Posts Tagged ‘Derek Jeter’

Morning Shootaround — April 27

VIDEO: Highlights from games played April 26


Report: Pelicans plan to sign Davis to the max | Austin Rivers saves Clippers season | Buss says Lakers will celebrate Kobe next season | Trail Blazers vow to show heart, avoid sweep

No. 1: Report: Pelicans plan to sign Davis to the max — The New Orleans Pelicans have a summer to-do-list that starts and ends with taking care of Anthony Davis. The Pelicans’ immediate future rests on making sure Davis is a part of the organization for years to come and that means signing him to a max deal. Marc Stein of has more:

League sources say that the Pels will be as aggressive as possible on July 1 in presenting Davis with a five-year maximum contract that makes him New Orleans’ designated player.

Given that the 22-year-old was voted to start in February’s All-Star Game and will likely earn All-NBA first-team status when voting results are announced in coming days, Davis would be in line to start his max deal at 30 percent of the league’s salary cap as opposed to a mere 25 percent as long as he earns just one of those same honors next season — or if he is named the 2015-16 MVP.

Based on the league’s most recent cap projections, Davis will thus be presented with a five-year pact that will eventually top $30 million annually and could exceed $140 million in total value in a deal that kicks in beginning in 2016-17 and run through his 28th birthday.

Can he really turn down those sort of riches and that level of security in the name of flexibility?

Would he turn that down when he’s clearly comfortable in New Orleans and, by all accounts, highly engaged as the young leader of his team?

Hard to see Davis resisting such lucrative insulation, though he certainly does have the option of signing a shorter extension to keep his free-agent future more open.


No. 2: Austin Rivers saves Clippers season — He was supposed to be a bit player in this series, a footnote at best. But make no mistake, with their season on the brink in Game 4 in San Antonio, Austin Rivers stepped up and helped save the Los Angeles Clippers. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports explains how Austin Rivers brought tears to his father’s eyes:

When Doc Rivers walked into the locker room, the scene stopped him. Chris Paul called on the Clippers to congratulate the young guard responsible for saving the season and present him the game ball. Everyone clapped. Everyone let out a long, loud cheer for Austin Rivers.

“For a moment, for a half second maybe, I became a dad in there,” Doc Rivers told Yahoo Sports later on Sunday at the AT&T Center. The tears welled in his eyes, but he quickly wiped them away and stiffened in the concrete corridor.

To trade for his son, Rivers had to make a case on the move’s merits to a dubious basketball community. He’s had to live with the criticism. They’ve had to live with it together. They had Sunday together, too.

Austin Rivers had his finest moment in the NBA on Sunday, scoring 16 points, delivering defense, deflections and a 114-105 victory over the San Antonio Spurs to bring this best-of-seven series 2-2 back to Staples Center. He made deft drives to the basket, fearless finishes to stun the Spurs.

For nine years, Doc Rivers coached and lived in Boston. For most of that time, his wife and children stayed in Orlando. Austin completed middle school and high school, spent a year at Duke and moved onto the NBA. Father and son were separated a long time, often coming and going in moments Doc had flown down and stolen an off-night for a high school game or an ACC game on Tobacco Road.

“Listen, we haven’t been together a lot,” Rivers told Yahoo Sports. “In a lot of ways, I am his coach.”

More coach than father, he’s trying to say. It’s an honest admission, and it comes tinged with a touch of sadness. Nevertheless, Austin Rivers has had to find his own way with these Clippers, earn his own respect. This was a beginning on Sunday, nothing more, nothing less.


No. 3: Buss says Lakers will celebrate Kobe next season — It’s all about Kobe Bryant next season for the Los Angeles Lakers. Even with a monster free agent summer on tap, the Lakers’ focus will be on Kobe. Lakers boss Jeanie Buss insists the 2015-16 season will be a celebration of one of the franchise’s and NBA’s all-time greats and his 20 years with the franchise. Sean Highkin of has the details:

It’s been more or less known without anybody outright saying it for a while that next year will be Kobe Bryant‘s final year. His contract is up in 2016, which will put his career at 20 seasons, all with the Lakers, and the last three have ended with injuries.

