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Shocking news: Matt Bonner more considerate than Kobe Bryant

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Kobe Bryant is the fiercest competitor in the NBA, and a relentless offensive force. It’s that drive that makes him one of if not the best player in the NBA, and that force which drove him to hang out for over an hour shooting baskets in American Airlines Arena following the Lakers’ loss to the Heat.

Which, when you think about it, was kind of a jerk thing to do.

I mean, beyond the fact that it reveals Bryant’s relentless devotion to the game, his tireless desire to get better (if by better we mean focusing on trying harder to make shots which are low percentage, poorly decided and squander the endless potential of the Lakers’ offense), and his unequaled work ethic. Bryant held up staff having to watch him hoist jumpers after that game. Sure, the media was more than happy to bask in the dramatics of watching a 33-year-old man go through a shootaround at 11 p.m. at night, but there were also security guards, facility maintenance, league officials, team officials, arena officials, and other people waiting to go home. People who aren’t wrapped up in the story of the Lakers’ drive for a sixth championship with Bryant, and for whom Thursday was just another day at the office.

This is going to come off as nitpicking Byrant, so I’m going to go all boldy to make this clear.

A. It’s not a big deal.

B. This would have been a jerk move had it been LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Michael Jordan, Darko Milicic, Eddy Curry, Kevin Durant, or the cast and crew of “Juwanna Mann.”

The ball boys who got to feed Bryant got a great story. The media got a great story. But the officials at the arena probably just had a longer night and lost more time to themselves. I don’t know about you, but time’s a pretty important commodity to me. Bryant took it because he was feeling bad about himself. Anyway, not a big deal, but another way to look at it. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Take the word of a shooting expert. From the San Antonio Express-News:

Bonner said he was frustrated enough to shoot like Bryant after a game only once in his competitive career. It came after a struggling performance when he was in college at Florida and it was after a home game.

“I’ve had times when I was disappointed and I would come back to the training facility and shot the same night,” Bonner said. “But not on the road and make everybody wait.”

“It was a poor shooting night and it was frustrating,” Bonner said. “When I did  it, it wasn’t to get my shot back. It was more therapeutic mentally, to feel good about myself again.”

via Spurs Nation » Bonner knows why Kobe was shooting so late last night.

So that’s a well-balanced approach. Bonner admits that he’d do the same, while also pointing out he wouldn’t do it on the road, because, well, that’s just inconsiderate and rude. Two things Bryant has never really cared about being portrayed as. Also, similarly, Bonner wouldn’t work on what he actually needed to, in his case defending power forwards, particularly on the baseline, while Bryant’s case should have been, oh, I don’t know, passing to one of the seven footers with considerable matchup advantages who were shooting over 50% for the night. Just to take a guess.

But hey, it’s over, and it made a great story.

 

Report: Las Vegas also in contention for 2017 NBA All-Star game

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Where will the NBA hold the 2017 All-Star game?

Charlotte? No.

New Orleans? Probably.

New York/Brooklyn or Chicago? Maybe.

One more maybe: Las Vegas.

Scott Kusher of The Advocate:

The NBA held All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas in 2007. By all accounts, it was wild.

I’d be surprised if the league returned the event to Las Vegas, but at this point, I’d really be surprised by any option besides New Orleans.

Report: 76ers, Sam Hinkie’s ‘handpicked analytics crew’ splitting up

Ben Mikesell/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP
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The 76ers hired Bryan Colangelo, and Sam Hinkie bounced.

Now, much of Hinkie’s front-office is also heading out the door.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

that regime — including deposed GM Sam Hinkie’s handpicked analytics crew — will be mostly gone by the end of August, league sources say.

If Colangelo hires his own analytics staff and integrates numbers into his decision-making, this is no big deal.

If Colangelo leaves those positions vacant, Philadelphia will be working from behind.

I’m betting on the former. He isn’t Hinkie, but Colangelo has discussed the importance of analytics. Let Colangelo hire his own staff, and everything might even flow more smoothly.

Mike Krzyzewski: Team USA having too much fun, needs to tone it down

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 26:  DeMar DeRozan #9 of the United States Men's National Team looks on during a break in the action against the China Men's National Team during the second half of a USA Basketball showcase exhibition game at ORACLE Arena on July 26, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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Mike Krzyzewski hates fun (even more than he admits).

So, the coach wasn’t thrilled after Team USA’s exhibition win over China, which included DeMar DeRozan nearly 360-degree dunking on someone.

Marc J. Spears of ESPN:

I want to see Team USA make highlight plays. Dunk from the free-throw line. Shoot from halfcourt. Throw behind-the-back passes. Show up weaker competition.

So, it’s hard for me to get behind Coach K’s criticism.

But I also want to see the Americans win gold medals in the Olympics, and I’ll blame Krzyzewski if they’re not adequately focused.

Fair? Not one bit.

Doesn’t change what I want, though.

Report: Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 28:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook #0 look on prior to game six of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 28, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Kevin Durant said he had to distance himself from Russell Westbrook entering free agency. Yet, Durant listened to the Warriors recruiting him all season and had clearly been interested in Golden State for months.

The writing was on the wall.

Except, a few days before taking meetings in the Hamptons (which led to signing with the Warriors), Durant dined with Westbrook.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Three weeks ago, Kevin Durant’s sitting there at dinner, telling him “Hey, I’m coming back, man. Don’t worry about it.” And now, Russell Westbrook has been kind of thrown into this in having to decide his future a summer earlier than expected.

Kevin Durant, more so than even that, was telling people, “Hey, yeah, I mean I’m coming back.” Like I said in there, a week before Kevin Durant sat down in the Hamptons, he was in Oklahoma City ready to make an offer on a multi-million-dollar house. So, the guy was pretty serious about coming back, and then things turned rather quickly for him to leave. And there’s no doubt that the organization felt a little bit burned by this.

Maybe Durant said that. Maybe he meant it in the moment. Maybe he was just trying to appease someone he didn’t want to let down. Maybe he was unclear. Maybe Westbrook read too much into a more clear statement.

There’s a lot of room for imperfect recollection/interpretation. We’re dealing with human beings.

Likewise on the house. Who says Durant was “ready” to make an offer? That’s an awfully difficult assessment to make outside his head. Just as the Celtics had a list of players Durant wanted them to add, it seems he was preparing for all contingencies. It’s hard to nail down whether he was house hunting because he was certain he wanted to stay in Oklahoma City or whether he just wanted a new place if he stayed in Oklahoma City.

So much of what we know about Durant’s process for picking the Warriors suggests a rational decision. He considered them for months, met with multiple teams, conferred with his inner circle then made a choice.

If Durant told Westbrook or anyone else he’d re-sign with the Thunder, that obviously changes the equation. But I’m left wondering:

How many people in Oklahoma City heard what they wanted to hear rather than what Durant actually said?

How many people are incentivized to paint Durant as impulsive, because the alternative — Durant thoughtfully deciding the Thunder weren’t his best option — indicates deeper flaws in the franchise?