Where will King James take his talents to this fall? We asked 48 NBA pros to look into the crystal basketball for their free-agency predictions on LeBron, DeMarcus Cousins and more.
(Editor's note: Not all athletes answered every question.)
Where will LeBron sign in the offseason?
Cavaliers: 59 percent
Lakers: 22 percent
Heat: 7 percent
Other: 12 percent
Others gaining votes: Grizzlies, Rockets, Sixers, "Not the Cavs"
"He won't leave after all the moves they made last week." -- Eastern Conference forward
Where should LeBron sign in the offseason?
Cavaliers: 66 percent
Heat: 8 percent
Lakers: 8 percent
Other: 18 percent
Others gaining votes: Knicks, Rockets, Sixers, "No team in the West"
"Honestly, I'm hoping that he stays in Cleveland, just for that city. ... But I would definitely understand if he left. It's a business. You see how they did Blake [Griffin] after bringing him in during free agency, telling him all of this and all of that, and then they trade him away." -- Eastern Conference forward
Which coach do you think LeBron should pair up with?
Gregg Popovich: 46 percent
Tyronn Lue: 18 percent
Other: 36 percent
Others gaining votes: Brett Brown, Mike D'Antoni, Billy Donovan, David Fizdale, Steve Kerr, Doc Rivers, Erik Spoelstra, Luke Walton, "LeBron coaches himself anyway"
"I think LeBron should be a player-coach." -- Eastern Conference center
Which player do you think LeBron should pair up with?
Here's our latest batch as we move into the All-Star break:
1. The coming tank war of 2018
Holy god. I'm not sure if this is going to be epic, embarrassing -- or both.
There are eight teams with records between 18-41 (Atlanta and Phoenix) and 20-37 (Chicago), with the unicorn-less Knicks (23-36, losers of eight straight) making a late push to join the slap-fight. They are giving minutes to something called Luke Kornet, which sounds like a woodwind instrument. (In fairness, the Unikornet can hit 3-pointers.) The 19-40 Nets aren't even tanking; they're just losing every night!
We could have a legitimate nine-team race for the best lottery odds. I'm not sure if we've ever had a tanking pool this deep. These teams make the Lakers, 23-33, look like a goddamned juggernaut.
(Lakers side note: Under the terms of the Markelle Fultz-Jayson Tatum deal, the Sixers receive the Lakers pick if it falls either at No. 1, or anywhere from No. 6 to No. 30. If Philly nabs L.A.'s pick this season, the Celtics get Sacramento's top-1-protected pick -- GO KINGS! -- next year. Philly receives it if it lands at No. 1. Sacramento has some nice young talent, but right now, how many teams stand to be worse than them next season? Imagine if the Sixers end up with the 10th pick in this draft, and Boston selects No. 2 in 2019? Do not trade with Danny Ainge.)
In theory, the increased number of bad teams could dissuade blatant tankery. With so many variables outside the control of any one team, why would any debase itself and anger the basketball gods? They've all been (kind of) trying for much of the season. We usually have one miserable, gutted sub-20-win outfit, but all these teams are on pace for 25-plus. Maybe they'll all fight to the end? (Stop laughing.)
On the flip side, a couple of unplanned wins could cost a team two, three, even four spots in the draft order.
I'm not sure lottery reform, kicking in next season, would dissuade tankers in this sort of crowded field. The new system cuts the chances of the worst teams nabbing top-three picks, but bumps up the odds for teams in the middle. It may create more incentive to jump from No. 8 to No. 5.
Prepare for some horrid basketball, and some strains and sprains to get around the league's resting policy.
2. The Jamal Murray
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 37 points -- 32 in the first half -- to lead the Knicks, who've lost a season-worst eight straight and are 0-4 since losing All-Star Kristaps Porzingis to a season-ending knee injury. Enes Kanter added 24 points and 14 rebounds.
Markieff Morris' 3-pointer with 1:22 left in the third quarter gave Washington its first lead since it made the game's first basket.
New York reclaimed the lead for the final time, 94-93, on Courtney Lee's jumper with 9:41 left in the game. Washington led for good after Porter's jumper with 6:27 remaining and pulled ahead by as many as eight on three occasions in the final minutes.
The Knicks led 39-26 after the first quarter and 72-51 at halftime, setting a season high for first-half points.
Six-time NBA All-Star Amar'e Stoudemire has joined the Big3 League.
Stoudemire, 35, is among 22 former NBA players to commit to the summertime 3-on-3 league as either a player captain or coach for its second season.
Stoudemire last played professionally in Israel in 2017. The 14-year NBA veteran played eight seasons with the Phoenix Suns and four-plus seasons with the New York Knicks before finishing his career with stints with the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat. Stoudemire signed a one-day contract with the Knicks in 2016 and officially retired from the NBA.
PHILADELPHIA -- Dario Saric scored 24 points to pace all five starters in double figures, and the Philadelphia 76ers won their fourth in a row, 108-92 over the slumping New York Knicks on Monday night.
J.J. Redick had 18 points, Joel Embiid scored 17 and Robert Covington and Ben Simmons each chipped in 13 for the 76ers, who won their 10th straight at home to remain in playoff position in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia, which never trailed, began the night in eighth place in the East, two games clear of Detroit.
Reserve T.J. McConnell had a triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
Michael Beasley scored 22 points to lead the Knicks, who lost their seventh straight. The Knicks were playing their third game without All-Star Kristaps Porzingis, who suffered a torn left ACL last Tuesday against Milwaukee.
Courtney Lee had 18 points in his first game coming off the bench this season for the Knicks. Lee had started all 57 games this season, but coach Jeff Hornacek elected to go with 6-foot-8 Lance Thomas for defensive purposes to guard Simmons.
The Pacers went on a 14-2 run in the second quarter and took a 53-45 lead on an alley-oop layup by Young with 5:45 remaining in the opening half.
Stephenson's 3-pointer with 3:44 to play in the second quarter put Indiana ahead 58-55, and the Pacers never trailed the rest of the way.
They led 68-62 at halftime and put together a 13-2 run in the third quarter to pull away. The Pacers led by as much as 20 when Domantas Sabonis scored to make it 90-70 with 4:10 left in the third.