Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James completed the first ever trade in the history of the NBA All-Star draft.

After Antetokounmpo took Ben Simmons during the reserves portion of the draft on Thursday, James was not thrilled.

"S***," he said. "You took my guy."

But, the two players made nice and completed a deal which ultimately sent Russell Westbrook to Team Giannis and brought Simmons back to Team LeBron.

However, there could be a storm brewing on Team Giannis, who also have Joel Embiid.

Westbrook and Embiid have an extensive history in which the two players have gone back and forth at each other for the last couple of years.

It was only a couple of weeks ago when the two players had to be separated on the court in the middle of a game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

When asked after the game if he was cool with Embiid, Westbrook was blunt.

"F*** no," he said.

Embiid had his own reaction on Twitter after the draft, writing: "Ok......."

The NBA All-Star teams are set after LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo picked their rosters on Thursday.

James got the first pick and started off the event in a way only he can – with intrigue.

The four-time MVP and Los Angeles Lakers star selected Kevin Durant with the number one pick, which had everyone asking questions. The Golden State Warriors star is set to become a free agent this offseason.

You know James, he loves to control the narrative and he certainly started Thursday with one. Even Antetokounmpo jokingly had to ask, "Is that tampering?" after James selected Anthony Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans star who was at the centre of trade speculation linking him with the Lakers.

And, there was a trade. After the draft was over, James and Antetokounmpo agreed to trade Ben Simmons for Russell Westbrook.

 

Team LeBron

Starters:

Kevin Durant (1)
Kyrie Irving (3)
Kawhi Leonard (5)
James Harden (7)

Reserves:

Anthony Davis (10)
Klay Thompson (12)
Ben Simmons (13)
Damian Lillard (14)
LaMarcus Aldridge (18)
Karl-Anthony Towns (20)
Bradley Beal (22)

Legacy:

Dwayne Wade

Team Giannis

Starters:

Stephen Curry (2)
Joel Embiid (4)
Paul George (6)
Kemba Walker (8)

Reserves:

Khris Middleton (9)
Nikola Jokic (11)
Blake Griffin (15)
Russell Westbrook (16)
D'Angelo Russell (17)
Nikola Vucevic (19)
Kyle Lowry (21)

Legacy:

Dirk Nowitzki

Trade: James trades Westbrook for Simmons.

LeBron James denied he is behind the Los Angeles Lakers' attempted rebuild, insisting "there is nothing I'm chasing".

The Lakers tried to lure wantaway NBA All-Star Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans without success before Thursday's trade deadline.

James was reportedly active in trying to prise Davis at the expense of the Lakers' young core, with the Los Angeles franchise believed to be prepared to deal Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram.

However, three-time NBA champion James rejected suggestions that he is in a hurry to build a championship contender.

"There’s nothing I need to get in this league that I don’t already have," James, 34, told reporters at during Thursday's shootaround.

"I love the process of everything I go through to be able to compete every single night and put teams in position to compete for championships.

"But there's nothing I'm chasing or feel like I need to end my career on."

James' resume includes three NBA championships and Finals MVPs, four Most Valuable Player awards, 15 All-Star appearances as well as Rookie of the Year honours in 2004.

"The suspense and the excitement around the trade deadline is always kind of pretty crazy," James said.

"Sometimes things happen where guys and players and teams exchange players, and sometimes it don't happen. But the conversations and the speculation is always there every year."

Los Angeles enter Thursday's showdown with the Boston Celtics in 10th in the Western Conference with a 27-27 record.

LeBron James wants the "narrative" around player movement to change in the NBA as the Los Angeles Lakers superstar called out a double-standard after Harrison Barnes was traded by the Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavericks agreed to send forward Barnes to the Sacramento Kings in the middle of Wednesday's 99-93 victory over the Charlotte Hornets midweek.

Barnes, 26, was subbed out and remained on Dallas' bench for a short time before heading back to the locker room after he was informed of the move.

As the Lakers struggle to facilitate a trade for wantaway New Orleans Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis, James discussed the mid-game deal involving Barnes on Instagram.

"So let me guess this is cool cause they had to do what was best for the franchise right?" James captioned a video of Barnes.

"Traded this man while he was literally playing in the game and had ZERO idea. I'm not knocking who traded him because it's a business and you have to do what you feel what's best.

"But I just want this narrative to start to get REAL/CHANGE and not when a player wants to be traded or leaves a Franchise that he's a selfish/ungrateful player but when they trade you, release, waive, cut etc etc it's best for them! I'm ok with both honestly, truly am."

Davis will not sign an extension with New Orleans and wants to be traded, agent Rich Paul told ESPN in late January.

The Lakers have reportedly been trying to acquire him before Thursday's deadline, while the Boston Celtics are also believed to be interested.

On Barnes' trade to the Kings, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlise addressed the deal post-game.

The Kings received forwards Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph from Dallas in exchange for Barnes, who is averaging 17.8 points this season.

"Everyone is aware that there was a trade, or is a trade in the works, involving Harrison," Carlisle said. "I got word of it during the game and so that is why he didn't play down the stretch, obviously.

"I had a chance to speak to him before everyone got in the locker room [after the game] and thanked him for over two-and-a-half great years of being a model pro and being one of the most improved players in the game. I am going to miss him an awful lot."

Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram appeared to shrug off the chants he heard on Tuesday. 

LeBron James discussed dealing with trade rumours as the Los Angeles Lakers chase Anthony Davis.

Los Angeles have been in pursuit of the Pelicans star but have reportedly backed off because of New Orleans' "outrageous" demands.

Lakers star James was asked about the rumours on Tuesday before his team's matchup with the Indiana Pacers.

"It's a business, so right now this is who we have," James said, via  ESPN.

"This is my group and this is the group I'm trying to lead to go out there and win ball games. That's all I've ever done."

James injured his groin during a Christmas Day win against the Golden State Warriors, which caused him to miss 18 of the team's next 19 games.

The Lakers have dropped to 27-26, which is just outside the playoff picture.

"Every game is significant," James said. "It's been like that since the season started. And unfortunately, you know, my injuries haven't allowed us to be where we want to be in the standings. But every game is significant ... So we want to see what we can do."

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James confirmed he will play against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.

Four-time MVP James missed 17 games with a groin problem sustained in the Christmas Day win over the Golden State Warriors.

He came back for a game against the Los Angeles Clippers last week, scoring 24 points while adding 14 rebounds and nine assists in a 123-120 overtime win.

However, James sat out the 115-101 loss to the Warriors on Saturday due to "load management".

"I'm looking forward to getting back out there with the guys," said James.

"You know they're going to be prepared, they're going to play hard and they're going to play the right way, and they're going to be very aggressive."

The meeting against the Pacers could be James' final one with the Lakers' existing roster.

Ahead of Thursday's trade deadline, the Lakers have been linked with New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis, Pistons guard Reggie Bullock and Chicago Bulls forward Jabari Parker.

"At the end of the day we have a job to do and this is a business. Right now this is who we have, this is my group and this is the group I'm trying to lead to go out there and win ball games," said James.

"If guys happen to get traded we know that's the business side of things. It hurts to lose team-mates, especially at this point of the season, but it's a business.

"I follow it just as much as anybody in our league follows it, but at the same time, keeping the main thing the main thing, and that's what we're trying to do here is try to win ball games.

"I tend not to play too much fantasy basketball…if something were to occur with our team…we'll approach it then. But right now, this is the group that we have, and we're missing a key part of our team with [Lonzo Ball] being out, so we have to win ball games."

LeBron James hailed Tom Brady as the greatest of all time following the New England Patriots superstar's record sixth Super Bowl victory.

Brady made history in Atlanta, where he became the most successful NFL player after the Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 on Sunday.

The 41-year-old quarterback had been level with Hall of Famer Charles Haley on five championship rings but Brady moved to the top of the pile in his ninth Super Bowl appearance at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

From one superstar to another, Los Angeles Lakers and NBA great James heaped praise on Brady afterwards via Twitter.

In a tweet, James included a 'goat' emoji and six rings in reference to Brady's record-breaking success.

UFC star Conor McGregor, who attended the showpiece event, congratulated Brady and the Patriots.

"Thanks Atlanta for a great welcome and congrats to Brady and the Patriots on a Proper 12 win!", McGregor wrote in an Instagram post.

Former Manchester United, Real Madrid and England star David Beckham also congratulated Brady and New England on social media.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane and 2007 Ballon d'Or winner Kaka, who both watched from the stands in Atlanta, also applauded the franchise.

Popular artist Niall Horan, meanwhile, tweeted: "The phrase 'The Goat' gets thrown around a lot but Tom Brady is actually the Greatest of all Time in his field. 41 years old and still winning championships of that level".

LeBron James addressed a recent phone conversation with former Cleveland Cavaliers team-mate Kyrie Irving, revealing the two are "in a good place".

Irving left the Cavaliers for the Boston Celtics ahead of the 2017-18 season but has this term been vocal in his frustration with the team's young core. The team sit fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 33-19 record.

The point guard revealed last month he apologised to James for his lack of understanding about the challenges his former team-mate faced when leading the Cavs' championship run in 2016.

"We talked and it was a great conversation," James told The Athletic of Irving's call, though he refused to reveal any specific details.

