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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Articles tagged: LeBron James

LeBron James open to finishing NBA season in Las Vegas bubble situation

LeBron James speech

LeBron James seems open to the idea of finishing the NBA season in a single-site situation, such as the Las Vegas plan that has been discussed.

James spoke with reporters on a Zoom conference call Wednesday. During that call, James said he was open to playing in Las Vegas and staying under quarantine in a hotel as long as it “can hold us and keep us in the best possible chance to be safe” on and off the court.

The comments represent another change for James. Previously he said would refuse to play without fans in attendance, but he later changed that stance. And on a March 26 episode of the “Road Trippin'” podcast, James said he wouldn’t be willing to live in a hotel with other players in order to continue the season.

As time passes and James adjusts his reality at each step, he has learned he has to make the best of the situation. And at this point, if that means living in a hotel in quarantine in Las Vegas along with other teams so he can finish the season and have a shot at a championship, he seems willing to do it.

Why? Because at 35, James knows he has only a few seasons left to add to the championship total he has been pursuing his entire career, and he knows this may be his best chance left. And if the NBA has James’ backing for trying to resume the season, that will be a good starting point when discussing possible plans with the players’ association.

LeBron James training four or five times a week during quarantine period

LeBron James

The grind has not stopped for LeBron James despite the current situation.

During a conference call with reporters Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers star said that he was training four or five times a week at his home gym while in quarantine, per Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet. James added that he has also been shooting around on his outdoor court with his kids.

For James, who is 35 years old and used to getting heavy run around this time of year, keeping in shape is of paramount importance. He got in 60 games this season before play was suspended after being limited to 55 games last season due to a groin injury and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

James’ head coach has his staff preparing for whatever might happen once play can resume, and it sounds like the players can take their lead from The King’s example as well.

Eagles’ Jalen Mills says Kobe, LeBron inspired him to change his number

Jalen Mills wants to start a new chapter with the Philadelphia Eagles, and he is crediting a pair of all-time basketball greats for providing the inspiration.

The Eagles veteran, who will be changing his number from 31 to 21, said on Tuesday that LeBron James and the late Kobe Bryant inspired the change.

“The number change is just a new beginning,” Mills said, per Martin Frank of the Delaware News Journal. “One of the guys who always motivates me was Kobe Bryant or LeBron James. Kobe went from 8 to 24. LeBron from 6 to 23. It’s re-creating myself, re-creating that ‘Green Goblin,’ that monster. It’s a new position. It’s a new feel. It’s going to be new energy.”

The 25-year-old Mills, who will also be switching positions from cornerback to safety next season, signed a one-year, $5 million deal to return to Philadelphia this offseason. He added that he had interest from other teams as well but that they all wanted him to remain as a cornerback.

For Mills, whose number change will allow the newly-signed Nickell Robey-Coleman to wear No. 31 instead, let’s just say that this is much better than the last time that he got involved with the NBA.

LeBron James, Kevin Durant among few NBA players already receiving 90 percent of their salary

LeBron James

The current work stoppage has complicated financial matters for most NBA players, but LeBron James and several others are better off than the majority.

Marc Stein of The New York Times reported on Tuesday that players are receiving paychecks on April 1 but have not been assured further payments. Stein also notes that roughly 90 percent of NBA players will have received less than half of their 2019-20 salaries by the time that the April 1 checks go out because they are on 12-month payment plans.

However, James and several other Klutch Sports clients had negotiated “all-you-can-get” deals that pay out 90-plus percent of their 2019-20 salaries by April 1 as part of an accelerated six-month payment schedule. Also included in this group of roughly 20 select players are Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Blake Griffin, among others.

What is also interesting is that the likes of Anthony Davis and Montrezl Harrell, both of whom signed with Klutch Sports more recently, are not among the ten Klutch players mentioned. Neither is Ben Simmons, who is still technically on his rookie contract (though the same could be said about other players who are listed like Darius Garland and Miles Bridges).

