LeBron James’ sitdown with Cavs GM catalyst for changes?

Wednesday was a busy day in the Land for the reigning NBA champs. It might turn out to be a significant day in the Cavaliers’ season, too.

LeBron James had a sitdown with general manager David Griffin two days after James criticized the front office and the roster’s makeup. The organization had to deal with the rumor of the Knicks offering James’ pal Carmelo Anthony to the Cavs in exchange for Kevin Love (the Cavs said no, according to reports). Then the Cavs had to go out and play the Kings at home. They fell behind 10-0 before righting themselves blowing a lead in overtime and losing 116-112.

The James-Griffin meeting raised the most eyebrows, of course. Griffin has the title but James, the league’s top superstar, has the juice — so if he’s not happy and he says so, then no one’s going to be happy. ESPN.com reported Griffin was less than thrilled James went public with his call for a “f—ing playmaker.” It isn’t known if James’ later attempt to walk back his statements made the meeting easier.

I’ll finish with one more DeWitt quote: “Finally, I’d like to note that our goals remain the same. We expect to win. We expect to compete, and we expect to put a product out on the field that all of you can be proud of. And I promise you this: Even though the struggles of this season have been difficult, we’re going to continue to work hard to get back to where we want to be.”

And where they want to be is most certainly not making buy/sell decisions in the last two weeks of July.

LeBron James, Drew Brees tell kids to be scientists, not athletes in Final Four ad

Limited Youth Steve Nash Jersey Almost every kid who picks up a basketball these days wants to be LeBron James when he or she grows up.

James has a message for those who want to follow in his footsteps.

We don’t need more LeBrons, says James.

Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time Whiteside has injured that part of his hand. He had a cut in roughly the same spot two years ago, and that injury required 10 stitches to repair, keeping him out of three games.

It’s in the awkward place in his hand, Erik Spoelstra said after the game. I know everybody will be thinking, ‘Oh, is this the same, is it worse, how do you compare it to two years ago?’ We’ll see.

Whiteside is a key to the Heat’s success, so if he’s forced to miss any games it will cause problems. Dion Waiters is already out indefinitely, so losing two starters will be difficult to overcome as Miami looks to continue its recent success.
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According to league sources, Denver has been pushing for a trade of forward Wilson Chandler first and foremost as the deadline approaches. But Gallinari remains much more popular among teams with something to offer. Chandler has $12 million on his contract for next year, and an option for $12.8 million the following year. That’s not terrible for an average-ish forward like Chandler, but he turns 30 in May, and his best days are likely behind him.

Gallinari is a more interesting case. He has played well this year, coming back from a difficult, injury-marred three seasons. He has been out with a groin injury since Feb. 1, though he should return soon. If he is traded and plays well down the stretch, he will almost certainly opt out of the final year of his contract, slated to pay him $16 million. In that case, he becomes a short-term rental, and his value dips. So the fact that Gallinari has been averaging 17.2 points and shooting well from the 3-point arc (38.1 percent) has actually hurt his chances of being traded.

With signing of Andrew Bogut, Cavs add to gaudy number of former top draft picks

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Despite the impression you might have gotten from LeBron James’ complaints over a month ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers are loaded with talent. And with some recent waiver wire signings, including Andrew Bogut on Thursday, their roster’s pedigree now looks even more inflated.

After the additions of Derrick Williams, Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut over the last three weeks, the Cavs now have seven players on their roster (James, Irving, Thompson and Love are the others) who are former top-5 picks in the NBA Draft. The next closest teams are the Clippers and Timberwolves, with only four such players.

Authentic Pierre Turgeon Jersey The Cavs now also have eight top-10 picks on their team, which is the most in the league. The Clippers and Magic have seven a piece.

The starting point guard Reggie Jackson experiment seems to be reaching its end in Detroit, as the team has gone backwards from its on-the-rise season a year ago. On a down year, Jackson will be tough to move, but the Pistons are looking at possibilities, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. With Drummond still essentially one-dimensional, and Caldwell-Pope likely to command max money as a restricted free agent this summer, they may be spending their last hours in Detroit, as well.

The Lakers already cleared Lou Williams, and are looking to move Young next, according to Stein. It looks like new president of basketball operations Magic Johnson is trying to spark a total rebuild.

