Yi Jianlian

Yi Jianlian recalled by Mavericks, solving all their problems


The Dallas Mavericks don’t just want one low-cost project big man to fill out their rotation. They want all of them.

Dallas’ signing of Ian Mahinmi last summer has paid off nicely this year, and in an effort to find a similarly successful player on an equally affordable salary, the Mavs signed former lottery pick Brandan Wright, one-time cast-off Sean Williams, and — most recently — lottery letdown Yi Jianlian. As per Rick Carlisle’s custom, all of the Mavs’ bigs have received playing time rather randomly; Brendan Haywood and Mahinmi are the rotation regulars, but Williams’ 12-point outburst in the second game of the season was met with minimal playing time and an eventual D-League assignment, Dallas signed Yi and sent him to the D-League for a rehab stint, Wright logged 12 minutes over the Mavs’ last two games seemingly out of nowhere with Lamar Odom and Dirk Nowitzki filling in as utility centers in between.

There’s a shotgun feel to all of it, as Carlisle tests out each player in order to determine their capacity to bolster his lineups. Now, apparently, it’s Yi’s turn, as the Mavericks announced via releas on Monday that they’ve recalled Yi Jianlian from their D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends.

Based on Carlisle’s seemingly random rotation of extra bigs thus far, it’d be silly to make predictions as to how Yi might be utilized. But he’ll at the very least be with the team for their game against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, and will likely be in uniform as a member of Carlisle’s flexible corps of athletic bigs.

Kobe Bryant says his age 37 is not like Michael Jordan’s age 37

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Once again, Kobe Bryant‘s career arc is being compared to Michael Jordan’s.

There’s a lot of reason’s that’s flawed — starting with Kobe being drafted on to a Lakers team that had Shaquille O’Neal and was already considered NBA elite, as opposed to Jordan working to build a franchise up. That said, Kobe has invited the Jordan comparison at times and it has been a constant through is career. Fair or not.

Kobe is coming back this fall after seasons of injury to the NBA and those comparisons continue — now to the Wizards’ version of Jordan. And Kobe is not at all fond of that, as he told Sam Amick of the USA Today.

“This is uncharted territory,” he said. “My 37 (years old) isn’t MJ’s 37 (when he returned after taking two seasons off to play for the Washington Wizards), you know what I mean? Nor is it the same team or the same system that he was playing in. It’s much, much different. There’s really no barometer, no (precedent) for training physically, for recovery. It’s uncharted territory.”

Kobe is right. Jordan had four+ seasons off by the time he was 37 and was not coming off multiple major surgeries.

Kobe is entering his 20th NBA season and what any real basketball fan should wish for him is health. Let him play one full season (with limited minutes and nights off), let him get to the final game of this season next April and make his own decision on his future. Let him leave the game on his own terms.

That said, if Kobe can average Jordan’s numbers at that age — 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game — it will be a major accomplishment, and the Lakers will have a better record than many of us expect.

And Kobe may want to play a 21st season as well.

Celtics ease to 124-91 win at Olimpia Milano in Global Games

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MILAN (AP) — The Boston Celtics eased to a 124-91 victory over Olimpia Milano at the Mediolanum Forum on Tuesday, comfortably winning the first of a double-header in Europe as part of the NBA Global Games.

Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Celtics with 18 points, including nine in his first seven minutes after coming off the bench midway through the first quarter.

Jared Sullinger added 14 points, as did Avery Bradley, who also had four three-pointers, while David Lee weighed in with 13 as well as seven rebounds and three assists.

Alessandro Gentile – who is reportedly wanted by the Houston Rockets, who hold NBA rights to the 22-year-old – top scored for Milano, with 19 points.

Next up for the Celtics is Real Madrid in Spain on Thursday.