September 2017

First Irving asks for a trade. Then James is blindsided. Then Irving said he thinks James leaked the story. Now this story from Stephen A. Smith, which he told on his radio show Monday afternoon.

Now, whether James would be tempted to beat Irving because he asked for a trade or because Irving alluded to the fact that James was the one who leaked the trade rumors to the media is unclear.

They will be looking to get both LeBron and Paul George, one general manager said. Anything they have been doing has been all about protecting their cap space next summer.

But the Lakers will have to show improvement this season, especially among its young players, to make it clear they have the potential to play with the Warriors in the West.

Rocket reunion Should Anthony join Chris Paul and James Harden in Houston, the opportunity could be open for James to join the Rockets next summer and play with Paul and Anthony, two of his best friends. It won’t be easy, however. The Rockets would have to get into luxury-tax territory to make that happen, and with the franchise up for sale by owner Les Alexander, there’s no telling what the approach to the tax would be in Houston.

As one league official said, I think that is a great idea in theory, but you’d have to have those guys be willing to take less money than the max. Maybe they will. But they’re all big union guys, and it would be tricky for them to be seen giving owners a break like that.

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LeBron James has turned a slice of Blaze Pizza into roughly a $35 million stake.

According to ESPN, James, along with his business partner and financial adviser made an investment in the pizza chain for less than $1 million in 2012. James’ nearly 10-percent stake in the company is now worth $35 million to $40 million thanks in part to James becoming a Blaze Pizza spokesman in 2015.

For James, success breeds success outside of the sports world as well. The fast-casual chain Blaze Pizza is one of the fastest growing food chains in North America.

Not only did James decide to join the Twitterverse and completely ignore the Kyrie craziness, but he also doesn’t plan to intervene in trade discussions. Windhorst reported James will leave that job to the Cavs front office and owner Dan Gilbert: James has expressed to the team that he is focused on his offseason workout regimen and is planning to report to training camp with the intention of leading his teammates to a fourth consecutive Finals — no matter who those teammates are.

What does the other member of Cleveland’s Big Three think about all of this drama? It turns out Kevin Love might be even less concerned than James.

Did you notice how Love used the word peculiar in that tweet? Probably not a coincidence considering Irving said the Cavs were in a peculiar place this offseason. If nothing else, these Cavs provide plenty of entertainment.

As for Irving, he’s overseas touring around Asia for Nike Basketball. Yeah, don’t think he’s going to address this stuff any time soon.

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The mystery surrounding Allen Iverson’s absence from his BIG3 game Sunday just got a little deeper.

Iverson was seen gambling in a Chicago-area casino the night before the game in Dallas, TMZ Sports reported.

One person said Iverson was still at Rivers Casino as late as 3 a.m. on Sunday. He was then seen at a Chicago-area restaurant Sunday night wearing the same clothes he donned at the casino.

BIG3 released a statement Sunday afternoon saying it was looking into Iverson’s absence and that it had launched an investigation.

So far, BIG3 has not released an update on Iverson’s whereabouts, and Iverson hasn’t posted anything on his social media in several days.

For the Rockets and coach Mike D’Antoni, the hope is that Anthony is ready to love NBA basketball again, that he can take with him to Houston some of that spirit he’s shown as an Olympian over the years. That is, of course, if the Rockets and Knicks are finally able to grant Anthony’s wish and come up with a deal that sends him out of New York and off to Houston, where he could join good friend Chris Paul and MVP runner-up James Harden.

The nuts-and-bolts of Anthony with the Rockets, plainly his preferred team, will be complicated. First, there is the roster. Should Houston have to give up some combination of Ryan Anderson, Trevor Ariza or Eric Gordon, they’ll be left with a significant dropoff in talent from the Anthony-Harden-Paul trio to its second tier of players, even with the signings of veterans like Nene, P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute.

Anthony wants the ball in isolation to do what he does best: create a shot and score. Last season, according to NBA stats, 23.1 percent of Anthony’s possessions came in isolation situations, fourth-most in the league.

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