Report: Kobe, agent to talk with Italian team about new offer

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Kobe Bryant still has an offer on the table from Italian squad Virtus Bologna — one modified from the original offer to allow for a range of options — and he and his agent will have a conference call with the team to discuss it, according to various reports out of Europe.

That is all very different than Kobe actually accepting the deal, although the options to play one or a handful of games could be appealing. Then again, reports are he is interested in a full season (with an NBA opt out).

First there is the report of how the offer has changed, via EuroBasket (hat tip to I am a GM):

Kobe’s agent Rob Pelinka said that his client would like to play the entire season, obviously with an NBA escape, with the Italian team and not only few games as first reported. Bologna’s president Sabatini took the opportunity to have arguably the best player in the world and has put on the table $5 million for the entire season. Also Bryant would like to give part of his income for benefaction.

The offer reportedly is $500,000 for one game, $650,000 a game if he stays for a month and $5 million if he stays for the season.

That was enough to get the sides talking, according to Sportando.

The Italian team also said that Rob Pelinka answered to the proposal made by Virtus and that tonight there will be a conference call between the two parts.

Again, all that is a long way from Kobe accepting a deal. That said, he does have a love of Italy and ties to the country (he spent part of his youth there while his father played professionally in Italy) and speaks fluent Italian. This makes more sense than him playing in Turkey.

But it’s still a long shot. Smart money has Kobe staying in Orange County — behind the Orange Curtain — until the lockout ends.

LeBron James hits go-ahead shot in All-Star win (video)

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LOS ANGELES – LeBron James‘ team trailed by 13 midway through the fourth quarter of the All-Star game, but he led a competitive comeback.

This shot put his team up 146-145 over Stephen Curry‘s team, and Team LeBron held on for a 148-145 win:

Great penetration by Russell Westbrook, and he and Kyrie Irving moved the ball well. LeBron made it count.

LeBron James finishes reverse alley-oop from Russell Westbrook (VIDEO)

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LOS ANGELES — The new format for the NBA All-Star game brought a little more defense to the first half of the annual showcase, but it didn’t do much to enliven the game. That said, the game has been better than the pre-game “entertainment.”

Midway through the second quarter, his team down 15, LeBron James decided to make it a game again and played with some energy. That included a three, and a couple impressive alley-oop finishes. The best came via Russell Westbrook.

There also was this one courtesy Kemba Walker.

Those may be the two best dunks of the first half.

Anthony Davis opens All-Star game wearing DeMarcus Cousins’ jersey

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LOS ANGELES – Anthony Davis often relies on his Pelicans teammates to set him up.

Tonight, he gave a nod to one of them.

Davis started the All-Star game wearing DeMarcus Cousins‘ No. 0 jersey. Cousins and Davis were both voted starters then drafted by LeBron James, but Cousins can’t play due to injury.

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:

Very cool gesture by Davis. He’s an excellent teammate.

No, Joel Embiid didn’t cheat during the NBA Skills Challenge

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The Internet got itself all in a huff on Saturday as they watched the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge. In particular, the matchup between Chicago Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen and Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid stirred up a bit of controversy.

Specifically, folks accused Embiid of cheating.

During the passing section of the obstacle course, Embiid didn’t actually make any of his passes into the ring. He then proceeded on the next section and was neck-and-neck with Markkanen as they tried to finish out the head-to-head competition. Markkanen won, but that didn’t stop folks from saying the 76ers All-Star had circumvented the rules.

We now know that’s not true.

According to the rules (provided on the NBA media site, page 47 of the 2018 NBA All-Star Media Guide) Embiid was allowed to move onto the next section even though he hadn’t completed any of his passes. A player only has to exhaust the rack, not complete a pass. It appears rules sort of assume that if a player stands there trying to complete a pass three times they’ll fall so far behind they won’t be able to catch up.

Re-watching the video, it appears Embiid knew this rule to the game and figured if he didn’t make the first one he would quickly try to blast the next two passes off the rack so he could then move onto the next section.

Embiid even took to Twitter to head off accusations that he had cheated.

Via Twitter:

Trust. The. Process.