Thad Matta has LeBron James Jr. on his radar

He could play for Ohio State in nine years or so.

      
 

 

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Ohio State’s Thad Matta Says LeBron James Jr. Will Be on His Radar

Ohio State Buckeyes basketball coach Thad Matta is keeping his options open.

The head coach admitted that Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James’ son will be “on his radar” for recruiting when that day comes, according to Eric Seger from The Lantern:

LeBron James Jr. is only nine years old, but the kid has clearly gotten some skills from his dad judging from this video.

[YouTube, Twitter, h/t College Spun]

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Lakers Rumors: Chandler Parsons on team’s radar?

One year later, could the Los Angeles Lakers essentially “trade” Dwight Howard for Chandler Parsons? It appears to be a possibility this summer.
According to Marc J. Spears from Yahoo Sports, Parsons could be on the Lakers’ radar this summer after the Houston Rockets declined the 25-year-old’s $964,750 option for next season, thus making him a restricted free agent. This means the Rockets can still match any offer Parsons receives and force him back to Houston, though it’s not clear whether they’d be willing to match a maximum contract offer.
“I feel like I’m in a win-win situation because it’s happening a year early,” Parsons said of his free agent status. “I think a lot of teams could be interested. With the way I play and my versatility, I feel I can pretty much help any team.”
The Lakers’ prime targets are rumored to be LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, though the purple and gold could choose to focus on Parsons if they miss out on the aforementioned players.
Spears says that th

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Mid-Major Radar: Can Green Bay make the NCAAs as an at-large team?

The Horizon League hasn’t had the same flare it once had when Butler was in its heyday.

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Mid-Major Radar: Could Gonzaga miss the NCAA tournament?

It’s not crazy to suggest we could see the ‘Zags finally sweat it out on Selection Sunday.

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Are Houston Rockets Beginning to Fly Under the Radar?

After signing Dwight Howard to a max-level contract this past summer, the Houston Rockets have been subject to an overwhelmingly high level of hype. Signs of their vincibility have tempered the championship chorus, but did we get sick of their story before it got interesting?

Are the Rockets now sneaky title contenders?

The fact of the matter is that there is no true top banana in the congested competition of the Western Conference. Whoever advances to the NBA Finals will be, above all, the beneficiary of favorable match-ups in seven game series. The conference’s seeding hasn’t even been consistent, as teams four through eight are separated by only four games in the standings.

If the playoffs began at this moment, the Rockets would square off against the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round, and the San Antonio Spurs if they advanced. Both teams are beatable (especially by Houston).

If the right injuries occur, so are the Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors… so is everyone. 

And this is how our evaluation of the Rockets’ potency should look. Despite any number of lazy efforts and their general inconsistency, is there really an impossible match-up for these Rockets?

No. The fate of the league’s glory is decided all too much every year by the chaos of injuries,  suddenly surging teams and breakout players for us to make such a definitive statement in January.

The Rockets are treading water with the rest of the creme of their conference. For all practical purposes, they’re shoulder-to-shoulder with all of the top competitors, and only the forthcoming sprint will determine whether they’ll beat the pack to the finish line.

Chief among the illusions that have had the Rockets written off is the nature of their defensive performance thus far.

Meme-friendly footage of James Harden’s lesser nights have made for easy talking points. And while the clips do suggest something extra to be desired from Harden both as an individual defender and team leader, they’re likely not indicative of what Harden will bring to the floor in the playoffs.

Critics have suggested that Houston is not yet well-formed enough to be utilizing the on-off switch seen in Harden’s (and the team’s) fluctuating level of intensity. There is certainly something to that line of thinking, as no primary Houston lineup has logged even so much as a season together, and they may need more time to gel.

It seems unlikely that a “microwaved” contender, lacking the continuity and comfort that their peers boast, can make it all the way to a title.

But proving the microwave theory wrong would not make for an unprecedented development. As recently as 2011, the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA title with Tyson Chandler as their center, in his first (and last) season with the team. That group won 57 games in the regular season, a number that doesn’t scream champion favorite, and also a mark the Rockets aren’t far behind.