The NBA salary cap and player incomes are already expected to drop because of the financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic, and this is yet another negative side effect for the league and the vast majority of their players.

LeBron James has been working on his free throw shooting

LeBron James

Even at 35 and with four MVPs under his belt, LeBron James is still making efforts to get better. One of the parts of his game he has been working on includes his free throws.

SI’s Melissa Rohlin wrote up a special about LeBron that was published on Friday. The main focus was on James’ mental game and his famous photographic memory. In the piece, Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd gushed about James’ ridiculous basketball IQ. Kidd praised James for always trying to improve, and even cited recent changes James made to his free throw shooting.

“As you can see, his free throws right now, he’s gone back more closer to his high school free throw and he’s shooting over 80 percent since he’s done that,” Kidd said. “He’s always searching to get better and is there a way to fix something. And that was probably one of the things in his game that he needed to work on.”

James is only shooting 69.7 percent on his free throws this season, which is down from his career average of 73.5 percent. But James was shooting 75 percent on his free throws through five games in March. In the team’s March wins over the Bucks and Clippers, James went a combined 24/29 (82.7 percent).

Maybe James’ free throw shooting will continue to improve, maybe it won’t. But we do know that he is never satisfied with his game and always looking to get better. Here is the entire feature for you to read.

LeBron James shows he’s staying hard at work during NBA shutdown

LeBron James

Nobody knows when the NBA will be able to resume, but it’s pretty clear that LeBron James will be ready when it does.

James posted on his Instagram story Sunday that he was hard at work on his usual day off because he can’t find anything else to do with himself.

He’s probably not the only NBA player feeling this way. The fact that nobody quite knows when the NBA will be back makes it harder for players to plan, but it will probably be weeks, if not months. We know that he’s not enthusiastic about starting the playoffs right away when the league does resume, but that won’t stop him from being prepared if that’s the case.

LeBron James does not think NBA should begin playoffs right away

LeBron James

The NBA is still figuring out how to complete the rest of the season whenever play can resume, but LeBron James has his opinion on what they should do.

Appearing this week on Uninterrupted’s “Road Trippin’ Podcast” with former Cleveland Cavaliers teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, the four-time MVP said that he was against going right into the postseason.

“One thing you can’t just do is go straight to the playoffs,” said James, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “Because it discredits the 60-plus games that guys had fighting for that position.”

One possible scenario mentioned by James was a truncated regular-season finale of five to ten games before the playoff bracket were to begin. He also mention his concern about the sudden layoff negatively affecting his body.

“When you’ve been building six months of conditioning and preparation and then [it’s gone], the narrative that I don’t like [is], ‘Well, now guys get so much rest.’ Or, like, ‘LeBron, he’s 35, he’s got so many minutes on his body, now he gets so much rest,'” James added. “It’s actually the opposite for me because my body, when we stopped playing, was asking me, like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ My body was like, ‘Hey man, what the hell is going on? It’s March 13th, you’re getting ready for the playoffs, why are you shutting down right now?’ And I was right there turning the corner, like, I felt like I was rounding third base, getting ready for the postseason. So the rest factor, I think it’s a little bit [overblown]. Especially when you’re in the full swing of things.”

In one small bit of unrelated good news, the 16-time All-Star did mention that his film “Space Jam 2” was still on schedule despite prevalent postponements in the movie industry due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

“[It] has always been scheduled to come out in June of 2021. So we’re kind of [OK],” James said. “And a lot of it right now is animation, so being indoors is actually great for us. So we’re still on. Just like everything in the world, [it] is slowed down a little bit, but we’re still on target. I’m looking forward to it. During this time right now, I wish we could release it right now, man, and give people some things to watch in their households. But we got until next year, next summer. We’re excited about it.”

On the topic of the remainder of the 2019-20 season though, both owners and players seem to be united in their desire to salvage it. James, who is especially affected as the leader of the No. 1 seed in the West in a year that represents one of his last shots at winning an NBA title, underscores the point though that a solution has to make sense both equitably and practically for all.