LeBron James returned home to Ohio to re-join the Cleveland Cavaliers after a four year stay in South Beach witrh the Miami Heat. With the return of James to the Cavaliers, it means he’ll be facing off with one of his processional rivals.
That man is of course Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls and Cavaliers both play in the Central division of the Eastern conference.
Is Rose bothered about the return of the King? Not really. Speaking to Sam Smith of NBA.com, Rose said he’d be treating LeBron like any other player coming to the division.
“The same way I would if anyone else was in my division. Just because it’s him it’s not going to get me to play even harder. I know that every night that I step on the floor, I’m going to do whatever it takes to win the game no matter who is on the floor. Just knowing how great he is and the game, I hope the fans appreciate the game even more.”
It’s definitely going to create some interesting battles on and off the court.
Rose is making his second return in as many years.after suffering two ACL injuries in the same knee. The former MVP is currently preparing for the FIBA World Cup with Team USA. He is expected to be a starter for the USAin an exhibition game against Brazil on Saturday.
Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry made some bold statements today on the Dan Patrick Show during a call-in. Curry is one of the best players in the NBA and can certainly fill it up offensively, but when asked by host Dan Patrick who was the better offensive player and scorer LeBron James or himself, Curry made what some might think as a bold response.
Dan Patrick:“Who’s a better offensive player, you or LeBron.”
Stephen Curry: “Who’s a better offensive player me or LeBron? That’s the first time I’ve ever been asked that question. Me … got to be, right?”
Dan Patrick: “Well I don’t know, I would assume you would think…you’re a pure shooter. He can score, you can too, but I think the correct answer is that LeBron is the better scorer, but I think you’re the better shooter. How’s that?”
Then Patrick asked Curry who could score the most point in a game. Curry offered up a much more diplomatic response.
“I’d like to say my shot would help me in that situation, that if I get a double team that hopefully I can shoot from farther out.”
Check it out: (4:10 mark)
When LeBron James left the Cavs, jersey burnings across the state of Ohio took place. When he re-joined the Cavs, Heat fans burned LeBron’s jersey too. Now that Kevin Love is allegedly on his way out of Minnesota and heading to Cleveland, some Timberwolves fans might feel the need to join the jersey burning party to show their disgust with their best player leaving.
Or… people in Minnesota are way too friendly for that. Take a look at this fan video in which he tries to find fellow Minnesotans (is that a word?) to help him burn his Kevin Love jersey.
I know it’s a joke, but I still thought it was a funny gesture. I wish more fans could think this way instead of being angry when a player leaves the team.
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Ever think of having an epic wedding photo with your groomsmen? I’m sure you have (if you’re a guy), but you may want to think a bit harder if you plan to top this beauty.
Nick Jones did his best powder toss, as his eight groomsmen all donned various LeBron James’ (no Heat) jerseys for what has to be the best sports-related wedding photo of all time.
Here’s the scoop, courtesy of Fox Sports:
Nick Jones and Christa Deckard set their wedding date for July 12, 2014, they had no idea it would follow in the direct aftermath of what will likely go down as one of Cleveland’s biggest sports stories ever.
So, what better way to celebrate a glorious life moment than with a photo for the ages, paying tribute to one of Northeast Ohio’s most compelling athletes?
Jarred Wagner of Inlux Photo in Canton was the man behind the lens for the awesome photo, which he said was the groom’s idea and took two takes to nail.
“I quickly collected my jerseys and we got everything rolling,” Jones said, reacting ecstatically when he found out the news of LeBron’s decision Friday. “We pulled the photo off even better than I could expect.”
I dare you, anyone out there reading, to try and top this crazy photo. Just crazy! I’m sure even LeBron, himself, is super impressed with this display. The crazy lengths fans will go to to honor their favorite players and teams. Kudos to these guys on the best wedding photo of all-time. I hope their marriage is long and fruitful!
Ever since the NBA Finals (and even before) there has been speculation as to whether LeBron James will opt out of the final year of his contract or stay a member of the Miami Heat for the 2014-15 NBA season.
We can now at least answer one of those questions to rest. LeBron James has announced he will opt out of his final contract year with the Miami Heat and become a free-agent.
LeBron James’ agent Rich Paul has told Heat LeBron will exercise early termination option
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 24, 2014
Now the speculation will be where LeBron will sign, and while some may doubt it, there’s a good chance that his opting out is more of a power move by James to put some pressure on the Heat ownership.
As a free agent, LeBron can put pressure on Heat ownership to commit to spending more to build roster. Opting in, he couldn’t do it as well.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) June 24, 2014
James was due to be paid $20.59 million for the season which would have been his fifth with the team had he chosen to opt in and remain with the Heat.
Personally, after his team failed him during the NBA Finals where they were soundly beaten in five games by the San Antonio Spurs, you can’t blame James for wanting to get out of South Beach. Of course, he could stay with Miami Whatever happens, there’s going to be a lot of talk about ‘The Decision II’ and where James will end up.
