Tag:LeBron James
Posted on: July 30, 2010 12:23 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2010 12:24 pm
 

Joey Graham signs two-year deal with Cleveland

Posted by Royce Young

And the successor to the throne in Cleveland is... Joey Graham?

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! reports the Cavs have inked Graham to a two-year contract, with terms undisclosed at this moment.

What does this mean? Well, the Cavs are struggling a bit. Currently, they have one actual small forward on the roster and that's Jamario Moon. So Graham certainly has a spot and a need, but right now, Cleveland's at an interesting intersection: Rebuild or stay somewhat competitive?

The Cavs don't have any inclination to make a run past the first round of the playoffs next year, and that's if they even make it that far. So is it worth signing a decent veteran like Graham instead of hanging on to the space and starting to build a bevy of assets?

Graham is not at all a step in advancing past the LeBron era in Cleveland. He's merely a placeholder. And if that's what the Cavs want, so be it. Honestly, it would be tough for the folks of Cleveland to stomach a rebuilding year next season. It would be constant reminder as to how much LeBron meant to that franchise. So the Cavs are going in the direction of trying to remain competitive for now, because it puts on a good face to the fans. It's the family that's broke still throwing its kid a sad birthday party.

The trade sending Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair to Minnesota last week signaled a bit that maybe the Cavs were looking to start a process of rebuilding. They sent a player away in West that is a productive player and has been a large part of the success of the franchise over the last few years. Plus, besides Ramon Sessions who obviously is who the deal was for, they snagged Ryan Hollins who isn't a shabby inside player and a second-round pick.

Cleveland is at a crossroads no franchise wants to stare down after losing a star. Scrap everything and start over or try and put on the happy face for the fans? And apparently, it'll be the happy face for now.
Posted on: July 30, 2010 8:45 am
 

Shootaround: 7.30.10

Posted by Royce Young
  • HoopsWorld reports the Celtics have signed veteran guard Von Wafer. It's a one year deal, fully guaranteed and worth the veteran minimum.
  • Basketbawful determines Chris Dudley is the worst free throw shooter ever: 'Dudley's career free throw percentage of 45.8 isn't the lowest among the players in this list. So why does Dudders rank first among my worsts? It's not simply because he 817 of 1,508 freebies over his (gulp!) 15-year career. What sets Dudley apart are some of his dubious fouls shooting accomplishments. For instance, according to his NBA.com bio: "On April 14, 1990, he missed 17 of 18 free throws in a 124-113 loss to the Indiana Pacers. In that game he broke Wilt Chamberlain s NBA record by missing 13 straight free throws, one of them an airball. Dudley wound up with a league-worst .319 free-throw percentage."
  • Scott Howard-Cooper for NBA.com on Ricky Rubio : "Rubio is an even better prospect now than at the time of the hypefest leading to the 2009 draft, so he's either a trade chip with increasing value or going to someday arrive in Minnesota as a superior player. Kahn will be vindicated on that one."
  • Howard Beck of the New York Times writing on Shaq's future : "Yet O’Neal — the Most Dominant Ever, according to the syntactically awkward title he gave himself — is unemployed. Is this the end? Possibly. This limbo is largely self-created. O’Neal, according to team executives, is seeking an $8 million salary. He wants a two-year deal. He is 38. He has trouble staying healthy. He can be helpful in spurts, but he is no longer the menacing figure who once ruled the paint."
  • Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo claimed Chris Bosh pretty much quit on the team last season. Bosh in an interview with SportsNet Canada refutes that : "No, at any time, did I ever give up," Bosh told Sportsnet. "You know, I take that very seriously. I work hard every time I step on the court -- practice, games, shoot-around, whatever you want to say -- I take this job seriously and I take my effort on the court seriously ... I play this game as hard as I can every time I step on the court. On the back of my jersey, it says Bosh," the 26-year-old forward continued. "The Boshs are hard workers. We have a lot of pride in what we do in our jobs and in life. There was no time, at any time, that I ever stepped on the court -- in my NBA career, in my life -- and stop playing hard or give up."
  • Can Rashard Lewis and Brandon Bass co-exist? Orlando Pinstriped Post investigates : "The biggest takeaway is that Van Gundy's apparently willing to pair the two in the frontcourt with a center, which he didn't do for any meaningful stretch last year, as I've illustrated with the chart above. Will he follow through on it it? In what situations? And, most importantly, will it work? We have another three months, at least, before we'll even begin to have an idea. If nothing else, teaming Lewis and Bass is worth a look, especially early in the season, when there isn't much at stake. If the lineup works, keep it. If not? Junk it, and try something else."
Posted on: July 29, 2010 8:24 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 11:13 pm
 

