It’s probably safe to say that LeBron James has had one of the finest summers of his life and if you’re reading this blog, you should probably know why (championship, MVP, gold medal, etc). The funny thing is that just earlier in the year, no one could stop questioning whether James was even the best player or best option down the stretch of a game on his own team. Now? Some are wondering if James is capable of becoming the best basketball player ever. It’s proof that winning changes everything when it comes to player perception.
Check out Chris Perkins’ column about James’ ultimate career goals and why it may not be out of the question for him to be the best player ever at some point.
Moving onto big news from Friday, Chris Bernucca has the story on John Wall’s sudden injury, which could cause him to miss up to eight weeks of action.
Also, be sure to watch a video of Chris Sheridan explaining why the Lakers are the most improved, while the Rockets may be “Bobcats” bad.
With every team gearing up for training camp, there is sure to be a ton of news around the league. We’ll go over and cover as much as we can, starting with some Heat and Celtics items:
- LeBron James is not satisfied with what he has accomplished so far in his career, from Sekou Smith of NBA.com: “The fuel used to drive James and the Heat to the top last season isn’t recyclable (the ghost of the Dallas Mavericks is fading more and more by the day). “I’m not satisfied with my career and what I’ve done so far,” James said. “I’ve accomplished a lot of things and a lot of goals. But I’m not satisfied with that. I’m going to continue to get better, continue lead this team the best way I know how. And continue to add more pieces to my game that can hopefully at the end of the day make us successful.” Legacies, his or anyone else’s, do not concern him. His rank among the all-time greats is completely irrelevant in the here and now. That first title certainly wasn’t meant to be his last. “I’m my own man,” James said, “and I have to make my own mark.”
- Chris Bosh accepts his new role as the center of the Heat, but will not bulk up to try to compromise his game, according to Ira Winderman of Sun Sentinel: “But he said Friday that while he has come to accept the role he avoided earlier in his career, he has no plans to bulk up. That something neither Bosh nor coach Erik Spoelstra want. “I’ve talked with Spo and I asked what him what he wants from me and he said to play fast,” Bosh, listed at 6 feet 11, 235-pounds, said at media day, with training camp opening Saturday at AmericanAirlines Arena. “You can’t play fast and add pounds. It just doesn’t make any sense for me.”
- In the same Winderman article, you will also find the status of Ray Allen’s ankle, which is still sore: “Ray Allen, the Heat’s prime free-agent acquisition, said even with offseason ankle surgery he still enters training camp with soreness. “I think I have to pay attention to the swelling. There’s a minimal amount of swelling in my ankle, which is very good, compared to what I thought it would be,” he said. Asked if he believed he could reach a point of playing pain free this season, he answered, “Who knows? That’s a good question.”
- Does Rajon Rondo still believe that he is the best point guard in the league? In a word, yes. Here is the explanation of his mindset, from Jessica Camerato of CSNNE: “”Well I’m biased. There’s a lot of great point guards in the NBA. I made the comment earlier in the summer, I made it two years ago. That’s how I approach the game. I don’t think I’d be the player that I am today if I didn’t believe it. You don’t want to be cocky, but at the same time you want to be confident, especially with this type of team, this type of role. It can kind of be overwhelming to play with three future Hall of Famers and me being such a young point guard if I didn’t have the confidence to play with those guys or the confidence to take charge at times, I don’t think I would’ve became the type of player I am today.”
- Paul Pierce was surprised by Ray Allen’s decision to leave Boston, from Camerato: “”I was very surprised at Ray’s decision,” he said on Friday afternoon. “I thought we would finish our careers together, me, Kevin [Garnett] and Ray. I was very surprised at him going to Miami but Ray, he’s a grown up. He has to make a decision of what he feels like is best for his family, for himself.”… “I wish he could have went to the [Los Angeles] Clippers if he was going anywhere, but he went to our Eastern Conference rivals,” said Pierce. “But as you all know, Ray likes to golf, maybe that factored into his reasoning, he didn’t like the golfing in Boston in the winter. Who knows.”
- Pierce hopes to retire with Kevin Garnett and reveals a very private and relevant conversation the two had last season, in yet another great Camerato piece: “The goal is to retire with Kevin,” Pierce said at Celtics Media Day on Friday. “He recently signed a three-year deal. I see my career kind of ending along the path of his.” This summer 34-year-old Pierce contemplated his own future in the league as Garnett, an unrestricted free agent, decided whether or not to return for his 18th season. “I really wasn’t confident he was coming back,” Pierce said. “Kevin, he said this is it for him. People didn’t know this, but there are times we’d be in the locker room and be like, ‘Kevin, is this your last year?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, this is it.’ I would say, ‘If you retire, I’m going to retire.'”
- When you’re not a teammate of Kevin Garnett, he tends to get over you fast, according to Andrew Perma of Real GM: “Ray Allen signed with the Miami Heat over the offseason, taking less money to leave the Boston Celtics. “I don’t have Ray’s number anymore,” said Kevin Garnett when asked if he has spoken to Allen since the offseason. “I have no problem when someone makes a decision that’s the best for him and his family,”
- Dirk Nowitzki shared his thoughts about the Mavericks and his new center, from Earl K. Sneed of NBA.com: “It’s gonna be tough to crack the top 2 or 3 (in the West), but that’s what we’re gonna try to do.”… “I think all the new guys are gonna be great, fit in great. … I think we’ve got a lot of potential.”…Dirk on Kaman: “Chris should be the best offensive center I’ve played with in my career.”… Dirk on JET and J-Kidd: “They were like brothers to me. That was tough.”
