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Which team will LeBron James head to after defeat in the NBA finals?

 

In some respects you should feel sorry for the Golden State Warriors. They’ve just won a second straight championship, their third in four years, and yet they’re nowhere near the biggest story in the league. Enjoy the parade, Warriors, just don’t be offended if our attentions are elsewhere: LeBron James may well be on the move.

After all, someone wins the NBA finals every year – and sometimes it’s not even the Warriors. But it’s a much rarer occasion that the Best Player In The Game (And Possibly Of All Time) is facing free agency.

James, understandably for a player of his talents, has always had an eye on his legacy so he places great importance on setting himself up to win further championships. How exactly he plans to do that is still unclear. Let’s explore his likely landing places.

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If James is looking for a team that can automatically challenge the ridiculously stacked Golden State Warriors, the Rockets are the obvious option. While it’s going to take some financial maneuvering that would boggle the mind of even the most devoted NBA capologist, there’s a possibility that the Rockets could add James to a core that contains James Harden, most likely the MVP of the 2017-18 regular season and Chris Paul, a Hall of Fame caliber point guard. Keep in mind that before Paul’s injury, the Rockets were in position to knock the Warriors out of the playoffs this year. Adding James would instantly make Houston the biggest threat to the Warriors’ reign, well, ever.

Pro: James’s best chance to win a championship immediately.
Con: A continued, never-ending discussion about how James only won by pairing up with already established superstars.

2) Philadelphia 76ers
While it’s fun to imagine James with the Rockets’ All-Star cast, there is an intriguing option that doesn’t effectively render the entire Eastern Conference irrelevant. The 76ers have spent the last few years building a young, talented team by ignoring the on-court product and building through the draft. James’s best long-term chances may be signing with a team that already has two potential superstars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Can you imagine this team growing under the wing of James? Celtics fans can, and are, cringing right now.

Pro: Points for doing it “the right way.”
Con: Those points won’t count against the Warriors in the 2019 NBA finals. Questions over whether James And Simmons’s games complement each other.

3) Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron has been flirting with the Lakers, cheap nba jerseys
the marquee franchise in the league, for a long time. Long enough, in fact, for the Lakers to have time to set up their payroll in advance to give them space to sign two max free-agents this summer. They’ve been pretty lousy recently, but if the Lakers add James and, say, Oklahoma City Thunder’s Paul George, they would be transformed. The Lakers hope that their place in basketball history, not to mention their status as the ultimate nexus of celebrity culture and sports, is enough to attract James, because after all that planning, no other player will seem worth it.

 

LA Clippers Mailbag: Offseason plans, the playoffs, and the rookies

LA Clippers basketball doesn’t return for another three days, so now seemed like the perfect time to get a feel for what Clipper Nation really wants to know about this puzzling, overachieving basketball team.
Last weekend, I took to Twitter and asked you to submit some questions for this article, which I believe is my first mailbag type of thing. Don’t quote me on that though.

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Anyway, you all submitted some excellent questions, and they all really made me think. I couldn’t put them all here, but I’ll be doing another mailbag in the near future, so some of them could pop up then as well.

Most of these questions have to do with the offseason, cheap nba jerseys china and what we should expect from the front office. As certain as I’d like to be about these things, the best I can do is speculate. However, I’ve had some conversations with people closer to the team than myself, so I feel at least slightly confident about the answers I’m going to give on the following slides.

Almost all of the other questions have to do with the playoffs — and this is something that I consistently ask myself as well. Does it really make sense for the Clippers to pursue them if all it will result in is losing a first-round pick and likely a series against the Golden State Warriors or Denver Nuggets?

Clippers have plenty to celebrate after Montrezl Harrell avoids injury in latest win

Clippers players and coach Doc Rivers made a slow, ominous walk Saturday afternoon toward the far end of the court at Staples Center, where Montrezl Harrell lay writhing on the court.

The reserve forward, so vital to the team’s surprising season, grabbed at his left ankle. Wrinkles bunched up on his forehead from the pain.

Just weeks before the playoffs, in a Clippers season where so much has gone so right, the arena — already quiet because of a 12:30 p.m. tipoff — went pin-drop quiet as teammates encircled Harrell.