ESPN releases statement regarding LeBron party

Posted by Matt Moore

ESPN has released a statement to explain the series of events surrounding the phantom LeBron story which appeared briefly on ESPN's servers before being yanked. The story has come down that the problem lies not with James, nor with ESPN.com's editorial staff, but with the writer, Arash Markazi.

Rob King, Vice President and Editor-In-Chief, ESPN Digital Media released a statement today:

ESPN.com will not be posting the story in any form. We looked into the situation thoroughly and found that Arash did not properly identify himself as a reporter or clearly state his intentions to write a story. As a result, we are not comfortable with the content, even in an edited version, because of the manner in which the story was reported. We’ve been discussing the situation with Arash and he completely understands. To be clear, the decisions to pull the prematurely published story and then not to run it were made completely by ESPN editorial staff without influence from any outside party.

We knew the story was going to get complicated. James was clearly unaware that his actions were going to be reported on. The question was whether he was unaware Markazi was a reporter or if he was aware Markazi was a reporter but believed he was off-record. Now we have the official position regarding that.

So was what Markazi did unethical?

If this were a drug ring, Markazi could not identify himself as a reporter. He couldn't ask if people involved in illegal behavior were on-record without jeopardizing both his safety and the story. There are a number of illegal stories broken where a reporter has had to refrain from revealing both his position and intention.

LeBron James did not do anything illegal. He has done nothing against the law, nothing that would warrant this kind of deception. There's no crime in being an egotist, no fault that goes against human decency is partying like a rock star. He simply comes off looking bad. And that's not enough to warrant such tactics. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding. But the onus is on Markazi to notify James or one of his representatives that he is a reporter, and that he is writing a story on the night's events.  LeBron James has every right to be whatever kind of person he wants to be at a private event held for him, among friends.

For his part, Markazi also released a statement, though I would not particularly call it contrite:

I have been in conversations with ESPN.com’s editors and, upon their complete review, understand their decision not to run the story. It is important to note that I stand by the accuracy of the story in its entirety, but should have been clearer in representing my intent to write about the events I observed.

ESPN takes a lot of flack for not being responsible with their coverage, and will of course take flack for protecting James' PR theoretical rear. But Markazi leaves little option by admitting he did not specify that what he saw that night would end up in front of the eyes of millions. Their hands were tied when Markazi did not approach the story with the right set of practices. We live in an age where the media seems to know no bounds. At some point, those lines have to be drawn by those with the most reach.

None of this makes any part of this story any less funny.
Posted on: July 29, 2010 12:05 am
Edited on: July 29, 2010 12:11 am
 

Fan wearing Heat LeBron jersey escorted from game

Posted by Royce Young



You knew this was bound to happen. And you knew this would be the likely reaction.

A fan wore a Miami Heat No. 6 LeBron James jersey to a Cleveland Indians game tonight against the New York Yankees. That's what some would consider a little low blow-ish. Well, a lot low blow-ish. Or just downright mean. And wouldn't you know it, the fan was escorted out by security.

Fans in the left-field bleachers chanted obscenities and pointed at the man Wednesday night during the sixth inning of the game. Hundreds of fans joined in before security led the man out of Progressive Field. It doesn't appear that he was asked to leave because of the jersey, but more because it was becoming a distraction and a possible safety concern.

As the fan exited, some Indians fans followed behind him toward the gate continuing to yell and chant not so nice things at him. Though as pictured, the fact he was "popping" the jersey might have justified the crowd's ire a bit. The guy clearly went to patronize the crowd, so it's hard not to agree that he got what he asked for.

