National Basketball Association
NBA News Wire
  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    NBA roundup: Spurs' Leonard out with eye infection
    By The Sports Xchange

    San Antonio Spurs guard/forward Kawhi Leonard will likely miss the remainder of the preseason with an infection in his right eye that spread to his left eye, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

    • Leonard's availability for the Oct. 28 regular-season opener against the Dallas Mavericks is also in doubt.

      "It is going back and forth between the two (eyes)," coach Gregg Popovich said on Saturday. "It's crazy. Kawhi is still out for 10 more days."

      ---Popovich was critical of Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, who apologized to Suns fans when the Spurs played Phoenix without their star players, including Leonard.

      Popovich suggested that Sarver should have put on a "chicken suit" when Sarver apologized over the public address system before Thursday night's preseason game.

      ---The Minnesota Timberwolves exercised the third-year options on forward Anthony Bennett, center Gorgui Dieng and forward Shabazz Muhammad for 2015-16, the team announced Sunday.

      ---The Sacramento Kings picked up the 2015-16 option on guard Ben McLemore's contract, the team announced.

      The Kings also waived 7-foot-5 center Sim Bhullar, guard Deonte Burton and forward David Wear.

      ---The Cleveland Cavaliers waived guards Chris Crawford and Stephen Holt, the team announced.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Kings pick up option on McLemore's deal
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Sacramento Kings picked up the 2015-16 option on guard Ben McLemore's contract, the team announced Sunday.

    • Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

      The 6-foot-5 McLemore, who is entering his second NBA season, averaged 8.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 26.7 minutes per game as a rookie.

      The Kings also waived 7-foot-5 center Sim Bhullar, guard Deonte Burton and forward David Wear.

      The preseason roster now stands at 15.

      Born in Toronto, Bhullar was the first player of Indian descent to sign with an NBA team. The 360-pounder was a member of the Kings squad that won 2014 NBA Summer League championship in Las Vegas. He saw action in two preseason contests, totaling two points and three rebounds in three minutes off the bench.

      Burton did not play in the preseason. He missed the Oct. 15 game against Brooklyn in Beijing due to a stomach virus.

      Wear played in one preseason game and was scoreless while grabbing one rebound in three minutes off the bench against Maccabi Haifa on Saturday.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Timberwolves exercise options on Bennett, Dieng, Muhammad
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Minnesota Timberwolves exercised the third-year options on forward Anthony Bennett, center Gorgui Dieng and forward Shabazz Muhammad for 2015-16, the team announced Sunday.

    • Bennett, obtained in a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers on Aug. 23, played 52 games last season, averaging 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game.

      Dieng played 60 games last season and averaged 4.8 points and 5.0 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game.

      Muhammad averaged 3.9 points and 1.4 rebounds in 7.8 minutes over 37 games his rookie season.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Cavs waive Crawford, Holt
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Cleveland Cavaliers waived guards Chris Crawford and Stephen Holt, the team announced Sunday.

    • The Cavaliers roster is at 16 players.

      Crawford appeared in five preseason games for Cleveland, averaging 2.4 points and 1.6 assists in 7.6 minutes per game. Holt played in two preseason games and averaged 3.0 points in 2.3 minutes per game.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Spurs G/F Leonard likely out rest of preseason
    By The Sports Xchange

    San Antonio Spurs guard/forward Kawhi Leonard will likely miss the remainder of the preseason with an infection in his right eye that spread to his left eye, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

    • Leonard's availability for the Oct. 28 regular-season opener against the Dallas Mavericks is also in doubt.

      "It is going back and forth between the two (eyes)," coach Gregg Popovich said on Saturday. "It's crazy. Kawhi is still out for 10 more days."

      Popovich was very critical of Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, who apologized to Suns fans when the Spurs played Phoenix without their star players, including Leonard.

      Popovich suggested that Sarver should have put on a "chicken suit" when Sarver apologized over the public address system before Thursday night's preseason game.

      The defending NBA champion Spurs were missing Leonard, Tiago Splitter (calf) and Patty Mills (rotator cuff), and Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili stayed home to rest. Meanwhile, Popovich let first-year assistant Ettore Messina handle head coaching duties.

      Phoenix rolled to a 121-90 victory over San Antonio after the Spurs returned to the United States following a two-week trip to Europe.

      Popovich defended the players' absences as justifiable.

