If we are being totally honest, LeBron James returned to the Cavaliers not solely because he wanted to bring a championship to the city of Cleveland. Sure, that was a part of it, but James also essentially wanted to run the team and get what he wanted. Especially when it came to player acquisitions. And while David Griffin might have the title of GM of the Cavaliers, we all know who's in charge.
Thus I would expect another Cleveland trade soon as the King isn't happy with his team lately. James was POed this week after a loss and said the Cavs need to improve their roster if they want to repeat for a championship. "We're not better than last year, from a personnel standpoint ... we're a top-heavy team," James said. "I just hope that we're not satisfied as an organization. I just hope we not satisfied. How hard it was to do that s---. I just hope we're not satisfied."
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You might hear rumors of Carmelo Anthony to Cleveland, but that's not happening this season. James thinks the club needs a point guard help to take some of the load off Kyrie Irving. The Cavs reportedly are interesting in three veteran point guards who would fit the bill: the Mavericks' Deron Williams, Nuggets' Jameer Nelson and Bulls' Rajon Rondo. Cleveland might not have to trade for Williams or Rondo as they could be bought out by their clubs. The Cavs remain heavy -500 favorites to win the East again.
Mavericks at Thunder (TBA)
First of the TNT doubleheader. Dallas hosted the Knicks on Wednesday, so you might see Dirk Nowitzki get the second of the back-to-back off. Both Wesley Matthews and Andrew Bogut were expected to play through injuries, but two games in two nights might be asking too much. Oklahoma City was in New Orleans on Wednesday, but the Thunder haven't been resting guys if healthy. Somehow it's the first meeting of the season between Dallas and OKC. The Thunder swept last regular season and then beat the Mavericks in five games in the first round of the playoffs.
Key trends: The Mavs are 4-0 against the spread in their past four vs. the West. The "over/under" is 8-3 in the past 11 meetings.
Early lean: Wait on the Mavs guys.
Pacers at Timberwolves (-5, 213.5)
Indiana dropped a third straight Monday, 109-103 at home to the Knicks. The Pacers rallied from a 17-point third-quarter deficit to tie late but then the Knicks pulled it out. Paul George had 31 points and seven rebounds and Myles Turner 22 and 10. Indiana was outscored 18-3 on fast-break points. Minnesota is looking for its first four-game winning streak of the year (since 2012 actually) as it's off a 112-111 victory on Tuesday in Phoenix. Andrew Wiggins hit an 18-foot jumper at the buzzer. It was the first buzzer-beating win for the Timberwolves since Luke Ridnour beat Utah on Feb. 22, 2012. It's the first meeting of the season between Indiana and Minnesota. The Pacers swept last year but the Wolves have beaten Indiana in seven of their last 11 at Target Center.
Key trends: The Pacers are 1-6 ATS in their past seven after a loss. The road team is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The under is 5-1 in Minnesota's past six at home.
Early lean: Pacers and over.
Suns at Nuggets (-7, 229)
Phoenix was on the wrong end of a Minnesota buzzer-beater on Tuesday in a 112-111 loss. P.J. Tucker had put the Suns up 111-110 on two free throws with 6.3 seconds left. Tyson Chandler had 22 points and 17 rebounds for Phoenix and Devin Booker 26 points. Booker has scored at least 20 points in 10 consecutive games, the longest such streak by a Suns player since Amare Stoudemire did it on Nov. 30-Dec. 25, 2008. Denver beat visiting Utah 103-93 on Tuesday. Nikola Jokic had 23 points and 11 rebounds -- he might be the NBA's Most Improved Player. Point guard Emmanuel Mudiay missed his second straight game because of lower back soreness. Denver is 2-0 vs. Phoenix this year, scoring 120 points exactly in each. The Nuggets have won four straight overall in the series.
Key trends: The Suns are 0-4 ATS in the past four meetings. The over is 9-2 in the Nuggets' past 11 after a win.
Early lean: Suns and over.
Lakers at Jazz (-12.5, 204.5)
Los Angeles was in Portland on Wednesday looking for just its sixth road win of the season (only Nets have fewer road wins) and without D'Angelo Russell. Utah had a rough 24 hours or so as on Monday it lost at home on a last-second shot to Russell Westbrook and then Tuesday fell 103-93 in Denver -- the Jazz had brought a six-game winning streak into the week. Coach Quin Snyder admitted his team was gassed vs. the Nuggets. Shooting guard Rodney Hood (knee) missed his fifth consecutive game. This is the last meeting of the season between Los Angeles and Utah. The Jazz have won the first three and held the Lakers to an average of 96.7 points per game.
Key trends: The Jazz are 1-11 ATS in their past 12 vs. the West. The under is 9-2 in their past 11 vs. the West.
Early lean: Jazz and under.
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