“At the end of the day, it sucks at times where certain guys have to rest but certain guys need rest,” James said. Neither Irving, who went off for 46 points against the Lakers, nor James, who added 34 points, would agree that the NBA has a problem of stars sitting out of too many games. They acknowledged the disappointment of fans and both said they wanted to play against the Clippers, but also said players resting at times throughout the regular season is unavoidable.
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The Cavs were scheduled for games on consecutive nights 16 times this season. “This is our sixth game in eight days and I don’t think anyone realized that,” Irving said. “We’re not here to complain about it but honestly playing basketball six games in eight days is a lot. But we prepare our bodies for it and I don’t have any ill-will toward the NBA being disappointed or the fans because I totally understand.”
When the word “problem” was thrown at James, he pinned it against the backboard like an Andre Iguodala layup. “Well, I’ve been part of six straight Finals and every single season and every single Finals has been bigger and bigger and bigger and better and better and more people have tuned in,” James said. “So, I don’t see there’s a problem going on with our league. There’s nothing bad at all with our league right now.”
Cleveland general manager David Griffin told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that the league office called him shortly after the team announced its decision Saturday. “Yeah, they were not happy,” Griffin said.
But the GM also said it isn’t his job to appease the league and its television partners (which include ESPN). “Yeah, and they’re paying me to win a championship,” he told Shelburne. “I’m not overly concerned about the perception of it. We literally had one guy rest tonight, and everybody else was reasonably injured, so I don’t feel like we did anything terribly egregious.”
Griffin said the Cavs’ situation was different than that of the Warriors, who rested healthy players against the Spurs. “It was nothing like the last time that happened,” he told ESPN, referring to last weekend. “Those were three healthy dudes that rested. That’s not what happened tonight. Yeah, it sucks from a timing perspective. I feel bad for the league. I really do. I feel bad for the league, but it is what it is for us, from an injury standpoint. As you know, we haven’t had a team together for more than a week at a time all year.”
The Cleveland Cavaliers rested their Big Three on Saturday night in a 108-78 loss to the Clippers, prompting protests from frustrated fans and former players. Among those was Hall of Famer Karl Malone, who had a strongly worded message for players who pick rest over performing. Sage Steele: HOF’er Karl Malone: “if you don’t have at least 10 yrs experience, get your a** playing. It’s not work, it’s called playing. Besides tell our underpaid service members & police & first responders to rest. Dammit, they can’t.”
Although his Clippers team was the beneficiary of the Cavaliers’ decision to rest LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love on Saturday night, trouncing Cleveland’s reserves 108-78, coach Doc Rivers said that the NBA needs to address the “back-to-back” scheduling of nationally broadcast games. “We have to protect our product,” Rivers said. “It’s hard. It’s impossible, if you actually knew what went into scheduling, but the look of back-to-back ABC national games — it’s not good.”
Johnson, Rodney McGruder and Wayne Ellington said Heat players were disappointed when James and Irving were held out Saturday on the second night of a back-to-back set. “We wanted those guys to play,” Ellington said. “When we found out they were sitting out, we were like, ‘Ah, man.’ We wanted that challenge. We look forward to that. [Monday] is a huge test for us.” Still, James Johnson said the Heat felt no disrespect because the Cavs rested their two stars. “You’re going to rest players like that,” he said. “They’re at the top. Everyone is chasing them. They can do whatever they want.”
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July 20, 2017 | 10:06 pm EDT Update
Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said Tuesday that he has plans to give DeMar DeRozan more time at point guard during the 2017-18 season. “We got to have a better mentality of ball movement, man movement and spacing,” Casey said on Wednesday while on The Andrew Walker Show on Sportsnet 590 The FAN.
Casey also said that he’s not going to shy away from allowing DeRozan to create in the mid-range in iso situations, knowing it helps him draw fouls. But the focus is clear: the Raptors are looking to create more ball movement. “Everyone and their brother knows we want better ball movement,” said Casey.
Brett Dawson: Lot of questions about Dakari Johnson’s role. He’ll be 15th man. Your 15th man doesn’t play much. Still likely will spend some time w/ Blue. Johnson is an inexpensive guy who has grown a ton as a player, and the Thunder likes him. This is the logical next step for him.
Trail Blazers teammates Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have been trying to sell Carmelo Anthony on joining Portland in a potential trade. They see Anthony as a missing piece to a team that was the No. 8 seed in a now-stacked Western Conference. Lillard went as far as to imply that Anthony joining Portland would make the Blazers at Golden State’s level or better.
The Warriors swept the Trail Blazers (easily) in the first round of the NBA playoffs last season. With that in mind, Draymond Green had himself a good laugh upon hearing of Lillard’s comments.
July 20, 2017 | 9:19 pm EDT Update
The Lakers met with free-agent guard Ian Clark for 45 minutes on Thursday afternoon, according to a league source familiar with the situation.The Lakers have expressed interest in Clark in recent weeks for various reasons, but no offer was made.
The Lakers view the 26-year-old Clark as a good mentor for rookie point guard Lonzo Ball after helping the Warriors win the 2017 NBA championship. After only playing four years in the NBA, Clark still could further cement his career with the Lakers should he have a productive season.