However, he added: "He told y'all what he said. Me and Kyrie are in a good place right now. I love the man that he's becoming, I love the challenges he's accepted and I always wish the best for him."

Irving could enter free agency at the end of the season and before Friday's meeting with the New York Knicks – one franchise reportedly targeting his signature – made comments that were at odds with his preseason expression of commitment to the Boston.

The 26-year-old addressed the issue after the game too, branding the speculation "a bunch of nonsense" and insisting his sole focus was on leading the Celtics to the championship.

Los Angeles Lakers star James was impressed with how Irving handled the incessant rumours about his future.

"His post interview was great as well," James said. "Just a lot of things that's going on in our league right now, and the one thing you want to focus on is getting that team to place where he wanted it to be, and that's competing for a championship."

The Los Angeles Lakers were without LeBron James due to groin soreness as they fell to the Golden State Warriors 115-101 and coach Luke Walton felt his absence threw off the team. 

James initially injured his groin during the Lakers' Christmas Day matchup against the Warriors and was sidelined for five weeks, missing 17 games.

The four-time MVP made his return against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday but admitted he was not at 100 per cent.

The Lakers prepared a game plan to face the Warriors with James in the lineup, but they had to make late adjustments when they found out he would not be able to play against Golden State.

"I thought it probably threw us off a little bit early," explained Walton. "Just because our pregame shootaround was one game plan and once we found out he wasn't going to play we switched some of that.

"It took us to time to adjust to what the new game plan was. And because of that we were a little late on rotations, things of that nature. But our guys, they do a heck of a job competing … they did a nice job of getting better as the game went on."

It was reported after the game that Walton was involved in a bust-up with the experienced players on his roster over a perceived selfish approach.

However, the head coach praised his team's effort on defense and felt that was key to Lakers being able to stay in the game.

"Our defense turned it up a lot, really," said Walton. "I felt like we got engaged on the defensive end first and we started to find a rhythm offensively, making some shots. Really, really competing. Just getting lost in the competition, which we talk about all the time, but I think it started with our defensive engagement."

The Lakers are 6-12 when playing without James this season and sit 10th in the Western Conference.

LeBron James will not play for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

James played his first game on Thursday since suffering a groin strain on December 25 against the Warriors.

But with an eye on his work load, the Lakers will rest James on Saturday.

While he scored 24 points with 14 rebounds and nine assists in an overtime win against the Los Angeles Clippers, he said afterwards he was not close to 100 per cent after missing 17 games.

"The first quarter was just kind of a feel-out quarter to see how my groin would react," James said. "I didn't really run as hard as I'm accustomed to on breaks. I had a couple of drives, just trying to mentally get into it.

"I'm not there all the way, as far as physically. My timing … is 80 per cent right now, but it felt good to be 80 and be back on the floor and put on a Lakers uniform again."

The Lakers next play Tuesday at the Indiana Pacers, their third of six straight road games. None of the remaining games after that, against the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks, are back-to-back contests, which would be good if the Lakers are trying to ease James back in over the next week or so.

But Los Angeles (27-25) clearly need their superstar on the floor. While James sat out, the team went 6-11 and are now ninth in the Western Conference.

Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving has distanced himself from his previous comments about re-signing with the franchise.

Irving will be one of the top free agents on the market if he opts out of his contract at the end of the season.

Reports have linked him with a potential reunion with ex-Cleveland Cavaliers team-mate LeBron James at the Los Angeles Lakers for 2019-20, while teaming up with Kevin Durant at the New York Knicks - who the Celtics face on Friday - has also been suggested as an option.

Irving signalled his intent to re-sign with Boston prior to the start of the campaign, but when asked on Friday if his mindset had shifted he responded: "Ask me July 1 [when free agency begins]."

On whether there had been a change in his outlook, Irving said: "I'm just going to do what's best for me, that's what it really comes down to.

"Obviously it's become like an entertainment thing for everybody…I'm not worried about a reputation, not worried about a legacy to leave, I'm just trying to be a human being, trying to make the best decision for my family."

Irving reiterated family will come first in any decision he makes, adding he does not "owe anybody s***".

"I think it was just the excitement, feeling emotionally invested coming off an injury last season and trying to prove something, trying to be a team-oriented player, which I am naturally," he said of announcing his desire to stay in October.

"But at the end of the day I spent the last eight years trying to do what everybody else wanted me to do, in terms of making my decisions and trying to validate through the media, through other personnel, managers, anybody in this business and I don't owe anybody s***.

"I think with the confidence I have in myself and my abilities, I want to be able to control what I want to control."

Irving is averaging 23.7 points and 6.9 assists per game this season, his second with the Celtics.

