LeBron Watch: Stephen A. Smith Makes a Prediction, Jay-Z Says Very Little

If nothing else, Jay-Z has made it tough to get a read on what his approach will be in trying to land LeBron James.  Publicly, he’s come out and stated that he would not try to convince LeBron to sign with the Nets, although we all know that’s completely false.  With July 1 only days away, the LeBron James free agency rumors are in full swing.  It’s already been said that Chris Bosh and LeBron to the Chicago Bulls is a done deal.  Stephen A. Smith disagrees with that prediction and has made it clear that he believes LeBron and Bosh are both headed to Miami to team with Dwyane Wade.  If that’s true you can go ahead and cancel the season, but we’ll get into that after.  First, have a look at the video of Jay-Z talking about LeBron James with David Letterman, courtesy of Waiting For Next Year via Sports by Brooks Live:

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Gordon Hayward’s Barely Legal Girlfriend

The NBA Draft was pretty boring as a whole and about the only upside is at least we didn’t have cameras on the players showing they were selected prior to the announcement at the podium. If there was one notable aspect of the draft, aside from David Stern laughing at the Bulls’ pick, it was Gordon Hayward bringing his girlfriend along to NYC.

Hayward is 20 years old and he just completed his sophomore season at Butler. He’s a young looking guy, which means his young looking girlfriend, Kolbi Killingback suits him well. Oddly, though, Killingback just graduated from high school according to her Facebook page. The two went to high school together so it makes the situation whole lot less creepy but it’s still somewhat uncomfortable. It definitely reminds us how young most of these players are.

Blazers Fire GM on Draft Night. Huh?

The Portland Trail Blazers gave GM Kevin Pritchard the ultimate eff you on Thursday, firing him the night of the draft. According to The Oregonian, the draft night execution was more vicious than what Pritchard was expecting; he thought he would be let go two days after the draft. I guess owner Paul Allen is more ruthless than we thought. Pritchard engineered the 2006 draft day trades that brought Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge to Portland, making him chiefly responsible for the team’s turnaround. Sure he might have screwed up the Greg Oden pick, but Pritchard did a good job in Portland. So why was he fired? From Jason Rapid Quick:

Thursday’s firing appeared to come down to a personality conflict, a strife that became apparent to Pritchard late in the season when he was told he was no longer welcome to sit next to [owner Paul] Allen during games at the Rose Garden. Pritchard at times wondered if Allen had become jealous of his popularity and the credit he received, even though Pritchard insisted he never wanted the attention.

There you have Pritch’s side of the story which seems to make sense. As for Allen’s side, well he lets his firings do the talking. People are saying that Allen’s treatment of Pritchard will make it tough for Portland to hire a new, good GM, but I disagree. With that roster and the money Allen can offer, there should be plenty of takers. The question is whether someone else can do what Pritchard was able to with that roster. Now that’s the difficult question, and I say it will be tough to duplicate.

Trail Blazers’ firing of Kevin Pritchard comes earlier than expected, but questions remain unanswered [The Oregonian]

Greivis Vasquez Has Bad History with Memphis

Greivis Vasquez had one of the most ecstatic reactions of any player who got drafted on Thursday. The former Maryland star was selected 28th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies who obtained the pick from the Lakers in the b.s. Pau Gasol trade. Although Vasquez was elated to be picked by the Grizzlies, one has to wonder if the sentiment will be shared by his new hometown.

Last year during March Madness, Vasquez’s Maryland squad had beaten Cal in the first round and was getting prepared to play second seeded Memphis in the second round. Vasquez infamously ripped the Tigers at the time, saying Memphis would have a losing record if they played in the ACC rather than Conference-USA.

Naturally, Vasquez’s comments set off a firestorm in Memphis where outraged fans were calling up my radio show all pissed off. Of course Memphis went on to wax Maryland before losing to Missouri in the Sweet 16, proving Vasquez’s comment had some partial accuracy.

I don’t know how Vasquez will be received in Memphis as the 28th overall pick by the Grizzlies, but I’m guessing it won’t be too warmly until he starts playing well for the team. I don’t know much about Memphis, but I do know that the city is passionate about their school and that they don’t forget. Good luck making friends, Greivis.

David Stern Laughing at Bulls’ Pick?

That’s what some people on twitter are thinking about Commissioner David Stern, given the way he announced Chicago’s selection of French Guiana player Kevin Seraphin in the first round of the NBA Draft. Other people think Stern was laughing because he thought he would mispronounce Seraphin’s name. For instance, FantasyDaddy said on twitter “My Loser of the day is NBA Commish David Stern, for coming off as a jackass for laughing about the Bulls pick.” In contrast, Peggy Kusinski said “Bulls draft Kevin Seraphin of France. NBA commish David Stern must be loving the pronunciations, mic caught him say “listen to this.” So was Stern laughing at the pick of the obscure player, or was he chuckling because he knew he would butcher the pronunciation? Let’s listen to the audio clip to make the decision:

Stern saying “listen to this” sure came off badly, as did him laughing as he was saying Seraphin’s name, but I have to believe he wouldn’t intentionally disrespect one of his players on national TV. It was unprofessional and questionable, but I’ll give Stern the benefit of the doubt and say he was just laughing at the difficult pronunciation of Ke-VEEN Se-RAW-fawn. By the way, Seraphin will likely be traded to the Wizards as part of the Kirk Hinrich deal.

Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images

Chris Bosh Shaves the Braids for Free Agency, Summer

I can’t keep up with Chris Bosh. I’m not even talking about Bosh traveling from LA to Connecticut as he continues to make his summer rounds. Over the weekend, we heard that Chris Bosh said he didn’t want to be an addition to a team but rather “the man.” Bosh even said he wasn’t going to wait to see what LeBron James does in free agency before he made his decision. Now, Bosh is singing an entirely different tune, and dressing that way too.

Bosh made the rounds on ESPN Thursday, starting off with an appearance on Mike and Mike. Bosh said he would wait and see what LeBron does before making his free agency decision, something many of us expected. If you saw Bosh at one point during the day — and let’s be real, it’s almost impossible not to when someone’s doing the ESPN car wash — you probably noticed a significant change in his appearance; Chris Bosh got a haircut.

That’s right, Bosh shaved his braids and replaced it with a buzz cut. The New York Post also gives the reason why Bosh decided to cut his hair: “Bosh told [actor Mickey] Rourke that the heat and his free agency this summer inspired him to trim his trademark dreadlocks.” If Bosh were returning to Toronto, would he really have a need for a makeover? Didn’t think so either.

Bosh says free-agency is ‘scary but … exciting’ [AP/Yahoo! Sports]
Mickey Rourke, Chris Bosh gush over each other’s hairdos [New York Post]
Photo Credit: Ksharma81 on Twitter

Brent Petway Posterizes Rob Parker

While this may not be as impressive as P.J. Hairston’s 75-foot no-look shot that I recently posted, it’s certainly more embarrassing if you’re sportswriter and radio host Rob Parker.  Parker was dunked on so badly by former Michigan basketball player Brent Petway during a pick-up game at Braylon Edwards‘ fundraiser event that he was jokingly taken off on a stretcher.  At least when Nate Robinson dunked over Dwight Howard to win the Slam Dunk Competition Howard consented to getting posterized.  Check out the video of Rob Parker getting dunked on by Brent Petway and being taken off on a stretcher, courtesy of You Been Blinded:

I’m sure that’s not where Parker expected his face to end up during a friendly basketball game.

Rob Parker Put on Stretcher after Brent Petway Facial [You Been Blinded]
Video Credit: YouTube user IMUTheInsideOut