Andrew Wiggins’ HS coach: ‘Andrew could care less what LeBron James thinks of him’

Andrew Wiggins might as well have been handed his walking papers by the Cavaliers the day LeBron James decided to return to Cleveland. Like the rest of us, the No. 1 overall pick knew the Cavs were looking to deal him to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love. But was he concerned about it? It […]

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Report: LeBron James wants no less than max contract

LeBron James has never been the highest paid player on his team during the 11 seasons he has been in the NBA. He now has the chance to finally do so, being that he is the best player in the NBA as he can get a max deal in this year’s free agency. James will be entering this year’s free agency period with a very different mindset and plan than 2010, and according to ESPN, he will be seeking no less than the maximum contract salary. Team who contact James when free agency begins on midnight will be informed about his intentions. The max number is projected to be a little over $22 million. James took a pay cut back in 2010 to join the Heat, but after seeing his play over the past four years, the four-time MVP is definitely deserving of a max contract. Only seven teams (Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic) have enough cap space to offer James the $22.2 million salary he is seeking. The Lakers and Suns are expected to be serious bidders. Other

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Coach K makes less, stays among top-paid

The four-time national champion remains college sports’ highest paid coach.

     
 

 

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Report: Dwyane Wade likely to opt out, take less money

Dwyane Wade is the highest paid member of the Miami Heat’s “Big 3″, but he’s not about to let his personal gain break up the team that’s helped him reach four consecutive NBA Finals. The New York Daily News is reporting that Wade will opt-out of the final two years of his contract and accept a new deal with Miami for less money. Dwyane Wade is likely to opt out of his final two seasons, at $41.5 million, and probably accept a deal from the Heat worth $50 million-$55 million over four years to help the team open up cap space. The Heat were exposed by the Spurs in the NBA Finals this year and Pat Riley needs to bring in some help in order to capitalize on LeBron’s prime years. Wade has been the face of the Heat for a decade now, and this is certainly a team-oriented move. The post Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade reportedly to Opt-Out & Re-Sign for Less appeared first on Standing O Sports and was written by Mike Lucas.

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As Selection Sunday looms, more results, but less certainty

Oklahoma State is one of many teams with NCAA tournament credentials that are hard to peg.

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Carmelo Anthony: I would take less money to stay with Knicks

Carmelo Anthony says he would take less money to re-sign with the New York Knicks if it would help the team attract big-name free agents, reports ESPN.com. “Without a doubt,” Anthony said Friday while in New Orleans for All-Star Weekend, via ESPN.com. “Any opportunity I have to build that up in New York, I’d do it. I told people all the time, always say, ‘If it takes me taking a pay cut, I’ll be the first one on [Knicks owner] Mr. [James] Dolan’s steps saying take my money and let’s build something strong over here.’” Anthony said Friday that his “first priority” is to re-sign with the Knicks. “I’ve never been a guy that comes into a situation, when it’s not going well, to leave,” Anthony said. “That’s not my personality.” Anthony just wants to win an NBA title. “As far as the money, it don’t really matter to me,” Anthony said. “If I go somewhere else, I get paid. If I stay in New York, I get paid. As far as the money goes, it’s not my concern. “My concern is

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Melo rules out trade, open to less than max deal (Yahoo Sports)

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 14: Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks answers questions during NBA All Star Press Conferences and Media Availability as part of 2014 All-Star Weekend at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on February 14, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Bruce Yeung/NBAE via Getty Images)

Carmelo Anthony said Friday he knows ”for a fact” the Knicks won’t trade him, and said he would be open to staying in New York for less than a maximum contract. The NBA’s trade deadline is Thursday, but Anthony ruled out any chance the Knicks would move him to avoid the possibility they could lose him for nothing in July. ”I know for a fact I’m not being traded,” Anthony said at the NBA’s All-Star weekend. ”There’s two things: I know for a fact I’m not being traded and I’m not going in there and saying I want to be traded.” New York can pay him around $30 million more than any team, but Anthony said he wouldn’t insist on making the Knicks do it.


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Larry Brown has SMU in Top 25 in less than 2 years (Yahoo Sports)

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots against Cincinnati forwards Jermaine Sanders (15) and Justin Jackson (5) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in Dallas. SMU won 76-55. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

DALLAS (AP) — Larry Brown knows his quick turnaround at SMU is much different than anything the Hall of Fame coach has done in the past.


