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.
Joakim Noah hasn’t set foot on an NBA court since Feb. 4, and his season was all but ended when he had knee surgery at the end of February. It was a $72 million gamble that has not worked, and left New York with an anchor o a
Tomorrow it will be official he is done for the season, but not because of the Knicks or his injury.
During his recovery, Noah violated the NBA’s drug policy and will pay for a 20-game suspension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Noah tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement that is prohibited under the outgoing Collective Bargaining Agreement, league sources said.
Noah, 32, is expected to serve 10 games of the suspension to finish out the 2016-17 regular season and 10 games to start the 2017-18 season, league sources said.
The National Basketball Players Association’s investigation concluded that Noah hadn’t “knowingly or willingly” violated the policy and cooperated fully with the league’s probe, league sources said.
Over-the-counter supplements could be something put in his regular workout recovery drinks that he was unaware of, although we are unsure of the details.
Traditionally, the player has to be healthy enough to play before the league starts the suspension. Noah has been out for more than a month, but if a league doctor says he is healthy enough to play the then the clock on the suspension can start. But that is interesting.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.
Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.
His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.
Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.
Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.
As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.
Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.
Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.
Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.
Maybe a little too pumped.
That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.
Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.
(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)