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#pounditSaturday, June 25, 2022

Articles tagged: LeBron James

LeBron James looking to team up with particular young phenom?

LeBron James looking on

LeBron James may be eyeing an opportunity to join forces with a player who would make Anthony Davis look like a grandpa.

Speaking Thursday on the show “Get Up,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said that the possibility of James teaming up with Dallas Mavericks phenom Luka Doncic is “something that you should put in your back pocket.”

“The best way you can see how LeBron feels about people is who he drafts in his All-Star draft,” Windhorst said. “He has drafted Luka Doncic all three years he’s been an All-Star. He tried to recruit Luka Doncic to his brand within Nike a few years ago. Luka picked the Jordan brand instead. [LeBron], I think, would also love to play with Luka.”

While Doncic is obviously a foundational player the Mavs will try to keep around for decades, James’ future is a bit more uncertain, especially amid the Los Angeles Lakers’ failed 2021-22 season. James, who will turn 38 next season, can become a free agent in 2023. He has also praised Doncic before.

Windhorst did add that the LeBron-Luka pairing was more of something to keep an eye “down the line” and that he does not think that James is going anywhere “in the short-term.” But an alliance with Doncic is more realistic than one with this other star James recently said he wants to play with.

Photo: 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

Stephen Curry has funny response to LeBron James comments

Steph Curry looking on

Stephen Curry had a fun reaction to comments LeBron James made about the pair playing together.

In an appearance on 95.7 The Game Wednesday, Curry was asked about James naming him as the one player the Lakers star most wanted to play with. Curry laughed off the comments, then offered a pretty witty response.

“He got his wish. He’s the captain, he’s picked me the last two All-Star games,” Curry said. “I don’t know if that suffices, but I’m good right now.”

James was certainly speaking hypothetically. He’s not about to engineer a move to the Warriors so the two can team up. Curry certainly won’t be going to the Lakers either after signing a huge contract extension last August.

There were rumors that James actually wanted to recruit Curry prior to the Warriors star signing that deal. Curry seems flattered, but not quite as intrigued by the possibility as James may be sometimes.

Photo: Nov 30, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James reveals 1 current NBA player he most wants to play with

LeBron James in a purple Lakers sweater

During his NBA career, LeBron James has played with the good (e.g. peak Dwyane Wade and young Kyrie Irving), the bad (e.g. washed-up Shaq and washed-up-from-being-washed-up Mike Bibby), and the ugly (e.g. Russell Westbrook and Russell Westbrook for a second time). But there is one current player James has yet to team up with and would really like to.

In the latest episode of HBO’s “The Shop,” the Los Angeles Lakers forward James revealed the one active player whom he would most like to team up with — Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry.

“In today’s game, s–t, there’s some motherf–kers in today’s game, but Steph Curry,” said James. “Steph Curry’s the one that I wanna play with, for sure, [in] today’s game … Lethal. Steph, when he get out his car, you better guard him right from the moment he pulls up to the arena.”

James also said that his son Bronny is the one he most wants to play with overall and that retired Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen is the all-time player he would most like to team up with (though James did acknowledge that “obviously MJ [Michael Jordan] was crazy cold” and mentioned Kobe Bryant and Penny Hardaway as well).

Curry is a very interesting choice for James, as he is viewed as one of James’ biggest career rivals. The two have battled each other four separate times in the Finals with Curry emerging victorious three of those times. But Curry’s off-the-dribble hocus-pocus from past the three-point line would indeed complement James’ runaway locomotive game going downhill and his improved-with-age back-to-the-basket game pretty darn well.

The two ex-MVPs have played together before on All-Star teams, and James reportedly even tried to recruit Curry not all that long ago. Now we know for certain that Curry is the current player James wants to play with above all.

Photo: 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

Notable ex-LeBron James teammate wants him back in Cleveland

LeBron James looking on

One prominent NBA player would like to see Cleveland host a landmark third installment of the LeBron James story — The Return of The King.

In an interview this week with FanSided, Cleveland Cavaliers five-time All-Star Kevin Love said that he wants James to come back to the Cavs.