Lakers president Jeanie Buss seems to know the end of the Kobe era is coming, if you go by her comments on a Sunday morning Bleacher Report radio interview:

Bryant has said that he doesn’t want a Derek Jeter-style farewell tour when he hangs it up, but it seems pretty obvious that it’s coming. And for the impact he’s had on the NBA and the sport worldwide, he deserves to take a victory lap regardless of what the Lakers do next season.


No. 4: Trail Blazers vow to show heart, avoid sweep — The Portland Trail Blazers insist they will not go away quietly. They will not be swept out of these playoffs without a fight. Their season is on the line tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies and they vow to fight until the very end. Joe Freeman of The Oregonian explains:

A little more than nine weeks ago, the Trail Blazers‘ practice court was brimming with confidence and gusto.

They had just made a splash at the NBA trade deadline, acquiring Arron Afflalo to strengthen their bench and add depth for what figured to be a long and successful playoff run. Pundits universally lauded the move. San Antonio Spurs Gregg Popovich hailed it as a “great addition.” The Blazers boldly pronounced they were poised to contend for an NBA Championship.

Oh how things have changed.

On Sunday afternoon, that confidence and gusto had been replaced with disappointment and dejection. The Memphis Grizzlies have pummeled the Blazers in their best-of-seven Western Conference playoffs series, using muscle, moxie and better talent to build a 3-0 lead. No team in NBA history has overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series.

And that history hovered over the Blazers like a thick fog Sunday at the practice facility in Tualatin, where they gathered for what could be their final practice of the season. No one said the season was done. Everyone promised to show heart and fight and claw until the final buzzer sounds at the end of Game 4, which is scheduled for 7:30 Monday night at the Moda Center.

But there was no escaping the daunting challenging in front of them. And there was no masking the inevitable gloom that comes with the reality the season is all but over.

“Right now, we’re at the point where we have to just have some heart and have some pride,” Damian Lillard said.

The Blazers spouted off the usual array of clichés, promising to take the series “one game at a time” and “only think about tomorrow’s game.” But history is impossible to ignore. And when the Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Boston Celtics on Sunday, they became the 112th team in 112 chances to win a series after building a 3-0 lead.

“You can’t think about it,” LaMarcus Aldridge said. “You just have to go game-by-game. If you try to think about, ‘Oh, we’re down 0-3 and let’s try to win the series,’ I think that’s when you think about the history. But if you just go game-by-game, just focus on getting Game 4, then anything’s possible.”


SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Boston’s summer pursuit of Kevin Love will no doubt be complicated after the “bush league” play from Kelly Olynyk … Knocked down and out, gutsy Jae Crowder embodied toughness of Celtics this season … The Hawks are still a bit salty after their poor shooting effort in a Game 3 loss to the Brooklyn NetsSteals could help the Bucks steal another playoff win if the Chicago Bulls aren’t more careful with the ball … Kevin Love‘s absence in Cleveland with that shoulder dislocation will depend on his personal injury history


Morning shootaround — Feb. 23

VIDEO: Highlights of Sunday’s action from around the NBA


Everybody is knocking the Knicks these days, even Phil | Emotional Heat rallying behind Bosh, Dragic | Westbrook takes control in Oklahoma City | Fire still burns for Scott (and Bryant) in Lakers-Celtics rivalry

No. 1:  Everybody is knocking the Knicks these days, even Phil — You, too, Phil Jackson? As if the Knicks didn’t have it bad enough this season, now their boss is taking shots at them. In the aftermath of Sunday’s woeful performance at Madison Square Garden against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the critics were out in full force on social media and everywhere else. And that includes Jackson, who took to Twitter to level the team he’s been charged with fixing. Ian Begley of provides the dirty details:


The Knicks lost by 18 points to the Cavs on Sunday to extend their losing streak to seven games. New York is an NBA-worst 10-45.

