Dane Moore: Russell Westbrook now officially ruled out of tonight’s matchup with the Timberwolves. Westbrook is resting the second night of the Rockets back-to-back. There will be a lot of Ben McLemore and Chris Clemons for Houston in Westbrook’s absence.
February 1, 2023 | 8:59 am EST Update
Multiple NBA sources said the Golden State Warriors have had internal discussions about Thybulle and that they do like him as a defensive stopper. The Sacramento Kings are also reportedly monitoring his availability. A league source confirmed the interest, saying Kings coach Mike Brown is a fan of Thybulle, who would add a defensive presence to Sacramento’s starting lineup. The Kings (28-21), who surprisingly sit at third place in the Western Conference, are pondering upgrades for a postseason push after an NBA-record 16 straight seasons without a playoff appearance. The Kings’ and Warriors’ interest makes sense and is something to pay attention to.
So Thybulle was shopped last summer. Sources said the Sixers even attempted to trade him to the Portland Trail Blazers on draft night as part of a three-team deal that would have brought the Houston Rockets’ Eric Gordon to Philly.
James was asked if he thought the achievement — a hallowed record in not just basketball but across all professional sports — was now “heavier” with it being so close. “It’s not getting heavier,” he said. “I’m going to do it. I mean, it’s just a matter of time when I’m going to do it. It’s not heavy. I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be in this league for at least a few more years. “I’m going to do it. It’s not heavy at all.”
James’ ability to sustain at such a high level remained otherworldly, as the 38-year-old star is now 89 points away from passing Abdul-Jabbar’s record scoring mark that has stood for nearly 39 years. “He’s just a kid who’s grown before our eyes, the last 20 years at this level, has done nothing but play the right way and make the play that’s in front of him,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “Regardless of how much he’s been criticized for a while for not taking the last shots and the overpassing, he’s just making the right plays. You saw that again tonight.”
The question is how much more can he pad his soon-to-be scoring record? James hasn’t played more than 67 games in a season since 2017-18, but even if he plays 60 next year and sees a modest dip in his scoring average to 25 points per game, we’re looking at 1,500 more points, which would make him the first player to clear the 40,000 barrier. If he plays one more year after that to get in his run with Bronny, that would likely add another 1,500 or so and set the record at 42,000 points.
In other words, breaking LeBron’s record will probably require averaging more points per game than he did, because playing as many games in this era will be extremely difficult. (It’s also possible the league shortens the schedule at some point.) Additionally, James got an extra year at the beginning of his career relative to today’s players because he came to the league straight from high school, which is not possible at the moment. The league could potentially reverse its position, of course, but for now it’s another impediment to any potential record-breaker. James got a 1,654-point lead on the field in that 2003-04 season in Cleveland.
In a reminder of how generational of a talent James is, he also passed Mark Jackson and Steve Nash to move up to fourth on the all-time assist list. There’s a reasonable chance he moves into first in points and fourth in assists in the same week, illustrating both his remarkable durability and his uniquely fitted offensive repertoire. “It’s amazing because that’s just what I love to do and get my guys involved,” James said of passing Jackson and Nash. “I try to put the ball on time and on target with my guys throughout the course of my career and I’m with another great group that allows me to see the space and see the floor and I’m able to get it to them and try to get it to them with the right type of pass. But they have to make the shots and they’ve done a great job of that. Not only this season, but over the course of my career, so it’s pretty cool.