Relevant comparisons between these Rockets and those Mavericks end there—the point is that championship lightning has recently been trapped in a bottle, and that the best team in the league is not always looking you in the eye, telling you who they are, holding your hand through a predictable season. 

They’re often just the best puncher in the crowd.

And the Rockets have more than enough weapons to qualify as an outlier title contender this year. They showed that they’re on an accelerated learning curve in last year’s hard-fought playoff loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder, as their bevy of shooters was more accurate than usual and James Harden was able to lead them through many nail-biters.

That was before they had one of the best paint men of the modern NBA in Howard. Those watching Rockets games specifically for half-court mechanics see just how much he’s opened up the floor for his teammates, even if the results aren’t consistent enough to show numerically. Simply put, his presence both widens their margin for error and expands the number of turns any possession can take.

That should be a scary thought for rivals who already had a difficult time stopping their unpredictable offensive blitzing.

Are they the favorites to win the NBA championship?

No. But only an entire cohort of dangerous teams known as “the field” can be the favorite to win it all this season. And regardless of how much they have or haven’t met fans’ expectations, the Rockets are in that select cluster.

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Nash: Lakers will fly under radar

With Dwight Howard’s decision nearly a month in the past and their roster beginning to fill out, the Lakers have fallen a bit out of the spotlight in recent weeks. The attention will be back, for certain; future points of debate range from Kobe Bryant’s health to the team’s first matchup with the Rockets to its coaching situation.

If the Lakers play well, it will be a story. If they play poorly, it will be a story. If they’re mediocre, it will be a story.

They’ll be scrutinized, just as they always are, but for now, Steve Nash seems to think his team is flying under the radar. In an interview with NBA.com’s Lang Whittaker, the veteran point guard said that he thinks people are counting his team out, which, he said, is just fine. He continued:

“We’ve got a lot of new pieces, we’ve got guys coming off injuries, myself included. So we’ve got to find out where everyone’s health is, and then figure out each other and play together, and hopefully we can surprise some

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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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Report: Carmelo Anthony On Lakers Radar in 2014 Free Agency

LeBron James isn’t the only NBA superstar the Los Angeles Lakers have added to their 2014 free-agency shopping list. Carmelo Anthony is on there too.

According to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, ‘Melo may prove more attainable than The King, prompting the Lakers to engage in some of their own Melodrama:

Armed with massive cap room, the Lakers will go shopping in 2014.

The franchise would love to lure LeBron James from Miami—but after his second straight title, and given the craftiness of Heat President Pat Riley, it may prove a futile hope.

Another high-scoring forward may be more attainable—New York Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony.

Phil Jackson even gives his endorsement of such a pursuit later on the report.

“For [the Lakers] to be able to move and to adjust to the process that goes on in the NBA, you have to have flexibility,” Jackson said.  ”The [way] the league is structured with its new CBA and how it penalizes teams—you can’t make moves. [With] guys like Carmelo and LeBron in a couple of years, you’ve got to be capable of making a challenge for those kinds of players.”

Both ‘Melo and LeBron have the ability to opt out of their current contracts next summer and become unrestricted free agents. As of now, Steve Nash is the only member of the Lakers under contract at that time. Los Angeles will have more than enough money to sign one (maybe even both).

Resting all their eggs in LeBron’s basket is a risky play, though. Some wouldn’t hesitate to call it inane.

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh struggled during the Miami Heat‘s most recent postseason run, but LeBron still has two rings to show for his efforts in South Beach. If he winds up winning or comes even remotely close to winning a third, prying him from Pat Riley’s clutches isn’t going to be easy.

That’s another thing to consider—Riley. The ever-crafty front-office sage has a knack for putting the right pieces in place. Even if the Heat fall short next season, there’s always the chance he brings in a swarm of new talent to keep LeBron in Miami.

Then there’s the Cleveland Cavaliers to think about. Hiring Mike Brown suggests that they’re not all LeBron everything next summer, but Cleveland is LeBron’s “home.” Seeing him spurn the Heat in favor of the team he abandoned in the first place is not out of the question.

Up against those types of obstacles, the Lakers need to have a Plan B that may inevitably need to become Plan A, hence their purported interest in ‘Melo.