      "Patty Mills had a shoulder operation over the summer. Tiago Splitter has been out the whole preseason. Kawhi Leonard was out and is still out for 10 more days. The other two, Duncan and Ginobili, are two of the oldest guys in the league who just came back from a 13-day European trip," Popovich explained.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Popovich to Suns owner: Where's 'chicken suit?'
    By The Sports Xchange

    After Suns owner Robert Sarver called out the Spurs this week for leaving five players and Gregg Popovich at home for a preseason game in Phoenix, the San Antonio coach gave it right back Saturday.

    • Popovich suggested that Sarver should have put on a "chicken suit" when he apologized to Suns fans over the public address system that some of the Spurs wouldn't be at Thursday night's preseason game.

      The defending NBA champion Spurs were missing Kawhi Leonard (eye infection), Tiago Splitter (calf) and Patty Mills (rotator cuff), and Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili stayed home to rest. Meanwhile, Popovich let first-year assistant Ettore Messina handle head coaching duties.

      Phoenix rolled to a 121-90 victory over San Antonio after the Spurs returned to the United States following a two-week trip to Europe.

      "The only thing that surprises me is that he didn't say it in a chicken suit. I'll just leave it at that," Popovich said Saturday before San Antonio's preseason home opener won 111-108 in overtime by the Miami Heat.

      "Most wise individuals would check facts before they made statements -- unless you're interested in putting on a show. In that case, the facts get in your way, as in this case.

      Popovich was responding to Sarver's message to fans at the game. He said, "This is not the game you paid your hard-earned money to watch. I apologize for it. And I want you to send me your tickets if you came tonight with a return envelope and I've got a gift for you on behalf of the Suns for showing up tonight. Thank you."

      Popovich defended the player absences as justifiable.

      "Patty Mills had a shoulder operation over the summer. Tiago Splitter has been out the whole preseason. Kawhi Leonard was out and is still out for 10 more days. The other two, Duncan and Ginobili, are two of the oldest guys in the league who just came back from a 13-day European trip," Popovich explained.

  • Saturday, October 18, 2014
    Report: Celtics likely to waive Bynum
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Boston Celtics acquired guard Will Bynum on Friday from the Detroit Pistons for center Joel Anthony. Bynum probably shouldn't unpack his bags; the Celtics are loaded at the guard position and have guaranteed contracts meaning that Bynum is likely to be waived.

    • The Boston Globe reported that Bynum and general manager Danny Ainge were expected to meet sometime Saturday to discuss Bynum's future in Boston.

      Boston has 15 roster spots, but already have signed 16 players to guaranteed contracts. With the season opener just around the corner on Oct. 29, Ainge will have to trade or waive a player with one of those guaranteed contracts.

      There will be plenty of suitors for the veteran Bynum.

      ESPN.com reported that it might not be until next week when Bynum learns of his fate.

  • Saturday, October 18, 2014
    Lakers G Henry getting second opinion on knee
    By The Sports Xchange

    Los Angeles Lakers guard Xavier Henry is traveling to New York City to get a second opinion from Dr. Keith Pyne after having knee surgery this summer.

    • Henry will then travel to Dusseldorf, Germany, to receive Regenokine treatment from Dr. Jens Hartmann next week.

      The Lakers gave Henry permission to miss practices and be absent from the team to make the trips. He plans to return to Los Angeles by next Friday. The team will then provide an update on his status.

      Henry averaged 10 points per game in 43 contests last season for the Lakers.

  • Saturday, October 18, 2014
    Griffin says he might start retaliating
    By The Sports Xchange

    Forward Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers indicated that he might begin to retaliate if he continues to receive unnecessarily hard fouls from opponents.

    • Griffin was fouled on the way to the basket by Trevor Booker of the Utah Jazz in an exhibition game on Friday night and both received technical fouls after Griffin grabbed Booker's head.

      "Yeah, probably," Griffin said of retaliating if the trend continues. "I'm not going to do it for no reason or if it's not warranted, and I didn't feel that was."

      Chris Paul of the Clippers also was hit with a technical when he pushed Booker away.

      Coach Doc Rivers of the Clippers said he would rather not see Griffin retaliate, but said Griffin "gets hit with more cheap shots than anyone in the league."

  • Friday, October 17, 2014
    Cavs' Irving plays after missing three games
    By The Sports Xchange

    Point guard Kyrie Irving returned to action Friday night for the Cleveland Cavaliers after missing three games with a sprained right ankle.

