“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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May 28, 2017 | 5:23 pm EDT Update
The Spurs are reportedly exploring the feasibility of a massive acquisition of Paul, but the odds of the stars aligning for San Antonio reportedly aren’t realistic according to Adrian Wojnarowski, who appeared on CBS Sports Radio on Sunday with Gary Parrish to discuss where Paul might land.
“Not that I see,” Wojnarowski said of Paul’s chances of ending up with the Spurs. “I don’t know where that came from. I’ve spent a lot of time around the Spurs this spring. They would have to just tear up that entire payroll. It’s almost unlike anything the Spurs would’ve done or would do to even have a chance at him. I mean, they’d have to really gut the roster. And to do that for a 30-plus year old point guard, who has a couple great years left, there’s no question — I think there’s more pressure on the Clippers to have to re-sign him than for the Spurs to turn their whole franchise over to make a run at him.”
“Listen, Chris Paul, financially, the difference with him staying in L.A. and to get paid, I’d have a hard time imagining him leaving there,” continued Wojnarowski. “There’s so much money for him to be made and at that Los Angeles market, just in terms of his marketing endorsements, I still think they’re a pretty overwhelming favorite to re-sign him.”
Have they told you they’re going to pick up that option? Bryn Forbes: “Not explicitly, but they don’t really tell you much explicitly, ‘This is what’s going to happen.’ From making the team, I didn’t know what to expect. (Popovich) told me after the last (preseason) game that I made the team. Every step of the way, you find out that last day, even if you thought you knew from the jump.”
Did you know Coach Popovich was going to play you that much? Bryn Forbes: “His style is to just kind of throw you in the fire sometimes, when you least expect it. You come to the game like, ‘Ah, I probably won’t play this one, I’ll probably just be sitting,’ and boom, you’re in the game in the second quarter. You’ve just got to stay prepared. For him to put his trust in me, you always want to show up when he does that, so that he feels more comfortable putting me out there.”
Kevin Durant on Bob Myers: “He doesn’t walk around like he’s the leader. We know he makes the big decisions but we work together, all of us, him and Steve especially. If you see Bob walking with a group of Warriors employees, you wouldn’t know he’s Bob Myers, the president of the team. He just fits in with everybody.”