LeBron James tired of biting his tongue: 'Screw Charles Barkley'

LeBron James tired of biting his tongue: 'Screw Charles Barkley'

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James is done bowing to Sir Charles.

After he was criticized by Charles Barkley for questioning Cleveland's front office, James tore into the former NBA star and opinionated TV commentator on Monday night following a loss in Dallas. James not only countered what was said about him but he also attacked Barkley's character for some off-the-court missteps.

"I'm not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that," James told ESPN after the Cavs lost 104-97 to Dallas, dropping the defending champions to 7-8 in January. "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. 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.

"All I've done for my entire career is represent the NBA the right way. Fourteen years, never got in trouble. Respected the game. Print that."

Barkley has never been one to hold back his opinion on James or any other player, but the 11-time All-Star was particularly critical of James last week after Cleveland's star complained about Cleveland's roster being "top-heavy" and questioning whether the team's front office was satisfied with one title.

Barkley said James was "whiny" and "inappropriate" and wondered about his motives. Barkley called James "the best player in the world" but wondered if he really wanted to compete. James initially dismissed Barkley, saying he was only trying to boost TV ratings. Barkley works as an in-studio host for TNT.

However, James decided he couldn't let those comments go and turned on Barkley, who never won an NBA title.

"He's a hater. What makes what he says credible? Because he's on TV?" James said. "I know he wanted to retire a long time ago, but he can't. He's stuck up on that stage every week."

James also said if Barkley wants to continue any discussion, he knows where to find him.

"If this makes him want to talk to me, the schedule's out there," James said. "He knows every road arena I'll be in. Don't just come up to me at All-Star and shake my hand and smile."

This isn't the first time James has fired back this season at detractors. He was upset when New York Knicks president Phil Jackson referred to his close friends and business partners as his "posse."

James hasn't forgotten Jackson's words, firing back at him to ESPN as well.

"I went to see (Carmelo Anthony) at the Garden two years ago when we were in New York," James said. "They played Portland. I went up to a suite at halftime, and Phil Jackson didn't say one word to me."

James and the Cavs have been struggling lately as they try to defend their title. All-Star forward Kevin Love has been dealing with back spasms and missed Monday's game and starting guard J.R. Smith remains sidelined with a broken thumb.

James insists the Cavs just need to play better and in the interim he vowed not to let anyone criticize him.

"I collect one paycheck from this," James said of his role with the Cavs. "There's the owner, Griff's [David Griffin] the GM, I'm the player. Screw Charles Barkley.

"I'm tired of biting my tongue. There's a new sheriff in town."

The Associated Press contributed to this story

Report: During players-only meeting, Spurs implore Kawhi to return to lineup


Report: During players-only meeting, Spurs implore Kawhi to return to lineup

The Kawhi Leonard saga continues to take twists and turns.

After last Saturday night's win over Minnesota, the Spurs had a players-only meeting and implored Kawhi Leonard to return to game action, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

It didn't seem to work.

From Woj:

Leonard, 26, was resolute in response, insisting that he had good reason for sitting out all but nine games with a right quad injury this season, league sources said.

Leonard has targeted games in the recent week, only to decide that he wasn't feeling confident in the injury to return, league sources said.

After San Antonio's shootaround on Wednesday, Manu Ginobili was asked about Kawhi.

"He is not coming back," Ginobili told reporters. "For me, he's not coming back because it's not helping. We fell for it a week ago again. I guess you guys made us fall for it.

"But we have to think that he's not coming back, that we are who we are, and that we got to fight without him. That shouldn't be changing, at least until he is ready for the jump ball."

Entering Thursday, the Spurs (42-30) are in 5th place in the Western Conference, three games clear of the 9th-place Nuggets. 

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Warriors keeping quiet on playoff roster battles for the right reasons


Warriors keeping quiet on playoff roster battles for the right reasons

OAKLAND -- At the mention of the most relevant non-injury question related to the Warriors, Steve Kerr treats the subject like an IRS bill he’ll eventually have to pay.

“It’s not even something that we have to address,” Kerr said the other day.

On the same subject, Kerr’s boss, general manager Bob Myers, also goes into full procrastination mode.

“We’ll sit down at the end of this regular season,” Myers told 95.7 FM The Game on Wednesday, “and decide what our playoff roster should look like.”

Ah, yes, the playoff roster. Neither Kerr nor Myers is sharing details -- on whether Quinn Cook will be included -- because they don’t have to, don’t need to and are smart enough to avoid the fallout sure to follow a premature announcement.

Understand, though, Kerr and Myers realize they have to add Cook. The young point guard has earned it on merit and out of potential need.

Since replacing the injured Stephen Curry in the starting lineup March 9, Cook is averaging 16.3 points per game on 52.7-percent shooting, including 43.3 percent from deep. Over the last three games, as Cook grew comfortable with his role, those numbers rose to 24.3, 60.4 and 54.5.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all what Quinn’s doing,“ Kerr said. “We watched him in the G-League all year, lighting it up. We watched him in practice here; he’s one of our best shooters. And all of a sudden he’s playing 40 minutes? This is what he can do.”

“We kept telling him, go get 20. Go get 25. We need that. If you look at our roster without the guys that we have, he should be our leading scorer. That’s what he does.”

Yet the Warriors wisely will delay any announcement as long as possible. They can wait as late as April 11, the last day an NBA contract can be signed and be effective for this season. They have until noon April 13 to submit the postseason roster.

Cook, as a two-way player, doesn’t possess a standard NBA contract. He can only be added to the postseason roster if the Warriors create an opening. Someone on the current 15-man roster, holding a guaranteed contract, would have to be released before additions can be made.

No one is more vulnerable in that regard than Omri Casspi, who has been in and out of the lineup more than anyone else mostly as a result of inconsistent play, poor defense and nagging injuries. The veteran fell out of the rotation in January and was relegated mostly to blowout minutes before a cluster of injuries struck the team.

The Warriors have become increasingly reluctant to play him in crucial moments, and the playoffs are all about crucial moments.

The only other candidate is center Damian Jones, who almost certainly won’t play in the postseason. He spent nearly all season with G-League Santa Cruz, but remains on the team’s radar beyond this season. The Warriors aren’t certain he’s a keeper, but they’ve exercised the option to bring him back next season.

Which brings us back to Casspi, the veteran forward who signed a one-year contract last July. The Warriors are not invested in him beyond this season.

The team is moderately invested in Cook. His two-way contract runs through next season. Off what he has shown this season, particularly in recent games, he’s a strong candidate to swap the two-way pact for a standard NBA deal next season.

“He’s been great for us,” Myers told 95.7 The Game. “The future will be interesting. We like him a lot.”

Cook, who turns 25 on Friday, is the most dynamic point guard on the roster not named Stephen Curry. In the wake of Curry’s recurrent ankle woes this season, Kerr and Myers are acutely aware of the value in having someone comfortable sharing the load at the point with veteran Shaun Livingston. You may remember last year, when the Warriors were desperate enough to sign 35-year-old Jose Calderon for a similar role.

Cook is, at this time, more valuable than either Casspi or Jones. Or Calderon.

“We’re setting the roster going into the playoffs and make the best decision that allows us to win,” Myers said. “(CEO Joe Lacob) has made it clear. One thing about Joe . . . it’s about that. That’s the only directive he gives. Go win.

“Steve’s the coach. He’s the boss. He’s the captain of that ship, as far as what the roster should look like going into the playoffs.”

Cook’s fine work and Curry’s cranky ankle have brought the Warriors to this place. They have roughly three weeks to make the call or, rather, officially announce it.