|Ainge: ‘Embarrassing’ for LeBron to complain about officiating||03.28.13 at 5:54 pm ET|
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made his weekly appearance with “Salk & Holley” Thursday afternoon on WEEI, and was asked for his take on LeBron James and the officiating in Wednesday’s game between the Heat and the Bulls, a contest where Miami’s 27-game win streak came to an end.
In the game — a physical affair that saw the Bulls try and get physical with the Heat, including one hard shot from Kirk Heinrich on James — James was hit with a flagrant foul 1 for a shot he put on Chicago’s Carlos Boozer. After the game, the Miami star unleashed on the officials, saying he was just trying to defend himself.
“It’s been happening all year, and I’ve been able to keep my cool and try to tell [Heat coach Erik Spoelstra], ‘Let’s not worry about it,’ ” James told reporters. “But it is getting to me a little bit. Every time I try to defend myself, I’ve got to face the consequences of a flagrant or a technical foul or whatever the case may be. It’s tough. It’s very tough.”
“I think the referees got the calls right. I don’t think it was a hard foul,” Ainge said of the mixups involving James and Heinrich, as well as another one involving James and Taj Gibson. “I think the one involving LeBron against Boozer, that was flagrant. I think the officials got it right.
“I think that it’s almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating,” Ainge added.
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|LeBron Watch, 3 p.m.: Boozer, Stoudemire hold out hope||07.08.10 at 3:34 pm ET|
Carlos Boozer, who agreed to a five-year, $76 million contract with the Bulls, is attempting to woo LeBron James via text messages. Boozer said he sent LeBron a message Wednesday night and hopes to get the superstar forward to join him in Chicago.
The Knicks are hoping that their recent signee, Amar’e Stoudemire, will be enough to get King James to choose New York. General manager Donnie Walsh spoke about the possibility of signing James at Stoudemire’s introductory press conference Thursday.
Said Walsh: “I was pleased with the meeting we had in Cleveland. I thought we were able to present our franchise the way we wanted to. I did think New York was the perfect place for LeBron.”
Meanwhile, Magic GM Otis Smith, at a press conference in Orlando to introduce Chris Duhon, told WEEI.com’s Kirk Minihane that he still believes James will stay in Cleveland.
|NBA roundup: Boozer to Bulls, Durant re-signs with OKC||at 9:18 am ET|
‘The Decision’ that everyone is waiting for Thursday night on ESPN could be an hour-long waste of time if reports that LeBron James wants to team up with stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami are true. Chris Broussard of ESPN wrote early Thursday morning that unless there is a change of heart by James, he’ll leave Cleveland and try to be a part of a dynasty with the Heat.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, one executive whose franchise was among the initial suitors for James said Wednesday morning that the Akron product was only seriously considering Miami and Cleveland.
Meanwhile, while the LeBron hoopla builds to a crescendo, other notable free agents are making their move. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports that Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer will sign a five-year, $76 million contract with the Bulls.
After various reports had New York big man David Lee heading to Phoenix to replace Amar’e Stoudemire, it looks like the double-double machine could be heading farther west to California. Marcus Thompson II of the Contra Costa Times is reporting that the Warriors and Knicks are close on a deal which would send Lee in a sign-and-trade to Golden State for forward Anthony Randolph.
Already under contract, Kevin Durant decided to extend his stay with the Thunder in a relatively quiet manner when he announced the deal Thursday via Twitter. Sean Sweeney of Dime Magazine writes that Durant signed a five-year, $85 million extension while showing humility amid the LeBron chaos.
The Celtics, meanwhile, have been busy this offseason as they look to bring back most of last year’s team for another run. After reaching an agreement with Paul Pierce and reportedly agreeing to terms with Ray Allen last Wednesday night, Boston reportedly is going after Jermaine O’Neal to replace the injured Kendrick Perkins at center. According to Wojnarowski and Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Celtics have offered O’Neal near the midlevel exception of $5.8 million over two years. O’Neal is expected to make a decision by Thursday night.
Another O’Neal whom the Celtics have targeted to replace Perkins has been Shaq, who has shown interest in both Boston and Atlanta. Now, Chris Tomasson of AOL FanHouse is reporting that O’Neal’s first choice to try to win his fifth championship is the Spurs. No matter where Shaq lands, Tomasson writes that sources have said that he won’t return to Cleveland for next season.