CLEVELAND, Ohio — What was the Cleveland Cavaliers’ record when LeBron James and Kevin Love played together — and Kyrie Irving sat?I didn’t know the answer when that question first occurred to me. It’s 25-10. Even more significant, it’s 24-7 in the last two seasons. Irving was out for the first 10 weeks of the 2015-16 season, recovering from a fractured kneecap. The Cavs were 20-7 in those games. Mo Williams filled in at point guard. The record when James sat while Irving and Love played? It’s 3-13. This is not meant to simply trash Irving. He is an incredible scorer. He apparently doesn’t see it this way, but Irving is an incredible player when on the court with James. And Love is very, very good. Lost in all the debate and angst about Irving’s trade request is Love’s value. The 6-foot-10 power forward struggles against Golden State. The quick pace is a challenge for him. Here are Love’s stats for the five-game 2017 NBA Finals: 16 points per game, 11.2 rebounds, .388 from the field, .387 on 3-pointers. So let’s not pretend he was the second coming of Melvin Turpin or Ben Poquette in those games. In the regular season and against Eastern Conference playoff opponents, Love cheap jerseys nba is an All-Star. When Irving is out and he’s the second scoring option after James, Love tends to thrive. The 6-foot-10 Love averaged 19 points and 11.1 rebounds in the regular season. He made the All-Star team. Furthermore, he has shown a willingness to sacrifice and fit in with the Cavs. For all the talk about how Irving can’t fully bloom with the Cavs, he averaged 25 points a game. He led the team in shots. Coach Tyronn Lue labeled Irving “an attack guard” and basically allowed him to shoot anytime from anywhere. Love has had to adapt. He has done just that, to the best of his ability. That’s one reason fans should not despair when Irving is traded … and I expect that to happen. A Cavs team starting with James and Love remains the best in the Eastern Conference. THE JAMES RUMORS When in doubt, blame LeBron James. That seems to be what the Kyrie Irving camp is doing. Before ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith came out with the comments about Irving’s people blaming James for word of his trade request becoming public, I also heard that in NBA circles. A. I don’t think it’s true. B. No matter who leaked it, the fact is Irving and his agent met with Dan Gilbert. They made their trade demand, and gave the Cavs owner a list of four teams as preferred destinations. C. In other words, Irving wants out despite taking three trips to the Finals and leading the team in shots attempted per game. D. I heard James was upset by Irving’s request. I don’t blame him. It seems about 90 percent of the NBA wants to play with James because it’s a ticket the NBA Finals. That 90 percent knows how hard it is to reach the championship round. E. The other 10 percent are members of the Golden State Warriors and a few guys who don’t want the challenge and the pressure that comes with playing with James for an NBA title. F. For more than a week, Irving and his people have had chances to issue statements, denials … something. Instead, there has been nothing other than Irving mocking James in a video featuring the song “Coming Home.” That’s probably part of the strategy to be traded.
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Q: I really, really fear trading Justise Winslow. I don’t think Kyrie Irving is that much better than Goran Dragic and the upgrade wouldn’t be worth the cost of losing Winslow. That’s not to say Kyrie is overrated because he is certainly a superstar and among the five best scorers in the NBA. I believe that Dragic is better than he gets credit for and I’m also really high on Winslow. I believe he has All-Star potential. He’s 21 with only one real season of play. Shooting is something that can be fixed with proper form and repetition. I believe in Winslow’s work ethic and our coaching staff enough to know that the shot will come. Real quick: Look at Draymond Green, as he is the heart of soul of one of the best teams ever, but he shot 30 percent from 3 this past season. The Cavs almost sagged into the paint when guarding him in the Finals, but he stayed on the floor because his defense, rebounding, playmaking and intangibles which are all things Justise can bring right now. Trading Winslow would be a mistake. — Kevin.A: And Draymond shot only 28 percent on 3-pointers in the NBA Finals and 35 percent from the floor during that series. So, yes, it can be about more than shooting. In fact, I like what Justise said last week about becoming a better finisher. I believe that it an offensive element that can compensate for an errant jumper. Is baseball, the ultimate prospects are five-tool players. Justise at the moment is a four-tool player, with his individual defense, team defense, playmaking and rebounding. That can take you far in the NBA, in the proper system. Just as Justise is still adjusting to the NBA game, so, too, must the staff come up with a game that accentuates his positives, as the Warriors have done with Draymond. Q: Somebody from the Mavericks saw something in Gian Clavell. If the Heat had signed him and could somehow develop an extra gear in his first step, he would be better than Tyler Johnson. Time will tell. One slipped away. — William. A: It might have looked like a case of one that got away, but the Heat clearly had plan when it came their development program, moving instead to Matt Williams Jr. and Derrick Walton Jr. These are intriguing times in the NBA, with the advent of the two-way contract and the $50,000 seeding of contracts wholesale nba jerseys for players to be directly assigned to developmental-league affiliates. You now are moving to a player at a rawer stage of their development, which means a far more disparate view of what eventually can emerge. It will be fascinating to see how such seed money will pay off across the league. Q: Don’t you find it ironic that the last two NBA collective bargaining agreements were put in place to create more parity in the league, yet in realty it has done the exact opposite? I don’t think a weapons race is parity. — Stuart. A: Which why the Cavaliers has practically become a petri dish for the future of super teams, and whether such chemistry can endure. For all the Warriors accomplished with Kevin Durant jumping aboard, it has only been one year with that mix. It will be interesting to see what will happen with Klay Thompson when he hits free agency in the 2019 offseason. Or, for that matter, how the James Harden-Chris Paul chemistry plays out in Houston, or what the injection of Gordon Hayward into Boston’s rotation does for the Celtics. In many ways, we’re still in the experimental phase with super teams, with even the Heat’s Big Three limited to two titles.
