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LeBron James excited to bring chalk toss back to Cleveland

LeBron-James-chalk-tossLeBron James may be coming back to Cleveland as a more experienced and mature player and person, but he plans to act like he never left. In addition to keeping the same jersey number for his second stint with the Cavaliers, LeBron is also looking forward to bringing back the chalk toss.

LeBron posted a video game simulation of his chalk toss on Instagram over the weekend.

“I swear I can’t wait for this moment again!!” he wrote. “#TheLand #PowderFillsTheRoom #StriveForGreatness.”

[Related: Dwight Howard mocks LeBron's chalk toss in Cleveland]

LeBron did the chalk toss throughout his time with the Cavs and brought it with him to Miami, but he hasn’t done it much in recent years. While I haven’t watched every Heat game in the past two years, I can’t find any evidence of James doing his chalk routine since roughly 2012. Maybe he was saving it for the big return.

Andrew Wiggins’ HS coach: ‘Andrew could care less what LeBron James thinks of him’

Andrew-WigginsAndrew Wiggins might as well have been handed his walking papers by the Cavaliers the day LeBron James decided to return to Cleveland. Like the rest of us, the No. 1 overall pick knew the Cavs were looking to deal him to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love. But was he concerned about it? It doesn’t appear so.

According to Wiggins’ Huntington Prep high school coach Rob Fulford, the former Kansas star has been unfazed by both trade rumors and what LeBron thinks of him.

“Andrew is such a good kid; he’s just a classy kid, very humble, very respectful,” Fulford told Jeff Caplan of NBA.com. “I think this whole process with the trade rumors, he could care less. That kid just wants to play basketball. The fact that LeBron never reached out to him, Andrew could care less what LeBron James thinks of him.”

When LeBron wrote his heartfelt essay for Sports Illustrated announcing that he was coming home, he mentioned how excited he is to work with several new teammates. Wiggins was not among those mentioned, which was hardly an oversight. Wiggins, 19, then told reporters earlier this month that he had not spoken to James once since they became teammates.

Kansas coach Bill Self later said that Wiggins told him he wants to be traded. Fulford basically said the same, noting that Wiggins can now be the star of the show in Minnesota.

“Andrew’s going to be a superstar,” he said. “This gives him a platform from Day 1 to kind of be the guy, and he’s ready for that. … It’s one of those things, him being on a team where it’s kind of really going to be his, I think, is a good thing for him.”

With Love out of Minnesota and Timberwolves fans desperate for a winning team, Wiggins will have an opportunity to be the hero. Playing in Cleveland with a kid from Akron would not have presented him with the same opportunity.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Kobe sent LeBron a great text message in 2010

Kobe Bryant LeBron James

Kobe Bryant’s incredibly competitive spirit was on full display in a text message he sent LeBron James during the infamous summer of 2010.

The summer of 2010 was the one where LeBron left Cleveland for Miami to form a Big 3 with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Prior to James announcing his decision, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the MVP’s future.

Would he stay in Cleveland? Would he go to the Knicks? Would he consider the Lakers? The Heat weren’t even in the picture according to most insiders.

Regardless of where LeBron chose to go, Kobe had a warning for him.

According to Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, Kobe sent the following awesome text to LeBron that summer:

“Go ahead and get another MVP, if you want. And find the city you want to live in. But we’re going to win the championship. Don’t worry about it.”

Does it get more Kobe Bryant than that?

[Also see: Kobe and LeBron trade trash talk on Christmas 2010]

Despite his bravado, Bryant couldn’t have been more wrong about the message he sent LeBron.

Though the Lakers had just won the title — their second in a row (LeBron won NBA MVP both seasons) — James led his Heat to the NBA Finals each of the next four seasons. The Mavs won the title the next season, and then LeBron got his rings — two in a row — before the Spurs ending that streak in June. The Lakers haven’t been back to the Finals since Kobe sent that message.

[Related: Kobe tells LeBron one ring is not enough]

I’m not a Kobe fan, but you have to admire his competitive spirit. That guy is oozing with confidence and belief in himself and his teammates. His drive, desire and will to win have helped him win five NBA titles.

