I’m sorry for that reference, first of all.
The Lakers continue to be mired in constant flux. The vetoed Chris Paul trade kicked off a season of uncertainty that has continued. Pau Gasol is constantly discussed in rumors. And Kobe Bryant thinks it’s affecting Gasol negatively. From the Los Angeles Times:
Though it appears pointing out a descrepancy involves splitting hairs, Bryant believes reports linking Gasol in a trade has made it “an emotional couple of days for him.”
“Personally I don’t understand that crap,” Bryant said regarding the Lakers’ effort to trade Gasol. “But it is what it is. It’s important for him to know we support him. I support him especially. I just want him to go out there and play hard and do what he does best for us.”
via Kobe Bryant: Trade speculation has made Pau Gasol emotional – latimes.com.
Two thoughts on this.
1. Gasol is developing a reputation for letting his emotions impact his play. Lady troubles last spring were heavily discussed as the reason he completely vanished against the Mavericks. This is probably a bit unfair. Everyone goes through personal troubles, and it’s not like the Mavericks didn’t scheme well against Gasol. But admitting it publicly isn’t going to win you any friends with the fans. Playing through it is part of the job, and everyone in the league has to deal with trade rumors. Well, besides Kobe and a handful of others.
2. How can Bryant be surprised by this? The Lakers have a long-standing history of being devoid of emotion when it comes to players. They are about the organization first and foremost. No one is bigger than the Lakers. That’s what happens when your best player is Magic Johnson and the bar is set that high. Jerry West and Shaquille O’Neal have complicated relationships with the organization. The Logo! Shaq won three titles! Bryant may not agree with it, but he has to understand it. This is their approach. Always try and improve.
It also shows how different and honestly, tougher the league is from three years ago. The Gasol trade combined with the formation of the Big 3 in Boston kicked off the new era of superteams, which is what makes this league so much more difficult and leads to Bryant-Gasol-Bynum no longer being enough to dominate. The thing they created is now threatening to tear the team apart. So it goes.
In 2002, not a single team drafted Udonis Haslem.
For the last 15 years, the Heat haven’t been able to quit him.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Haslem isn’t receiving another $4 million windfall like he got last year. He’ll earn $2,328,652 – $1,471,382 paid by the Heat and $857,270 covered by the league (as is done on one-year minimum deals for veterans). An NBA contract, even for the minimum, might be enough of a reward at this point.
To whatever extent Haslem still has a position – he has played just 390 minutes in the last two years – he’s probably a center. The Heat have Hassan Whiteside, Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo and maybe A.J. Hammons ahead of him. But this isn’t about getting the 37-year-old Haslem on the court, at least not beyond rare spot minutes, where can still be useful as a defender and rebounder.
The Heat want Haslem’s toughness and veteran leadership. He reinforces their culture, and that might be worth a roster spot.
Derrick Rose meeting with the Clippers barely registered. He has to meet with the Bucks twice before most noticed.
But it seems Rose and his agent, B.J. Armstrong, have finally figured out how to drum up attention – leak interest from more prominent teams like the LeBron James-led, championship-contending Cavaliers and big-market, widely followed Lakers.
What team could generate even more buzz?
Sam Amick of USA Today:
If the talks went beyond Armstrong asking the Bulls whether they would sign Rose and the Bulls declining, I’d be surprised.
There’s probably a part of Rose that wants to return to his native Chicago, but it seems his former team has long moved on.
Derrick Rose is suddenly in demand – once the market was set at a minimum salary or so.
Not only are the Cavaliers pursuing the former MVP/overhyped role player, so are the Lakers.
Rose is also meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, sources told ESPN’s Chris Haynes and Ramona Shelburne. The Lakers are trying to entice Rose to sign with them, suggesting they can offer more playing time and money in a better environment after Rose’s tumultuous season in New York, sources said.
Rose’s tumultuous season was due in part to Rose. No matter where he signs, he can’t escape himself. And Los Angeles is even further from his native Chicago.
But the Lakers can offer more money. They still have the $4,328,000 room exception. Rose would earn just $2,116,955 on a minimum salary from Cleveland, and the Cavs can bump that offer to only about $2.5 million. (That’d come with exponential additional costs, so they probably wouldn’t do that, anyway.)
The Lakers can also offer a larger role. Lonzo Ball can’t play every minute at point guard, and Rose would fill in the rest. They’ll likely add a point guard, Rose or not. The Cavaliers might be set with Kyrie Irving, Jose Calderon and Kay Felder if they don’t get Rose.
I’m not sure how Rose would work as a veteran mentor, especially on a one-year contract as he eyes a bigger payday next summer. But – say whatever else you want about him, and there’s plenty to say – Rose has remained impressively focused on basketball amid untold chaos. Ball – with outsized attention given LaVar and his media market – can probably relate.
James Harden spearheaded the Rockets’ recruitment of Chris Paul, but the MVP runner-up didn’t work alone.
Paul’s former New Orleans teammates Trevor Ariza and Bobby Brown added appeal.
So, unsurprisingly, with Paul in a contract year, Houston is re-signing Brown. The Rockets are also re-signing Troy Williams.
Alykhan Bijani of ESPN Houston:
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Brown is an undersized gunner who’s not nearly efficient enough to compensate for his defensive deficiencies, and he turns 33 before the season. But if he helps convince Paul to re-sign, it would be well worth keeping Brown on the roster all year.
The 22-year-old Williams, who went undrafted last year, is the far more intriguing player. A 6-foot-7 forward, he has the athleticism to stick in the NBA. His 3-point shot needs major development – though not quite as much if he becomes more adept at being a small-ball four, an easier task in Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo system.