I'm sure this won't be the last situation like this. LeBron's exit from Cleveland wasn't a pretty one so some looking to rile folks up have a prime opportunity to kick a city while it's down. Cleveland's a wounded dog and if you mess with it, it's going to bite you. Or yell awful things about your mother and throw beer at you. Same difference.

At this point, on a list of dangerous things to do, this would have to be right up there with swimming with sharks, running with the Bulls in Pamplona or skydiving with a paper sack for a parachute. Actually, this might be at the top of the list.
Posted on: July 28, 2010 4:19 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 4:29 pm
 

LeBron James and the Tao of the Mega-Party

Posted by Matt Moore

Hey, what haven't we written about for thirty seconds? I know! LeBron!

Today's tale is especially gooey though. It involves chap stick, champagne poured out, women in a bathtub, and the continuing self-demolition of LeBron James' public persona.

Arash Markazi is a columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com . Last weekend, while King James and his merry men were partying in Vegas, Markazi was invited along for the festivities. This isn't anything new. Media members are occasionally privy to such events as part of a profile, but the events are almost always considered off-record. Markazi was apparently not under that impression, at least when he filed.

Markazi's story went up this morning at this link (link now = very dead). Within the hour, it was taken down again. Whoops. Something went up that shouldn't have. Unfortunately for the poor folks at ESPN.com's editorial department, in this day and age, someone managed to extract a copy of it.  And it now lives on the Internet forever , among the weeds.

So what was it in that article that brought so much attention?

Well...

There's nothing in the article that is particularly shocking. Millionaire 25-year-old parties like a rock star, par-parties like a rock star. The problem is that it represents yet another blow to the hollowed out wreckage that is LeBron's public image. Furthermore, even though hardcore NBA fans, media, and personnel are fully aware that this is the kind of life James leads, it's still not the image he wants to project to the mothers of the ten year olds buying his shoes/lunchboxes/cereal/colognes. So what does the article say exactly? Let's go to the tape!

Want references to scantily clad women? You got it!

"The waiter bringing him his cup of green tea with a spoonful of honey and a dash of lemon juice makes the cut, as does the scantily clad brunette with a tattoo of a heart on her right shoulder. She wants to take a picture with him. "I can't right now," says James. "Maybe later, upstairs, I'll remember you're the one with the tattoo."
And then later:
Bottle after bottle of "Ace of Spades" champagne is delivered to the table by a waiter flying down from above the dance floor like some overgrown Peter Pan on a wire. One time he's dressed like a King, another time as Indiana Jones and another in a replica of James' No. 6 Miami Heat jersey. James, who can hardly see the flying figure through his tinted glasses, almost gets kicked in the head on the waiter's last trip down. He looks at the girls around him and says, "I wish they'd have one of these girls with no panties do that instead of the guy."
Well, hey, LeBron's not married. Not really any of our business. But it certainly doesn't paint the image that James wants to in light of the backlash he's faced since "The Decision."

The article features an inside look at how James behaves in close company. Not only James, in fact, but head of LRMR marketing Maverick Carter, who has emerged as the the dominant force behind James' decisions since hitting free agency. So a man of that kind of power, responsible for the business decisions of one of the most powerful people in sports today is probably reserved and in control, right?
Carter, LeBron's childhood friend and manager, begins dancing around James like Puff Daddy in a Notorious B.I.G video. A giant red crown-shaped cake is brought over to James while go-go dancers dressed in skimpy red and black outfits raise four lettered placards that spell out, "KING." Carter grabs a bottle of Grey Goose and pours a quarter of it on the floor and raises it up before passing it off.
Well, okay, that's a different approach.

Want to know exactly how ridiculous the entire spectacle is? Glen Davis thinks LeBron was acting a fool. That's right. The guy nicknamed "Big Baby" who was compared to Shrek thinks James is over-the-top:
Toward the end of the night, Boston Celtics forward Glen Davis walks past James' party and looks at the scene up and down several times like a painting in a museum, soaking in the images of the go-go dancers, the "King" sign and the costumed man delivering bottles of champagne.