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“I was scared,” Rivers said. “Whenever you see a guy this late in the season go down you’re like, ‘Oh boy, here we go.’”

Harrell hopped off the court on one leg to cheers cheap nba jerseys
of relief. The building grew louder when he re-entered the game out of a timeout moments later and promptly scored on a hook shot over his left shoulder.
Crisis averted, the mood flipped. The Clippers’ 132-108 victory over Cleveland featured more sideline celebrations than scary moments, an afternoon befitting of a team that says it is enjoying the moment as it barrels toward the playoffs as one of the NBA’s hottest teams.

Bench players leapt out of their folding chairs in the second half when rookie point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, after using his long arms to scoop in a layup, ran upcourt looking at his hand as if in disbelief. When Lou Williams scored on four consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter to turn a tight game into a blowout, teammates mimicked his celebratory expression of mock shock.

“It’s amazing,” center Ivica Zubac said. “We’re rolling, we’re playing good. Everyone’s happy to step on the court to do your best. Just so much fun. We don’t want it to stop.”

Playing without forward Danilo Gallinari, and the 24.7 points and 6.7 rebounds he’d averaged his previous nine games, because of a sore left ankle, the Clippers spread the scoring around with six players in double figures, led by Harrell’s 23 points, and shot a season-high 62.4% from the field. They also recovered from their two-for-11 shooting on three-pointers in the first quarter to make 15 of their 33 long-range attempts.

Their shooting, and the loose attitude that players say has pervaded the locker room during their march to the playoffs, helped bury a Cleveland comeback late in the third quarter, when the Clippers’ lead dwindled from 23 to 13 points in a five-minute span. If it worried the Clippers, they didn’t show it, because many players, and even some coaches, spent the following timeout watching the team’s mascots dance to an Aerosmith ballad on the arena jumbotron.

Clippers, With 82 First-Half Points, Send Knicks to 50th Loss

The rookie Landry Shamet scored all of his 21 points on 3-pointers, Danilo Gallinari added 20 points, and the host Los Angeles Clippers routed the Knicks, 128-107, on Sunday, sending the Knicks to their 50th loss of the season.

Shamet and Gallinari combined for 27 of the Clippers’ points in the first quarter when they raced to a 38-20 lead.

Shamet scored 18 of his 21 points in the opening 12 minutes. Shamet, acquired from Philadelphia last month in the Tobias Harris trade, tied the franchise record for 3-pointers in a quarter (six) and a half (seven). His seven 3-pointers set a franchise rookie record for 3s in a single game.

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“It was just free-flowing, and the ball was going in,” Shamet said. “They were telling me constantly to keep shooting.

Damyean Dotson scored 17 points, Noah Vonleh added 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Mitchell Robinson had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks, the worst team in the Eastern Conference at 13-50. Only Phoenix, the West’s worst team, has lost more games (51) this season.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys who are still learning the game,Wholesale nba jerseys
who are still learning how to compete,” the injured Knicks center DeAndre Jordan said. “We have a great coach in” David Fizdale, “who’s teaching them the right things and how to work in this league. It’s a great culture.”

The Clippers led by 82-46 at halftime, the second-most points in the first half in franchise history and the most in any half since a club-record 87 on April 14, 1987, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

They tied a franchise record with 14 3-pointers in the half, and their nine 3s in the first quarter set a franchise record for the most in any quarter.

The Clippers’ 38-point lead in the second quarter was their largest of the game.

With most of the starters resting in the fourth, Montrezl Harrell scored 10 of his 18 points for the Clippers. Lou Williams added 18 points. Ivica Zubac had 11 rebounds, and Patrick Beverley added 10 rebounds.

Clippers aren’t interested in waiting to make playoff push

Several times after the final buzzer sounded this season, Clippers guard Patrick Beverley has walked straight from the court and into a weight room. There, wearing his game shorts, sneakers and a tank top, he lifts for 15 to 20 minutes.

His teammates, many of them long since showered and dressed, know when he returns. His wisecracks fill the locker room.

It stood out, then, when Beverley wasn’t a ball of energy inside Indiana’s visiting locker room following the Clippers’ Feb. 7 loss. Consider the circumstances: The Clippers had either traded or waived six of his teammates, including the leading scorer, in the previous 48 hours. And after being blasted by 24 points against the Pacers, the team’s viability as a playoff contender was in question.