“I mean, that’s like a storybook ending for him,” said Love of James, his old teammate. “I don’t want to project what he may or may not want to do, but where our team is trending and how we’re set up to win for a very long time and how much, you know, Cleveland and Akron and all of Ohio loves him. It’d be great to get Bronny [James] over here too and then we’ll call it a day.”

As it stands right now, the Los Angeles Lakers star James can become a free agent in 2023 (which is also when Love’s contract with the Cavs will expire). The 43-36 Cavs are also way ahead of the 31-47 Lakers in the standings right now and have a much brighter outlook than the Lakers for the coming years.

James and Love were teammates in Cleveland from 2014 to 2018. Though their relationship was not always a perfect one, they won the NBA title in 2016 together and remain close friends. But while Love may want James back on the Cavs, the same is not necessarily true for everyone else in the organization. There are already some signs that the Cavs would prefer to move on from James for good.

Photo: 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

Magic Johnson has 1 big criticism of LeBron James

Magic Johnson looking on

Magic Johnson was not about to let former co-star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have all the fun when it comes to ragging on LeBron James.

The retired L.A. Lakers great Johnson voiced a criticism this week of James with the team on the brink of missing the play-in tournament. Johnson said that James deserves blame for not bringing DeMar DeRozan to the Lakers.

“The blame he’s gotta take is the fact that DeRozan ended up in Chicago and not with the Lakers,” Johnson said of James on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “DeRozan wanted to play for the Lakers and when I got the call from his agent, [Aaron Goodwin], I called the Lakers, said, ‘Hey [DeRozan] wants to come home.’

“We could’ve made that deal,” Johnson added about the Lakers. “But when Russell [Westbrook] and LeBron started talking, that’s when they nixed that deal and went with Westbrook… If you signed DeRozan and you only trade [Kyle] Kuzma for Buddy Hield, we would be playing in the Western Conference championship this year with those two guys.”

The five-time All-Star and L.A. native DeRozan was a free agent this past summer. DeRozan himself has said that he wanted to and was expecting to join the Lakers but indicated that they did him dirty. He ended up signing with the Chicago Bulls instead and is averaging a career-high 28.0 points per game this season. The Lakers would have had some financial hoops to jump through to land DeRozan but likely could have done so considering that they “successfully” absorbed Westbrook’s bloated contract instead.

As for Johnson, his criticism of James here is noteworthy because he is close with James and was even credited for bringing James to the Lakers as a free agent in 2018. Johnson’s criticism also comes just one day after Abdul-Jabbar went after James as well (albeit for more off-court reasons).

H/T New York Post

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar clarifies critical remarks about LeBron James

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaking

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar created a stir Sunday when he was highly critical of LeBron James in a series of media comments. The Los Angeles Lakers legend quickly moved to clarify what he meant by what he said.

Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement that he deeply admires James, but sometimes criticizes him “in the spirit of a loving older brother offering guidance.” Abdul-Jabbar added that his comments Sunday were not “a slam or a barb or even a finger wag, it was me recapping some of what I’ve said in the past.”

Abdul-Jabbar has offered public criticism of James multiple times this season. Sunday’s was the most notable, as he said James has made comments and statements that were “beneath him.”

James has been dismissive of Abdul-Jabbar’s criticism in the past. He has yet to respond to the Laker legend’s most recent comments.

Photo: Feb 16, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks as Clyde Drexler looks during the 2014 NBA All-Game Legends Brunch at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has harsh criticism for LeBron James

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaking

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar once again took aim at LeBron James over what Abdul-Jabbar sees as contradictory stances on social issues.

Abdul-Jabbar said Sunday he believes James has to hold himself to higher standards in how he acts due to his stardom, and that James has engaged in things that should be “beneath him.”

“Some of the things he’s done and said are really beneath him, as far as I can see,” Abdul-Jabbar said, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “Some of the great things that he’s done, he’s standing on both sides of the fence almost, you know? It makes it hard for me to accept that when he’s committed himself to a different take on everything. It’s hard to figure out where he’s standing. You’ve got to check him out every time.”

Abdul-Jabbar said he has not spoken personally with James about his criticisms, but would welcome the chance to do so.

“If he would take the time, I definitely got the time,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “I admire the things that he’s done that have gotten all our attention. Sending a whole school to college? Wow. That’s amazing. His thoughtfulness and willingness to back it up with his wallet, you got to give him credit for that. So I’m not throwing stones. I just wish he wouldn’t — you know, some of the things he’s done, he should be embarrassed about. That’s just where I’m coming from.”

