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#pounditFriday, September 30, 2022

LeBron James

Report: LeBron James would only leave Lakers under 1 circumstance

LeBron James in a purple Lakers sweater

Dec 9, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) warms-up prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzles at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James is only under contract with the Los Angeles Lakers for one more season, which has led to questions about his future with the organization. Would the team consider trading LeBron? Would James consider leaving the team?

According to one reporter, there is only one circumstance under which James would consider leaving the Lakers. And that has to do with LeBron’s son, Bronny.

“The prevailing thinking in league circles holds that only the chance to play elsewhere alongside son Bronny James, who will be eligible for the 2024 draft and continues to develop as an NBA prospect, would spur LeBron to push for an L.A. exit,” Marc Stein wrote in a column published on Friday.

This meshes with what we have heard all along.

Reports have said for a few years that James wants to play in the NBA until the time Bronny reaches the league.

Bronny is entering his senior season of high school. He is expected to go to college after that. He could play one season and then enter the 2024 NBA Draft. If LeBron is insistent upon teaming with Bronny, he could sign where he wants for the veteran minimum.

Pat Riley once had bold proposal for LeBron James

Pat Riley smiling

Sep 22, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat president Pat Riley address reporters during a press conference at AmericanAirlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Riley was a great coach and has become a great executive as well. Perhaps that’s because he is so fearless. In fact, Riley even tried to convince LeBron James to take less than a max deal prior to LeBron’s departure from the Heat.

LeBron played for Miami from 2010-2014. When it came time for James to make a decision after 2014, Riley decided to shoot his shot and see whether James would consider returning on less than a max deal. The request was met with utter silence.

Marc Stein broke down the situation on “The Stein Line” earlier this week, suggesting that Riley’s request was so egregious that those in the room weren’t even certain he was serious. In addition to James, James’ agent Rich Paul and longtime NBA agent and attorney Mark Termini could do nothing but stare, jaws on the floor.

At that point in his career, James had never landed a max deal and was hellbent on breaking that trend. Apparently so were his representatives.

Riley’s proposal stemmed from a desire to restructure Miami’s roster. He believed that if James took less, the Heat would be able to bring in more quality veterans and create somewhat of a super-team. That, of course, did not happen.

Shortly after Riley’s request fell on deaf ears, James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers on a two-year, $42 million deal with a second-year player option.

Stein’s full report on this awkward exchange can be found at the aforementioned “The Stein Line,” but take note that is it currently behind a paywall.

LeBron James impressed with 1 new Lakers player

LeBron James in a purple Lakers sweater

Dec 9, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) warms-up prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzles at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

After briefly overlapping with Scottie Pippen as a rookie, LeBron James is now liking what he is seeing from Pippen’s son.

The Los Angeles Lakers star James tweeted praise this week for new Lakers pickup Scotty Pippen Jr.

James shared a video feature on Pippen Jr. from the Lakers’ official Twitter page and added the caption, “The kid has a bright future!!” with purple and gold heart emojis.

The 21-year-old Pippen Jr. is one of the Lakers’ new two-way players (along with Cole Swider). He went undrafted this year but recently impressed at Summer League with 11.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 2.3 steals per contest in eight appearances. Pippen Jr. was also a two-time All-SEC First Team selection in college at Vanderbilt.

A 6-foot-3 point guard, Pippen Jr. may get a look this year with the Lakers measuring fairly thin in the backcourt right now. He has already shown Lakers fans plenty of personality as well.

Ex-Celtic responds to LeBron James’ claims about Boston fans

LeBron James looking on

Jan 21, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A former Celtics player responded to LeBron James’ recent claim about Boston fans.

In the most recent episode of his HBO show “The Shop,” James said that Boston fans were “racist as f—” (censored by LBS).

James made the claim about Boston fans in response to their heckling getting into Draymond Green’s head during the NBA Finals.

