Monthly Archives: March 2016

LeBron James Womens Jersey

CLEVELAND — LeBron James(LeBron James Jersey) made it clear he wasn’t being facetious when he said he wanted to team up with his best friends in the NBA — Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade — before their careers are through.

But he was unsure how feasible the scenario really is.

“I really hope that, before our career is over, we can all play together. … At least one, maybe one or two seasons — me, Melo, D-Wade, CP — we can get a year in,” James told Bleacher Report in February for a feature story on James’ and Anthony’s relationship that was published Wednesday. “I would actually take a pay cut to do that.”

In the article, James said he has harbored thoughts about that potential lineup but declined to go into much deeper detail. Asked after the Cavaliers’ 113-104 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday whether he has shared those thoughts with Anthony, Paul or Wade, James hinted he has.

“I mean, we’ve had plenty of conversations,” James said. “We’ve been together for almost 15 years, so we’ve had plenty of conversations.”

Cleveland.com reported that Cavs general manager David Griffin talked to James on Wednesday about his comments to Bleacher Report, and coach Tyronn Lue spoke to James after Saturday night’s loss to the Miami Heat. In that game, James was talking to his former teammate Wade during halftime warm-ups, with the Cavaliers trailing by 21 points.

“I just told him we can’t have that, being down like we were and him being the leader,” Lue told Cleveland.com. “Just me being a competitor, I didn’t like it. We had a long talk about it. It was good. He understood, he apologized, and he’s been great.”

James, Anthony and Wade entered the league together in 2003, with James going first, Anthony third and Wade fifth in the draft. Paul was selected fourth in the 2005 draft.

The four of them played together on the 2008 Olympic team, winning gold in Beijing, but other than that, they have played together only in All-Star exhibitions. Wade and James played together in Miami for four seasons, winning two championships.

But with James and Paul on max deals and Anthony and Wade not far behind, is bringing all four players together just a pipe dream?

“I don’t know how realistic it could be,” James said. “It would definitely be cool if it happened, but we don’t know how realistic it could be to have us four. But, I mean, if you got an opportunity to work with three of your best friends, [you take it], no matter what. It’s not even about sports. It’s about being around guys that you don’t even have to say nothing — you automatically know. We just have that type of history.

“So can it happen? I don’t know if it can even happen, but it would be cool.”

Wade was less committal when asked about the possibility after Miami’s 112-88 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

“I don’t know, man,” Wade said. “Yeah, I heard it. I read it. I’m not really jumping into the headlines right now. For me, I’m focused on my teammates in here. As cool as the headlines is, that has nothing to do with what we’re trying to do in here.”

Anthony, asked about a potential future foursome after the New York Knicks’ 115-107 win in Chicago on Wednesday, also framed it as more improbable than inevitable.

“I don’t know,” Anthony said. “We’ve still got years in this league, so we’ll see what happens. Everybody dreams sometimes. Everybody has fantasies.”

Anthony did make a bit of news, however, declaring that he, Paul and James would all play in the 2016 Olympics this summer in Rio. James has yet to commit publicly to the competition.

“We all have those [thoughts],” Anthony said. “We’re about to play together [on] the Olympic team. Except for D-Wade, but we’re about to have that experience.”

Wade will be a free agent this summer, and James could be one if he opts out of his deal with the Cavs, as many expect him to do in order to sign a new contract under the escalating salary cap as he did last summer. Paul is signed through the end of 2016-17 and has a player option for the following season. Anthony is signed through 2017-18 and has a player option for 2018-19.

It would take significant maneuvering to bring the dream to life. But Anthony, like James, vowed he would make the financial sacrifice necessary to make the numbers work.

“I’d take a pay cut if it happens,” Anthony said. “I think we all would have to take a pay cut.”

The time they have left to try to pull it off before their skills begin to fall off remains a question. James (31), Anthony (32) and Wade (34) are all in their 13th season. Paul (30) is in his 11th.

Another question is what city they could all call home. Paul and Anthony already spend their offseason in Los Angeles, and James and Wade recently purchased homes there, according to Bleacher Report.

