Ball Don't Lie
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie4 hrs ago
For many NBA fans, the surprisingly effective Phoenix Suns were the most watchable team of the 2012-13 season. While they missed out on the postseason in the final days of the regular season, the Suns went from looking like a franchise strategically courting as many losses as possible to an upstart 48-win squad that didn't even need three first-round picks to have a bright future. Better yet, they did it with a very exciting offensive attack led by the point guard combo of All-NBA Third Team member Goran Dragic and highly regarded Eric Bledsoe, a restricted free agent this summer.
This offseason, the Suns appear to be doubling down on the success of last season by adding even more capable backcourt scorers. On Friday, they reached a deal to add another starter-quality point guard. As reported by Yahoo's own Adrian Wojnarowski, the Suns reached a four-year, $27-million agreement with Sacramento Kings restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas. Instead of matching the offer, the Kings facilitated a sign-and-trade deal with the Suns:
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie6 hrs ago
Friday was one of the most important days ever in the NBA offseason. The biggest decision obviously came from LeBron James, a Cleveland Cavalier once again, but we also saw Chris Bosh re-up with the Heat (dashing the plans of the Houston Rockets) and several other players move around the NBA. After a long waiting period, we've seen enough activity to keep us analyzing developments right up until the start of the regular season.
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie7 hrs ago
Four years ago, the Miami Heat and team president Pat Riley created what looked like the NBA superteam that would challenge the very competitive nature of the league itself. After two championships, four conference titles, and a whole lot of public interest, this particular iteration of the Heat is no more. With the irreplaceable LeBron James heading back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the trio he formed with Chris Bosh (still in Miami for the foreseeable future) and likely Heat lifer Dwyane Wade will no longer strike fear into the hearts of rivals. This group didn't reach the lofty, history-altering accomplishments promised by their union, but they still stand as the dominant figures in basketball — both culturally and on the court — over this relatively short period of time.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie10 hrs ago
Cleveland’s biggest basketball-related mistake in the summer of 2010, in the weeks following LeBron James’ departure, was acting as if LeBron James hadn’t departed at all. The team’s then-general manager Chris Grant, in his first year on the job, hired a win-now coach in Byron Scott, decided against trading away older players who served little purpose on a James-less team, dealt for Ramon Sessions, and went into 2010-11 fully expecting to make the playoffs.
Which was daft, as we found out. The Cavs struggled to a 19-win season, and the team hasn’t sniffed a .500 record since despite repeated strikes of great luck (three top overall picks, the amnesty provision that made the partial-year rental of Baron Davis no big deal).
Miami isn’t in as bad a position as Cleveland was, as it waves goodbye to LeBron, what with a capable personnel boss in Pat Riley in charge and scads of immediately available cap room alongside a pristine South Beach setting. Frighteningly, though, the Heat may be working through the same bit of post-LBJ denial that Cleveland suffered its way through. The Heat are bringing back free-agent forward Chris Bosh, but is this the right way to start things over?
- Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie11 hrs ago
Now that the best player in the world has decided he'd like to go home, the question stands: Who figures to benefit most from LeBron James choosing to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in free agency?
A few thoughts on how the Eastern Conference has changed since Friday morning, and which teams might now find their chances of getting destroyed by the San Antonio Spurs competing for an NBA championship improved by LeBron leaving the Miami Heat:
• Cleveland Cavaliers. Well, duh.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie13 hrs ago
You’ve gotta love it when a plan comes together.
The Los Angeles Lakers need warm bodies to fill up a 2014-15 roster that is woefully short on active contracts in the wake of a miserable 27-win season. They need someone to push the ball in what could be Steve Nash’s last season, assuming the Lakers don’t waive him this summer, and as Kobe Bryant creakily works his way back from an Achilles tear and broken leg. The team has plenty of cap space, an unending series of cap holds, and after missing out on Carmelo Anthony, it wants to retain flexibility as it heads into the 2015 offseason.
The Rockets? They want to win, now. And they’re set to pounce on the crackling remains of Miami’s former Big Three.
The LeBron James-is-coming-home front page of Saturday's Cleveland Plain Dealer is fantastic (Photo)Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie14 hrs ago
LeBron James' announcement that he has decided to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers has sports fans across the world buzzing, and has fans in Northeast Ohio beside themselves in joyful anticipation of what Yahoo Sports columnist Dan Wetzel called "the return of the Prodigal Son." The image that will appear on the front cover of Saturday's edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer provides a simple, pretty spectacular expression of the moment they're all anticipating, a moment that many of us thought we'd never see again — James, this time clad in a No. 6 rather than his familiar Cleveland 23, performing his trademark chalk toss while donning the Cavaliers' wine and gold uniform:
LeBron James' return: Saturday's front page of The Plain Dealer pic.twitter.com/h8KFb6UAPX
- Kevin Kaduk at Ball Don't Lie14 hrs ago
Well that didn't take long.
While we haven't seen any LeBron James jerseys being burned in Miami (at least not yet), one big act of public defacement had taken place by early Friday afternoon. A large box was spray-painted over James' face in a cool Miami Heat mural painted in the city's design district. (Here's a second angle from a different Miami news outlet.)
WPLG in Miami reports that it took local mural artist Serge Toussaint more than two years to complete the work, but only a matter of seconds for an unknown vandal to erase the centerpiece after news of James' return to the Cleveland Cavaliers broke.
You stay classy, Miami.
Here's the mural as it looked originally:
The non-plussed look on Dwyane Wade's face seems even more appropriate in light of Friday's news.
Meanwhile, back in Cleveland, public art was being viewed with a more positive attitude:
- Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie15 hrs ago
I guess my recruiting skills didn't work
While the allure of returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers rendered Embiid's attempts to lure the King to the Philadelphia 76ers unsuccessful, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft still landed one of Friday's premier social media wins, taking a swipe at one of sports' most notoriously fickle fans:
Where are you going next? @Drake
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie15 hrs ago
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s infamous 2010 rebuttal to LeBron James’ move to Miami made the move from meme to legend within the course of an evening. If you scour Twitter during any part of the 2014 machinations that led up to James’ eventual return to Cleveland, jokes about the Comic Sans font Gilbert used to pen the embarrassing diatribe abounded. Even news that the letter still exited on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ official website until recently, when the Cavs seemed to pull ahead of the aging Miami Heat as favorites to land James, was met with more than a few smirking responses online.
Miami Heat owner Micky Arison is no stranger to putting his foot in his mouth over the internet, but his Twitter response to James’ move back to Northern Ohio was classy and dignified in 140 characters or less.