    • Irving started an exhibition against the Dallas Mavericks in Cleveland and finished with a game-high 23 points and five assists in the Cavaliers' 108-102 loss.

      Irving injured the ankle last week when teammate Anderson Varejao stepped on him during practice and missed the Cavaliers' exhibition game in Brazil against the Miami Heat.

  • Friday, October 17, 2014
    Bucks' Sanders sidelined until regular season
    By The Sports Xchange

    Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders will miss the remaining three games of the preseason after undergoing a minor outpatient surgical procedure on Friday at a Milwaukee hospital.

    • The Bucks expect Sanders to be able to return for their regular-season opener against the Charlotte Hornets on Oct. 29. He had not practiced this week with the team and was listed as having an illness.

      In three preseason games before the surgery, Sanders was averaging 10.7 points and 10.0 rebounds.

      Sanders was coming back from an injury-plagued 2013-14 season. He was hurt in a bar fight and then was injured by an inadvertent elbow from Houston's James. Harden.

  • Friday, October 17, 2014
    NBA roundup: Pistons trade for C Anthony
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Detroit Pistons acquired center Joel Anthony from the Boston Celtics in exchange for guard Will Bynum on Friday.

    • Swapping Anthony, who is set to make $3.8 million this season, for Bynum, who will earn $2.9 million, saves the Celtics $900,000.

      "We are pleased to welcome Joel Anthony to the organization," Pistons general manager Jeff Bower said in a statement. "Joel is an experienced front court player who adds size, toughness and depth to our frontcourt. We thank Will Bynum for his contributions and wish him the best in the future."

      Anthony, 32, has averaged 2.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 16.0 minutes in 403 career games (110 starts) with the Miami Heat and Boston. Acquired by Boston in a mid-season trade from Miami last season, the 6-foot-9, 245-pound center averaged 1.2 rebounds and 5.6 minutes in 33 games.

      Undrafted out of UNLV, Anthony has averaged a career-high of 3.9 rebounds per game twice (2007-08 and 2011-12). He was a member of the Heat's 2012 and 2013 NBA Championship teams.

      --The Philadelphia 76ers extended their condolences to the family of rookie center Joel Embiid after his brother died Thursday in Africa.

      Arthur Embiid's cause of death or his exact age weren't immediately known.

      "Our thoughts and prayers are with Joel and the Embiid family," 76ers general manager Sam Hinkle said Friday. "To learn that you have lost a sibling or a child is unfathomable. We are poorly designed for that kind of loss. To receive that news while 6,000 miles away from your family is more than any of us are equipped to handle alone. Joel is not alone.

      "Joel's sister was able to travel to Philadelphia last night and the two of them are currently on their way to Cameroon."

      Joel Embiid, who was the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft out of Kansas, had foot surgery in June and is not expected to return until later in the season.

      --The NBA Board of Governors approved on Thursday five modifications to the instant replay rules currently in place and three changes on the court.

      The alterations take effect starting with Friday's preseason games.

      Replay was expanded to include situations where officials are not sure a team had an improper number of players on the court during game action.

      Current rules also were modified to allow instant replay review during the final two minutes of overtime rather than the entire overtime period. Replay will continue to be permissible during the final two minutes of the fourth quarter.

      Replay now will be used when officials are not certain which team should get possession after the ball goes out of bounds. In the past, officials could only use replay to determine which player caused to ball to go out of bounds.

  • Friday, October 17, 2014
    76ers express support for Embiid's loss
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Philadelphia 76ers extended their condolences to the family of rookie center Joel Embiid after his brother died Thursday in Africa.

    • Arthur Embiid's cause of death or his exact age weren't immediately known.

      "Our thoughts and prayers are with Joel and the Embiid family," 76ers general manager Sam Hinkle said Friday. "To learn that you have lost a sibling or a child is unfathomable. We are poorly designed for that kind of loss. To receive that news while 6,000 miles away from your family is more than any of us are equipped to handle alone. Joel is not alone.

      "Joel's sister was able to travel to Philadelphia last night and the two of them are currently on their way to Cameroon."

      Joel Embiid, who was the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft out of Kansas, had foot surgery in June and is not expected to return until later in the season.

      Hinkle, coach Brett Brown and forward Luc Mbah a Moute spent Thursday night with the 7-foot Embiid at his home in Philadelphia and missed an exhibition game against the Boston Celtics. Assistant Chad Iske coach the team in their absence.

