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Tristan Thompson has pulled the LeBron card

Good morning. We have that and more in Monday's robust NBA newsletter.

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Good morning. Let's basketball.

THE KING HAS SPOKEN: LeBron and Tristan Thompson both attended a wedding over the weekend. So LeBron instagrammed a photo of him and T.T. in tuxes with a caption requesting that a deal get done. LeBron followed that up by essentially no-commenting on the situation again when asked by the media, but it's become increasingly clear that James just wants Thompson in camp. Whether his frustration is aimed at the Cavaliers or at Thompson's patently absurd contract demand is unclear.

By the way, here's Zach Lowe on the Thompson saga. There's going to be a ton of attention on this until it's resolved.

PREVIEWS! Paul Flannery and I gawk at the Spurs -- the good professor notes that Kawhi Leonard becoming the rare zero-time All-Star, one-time MVP this season is the most Spurs thing possible. Here's Pounding The Rock's victory parade disguised as a preview. We also took a look at the Wizards, who I fear could be setting up for a trap season. Bullets Forever is obviously a touch more optimistic.

RIGHT BACK WHERE WE BELONG: Kobe's first shot of the preseason ... hit the backboard. Sing it, my blinged friend. Sam Amick reports on the State of Kobe from Hawaii.

Lakers Nation presents: Kobe Bryant discusses his preseason debut

RIGHT BACK WHERE WE BELONG II: Blake Griffin dunked so hard he broke a shot clock in the pre-game layup lines of the Clippers' first preseason game. No chill.

THE MAGIC OF ANTHONY DAVIS: The Pacers played the Pelicans in their preseason opener on Saturday. It was Paul George's debut as a power forward, which means he lined up against Anthony Davis. It didn't go terribly well, and after the game George seemed basically ready to scrap the experiment. You know, the experiment the Pacers essentially built their entire roster around. Someone tell Paul he only has to play A.D. twice all regular season, OK?

AS GOOD AS HIS NAME: There is a 17-year-old Croatian basketball player named Dragan Bender who has basically taken the United States by storm, as his Maccabi Tel Aviv team plays an exhibition schedule here. He's already been in the top 10 of most 2016 NBA mock drafts; he was No. 3 on our Ricky O'Donnell's last effort. But based on his performances over the last few days, that might be selling the 7'1 Bender low. Ricky explains.

CATCH THE FEVER: The Indiana Fever took a 1-0 lead on the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA Finals on Sunday. Here are three takeaways from Swish Appeal's Jenna Lade. Ashley Williams wonders if the Lynx underestimated the Fever. The Dub plays a best-of-five Finals, so Indiana can win at home on Friday if it wins Game 2 on Tuesday in Minneapolis.

SPEAKING OF THE DUB ... The great Lindsey Adler of Buzzfeed talked to WNBA president Laurel Richie about the marketing, position and salaries of the league as it ends its 19th season.

SO, UH: Kyle Lowry looks pretty fantastic early this preseason, writes Eric Koreen.


Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.

BIZARRE: Stephen A. Smith reported Kevin Durant is more interested in the Lakers than the Wizards or Knicks. Durant called Smith a liar. Smith got meta and creepy. Well done, everyone. I, for one, am ready for nine months of this.

WELP: This is George Karl promising a .500 season for the Kings. Sacramento hasn't had a .500 season since 2006.


BOSH & WADE BACK: Ethan Skolnick gives Heat fans the go-ahead on expecting great things from this version.

NOTED: You can get called for a travel even though you are setting up for a windmill dunk.

THIS CP3 PASS IS PURE CRAZY: Chris Paul is a magical man.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE LETTER $: John Henson signed a four-year, $44 million extension with the Bucks. As was noted by someone I have now forgotten on Twitter, this is the same extension the much more accomplished Larry Sanders signed a few years back.

WHOA: The Bucks' alternate deer head jerseys are incredible. They are also giving the world its first alternate court. I understand why NBA teams do alternate uniforms: to sell a wider variety of jerseys. Are the Bucks planning on selling some official NBA replica flooring or something?

SPEAKETH D'ANTONI: Jake Fischer of has an enjoyable, wide-ranging Q&A with Mike D'Antoni.

WELL THAT'S NOT GREAT: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has a separated shoulder.

ALWAYS BOOGIE: It's training camp, which means DeMarcus Cousins is making emphatic blocks and cursing the refs. Like usual.

MEET THE 25 BEST COLLEGE TEAMS: Ricky O'Donnell and Mike Rutherford run down the top 25 teams in the nation, many of which will produce NBA prospects.

Whew, another long Monday newsletter. Take care and see you next time.

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SB Nation presents: Nets owner puts team through bizarre workout