Carmelo Anthony silences critics with offensive outburst

Knicks fans watched Carmelo Anthony at his best Saturday.
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Anthony, who has been on the trading block most of the season, and been criticized heavily by his own fan base, dropped 37 points on 15-of-25 shooting with six rebounds to lead the Knicks to a 110-109 victory over the 76ers at Madison Square Garden.
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This leaves the Bulls stuck again. It’s nearly impossible to lose stars and revamp the roster while remaining competitive. (Unless you have Russell Westbrook sticking around after Kevin Durant leaves.) The trade deadline seemed like a great opportunity for the Bulls to tear it all down and get the most out of Butler in his prime. They could still move him around NBA Draft time for picks — Danny Ainge should still be on line one in Gar Forman’s office phone — but the refusal by this front office to bottom out is a refusal of reality. You’re not keeping the championship window open. You’re fighting for a chance to sell first-round tickets and get bounced by the Cavs, Celtics or Wizards.

Chicago can sit Mirotic and amicably part ways after this season. But benching a once promising forward — one who, by the way, still has one of the best on/off splits on the team (1.1 on vs. -2.4 off, per NBA.com) despite his struggles — won’t solve anything. Roster construction, offensive approach and locker room drama have all been major obstacles for the Bulls. They haven’t been able to overcome them through 66 games, and they will continue to fall short if they keep kicking the can down the road.

This season’s been hard, Mirotic said. It’s been very difficult for me to find a way to enjoy the game.

Yes, Nikola, Bulls fans are right there with you.

Meet Stephen Curry’s new puppy, Rookie

Stephen Curry has an adorable new puppy named Rookie.

Rookie is a 10-week-old Goldendoodle, according to Curry’s wife Ayesha.

Leaf is the same guy he was early in the season: a polished stretch-four with some post ability, passing skill and better athleticism than he gets credit for. He also, though, hasn’t quite gotten to where he needs to be on defense.

Hart stays around the end of the first round here. There’s an argument that he’s the National Player of the Year, a do-it-all senior who creates shots, defends and leads the Wildcats toward their place as the No. 1 team heading into the NCAA Tournament.

Defensively, it’s tough to imagine a realistic lineup better suited to cover for Cousins’ struggles on the perimeter. Davis is a mobile player who can recover well after helping, as well as protect the rim behind him in cases where Cousins gets beat. Holiday and Solomon Hill are both standout defenders who do well to cut off penetration. Cousins might hurt them slightly on that end, but the team’s overall talent defensively should show through with or without him.

This team still has some long-term money that it should try to find a taker for at the deadline or in the offseason (Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca come to mind), but this trade significantly alters the team’s trajectory. Due to Davis’ presence, it seemed unlikely the Pelicans would be bad enough to get another crack at a top-five pick, where your odds of finding a star to pair with Davis increase.


Jose Quintana makes history in lights-out Cubs debut vs. Orioles

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The north side of Chicago should be pleased with the way Jose Quintana performed in his Cubs debut.

Kids Ronnie Lott Jersey After being traded from the White Sox to the Cubs three days ago, Quintana pitched seven scoreless innings, gave up three hits and struck out a season-high 12 batters vs. the Orioles in Camden Yards.

Considering the return the White Sox got for Jose Quintana, the Rangers might be borderline foolish to not just consider trading Darvish. He is what many see as a bona fide ace rather than more of a No. 2 like some see Quintana. Considering that, and the fact Darvish is better than any other pitcher truly on the market, the Rangers could get a massive return for him.

Also to hear that the team isn’t considering trading Hamels is very revealing. Though they do have him locked up until 2019, he would still get a big return and teams love to get controllable pitching so he could get more than even Darvish considering just that.

The Rangers are not shopping him though, so for now fans in Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Milwaukee will be rooting for the Rangers to tank and tank quickly so their teams can try to get hold of Texas’ ace.

It’s easy to make changes when injuries knock a guy out of the rotation long-term, or if a less-than-established youngster/journeyman has a couple of rough outings. But we’re talking about three established, respected veterans and last year’s NL ERA leader. You don’t just dump those pieces out of a rotation easily.

Bad news for NFL owners and players now is a bad omen for labor deal later

It’s not too early to get really worried about the next time the NFL and the players union are due back at the bargaining table, as the end of the collective bargaining agreement after the 2020 season approaches.

It feels like a lot closer than three years away, actually. That’s because the problems staring both sides in the face are staring them down right now, and they are serious. Shutting-down-the-sport serious. For both sides.

Limited Womens Mark Clayton Jersey For Fournette to fully replace both in one explosive package — and likely displace one from the roster — a bit of transition needs to take place. Fournette is accustomed to running with a fullback from his days at LSU, and the Jaguars are accommodating that with either Ivory’s former Jets lead blocker Tommy Bohanon or rookie seventh-rounder Marquez Williams. That brings a little familiarity to balance out what will be a challenge running out of the team’s frequent shotgun formations.

