“It’s that and more, in terms of having a head coach that allows you to grow and wants to push you every single time you step on that floor. Whether it be in practice or walkthrough or in the game, he’s just consistently giving me encouragement and making sure that I understand how big this game is and how you manage it throughout 48 minutes. So I’m just very appreciative that I can follow a guy like that and he allows me to be one of the leaders on the team.” Irving specifically says he is one of the leaders. He rejects the notion that he wanted to leave Cleveland to be “The Guy,” something sources have refuted as a misnomer. The emphasis is on being in a culture with the balance and organizational consistency that allows him to thrive. The fractured top-down structure in Cleveland led to too many imbalances in power, decision-making and forward direction.
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LeBron James is loathe to place that burden on Isaiah Thomas (“We can’t rely on just one person.”). Yet he knows, better than anyone, how badly he needs him. “It’s been a while since I’ve had that clear-cut guy who can get guys involved but also score at the same time,” James told B/R Mag. “But it’s fine. It’s something that our team will make an adjustment to.”
Marla Ridenour: LeBron on Kyrie: “When he ready for keys I was ready to give to him. Only thing I’m upset about is he took some of the blueprint to Boston.”
Brian Windhorst: LeBron James on Kyrie Irving: “I was ready to give him the keys…I tried to help him be as good as he could be…I don’t have any advice for him now, you’re either with us or against us…it was a gratifying three years together.” He said he hasn’t communicated with Irving since trade.
As the world waits for the Cleveland Cavaliers to trade Kyrie Irving – there’s almost zero chance he starts the season on the Cavs roster – a possible kernel of hope for everyone in Ohio: Kyrie has been hanging out in Miami some this offseason, and LeBron may have spent some time there … so maybe the two met up? Woj went on ESPN radio this morning to address the rumors: “There’s always a lot of stuff that floats around on the internet … I don’t know of any meeting. I know they both spent time in Miami. I know Kyrie has been at the University of Miami working out over the last weeks … and LeBron spends some time there in the offseason too … it’s not inconceivable that they could cross paths somewhere. But it even if they did, it’s not going to change anything. To me, it doesn’t mean anything. I’m not sure there’s anything for them to talk out. Kyrie’s made his trade request, and it’s for reasons bigger than Lebron, and he’s not going to rescind that.”
ESPN Cleveland: Windy on LeBron’s tweets: “In this case, we don’t have to parse his words. Of course LeBron is a upset at Kyrie.”
Many Cavs players and coaches – including Kevin Love and coach Tyronn Lue – has spent the summer in southern California. Most if not all Cleveland players are expected to attend James’ workouts, including Kyrie Irving, who will likely attend despite playing this summer for Team USA in the Rio Olympics, according to a source.
LeBron James: They said u lost a step, wasn’t explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don’t have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won’t work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won’t work, love your teammates to much, there’s no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc…. But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir https://www.instagram.com/p/BG5Byk7iTGF/
The kind of brilliance that Irving put on display — one of the main reasons James wanted to return to Cleveland in the first place — has almost never accompanied James in these moments. Irving may have officially arrived as an NBA superstar in scoring 41 points on 17-of-24 shooting to go with six assists on Monday. Together, they became the first duo to both score 40-plus points in an NBA Finals game. “You got a guy like this who’s very special,” James said, gesturing toward Irving next to him at the interview table. “Probably one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen live.”
Even though James went on the record to say his tweets didn’t have anything to do with the Cleveland Cavaliers, there were still skeptics. When Kyrie Irving posted a vague tweet of his own, suddenly it was subtweet sabotage. Or was it? “I don’t really check Twitter for people’s comments or what they’re saying or anything like that,” Irving told ESPN.com. “I didn’t think it was directed toward me at all. I know everybody made a big deal about it and then I tweet and then all of the sudden it’s a subtle beef between me and Bron. No, I don’t think Bron tweets for me and I don’t think I tweet for LeBron.”
Now that James’ tweet-driven news cycle has thankfully been put to bed and we can look back at it, did it end up having any effect on the team in terms of creating tension? “No, no, no, not at all,” Irving said. “If it did, I think I would have said something.”
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March 24, 2018 | 5:26 am EDT Update
Think about it. It’s fair to wonder if the Jazz even wanted to win. Put yourself in Dennis Lindsey’s shoes. The Jazz GM has a solid team, a frontline center and an exciting rookie to build around. But he needs another star. The top of the draft looks chock full of them. So maybe, with your team stinking up the joint in January, you sit Gobert a few more weeks and join the race to the bottom. Earlier this week, I asked Jazz coach Quin Snyder if he ever had those conversations. “Never,” Snyder said. “That’s just not how we do things. There was never any kind of suggestion of that. In the larger picture, we’re finding out who we are. This experience right now, having to compete for a spot, there is value in that. Things might happen — you can’t take anything for granted. The result ultimately isn’t the only reflection of where you are. The goal for me is to continue to improve. Not X wins, or how many in a row, but how can we keep getting better. It’s how we started the beginning of the year. It’s how we are now. We aren’t overthinking it.”
“He pays attention to every detail,” Mitchell told Yahoo Sports. “Every little thing. Even at shootaround, if we’re walking through a play, if you’re standing in the wrong spot, he’ll yell at you, he’ll let you know so you are always locked in. That plays a part in development. When you are locked in all the time, you form habits.”
Tom Orsborn: Manu on winning six straight: “Unexpected to tell you the truth. Not that we aren’t optimistic,. But we were a little demoralized, a little down…But we can’t be satisfied. We have to go on the road and keep improving.”
“One thing when you’ve got a bunch of young guys is they don’t understand what it takes to survive in this league,” Bickerstaff said. “If you want to make it there’s a matter of bounce-back, a matter of pride, a matter of mental toughness that you have to show on every given night and every opportunity you get. What happened tonight… there’s no defending the way we played.
Bickerstaff nor Gasol were in the locker room when it opened for media after the game. Perhaps that was a good thing because several Grizzlies players didn’t appear to take the loss hard given the amount of laughter and joking between them.
Curry was not made available to reporters postgame. He wasn’t anywhere in sight once the locker room opened. After his first two ankle injuries, he talked to reporters. After all three that happened in-game this season, he was in the locker room, which gave an early sense of how he was feeling and moving, a peek at Stage 1 of the treatment. But this injury is different, it’s likely more severe and, for the first time during this recent rash of freak accidents to all their main guys, the return timeline is threatening to bleed into the postseason.