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Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Udonis Haslem, former LeBron James teammate, says Michael Jordan is the GOAT

Udonis Haslem

Udonis Haslem spent many seasons playing alongside LeBron James, but he has another player in mind as the greatest of all-time.

Speaking this week on ESPN’s “Now or Never,” the Miami Heat big was asked about “The Last Dance” docuseries and called Michael Jordan “the greatest.”

“Oh man, MJ’s the greatest,” said Haslem. “You think about everything that he’s done, and I thought I saw it firsthand, and I thought I remember every moment, and I thought I remember being in that situation, and then when you see it again, it just lets you know. He’s the greatest.”

Haslem previously referred to Jordan more specifically as “the greatest of all-time” in an Instagram Live chat with Richard Jefferson earlier this month.

The 39-year-old Haslem, one of the oldest active NBA players, was teammates with James for The King’s four seasons in Miami from 2010 to 2014. Haslem and James won four Eastern Conference titles and two championships together, even starting next to each other during many a playoff battle.

“The Last Dance” has reignited, among other things, the debate over who is the greatest NBA player of all-time. Recently, another one-time Heat player weighed in on the subject, actually going in the opposite direction.

James Harden now looks considerably slimmer amid hiatus

James harden

As the NBA keeps making progress towards a return to play, James Harden is one player who is doing his best to stay ready.

Images of the Houston Rockets star appearing noticeably slimmer went viral this weekend. Many Twitter users noted how much thinner Harden looked.

A feature by Kelly Iko of The Athletic revealed this week that Harden, the former Arizona State star, has been working out in Arizona with ex-Sun Devils teammate Christian Polk amid the shutdown. As part of his workouts, Harden is doing mountain drills, yoga, pool work, and sand exercises. He is also said to be studying plyometrics to further enhance his quickness and first step.

The former MVP Harden is officially listed at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds. He issued a challenge to opposing teams just before play was suspended, and now seems poised to deliver on it if and when the season can resume for Houston.

LaMelo Ball wants to be ‘best to ever play the game’

LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball will be a top pick in the NBA Draft, but he has loftier goals than going No. 1 or landing with a preferred team.

Ball wants to be known as the best ever when all is said and done.

“15 years from now I want to be the best to ever play the game,” Ball told Christopher Riley of GQ Australia.

It’s a lofty and ambitious goal, but why not? It certainly seems he inherited some of his family’s famous confidence, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

As for where he plays, Ball said it would be neat to play with his brother Lonzo, but he wasn’t picky about who actually drafts him.

“It’s the NBA so I will play for any team,” LaMelo said. “To play with Lonzo would be real cool. We talked about that growing up so it’ll be a dream come true.”

There’s some chatter that the Ball family has a destination in mind for him, but he doesn’t seem to care. Whoever does land him appears to be getting a very driven and ambitious athlete.

Dwight Howard raves about Lakers’ team chemistry

Dwight Howard

The Los Angeles Lakers were doing very well before the NBA season was abruptly paused, and Dwight Howard offered a hint as to why.

Howard raved about how tight the Lakers are, saying the team chemistry was “off the roof.”

“Just the chemistry we had before this was off the roof,” Howard said, via Mike Trudell of the team’s official website. “And then now, it’s like we have to build that up again. We got to get that engine flowing … But I think with the group of guys that we have, I also think with the hunger that we have to win a championship, once we get back it will be like we never left each other.

“The way we care for each other, we care for this team, this city and winning the championship. Everything is already broadcast, a lot about who we are as people and our character. I just think you’d get a chance to see it more in depth. Just how much we really love being with each other, how much we really enjoy the game, enjoy playing with each other. We’ve all had to come from some difficult situations and things have all happened to us in our personal lives and for us to really sacrifice whatever we’ve had to sacrifice for this team.”

This is high praise from Howard, especially when you consider how his first stint with the Lakers went. He’s clearly having a very different experience this time around. It showed in the record, too — the Lakers are 49-14, and the 34-year-old Howard has been a key part of that off the bench.

NBA enters ‘exploratory conversations’ to finish season at Disney World

Adam Silver

The NBA is offering up its clearest sign yet that they are working to move forward with finishing their season.

According to NBA spokesperson Mike Bass, the league has entered “exploratory conversations” with the Walt Disney Company to use Disney World in Florida as its sole site for NBA games. The statement says that the plan would be to begin playing games there in late July.

This gives us two things: a potential timeline and a clear notion that the NBA is looking to adopt a single-site plan. There had been some speculation that the league might use two sites, but this seems increasingly unlikely.

What is clear is that the NBA is determined to finish its season if at all possible. Now we know where that might take place, and when it may be able to happen.

Jimmer Fredette credited with Greek league championship

Jimmer Fredette

Jimmer Fredette’s NBA career may have flamed out, but it certainly seems he’s carved out a niche for himself overseas.

The former BYU star is now a Greek League champion after league members voted 13-1 to end the season and award Panathinaikos the league title, according to George Georgakopoulos of ekathimerini.com. The team had been leading the league when the season was suspended.

That also means another Greek League title for Rick Pitino, who has since left the squad to coach Iona.

Fredette was a key part of the title run. According to Brandon Judd of Deseret News, Fredette averaged 12.9 points for Panathinaikos this season. He also shot 41.7 percent from three-point range.

Though Fredette never caught on in multiple tries in the NBA, he has definitely done well overseas, now in Greece after becoming a star in China. If nothing else, it proves there can in fact be life beyond the NBA.

Report: NBA GMs receive survey on possible formats to return to play

Adam Silver

A survey sent to NBA general managers reveals several of the possible formats the NBA is considering to return to action.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, NBA GMs received a survey from the league seeking input on possible routes to returning to action. It reveals what is under consideration by commissioner Adam Silver as a possible way to play again.

The survey lists several potential season formats. Among them are simply advancing straight to the playoffs using the standings as they were when the league was suspended on March 16. Another option is a “playoffs plus” format, adding extra teams to a potential play-in or group stage scenario. There are also various options for play-ins, or simply bringing all 30 teams back to resume the season and play the same amount of games.

The league is also considering whether to simply reseed all teams instead of sticking to the traditional conference playoff format. The dates listed for the latest possible conclusion to the current season range from Labor Day to the start of November.

There remains no timeline for a decision and a lot of uncertainty over what that decision will be. We do know there’s a clear idea for a bubble site, but that’s about it. Perhaps things like this will help clarify the situation.