Fredette stands with NBA Commissioner Stern after being selected by the Bucks as the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft in Newark

NBA Draft day trade wrap-up… because we all got confused


There was a point while putting up PBT’s pick-by-pick updates through the draft that I thought every pick on the board started with “He was selected for Team X as part of a trade…”

To help sort it all out, here is a breakdown of all the draft day trades.

• Bobcats, Bucks, Kings big three-team deal. This was the trade of the day, the one that totally reshaped the draft. In the end, here’s how it works out:

The Charlotte Bobcats gave up their leading scorer in Stephen Jackson and end up with Bismack Biyombo and Corey Maggette out of this trade. How this pans out really comes down to how good Biyombo turns out to be, high ceiling but he could be Joel Anthony Part II. (They also ended the day with Kemba Walker, but not as part of this deal.)

The Milwaukee Bucks end up with Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih, No. 19 pick Tobias Harris of Tennessee and reserve point guard Shaun Livingston. This is a team that needed more creativity on offense. They got that… and a lot more technical fouls.

The Sacramento Kings gets John Salmons and Jimmer Fredette (which is who the owner Maloof brothers had pushed for, and in the end owners get what they want). Not sure all these moves makes them a better team, but it does make them more marketable.

• Portland, Denver swap point guards. Portland gets Raymond Felton, a younger, better shooting from three version of Andre Miller, Denver gets in Miller a guy that works for them with a much shorter contract. I’m not sure either team really got better in this deal.

• Indiana and San Antonio take some risks. Indiana is bringing home combo guard George Hill. He’s a solid, smart player going to a team that needs more of that and fewer projects. But they gave up potentially good players to the Spurs to do it — No. 15 Kawhi Leonard of San Diego State (very athletic and the best small forward on the board), No. 42 pick Davis Bertrans of Latvia (considered a first round pick talent) and 2005 No. 46 pick Erazem Lorbek of Slovenia (yea, I got no idea either). I understand why Indiana made the move, but they have good guards already. How this trade is viewed down the road depends on how Leonard pans out. It could be another big Spurs win.

• The Mavericks get older still. Dallas acquired Rudy Fernandez (and the rights to Finnish point guard Petteri Koponen) from Portland for Jordan Hamilton. I think Fernandez is a fit in Dallas, if they can dip him in the fountain of youth like they seem to all their veterans. Fernandez has seen his game slip in recent years, if it rebounds this is a great pick up for more scoring off the bench. For Portland, they get a good young prospect at forward for a guy they don’t care about, so a win.

• Houston and Minnesota swap picks. Houston really wanted No. 20 pick Donatas Motiejunas, because no team is complete without a 7-foot Lithuanian project. To get him they also took on Jonny Flynn, who they are shopping again already, plus the Rockets will save about $10 million over the course of this deal.

The Timberwolves end up with No. 23 pick Nikola Mirotic (Serbia), No. 38 pick Chandler Parsons of Florida, a future first-round pick, and whatever is left in the tank of Brad Miller. I’m not a Parson’s fan, maybe he proves me wrong, so it’s about Mirotic. Really, the winner of this trade is whoever ends up with the better of the European project players, so ask again in three years.

• Celtics and Nets swap picks. Boston made the kind of move you see from Patriots coach Bill Belichick — they traded down two spots to get a future second rounder. They end up with No. 27 pick JaJuan Johnson of Purdue. They gave over to New Jersey No. 25 pick MarShon Brooks of Providence — a volume scorer in college but a guy with a potentially higher ceiling in the NBA. Good deal for the rebuilding Nets, they need guys like that.

• Orlando and Cleveland swap picks. The Magic get No. 32 pick Justin Harper of Richmond — a guy who can hit threes and fits their system — and the Cavaliers get two future second-round picks. Yawn.

• Golden State buys a player. Charlotte drafted big man project Jeremy Tyler at No. 39. Golden State needs a big man that doesn’t suck, and they have an owner with a lot of cash. The Bobcats are a tiny market team that needs cash. So, everybody wins a little something.

• New York buys a player. At No. 45 the Hornets drafted likely NBA stiff Josh Harrellson of Kentucky, but the Knicks are so desperate for size they paid cash to get him and give him a shot.

Here is Kobe Bryant’s letter given to every fan at Lakers’ game Sunday

Los Angeles Lakers v Portland Trail Blazers

LOS ANGELES — In a classy move — and one done in a very Kobe Bryant tone — every fan coming into Staples Center Sunday night to see the Lakers take on the Pacers received a letter from No. 24.

Inside a sealed black envelope, on quality, embossed paper, was this letter from Bryant (photo below):

When we first met I was just a kid.

