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Charles Barkley Laughs Off LeBron James’ Comments, Stand By His Criticism

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It appears that the back-and-forth between NBA analyst and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley and Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James isn’t going to end anytime soon, and neither is backig off of their comments.

Last week, Barkley called James “whiny” for his public calling for the Cavaliers to add more players to the roster.

“Inappropriate. Whiny. All of the above,” Barkley said of James then. “The Cleveland Cavaliers, they have given him everything he wanted. They have the highest payroll in NBA history. He wanted J.R. Smith last summer, they paid him. He wanted [Iman] Shumpert last summer. They brought in Kyle Korver. He’s [LeBron] the best player in the world. Does he want all of the good players? He don’t want to compete? He is an amazing player. They’re the defending champs.”

James wasn’t too thrilled with Barkley’s comments and told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin on Monday night that he won’t let Barkley “disrespect my legacy like that.”

But James didn’t stop there:

“I’m not the one who threw somebody through a window. I never spit on a kid. I never had unpaid debt in Las Vegas,” James told ESPN. “I never said, ‘I’m not a role model.’ I never showed up to All-Star Weekend on Sunday because I was in Vegas all weekend partying.”

Barkley was asked about James’ comments and didn’t seem too concerned:

“I have no problem with what LeBron said,” Barkley said on ESPN Chicago’s Waddle & Silvy radio show on Tuesday.

“Some of it was true. I did pay my debt, that’s not true. I was never late to the All-Star Game, so that’s not true. But I don’t overreact, I’m not gonna say anything bad about him or get personal, I stick by what I said. He was all whiny and everything last week. If I’m going to be straightforward, like I always try to be, I know guys are going to come back at me sometimes. I’m good.

He got personal but I’m never going to get personal on an NBA player. All of my criticisms or critiques are always just about basketball and I’m going to keep doing what I do.”

“Clearly, [James] Googled me and found out some things,” Barkley said. “I’m not going to get upset because somebody said something bad about me. I’m not like 12 years. My initial criticism was fair and I’m good with that.”

“Some of those things he said about [me] were correct, but that doesn’t make my message incorrect,” Barkley said. “I thought he was really whiny and complaining the last couple of weeks, talking about you got no help. And I’m just like, ‘Dude you just won the championship, and it’s the middle of the season and you’re just bashing your teammates.’ I think that that wasn’t right.”

“Any time you criticize these young guys, they call you a hater,” Barkley said. “They never ask you if the criticism is fair or not. I’ve said the guy is one of the 10 greatest players ever. I’ve said the guy is the best player in the world. I’ve said he’s a wonderful guy. I’m not sure how that constitutes hating just because he’s bashing his teammates everyday.”

“I’ve only met LeBron casually,” Barkley said. “He’s always been great to me. I think I’ve been great and cordial to him, but this notion that we have to be friends — we’re never gonna be friends. And that’s not a negative thing. I’m not friends with none of these young guys. My job is to do my job.”

 

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

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Cleveland Cavaliers

Steph Curry Talks LeBron James Trash Talking During Game 1 of NBA Finals

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Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry is gearing up, along with his team, to defend their 2018 NBA Championship, their 2nd in a row and 3rd in 4 years, when the 2018-2019 regular season kicks off this fall, but he is still discussing the 2018 NBA Finals.

Curry specifically is discussing his shock as the trash talk from then Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, which threw Curry off.

Curry and James’ relationship is seemingly in an odd place. James was “like a mentor” to Curry when curry was in college playing at Davidson, but things seem a bit icy now as Curry’s Warriors and James’ Cavaliers (James is now on the Los Angeles Lakers) met in some heated battles in the NBA Finals over the past couple of years.

Despite the shift in their relationship, Curry was still caught of guard by James’ approach, particularly in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals.

“It was never going to spill over to that” Curry said, during an appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast (h/t NBC Sports Bay Area’s Drew Shiller).

“But it was an interesting moment …I was hot because I was trying to finish out a possession, I think it was less than a minute left, I didn’t see him coming over from the weak side so I tried to do a little soft scoop layup and he pinned it. Then he stared me down and he said something to me.