      "We're all a family here," Iske said. "Obviously, everybody's thinking about Joel and his family at this time. Our hearts and prayers are with him."

      The 20-year-old Joel is the oldest of Thomas and Christine Embiid's three children. The family is from Cameroon.

  • Friday, October 17, 2014
    Pistons, Celtics pull off trade
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Detroit Pistons acquired center Joel Anthony from the Boston Celtics in exchange for guard Will Bynum on Friday.

    • Swapping Anthony, who is set to make $3.8 million this season, for Bynum, who will earn $2.9 million, saves the Celtics $900,000.

      "We are pleased to welcome Joel Anthony to the organization," Pistons general manager Jeff Bower said in a statement. "Joel is an experienced front court player who adds size, toughness and depth to our frontcourt. We thank Will Bynum for his contributions and wish him the best in the future."

      Anthony, 32, has averaged 2.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 16.0 minutes in 403 career games (110 starts) with the Miami Heat and Boston. Acquired by Boston in a mid-season trade from Miami last season, the 6-foot-9, 245-pound center averaged 1.2 rebounds and 5.6 minutes in 33 games.

      Undrafted out of UNLV, Anthony has averaged a career-high of 3.9 rebounds per game twice (2007-08 and 2011-12). He was a member of the Heat's 2012 and 2013 NBA Championship teams.

      Bynum, 31, has career NBA averages of 8.2 points, 1.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 18.5 minutes in 353 games. Undrafted out of Georgia Tech, the 6-foot, 185-pound guard signed as a free agent with Detroit prior to the 2008-09 season.

      In six seasons with the Pistons, Bynum averaged 8.4 points, 3.4 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 338 games.

  • Friday, October 17, 2014
    Nets' Lopez injures foot again, out 10-14 days
    By The Sports Xchange

    Brooklyn center Brook Lopez could be out from 10 days to two weeks after suffering a sprained right foot on Wednesday night during the Nets' exhibition game against the Sacramento Kings in China.

    • X-rays and a CT scan on Thursday in New York showed no fractures or bone issues. A broken foot last December and multiple surgeries that followed forced Lopez to miss most of the 2013-14 season.

      This year, Lopez was averaging 18 points and 5.6 rebounds in three preseason appearances.

      The Nets open the regular season on Oct. 29 against the Boston Celtics.

  • Thursday, October 16, 2014
    NBA to institute replay, rule changes
    By The Sports Xchange

    The NBA Board of Governors approved on Thursday five modifications to the instant replay rules currently in place and three changes on the court.

    • The alterations take effect starting with Friday's preseason games.

      Replay was expanded to include situations where officials are not sure a team had an improper number of players on the court during game action.

      Current rules also were modified to allow instant replay review during the final two minutes of overtime rather than the entire overtime period. Replay will continue to be permissible during the final two minutes of the fourth quarter.

      Replay now will be used when officials are not certain which team should get possession after the ball goes out of bounds. In the past, officials could only use replay to determine which player caused to ball to go out of bounds.

      Another alteration is officials being able to use replay to determine when a foul call meets the criteria of a flagrant foul.

      Referees also will have the use of replay to help them determine whether a foul that was called meets the criteria of a clear-path-to-the-basket foul. Additionally, officials will be able to go to replay to help them rule whether a player without the ball was fouled relative to the timing of a made shot.

      As for the rule changes, the NBA approved an a non-unsportsmanlike technical and a loss of possession for teams with too many players on the court while the ball is in play. The team that didn't commit the infraction would retain the option of accepting or nullifying what happened during the play.

      In a change to substitutions, teams may now sub in players freely during timeouts. Old rules limited substitutions of certain players.

      Also, the shot clock will no longer reset to five seconds after a held ball caused by the defense with fewer than five seconds remaining on the clock.

  • Thursday, October 16, 2014
    Griffin calls Sterling a 'weird uncle'
    By The Sports Xchange

    Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin referred to former team owner Donald Sterling as a "weird uncle" and new owner Steve Ballmer as a "cool dad" in a piece he authored for The Players' Tribune.

    • Griffin wrote that he wasn't stunned when he heard the recording of Sterling's racist rant that led to a lifetime ban from the NBA and the eventual sale of the franchise to Ballmer.

