It’s hard to buy into any talk of Kobe Bryant playing overseas after the debacle with Turkish team Besiktas. And just like with Besiktas, it’s team officials who are blabbing too much for Italian club Virtus Bologna, threatening to undermine their own chances of landing the five-time NBA champion. But according to Yahoo!, Kobe’s invested enough in this deal to not only want his money, but a system to help the entire league. Yes, that’s right. A player locked out by his own league, in part because of the humongous differential between the club he plays for and the others, wants a stronger support system for the entire league. The irony is suffocating.
Kobe Bryant is pushing forward with the negotiation of a complex agreement with Virtus Bologna that the Los Angeles Lakers star hopes will create a partnership with the teams in the struggling Italian League to share in the financial benefits of his arrival there, sources with knowledge of the talks told Yahoo! Sports.
via Kobe pushing for contract in Italy – NBA – Yahoo! Sports.
Bryant of course has a history with Italy, having spent several years there as a kid. He clearly has the interests of the entire league and not just getting his at heart. (Though he will undoubtedly get one of if not the biggest foreign basketball contract in history.) Also odd is the fact that talks are progressing at this pace with the NBA negotiations having accelerated in the past two weeks towards a resolution. Either Bryant is simply pursuing a viable backup plan, or he knows something we don’t.
Before signing with the Knicks to retire, Amar’e Stoudemire reportedly wanted to sign with the Suns this year and last.
He essentially confirmed both accounts.
Stoudemire, via Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic:
“The last two years, we made phone calls to Phoenix but I wasn’t getting any positive response,” Stoudemire told azcentral sports on Thursday. “That would’ve been the perfect way to go out. I didn’t want to beg Phoenix. My heart was in two places – Phoenix and New York. I just went where I was wanted.”
According to the report, Stoudemire wanted to play for Phoenix next season — not just retire as a Sun. If that’s the case, I see why the team passed. The Suns have 15 players (the regular-season roster limit), are rebuilding and already have Tyson Chandler as a veteran big.
But if Stoudemire wanted sign an unguaranteed deal with the Suns then retire as a ceremonial move, it’s a little harder to explain Phoenix’s reluctance. Perhaps, the Suns were caught off guard by such a request. Nobody in memory had done something like that in the NBA. The gesture is far more common in football and baseball.
Either way, Stoudemire retiring as a Knick wasn’t designed to show a long-standing bitterness toward the Suns.
A recent bitterness toward the Suns? Maybe.
Karl-Anthony Towns has replaced Anthony Davis as the consensus MVP-in-waiting.
Are you ready, NBA?
Here’s a sneak preview of the Timberwolves center’s future:
NEW YORK (AP) — Craig Sager’s fight with leukemia will prevent the basketball sideline reporter form covering the Rio Olympics for NBC.
NBC said Thursday in a statement that the 65-year-old Sager is preparing for a third bone marrow transplant at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Sager was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and announced in March that he was no longer in remission.
The Rio Games would have been Sager’s fifth Olympics.
Sager has worked for Turner Sports for 34 years. At the ESPY Awards this month, Vice President Joe Biden presented Sager with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below: