Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James said owning an NBA franchise is more of an aspiration, not a dream.

James fielded questions after a story in The Athletic quoted him saying, "Ain't no maybe about it, I'm going to do that s***," when asked about owning a team after he retires.

Responding during Saturday's media availability during the All-Star weekend, James told reporters: "I was asked a question and, um, I answered it how I felt at that point in time.

"I know I got so much knowledge of the game that I don't want to, once I stop playing, I just [do not] want to get away from the game.

"Obviously I'm going to be along with my sons because they're going to play the game — they're playing the game now, and I'm going to be along with them. But if I can give back to this league in any way shape or form, and continue to make this league as great as it is today, then I would love to."

James topped the Forbes' list  of the league's highest earners — which factors in salaries, endorsements, appearances, royalties and media pacts — for a fifth straight year.

He has a net worth of more than $450million, according to the report, with the average NBA team worth approximately $1.9billion.

"It would have to be the right fit. It'd have to be the right city. It'd have to be the right situation," James said. "It's not like it's a dream of mine. It's more of an aspiration. See if it happens. If it don't, I won't be disappointed in anything I've done off the floor. We'll see what happens.

"I got a lot more game to play. I got a lot. A ton more years to play this game and suit up and be in a Lakers uniform. Once we get to that point, we'll cross that path. Hopefully, I can sit up here and answer questions as a player for a long time."

James is captain of one of the two All-Star teams competing this weekend. 

At the All-Star break, the Lakers sit 10th in the Western Conference with a 28–29 record. 

LeBron James and Derek Jeter led the tributes after veteran New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia confirmed that the 2019 MLB season will be his last.

Sabathia, who will turn 39 in July, signed a one-year contract in November and made it clear he would be finishing his career this season, his 19th in the majors. 

The left-hander held a news conference joined by his family, team-mates and members of the Yankees organisation at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa and took the opportunity to thank everyone who has helped him throughout his career.

"I just wanted to make this announcement that 2019 is my final season," said Sabathia, a six-time All-Star and 2009 World Series champion.

"I want to thank a lot of people. I wouldn't be here today, 18 years in the big leagues, without so many different people. 

"All I've ever wanted for people to remember me as is just a good team-mate, and that means a lot to me for you guys sitting here today."

NBA great James was among those to praise Sabathia's contribution to baseball.

"I want to congratulate CC on an incredible Major League career," the Los Angeles Lakers star said.

"Not only is he one of the best pitchers to ever play the game, but he'll also go down as one of the greatest competitors to ever pick up a baseball.

"His genuine love of the game and his undeniable passion have brought so much joy for 19 seasons. It's been an honour to watch him play and I'm excited to see what he'll take on next. Congrats my friend."

Former team-mate and Yankees legend Jeter added: "I had the pleasure of competing against CC and also with him and have always considered him one of my favourite team-mates.

"He rose to and exceeded many expectations and pressures, especially during his time with the Yankees and was key piece to the 2009 championship team."

Steve Kerr, who has coached Golden State Warriors to three NBA titles in four seasons, added his praise.

"I've been an admirer of CC for a long time and have marvelled at the work he has done both on and off the field," he said.

"Any pitcher that wins close to 250 games and a Cy Young Award is certainly ticketed for the Hall of Fame. He's had an incredible career." 

In 29 starts last season, Sabathia was 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA. In 18 seasons, mostly with the Cleveland Indians and Yankees, Sabathia is 246-153 with a 3.70 ERA.

He needs 14 strikeouts to reach 3,000 for his career but will miss the first five games of the 2019 season as he is suspended for hitting the Tampa Bay Rays' Jesus Sucre with a pitch in late September and then yelling a profanity in the direction of their dugout. 

Sabathia is pencilled in to make his first start April 3 against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium.

LeBron James has expressed his full support for Colin Kaepernick, after the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback settled his collusion case against the NFL. 

The 2019 All-Star Game is almost here.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo completed the draft last week. James selected Kevin Durant with his top choice and Antetokounmpo followed by picking Stephen Curry.

Three of James' first four picks were impending free agents while Antetokounmpo chose multiple first-time All-Stars.

The game will be played at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday. Here are some Opta numbers to know about the matchup.


Complete rosters

Team LeBron: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons, LaMarcus Aldridge, Karl-Anthony Towns, Bradley Beal, Dwyane Wade.
Team Giannis: Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, Paul George, Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton, Nikola Jokic, Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, D'Angelo Russell, Nikola Vucevic, Kyle Lowry, Dirk Nowitzki.

Team comparison (Team LeBron-Team Giannis)

Combined All-Star appearances: (81-52)
Combined points: (15,923-14,326)
Combined rebounds: (4,783-5,159)
Combined assists: (3,360-3,681)
Field goals attempted: (11,681-10,881)
Field goals made: (5,703-5,116)
Three-pointers attempted: (3,694-3,829)
Three-pointers made: (1,409-1,394)

– James will be playing in his 15th All-Star game. He will tie Kobe Bryant and former San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan for the second most appearances in NBA history.

– James will enter Sunday's contest with 343 All-Star game points. That is already the most by any player. He also holds the record for most field goals made and attempted.

– Dwyane Wade needs three steals to become just the fourth player ever to tally 30 or more in their All-Star careers. Bryant, Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas are the only three others to reach that mark.

– The players with the top six individual scoring averages in All-Star history will appear in the game on Sunday. They are: James (24.5), New Orleans Pelicans forward Davis (24.5), Oklahoma City Thunder guard Westbrook (24.4), Golden State Warriors forward Durant (24.3), Detroit Pistons forward Griffin (21.8) and Thunder forward George (20.8).

– James was also a captain in last year's game, which was the first that did not feature the East against West format. He scored 29 points to lead his squad to a 148-145 victory over Team Curry. The 293 combined points were the fewest since the 2013 game.

– Warriors sharpshooter Curry has made just 33.9 per cent of his three-point attempts in All-Star games. Celtics guard Irving is fourth all-time in that category at 48.4 per cent.

Scottie Pippen says LeBron James lacks the "clutch gene" that Michael Jordan had and questioned the Los Angeles Lakers superstar's desire.

Six-time NBA champion Pippen last year stated that James is "right there" in terms of statistics compared to Jordan, but said it was unfair to compare the two.

The Hall of Famer appears to have changed his mind after being asked again who is the greatest.

"When I look at LeBron, he's not what Michael was as a player," Pippen said during an NBA All-Star segment on ESPN's First Take on Thursday. "He's not even what Kobe Bryant was as a player.

"So, when you talk about trying to compare Michael's instinct, his ability to take over games, his ability to want to have the last shot, LeBron doesn't have that gene. That's not in him.

"Kobe has that gene. I see a little bit of it in Paul George. Kawhi (Leonard), (Russell) Westbrook. ... Not too many players go on the basketball court with that." 

Pippen was especially critical of James during the Lakers' 117-113 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday.

"I can sit here and say today, I watched LeBron the other night," Pippen said. "The game was on the line. And he made little or no effort to go after the ball."

During the segment, it was put to Pippen that James had already played more minutes than Jordan did in his entire career. 

Pippen replied: "It's not that. It's that clutch gene. I'm not taking it away that he don't know how to win, and he's not willing to have the ball in his hands. But the players that have that clutch gene, they're gonna go get that ball."

James is averaging 26.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists through 39 games with Los Angeles.

The Lakers are 10th in the Western Conference and enter the All-Star break with a 28-29 record.

Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade compared Dallas Mavericks sensation Luka Doncic to LeBron James.

Wade came away from Wednesday's 112-101 win over the Mavericks impressed with NBA rookie Doncic.

Doncic nearly tallied a triple-double after posting 18 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.

Afterwards, Wade complimented Doncic's passing ability and likened it to Los Angeles Lakers superstar James.

"Quote me right where I say this — it's LeBron James-like from the standpoint of how he's able to rope that pass to shooters in corners, getting blitzed," Wade told reporters.

"There's not many guys who can do that and put it right there. He does an amazing job of it."

Doncic, 19, is averaging 20.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists this season.

He is second among rookies in dimes per game, trailing only Atlanta Hawks first-year guard Trae Young (7.6).

Wade played with James for four years in Miami, where they won two championships together.

A LeBron James triple-double was not enough as the Los Angeles Lakers were upstaged 117-113 by the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA.

James had 28 points, 11 rebounds and 16 assists for the Lakers, who crashed to back-to-back defeats on Tuesday.

The three-time NBA champion tied Wilt Chamberlain for fifth most triple-doubles in league history, but Atlanta's young talent proved to be too much.

Rookie Hawks guard Trae Young and second-year forward John Collins tallied 22 points apiece. Young also posted 14 assists against the Lakers.

Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics held on to beat the in-form Philadelphia 76ers 112-109 on the road.