Appearing on ESPN’s “First Take” Monday, former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins responded to James. He said he didn’t experience racism.

“There’s racism everywhere. I spent eight and a half years there. And maybe because I was on the Celtics … I didn’t experience racism,” Perkins said.

Despite saying he didn’t receive racist treatment, Perkins acknowledged that Boston fans are tough, and even disrespectful to opponents.

“The fans in Boston do cross the line and hit below the belt when it comes down to being disrespectful,” Perkins said. “I can say throwing stuff at players like LeBron talk about the beer thrown at him. … You start to get out of bounds when you start talking about people and loved ones.”

Perkins said Boston fans sometimes cross the line.

“I hear from so many other players about Boston being racist and things to that nature. But there’s racism everywhere. But I will say: The fans are too damn disrespectful when it comes to opposing teams coming to Boston.”

Perkins, 37, began his career with the Celtics and played with them from 2003-2011, winning one championship. He also spent time with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Pelicans.

H/T OutKick

Video: Steph Curry goes viral for LeBron James joke at ESPYs

Steph Curry telling a joke about LeBron James at the ESPYs.

Steph Curry hosted the ESPYs for the first time, and he did not hold back with one joke.

On Wednesday, Curry became just the ninth athlete ever to host the ESPYs. If LeBron James has any say in the matter, it could be the two-time MVP’s first and only time.

Curry went viral for a joke he made at James’ expense during Curry’s opening monologue.

“I’m the second NBA player to host this award show,” Curry said. “LeBron James, he hosted this award show back in 2007 after losing in the NBA Finals. So yes, you guessed it, this feels better.”

James hosted the show in 2007, shortly after the Cleveland Cavaliers were swept in the NBA Finals by the San Antonio Spurs. Curry, on the other hand, is fresh off of his fourth title in eight years with the Golden State Warriors. The two have faced off four times in the Finals, with Curry and the Warriors besting James and the Cavaliers in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

The Warriors have not being afraid to take shots at their opponents since their Finals win in June. Draymond Green trolled the Boston Celtics with a T-shirt the day after the Warriors won the NBA Finals. Prior to the ESPYs, Curry took a shot at Celtics forward Grant Williams over Williams’ recent comments saying that the Warriors were not the better team in the Finals.

Pelicans player mocks LeBron James in viral video

LeBron James looking on

Jan 21, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Lithuania is not a monarchy, so Jonas Valanciunas has no king.

The New Orleans Pelicans center Valanciunas went viral this week for a video clip in which he clowned Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. Valanciunas was playing a game of charades in Lithuania, his native country, and drew a card with James’ name on it. Valanciunas then proceeded to cry and flop in a mocking impersonation of James.

Take a look at the hilarious video (but beware of some bad language).

For his part, Valanciunas has plenty of experience with James’ … less-than-flattering ways. The veteran big man used to play for the Toronto Raptors and faced James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs three different times (Cleveland won all three). Now Valanciunas is on the Pelicans, where he faced James’ Lakers three different times last season (this time, New Orleans won all three).

The ex-first-round pick Valanciunas is hardly alone however when it comes to holding James in low regard. Even the Pelicans’ official team page mocked James in a post just a few days earlier.

Ex-LeBron James teammate petitions him for another shot with Lakers

LeBron James in a purple Lakers sweater

Dec 9, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) warms-up prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzles at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Shooters shoot, and apparently so does Dennis Schroder.

The veteran NBA guard Schroder posted a video to Instagram on Tuesday in which he hit a 360 three-pointer from spinning the ball on his fingertip.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James left a comment on Schroder’s video that read “Tuff!!” with some fire emojis. Schroder, still an unsigned free agent, then replied to James, writing, “might gotta run it back [King]?!”

Schroder was previously teammates with James on the Lakers in the 2020-21 season, serving as their starting point guard. He left after the season to sign with the Boston Celtics and was later traded to the Houston Rockets.