That story about the text message came as part of a cool article Ding wrote on “untold stories” about Kobe. I suggest you check out the entire thing for more nice Kobe stories.

Damian Lillard responds to being cut by Team USA with Instagram post

With just one week until the FIBA World Cup gets underway in Spain, we now know the 12 members who will compete for the United States team.

Prior to the roster being finalized, additional cuts needed to be made from the squad that had been participating in recent exhibition games. After the final four cuts, this is who will be wearing red, white, & blue in the upcoming competition.

There’s one notable exception: Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard was among the last group to be removed, along with Chandler Parsons, Gordon Hayward, and Kyle Korver.

Late last night, Lillard said there were no hard feelings and he wished Team USA the best. On Saturday, the NBA’s 2013 Rookie of the Year posted the above photo on his Instagram account with the following caption:

“This is team USA letting me go. My head up, spirits up, and I’m going back to work. #TeamAdidas #JustGetBetter #WoodOnTheFire”

Lillard is just 24 years old, so in no way will this be our final opportunity to see him in a USA Basketball uniform. However, it means the next time we’ll get to see one of the NBA’s brightest young stars in competitive action will be the preseason, which seems so far away.

Photo: Instagram/damianlillard

Timberwolves announce Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins trade with newspaper ad

Timberwolves-newspaper-ad-trade

Saturday was the first day Andrew Wiggins was eligible to be traded after signing his rookie contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers 30 days ago, and as expected the No. 1 overall pick was officially traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love. The T-Wolves introduced their new players with a newspaper ad in the Pioneer Press.

While the Cavs will likely be the Eastern Conference favorites with a big three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Love, the Timberwolves have assembled an exciting young core of players. Minnesota drafted Zach LaVine with its first-round pick in June and will now add two top overall picks in Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. The Wolves are also getting 26-year-old Thaddeus Young from the Philadelphia 76ers.

As expected, Philly will receive a first-round draft pick, Alexey Shved and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

H/T SB Nation
Photo: Twitter/John Shipley

Suns offer Eric Bledsoe for Kevin Love trade to T-Wolves

Eric Bledsoe SunsThe Kevin Love trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers has been agreed upon and is expected to go through on Saturday, but that didn’t stop the Phoenix Suns from making a last-minute offer for the big man.

According to ESPN, the Suns offered Eric Bledsoe to Minnesota for Love in a sign-and-trade deal.

Bledsoe and the Suns are at odds over the emerging guard’s contract situation.

Bledsoe is a restricted free agent and has been offered a 4-year, $48 million deal by the team. Bledsoe is seeking a max deal for 5 years and $80 million from Phoenix, or a max deal of four years and $64 million if another team signs him to a max offer sheet.

After a contentious offseason where the relationship between Bledsoe and the Suns soured, reports said this week that the Suns were finally willing to sign-and-trade deals for the point guard. They’re not going to get Love for him, but this further shows they’re looking to trade Bledsoe.

Klay Thompson said to be ‘pissed’ Warriors considered trading him

Klay ThompsonThe Golden State Warriors were one of the teams most prominently mentioned in the Kevin Love trade conversations, and the talks largely centered around their willingness to include Klay Thompson in a potential deal.

The Warriors reportedly were reluctant to include Thompson in a package for Love, though some reports said they finally were willing to trade him. In the end, the Timberwolves agreed to trade Love to the Cavaliers for Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett.

Though he was not traded, Thompson supposedly is unhappy Golden State talked about dealing him.

Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher says the Warriors have to do some fence-mending with Thompson and David Lee, whose name also appeared in trade talks. A source told Bucher that Thompson was “pissed” the team seriously considered trading him.

You can say Thompson needs to toughen up and get used to the rumor mill since being mentioned in trade talks are part of the business, but these guys are still humans and being mentioned in trades can easily hurt someone’s feelings. I understand why he’d be upset. If there’s anyone he should commiserate with, it’s Pau Gasol, who was mentioned in trade talks every week his last few years with the Lakers.

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