The Celtics did not have star point guard Kyrie Irving, so Al Horford took over the scoring load with 23 points. Gordon Hayward also chipped in 26 points off the bench.

Joel Embiid recorded 23 points and 14 rebounds in the loss, while 76ers team-mate Jimmy Butler added 22 points and nine rebounds.


Vucevic double-double sparks Magic

Nikola Vucevic recorded 25 points and 17 rebounds in the Orlando Magic's dominant 118-88 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Avery Bradley scored a career-high 33 points as the Memphis Grizzlies lost to the San Antonio Spurs 108-107.

Kevin Durant posted 28 points and seven assists in the Golden State Warriors' 115-108 victory over the Utah Jazz.


Smart struggles from the floor

Marcus Smart scored eight points on three-of-14 shooting for the Celtics.


Tatum with the slam!

Jayson Tatum split the defense with a spin move and capped it off by punching home a dunk for the Celtics.

Young dished out assists left and right in the Hawks' win over the Lakers.


Tuesday's results

Atlanta Hawks 117-113 Los Angeles Lakers
San Antonio Spurs 108-107 Memphis Grizzlies
Orlando Magic 118-88 New Orleans Pelicans
Boston Celtics 112-109 Philadelphia 76ers
Golden State Warriors 115-108 Utah Jazz


Kings at Nuggets

The Sacramento Kings are trying to stay afloat in the Western Conference, while the Denver Nuggets are toward the top of the standings. Both teams feature promising, athletic players that run the floor nonstop. This matchup should be an entertaining one as the All-Star break approaches.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is the top earner in the NBA.

NBA great James topped Forbes' list — which factors in salaries, endorsements, appearances, royalties and media pacts — for a fifth successive year.

James, 34, left the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed a four-year, $154million contract with the Lakers in the offseason.

The three-time NBA champion is averaging 26.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game during his first season in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry finished second for a second consecutive time.

Curry inked a five-year, $201m extension with the Warriors in July 2017.


Here is Forbes' complete 2019 list of the top 10 highest-earning NBA players:

1.LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers) — $88.7m
2.Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) — $79.5m
3.Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors) — $65m
4.Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) — $53.7m
5.James Harden (Houston Rockets) — $47.4m
6.Chris Paul (Houston Rockets) — $43.7m
7.Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) — $43.2m
8.Damian Lillard (Portland Trailblazers) — $41m
9.Blake Griffin (Detroit Pistons) — $39.1m
10.Paul George (Oklahoma City Thunder) — $38.6m

LeBron James is relaxed about the Los Angeles Lakers' playoff chances following Tuesday's defeat against the Atlanta Hawks.

The Lakers crashed to back-to-back NBA losses after going down 117-113 to the lowly Hawks, despite James' triple-double.

James - who was taunted by Hawks fans as they chanted "Kobe's better" - scored 28 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds but his fifth triple-double of the season was not enough to lift the Lakers.

The Lakers (28-29) are now two-and-a-half-games behind the Sacramento Kings for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference heading into the All-Star break.

"You either make it or you don't make it," James said post-game after tying Wilt Chamberlain for the fifth most triple-doubles with 78. "That's when you worry about it."

The Lakers have lost four of their past five games and James added: "Some guys have never played a playoff game before.

"You can't teach them that. It's very important to understand how important every game is, no matter who you're playing or where you are."

James - who signed a four-year, $154million contract with the Lakers in the offseason - and the Lakers are back in action against the Houston Rockets on February 21.


Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James said he has not been surprised by the Philadelphia 76ers, who loom as a serious NBA contender in the Eastern Conference.

James experienced the 76ers first hand on Sunday - the Lakers outclassed in a 143-120 defeat at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Already boasting All-Star duo Joel Embiid (37 points, 14 rebounds) and Ben Simmons (8 points), as well as Jimmy Butler (15 points) and JJ Redick (21 points), the 76ers are now seen as genuine championship challengers after acquiring Tobias Harris (22 points) in the blockbuster trade from the Los Angeles Clippers before Thursday's deadline.

Mike Scott, Boban Marjanovic, Jonathon Simmons and James Ennis were also brought in to strengthen Philadelphia's depth.

After the 76ers improved to 36-20 in the Eastern Conference, James - who was pursued by Philadelphia before he joined the Lakers in the offseason - told reporters: "I thought they were going to be very good anyway before they made any moves, before the season even started.

"And they've made a bunch of moves to improve their club."

Lakers president Magic Johnson was in attendance and the Hall of Famer had a message for the east.

"The East better watch out," said Johnson. "This is a stacked team."

