It’s part of the end of season ritual in the NBA, whether you win a championship or have racked up the most Ping-Pong balls in the lottery.
A day or two after your season ends you clean out the locker, then you have a meeting with the coach and usually the general manager. You all talk about goals for you coming into next season, things to work on during the summer.
Reports had surfaced that Andre Iguodala skipped out on that, according to the Philadelphia Daily News (via Hoopshype). However, it has since been reported that he was excused from that meeting due to a doctors appointment.
Suspicions were raised because he had expressed frustration with the way the Sixers were removed easily by the Heat in the first round. There were questions of if he wanted to return to Philly next season (he has two years plus an option year on his current deal, so he does not have a lot of leverage there).
“I never said I didn’t want to be here,” Iguodala said today. “Like I said, I just want to compete for titles. We made a lot of strides this year. I think we’re heading in the right direction.”
The Sixers are moving in the right direction, and Doug Collins got about as much out of this roster as possible this season.
But the gap between them and a contending team was made clear in the series with Miami. And that’s a big gap that will be hard to close.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.