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Friday, May 26, 2017

Basketball

Khloe Kardashian called out Cavs fan who mentioned ‘curse’

Khloe Kardashian Drew League

The Kardashian sisters have developed a reputation for having a negative influence on the careers of the pro athletes they date, and it seems like Khloe Kardashian is bothered by the notion.

According to some recent gossip, Khloe is itching to get married to Tristan Thompson, but the Cleveland Cavaliers big man is too focused on his NBA career and the team’s latest playoff run. When one Cavs fan recently pointed out that he doesn’t want Thompson to marry Kardashian anyway because of the infamous “Kardashian Curse,” Khloe fired back on Twitter.

In fairness, Khloe was probably responding to the original report about LeBron James and the Cavs being opposed to her marrying Thompson — not the “curse” comment.

Still, the timing was interesting. One former NBA player said this week that dating Khloe killed his career. Khloe has also dated Lamar Odom, whose life was in shambles after he nearly died of a drug overdose, and James Harden, who comes up short in the playoffs every year.

If LeBron is a superstitious guy, he might want to discourage Thompson from tying the knot with Khloe.

H/T VH1

Report: Clippers concerned about Chris Paul leaving to sign with Spurs

Chris Paul

Some early NBA free agency rumors from what should be an insane summer of opt-outs and max contracts are already flying, and the Los Angeles Clippers are apparently taking one of them seriously.

ESPN’s Mark Stein reports that the Clippers are legitimately concerned about the possibility of Chris Paul signing with the San Antonio Spurs.

When Paul opts out of the final year of his contract, the Clippers will be able to sign him to a max deal worth $205 million over five years. That’s about $50 million more than any other team could offer him, so L.A. certainly has an advantage when it comes to money.

However, Paul recently turned 32 and is still searching for his first NBA title. If he thinks the Spurs are closer to winning a championship than the Clippers, he may decide it is not all about the money.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on his podcast recently that there is “mutual interest” between Paul and the Spurs. The problem for San Antonio would be clearing enough cap space, though Paul would become a stronger possibility if Tony Parker — whose salary for next season is about $15 million — decides to retire in the wake of the serious injury he just suffered.

Blake Griffin is also set to become an unrestricted free agent, so you can understand why the Clippers might be on edge. Despite a report we heard a few months back, it could become more likely that Griffin leaves if Paul decides to move on.

Paul Pierce thinks LeBron James is nowhere near Michael Jordan

Paul Pierce two phones

LeBron James may have surpassed Michael Jordan on Thursday as the NBA’s all-time leading playoff scorer, but Paul Pierce apparently feels that means very little in the grand scheme of things.

Pierce was watching “Undisputed” on FS1 Friday morning, and he was stunned to hear host Nick Wright talking about LeBron’s legacy being comparable to — or even surpassing — Jordan’s.

Wright fired back with a shot at Pierce:

Pierce, of course, had some epic battles with James years ago, most notably during the 2008 playoffs when the two scored more than 40 points each in Game 7 of a playoff series. While LeBron obviously has Pierce’s respect, it sounds like Pierce is a member of the group that believes King James will never move ahead of His Airness.

LeBron is four wins away from capturing his fourth NBA title, and he would be a few months younger than Jordan was when he got his fourth if the Cavaliers can knock off the Warriors again. Even LeBron had some interesting things to say when asked about moving past Jordan on the playoff scoring list, but he has to know he needs more rings to make a real case for being the best to ever play.

Kyrie Irving urged LeBron James to embrace surpassing Michael Jordan

The Cleveland Cavaliers accomplished a great feat as a team when they secured a spot in their third consecutive NBA Finals Thursday night, but LeBron James also reached an impressive individual milestone. Kyrie Irving wanted to make sure the four-time NBA MVP enjoyed that moment just as much.

In the second half of Cleveland’s Game 3 win over the Boston Celtics, cameras showed Irving enthusiastically shouting into LeBron’s ear while James sat with a towel over his head. The point guard was asked about the exchange after the game.

