Kobe Bryant willing to loan players money if lockout lingers

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It’s part of what is behind the NBA lockout dragging out to threaten actual games — there are owners that want to exert their ultimate leverage, the loss of paychecks. There are some owners that want to hurt the union, to break it. The theory goes that when the players start missing paychecks, they’ll cry uncle.

If it comes to that, the Bank of Kobe will be open.

Kobe Bryant has offered to loan players who need it money. That’s what NBA players union executive director Billy Hunter told the Los Angeles Times when asked how Kobe and LeBron James had been involved in the talks.

“They’ve been deeply involved in the meetings we’ve had. I know Kobe is intimately involved in interfacing with colleagues and sharing in a pool of revenue to help the others get through this. Kobe has volunteered to do that in the event others need, he and others are prepared to loan money if necessary.”

How’s that for stepping up, John Wall.

Interesting. Of course, we don’t know what the vig is and you better keep up on the payments. I could see his collection agents as being some scary dudes. They will be the size of Snoop Dogg’s body guards, but not as nice.

Not sure it’s really going to come to that, frankly. The whole “the players will break when they don’t get paid” idea is flawed in so many ways. Starting with the players wouldn’t get their first paycheck until Nov. 15, two weeks into the season, and if you wait that long to really negotiate we’re not seeing games until Christmas at best.

And the players are not going to crumble without a check. Not most of them. The players have known this lockout was coming for years. Most have money set aside. Plus they are all about to get a check for eight percent of their salary from last year back (part of an escrow fund set up as part of the last labor deal to make sure the players got exactly 57 percent of the league’s revenue; this year all the money is being returned to the players and then some).

And if all that fails, there’s the Bank of Kobe.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.