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Saturday, August 24, 2019

LeBron James

Royce White blasts LeBron James for letting Carmelo Anthony go unsigned

LeBron James

One of the lingering subplots of the NBA offseason is the fact that Carmelo Anthony remains without a team despite a willingness to play. That, according to one former player, is the fault of LeBron James.

Royce White, a former first-round NBA draft pick currently playing in the BIG3, blames James for the Lakers not signing Anthony. White suggests James was failing as a “voice of the players” by letting the team sign Jared Dudley instead of his close friend.

There was a time early in the offseason that Anthony was regarded as likely to land with the Lakers. That hasn’t happened. Anthony isn’t a great defender and mostly has value for his shooting at this point, while Dudley is more well-rounded. That’s clearly what the Lakers prioritized, whether White likes it or not.

LeBron James reportedly organizing team minicamp for Lakers

LeBron James

The Los Angeles Lakers have revamped their roster and added another superstar player heading into the 2019-20 season, and LeBron James wants to get to work as soon as possible with his new teammates.

LeBron is organizing a team minicamp that is expected to take place in Las Vegas next month before the Lakers start their official training camp, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.

“It’s meant to galvanize and bond this Lakers unit right before the start of the real training camp that begins in Los Angeles in September,” Charania said. “It’s really showing the premium that teams and star players are putting on team chemistry going into a very important NBA season — a true free-for-all NBA season for maybe the first time in five or six years.”

Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers are also exploring the possibility of organizing a players’ mini-camp prior to their official camp.

We’ve already seen LeBron looking to build chemistry with new teammate Anthony Davis by inviting him over for the most important night of the week in the James household, so a team minicamp would continue with that theme. It’s also a good idea for a team with a ton of new key pieces that should be very competitive in the Western Conference.

Look: LeBron James now has custom Taco Tuesday T-shirts

LeBron James Taco Tuesday shirt

You knew it was coming: LeBron James Taco Tuesday merch. And that day has arrived.

LeBron James shared his customary Instagram videos on Tuesday. Only this week, his videos showed everyone at his house wearing custom T-shirts that featured LeBron’s face on them.

That’s it. It’s been decided. We need some more LeBron James Taco Tuesday gear. We need a full line of clothing. I’m talking hats, headbands and sweatshirts. We need LeBron wearing his Taco Tuesday Nike shoes for Tuesday games. We also need the official LeBron James Taco Tuesday restaurant. Lines would be out the door. Not just on Tuesdays, either. Every day.

Forget the King James branding. Forget the crown and the throne. This is LeBron’s new image, and it couldn’t be better. It blows away the Board Man Getting Paid.

LeBron James says ‘scared’ agents, NCAA created Rich Paul rule

LeBron James

The NCAA seems to have created a rule that is targeted at Rich Paul. LeBron James appears to think that is the case.

On Tuesday, word emerged that the NCAA created some criteria required for agents who wish to represent student-athletes who are interested in testing NBA draft waters. Student-athletes can test their potential position in the draft without losing their college eligibility, which is a change from the past when declaring for the draft prevented players from returning to school. The new conditions require agents to have a college degree and be certified for at least three years. The new criteria appear to be targeted at Paul, an NBA superagent, who does not have a degree.

James, who was Paul’s first client when the agent began Klutch Sports in 2012, believes the rule was created to limit Paul and is the result of the establishment being “scared”.

There could be some good coming from the new criteria; the requirements aim to add greater protection for student-athletes to ensure they are represented by experienced and qualified agents. However, Paul has shown he is one of the best agents in the business, and he didn’t need a college degree to become that. Maybe he was getting too good and this was a way they had to slow him down.

What’s Paul going to do? Challenge the rule, citing his experience negotiating hundreds of millions of dollars in NBA contracts? Or complete some garbage online bachelor’s degree to comply with their new rule? Or maybe he’ll just sit there laughing about how establishments try to change the rules once someone becomes too good.

David Griffin tries to clarify comments about LeBron’s desire to win

David Griffin

Former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin made headlines this week for some remarks that made it seem like he was questioning LeBron James’ hunger to win titles, but the executive says important context was lacking in the way his thoughts were presented.