Point guard is probably the Lakers’ weakest position right now with only Russell Westbrook (whom they are trying to banish) and Kendrick Nunn (a total injury toss-up) holding down the fort. But still, the chances of Schroder returning to L.A. seem close to absolute zero. Schroder was reportedly not too popular on the Lakers and is the kind of inefficient and ball-dominant non-shooter who might make their problems even worse this time around.

Nevertheless, you can’t blame Schroder for trying his luck here. After all, the 28-year-old is still trying to recover from badly fumbling the bag last year.

Report: Lakers stars made big commitment in recent conversation

LeBron James looking on

Jan 21, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There remains a great deal of uncertainty regarding what the Los Angeles Lakers will look like at the start of the season. The team’s three marquee players, however, appear to be preparing to run it back with each other.

LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook spoke by phone just over a week ago to express their commitment to making their partnership work, according to Chris B. Haynes of Yahoo Sports. While Westbrook’s future with the organization remains uncertain, the three vowed to make things work as long as all of them are on the roster together.

Haynes also added that Westbrook has not requested a trade from the Lakers. Speculation arose about that after Westbrook’s longtime agent parted ways with the guard and seemingly hinted that Westbrook did not see staying with the Lakers as his best option.

Of the three players, Westbrook is clearly going to be the focus. James and Davis have already won a championship together and proved they can co-exist successfully. Westbrook, in the eyes of many, refused to adapt his own style of play to best suit his new teammates last season. To some, James’ recent comments about the desire to win were a subtle jab at Westbrook as well.

At least privately, it appears that the three players are on the same page right now. Of course, the Lakers could certainly still trade him, though it certainly will not be an easy task to do so.

Draymond Green offers message for LeBron James’ critics

Draymond Green in a warmup shirt

May 18, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) before game one of the 2022 western conference finals against the Dallas Mavericks at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

In addition to competing against LeBron James, Draymond Green also stans for LeBron James.

The Golden State Warriors star Green was in attendance as a spectator this weekend as James made his first appearance at the Drew League in over a decade. The four-time MVP James put on a show-stopping performance, becoming the talk of the town with his exploits at the pro-am event.

On Sunday, Green posted about James on Instagram and offered a message for the critics of the Los Angeles Lakers star.

“Watched the [King] at the Drew yesterday … It was legendary,” Green said. “Be Careful listening to those that build off BITING the culture but tries to crush those that build/built it. It’s fishy #TNM”

The “TNM” hashtag appears to stand for “The New Media.” That term has been used to describe sports content produced directly by players (such as Green, who has his own podcast).

Despite the bitter battles that the two have had on the court (including the infamous time that Green hit James south of the border in the 2016 Finals and got suspended), they are close friends off of it. Green recently even revealed that he is planning a grand gesture for James next season.

Green did not mention any names in his Instagram post. But we do know there are some specific media critics that Green does not care for.

Video: LeBron James almost breaks rim with viral dunk during Drew League game

LeBron James looking on

Jan 21, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James put on a show Saturday during his first Drew League game since 2011.

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported that James would be a participant in the annual offseason pro-am competition on Saturday. After a disappointing 33-49 season for the Los Angeles Lakers, the 37-year-old did not appear to have any rust while suiting up for the MMV Cheaters in their game against the Black Pearl Elite.

James took a lob pass off the backboard and threw down a monstrous two-handed dunk. While hanging onto the rim after the slam, James almost ripped down the entire basket (including the backboard) attached to the ceiling in the Charles Drew Junior High School gym in Los Angeles. James then let go and stared up at the basket before running back on defense.

Kyrie Irving was originally going to play in the first game of the day between Public Enemy and the Saints but did not show up.

James played on the same team as DeMar DeRozan, and the two hooked up on an impressive alley-oop. James finished the game with 42 points, 16 rebounds and four steals.

The Drew League is a pro–am basketball league established in 1973 that features local players and occasional appearances by NBA greats.