Kyle Kuzma starred for the Lakers on the road, posting 39 points - 23 of those coming in the first quarter.

James, meanwhile, finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Lakers dropped to 28-28 to be 10th in the Western Conference and two and a half games outside the playoff spots.

"We had too many breakdowns," James said. "Way too many breakdowns. I mean we scored the ball as well as you can score the ball, especially in that first quarter, but we gave up too many paint points.

"We didn’t keep the floor shrunk and make them make many outside jumpers to begin the game, and once they started getting to the paint it kind of opened up everything else."

The Philadelphia 76ers' new roster were dominant in a 143-120 rout of LeBron James's Los Angeles Lakers.

Philadelphia claimed back-to-back wins since trading for star forward Tobias Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Lakers did not have an answer for NBA All-Star Joel Embiid, who posted 37 points and 14 rebounds on 12-of-16 shooting on Sunday, while Harris added 22 points.

Kyle Kuzma's 23-point first quarter kept Los Angeles in the game early. He finished with 39 points while James was one assist shy of a triple-double following 18 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

The 76ers (36-20) will play Eastern Conference rivals the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, while Lakers dropped to 28-28 and will take on the Atlanta Hawks on the same day.


Doncic lifts Mavs

Luka Doncic recorded 28 points, nine rebounds and six assists to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a narrow 102-101 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Marvin Bagley III scored a career-high 32 points as the Sacramento Kings took down the Phoenix Suns 117-104.

Josh Richardson had a career-high 37 points for the Miami Heat in a 120-118 loss to the Golden State Warriors, who were inspired by Kevin Durant's 39 points at home.


Bullock fails to impress on the road

Recruit Reggie Bullock scored two points on one-of-five shooting in the Lakers' loss.

Isaiah Briscoe scored two points on one-of-eight shooting in the Orlando Magic's 124-108 win over Atlanta.


Redick doing Redick things

After receiving a pass from Ben Simmons on a fast break, 76ers veteran JJ Redick somehow nailed a three as he drifted out of bounds.


Sunday's results

Dallas Mavericks 102-101 Portland Trail Blazers
Sacramento Kings 117-104 Phoenix Suns
Golden State Warriors 120-118 Miami Heat
Philadelphia 76ers 143-120 Los Angeles Lakers
Orlando Magic 124-108 Atlanta Hawks


Trail Blazers at Thunder 

Portland are just behind the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference standings. The Thunder are riding a three-game winning streak and have been fuelled by the impressive play of Paul George. The Trail Blazers' dynamic backcourt will need to show up against one of the NBA's best defensive teams.

Kevin Durant declared he was not surprised to be selected by LeBron James with the first pick for the NBA All-Star Game.

For the second successive year, James made sure he will play alongside Durant in the league's exhibition fixture, taking the Golden State Warriors forward at the start of Thursday's televised draft.

Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and James Harden complete the starting five for Team LeBron, who will take on Team Giannis at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte on February 17.

Asked about James' decision following Golden State's 117-107 win over the Phoenix Suns on Friday, Durant said: "What else is he supposed to do?"

The 2014 MVP was a little more forthcoming on his thoughts about the new-style selection process and also poked fun at rival captain Giannis Antetokounmpo for his selections.

While James went first when choosing the starters, Antetokounmpo - given the honour of leading a team after topping the All-Star voting in the Eastern Conference - had first option when it came to the reserves.

The pair also completed the first All-Star trade, as LeBron sent Russell Westbrook to Team Giannis in exchange for Ben Simmons.

"I think it's cool. It's great that the fans get to be more involved with it, the excitement of it," Durant said of the draft format, which was introduced in 2018 but broadcast live for the first time this year. "To have those guys picking teams, it's kind of self-explanatory, but it's pretty cool to see, because it hasn't happened before.

"No matter where you get picked, it's nothing but respect. It's just good to be an All-Star."

Antetokounmpo selected Steph Curry, Kemba Walker, Paul George and Joel Embiid to join him as starters on Team Giannis, but Durant feels the Greek's drafting skills require some work.

"Giannis is not from here, so I understand next year he'll be better picking his team," he joked.

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka believes the NBA franchise share similarities with NFL Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots.

Occupying 10th spot in the Western Conference, the Lakers tried to overhaul their roster before Thursday's trade deadline, however, they were unable to strike a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans for wantaway star Anthony Davis.

It has been a topsy-turvy season since LeBron James' arrival amid reports of a fractured relationship between team-mates after the Lakers' failure to trade for Davis.

