Tyreke Evans, Gerald Wallace, JaVale McGee and O.J. Mayo have been let go, bringing the roster down to 15. Three more guys will be let go after camp in New York and before the team heads to Turkey for the FIBA World Championships next month.
JaVale McGee was the only name we weren’t sure about, and this still is not a real surprise. Team USA is a little thin at center — Brook Lopez is the best player but is still slowed by the effects of Mono. Tyson Chandler has looked solid, but it was thought McGee (a late addition to camp when Robin Lopez pulled out) might be kept on as insurance. He had looked good. But Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski decided to keep five point guards on the roster, including Rajon Rondo (who was rumored to be on the bubble).
Evans sprained is ankle early on and really never got a chance to compete at a very deep position for the squad. Wallace basically got beat out by Danny Granger, while Mayo likely lost his spot to Eric Gordon. Mayo may be the bigger NBA name, but Gordon’s game blends well with the international rules, plus the makeup of this team.
So this is your final 15: Rondo, Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Gordon, Granger, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Jeff Green, Andre Iguodala, Lopez, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, and Chandler.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.