NBA Notebook: LeBron may be better than MJ

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 27, 2011

Associated Press
The NBA notebook …
CHICAGO ó As if the Bulls losing to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals wasnít enough, Hall-of-Famer Scottie Pippen has added to Chicagoís pain by suggesting that LeBron James could be better than Michael Jordan.
Pippen stirred the pot in an interview with ESPN radio on Friday morning, saying Jordan ěis probably the greatest scorer to play the gameî but James ěmay be the greatest player to ever play the game.î
That set off an explosion on Twitter.
Pippen responded first by posting, ěFor all of you that donít know, I played the game you keep watching and cheering.î He softened his stance later, writing: ěDonít get me wrong, MJ was and is the greatest. But LeBron could by all means get to his level someday.î
Jordan and Pippen won six championships with the Bulls in the 1990s. James moved a step closer to his first title when the Heat knocked out the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night, setting up a matchup with Dallas.
CHICAGO ó Derrick Rose vowed to learn from this, to get better, and insisted the Chicago Bulls would come back hungrier after the Miami Heat knocked them out in the Eastern Conference finals.
Clearly, the standards are soaring now.
As good as they were this season, the Bulls came up short. They blew a late 12-point lead and bowed out with a 83-80 loss to the Heat in Game 5 on Thursday.
The Bulls were aiming for more after back-to-back 41-win seasons and first-round playoff exits, and did they ever get it. They boasted the league’s MVP in Rose, the Coach of the Year in Tom Thibodeau and a league-leading 62 wins while advancing to the conference finals for the first time in 13 years.
Not since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were here had the Bulls generated such a buzz and sent expectations rocketing like this in Chicago.
HOUSTON ó A person familiar with the situation says the Houston Rockets are close to hiring Kevin McHale as their new coach.
McHale would take over for Rick Adelman, who left the team days after his fourth season in Houston.
McHale, a Hall of Fame player for the Boston Celtics, spent 15 years with the Timberwolves in his native Minnesota. He was let go in 2009 and has recently served as a TV analyst.
The 53-year-old McHale would become Houston’s third coach since 2003, when Rudy Tomjanovich stepped down for health reasons. Jeff Van Gundy coached the team from 2003-07, taking the Rockets to three playoff appearances.