      "I was conflicted when the tapes came out last season, and suddenly everyone had an opinion on what we as players should be doing to handle it," Griffin said. "When I woke up the morning after the tape leaked, I had 40 or 50 text messages. The first thing I did was listen to the tape in bed. It was shocking to actually hear what he said, but not really that surprising to me."

      Griffin said he did his homework after the Clippers drafted him No. 1 in 2009 and learned then about Sterling.

      "It's little bit ironic to me that the media has tried to turn Ballmer into a meme when they turned a blind eye to Sterling for years," Griffin wrote. "Steve is a good dude. He's like a cool dad who gives you candy. Donald was like a weird uncle."

      What Griffin found in his online research five years ago was the man he later came to know.

      "When I knew the Clippers were drafting me, the first thing I did was type Donald Sterling's name into Google," Griffin wrote. "The first hit that came up was 'Donald Sterling is a racist.'

      "I read an article on how he didn't want minorities to live in his apartment buildings. My first thought was, Wow this guy is really, really a racist ... how is he an owner of an NBA team? My second thought was, Wow, these articles are from 2003 and 2008. I guess everybody already knows about this stuff and just doesn't care."

  • Thursday, October 16, 2014
    NBA roundup: Durant has surgery on foot
    By The Sports Xchange

    Thunder forward Kevin Durant had successful surgery Thursday on his right foot. The procedure was performed in Charlotte, N.C.

    • He will be re-evaluated in six weeks.

      The team is optimistic that the league's most valuable player will make a complete recovery and be able to return to action soon after being re-evaluated.

      Durant complained of an "achy" pain in his foot after Saturday's practice. Because the fracture, called a Jones fracture, was diagnosed before it became more serious, his recovery time has been pegged at six-to-eight weeks. A Jones fracture involves a broken bone at the base of the small toe.

      "We're really fortunate that we're catching it when we're catching it," general manager Sam Presti said. "We are very fortunate that Kevin notified us [Saturday] and that we're kind of catching it on the front end, before this became more of an acute issue."

      Durant might only miss the first month of the season.

      --Former NBA player Chris Webber is heading The Webber Group, which formally contacted the NBA regarding its plan to bid for majority interest in the Atlanta Hawks.

      The team is for sale on the heels of a controversy involving racially charged comments by owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry.

      Webber announced details via Twitter on Thursday.

      Levenson said Sept. 7 he would sell controlling interest in the team. An inflammatory email from August 2012 surfaced and he voluntarily shared it with the league, which led the NBA to put CEO Steve Koonin atop the team's day-to-day business operations.

      --The Washington Wizards announced center Daniel Orton has been waived.

      The 24-year-old Orton, was a first-round draft pick out of Kentucky in 2010. In four years, he has spent time with four franchises.

  • Thursday, October 16, 2014
    Durant eyes six-week recovery after surgery
    By The Sports Xchange

    Thunder forward Kevin Durant had successful surgery Thursday on his right foot. The procedure was performed in Charlotte, N.C.

    • He will be re-evaluated in six weeks.

      The team is optimistic that the league's most valuable player will make a complete recovery and be able to return to action soon after being re-evaluated.

      Durant complained of an "achy" pain in his foot after Saturday's practice. Because the fracture, called a Jones fracture, was diagnosed before it became more serious, his recovery time has been pegged at six-to-eight weeks. A Jones fracture involves a broken bone at the base of the small toe.

      "We're really fortunate that we're catching it when we're catching it," general manager Sam Presti said. "We are very fortunate that Kevin notified us [Saturday] and that we're kind of catching it on the front end, before this became more of an acute issue."

      Durant might only miss the first month of the season.

      Durant led the league in minutes played last season -- 3,122 -- while averaging 32 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists in 81 games last season.

  • Thursday, October 16, 2014
    Wizards waive center Orton
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Washington Wizards announced Thursday center Daniel Orton has been waived.

    • The 24-year-old Orton, was a first-round draft pick out of Kentucky in 2010. In four years, he has spent time with four franchises.

      The 6-foot-11 Orton was selected by the Orlando Magic after one season as a reserve with the Wildcats, where he was Wizards guard John Wall’s teammate. He was one of five Kentucky players picked in the first round that year.

      He missed his entire rookie season because of a knee injury.

