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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: LeBron James Edition

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Andy Lyons

LeBron James is exercising his early termination contract option with the Heat, and will place himself in the free-agent market. Once again, it looks like we are in for a "Summer of LeBron." But that doesn't necessarily mean that LeBron is leaving the Heat:

Whether this means that James will leave the Heat is another matter. He can re-sign a restructured contract with the Heat and this may well be the first step in that rather than “The Decision II” with Jim Grey. One thing is certain: he can now start wheeling and dealing with Carmelo Anthony possibly in play, too.

Frankly, this is smart business. I really don't think LeBron wants to leave the Heat, but what he does want to do is gain a measure of control over who surrounds him next season. I won't pretend to know what he's thinking, but people like James who wind up getting French-fried by their opponent in the NBA Finals will not be happy campers, and will want things to change.

This, I think, is his attempt to make sure Pat Riley treats him as an equal partner in personnel decisions. Very few players have this kind of power, but James is definitely one of them. However, in order to properly leverage that power, he has to flex those muscles in order to demonstrate he is serious. A president like Riley would expect no less.

The Heat need much better point guard play and better perimeter shooting. It will be worth watching to see how the best player in the NBA leverages his clout to get that done, and how willing a partner Riley will be.

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I will defer to their "wisdom."

Your Quickies:

Kentucky football
Kentucky basketball
  • Dwayne Bacon, who had a breakout performance in the NBPA Top 100 camp last week, is now on UK's radar. He's currently ranked the 28th best prospect in the class of 2015.

  • 2016 UK target Thon Maker will visit Kansas, Missouri and Duke this month. Hat tip: NextCats.

  • So now the question comes up: Will UK try to build an on-campus arena? John Clay has it thus:

    My guess is that UK will ask JMI to explore the possibility of financing an on-campus basketball facility. And you have to wonder if that’s at least part of the reason that the university did not fully support the Lexington Center’s $351 million plan to renovate Rupp Arena.

    Hmm. Could be, I guess, but I can't really figure out why UK would really want to go that way. That would force UK to foot the bill by itself (no matter which pocket the money comes out of), and that would mess around with their infrastructure plans. Getting some level of public financial support would seem to be necessary, and tying it in with the city of Lexington seems like a better way to get that support.

    Having said that, Lexington politics is not something I'm familiar with. So rather than gainsaying Clay, I think I'll just say I'm skeptical that it makes sense in view of the stated priorities of the University to build an on-campus facility. Count me among the doubters that this will be seriously considered.

  • Mike DeCourcy says that Karl-Anthony Towns Jr. has a "better package of experience, skill and potential" than Julius Randle had. I think this is right.

    Towns' experience in AAU ball is much lower than Randle, but he has much more international experience. I think less AAU ball is generally better — it is my opinion that players often develop very bad habits and very swelled heads in AAU competition.

  • Mitch Barnhart professes not to have been worried about losing Calipari in the recent spate of NBA coaching carousel moves. I leave his veracity to your contemplation.

  • Time Warner Cable is playing a perilous game with the SEC network. I assure you, I will drop them like a bad habit if they don't carry the network, and if they force me to go through that trouble, I will not return.

  • Two Kentucky targets, Skal Labissiere and Thon Maker go head to head:

  • Is Julius Randle an "overlooked" prospect in the draft? I don't think people fully appreciate how quick-footed Randle is for his size, and how well he can handle the basketball. He is also an underrated shooter. He didn't get many perimeter opportunities at Kentucky, but he is a capable perimeter player, and his energy is off the charts.

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