Kobe Bryant

Besiktas coach confirms talks with Kobe, but don’t expect a deal

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Ergin Ataman, the coach of the Turkish team Besiktas (which recently signed Deron Williams) knows marketing.

Which means he knows Kobe Bryant is the most popular NBA player internationally, so if you want to generate some heat, talk about him. Reality of the situation be damned. Which is what he did when D-Will was signed, and what he did again today.

Ataman confirmed the club has had talks with Kobe, something we told you about last weekend.

“It is a fact that Kobe Bryant’s managers have contacted us,” coach Ergin Ataman said Thursday, a week after Besiktas signed New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams.

Ataman said Bryant was waiting for an offer from Besiktas. The club, however, said it would need a sponsor to be able to pay for Bryant’s contract.

Besiktas has a few other little issues to sort out besides finding a sponsor for Kobe. Okay, maybe not so little. For one, how much he would be paid — reports are Besiktas wanted to pay him $450,000 a month but Kobe wanted $1 million (which would still be a steep cut from his NBA salary). So Besiktas is looking for a sponsor. The team also lost its main sponsor, a Turkish cola company, and is reportedly trying to find a replacement.

Which will be hard to find as Besiktas had its assets frozen due to a match-fixing scandal on the soccer side. While this serious soccer situation does not directly tie to the basketball side, it’s not exactly making major sponsors jump on board with the organization.

Besiktas already has had a reputation as not paying its players, with some missing practices last season when paychecks were late. Not Allen Iverson’s (he played for Besiktas last year), his checks were fine. Just don’t ask the other players on the team about theirs.

But sure, go ahead and think Kobe is about to sign there if you want. It’s good marketing by Ataman.

Watch LeBron James’ 23 points during Game 5 win over Toronto

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A good rule of thumb: If LeBron James is getting few breakaway dunks, the other team is in trouble.

Enter the Toronto Raptors, who got to watch a dunking clinic by LeBron as he had multiple breakaways during the Cavaliers’ 38-point win on Wednesday night. LeBron played well, and the Cavaliers got a balanced attack from their stars — 25 points from Kevin Love, 23 each from LeBron and Kyrie Irving.

Watch LeBron’s night above. Toronto needs to find a way to keep him from having another game like this Friday.

Kyle Lowry’s face when he sees Game 5 box score sums up Raptors’ night

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 25: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors looks on in the second half against the Cleveland Cavaliers in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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After a beatdown at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 — a loss where he was just 5-of-12 shooting, a loss that has the Raptors on the brink of playoff elimination — Kyle Lowry did what he had to do and went in front of the media to answer questions and try to explain that loss.

But really, his face when he walked into the interview room and saw the box score summed up the Raptors night perfectly.

When you get your report card and you have to explain to your parents why you failed all of your classes.

A video posted by Sports Videos (@houseofhighlights) on

Lowry and the Raptors need to turn it around and win at home Friday night to keep their playoff dream alive another day.

Heat players past, present throw support behind David Fizdale heading to Memphis

David Fizdale
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The Memphis Grizzlies have found their man — Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizdale has been offered the head coaching job in Memphis. He’s a smart coach who earned the trust of elite players and was a key part of the staff that helped Miami to a couple of rings.

It’s a good hire. Don’t just take my word for it, check out what a couple Heat players from that era had to say.

Mario Chalmers had a first-hand view — he was traded from Miami to Memphis in the middle of last season. The point guard who went the other way in that deal, Beno Udrih, also helped push the deal along.

Fizdale is going to be a popular hire with the players. That said, if the Grizzlies can’t keep Mike Conley in free agency the team is going to have struggles this season, regardless of who coaches them.

Watch Kevin Love drop 25 points on Toronto

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Before Game 5, Cavaliers’ coach Tyronn Lue told Kevin Love just to stay aggressive. Channing Frye told him the same thing.

Love took that advice to heart. From the opening tip of Game 5, Love was attacking — backing down the overmatched Luis Scola and knocking down threes. Love had 12 points in the first quarter on his way to a game-high 25, helping spark an easy, 38-point Cavaliers win in Game 5.

Now, can Love do this on the road in Game 6?