Tom Brady and the Patriots also faced some adversity en route to a sixth Super Bowl championship last week, and Pelinka compared the Lakers to New England.

"I think early on they were facing a ton of adversity," Pelinka told ESPN. "There were lots of stories being told about fractured relationships, but what did they do? They kind of came together. ...

"My hope is our story is a little bit, maybe, like that where we're on the outside but we find a way to get in the playoffs with the skill sets we've added.

"And then much like [Tom] Brady did, we let one of the all-time greats -- LeBron [James] -- take the helm for this team and make some noise."

The Lakers were determined to sign Davis before he becomes a free agent, with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram among the players on the table as well as draft picks.

A deal did not materialise and while tight-lipped on what transpired, Pelinka said: "The thing I've learned in negotiating is you can only control your own tenor and your own discussions on your side.

"And try to approach everything to be smartly aggressive and treat every negotiation with dignity and professionalism. And I think in general, around the league, that's what you get.

"These teams are all represented by really smart, really good general managers. And I think the negotiations in general have that spirit and that feel, and that's the expectation of all the teams.

"In terms of is there a jealousy because of the Lakers' success over the years, or because of perceived advantage because of the city that we're in, that's probably a better question for you to ask the other teams. I'd rather not sit in a seat of judgment on what other people might think."

LeBron James believes his absence from the Eastern Conference encouraged franchises in that half of the NBA to make big roster changes before the trade deadline.

In his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers in the West, James claimed that the likes of the Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers made a concerted effort to reach the NBA Finals now that they no longer have to go through him.

The 76ers started by acquiring Tobias Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers and then added Jonathon Simmons and James Ennis to their bench at the deadline after acquiring Jimmy Butler earlier this season.

The Raptors added center Marc Gasol to play alongside Kawhi Leonard, while the Bucks traded for Nikola Mirotic to compliment Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

"Those top teams in the East, yeah, they're going for it," James told The Athletic. "Toronto is going for it, Milwaukee's going for it, Philly. Boston [Celtics] believes they can do it, too. They know they ain't gotta go through Cleveland [Cavaliers] anymore.

"Everybody in the East thinks they can get to the Finals because they ain't gotta go through me."

James revealed he's already excited to watch how the Eastern Conference playoffs unfold with the new additions. 

"S***, I was excited seeing all the moves they made in the East," James said. "Those matchups in the second round, in the Eastern Conference finals, that s*** is gonna be crazy. It's gonna be fun to watch."

Kyrie Irving was excited to be named on former Cleveland Cavaliers colleague LeBron James' team for the NBA All-Star Game.

James took Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant with the first pick and selected Irving third overall, with Giannis Antetokounmpo choosing Stephen Curry in between.

Kawhi Leonard and James Harden complete the starting five for Team LeBron.

Boston Celtics point guard Irving was impressed by the line-up and is looking forward to playing alongside James again, the pair having won the championship with the Cavs in 2016.

"Oh wow, that's a great five. I'm excited just to be an All-Star, getting picked by the fans, as well as the media. I'm truly grateful. It gives us another chance to go out there and play together," said Irving.

"Myself, Bron, KD, Kawhi and James, it's a pretty exciting time. But I'm not trying to plan too far ahead, so just handle these games before the All-Star break maturely, as a veteran team and close out the All-Star break pretty strong."

Irving and James were on opposite sides as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Celtics 129-128 at TD Garden on Thursday, Rajon Rondo securing the victory with a buzzer beater against his former team.

James had a triple-double with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists, while Kyle Kuzma (25 points), JaVale McGee, Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (all 17 points) made important contributions for the Lakers.

Irving said: "[James] is one of the greatest to ever play our game. He's very detail oriented. His team definitely helped him out a lot, they made shots and took some pressure off him. He made some big shots as well, but their pieces filled in pretty well."

The Celtics, who are 35-20 and sit fourth in the Eastern Conference, made no late moves before the trade deadline on Thursday, but their main rivals made additions.

The Milwaukee Bucks acquired Nikola Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans, the Toronto Raptors moved for Marc Gasol and the Philadelphia 76ers added Tobias Harris.

"Those are great pick-ups. I'm looking forward to going against those guys," said Irving.

"Obviously those [teams] are the top contenders in the East so we'll see them down the line. We have Philly coming up in the next week in Philly so that'll be a great game.

"I'm just looking forward to the challenge of dialling in after the All-Star break and focusing on the things we want to do as a team and get better at."

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