LeBron James is confident the Los Angeles Lakers can secure a playoff spot following the superstar forward's return in Thursday's overtime victory over city rivals the Clippers.

James has been sidelined with a groin injury for the past five weeks and has seen his side lose 11 of their 17 matches.

After upping his rehabilitation this week, the four-time NBA MVP finally made his comeback against the Clippers, James scoring 24 points in a 123-120 victory.

The 34-year-old also added 14 rebounds and nine assists in the win, and he believes they can put themselves back in the postseason conversation once he gets back to full fitness.

"Obviously we wish we would have played better throughout my absence but we've had a lot of injuries," he told reporters.

"We all just want to get back into the zone, we're very good when we're whole, that's the most important force.

"If we play like we did tonight and I continue to get back to a groove then we can put ourselves in a position for a post-season spot.

"That's what we're here for. That's what I'm here for. I'm not here to lose so we're going to try and see what we can do."

When asked about his current condition, James described himself as at 80 per cent but confirmed there were no further issues with his groin, apart from expected soreness.

He added: "I'm not feeling particularly great right now, definitely ecstatic about being back out there with my guys, getting a great win versus a team who were climbing in the playoff race, but after being out for five weeks I'm feeling it right now!

"I wish I could click my shoes together and be home right now in my bed! But it was great to be back out there.

"The groin feels pretty good, it's a little sore right now but I already knew that. I haven’t played an NBA game in over a month so I knew that was going to be a problem.

"I'll gain my rhythm as the season continues, and I'm looking forward to seeing how I feel tomorrow. That's going to be the tell-tale sign of the rehab and the work I've been putting in these last five weeks."

The five-week absence was the longest of James' illustrious career, and he admitted it had been tough to stay positive while on the sidelines.

"I just tried to stay as positive as possible," said the three-time NBA champion.

"I wasn't positive every day through this whole process. I probably had more negative moments than I did positive, but when you've got a great support it helps a lot.

"I've never been injured before like that, the most I've ever sat out was two weeks when I broke my wrist in high school as a junior.

"I didn't come here to sit on the bench. I love clothes, I love suits but I didn't come here to put a suit on every day, I came here to put on a jersey and some shorts and lead a team the best way I know how.

"That's the frustrating part, you're seeing your team struggle and you know much you can help them but you can't do anything in a suit and tie, that's where the negativity starts to creep into the mind."

LeBron James made his triumphant return against the Clippers as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated their city rivals 123-120 in overtime at the Staples Center.

James scored 24 points while adding 14 rebounds and nine assists in the win.

He missed 17 games after straining his groin against the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day. Los Angeles went 6-11 in his absence.

 

He is not back to 100 per cent

No one who watched James on Thursday would think the 34-year-old was back to 100 per cent after missing 17 games with a groin injury.

First of all, James started off the game passing up shots rather than attacking the rim. Throughout the first half he had open looks and open lanes and never really attacked.

James clearly was not confident in his legs as he never really drove to the basket throughout the first 24 minutes of play. That is understandable. This type of injury takes time to completely heal and James clearly is not his old self yet.

Best thing for Brandon Ingram?

James getting hurt may have been a good thing for the Lakers. While that might be a little bit cliche, it is undeniably true for Brandon Ingram.

In the five games before James' return, Ingram averaged 23.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists. The 23.2-point average was the best over a five-game stretch in his career and his 16-for-20 shooting night in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday was his best performance of the season.

The Lakers will be better if Ingram can create opportunities on his own and he is looking more than confident enough to get into the lane and score, while drawing fouls in the process. He had 19 points, four rebounds and four assists in the game on Thursday.

 

LeBron loves spacing and also creates it

James loves to play with shooters for a couple of reasons. For one, good three-point shooting teams have a leg up in today's NBA, and two, when shooters space the floor, there is more room on the inside for James to get to the basket.

But, while James loves to play on teams with spacing, he also creates it on his own. His return game was a perfect example. James always demands a bigger defender and can drag that defender away from the basket simply with his presence.

In doing that, the paint is easier to exploit and there will almost always be an extra defender with an eye on James. The defense completely changes because he is on the court.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is back.

The Lakers forward will play against the Clippers on Thursday, Los Angeles announced.

Originally, James had been ruled out for the matchup, according to multiple reports.

He was upgraded to "doubtful" about three hours prior to game time before the Lakers confirmed his return.

James missed 17 games after straining his groin on Christmas Day against the Golden State Warriors. Los Angeles went 6-11 in his absence.

James is averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 34.6 minutes per game this season.

The Lakers have fallen to 26-25 in his absence and sit in ninth place in the Western Conference standings.

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