Anthony, who according to an ESPN.com report wanted to wait in the summer of 2014 for James to make his free-agency decision because he thought he had a chance to join him, made it sound like L.A. or Miami would be a more likely landing spot than New York or Cleveland for the four of them.

“I think by that time [in your career], you want to go somewhere warm,” Anthony said. “By that time. That’s later. That would be later — retirement. … I’m just adding fuel to the fire.”

During the ESPN broadcast of the Knicks-Bulls game Wednesday, Anthony stated his loyalty to the Knicks, perhaps pushing back any potential of assembling a Big Four.

“I came here for a reason, which was to win in New York,” Anthony said. “Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case thus far, but I feel like I have unfinished business to take care of. And I feel like, I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, if I just get up and run away from something that I started, that I feel a part of and that’s not done yet, then I think I would carry that burden on my shoulders. That’s just me as an individual.”

A source familiar with James’ thinking told ESPN.com that James is unsure whether any NBA owner would go for such an arrangement because of how much power he would be conceding to the players.

For now, it remains a hypothetical and one that Wade wants no part of.

“Don’t put me in it,” Wade said. “I ain’t jumping in that. Don’t put me in that right now. I’m not answering that question about what we talked about.”

Added James, according to Bleacher Report, “We’ll see.”

Kevin Durant Womens Jersey

BOSTON — Kevin Durant(Kevin Durant Jersey) makes a rare appearance in Boston on Wednesday night. The Celtics probably wouldn’t mind if he came back this summer to make up for lost time.

Nearly nine years to the day after the Boston Celtics were fined $30,000 because Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge sat next to Durant’s mother at a Big 12 tournament game, Durant will make only his sixth appearance in Boston on Wednesday night when the Celtics host the Oklahoma City Thunder (ESPN/WatchESPN, 7 p.m. ET).

It will be Durant’s first game action in Boston since November 2012 and, because of injuries, only the second time that he has played against Boston with Brad Stevens at the helm.

With Boston positioned to fish again this summer for that elusive big catch that could propel the team forward, the Celtics would covet the chance to pitch Boston as a possible destination when Durant reaches unrestricted free agency.

Scoff if you want — and most will — the Celtics are in position to make an intriguing sales pitch to any star talent that becomes available.

And that would include Durant, who might benefit from simply escaping a bloodthirsty Western Conference that’s compounded his quest for a championship. But Ainge’s desire to see Durant in green stretches back almost a decade, and it’s not just an assumption from him sitting next to Wanda Pratt at a Big 12 semifinal.

Those who know Ainge best swear that he would have picked Durant No. 1 in the 2007 draft over Greg Oden had the pingpong balls bounced Boston’s way. Ainge’s son Austin, currently Boston’s director of player personnel, wasn’t a team employee in 2007, but he noted in June 2014 that, “I was in the draft room, and they would have taken Durant. I did have some inside information there.” His story has been vetted by Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck.

Go through Ainge’s public comments over the past nine years and they are littered with (non-tampering) references to wanting to acquire players with the talent, skill set and/or potential of Durant. It seems impossible that Durant could be unaware of how Ainge has gushed about him.

It’s also hard to imagine how, if Durant elects to explore his options this offseason, he doesn’t at least give Ainge another chance to sit down with his family.

Womens Anthony Davis Jersey

NEW ORLEANS — Maybe that tap on the tuchus left a lasting impression.

In Game 6 of the 2010 Western Conference finals, at the height of his tenure as Phoenix Suns head coach, Alvin Gentry watched from feet away as Kobe Bryant took one dribble inside the 3-point arc, unsuccessfully up-faked, then rose up to hoist an impossible fadeaway with Grant Hill blotting him out. As the ball swished through the net, effectively ending the Suns’ season, Bryant gave Gentry a firm pat on the rear and took off in the most morose airplane the other way.

Two weeks before, Gentry, despite his strong roots in the Suns’ unselfish style, called Bryant the best closer ever.