“And I was like, ‘That’s what we’re really on right now? We’re about to win and you’re worried about mean-blocking my shot and talking trash?’ And then the whole Tristan and Draymond thing happened and I went back up to him and I was like, ‘Yo, what’s up? Is this really what we’re about right now?’

“And he was like, ‘I gotta do that to make sure my teammates know I’m a mentor’ and it’s a part of his leadership and that type of deal. And I was like, ‘I don’t want to be the sacrificial lamb for your leadership.’ (laughter). Come on man, that’s messed up.”

The rift goes a bit deeper than that, and a book from The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson, entitled ‘Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry’, it is elaborated, highlighting a 2016 Halloween Party thrown by James that featured a dummy of Steph Curry that was on the floor, forcing guests to step over it.

Now that the two are in the same division, thanks to James’ signing with the Lakers, betting websites will have a field day this season when the two teams take the court, and James continues his mission to topple the juggernaut Warriors.

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Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavs’ Tristan Thompson Allegedly Punched Warriors’ Draymond Green at Night Club

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Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson and Golden State Warriors’ forward Draymond Green apparently took their on-court beef off the court as the two allegedly had an altercation at a Los Angeles night club.

According to online gossip site Bossip, Green had approached Thompson to apologize for what happened after Game 4 of the NBA Finals, but Thompson wasn’t interested.

When Green persisted, Thompson punched Green.

Green and Thompson got into it numerous times throughout the Finals, with Green even insulting Thompson as Thompson attempted to shake his hand following the infamous Game 4.

Here is more from The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre:

 

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Cleveland Cavaliers

Kevin Love Signs Extension With the Cavs

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Kevin Love surprised the Twitter GMs and signed a 4 year, $120 million extension to stay in Cleveland. The full value of the deal will wash out to 5 years and about $145 million, around $10 million below his max for an extension. This clearly signals that Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers want to remain competitive in the wake of LeBron James’ exodus.

The initial reaction across the NBA landscape was that Cleveland would look to tear the roster down to the studs and start over. The Cavs owe their 2019 first round pick to Atlanta if it falls outside of the top 10, so trading Kevin Love would’ve not only helped clear their books, but also almost guaranteed that they keep their pick. Bringing him back into the fold makes that much more precarious. The roster now contains a mixed bag of inconsistent youth and holdovers from the most recent LeBron era that won’t take kindly to a middling team not in the championship conversation. The Cavs seem to be split between two paths.

But that’s not forever. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, “Cleveland is still projecting to have close to $70M in cap space during the summer of 2020 to reshape the roster.” The Cavs can get off of George Hill, JR Smith and Kyle Korver for less than $10 million after this season. That leaves only Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clarkson as expiring contracts in the following season to free the Cavs of all their (current) bad money. Cleveland is never going to be a free agent destination without LeBron, but keeping Kevin Love makes them a much more attractive option for free agents, and they’ll have plenty of money to play with.

If that doesn’t pan out, Cleveland can still trade Love in the future. This extension makes him a cost-controlled asset, giving other teams more certainty. Yes, it’s more years and more money but Kevin Love is still an All-Star. Making him the focal point of the offense should allow him to put up big numbers and recoup some of the market value he’s lost while playing a diminished role alongside LeBron. In the coming years, all the ghastly cap-spike deals will be coming off teams’ books, opening lots of cap space around the league. There are only so many stars available and some teams will inevitably strike out. Combine that with some pressure from ownership to win now and Kevin Love can be a very desirable option.

Even with the extension the Cavs are far from a playoff lock. Their second best player may very well be a rookie. So perhaps an injury or a few strategically placed DNPs could allow them to keep their pick. Either way, Love wanted to stay in Cleveland. That’s a nice change for a city that doesn’t have a lot of experience with that. The goalposts for success have changed, but after years of watching this team trudge through the doldrums of the regular season, this young, talented team could be a lot of fun for fans to watch night in and night out.

 

 

 

Follow David on Twitter @dmcgowan24

 

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