Davis shakes his head and walks on.

James dances on the couch and sings along with the music blaring from speakers all around him.
Burn!

I'm not even going to touch the flying waiters in Indiana Jones outfits. (I thought they named the hooker Indiana. Or am I getting that quote wrong?)

Allright, but the story was only up for a few minutes and then taken down. Surely no one's had time to already start making fun of...

Oh .

Oh, and that .

Oh, geez , the "nexus of insane wealth and mega-celebrity." Well played, SBNation.com. 

Well,then.

For James' part, Darren Rovell is reporting that his team has said they did not have any part in the piece getting pulled. And ESPN has come back with an official quote , first reported by Rovell, and told to FanHouse and our own Ken Berger:
"The story should have never been published. The draft was inadvertently put on the server before going through the usual editorial process. We are in the midst of looking into the matter.”
Oh, so that's what happened. A story outlining the most powerful figure in the NBA whose public image has been tarnished outlining his rather opulent weekend in moderate detail just got slipped onto the server.

That guy that lost the iPhone 4 is going to have nothing on whatever poor guy screwed this up.

We shouldn't overreact to this, there should be nothing in this article that stuns us. James does nothing illegal, inbibes no illegal drugs, says nothing of real controversy. He's just your average, run-of-the-mill, mega-star with millions of dollars being treated like a god in the most opulent place on Earth. He's a lot like you and me, actually, if we routinely faked playing basketball in casinos and hung out in places with naked women in bathtubs with rose pedals as decoration (my wife prefers paper lamps). Really, part of LeBron is inside all of us. I'll let you figure out which organ that is, in particular.

(Image via: Ball Don't Lie )
Category: NBA
Posted on: July 27, 2010 7:56 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2010 7:57 pm
 

Video: Offseason review - Central Division

Posted by Royce Young

The Central was the center of free agency this offseason. LeBron's decision, the Bulls multiple moves and plus, some other interesting transactions. It's all been graded and broken down , plus here's some talking about it as well.


Posted on: July 27, 2010 6:12 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 8:30 pm
 

Offseason Reviews: Central Division

Posted by Matt Moore

With only a handful of free agents left on the market and with summer league over, we thought we'd take a look at how teams in the Central Division did over the summer in negotiating their moves.

Chicago Bulls

Added: Carlos Boozer (sign-and-trade), Kyle Korver (free agency), Ronnie Brewer (free agency), Kurt Thomas (free agency), C.J. Watson (trade)
Lost: Kirk Hinrich (trade), Hakim Warrick (sign-and-trade), Brad Miller (free agency)

Philosophy: "Why have excellent when you can have above-average?"

Well, hey, they didn't get LeBron. Or Dwyane Wade. Or Chris Bosh. Or Amar'e Stoudemire. But they got Carlos Boozer!

And sure, they didn't get Anthony Morrow. Or J.J. Redick (though they tried). But they got Kyle Korver!

And that's pretty much the Bulls summer. The Bulls swung out on the big boys and got the next best thing they could rustle up. Boozer's numbers are good, and he certainly solves a lot of their needs. That's really what it comes down to. All of the Bulls' signings were exactly what they needed, they just weren't the best guys they could get. Carlos Boozer gives them a low-post power forward with offensive versatility. He's just not Amar'e Stoudemire or Chris Bosh. Kyle Korver adds three-point shooting,and was a better option than even Anthony Morrow would have been. Ronnie Brewer may have been their best signing. They essentially took Kirk Hinrich, a defensive combo-guard that can't really shoot anymore (I'll never figure out where his shot went), and his considerable salary and moved him for Brewer, a defensive combo-wing that can't shoot.

It's hard to knock the Bulls, since they did at least stay aggressive, and did make moves. And trying to grade them based on expectations in this competitive of a year is tough. But with one of the biggest markets, cap space, and a handful of advantages, you still have to look at their moves and ask "Really?"

Grade: B-

Cleveland Cavaliers

Added: Ramon Sessions (trade), Ryan Hollins (trade), Christian Eyenga (draft)
Lost: LeBron freaking James (sign-and-trade), Delonte West (trade), Sebastian Telfair (trade), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (free agency)

Philosophy: "Not with a bang, but with 'The Decision'"

Yeah, I think this pretty much sums it up .