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This was no small thing for Beverley, who has made the playoffs four times in his six NBA seasons and earned the most attention in his career during postseason playoff matchups against Russell Westbrook and Oklahoma City. The playoffs feature the season’s toughest battles, and Beverley is regarded by cheap nba jerseys many observers as the Clippers’ most relentless competitor.
For a moment, as he stared ahead from his locker in Indianapolis, Beverley seemed subdued. But then he made something clear: After watching the Clippers miss the postseason last year while rehabbing an injured knee, he was ready do anything to extend this season.

“Our mindset doesn’t change,” Beverley said. “Still trying to be a higher seed in the playoffs than we’re in right now.”

With the All-Star break over, the Clippers have 23 games remaining in the regular season.

As the NBA schedule resumes Thursday, the Clippers (32-27) are in the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot. Four games separate the five teams that stand sixth through 10th in the standings. In order, that’s Utah, San Antonio, the Clippers, Sacramento and the Lakers.

NBA fines Montrezl Harrell $25,000 for language directed toward fan

Clippers center Montrezl Harrell was fined $25,000 by the NBA for “directing inappropriate language toward a fan” during a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the league announced Tuesday.

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Harrell was not assessed a technical foul cheap nba jerseys china
at the time of the incident, which occurred with 7:57 remaining in Monday’s fourth quarter and Minnesota leading by six points.

It is the second time this season a Clippers player has been fined by the NBA for an interaction with a fan. Guard Patrick Beverley was fined $25,000 on Dec. 4 for bouncing a ball at a spectator during a game at Dallas.

The Clippers Haven’t Needed a Superstar to Be Great

It’s not a shock that the Toronto Raptors are leading the Eastern Conference. After all, they added Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to the nucleus of a 59-win team. But the Los Angeles Clippers — whose most decorated summertime additions were veteran center Marcin Gortat and journeyman forward Luc Mbah a Moute — sitting atop the West at 13–6 after a 104–100 Sunday win over the very good Portland Trail Blazers? That seems surprising. Maybe it shouldn’t, though.

In an NBA moving at a breakneck pace, there’s value in having a full complement of players who can keep up. Teams have always needed players who can run, dribble, pass, shoot, and defend. But to win in the spaced-out, sped-up, post-positional-revolution edition of professional basketball, you need enough of those players to be able to cover a 48-minute period, 82 times a year without suffering any major drop-offs. With the exception of the Raptors, Doc Rivers’s Clippers might be the deepest team in the NBA.

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It’s easy to explain why teams that employ stars like Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant stay near the top of the standings. Since the days of George Mikan’s Minneapolis Lakers, transcendent talents have tended to determine which teams win the NBA championship. But fans who have watched their favorite teams struggle whenever their top stars hit the bench — how the Grizzlies’ point differential craters when Marc Gasol and Mike Conley sit, how bereft the Pelicans often look without Anthony Davis, how the Hornets offense dies in Kemba Walker–less time — know that you need more than that to win. It’s obviously wonderful to have great players, but at the risk of stating the obvious, it’s really nice to not have to give minutes to bad ones. The Clippers don’t really have any of those, and it’s helping.

Surprise! Clippers and Sacramento Kings meet as two of the West’s better teams

Despite personal preseason predictions such as Tobias Harris’ — “Our expectation,” he said in September, “is to be in the playoffs,” — the Clippers have proved to be one of the NBA’s biggest surprises.

At 19-14, they’re more than halfway to the oddsmakers’ forecast of 35 to 36 victories. They’re hovering among the West’s top eight teams, despite ESPN’s projection they’d finish 11th, and +400 odds that they’d make the playoffs and -600 odds that they wouldn’t, per Bovada.
But the Clippers are not the surprise of the season so far.

That distinction belongs to the 18-15 Sacramento Kings, who visit the Clippers on Wednesday at Staples Center.

Even less was expected of the Kings, whom oddsmakers determined were least likely to make the playoffs. One of the least experienced teams in the NBA, 11 of 17 players on Sacramento’s roster are playing, at most, their third NBA season. General manager Vlade Divac described the squad as a “super team, just young” as they entered what was expected to be a season of growth, not necessarily contention.

