Kobe Bryant Dwight Howard

Kobe denies report of poor recruiting call with Howard


We passed along the report over the weekend, one that cropped up in a couple places, that a conversation where Kobe Bryant tried to recruit Dwight Howard to Los Angeles turned off the center. That Kobe told Howard that the offensive options would be first Kobe, then Pau Gasol, then Howard. Which struck me as something Kobe is too savvy to say in recruiting a guy, but that was the rumor.

Peter Vecsey of the New York Post asked Kobe about it. And as you knew would happen, Kobe shot it down.

“omg! I’m not getting mixed up in this kiddy drama spit, bro. too old for that spit,” Bryant responded via email.

“How do you think I feel at my age having to chase down this stuff,” I answered. “I understand your position. But if it’s untrue, any of it, and allowed to circulate throughout the league, which already is happening, I would think you’d want to say it’s not.”

“It’s not true,” Kobe responded.

First off, you know Kobe didn’t use the word “spit.” Rhymes with “spit” but that’s not the word of choice.

Second, of course Kobe said this. Who knows what was actually said in a Kobe/Howard conversation, but what is Kobe going to say now? “Yes, I tried to scare him off.” Of course not.

Third, know that every rumor you hear about Howard is someone trying to spin the situation the direction they want it to go. This rumor had New Jersey as where Howard really wants to go, even though other rumors have said that the Nets had fallen because the team sucks this season and Howard doesn’t want to miss the playoffs (and even if he went there a lot of building is left to do). Everyone is trying to spin the story (and Howard) to where they want him to land.

The truth of the Dwight Howard situation is more about practicality and feasibility. The Magic may eventually come to their senses and decide to move him, but when they do it will be to the team that gives them the best offer. It will be about who takes on Hedo Turkoglu’s deal, too. If Orlando likes Andrew Bynum and assorted goods better than Brook Lopez and slightly better assorted goods, he’s going to Los Angeles. And Howard is going to suddenly sing the praises of wherever he gets sent.

Looks like Donovan to keep Andre Roberson, Steven Adams as starters

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder
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Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.

But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start  Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.

There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.

Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….

Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.

This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.

If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88

Harry Gallatin
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The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.

Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.

Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.