Sunday’s loss to Cleveland might have hit Jackson a little harder than others.

J.R. Smith — the ex-Knick Jackson traded away in a salary dump last month — torched the Knicks for 17 points and four assists in the blowout. Smith hooked up with Iman Shumpert — the fourth-year guard Jackson sent to Cleveland in the same trade — for an eye-popping alley-oop in the fourth quarter that is sure to make all the highlight shows.

The Knicks, on the other hand, couldn’t muster any highlights for their home crowd. They fell behind by 19 in the first quarter and shot just 37 percent from the floor overall, including 3-for-19 (16 percent) from beyond the arc.

New York is well on its way to establishing the worst record in franchise history (the previous mark is 21 wins).

It’s been a nightmare season for Jackson, who stated publicly at the beginning of the season that he believed the Knicks were a playoff team.


No. 2: Emotional Heat rallying behind Bosh, Dragic — Chris Bosh‘s season is over. His Miami Heat teammates digested that blow during an exhausting long weekend (from the trade deadline through a weekend loss to the New Orleans Pelicans). And now they have begun the process of trying to recover emotionally from the news that the blood clots in Bosh’s lungs will change all of their lives to welcoming new point Goran Dragic and trying to salvage this season with a playoff berth. They will find out what they are made of this season, what with all of the adversity they will have dealt with by the regular season’s end. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald provides some perspective:

After an emotional 55-hour whirlwind in which Miami split back to-back games, acquired a former third-team All-NBA point guard and learned that All-Star forward Chris Bosh will miss the rest of the season with blood clots in his lungs, most Heat players resisted any temptation to exhale or enjoy a lazy Sunday morning.

Instead, they convened at AmericanAirlines Arena for a voluntary on-court session designed to expedite the acclimation of new Heat point guard Goran Dragic, in advance of Monday’s home game against Philadelphia.

“One of my biggest priorities will be to make Goran feel comfortable as soon as we can,” coach Erik Spoelstra said Sunday afternoon at the Heat’s annual Family Festival. “That’s why we came in… [for] an optional workout that most of the guys showed up to.

“We’ve had to do this already, three, four, five times, where we’ve had to try to get organized with a different lineup, and we’ve become pretty efficient in fast-tracking that process. How long that will take for him, I don’t know, but it’s a priority for me. He’s a high-IQ player. He’ll be able to pick thing up quickly, find out where he can be aggressive and help the team, and that’s what [Sunday] was about.”

Dragic bemoaned his Heat debut Saturday in which he scored 12 points (all in the second half) and shot 4 for 11 with one assist and one turnover in 33 minutes in Miami’s 105-91 loss to New Orleans.

“It was tough. Sometimes you didn’t know where to go,” he said.

Spoelstra noted that “much of our plan early in the season was built around either Chris Bosh or Josh [McRoberts] having the ball in their hands and facilitating the next action. Obviously, that is a big change now.”

On Saturday, Spoelstra at times experimented with a smaller lineup with Luol Deng, Dragic, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers paired with one natural power-rotation player.

“It gives us an opportunity to make some plays off the dribble,” Spoelstra said. “As we move forward, we’ll find out if that’s something I go to more. It wasn’t necessarily successful [Saturday]. The alternative wasn’t necessarily successful, either, so I can’t really gauge that right now. But I can certainly see that being a strength of ours, having three guys that can make plays.”

Dragic was often at his best for Phoenix when he pushed the ball and played at a faster tempo. He now joins a team that was last in the league in average possessions per game. So does Spoelstra want to play faster?

“The team will tell us ultimately, but we want to play to his strengths,” Spoelstra said. “We have to defend. We have to be able to play off of misses.”

