carrying luggage.

But Splitter is a veteran of the top European league, he’s been the best center on the continent for a couple years. He has played in world championships. Don’t confuse him for some raw 19-year-old who sleepwalked through a year of college ball.

Just ask Antonio McDyess, the veteran whose minutes Splitter could take. The San Antonio News Express did just that.

“He’s really good,” McDyess said. “He’s really strong and posts up strong. He goes hard every play.”

Many Spurs players struggle in early practices because of Coach Gregg Popovich’s demanding offensive and defensive philosophy. But Splitter was a quick study, according to McDyess.

“He catches on quickly,” McDyess said. “I was surprised how quickly he caught on. This is a tough system to learn and he was catching on.”

Splitter is not walking in the door an All-Star, but he is walking in the door an upgrade at the five. He makes the Spurs better, and he’ll make Tim Duncan better.

A lot of things have to go right for the Spurs to dethrone the Lakers. Pretty much everything for the Spurs and the Lakers need to take a step back. But Splitter at the five is one thing that can have people dreaming a little along the Riverwalk.

Phil Jackson is not happy about his European vacation


Thumbnail image for Jackson_Artest.jpgPersonally, a trip to London and Barcelona sounds pretty good. I could go for one of those.

Phil Jackson? Not so much. Actually he might really enjoy such a trip if it was just him and Jeannie Buss, but in the middle of training camp? This is what he told ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin.

“This training camp is kind of a bust,” Jackson said. “You just have to try to do the best you can in this training camp. We’ll try to incorporate these new players, embrace them, educate them in what we do [but] we don’t anticipate in the first two weeks that we’re going to gain any ground, so to speak.”

The Lakers are one of the NBA’s showpieces. They have Kobe Bryant, a couple shiny new Larry O’Brien trophies and a huge fan base overseas. Jackson is set in his ways — Jerry Buss would host Laker training camp in Hawaii every year if he could, but Jackson is good with El Segundo and the Lakers training facility. So El Segundo it is.

Except for the stops in Barcelona (to take on Pau Gasol’s old Barcelona squad) and London this year. Which makes it all a bust. I guess. Somehow I think the Lakers will be just fine, what with a returning veteran team running the same system and all. Just a hunch.

Gregg Popovich being Gregg Popovich

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And you thought all NBA coach interviews were as fun as interviewing Charles Barkley in Tahoe…. (via 48 Minutes of Hell)

Coach Pop being Coach Pop from 48 Minutes of Hell on Vimeo.