Unlike Riley and the Heat, the Knicks don’t have a propensity for putting the right talent around ‘Melo. New York is currently a mixture of one superstar (‘Melo), two injury-prone big men (Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire), a promising youngster (Iman Shumpert) and a foray of fillers.

If and when the Knicks fall well short of winning a title once again, ‘Melo may be tempted to leave his “home” in search of something greater, like a potential pairing with Kobe Bryant.

“I would actually like to play with Melo,” Kobe told Alex Kennedy of Hoopworld back in 2011.

Let rumors of collusion commence.

The Lakers were one of ‘Melo’s suitors back in 2011, when he was planning his escape from the Denver Nuggets. He wound up with the Knicks instead, where he is still equally as ring-less as he was then.

“I know I’m going to be here for a long time,” Anthony said during exit interview, according to Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York. 

Forced to endure through another finish like the Knicks just had, perhaps ‘Melo will be singing the same tune for the Lakers next summer.

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Can Denver Nuggets Keep Focus Now That They’re on the Radar?

Almost as soon as the Denver Nuggets (49-23) caught national attention for their winning streak, they dropped the contest that should have marked their 16th consecutive victory. The young team can benefit from such a strange loss, and it will have to if it’s going to be a legitimate threat in the Western Conference.

If not for the Miami Heat’s (56-14) historic 27 straight wins, Denver’s 15-game run may have been the focus of the waning NBA regular season. The five teams to clinch a playoff spot in the West are all within six games of one another; the top and bottom of the four Eastern Conference teams with their playoff tickets punched are 15 games apart.

The Nuggets’ streak placed them in position to secure home-court advantage in the first round, where their 32-3 record leads the league. Given that nobody in the West’s playoff picture has beaten them in Denver, that’s kind of important.

A Mar. 25 loss to the New Orleans Hornets served as a wake-up call for the Nuggets. While the defending champion Heat recently erased huge deficits that they granted to inferior competition almost as if for dramatic effect, Denver learned that it could not flip the switch in a similar manner.

Miami was down by 27 to the struggling and ailing Cleveland Cavaliers (22-47) and 17 to the 36-33 Boston Celtics, who are dealing with injuries of their own.

Denver fell behind by 14 in the first quarter to the 25-46 soon-to-be Pelicans and only outscored them in the third quarter—by three points—thereafter. It lost by 24.

This loss was more than strange, for a Western Conference contender to get handled on the road by a lottery team which was 14-21 in its own arena entering the game. It wasn’t even a case of a Nuggets squad playing a back-to-back while New Orleans was on an extended homestand.

Nuggets center and highlight factory JaVale McGee had another word for it:

Some dude named Brian Roberts came out and had 18 assists against Denver in 41 minutes. His 13 points also gave the 27-year-old rookie from Dayton his first career double-double—in his second career start.

Compounding the loss felt by rising star point guard Ty Lawson’s absence is the fact that Denver hasn’t allowed more than Roberts’ 18 single-game assists to any one guy this season. It’s the most productive distribution outing that any Nuggets opponent has experienced since…Jrue Holiday of the Philadelphia 76ers dropped 15 dimes two games prior.

Lawson missed that game, too.

It could be a valuable lesson for the team that began this season as the NBA’s third youngest.

Even without Lawson, the Nuggets should have taken care of business against New Orleans. Denver elder statesman Andre Miller, 37, is more than capable of handling leadership duties in a pinch.

Instead, they learned the hard way that a high degree of real estate separating two teams in the standings doesn’t dictate which one walks away victorious.

When your opponent shoots 56 percent from deep as the Hornets did, records don’t matter much.

Two of the Nuggets’ final 10 games are against the conference-leading San Antonio Spurs. The final tune-up for the postseason is against the lottery-bound Phoenix Suns.

Five of the remaining seven are against Western Conference bubble teams: the Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks (twice).

Denver was streaking against opponents who have done their fair share of winning, so consistent tests against hungry squads looking to sneak into the playoffs shouldn’t be a problem.

It’s the final matchup with 23-48 Phoenix that the Nuggets should ensure doesn’t send them stumbling into the postseason.

 

For more Denver Nuggets analysis, follow Jamal on Twitter

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