How do you judge them for this? How do you evaluate them after losing the most important player in franchise history in one of the most embarrassing ways possible? Can you blame them? Can you exonerate them simply because of James' classless behavior? At the end of the day, it's the responsibility of a front-office to make the team the best it can be. And in this case, it didn't. Whether there were forces beyond their control or foresight is irrelevant. We are judged by our performances, and the results sadly speak for themselves.

Sessions is a great pick-up, though, and Hollins has some potential outside of the triangle.

Grade: F+

Detroit Pistons


Added: Greg Monroe (draft), Terrico White (draft), Ben Wallace (re-signed)
Lost: none

Philosophy: "Running in place is good for the soul."

Such a wasted opportunity. Rip Hamilton, out there to move, with teams who missed out on the Big 3 needing impact players. Tayshaun Prince, same deal. Rodney Stuckey, conceivably expendable. Instead, Joe Dumars and company elected to simply do nothing. No additions, no trades, no moves. Just the consistency of mediocrity. Perhaps the idea is that things could not go as badly as they did last season. And it's hard to argue against that, with all the injuries. But the problems remain with an ineffective frontcourt and an inconsistent backcourt. There was still a lot Dumars could have pursued, he's pulled off those moves before. But instead he seems convinced that this roster as constructed can get the job done.

The shining light? Greg Monroe looks good. Really good. The kind of low-post player they've needed for years and have been getting by with Kwame Brown for. The wasted opportunity docks them, but their draft was solid enough to save them to a degree.

Grade: C-

Indiana Pacers


Added: Paul George (draft), Lance Stephenson (draft), Magnum Rolle (draft)

Lost:
none

Philosophy:
"The vague semblance of a plan."

The Pacers did the same amount of stuff that the Pistons did, so they get the same grade right? Sadly, no. Fair is not always equal. The Pacers get a much improved grade from years past thanks to their willingness to go away from what has been their calling card. Instead of opting for big-resume players from major programs in college and veteran marginal free agents, the Pacers went with talent. Best talent available. And now? They have a roster with movable veteran pieces (Ford, Murphy, Foster), with replacements in place for them, and have managed to get involved in multiple talks for Granger without losing leverage.

Lance Stephenson, even if Summer League was a complete mirage, has long-term value to be able to invest in at both the point guard and combo-guard position. George has long-term development potential. Roy Hibbert has been given opportunities to develop and showed signs last year, and they didn't do anything in the draft or free agency to interfere with that. Even Magnum Rolle looks like a decent backup prospect.

I don't really know how to live in a world where I'm about to give this grade, but I'm going to.

Grade: B+

Milwaukee Bucks


Added:   John Salmons (re-signed, Drew Gooden (free agency), Corey Maggette (trade), Jon Brockman (trade), Keyon Dooling (free agency), Larry Sanders (draft), Darington Hobson (draft), Tiny Gallon (draft)
Lost:   Luke Ridnour (free agency), Kurt Thomas (free agency), Royal Ivey (free agency), Charlie Bell (trade), Dan Gadzuric (trade), Darnell Jackson (trade)

Philosophy:
"LOCK AND LOAD."

I love what the Bucks did. I hate what the Bucks did. I totally understand what the Bucks did. I'm completely baffled by what the Bucks did.

Okay, here's what we know.

John Hammond believes this roster can contend. Andrew Bogut, when healthy, can be the cornerstone. Brandon Jennings will only get better. They have movable assets of value. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is versatile and talented at multiple positions. They needed scoring. A high-volume, high-usage, efficient shooter that isn't named Michael Redd Who Has No Legs. So they got Corey Maggette. Nice. That works. Sure, Maggette's a defensive question mark, but we've seen terrible defenders become semi-decent in good systems, and the Bucks have one of the best around. They re-signed Salmons, for a lot less than I thought he would garner in this market. They now have offense and defense.