Regarding the Heat’s pace, Dragic said: “I talked with coach, and I want to play a little bit faster. But it takes time, of course, because last year with LeBron [James], all those guys played fast, but with all the situations with the injuries, coach put that system in that’s slow. Everyone needs to adjust. First of all, I need to adjust to all the players because I’m new here.”

Wade said Sunday he would be “fine” with running more: “When a team misses, let’s get out and see if we can get in transition and get some easy buckets. I need some easy buckets, especially right now to get my rhythm back.”

Wade loved the trade for Dragic but admits “I have to get used to a guy that can create so much attention by putting the ball on the floor. I’m normally that guy.

“It was different when LeBron was here because I was in a different place on the court. Now I have to kind of get used to playing with him and vice versa. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to take some trial and error, but I think we can make it up with his ability to attack and finish. It’s going to be good for us. He’s dynamic.”


VIDEO: Russell Westbrook’s not a point guard, huh?


No. 3: Westbrook takes control in Oklahoma City — The question has lingered for years, whose team is it anyway in Oklahoma City? Kevin Durant is the MVP, the star of stars. But Russell Westbrook has always been their emotional leader, the guy who makes them go, even when Durant is on the floor and healthy. Now that Durant is sidelined again with foot soreness, Westbrook has taken complete control of the situation and is driving the Thunder up the standings. Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman has more:

A fabulous first quarter was quickly coming undone.

Six empty possessions, marred by four missed shots and two turnovers, to start the second quarter were all Scotty Brooks needed to see. All the momentum the Thunder had constructed in closing the opening period on a 24-6 run was being squandered before his eyes. An 18-point lead had been trimmed to 12.

And so Brooks did what any sensible coach would do.

He reinserted Russell Westbrook.

And Westbrook proceeded to do what he’ll need to do for at least the next week while Kevin Durant recovers from a second surgery on his troublesome right foot.

He dominated play.

Westbrook scored a game-high 21 points, tied his career high of 17 assists and added eight rebounds to lead the Thunder to an authoritative 119-94 win over Denver on Sunday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“He was nearly flawless,” Brooks said.

With four new players added at this year’s trade deadline and, more importantly, news of Durant being out at least one week after undergoing surgery Sunday to place a new screw in his foot to alleviate chronic soreness, Westbrook will have to be at his best in the weeks ahead.

If Sunday was any indication, Westbrook is up for the challenge.

One night after posting 33 points and 10 assists in a win at Charlotte, Westbrook was even better against the Nuggets.

He made 8 of 12 shots and turned the ball over only twice, the first of which didn’t come until 9:41 was left in the third quarter.

“I’m just trying to do a better job of leading, man,” Westbrook said. “That’s my job is to integrate the new guys and lead them into the direction of where we want to go.”

Westbrook was sensational in that second quarter.

That’s when he racked up 10 of his assists after retaking the floor with 8:40 left in the period. It was in that stretch that Westbrook put on the kind of rare passing display that the best point guards regularly use to dominate a game without even shooting.

“I just don’t dominate the game scoring,” Westbrook said, smiling.

Westbrook hooked up with five different teammates during those final nine minutes, making each of them threats and the Thunder a nightmare for the Nuggets to defend.

By the time he was done, Westbrook had scored or assisted on 29 of the Thunder’s 31 points in the period. The Thunder ended the frame on a 31-18 run and took a 25-point lead into the locker room.

Westbrook attempted only two shots in the second quarter. Both were 3-point tries. And he made both.

“I think it’s great not just for myself but good for the rest of my teammates,” Westbrook said of his playmaking. “I think they feel comfortable about their game. I can get mine and take shots when I have the opportunity. But I think it’s great for them to have open shots and open looks and feel great about their game. And as you see it works out for us.”


No. 4: Fire still burns for Scott (and Bryant) in Lakers-Celtics rivalry — Don’t tell Lakers coach Byron Scott the NBA’s bi-coastal cold war is over. He is still caught up in the Lakers-Celtics rivalry from decades ago, the one he played a major part in as a player.  When two of the most storied franchises in all of sports are down and out simultaneously, the folks on the inside have to find motivation wherever they can get it. For Scott, whose star Kobe Bryant is down for the season, that means keeping the fire burning in terms of his disdain for the Celtics. Arash Markazi of explains:

The players and coaches that made the Lakers-Celtics rivalry one of the most storied in sports history are nearly all gone now.

The only one left, on the court anyway, as the two teams met at Staples Center on Sunday was Byron Scott, whose disdain for the Boston Celtics as a Los Angeles Lakers player in the 1980s has carried over to his time as a Lakers coach.

“Probably not,” Scott said Sunday when asked if he could have coached the Celtics. “Seriously. Probably not, coached or played for them. I couldn’t be like Rick Fox and played for both.”

When they reminisce about great Lakers and Celtics games in history, Sunday’s game will be nothing more than a forgotten footnote. A momentary blip in the radar as both teams attempt to quickly rebuild into the championship contending teams again.

The only two that probably felt like Sunday’s game had any added significance was Scott and Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations.

“It’s probably more of a rivalry between Danny and me than the guys in the locker room,” Scott said. “He’s in the front office sitting there probably saying if we don’t win another game, let’s beat them. The guys in the locker room probably don’t understand the history of the rivalry between these two franchises and that’s unfortunate. … It’s the best rivalry in all of sports.”

The chances of the Lakers and Celtics ever rekindling the decade-long magic they had in the 1960s and 1980s are pretty slim in the current NBA. It’s more likely they could get together for a three-year reunion like they enjoyed from 2008 to 2010.

“Guys jump up and move around so much so often nowadays, Scott said. “They don’t have the same type of loyalty that we used to in those days with one organization.”

The one player who does is Kobe Bryant, who is going into the last year of his contract with the Lakers next season, which will give him an unprecedented 20 seasons with one team.

Bryant told the “Grantland Basketball Hour” on Sunday that he isn’t looking for a Derek Jeter-like farewell tour next season and isn’t even sure if next season will be his last. Scott this week even raised the possibility of Bryant playing a season or two past his current deal depending on how he looks.

No matter what Bryant decides to do after next season, he will play a big role in the Lakers’ plans at recruiting free agents this summer and getting them to believe that the Lakers are not far from becoming a contending team again if they came on board.

“I think Kobe still has that pull and it’s an attraction for guys,” Scott said. “I think this organization speaks for itself as far as what we’re all about and that’s an attraction in itself.”


SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: The Portland Trail Blazers’ fourth quarter troubles could be paralysis by analysis … Don’t look now, but the Indiana Pacers are warming up at just the right time … Every move made and the analysis to go with it from’s Trade Tracker … The new-look Pistons look ready to rock

ICYMI:  Admit it Knicks fans, this is one of those times when you actually miss J.R. Smith …

VIDEO: J.R. Smith goes showtime at the Garden

Career Totals: Why not count postseason?

Derek Jeter’s pursuit and bagging of his 3,000th hit with the New York Yankees last weekend dripped with all sorts of gooey feel-goodness. Reaching the milestone at home, blowing right by it with a dazzling 5-for-5 performance at the plate, cranking a home run for the momentous among those five hits, getting the ball returned to him by a young New York fan who didn’t rush off to Sotheby’s for a quickie appraisal — it was charming from start to finish by and for the revered 37-year-old shortstop. And, by extension, baseball.

But it raised a question about sports statistics that could apply just as well to the NBA.

In reaching the big, round hits’ threshold that historically conveys Hall of Fame status on all who cross it (except, y’know, Pete Rose), Jeter — like the 27 men who preceded him — actually amassed 3,000 hits in regular-season games. Nothing else counted. Not spring training or minor league games, naturally, and not MLB postseason games either.