“I told him not to take the moment for granted — passing M.J. in scoring,” Irving explained. “That’s an iconic moment. What he did for the culture and the game of basketball is nothing short of legendary, and I want him to enjoy it. He always shows great humility for all of his accomplishments, but this one was one that he really wanted. As a team, it was our job to bring him up to that.”

LeBron is now the all-time leading scorer in NBA playoff history, and he’s only going to distance himself further from Jordan in that category in the coming years. It’s obvious the feat means a lot to LeBron, and he tried to put that into words on Thursday.

Ultimately, LeBron’s career will be measured on championships. If the Cavs can win four more games, the comparisons between James and Jordan will start to make even more sense.

LeBron James not ready to discuss Warriors yet: ‘It’s too stressful’

LeBron James

LeBron James can officially start preparing to face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals for a third consecutive year, but the Cleveland Cavaliers star was in no mood to do that on Thursday night. Why? Because he just wanted to relax.

While speaking to reporters after his team closed out the Boston Celtics, LeBron said he was not in the right frame of mind to talk about the challenges the Warriors present because it is “too stressful.”

LeBron obviously has a great deal of respect for Golden State, and how could he not? The Warriors defeated the Cavs 4-2 in the Finals two years ago, and Cleveland had to battle all the way back from a 3-1 hole last year to get even. And all of that was before they added Kevin Durant.

With Durant, the Warriors have not lost a playoff game. They steamrolled their way to three series sweeps leading up to the Finals, and LeBron had a perfect way of describing them on Thursday. You can’t blame the reigning Finals MVP for wanting to take a few minutes to relax before the toughest task of his career.

LeBron James never believed he could get to Michael Jordan’s level

LeBron James parade

LeBron James is four wins away from capturing another NBA title, which would give him four in his career before his 33rd birthday. You know how old Michael Jordan was when he won his fourth championship? You guessed it — 33.

The comparisons between LeBron and Jordan are becoming more justified by the day. After the Cleveland Cavaliers advanced to the NBA Finals with a win over the Boston Celtics Thursday night, James said he never envisioned himself getting anywhere close to M.J.’s level.

“I think I fell in love with the game because of Mike, just seeing what he was able to accomplish,” LeBron told reporters. “When you’re growing up and seeing Michael Jordan, he’s almost like a god. I never believed I could be Mike, so I started focusing myself on other players and other people around my neighborhood, because I never thought I’d get to the point where Mike was. That helped shape my game.”

A lot of people feel LeBron will never surpass Jordan regardless of what he accomplishes, and you can’t reason with that group. In reality, LeBron probably needs to win at least two more championships to make a convincing argument that he is on Jordan’s level. Like it or not, success for professional athletes is measured in championships.

Critics will also make the case that the NBA is much different now, and some comments a former Chicago Bulls executive recently made about Jordan shed light on that.

In any event, LeBron has plenty of basketball left. He won’t turn 33 until December, and he seems to improve with each year. He’s also been to the Finals seven straight years and eight times overall. It doesn’t hurt that Kyrie Irving has emerged as a superstar and is capable of carrying the Cavs on nights when LeBron is a little off. A fourth ring for James would really heat up the LeBron vs. Jordan debate.

LeBron James calls Warriors a ‘juggernaut’

LeBron James

The Cleveland Cavaliers knocked the Boston Celtics out of the playoffs, but LeBron James knows there is still a very difficult road ahead.

After winning Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals 135-103 on Thursday night, James was interviewed by TNT’s Kristen Ledlow and said his team would enjoy the victory for a few days before turning their attention to the Golden State Warriors.

During the interview, James referred to the Warriors as a “juggernaut,” which is a fair description. He later used the same term to describe the Warriors in an interview with TNT’s Ernie Johnson.

Golden State and Cleveland are meeting in the NBA Finals for the third straight year, and this will be the rubber match. One big difference though is that the Dubs now have Kevin Durant on their side, which probably led to their owner popping off before the Finals.

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