The 2014 NBA Finals are over, and the San Antonio Spurs are your champions, defeating LeBron James and the Miami Heat in five relatively easy games. The Spurs were as impressive a team in those Finals as I can remember, with their flawless ball movement on offense, and intensity on defense. The Heat simply looked outmatched from start to finish, despite having the best player on the planet. Now, we recap: What did we learn?
Here are five things I took away from the 2014 NBA Finals:
5. Welcome to the big stage, Kawhi Leonard, take a seat and stay a while: In a series of superstars on top of superstars, featuring the best player in the world (LeBron), and maybe the greatest player of his generation (Duncan, more on this in a moment), the star that shined brightest was 22 year-old Kawhi Leonard. Leonard, who is undoubtedly quiet off the court, let his play speak for itself, averaging 17.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks in the series, while shooting 61.2 percent from the field and 57.9 percent from behind the 3-point line. The shooting percentage above all else was especially impressive, as he went toe-to-toe with LeBron statistically, while defending him exceptionally well on the defensive end.
For Leonard, the next step now will be having to perform with the expectations that he should now make the leap to becoming one of this league’s stars. We saw Paul George struggle with this exact expectation this season after similarly going toe-to-toe with LeBron in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals. Whether he can use this Finals MVP performance to catapult him to the next level consistently remains to be seen, but its undeniable the young man has arrived to the big stage.
4. It’s been real, D-Wade: While Leonard was the player whose career benefited most from the 2014 Finals, Heat star Dwyane Wade is on the other side of the spotlight. Wade, a future Hall of Fame inductee, looked like a player who has seen his best days pass. To be frank, Wade was awful, especially when you consider how much he was rested throughout the season, and the minimum amount of effort he needed to exert in the playoffs prior to the Finals.
Wade didn’t break a sweat against the Charlotte Bobcats, and barely was needed for the Heat to get past both the Brooklyn Nets and the Indiana Pacers, which was quite unexpected as the Pacers were supposed to be the Heat’s kryptonite. All in all, Wade really had no excuse not to be ready to play at a high level.
In related news, Wade can opt in to a 2-year, $40 million deal. Amar’e Stoudemire may have some competition in the NBA Stealing Money Club…
3. At least Miami has beaches, LeBron: LeBron James must have been feeling a far too familiar feeling while he and his team were embarrassed against the Spurs. With the aforementioned struggling of D-Wade, and a group of players who are either retiring, or should be considering it, the Miami Heat resembled the 2010 Cleveland Cavaliers far too much for anybody’s comfort level, especially LeBron.
That comparison isn’t exactly fair, as Chris Bosh himself is better than any teammate James had in Cleveland, and while the Cavs had overachievers, the Heat purposely employed veterans they thought would perform well come playoff time. Evidence shows that was pretty far from the truth, as the Miami supporting cast didn’t look like players worthy of gracing a Finals floor.
Ultimately, I don’t see LeBron leaving Miami, but that could end up being a mistake with Wade eating up a ton of salary, not allowing the Heat to properly retool this team like they need to in order to compete.
2. Tim Duncan, VIP member: If you are talking big picture, nobody’s legacy was furthered from the Finals more than coach Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan. However, I would argue Duncan is the ultimate beneficiary, strictly because Popovich is already revered as one of the all-time greats, and would have been, win or lose.
Players are put under a more strict microscope, especially when it comes to wins and losses, and more importantly, championships. Duncan’s fifth ring puts him in elite company, and this championship may be as impressive as any of the other four. Duncan now HAS to be mentioned as one of the top-10 players ever, and instead of his career ending with a heart-breaking defeat, it is now enhanced by a story-book worthy redemption story.
Whether we like it or not, perception still means something, and Duncan’s perception will now always be of a winner, with Ray Allen’s game six corner three seen as a mere bump in the road of success.
1. Teamwork STILL makes the dream work: While the above four points have been focused on individuals, the one thing we learned more than anything else is that basketball is still a TEAM game. In the era of Big -insert number here- and super-teams, the championship was won with beautiful ball movement, and players trusting each other. If you listed the top 10 players in this series, LeBron may be the only Heat player that makes the list (you can argue Bosh would too). In the end, it wasn’t only Duncan and Leonard, or even Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, but players like Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter, and Patty Mills that won this championship for the Spurs.
In truth, it wasn’t any of them that won it, but it was all of them. The Spurs played at an impeccable level as a team, and I truly believe that the Heat were just the unfortunate opponent of a team on a mission. In my opinion, the Spurs would have embarrassed any other team in the league on that Finals stage playing at that level, opponent insignificant.
The idealist in me would like to believe this may change the way teams are formed, and the way teams play forever. Maybe emphasis will be put on trying to duplicate the Spurs success, and individual accomplishments will be put on the back-burner in favor of a group of individuals forming one unit, and focusing on whatever gives them the best opportunity to win.
The realist in me knows that what I just witnessed in those Finals may be something I never see again.
Frank Santos- Sports-Kings Co-Founder