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Basketball Rumors for Friday

With the Los Angeles Lakers fading further from playoff contention, LeBron James’ time on the court this season will be cut down. Sources told Yahoo Sports that the two sides — James’ camp and the Lakers’ front office — agreed on a minutes restriction for James for the remainder of the season. James will play in the range of 28-32 minutes per game, a drop from the 35.6 minutes per game he is averaging to this point in the season. Additionally, James may sit out some games when the Lakers play on back-to-back days depending on how the 34-year-old feels. Yahoo Sports

LeBron James was asked if the Lakers’ loss dampened his accomplishment. “Absolutely,” James said. “At the end of the day, we’re still struggling, and I hate that for our franchise, I hate that for our fans, I hate that for myself. I give a lot of credit to Alex [Caruso] and Moe [Wagner] and J3 [Josh Hart], them coming in and having [not] played all year, and basically giving us an opportunity to try to win that game. It was special to see those guys play the way they play and showcase their talent, especially on national television.” LA Times

Both teams entered the game on four-game losing streaks, but the Lakers were hobbled as well. Lonzo Ball was still out with an ankle injury, as was Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram was out with shoulder soreness. Lance Stephenson played 9:25 in his first game back from a toe sprain. LA Times

James later affirmed that passing Jordan’s 32,292 career points was something sacred, emotionally akin to winning his 2016 championship in Cleveland. It’s more personal than just moving up to the fourth-leading scorer of all time. During the timeout after he scored the basket that put him ahead, James covered his face in a towel, afraid to look up at the tribute video the Lakers had put together lest he show the world how he really felt. Jordan is the man who still has power over James, as a standard to shoot for and still as a childhood idol. Even though James has caught up to the Chicago Bulls legend in points, there’s part of him who will always be chasing the man he first met when he was 15, which James said was “like meeting Jesus.” OC Register

For a man of few words, Klay Thompson’s on-court actions revealed everything about his health. The Warriors (44-20) listed Thompson as probable to play in Friday’s game against the Denver Nuggets (43-21) at Oracle Arena after missing the previous two with a sore right knee. Thompson participated in Thursday’s practice and completed his customary post-practice workout. Mercury News

Draymond Green is very much looking forward to playing alongside Andrew Bogut again. "I'm excited. I think it will be great for us," the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year told reporters on Wednesday. "I didn't foresee this happening, but I'm excited as hell about it." NBC Sports Bay Area

Basketball Rumors for Thursday

The two technical fouls that led to Trae Young’s ejection against the Bulls on Sunday will not be rescinded, according a person in the NBA familiar with the situation. The league routinely issues a report with updated numbers of technical fouls received by players and coaches. On occasion, after league review, technical fouls are rescinded. In its report dated March 6, Young has six technical fouls this season, up from the four he had entering the game against the Bulls. That number will remain six, according on the person familiar with the situation. Atlanta Journal Constitution

Adam Silver said that market size imbalances are worrying him in a new way< -- not as in the past, when players were limited in off-court opportunities if they played in small markets and therefore wanted to play only in big hubs. But now with the clustering of stars on teams -- even small-market teams -- the costs are creating cases in which teams might have to choose between keeping a contender together and franchise profitability.

This is a big change from long-standing tradition, starting with David Stern, of the league saying a small market team could both compete and make money if it were well run -- if, say, you had Sam Presti as your general manager and not David Kahn. That's a hard sell these days, as Presti's Oklahoma City Thunder have one of the league's highest payrolls in one of its smallest markets so they could keep Paul George and Russell Westbrook. It's a path the Milwaukee Bucks could soon be headed down to keep their strong team alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo.

TV ratings for games are down this season. The All-Star Game ratings were down. Silver said the league is struggling to reach the millions of fans from the target age 18-34 demographic who don't have cable or streaming packages. They care about the league but don't build the habit of watching games on TV or in person, a core tenet of creating revenue.

The Golden State Warriors make $3.4 million in gate revenue per game, best in the league. That's not a surprise, as it's a big market, and they're the best team. But the New York Knicks, the league's worst team, pull in an average of $2.9 million per game at the gate, sources said. Compared to the bottom of the list -- the Memphis Grizzlies get less than $1 million per night -- it shows the disparity.

Houston Rockets forward Kenneth Faried will miss at least the next two games because of an adductor strain. Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters Thursday that the next time Faried, who underwent an MRI, could potentially play would be next Monday against the Hornets.

The auction for Fox‘s regional sports networks is warming up thanks to Ice Cube. The vocalist-turned-actor’s basketball league, Big3, has added two new big-money players to its bid for 21 of the 22 Fox channels, The Post has learned exclusively. The 3-on-3 basketball league, which the ex-N.W.A rapper co-founded with entertainment veteran Jeff Kwatinetz in 2017, is teaming up with investment bank Macquarie Group and entrepreneur Carolyn Rafaelian, according to people familiar with the matter. NY Post


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