The first round of D-League waiver claims are behind us, and three quasi-NBA talents will join a D-League season already underway. According to Scott Schroeder of NBA FanHouse, Joe Alexander, Stanley Robinson, and DeShawn Sims will all ply their trade in the D this season. Alexander will play for the Texas Legends, Robinson for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and Sims for the Maine Red Claws.
Alexander, a lottery pick in 2008, likely has the highest profile of the three. He has a ways to go before becoming a real NBA contributor, but Alexander could very well be called up as an answer to some team’s injury misfortune or a project of sorts. He’s still a tremendous athlete, and if he can tone down his fouling, improve his shooting, and hold his own defensively, Alexander could conceivably become a passable NBA player. The D-League would optimally give Alexander a spot to work on his game, but I have a feeling that his time in Frisco will be relatively short-lived. It’s not all that surprising that the Bulls elected to cut Alexander lose rather than pay him a multi-million dollar annual salary, but he’s likely worth the minimum somewhere.
Robinson was the Orlando Magic’s second round pick in this summer’s draft, and now he’ll join the ground level of the Houston Rockets’ operation. As Schroeder noted in his report, the Rockets are among the more active call-up teams in the NBA, and if Robinson succeeds in the D-League, he’ll likely get a pat on the head and 10 days’ worth of NBA salary for his efforts.
Sims was a quality scorer and rebounder last season for Michigan, and followed up his collegiate career with a strong showing at the Orlando Summer League. After playing a few games in Greece for PAOK BC, Sims has decided to return to the States, where he’ll grab a smaller paycheck but enjoy a more immediately visible big-league audition. The international route is clearly fitting for those who need the coin, but the D-League has rapidly grown into the premier avenue for NBA hopefuls. Sims is certainly one such player, and he’ll go to work in the D with the hope of turning a few heads.
Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.
There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?
Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:
Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game — but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.
In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.
Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.
That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.
If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.
First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.
Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.
Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.
Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.