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Will Kobe Bryant and LA Lakers Benefit from Less Attention on His 2nd Return?

Kobe Bryant could be returning to action soon for the Los Angeles Lakers. The story’s getting some coverage but not at the epic level that accompanied the superstar’s journey back from a torn Achilles tendon earlier this season. It’s not a bad thing for the team or for Bryant.

On January 10, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times relayed a sign of hope:

Coach Mike D’Antoni said Friday that he hopes that Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant can play January 28 against Indiana, right after the Lakers’ seven-game road trip, their longest of the season. Speaking to reporters at the Lakers training facility in El Segundo, D’Antoni said the two stars would return “about the same time. Hopefully both of them are ready.”

A week later, Bresnahan was writing a less definitive headline, for the Times, that “Bryant says he plans to play again this season.” No specific timetable was attached this time.

In the same article, Bryant himself seemed subdued and reflexive when discussing the difficulty of watching the Lakers losing season:

I try to detach from it as much as possible. I feel like [I'm] taking… Bruce Banner, and putting him in the middle of a bar fight and hope he doesn‘t become the Hulk. That’s what I feel like watching these games. I mentally take myself someplace else. I think about sitting on the beach. Try to think about something else.

Bruce Banner—the Incredible Hulk’s doppelganger. Recent photos of Bryant show a nearly expressionless man, watching from the bench. You wonder what’s lurking inside—this is one of the most intensely driven athletes in modern sports. He has to be doing a slow boil.

Over the past week, there hasn’t been as much breaking news about a possible return.

If you read a recent report from Mike Trudell for Lakers.com, however, there seems to be at least some progress:

Bryant is expected to be evaluated when the team returns to Los Angeles on either Monday, January 27, or Tuesday the 28th. Bryant said that he expected to get an MRI in “February,” but that could apparently come a few days prior to the change of month.

In a word, the predictions are cautious—so different from the breathless updates that seemed to accompany each and every move after Bryant’s torn Achilles, from the night he crumpled to the ground on April 12 of last year to his eventual return on December 8 against the Toronto Raptors.

Without linking and reliving each moment all over again, suffice to say to there was surgery and recovery, walking on an anti-gravity treadmill and jumping off a diving board. There were special shoes and an eventual return to practice and a parking lot full of vans with satellite dishes at team headquarters in El Segundo, Calif.

The whole thing was capped off with Bryant’s two-year contract extension and then the actual return to on-court action itself, which lasted all of six games before a fractured left lateral tibial plateau sent the legend back to the bench, once again.

For those not up to speed on medical terminology, that’s the big bump that you can feel, right where the lower part of your knee meets your shinbone.

So here we are—the season currently stands at 16-26 and the bulk of Lakers press items seem dedicated to just how much worse things can get or the unlikely emergence of a point guard hero from the D-League in Kendall Marshall, or possibilities for the 2014 NBA draft.

Why is there not a greater anticipation for the second coming of Bryant, this season? Is it a kindness from those who don’t want to assign unfair expectations to someone who has been through so much over the past nine months?

Or has an overly saturated narrative simply become the equivalent of a post-turkey tryptophan-induced nap on Thanksgiving Day?

Perhaps it’s simply the calm before the storm. Perhaps the gathering hoards are waiting to feast in a blitzkrieg of type-pads, tweets and camera lights.

The Lakers themselves are probably grateful for some small respite. Feel-good stories about unlikely heroes eking out small victories on the road are a welcome change from the incessant questions—whether one oft-injured megastar can return to lead a team from the bottom regions of the Western Conference to the playoffs and beyond.

At some point, however, the questions will have to be answered. Bryant is as willful a competitor as has ever played the game. He doesn’t care so much about the expectations of others as he does about the demands he places on himself.

The expression on Bryant’s face lately says that he’s not a happy camper. And when Kobe’s not happy and he’s allowed onto the basketball court, interesting games can happen.

For now, Bryant and the Lakers are benefiting from less attention. That won’t last much longer—the storm is about to begin.

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Chicago Bulls Players Who Should Receive Less Playing Time

Tom Thibodeau has had to juggle quite a few lineups this season, and even with all of his rotational ingenuity, there are a number of his players who could stand to sit a few more minutes.

Under normal circumstances there are a number of factors that affect a player’s on-court time.

Opponent matchups, in-game situations and efficient production are some of the most weighted criteria for playing time.

Then there are times when something like an injury forces a coach’s hand, and a player who seldom sees the floor is called upon to fill the void.

Thibodeau has dealt with all of these scenarios, and while he’s done as good of a job as anyone with his adjustments, there are a few players who would benefit from more time on the pine.

 

Preserving the Point

Kirk Hinrich missed 22 games over the course of the 2012-13 season due to a myriad of injuries.

Derrick Rose’s return for the 2013-14 affair was supposed to lighten the 10-year veteran’s workload, but a meniscus injury to the former removed any chance of respite.

Now Hinrich is serving a second term as the Bulls‘ starting point guard, and that is bound to have some drawbacks if his playing time isn’t reduced.

Using last season as a point of reference, he is playing a similar amount of minutes and has already sat out a five-game spell with back spasms.

Reducing his workload is easier said than done.

The most sensible solution would be to use another point guard to steal more rest for Hinrich, but D.J. Augustin is the only other backup now that Marquis Teague is toiling away in the NBDL.

Given that the starter himself admitted to the Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson that last year’s role wore him down, it would be prudent to be proactive so that this year is not a repeat.

Trading away Luol Deng has created another black hole-like talent void that is going to take a huge collective effort to overcome.

Thibodeau must do all that he can to preserve the health of his remaining contributors.

Finding a way to scale back Hinrich’s time on the floor could be the key to sustaining a serviceable backcourt.

 

Banking on Butler

Jimmy Butler is the most likely successor to Deng as Thibodeau’s all-around workhorse.

While that may be flattering in some ways, it is a frightening concept under current conditions.

Butler missed nearly four weeks in late 2013 with a turf toe injury.

He has played 12 games since returning to action back in mid-December; the 34.6 minutes per game he’s been averaging is slightly higher than the 32.2 minutes he was putting in before his injury.

The toe ailment is a delicate one that can be easily re-aggravated, but the Bulls seem to be throwing caution to the wind now that the third-year wing has recovered enough to play again.

A lot of the Bulls’ future stock rests on Butler’s shoulders. It would seem logical for a team that has only a quark’s chance of competing for a championship this year to not push him so hard, especially coming off of an injury.

Rookie Tony Snell has shown a lot of promise, so far. Add a few more minutes to the youngster’s rotation to ward off the temptation of making a Deng 2.0 out of Butler.

 

 Padding the Middle

Joakim Noah’s 32.5 minutes per game is tops among all Bulls players only because of the recent Deng trade, and that is down from the 36.8 average he put in during 2012-13.

The issue here is not the game-to-game playing time but rather the total minutes put in.

Noah has played the most total minutes of any of his teammates this season.

As the games keep coming and the former Florida Gator keeps trucking, those miles are going to add up.

To be fair, Thibodeau did say back in July of 2013 that Noah’s minutes will come down, per ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell, and he has made good on that assurance.

But this team has not been able to shake the injury bug. Couple that with the Bulls having only one reserve center in Nazr Mohammed, who only plays 8.0 minutes per game, and it’s easy to become a little concerned.

Solving this riddle is similar to the one that confounds Hinrich—adding another center.

Since the Bulls management waived Andrew Bynum immediately after acquiring him, per the team’s official website, their 12-man roster is one below the league minimum for signed players.

Chicago could add a free-agent center who can be used to provide a few more minutes of valuable rest for Noah.

The importance of this team’s emotional leader has never been higher.

Everyone on the roster needs Noah in uniform and on the court to help them navigate what is bound to be another tough transition.

 

Safeguarding the Future

The recent moves by the Bulls front office shows that their sights are shifting to retooling for another run at returning to title contention.

While they make moves that put the team in the best position to add the necessary talent, Thibodeau must do his part to help insure that the remaining athletes are in the best condition to contribute to that vision.

It is definitely not an easy task.

Thibs is a fierce winner who can do no less than demand the best from his players; however, it is possible for him to keep his high expectations and preserve the health of his squad.

In the long run, everyone who is a part of the Bulls organization knows that the intention is to set this team up to win for many years.

Thibodeau will definitely do his part to help facilitate that plan.

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