Because it resulted in a ring and because Kevin Garnett is now almost a Boston icon, we forget that he almost didn’t go there.
Garnett was being traded in the summer of 2007, having essentially forced his way out of Minnesota as they were going young and he was wildly unhappy. There were plenty of teams interested in Garnett but he was hesitant to go to Boston (until they added Ray Allen, then with Paul Pierce that team started to look like a contender).
Among the teams interested — the Los Angeles Lakers. And Garnett told Dan Patrick today he almost became a Laker:
“I was pretty close [to going to LA] to be honest,” Garnett said. “What disturbed me about the whole Laker situation was Kobe [Bryant] and Phil [Jackson] at the time. They was pretty bad. That situation was something I didn’t want to get into. It was my choice. There was a lot going on and I didn’t want to be a part of it.”
Are you hearing the Hallelujah Chorus too? That was Celtics fans after reading that quote.
Remember that the summer of 2007 was the summer of Kobe’s discontent. He didn’t believe in Andrew Bynum and he didn’t expect that anyone could turn Kwame Brown into a quality player by trade. Nobody did. Kobe was asking for a trade (which the Lakers never were going to grant, not really, but they went through the motions).
You can see why KG would have been hesitant to go Wst. And maybe it worked out best for everyone this way (at least it did for Pau Gasol).
But can you imagine KG in the high post of the triangle with Andrew Bynum on the front line and Kobe? That would have been a contending team instantly.
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.