LeBron James wouldn’t mind seeing the Heat in the first round of the playoffs, as he made clear before Thursday’s Cavs-Heat game, notes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. Cleveland is more or less locked into the second spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Heat are a half-game out of the seventh seed. It would be an odd coda to two of the most momentous free agency decisions in NBA history, the ones that bookended LeBron’s tenure with Miami. James can once more hit free agency again this summer, though unlike the last two times, it seems he’ll almost certainly stay put. Here’s more from Cleveland:
- Knicks team president Phil Jackson said he’s disappointed with how it turned out with Iman Shumpert, also saying that the numerous injuries in the swingman’s past played a role in the decision to trade him to the Cavs, according to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter links). Shumpert is set for restricted free agency this summer.
- David Blatt hadn’t held an NBA job of any kind when the Cavs hired him, and he came under pressure earlier this season, but he’s shown growth in his first year in charge of the team, as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group examines. James as well as soon-to-be restricted free agent Tristan Thompson are among those who praise Blatt, as Haynes relays.
- The Cavs have assigned Joe Harris to the D-League, the team announced. It’s the ninth assignment for the rookie, who has a guaranteed minimum salary next season, and all of his trips to the D-League have come since Cleveland’s pair of midseason trades netted Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Timofey Mozgov.