This is not the first time James has been the target of criticism by Abdul-Jabbar. Earlier in the season, Abdul-Jabbar voiced his disapproval of one of James’ social media posts. At the time, James was dismissive of that criticism, so the offer to discuss things might not be on his agenda. Kareem has also been critical of James for a celebration the Lakers forward did this season.

UPDATE: Kareem later put out a statement regarding his criticism of James.

“Today a reporter asked me a question about Lebron James and I regret my off-handed response which has been blown out of proportion. For years I’ve expressed my deep admiration and respect for LeBron as a community leader and athlete. That hasn’t changed and never will.”

Photo: Feb 16, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks as Clyde Drexler looks during the 2014 NBA All-Game Legends Brunch at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Did Brandon Ingram disrespect LeBron James with comment after game?

Brandon Ingram yelling

Brandon Ingram does not appear to recognize LeBron James as his king.

Ingram and the New Orleans Pelicans got a massive win over the James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. It was a seesaw battle throughout where James airballed a potential game-tying three as time expired.

After the final buzzer, Ingram seemed to yell something disrespectful about James in audio that was captured on the Pelicans’ home broadcast. Viewers thought that Ingram yelled out “LeBrick,” a swipe at James’ missed shot.

Others though pointed out that Ingram may have been saying, “Issa sweep!” The Pelicans’ win over the Lakers clinched a 3-0 sweep in the season series.

There is hardly any similarity between the two phrases, so we might have another “Laurel” or “Yanny” situation on our hands. You can listen to the audio for yourself though and make your own determination.

In any case, it was an enormous win for the Pelicans. They strengthened their hold on the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference and pushed the Lakers closer to the brink of elimination from the play-in tournament.

It was also a revenge game for Ingram, who was drafted by the Lakers and played with James for one season before they traded him to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis blockbuster deal. Ingram finished with 29 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists on Friday.

Though Ingram has since blossomed into an All-Star-caliber player with the Pelicans, he used to be subjected to taunts because of James. Thus, you can’t blame Ingram for gloating a bit after such a huge victory, no matter what it was he actually yelled out.

Bryce James expected to become better NBA prospect than Bronny?

Bryce James in a T-shirt

We may have been paying attention to the wrong son of LeBron James this entire time.

Appearing this week on “The Dan Patrick Show,” Brian Windhorst of ESPN revealed that James’ 14-year-old son Bryce is expected by some to become a better NBA prospect than 17-year-old son Bronny.

“There are people who told me that Bryce actually might be the better prospect amongst the two,” said Windhorst.

Bryce, a guard who is a member of the class of 2025, plays for Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, Calif., just like Bronny. Though Bryce is just a ninth-grader, he already has a pretty smooth game and even threw down an impressive dunk in warmups a few months ago.

While Bryce obviously still has many key developmental years to go through, Windhorst’s revelation is a pretty surprising one since not everybody even knew that LeBron’s other son played basketball too. There is a lot of buzz surrounding Bronny right now, especially since LeBron has indicated he could sign with whatever NBA team drafts Bronny. But in terms of pure basketball ability, keep an eye out for Bryce potentially leapfrogging his older brother before long.

Photo: © PHIL MASTURZO via Imagn Content Services, LLC

LeBron James tries to trick fans with April Fools’ Day joke

LeBron James in a purple Lakers sweater

LeBron James tried to pull a prank on Los Angeles Lakers fans on Friday.

James tweeted that he was out for the season.

“I’m out for the season officially. See y’all in the fall,” James tweeted.

Of course, most fans didn’t believe it because they recognized it was April Fools’ Day.

James has been out since spraining his ankle on Sunday against the Pelicans. So it’s not like he hasn’t been dealing with an injury. But him announcing he is missing the rest of the season comes only because it’s a day for jokes and pranks.

Despite the joke, many people probably recognize that James’ tweet has a bit of wishful thinking to it. The Lakers are 31-45 and dragging their way to the end of the season. James and the gang probably wish things were over already. We’ve even seen reports saying that the team’s staff wants the season to be over.

Photo: 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