  • Thursday, October 16, 2014
    Chris Webber heading group bidding for Hawks
    By The Sports Xchange

    Former NBA player Chris Webber is heading The Webber Group, which formally contacted the NBA regarding their plan to bid for majority interest in the Atlanta Hawks.

    • The team is for sale on the heels of a controversy involving racially charged comments by owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry.

      Webber announced details via Twitter on Thursday.

      "After garnering support of local community and business leaders, this week The Webber Group contacted the NBA to express our intentions to acquire the majority interest of the Atlanta Hawks. Our mission is to give the team back to the community that sustains it: Georgia. We will field a competitive team of high-character individuals that will exhibit championship characteristics off the court, while striving for that elusive title on the court. A quest for excellence, teamwork, leadership diversity, and community partnership will be our earmarks. Our passion and commitment will instill confidence in our corporate partners. We will put fans first. We will keep the team in Atlanta forever!"

      Levenson said Sept. 7 he would sell controlling interest in the team. An inflammatory email from August 2012 surfaced and he voluntarily shared it with the league, which led the NBA to put CEO Steve Koonin atop the team's day-to-day business operations.

      In the email released by the Hawks, Levenson wrote: "My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base. ... Please don't get me wrong. There was nothing threatening going on in the arena back then. I never felt uncomfortable, but I think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority."

      Levenson said Hawks crowds were 70 percent black, the team's cheerleaders are black and hip-hop music was played, which he claimed was not the case at other NBA arenas.

      Commisioner Adam Silver said Levenson was in violation of the league's core principles.

      "He shared with me how truly remorseful he is for using those hurtful words and how apologetic he is to the entire NBA family -- fans, players, team employees, business partners and fellow team owners -- for having diverted attention away from our game," Silver said in September. "I commend Mr. Levenson for self-reporting to the league office, for being fully cooperative with the league and its independent investigator, and for putting the best interests of the Hawks, the Atlanta community, and the NBA first."

  • Thursday, October 16, 2014
    LeBron: On the 'progess side' with Cavs owner Gilbert
    By The Sports Xchange

    LeBron James made it clear in July his return to Cleveland was about more than basketball. But to get back home, he needed Forgiveness 101.

    • James addressed his relationship with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who published a venomous and personal letter blasting James when the team's former No. 1 overall pick left for the Miami Heat in the much-publicized "Decision" as a free agent. James played his first seven seasons with the Cavaliers before infamously announcing he would "take his talents to South Beach."

      There was much made of James reuniting with the former employer when he re-signed with Cleveland in July, agreeing to a two-year deal after four consecutive NBA FInals appearances with the Heat.

      "As a man, if you got a problem with somebody, you sit down face to face and you talk to them eye to eye. And you hash it out and move on," James said. "So, I think a lot of things that go on in life or in sports with people kind of holding grudges is because they're afraid to actually take a step forward. It's a fine line between pride and progress, and I'm on the progress side. I'm not on the pride side."

      James has said he regrets the pomp and circumstance around the nationally televised "Decision" and that he did not discuss his intentions with the Cavaliers before the announcement.

      "How did I forgive? I'm a man," James said. "Men, we all make mistakes."

      Pundits are backing this version of the Cavaliers, which James has heavily influenced by personally recruiting friends and allies, much more than the previous iterations that were centered around James but offered little in the way of depth or support.

      It helps that James has two rings to use as a recruiting tool as needed.

      "I recruited (before) I left here, but I just didn't win nothing so nobody wanted to play with me," James said. "I recruited. I recruited Michael Redd, I recruited Joe Johnson, I recruited Chris Bosh. I recruited a lot of guys. I just didn't win, and they didn't want to come to Cleveland. So, I guess me winning two championships, it helped out a lot."

  • Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    Lakers' Nash injured again
    By The Sports Xchange

    Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash missed his third straight practice after injuring his back while carrying bags Wednesday.

    • The latest injury is another setback that casts doubt about his future in the NBA. The 40-year-old has battled injuries the past few years. Last season, he was limited him to 15 games.

      Nash, the oldest active player in the league who is in his 19th season, isn't expected to play Thursday night in an exhibition game against the Utah Jazz.

      "It's a concern because, from my standpoint, I've got to kind of figure out if he's going to be able to play every day or not, if he's going to be able to play every other game, or which games can he play," Lakers coach Byron Scott said. "Obviously, in the next couple of weeks, we've got some time to come to a conclusion to this whole situation."