Some of you took me in. Some of you didn’t.

But all of you helped e become the player and man in front of you today.

You gave me confidence to put my anger to good use.

Your doubt gave me determination to prove you wrong.

You witnessed my fears morph into strength.

Your rejection taught me courage.

Whether you view me as a hero or a villain, please know I poured every emotion, every bit of passion and my entire self into being a Laker.

What you’ve done for me is far greater than anything I’ve done for you.

I knew that each minute of each game I wore purple and gold.

I honor it as I play today and for the rest of this season.

My love for this city, this team and for each of you will never fade.

Thank you for this incredible journey.

It speaks to Kobe’s mindset over the years that he talked about the fuel from the rejection of Lakers’ fans motivating him. As a Los Angeles native (and former Laker blogger), let me tell you there was precious little rejection of Kobe from this fan base. There were questions and doubters early on, but even when Shaquille O’Neal was seen as the driving force of the team Kobe was beloved in Los Angeles. Something that continued through his trial in Colorado — Lakers fans have almost always had his back.

But Kobe finds fuel everywhere. Which is why he is a future Hall of Famer.


Jahlil Okafor tweets apology for recent off-court behavior

Jahlil Okafor

The off-court incidents have been piling up for Jahlil Okafor over the past month: first, an incident captured on video that showed Okafor getting into a fight with a heckler early Thanksgiving morning; then, a report that Okafor had a gun pulled on him in a previous incident; and finally, this morning’s report that the Sixers’ No. 3 overall pick in this June’s draft had been pulled over in recent weeks for driving 108 miles per hour in Philadelphia. Together, they aren’t a good look for the rookie.

On Sunday afternoon, Okafor apologized for his recent behavior in a series of tweets:

The recent incidents involving Okafor are surprising—going into the draft, he never had any red flags for maturity or off-the-court issues. He’s certainly saying the right things after the fact, and he’s only 19, so hopefully this is nothing more than a small rough patch where he’s made some bad decisions, and not an indicator of things to come.

Kobe Bryant announces this is his final season


LOS ANGELES — It has seemed like this was it for a while. Kobe Bryant has been frustrated; he hasn’t been able to produce like he expects — his play has been hard to watch — and the Lakers are a train wreck.

Kobe made it official Sunday via the Players’ Tribune — this is his final season. He did it via a letter called “Dear Basketball.”

You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

And that’s OK.
I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have.

It’s not coincidental this was announced a couple days before the Lakers travel to Kobe’s hometown of Philadelphia to face the Sixers. Also remember Kobe is an investor in The Players’ Tribune.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver quickly released this statement:

“With 17 NBA All-Star selections, an NBA MVP, five NBA championships with the Lakers, two Olympic gold medals and a relentless work ethic, Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in the history of our game.  Whether competing in the Finals or hoisting jump shots after midnight in an empty gym, Kobe has an unconditional love for the game.

“I join Kobe’s millions of fans around the world in congratulating him on an outstanding NBA career and thank him for so many thrilling memories.”

Kobe will go down as one of the game’s all-time greats. Few can come close to his resume: Five NBA titles, two NBA Finals MVPs, 15 time All-NBA teams, one MVP, 17 times an All-Star (and the All-Star Game MVP four times). And we could go on and on.

Good on Kobe for doing this now. After 55,000 NBA minutes his body has quit on him, and where his mind is still willing the flesh is clearly weak right now. He has not been able to adapt his game to the changing realities of what he can do.

Kobe has said he doesn’t want a “Derek Jeter Farewell Tour” but that will be the feel from here on out. Expect some special recognition at the All-Star Game in Toronto.

Bulls’ Dunleavy to see specialist after suffering setback with back injury

Mike Dunleavy, Joakim Noah
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CHICAGO—Over the past few weeks, Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy has seemed to be making progress in his back rehab. Dunleavy underwent back surgery shortly before the start of training camp and was initially given a timeline of 8-10 weeks. Recently, he’s been increasing his workload, and he traveled with the team on their recent west coast road trip.

However, his recovery may have hit a snag.

“Mike is going to see a doctor again tomorrow and then we should have a better update after that,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after practice on Sunday. “He had a little bit of soreness. But we’ll have more on that tomorrow.”

An update to Dunleavy’s status is coming, but given Dunleavy’s age (35) and the frequency of back injuries to reoccur, this news certainly isn’t encouraging. Between Tony Snell and Doug McDermott, the Bulls have struggled at both ends of the floor on the wing. Getting Dunleavy back, whenever that happens, will be a huge help. But nobody knows when that will be.