Limited Womens Eli Apple Jersey It’s good that the Jaguars are adjusting to Fournette’s immense talents, but also recognizing his power and burst can work well. Fournette’s physical running style carries well into his strong pass protection skills. He’ll help keep Blake Bortles upright, so that won’t keep him off the field.

The biggest question mark for how much Fournette will see the field as a rookie is his pass-catching. He was an afterthought in that role in college, but it’s a three-down necessity in the NFL.

Calvin Johnson retired because he was ‘stuck’ in Detroit

Calvin Johnson and the Lions have not had a happy divorce.
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The latest saga in the star wide receiver’s rift with the Lions came to light Tuesday, when he cited his former team as a reason for retiring while he was in Italy last week.

The Cubs, though, are one of many teams in the mix for those three editions of the Midsummer Classic.

Mark Gastineau Kids Jersey We have a group of clubs that are interested, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said. We’ve moved into a much more competitive evaluation of those various bids, taking into accounts things like the city’s involvement, have they built a new stadium for the club, have they done particular things that are helpful to a club, the availability of key venues, convention centers and whatnot.

Wrigley is about to undergo a renovation that will include an upgraded visitors’ clubhouse to be completed in 2018 and a fixed-up press box in time for the 2019 season, the Tribune notes.

The 2018 and 2019 All-Star Games are slated for Washington and Cleveland, respectively, and Manfred plans to announce the sites of the next three simultaneously.

But on the other hand, there wasn’t anything stopping the Warriors from paying Livingston and Iguodala what they were worth while also giving Durant the money he was entitled to. Livingston and Iguodala were Bird free agents, and could have been paid anything necessary to keep them in the fold. Therefore, this decision essentially just takes money out of the players’ pockets and puts it into ownership’s pockets. That’s something the National Basketball Players Association can’t exactly be thrilled about.

That’s nuts. So did Curry or Paul win MVP? I mean, who can top that?

Multiple guys, incredibly. Russell Westbrook and James Harden dominated the MVP conversation for most of the season with phenomenal stat lines. Westbrook recorded the first triple-double with 20 points and 20 assists since Magic Johnson in 1988 when he went off for 26 points, 11 rebounds and 22 assists against the Suns in December. Harden had 53 points, 17 assists and 16 rebounds against the Knicks on New Year’s Eve. It was the first 50-15-15 game ever. Westbrook then set the record for most points in a triple-double game after posting 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists against the Magic in March.

Turning point: With the Hawks leading 78-74 and Wall on the bench to start the fourth, Brandon Jennings kept the Wizards afloat by scoring or assisting on Washington’s first eight points of the final quarter. He got into a groove, orchestrating the offense beautifully and drilling jumpers with confidence. Jennings didn’t let the Hawks extend their lead, and that gave Wall the chance to finish them off.

X-factor: Fouls. Lots and lots of fouls. The officiating crew heard Millsap and made sure Game 2 didn’t turn into MMA. In Game 1, there was a total of 47 fouls and 56 free throws. Wednesday night, there was a total of 55 fouls and 71 free throws. The slightest physical contact resulted in a whistle. The Hawks have taken 27 more free throws than the Wizards through two games, so Millsap can’t complain too much about physical play.

Highlight you need to see: Don’t try to jump with Wall.

‘He wore my jerseys every single day’: Patrick Beverley honors late grandfather with Game 4 win

Elite Robert Blanton Jersey Before Patrick Beverley became the heart and soul of the Rockets, he spent several years developing in Europe, relying upon a strong familial support system to stay focused on his NBA dream. One of those pillars was Beverley’s grandfather, who died Sunday, hours ahead of Houston’s Game 4 victory over the Spurs.

The Spurs needed Wednesday’s win after they were blown out by Rockets, 126-99, in Monday’s series opener.

Leonard said Monday’s game was a test and the Spurs were able to bounce back thanks to being focused.

San Antonio shot 54.5 percent from the floor as five players scored in double figures. Jonathan Simmons had 14 points off the bench while Danny Green (12 points), LaMarcus Aldridge (15 points) and Tony Parker (18 points) all contributed to the victory.

Parker did leave early in the fourth quarter after suffering a left knee injury. He will have an MRI Thursday to determine the severity of the injury.
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Cavs coach Tyronn Lue also credited Thompson’s constant energy and activity under the basket for his success in grabbing boards on the offensive end, saying he treats every shot like a miss.

Even when Kyle Korver is shooting the basketball or even when Kyle Korver is at the free throw line, Lue said (via Cleveland.com). He’s crashing the glass every single shot. His motor is unbelievable. He’s one of the guys that can crash from the perimeter and still get back on the defensive end. He treats every shot like a miss and he has the motor to crash the glass and also get back on defense.