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NBA notebook — Nov. 19

Associated Press

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LeBron James has had “preliminary talks” with David Beckham about possibly bringing an MLS team to Miami.

The talks were first reported in the British media and confirmed by James after the Miami Heat’s practice Monday.

“There’s some interest on both sides,” said James, the four-time NBA MVP who already has a small ownership stake in the English club Liverpool through his involvement with Fenway Sports Management. “David has become a good friend of mine over the last few years. And I think it would be great for this city to have a football club for sure. So there’s interest on both sides but it’s preliminary talks. But there [is] some open dialogue.”

The Associated Press first reported last month that Beckham decided to start an MLS expansion team in Miami. Several matters, however, must first be taken care of, including league approval.

Beckham scouted some Miami locations last week — for at least the second time — and is looking for investors. Beckham, who played for the Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS, has the right to pay $25 million to start an expansion franchise. But the overall startup costs would far exceed that amount when factoring in other setup costs such as stadium construction and player acquisitions.

“The research is still being made out,” James said. “I think it could be huge. But you never know. I think this is a great town for soccer. There’s a lot of soccer players, there’s great youth soccer players here and people love the city as well. So that definitely would help.”

Beckham created a buzz last season when he sat courtside for some Heat games, and James often speaks about his appreciation for some of the world’s best players.

“I’ve grown a great interest in watching the game and learning the guys,” James said. “It’s a pretty intense sport. And my kids love it as well. But I’ve grown to the point where I know exactly what’s going on when I’m watching the game.”

Bryant practices

Kobe Bryant is back in practice with the Los Angeles Lakers in El Segundo, Calif., and even the five-time NBA champion gets a charge out of getting back to work.

Bryant participated in his second full workout with the Lakers at their training complex on Tuesday. He still isn’t sure when he’ll be back in uniform, but he’s grateful to take the next step in his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon.

“It’s always a much greater appreciation for it,” Bryant said, his forehead beaded with post-practice sweat. “You understand the mortality that comes with being on that doorstep. There’s always a sense of enjoyment when you come back. ... Put the jersey on, you walk out in practice, and felt like it was ’97 again and I was getting my first start as a pro.”

Bryant isn’t setting a return date, but acknowledged he could see himself returning to the Lakers later this month. Coach Mike D’Antoni said Bryant will return whenever he says he’s ready.

Bryant did drills and 5-on-5 play with the Lakers on Tuesday. He says he’s “pleasantly surprised” by how good he felt afterward.

“I just went out there and just played,” Bryant said. “Just tried to do what I normally do and figure some things out about my game, what can I do and what can’t I do at this stage. Just try to figure out the route.”

NBA suspends Allen

The NBA suspended Grizzlies guard Tony Allen one game without pay for kicking Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul in the face. Allen was given a flagrant 2 foul and ejected after his left leg caught Paul’s face with 1:51 left in the first quarter of Memphis’ 106-102 win over the Clippers on Monday night in Los Angeles.

Curry to sit out game

Stephen Curry will not play for the Golden State Warriors against the Memphis Grizzlies tonight because of what the team is calling a “mild concussion.” Curry was injured in the fourth quarter of Golden State’s 98-87 victory at Utah on Monday night. The star point guard left the game after hitting his head on the court in a scramble for a loose ball.


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