But in addition to that, the Bucks got gluttonous. Drew Gooden, for the amount of money he was signed for is fairly unforgivable. Three days later, Hammond got Salmons back for a quality price. It was like every move they made, they followed with one on the other end of the sense spectrum. One thing is for certain: the Bucks are good at power forward. After watching Larry Sanders look fairly incredible at Summer League, I'm ready to commit to a bet that the Bucks will lead the league in blocks next season. With Bogut, Gooden, Mbah a Moute, Sanders, and whoever else gets in on the act, I think they have a good shot at that.

The question is if the unbalanced nature of their acquisitions (all high-usage players) will maintain a balance with their defense to ensure they reach last year's performance and exceed it. And on that front, it's a mixed grade.

Grade: B-



Posted on: July 26, 2010 12:58 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2010 9:34 pm
 

The LeBron effect on Chris Paul

Posted by Matt Moore

The words are not weak. Chris Paul, a young man that has brought himself to be not only arguably the best point guard in the National Basketball Association, but an important member of both the social and business communities in New Orleans and his home of North Carolina, is being regarded as weak. This behavior as of late, the trade demands , the partying, the sulking, it's not like Chris. This isn't who he is. At least, that's how it's being regarded in the media. In reality, nothing about his behavior seems out of order for a young point guard on a struggling team. So naturally, the wheels of blame have begun to turn. We like Chris Paul too much to make him into an egotist. There must be something else at play. Let's see... charitable, no... hyper-competitive... no, can't blame that, that makes too much sense... ah! I got it!

LeBron James DID IT!

But even as the idea sounds ridiculous and fabricated, there are good reasons to head in that general direction. Nowhere has that been as explicitly outlined as in Adrian Wojnarowski's article that all but drew scepters and pentagrams around James and his marketing firm, LRMR. That was then followed up by James tweeting :

"Best of luck to my brother @oneandonlycp3 . Do what's best for You and your family"

Which is a nice sentiment, but still seems like James intruding into matters which are not his business. And if that's a wee bit of tampering, we can only imagine what went on this weekend when the two were partying it up in Vegas . In the midst of all this is a report that Paul himself has not  signed on with James' marketing firm , LRMR. This contradicts a July 8th report saying just that, along with the indication that Paul has joined CAA, which also represents LeBron James and the other two super-friends. 

It's been confirmed that Paul has left Octagon, but not that he has joined LRMR. He's hanging out with LeBron, but we don't know if they talked about business at all. 

The question we need to be asking ourselves is if Chris Paul is really that easily "corrupted" or "influenced" or whatever term you'd like. Is this player who has shown a tremendous amount of maturity in his short time in the NBA really being "turned to the dark side," or whatever overblown phrase you'd like to use, by a marketing firm that has yet to land a marquee client or business deal and a player that has yet to win a championship? There's no doubt LeBron is powerful, arguably the most powerful player in the NBA. And there's no doubt the two are friends. But in all of his dealings, CP3 has never come across as the type to be railroaded or to do as he's told. He seems much more like a motivated individual that keeps track of his dealings and has a clear set plan for establishing his legacy.

Turning his back on New Orleans doesn't seem like it's in his character, that's true. But for a guy who's known as one of the most competitive players in a hyper-competitive environment (ask Julius Hodge about that), a trade request from a team that's been spinning its wheels doesn't seem out of line. The most logical conclusion is that LeBron James definitely did have an impact on this, but not in pressuring Paul, but by leading by example, even if that example is currently being spit on by most of the free world. 

James' decisions in the last two months have been driven by an athlete-centric decision tree. He's not putting the fans first. Not putting the teams (and thereby their owners) first. He's putting himself and his brand first. And in doing so, he's helped increase the arms race that started three years ago with the Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen trades that made Boston a champion and pushed the Lakers towards the Gasol acquisition. This is how you win championships, by playing on loaded teams, not by shouldering the burden. Paul has watched three of his best friends become a superpower, while he is playing for an 8th seed in the West with an aging core and two young Bucks, one of whom plays his position. 

Paul can't stand to be left behind. That's what James has shown him. That if he wants to keep up with the tone of progress, he's going to have to take matters into his own hands. The question is if the Hornets are going to blink first.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com