Gentry’s own superstar, Anthony Davis(Anthony Davis Jersey), clearly has a long way to go before reaching such rarefied air. But with the New Orleans Pelicans’ playoff odds near the bottom of the league and the injury list growing by the day, Gentry has started to turn an eye toward the future, which includes developing Davis in late-game situations.

“At the end of the game, I think we need to get the ball to Anthony more,” Gentry said recently. “We need to start training him to be the guy down the stretch. If you’ve got a great player, that’s what you do.”

Davis has been relatively successful at it this season when they do get it to him. According to NBA.com/Stats, the 22-year-old is averaging 3.0 points in the clutch (final five minutes, score within five points; minimum two games), good for 18th-best in the league and one spot behind Damian Lillard, the once and future prince of bucket-getting. And he stays in that above-average range under the Pu Pu platter of “clutch” situations: 2.1 points in a four-point game with three minutes to play (16th-best), 2.3 points in a three-point game with three minutes left (ninth), 1.6 points in a one-point game with three minutes to play (eighth), and so on.

But defenses are starting to key in on Davis with double teams and extra help defenders, especially in light of his 59-point, 20-rebound career night against Detroit and with the Pelicans now scraping the bottom with their floor-spacers thanks to their rash of injuries. Three of the losses in a recent four-game skid put a spotlight squarely on the offensive struggles down the stretch. And that’s where Gentry’s definition of being a “closer” takes a more modern spin.

“He is gonna be our closer. And that doesn’t necessarily mean making the shot,” Gentry said. “But I think he’s gonna be the guy more times than not that we’re gonna depend on to make the play at the end of the game. That means maybe finding the open guy, or when a double team comes being able to swing the basketball and put guys in the position where they can make the shot.

“I think we’re gonna have to start trying to go through him — and it may be a screen-and-roll situation, where he screens and rolls to the basket. But we’ve got to have him involved in a lot of the plays at the end of the game.”

That’s the next frontier for the young superstar. Davis has successfully added a healthy dose of 3-pointers into his diet, with the fourth-year veteran now bombing it from deep 1.7 times a game at a respectable .322 clip. But Davis, once a guard in high school before experiencing a growth spurt that now borders on folk tale, has yet to show he can consistently get others involved. His assist rate has yet to crack double digits, and the 7.6 percent he’s dishing out this season ranks sixth-to-last among 71 qualifying power forwards. (Ryan Anderson, for what it’s worth, is third-worst.)

This deficiency becomes more evident in the clutch, during which Davis has a minuscule 2.1 assist percentage.

“Of course you want to make your teammates better,” Davis said. “Now that teams are starting to throw double teams at me it’s becoming a lot easier for me to try to figure out where my teammates are gonna be and try to put them in the right situations to be effective.

“But a lot of teams try to play heads up, but the teams that do [double], that’s when those five-, six-, seven-assist game has to come into effect.”

Finding a balance between that guy and being The Guy has been an adjustment. In the game following his domination of the Pistons, Davis finished with nine points on nine shots. He’s had 29 points or more three times since, but he needed 13 shots to get to 12 points in a loss to the Rockets, and 31 shots to get to 29 in a loss to Utah Saturday.

“I just always try to make the right play,” Davis said Monday morning. “Even since I was in high school, I’ve never been a selfish guy. Yesterday. … Not yesterday. Whatever day we had that game. I shot 31 times. And after I looked at it, I said, ‘That’s a lot of shots.’

“But sometimes coach said you’re gonna have to shoot that many shots. But I’m always about making the right play, getting my teammates involved. Let them get their share, too. But of course down the stretch, that’s when coach wants me to be a little more selfish.”

Luckily, Gentry is sending help at him, too. While the roster has cycled through the four starting spots around Davis, who has been in 22 of the Pelicans’ league-high 29 first units, Jrue Holiday, the team’s second-best player, has come off the bench. After three months as a reserve, Holiday was bumped up to first chair Monday against the Kings. The result: Eight of Holiday’s 10 assists (tied for his second-most on the season) went to Davis in a 115-112 come-from-behind win.

Davis mentioned before the game how crucial the pick-and-roll with Holiday was to their late-game success.