Rumor Roundup: Cavs, George, Lakers
A look at the latest news, views and moves from around the world of pro hoops.
">Amico Hoops: "Kyrie Irving added 28 points, but added 0 assists and went just 10-of-25 from the field in his second straight Jekyll and Hyde performance. Actually, Game 3 may have actually just been Hyde. Or is it Jekyll?" (Sweep Victory: Cavaliers advance to Round 2
">Amico Hoops: "Either way, the Cavs are likely to need more well-rounded play from their star point guard moving forward." (Sweep Victory: Cavaliers advance to Round 2
Per ESPN: "This preseason, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue talked about managing LeBron James' minutes, as LeBron's coaches long have. The team even bragged about a cutting-edge system that sorts players into red, yellow and green categories of fatigue. But the Cavs struggled and failed to win the East, and James ultimately led the NBA in minutes per game." (Full report.)
Per ESPN: "Here's what we do know about LeBron, though: We know his travel schedule. He's frequently airborne at 1 a.m., crossing time zones, sleeping in airplane seats and getting up for shootaround the next morning. And now we've entered the bailiwick of Cheri Mah, a research fellow at the UCSF Human Performance Center who advises elite athletes on sleep habits. Based on her data, she says, the NBA schedule's days are numbered." (Full report.)
Per CBS Sports: "There were certainly encouraging signs against the Pacers. James averaged 32.8 points on 54.3 percent shooting, including 45 percent from 3-point range, plus 9.8 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 3.0 steals and 2.0 blocks. Irving wasn't always efficient, but he had 37 points in Game 2 and a dominant,16-point third quarter in the clincher. Tristan Thompson once again looks like one of the most effective role players in the league, defending smaller players and boxing out bigger ones. Deron Williams almost never missed a shot." (Full report.) Per CBS Sports: "The most illuminating thing about the Cavs to come out of this first round might not be anything that happened on the court, but rather a quote from general manager David Griffin. In an interview with Fear The Sword's David Zavac, Griffin addressed the defending champs' poor defense in the regular season and the Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of the team." (Full report.) Per Cleveland.com: "Playoff games are a pass/fail test. No style points. In the final 91 seconds of the game, the Cavs came from behind and outscored Indiana, 6-0." (Full column.) Per Cleveland.com: "As Indiana coach Nate McMillian said after the game, when the Cavs need to make big shots, make serious defensive stands and game-winning plays ... that's exactly what they did." (Full column.) Per Sweep Victory: Cavaliers advance to Round 2
">Amico Hoops: "Lots of questions remain in Indy. Was that Paul George’s final game with the Pacers? How will Larry Bird reshape the team? Will Bird himself even bother to return?" (Sweep Victory: Cavaliers advance to Round 2
LeBron James, to reporters: "It was a great series. Paul George is a hell of a player. ... They gave us a fight every game."
Per Yahoo Sports: "Reality rarely lives up to fantasy, and George should take that into consideration as he ponders an uncertain future that hinges on many factors that are beyond his control." (Full column.)
Per Yahoo Sports: "Lakers president Magic Johnson jokingly made his desire to have George in a purple and gold uniform known publicly during an interview last week with late-night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel, laughing and winking about how he was well-versed on tampering and couldn’t recruit a player under contract with another team. And one of the league’s worst-kept secrets is that the Lakers have a strong appeal for George given his affinity for Kobe Bryant and growing up a fan of that team." (Full column.)
Per Sporting News: "There is little doubt that the Pacers are at a crossroads with their franchise player. In July, George could score a mega-extension in the form of a designated veteran exception — it could end up being a six year, $223 million deal — if he makes an All-NBA team." (Full report.)
Per Sporting News: "But in light of what has happened this entire season, right through their Game 3 debacle when they blew the biggest lead in playoff history, you really have to wonder if Indiana wants to go in all-in on George." (Full report.)
Per Sporting News: "So it’s no surprise that Johnson will probably pursue George and set out to build a title team around him, according to multiple sources who have known Johnson over the years." (Full report.)
Per Hoops Rumors: "In the same piece Lawrence goes on to add that a better fit for George may be Boston because the Celtics, unlike the Lakers, boast the strong-willed vets to withstand George’s occasional negativity." (Full report.)
Per Hoops Rumors: "Indiana native Jeff Teague‘s future with the Pacers is uncertain, Clifton Brown of the Indianapolis Star writes. The point guard will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after a disappointing 2016/17 campaign. 'I have no clue, I’ve never been a free agent, I don’t know how it goes. I love it here, but you never know, how they feel about me or whatever. I love being in Indiana, it’s great, got a home here. But you never know.'" (Full report.)
Per CBS Sports: "If the Celtics go on to win this series, assuming Rondo is unable to return, they will have beaten the No. 8 seed 4-2. That's not a bad end result. The fact that the Celtics were down 0-2 and looked lost will be forgotten as the playoffs move along. Is their first round a success then? Are all the things the Bulls exposed in the first two games an illusion, caused by the Celtics' emotional turmoil? Or will another team find a way to exploit the things Chicago can't now that Rondo's out?" (Full column.)
Per the Washington Post: "To properly test the Cavaliers, the third-seeded Raptors need to get past the sixth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in their first round playoff series. And that is proving to be far from easy, as the series is tied 2-2 despite the success Toronto enjoyed last year, along with the upgrades it made in February." (Full report.)
Per the Washington Post: "Those struggles will be on Masai Ujiri’s mind this summer, when he has to decide what to do as Kyle Lowry becomes an unrestricted free agent. As a 10-year veteran, Lowry will be eligible for the 35 percent veteran maximum salary — which, on a five-year deal, would mean his next deal will be worth north of $200 million." (Full report.)
Per the Washington Post: "Given how much Lowry has struggled in the postseason, will Ujiri be willing to pay up that kind of money to keep him around, especially given Lowry would be 36 years old at the end of such a deal?" (Full report.)
Per the Atlanta Journal Constitution: "Hawks owner Tony Ressler on re-signing Paul Millsap: 'We are going to make every effort imaginable to keep him.'"
Per Basketball Insiders: "I was told if Magic can't land Team President targets -- they'd shift to bigger name GM, Matt Lloyd possible in every scenario, but less likely."
Per the Salt Lake Tribune: "The Duke University freshman and former Lone Peak High superstar — the most recent Utahn to be a McDonald's All-American — declared for the NBA draft on Saturday night. Jackson will not hire an agent and will go through the pre-draft process before making a final decision on his collegiate eligibility." (Full report.)
Per David Pick: "Source: Lithuania 6-foot-9 forward Arnoldas Kulboka to test NBA draft waters. GMs headed to Bamberg. Smooth stroke, long-term upside."
Per The Undefeated: "Former two-time NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury told The Undefeated that he has been released from the final year of his contract with the Beijing Ducks after winning three championships in six seasons." (Full report.)
Former Canton Charge and Kent State swingman Chris Evans has agreed to a contract with Argentinian club GECR Indalo, per Amico Hoops.