There’s only so long an NBA career can last and LeBron James has officially reached a crossroads. Yes, he’s only 26 years old and in his eighth season, but that’s almost a negative. How’s this all still going on? 11 points through 60 fourth-quarter minutes in the Finals. A lower scoring average than Chris Bosh in the biggest series of your career. Being thoroughly dominated and overshadowed by Dirk Nowitzki. Being outscored in a game by DeShawn Stevenson. Being guarded often in the second half of two games by a 38-year-old, 6-4 point guard and doing NOTHING about it. Those things are inexcusable. Indefensible. Now, he’s down to two chances. If Miami doesn’t win this…we don’t even want to say. Sunday night is shaping up to be one of the more interesting NBA games, well, ever … On the other side, if the Mavs finish off this improbable run, where will Dirk sit on the all-time list? Is he one of the top 10, top five clutch shooters of all-time? … So there’s no question Monta Ellis is on his way to becoming the next big-time player traded. Not only have the Warriors started to leak inquiries with the Sixers and Iguodala, with Memphis and Rudy Gay and even with the Bulls and Luol Deng, but now people from Ellis’ camp seem resigned to the fact. If he is gonna be traded, send him somewhere that is a scorer away from competing for a title, they are saying. And now there are reports Ellis and David Lee couldn’t stand each other last season, and didn’t even want to see each other off the court. Funny how this stuff always seems to come up when someone is on his way out of town … Is there a reason why Pat Ewing hasn’t been given more of an opportunity to climb the coaching ladder? He spoke yesterday about reaching out to the Knicks. He’s only helped turn Dwight Howard into a monster, the same person who couldn’t even execute a drop step when he first got to the league. With his good friend Mark Jackson getting a shot, maybe Ewing’s time is close? … And supposedly, former team cancer Bonzi Wells worked out yesterday for the Knicks and he “impressed.” On one hand, 94% of Knicks fans just muttered “Greeeeattt…” as they threw their hands in disgust. On the other hand, we miss Bonzi … Leandro Barbosa might be following the money trail, and that thing leads right back home to Brazil. Barbosa has a $7.6 million option with Toronto next year, and his brother says they will definitely look into going back home. Supposedly, the sponsorship opportunities are tremendous … Rolling through Los Angeles, Derek Fisher made sure to set up a dinner with new Laker coach Mike Brown. How much you wanna bet that in between bites of steak, Brown was all over Fisher like: “C’mon. What does Kobe think? Does he like me?” … Damn, Scottie Pippen has been taking some heat lately. The latest comes from Stan Van Gundy, who told reporters that he isn’t sure whether Pip was even a star. The same affliction that his brother suffers from (going one step too far with everything) has made its way to Stan … We got a chance to catch up with Charles Barkley yesterday, and while he was surprisingly neutral with LeBron (“being treated a little unfairly”), the Great Mouth touched on something about Shaq that we don’t think is appreciated enough: The Diesel never had serious injuries. Yes, he was hurt all the time with minor stuff, mostly as a cause of coming into camp outta shape. But to be that big, we were all blessed to see him on the court in his prime instead of street clothes, considering all the great or potentially great centers whose careers were robbed from them. You know what else? This whole conversation just makes Dwight Howard seem even more unique (he’s missed seven games in his whole career) … And Jimmy Kimmel has been killing it lately with the NBA gigs, whether it’s pulling pranks on players or singing about them … We’re out like Bonzi.
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