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But here both teams are, within 3 ½ and 4 ½ games of the teams atop the standings, in the thick of the action in the wild Western Conference, cheap la clippers jersey
as they prepare to meet for the second time this season.

The first time in Sacramento, the Clippers had to work hard for a 133-121 victory, then their ninth win in 10 games.

They’d build a lead and the Kings would chop it down, thanks in part to a career-high 26 points from Bogdan Bogdanovic and Marvin Bagley III’s 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Afterward, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers complimented the upstarts from Northern California.

“(Kings coach Dave Joerger) has done a hell of a job,” Rivers told reporters at that Nov. 29 game. “They play at a pace, he’s got them all believing in that pace. He plays the 10 guys, they’re running up and down the floor … they don’t stop. I really enjoyed watching them play.”

FLEXING NOT ALLOWED
During his team’s narrow defeat at Golden State on Sunday, guard Patrick Beverley appeared to take exception as Warriors superstar Steph Curry appeared to be preparing to flex his biceps after coming down with an offensive rebound amidst a crowd of Clippers.

Replays showed Beverley batting the ball out of Curry’s hands and the two exchanging thoughts.

Clippers Call up Johnathan Motley from G-League Once More

The Clippers announced around an hour ago that they are recalling Johnathan Motley from Agua Caliente to join the team in LA tonight for their game against the Kings.

Motley is on a two-way deal, but has not yet played for the LA Clippers this season. Interestingly enough, he was called up nearly a month ago by the Clippers, also against the Kings, but didn’t see any action. Two-way players getting called up and not seeing playing time seems a bit like a waste of one of their 45 days, but the Clippers, not nearly as ravaged by injuries as last season, can be a bit more extravagant with throwing them away.

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Motley has continued his torching of the G-League, as he’s averaging 26 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 35.8 minutes per game. Johnathan is shooting a tidy 56% cheap nba jerseys china
from the field, though he’s a mere 28% from deep on 3.1 attempts per contest. However, his efficiency is buoyed by his getting to the line 7.8 times per game, and converting on 73.6% of his chances.

While he’s not overly large or athletic, at 6’10”, he’s a taller, longer body than Montrezl Harrell, and due to his youth possesses greater quickness and superior leaping ability to Marcin Gortat or Boban Marjanovic. For weeks now, as Gortat and Boban have struggled, it’s made sense to give Motley a shot in the NBA. He might not be the Clippers’ answer at center, but there’s no harm in trying him out. Hopefully he actually gets some minutes tonight.

Curry leads Warriors with 42 points in Christmas tune-up

OAKLAND, Calif. — Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry has been so good for so long that he and his teammates and coaches have gotten used to him scoring 40 points during a game — it’s a regular occurrence. The group doesn’t take it for granted. But after dropping 42 points in a 129-127 win over the LA Clippers on Sunday night, Curry and his teammates took it all in stride.
It’s already the third time that the former MVP has reached the 40-point mark this season, and the 33rd time he has done it during his career in the regular season,cheap nba jerseys from china  according to ESPN Stats & Information. The fact the All-Star guard also laid in the winning basket with 0.5 seconds left in regulation surprised nobody inside a raucous Oracle Arena.

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“I knew we wanted to try and get a switch on the pick-and-roll and I had a lot of space,” Curry said. “We had shooters pretty much everywhere on the floor and I was able to get into the middle the paint — just a matter of being decisive, and just understanding I got an open lane, try to get to the basket and make a play. Draymond did a great job of sealing, I think it was Avery Bradley at the rim so that I could finish underneath Montrezl [Harrell’s] contest. There wasn’t any hesitation on that play, just knowing what you want to do and trying to execute.”
Kevin Durant, who poured in 35 points of his own, acknowledged that while he isn’t keeping track of how many buckets the duo accounts for during a game, he knew early on how teammate Curry was.

“You could tell that Steph was locked in on just the moment,” Durant said. “Usually when you do that, you have a really good game, especially when you’re at the level he’s on.”
The win marked the 14th straight victory Curry has had over the Clippers, five of which the Warriors had to overcome a double-digit deficit, including Sunday night. The Clippers led the Warriors 71-60 with 1:32 left in the first half. Curry did not play in a loss at Staples Center earlier this season while recovering from a groin injury.