Jerry West is a man to listen to.
Not a man given to hyperbole. A man of perspective. As competitive an NBA player and general manager as there ever has been (read the book), but a man with an eye for the bigger picture. There are a few people around — Bill Bradley, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — that have an interesting perspective inside and outside basketball that make their thoughts fascinating. West is among them.
And right now, Jerry West is heaping high praise on Kobe Bryant.
In doing so, he also makes an interesting point about these NBA Finals, something he did on Hartman and Friends on FoxSports Radio:
He’s playing the best basketball I have ever seen him play to be honest with you. When he shoots shots a lot of people would probably think they are bad shots. For him, he is not only creative, but he is a shot maker. Some people are creative, but they’re not shot makers. He can make tough shots. He just seems to will the ball in the basket. I’ve never seen him play better… At this time of year, people talk about adjustments that people make. The adjustments that people make are not really the telling part of it. Your great players, this is their time to shine. You can’t really run your offense. After the first couple of games, everyone will be waiting on everyone. The team that has the best ability to beat people off the dribble and be creative will be successful. There’s no better player that I’ve ever seen than him… He’s the greatest Laker player that we have ever seen.”
It’s interesting because the Celtics defensive strategy against the Lakers (as opposed to what they did against Orlando) is to double Kobe, to always have the help close by, to take the chance to be creative out of his hands and make somebody else beat them.
But right now, Kobe might be able to rise above that. At least West thinks so. And he’s a man to listen to.
Do Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant hang out these days? Probably not.
But do the to respect each other? The answer, apparently, is yes.
During an interview for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, O’Neal said he knows that Kobe respects him because of a certain play. That play?
Prepare yourself for this one Portland Trail Blazers fans: it’s the famous alley-oop with 41 seconds left from Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals that put the Lakers up by six points.
That play was the exclamation point on an impressive fourth quarter, one in which the Blazers went hilariously ice cold from the field while the Lakers made up a huge deficit.
Here’s how Shaq tells the story:
Game 7. We’re down. I’m telling Kobe ‘Hey man, I’m open’.
[And Kobe responded with] I got you.
He crosses up Scottie Pippen, and he catches eye contact with me like, ‘OK this is the one you wanted.’
He throws it up super, super, super high. I have to go up and get it and throw it down. Puts us up by five [it was six] and I know we’re going to win, we’re going to the Finals.
If you go back to the footage after we win [the game] who jumps in my arms? Kobe Bryant.
Meanwhile, a 12-year-old Dane Carbaugh’s heart still aches from that game.
Carmelo Anthony is now a member of the Oklahoma City thunder.
Man that is still really weird to type.
But this has been an insane offseason, and nevertheless the former New York Knicks forward is now a teammate of Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
We are not sure how these teammates are going to play together next season given their propensity for high-usage play, but we are definitely all ready to watch it very soon.
Meanwhile, Anthony was greeted by fans in Oklahoma at the airport after arriving to be with the team.
Do you think this will get Carmelo to stay in OKC?
Guess we will just have to find out.
Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls reached a buyout agreement — he will take an $8 million haircut to become a free agent. Not that we should feel bad for Wade, I wish someone would pay me $15 million to go away.
The next question: Where will Wade play this season?
The smart money is on Cleveland, but it’s not that simple. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN got the ball rolling, but others chimed in.
OKC is an interesting option on the court, if their ownership group is willing to eat a little more tax to make it happen (the Thunder would pay about $24 million, based on their current payroll). Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype shed a little more light on that and other options.
It’s probably going to be the Cavaliers — his good friend LeBron James is there, they are the best team in the East so a trip to the Finals (and a shot at a ring) are very possible, and he could start for them. That’s probably enough to get the deal done.
Expect Wade to take a little time with this decision. Veterans are not big fans of training camps, he may be willing to miss a little, spend some time with the family, listen to pitches, then choose
Cleveland where he wants to play this season.
CHICAGO (AP) A person with knowledge of the situation says the Chicago Bulls and forward Nikola Mirotic have agreed to a two-year contract that could pay as much as $27 million.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Sunday because the deal has not been announced. The Bulls hold an option on the second year.
The 6-foot-10 Mirotic averaged 10.6 points last season. He has scored 10.8 per game over three seasons.
The Bulls are rebuilding after winning 41 games and losing in the first round of the playoffs. They traded All-Star guard Jimmy Butler to Minnesota on draft night for three players 23 and younger – Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the rights to No. 7 overall pick Lauri Markkanen.
Yahoo Sports first reported the agreement.
More AP NBA: http://www.apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball