FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Magic at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Rockets at Thunder, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Lakers at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV) College basketball: VCU at Davidson, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Manhattan at Iona, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Kent State at Ohio, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
— LeBron James has been taking heat as a coach-killer since the conference-leading Cavaliers fired David Blatt last week, but his former team’s boss indicated that description is not accurate — at least not as far as he knows. Amid a report that a Heat minority owner said James asked for Miami coach Erik Spoelstra to be fired a few years ago, Heat president Pat Riley said that request was never made.
“Not from him to me, ever,” Riley said Thursday. “So a lot of stuff is following him out the door. Whether it’s right or wrong, it’s just the nature of it. But as far as that goes, no, he never, ever walked in and said anything.”
James, who left the Heat two year ago to return to the Cavaliers, has staunchly denied every requesting a coach be removed at any point in his career. However, his actions made it clear he preferred Tyronn Lue, the assistant coach who was promoted to replace David Blatt last week.
Apparently James was not alone in lacking respect for Blatt. ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst said on ESPN’s TrueHoop podcast that all the team’s veterans felt the same way.
“I’ve never seen a coach dynamic with a team like I saw with David Blatt,” Windhorst said (via ProBasketballTalk’s Dan Feldman), adding: “I saw a guy who completely was unable to get even a modicum of respect from a majority of his players.
“And I also saw star players and veteran players — not just LeBron, OK. We know LeBron had issues with him. But basically any player that had any sort of veteran status in the league, more than Joe Harris and Matthew Dellavedova — all the veterans didn’t like him, either. He wasn’t able to win over about anybody.”
Blast, the Framingham native who had a very successful career coaching in Israel and Russia, reportedly wants to continue coaching in the NBA.
— The Cowboys apparently are leaning toward parting ways with defensive end Greg Hardy. As if he wasn’t enough of a handful with his sordid past and his confrontations with teammates and coaches, his focus during the season reportedly was not always on the field.
“The problem for the Cowboys is Hardy partied a lot during the season and simply was not in great physical shape as the season wore on and on,” Cole said. “That was part of the reason he was tardy to several meetings during the season and part of the reason the team felt so distracted by his presence.”
Hardy was paid almost $9 million this season for playing 12 games, in which he recorded six sacks and 35 games.
The Las Vegas Sands casino company revealed Thursday that owner Sheldon Adelson has a meeting scheduled Friday with Raiders owner Mark Davis, and it appears they will discuss its plan for a new stadium on the UNLV campus that would be shared with school and a professional team.
Adelson, whose company owns multiple casinos in Las Vegas and other cities, is spearheading the stadium plan.
The Raiders are looking for a new home after its lease with the outdated stadium in Oakland expired. They are negotiating a short-term extension with Oakland for at least next season but are looking for a permanent new home.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 29, 1996, the Red Sox sent outfielder Lee Tinsley, reliever Ken Ryan and minor league outfielder Glenn Murray to the Phillies for which pitcher (and two minor leaguers)?
STAT OF THE DAY: 5-foot-9 — Height of Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, who on Thursday was selected for his first NBA All-Star Game, tying him with former Rockets guard Calvin Murphy as the shortest All-Star ever
‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos):Derrick Rose and E’Twaun Moore combine for an impressive fast break against the Lakers.
Warriors forward Draymond Green is informed by his mother during an interview that he was selected to the NBA All-Star Game.
Olympic legend Michael Phelps helps Arizona State students in their attempt to distract an Oregon State free throw shooter.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Heathcliff Slocumb
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Charlie Wilson, former lead singer of The Gap Band, was born on this day in 1953.
We try and move past the loss in the AFC Championship and look ahead at what's next for Boston's sports teams.
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