Jerry West could not be more iconic. Literally. It is not possible for him to be more iconic in the National Basketball Association. So there’s a lot of leeway given to him for all he’s given to the game. And today, Dime Magazine found out just how much he’s gotten away with over the years, in particular when it comes to Kobe Bryant.
Dime excerpts the newest book from ESPN Books by Roland Lazenby about the Laker legend, Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon, and relates the story of West talking John Calipari out of drafting Kobe Bryant and having Kobe tell him how much he only wanted to play for the Lakers.
Let’s be clear, there’s nothing illegal (that I know of) about what West did. A GM can tell another GM anything they want, and it’s the responsibility of that GM to do what they think is best. Likewise, even though it’s kind of a crappy move for the player to try and pick and choose where he plays (think Eli Manning with the Chargers when he was drafted), there’s nothing illegal about it.
But it’s just so odd that the most successful franchise in the NBA manages to talk an opposing coach out of drafting a player, then trade garbage for that player and wind up with one of the top five players in NBA history. I suppose history begets success, but it just seems a little too easy, doesn’t it?
Regardless, a note to opposing NBA GMs. If anyone from the Lakers calls you to talk about who to draft, or trade, or really any personnel move whatsoever? I have some advice. Hang up the phone as quickly as possible.
Since he bought the Los Angeles Clippers for a cool $2 billion, Steve Ballmer has been looking for ways to get them out of the shadow of the Lakers. While Los Angeles is big enough — and has enough corporate interests — to support two NBA teams, the city’s heart belongs to the Lakers. It’s still a wide chasm. You can take my word as a lifelong Angelino, or you can go look at the television ratings — the Lakers are in the worst stretch of on-court basketball in franchise history, the Clippers are loaded with stars and are one of the better teams in the NBA, and yet the Lakers still win the ratings battle.
One way to get out of the shadow — get out of sharing the same building. The Clippers moved to Staples Center with the Lakers when it opened (Donald Sterling loved having the team closer to his offices) but Steve Ballmer is talking about getting out, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Representatives of Steve Ballmer and Stan Kroenke, two of the richest owners in professional sports, have had multiple discussions about the Clippers joining the Rams and Chargers in the sports and entertainment district Kroenke is building in Inglewood.
Five people with knowledge of the conversations told The Times the arena could either be on the 298-acre site or an adjacent parcel. Either way, an arena would drive traffic to the planned mixed-use development and share parking with the $2.6-billion football stadium scheduled to open in 2019.
The Clippers are on a lease that runs through 2024 at Staples, but Ballmer and company have not-so-subtly been looking at potential sites for a new venue. There isn’t a question if the former Microsoft CEO has the money to finance such a building, but there could be both an economy of scale and joint energy joining the new football facility.
The project in Inglewood — on the former Hollywood Park horseracing location, right across the street from the Forum where Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers reigned — is designed like many modern arenas to bring dining, entertainment, and housing to the area with the arenas providing foot traffic. Staples Center did that for the L.A. Live development in downtown Los Angeles, helping spark a renaissance of the entire area. However, there are a lot of questions from parking to who actually would own the land and arena.
If nothing else, it’s a sign Ballmer gets what the previous owner either never did or simply never cared enough to try to fix — he has to get out of the Lakers’ shadow. One step in that path is getting out of the same arena.
Ryan Anderson‘s girlfriend, Gia Allemand, committed suicide in 2014. I can’t even imagine having to handle that.
But it seems Anderson has found happiness.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
Carmelo Anthony said he’d consider waiving his no-trade clause if the Knicks want to rebuild, which could be welcome news considering that’s what Phil Jackson reportedly wants to do.
But, after letting the trade deadline pass without a move, New York must convince Anthony of a plan — any plan — before getting him onboard.
Ian Begley of ESPN:
New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony said he doesn’t understand management’s vision for the future after the club’s inactivity at Thursday’s trade deadline.
“No, not now. No, to be honest with you,” Anthony said late Thursday night. “I think they were kind of planning on the trade deadline, whether they were trying to make moves. I think that was one plan. Now they’ve got to get back to the drawing board and come up with another plan about the future of this team.”
It seems the Knicks want to rebuild around Kristaps Porzingis, but they’re already down another road with long-term money tied to Anthony (32), Joakim Noah (31), Courtney Lee (31) and Lance Thomas (28). There’s no simple way to pivot into a new direction — especially with Anthony possessing a no-trade clause.
Maybe Anthony will never waive it, but appears the Knicks continue to approach this the worst way possible.
Of all the players the Knicks could have shed at the trade deadline — including Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Courtney Lee, Brandon Jennings and Kyle O'Quinn — New York is losing the one it values most.
Kristaps Porzingis sprained his ankle in the Knicks’ loss to the Cavaliers last night, but at least it doesn’t sound too serious.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
The Knicks — 23-35, five games and four teams out of playoff position — were already going nowhere. Now, they’ll be a little less watchable while going nowhere.
As long as there are no lasting effects or indications of Porzingis being especially susceptible to injury, this is no big deal.