NBA News Roundup: Analyst baffled at LeBron James and Kevin Durant’s player rankings, Ben Simmons slams Shaquille O’Neal for not reaching out, and more


The NBA player rankings have sparked several debates, especially when it comes to superstars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant. NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith was the latest to comment on ESPN’s list. James is ranked at #6, while Durant is #8. Smith believes their rankings are relatively low.

Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics are in the news following the suspension of head coach Ime Udoka. The former Nets assistant won’t be leading the team for the entirety of the offseason after violating the organization’s policies. Udoka engaged in a consensual relationship with a female staff member of the Celtics.

Here’s the latest buzz surrounding the NBA as of September 23, 2022.

Ime Udoka issues public apology following suspension

Ime Udoka won’t get a chance to lead the Boston Celtics in the upcoming season. Heading into his sophomore year, Udoka finds himself in the middle of a controversy that led to the Celtics suspending him for the 2022-23 season.

Udoka had a consensual relationship with a female staff member in the organization. The Celtics made the official announcement recently. Udoka also commented on the situation, issuing a public apology to the Celtics, the players, fans and his family.

Here’s what he said:

“I want to apologize to our players, the fans, the Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down. I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I have no further comment.”

According to multiple reports, assistant coach Joe Mazzulla is expected to take over as Boston’s head coach for the new season. It will be interesting to see if the Celtics can replicate their success next campaign without Udoka, who was instrumental in their return to the finals.

NBA analyst baffled at LeBron James and Kevin Durant’s player rankings

ESPN has ranked LeBron James and Kevin Durant sixth and eighth in their latest player rankings, respectively. Popular TV personality Stephen A Smith disapproves of their positioning. He believes the former champions deserve a top-five ranking. On “First Take,” Smith had this to say about this matter:

“There’s no way in hell I don’t have LeBron James and Kevin Durant out of my top 5.”

James and Durant had a tough run with their teams’ last campaign. The former failed to lead the Lakers to a playoff berth. They finished with a 33-49 record and missed the play-in tournament, too. Meanwhile, Durant’s Nets got swept in the first round of the playoffs against the Celtics.

That may have played a part in James and Durant falling out of the top five of several player rankings.

.@stephenasmith can’t believe the latest NBArank list 😂 “Ain’t no way in hell five players in the world are better than LeBron James and Kevin Durant.”

Ben Simmons slams Shaquille O’Neal for not reaching out to him

Ben Simmons called out NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal for not reaching out to him. Shaq has always mentioned Simmons as one of his “LSU brothers” as they both attended the university. The four-time NBA champion was one of Simmons’ harshest critics for a while last season before he revealed they had a conversation with each other.

During a recent appearance on “The Old Man & The Three” podcast, Simmons sounded off on Shaq for not reaching out to him during his tough phase this past year, saying:

“He always wants to say, ‘We’re LSU brothers, this and that.’ If you’re my LSU brother, you would have reached out by now.”

Luka Doncic doesn’t need another superstar on his team

The Dallas Mavericks will continue to have to rely on Luka Doncic as their only superstar for next season. Doncic has never played with an All-Star during his young NBA career.

He managed to lead the Mavericks to a conference finals appearance last campaign. Many believed another superstar on the team could’ve seen them make the Finals next year. However, they haven’t added a bonafide All-Star to their ranks. Doncic believes the current squad is capable of making a championship run. Here’s what he told ESPN regarding this:

“I think we have great players on our team. There’s plenty very underrated guys that I think should be talked about more. … I think we have a great team.”

Luka Doncic is confident in the strength of the Dallas Mavericks roster and denies the need of another All-Star player in order to succeed 🗣

Kawhi Leonard cleared to play 5-on-5

The LA Clippers fans will be hyped up as GM Lawrence Frank recently announced franchise star Kawhi Leonard is cleared to play 5-on-5 drills. Leonard hasn’t played since April 2021. He sustained an ACL injury in that year’s playoffs.

Kawhi Leonard has been playing ‘controlled’ 5-on-5 basketball, but the Clippers will continue to be cautious.More on Kawhi’s impending return and quotes from Lawrence Frank on what to…

Leonard’s absence cost the Clippers a trip to the postseason last campaign. They enter the new season as one of the top favorites to win the Western Conference. If Leonard stays healthy, LA could have a solid chance of making their first NBA Finals appearance.

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