Which prompted more than a few folks to ask: Why? Why shouldn’t hits that Jeter stroked in Yankees’ postseason games — in the various levels of American League playoffs and in the World Series — count toward his lifetime total?

It’s a valid question, in my opinion. We’re not talking about those March games down in in Tampa or Port St. Lucie where a future Hall of Famer might be facing a future insurance salesman who tops out at Class AA ball. We’re not talking about single-season records, which rightly should be maintained across a like number of games. We’re talking about at-bats against the league’s or game’s best pitchers, in games that matter most, over a player’s career.

Maybe the question should be phrased thusly: Why wouldn’t those count?

The standard objection to counting postseason stats with those compiled in the regular season is, hey, those playoff and World Series games are bonus opportunities that other players do not get. To which a legitimate response would seem to be: Whose fault is that? Players, working together on a team, earn those postseason games. Some might argue that players on playoff-bound teams sacrifice more, and actually get fewer opportunities to attend to individual achievements, than somebody playing out the final 70 games each season in the second division.

Mix in all the other differences among players — date of career debut, time stuck backing up a star teammate, total seasons played, injuries — and it seems arbitrary to make postseason accomplishments off-limits from career totals (or to relegate them to a separate category).

If baseball kept its stats that way, Jeter’s 185 hits in Yankee postseason games would count toward his total. Coming out of the All-Star break this week, he would have 3,189 hits. He would have begun the 2010 season (subtracting his 78 hits in 2011, his 10 hits last fall against Minnesota and Texas and his 179 hits in 2010) with 2,722 hits. Thus, needing just 78 to reach 3,000, he would have achieved that on June 12, 2010, when he went 2-for-4 in an interleague game against Houston in New York.

Stats are handled similarly in other sports, including the NBA. And from a records-keeping standpoint, it probably is just as easy to combine the regular-season and postseason stats when that sort of analysis is desired.

But must it be done that way?

It might be helpful or at least interesting for people to know that Michael Jordan didn’t just outscore Wilt Chamberlain by 873 points — he outscored The Dipper by 3,253 points because Jordan, with 5,987 postseason points, ranked No. 1 in that category to Wilt’s No. 15 (3,607).

Or that Boston’s John Havlicek jumps four spots, from No. 15 in regular-season points (26,395) to No. 11 in combined points (30,171), if he’s given credit for his playoff production for the Celtics. Oh, but he got way more chances than players stuck in Detroit or Cincinnati. OK, but Havlicek — or somebody else on his team — might not have had the green lights that Dave Bing or Oscar Robertson had.

If we kept and ranked according to total points, nothing would change at the top except the enormous numbers: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 5,762 playoff points would push his lifetime total from 38,387 to 44,149. Karl Malone (41,689) would join him as the only two members of the NBA’s 40K Club.

But Shaquille O’Neal (33,846) and Kobe Bryant (33,148) both would leapfrog over Moses Malone (31,793) into the sixth and seventh spots — and Malone gets credit for his points scored in the ABA. Hakeem Olajuwon would pass both Elvin Hayes and Dan Issel. And Jerry West would leap from No. 19 on the scoring list, regular-season points, to No. 12 (25,192 plus 4,457).

Similar shifts would come in other stats. Abdul-Jabbar’s 2,481 postseason rebounds would move him past Moses Malone, No. 3 all-time, with 19,921. Bill Russell’s playoff edge over Chamberlain, 4,104-3,913, wouldn’t be enough to make up the 2,304 advantage Wilt had in regular-season games. But O’Neal would jump from No. 13 to No. 9 while Walt Bellamy slips out of the top 10.

Not too much would change in the assists category. Former Jazz playmaker John Stockton still would tower over the competition, only now with 17,645 assists to Jason Kidd’s 12,793 for a gap of 4,852 (it’s 4,228 in regular-season rankings). Magic Johnson would be back at No. 3, his record 2,346 postseason assists moving back ahead of Mark Jackson (11,238, only 904 in playoff games).