In a feature for Sports Illustrated that was published this week, Griffin said there “wasn’t a lot else for (LeBron)” in Cleveland after he fulfilled his promise of delivering the city its first NBA title. Griffin tried to explain what he meant in an appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump” Friday afternoon.

“My belief at that time was there’s no way anyone can be born in Akron, Ohio, deliver the first championship in 52 years to Cleveland, Ohio, and be the same human being. It’s not possible,” Griffin said. “My fear at that time was that he wouldn’t have that same animal-like desire to win. What we’ve seen, obviously, is he’s gone to multiple Finals since, so it was an unfounded fear that I had at the time.”

Griffin emphasized that the beliefs he shared with SI were ones he had previously, but some will say he is just trying to save face since the remarks got so much attention. After all, he did say LeBron isn’t “the same animal anymore about winning.” It sounded like Griffin was speaking in the present tense, unless he was misquoted.

LeBron clearly seemed bothered by Griffin’s interview, as that and the criticism he has faced for the way he acted at his son’s AAU game were likely the motivation behind him promising on Thursday that “ether is coming soon!

ESPN reported on Friday that Griffin reached out to LeBron to express that context was missing in the SI article, and LeBron’s camp encouraged him to clear up his stance on the record.

Magic Johnson defends LeBron James’ hunger to win

Magic Johnson

Former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin recently questioned whether LeBron James still wants to win as badly as he did earlier in his career, and Magic Johnson insists Los Angeles Lakers fans do not have to worry about that.

In a series of tweets on Friday, Johnson defended LeBron’s hunger to win and said James is fully committed to bringing an NBA championship back to LA. He also spoke about the difficulty of winning a title even when you have great players.

That seemed like a direct response to what Griffin said in a Sports Illustrated feature that was published this week. The former Cavs GM, who was recently hired as the executive vice president of basketball operations for the New Orleans Pelicans, questioned how motivated LeBron was after he fulfilled his promise of delivering a title to Cleveland.

“There wasn’t a lot else for him,” Griffin told SI. “I don’t think he’s the same animal anymore about winning.”

Griffin also said he grew tired of having to build a roster around LeBron every year and described it as “inorganic and unsustainable and, frankly, not fun.”

Johnson played a major role in helping to get James to sign with the Lakers, so he should have a pretty good idea of where LeBron’s head is at. Magic also recently predicted that LeBron will win NBA MVP next season. For his part, LeBron has indicated that he could be on the verge of blowing up on Griffin and his other critics. Stay tuned.

AAU tournament director says no parents complained about LeBron’s antics

LeBron Bronny James

LeBron James has been a topic of conversation on talk shows and social media this week because of the way he acted during his son’s AAU games, but one of the organizers of the event says all the criticism is unwarranted.

AAU tournament director Gary Charles spoke with TMZ about LeBron celebrating like a superfan during Bronny’s game, and he said there was not a single complaint from any parent or player at the event. He also applauded James and his family for the way they carried themselves at the tournament.

“I watched that family all week. They were first class every single day. … When that play happened, it was such a tremendous play that the excitement came out,” Charles said. “Here’s what people don’t understand — it wasn’t even Bronny that he did it for. He did it for another young man from this program. That was joy. That was excitement. I thought it was awesome the way he just went out there and showed pure joy.”

LeBron celebrated on multiple plays, so he wasn’t just rooting for Bronny. He did, however, walk onto the court and flex after one of Bronny’s dunks, which many thought crossed the line.

Most of the parents and players probably love having LeBron at their tournament. He’s the best basketball player on the planet, and the attention he brings should be viewed as a good thing. As we mentioned before, there’s a middle ground between people acting like LeBron is a monster and those who say he did nothing wrong. While enthusiasm from an involved parent should be applauded, he probably shouldn’t be walking onto the court in the middle of a game.

Between the AAU criticism and former Cavaliers GM David Griffin saying James lost some of his passion for winning after delivering a championship to Cleveland, LeBron seems to have had enough. He took to social media on Thursday and hinted that he is going to come out swinging pretty soon.