- Check out Stephen Curry’s awesome man cave in Charlotte. He gave Levi’s a tour as part of his sponsorship with the jeans company:
- Who is the biggest trash-talker in the league? Nate Robinson and Chris Paul are up there, according to Stephen Curry. Ricky Doyle of NESN has the story: “Nate Robinson, when he was on our team. He’s a 24-7 trash talker and and hype man,” Curry said. “He talks constantly on planes, in the locker room, wherever. It’s all in good fun. “On the court I’d have to say Chris Paul,” Curry continued. “Back when he was on the Hornets, they had a huge 20-point lead on us and he went to the bench. We went on a run and cut the lead to like three and then they went to put CP back in. He was sitting at the scorer’s table and telling me and coach, ‘time to put the closer back in’ and he was doing what baseball managers do –- put their arm out and tap on it, like they-re going to closer in the 9th inning. He was laughing while doing this and yeah, they came back and won.”
- The Warriors are being overly cautious with Andrew Bogut, who is still not cleared to participate in five-on-five play. He may not even be ready for the season-opener, according to Rusty Simmons of San Francisco Chronicle: “Bogut is widely regarded as an elite defensive player and is a consensus top-five center in the league. The Warriors traded for him right before last season’s trade deadline, but a broken ankle has kept him from playing in a Golden State uniform. It sounds like it might be a while before he does. Myers said Bogut is making daily strides, progressing to lateral movement and jumping, but hasn’t been cleared for five-on-five play. The Warriors hope to see Bogut play in a couple of the team’s eight preseason games, but Myers said they’re playing it “overly cautious.” If Bogut, who has missed 150 games in his seven-season career, isn’t ready for the Oct. 31 regular-season opener in Phoenix or has to play limited minutes, the Warriors will give it a go with Ezeli and Biedrins.”
- Rasheed Wallace may be looking to come out of retirement to join the Knicks, according to Nate Taylor of The New York Times: “The Knicks appear to be one step closer to signing Rasheed Wallace, who could be the latest and yet another veteran player this off-season to join the team just before training camp. A person with direct knowledge of the situation said Wallace took his physical with the Knicks’ training staff Thursday. Wallace has considered coming out of retirement for the last two years. The decision to get a physical could be a signal that his signing with the Knicks might be imminent. The person close to the situation said Wallace could sign a league minimum deal (around $1.7 million) – which is all the Knicks can offer – as soon as Friday afternoon.”
- No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis doesn’t feel like an NBA player just yet, but has bulked up to prepare himself, from The AP: “Although Anthony Davis has shared the court with some of the greatest basketball players in the world, he does not see himself as an NBA player quite yet. “I just feel like a guy who’s just playing basketball right now,” the Hornets rookie and top overall draft choice said. “Until I play an NBA game, then I (can’t) consider myself an NBA player.”… Davis said one of his priorities is to bulk up in the hope he can become more effective guarding the post against physical and bigger players. “It’s a physical game. Very physical. I definitely got to stay in the weight room,” he said. Davis said he has already added weight to the 220-pound build he had while winning a national title with Kentucky last spring. “I’m not sure how much. Just feel it,” Davis said, cracking a playful grin. “Feel like I’m Superman.”
- Don’t read too much into Danny Granger’s knee issue. He said he would play if this was the regular season during his conversation with Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: “Q: What’s going on with the your knee? A: Just taking it slow through training camp. I had an injury in my tendon or something that I flared up in the offseason working out. They put PRP (platelet rich plasma) in it (at the end of the summer), which is a way to help it heal better. I actually (injured my knee) toward the end of the Miami series. It was fine, but then I started training this summer and it got irritated, so we just slowed it down. Q: Would you play if this were the regular season? A: Yeah, this is more cautionary. We know we have about a month or so before we play our first regular season game.”
- Charles Barkley openly wondered if Andrew Bynum could handle being the No. 1 option for the 76ers, from Jordan Hall of CSN Philly: “And now that he’s been thrust into a leading role with the Sixers, in a sports-crazed city, it’s elicited skepticism from TNT analyst and ex-Sixer Charles Barkley. “When you go from being a role player to a star, [things change]. He’s never been the best player on his team — you’re a role player,” Barkley said in an interview on NBA.com. “I’m not sure he’s been the second-best player on his team before. It’s debatable between him and Pau Gasol. So, he goes from being the third-best player on his team to being the man. The level of intensity that that takes, the level of pressure that brings, and you compound that by Philadelphia — it’s going to be a very interesting season for Andrew Bynum.”
- Lawrence Frank says everyone will have a chance to prove themselves in the upcoming season, from Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News: “When you’re building, I don’t believe in incumbency,” he said. “You’re not rolling out a team that just won a championship or won 60 games. You have to earn it. It doesn’t matter. When you step on the court, nobody cares. There are no resumes.”\ That means players like Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva, seemingly honorary members of Frank’s doghouse last season, will have just as much a chance to earn minutes as anyone ahead of them. “If you want it, take it,” he said. “There’s guys who played a lot that want to continue to play a lot. There’s guys who didn’t play as much as they want, they deserve the opportunity to go and take it.”
- Amare Stoudemire joined The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to talk about his books and his Jewish roots, from Posting and Toasting.