      That includes starting Jeremy Lin at point guard and bringing Nash, if he's healthy, off the bench.

      Nash is in the final year of a three-year, $28 million contract. He said during the summer that he expects this season to be his last.

      "I have no doubt in my mind that if I went to Steve and said tomorrow, 'You know what, I'm going to start Jeremy and the games that you're available, we're going to bring you off the bench,' he's such a professional that I don't think it would be a problem whatsoever," Scott said Tuesday.

  • Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    NBA roundup: Nowitzki suggests reduced schedule
    By The Sports Xchange

    Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki heard about the NBA experimenting with shorter games in the preseason, but he has another idea. He would like to see a shorter season, as in fewer games, rather than games with 11-minute quarters instead of 12.

    • A workable number of games, in his view, would be somewhere in the mid-60s, a significant reduction from the current 82-game schedule. More problematic from Nowitzki's perspective is the number of back-to-back games on consecutive days. At the same time, Nowitzki is a realist and recognizes the schedule is revenue driven.

      "I think you don't need 82 games to determine the best eight in each conference," Nowitzki said Wednesday. "That could be done a lot quicker, but I always understand that it's about money, and every missed game means missed money for both parties, for the league, for the owners, for the players.'

      The NBA will experiement with a 44-minute game when the Brooklyn Nets and the Boston Celtics meet Sunday.

      ---The Mavericks signed 5-foot-7 Japanese point guard Yuki Togashi on Wednesday.

      Terms of the deal for the free agent were not disclosed. Togashi, who weighs 143 pounds, was most recently a member of the Mavericks' NBA Summer League team. In his four games, he averaged 5.3 points and 1.3 rebounds while shooting .467 from the field.

      The team's plan reportedly is for the 21-year-old Togashi to spend the rest of the preseason with the Mavs before joining their D-League affiliate Texas Legends.

      ---Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford, who was sidelined since December with a torn right pectoral muscle, returned to game action Tuesday night.

      In the Hawks' 109-103 preseason win over the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, the 27-year-old Horford played 11 first-half minutes before sitting out the second half. He recorded two points, two assists and one rebound.

      On Dec. 26, Horford was injured while playing against the Cleveland Cavaliers. At the time, the 6-foot-10 veteran led the team in scoring (18.6 points per game), field-goal percentage (.567; seventh in the league), rebounding (8.4 per game) and blocks per game (1.5 per game; 13th) while adding 2.6 assists in 33.0 minutes per game in 29 games.

  • Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    Nowitzki advocates shorter season
    By The Sports Xchange

    Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki heard about the NBA experimenting with shorter games in the preseason, but he has another idea.

    • The 36-year-old Nowitzki would like to see a shorter season, as in fewer games, rather than games with 11-minute quarters instead of 12.

      A workable number of games, in his view, would be somewhere in the mid-60s, a significant reduction from the current 82-game schedule. At the same time, Nowitzki is a realist and recognizes the schedule is revenue driven.

      "I think you don't need 82 games to determine the best eight in each conference," Nowitzki said Wednesday. "That could be done a lot quicker, but I always understand that it's about money, and every missed game means missed money for both parties, for the league, for the owners, for the players.

      "I understand all that, and that's why I don't think it's going to change any time soon."

      More problematic from Nowitzki's perspective is the number of back-to-back games on consecutive days.

      "Honestly, I never was a big fan of back-to-backs even when I was 20 years old," said Nowitzki, who is entering his 17th NBA season. "I think that you should never have to play at the highest level when there is two consecutive nights and flying in between. You obviously make it work.

      "We have the best athletes in the world, we feel, but I think it hurts the product some. Last year, some teams get here for the fourth game in five nights and we've been sitting here on rest and just blow them out. I don't think it's good for the product, but I also understand that 82 games is where it's at. It's a business, and everybody's got to live with it."

      The NBA will experiement with a 44-minute game when the Brooklyn Nets and the Boston Celtics meet Sunday.

      Another way to shorten the games, Nowitzki suggested, is to limit timeouts at the end of games.

      "It's such a fun, fast game," Nowitzki said. "Then there's one action and they score, OK, there's a timeout and you sit for two minutes. There's another action, they score, tie it up (and another timeout).

      "There's no other sport where it's interrupted so much at the end. That's something that I would look at. Both teams are like, 'They have another timeout? Are you kidding me?' That's a little much, but other than that, I think the game's great."