Star center DeAndre Jordan was one of the most coveted targets in the league at the cheap authentic jerseys beginning of the free agency period. Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported Jordan agreed to join the Dallas Mavericks on a whopping four-year, $80 million deal; however, the Clippers are doing their best to bring the big man back to Los Angeles.Marc Stein of ESPN reported the Clippers remain confident they’ll be able to retain Jordan. Jordan reached out to Clippers head coach Doc Rivers saying he had made a mistake, triggering the team’s attempt to bring him back to Los Angeles, according to Michael Eaves of ESPN. Eaves also indicated Jordan’s agent Dan Fegan previously posed an ultimatum to the Clippers, stating they would have to trade Chris Paul to retain Jordan. Before making a decision, Jordan has promised the Mavericks a face-to-face meeting, according to Stein. Following the team’s exit from the 2015 NBA playoffs, Rivers said re-signing Jordan is the team’s “top offseason priority,” per Dan Woike of the Orange County Register. Jordan also spoke about keeping the team’s core together, per ESPN’s Arash Markazi on May 17: “I’ve been here for seven years. This is what I’m used to.” Click here for more updates on this story as it develops.
LOS ANGELES — Chris Paul and James Harden have been training together since the Houston Rockets acquired Paul from the LA Clippers in a trade last month. They made their public debut as teammates Sunday in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Los Angeles’ famed Drew League.Harden finished with game highs of 27 points and 12 rebounds, while adding six assists and two steals for his LAUNFD (pronounced “L.A. Unified”) team, which pulled out an 83-81 win over a Home Town Favorites team that featured current NBA players Jordan Bell, Delon Wright and Tim Hardaway Jr. In the first half, the two point guards, who now must learn to share a backcourt, seemed to trade off ballhandling and playmaking duties with one player firmly in control of the possession and the other spotting up to shoot. But as the game went on, there was more synergy to their games. It’s a harmonizing process they’ve worked on all summer, in open-court runs in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. It’ll continue in the fall as well, as Rockets teammate Bobby Brown said the team is planning to continue to train together in L.A., then again in the Bahamas in late August. It was something the Rockets did last summer as well, as they began learning coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense and facilitating Harden’s change to a lead guard position. “That really helped us jell last year,” Brown said. Despite playing for the Clippers for the previous six seasons, Paul cheap jerseys China had never played in the Drew League before Sunday’s game. Paul watched Harden the week before, though, and he shook off a slow start to finish with 13 points and 10-assists. Before the prior week’s game, Brown informed Paul that he would need to play in order to be eligible for the Drew League playoffs that will start Friday. “CP came to the game last week and he was itching to play,” Brown said. “After that, he texted me saying, ‘Yo, I want to play. Think it would be cool if I could play with y’all?’ I said, ‘No problem. It’s the Drew League, you haven’t played yet. You get your shine, you get your welcoming to the Drew on a good team, with your brother.’ “That was an easy call. He had fun,” added Brown, a four-time Drew League champion. “JH always has fun. Me and James have been playing together for the third year in a row.” It was a star-studded event for the Drew League. Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade made it to the game to watch courtside, along with Toronto Raptors All-Star DeMar DeRozan, who played earlier in the day with Nick Young of the Golden State Warriors and Julius Randle of the Los Angeles Lakers.
On Day 25 of free agency, the Brooklyn Nets had the most remaining cap space. And they used it to add more young talent to their roster. The team announced the trade for Allen Crabbe in exchange for Andrew Nicholson.Crabbe, a 25-year-old wing who shot 44 percent from 3-point range for Portland last season, is one of the four restricted free agents Nets general manager has signed to an offer sheet over the last 13 months. In all four cases (Tyler Johnson, Donatas Motiejunas and Otto Porter were the others), the player’s original team matched the offer. But after last year’s spending spree and with big contracts for Damian Lillard ($26 million this season), C.J. McCollum ($24 million) and Evan Turner ($17 million) on the books, the Blazers are in a position where they need to shed salary. Crabbe’s 2017-18 salary is almost $13 million less than that of Nicholson, who the Blazers will waive to save even more money this year. The $19.9 million left on his contract will cheap nba jerseys be stretched over the next seven seasons. The Blazers lose some depth on the wing and their best complementary shooter, but gain, along with a ton of tax relief, some flexibility going forward. That could be critical with Jusuf Nurkic set to be a restricted free agent next summer. With Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll (also acquired with cap space) and Caris LeVert, the Nets have some starting-caliber talent on the wings to complement their backcourt of D’Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin. Nicholson had originally been acquired with the No. 22 pick from Washington for Bojan Bogdanovic in February. Having arrived in Brooklyn with no assets, Marks continues to make moves to inch his team toward being competitive. The Nets will be without their own first round pick for one more year. Only Kyle Korver (45.1 percent) shot better than Crabbe (44.4 percent) from beyond the arc on at least 200 attempts last season. Brooklyn ranked fourth in the percentage of their shots that came from 3-point range, but 26th in 3-point percentage.