Lakers GM flying to Cleveland to meet with LeBron’s agent?

Fresh off of offering a max contract to Carmelo Anthony, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is reportedly not done wooing big-time free agents. A report late Thursday night claims that Kupchak was flying to Cleveland to meet with Rich Paul, the agent for LeBron James. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, who has become the queen of reporting on Lakerland, broke the news that many expected to come eventually. After all, James couldn’t really go through free agency without actually meeting with the Lakers, right? The Lakers currently have tons of cap space and could offer LeBron a max contract, something many of his suitors can’t do without careful maneuvering. But Los Angeles also doesn’t have much of a roster, as Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre are the only guys currently under contract. The team holds an option on point guard Kendall Marshall and is likely to pick it up, and the Lakers also added Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson in the draft. So there is some talent on …

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5 NBA Teams That Will Come out of the Gate Flying in 2013-14

Every team hopes to catch fire early in the NBA season, but only a fortunate few will be able to make that claim in 2013-14.

For a team to begin its season hot, a favorable schedule is a must. Team chemistry and overall talent are always important factors, but a team’s opponents will play a big role in determining its early-season success.

Momentum can also help. Preseason basketball means nothing by the end of the regular season, but in October, a solid exhibition showing can be a sign of good things to come.

Fans across the Association are hoping for a strong start for their favorite teams, but only a select few will make a name for themselves at this early point of the season.

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Photo: Royce White dominates flying fear

The Philadelphia 76ers power forward showed off the view from a window seat.

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5 Dangerous NBA Teams That Are Flying Under the Radar This Offseason

This offseason in the NBA has been eventful to say the least. Some big time free agents shopped the market, and there were some huge trades that shook things up.

Everyone knows that Houston won the Dwight Howard sweepstakes and that Detroit showed Josh Smith the money. We all know that Brooklyn made the formidable trade to bring in Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce just so they can lose to the Heat (but that’s an article for another time). Everyone is aware that the Clippers brought back Chris Paul and a plethora of other helpful role players.

Every offseason there are big headlines, but there are also many terrific moves that go unnoticed. While the world was distracted with Dwight’s decision and other big moves, some teams have quietly been improving their team.

Here’s a look at five under-the-radar teams that have made smart moves and are sneakily heading in the right direction.

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Dwyane Wade delivers flying elbow to Lance Stephenson’s head (Video)

Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade delivered flying elbow to the head of Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson, and was not called for a foul, during the fourth quarter of Friday night’s Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Was it an accident, or was it a cheap shot? You be the judge:

TNT announcers Marv Albert and Reggie Miller didn’t think it was intentional, but we would have to disagree. It looked like there was plenty of room for Wade to maneuver around Stephenson without jumping up and throwing an elbow to Stephenson’s head as he ran by. Plus, Wade has been known for throwing around some cheap shots before. We’ll see what the NBA thinks.

H/T NIS.

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High flying Spurs are Parker’s team now

Spurs coach told Parker it was up to him to carry the team now

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Royce White doesn’t report to Rockets camp, cites fear of flying

Royce White is working out a deal with the Houston Rockets that would allow him to bus it to some road trips.



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NBA Draft 2012: 10 Best Prospects Flying Under Lottery Teams’ Radars

Every year, the draft has its favorites.

It isn’t hard to tell who they are, there’s a mock draft on every web site.

But the real question is who will be selected amongst the later picks that will set the world on fire.

We have seen those top picks flame out, while late-round selections turned into All-Stars.

There really isn’t a set in stone philosophy, only great scouting.

Here are 10 players who are flying under the top pick’s radars.

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Portland Trail Blazers Are Flying Under the Radar in the Western Conference

Lob City. Reining championship Dallas Mavericks. Aging Los Angeles Lakers. The new favorite team to win the West: Oklahoma City Thunder

With the beginning of the NBA season on Christmas Day came a lot of hype in the Western Conference surrounded only these topics. These were the big stories that captivated headlines everywhere.

After five games, however, the 4-1 Trail Blazers are the new team making noise. But don’t tell anyone—it’s seems as if they thrive flying under the radar. The preseason buzz around the Blazers had most analysts picking Portland to finish near the back end of the West playoff teams.

And with the news of Brandon Roy retiring two weeks before the season, Greg Oden still suffering from injuries and a surprising heart surgery on star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, it had seemed as if the Trail Blazers were on the decline. 

But now after their latest 103-93 win in Oklahoma City, it’s obvious the Blazers have arrived as a top-tier team, looking to contend for the West crown when playoffs come around in April.

Yes, it is early in the season with many games still to come, but with the West being so wide open, it looks like the Trail Blazers may be a new team to keep an eye on going forward.

The Blazers have a very strong lineup, including a new acquisition in Jamal Crawford, in what seems to be the biggest steal of all free agents signings this past offseason. A nice addition coming off the bench supporting the already solid nucleus of the starting five.

Against the Thunder on Tuesday, the Trail Blazers performed brilliantly getting key contributions from Aldridge and Wesley Matthews (combined for 46 points). But the real story was defense down the stretch getting key stops when it mattered most. The play of Gerald Wallace specifically against MVP favorite Kevin Durant was huge, holding the superstar to 8-for-26 shooting from the field.

Nicolas Batum also showed up huge without producing huge numbers, but providing a strong defensive performance getting key blocks, rebounds and offensively, hitting threes consistently throughout the game.

This win against Oklahoma City has been their best performance this season playing what seems like the strongest team in the West in the Thunder.

While Portland may not be a contender in the eyes of the media, the Blazers have several play makers that can beat you in so many ways, and are continuing to prove this from the outcome of their early games.

As this shortened 66-game season wears on, it looks as if the all-important team chemistry will only grow for the Trail Blazers, a key factor that should propel the Blazers into the elite teams in the West, and further on into the playoffs.

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Will The Xinjiang Flying Tigers Waive Kenyon Martin?

Those of you who have been following my CBA reports already know that Kenyon Martin has been a disappointment for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers thus far. According to a report by ESPN’s Marc Stein, the team is strongly considering parting ways with the underacheiving power forward. As a matter of fact, the article states that only serious sanctaions threatened by the CBA have “stopped Xinjiang from making the move already.” Via ESPN…

The Xinjiang Flying Tigers in China are giving strong consideration to releasing star forward Kenyon Martin, according to sources close to the situation.
If Xinjiang goes through with the move, it would be the test case for established NBA players who signed in China during the lockout to possibly return to the NBA sooner than expected.
Sources told ESPN.com that only the threat of serious sanctions from Chinese league officials for releasing a player of Martin’s stature in-season, including the potential forfeiture of games, …

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