It’s not a big deal, overall. But it does seem a little odd not to count playoff production in lifetime totals. There’s no equalizing everything about various players’ careers, so why should postseason opportunities get singled out?

If nothing else, the list of NBA players who reached 30,000 points would grow from five (regular-season only) to 11. And if baseball fell in line, poor Sam Rice, the longtime Washington Senators outfielder who retired at age 44 in 1934, would be in the books now with 3,006 hits. Rather than the 2,987 he had when he quit.

Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA for 25 years. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

 The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

Legends Weigh In


Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — What would you do at 25 and seemingly at the top of your game?

Would you want to be the man and lead your team to a title? Or would the title itself be most important, no matter how you go it?

LeBron James had a decision to make and he chose the latter,  joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the prime of his career to chase his first title.

League elders and legends weighed in on the decisions made by James and other members of the celebrated free agent class of 2010, and it’s clear they would have handled things differently.

NBA TV’s Chris Webber:

“I’m never mentioning him and (Michael) Jordan in the same sentence ever again. There is no more discussion; Kobe (Bryant) is the last heir to Jordan. I think LeBron is starting a new era of basketball that is not led by a dominate two guard. Magic (Johnson) and Michael Cooper, Magic and Byron Scott, it’s not that type of thing. I mean who would be MVP if they (LeBron James and Dwyane Wade) both average 18 points?”

NBA on TNT analyst Reggie Miller:

“I’m on both sides of the fence here. You are speaking to a guy that spent 18 years for one organization. I would have loved to see LeBron James stay in a small market. Not everyone can play for a New York (Knicks), Chicago (Bulls) or Miami (Heat). When you have a true superstar playing for a small market, it means so much. When you play in a small market, fans live and die by everything you do.  To me, him going down to Miami and jumping on the bandwagon of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh that’s great, that is going to be good basketball to see. But personally I would love to have seen him win a championship and stay in Cleveland.”

… “He is the best player in the league, can we put him now in the same category of Michael Jordan, who never left Chicago, Larry Bird, who never left Boston or Magic Johnson who has four or five rings in the same breath – no. If he would have stayed in Cleveland and won one championship built around him we would have put him on Mt. Rushmore. It’s great, I get it. I can’t wait to call games in Miami and watch these three play. But now you are going into a situation where Dwyane Wade already has one championship. He is the Derek Jeter down there. LeBron is the Alex Rodriguez. It is still Dwyane’s team. Between LeBron James and Dwyane Wade one of those guys has to sacrifice and to me it will have to be LeBron James because it is Dwyane Wade’s team.”

NBA on TNT Analyst Charles Barkley:

“The Miami Heat are in a great situation right now, they have three great players. I was disappointed,  I wanted Lebron to stay in Cleveland. I don’t blame the guy but I think it will be a lot more important and significant to win a championship in Cleveland then it would be in Miami (if he wins it.)”

… “In fairness, if I was 25 I would try to win it by myself. I would make sure that I was the guy on the team. We just started giving Kobe Bryant credit the last two years. That was that stigma that he couldn’t win it without Shaquille O’Neal and you see we have elevated him because he has won the last two without him. LeBron (James) will never be the guy. I wish he would have tried to win it by himself as ‘the guy’.”

NBA TV analyst Kevin McHale:

“It was too much. It ends up being an hour special and it just seemed to drag on. It had the feel of a reality show to me. I understand it is a big decision and sports are big in the United Sates but it seemed to go on and on. I think they had a plan to make it big and fun and instead it was big and cumbersome. LeBron didn’t look very comfortable making that decision tonight.”

… “It surprised me a little bit. I just thought he was going to Chicago (Bulls) with (Carlos) Boozer, Derrick Rose, (Joakim) Noah; I kind of thought that would be a place for him. Then again, I thought he was going to stay in Cleveland. I thought it was going to be hard for him to leave.”